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Politics & Government
9:47 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

Duggan tries to sell Detroit City Council on new regional water authority

Credit via detroitmi.gov

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan pitched a proposal creating a new regional water authority to the Detroit City Council Wednesday.

Duggan has signed a memorandum of understanding moving day-to-day control over Detroit’s regional water system to a new Great Lakes Water Authority.

That Authority would be governed by a 6-member board, with representatives appointed by the city and Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb counties.

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Environment & Science
8:49 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

Mock oil spill tests response plan

Some of the 200 people taking part in Wednesday's mock oil spill on the Indian River.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

It wasn’t the real thing, but federal and state agencies joined with local groups to respond to a mock oil spill in northern Michigan today.

“That boom is to keep out any oil from coming on this side,” one of the coordinators told reporters, as he pointed at crews lowering pillow-like yellow floaters into the Indian River. 

The booms were deployed just downstream from where an oil pipeline has sprung a make-believe leak.  A short distance away, officials from a variety of agencies manned a full command center, organizing the response in the mock disaster drill. 

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8:18 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

Homicides are down in Michigan, but is it fair to call it a trend?

Lead in text: 
Dustin Dwyer reports on lower homicide rates in cities across the state. But there's a caveat. "We have to be careful about getting excited before we can see if it’s a one-year blip," says Wendy Regoeczi, director of the Criminology Research Center at Cleveland State University.
The numbers are down 30% in Flint. They were down 70% in Saginaw through July. Down 66% in Grand Rapids through June. Down 14% in Detroit, and on pace for the lowest annual total in decades. The reports are preliminary, but homicides in many of Michigan's cities are way down compared to last year.
Stateside
7:53 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

Artists turn benches into works of art in downtown Lapeer

Working on one of the benches
Credit user: The Bench Warming Project / facebook

Can a brightly decorated bench make a downtown area more attractive?

A group of artists in Lapeer, Michigan says absolutely!

Artist Jim Alt belongs to the group. He has launched something he calls The Bench Warming Project in downtown Lapeer.

Alt says the goal of the project is to give downtown a collection of public artwork that hopefully could help bring people back to the community. 

He set a fundraising goal of $1,000 on gofundme.com.  So far, the project has raised more than $2,100.

Alt and his team of artists have finished 4 benches, and they expect to have a total of 21 benches done by next week or so.

*Listen to the full story above.

Stateside
7:49 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

Wolverines ranked No. 1 in women's cross country

Credit User: Michigan Women's Track and Field / facebook

Wolverine fans, here's a question for you: What is the best team on campus?

Take the spotlight off football and basketball for a minute, and shine it on the Wolverine team that is ranked No.1 in the nation. According to the NCAA, it's the Michigan Women's Cross-Country team.

Brook Handler of Rochester Hills is the team's captain. She says they train hard everyday and cheer each other on during races. 

"Everyone really really wants to get to that top spot, and the drive that this team has is tenfold what it was a few years ago," says Handler.

* Listen to our conversation with Brook Handler above.

Stateside
7:47 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

Architect Louis Kamper made Detroit the "Paris of the West"

Col. Frank J. Hecker House in Detroit
Credit User: Werewombat / Wikimedia Commons

The talk about blight and crumbling buildings in the city of Detroit can easily drown out another fact: The city is home to some stunning buildings that have a long history.

One of the gifted architects who helped Detroit earn a reputation as the "Paris of the West" was Louis Kamper. He envisioned not just office buildings and fabulous homes, but also bridges, hotels, police stations, and even a bathhouse on Belle Isle.

Historian Bill Loomis blogged about Kamper for the Detroit News. He says Kamper helped define the character of city's downtown architecture. 

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Stateside
7:42 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

A debate in the U.S. Senate race more likely?

Terri Lynn Land
Credit Michigan Republican Party / Facebook

With 48 days to go until the Nov. 4 election, many people are wondering if Michigan voters would ever get a chance to hear a debate between the candidates for U.S. Senate and for governor.

Republican Terri Lynn Land took the first step today toward holding a debate with Democratic rival Gary Peters.

Land's campaign just named Lansing attorney Richard McLellan as its debate negotiator. Land says McLellan will work with Detroit ABC affiliate WXYZ-TV and Peters' campaign to possibly find a West Michigan journalist to co-moderate a debate with WXYZ Editorial Director Chuck Stokes.

Peters named former Lt. Gov. John Cherry as his debate negotiator Aug. 6. Peters has accepted three debate invitations outright and two others on the condition that Land also agrees.

Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta are co-hosts of Michigan Radio's It's Just Politics. In their views, Michigan voters are clearly looking for the candidates' debates. 

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Stateside
7:35 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

Dear Pope Francis, will you please visit Detroit?

A student's letter in an effort to bring Pope Francis to Detroit.
Credit User: Let's Bring Pope Francis to Detroit in 2015 / facebook

The last time a pope visited Michigan was 27 years ago this very week. Pope John Paul spoke to crowds at Hart Plaza and Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Detroit, visited Hamtramck, and celebrated Mass for 90,000 people at the Pontiac Silverdome.

Word that Pope Francis is planning a visit to the United States has ignited a letter-writing and social media campaign called "Let's Bring Pope Francis to Detroit in 2015"

The spark of the campaign began at Cristo Rey High School in southwest Detroit. And the movement is drawing support from some big names, including Detroit's mayor and deputy mayor. 

Cristo Rey Principal Sue Rowe and Detroit Deputy Mayor Ike McKinnon spoke to Stateside about their effort.

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Business
7:23 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

Investments in Greenville, Walker could bring 900 jobs

“We’re riding a little high now because this is a tremendous opportunity to get back on our feet," says Greenville City Manager George Bosanic.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

After years of struggling, the city of Greenville is getting a big economic boost.

The American subsidy of a Chinese aluminum wheel manufacturer plans to invest $140 million in the West Michigan city.

The new plant will employ 300 people when it opens in 2016.

The company is taking over part of the old Electrolux plant, which closed in 2006, taking with it 2,700 jobs.

Greenville City Manager George Bosanic says this is something his community needed.

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Arts & Culture
5:31 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

U-M prof receives MacArthur "genius award"

Khaled Mattawa.
Credit John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation announced today the selection of a University of Michigan professor as one of this year's 21 recipients of its prestigious "genius grants."

The foundation recognized Khaled Mattawa for his creative translations of the work of highly respected Arab poets – as well as for his own poetry. 

He is the author of four books of poetry, has translated nine books of contemporary Arabic poetry and co-edited two anthologies of Arab-Amercian literature. 

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Politics & Government
5:26 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

"Heat and Eat" cuts mean less food assistance for some in Michigan

Some families in Michigan will see cuts in their monthly food assistance payments soon.
Credit Liz West / Flickr

Changes to a federal program often called "Heat and Eat" mean about 150,000 Michigan families will soon see reductions in their monthly food assistance benefits.

The cuts will average about $75 a month per family.

The Heat and Eat program offers higher food assistance benefits for families who live in northern states, where heating bills can be high.

But about 20% of the people enrolled in the program actually don't pay for heat. It's included as part of their rent.

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Environment & Science
4:36 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

Here are 10 West Michigan trails to explore this fall

Hiking in Seidman Park in December of 2012.
Steven Depolo Flickr

The days are getting shorter, but don't resign yourself to settling in for a long, lazy season inside.

One of Grand Rapids' greatest assets is the natural beauty that surrounds this mid-size city, with amenities that you won't even find in many big cities. From small pocket parks to epic-sized Lake Michigan, you're never far away from a wooded trail, a mountain bike path, or a gorgeous beach.

As summer turns to fall, Rapid Growth rounded up ten of West Michigan's best hikes, with hidden urban hiking trails mixed in with cross-country paths that lead to the great lake even in the snowiest of months.
 
City hikes
 
Have an hour or an afternoon? Looking for a hike that can happen within the city limits?

Grand Rapids contains more urban paved trails and hidden hikes than we can count. Savvy West Michiganders already know about the bounty of outdoor experiences at Blandford Nature Center, Provin Trails, Meijer Gardens, and the Calvin College Ecosystem Preserve around the city's edges, plus favorites like Riverside Park and Huff Park right in the city.

Here are a few more in-town walks and hikes to get you started.

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Sports
1:25 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

University of Michigan to play University of Texas! See caveats below

Michigan Stadium. A large football stadium in the Midwest.
Credit Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

The  football teams of the University of Michigan and the University of Texas have agreed – in principle – to play each other.

In 2024. So don't hold your breath.

U of M has racked up the highest number of total victories; Texas, the third highest.

From the Michigan press release:

The Wolverines will host the Longhorns at Michigan Stadium on Aug. 31, 2024. The return trip by Michigan to Austin will take place on Sept. 4, 2027.

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Stateside
1:21 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

When it comes to new sports stadiums, the media often cheerleads first, and asks questions later

Covering the planned Red Wings arena construction
Credit User: WXYZ-TV Detroit / YouTube

Two months ago, the Ilitch family's Olympia Development of Michigan announced plans for a new sports and entertainment district to be built on largely vacant land between downtown and midtown Detroit.

The center piece of the development would be a new home for the Detroit Red Wings.

Tomorrow night, the public will get its first look at the details of the new $450 million venue as Olympia officials present the plans at a meeting of the Detroit City Planning Commission.

David Uberti from the Detroit area recently wrote a piece for the Columbia Journalism Review as its Delacorte fellow. He looks at the way reporters cover new stadium constructions not just in Detroit, but across the country. 

And he notes a distinct "cheerlead first, ask questions later" approach.

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Law
1:12 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

Meijer to pay $2 million for preventing sale of recalled products

A sign for a Meijer store in Ann Arbor.
Credit user Monika & Tim / Flickr

Michigan-based retailer Meijer Inc. will pay $2 million to settle charges that it failed to prevent the sale and distribution of products recalled by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

In the settlement, the CPSC says Meijer knowingly distributed more than 1,600 units of about a dozen recalled products. The recalled products were distributed by a third party contractor working for Meijer.

From the settlement:

CPSC staff charges that beginning in or about April 2010, and including until at least in or about April 2011, Meijer received information from the third party contractor regarding the sale of all products handled by its third party contractor but failed to prevent the distribution of the Recalled Products.

The products that were recalled included Fisher-Price toddler tricycles, high chairs by Graco Children's Products, Hoover vacuums and box fans by Lasko.

You can see a list of the recalled items here.

It's against the law to sell or distribute products that have been recalled.

In agreeing to the settlement, Meijer "neither admits nor denies the charges."

More from the settlement language:

Meijer believed that adequate safeguards were in place to prevent Recalled Products from being distributed into commerce and states that any distribution of the Recalled Products was inadvertent and occurred without Meijer's knowledge.

*Correction - an earlier post with the Associated Press byline stated that Meijer sold and distributed the recalled products. A third party contractor that Meijer works with sold and distributed the products. The copy has been updated.

Opinion
12:16 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

Governor Snyder is fighting a losing game in Aramark scandal

Some years ago, I was studying some primitive TV campaign ads. One of them featured candidate Dwight D. Eisenhower being asked by a housewife, "Well, the Democrats have made mistakes, but weren't their intentions good?"

Squinting at cue cards, the nearsighted Ike replied woodenly, "Well, if you have a school bus driver who goes off the road, hits a pole and lands in a ditch you don't say his intentions are good. You get a new bus driver." 

Last night I thought it might be a good idea to send that ad to Governor Rick Snyder, with a note: Think about Aramark.

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Politics & Government
11:57 am
Wed September 17, 2014

The week in Michigan politics

Credit Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

This Week in Michigan Politics, Emily Fox and Jack Lessenberry discuss the possibility of new teachers losing their pensions, the latest in the Detroit bankruptcy trial, and how Aramark is under fire again.


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Politics & Government
10:36 am
Wed September 17, 2014

Michigan lawmakers making progress on human trafficking bills

Teresa Flores speaks at a human trafficking news conference at the state Capitol.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

State lawmakers are making their way through more than a dozen bills targeting human trafficking this week.

The bills would provide a safe harbor for victims, allow victims to sue their abusers, and eliminate the statute of limitations on trafficking offenses.

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Health
9:13 am
Wed September 17, 2014

Terminal patients in Michigan may soon have a right to try experimental drugs

Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Terminally ill patients in Michigan may soon have a new avenue to pursue unproven treatments.

The State House Health Policy committee Tuesday approved "right-to-try" legislation. The state Senate has already approved the legislation, which tries to give patients a better chance of getting drugs or medical devices that show promise, but have not been fully tested.

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Offbeat
9:01 am
Wed September 17, 2014

Life is not easy when you're listed as dead

Flowers in a cemetery.
Credit Daniel Incandela / Flickr

You hear about these mix ups from time to time.

Satori Shakoor, host of the Ann Arbor and Detroit Moth Story Slams, tells a funny story about being listed as a male on her driver's license. But this story goes beyond a gender.

Carol Tilley of Brownstown Township found out this year out that the Social Security Administration listed her as dead.

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