News

Pages

Breaking
2:15 pm
Mon October 31, 2011

Detroit airport board dismisses Turkia Mullin

The Wayne County Airport Authority has fired Metro Airport CEO Turkia Mullin.

Mullin had a short, controversial tenure. It was marred almost from the get-go by the revelation that she got a $200,000 severance payout to voluntarily leave her prior post as Wayne County economic development director.

Read more
Politics
1:29 pm
Mon October 31, 2011

Snyder says rail service 'vital' to Michigan's future

Railroad trestle in Grand Ledge, MI
user joeldinda Flickr

Governor Rick Snyder says improving passenger and freight rail service is "vital to Michigan's future."

He made the remarks in a statement shortly before giving the keynote address Monday during the Michigan Rail Summit at the Lansing Center.

Top federal and state transportation officials, elected officials and experts also will speak.

Snyder says improving passenger and freight rail service "paves the way" for growth in agriculture and manufacturing, enhances property values and stimulates local economies.

He says Michigan is well positioned to become a major transportation hub linking the economies of Canada other Midwestern states "so that the entire region benefits." Nearly 800,000 passengers rode Amtrak trains in Michigan during the last fiscal year, a record.

Politics
11:43 am
Mon October 31, 2011

African-American Congressmen in Michigan

For most of our history, Michigan had no African Americans representing the state in Congress. That changed in nineteen fifty- four, when a young funeral director named Charles Diggs beat an incumbent white congressman, which was a sensation at the time.

Read more
Politics
10:50 am
Mon October 31, 2011

Former Michigan assistant Attorney General suing over ouster

Former Michigan assistant Attorney General, Andrew Shirvell, explaining his actions on CNN last year.
screen grab from CNN report

Former Michigan assistant attorney general Andrew Shirvell is doing what lawyers often do - he's suing.

Shirvell is going after a Detroit-based lawyer for delivering information that led to his firing from the Michigan Attorney General's Office.

While he was an assistant Attorney General, Shirvell used a blog to assail a University of Michigan student government president for promoting "a radical homosexual agenda" on campus.

He was later fired and is now being sued by Chris Armstrong, the former student government president, in federal court.

From the Detroit Free Press:

Now, Shirvell is suing attorney Deborah Gordon, who is representing U-M student Chris Armstrong. Shirvell claims Gordon fed information to investigators at the attorney general's office. He also has accused her of defamation.

Gordon says the lawsuit is "crazy." Shirvell expects the case will be combined with the pending lawsuit filed against him by Armstrong. Shirvell moved to North Babylon, N.Y., after leaving Michigan state government.

Shirvell explained his actions in an interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper last year:

Politics
10:24 am
Mon October 31, 2011

Board meeting could decide fate of embattled airport CEO

Turkia Mullin

The board that runs Detroit Metro Airport meets Monday, and the group could decide to remove the airport’s embattled CEO, Turkia Mullin.

Mullin’s short tenure as CEO of Detroit Metro Airport has been tarnished by controversy.

Soon after taking the job, it was revealed she had accepted a $200,000 “severance” to voluntarily leave her old post as Wayne County’s economic development director. She’s returned most of the money.

Read more
Politics
9:51 am
Mon October 31, 2011

Hansen Clarke: Time to tackle student loan debt

Detroit Congressman Hansen Clarke says the growing “Occupy” movement is helping his efforts to push for student loan debt relief.

Clarke introduced a resolution in July encouraging Congress to focus on what he calls the country’s “true debt problem.” Student loan debt is expected to surpass $1 trillion this year.

Clarke says the issue is gaining traction in Congress as a way to lessen household debt and jumpstart the economy.

He says relief should focus on federally-guaranteed student loans.

“I also want to reduce and maybe eliminate much of the compounded interest and fees and penalties that borrowers have to pay on top of the principal that they borrowed. See, all these fees and everything, and the interest…that’s what really adds up," Clarke said.

Clarke calls President Obama’s proposals for student loan relief “a good start,” but says Congress also needs to act.

No one has introduced such comprehensive legislation yet.

Offbeat
8:56 am
Mon October 31, 2011

A warning to Ann Arbor residents this morning

A warning from Ann Arbor Road workers.
Mark Brush Michigan Radio

Ann Arbor residents were warned about a potential danger lurking around the city today.

These are likely the smaller, softer, and less dangerous versions of true velociraptors.

Be alert today!

News Roundup
8:08 am
Mon October 31, 2011

In this morning's news...

Morning News Roundup, Monday, October 31st
Brother O'Mara Flickr

Rail Summit

Following his speech on transportation and infrastructure last week, Governor Rick Snyder will address a summit today that will focus on improving the state’s rail service. “Michigan has 540 miles of publicly owned rail. The governor has called for improving and expanding that system to move people and cargo more quickly and efficiently.  The governor says he will seek more federal dollars and wants part of vehicle registration fees to be used for improving mass transit… The governor’s plans for the state include making Michigan a central point in a regional business corridor that runs from Chicago to Toronto,” Rick Pluta reports.

Flint Financial Review

Today is the deadline Governor Snyder set to complete a review of the city of Flint’s finances. Steve Carmody reports:

When he appointed the financial review panel in September, Governor Snyder said he wanted to hear back from them by the end of October. However, what the governor will hear is unclear. As of Friday, a governor’s office spokeswoman said the review team was still analyzing its data. The financial review panel could recommend a variety of options to the governor. They include giving Flint’s elected leaders more power to deal with budget decisions or handing over power to a state appointed emergency manager. Flint city officials have said they hope to avoid a state takeover similar to the one in 2002.

MI Helps the Northeast

CMS Energy, a Michigan-based power company, will send some 70 employees to assist crews in New Jersey who are trying to restore power to customers who lost electricity after this weekend’s snowstorm. “At least 3 million people from Maine to Maryland have lost power in the unseasonably early storm that dumped heavy, wet snow… Authorities blame a least three deaths on the weather, and states of emergency are in effect in New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts and parts of New York,” the AP reports.

Transportation
6:37 am
Mon October 31, 2011

Snyder, federal officials to address rail summit

Michigan Municipal League Flickr

Governor Rick Snyder and federal transportation officials will speak today at a conference in Lansing on improving rail service in Michigan.

Michigan has 540 miles of publicly owned rail.

The governor has called for improving and expanding that system to move people and cargo more quickly and efficiently. He said he will seek more federal dollars and wants part of vehicle registration fees to be used for improving mass transit. 

“He believes very strongly that infrastructure is very important both to Michigan’s economy and to the future and that rail is very important to that mix, both passenger and freight," said Sara Wurfel, the governor's press secretary.

The state recently won a federal grant to purchase and upgrade 140 miles of track to be part of accelerated rail service between Detroit and Chicago. The governor’s plans for the state include making Michigan a central point in a regional business corridor that runs from Chicago to Toronto.

What's Working
6:30 am
Mon October 31, 2011

Aging gracefully with the creative arts

Every week on What’s Working, we take a look at people and organizations that are changing lives in Michigan for the better.

The Luella Hannan Memorial Foundation in Detroit has been around for 75 years. People who work at the foundation describe it as a center for creative aging, an opportunity for seniors to learn new ways to creatively express themselves as they grow older.

Christina Shockely, host of Michigan Radio's Morning Edition, spoke with Rachel Jacobsen, the community development coordinator at the foundation.

Jacobsen said that proactive aging allows seniors "to exercise the more creative parts of their minds and bodies in ways that help them age well and also, hopefully, continue to develop into old age."

Read more
Politics
5:30 am
Mon October 31, 2011

Water rates spiking in Benton Harbor

Water bills in Benton Harbor will jump at least 40-percent in November.

Benton Harbor’s water system has served the city and surrounding Benton Charter, St. Joe Charter, Hagar and Sodus Townships. Earlier this month Benton Township put its own system online.

The township decided to separate from Benton Harbor after years of mismanagement by the city.

Read more
Flint
1:01 am
Mon October 31, 2011

Review of Flint's financial health due today

Downtown Flint, Michigan
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

Today is the deadline Governor Snyder set to complete a review of the city of Flint’s finances.   

When he appointed the financial review panel in September, Governor Snyder said he wanted to hear back from them by the end of October. However, what the governor will hear is unclear. 

As of Friday, a governor’s office spokeswoman said the review team was still analyzing its data. And Flint Mayor Dayne Walling said on Friday he had not heard from the panel since earlier this month.  

The city of Flint is expected to end the current fiscal year more than 10 million dollars in debt. Flint leaders have cut the city’s budget by about a third in recent years, trying to balance rising costs and shrinking tax revenues. 

The financial review panel could recommend a variety of options to the governor. They include giving Flint’s elected leaders more power to deal with budget decisions or handing over power to a state appointed emergency manager. 

Flint city officials have said they hope to avoid a state takeover similar to the one in 2002.

October Auto Sales
10:05 pm
Sun October 30, 2011

Another good car sales month, despite poor economy

The U.S. economy is still ailing, but it looks like auto sales had another good month, in part due to the recovery of Honda and Toyota. 

Michelle Krebs of Edmunds.com said overall U.S. auto sales rose about 11-percent in October, compared to the same month last year. She said it appears Honda and Toyota are finally making progress at boosting inventories, after the tsunami in Japan that happened last spring.

"And so we think that a lot of people that were destined to buy Hondas and Toyotas put off their purchases and we think that pent-up demand is coming into the market," Krebs said.

Car sales were up at Chrysler, Ford and GM, too. Chrysler's sales could be up by 27% compared to October a year ago; Ford up by about 8%, and GM by about 7%.

Read more
Religion
6:26 pm
Sun October 30, 2011

Warren priest put on leave after sex abuse report

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit says it has placed a 66-year-old priest on leave after finding "sufficient substance" behind a complaint that he engaged in sexual misconduct with a minor early in his ministry.

The 1.3 million-member archdiocese announced Sunday that the Rev. Gary Schulte went on administrative leave Friday from St. Sylvester Parish in Warren. The Associated Press left a phone message Sunday for Schulte.

The archdiocese says its victim assistance coordinator received a complaint in September. The archdiocese says it "found the complaint to be of sufficient substance" to require restrictions on Schulte's work as a priest, including barring him from celebrating Mass.

Schulte was ordained in 1972 and also has worked at parishes in the Detroit suburbs of Clawson, Beverly Hills, Royal Oak and Madison Heights.

Science/Medicine
4:01 pm
Sun October 30, 2011

Halloween is a dangerous time for small children

CreativeCelebrationsMagazine.com

Twice as many children die in car-pedestrian accidents on Halloween than on an average day the rest of the year. That’s according to the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital.   

Michelle Macy is a clinical lecturer of emergency medicine at the U-M Medical School. She says adults should be more cautious than usual when taking young children trick or treating in busy neighborhoods. 

"While they’re in elementary school, kids don’t have the ability to judge the distance that a car is or the speed that it’s approaching at…they need to be told to wait and stop and let the cars go past before they try to run out ahead of it," said Macy.   

Macy urges parents to make sure their children dress in costumes that don’t restrict their vision this Halloween.

State surplus
2:35 pm
Sun October 30, 2011

State surplus store no longer open on weekdays

MiStore sells all kinds of stuff
State of MI website

The state of Michigan says its surplus store no longer will be open on weekdays and instead will open only on the third Saturday of each month.

The change takes effect Tuesday. MiStore, as it's known, will hold its first Saturday opening Nov. 19 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The state store has a vast inventory of surplus items. Some are property seized by police, while others were voluntarily surrendered at airports.

The store also has property no longer needed by government agencies, such as desks and computers. Among the items for sale are police cars, flat screen TVs, jewelry, cameras, paddle boats, pocket knives and lawn maintenance equipment.

The surplus store is located at 3201 W. St. Joseph St., Lansing, MI, 48917.

Science/Medicine
2:00 pm
Sun October 30, 2011

Dairy to fight court-ordered vet inspections despite antibiotic violations

A West Michigan dairy farm that sold cows for slaughter  with illegal levels of antibiotics will be in court Monday.

Scenic View Dairy has about 10,000 cows at its five farms. The dairy has been repeatedly warned about selling cows with excessive levels of antibiotics, but it says public health was never at risk.

Now Scenic View is fighting an order requiring veterinarians to diagnose all sick cattle at its farms.

Professor Dan Grooms is with Michigan State University's College of Veterinary Medicine. He said state inspectors used to do that work, but because of budget cuts, farm employees or members of milk co-ops do it now.

“They train them how to -- if it’s something that looks unusual -- that’s when you need to be calling me as a veterinarian," Grooms said. "So they train them to recognize common diseases, and then the appropriate intervention strategy for that disease."

Drug residues in food can lead to long-term resistance of bacteria to antibiotics.

Science/Medicine
4:01 pm
Sat October 29, 2011

Doctors warn against misusing contact lenses this Halloween

user vvracer Flickr

Michigan optometrists say be careful if you plan on wearing decorative contact lenses as part of your costume this Halloween.  

The cat’s eye and other eerie looking contact lenses have grown in popularity in  recent years. 

Matt Maki is the president of the Michigan Optometric Association. He said if worn inappropriately decorative contact lenses could seriously damage a person’s eyes.   

Assuming they fit appropriately …worn appropriately….handled appropriately by the patient they’re fine.   I have personally fit these for patients.  Like I said, as long as it’s done appropriately there’s not an issue," said Maki.  

Maki urged people planning on wearing decorative contact lenses this Halloween should learn how to properly clean and disinfect them.

Energy
3:46 pm
Sat October 29, 2011

Temporary fix may help more low-income residents get help with their heat bills

Thermostat
user midnightcomm Flickr

A state program that used to provide heating assistance to 95,000 low-income Michigan residents remains in limbo, but a temporary solution may be worked out this week to help more people stay warm.

Rep. Ken Horn says he's hoping a Wednesday meeting between state officials and Detroit Edison and Consumers Energy staff will lead to a fix until another way to fund the program can be found. He'd like to see the two utilities agree to turn on indigent customers' heat and keep it on through winter, then roll the unpaid bills into their next rate increase.

Michigan law forbids utility companies from shutting off heat between November 1 and March 30 to customers aged 65 and older. But others could face being disconnected if they can't pay their bills.

Education
2:51 pm
Sat October 29, 2011

Detroit Schools recalling 89 laid-off teachers

Davison Elementary students
DPS website

Some laid-off teachers in the Detroit Public Schools are being recalled by the district which has enrolled more students this fall than expected.

The district said Saturday in a release that principals at 34 schools have requested more teachers, and that 44 teachers were added to classrooms by October 19.

Twenty-three others have reported back to work and another 22 are expected to return. Some teachers and parents have complained of classes with more students than allowed under the teachers' union contract.

The district says it has 22 classrooms out of more than 4,000 that have exceeded student number limits.

The district ended last school year with about 74,000 students and budgeted for 66,000 this fall. Spokesman Steve Wasko said projections have been exceeded by almost 300 students.

Pages