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3:53 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

Ann Arbor Public Schools to annex Whitmore Lake schools? Voters to decide in November

Credit User: Enokson / flick

The school boards in Ann Arbor and nearby Whitmore Lake have voted to pursue Ann Arbor Public Schools' annexation of the much smaller school district to the north of the city.

Over the past few years, Whitmore Lake Public Schools has suffered steep enrollment drops as the community's population declined – and the district is moving grades out of its middle school building this fall to balance its budget.

Voters will decide the question in November. A "yes" vote in both communities would result in annexation next July.

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Arts & Culture
12:31 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

Shout it out loud! Simmons tells AP movie about KISS '75 visit to Cadillac is a go

The KISS tour comes to Michigan this summer
Credit Anirudh Koul / Flickr's Creative Commons

KISS bass player and noted "God of Thunder" Gene Simmons says a film about his band's visit to Cadillac, MI in 1975 is now fully funded and in pre-production. 

Talk about "Cadillac Dreams!"  

According to Cadillac High School's then assistant football coach, Jim Neff, the town's team was using KISS' music to motivate their players in what went on to become a spectacular winning season. 

The film was reportedly offered $8.2 million in incentives from the Michigan Film Office back in 2012. 

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The Environment Report
12:11 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

Making the Great Lakes safer for swimming, fishing and drinking the water

Apostle Island National Park on Lake Superior. The International Joint Commission's Health Professionals Advisory Board wants to examine contaminants at beaches among other indicators of the overall health of the Great Lakes.
User: carol mitchell Flickr

The Environment Report for July 31, 2014

Just in case the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement isn’t on your summer reading list, here’s the gist of it:

It’s an agreement between the U.S. and Canada. One of the goals of that agreement is to make the Great Lakes more swimmable, fishable and drinkable.

The International Joint Commission is an independent bi-national organization. It gives advice to the U.S. and Canada on meeting those goals, among other things. The IJC has a Health Professionals Advisory Board, and the board’s come out with a report proposing five ways to measure risks to our health from contaminants and other hazards in the Great Lakes.

The advisory board is proposing these indicators:

  • The chemical integrity of source water
  • Biological hazards of source water
  • Illness risk at Great Lakes beaches
  • Identified risks at Great Lakes beaches
  • Contaminant levels in fish

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Politics & Government
11:58 am
Thu July 31, 2014

Best Michigan representatives money can buy?

Imagine that you are a CEO and you are looking to hire somebody for a temporary, two-year position that pays $174,000 a year, and may include access to highly sensitive information.

Somebody steps up and announces he will pay more than $3 million, most of it out of his own pocket, to be considered for this job.  Would you be suspicious?

Let’s say you also needed to hire someone for a lower-ranking position, one which will have little power, and which will pay less than $72,000. A woman who could easily make more than that elsewhere borrows money, hits up friends, and spends more than $200,000 in an attempt to be a finalist for the position.

Would you say something is wrong here?

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Politics & Government
10:27 am
Thu July 31, 2014

Democratic primary will decide who goes to Congress in Metro Detroit's 14th district

In our political system, sometimes the primary election is the election.

That’s the case in Metro Detroit’s 14th Congressional district, where the winner of the Democratic primary is virtually guaranteed a win November.

There are three major candidates in this year’s primary, making for a pretty competitive race in a very strange district.

A “geographical monstrosity”

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Awards
10:15 am
Thu July 31, 2014

Michigan Radio Wins National Clarion Award

Michigan Radio has won a national Clarion Award from The Association for Women in Communications for the news series “Shooting in Muskegon shed light on hero, and problems.” The series, which originally aired in August 2013, won a Clarion Award in the category of Best Radio Documentary Series.

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Stateside
9:34 am
Thu July 31, 2014

Mackinac Island was site of a major battle 200 years ago

Fort Mackinac during the War of 1812
Credit User: PhilFree / Wikimedia Commons

The War of 1812 is famous for the Star Spangled Banner, Admiral Perry’s "We have met the enemy and they are ours.” But, really, not a lot of people know much about that war. Michigan and the Great Lakes were key battle sites between the fledgling United States and the British. The River Raisin near Monroe, Michigan was site of a major battle.

And August 4th marks the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Mackinac Island.

Craig Wilson is the Museum Historian for the Mackinac State Historic Parks. He joined us to talk about why Mackinac was an important strategic site worth fighting for during the war.

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Politics & Government
6:18 am
Thu July 31, 2014

Truth Squad calls "flagrant foul" in 3rd District race

Screen capture of the Ellis TV ad. Truth Squad called a "flagrant foul" on the ad.

Bridge magazine’s Truth Squad has been reviewing political ads in Michigan’s 3rd Congressional District's Republican primary campaigns.

The Third Congressional district stretches from north of Grand Rapids to south of Battle Creek. The incumbent is Justin Amash, a libertarian and Tea Party favorite. He’s being challenged in the Republican Primary by Brian Ellis, who has backing from many business leaders and the Michigan Chamber of Commerce.

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Education
10:07 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

Flint schools' deficit plan relies on retaining students

The Flint school district has seen a sharp decline in student enrollment for years. The district's deficit elimination plan relies on stabilizing enrollment.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Flint school board last night approved a plan to eliminate its $20.4 million deficit.  

But the plan relies on the district being able to do something it has struggled to do:  retain students.

The Flint school district delivers its revised deficit elimination plan to the state Department of Education tomorrow.  The plan calls for zeroing out a $20.4 million deficit by the end of 2021.    

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Stateside
9:24 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

What's your biggest failure behind success? Charlie Wollborg shares his on Failure: Lab

Charlie Wollborg
Credit User: beckyjohns7 / Flickr

 

Failure:Lab is a program that showcases personal stories of failure. It's been happening in Michigan and is spreading outside the state.

The events are designed to share stories we normally keep hidden, connect us with others and give us a chance to learn from the mistakes of others.

On this stage, Charlie Wollborg shared some of his struggles behind the success he's had.

His bio from the website: 

Charlie Wollborg is a Marketing Strategist and Creative Director at Curve Detroit. He’s a speaker, innovator, and one of the main instigators behind TEDx Detroit. He is an educator and grower of brands and businesses.

This is the story that Wollborg shared at Failure:Lab Detroit on November 21, 2013 at the Detroit Opera House.

Stateside
9:22 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

Real Madrid takes on Manchester United in the Big House this weekend

Real Madrid and Manchester United playing in a Corazon Classic Match back in 2012.
Credit User: Never House / Flickr

This year, we’ve heard more about soccer than ever in the U.S. More than 26 million people in the U.S. watched the World Cup in Brazil. And we are just about to get hit with more soccer here in Michigan.

Two of the biggest teams in professional soccer are going to be playing at the football stadium at the University of Michigan. Manchester United and Real Madrid will be playing on Aug. 2 in Ann Arbor.

Andy Markovits joined us today. He teaches political science at the University of Michigan and has written widely about soccer.

Markovits believes this game will set an attendance record for a soccer match in the U.S.

“I’m expecting a packed stadium.”

Despite the fact that the two teams are playing for commercial reasons, Markovits said the event would give the University of Michigan “a global forum that is second to none.”

“These two different cultures, different languages meeting in one ground… I'm ecstatic to see it in my lifetime,” Markovits said.

* Listen to the interview with Andy Markovits above.

Stateside
9:19 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

A conversation with new NPR president Jarl Mohn

Jarl Mohn (left) and Lester Graham in studio at Michigan Radio
Credit Zoe Clark / Michigan Radio

NPR’s new president Jarl Mohn visited Michigan Radio this week. He joined us on the show.

Before NPR, Mohn managed MTV, VH1, E! Entertainment Television and several other media outlets.

Mohn said public radio had done a great job building an audience, but he is hoping to turn that into a solid business model.

Mohn worked as a radio disc jockey during the first 19 years of his career. He said his previous work with a public radio station rekindled his love for radio.

“This is the only thing on the planet that I would have gone back to work for,” Mohn said.

* Listen to our conversation with Jarl Mohn above.

Stateside
9:16 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

Auto business is booming, but report warns of next industry downfall

Auto sales are booming, but don't expect this to be a continuous growth period.
Credit Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

When the economy in Michigan is hurting, you always hear politicians talking about diversifying the economy.

But when the auto industry is doing better and the economy in Michigan is riding along with it, that talk seems to disappear.

Well, not this time. Rick Haglund recently wrote about a report that indicates the auto industry might be hitting the brakes.

Haglund joined us today. He’s a freelance journalist and contributor to Bridge Magazine, MLive and others. Michigan Radio's auto reporter, Tracy Samilton, also joined us on the show.

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Education
8:13 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

100+ show up to give input on new standardized test

A public hearing on new standardized tests drew a standing room only crowd Wednesday in Lansing.
Credit Jake Neher / MPRN

Michigan education officials are in the process of finding a new standardized test … again.

More than a hundred people were in Lansing Wednesday to tell the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) what they want out of a new assessment.

MDE had already chosen the Smarter Balanced assessment three years ago. But many lawmakers were not happy with that test because it’s aligned with the controversial Common Core school standards.

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Politics & Government
6:30 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

Snyder, Canadian officials: "Let's get a bridge going"

Gov. Rick Snyder and Canadian officials have vowed to forge ahead with plans to build a new bridge connecting Detroit and Windsor.

Snyder and Canada’s Transport Minister, Lisa Raitt, announced appointments to the International Bridge Authority in Windsor on Wednesday.

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Transportation
3:39 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

New technology at Detroit Metro Airport to reduce travelers' wait times

Credit J. Miguel Rodriguez / Flickr

International travelers may soon experience shorter wait times at Detroit Metropolitan Airport.

New technology at the airport aims to make the U.S. customs process a little easier.

Thirty new Automated Passport Control kiosks will allow travelers to enter their information at computers, instead of filling out declaration cards.

Kris Grogan is with U.S. Customs and Border Protection. He says the new system will help the agency's officers be more effective at their jobs.

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Politics & Government
1:28 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

Detroit water dept: Our mistake was being "naive" about furor

Credit Michigan Green Party / Facebook

"Saying you work for the (Detroit Water and Sewerage) department these days is a bit like professing you molest children," wrote reporter Peter Rugh in his recent Vice article, "Who bled Detroit dry?"

OK, that's a tad much. 

But there's certainly a besieged feeling in the city's water department building these days.

For instance, getting into last week's Board of Water Commissioner's meeting, as a reporter, involved three security officers and approval from multiple public relations staff.

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Stateside
11:54 am
Wed July 30, 2014

Understanding Michigan's Proposal 1

The Michigan primary election is on Aug. 5, and one of the things you’ll be looking at is Proposal 1. It asks voters to approve a tax policy change, but the proposal is very confusing.

To help us clear this up a little, Bob Schneider joined us today. Schneider is with the Citizens Research Council of Michigan. The organization is a nonpartisan non-profit group that objectively analyzes policy issues like Proposal 1.

*Listen to the full interview above.

Politics & Government
11:12 am
Wed July 30, 2014

Dirty tricks on Michigan campaign trail get less entertaining, more depressing

“One person can make a difference,” President Kennedy used to say, “and everyone should try.”  That was the spirit that inspired a lot of people to get into politics, once upon a time.

Well, there are still idealists out there trying to make a difference, and there have been no-goodniks running for office since George Washington’s day.

But in the final days before Michigan’s statewide primary, two things have depressed me about this year’s campaign.

One is the amount of money involved, and I’ll talk about that later. But the other is the below the belt tactics.

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10:41 am
Wed July 30, 2014

Violence is everywhere, and these young people in Flint have had enough.

Lead in text: 
Crime is down in Flint, but the city has still seen more than 800 violent crimes since the beginning of the year. State of Opportunity has the story of two young people trying to deal with the effects of all that violence, and the mentors trying to help them.
The Haskell Youth Center is on the front lines of violence prevention in Flint. They don't use a complicated formula; there are just plenty of positive activities and positive adults. On any given day there are about 200 kids spread throughout the game room, the cafeteria, and a gym where the basketball games never seem to stop.

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