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Environment & Science
12:47 pm
Thu October 30, 2014

After decades of effort, 2 major pollution sites in Michigan finally cleaned up

A picture of the White Lake Montague dump site contaminated decades ago by a tannery and chemical company before the cleanup.
EPA

The Environmental Protection Agency announced today two toxic hot spots in Michigan have been cleaned up.

Work is now complete at White Lake in Muskegon County and Deer Lake in the Upper Peninsula.

The sites are on a list of about 40 toxic hot spots surrounding the Great Lakes; 14 sites are in Michigan.

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Offbeat
12:24 pm
Thu October 30, 2014

GM's "Chevy Guy" creates a memorable World Series moment

The moment GM's Rikk Wilde became the "Chevy Guy."
screen grab from YouTube video

The "number one" fear got the best of GM regional manager Rikk Wilde last night as he presented the Most Valuable Player award to San Franciso's ace pitcher Madison Bumgarner.

Watch Wilde tell Bumgarner about the Chevy Colorado's "class-leading technology and stuff" here:

GM got publicity for presenting the award, and is getting more publicity this morning as bloggers write about last night's awkward moment.

Some are writing about Wilde's "bumbling" performance, while others say he "stole the show."

Good presentation or not, GM says he was there because he loves baseball.

From Jim Lynch of the Detroit News:

On Thursday, a spokesman for General Motors Co. said Wilde is not a regular public speaker but a rabid baseball fan.

"He is a life-long Kansas City Royals fan, so he was suffering the woes of having watched his team just lose Game 7," said Mike Albano, Chevrolet's director of communications. "His day job is selling cars and trucks and that's what he'll be back doing again today.

"And nothing he said was wrong. We've got a lot of stuff in the Chevy Colorado."

A new ad for GM?

Either way, the Internet has a new star

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The Environment Report
12:21 pm
Thu October 30, 2014

Researchers find natural way to fight honeybee-killing bacteria

Professor Sandra Burnett, left, and her student Bryan Merrill, have developed a treatment for the devastating American Foulbrood disease. The bacteria that cause the disease kill off bee larvae, and the disease can lead to hive collapse.
Brian Wilcox BYU

There are all kinds of diseases and other problems that are hurting honeybees. One of them is a bacterial infection called American Foulbrood and it’s been a problem for bees around the country for decades. The disease kills bee larvae and can lead to the entire hive collapsing.

Researchers at Brigham Young University have come up with a natural way to fight back. They’re using a kind of virus — a phage — that infects and replicates within a bacterium.

"This is using nature in order to fight nature, basically," says Sandra Burnett, an associate professor of microbiology and molecular biology at Brigham Young.

"We see phages naturally in the environment, so what our goal has been is to find phages that will infect this bacteria, and capture [these phages] and have them ready to actually do an attack and kill the bacteria for us."

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Business
11:46 am
Thu October 30, 2014

Detroit developer buys more than 6000 properties, looks for "public-private alliance"

Herb Strather announcing his plans for the "blight bundle."
Credit Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

A Detroit developer who just bought a massive chunk of city land says he wants to help community groups revitalize their own neighborhoods.

Herb Strather bought a package of more than 6000 properties from the Wayne County tax foreclosure auction for just over $3 million.

That “blight bundle” was actually meant to discourage bidders from buying up huge numbers of cheap, distressed properties.

But Strather says the land was still at risk of going to “outside” investors, and he bid to prevent that.

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Opinion
11:24 am
Thu October 30, 2014

Inattention may be the most dangerous foreign policy of all

Yesterday I talked about Congressman Kerry Bentivolio, who is running a write-in campaign to try to keep his seat after losing the Republican primary to David Trott. Bentivolio, who represents a collection of Oakland and Wayne County suburbs from Birmingham to Livonia, told me there was an unwritten rule, at least among Republicans, that you don’t challenge a congressman of your own party in a primary.

That is, as long as that congressman is doing a decent job. However, as I pointed out to Bentivolio, he did just that two years ago; he filed to run against Congressman Thaddeus McCotter.

McCotter later self-destructed and was disqualified from the ballot, but Bentivolio didn’t know that would happen when he filed.

He then told me why he did it. Bentivolio, a Vietnam veteran who is now 63, volunteered to serve in Iraq. His neck was broken, and he had to be evacuated.

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Families & Community
10:23 am
Thu October 30, 2014

Tricycles and crowdsourcing help Detroiters stay in foreclosed homes

The Tricycle Collective says many of the homes on Wayne County's tax foreclosure list are well-maintained because they are occupied. But once they become vacant, they quickly turn to blight
Credit Charles & Adrienne Esseltine / Flickr

Ten Detroit families still have their own roofs over their heads, thanks to the Tricycle Collective.

The group crowdsourced money so the families could bid on the homes they were living in at a tax foreclosure auction.

Michele Oberholtzer started the collective.

Oberholtzer says until she contacted them, the families had no idea they could buy their tax-foreclosed homes – often for as little as $500.

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Opinion
9:29 am
Thu October 30, 2014

Yes, there is room for black people in the new Detroit

Joe Louis Mural at Berts in Detroit Eastern Market Photo by Michigan Municipal League

Recently, Suzette Hackney of POLITICO wrote an article that asked the question, “Is There Room for Black People in the New Detroit?” Her account begins at the corner of Agnes and Parker at a local restaurant where she describes seeing “designer dogs” and “tattooed millennials."

From her piece: 

The whole scene was a far cry from when I lived in the adjoining apartment building in the early 2000s... but this is the new Detroit.

I live in the neighborhood she describes, and even though Craft Work could be considered a “hip” establishment, I'm a little sad the area she described was reduced to a gentrified stereotype.

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Politics & Government
7:26 am
Thu October 30, 2014

Wild card candidate, negativity define race for 11th Congressional District

This attack ad against Trott has been called "brutal."
Credit macombpolitics.blogspot

An ad run by Democrat Bobby Mckenzie in Michigan's 11th Congressional District race won a dubious distinction recently.  The Washington Post called it "one of the most brutal attack ads you'll ever see."

"Foreclosure King David Trott has made millions foreclosing on Michigan's families," says a narrator, over a slightly ominous soundtrack.  "Trott profited from human misery as tens of thousands of Michiganders were evicted from their homes."

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Stateside
7:59 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

Halloween also marks the death of Houdini in Detroit

Credit The Jewish Museum / Flickr

Harry Houdini died in Room 401 at Grace Hospital in Detroit 88 years ago this week.

How did this world-famous magician and escape artist come to die in Michigan? John Cox, a Houdini historian, has the answer.

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Stateside
7:44 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

Can Michigan get its entrepreneurial mojo back?

Credit Duo Security / Flickr

What will it take for Michigan to be an entrepreneurial powerhouse again?

That question will be explored Friday morning at a special town hall meeting hosted by the University of Michigan School of Engineering and Michigan Radio. It’s called "Finding Michigan’s Mojo."

Panelist Jeff DeGraff is a clinical professor of business administration at the U of M Ross School of Business. He’s also creator of the Innovatrium. 

Panelist Dug Song is founder of the Ann Arbor-based Duo Security.

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Stateside
7:18 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

Pro-marijuana proposals on the ballot in 11 Michigan cities

Credit USFWS

On Nov. 4, voters in 11 Michigan cities will consider legalizing small amounts of marijuana. That’s the largest number of municipalities to ever consider the question in a single election in the state. As Michigan Public Radio’s Jake Neher reports, marijuana advocates think they can win all of them.

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Stateside
6:58 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

Dems hope Obama's Michigan visit will encourage better voter turnout

Credit YouTube

President Obama will be in Michigan Saturday to campaign for Democratic candidates Mark Schauer and Gary Peters. 

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Stateside
6:36 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

The Verve Pipe gets dark again in new album

Brian Vander Ark
Credit Matt Hallowell / Flickr

 

 

Nearly two decades ago, the Verve Pipe's big hit "The Freshman" swept radio stations across the country. Now the band is out with a new album and will soon play concerts in Michigan. Stateside’s Emily Fox sat down with The Verve Pipe’s lead singer, Brian Vander Ark, to talk about how the band has rebranded itself over the years.

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Stateside
6:01 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

"Finding Home" examines Michigan's foster care system

Sue and Michael Kley adopted three siblings out of foster care. The whole Kley family is pictured here on Adoption Day.
Credit The Kley Family

 

More than 13,000 children in Michigan are in foster care in a given year. State of Opportunity's Jennifer Guerra will look into their lives in a special documentary, "Finding Home," which airs Thursday at 3 p.m. on Michigan Radio.

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Politics & Government
5:46 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

MI GOP looks to energize conservatives ahead of election with Rand Paul visit

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., speaks in front of GOP supporters and volunteers on Wednesday in Livonia.

The Michigan Republican Party is trying to energize its conservative base ahead of next week’s election. On Wednesday, Republicans brought in U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., to speak with GOP supporters and volunteers in and around Detroit.

During a rally in Livonia, Paul reiterated his belief that conservative principles would turn the city around.

“You want to help Detroit? You want Detroit to grow and be a great and proud city again like it once was? Leave more money in Detroit. It’s as simple as that. Don’t send it to Washington,” he said.

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Health
5:41 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

Hospitals prep for possibility of Ebola as state monitors 10 who’ve traveled from West Africa

The state Department of Community Health says it’s monitoring 10 people in Michigan to see if they develop Ebola symptoms after they returned to the U.S. from west Africa. But health officials say none of them is  displaying any symptoms to suggest they might have contracted the Ebola virus on their travels.

Jennifer Smith of the Michigan Department of Community Health says instances of similar symptoms in Michigan patients have all turned out to be something else.

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Health
5:38 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

Nearly a third of Michigan hospitals get A's in patient safety, but some problems persist

Bed sores, drug mix-ups, operating room mistakes: “All things that never should happen in a hospital, but we know unfortunately that they do," says Erica Mobley, of the Leap Frog Group
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A new report finds patient safety varies widely across Michigan.

A Washington D.C.-based group looked at how hospitals across the U.S. handled problems like mistakes in the operating room, drug mix-ups and bed sores.

23 of 79 Michigan hospitals surveyed in the report earned an “A” grade in patient safety.  A half-dozen Michigan hospitals received D’s.  No Michigan hospital received an “F” for patient safety.

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Environment & Science
5:38 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

MSU and Detroit analyze tiny bacteria to investigate murders

Eric Benbow looks at the tiny bacteria on our bodies to see how long a body has been dead, and maybe even where it's been.
Credit Michigan State University / http://msutoday.msu.edu/news/2014/msu-partners-with-detroit-to-investigate-death-scenes/

It sounds like "CSI" meets "Bones." 

The Wayne County Medical Examiner is sending swab samples from dead bodies to Michigan State University researchers.

They're going to run a new kind of analysis in hopes of determining when someone died, whether they touched a weapon, and possibly even where they've been. 

What they’re looking at are the teeny-tiny things that live on our bodies: microbes.

You can’t see them with the naked eye, but we all have bacteria, fungi, and even tiny worms that live on our bodies and form their own ecosystems.

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Families & Community
3:16 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

3 things a funeral director has learned about life and death

You could say Mary Vick Spaulding has spent her entire life in the death industry.

Her father, Harold, was a funeral director in Mount Clemens and he began teaching her the trade when she was in first grade. Back then they would spend time together in the embalming room as he began showing her the ropes. Spaulding says death has been something that’s been normal to her for her entire life.

Spaulding became a licensed funeral director 38 years ago, and for 25 years she worked alongside her father. He died in 2001 and these days she manages the family business, the Harold W. Vick Funeral Home.

I asked her to share what she knows about life and death that the rest of us might not know. Here’s what she said:

Anatomy is beautiful.

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Politics & Government
2:28 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

Grand Rapids voters to decide on term limits for mayor, city commission

Grand Rapids City Hall
Credit Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Voters in Michigan’s second-largest city will decide whether to establish term limits for the mayor and city commission next Tuesday.

The proposed change to the city’s charter would limit commissioners and mayors to eight years in office. Commissioners would be able to serve for eight years if elected mayor.

Opponents of term limits say there’s no need for them because voters can kick people out of office by not re-electing them.

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