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Arts & Culture
5:30 pm
Tue September 23, 2014

Using creative thinking to build community connections

The Alley Project
Credit The Alley Project - TAP / Facebook

You want to build a stronger community. You have limited money. However, there's untapped potential in the people around you. How do you leverage that potential and take advantage of the unique qualities of your community to create positive change?

The Alley Project, or TAP, in Southwest Detroit found a way to do just that. I spoke with Erik Howard, one of the founders of TAP. Here's our conversation:

You can see images from The Alley Project by visiting their Facebook page.

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Transportation
4:47 pm
Tue September 23, 2014

Detroit receives $26 million to fix bus system

The Rosa Parks Transit Center is one of many bus stops in Detroit.
Credit Dwight Burdette / Wikimedia Commons

The U.S. Department of Transportation is awarding the city of Detroit $26 million to buy 50 new buses. 

Long wait times and broken-down buses have been a problem in the city, as it's struggled to keep its aging fleet in working order. 

"Like any good triage, you've got to tackle the biggest things first," Megan Owens said. Owens is executive director of Transportation Riders United, a non-profit that aims to improve public transportation in downtown Detroit. "The biggest things are having enough working buses, and having enough people to drive them." 

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Weather
4:45 pm
Tue September 23, 2014

For 10 days straight, we're going to have great weather

Finally. After a soggy summer, we're getting 10 days straight of gorgeous fall weather and colors.
Credit user hyperboreal / Flickr

If you're not sure how long it's been since we've had 10 days in a row of gorgeous, sunny warm weather, MLive meterologist Mark Torregrossa has figured it out for you: four years.

Torregrossa was a guest on "Stateside with Cynthia Canty" today to talk about the gorgeous fall weather we're going to have.

He says this next stretch will see cooler mornings, with temperatures in the 40-50 degree range, with afternoons warming up into the 70s. 

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Families & Community
4:42 pm
Tue September 23, 2014

Science says "happy wife, happy life" is true

How wives feel about their marriage has a direct impact on how husbands feel about their overall lives. Sorry guys: It doesn't work the other way around.
Credit Flickr Creative Commons / No known copyright

Listen up, husbands.

It turns out the way your wife feels about your marriage is a pretty good indicator of how you’ll feel about life in general.

If she’s happy, you’re happy.

If she’s not, good luck.

Those are the findings of a new study from both Rutgers and University of Michigan sociologists.

“There’s a lot of research showing one of the biggest predictors of happiness is actually being happily married,” says Deborah Carr, professor of sociology at Rutgers University.

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Stateside
4:20 pm
Tue September 23, 2014

Cool, wet weather leads to a bumper crop for Michigan's mushroom hunters

The Michigan Mushroom Hunters Club "Mushroom of the Month" - the Boletus variipes.
MMHC

There may be folks grumbling about the cool, wet end of summer we've had, but not the “shroomers.”

Mushroom hunters are having a blast with a bumper crop of wild mushrooms.

Philip Tedeschi is president of the Michigan Mushroom Hunters Club.

"Fall has been starting out very good. This summer, the chanterelles and black trumpets and some of my favorite mushrooms come up then," said Tedeschi.

"Right now, the hen of the woods are starting. Hen of the woods is a mushroom that averages about three pounds. The ones I pick are typically one to five pounds. In our club, someone brought in a 42-pounder."

Tedeschi says the record for this mushroom weighs in at more than 100 pounds, from Pennsylvania.

Mushrooms love wet, cool weather.

“Mushrooms are even higher percentage water than animals. They need the water to grow. (In) a dry year we won’t see very many mushrooms at all,” he said.

*Listen to our interview with Tedeschi above.

Law
3:38 pm
Tue September 23, 2014

Second day of testimony on Detroit water shutoffs; judge will rule on moratorium Monday

Judge Steven Rhodes said he'll rule next Monday whether to put a temporary halt to Detroit's controversial water shutoffs.

Witness testimony continued in federal bankruptcy court Tuesday with hearings to determine the fate of that policy.

A coalition of Detroit residents and advocacy groups filed a lawsuit challenging the city’s controversial shutoff policy on constitutional and civil rights grounds.

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Economy
2:51 pm
Tue September 23, 2014

Detroit hires company to reappraise real estate

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

DETROIT - A Plano, Texas, company has been hired to give Detroit a clear picture of how much individual properties in the city are worth.

Tyler Technologies Inc. says its appraisal arm will compile data on real property in the city. It says Detroit has not completed a full reappraisal of real property in more than 50 years.

A spokesman for emergency manager Kevyn Orr says Tyler's CLT Appraisal Services unit will give the city a "more accurate assessment of property values." Bill Nowling says the city will use it to "create more accurate property tax bills."

Mayor Mike Duggan said earlier this year that the city would lower property tax bills by reassessing home values. He says high, unrealistic property assessments have angered city residents and forced many from their homes.

Opinion
12:11 pm
Tue September 23, 2014

Michigan is a disgrace when it comes to child care

Yesterday, the Michigan League for Public Policy held a press conference to announce that our state is a disgrace when it comes to child care.

They didn’t say it that way, but I will.

What the nonpartisan league actually said was:

“Michigan’s child care program falls far short in ensuring high-quality child care.”

We are living in an age when more parents than ever need to work, and our politicians demand they work. And we are making it harder and harder for them to do so.

Over the last 10 years, Michigan has cut 70% of the funding for subsidized child care.

Back in 2005, before the Great Recession, 65,000 low-income parents got child care help from the state so that they could keep working.

Many more are in trouble now, but we only help a third as many.

Forget human compassion; from purely a business standpoint, this makes no sense.

To quote the league:

“Access to safe, stable and high-quality child care reduces employee absenteeism and turnover and improves businesses’ bottom line.”

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Education
11:00 am
Tue September 23, 2014

Benton Harbor school board to vote on consent agreement

Monday, the state Treasury department announced that an agreement has been crafted that will “restore financial stability to Benton Harbor Area Schools as quickly and efficiently as possible.”
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Benton Harbor Board of Education may take a step this evening toward getting its financial house in order. 

Benton Harbor Area Schools faces a $15 million deficit.

Last month, a state panel determined the school district is in a "financial emergency."

Monday, the state Treasury department announced that an agreement has been crafted that will “restore financial stability to Benton Harbor Area Schools as quickly and efficiently as possible.”

As part of the agreement, a consultant will assist district leaders in implementing the plan.

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The Environment Report
10:27 am
Tue September 23, 2014

Report says milder winters in U.P. are affecting forests

A trail to Rainbow Falls along the Black River Scenic Byway in the Western U.P. Winters in the U.P. are changing, and that means conditions are becoming better for some species and worse for others.
Credit user:yooperann / Flickr

The U.S. Forest Service has put out a report on how our warming climate is affecting forests in the U.P.

Stephen Handler is a climate change specialist with the Forest Service. He says, over the past several decades, we’ve been getting more extreme rainstorms in the region.

“So, more rain of two inches at a time, three inches at a time; and we’re seeing our winters, which is our characteristic climatic feature, shrinking, so, getting shorter and getting more variable, or getting less consistent snowpack,” he says.

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The Environment Report
8:50 am
Tue September 23, 2014

Honeybees collaborate with Kalamazoo artist on ArtPrize exhibit

A wood engraving of a honeybee, by Ladislav Hanka. Honeycomb was placed by the honeybees themselves.
Rebecca Williams Michigan Radio

The ArtPrize competition opens tomorrow in Grand Rapids. One of the exhibits will have live animals roaming all over the artwork.

Inter-species collaboration

There are a bunch of bees on West Fulton Street in Grand Rapids. People slow down to stare at the guy opening up the beehive. His name is Ladislav Hanka.

Hanka’s been an artist for several decades. He became a beekeeper four years ago when a friend put a box of bees on his kitchen table.

“The bees just awakened in me the need to be more involved. I don’t make my living from beekeeping and I don’t have to, thank goodness, because it looks like beekeeping is in such an eclipse now that there’s a question of whether there will be any pollinators left in the next few years for the crops,” he says.

He brought the bees to install in his exhibit in the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts.  The museum’s theme for ArtPrize is collaboration.  Ladislav Hanka is crossing the species barrier with that theme.

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Investigative
7:00 am
Tue September 23, 2014

Truth Squad rules "flagrant foul" on teachers' union ad, warns Snyder campaign

Kids hold cardboard signs asking for money for schools while rich CEOs puffing on cigars, drinking champagne, and laughing drive by in a limo in this online ad from the MEA.

The Truth Squad at Bridge magazine has had a busy summer looking at ads in the race for governor. The close race between Republican Rick Snyder and Democratic challenger Mark Schauer has meant many ads on TV and online. Some are just not true. Others are slightly misleading. We went over a couple of them with the Truth Squad’s editor.

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Politics & Government
2:59 am
Tue September 23, 2014

Former President Carter backs U.S. airstrikes on ISIS in Iraq, but not Syria

Former President Jimmy Carter supports U.S. air strikes in Iraq, but he doubts similar attacks on ISIS in Syria would be effective.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Former President Jimmy Carter told a Grand Rapids audience Monday that he supports U.S. military air strikes against Islamic extremists in Iraq, though he’s less supportive of similar air strikes in Syria.

The U.S. launched air strikes against ISIS in Syria last night.   This follows a series of air strikes against military targets in northern Iraq.  

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Politics & Government
5:24 pm
Mon September 22, 2014

Michigan governor, legislators exempt from FOIA requests

Credit Thetoad / Flickr

Michigan's Freedom of Information Act regulates the disclosure of public records by all public bodies in the state.

But the governor, the lieutenant governor, state legislators and their employees are all exempt from the FOIA law.

The only other state to exempt the governor's office from FOIA requests is Massachusetts. 

Paul Egan is with the Detroit Free Press Lansing Bureau. He looked at Michigan's public records laws in Sunday's Free Press.

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Politics & Government
5:01 pm
Mon September 22, 2014

Lt. Gov. Calley says he’ll push for better employment for disabled people

Lt. Gov. Brian Calley joined advocates at the state Capitol on Monday to unveil a report that shows many Michiganders with disabilities lack decent job opportunities.
Credit Jake Neher / MPRN

Lt. Gov. Brian Calley says the state needs to do more to help people with disabilities get good jobs.

A new report released on Monday shows many Michiganders with disabilities are all but forced into menial jobs, some of which pay less than the minimum wage. That is legal if an employer gets a waiver from the federal government, and advocates say only Washington can change that practice.

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Stateside
4:56 pm
Mon September 22, 2014

Classic rock born in Michigan almost 30 years ago

Credit mconnors / morgueFile

Is there anyone who hasn't scanned the radio dial on a long road trip and endured noisy static,  angry talk shows, and music that disappoints  in a desperate search for a classic rock station?

But who knew the classic rock concept was born in Michigan almost 30 years ago?

Fred Jacobs, an Oakland County-based radio consultant, was part of that birth in 1985. He said WMMQ in Charlotte, Michigan, was the first classic rock station, and the format quickly spread across the country.

Jacobs said he was inspired by complaints from listeners who couldn't find the music they had grown up with and loved. 

Jacobs said classic rock is not the same as "golden oldies." It is about the golden age of rock – music people will still be listening to in 100 years. 

Jacobs said classic rock started with music from the 60s and 70s and musicians like the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Who, and Eric Clapton. 

But he said it's all about the music of your youth that you never get tired of hearing.  And as generations move on, classic rock has added 80s and even more recent music to its roster.

Transportation
2:03 pm
Mon September 22, 2014

Report calls I-94 expansion plan a "highway boondoggle"

A map of the proposed I-94 expansion project
Credit MDOT

A report from the U.S. Public Interest Research Group cites a plan to widen I-94 through the heart of Detroit as one of 11 “highway boondoggles” nationwide.

The planned “mega-project” will add a lane in either direction from midtown Detroit through the city’s east side. It will also connect service drives, widen shoulders and rebuild some bridges along that stretch of the highway.

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Environment & Science
11:44 am
Mon September 22, 2014

Enbridge completes work on final stretch of replacement oil pipeline

Part of the new line 6B pipeline in central Michigan.
Mark Brush Michigan Radio

Enbridge Energy has finished laying its new oil pipeline across Michigan as part of its $1.3 billion pipeline replacement project.

Much of the new pipeline was put in the ground near the old pipeline. That old line broke in 2010, spilling more than 800,000 gallons of heavy tar sands crude oil into Talmadge Creek and the Kalamazoo River. The company is just finishing cleanup work four years after that spill.

The company finished laying the new section of pipeline in St. Clair County and is taking the old Line 6B pipeline offline there.

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Arts & Culture
11:25 am
Mon September 22, 2014

How this Ann Arbor band got $20,000 from Spotify by releasing silent album

Credit Vulfpeck

We’ve heard it before. The music industry is changing.

But the band Vulfpeck is challenging the music industry with silence.

Vulfpeck is a funk band that got its start at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

They are in the middle of a cross-country tour.

They aren’t charging admission, they aren’t paying out of pocket.

Their tour is completely funded from an album they put up on the online music steaming service Spotify – an album that was completely silent.

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Opinion
11:17 am
Mon September 22, 2014

Who is Mark Schauer, really?

We can say two things about the race for governor today: Mark Schauer and Rick Snyder are essentially tied in the polls. And it looks like we may not have a single televised debate.

The last time that happened was 16 years ago, when John Engler refused to debate Geoffrey Fieger. There was a certain logic to that.

Fieger was going around saying that the governor was a “corn-fed bowser,” and declared he would not accept that Engler was the father of his triplets unless they had corkscrew tails.

That was not a normal campaign. But this one is, and the voters have a lot at stake. This time, the challenger wants debates and the incumbent doesn’t.

Conventional wisdom says that’s because the governor doesn’t want to make it seem like his opponent is his equal, or because it is always harder to defend a record than attack one.

That may be. But it is also possible that Republicans are wasting a golden opportunity to put the challenger on the defensive. Here’s why.

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