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Politics & Government
8:56 pm
Thu August 28, 2014

New alliance seeks to restore public education funding through political action

Retired English teacher Pat Kuessner at MTAC rally (CLICK ON PHOTO FOR SLIDE SHOW)
Tracy Samilton

A new political alliance says it will try to help elect Mark Schauer as Michigan Governor in November, along with other politicians who want to restore public education funding.

Michigan Teachers and Allies for Change held its first rally in Ann Arbor Thursday evening. 

About 250 people, many of them teachers, attended. 

Most were from Ann Arbor.  But one teacher drove all the way from Marquette to support the cause.

Speakers included Democratic candidate for Lt. Governor, Lisa Brown, and Jeanice Kerr Swift, Superintendent of Ann Arbor Public Schools.

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Politics & Government
8:18 pm
Thu August 28, 2014

Growing opposition to proposed Lake Huron nuclear waste facility

Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Flint) announces his plans to file a resolution against the proposed nuclear waste storage facility during a news conference on the deck of the Appledore IV in the Saginaw River in Bay City
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A Michigan congressman is the latest to stand up against plans for a nuclear waste storage facility on the Ontario side of Lake Huron.

Ontario Power Generation wants to store its nuclear waste at the site which is less than a mile from the Canadian shore of Lake Huron. 

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Stateside
5:04 pm
Thu August 28, 2014

Detroit is offered a $4 billion loan in exchange for DIA art

Credit Flickr

A New York lender called Art Capital Group is offering a $4 billion loan to the city of Detroit if it puts up its art collection as collateral.

Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes said the city would be wise to pass on this offer.

The proposal is being backed by holdout bond insurers Syncora, and the Financial Guaranty Insurance Company.

Howes said the proposal would put DIA art one step closer to being sold, pensioners would receive a lot less money, and the loan would be spread around to other creditors.

Howes said city officials said they were not interested in discussing the deal, and that they say they will stand behind the "Grand Bargain" because it is money in hand and the deal will help avoid legal issues.

Howes also said the offer is just now coming up to stall the bankruptcy trial.

Read Howes column in the Detroit News here.

*Listen to the full interview with Daniel Howes above. 

Weekly Political Roundup
5:00 pm
Thu August 28, 2014

Talking poll numbers and wolf hunting with Ken Sikkema and Zoe Clark

State Capitol
Credit user aunt owwee / Flickr

This week we're joined by Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants. Also sitting in is Michigan Radio's co-host of It's Just Politics, Zoe Clark.

We talk about the potential fallout from the Legislature's vote on wolf hunting and the latest poll numbers in Michigan's gubernatorial race. Listen to our discussion below.

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Stateside
4:55 pm
Thu August 28, 2014

Dwayne Gill is a state trooper by day, and a stand-up comic by night

Dwayne Gill
Credit dwaynegill.com/comedy / dwaynegill.com/comedy

Michigan State Police Sgt. Dwayne Gill uses his day job as a reference pool for his stand-up sets.

Gill said that comedy came first for him, but open-mic nights did not bring in enough money, so he became a police officer.

“They knew that I was doing stand-up in the academy and I was called 'Recruit Joker,'” Gill said.

Gill started his comedic journey in 1989. He signed up for an Apollo Night contest in April 1995. After getting booed off the stage, he decided to quit comedy and focus on his police work.

Seven years later, he went to a retirement party for a trooper at the Ann Arbor Showcase, and said that gave him the itch to try comedy again.

He read books, took a class in New York, and learned more about comedy. September 11, 2002 he was back on stage, and started getting paid for his jokes in 2004.

Now he has opened up for celebrities like Tim Allen, and recently for Aretha Franklin.  

Gill has been working in law enforcement for 21 years. He is now the Michigan State Police liaison to the Legislature, and he still continues to do stand-up work.

*Listen to our full interview with Dwayne Gill above. 

Sports
4:25 pm
Thu August 28, 2014

Derek Jeter remembers his time in Michigan, especially that bad called strike

Derek Jeter in 2009.
Keith Allison Flickr

The New York Yankees are in town, and the player who has been a Yankee longer than any other is being celebrated by opposing fans.

Derek Jeter plans to retire from the game at the end of this season, and during what could be his last visit to Comerica Park, Michigan has come out to celebrate the player who grew up in Kalamazoo.

With Jeter in town, there's a lot being written about Jeter.

But Jim Baumbach at Newsday wrote a piece in 2012 that gives us a look at Jeter's path from Kalamazoo to the New York Yankees.

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Families & Community
1:20 pm
Thu August 28, 2014

Curious about Detroit's transformation? September is a good time to dive in

User: Marvin Shaouni Urban Innovation Exchange

You might have heard of urban farming in Detroit, but do you know you can grow seafood in Detroit’s vacant homes?

Aside from the Heidelberg Project, do you know metro Detroit also has community art projects like Green Alley, Scarab Club’s art exhibits, and an upcoming Museum of Curiosity?

These are the kind of ideas Urban Innovation Exchange hopes to explore at its first national convention Sept. 24-26 in Detroit.

It's one in a series of citywide events jam-packed into the month of September to showcase small projects that are transforming the city, from Tour de Troit to Dlectricity.

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Stateside
12:01 pm
Thu August 28, 2014

A look back on Gerald Ford's legacy, 40 years later

President Gerald Ford, August 1974
Credit Wikimedia Commons

It has been 40 years since Richard Nixon resigned and Michigan’s Gerald Ford was sworn in as president. He is the only Michigander to be president, and the first  not elected by the Electoral College.

Today on Stateside, we look at Ford’s legacy with guests Patrick McLean and Gleaves Whitney. McLean is director of the Gerald R. Ford Institute for Leadership in Public Policy and Service at Albion College. Whitney is the director of Grand Valley State University's Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies.

What kind of president was Gerald Ford? Reviews are mixed.

A 2012 Gallup poll found Americans judge Gerald Ford to be just an average president. Patrick McLean wrote a piece in Bridge Magazine that challenges that view, and said that we should appreciate Ford’s leadership.

McLean said Ford was dealt a bad hand when he was sworn in.

There was the unpopular war in Vietnam, the beginning of stagflation, high unemployment rates, and low job growth. He inherited the presidency when trust in the political establishment was at a low point.

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Offbeat
10:57 am
Thu August 28, 2014

This guy gets all offended when you call him "algae"

That's me in the studio at Michigan Radio with ATC host Jennifer White. I think she finally gets it.
Credit Steve Chyrpinski

If you go out in western Lake Erie right now, you'll see us.

We turn the water green. The wakes of the boats -- normally a frothy white -- we turn them a frothy green.

We've been at it for billions of years, and the more you feed us (thank you farmers and the people of metro Detroit), the more we multiply in your warm slow moving waters. But when experts and reporters talk about us, they call us "toxic algae."

Algae? Seriously? Just because we look like plant-scum growing in the water doesn't mean that's what we are.

We are the only kind of bacteria that can release the microsystin toxin into water supplies.

Scientists are starting to call us by the right name. My scientist-friends talked with Rebecca Williams about it today for the Environment Report, thank goodness.

And now I'm trying to work on the reporters and hosts at Michigan Radio. 

See for yourself:

Opinion
10:33 am
Thu August 28, 2014

For the bridge to go up, we must do right by the community it will run through

Last week, I went to see Douglas George, Canada’s top diplomat in Detroit, mostly to talk about where things stand with the New International Trade Crossing Bridge over the Detroit River.

The bridge is now almost certain to be built, but there are a few hang-ups, and one is the concerns of the residents in the Delray neighborhood where the American footprint of the bridge will land.

Those who live there want to make sure they aren’t trampled on. Now, they finally are having their voices heard, thanks in part to Detroit’s new system of electing council members by district.

Exactly a month ago, Detroit City Council was expected to approve the sale of 301 city-owned parcels of land in that neighborhood to the state of Michigan.

Michigan would then buy them with money provided by the government of Canada, and transfer the land to the new International Authority, which is to oversee bridge construction.

But the land sale was delayed.

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The Environment Report
9:39 am
Thu August 28, 2014

Green goo growing in Lake Erie is not what you think it is

Western Lake Erie turns green from cyanobacteria blooms.
Mark Brush Michigan Radio

The Environment Report for Thursday, August 28, 2014- Experts debate proper terminology for Lake Erie's green slime
 

Lately, that green slime in the lake has been all over the news after it shut down Toledo’s water supply.

Journalists, city and government officials have been calling that green slime  “blue-green algae”, “toxic algae” or “toxic algal blooms.”

Well, turns out that’s not exactly right.

“That’s just maddening,” said James Bull, a professor of biology and environmental science. He works at Wayne County Community College and Macomb Community College.

He says it’s not accurate to call the green slime that shut down Toledo’s water system “a toxic algal bloom.” 

He wrote to Michigan Radio because we were some of the people using the wrong term.

“It’s wrong because even though these organisms superficially look like algae, I think we ought to understand that these really are a kind of bacteria,” Bull said.

He says scientists used to call this stuff “blue-green algae.” Now they call it “cyanobacteria”. He says calling cyanobacteria "algae" is like calling a dolphin a fish.

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Environment & Science
8:27 am
Thu August 28, 2014

Toxic bacteria bloom is back, closing Pelee Island's beaches

Some of the toxic bacteria that got into Toledo's drinking supply is now hitting Pelee Island.
Credit Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

The same type of toxic bacteria bloom that threatened Toledo's water is now affecting a small 

Canadian Island on the western end of Lake Erie.

Health officials on Pelee Island have closed the beaches and are warning people not to drink the water.

This is crummy timing, since the Labor Day weekend is usually good business for the island's tourist economy.

Rick Masse is the mayor.

"It's not a really good advertising for our community,” he says.

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Investigative
7:00 am
Thu August 28, 2014

Truth Squad: no fouls for Land attack ads, but not the "whole truth," either

The Truth Squad at Bridge Magazine reviewed a couple of TV ads put on the air by Republican Terri Lynn Land’s campaign for U.S. Senate. But, there’s a pretty substantial gap between the "truth" and the
"whole truth."

These two TV ads from the Land campaign attack the Democratic candidate, Congressman Gary Peters.

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Stateside
9:00 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

More than a third of Americans don't have enough money saved for retirement, survey finds

Credit American Advisors Group / Flickr

About 36% of Americans aren't financially prepared for their retirement, according to a recent survey by Bankrate.com.

Detroit News personal finance writer Brian O’Connor said the number isn't that surprising, given what's happened in the last several years.

“A lot of people wound up having to raid their retirements. A lot of people got nervous and took their money out of retirement accounts when the stock market fell,” O’Connor said.

O’Connor added that there are people living paycheck-to-paycheck, with wages not keeping pace with inflation. Although jobs are coming back to Michigan, those jobs aren't paying what they used to.

The survey found 69% percent of younger Americans between ages 18 and 29 don’t have anything saved. That’s understandable, because they have student loans, are trying set up households, and are getting businesses launched.

However, the 14% of people aged 65 and older with no savings are in a tight spot. These people may have had a financial crisis – a divorce, bankruptcy, medical issues, etc.

“It’s going to be a serious, serious problem,” O’Connor said.

O’Connor said one of the reasons that people aren’t saving is that there are relying on their pensions. But as we have seen in the Detroit bankruptcy, pensions are not always guaranteed.

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Stateside
6:24 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

Livingston County forest added to global network

Map of all forest plots in Smithsonian network
Credit Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute / www.forestgeo.si.edu

It might just be a 57-acre stand of trees in Livingston County, but it's been added to a global network with a distinguished name: “The Smithsonian Institution’s Forest Global Earth Observatory.”

The Livingston County plot is part of the University of Michigan’s Edwin S. George Preserve.

Christopher Dick is the director of the preserve. He said the Smithsonian Global Network started in Panama in 1982, when researchers were interested in learning more about the numerous tree species packed in small areas of rain forests, so they began to protect large-scale forest inventory plots around the world.

Dick said what makes this stand in Livingston County important is that researchers from the University of Michigan have been researching these trees intensively since the 1930s.

Dick said what this means for researchers is that they now have a standardized way of comparing data from forests around the world. They are currently studying the trees to see what is happening to forests as a result of increased atmospheric carbon.

What they expect to see is that a lot of forests, whether tropical or temperate, will experience increased production of wood and increased growth rates.

*Listen to the full interview with Christopher Dick above. 

Stateside
6:19 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

State money used to attract events and conventions to Michigan

Guinness International Champions Cup match Manchester United vs Real Madrid in Ann Arbor on August 2, 2014.
Credit user: NHN_2009 / Flickr

State money is being used to attract everything from a Jehovah's Witnesses convention in Detroit to an international soccer match in Ann Arbor.

Detroit Free Press business columnist Tom Walsh, notes that the Michigan Economic Development Corporation has spent more than a million dollars this year to bring in things like conventions and sporting events.

Walsh says it's a common practice and could generate a lot of state tax revenue from out-of-state visitors.

Walsh says the payback from the first few events is about $20 million in state tax revenue.

Tuesday the Michigan Strategic Fund OK'd another $1 million for the program through Sept. 15, 2015.

Read more in Tom Walsh’s article in the Detroit Free Press.

*Listen to the full story above. 

Stateside
6:17 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

Searching for the "cosmic cocktail" in our universe

Katherine Freese, author of The Cosmic Cocktail: Three Parts Dark Matter
Credit www-personal.umich.edu/~ktfreese / www-personal.umich.edu/~ktfreese

What is the universe made of?

It’s a fundamental question that has been asked numerous times over the years, and Katherine Freese is devoting her scientific career to answering it.

Freese is the George E. Uhlenbeck Professor of Physics at the University of Michigan. Her book is called “The Cosmic Cocktail: Three Parts Dark Matter.”

Freese the answer is surprising ,and finding it begins by starting with what we do know.

“Your body, the air, the walls, let’s even throw in the stars and planets. All of that is made of atoms, but all of that only adds up to about 5% of the universe,” Freese said.

Freese said the quest to find the answer dates back to a Swiss astronomer in the 1930s who found something was pulling at the universe, causing it to expand. He called it dark matter.

So what does dark matter mean?

“It means that it does not shine,” Freese said. “It is invisible to our eyes and our ordinary telescopes."

Freese said scientists believe they are close to detecting it, and believe it is made of some new particle – entirely different from neutrons, protons, and everything we have learned in science class.

Freese said her book served two purposes: to talk about the hunt for dark matter, and to talk about her experience as a scientist.

*Listen to the full interview with Katherine Freese above. 

–Bre'Anna Tinsley, Michigan Radio Newsroom

Stateside
6:12 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

This teacher's union lost 1,500 members last year; will more opt out this year?

Credit User Motown31 / Creative Commons

There is much at stake for the Michigan Education Association in these waning days of August.

That's because teachers and school workers who are MEA members have until Sunday to decide whether to remain in their union.

Dave Eggert covers Lansing for the Associated Press. He says this is a big litmus test for right-to-work in Michigan because the MEA is Michigan’s largest public sector union. There's a one-month window every year to allow members to opt out.

There are 112,000 active members. There isn’t an estimate on how many may opt out this month. Last year, only about 1,500 members left during the opt-out window.

Read Dave Eggert's story in the Detroit News here

*Listen to the full interview with Dave Eggert above. 

Economy
3:54 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

Report: Lower paid men in Michigan have seen big income erosion since 1979

Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A new report shows it’s getting harder for people in Michigan at the lower end of the pay scale.

Yannet Lathrop is a policy analyst for the Michigan League for Public Policy.

Her study finds the bottom 20% of Michigan's male wage earners have seen their real income, adjusted for inflation, drop by nearly a third since 1979.

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Environment & Science
3:28 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

Lawmakers vote to allow wolf hunts in UP

A wolf on Isle Royale. The wolves on this island are protected from any kind of hunt.
IsleRoyaleWolf.org

Wolf hunts in the Upper Peninsula will be able to continue under a new law passed by the state House today. Groups that oppose wolf hunting say state lawmakers are trying to thwart the will of voters.

To the chants of “Let us vote! It’s our right!” anti-wolf hunting groups rallied outside the state Capitol before the House took up the bill.

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