News

Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

The next two years are make-or-break ones for the future of regional transit in Metro Detroit, according to an expert panel at Tuesday’s Detroit Policy Conference.

The Southeast Michigan Regional Transit Authority--just established in 2012--will play a crucial role in coordinating the area’s current fragmented transit systems, as well as supporting and building out any new infrastructure.

RTA CEO Michael Ford said the group already has a lot on its plate, balancing long-term transit priorities with urgent short-term fixes for the region’s inadequate bus service.  

One of Gov. Snyder’s top education advisors made a rare public appearance at the Detroit Regional Chamber’s yearly Detroit Policy Conference Thursday.

Paul Pastorek has been working behind the scenes in Lansing for months.

According to the Governor’s office, he’s an “at-will consultant" helping design a major overhaul for Detroit’s struggling, fragmented education system.

Pastorek is best-known as the former Louisiana superintendent of schools, where he was largely responsible for completely reorganizing New Orleans schools in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

Chris / Flickr

The state House has adopted legislation that would exempt air-, spring-, and gas-powered guns from Michigan firearms laws.

The legislation is backed by the NRA. Supporters says Michigan’s rules are stricter and out of step with most other states and the federal government.

State Representative Tristan Cole, R-Mancelona, says it’s “common sense” that Michigan should change its rules to match other jurisdictions.

  • Leaders from the Detroit bankruptcy dispense advice for community leaders, and share their hopes for the city's future.
  • With only 40% of people in Detroit having home Internet, resident Brandon Moore talks to us about his experiences learning computer skills and how the city’s residents can close the digital divide.
Michigan's Capitol.
Graham Davis / flickr

State lawmakers have approved diverting surplus school aid revenues to help close a $500 million budget hole.

The legislation would shift $250 million in money originally earmarked for the state’s School Aid Fund.  Another bill in the package would make cuts to several state departments.

en.wikipedia.org

Twenty-three passenger railcars have been sitting unused since MDOT got them in 2010, raising question of whether they are a waste of Michigan money, or a good investment that could help Michigan in the future.

The state hopes to use them for the proposed commuter rails between Ann Arbor and Detroit, and between Ann Arbor and Howell.

Paige Pfleger / Michigan Radio

What's the future of Detroit's neighborhoods?

That was a question discussed by a panel at the 2015 Detroit Policy Conference

The panel included former city councilman Ken Cockrel, TechTown Detroit's Bonnie Fahoome, Victoria Kovari from the city's Department of Neighborhoods, and Tahirih Ziegler from the Detroit Local Initiatives Support Corp. Craig Fahle from the Detroit Land Bank Authority moderated. 

Chez Chloe

Detroit-made mini lava cakes will soon be featured on Air France flights starting March 1.

Parisian-born Chloe Sabatier is the owner of Chez Chloe in Detroit where she specializes in traditional French lava cakes. She was stunned to learn her cakes would be on-board flights Air France flights from Detroit to Paris.

There was a big stop on the Detroit post-bankruptcy "tour" this week.

Former Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr, now-retired federal bankruptcy judge Steven Rhodes, and Chief U.S. District Judge Gerald Rhodes all sat together at Crain's Newsmakers of the Year lunch to share their insights and hopes for the future.

user: Dwight Burdette / Wikimedia Commons

The traffic on US-23 between Brighton and Ann Arbor can be rough during rush hours, which is why the Michigan Department of Transportation is considering adopting 'dynamic shoulders' -- the road's shoulders would open as a way to alleviate traffic. 

"They have been used in other states, in Europe," explained Kari Arend, spokesperson for MDOT. "So this would be the first time such a system would be implemented in Michigan"

Rodney Campbell / User: Flickr

Michigan Radio's M I Curious project is a news experiment where we investigate questions submitted by the public about our state and its people.

In December, longtime Ann Arbor resident Ellen Rusten asked this question:

"It seems to me that there are fewer chickadees in Ann Arbor than there were 40 years ago. Is that true and, if so, why?"

Steve Carmody

Hell is for sale, and a Detroit-based artists group called Damned wants to buy it.

"When Hell came up for sale on Friday the 13th, it seemed an interesting switch to focus maybe on creating a natural, larger, world class performance art center," said Anthony DVS, the head producer of Damned who prefers to go by his pseudonym.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

At a meeting of business and civic leaders, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan outlined a number of concerns and looming issues facing the city.

Following a speech at the Detroit Regional Chamber Policy Conference, Duggan was interviewed by Free Press Editorial Page Editor Stephen Henderson about challenges ahead.

New immigrants are crucial to Michigan's future

15 hours ago
Flickr/Icars

The Next Idea

Every American family has a genesis story about how they came to be in this country: escaping a cruel despot, searching for elusive riches, or enslaved by brutal overlords. Only the few that were made foreigners in their own lands can claim to be the original Americans. Somewhere along the way, you or your ancestors had to overcome the perils of the journey, the acquisition of the language, the challenges of employment, and the stigma of prejudice and intolerance. Regrettably, some are still struggling to this day.

Steve Carmody

Many Flint residents have been complaining about the quality of their tap water since the city stopped getting water from Detroit. Some people blame the Flint River. The city’s been using the river since April as its drinking water source. 

When the news came yesterday that Northland Mall, that early suburban icon, would close forever in 30 days, I was with former State Senator Jack Faxon.

Faxon, who once represented the area in the legislature, said, “How ironic. It was the start of the end of Detroit, and now it is the end of Southfield.”

The I-96/23 Interchange only approximates a "Thunderdome." To find the real thing, you would, of course, have to go Burning Man.
Matthew Gordon / Flickr

The I-96/US 23 highway interchange can be like Thunderdome - two cars enter, one car leaves.

But that's about to change.

MDOT (Michigan Department of Transportation) is set to make what it calls "major safety and operational improvements" to how cars and trucks merge and exit the two major highway systems next month.

Mobile technology can help pinpoint when and where children are exposed to air pollution.
American Chemical Society

A team of researchers in Spain attached sensors to school age kids. Then, they used a smartphone to track how much air pollution (black carbon, a component of soot) they were exposed to at home and school in real time. The researchers did this work as part of a larger epidemiological study on air pollution and brain development.

Mark Nieuwenhuijsen is an author of the study in the journal Environmental Science & Technology. He says the real time monitoring fills in gaps in data and gives a better picture of what the children are exposed to during the day.

He says they’re working to make this technology available to everyone.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

People heading to the library to pick up paper copies of federal tax forms are disappointed to find many of them aren’t there this year.

The IRS is saving money by sending libraries only the most common forms on paper. You can find tax forms online and e-file or print them at the library. But the instruction book is more than 100 pages long.

Judge OKs plan to close Northland Mall

Feb 25, 2015
via shopatnorthland.com

  

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (AP) - An Oakland County judge has ruled that a court-appointed receiver can begin closing one of the country's oldest shopping centers.

Circuit Judge Wendy Potts says Wednesday that there are few alternatives to shuttering Northland Center in Southfield.

Andrew McFarlane / creative commons

There’s a new fight underway at the state Capitol over Michigan’s tax credit for film, TV, and digital video projects. And some advocates for the subsidy say the debate itself is harming efforts to create a thriving Michigan movie and video entertainment business.  

Gov. Rick Snyder has never been a fan of the subsidies and his administration capped them $50 million in the current budget and in his proposed budget for the coming fiscal year. 

Ian Contreras / Creative Commons

This school year, the federal government outlawed the sale of certain snack foods in schools. The idea behind the new guidelines was to improve kids’ health.

But it’s hurt many student organizations that use bake sales to raise money for clubs, athletics and field trips.

Snacks sold to students during the school day can’t have too much fat, sugar or salt. No more than 200 calories in total.

NHTSA/ibtimes

Recalls of automobiles for safety and other defects are up.

In 2014, automakers recalled a record 63.9 million vehicles in the U.S., more than any year in history. 

That means about 25% of the cars on the road were the subject of at least one recall in 2014.

FLICKR USER ACONAWAY1 / FLICKR

The child poverty rate is a critical indicator of our nation’s economic and social health. Child poverty costs the U.S. some $500 billion annually in health and crime costs, as well as in lost productivity and wages.

However, a new report called Measuring Access to Opportunity from the Annie E. Casey Foundation questions the accuracy of the official poverty measure – a measure the nation has been using for the past half-century.

Handguns.
user Ben Re / Flickr

The State House has approved legislation that would overhaul the way Michigan approves concealed pistol licenses.

The legislation would abolish county gun boards which approve the licenses. Those duties would go to county clerks with the State Police conducting background checks.

State Representative Klint Kesto, R-Commerce Township, says the gun boards sometimes discriminate against applicants.

FLICKR USER MARGARETROSE4 / FLICKR

Mother Nature, with her cold temperatures, is turning out diamond dust in Northern Michigan.

Justin Arnott, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Gaylord, described diamond dust as “the wintertime version of fog.”

Paul Welday, a deeply conservative former candidate for Congress, called it the most disturbing election in the Michigan Republican Party’s history.

No, he wasn’t talking about President Obama, but about his party’s choice of a man named Darwin Jiles as the party’s new ethnic vice chair. Jiles, who is 29, was arrested a year ago and charged with shooting a man in an Auburn Hills trailer park.

Flickr user Dennis Skley / Flickr

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission is expected to vote tomorrow on a proposal that could impact the way you use and pay for your Internet.

The debate is around "net neutrality."

earl53 / Morguefile

This week, Jack and Emily talk about another state considering a right-to-work law, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan’s budget proposal and a new grant to boost skills training in Michigan.


Courtesy of City of Detroit, Mayor's Office

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan briefed the city council on the city’s first post-bankruptcy budget Tuesday.

This $1.1 billion budget is almost entirely former emergency manager Kevyn Orr’s doing, laid out in the city’s bankruptcy restructuring plan, but Duggan said he’s committed to sticking to it as closely as possible.

Duggan noted the city is actually bringing in higher revenues than that budget anticipated, but he said city officials can’t assume that trend will continue.

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