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Education
9:49 am
Tue July 29, 2014

State superintendent meets with charter authorizers

State Supt. Mike Flanagan says he's prepared to use his authority to shut down charters that don't perform well.
Credit MichigansChildren / YouTube

There was a lengthy meeting today between the Michigan Superintendent of Public Instruction and some of the state’s largest charter school authorizers. Its purpose was to review the rules to ensure the independent academies are performing as promised.

The meeting went on for about three hours. It was closed to the public, and there were few details made public. Some of the state’s largest charter authorizers, including representatives of universities and community colleges, were invited.

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The Environment Report
8:50 am
Tue July 29, 2014

EPA holding public hearings on Clean Power Plan

Credit Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

For the first time ever, the Environmental Protection Agency is planning to require power plants to cut their carbon pollution. This week, the EPA is holding public hearings about the plan all around the country.

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy says the agency has already gotten more than 300,000 comments.

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Politics & Government
8:00 am
Tue July 29, 2014

GOP establishment backs challenger in the 3rd district, but voters don’t seem to care

Congressman Justin Amash walks in the Ionia Couty Free Fair parade in July 2014.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

The race to become the republican candidate for Michigan’s conservative 3rd congressional district is a flip of other races across the country. In this race, the tea party favorite is the incumbent, Congressman Justin Amash. So the primary has become a battle over who’s the true conservative and who can get things done in Washington.

Amash’s independent streak: love it or hate it

Congressman Justin Amash is more of a libertarian than your standard republican. He wants a smaller federal government. He’s buddies with Senators Ted Cruz and Rand Paul.

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Politics & Government
6:00 am
Tue July 29, 2014

Detroit has put water shutoffs on "pause"--but not across the board

The Detroit water department recently announced a temporary break in its campaign to cut service to delinquent customers—but some people are still being shut off.

Last week, water officials agreed to a 15-day “pause” in water shutoffs, which have ramped up since March as the department tries to collect millions in delinquent payments.

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Politics & Government
7:52 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

At the last minute, Detroit looks for community benefit guarantees with new bridge plan

A depiction of the planned New International Trade Crossing.

Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr got the Detroit City Council to delay a key vote that paves the way for a new bridge connecting Detroit and Windsor.

The Council was supposed to vote Monday on whether to transfer about 300 city-owned properties to the Michigan Land Bank for $1.4 million as part of the New International Trade Crossing project.

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Transportation
6:28 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

Many Michigan voters to decide whether to raise taxes to fix their community’s roads

Credit Chelsea Oakes / Creative Commons

Most state leaders agree that Michigan needs to fix its roads. But they’re still struggling with how to do that.

In the meantime, local governments are taking matters into their own hands.

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Stateside
4:38 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

Outside groups are spending more money on campaign ads

Credit 401(K) 2012 / Flickr

Lester chats with Rich Robinson and Todd Spangler.

A recent report shows that for every dollar spent by a Michigan candidate in campaign ads, outside groups have spent $3.50. Another way to look at it: of the $18 million spent on TV campaign ads in the first half of this year, outside groups contributed $14 million.

What are the consequences of outside money in Michigan political campaigns, and who are these groups?

To answer those questions, Rich Robinson and Todd Spangler joined Lester Graham on Stateside. Robinson is the executive director of the Michigan Campaign Finance Network.  Spangler is a correspondent with the Detroit Free Press.

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Stateside
4:35 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

Corn crops are coming in late

Credit user: The Marmot / Flickr

Todd Hulett talks about the long wait for sweet corn.

This summer, many of us are still waiting for Michigan sweet corn. Tom Hulett is known as the "Corn Man" in the Port Huron area. He said people had problems planting their sweet corn due to the cold spring, and that's delayed this year's harvest.

Hulett says we should start seeing more sweet corn in the markets two to three weeks later than normal.

*Listen to the full interview above. 

Stateside
12:38 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

Nurses with advanced degrees could be given more independence

Credit Wikimedia Commons

Kathleen Potempa talks about Senate Bill 2.

Last year, the state Senate passed a bill allowing the certification of Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs), which will allow APRNS to practice independently from physicians, granting them the ability to write prescriptions and refer patients to specialists. Last month, the bill was referred to the House.

Kathleen Potempa, Dean of Nursing School at the University of Michigan, said the data shows in other states that have adopted similar policies, the quality of patient care remained high. She added that this could alleviate primary care shortages in Michigan.

Potempa joined Stateside today to talk about how Senate Bill 2 could change the role of nurses in Michigan.

*Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
12:35 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

Why aren't more university researchers engaging with the public?

Credit Brian Stepherd / Flickr

Lester Graham chats with Andy Hoffman about why some researchers shy away from engaging with the public and the media.

In the last two or three decades, public discussions seem to have shifted from looking to scholars, scientists, the researchers and experts at universities to help inform the debate to relying on politicians, spinmeisters and people with microphones determining what is sound science.

All those university professors have been busy publishing in journals which other researchers read. But rigorous published research doesn't always make it to the public at large, or if it does, it's distorted by news media, pundits, or just loudmouths who twist research to support their own beliefs.

Andrew Hoffman joined us to discuss this disturbing trend. He’s a professor at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. He teaches and researches business sustainability.

*Listen to the full interview above.

Politics & Government
12:01 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

Arab American group wants investigation into Dearborn Heights city clerk

Accusations are coming in against the Dearborn Heights clerk's office.
Credit Lars Plougmann / Creative Commons

Update: we've now obtained the city clerk's (now rescinded) resignation letter from July 22, and we've updated the story to include the information it provides. 

Something “fishy” is going on at the Dearborn Heights city clerk's office.

That's how the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee puts it.

They say they're getting dozens of complaints from Arab Americans who tried to get absentee ballots in Dearborn Heights – and ran into trouble at the city clerk’s office.

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Transportation
12:00 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

Long-awaited Detroit streetcar project breaks ground

M1 Rail rendering

After a series of fits and starts, Detroit's M1 Rail project breaks ground today.

A short stretch of Woodward Avenue will be shut down today as construction gets underway.

The streetcar line will run 3.3 miles from downtown to New Center, and will have 12 stops.

More than a dozen private donors, led by Roger Penske, kicked in $100 million of the project's $140 million price tag.

The project's backers say it will help along the resurgence that's already underway in that part of the city.

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Stateside
11:17 am
Mon July 28, 2014

Debbie Dingell wants to be your next congresswoman

Debbie Dingell
Credit Atlantic Council / Flickr

Lester Graham speaks with Debbie Dingell about her campaign.

It’s an election year and the primary elections will be held August 5th.  With the retirement of John Dingell, the 12th Congressional district is an open seat. His wife, Deborah Dingell, is running for that seat in the Democratic primary against Ypsilanti attorney Raymond G. Mullins.

Debbie Dingell joined Stateside today to talk about her campaign.

*Listen to the full interview above.

Politics & Government
11:04 am
Mon July 28, 2014

Those who want to outlaw publications over sexually explicit ads should study Constitution first

Ten years or so ago, a woman named Andrea Lavigne sat in on some media survey classes I was teaching at Wayne State University.

She was in her late 30s or early 40s, and seemed to be searching for answers. She wanted to know how the media work, and told me she was a Maoist. This fascinated me, because I thought authentic Maoists were almost as rare as passenger pigeons. 

Chairman Mao, we now know, starved to death and slaughtered tens of millions of his own citizens, and kept China economically and intellectually backward. Intrigued, I got together one night before class with her and another Maoist, to find out what they were all about. Alas, they spouted a form of primitive, grade-school Marxism.

They seemed to have very little historical knowledge of Communism or what it had actually been like.

Three years ago, I got a friendly email from Ms. Lavigne telling me she had now founded a marijuana film club.

Well, Andrea Lavigne has a new cause now: She wants to get the city of Grosse Pointe Park to outlaw the weekly newspaper, The Metro Times, because it has sexually oriented ads. 

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Politics & Government
11:03 am
Mon July 28, 2014

Detroit regional bus system's future will be decided on August 5th ballot

Credit via smartbus.org

Voters in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties face a crucial millage proposal on the August 5th ballot that could decide the future of the region’s mass transit system.

The Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation (SMART) is southeast Michigan’s only bus system outside the city of Detroit.

SMART covers by far the largest square mileage of Michigan’s mass transit systems, but has the lowest millage rate supporting it.

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Politics & Government
6:00 am
Mon July 28, 2014

Republicans & Democrats vying for Michigan's open 8th congressional district seat

Rep. Mike Rogers announced earlier this year that he was leaving Congress for a career in radio.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Republican Congressman Mike Rogers’ decision to retire from his 8th congressional district seat is leaving a void that Michigan Democrats hope to fill.

The 8th congressional district stretches over parts of Oakland, Livingston, Ingham, Shiawassee and Clinton counties.   And since 2001, Mike Rogers has kept it safely in the Republican column.

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Politics & Government
5:00 am
Mon July 28, 2014

Long-term Democrat challenged in Michigan's 13th Congressional primary race

Democratic Congressman John Conyers Jr. talks with Michigan Radio's Lester Graham. Conyers is facing a challenge in the 13th District primary.

Primary elections in Michigan will be held on August 5. Voters in parts of Detroit and Wayne County will decide between two Democratic candidates in the 13th Congressional District. The incumbent is John Conyers Jr. The challenger is The Rev. Horace Sheffield III.

Before we start talking about 2014, let me take you back 50 years:

“In your heart, you know he’s right. Vote for Barry Goldwater.”

“Vote for President Johnson on November 3rd. The stakes are too high for you to stay home.”

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Weather
9:29 pm
Sun July 27, 2014

Thunderstorms knock down trees, black out 150,000 in Michigan

WHITE LAKE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) - A series of severe thunderstorms has hit Michigan's Lower Peninsula, packing winds of up to 50 miles per hour that knocked down trees, ripped roofs off buildings and blacked out at least 150,000 homes and businesses.

The National Weather Service says a trained spotter reports 1.75-inch hail struck Oakland County's White Lake Township in suburban Detroit on Sunday afternoon. It reports 50 mph wind gusts in neighboring Macomb County.

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Law
12:38 pm
Sun July 27, 2014

Flint police are trying to whittle down a backlog of misdemeanor warrants

There are more than 23,000 misdemeanor warrants on the Flint police department's books. Some date back to the 1970's.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint police are launching a new effort this week to clear a backlog of misdemeanor warrants.

The department has more than 23,000 misdemeanor warrants on its books. Some of them date back to the 1970’s.

Flint Police Chief James Tolbert says these warrants for relatively minor offenses can lead to major problems for police.

“Because they’re wanted, they run for us. They engage in high-speed pursuits,” says Tolbert. 

Tolbert says “Operation Fresh Start” lets people resolve their outstanding warrants without being arrested. 

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Politics & Government
11:43 am
Sun July 27, 2014

Lansing city leaders are being asked to welcome undocumented child immigrants

A coalition of religious leaders and immigration activists are urging the Lansing City Council to approve a resolution welcoming undocumented child immigrants
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

This week,  activists will ask Lansing city leaders to adopt a resolution welcoming thousands of undocumented children who’ve entered the U.S. this year.

Since the beginning of the year, more than 50,000 children from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador have crossed the southern United States border illegally. Most remain in overcrowded detention centers as their immigration status is reviewed.     

During the past month, anti-immigration groups have held vocal protests against efforts to bring undocumented children to Michigan. 

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