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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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Politics & Government
9:59 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

Michigan human services director leaving post

Maura Corrigan was appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder in 2011 to lead the state's welfare agency. She served on the state's high court from 1999 to 2010.
Credit Jake Neher / MPRN

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan Department of Human Services Director Maura Corrigan says she'll leave her post at the end of the year.

The Detroit Free Press reports that the former Michigan Supreme Court justice says she wants to spend more time with her grandchildren.

Corrigan was appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder in 2011 to lead the state's welfare agency. She served on the state's high court from 1999 to 2010.

Corrigan says she told Snyder she'd lead the department for four years.

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Stateside
8:32 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

Tranparency lacking as Michigan taxpayers bankroll private development

TIF mismanagement can lead to blight.
Credit Flickr.com

 

Tax increment financing – or TIF – is a flexible tool for downtown development authority boards aiming to encourage private investment and increase the taxable value of their municipality.

TIFs enable portions of a city’s regular property tax to be used for economic development, without a vote from taxpayers. There are eight types of authorities in Michigan that can engage in this type of financing.

David Bieri is an assistant professor of urban and regional planning at the University of Michigan.

Bieri explains the good and bad uses of TIFs. In the early 2000s, DDAs from Kalamazoo to Detroit addressed blight through brownfield remitigation. On the other hand, Bieri cites Bloomfield Park, the unfinished mini-city in Bloomfield Hills, as an example of TIFs gone bad: Blight was created rather than mitigated. 

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Stateside
8:20 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

Reflecting on the Armenian genocide, 100 years later

Orphan home in Aleppo, Syria in 1920.
Credit User: George Swain of the University of Michigan / facebook

Next April will mark the 100th anniversary of one of the great atrocities of the 20th Century: the genocide of up to a million and half Armenians by the Ottoman Empire.

Scholars have acknowledged this to be one of the first modern genocides. 

The beginning of the genocide is considered to be April 24, 1915, the day 250 Armenian intellectuals and community leaders in Istanbul were arrested.

Men were conscripted or killed. Women, children and elderly went on the death march toward deserts in Syria. 

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Stateside
8:03 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

This MSU professor is leading the quest for a better potato

Dave Douches poses with his potato memorabilia
Credit User: Betsy Agosta / The StateNews

A salute, now, to the potato.

This is National Potato Month. Many of the potatoes that make their way onto America's dinner plates, into French fries or into potato chip bags come from Michigan. 

There's some pretty interesting research and development happening right now, all focused on the honest, humble potato.

We found out more from the man known on the Michigan State campus as "Mr. Potato Prof."

David Douches heads up MSU's Potato Breeding and Genetics Program. He says young people nowadays are driving some of the changes in potato consumption habits.

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Stateside
7:57 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

Michigan to monitor drinking water safety, with help from EPA

Credit Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

 

The images of green water in Lake Erie and foul, toxic tap water in Toledo certainly got many of us at least thinking about what's coming out of our taps.

What is Michigan doing to protect our drinking water, the water we get from the Great Lakes system, against cyanobacteria, the toxin that led to a ban on tap water usage in Toledo last month?

Dan Wyant is the director of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. He says there needs to be a comprehensive plan to deal with the problems. 

"We all need to work toward improving water qualities throughout not only the Great Lakes, but also rivers and streams," says Wyant.

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Stateside
7:44 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

House report says NHTSA failed to spot GM defect

Credit John F. Martin / Creative Commons

 

A blistering Congressional report came out today on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's handling of a General Motors ignition switch problem.The defect is blamed in 19 deaths. 

David Shepardson is chief of The Detroit News Washington, D.C. bureau. He says the House Energy and Commerce Committee analysis really hauls NHTSA into the "congressional woodshed."

"They had ample information to have discovered this problem in 2007 but, for a number of different failures, didn't do it," says Shepardson.

The report says the NHTSA misunderstood how vehicles worked, lacked accountability, and failed to share information.

* Listen to the interview with David Shepardson above.

Education
5:46 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

Can MSU get more low-income kids to graduation?

Half of all college students in the U.S. drop out, according to Michigan State University, and another 25% wind up on academic probation.

It’s part of the research MSU is doing with 10 other big schools to better understand why so many students don’t make it to graduation, and what colleges can do about it.

For low-income and first-generation kids, getting to graduation is harder

Students who are from low income families or the first generation in their family to go to college are more likely to struggle, says MSU provost June Youatt.

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Education
4:06 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

University of Michigan ranked as best public university in the U.S.

The University of Michigan is ranked as the top public university in the nation by QS World Rankings
Credit Wikimedia Commons

When it comes to public universities in the U.S., the University of Michigan is truly the leader and the best, according to QS World University Rankings.

U of M was named the No. 1 public university in the U.S. In the worldwide rankings, U of M came in at 23. 

It is one of 14 U.S. schools that made the top 30, and, along with the University of California, Berkeley (ranked 27th), is one of only two public universities to make the top 30. 

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Law
2:54 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

Posting "revenge porn" in Michigan could cost jail time, fines under new law

Posting 'sexually explicit' photos of someone without their permission in Michigan may soon result in fines and jail time.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A state House committee takes up legislation tomorrow aimed at cracking down on so-called "revenge porn."

Under the proposed law, posting sexually explicit photos of a person without their consent could land someone in jail for three months and/or a $500 fine. A second offense could result in a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

State Sen. Steve Bieda, D-Warren, says there’s a growing problem with people posting nude or semi-nude photos of former intimate partners.

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Politics & Government
2:21 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

Petition aims to stop water shutoffs in Detroit

The People's Water Board Coalition has collected signatures to stop water shutoffs in Detroit.
Credit User: bnosnhoj / Wikimedia Commons

A group in Detroit hopes that 158,000 signatures will be enough to persuade city officials to stop shutting off water to residents. 

The People's Water Board Coalition has been working on a petition over the summer that has three main goals: stop water shutoffs in Detroit, restore household water to those living without, and implement a water affordability plan. 

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Families & Community
2:12 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

Last victim of 1927 Bath school disaster gets headstone

A new headstone marks the grave of Richard Fritz, one of 45 people, including bomber Andrew Kehoe, who died as a result of the Bath school disaster in 1927.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The last of the victims of the Bath, Michigan, school bombings finally has a headstone on his grave, nearly 90 years after the deadly attack.

A small crowd of people sang as they gathered at the grave of Richard Fritz.

Fritz’s death in 1928 was attributed to the injuries he suffered in the Bath school bombing the year before.

Andrew Kehoe bombed the school on May 18, 1927.   The school board treasurer, Kehoe was apparently upset about rising school taxes.

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Auto
1:40 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

GM CEO Mary Barra to receive Appeal of Conscience award for handling of recall scandal

Mary Barra listens in to a call at GM's Customer Engagement Center in the wake of the ignition switch recall.
Credit General Motors

GM CEO Mary Barra will receive an Appeal of Conscience Award on September 23rd from the interfaith organization Appeal of Conscience Foundation.

Barra is being honored for her leadership in the wake of a shocking revelation in late January that General Motors had delayed a potentially deadly ignition switch recall for ten years.

The switches could be knocked out of the run position into the accessory position when the cars went over a bump.  That disabled safety features, including airbags.

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Auto
12:34 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

GM adds third shift, 750 workers, to Wentzville, MO factory

The assembly line at GM's Wentzville, Missouri assembly plant.
Credit General Motors

General Motors is adding a third shift to its Wentzville, Missouri plant to meet expected demand for the midsize trucks that are built there.

GM is introducing new versions of its midsize trucks, the Chevrolet Colorado and the GMC Canyon.

The new shift is expected to start work in early 2015.

The automaker says dealers have ordered 30,000 Colorados already, "which is very high for early orders."

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Stateside
12:28 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

A Detroit-born filmmaker travels the world to uncover roots of the city's techno music

Main stage of Hart Plaza, Detroit
Credit User: The #technoMeccaMixtape / screengrab detroitsoundproject.com

The power of music to build bridges.

In this case, electronic and techno music is building bridges between Detroit and South Africa.

That's the focus of a documentary film called Electric Roots: The Detroit Sound Project. The short film was screened at the Cannes Film Festival this year.

Filmmaker Kristian Hill is based in Los Angeles, but he is from Detroit. Hill says in exploring the underground electronic and techno music scenes in Detroit and places like Tokyo, Russia, and South Africa, he got to meet people from all over the world.

Hill says he found music lovers who have a real interest in Detroit music -- beyond just Motown.

“We’ve met people who tell us that you know, Muslims go to Mecca, but techno lovers go to Detroit,” says Hill.

* Listen to our conversation with Kristian Hill above.

Watch a trailer of the documentary:

There will be a screening of the film on September 27, 2014 at Charles H. Wright Museum in Detroit. You can get more information on the screening and the progress of Hill's film on his website.

Opinion
10:46 am
Tue September 16, 2014

Detroit’s bankruptcy settlement is far from the end of the story

Many years ago, I met Thomas Friedman, the distinguished New York Times journalist who won two Pulitzer Prizes for his coverage of the Middle East by the time he was 35.

When I told him that I regarded his reporting as indispensable, he told me something I’ll never forget. He said “don’t read my stories every day.”  That startled me, and I asked what he meant.

He went on: “Daily journalists covering a beat have to produce a story just about every day.” That’s partly because everybody doesn’t always read everything. But if you look closely, you’ll see that much of the time, much of the daily stories are repetitious.

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The Environment Report
10:38 am
Tue September 16, 2014

Enbridge plans to bring more tar sands oil into Great Lakes region

Cleanup of the 2010 Enbridge oil spill. The company wants to bring more tar sands oil from the Alberta oil sands region into the U.S.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

There’s been a lot of controversy over TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline. But there’s another company working to bring more tar sands oil into the U.S.

Enbridge Energy wants to increase the amount of heavy crude oil crossing the border from the Alberta tar sands into the Great Lakes region.

Lorraine Little is with Enbridge. She says Enbridge wants to move more oil on its pipeline known as the Alberta Clipper. That pipeline runs about a thousand miles from northern Alberta to Superior, Wisconsin.

“Its purpose is to carry heavy crude oil from the oil sands in Alberta into our Superior terminal where then it can get off on other pipelines and serve refining markets around the Midwest region or other parts of the country,” she says.

Back in November of 2012, Enbridge filed an application with the U.S. State Department. The company wants to raise the capacity of the border segment of the Alberta Clipper pipeline to 800,000 barrels per day (they're currently transporting 450,000 barrels per day).

That permit is still under review.

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The Environment Report
8:59 am
Tue September 16, 2014

Study suggests pesticides in rivers could harm insects and fish

U.S. Geological Survey

Researchers with the U.S. Geological Survey have been monitoring pesticides in rivers and streams around the country for 20 years. They just released their findings, and they found there are levels of some pesticides that could be a concern for bugs and fish.

For example, they found the insecticide fibronil at levels that could cause harm. That chemical disrupts insects’ nervous systems.

The study, "Pesticides in U.S. Streams and Rivers:  Occurrence and trends during 1992-2011” is published in the Environmental Science and Technology journal. 

Wes Stone, a hydrologist with the USGS, says some pesticides have been phased out and others have come on the market, and you can see that directly reflected in the water.

“What it shows is to stay on top of what’s in the environment, we’re going to have to constantly evolve and keep looking at the newest ones and evolving new methods to sample for them," he says.

But Stone says their study probably underestimates potential risks to aquatic life. He says there are more than 400 different pesticides in use, but he says funding is limited, so his agency only tests for a fraction of those pesticides in rivers and streams.

Stateside
8:02 pm
Mon September 15, 2014

Michigan bird species threatened by climate change, report says

The common loon is one of the climate-endangered species in Michigan.
Credit User: jackanapes / Flickr

 

A recent report from the National Audubon Society points to troubling times ahead for our bird population.

Climate change could make some huge changes for birds in North America: About half of our 650 species would be driven to smaller spaces or forced to find totally new places to live or become extinct – all of this in just the next 65 years.

Jonathan Lutz is the executive director of the Michigan Audubon Society. He says in Michigan, about 50 species are vulnerable to the changing climate.

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