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The Environment Report
9:40 am
Tue October 14, 2014

Sure, there were pirates in the Caribbean, but the Great Lakes had them too

A Great Lakes schooner. Pirate ships looked like every other boat sailing on the lakes: a schooner or a sloop.
Clarence S. Metcalf Great Lakes Maritime Research Library

Michigan Radio's M I Curious project is a news experiment where we investigate questions submitted by the public about our state and its people.

As part of our M I Curious project, Shelly Scott asked Michigan Radio this question:

Have there ever been pirates on the Great Lakes?

“I thought: we’ve got such nice water bodies around here, why don’t we hear anything about fantastic things that happened on the Great Lakes?” she says.

Scott is an engineer at Ford and she’s also a leader of her daughter’s Girl Scout troop.  These 5th grade girls had some questions about freshwater pirates too:

“What do pirate ships look like? Was there any pirate treasure in the Great Lakes? How did they get away with stealing other people’s treasure?” asked Maria Kokko, Lilli Semel and Shannon Scott.

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Politics & Government
8:09 am
Tue October 14, 2014

With Citizens District Councils eliminated, Detroiters talk how to move forward on development

Detroit residents met Monday night for a discussion on how to move forward after the elimination of Citizens District Councils (CDCs).

CDCs have been around since the Blighted Area Rehabilitation Act of 1945 granted Michigan cities the right to acquire blighted properties using the power of eminent domain.

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Politics & Government
9:10 pm
Mon October 13, 2014

Flint still in financial emergency, more work for city council members

Flint city council
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s emergency manager says time is running out for city council members to complete required governance training.

Darnell Earley's appointment as Flint’s EM ends next spring. But it’s unclear if state oversight will continue, or a transition back to local control will begin.

Completing the training is part of Earley’s plan to begin the transition.

Flint Mayor Dayne Walling and two councilmen have completed or nearly completed training for how to manage city budgets and other local government skills.

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Politics & Government
6:25 pm
Mon October 13, 2014

Schauer rallies seniors on heels of gubernatorial town hall

Democratic nominee for governor Mark Schauer speaks in front of a group of retirees Monday at a local UAW center in Warren.
Credit Jake Neher / MPRN

Democratic nominee for governor Mark Schauer rallied retirees a day after his first, and probably only, public joint appearance with Gov. Rick Snyder. He blasted Snyder’s decision to end income tax exemptions for pension income.

Schauer spoke in front of a friendly crowd at a UAW center in Warren.

“No bloc of voters votes more reliably than seniors and retirees,” said Schauer. “And I would argue that there is no group who has been more negatively impacted by the policies here in Michigan than retirees and seniors.”

Gov. Snyder says the so-called “pension tax” was part of an effort to make the state’s tax system more fair. He says he also created a new exemption for all retirees regardless of what kind of retirement plan they have, although that exemption is less generous.

Politics & Government
6:24 pm
Mon October 13, 2014

Jeb Bush makes campaign stops across Michigan for Snyder, Land

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush speaks with attendees after a Michigan GOP rally in Troy on Monday.
Credit Jake Neher / MPRN

Former Florida governor and possible 2016 presidential candidate Jeb Bush campaigned for GOP candidates across Michigan on Monday.

Bush spoke in front of hundreds of Republicans in Troy to cap off his visit to Michigan. He urged GOP faithful to show up to the polls in November for U.S. Senate nominee Terri Lynn Land and Governor Rick Snyder.

“This last three weeks, I hope you do everything you can to elect, reelect Rick Snyder as your new governor. Rick, we love you. We want you to win,” Bush said as he was Snyder, who later called Bush an “outstanding mentor” to him, specifically on education policy.

More big national political names are expected to visit Michigan in the coming weeks. Their goal will be to fire up the party base and get out the vote in November.

Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is scheduled to campaign for Democrats Mark Schauer and Gary Peters later this week.

Auto
6:01 pm
Mon October 13, 2014

Don't worry about what happens to Fiat Chrysler Automobiles in 2018

FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne has run Fiat since 2004, Fiat and Chrysler since 2009, and the combined companies since 2014.
Credit FCA

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles made its New York stock exchange debut on Monday, beginning trading at $9 a share, and closing at $9.02.

Not bad, for a tumultuous day on Wall Street, when the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell a full 1.6%.

FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne and FCA Chairman John Elkann rang the closing bell together - after giving a joint press conference.

Most of the questions and answers were in Italian.  So, it looks like I'm going to have to learn Italian if I want to continue to cover FCA.

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Stateside
5:07 pm
Mon October 13, 2014

Why do people pay so much for water in Flint?

Credit Jenn Durfy / Flickr

Why are water bills in Flint higher than anywhere else in Genesee County?

The Flint Journal and Mlive found water customers in Flint pay on average $140 a month for water and sewer service. That is tops in the county.

It’s also $35 a month more than Montrose, which is second-highest.

Not only is the cost high, but it looks as if it will only go up. The budget set out by Flint Emergency Manager Darnell Earley calls for a 6.5% increase in water and sewer rates.

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Stateside
5:02 pm
Mon October 13, 2014

The Lansing Unionized Vaudeville Spectacle gives a sneak preview to a future arts venue in Lansing

Emily Leong Flickr

The Lansing Unionized Vaudeville Spectacle gave a sneak preview to a new arts venue in Lansing.

Dylan Rogers is the director and front man of the Lansing Unionized Vaudeville Spectacle. It's a 15-piece band made up of 11 musicians including banjo and accordion players, as well as actors, shadow puppeteers, dancers and chorus girls in flapper dresses .

The Lansing Unionized Vaudeville Spectacle held their CD release show this weekend in what will eventually be the Robin Theater in REO Town.

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Stateside
4:57 pm
Mon October 13, 2014

The future of education spending in Michigan

Credit T.D. Ford / Flickr

The only scheduled joint appearance between Governor Rick Snyder and former Congressman Mark Schauer wrapped up last night. One of the top issues of the debate was education. If you turn on a television, there's no escaping the "dueling teacher" campaign ads for Snyder and Schauer.

Schauer's ads feature teachers saying Governor Snyder slashed $1 billion from school funding. Snyder's ads feature teachers who say Snyder's been great for schools, that he's increased K-12 state funding every year he's been in office.

John Bebow is president of the non-partisan Center for Michigan. Bebow says let's stop talking about the past and, instead, look ahead to the future of education spending.

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Stateside
4:53 pm
Mon October 13, 2014

It's Just Politics breaks down the gubernatorial debate

Credit Jose Juarez / AP; timesunion

Republican Governor Rick Snyder and Democratic challenger Mark Schauer met yesterday evening in their only debate. The two were asked about the economy, taxes and education funding.

Rick Pluta and Zoe Clark are co-hosts of Michigan Radio’s It’s Just Politics.

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Health
4:35 pm
Mon October 13, 2014

Spectrum Health to offer same-sex partner health insurance benefits in 2015

Credit Spectrum Health website

Same-sex partners of Spectrum Health employees can get health insurance coverage starting in 2015.

Legally married gay employees and same-sex couples who can demonstrate they are in a committed relationship will be able to opt for health insurance for their spouses and partners. The couple's children will also be eligible.

The new insurance  coverage will begin in January.

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Auto
2:04 pm
Mon October 13, 2014

Fund approves 27 death claims related to GM ignition switch defect

GM CEO Mary Barra, center, at a Congressional subcommittee hearing on the GM ignition switch recall - April 2, 2104.
Sen. McCaskill Flickr

DETROIT - A special compensation fund set up by General Motors has approved 27 death claims and 25 claims of serious injuries in crashes involving GM cars with defective ignition switches.

The update comes from Attorney Kenneth Feinberg, who was hired by GM to run the program.

Feinberg says he has received 178 death claims since August, including the 27 approved for payment.

1,193 injury claims have been received, including the 25 that have received compensation offers.

GM knew about faulty ignition switches in Chevrolet Cobalts and other small cars for more than a decade but didn't recall them until February of this year. The switches can slip out of the "on" position, which causes the cars to stall, knocks out power steering and turns off the air bags.

Feinberg will accept claims until Dec. 31.

Auto
1:31 pm
Mon October 13, 2014

Ford adding 850 new jobs to help build new F-150

Jimmy Settles, UAW vice president and director of the national Ford department said, “today we celebrate the commitment to excellence that the hardworking men and women of the Rouge demonstrate every day.”
Ford Motor Company

One of the best selling vehicles of all-time will have a brand new, aluminum-centric design.

Ford announced today that it will add 850 workers to help build its new F-150 pickup truck.

More from the Associated Press:

The company says 500 of the workers will go to the Dearborn Truck plant, where the F-150 is assembled. Three hundred workers will go to the Dearborn Stamping plant and 50 workers will go to Dearborn Diversified, which makes axles and other parts.

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Offbeat
12:56 pm
Mon October 13, 2014

Ann Arbor bank refuses to close on Columbus Day for obvious reasons

Bank of Ann Arbor's Facebook post.

Their explanation is simple:

That school in Ohio and the University of Michigan have a bit of a rivalry between their football teams.

The Bank of Ann Arbor Facebook post is at 307 shares and counting - watch it go.

(H/T SB Nation)

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Environment & Science
12:16 pm
Mon October 13, 2014

Will this 250-year-old, 65 foot-tall oak tree survive its move?

This 250-year-old bur oak tree on the University of Michigan's campus will be moved on Oct. 25, weather permitting.
Corey Seeman Flickr

I hope they have more success than I did.

I tried moving a four-year-old oak tree in my backyard… and failed. Of course, they’ll be using more than just a spade and a burlap sack.

We’ll likely find out over the next few years whether the $300,000 to $400,000 project to move the 250-year-old bur oak tree on the campus of the University of Michigan worked.

The tree is being moved as part of a $135 million, donor-funded expansion of U of M’s business school. The school announced today that the oak will be moved on October 25, weather permitting.

Moving my tree's root ball was hard enough. How in the world will they move a 700,000 to 850,000 pound root ball?

Glad you asked. Here’s a video showing exactly that:

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Opinion
12:09 pm
Mon October 13, 2014

Analyzing Sunday's debate between Governor Rick Snyder and Democratic challenger, Mark Schauer

Virtually everyone in Michigan politics, including those who write about it, is analyzing last night’s debate between Governor Rick Snyder and his Democratic challenger, Mark Schauer. 

Both sides put their own spin on this debate even before it was over. I’ve seen a lot of debates in my time, live or recorded, including every presidential debate in the modern era.

I have some thoughts on this one.

But I wanted to start with an observation that you might think comes out of left field. Shortly after the debate, I was copied on an e-mail letter a fellow named Kenneth Hreha sent to an anchorman at one of Detroit’s TV networks.

I was struck by these lines:

Hreha said, “The incumbent Rick Snyder didn’t even have the common courtesy to come professionally dressed in a suit and tie, a true reflection of the laziness of this man and the public policies that hurt working people.”

Now, Hreha is scarcely neutral. He voted for Snyder four years ago, but since has come to hate him.

He was laid off from a job working for the state, and the only job he’s been able to find since pays less and has no benefits.

But aside from that, do citizens want a governor who looks like them or one who shows up dressed like an authority figure? Originally, I thought Snyder’s casual style a big plus in today’s world.

Now, I’m not so sure. I know that after Mark Schauer did one commercial casually dressed, one of the elder statesmen of the Democratic Party yelled at him, saying he needed to wear a dark suit and look like the citizens expect a man in charge to look.

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Stateside
12:01 pm
Mon October 13, 2014

Michigan writer shares family history with recipes spanning three generations

Flinn kids with Diane in the farmhouse kitchen
Credit Kathleen Flinn

Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good is the beguiling title of the latest book from writer Kathleen Flinn.

It's billed as "A Memoir of Food and Love from an American Midwest Family".

The Midwest Flinn writes about is largely the family farm near Flint, in Davison.

The Flinns and good food seemed to go together: where you find one, you'd find the other.

The book is a wonderful, loving story of a Michigan family, and you get recipes, lots of great recipes. Just what one would expect from the author of The Sharper Your KnifeThe Less You Cry and The Kitchen Counter Cooking School.

Flinn says the book title "Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good" refers to her grandmother who would accidentally burn her toasts in the oven. 

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Politics & Government
8:24 am
Mon October 13, 2014

Watch or listen to the Snyder v. Schauer town hall debate

Republican Gov. Rick Snyder (left), and Democratic challenger Mark Schauer (right).
Gov. Snyder's office, and Schauer campaign.

Watch the only debate in the 2014 Michigan governor's race below.

The one-hour, town-hall-style debate took place between Republican Gov. Rick Snyder and his Democratic challenger Mark Schauer last night at 6 p.m.

The forum included an audience of undecided voters asking questions to both candidates and was televised from Wayne State University.

You can watch it below. (If you're having trouble seeing the video below, try this link.)

Or you can listen to the audio here:

Investigative
7:00 am
Mon October 13, 2014

How much can a governor really affect job creation?

Politicians like to take credit for improving the economy, and challengers like to blame sitting officials for damaging it. In the race for governor in Michigan there have been plenty of both those kinds of accusations. Lester Graham with Michigan Watch examines how much politicians can really affect the economy.

Outside a Michigan WORKS! employment office, I asked a few unemployed people if they thought any state politician could make a difference in creating jobs.

Davina Carey has been out of work since June. “Hopefully," she said, laughing. "I mean, I don’t know.”

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Politics & Government
7:30 pm
Sun October 12, 2014

Clinton & Bush campaign for Michigan candidates this week

Jeb Bush
Credit rightwingweb

This week may feel like a 90’s political flashback as a Bush and a Clinton campaign in Michigan.

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush will be Michigan Monday campaigning for Republican candidates.

The son and brother of former presidents plans on making stops in Grand Rapids, Lansing and Troy.

A few days later, former First Lady, former United States Senator and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will visit Michigan to campaign as well.

Clinton will drum up votes for Democratic candidates for governor and U.S. Senate.

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