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Law
5:50 pm
Thu September 18, 2014

Second trial begins for Detroit police officer who shot Aiyana Jones

Aiyana Jones

The re-trial of a Detroit police officer who killed a young girl during a May 2010 raid began Thursday.

No one disputes that Officer Joseph Weekley shot seven-year-old Aiyana Jones to death as police raided her home looking for a murder suspect.

In fact, much of what happened that night was captured on film by camera crews from the A&E reality TV show “The First 48.”

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Education
5:13 pm
Thu September 18, 2014

Democrats call for hold on new charter schools

Credit Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Democrats at the state Capitol are calling for a halt in new charter schools until there are rules that ensure more transparency and accountability.

They say the rules should require private, for-profit charter operators to reveal more about how they spend their per-student state aid payments.

“They’re not willing to tell us how they’re spending taxpayer dollars and, unfortunately, we’ve just seen too many cases of the temptation to make money getting in the way of providing the best quality education for our children,”  said state Rep. Sarah Roberts, D-St. Clair Shores.

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Weekly Politcal Roundup
5:00 pm
Thu September 18, 2014

Are political ads working or are Michigan voters tuning out?

Television remote control
Credit user ppdigital / morguefile

Thursday is the day we talk Michigan politics with Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants, and Susan Demas, publisher of Inside Michigan Politics.

This week is all about the political ads inundating the state. We talked about how ads are used to make the case for a candidate, the flood of ads on television, and whether voters are paying attention or tuning out.

Here's our conversation:

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Stateside
12:14 pm
Thu September 18, 2014

When we talk about diversity in college enrollment, what about the underrepresented poor?

Credit User: COD Newsroom / Flickr

As college students explore their campuses, they're likely to find a wide array of student groups that pertain to race: The Black Student Union, Asian-American groups, or Hispanic and Latino groups.

Universities say they're spending time and money on trying to increase the number of minority students, especially since the Supreme Court ban in 2006 on affirmative action.

But Ron Haskins of the Brookings Institution says the challenges for American colleges should be not only racial diversity, but also economic diversity. 

Especially when universities, including elite schools, haven't upped their percentage of low-come students in generation. 

Haskins says that's what happens when colleges maintain admission standards.

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Opinion
11:08 am
Thu September 18, 2014

Does the UAW's victory in Indiana signal the end of the two-tier wage system?

Something happened in the auto industry recently that was mostly overlooked by the mainstream media – but which may have huge implications for the industry and the United Auto Workers union.  

Seven years ago, the UAW made a concession that I am convinced would have had Walter Reuther spinning in his grave.

They agreed to accept a two-tier wage system under which most new hires would be paid slightly less than half what long-time auto workers made.

Think about that.

This means most of them are earning less than $30,000 a year.  Can they buy a house with that salary?  Even buy one of the new cars and trucks they build?

You know the answer. Yet the union agreed, because it felt it had no choice.

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The Environment Report
10:23 am
Thu September 18, 2014

Enbridge's internal problems that contributed to 2010 oil spill have changed, company says

In August of 2010, crews prepare to remove the broken section of Enbridge's Line 6B pipeline.
EPA

Federal, state, and local agencies took part in a mock oil spill Wednesday in northern Michigan along the Indian River.

The emergency drill conjured memories of the 2010 Kalamazoo River oil spill. About a million gallons of crude oil have been cleaned up from that spill. There’s some concern about whether Enbridge has made important internal changes to avoid future pipeline problems.

Carl Weimer with the Pipeline Safety Trust said one of the reasons Enbridge failed to prevent the pipeline break near Marshall, Michigan in July 2010 is not because the company was completely unaware of corrosion and a cracks in the pipeline.

He says Enbridge inspection teams weren’t sharing information with each other.

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Investigative
7:30 am
Thu September 18, 2014

Truth Squad rules "fouls" in ads for Snyder and Schauer

The Truth Squad at Bridge magazine is handing out "fouls" to Democrats and Republicans. Political groups are airing ads on behalf of the candidates running for governor in Michigan.

First let’s look at an ad put together by the Democratic Governors Association. In it a school teacher, Kim Stanley, ties together three separate issues.

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Politics & Government
6:05 am
Thu September 18, 2014

Michigan Dog owners rally against breed-specific legislation

Turok was one of several four-legged lobbyists who took the grounds of the state Capitol Wednesday.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A coalition of dog groups is upset the state allows local governments to ban specific breeds of dogs.    

Many communities put restrictions on pit bulls, often out of concern about dog attacks.

Courtney Protz-Sander organized a rally of like-minded dog owners at the state Capitol on Wednesday. She says it’s unfair to tell people what kinds of dogs they can own.

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Politics & Government
9:47 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

Duggan tries to sell Detroit City Council on new regional water authority

Credit via detroitmi.gov

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan pitched a proposal creating a new regional water authority to the Detroit City Council Wednesday.

Duggan has signed a memorandum of understanding moving day-to-day control over Detroit’s regional water system to a new Great Lakes Water Authority.

That Authority would be governed by a 6-member board, with representatives appointed by the city and Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb counties.

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Environment & Science
8:49 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

Mock oil spill tests response plan

Some of the 200 people taking part in Wednesday's mock oil spill on the Indian River.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

It wasn’t the real thing, but federal and state agencies joined with local groups to respond to a mock oil spill in northern Michigan today.

“That boom is to keep out any oil from coming on this side,” one of the coordinators told reporters, as he pointed at crews lowering pillow-like yellow floaters into the Indian River. 

The booms were deployed just downstream from where an oil pipeline has sprung a make-believe leak.  A short distance away, officials from a variety of agencies manned a full command center, organizing the response in the mock disaster drill. 

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8:18 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

Homicides are down in Michigan, but is it fair to call it a trend?

Lead in text: 
Dustin Dwyer reports on lower homicide rates in cities across the state. But there's a caveat. "We have to be careful about getting excited before we can see if it’s a one-year blip," says Wendy Regoeczi, director of the Criminology Research Center at Cleveland State University.
The numbers are down 30% in Flint. They were down 70% in Saginaw through July. Down 66% in Grand Rapids through June. Down 14% in Detroit, and on pace for the lowest annual total in decades. The reports are preliminary, but homicides in many of Michigan's cities are way down compared to last year.
Stateside
7:53 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

Artists turn benches into works of art in downtown Lapeer

Working on one of the benches
Credit user: The Bench Warming Project / facebook

Can a brightly decorated bench make a downtown area more attractive?

A group of artists in Lapeer, Michigan says absolutely!

Artist Jim Alt belongs to the group. He has launched something he calls The Bench Warming Project in downtown Lapeer.

Alt says the goal of the project is to give downtown a collection of public artwork that hopefully could help bring people back to the community. 

He set a fundraising goal of $1,000 on gofundme.com.  So far, the project has raised more than $2,100.

Alt and his team of artists have finished 4 benches, and they expect to have a total of 21 benches done by next week or so.

*Listen to the full story above.

Stateside
7:49 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

Wolverines ranked No. 1 in women's cross country

Credit User: Michigan Women's Track and Field / facebook

Wolverine fans, here's a question for you: What is the best team on campus?

Take the spotlight off football and basketball for a minute, and shine it on the Wolverine team that is ranked No.1 in the nation. According to the NCAA, it's the Michigan Women's Cross-Country team.

Brook Handler of Rochester Hills is the team's captain. She says they train hard everyday and cheer each other on during races. 

"Everyone really really wants to get to that top spot, and the drive that this team has is tenfold what it was a few years ago," says Handler.

* Listen to our conversation with Brook Handler above.

Stateside
7:47 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

Architect Louis Kamper made Detroit the "Paris of the West"

Col. Frank J. Hecker House in Detroit
Credit User: Werewombat / Wikimedia Commons

The talk about blight and crumbling buildings in the city of Detroit can easily drown out another fact: The city is home to some stunning buildings that have a long history.

One of the gifted architects who helped Detroit earn a reputation as the "Paris of the West" was Louis Kamper. He envisioned not just office buildings and fabulous homes, but also bridges, hotels, police stations, and even a bathhouse on Belle Isle.

Historian Bill Loomis blogged about Kamper for the Detroit News. He says Kamper helped define the character of city's downtown architecture. 

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Stateside
7:42 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

A debate in the U.S. Senate race more likely?

Terri Lynn Land
Credit Michigan Republican Party / Facebook

With 48 days to go until the Nov. 4 election, many people are wondering if Michigan voters would ever get a chance to hear a debate between the candidates for U.S. Senate and for governor.

Republican Terri Lynn Land took the first step today toward holding a debate with Democratic rival Gary Peters.

Land's campaign just named Lansing attorney Richard McLellan as its debate negotiator. Land says McLellan will work with Detroit ABC affiliate WXYZ-TV and Peters' campaign to possibly find a West Michigan journalist to co-moderate a debate with WXYZ Editorial Director Chuck Stokes.

Peters named former Lt. Gov. John Cherry as his debate negotiator Aug. 6. Peters has accepted three debate invitations outright and two others on the condition that Land also agrees.

Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta are co-hosts of Michigan Radio's It's Just Politics. In their views, Michigan voters are clearly looking for the candidates' debates. 

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Stateside
7:35 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

Dear Pope Francis, will you please visit Detroit?

A student's letter in an effort to bring Pope Francis to Detroit.
Credit User: Let's Bring Pope Francis to Detroit in 2015 / facebook

The last time a pope visited Michigan was 27 years ago this very week. Pope John Paul spoke to crowds at Hart Plaza and Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Detroit, visited Hamtramck, and celebrated Mass for 90,000 people at the Pontiac Silverdome.

Word that Pope Francis is planning a visit to the United States has ignited a letter-writing and social media campaign called "Let's Bring Pope Francis to Detroit in 2015"

The spark of the campaign began at Cristo Rey High School in southwest Detroit. And the movement is drawing support from some big names, including Detroit's mayor and deputy mayor. 

Cristo Rey Principal Sue Rowe and Detroit Deputy Mayor Ike McKinnon spoke to Stateside about their effort.

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Business
7:23 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

Investments in Greenville, Walker could bring 900 jobs

“We’re riding a little high now because this is a tremendous opportunity to get back on our feet," says Greenville City Manager George Bosanic.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

After years of struggling, the city of Greenville is getting a big economic boost.

The American subsidiary of a Chinese aluminum wheel manufacturer plans to invest $140 million in the West Michigan city.

The new plant will employ 300 people when it opens in 2016.

The company is taking over part of the old Electrolux plant, which closed in 2006, taking with it 2,700 jobs.

Greenville City Manager George Bosanic says this is something his community needed.

Arts & Culture
5:31 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

U-M prof receives MacArthur "genius award"

Khaled Mattawa.
Credit John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation announced today the selection of a University of Michigan professor as one of this year's 21 recipients of its prestigious "genius grants."

The foundation recognized Khaled Mattawa for his creative translations of the work of highly respected Arab poets – as well as for his own poetry. 

He is the author of four books of poetry, has translated nine books of contemporary Arabic poetry and co-edited two anthologies of Arab-Amercian literature. 

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Politics & Government
5:26 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

"Heat and Eat" cuts mean less food assistance for some in Michigan

Some families in Michigan will see cuts in their monthly food assistance payments soon.
Credit Liz West / Flickr

Changes to a federal program often called "Heat and Eat" mean about 150,000 Michigan families will soon see reductions in their monthly food assistance benefits.

The cuts will average about $75 a month per family.

The Heat and Eat program offers higher food assistance benefits for families who live in northern states, where heating bills can be high.

But about 20% of the people enrolled in the program actually don't pay for heat. It's included as part of their rent.

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Environment & Science
4:36 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

Here are 10 West Michigan trails to explore this fall

Hiking in Seidman Park in December of 2012.
Steven Depolo Flickr

The days are getting shorter, but don't resign yourself to settling in for a long, lazy season inside.

One of Grand Rapids' greatest assets is the natural beauty that surrounds this mid-size city, with amenities that you won't even find in many big cities. From small pocket parks to epic-sized Lake Michigan, you're never far away from a wooded trail, a mountain bike path, or a gorgeous beach.

As summer turns to fall, Rapid Growth rounded up ten of West Michigan's best hikes, with hidden urban hiking trails mixed in with cross-country paths that lead to the great lake even in the snowiest of months.
 
City hikes
 
Have an hour or an afternoon? Looking for a hike that can happen within the city limits?

Grand Rapids contains more urban paved trails and hidden hikes than we can count. Savvy West Michiganders already know about the bounty of outdoor experiences at Blandford Nature Center, Provin Trails, Meijer Gardens, and the Calvin College Ecosystem Preserve around the city's edges, plus favorites like Riverside Park and Huff Park right in the city.

Here are a few more in-town walks and hikes to get you started.

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