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Opinion
1:50 pm
Mon October 20, 2014

Yes, Mike Ryan's a Republican. But no, he doesn't necessarily toe the GOP line

Michael Ryan is like a lot of us. He doesn’t think the health care system works very well, and as a self-employed dentist, he should know. He has problems with the Affordable Care Act. He thinks it needs to be a lot simpler and have better cost controls.

But he isn’t happy with the Republican failure to come up with any alternative, either. What makes Ryan different, however, is that he is a Republican, and is running for the state Legislature. You’ve probably never heard of him, but don’t feel bad.

Many people in his district haven’t, either. And here’s why I admire this man: Ryan, who has a wife and four kids, married relatively late in life, and is not wealthy.

He’s put his heart, soul and about $4,000 into this race. He’s talking about the issues, going door to door. But what’s most remarkable is that he knows he has little chance to win. He’s the Republican nominee in the 27th District.

That’s a collection of Detroit suburbs that are heavily Democratic – the Jewish and black city of Oak Park; liberal Ferndale and Huntington Woods; blue-collar Berkley and Hazel Park.

Two years ago, the last GOP nominee here lost almost four to one. There’s no incumbent this year, but the Democratic nominee, Robert Wittenberg, is seen as an automatic winner. But Mike Ryan thinks the people deserve a choice.

He’s anything but rigid, ideological and doctrinaire. Even his campaign literature admits he doesn’t always vote Republican. “Being exposed to my wife’s even more independent voting patterns forces me to think about how public laws affect ordinary people.”

When it comes to health care, what he would like to do is have Michigan come up with its own system. He would fund it partly by raising the sales tax. But he is open to suggestions. “That’s how you get somewhere, you know?” he told me.

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Detroit bankruptcy
12:15 pm
Mon October 20, 2014

Judge to rule on Detroit's final bankruptcy plan in early November

Detroit bankruptcy judge Steven Rhodes.
Credit John Meiu / Detroit Legal News Publishing LLC

During a brief hearing this morning in U.S. bankruptcy court, Judge Steven Rhodes declared his intention to make a final ruling on Detroit's plan to get out of bankruptcy.

Rhodes said he'll make his decision during the first week of November.

His announcement comes after the city announced that it had reached a deal with one of its last remaining major creditors. The Financial Guaranty Insurance Company will no longer oppose Detroit's plan to exit bankruptcy under the terms of a deal reached at 2:30 in the morning last week.

FGIC, which stood to lose $1.1 billion, agreed to terms that gives the company the right to develop the area where the Joe Louis Arena and parking garage now stand. The deal also gave them millions of dollars in credits for future purchases and city notes.

Rod Meloni of WDIV-TV was in court this morning live-blogging. He wrote about what we can expect next for the days remaining in Detroit's bankruptcy trial:

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Environment & Science
5:00 am
Mon October 20, 2014

Environmental groups: Proposal to deregulate some toxic air chemicals too risky

Environmental groups say a proposal from within state government to weaken Michigan’s toxic air pollutant guidelines would put public health at risk.

Michigan has some of the strictest guidelines in the nation when it comes to toxic air chemicals. It’s one of just nine states to regulate all potentially toxic emissions.

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Health
3:17 pm
Sun October 19, 2014

Summit to address growing heroin problem among Michigan youth

Credit Narconon

State law enforcement and health officials will hold a summit on heroin addiction in Michigan Monday.

Heroin use has grown because of demand created by prescription drug abuse and cheap heroin coming across the border with Mexico.

“(Prescription drug abuse) leads to greater heroin abuse because people want to continue that high,” says Lt. Joseph Thomas, Michigan State Police post commander in Lansing.

Thomas says high school students are becoming heroin users in larger numbers.  

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That's What They Say
9:35 am
Sun October 19, 2014

Jury-rigged or jerry-rigged? It may be a moot point ... or is that a mute point?

When some people are “jury-rigging,” others are “jerry-rigging.”

So who’s right?  Historically, “jury-rigging” is correct, according to University of Michigan English Professor Anne Curzan.

"It comes from a jury mast, which was a mast on the ship that was makeshift – constructed quickly," Curzan says.

"Exactly where the jury comes from, we're not sure. Some people say maybe it's a shortening of 'injury.' But 'jury-rigged' shows up in the 19th century."

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Politics & Government
11:28 pm
Sat October 18, 2014

Former President Clinton to stump for Schauer, Peters in Flint

Former President Bill Clinton.
Credit @billclinton

LANSING – Former President Bill Clinton is visiting Michigan next week to campaign for gubernatorial candidate Mark Schauer and U.S. Senate candidate Gary Peters.

The state Democratic Party says Clinton will headline an event Wednesday at the Riverfront Banquet Center in Flint. The public can get free tickets from Democratic Party offices in the Detroit area and in East Lansing, Saginaw, Bay City and Flint.

Doors to the political event open at 10:30 a.m.

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Health
9:19 pm
Sat October 18, 2014

State is coordinating Ebola preparedness

Credit CDC

LANSING – Gov. Rick Snyder has named two health officials to lead the state's efforts against the threat of Ebola.

In a statement Friday, the Michigan governor says he has designated Department of Community Health Director Nick Lyon and Chief Medical Executive Dr. Matthew Davis for the job.

Lyon and Davis will be asked to coordinate with the state's health and medical community to ensure adequate training, education and equipment for health care workers.

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Transportation
5:11 pm
Sat October 18, 2014

Questions remain about controversial natural gas pipeline

A town hall meeting in Holly drew dozens of people with questions and complaints about the proposed ET Rover pipeline
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Plans for a new natural gas pipeline through parts of southeastern Michigan face a lot of local opposition.

The ET Rover Pipeline would snake its way through more than a half dozen counties, from the Ohio border to Sarnia, Ontario. It’s part of a planned 800-mile pipeline that will stretch from Pennsylvania and West Virginia through Ohio to Michigan.

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Education
5:03 pm
Sat October 18, 2014

Cadavers vs. computers: How do students learn best?

Credit MSU

There has been growing interest in recent years in using computer simulations to teach human anatomy to college medical students.

But new research at Michigan State University finds the computers are not as effective as teaching tools as real human cadavers.

The MSU study found students who used real human cadavers did better identifying organs and their functions than students who learned from a computer simulation alone.

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That's What They Say
2:52 pm
Sat October 18, 2014

Don't look now, but the elephant and gorilla in the room are competing for attention

Animals pop up all over the English language – and at times when we're really not talking about animals. Here's one: "The elephant in the room."  

University of Michigan English Professor Anne Curzan says the phrase appears to go back to the 1930s, but didn't mean what it means today. 

"It referred to something that is obvious, but not necessarily relevant to what we're talking about," Curzan says. 

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Politics & Government
6:00 am
Sat October 18, 2014

Big names campaign in Michigan, Detroit clears a bankruptcy court hurdle and GM global sales shine

The Detroit Institute of Arts. The DIA's collection is safe from being sold after Detroit struck a deal with the last major holdout in its bankruptcy trial this week.
Credit Flickr

This Week in Review, Jack Lessenberry and Rina Miller discuss big name politicians stopping in Michigan to campaign for local candidates, the latest development in Detroit’s bankruptcy trial, and GM’s record global sales despite a dismal week on Wall Street.


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Politics & Government
9:37 pm
Fri October 17, 2014

Detroit City Council member Saunteel Jenkins resigns

Saunteel Jenkins

Detroit City Council member Saunteel Jenkins is resigning.

Jenkins was first elected to Council in 2009. She was re-elected in 2013 as one of two at-large members on a now mostly district-based Council.

Jenkins finished her first term serving as Council President, after Charles Pugh abandoned the post. She sought the post again this term, but lost a close internal vote to current President Brenda Jones.

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Arts & Culture
8:32 pm
Fri October 17, 2014

Watch old home movies that show what your parents looked like as babies

People will be watching their old home movies, all over the world, on "Home Movie Day." The big event happens Saturday, October 18th. Organizers call it "an annual, worldwide celebration of amateur films."

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Transportation
4:51 pm
Fri October 17, 2014

Detroit Metro Airport settles bus stop lawsuit

A settlement has been reached in a lawsuit over bus stops at Detroit Metro Airport.

Disability activists filed the lawsuit when the airport moved the location of the bus stop at the McNamara Terminal.

The lawsuit said people in wheelchairs would now have to wait for buses in the cold because of the move.

Airport spokesman Michael Conway says the move was necessary because increased traffic had made the old location unsafe.  He says some buses were having to stop in the far left lane from the curb.

Auto
4:48 pm
Fri October 17, 2014

Tesla's Elon Musk urges 1.1 million Twitter followers to call Rick Snyder

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has a lot of Twitter followers.  1, 128,869 to be exact.

On Thursday, Musk sent a link on Twitter to a Tesla blog entry that urges people to ask Michigan Governor Rick Snyder not to sign a bill that requires cars to be sold through franchised dealerships.

Tesla wants to sell its cars directly, in company-owned stores.

So, has the Governor's office gotten many calls?  "Only about 900,000," quipped a spokesman.

The spokesman also says the Governor has "a bunch" of questions about the bill and is doing due diligence.

It's Just Politics
4:09 pm
Fri October 17, 2014

Political campaigns get personal with your email addresses

It's Just Politics with Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta

 Welcome to this fundraising edition of It’s Just Politics.

No, we’re not talking about Michigan Radio’s Fall Fundrive that’s underway (although the number is 888-258-98… ah, stop us!).

Instead, we are talking about Election 2014 campaign fundraising.

Endless pleas

If you’re on a campaign or party list you are well aware of the seemingly endless pleas for campaign cash.

“The entire team is still here. There is nothing we’d rather be doing than going home and taking a break. But we know how important this midnight deadline we’re facing is. If we don’t meet it, that means we could lose.”

Or this one from Senate Republicans, “Friend, I’m really disappointed and worried. I’ve been counting on your support to end Harry Reid’s disastrous control of the US Senate on November 4th….”

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Health
3:42 pm
Fri October 17, 2014

Michigan will give terminally ill patients the right to try experimental treatments

Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Two new laws will give terminally ill patients in Michigan a right to try experimental medicines.

The bills signed by the governor today don’t guarantee dying Michiganders will get access to experimental drugs, but they are intended to remove some barriers.

“Allowing Michiganders dealing with extremely difficult medical situations to try alternative treatment options could extend or save their lives,” says Gov. Rick Snyder. 

If a patient has exhausted all other options, the right-to-try laws would allow them access to unproven drugs and medical devices.

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Education
2:50 pm
Fri October 17, 2014

University of Michigan endowment balloons to nearly $10 billion

University of Michigan's Burton Bell Tower
User Matthew Britt flickr.com

According to a University of Michigan press release, the university's "total net position" has increased by $1.6 billion to $13.1 billion, and its endowment has grown by $1.3 billion to $9.7 billion in the past budget year.  

The endowment figures were presented in an annual investment report to the Board of Regents on Thursday in Flint. The report showed an 18.8% investment return for the endowment in fiscal year 2014, up from 10.7 percent last year.

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Opinion
11:13 am
Fri October 17, 2014

Reflecting on the road to a final settlement of Detroit’s bankruptcy

When you look back at the long history of Detroit, yesterday may not have been quite as significant as July 24, 1701.

That was the day Cadillac and his men beached their canoes, scrambled up the riverbank near where the Cobo Center now stands, and started building a fort. But yesterday comes somewhat close.

Yesterday was the day the last major holdout creditor came to terms with the city, in a way that should help improve the city’s chances to make it after the bankruptcy process ends.

This also seems to remove the last threat facing the Detroit Institute of Arts. Financial Guaranty Insurance Company will get the land where Joe Louis Arena now sits, the place where the Red Wings play and where, 34 years ago, I saw Ronald Reagan nominated for President. Eventually, when a new hockey arena opens, this will be torn down and a gleaming new luxury riverfront hotel built here, surrounded by condos and some new retail.

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Stateside
9:41 am
Fri October 17, 2014

Downtown Bay City coffee shop houses trove of Beatles memorabilia

A small glimpse into the world of the Beatles And Beans Coffee Emporium
Credit User: Espresso Express Coffee House presents 'Beatles And Beans Coffee Emporium' / facebook

Most of us are pretty familiar with the sounds of a coffee shop, from the clink of cups and spoons, to the hiss of the steam wand on the espresso machine, and to voices in conversation.

At one coffee shop in downtown Bay City, you'll hear music of the Beatles. Apart from that, Brad Wilderman and his wife Peggy have turned their coffee shop, Beatles and Beans Coffee Emporium, into a shrine to the Fab Four. 

"As soon as you walk in, it literally opens a time portal to 1964, when the greatest music explosion of all took place. You'll never believe from the outside in what you're about to encounter," says Brad Wilderman. 

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