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Education
4:01 pm
Sat November 5, 2011

MSU study claims video game play adds to children's creativity

A new Michigan State University study finds that children who play video games are more creative. MSU researchers studied nearly 500 12-year-olds and found the more video games the children played the more creative they were in tasks such as drawing pictures and writing stories.  

The use of cell phones and the Internet appeared unrelated to creativity.  

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Science/Medicine
4:01 pm
Sat November 5, 2011

'Fall Back' asleep

Remember to turn your clocks back one hour tonight
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

 Michiganders will be ‘Falling Back’ tonight as we turn back our clocks one hour.   Daylight Saving Time not only disrupts people’s work and play schedules.  It also disrupts many people’s sleep schedule.   

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Senior Citizens
2:15 pm
Sat November 5, 2011

Playground for senior citizens opens in Ohio

This senior playground is located in a British park
The Royal Parks website

A community near Akron, Ohio opened a new playground last week - one specially designed for senior citizens.
    

The Akron Beacon Journal reports that the playground consists of eight pieces of low-impact athletic equipment designed for older adults.
    

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Arts/Culture
5:56 pm
Fri November 4, 2011

Writers Series: Before Technology, with essay by Wade Rouse

Technology surrounds us. It seems we’re always connected to something…the internet, cell phones and social media. It can be difficult to unplug sometimes.

As part of the series, Michigan writers will share stories about their relationship to technology.

Today,  writer Wade Rouse tells us about his rather close relationship to his favorite piece of tech.

Politics
5:02 pm
Fri November 4, 2011

Emergency manager opponents tout petition numbers

Organizers of a campaign to repeal Michigan’s new emergency manager law said they’re in the final stretch of gathering petition signatures.

Herb Sanders is with the group Stand Up For Democracy. He said the organization is getting close to its target of 161,000 voter signatures. That would suspend the law, and possibly the authority of the emergency managers in charge of three cities and one school district.

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Politics
4:42 pm
Fri November 4, 2011

Michigan Legislature considers infrastructure funding options

Lawmakers at the state Capitol are considering options to help raise more than $1 billion in additional revenue to fix and maintain Michigan’s bridges and roads. Governor Rick Snyder called on the Legislature to find the money for the state’s aging infrastructure.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville said lawmakers should be able to find the additional funds without raising taxes.

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Detroit
4:41 pm
Fri November 4, 2011

Detroit mayor promises better security for city bus drivers

Sarah Hulett Michigan Radio

Detroit’s bus system is running again, after screeching to a temporary stop. Bus drivers staged an hours-long work stoppage today after a colleague was apparently attacked by passengers Thursday evening.

Detroit’s bus system has been in a state of crisis for weeks. Buses aren’t getting repaired, and passengers are waiting several hours to catch the bus. Bus drivers have continually complained that frustrated passengers are taking their anger out on them. The Thursday attack was apparently the last straw.

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Education
3:31 pm
Fri November 4, 2011

Genesee Co. schools deal with bomb threat

A spokesman for the Genesee Intermediate School District says a caller told Michigan State Police around noon that five dirty bombs were planted at five school buildings in the county, but did not specify which. We're told some schools dismissed early, some moved children to different buildings, and some did walk-throughs with law enforcement, found the threat to be unsubstantiated, and decided to dismiss at the normal time.

Tune in to Michigan Radio for more.

 

 

Transportation
3:10 pm
Fri November 4, 2011

Detroit buses resume service following morning stoppage

Update 3:12PM

Today's Detroit bus shutdown has come to resolution.

From the Associated Press:

Officials say drivers have ended a work stoppage and public buses resumed running following an announcement that Detroit police officers will randomly stop and board city buses in some high-problem areas.

Mayor Dave Bing released the plan at a press conference Friday.

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Flint
1:44 pm
Fri November 4, 2011

Flint budget deficit lower - Good news or 'politically suspect'?

Downtown Flint, Michigan
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

Flint mayor Dayne Walling said the city’s budget deficit has been cut in half. Walling’s opponent in next week’s election said he doesn’t believe the mayor.  

Mayor Dayne Walling said a just completed review shows Flint finished its last fiscal year $7.34 million in the red. But that’s about half of what was expected ($14.62 million). Walling said it’s a sign budget reforms he’s put in place over the past two years are working.  

"With any changes it takes time to be able to be calculated and assured," said Walling.  

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Environment
11:11 am
Fri November 4, 2011

Landslide leads to coal ash spill in Lake Michigan

Earlier this week, there was a landslide at a coal-burning power plant in Wisconsin. We Energies operates the plant. On their property, there’s a ravine next to a bluff on the shore of Lake Michigan. That ravine is filled with coal ash.

Coal ash is what’s left over when coal is burned to create electricity and it can contain toxic substances like arsenic, mercury and lead.

When the bluff collapsed on Monday, mud, soil, and coal ash spilled into Lake Michigan.

Barry McNulty is with We Energies.

“The vast majority of the debris including the soils and even coal ash, remain on land today. But a portion of that debris certainly spilled into Lake Michigan, which includes three vehicles, we believe, some coal ash, different soil from the bluff,” McNulty said.

McNulty said they don’t know how much coal ash got into the lake, but he said they are installing booms and using skimmers to clean up the spill.

The cause of the spill is under investigation.

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Commentary
10:56 am
Fri November 4, 2011

State of Detroit: Will the city need an emergency manager?

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing made headlines and provoked cries of outrage yesterday with his pronouncement that the city might have to seek an emergency manager -- and, furthermore, that he might be willing to accept the job. Which is to say, that he wants it.

That outraged City Council president Charles Pugh, who posted this on Facebook, using many capital letters:

“The city of Detroit DOES NOT need an emergency manager. I don’t care WHAT Dave Bing says.”

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Grand Rapids
10:44 am
Fri November 4, 2011

Report: Gun training continued after stray bullets

GRAND HAVEN TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) - Police reports say Grand Valley State University officers continued firearms training at a West Michigan gun range after a first report that stray bullets may have struck a home about a half-mile away.

The Grand Rapids Press reports Friday that the documents it obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show that the officers were midway through a training session Sept. 29 when a man drove up saying his house had been hit by two bullets.

The police reports say officers at the North Ottawa Rod and Gun Club's rifle range in Grand Haven Township relocated training to an adjacent pistol range.

Later police would learn a contractor working in a nearby development was wounded in the arm.

Allendale-based Grand Valley State University says it's launched an internal investigation.

News Roundup
9:05 am
Fri November 4, 2011

In this morning's news...

user brother o'mara Flickr

Detroit bus drivers refuse to drive

Drivers refused to go on their routes after a fellow driver was involved in an altercation with passengers. More from the Associated Press:

Dan Lijana, a spokesman for Mayor Dave Bing, tells The Associated Press that Detroit Department of Transportation drivers reported to work early Friday but refused to drive. He says the mayor's office believes it's in response to Thursday's altercation at downtown's Rosa Parks Transit Center.

WDIV-TV broadcast video of the altercation it says was submitted by a viewer and shows a driver backing away from several people.

Mayor Bing's office just put this out over Twitter:

We are in discussion with the bus drivers’ union and are optimistic DDOT buses will be operational today. #Detroit

Supreme Court wants more info on emergency manager case

The Michigan Supreme Court says it wants more information before deciding whether to hear a case challenging Michigan's new emergency manager law. Rick Pluta of the Michigan Public Radio Network reports:

The Supreme Court gave both sides until mid-December to file arguments on why the justices should circumvent the usual path of a lawsuit through the appeals process, and why they should win in the end.

An emergency manager for Highland Park schools?

Detroit Mayor Bing has speculated that Detroit might eventually need an emergency manager. Now, there's speculation that Highland Park schools might also need an EM.

Michigan Radio's Sarah Hulett reports:

Highland Park schools could be Michigan’s second school district to get an emergency manager. The state moved a step closer to that scenario today.

Governor Rick Snyder has appointed a 10-member team to comb through the troubled school district’s finances – and maybe help it avoid a state takeover.

Politics
11:38 pm
Thu November 3, 2011

Ficano: "I want to move on"

Wayne County executive Robert Ficano said he’s accepted resignations from two of his top appointees.

The move is fallout from a scandal over a lucrative severance payment made to a former county appointee.

Ficano had suspended both his deputy executive, Azzam Elder, and county’s top lawyer, Marianne Talon, two weeks ago.

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Politics
5:19 pm
Thu November 3, 2011

Michigan Supreme Court wants more before taking on emergency manager case

The Michigan Hall of Justice.
Michigan Supreme Court

The state Supreme Court said it wants more information before it responds to Governor Rick Snyder’s request for a speedy ruling on whether Michigan’s new emergency manager law is constitutional.

Governor Rick Snyder took the unusual step of asking the state Supreme Court to take the case without waiting for lower courts to rule first.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of a group of voters from several cities who say the emergency manager law violates separation of powers and their right to self-government.

The law made it easier for the state to appoint emergency managers, and dramatically expanded their authority over the local governments they are supposed to fix.

The Supreme Court gave both sides until mid-December to file arguments on why the justices should circumvent the usual path of a lawsuit through the appeals process, and why they should win in the end.

There is also a petition drive underway to call a referendum challenge to the emergency manager law.

Politics
5:11 pm
Thu November 3, 2011

House approves state worker retirement contribution

Michigan state workers may soon be required to contribute four percent of their salaries into their retirement benefit plans, or choose to convert their retirement benefits to a 401-K plan.

That’s according to a bill approved by the state House.

Democratic state Representative Brandon Dillon said the proposal puts the health and wellness of future retirees at risk.

"We should be looking at ways to expand access to health care, whether in the public or private sector, and the reality is this bill is going to make people’s health care and the ability to get treatment essentially based on the stock market, which we know in the past 10 years has been pretty tough, and I just don’t think that’s the right direction to go," said Dillon.

State employees currently contribute three percent of their salaries to their retirement benefits plans.

Republicans say the current retirement plan is not financially sustainable with too many retirement obligations going into the future.

Politics
4:36 pm
Thu November 3, 2011

Highland Park schools move a step closer to emergency manager

Highland Park schools could be Michigan’s second school district to get an emergency manager. The state moved a step closer to that scenario today.

Governor Rick Snyder has appointed a 10-member team to comb through the troubled school district’s finances – and maybe help it avoid a state takeover.

A preliminary review of Highland Park Schools’ books wrapped up late this summer. It found “probable financial stress,” with recurring deficits, and a current deficit of more than 15 percent of the district’s general fund revenues. The state schools chief recommended the second review.

The review team has 30 days to report its findings to the governor.

Right now Benton Harbor, Ecorse and Pontiac – along with Detroit Public Schools – are under emergency managers. A secondary review of Flint’s finances just got under way.

Politics
4:23 pm
Thu November 3, 2011

Political Roundup: The State of the Legislature

Michigan Municipal League

This session of the legislature is winding down and we want to take a look at what we can expect between now and the end of the year.

Susan Demas, political analyst at Michigan Information and Research Service, says we'll probably see changes to workers compensation, a push to do the no-fault insurance reforms, election reform and maybe we'll see the debate over a new Detroit River bridge come up once again.

Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and senior policy fellow at Public Sector Consultants, says Gov. Snyder has been "pretty silent" about some high profile issues, such as the repeal of the motorcycle helmet law.

Transportation
2:17 pm
Thu November 3, 2011

Detroit International Bridge Company found in contempt of court

The Ambassador Bridge. The Michigan Department of Transportation and the owners of the bridge are having conflicts over new construction connecting the bridge to local roads and highways.
Jim Wallace Flickr

A Judge has found the company that owns the Ambassador Bridge in contempt of court.

Update 2:17 p.m.

Here's an update from the Associated Press with reaction from the Ambassador Bridge owners:

DETROIT (AP) - The company that owns the Ambassador Bridge says a judge is wrong to find it in contempt for failing to finish work on a project linking the U.S.-Canada span with two Detroit interstates.

Wayne County Judge Prentis Edwards will wait until Jan. 12 to order a penalty, but he wants bridge owner Manuel "Matty" Maroun at that hearing.

Detroit International Bridge Company says piers have been properly built and more work will be completed by January. It says it will appeal the judge's contempt order announced Thursday.

The state of Michigan sued the company after it failed to meet a deadline to finish its part of a $230 million project to improve traffic at the bridge linking Detroit and Ontario.

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