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Arts/Culture
10:40 am
Fri October 7, 2011

Introducing the winner at ArtPrize 2011 (video)

Rick DeVos and ArtPrize winner Mia Tavonatti answer media questions after the announcement Thursday night.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

ArtPrize 2011 organizers held a press conference introducing the winner, Mia Tavonatti, last night, and Michigan Radio reporter Lindsey Smith was there.

For receiving the most votes, Tavonatti took home the top prize of $250,000 (Tavonatti placed second last year and won $100,000).

She lives in California now, but Tavonatti is originally from Iron Mountain in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Smith described the winning piece this way:

The piece towers in the same performance hall where the winner was announced last night. It’s 9 feet across, 13 feet tall; made up of tiny pieces of stained glass that make up a vision of Jesus Christ dying on the cross.

Tavonatti said "when you bring Christ to town. I just knew he had certain things in store for me. And I wasn't going to tell him how to do his job."

Tavonatti's win was bittersweet. Her mother died early yesterday morning after a bout with pneumonia.

Here's the video of the press conference:

Sports Commentary
9:57 am
Fri October 7, 2011

Wildcats Football: Northwestern's miracle season

Fans at a Wildcats football game.
Derek Tam Flickr

The University of Michigan football team plays Northwestern in Evanston tomorrow for the first time since 2007.  The undefeated, 12th ranked Wolverines are seven-point favorites, but beating the Wildcats is no longer the easy game it used to be.  Whatever happens this weekend, it can’t match what happened back in 1995 – one of my favorite sports stories.

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Your Story
9:26 am
Fri October 7, 2011

Empty buildings: Eyesore or untapped potential?

An empty building in Elk Grove Village, IL. Cities across the Midwest are faced with large amounts of abandoned and empty buildings.
Sarah Alvarez

An abandoned building can be a potent symbol of a depressed area or a bad economy. Ruin porn has been decried and criticized as unhelpful voyeurism, but the pictures of crumbling buildings in places like Gary, Indiana and Detroit, MI continue to multiply on photo sharing sites across the web.

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Politics
9:15 am
Fri October 7, 2011

Why Michigan voters might be cut out of the auto no-fault debate

Flickr

Hundreds of people showed up at the Capitol this week to speak for or against a proposal that would dramatically alter Michigan’s no-fault auto insurance law.

The overwhelming majority of the people were in favor of keeping the state’s lifetime medical coverage for injured people.

If the law is passed, and people don’t like it, the Michigan Constitution allows voters to challenge it with a referendum, but the Republican sponsors have found a way around that.

At the end of the 42-page bill that would require drivers to choose the level of auto insurance coverage they want, and end guaranteed lifetime medical coverage, there is an appropriation of $50,000.

The stated purpose of the $50,000 appropriation is to help implement the change in law.

Republican state Representative Pete Lund said the money is needed for a report and study on the effects of the law.

The framers of the Michigan Constitution wrote that any law that appropriates money is referendum proof, and they did that to ensure that the full faith and credit of the state is not jeopardized.

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News Roundup
8:52 am
Fri October 7, 2011

In this morning's news...

Morning News Roundup, Friday, October 7th, 2011
Brother O'Mara Flickr

Snyder Planning on a Second Term

Governor Rick Snyder has laid to rest speculation that he might not seek a second term, Rick Pluta reports. From Pluta:

The governor told a collection of local government officials his plan is to serve eight years, if voters let him."I'm not announcing my candidacy yet, but as a practical matter I do intend to be around for eight years, assuming the voters go along with that and the family is supportive, which they have been consistently," said Snyder. There was speculation the governor would choose to serve only one term based on remarks he made last month on Mackinac Island.

Michigan Gets ‘Occupied’

The “Occupy Wall Street” campaign is starting to pop up in towns and cities across Michigan. Steve Carmody was in Ann Arbor last night and reports:

A crowd of about a hundred gathered on the University of Michigan campus to talk and listen. Many in the crowd have been inspired by the anti-corporate protest that’s been taking place on Wall Street for the past several weeks. Others were just curious.The‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement is planning on large scale protests in Lansing, Detroit and Grand Rapids later this month, meanwhile social media websites are popping up calling for grassroots groups to sprout up around Michigan.  

ArtPrize Winner

The winner of the 3rd annual ArtPrize was announced last night. Mia Tavonatti, an artist originally from Iron Mountain in the U.P., took home the $250,000 top prize. Her piece, titled, “Crucifixion,” is a large-scale mosaic depicting Jesus Christ dying on the cross. “More than 1,500 artists from across the United States and 39 other countries competed in ArtPrize this year. More than 382,000 votes were cast by those who visited the event in Grand Rapids. Organizers estimate around 500,000 people came to the event, which runs through Sunday,” Lindsey Smith reports.

State Legislature
7:22 am
Fri October 7, 2011

Michigan State House approves cut to lawmakers' retiree health benefits

Capitol Building, Lansing, MI
Matthileo Flickr

The state House passed legislation yesterday that would eliminate retiree health care benefits for future and some current state lawmakers. The state Senate passed the measure earlier this week. The Associated Press reports:

The retiree benefit will be eliminated for lawmakers who have not served at least six years in the Legislature before Jan. 1, 2013.

Most current state senators would remain eligible for the benefit once they retire and reach age 55. Most current members of the Michigan House would be ineligible for coverage because they don't have enough years of service.

Lawmakers have debated the issue for years but didn't agree on a final version of the plan until this week.

The legislation now goes to Governor Snyder for his signature.

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Environment
6:33 am
Fri October 7, 2011

EPA: Enbridge Mich. river cleanup plan due Oct. 20

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has given Enbridge Inc. until Oct. 20 to submit revised plans for additional cleanup work from a July 2010 Michigan pipeline leak that spilled more than 800,000 gallons of gasoline into a Michigan river system.

On Sept. 26, the Calgary, Alberta-based Enbridge said it was increasing its estimate of the cleanup cost by about 20 percent to $700 million.

The EPA issued the order Thursday, saying the cleanup of the submerged oil is expected to last through 2012.

The spill was discovered July 26, 2010 and polluted the Kalamazoo River system in the Marshall area, from Talmadge Creek to Morrow Lake. The pipeline runs from Griffith, Ind., to Sarnia, Ontario.

ArtPrize
3:30 am
Fri October 7, 2011

ArtPrize 2011 winners; thrilled, controversial, bittersweet

ArtPrize winner Mia Tavonatti and her brother Darren Tavonatti pose for a picture in front of 'Crucifixion' Thursday night. Darren helped transport and install the piece in Grand Rapids.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

(This article was altered to fix two grammatical errors.)

More than 1,500 artists from across the United States and 39 other countries competed in ArtPrize this year. More than 382,000 votes were cast by those who visited the event in Grand Rapids. Organizers estimate around 500,000 people came to the event, which runs through Sunday.

The winner – “Crucifixion” Mia Tavonatti

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Afghan War Anniversary
1:01 am
Fri October 7, 2011

Peace activists to hold silent vigil for Afghan war anniversary

Coalition soldiers on patrol
(courtesy of BIGHABER.com)

A silent noon-hour vigil at the state capital in Lansing will mark the tenth anniversary of the start of the war in Afghanistan.  Its organizers say the U.S. has not learned the lessons of the war. 

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Politics
1:00 am
Fri October 7, 2011

Metro Detroit Arab Americans reflect on Arab Spring, foreign policy

Metro Detroit resident Ahmed Ghanim conducts an interview with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton for the Egyptian online news and information portal Masrawy.com, at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., on February 23, 2011.
State Department

The “Arab Spring” uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa have captured the attention of the whole world. And perhaps nowhere in the U.S. are the events being followed as closely as they are in metropolitan Detroit. The region is home to almost 500,000 Arab-Americans.

Many of those immigrants and their children say so far, the U.S. response to the wave of rebellions has left them hopeful that American foreign policy in the region is headed in the right direction.

“The game is changing”

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Sports
11:56 pm
Thu October 6, 2011

Detroit Tigers outlast NY Yankees to win Game 5, move on to ALCS

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

Don Kelly and Delmon Young hit first-inning home runs, Doug Fister and the Detroit bullpen held on and the Tigers edged the New York Yankees 3-2 Thursday night to win the deciding Game 5 of the AL playoff series.

The Tigers escaped jams all game and advanced to the AL championship series against Texas.

Jose Valverde shut down the Yankees in the ninth as the Tigers eliminated New York in the division series for the second time in six seasons.

Politics
10:07 pm
Thu October 6, 2011

Terry Jones appeal argued in Michigan court

Terry Jones
AP

The free speech case of a controversial Florida Pastor best known for burning the Quran has started in Wayne County

A jury found Terry Jones guilty of breaching the peace in April. Dearborn police arrested him before he could proceed with an anti-Islamic protest outside the country’s largest mosque on Good Friday.

Jones wants that decision reversed. He also wants the court to lift an ongoing injunction that bars him from protesting in that spot.

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Politics
9:52 pm
Thu October 6, 2011

'Occupy Wall Street' campaign on the move in Michigan

'Occupy Ann Arbor' organizer Whitney Miller addresses a growing crowd on the University of Michigan Diag
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

The “Occupy Wall Street” campaign is starting to pop up in towns and cities across Michigan.  

Last night the campaign came to Ann Arbor.  

A crowd of about a hundred gathered on the University of Michigan campus in Ann Arbor to talk and listen. Many in the crowd have been inspired by the anti-corporate protest that’s been taking place on Wall Street for the past several weeks.  Others were just curious.  

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Artprize 2011
7:39 pm
Thu October 6, 2011

Iron Mountain native wins “ArtPrize” 2011 in Grand Rapids

'Crucifixion' by Mia Tavonatti took home the top prize Thursday evening in Grand Rapids. She won $100,000 in ArtPrize last year with another 2-D stained glass mosaic.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

From an ArtPrize press release:

The top prize of $250,000 went to Mia Tavonatti from Santa Ana, California (originally from Iron Mountain, Michigan) for her large-scale mosaic, Crucifixion. More than 382,000 votes were cast in ArtPrize 2011 and an estimated 500,000 visitors experienced the third annual competition.

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Politics
5:03 pm
Thu October 6, 2011

Campaign finance and the Michigan U.S. Senate seat (audio)

user: AMagill / flickr

Third quarter fundraising results are being reported by those in the race for Michigan’s U.S. Senate seat. Here to to look at why the money matters are Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants and Susan Demas, political analyst for Michigan Information and Research Service.

We also talk about Governor Rick Snyder's comments about his decision to run for a second term.

 

Auto/Economy
5:00 pm
Thu October 6, 2011

UM economist expects slower job growth in 2012

A Ford assembly plant.
Ford Motor Company

In his economic forecast for Michigan released today, George Fulton, Director of the University of Michigan's Research Seminar in Quantitative Economics wrote that Michigan's economy is recovering from hitting bottom in late 2009, "but it has not been a smooth climb, especially during 2011."

The Detroit Free Press writes that Fulton cut his jobs forecast for 2012.

...he expects just 33,000 new jobs next year, down sharply from his earlier forecast of 61,500 positions.

Fulton expects the total number of jobs created from late 2009 through 2013 to be 187,000.

From the report summary:

The continuation of the recovery is supported by steadily rising vehicle sales and an improved U.S. economy over the next two years. Manufacturing continues to grow through 2013, but the largest job gains are in the service industries, led by health services and professional and business services. Government continues to shrink over the period.

Politics
3:38 pm
Thu October 6, 2011

Charter schools proposal in Michigan Senate turns into bullying debate

Debate in the Michigan Senate turned to school bullying.
user cedarbenddrive Flickr

The Michigan Senate approved eliminating a cap on the number of charter schools, but not before a heated debate broke out about bullying.

The state Senate eventually approved a measure that eliminated restrictions on the number of university-sponsored charter schools in the state by a narrow margin. It now moves to the state House.

State Senator Bert Johnson (D-Highland Park) says eliminating the cap might give students and parents more options, but not necessarily better options.

 "Good public schools should be nurtured. Bad ones, they should be shuttered. Good charter schools should be nurtured. Bad ones should be shuttered," said Johnson. "The legislation proposed today does everything to eliminate the limits on how many charter schools can open in the state of Michigan, but it does nothing to ensure that those are high-quality schools."

Prior to passage, discussion over eliminating the cap on university-sponsored charter schools turned into a heated debate over bullying.

Democratic state lawmakers tried to attach an amendment to the charter school proposal that would require charter schools to adopt anti-bullying policies that specify what qualifies as bullying.

Senator Glenn Anderson tried to tack an amendment onto the charter school bill that would require charter schools to adopt anti-bullying policies.

His bill required lists of reasons kids could not be picked on, including weight, gender, race and sexual orientation.

Republicans have traditionally railed against similar bullying lists, and Anderson says that’s not acceptable.

"The sad fact is that there are some people that believe that there are some kids that should be protected and not others," said Anderson.

State Senator Tory Rocca (R- Sterling Heights) argued a Republican proposal that does not specifically list which groups of kids should be protected from bullying is better. He said their bill does not make distinctions between who is protected and who is not.

"This is why, when I hear my colleagues on the other side of the aisle, with who I’ve repeatedly worked in good faith, make frankly hateful comments about people on this side of the aisle, saying ‘they want to see children bullied, they want to see children committing suicide,’ it is beneath contempt, frankly," said Rocca. 

In the end, Republicans voted against both bullying proposals, saying the issue should be dealt with at a later date.

Courts
3:33 pm
Thu October 6, 2011

Lawyer may testify for defense in terror case

DETROIT (AP) - A Michigan attorney who claims the government had a role in the attempted bombing of a Detroit-bound plane could be called as a witness for the defense.

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab may call Kurt Haskell, who was a passenger on Northwest Airlines Flight 253 from Amsterdam to Detroit on Christmas 2009. Haskell's name was disclosed in court Thursday by
Anthony Chambers, an attorney who is assisting Abdulmutallab.

Haskell believes the bomb in Abdulmutallab's underwear was fake. He claims the young Nigerian was escorted onto the plane without a passport and has a strong entrapment defense. Haskell is an attorney in Taylor, a Detroit suburb.

Opening statements in the trial are scheduled for next Tuesday. Abdulmutallab is accused of trying to destroy the plane on behalf of al-Qaida.

Courts
3:09 pm
Thu October 6, 2011

Jury finalized in case against alleged terrorist

U.S. Marshals

Update 3:02 pm:

The demographics are now in on the jury. With the last-minute change that took the Nigerian woman out of the mix, it looks like this:

The 12-member jury:

  • Three white men
  • Six white women
  • Two black women
  • One Indian woman

The alternates:

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Politics
2:28 pm
Thu October 6, 2011

Changes to Michigan's workers' compensation rules considered

Lawmakers are considering changes to Michigan's workers' compensation program.
dreamstime.org

Michigan’s workers’ compensation laws are under review in Lansing.

Some business groups told the House Commerce Committee that changes are needed in the workers’ compensation program because of medical advances.

They used examples of shorter recovery times for knee and hip replacements.

Democratic State Rep. Vicki Barnett says there could also be a requirement for some people to take other work while they’re healing.

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