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Politics & Government
3:24 pm
Thu October 23, 2014

As election approaches, anti-foreclosure activists ramp up rhetoric against Trott

Trott's former law firm, Trott & Trott, is accused of using unethical and deceptive practices to foreclose on homes.
Credit Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Republican candidate for Congress David Trott was the subject of some street theater this week.

Trott is running for the U.S. House seat in Metro Detroit’s 11th district.

He’s also a former co-owner of the Trott & Trott law firm, which specializes in home foreclosure work on behalf of banks. It prospered during the recent housing crisis, foreclosing on up to 80,000 homes in 2009 alone.

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Weekly Political Roundup
3:21 pm
Thu October 23, 2014

Can visits from political heavyweights tip the scale in elections?

Mitt Romney
Credit (courtesy of MittRomneyCentral.com)

We’re edging ever closer to the November election and across the country big names in politics have been visiting states to drum up support for different candidates.

Here in Michigan we’ve had visits from:

  • Michelle Obama 
  • Mitt Romney
  • Hillary Clinton
  • Bill Clinton
  • Chris Christie
  • Jeb Bush

Next week President Obama will visit Michigan.

Do these visits really have an impact on local elections?

Or is it more about building political capital for that political heavyweight?

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Opinion
1:01 pm
Thu October 23, 2014

The irrational panic about Ebola is more contagious than the virus itself

I seldom laugh out loud at anything I read, but I did at story in the Detroit News yesterday. The headline said: Snyder: Michigan has 1,000 isolation beds for Ebola. That’s all the proof I needed that, sure enough, we are all going to die. But before you put on your hazmat suit to walk the dog, I want to let you in on a little secret. 

We are indeed all going to die, but not of Ebola. I am frightened of many things, but I am not worried about Ebola in the least. If over the air gambling was legal, I’d happily bet anyone that nobody in Michigan is going to die of Ebola, ever. That is, unless they go to West Africa and come in contact with the body fluids of an infected person, and I’m not planning on that this weekend.

However, there is something that is hazardous to our emotional and mental health, and that is the appearance of any frightening disease close to an election.

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Stateside
12:24 pm
Thu October 23, 2014

Charity helps address the financial side effect of breast cancer

Credit User: williami5 / Flickr

Each October, the nation blooms with pink: It's Breast Cancer Awareness Month. 

The big push is often about awareness, as in "don't forget to get your mammogram" and in raising money for breast cancer research.

But there's a lesser-told side of the breast-cancer story: the financial hardships so many patients endure as they go through treatment.

Molly MacDonald of Oakland County knows this all too well through her own breast cancer experience.

That's why she founded The Pink Fund, a nation-wide organization offering financial aid to breast cancer patients. 

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The Environment Report
12:14 pm
Thu October 23, 2014

Resilient Michigan project helps communities prepare for climate change

As part of the Resilient Michigan project, Grand Haven is revising its master plan to consider climate change.
Michigan Municipal League Flickr

Grand Haven is the latest city to consider climate change in its master plan. It’s part of a grant-funded project called Resilient Michigan.

Harry Burkholder is a community planner with the program. He says they’re working with city and township officials to help them prepare for more extreme weather events like heat waves and intense rainstorms.

“A lot of communities are looking at ways to increase pervious pavement on sidewalks and parking lots; ways that you can collect rainwater right from your home or even from your business in large underground cisterns so it doesn’t automatically go into the sewer system,” he says.

Heavy rain events can overload sewer systems and lead to sewage overflows into rivers and lakes.

Resilient Michigan is also working with Monroe, Ludington, St. Joseph and East Jordan.

They’ll be launching a program with the Port Huron community in November, and Burkholder says they have enough grant money to work with one more Michigan community.

Politics & Government
11:13 am
Thu October 23, 2014

More political heavyweights in Michigan, poll updates and 11th hour campaign strategy

Former President Bill Clinton was in Flint on Wednesday, where he spoke to a crowd of hundreds of Democrats.
Credit Jake Neher / MPRN

This Week in Michigan Politics, Emily Fox and Jack Lessenberry discuss what it means for Michigan when big name politicians campaign for local candidates, the outlook for the state’s major races, and what political parties are up to as Nov. 4 draws near.


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Arts & Culture
10:36 am
Thu October 23, 2014

Some art in Detroit and Toledo listed among nation's most endangered

House of Soul, Heidelberg Project, Detroit.
Credit Heidelberg Project

A new report lists public art in Detroit and Toledo among the most endangered in the United States.

The Heidelberg Project in Detroit and the works of Greek-American artist Athena Tacha in Toledo are on the list compiled by the Cultural Landscape Foundation. The group works to preserve and protect notable U.S. landscapes.

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Economy
10:29 am
Thu October 23, 2014

Fewer Michiganders are underwater on their mortgages

Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A new report says a quarter of Michigan homeowners are underwater on their mortgages – and that’s a big improvement.

Back in 2012, roughly half of Michigan homeowners owed more on their mortgages than their homes were worth.

Daren Bloomquist of Realty Trac says Michigan, like the rest of the nation, has seen steady improvement in home values since the end of the recession.

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The Environment Report
10:14 am
Thu October 23, 2014

Scientists are looking for "survivor trees" in Michigan, and they want your help

User: USDAgov flickr

Researchers with the U.S. Forest Service are looking for ash trees that survived the attack of the emerald ash borer.

The invasive insect has been spreading across the Midwest and beyond since 2002 - killing millions of ash trees in its wake.

Here's an animation showing the spread of the emerald ash borer from 2002 to 2014:

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Politics & Government
7:00 am
Thu October 23, 2014

Snyder and Schauer both wrong; potential revenue lost to schools is a billion dollars a year

In the race for governor, few things are disputed more than education funding under Gov. Rick Snyder. Challenger Mark Schauer claims Snyder cut funding by a billion dollars. Snyder has called that a lie and says he’s added a billion dollars. They’re both sort of right and they’re both wrong.

“Both sides have truth. Neither is lying, per se,” said Mitch Bean.

He is a former director of the Michigan House Fiscal Agency. That’s a nonpartisan agency within the Michigan House of Representatives. Now he’s a consultant and he’s been looking at the budgets to try to find out exactly what has happened to money for schools.

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Stateside
5:26 pm
Wed October 22, 2014

Democrats rally to get out the mid-term vote – with a little help from their big-name friends

Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Flint)
Credit Steve Carmody

Midterm elections tend not to draw out many Democrat voters, so as Election Day draws closer, the Democratic Party is pulling out all the stops to encourage voters to turn out. 

Democratic Congressman Dan Kildee of Michigan’s 5th District, hosted Bill Clinton in Flint today. Kildee joined us on Stateside to talk about the importance of midterm elections.  

“Many people mistakenly believe that we choose the course the country will take once every four years when we elect a president. Here in Michigan, we make those decisions in the midterms,” Kildee says, including decisions about congressional seats and who sits in the governor’s chair.  

Top Democrats who've visited Michigan include Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama, and Bill Clinton. Kildee says President Obama may visit the state within the next week.  

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Law
5:23 pm
Wed October 22, 2014

Propane company refunds $500,000 to Michigan customers

State Attorney General Bill Schuette says Amerigas will refund $500,000 to 5600 customers in Michigan for overcharging them last winter.

"I think the message is real clear," Schuette said during a conference call.  "No rip offs of consumers are allowed in Michigan."

Schuette says Amerigas charged customers amount that were "grossly" in excess of what other propane companies in the state were charging. 

He says the Michigan Consumer Protection Act prohibits price gouging.

Politics & Government
5:02 pm
Wed October 22, 2014

Bill Clinton campaigns for Michigan Democrats in Flint

Former President Bill Clinton was met with loud applause from a crowd of Democrats in Flint on Wednesday. He was joined on stage by Democratic nominee for governor Mark Schauer (left), Congressman Dan Kildee (Center) and nominee for U.S. Senate Gary Peters (not pictured).”
Credit Jake Neher / MPRN

Another Clinton was in Michigan on Wednesday urging Democrats to show up to the polls on November 4th. Last week it was former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. This time it was her husband rallying Democrats to try to get out the vote.

“We don’t win these races and we get this gridlock because too many people don’t vote at midterm,” said former President Bill Clinton in front of a crowd of hundreds of Democrats.

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Business
5:01 pm
Wed October 22, 2014

Labor advocacy group claims race inequality in Metro Detroit's restaurant industry

Fine Dining
Credit Lena Nicholson / Flickr Creative Commons

There is occupational segregation and inequality in Metro Detroit's restaurants, according to a report by Restaurant Opportunities Center United, a restaurant workers advocacy group.

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Stateside
4:57 pm
Wed October 22, 2014

The silent treatment: Nobody's talking about right-to-work in this election

Dec. 11th, 2012 Right to Work protest in Lansing, MI.
Credit Matt Radick / Flickr

  It’s been nearly two years since a lame-duck Legislature made Michigan the 24th right-to-work state. In response, 12,000 furious protesters flocked to the state Capitol, vowing Republicans would pay dearly at the next elections.

Nolan Finley, editorial page editor of the Detroit News, and Michigan Radio political analyst Jack Lessenberry joined Stateside to talk about the impact of right-to-work on the upcoming elections.

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Stateside
4:22 pm
Wed October 22, 2014

Drought in the West takes a bite out of Michigan burger budgets

Credit Krazy Jim's Blimpy Burger

We’ve seen the images of the ferocious drought in the West. In Michigan, that drought has affected beef prices, which have skyrocketed upwards of 34%, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. 

 

Rick Magner, who owns Ann Arbor’s iconic Blimpy Burger, says he's seen beef prices rise 40 cents in the last month. Magner says he had to raise the price of a burger from $2.44 two years ago to the current $3.49.

Magner says so far customers haven’t really complained about the increased price of burgers, and he isn’t worried about raising prices again, saying, “eventually it’ll level out.” 

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Opinion
11:01 am
Wed October 22, 2014

Mike Bishop about to become Matty Moroun's man in Congress

Four years ago, it looked as if efforts to build a badly needed new bridge over the Detroit River were doomed to failure.

Matty Moroun, the now 87-year-old owner of the Ambassador Bridge, had managed to corrupt the Legislature through that form of legalized bribery known as campaign contributions.

He poured hundreds of thousands into the campaigns and causes of influential legislators, most notably former Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop.

In fact, as Jim Blanchard, the former governor and ambassador to Canada told me, Bishop broke his promise to the people. He had promised to allow a vote in the state Senate on whether or not to allow a partnership with Canada to build the bridge.

This is a bridge, by the way, that just about every business and corporate leader in Michigan agrees we need to stay competitive.

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Law
6:00 am
Wed October 22, 2014

Orr testifies again in Detroit bankruptcy trial; city reveals plan to sell lighting scrap metal

Kevyn Orr
Credit City of Detroit

Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr took the stand again Tuesday in the 22nd day of the city’s bankruptcy trial.

Orr testified mostly about Detroit’s recent settlement with bond insurer Financial Guaranty Insurance Corporation. That deal is outlined in a draft of the ninth version of Detroit’s plan of adjustment (the city’s proposal to “adjust” its debts in bankruptcy court).

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Stateside
6:25 pm
Tue October 21, 2014

How did Michigan's auto dealership franchise system start?

Credit GM

 

Gov. Rick Snyder has signed a law that mandates all sales of Michigan vehicles to go through franchised dealers. It's seen as a direct shot at Tesla Motors, which wants to sell its electric cars directly to consumers. 

The governor's move is welcomed by mainline automakers and dealerships. Snyder says Michigan law already prohibited automakers from selling directly to consumers.

Michigan Radio's auto reporter, Tracy Samilton, explains that dealerships could argue that the current franchising system benefits the consumers because it creates tougher competition.

 

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Stateside
6:13 pm
Tue October 21, 2014

Newspapers weigh perception, effectiveness of political endorsements

Credit User: Valerie Everett / Flickr

 

Newspaper endorsements are one of America's time-honored election traditions.

But as the winds of change blow through newsrooms across the nation, that tradition is changing.  

Anna Clark wrote about this for the Columbia Journalism Review. She says some major newspapers have stopped making endorsements since the trend started around 2009.

According to Clark, some newspapers are concerned about the risk endorsements may pose to their credibility. Others cited doubts about whether endorsements actually affect election results. 

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