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Offbeat
1:55 pm
Sun April 13, 2014

Turning a brownfield into a green space in Flint

The exact timetable and cost of the ‘Chevy Commons’ project is unclear.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A place where General Motors built cars for nearly century may later this year begin transforming into a city park in Flint.

The last building was torn down at Chevy in the Hole a decade ago. Efforts have been underway since then to transform the 60 acre brownfield into a public green space.Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan RadioEdit | Remove

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Offbeat
9:34 am
Sun April 13, 2014

If you seek a pleasant pothole...

When life gives you potholes, make pothole portraits
Credit Mike Perini / Michigan Radio

It's spring, and hope springs eternal. Even the pothole pictured is reflecting on the possibilities. Granted, it's going to cool off in the week to come, with some snow possible on Monday, but we Michiganders are a hopeful bunch, and we won't let that stop us. To paraphrase the state motto, "If You Seek A Pleasant Pothole, Look About You"...or, if you prefer,  "Si Quæris Potholam Amœnam Circumspice!"

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That's What They Say
8:05 am
Sun April 13, 2014

Old vocabulary “segueing” into new vocabulary

Segues are unrelated to segments, although the two words sound similar and are both about parts.

On this week’s edition of That’s What They Say, host Rina Miller and University of Michigan English Professor Anne Curzan look into the etymology of segue.

Curzan first explored the origins of the word segment. In the late 16th century, segment comes into English from Latin, meaning “a piece that’s cut or broken off” or “a part of a circle.” Centuries later, segment also becomes a verb, meaning, “to divide into segments.”

The term segue, however, is completely unrelated to the term segment. Rather than Latin, segue finds its way into English through Italian as a musical term.

“Segue first shows up in English in 1740,” Curzan describes. “But for almost 200 years, it’s used primarily as an Italian term, to refer to proceeding from one movement to another in a musical piece without a break.”  

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Politics & Government
2:24 pm
Sat April 12, 2014

Marine veteran gets 10-year sentence in Iran

Amir Hekmati
Credit freeamir.org

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - An Iranian news agency is reporting that an appeals court has overturned a death sentence of an American man convicted of working for the CIA, instead sentencing him to 10 years in prison. 

The semiofficial ISNA news agency reported Saturday that lawyer Mahmoud Alizadeh Tabatabaei says a Revolutionary Court issued the verdict for U.S. Marine veteran Amir Hekmati. Tabatabaei described the verdict as final.

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Offbeat
2:07 pm
Sat April 12, 2014

Census: People more than 100 years old tend to be female and more likely to live in poverty

A new U.S. Census report says those centenarians are overwhelmingly women, with less education and higher rates of poverty than other American retirees.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The 2010 census showed about 1,700 people in Michigan were more than 100 years old.

A new U.S. Census report says those centenarians are overwhelmingly women, with less education and higher rates of poverty than other American retirees.

Brian Kincel is a statistical analyst with the U.S. Census Bureau. He says the numbers reflect social and economic conditions in the 1920s, when the current crop of centenarians came of age.

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Politics & Government
8:57 am
Sat April 12, 2014

The week in review

Credit Photo by penywise / morgueFile

This Week in Review, Rina Miller and Jack Lessenberry discuss the latest with the Detroit bankruptcy, the continuing controversies over the General Motors recall, and the money problems involving the charter school system running Muskegon Heights schools.

Week in Review interview for 4/11/14

Law
9:11 pm
Fri April 11, 2014

Detroit bankruptcy judge ok's swaps settlement; says "now is the time to negotiate"

Judge Steven Rhodes approved a key settlement in Detroit’s historic bankruptcy case Friday.

The deal will settle a costly interest-rate swaps agreement with two banks, UBS and Bank of America, for $85 million.

Emergency manager Kevyn Orr has pushed hard for such a deal. Detroit had guaranteed the swaps with casino revenue, and paid out about $200 million since 2009.

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Education
5:08 pm
Fri April 11, 2014

Education groups uniting around bills to revamp teacher evaluations

Education advocates are near consensus on new teacher evaluation standards.
Credit Thomas Favre-Bulle / Flickr

There could be movement soon on bipartisan legislation that would revamp teacher evaluations in Michigan. A number of groups that did not previously support the bills now say they’re on board.

Education advocates, bill sponsors, and lobbyists have been meeting this week to hammer out changes to the legislation.

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Health
4:50 pm
Fri April 11, 2014

South Lyon pharmacist fined for selling tainted meds

A South Lyon pharmacist has lost his license and his business after selling medicine contaminated with fungus to Henry Ford Hospital.
Credit Megha Satyanarayana

A South Lyon pharmacy has been shut down and the lead pharmacist fined for selling contaminated goods to a Detroit hospital.

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Law
2:58 pm
Fri April 11, 2014

Saginaw County Sheriff to outfit some inmates with stun vest

The Saginaw County Sheriff Department plans to outfit inmates they believe could become violent in court with a "stun vest." 

Inmates will wear the vest underneath their clothes. 

Officers can use a remote control to deliver an electric shock if an inmate tries to attack someone and does not listen to a verbal command to stop. The shock is similar to that of a Taser device. 

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Transportation
2:03 pm
Fri April 11, 2014

The massive GM recall just got more expensive

GM CEO Mary Barra has led the company's response to the recall crisis.

General Motors Thursday revised up to $1.3 billion dollars its estimate of the cost of recalling millions of cars with faulty ignition switches.

The automaker will now replace the ignition lock cylinder as well as the switch itself on the defective vehicles. The $1.3  billion estimate includes the cost of repairs and of providing loaner vehicles to customers.

GM shares fell to a 10-month low today in the wake of the news. Ratings agency Standard & Poor's said Thursday that it might put off a planned upgrade of GM's debt to investment-grade status until next year.

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Opinion
11:50 am
Fri April 11, 2014

Tiger Stadium: The place where Detroit dies or is reborn

Well, the news got even worse for General Motors yesterday. Detroit’s future and the outcome of its bankruptcy remain much in doubt. I’ve talked about all these things before, and I am sure I’ll talk about them again. However, today I want to tell you a heartwarming little story of determination and resilience that you can share in.

If you are in the Lansing area tomorrow afternoon and have time, go to the Capital City Film Festival and see Stealing Home. If you are in the Detroit area, they are showing it in Ferndale Sunday afternoon at Renaissance Vineyard Church. More details are on the Stealing Home Facebook page.

My guess is that this film will blow you away. The French historian and philosopher Jacques Barzun famously said, “Whoever wants to know the heart and mind of America had better learn baseball.”

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Sports Commentary
7:10 am
Fri April 11, 2014

Remembering the quiet dignity of baseball's Hank Aaron

Baseball legend Hank Aaron
Credit user: Aaron / Flickr

You’ve heard of Babe Ruth. If he’s not the best known American athlete of the last century, he’s in the top five. He was more beloved – by Americans of all stripes – than probably anyone. Ruth loved the fans, and the fans loved him back.

 
In 1961, when fellow Yankee Roger Maris – a nice, humble guy – was approaching Ruth’s record of 60 home runs in a season, he became so stressed his hair started falling out.

When Hank Aaron started approaching Ruth’s career home run record, he had it worse, for two very simple reasons: 714 home runs was the record in baseball that even the casual fan knew. And second, unlike Maris, Aaron is black. Of course, that shouldn’t matter in the least – but it mattered a lot in 1974.

Aaron grew up in Mobile, Alabama, one of seven children. They say his wrists were strong from picking cotton, and also his unusual practice of swinging “cross-handed” – that is, holding the bat with his left hand on top, instead of his right, a habit he didn’t break until the minor leagues.
 
Aaron made it to the Milwaukee Braves in 1954, one of the first African-Americans to play major league baseball. According to Daniel Okrent, a best-selling author who invented fantasy baseball, this was baseball’s richest decade for talent, because every kid grew up playing baseball – not soccer – and, finally, everybody was allowed to play.

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Arts & Culture
7:00 am
Fri April 11, 2014

Yo Yo Ma playing with Detroit kids might make your heart melt

Fourth graders learn to dance from former New York City Ballet dancer Damian Woetzel.
Dave Trumpie trumpiephotography.com

Cellist Yo Yo Ma and a few other renowned artists were in Detroit this week, working with some very young musicians.

"Can we say 'Tchaikovsky'?"

"Tchaikovsky!" screamed a classroom of obedient fourth graders.  

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Politics & Government
9:41 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

Consultant says Flint needs to charge more for water and sewer service

After sharp rate hikes a few years ago, several Flint city council members fear many residents won’t be able to pay more for water.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s water customers may need to prepare to pay more for their tap water.

A consultant is recommending the city plan on annual rate hikes for the foreseeable future.

Flint’s aging water system has endured more than a hundred water main breaks since New Year’s Day. The city is also planning on replacing water service from Detroit by tapping into the Flint River and eventually a new pipeline that would reach Lake Huron.

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Arts & Culture
8:00 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

Power shift at Kendall College causing a stir

David Rosen helps present juried awards at ArtPrize 2013.
Credit Kendall College of Art and Design

The president of Kendall College of Art and Design, David Rosen, announced his resignation Thursday afternoon. It’s not clear why he resigned.

Students and staff rallied in support of Rosen in person and on social media.

Kendall is a college within Ferris State University. FSU spokesman Marc Sheehan says the reactions are “completely understandable.”

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Law
5:39 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

Bill to fight scrap metal theft signed into law

The bill prevents scrappers from getting instant cash for commonly-stolen items over $25. From left, Rep. Paul Muxlow, R-Brown City, Gov. Rick Snyder, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Detroit, and Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan’s chief of staff, Lisa Howze.
Credit Jake Neher / MPRN

Michigan now has tougher laws on the books meant to crack down on scrap metal theft.

Under a bill signed by Gov. Rick Snyder Thursday, people can no longer get instant cash when they sell commonly stolen items for $25 or more.

Supporters say mailing payments for those items will help law enforcement by creating a paper trail. They say communities all over the state have been literally ripped apart by illegal scrapping.

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Weekly Political Roundup
5:31 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

Detroit bankruptcy case, bondholders and the future of the DIA

It’s Thursday, 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.

This week, host Jennifer White discusses the latest developments in the Detroit bankruptcy case and examines the implications.

There was a significant breakthrough yesterday. A settlement was announced between the city of Detroit and three major bond insurers. The insurers will get about 74 cents on the dollar, a significant increase from what emergency manager Kevyn Orr originally offered, and the roughly $50 million in savings will go to support retirees.

The question now is whether retirees will accept further cuts to their pensions, given the fact that Gov. Rick Snyder has stated that the state will not put any money forward unless the retirees agree to cuts. Ken Sikkema says it's imperative that retirees back the plan.

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Stateside
5:13 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

The latest developments between the DIA, Detroit pensioners, and creditors

Credit JSFauxtaugraphy/Flickr

There have been two big developments this week in the high-stakes showdown over Detroit's pensioners, its art treasures and creditors who hope bankruptcy judge Steven Rhodes will pressure the city to put those art treasures on the table.

There's a lot to try to sort out. So, as we do each Thursday, we spoke to Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
5:12 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

Record high reached for fuel economy in the US; what comes next?

Credit carhumor.com

There was an encouraging report last month from the University of Michigan's Transportation Research Institute about fuel economy.

We hit a record high in February in terms of gas mileage for new vehicles sold in the U.S.: 25.2 miles per gallon. It's the fifth-straight month gas mileage for new vehicles has topped 25 mpg.

That got us wondering how we're faring in the quest to squeeze out better mileage from our cars and trucks, and in the quest to create electric, hybrid, natural gas and fuel-cell vehicles and technologies.

Charles Griffith is the climate and energy program director at the Ecology Center in Ann Arbor, and he joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

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