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The coal-burning Presque Isle Power Plant in Marquette, Michigan is being kept afloat by ratepayers in the Upper Peninsula and Wisconsin.
WE Energies

In his State of the State address this week, Governor Snyder said we need a long-term energy policy.

“It needs to be an adaptable policy, because of the lack of federal policy and the challenges of a global marketplace," he said. "We need to focus on important things such as eliminating energy waste, and the conversion from coal to natural gas—an asset of the state of Michigan—and renewables."

User: Sean_Marshall / Flickr

Developers say they will turn the Wurlitzer building and the Professional Plaza building into a hotel and apartment complex, respectively. 

Detroit's historic Wurlitzer building was deemed one of the city's 'most dangerous structures' because it's been raining bricks onto neighboring buildings, such as 1515 Broadway Cafe. Comically, the cafe responded with a sign that reads 'Free coffee with purchase of Wurlitzer Building'. 

Did you know that in Michigan it is against the law to try to get people to dance to the Star-Spangled Banner?

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Fewer and fewer Michigan homeowners are seriously underwater on their mortgages. 

Realty Trac reports 10% of Michigan homeowners owe at least 25% more on their mortgages than their homes are worth.   

The percentage of Michigan homeowners seriously underwater on their mortgages has been declining steadily since the Great Recession. 

Metro Detroit has any number of problems, but finding affordable housing isn’t one of them.

In fact—by one measure at least—the region offers some of the most affordable housing anywhere in the world.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint officials tried again last night to convince city residents their tap water is safe to drink. 

Most of the people at the meeting left with doubts.

FLICKR USER TARAN RAMPERSAD / FLICKR

A team of researchers from the University of Michigan and the University of Washington believes that Beethoven’s music came from his heart – literally. The team is proposing an intriguing theory: that Beethoven’s masterful compositions were influenced by his cardiac arrhythmia.

Dr. Joel Howell is a professor of internal medicine at the University of Michigan School of Medicine, a medical historian and a member of the team that has developed this theory.

The team also includes Zachary Goldberger, a cardiologist at the University of Washington School of Medicine, and Robert Johnson, a musicologist specializing in Beethoven from the University of Michigan’s School of Music, Theatre & Dance.

Today on Stateside:

  • U.S. Reps. Dan Kildee and Mike Bishop discuss their reaction to the State of the Union address last night.
  • Craig Thiel, the Senior Research Associate with the Citizens Research Council, talks about the council’s new report, which spotlights shrinking school enrollment, and offers solutions.
  • Dr. Joel Howell talks about his team’s new theory:  Beethoven’s music was influenced by his cardiac arrhythmia.
  • Rick Pluta of Michigan Public Radio Network and our own Zoe Clark of Michigan Radio report on the State of the Union address last night.
Gov. Rick Snyder

Gov. Rick Snyder says he has faith the public will approve a May ballot proposal to boost road funding. That’s despite a recent study from a Michigan State University researcher that said the measure might already be in trouble.

The proposal would raise the state’s sales tax from six percent to seven percent. It would increase funding for roads, schools, and local governments.

Gov. Rick Snyder

Gov. Rick Snyder is following up his State of the State address on Tuesday by continuing to promote skilled trades. In the speech, Snyder highlighted skilled trades as a way to boost employment, education, and Michigan’s economy during.

The governor visited a mold and die plant in Lansing the morning after the speech to highlight programs that train skilled workers.

“They’re not jobs that go away easily,” Snyder told reporters at the event. “If you think about huge capital equipment, you need well-trained, really good people running that equipment.”

wikipedia

Michigan agriculture producers say it's time to lift the trade embargo against Cuba.

They say Cuba is an untapped market for Michigan's black beans, fruits, milk and other products.

Dave Armstrong is CEO of GreenStone Farm Credit.

"Foreign competitors like Canada, Brazil, the European Union and Argentina – which don't have such restrictions – are taking U.S. and Michigan market share," says Dave Armstrong, CEO of Greenstone Farm Credit.

Jim Byrum is President of the Michigan Agri-Business Association.

Wikipedia

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has reached an agreement with the auto industry to phase out most copper from brake pads by the year 2025.

The agreement follows in the wake of California's adoption of the regulation, which is designed to protect salmon and other fish, along with aquatic plants, from the toxic effects of copper.

Every time a driver hits the brakes, the friction rubs off part of the brake pad. The fine dust of copper and other toxic materials on roadways is flushed into nearby waterways.

Morguefile

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development is asking lawmakers to boost inspection fees for its food safety program over the next three years.

"Our ability to spend the quality time needed with Michigan's food businesses is hindered without an additional investment in food safety," said Jennifer Holton, spokesperson for the department. "And that's what we're asking for."

Holton said the fees have not changed in 15 years, while the department needs more inspectors to keep up with changes in the food industry.

FLICKR USER STEVEN DEPOLO / FLICKR

One of the most challenging issues facing the new state Legislature is school finance.

The Citizens Research Council recently released a report spotlighting shrinking school enrollment and the associated financial difficulties for districts. The report offers suggestions about how Lansing could support these struggling districts.

Craig Thiel, senior research associate with the Citizens Research Council, joined us today. He says the last time school enrollment was close to what it is now was the late 1950s.

It’s one of the most anticipated books of 2015. It will keep you up way past your bedtime. And it was written in Ann Arbor coffee shops by University of Michigan MFA grad Rebecca Scherm, in between the freshmen writing classes she teaches at the university.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

The new Detroit Federation of Teachers’ President says it’s time for the union to “draw a line in the sand.”

Steve Conn was just elected to lead the union of nearly 4,000 Detroit Public Schools teachers.

He took the oath of office Tuesday, vowing to take a hard line against Gov. Snyder, the district’s new emergency manager, Darnell Earley — and the years of state-led intervention Conn says have devastated the district.

Two Speeches

Jan 21, 2015

I was fascinated last night by the contrast between Governor Snyder’s State of the State Speech and President Obama’s State of the Union Speech. Think about this.

Two middle-aged guys, one fifty-six; the other fifty-three, both wearing dark suits and blue ties, speaking two hours apart. One black, one white; one Republican, one Democrat.

A majority of us in Michigan voted for both of them twice, even though polls show most of us don’t think either is doing an especially good job.

Ivan Lisenkov / Wikimedia Commons

Beginning in April, work on the Blue Water Bridge will temporarily cut the number of lanes on the international crossing in half.

State of Michigan

Governor Rick Snyder took a swipe at Washington tonight (Tue.) in his State of the State speech -- and said Lansing could serve as an example to the federal government on how to solve problems. But the governor had to spend a portion of his own speech dwelling on some things he wanted to fix last year that didn’t get done.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s mayor says the governor has some responsibility to ensure that Flint residents have “clean, safe and affordable water.”

Mayor Dayne Walling sent a letter to the governor this week.   

via detroitmi.gov

Troubles with a new regional water system, uncertainty about roads and mass transit, and ongoing budget difficulties—all were topics among Detroit’s “Big Four” leaders Tuesday.

The Big Four includes the heads of Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties, along with Detroit’s mayor. In recent years, they’ve met held an annual public meet-up to discuss regional cooperation and other issues in southeast Michigan.

GsGeorge / WIKIMEDIA Commons

Ann Arbor's Downtown Development Authority may start an ambassadors program, similar to the one now in place in Grand Rapids.

City ambassadors can perform a wide range of services – from directing tourists to landmarks, to opening doors for people at large events, to handing out umbrellas to visitors on rainy days.

Susan Pollay is Director of the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority.  She says if such a program starts in Ann Arbor, it would be "multi-faceted."

It's Just Politics Logo
It's Just Politics with Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta

Governor Snyder delivers his fifth State of the State address tonight and co-hosts of It's Just Politics,  Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta, are in Lansing preparing to cover the speech. They gave us a preview of what might be addressed tonight.

University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children's Hospital

The cost of school sports is keeping many kids off the field, according to the latest poll by the University of Michigan Mott Children's Hospital. 

The poll asked parents of children 12-17 years old across the nation how they felt about participation fees for sports. 

A handful of Detroit-based civic-building projects will receive grants totaling $10 million from the Ford Foundation this year.

The New York-based global charity, which has its roots with the Ford Motor Company in Dearborn, has upped its philanthropic role in Detroit since the city’s bankruptcy.

A sunset in Havana.
José Eduardo Deboni / Flickr

The United States took a major step toward establishing relations with Cuba after a deep freeze that has lasted over half a century.

A congressional delegation met yesterday with Cuban officials in Havana. Among the delegation was Michigan's senior senator, Debbie Stabenow, D-MI.

A wind turbine in the Garden Wind Farm in the Upper Peninsula.
Garden Wind Farm Project

GARDEN, Mich. - Eleven people who live near the first wind farm in Michigan's Upper Peninsula say the whir of turbines has reduced property values, diminished their sleep and put birds at risk.

They filed a lawsuit last week in federal court against Heritage Sustainable Energy and the U.S. government, seeking to block expansion and require more study on the impacts.

The 2015 Ford Mustang.
Ford Motor Company

The Ford Mustang is on its way to China.

Ford says its first shipload of around 100 Mustangs has left Portland, Oregon, and is headed to China. Shipments to Europe will begin later this year.

Creating4Change

Michigan filmmaker Sophia Kruz is exploring the ways art empowers women all around the world. She is hard at work shooting what will be a full-length film called Creating4Change along with raising the money to make it.

President Snyder?

Jan 20, 2015

 As you probably know, Governor Snyder gives his State of the State speech tonight, two hours before President Obama gives his annual State of the Union address. We also know that America will get a new president exactly two years from today.

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