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Politics
12:41 pm
Thu August 18, 2011

Snyder asks Michigan Supreme Court to rule on emergency manager law

The Governor has asked the Michigan Supreme Court to rule on the legality of the state's emergency manager law.
Michigan Supreme Court

Update 12:41 p.m.

The request from Governor Snyder came last Friday.

The Sugar Law Center for Economic and Social Justice, the group filing the lawsuit against the state's emergency manager law, posted the request from the Governor today.

In the request, Governor Snyder says without bypassing the other courts "this lawsuit may take years to reach finality.":

I recognize the significance of seeking a bypass to this court as provided by MCR 7.305, and only request this court's involvement after careful consideration of the urgency and importance of the issues presented here.

Snyder says the severe financial difficulties facing local governments and school districts require that the questions of constitutionality be resolved quickly.

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Politics
11:11 am
Thu August 18, 2011

Jalen Rose released from jail today

Jalen Rose during his playing days with the Phoenix Suns. Rose was released from Oakland County Jail today after serving 16 days for a DUI.
user fizzgig and the sputnik sweetheart Flickr

Former University of Michigan basketball player, NBA player, and current ESPN analyst Jalen Rose was released from Oakland County Jail today after spending 16 days behind bars for drunken driving.

Rose apologized for the DUI and his lawyer said he shouldn't have been jailed.

When he pleaded guilty in May to driving while intoxicated, Rose told District Court Judge Kimberly Small he drank six martinis before crashing his SUV in March along a snowy road in West Bloomfield Township.

Small, who is known for coming down hard on drunken drivers, lectured Rose for 15 minutes before delivering her sentence. She told him that jail time was the "right punishment" in his case.

Small routinely sends first-time drunken drivers to jail, and has said she believes that sends a message that it is a serious crime. Under Michigan law, first-time drunken driving is a maximum 93-day misdemeanor, but there is no minimum mandatory jail time.

Arts/Culture
10:40 am
Thu August 18, 2011

Artpod: Murals brighten streets, bring pride to Detroit neighborhood

A group of people gather outside Chazz Miller's art studio in Old Redford, a neighborhood in Detroit
Emily Fox Michigan Radio

On today's podcast, we hear how an artist in Detroit wants to bring color to the city with his brush strokes.

Artists in Seattle and Philadelphia who have been painting large murals on abandoned buildings in an effort to revitalize neighborhoods. Philadelphia for example, has around two-thousand murals to help brighten the city.

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Environment
10:39 am
Thu August 18, 2011

"River Gypsies" studying three large Michigan rivers

Dr. Emma J. Rosi-Marshall and technician Dustin Kincaid from the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies introduce a mix of nutrients into the Manistee River, so they can track how the river processes the nutrients.
Photo by Tom Kramer

This summer, a group of scientists are studying five large rivers in the Midwest… including the St. Joseph, the Muskegon and the Manistee rivers in Michigan. It’s part of a three year study of how large rivers process fertilizers – and how things like farming and wastewater affect the rivers.

Tom Kramer spent some time with this group that calls themselves “The River Gypsies” - here's his story:

The forecast says there is a 50/50 chance of thunderstorms, but the River Gypsies can’t slow down for a little rain.

This group of 13 scientists, PhDs, grad students and undergrads has had three weeks to study five rivers in two states – packing up and moving to a new campground every three or four days. Picnic tables have become temporary laboratories.

Jennifer Tank, a professor at Notre Dame, says one of her students wasn’t all that prepared for this nomadic lifestyle.

“Now he did bring a Samsonite suitcase that weighs about 100 pounds into the field with him, but I know that next year he’ll have a great dry bag… so he’s learning as he goes along.”

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News Roundup
10:35 am
Thu August 18, 2011

In this morning's news...

user brother o'mara Flickr

Update 4:43 p.m.:

The MDCH posted the submerged oil study on their website this afternoon (it was also presented at a public meeting last night in Marshall). You can read more about the report here.

10:35 a.m.

Report: No long term health effects from submerged oil

Results of a Michigan Department of Community Health toxicology study reaches this conclusion. The results of the study were released last night.

From the Associated Press:

A study says there are no long-term health effects of submerged oil from last year's spill in southern Michigan's Kalamazoo River.

The Battle Creek Enquirer and the Kalamazoo Gazette report results of the Michigan Department of Community Health toxicology study were released Wednesday evening at a community meeting in Marshall to discuss the progress of a cleanup related to the spill.

The meeting was hosted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Officials say closed portions of the river could be reopened later this year or in 2012.

Big drug bust in Pontiac

The DEA and the Oakland County sheriff's department released details of one of the bigger drug busts in Michigan.

From the Associated Press:

Authorities in southeast Michigan say they've seized an estimated $150 million worth of heroin and
cocaine during a bust earlier this month.

The Oakland County sheriff's department and the federal Drug Enforcement Administration on Wednesday announced details of last Friday's bust in Pontiac. Authorities say a search of a home found 69 kilograms of heroin and 10.5 kilograms of cocaine.

The agencies say it's the largest quantity of heroin ever discovered in Michigan. Sheriff Mike Bouchard says the sheer quantity of drugs is "startling."

Authorities say a traffic stop earlier in the day turned up 2 kilograms of suspected cocaine and led investigators to get a search warrant for the home. During the search of the home they found more than $560,000 in cash along with the heroin and cocaine.

Police called during protest a Huizenga's office

Police were called after some protesters entered the building where U.S. Rep. Bill Huizenga's (R-Zeeland) office is located downtown Muskegon.

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Commentary
10:22 am
Thu August 18, 2011

Should there be fewer judges in Michigan?

Does Michigan need fewer judges? The chief justice of the state supreme court thinks so, and so does the governor.

Yesterday, a new study by the state court administrative office recommended eliminating forty-five of the almost six hundred trial judges in Michigan, and also getting rid of four appeals court judges.

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Environment
9:26 am
Thu August 18, 2011

3 adults, 6 kids rescued from Partridge Island

MARQUETTE, Mich. (AP) - Authorities rescued three adults and six children from Partridge Island in Lake Superior who had been on the water in a 12-foot boat.

The U.S. Coast Guard says the boat was "beset by weather" on Wednesday afternoon and they got a call for help via cell phone.

A crew from Coast Guard Station Marquette and rescuers from the Marquette County sheriff's department responded. A Coast Guard rescuer swam to the beach and helped the nine onto a sheriff's
department boat, and they were transferred to the Coast Guard boat.

No injuries were reported. All nine were transported to Coast Guard Station Marquette.

Auto/Economy
10:52 pm
Wed August 17, 2011

West Michigan’s economy depends on…

Steven Depolo Creative Commons

West Michigan’s economy depends on turning around Detroit, an educated workforce and a better attitude. That’s the conclusion from leaders who took part in a community forum in Grand Rapids Wednesday night. The group included non-profit, business and government leaders.

More than anything, the group says people in Michigan need to adopt a more positive attitude.

Birgit Klohs heads The Right Place. She works to attract businesses and workers to West Michigan.

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Environment
9:26 pm
Wed August 17, 2011

Kalamazoo River oil spill update: A lot of work accomplished, but still more to do

Dozens of people turned out for last night's EPA public meeting on the Kalamazoo River oil spill in Marshall
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

Dozens of people who turned out for a public hearing in Marshall on the cleanup of last Summer’ s oil spill in the Kalamazoo River left without hearing the news they wanted to hear….that the river will soon reopen.  

More than 766 thousand gallons of crude oil have been recovered during  the past twelve months.   But there are still large deposits of  submerged oil in three different parts of the river.

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Politics
6:34 pm
Wed August 17, 2011

Judge declares "underwear bomber" competent to represent himself

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab

A U.S. District Court judge says the Nigerian-born man accused of trying to blow up a Detroit-bound airliner nearly two years ago can represent himself at trial.

So-called “underwear bomber” Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab has been acting as his own lawyer in pre-trial hearings. But he also has court-appointed standby counsel.

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Volts in Dream Cruise
6:25 pm
Wed August 17, 2011

Quiet Chevy Volts to join classic V-8 Chevys in Dream Cruise

Chevrolet kicks off the Woodward Dream Cruise weekend with a parade of classic Chevy vehicles alongside 50 Chevy Volts - GM's modern flagship electric car with an extended range gas engine.

Chevy is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.

Spokesman Rob Peterson says fifty Volts will cruise quietly down Woodward Avenue on battery power – alongside some classic Chevys with their big V-8 engines.

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Politics
6:17 pm
Wed August 17, 2011

First Detroit police officer gets new house with Project 14

steve carmody

The Detroit program meant to lure police officers back to live in the community they serve has officially welcomed its first resident.

Currently, most Detroit police officers live outside the city. Project 14 aims to entice them back with generous housing incentives.

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Economy
4:49 pm
Wed August 17, 2011

Genesee commissioner suggests using portion of hotel tax to fund police

Genesee County Commissioner Joe Graves says a portion of hotel tax revenue should be used to put more police on patrol. Graves says better security will draw more visitors to the region's events and attractions.
co.genesee.mi.us

A Genesee County Commissioner says a portion of a hotel excise tax should be spent on police protection, rather than promoting area attractions and county parks.

Commissioner Joe Graves says nearly$1 million is generated every year by the five percent hotel tax in Genesee County. Most of it goes to the Flint Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. The rest goes to the County Parks and Recreation Commission.

Graves says it would make sense to take $250,000  get a matching federal grant, and put more police on the streets.

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Economy
4:34 pm
Wed August 17, 2011

State jobless rate rises again

Snagablog.com

More than a half-million people in Michigan are out of work.

About 33,000 fewer Michiganders had jobs in July compared to the month before.

"The state jobless rate has now edged up for three consecutive months," says Bruce Weaver of the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget. "It rose by four-tenths of a percentage point in July to 10.9 percent."

It’s still better than a year ago, when the unemployment rate was 12.4 percent.

Politics
4:29 pm
Wed August 17, 2011

Report calls for eliminating 49 judges in Michigan

The State Court Administrative Office report recommends cutting the number of sitting judges in Michigan (The 58th District Court in Ottawa County, no cuts are recommended for this district).
Rich Evenhouse Flickr

Update 4:29 p.m.

You can see a list of the recommended cuts on page two of the report from the State Court Administrative Office.

MPRN's Laura Weber reports that the State Court Administrative Office report also says there are some counties that need more judges, but state court administrator Chad Schmucker says they're not recommending adding judges at this time:

“We are not making a recommendation to add those judges, but there’s a simple reason for that. The most important one is the judges in those courts said we don’t want the recommendation at this time.”

The report recommends that the judgeships be eliminated as judges retire or leave their posts. It's up to the Michigan Legislature to enact the changes.

12:42 p.m.

The State Court Administrative Office released a report saying the state should cut 45 trial court judges and four appeals court judges.

From the Detroit News:

Chief Justice Robert Young Jr. and State Court Administrator Chad Schmucker released the report at a news conference.

"Increasing the size of government is easy; it turns out it takes political courage to reduce it," Young said.

The Michigan Supreme Court has unanimously endorsed the recommendations, as has Gov. Rick Snyder, Young said.

The report said Michigan has too many trial judges in the wrong places and there are areas in the state that have a combined need for 31 more judges. But no new judges are recommended at this time because of the economic climate, the report said.

"We need the Legislature to act," Young said. He said previous recommendations to decrease the number of judges in Michigan had not been acted on by lawmakers "to the detriment of taxpayers."

The News reports that the elimination of each trial court judgeship saves $157,500. The elimination of each appeals court judgeship saves around $171,500, according to a spokeswoman for Governor Snyder.

Doing the math, the recommended cuts would save the state close to $8 million.

Education
4:02 pm
Wed August 17, 2011

Michigan State hosts top labs' nuclear scientists

MSU's National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory in East Lansing.

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan State University says 220 top nuclear scientists from around the world are coming to the East Lansing campus for a three-day meeting starting Thursday.

The university says it's the first joint user meeting of researchers who work at four of the nation's leading nuclear science facilities.

Those are Michigan State's National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory and its upcoming Facility for Rare Isotope Beams, the Argonne Tandem Linac Accelerator System at Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois, and the Holifield Radioactive Ion Beam Facility at Oak Ridge National laboratory in Tennessee.

The meeting runs through Saturday at the Biomedical and Physical Sciences building.

The university says scientists are coming from 48 institutions in 23 states and nine countries.

Culture
2:53 pm
Wed August 17, 2011

Long, slow haul: Man makes 4,100-mile tractor ride

"Tractor Dave" returns home in Ludington, MI after a 4,100 mile tractor ride through the Midwest. His grandchildren sit on the tractor and his wife "Mrs. Tractor Deb" welcomes him home.
Tractor Dave Crosses America Facebook

LUDINGTON, Mich. (AP) - A Michigan man has wrapped up a more than 4,100-mile tractor ride through the Midwest to raise money for charity.

The Ludington Daily News reports 66-year-old Dave Wolfsen arrived Monday in Ludington from Wisconsin aboard the S.S. Badger car ferry.

He's also known as "Tractor Dave." He began the ride in June and traveled on a red 1937 tractor with a 25 mph top speed.

Wolfsen had planned to ride 9,300 miles through 48 states. The Muskegon Chronicle reports time and bad weather cut short his plans.

Wolfsen owned an agricultural equipment dealership in Fremont before selling it six years ago. He also drives a road commission truck. He used the trip to raise awareness and money for the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee and Food Resource Bank.

law
2:08 pm
Wed August 17, 2011

Wayne County jurors must explain why they skipped jury duty

User: steakpinball flickr

250 jurors have been called before a Wayne County judge today and tomorrow to explain why they skipped jury duty. The jurors had a choice to either reschedule the missed day or appear at a show-cause hearing.  

Peter Henning is a law professor at Wayne State University.

"What will be lurking behind all of this is the threat that if you agree to come in on another day and simply refuse to come in, now you have been warned.  And you know that penalties may be assessed."

Henning says the penalties can lead to fines. He says urban areas, like Wayne County, have difficulty getting juries that reflect the broader community. Jury pools tend to have fewer minorities and people with low incomes.

Roughly a thousand people are called each week for criminal, civil and probate cases in Wayne County.

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Environment
1:05 pm
Wed August 17, 2011

Sleeping Bear Dunes voted "most beautiful place in America"

Sleeping Bear Dunes was voted "The Most Beautiful Place in America" on ABC's Good Morning America.
Danielle Lynch Flickr

This morning, ABC's Good Morning America revealed the winner of their "Most Beautiful Place in America" contest.

For reasons we all know, Sleeping Bear Dunes won.

You can see the video on ABC's website.

Here are the places Sleeping Bear Dunes finished ahead of:

ABC says Jim Madole of Grand Rapids nominated Sleeping Bear Dunes saying:

"It is peaceful and serene, a place for gazing out into the world, night or day, and realizing that the universe is truly a magical, majestic mystery, and humans are just a very small part of it all," he wrote in his submission. "Here at Sleeping Bear, I sit in awe and wonder at the perfection of Mother Nature."

Environment
12:50 pm
Wed August 17, 2011

Special inspection underway at nuclear power plant in Michigan

The Palisades Nuclear Power Plant sits close to the Lake Michigan shoreline near South Haven.
Excelon Nuclear

A team of experts from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is inspecting the Palisades Nuclear Power Plant in southwest Michigan. There are no safety concerns and everything is now working properly at the plant.

Last week, a coupling that attaches to a water pump failed. The water pump is one of three at the plant that cool safety equipment. The part was replaced and the pump is back in service. The same water pump had a coupling fail in 2009.

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