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Politics & Government
10:22 pm
Mon September 29, 2014

Gov. Snyder draws supporters and opponents to Kalamazoo town hall event

Not everyone in Kalamazoo was happy to see Gov. Rock Snyder. About two dozen protesters picketed outside Snyder's town hall event in Kalamazoo.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The race for Michigan governor is moving into its final weeks.

Gov. Rick Snyder held the first of 10 town hall events last night in Kalamazoo on the campus of Western Michigan University.

  

Snyder was greeted by a group that wants to make him a one-term governor.  Protester JoeAnne Peterson is a retired teacher who's angry with the governor for several reasons, including right-to-work laws and increasing taxes on Michigan pensioners.

“I do have a right to say you took. You didn’t ask,” Peterson said.

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Politics & Government
7:24 pm
Mon September 29, 2014

AG’s office to investigate Aramark employee accused in ‘murder-for-hire’ plot

Credit Photo courtesy of Michigan's Attorney General office / michigan.gov

State Attorney General Bill Schuette says his office will investigate a possible murder-for-hire plot involving a prison food service worker.

Michigan State Police suspects an Aramark employee of approaching an inmate of an Upper Peninsula prison about having another inmate killed.

The Detroit Free Press first reported the story last week. Now the attorney general’s office says it will launch its own investigation into the incident. It says the local State Police post in Sault Ste. Marie requested the investigation.

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Stateside
6:55 pm
Mon September 29, 2014

Stateside for Monday, Sept. 29, 2014

Today on Stateside:

  • Food stamp cuts are looming for some Michigan families.
  • Nearly 14 billion years of history in one course: The Big History Project is designed to change the way our kids learn history.
  • Living in the Upper Peninsula means you might drive 60 miles one way to get to a well-stocked grocery store. We looked at food insecurity in the U.P.
  • Water shutoffs to Detroiters who haven't paid their bills are not going to stop – that was the result of a ruling today by federal bankruptcy judge Stephen Rhodes.
  • Michigan Radio's Tracy Samilton reported on the Cody Comets' first game on their new field, named "Hope Field."

* Listen to the full show above.

Stateside
6:49 pm
Mon September 29, 2014

Judge rules there's no guaranteed right to Detroit water service without paying bills

Credit Maegan Tintari / Flickr

Water shutoffs to Detroiters who haven't paid their bills are not going to stop.

That's the result of a ruling today by federal bankruptcy judge Stephen Rhodes.

Michigan Radio's Detroit reporter Sarah Cwiek says this ruling came in response to a lawsuit filed by Detroit residents and activists who wanted Judge Rhodes to issue a six-month moratorium on the controversial water shutoffs.

Cwiek said Judge Rhodes didn't believe he had the authority to step in to halt the water shutoffs. He also ruled there is no fundamental “right or law” to guaranteed water service.

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Stateside
6:44 pm
Mon September 29, 2014

Food stamp cuts looming in Michigan

Bridge Cards are accepted at the Fulton Street Farmers Market in Grand Rapids.
Credit User: Michigan Municipal League / Flickr

Tens of thousands of Michigan families will soon see their food stamp benefits trimmed.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known as SNAP, was scaled back in the new farm bill.

Many states have been using a loophole to combat SNAP cuts through paying a higher cost for a "heat and eat" assistance program. By providing just $1 in heating assistance, states had been able to help families qualify for extra food stamps. But under the new farm bill, the minimum "heat and eat" payment is jumping to $21.

And Michigan is one of only four states that hasn't decided a way to continue engaging in these loopholes to avoid SNAP cuts.

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Stateside
6:39 pm
Mon September 29, 2014

Students in some Michigan high schools learn history of nearly 14 billion years in one course

One of the assignments in the Big History course is to have students use their personal narratives to understand the importance of scale.
Credit User: Big History Project / facebook

 

If you had a typical American high school experience, chances are you trudged through the day, going from one period to another – maybe starting with algebra, then over to American lit, then chemistry or biology, on to history, and so on.

History in particular gets a bum rap, with grumbling about memorizing dates and names.

What's missing? A sense of all of this knowledge being connected.

Enter the Big History Project. Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates has become a champion of this new way to teach history, and he's using his own money to develop this new history curriculum for high schools.

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Politics & Government
5:38 pm
Mon September 29, 2014

Detroit police use new technology to fight gun crime

ShotSpotter Graphic
Credit SST inc.

A Detroit Police Department pilot project is using gunfire detection technology to reduce gun crime.

Police spokesman Sgt. Michael Woody said the ShotSpotter system identifies "gunfire in a specific area wherever the technology is set up." He said it is designed to also pinpoint the location, time, and direction of gunshots.

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Health
4:47 pm
Mon September 29, 2014

U of M plans genome sequencing project to study bipolar disorder and schizophrenia

Credit Pacific Northwest National Laboratory / flickr.com

Researchers at the University of Michigan's School of Public Health and Medical School are working on a genome sequencing study to help better understand bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

The Ann Arbor university announced Monday that its researchers are leading the collaboration with researchers at the University of Southern California as well as the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT to sequence the genomes of 10,000 people.

They received three separate four-year awards totaling $16 million from the National Institute of Mental Health to help fund the work.

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Education
4:41 pm
Mon September 29, 2014

For $150, you could see Neil deGrasse Tyson speak in Detroit

Credit Neil deGrasse Tyson / Facebook

Tomorrow, Sept. 30, the world-renowned science educator and astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson will deliver a keynote speech at the Wayne County Community College District Chancellor's Banquet. 

The event will be held at 6 p.m. at the Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center. Event proceeds will benefit the Wayne County Community College district scholarship fund. 

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Education
4:08 pm
Mon September 29, 2014

Michigan community colleges receive $5 million in federal funding

Credit Alpena Community College / Facebook

In an effort to raise employment through increased job training, the Obama administration has distributed $450 million to nearly 270 community colleges across the country.

Among these recipients are two community colleges in Michigan: Alpena Community College and Wayne County Community College District in Detroit. The community colleges were selected for their partnerships with employers on job training. Together, they will be receiving nearly $5 million in federal funding.

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Politics & Government
4:04 pm
Mon September 29, 2014

Snyder: US, not Canada, should pay for customs plaza

Rick Snyder wants the US, not Canada, to pay for the Ambassador Bridge's customs plaza.
Credit Michigan.gov

Gov. Rick Snyder told a business conference in Grand Rapids today that he expects the new international border crossing between Detroit and Ontario will provide a boost to the entire Michigan economy.

The bridge will be largely financed by the Canadian government, which agreed to pay for both sides of the bridge after the Michigan Legislature balked at funding the project. However, Snyder believes it to be the United States' responsibility to to pick up the costs of the U.S. customs plaza. 

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Law
3:30 pm
Mon September 29, 2014

ACLU says "pay or stay" is modern-day version of debtors prisons

Debtors' prisons were abolished long ago, but the ACLU of Michigan says some district judges in Michigan never got the memo.

ACLU attorney Sofia Nelson says a recent case shows just how wrong things can go for people who can't afford to pay their fines.

Victim went to jail instead of a domestic violence shelter

In September, Nelson says a Port Huron woman fled to her local emergency room after her boyfriend threatened her with a gun.   

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Sports
3:24 pm
Mon September 29, 2014

U of M football coach Brady Hoke responds to critics

“You know there should be some criticism when we talk about the performance. That’s me and coaching. I understand that," says U of M football coach Brady Hoke. "But when your integrity and your character are attacked, I think that is really unwarranted.”
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

University of Michigan head football coach Brady Hoke is on the defensive against allegations he continued to field a player who may have suffered a concussion during Saturday’s game against Minnesota.

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Environment & Science
2:47 pm
Mon September 29, 2014

Michigan apple farmers could have record-breaking year

It's like you're smack dab in a Pure Michigan ad!
Credit dailyinvention / Creative Commons

It's a really good year for the 850 family-run apple farms in Michigan.

They're approaching a near-record crop.

It’s thanks in part to the awful winter Michigan had.

It turns out, the cold weather helped the apple trees stay dormant long enough so their spring blooms didn't freeze.

Diane Smith is the executive director of the Michigan Apple Committee.

She says this year’s crop is one of the “cleanest” they’ve seen in years – no bug issues or early blossoming killing the crop off.

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Technology
2:31 pm
Mon September 29, 2014

U of M researchers find traffic lights can be hacked

Have you ever watched a movie where a snarky young computer hacker wreaks havoc with civic infrastructure, and wondered if it could happen in real life?

Well, a team of researchers researchers from the University of Michigan had that same question. So they looked into a scenario like this one, featured in the remake of The Italian Job:

"Was that really possible?” said Branden Ghena, who was on the research team. “Could you actually change the light colors? Is that a thing that can really happen, or are these systems as secure as we hoped they were?"

Turns out, the answer is yes – it really can happen.

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Families & Community
1:50 pm
Mon September 29, 2014

After 7 years, Detroit's Cody Comets get new field

Cody Comets players getting ready for the big game against Henry Ford High School
Tracy Samilton

The virgin Astroturf is springy underfoot, and the neon yellow goalposts stretch up into the blue September sky. The Comets should be playing well.

They're not.

After seven years of away games, the football team at Cody High School in Detroit has its own field. The facility at Cody was in such terrible shape that they couldn't play there.

That changed Friday night. Unfortunately, the Comets'  homecoming did not start well.

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Law
12:35 pm
Mon September 29, 2014

Judge won't step in to halt Detroit water shutoffs

The judge in Detroit’s bankruptcy case has refused to put a stop to the city’s controversial water shutoffs.

Judge Steven Rhodes ruled Monday that there is no fundamental “right or law” to guaranteed water service.

Rhodes also said halting shutoffs would jeopardize water department revenues.

The ruling came in response to a lawsuit filed by Detroit residents and activists, who wanted Rhodes to put a six-month moratorium on the shutoffs.

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Stateside
12:20 pm
Mon September 29, 2014

A food desert in Michigan you never hear about: the Upper Peninsula

Credit user mytvdinner / Flickr

When we talk in Michigan about "food insecurity" and "food deserts", it's usually about Detroit, Flint and cities battling poverty.

But there is another region where access to healthy, fresh food is a constant challenge: the Upper Peninsula.

Take Alger County. It has been classified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as a "low income, low access community." That means people have to drive at least ten miles to get to a fully stocked grocery store.

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Opinion
12:18 pm
Mon September 29, 2014

Debbie Dingell may be more politically seasoned than you think

If you follow politics in this state, you probably know that John Dingell has served longer in Congress than anyone in American history.

You also probably know he is retiring at the end of this term, and that his wife Debbie is the Democratic nominee to succeed him. And given the realities of politics, it is absolutely as certain as anything can be that she will win.

Mrs. Dingell – she uses Mrs., by the way – would not want me to say that. Neither would her main opponent, Terry Bowman, a blue-collar Republican auto worker.

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Politics & Government
10:37 am
Mon September 29, 2014

Don't expect much from Michigan's lawmakers until "lame duck" session

Lame ducks?
Simone Walsh Flickr

This is the last week the state Legislature is scheduled to meet before the November election. Lawmakers probably won’t take up any controversial bills until their “lame duck” session in December.

Supporters of legislation to add LGBT protections to Michigan’s civil rights law are still optimistic lawmakers will pass it before the end of the year.

“I’m pretty heartened by the openness that [state House Speaker Jase Bolger] has shown to us in having those discussions,” said Shelli Weisberg with the Michigan chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union .

“But it’s going to be tough.”

Weisberg admits it would be a setback if the bill has to wait until 2015.

“I think it does make it harder to go into a new legislative session because we’ve got new members and we have to really put forth a whole new, kind of fresh education effort,” she said.

Gov. Rick Snyder says his top legislative priority before the end of the year is boosting funding for roads and infrastructure.

State Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, R-Monroe, says he wants to relax term limits on state lawmakers.

Lawmakers could also approve bills to relax restrictions on medical marijuana in Michigan during their lame duck session.

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