News

Pages

Politics & Government
6:56 pm
Fri August 1, 2014

Jackson's hottest August 5 vote centers on an unusual controversy

Jackson residents had to collect and dispose of their own leaves last year, after the city had to cancel the annual fall leaf pick up for budgetary reasons.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Jackson voters face a controversial ballot question next week.

They will decide Tuesday if they want to pay a new fee to have their leaves collected.

In 2011, the Jackson City Council created a fee to pay for leaf pick up, street cleaning and other things needed to be done to keep the city’s storm drains clear of debris. The fee raised over $1 million annually. 

But Jackson County government and local businessmen took the city to court.      

Read more
Auto
5:04 pm
Fri August 1, 2014

New penalties proposed for delaying car recalls

GM is recalling more than 28 million vehicles in the U.S., including 2.6 million Cobalts, HHRs, Saturns and other small cars with a faulty ignition switch
Credit GM

Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill has introduced bills that could subject auto companies and auto executives to tough new penalties for delaying a recall.

McCaskill, a Democrat, has been leading an investigation into GM's ignition switch recall scandal.  The company admits it delayed a recall of 2.6 million small cars for ten years - and at least 13 people died as a result.

McCaskill's Motor Vehicle and Highway Safety Enhancement Act of 2014 would:

Read more
Politics & Government
4:20 pm
Fri August 1, 2014

Here's what you need to know about the immigrant kids in Michigan

Many of the kids coming into the US are from Honduras, as well as other Central American countries.
Credit Nan Palmero

About 3,300 of the unaccompanied children who crossed the U.S. Mexico border this year have been released to parents or relatives in this country. 

As of early June, nearly 100 of those kids were here in Michigan, according to the Office of Refugee Resettlement.

Meanwhile, another 20 or so children will reportedly arrive at a Bay City shelter run by Wellspring Lutheran Services later this month.

They’re supposed to stay in the Bay City facility for just a short amount of time, somewhere in the range of one to two months.   

Chris Shannon is the mayor of Bay City.

He says emotions in his town are mixed.

Read more
Investigative
4:08 pm
Fri August 1, 2014

VOTE! What do you want Michigan Radio to look into?

Logo design by Harrison Lott

It's time for our third voting round for M I Curious! This time, we've got questions about pirates on the Great Lakes, why people park their cars backwards, and an historic Detroit housing project.

These past couple months, we've asked you the following question on Facebook, Twitter, and on our website:

"What do you wonder about Michigan or its people that you want Michigan Radio to investigate?"

People chimed in with what they're curious to know more about.

Right now, we're looking into the status of the pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac. And we're digging into the history of the "Michigan left turn" for Stateside.

Now, it's time for you to vote on which question you would like us to investigate next. 

Voting will be open for one week. After that, we'll investigate the question with the most votes.

The resulting story could be a radio piece, a multimedia online post, or an interview segment with Cynthia Canty – or it could be a combination of all three.

Families & Community
3:15 pm
Fri August 1, 2014

Lansing's biggest park reopens after 28 years

Crego Park: Now open
Credit User: Kevin Driedger / Flickr

​LANSING (AP) - Lansing's largest park is back open after more than a quarter-century.

The 200-acre Crego Park was closed in 1986 after industrial waste was found on the property.

The Lansing State Journal reports the city quietly reopened the park earlier this summer, but officially marked its rebirth at a ceremony Thursday.

Several current and former city officials, and more than a dozen relatives of ex-Mayor Ralph Crego took part in a ribbon-cutting.

City officials used a $500,000 grant from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund and $250,000 from Lansing's parks millage fund to add a parking area, a fishing pier and a launching facility for canoes and kayaks.

Crego Park was closed after 200 drums of paint sludge and other toxic waste were found on the grounds.

It's Just Politics
2:07 pm
Fri August 1, 2014

Michigan Dems hope absentee voting will give them an edge in November

It's Just Politics with Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta

It's Just Politics with Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta

Tuesday may be primary election day, but the truth is we’re already off to the races. The voting has begun. Absentee voting. Absentee ballots are the first ballots cast, but the last to be counted on Election Day. And more and more they can make the difference between winning and losing.

That’s because voting absentee is on the rise in Michigan -- nearly doubled over the past 10 years. More than one in four (27 percent, to be specific) of the ballots cast in 2012 were absentee. And that’s why the smart campaigns focus early on absentee voters. They keep track of who requests an absentee ballot, and then quickly steer campaign propaganda in that voter’s direction.

It is also why the Michigan Democratic Party -- with an eye toward November -- has been quietly carrying on an absentee voter experiment. Voters in Detroit and Lansing, can now apply for their absentee ballots online.

Read more
Politics & Government
10:59 am
Fri August 1, 2014

Why you should bother to vote in the Michigan primary next Tuesday

If you have been listening to the news much lately, you are probably aware there’s a statewide primary election next week, and a fairly interesting one at that.

Four of Michigan’s 16 congressmen are leaving this year, one to run for the Senate. Some of the others, including Justin Amash, Dan Benishek, Kerry Bentivolio and John Conyers have serious primary challenges in their own parties.

Every seat in the Legislature is up for grabs. Democrats desperately want to win at least one house back. Term limits mean that nearly one third of all the legislators have to leave.

That has meant energetic and expensive primaries in most of those districts, and a number of incumbent legislators face primary opponents as well. They include establishment Republicans fighting Tea Party challengers, and Democratic state Sens.Vincent Gregory and Virgil Smith, both are trying to fend off challenges from term-limited legislators playing musical chairs.

Read more
Politics & Government
8:00 am
Fri August 1, 2014

Proposal 1: A solution born of suspicion

Credit Jake Neher / MPRN

Listen to Rick Pluta's story

Until recently, businesses in Michigan had to pay taxes on almost all their equipment. Not surprisingly, they didn’t like this tax.

The state Legislature has done its part to phase out the personal property tax, but the rest is up to voters when they decide the fate of Proposal 1 on Tuesday’s ballot.

Businesses pay the personal property tax on everything from the factory machines that build cars and trucks to playground equipment and changing tables.

Meet Jerry Grubb, who owns the Wee Discover daycare center in Waterford.

“16 years we’ve had those tables and changing tables, and 16 years I’ve been paying personal property tax,” he says. He says the same is true for computers, desks, and the high-powered dishwasher that keeps spoons, plates and baby bottles clean.

“I pay tax when I buy it and I pay tax on it every year,” he says.

Grubb and other Michigan business owners say the personal property tax is not only unfair, and cumbersome to comply with, but it also discourages investment: buying new equipment and hiring more employees.

Well, irritated business owners got their wish this year when the Legislature adopted a plan to phase out the personal property tax.

Read more
Families & Community
7:34 am
Fri August 1, 2014

In Vassar, a prayer vigil to support Central American children

The Grace Lutheran church in Vassar was packed Thursday night.
Credit Kate Wells / Michigan Radio

Everyone in the packed wooden pews - as well as a dozen or so latecomers who squeezed into the back - in the little Grace Lutheran Church in Vassar, Michigan rose to sing what would serve as the evening's main hymn: 

"This land is your land, this land is my land.

Read more
Environment & Science
5:35 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

Environmentalists pan proposed fracking rules as comment period ends

A fracking gas well.

Michiganders have until the end of Thursday to tell state officials what they think of proposed new rules for fracking.

The rules would require oil and gas companies to do more water quality testing and provide more information to the public.

Read more
Education
4:56 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

Wayne State aims to boost on-time graduation with tuition discount

Credit Wayne State University

Wayne State University is hoping new tuition incentives will push more students to graduate in four years.

Starting next year, Wayne State will offer some full-time students a 30% tuition discount during the spring and summer semesters.

The idea is to encourage students who may need a more staggered courseload during the regular school year to keep taking classes all year.

Read more
Education
3:53 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

Ann Arbor Public Schools to annex Whitmore Lake schools? Voters to decide in November

Credit User: Enokson / flick

The school boards in Ann Arbor and nearby Whitmore Lake have voted to pursue Ann Arbor Public Schools' annexation of the much smaller school district to the north of the city.

Over the past few years, Whitmore Lake Public Schools has suffered steep enrollment drops as the community's population declined – and the district is moving grades out of its middle school building this fall to balance its budget.

Voters will decide the question in November. A "yes" vote in both communities would result in annexation next July.

Read more
Arts & Culture
12:31 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

Shout it out loud! Simmons tells AP movie about KISS '75 visit to Cadillac is a go

The KISS tour comes to Michigan this summer
Credit Anirudh Koul / Flickr's Creative Commons

KISS bass player and noted "God of Thunder" Gene Simmons says a film about his band's visit to Cadillac, MI in 1975 is now fully funded and in pre-production. 

Talk about "Cadillac Dreams!"  

According to Cadillac High School's then assistant football coach, Jim Neff, the town's team was using KISS' music to motivate their players in what went on to become a spectacular winning season. 

The film was reportedly offered $8.2 million in incentives from the Michigan Film Office back in 2012. 

Read more
The Environment Report
12:11 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

Making the Great Lakes safer for swimming, fishing and drinking the water

Apostle Island National Park on Lake Superior. The International Joint Commission's Health Professionals Advisory Board wants to examine contaminants at beaches among other indicators of the overall health of the Great Lakes.
User: carol mitchell Flickr

The Environment Report for July 31, 2014

Just in case the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement isn’t on your summer reading list, here’s the gist of it:

It’s an agreement between the U.S. and Canada. One of the goals of that agreement is to make the Great Lakes more swimmable, fishable and drinkable.

The International Joint Commission is an independent bi-national organization. It gives advice to the U.S. and Canada on meeting those goals, among other things. The IJC has a Health Professionals Advisory Board, and the board’s come out with a report proposing five ways to measure risks to our health from contaminants and other hazards in the Great Lakes.

The advisory board is proposing these indicators:

  • The chemical integrity of source water
  • Biological hazards of source water
  • Illness risk at Great Lakes beaches
  • Identified risks at Great Lakes beaches
  • Contaminant levels in fish

Read more
Politics & Government
11:58 am
Thu July 31, 2014

Best Michigan representatives money can buy?

Imagine that you are a CEO and you are looking to hire somebody for a temporary, two-year position that pays $174,000 a year, and may include access to highly sensitive information.

Somebody steps up and announces he will pay more than $3 million, most of it out of his own pocket, to be considered for this job.  Would you be suspicious?

Let’s say you also needed to hire someone for a lower-ranking position, one which will have little power, and which will pay less than $72,000. A woman who could easily make more than that elsewhere borrows money, hits up friends, and spends more than $200,000 in an attempt to be a finalist for the position.

Would you say something is wrong here?

Read more
Politics & Government
10:27 am
Thu July 31, 2014

Democratic primary will decide who goes to Congress in Metro Detroit's 14th district

In our political system, sometimes the primary election is the election.

That’s the case in Metro Detroit’s 14th Congressional district, where the winner of the Democratic primary is virtually guaranteed a win November.

There are three major candidates in this year’s primary, making for a pretty competitive race in a very strange district.

A “geographical monstrosity”

Read more
Awards
10:15 am
Thu July 31, 2014

Michigan Radio Wins National Clarion Award

Michigan Radio has won a national Clarion Award from The Association for Women in Communications for the news series “Shooting in Muskegon shed light on hero, and problems.” The series, which originally aired in August 2013, won a Clarion Award in the category of Best Radio Documentary Series.

Read more
Stateside
9:34 am
Thu July 31, 2014

Mackinac Island was site of a major battle 200 years ago

Fort Mackinac during the War of 1812
Credit User: PhilFree / Wikimedia Commons

The War of 1812 is famous for the Star Spangled Banner, Admiral Perry’s "We have met the enemy and they are ours.” But, really, not a lot of people know much about that war. Michigan and the Great Lakes were key battle sites between the fledgling United States and the British. The River Raisin near Monroe, Michigan was site of a major battle.

And August 4th marks the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Mackinac Island.

Craig Wilson is the Museum Historian for the Mackinac State Historic Parks. He joined us to talk about why Mackinac was an important strategic site worth fighting for during the war.

Read more
Politics & Government
6:18 am
Thu July 31, 2014

Truth Squad calls "flagrant foul" in 3rd District race

Screen capture of the Ellis TV ad. Truth Squad called a "flagrant foul" on the ad.

Bridge magazine’s Truth Squad has been reviewing political ads in Michigan’s 3rd Congressional District's Republican primary campaigns.

The Third Congressional district stretches from north of Grand Rapids to south of Battle Creek. The incumbent is Justin Amash, a libertarian and Tea Party favorite. He’s being challenged in the Republican Primary by Brian Ellis, who has backing from many business leaders and the Michigan Chamber of Commerce.

Read more
Education
10:07 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

Flint schools' deficit plan relies on retaining students

The Flint school district has seen a sharp decline in student enrollment for years. The district's deficit elimination plan relies on stabilizing enrollment.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Flint school board last night approved a plan to eliminate its $20.4 million deficit.  

But the plan relies on the district being able to do something it has struggled to do:  retain students.

The Flint school district delivers its revised deficit elimination plan to the state Department of Education tomorrow.  The plan calls for zeroing out a $20.4 million deficit by the end of 2021.    

Read more

Pages