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10:27 am
Mon August 25, 2014

Flood damage around metro Detroit leading to sales jump at big box stores

Lead in text: 
The Home Depot in Madison Heights, for instance, has a "flood recovery zone" set up inside the store's entrance. Things like drywall, paint, cleaning supplies, dehumidifiers, and appliances are flying off the shelves.
Madison Heights Sunday is supposed to be a day of rest, but Sue Tyler spent the entire day rebuilding and restocking the flooded basement of her Huntington Woods home.
Investigative
7:00 am
Mon August 25, 2014

Watch for more political sparks over student testing in Michigan this year

Credit Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Testing students to assess their progress in school could get a lot more political before the year is out.

Legislators and the Michigan Department of Education clashed this year over a test to assess Common Core state standards. If the past is any clue, lawmakers with the help of the governor could simply take away the Department of Education’s authority and give it to a state agency more friendly to their point of view, such as Treasury. Gov. John Engler made exactly that kind of move several times during his time in office.

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Politics & Government
10:53 pm
Sun August 24, 2014

Conventions court controversy, despite best efforts

The statewide Republican ticket lines up following Saturday’s GOP convention in Novi.
Credit Rick Pluta / MPRN

Republicans and Democrats held their state party conventions over the weekend.

The GOP met in the Detroit suburb of Novi. Democrats were in Lansing. Their purpose was to nominate a slate of statewide candidates, and promote party unity going into November, and they succeeded. Partially.

The conventions’ legal purpose is to select candidates for the November ballot, but they’re also a chance to fire up the party faithful. And there’s always a goal of broadcasting the impression of an excited, unified party, and, frankly, to avoid big drama that makes big news.

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Politics & Government
9:38 pm
Sun August 24, 2014

Detroiters rush to pay up, before water shut-offs resume

Luna Simpson and her two grandsons smile. They can afford to make a down payment, so their water will stay on for now.
Credit Kate Wells / Michigan Radio

The kids on the right are really adorable. They're worth hearing in the full story, here.

Starting Tuesday, Detroit will resume shutting off people's water if they’re behind on their bills.

For the last month, the city put a moratorium on those shutoffs, which have been internationally criticized as inhumane.

That pause gave people a chance to get on payment plans with the water department.

So on Saturday, nearly a thousand Detroiters lugged their kids and strollers and grandparents out to a sign-up fair at the Cobo Center downtown.

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Politics & Government
5:42 pm
Sun August 24, 2014

State House votes on hunting bill this week; another wolf hunt could take place this year

On Wednesday, state lawmakers take up the Scientific Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act. The act would give the Natural Resources Commission the authority to set hunting seasons.
Credit USFWS

Michigan hunters could find wolves in their crosshairs again later this year, if the state House approves legislation on Wednesday.

Last year, hunters killed 22 wolves in a state-sanctioned hunt in the Upper Peninsula.

Plans for another wolf hunt this fall were shelved after opponents collected enough signatures to put the issue on the November ballot. They did so again when state lawmakers passed another law to authorize a wolf hunt.

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It's Just Politics
12:46 pm
Sun August 24, 2014

Debates represent opportunity for candidates (and media)… to fail

It's Just Politics with Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta

It's Just Politics with Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta

It seems it’s not possible for an election campaign season to glide by without a debate over debates -- the one-upsmanship between various campaigns about who’s more willing to throw themselves open for an adversarial Q and A rife with drama and wonkiness.

Historically, the most memorable moments of debates are the human ones -- Governor Sarah Palin in the 2008 Vice Presidential debate asking then- Senator Joe Biden, “Can I call you Joe?” or Governor Rick Perry’s famous, fatal stumble in the Republican presidential debate in 2012 at Oakland University, forcing an embarrassing “oops” after he forgot the three federal departments he’d eliminate.

The public says it wants debates. Candidates say they’re anxious to debate. But in Michigan, so far, in 2014, we haven’t seen any debates scheduled in either the race for U.S. Senate or governor.

Democratic Senate nominee Gary Peters is certainly trying to make hay over the absence of debates. It plays into the Democrats’ narrative that Republican Terri Lynn Land is unprepared for the job. Mark Schauer, Democratic nominee for governor, is also pushing to share a stage with Gov. Rick Snyder.

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That's What They Say
12:12 pm
Sun August 24, 2014

And suddenly, "sudden" became a noun

Hear the full segment of "That's What They Say" with Anne Curzan and Weekend Edition host Rina Miller.

Maybe you've done this: You have an acquaintance who's a specialist of some sort – like a doctor or a mechanic – and you ask for their advice, even though they're not on the job.

That often happens to University of English professor Anne Curzan. She specializes in linguistics, so when someone asks her the origin of a word or why its use has changed, she becomes a language detective.

Recently, a neighbor asked Curzan about how the word "sudden" became a noun, as in "all of a sudden."

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Politics & Government
6:28 pm
Sat August 23, 2014

MI GOP convention renominates Calley over tea party challenger

The statewide Republican ticket lines up following Saturday’s GOP convention in Novi.
Credit Rick Pluta / MPRN

Delegates to the Michigan Republican Party convention this weekend renominated Lieutenant Gov.Brian Calley to be Gov.Rick Snyder’s running mate. But he had to fight for the job.

Tea party convention delegates meeting in Novi tried to deny Gov. Snyder his choice as a running mate. They voiced frustration with the administration’s support for the Medicaid expansion and the Common Core curriculum standards.

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Families & Community
2:00 pm
Sat August 23, 2014

Salvaging homes and lives in Flint

Lynette Delgado handles some of the items volunteers removed from a blighted home.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A non-profit group in Flint hopes salvaging parts of some of the city’s blighted homes will help salvage the lives of some of Flint’s most in-need residents.

Lynette Delgado is with the B-Light Restoration Center. She says they are working with private property owners to salvage bits and pieces of homes to be demolished. She says they’re training local homeless and other at-risk individuals to remove architectural features of blighted homes.

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Culture
8:43 am
Sat August 23, 2014

As a word nerd, I notice some things about the way you talk

Credit Pierre Metivier / Flickr

Language, language everywhere

A couple of weeks ago, my neighbor asked me what the scoop is with the phrase all of a sudden.

“I was thinking about it the other day,” she said, “because I would never say ‘a sudden.’ And I thought, ‘I should ask Anne.’”

A few days later, I was chatting with one of my colleagues over lunch, and he told me he had just learned the slang term thirsty from his students and was wondering if I already knew it.

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Health
8:25 am
Sat August 23, 2014

State: Storm forces sewage into rivers, streams

Credit Morguefile

LANSING – State officials say billions of gallons of raw and partially treated sewage were dumped in Detroit area rivers and streams after flooding from heavy rains earlier this month.

Department of Environmental Quality spokeswoman Laura Verona tells The Detroit News for a story Friday that about 46% of the nearly 10 billion gallons of sewage released Aug. 11 by water treatment facilities was raw, diluted or partially treated sewage.

The state agency has put together a preliminary report on the sewage release.

Combined sewers and retention basins in some communities in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties overflowed due to the Aug. 11 storm. Some areas received more than 6 inches of rain. Water from the storm left parts of freeways flooded and damaged thousands of homes.

Weather
8:27 pm
Fri August 22, 2014

Lots of sleepless nights for residents, flood recovery workers

Like residents in several cities, many Detroiters are still waiting for flood-damaged items to be picked up by trash haulers.
Credit Michigan Radio

More than a week after massive flooding ravaged parts of metro Detroit, emergency  crews and residents are still working around the clock, clearing roads and cleaning up flooded basements. 

Gov. Rick Snyder says he's asking the Federal Emergency Management Agency to do a preliminary damage assessment. That's the first step to potentially getting major federal disaster aid.   

Meanwhile, suburbs like St. Clair Shores are just now digging out from all the leftover trash and debris. Doug Haag is the city's financial director.  

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Politics & Government
5:16 pm
Fri August 22, 2014

GOP, Dems to hold state party conventions this weekend

Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley
Credit Photo courtesy of www.governorelectricksnyder.com

Republicans and Democrats in Michigan will gather this weekend at party conventions to nominate candidates for statewide offices.

Secretary of State Ruth Johnson and Attorney General Bill Schuette are expected to be nominated for second terms at the state Republican convention in Novi.      

But it looks like there will be a fight over lieutenant governor. Gov. Rick Snyder wants the convention to renominate Brian Calley. But Tea Party activist Wes Nakagiri wants to deny Snyder his choice.

State GOP chairman Bobby Schostak says Calley appears to have the edge going into Saturday’s convention.

“I think that overall Brian Calley has been working very hard across the state to get the message across that he deserves to continue to be the lieutenant governor, and it’s going to be very hard to beat him,” says Schostak.

Democrats are meeting in Lansing this weekend. Oakland County Clerk Lisa Brown is Mark Schauer’s choice for a running mate. Democrats are also expected to nominate Mark Totten for attorney general, and Godfrey Dillard for secretary of state.

The parties will also nominate candidates for the state Supreme Court and education boards. 

Politics & Government
5:14 pm
Fri August 22, 2014

Gov. Snyder defends key aide amid calls for his firing

Rick Snyder and Rich Baird’s relationship goes back a long way. Baird hired Snyder after the future governor graduated from college.
Credit State of Michigan

Gov. Rick Snyder is standing by his longtime friend and key adviser, Rich Baird, amid calls for his firing by state Democratic Party officials.

Rich Baird has played an important behind-the-scenes role for the governor since Snyder took office.

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Politics & Government
4:28 pm
Fri August 22, 2014

Peters asks Obama for answers on Iraq, defends health care law on "Michigan Calling"

Rick Pluta sat down with U.S. Senate Candidates Gary Peters

In a wide-ranging interview on Friday, Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate Gary Peters said he does not support sending ground troops to Iraq.

The militant group calling itself the Islamic State has taken control of large sections of Iraq. But the Michigan congressman says he’s not interested in sending troops back into the country to fight the group.

“At this point, I see no reason to be back in Iraq with boots on the ground,” Peters told host Rick Pluta on the Michigan Public Radio statewide call-in program Michigan Calling.

“And even with airstrikes, you need to have a longer-term plan to go forward, and I’d like to get a better sense of what that is.”

Peters then urged the Obama administration to brief Congress on the situation in Iraq. He says members have not been kept up to speed with what’s happening on the ground.

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Politics & Government
3:19 pm
Fri August 22, 2014

Lincoln Park's emergency manager says common-sense changes will help the city

Along the streets in Lincoln Park.
David Lewinski Photography

Q: What do Detroit, Allen Park, Flint, and Hamtramck all have in common?

A: The cities are all under the control of a state-appointed emergency manager. 

Last month, the city of Lincoln Park joined that list. But we didn't see the protests and outcry that we saw over the appointment of an emergency manager in Detroit. 

When the city of Lincoln Park was turned over to Brad Coulter, a consultant to corporate turnaround specialists O'Keefe & Associates, the mayor of Lincoln Park, Thomas Karnes, was positive.

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Auto
12:32 pm
Fri August 22, 2014

Biggest model transition in Ford history begins Friday

The first F-series truck made by Ford in 1948.
Alden Jewell Flickr

Pickup trucks are the most profitable and popular vehicle in the United States, keeping hundreds of thousands of American farmers, ranchers, and small companies in business.

And Ford's F-150 is the king of all the pickup trucks. It's been the best-selling vehicle of any kind for decades.

On Friday evening, the last 2014 model year F-150 pickup truck rolls off the assembly line at the Dearborn Truck Plant.

Then the work begins to prepare the plant to build the next version – a groundbreaking truck with a mostly aluminum body. 

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Weekly Political Roundup
12:12 pm
Fri August 22, 2014

How the Republican Party is struggling with the LGBT issue

Credit user Tyrone Warner / Flickr

Thursday is the day we talk Michigan politics with Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and senior policy fellow at Public Sector Consultants, and Susan Demas, publisher of Inside Michigan Politics.

Today we talk about the challenges facing Republicans in the Legislature as they figure out how to address lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights in the state.

Here’s our conversation:

My conversation with Ken Sikkema and Susan Demas.

Opinion
11:37 am
Fri August 22, 2014

What you can and cannot do in selecting your representatives

We know the most important job in state government is that of governor, but the next two top jobs are far more important than we tend to realize.

Michigan’s attorney general is the top lawyer for the entire state, both for state government and the interests of all the citizens.

Meanwhile, whoever is secretary of state is responsible for pretty much everything that has to do with voting and elections – not to mention driver's licenses, automobile and other registrations, and regulating notaries in the state.

We elect these officials by a statewide vote in November. They serve four-year terms, and can be re-elected only once.

But here’s the odd thing about these jobs. We the voters have the final say in November, but have virtually no say in who the major political parties choose as their candidates.

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Politics & Government
11:04 am
Fri August 22, 2014

ICYMI - Listen to our "Michigan Calling" program with Gary Peters

8/22/14 Rick Pluta’s sat down with U.S. Senate Candidates Gary Peters

The Michigan Public Radio Network's Rick Pluta sat down with the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate Gary Peters this morning, to take questions from our statewide audience.

Peters is currently the U.S. Representative for Michigan’s 14th congressional district. He's served in Congress since 2009. The district includes the eastern half of Detroit, as well as the Grosse Pointes, Hamtramck, Southfield and Pontiac. As senator, Peters would represent the entire state.

Peter's Republican opponent in the race for U.S. Senator is Terri Lynn Land. She served as Michigan’s 41st secretary of state. Rick Pluta will interview Land on Friday, Oct. 3 from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.

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