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5:56 pm
Tue October 11, 2011

Fight brews over possibility of state windfall

Lester Graham Michigan Radio

A legislative agency says the state is taking in a lot more money than it expects to spend as the books are about to close on the last fiscal year. The revenue estimates from the state House Fiscal Agency say the state appears to be in line to reap $285 million more than expected.

That includes a $145 million windfall for the School Aid Fund. Some Democrats say a portion of that money should be used to restore cuts to K-12 schools.

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Arts/Culture
4:06 pm
Tue October 11, 2011

Detroit Science Center needs $5 million to re-open

The Detroit Science Center is slated to re-open Oct. 27 if it raises $5 million.

The Detroit Science Center was supposed to re-open Wednesday after it closed late last month due to a shortage of cash. But now it looks as though the science center will remain closed until it can drum up $5 million.

Kelly Fulford, vice-president of Marketing and Development at the Detroit Science Center, says the museum is developing a new operating plan – one that’s lean and conservative.

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stopping men who batter
1:26 pm
Tue October 11, 2011

Safe at Home (Part 2): Stopping men who batter

October is Domestic Violence Awareness month
user: nevona.friedman Flikr

October is domestic violence awareness month. At Michigan Radio, we are taking a look at how domestic violence impacts our communities.

What support and intervention programs are in place to assist those impacted by domestic violence?

We have already spoken with the Director of Safe House Center in Ann Arbor, which provides assistance to those impacted by domestic violence or sexual assault.

Now we want to look at the other side of the equation. Jenn White, host of Michigan Radio’s All Things Considered, speaks with David Garvin, Senior Director at Catholic Social Services of Washtenaw County.  

Garvin manages the Alternatives to Domestic Aggression (ADA) program, a 52 week batterer intervention program that specializes in changing the behavior patterns of men who abuse their intimate partners. Typically, men who participate in the program have been court ordered to do so.

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Science/Medicine
1:25 pm
Tue October 11, 2011

It's time to get your flu shot (and your kid's too)

Ouch!
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

 Michigan health officials say it’s time to get your flu shot.   And they want your children vaccinated too.   

You might think flu season is still months away.   But you’d be wrong.  State health officials say there have already been two confirmed influenza cases in Michigan this year.  

"Both of those cases did match the components that were in the vaccine for this year," says Dean Sienko, the interim Chief Medical Executive at the Michigan Department of Human Services.   

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Agriculture
1:12 pm
Tue October 11, 2011

Agriculture industry is growing, but can't find white collar workers

An image problem may be keeping the agriculture industry from being able to find enough workers.
United States National Archives

The Midwest’s persistently high unemployment rate isn’t expected to fall anytime soon.

But as Changing Gears' Kate Davidson reported, temporary employment agencies across the Midwest can’t seem to find enough people to fill all the open factory jobs they have waiting. These agencies are busier than they’ve been in years, because manufacturing has more open jobs than candidates willing or able to fill them.

Now, another industry finds itself in a similar position: agriculture. It's a big business all across the Midwest. In Michigan, agriculture is said to be the state’s second largest industry and is still growing.

But, Jim Byrum of the Michigan Agri-Business Association says agriculture producers can’t find enough people to fill jobs now, and he’s even more worried about the future.

“The industry demand is pretty solid, and it’s an increasingly severe problem,” Bryum says.

A large group within the agriculture industry -- white collar workers at agri-business companies -- is getting ready to retire soon. His concern is that a new generation of workers is not ready to replace those workers getting ready to leave.

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Newsmaker Interview
11:18 am
Tue October 11, 2011

Senator Stabenow talks currency manipulation

The U.S. Senate will soon vote on a bill that would punish China, and other countries, for manipulating their currency. U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, a Democrat from Michigan, has been leading the charge on the legislation.

Selling cars in China different than U.S.
10:59 am
Tue October 11, 2011

Detroit automakers shift approach to sell cars in China

General Motors now sells more cars in China that it does in the United States. In a few years, it’s likely that will be the case for Ford Motor Company, too.   

But selling cars in China takes a different approach than it does in the U.S.

There's much that's familiar at Shanghai Dongchang Fude Auto Sales and Service. There’s the piped in music -- the salespeople hanging out near the front entrance, waiting to grab the next walk-in customer., and the lineup of shiny new cars on the floor. 

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Commentary
9:43 am
Tue October 11, 2011

Expanding Charter Schools

We usually think of Franklin D. Roosevelt today as the quintessential liberal, big government president -- and in today’s polarized politics, both sides look back at his New Deal as the time when things either started going right or wrong, depending.

However, FDR didn’t think of himself that way. Once, when asked about his ideology, he said something like, “I try something, and if it doesn’t work, I try something else." Those who were really on the far left in his day mainly hated him. They understood what he was trying to do better than the right wing did.

As author Gore Vidal put it, “He saved capitalism. Whether it should have been saved or not is a different question. But he saved it, all right.”

I was reminded of this today by the ongoing, ferocious debate going on in Lansing over charter schools, which are independent, for-profit, public schools. A new package of bills would lift virtually all restrictions on charters, which are now limited to areas where public school performance is below average.

What bothers me is that so much of the ongoing debate over these schools is ideological or self-serving. And too few of the lawmakers debating these proposals are asking any version of FDR’s classic question, which in this case should be put this way:

What is the best way to make sure these children are being educated? Common sense means that we should all be in favor of any system that gets that job done, by any means necessary.

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News Roundup
8:42 am
Tue October 11, 2011

In this morning's news...

Morning News Roundup, Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

‘Underwear Bomber’ Trial Begins

Opening statements are set today for the trial involving Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the man accused of trying to detonate a bomb in his underwear on a Detroit-bound airliner on Christmas Day 2009. Abdulmutallab is, “acting as his own lawyer but is relying on attorney Anthony Chambers to handle the courtroom work. Chambers will grill witnesses and give an opening statement after Abdulmutallab dropped plans to give his own statement. Chambers is promising to ‘challenge everything’ at trial,” the Associated Press reports. Michigan Radio’s Sarah Hulett will be in the courtroom today and report on the proceedings during All Things Considered.

Obama to MI

President Barack Obama travels to Michigan on Friday. Mr. Obama and the President of South Korea will tour the General Motors Orion Assembly plant. They’ll speak about the South Korean trade agreement that the White House says, “will open up economic opportunities and support jobs on both sides of the Pacific.” Meanwhile, Vice President Joe Biden will be in downtown Flint tomorrow to talk about the President’s jobs plan.

Snyder Wants Immigrants Ready to Start Businesses

Governor Rick Snyder says he wants to attract more foreign entrepreneurs to the state, Lindsey Smith reports. From Smith:

Snyder told a gathering of “The World Affairs Council of Western Michigan” he’d like to leverage a federal immigration program to attract new jobs and investments. Under the program, immigrants who’ve invested at least $500,000 in a business that creates at least 10 full-time jobs can apply for green cards. That allows them to live and work in the United States permanently. Snyder says he realizes there are a lot of people who are against inviting more immigrants into the U.S. Snyder says Dow Chemical and the Meijer retail chain are examples – both were founded by immigrants.

Lansing
1:01 am
Tue October 11, 2011

Mayor says Oliver Towers saga is turning into a 'debacle'

The Oliver Towers haved sat empty for a decade since a serious fire. Suddenly, the empty apartment building is the focus of a tug of war between two local colleges, both of which want the land for future expansion.
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

Lansing mayor Virg Bernero calls it a ‘debacle’.    

The battle between two local colleges over an empty apartment building is in a holding pattern.   

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Politics
1:01 am
Tue October 11, 2011

Stabenow hopes US Senate will move the President's Jobs Bill forward

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) speaks duing a news conference at Capital Region International Airport in Lansing, MI
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow says she doesn’t know if the president’s jobs bill will clear its first legislative hurdle later today.    That’s when the U.S. Senate is scheduled to take a procedural vote on the $447 billion ‘American Jobs Act’.   

Stabenow, a Democrat, says she’d like to see the legislation move forward.  

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Environment
12:08 am
Tue October 11, 2011

Beekeepers still struggling with colony collapse disorder

Some of Ted Elk’s hives are buzzing with bees and honey.
Photo by Julie Grant

By Julie Grant for The Environment Report

Michigan beekeepers are continuing to lose huge numbers of bees. They join beekeepers from around the country – and the world – who have been dealing with what’s called Colony Collapse Disorder. It’s been around for five years now. Julie Grant visited with some beekeepers, and reports that scientists and the government don’t agree on what should be done to help them.  Here's her story:

Ted Elk is checking out some of his hives. They’re on the backside of a corn field, tucked away in the brush. The colorful boxes are stacked on top of each other.

Some hives are buzzing with activity. He pulls out a comb and scrapes the side:

“And that is all goldenrod honey. See how yellow that is?”

I want to eat it. It’s almost irresistible. But not all the hives look this good.

“Here’s one that’s not gonna make it through winter. It’s light, there’s no bees, there’s no weight to it.”

There’s honey on the comb. But almost no bees.

Elk suspects this hive has colony collapse disorder. There aren’t dead bees around. They’re just gone.

Elk has seen this before. Last winter, he lost 250 hives – and thousands of dollars. When Elk first started keeping bees, he might lose five or six percent in the winter. But nationwide, a 30 percent winter bee loss is average nowadays.

Researchers still aren’t sure exactly what’s causing Colony Collapse Disorder. But they do know there’s a lot of stress on bees. Beekeepers take their hives all over the country – to Florida to pollinate oranges, to California for almonds, to New York for apples, and elsewhere. The beekeepers take the bees honey, and often feed them cheap high fructose corn syrup, or nothing at all. Plus, they can have mites and bacteria. And there are 28 viruses that can affect bees.

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Auto/Economy
10:16 pm
Mon October 10, 2011

Gov. Snyder wants to attract immigrants ready to start businesses

Governor Rick Snyder tells the 'World Affairs Council of Western Michigan' he wants immigrants with talent and money who are willing to invest in the United States to come to Michigan.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

Governor Rick Snyder says he wants to attract more foreign entrepreneurs to the state. Snyder told a gathering of “The World Affairs Council of Western Michigan” he’d would like to leverage a federal immigration program to attract new jobs and investments.

The EB-5 immigration program

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Politics
6:26 pm
Mon October 10, 2011

Levin: Unwillingness to compromise threatens U.S. political system

Carl Levin

Michigan Senator Carl Levin says the U-S Congress is facing fundamental questions about whether it can continue to function.

Levin spoke at the Detroit Economic Club Monday.

Levin spoke in spoke in personal terms about “the dilemma that I and other members of Congress face.”

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Politics
5:24 pm
Mon October 10, 2011

Vice President Joe Biden coming to Michigan on Wednesday

Vice President Joe Biden
(Official portrait)

Vice President Joe Biden will visit Flint and Grand Rapids on Wednesday.   He’ll promote the Obama administration’s efforts to spur jobs growth.  

 The Vice President is scheduled to make two public stops on Wednesday.   Biden’s first stop will be in Flint, where he’ll talk about how the President’s jobs plan would spend $5  billion to hire and retain firefighters and police officers.   Flint’s police and fire departments have seen deep cuts as the city has struggled with a rising budget deficit.  

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Politics
5:04 pm
Mon October 10, 2011

Lawmakers take another stab at funeral protest law

Lester Graham Michigan Radio

About a month after a federal judge struck down a Michigan law banning protests at funerals, state lawmakers are taking another go at the issue.

 “We need this protection," said state Representative Bruce Rendon. "And yet everybody does have the freedom of speech in this country and that’s one of the greatest things about America – is we all have the right to express ourselves. But now we’ve defined what we can do within that.”

Legislation before a state Senate panel would specify what protest behaviors would be unlawful. Its aim is to keep protestors from the Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church from disrupting funerals in the state. The group has taken its anti-gay protests to military funerals nationwide.    

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support survivors domestic violence
5:01 pm
Mon October 10, 2011

Safe at Home (Part 1): Support for survivors of domestic violence

October is domestic violence awareness month. At Michigan Radio, we are taking a look at how domestic violence impacts our communities.

We are also looking at the support and intervention programs in place to assist those impacted by domestic violence.

Safe House Center is one such support organization. It provides assistance to those affected by domestic violence or sexual assault.

Jenn White, host of Michigan Radio’s All Things Considered, talks with Barbara Niess, director of Safe House Center in Ann Arbor.

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Auto/Economy
4:59 pm
Mon October 10, 2011

Chrysler and UAW to resume talks Tuesday morning

Contract talks between the United Auto Workers union and Chrysler resume Tuesday morning.  That’s after after negotiators were unable to reach a deal over the weekend. 

The UAW has asked its local presidents to come to Detroit on Wednesday.  That could mean an agreement is imminent. 

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Arts/Culture
4:43 pm
Mon October 10, 2011

Mobile video booth lets anyone be an arts critic

Art studio
Dani Davis

A new form of “grass roots” arts journalism could soon be in store for Detroit.

Jennifer Conlin lives in Michigan and is one of the finalists in the Community Arts Journalism Challenge, a national competition to get more people engaged with the arts.

Her idea is called iCritic Detroit, and it would allow arts patrons to record their own reviews of an exhibit or event by hopping into a mobile video booth.

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Politics
3:37 pm
Mon October 10, 2011

Legislation would block local protections for gays, lesbians

Republican state Representative Tom McMillin has proposed a law that would forbid civil rights protections that are more expansive than Michigan’s civil rights law.

The measure would apply to local governments, school districts and state agencies. Its aim is to block ordinances that offer legal protection against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Right now at least 18 Michigan communities have such laws on the books.

Critics say the measure appears to violate the rights of local governments to conduct their own affairs. 

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