News

Update 9:45 p.m.

Michigan State Police now say there were 193 vehicles in total involved in the pile up.

Police say there were 76 semi-trucks involved in the accident. Some caught fire, including one hauling 44,000 pounds of hazardous materials and another with a load of fireworks.

Several hours after the crash, crews were still putting out flare ups.

One of the truck drivers died. The 57-year old was from Quebec. At least 20 people were injured, including two firemen and a wrecker driver.

At this time next year, we will likely be poised to dive into the Michigan presidential primary season. You might find this slightly nauseating but the presidential campaigns are already ramping up, particularly on the Republican side.

Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Regulators believe some workers at the Palisades Nuclear Plant got higher doses of radiation during a special project than the company says.

According to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, workers got a radiation dose of up to 2,800 millirem (mrem) during the month long project. 

Detroit’s economic decline and population flight to the suburbs was a long and gradual process. But there was an iconic event that serves as a precise marker of when it started.

That would be March 1954, when the Lodge Freeway was completed and Northland, then the world’s largest open-air shopping center, opened at the freeway’s end, across the border in Southfield.

Detroit from above. Follow the link in the post to find the slider images.
University of Oklahoma

The University of Oklahoma's Institute for Quality Communities looks at Detroit from above in 1951 vs. Detroit in 2010.

Over that 60 year span, a lot changed.

A Detroit Lions game.
Rachel Kramer / Flickr

The Lions have lost to the Cowboys 13 times – so that’s not unusual. 

There are 31 other teams in the NFL, and 27 of them have winning records against the Lions.  

Nate Grigg / Flickr

The state needs to do more to protect kids in child care. That’s according to a new policy brief from the Michigan League for Public Policy.

The document says the state would need to hire 140 additional child care facility inspectors to the 70 now working to make caseloads manageable.

Ohio state football player
Flickr user yuan2003 / Flickr

Is it ever appropriate for a Michigan or Michigan State fan to cheer for Ohio State?

Ohio State is the underdog in next Monday's College Football Playoff National Championship game against Oregon.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

While Detroit has now officially exited bankruptcy, a small but dedicated group of city retirees and employees is still fighting the city’s restructuring plan in court.

Judge Steven Rhodes approved the city’s plan of adjustment in November, and that plan went into effect in December.

However, the Detroit Active and Retired Employees Association is pursuing an appeal that’s set to be heard in federal court later this year. 

General Motors CEO Mary Barra.
Dave Pinter / flickr

Two weeks after Mary Barra took charge of General Motors, she faced a sudden challenge that could have tested even a seasoned CEO.

The automaker was forced to admit it had delayed a recall of 2.6 million Cobalts and other small cars for 10 years, leading to dozens of deaths that might not have happened had the recall been timely.

Soon, Barra was called before several congressional committees, where she endured sometimes merciless questioning about the scandal. 

DeBoer Rowse Adoption Legal Fund

The U.S. Supreme Court could decide tomorrow whether a challenge to same-sex marriage bans in Michigan and three other states will get a hearing.

This will be the court’s first case conference of the new year. 

Shannan Muskopf / Flickr Creative Commons

Michigan's plan to switch its 11th grade standardized test from the ACT to the SAT in 2016 is too much change too fast, according to some educators.

Wendy  Zdeb-Roper, executive director of the Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals, said many of the state's high school principals were caught off guard by yesterday's announcement by the Michigan Department of Education.

grosse point lighthouse
Flickr user Teemu008 / flickr

West Michigan historian Larry B. Massie's book Blue Water, Red Metal & Green Gold: The Color of Michigan's Past includes 27 colorful human interest stories from Michigan's past, ranging from the 1800s to the 1950s

It is the 12th in his series Voyages into Michigan's Past, and his 21st book.

Warren Evans on Instagram

With the start of the New Year, Warren Evans became the new county executive of Wayne County, and with it he's inheriting a daunting pile of problems.

Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes recently published the article "Fiscal fight fraught for Wayne County's Evans." He joined us to discuss what Evans has inherited from his predecessor, Robert Ficano, and what he can do to improve the county's financial situation.

Traverse city vineyard
Flickr user Rachel Kramer / Flickr

The Traverse City area is emerging as Michigan's new "foodie empire." Chris Cook, chief wine and restaurant critic for Hour Detroit Magazine, tells us just which area restaurants are worth a visit.

Dave Agema
Dave Agema / Facebook

This year is starting off with some controversy for Michigan Republicans. Republican National Committeeman, Dave Agema, re-posted an article on his Facebook page that leveled attacks at African-Americans and Muslims.

This is not the first time Agema has courted controversy and there are renewed calls for him to step down.

Part of the Diego Rivera mural in the DIA. Foundations pulled together to help save the art in the museum.
Joseph Gallegos / Flickr

  

Graham Beal will retire from his position as the director of the Detroit Institute of Arts at the end of July. 

His 16-year tenure saw the museum through the financial crash in 2008 and the city's bankruptcy. 

"We did indeed get tremendous support," Beal said, "but none of that would have happened had we not been a thriving institution that had positioned itself as being for the people."

Michigan recently increased the time spent on mandatory testing for eleventh graders, in some cases requiring eight partial days of testing. Educators across the country are concerned about the growing number of tests kids must take and how the time spent on them detracts from actual learning. But if you cut back on standardized tests, what can we do to gauge student learning and, in turn, teacher effectiveness?

user: Allert Aalders / flickr

One of the most iconic rock venues in Detroit will be seeing a big transformation in the coming months -- The Magic Stick, on the second floor of the Majestic entertainment complex on Woodward, will turn its back on its rock roots for electronic music, the Detroit Free Press reports
 

  

Six years ago, when President Obama first took office, the United States was in the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Unemployment was heading towards nine percent.

Barack Obama walked into the Oval Office to find the previous administration had left a budget with a projected deficit of $1.2 trillion. He knew things would get worse.

Tiago J. G. Fernandes / Wikimedia Commons

Monarch butterflies are declining.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is considering whether to add the monarch butterfly as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. The agency just launched a one-year review of the butterfly’s status.

Free Press

Yesterday, terrorists walked into an editorial meeting at the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and started shooting. Twelve people died.

The whole world finds this horrific attempt at media intimidation in Paris unacceptable, but there remains an acceptable form of intimidating the media that we operate under every day.

Tianyi Cheng

Chances are good most of us have heard of the Kiwanis Club. The name is unusual.

But you might not know the Kiwanis club started just about 100 years ago in Detroit.

We spoke with Eric Sabree, president of Kiwanis 1, the Detroit club that started it all in January 1915.

John-Morgan / creative commons

One of Governor Snyder's first challenges of the New Year might come from his own party. There could be a push by Republican lawmakers to roll back the personal income tax rate.

Governor Snyder is gearing up to ask voters to approve a boost in the state's sales tax to pay for road repairs, so a call to cut individual income taxes might seem like a mixed message to some.

Detroit News Lansing Bureau reporter Chad Livengood joined us to talk about this. Listen to our conversation with him below.

AUDIO

3D model of a flu virus.
CDC

It seems like everyone is talking about the flu.

Dr. Matthew Davis is chief medical executive for the state Department of Community Health, and a professor at the University of Michigan.

Popular buzz has pegged this as a pretty miserable flu season. We ask whether the statistics back this up.

Listen to our conversation above.

Mercedes Mejia

Eleventh grade is a pretty stressful year for kids. There's the ACT (which will soon be replaced by the SAT). There are college tours to schedule, and applications to complete.

And the stress level is about to to get amped up. That's because Michigan's high school juniors face a much heavier load of testing this spring.

Chastity Pratt Dawsey joined us. She reports on education for Bridge Magazine. Jeffrey Bohl also joined us: he's the principal of Lakeview High School in Battle Creek.

migop.org

Some controversial Facebook posts have re-kindled the condemnation and defense of Michigan’s controversial Republican National Committeeman Dave Agema.

Agema recently re-posted an article to his Facebook page ostensibly written by a defense attorney that takes aim at African Americans. The post has since been removed, but not before an MLive columnist took a screenshot and wrote a piece about it. Agema also posted about Muslims following the terrorist attack in Paris. He says U.S. and Michigan leaders refuse to recognize that Muslims are “the enemy.”

A.Nich / Flickr

Michigan high school juniors will take the SAT instead of the ACT starting in spring 2016. The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) announced the switch on Wednesday.

The state has provided a free college entrance exam for eleventh graders on the state’s standardized test for several years.

The College Board – the company that administers the SAT – won a three-year, $17.1 million contract.

MDE spokesperson Martin Ackley says the SAT will be a better test that will save the state money.

karamanislaw.com

Federal agents seized roughly $18 million from three of the owners of the Massachusetts pharmacy responsible for the 2012 fungal meningitis outbreak.

Right now, it’s still unclear whether that money will actually wind up in a proposed $135 million victim compensation fund.

Twenty-three of the 64 people killed nationwide in the outbreak were from Michigan.

http://www.michigan.gov/ok2say

A Michigan school safety initiative received more than 400 tips in its first semester of operation, according to an announcement today by Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette and Michigan State Police Director Colonel Kriste Kibbey Etue.

Called OK2SAY!, the program lets students use phone, text, web, and email to submit confidential reports of possible threats to students, teachers and other school staff. 

The 410 verified tips include 163 for bullying and cyberbullying, 54 for suicide threats, and 13 for child abuse.

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