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Education
8:33 am
Sat August 6, 2011

Teachers continue to leave Michigan for other states

The number of Michigan public school teachers has shrunk by nearly 9 percent, a loss of around 10,000 jobs, since the 2004-05 school year.
moare MorgueFile

From The Associated Press

Hundreds of new Michigan teachers are leaving for positions in other states, a reflection of Michigan's shrinking number of students, wealth of teaching colleges and budget cuts that are forcing schools to cut staffs.

 Since peaking in the 2004-05 academic year, the number of Michigan public school teachers has shrunk by nearly 9 percent, a loss of around 10,000 jobs, according to the Center for Educational Performance and Information.

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Politics
7:44 pm
Fri August 5, 2011

Detroit school unions take aim at imposed pay cuts, emergency manager law

Mercedes Mejia Michigan Radio

An attorney suing the state over its emergency manager law is welcoming a lawsuit filed this week by Detroit Public Schools unions.

The three unions' lawsuit claims emergency manager Roy Roberts violated the district employees’ constitutional rights by imposing a 10% wage cut.

The imposed wage cut is the first instance of an emergency manager using the law’s new powers to seriously alter a union contract.

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Auto/Economy
3:22 pm
Fri August 5, 2011

West Michigan groups teaming up to attract businesses, jobs

A former GM stamping plant in Wyoming would be a good candidate for the special incentives. US-131 and a railway line run right next to the property.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

Two economic development groups, one from Grand Rapids and another in Muskegon are asking the state of Michigan to approve a regional economic development corporation. It could provide marketing and tax incentives for a narrow purpose; to attract businesses that need property with two or more modes of transportation.

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Auto/Economy
2:59 pm
Fri August 5, 2011

Honda recalling 1.5 million vehicles in U.S.

Wikimedia Commons

Honda is recalling about 1.5 million vehicles in the U. S. to update the software on the automatic transmission to decrease the possibility of transmission damage.

The recall affects certain 2005-2010 4-cylinder Accord,2007-2010 CR-V and 2005-2008 Element vehicles.

The company said Friday that without the change, the transmission's secondary shaft bearing can be damaged when the car is shifted too quickly. Honda said that can happen when a driver tries to get the vehicle dislodged from mud or snow.

Politics
2:54 pm
Fri August 5, 2011

ACLU of Michigan takes cases of people who cannot pay fines

Joe Gratz Flickr

The ACLU of Michigan is fighting for people they say were jailed unfairly because they can't pay their fines.

The Detroit Free Press reports:

Kyle Dewitt says the last thing he expected when he went fishing in Ionia County in May was to wind up in jail.

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Arts/Culture
11:30 am
Fri August 5, 2011

This is where I belong: A conversation with Lara Zielin

Michigan author Lara Zielin is taking over the world.

She and three other women writers (and some special guests) are kicking off their Girls Taking Over the World Tour tonight at Nicola's Books in Ann Arbor.

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Politics
10:41 am
Fri August 5, 2011

New poll shows Gov. Snyder's approval rating slipping

Gov. Rick Snyder, (R) Michigan
(Official state portrait)

Governor Rick Snyder’s approval rating has taken a tumble.  Michigan State University’s ‘State of the State Survey’ recently polled more than 900 Michiganders.   The survey found the governor’s approval rating fell from 44% in March to 31% today.  

Charles Ballard heads the survey.   He says the poll’s results are not surprising, given the state of the economy and the governor’s push to cut state spending and restructure Michigan’s tax system. 

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Auto/Economy
10:40 am
Fri August 5, 2011

Technology's Role in New Fuel Efficiency Standards

Last week, when the government announced the new fuel efficiency standards for 2025, I heard a number of Detroit auto buffs snort that they were unrealistic, utopian, and impossible.

“There’s no way they can get a corporate fuel economy average of fifty-four miles a gallon, no way,” one man told me.

Well, my technical knowledge of cars is limited to knowing where to find the owner’s manual when one of those warning lights comes on. But I do know something about the history of technology, and the general pattern is this:

If the experts say something is going to happen in five years, that usually means it is happening somewhere, right now, and will be widespread within a year and totally triumphant in eighteen months.

If they say that something is technically impossible, that means that the first practical application may not appear for a year or so. There are exceptions, of course.  But just consider this:

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Education
10:11 am
Fri August 5, 2011

Snyder appoints 11 board members to oversee new education system

The authority board will oversee the state's new Education Achievement System.
user jdurham morguefile

Governor Snyder has appointed eleven people to oversee the state’s Education Achievement System. That’s the system designed to turnaround the state’s worst schools – starting with Detroit.

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News Roundup
8:11 am
Fri August 5, 2011

In this morning's news...

Morning News Roundup, Friday, August 5th
Brother O'Mara Flickr

MI Politics

President Obama will visit Holland next week to tour the Johnson Controls Inc. advanced battery facility. The President came to Holland last year for the LG Chem battery facility ground-breaking. Holland Mayor Kurt Dykstra says the president’s visit is a great opportunity for his community, and the state in general. Meanwhile, Republican Congressman Thaddeus McCotter of Livonia, who wants President Obama’s job, has opened up his national campaign headquarters in Plymouth. Rep. McCotter says opening the national office in Plymouth proves his commitment, "to running a winning, grass-roots campaign for the presidency."

Auto Earnings

General Motors made $2.5 billion in the second quarter, slightly more than its rival Ford which took in $2.4 billion in the same period. “Most of GM’s second quarter profit came from North America, as truck and Chevrolet brand car sales rebounded.  North American President Mark Reuss says the strong performance came despite the slow economy and some unexpected events… This is GM’s sixth quarterly profit in a row, a dramatic improvement compared to the years leading up to the bankruptcy,” Tracy Samilton reports.

Looking for Asian Carp

Crews in Chicago are on the hunt for Asian carp this week, Rebecca Williams reports. From Williams:

The crews are looking for the carp in Lake Calumet, which is linked by a river to Lake Michigan. Asian carp have been found in the rivers that feed into Lake Michigan from Illinois. John Rogner is the assistant director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. He says they’re looking for live carp after finding carp DNA in Lake Calumet. He says it could mean there are live Asian carp in the lake… He says so far this week, they have not found any live bighead or silver carp in Lake Calumet.

Lawsuit
6:25 am
Fri August 5, 2011

Detroit school unions sue over pay cut

Three unions representing about 10,000 Detroit Public Schools employees have sued over a 10 percent pay cut and 20 percent contribution to health insurance imposed by the district.

Detroit Federation of Teachers President Keith Johnson tells The Detroit News the cuts are "an unprecedented power grab." Secretary's union President Ruby Newbold tells the Detroit Free Press employees will fight them any way they can.

The federal court suit seeks an injunction to block the changes, which were made under new state legislation expanding emergency financial managers' power.

The suit is against emergency financial manager Roy Roberts and state Treasurer Andy Dillon, who approved the cuts.

Roberts declines comment on the suit but says he's encouraged by the "overall attitude of the unions" in showing willingness to work with him.

Education
6:22 am
Fri August 5, 2011

NMU will not face sanctions related to tuition increase

Photo courtesy of Northern Michigan University

Governor Rick Snyder’s budget director has given his OK to Northern Michigan University’s tuition increase for the fall term. The decision means the public university in Marquette will not face sanctions for exceeding the state’s tuition increase cap of 7 percent. NMU said the university’s rate increase should not be measured against the fall 2010 rate after students got a discount. The university reduced student costs last year based on a windfall of federal stimulus dollars.

A spokesman for Budget Director John Nixon says he does not put Northern’s tuition hike in the same category as fall increases at Wayne State and Michigan State universities. He says MSU and Wayne State technically complied with the law, but violated the intent of efforts by Governor Rick Snyder and the Legislature to hold down tuition increases despite budget cuts to higher education.

Local
12:30 am
Fri August 5, 2011

Muslim group further from building new school

Community members listened to a line of people share their opinions on the rezoning of property in Pittsfield Township Thursday night.
Amelia Carpenter Michigan Radio Newsroom

An Islamic group is no closer to building a new school in Pittsfield Township after a long and controversial meeting last night. The Michigan Islamic Academy owns a residential property in the township and wants it rezoned. The township turned the Academy down after hearing from about 50 people on both sides of the issue.

Stu Collins lives close to the Academy’s property. He says he was pleased with the outcome.

“I welcome them somewhere else just not at that site. I think most people who were opposed to it can concur with what I’ve just said here,” Collins said.

Tarek Nahlawi is with the Academy. He says they are going to keep fighting.

"We are disappointed," he said. "I wouldn't expect this. We came into this with full hope that they would look at things in an objective way - not in a subjective way."

The Academy has said the Justice Department will get involved if the property is not rezoned. The board of trustees for the township still has to vote on the issue.

- Amelia Carpenter - Michigan Radio Newsroom

UAW negotiations
12:02 am
Fri August 5, 2011

GM may ask for (and get) pay-for-performance clause in UAW contract

GM CEO Dan Akerson and UAW President Bob King shake hands at opening of 2011 contract talks
General Motors

A top GM executive said Thursday that the automaker wants to peg United Auto workers' pay to their job performance. Workers who turn out quality vehicles would benefit financially.

"We want to pay for the performance," GM North American President Mark Reuss told reporters at an industry conference.   “All of those things that I get measured on, I want everybody else measured on, too.”

That would be a big change at GM, where the current UAW contract expires Sept. 14.

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Auto/Economy
5:59 pm
Thu August 4, 2011

National homeowner's assistance expo in Detroit

The nation’s largest home mortgage counseling agency is in Detroit for a five-day stop.

The Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America will be at Cobo Center through Monday as part of its “Save the Dream” tour.

NACA offers homeowners with unaffordable mortgages a chance to modify their mortgage terms directly with lenders.

NACA communications director Darren Duarte says the organization is able to “hold banks accountable” through binding contracts.

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John U. Bacon
5:56 pm
Thu August 4, 2011

The seeds of Tiger Woods tragic fall might already have been sown

This photo was taken using a Canon EOS-1D Mark III.
user: Keith Allison flicker.com

Tiger Woods has missed most of the season due to his injured left knee. In the past decade, he’s fractured the tibia, torn the ligaments, and had it operated on several times – making it the kind of hamburger more commonly seen on NFL running backs. But he returned this week to play in his first PGA tour event in months. This is big news in the golf world – because without Tiger Woods, there’s barely any golf news at all. Watching golf on TV without Tiger Woods is like…watching golf on TV.

Woods returns ranked 28th in the world – his lowest mark since he was just getting started 14 years ago. So what? The TV ratings will skyrocket. People love him, people hate him – but few are indifferent. His first decade was arguably the greatest any golfer ever had in the history of the game. After winning his 14th major tournament in 2008, the question wasn’t if he would pass Jack Nicklaus’s 18 major titles, but when.

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Arts/Culture
5:53 pm
Thu August 4, 2011

DIA launches program for Alzheimer's patients

The Detroit Institute of Arts
user sbj4 flickr.com

The Detroit Institute of Arts is taking the first step toward building a program for Alzheimer’s patients and their caregivers.

The DIA and the Michigan Alzheimer’s Association have been trying to launch the “Minds on Art” program for more than a year. But it’s stalled from lack of funding.

But the groups decided to hold an initial session anyway, and hope to expand the program.

The program offers gallery tours for patients and caregivers. Renee Grant is a DIA docent who trained to work with Alzheimer’s patients.

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Politics
3:44 pm
Thu August 4, 2011

Rep. Scott recall campaign will hand in petitions

State Rep. Paul Scott
Rep. Paul Scott

Organizers of the recall campaign against Republican state Representative Paul Scott say they will have enough petition signatures to hand in tomorrow to get the recall on the November ballot in Genesee County.

Bobbi Walton is a coordinator with the recall campaign. She says the recall of one lawmaker would send a message everyone working in the Capitol.

“For me personally it means that the residents in Michigan, when they see that their government has extended their reach , or disappointed them or lied to them, that they then have a law that allows them to come forward and correct the mistake and recall the person that is sitting in that chair.”

Walton says the recall question is also a referendum on Governor Rick Snyder’s job performance. Scott is the chairman of the House Education Committee.

The Michigan Education Association teachers union helped organize the petition drive against Scott.

Scott sponsored the recent changes in Michigan’s teacher tenure laws.

Legal
3:08 pm
Thu August 4, 2011

ACLU challenges "pay or stay" jail cases

The American Civil Liberties Union is challenging the sentences of five Michigan residents who were jailed because they could not pay their court fines.

Michael Steinberg of the ACLU of Michigan says judges are supposed to hold a hearing to prove whether an individual is too poor to pay a fine.

Steinberg says in the five misdemeanor cases they’re challenging, those hearings didn’t happen and the people were locked up. They’re called “pay or stay” cases.

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Politics
2:49 pm
Thu August 4, 2011

Capitol Farmer’s Market brings out Gov. Snyder and opponents

Governor Rick Snyder visited the annual Farmer’s Market on the Capitol lawn today.

Alongside the booths of sweet corn, wild flowers and homemade soap were petition collectors for the campaign to recall Governor Snyder.

Governor Snyder says he is focused on the future, and met recently with legislative leaders to discuss their plans for the fall and winter.

“Yeah, we had a very good meeting and it was largely talking about an assessment of how the first six months went, and where we’re going for the future, and I appreciate it. It’s good to do some longer-term planning and looking at how we’ve done, rather than just talking about the issue of the day.”

Representatives of the campaign to recall Snyder say they will continue to collect signatures through September, and they hope to get the recall question on the February 2012 ballot.

The campaign did not collect enough signatures in time to make the November ballot.

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