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News Roundup
9:10 am
Tue August 16, 2011

In this morning's news...

Morning News Roundup, Tuesday, August 16th
Brother O'Mara Flickr

Fewer Schools Meet Federal Standards

The number of schools in Michigan meeting federal "Adequate Yearly Progress" goals dropped in the last academic year. Michigan Radio's Sarah Hulett reports:

Fewer schools in Michigan met federal benchmarks for students’ academic progress this year, and state officials blame the slide on higher standards required by the federal government. Schools need to meet something called “adequate yearly progress,” or AYP, under the federal No Child Left Behind Act. Failure to do so for multiple years can result in sanctions, including replacing school staff and principals, or closing a school. For the 2010-11 school year, 79 percent of public schools in Michigan made adequate progress. That’s down from 86 percent the year before.

Federal Pilot Program in DPS

All kindergarten through 12th grade students in the Detroit Public Schools will get free breakfast, lunch and snacks starting this fall semester under a federal pilot program. The Associated Press reports:

The district announced the program Tuesday, saying the goal is to "ensure all children receive healthy meals, regardless of income." Most Detroit schoolchildren also meet income rules for free lunch.

The district says the free meals are part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Community Eligibility Option Program. Michigan is one of three states selected to participate in the pilot program for the 2011-12 school year.

Customer Satisfaction Declines in Detroit Autos

Customers were less satisfied with some Detroit car brands this year, according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index. “Satisfaction declined from last year for Chrysler, Lincoln and Buick. Claus Fornell, founder of the index, says the decline is especially worrisome because satisfaction with most Asian brands rose. He says Detroit could be in trouble again if the trend continues. Not all Detroit car brands declined.  Satisfaction with Ford, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Dodge, and Jeep cars rose this year,” Tracy Samilton reports.

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Crime
12:31 am
Tue August 16, 2011

As shootings haunt Detroit, "Folks are starting to think they're on their own"

Raphael Johnson
thedetroit300.org

15 people were shot in about 24 hours this past weekend in Detroit. 7 of them died.

The bloody day has police and city officials scurrying to find ways to combat surging gun violence.

Overall, violent crime is down in Detroit this year. But that’s been overshadowed by a spike in homicides—more than 220 already. That’s almost one every day. The vast majority are shootings, and most of the victims and perpetrators are young men.

Two Detroit residents active in community policing agree the violence stems fundamental problems in the city’s broken communities.

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Politics
7:25 pm
Mon August 15, 2011

Upton calls work to reduce long-term spending “an enormous task”

People who couldn't fit inside the forum (the building capacity was 200 people) tried to listen to Upton just outside the window. Eventually they began chanting and the windows were closed.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

Congressman Fred Upton (R-St. Joseph) discussed the U.S. economy, health care reform, and the future of Social Security at a forum in Kalamazoo Monday.

Upton is one of twelve lawmakers selected to serve on a special Congressional committee. That committee will try to determine a compromise on long-term spending to help reduce the federal deficit.

Upton says the federal debt is “unsustainable”. He says the way to fix it is to get the economy moving so more people can get a job.

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Auto/Economy
6:30 pm
Mon August 15, 2011

Some Detroit brands slip in customer satisfaction

Customers were less satisfied with some Detroit car brands this year, according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index.

Satisfaction declined from last year for Chrysler, Lincoln and Buick.

Claus Fornell is with the University of Michigan Ross School of Business.  He's the founder of the index.

Fornell says the decline is especially worrisome because satisfaction with most Asian brands rose.

He says Detroit could be in trouble again if the trend continues.

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Ann Arbor may ban car idling
6:16 pm
Mon August 15, 2011

Ann Arbor wants to end polluting practice of car idling

Ann Arbor may soon hand out tickets for leaving a car idling. 

Proponents of the ordinance say car idling adds to pollution and wastes energy. 

The ban wouldn't apply to cars sitting in traffic.  But Ann Arbor Energy Commission Chair Wayne Appleyard says a lot of times, people are idling their cars unnecessarily.

Politics
5:50 pm
Mon August 15, 2011

How do Wisconsin recalls differ from Michigan recalls?

Protests in Madison, Wisconsin on March 12, 2011.
Yuri Keegstra / flickr

Voters in Wisconsin on Tuesday will vote on the recall of two Democratic state senators. Wisconsin voters last week recalled two Republican senators.

Michigan is also embroiled in its own recall battles right now. Michigan Radio's Jennifer White talks with Political Analyst Jack Lessnberry about the differences between what’s happening in Michigan and Wisconsin.

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Politics
5:17 pm
Mon August 15, 2011

Lawmakers' bus tour turns into debate over bridges

Matthew Maroun, whose family owns the Ambassador Bridge, outlined his opposition to a new public bridge between Windsor and Detroit.
Laura Weber Michigan Public Radio Network

A busload of lawmakers and state officials toured parts of Detroit today that would be affected by a proposed second bridge between Detroit and Canada.

The tour began at the privately owned Ambassador Bridge, where the owners defended their proposal to build a second span and prevent the state from building a publicly owned bridge.  

Matthew Maroun is a member of the family that owns the Ambassador Bridge. He says his company saves taxpayers from having to pay for a new bridge:

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Education
5:03 pm
Mon August 15, 2011

New federal mandate requires online aid estimators for colleges

A new federal mandate could make it easier for families to budget for college. Net price calculators will be required by all colleges and universities starting October 29th. At a minimum, net costs are based on a student’s income, how big their family is and their dependency status.

Keith Williams works in the financial aid office at Michigan State University. He says MSU’s net price calculator has been around for several years.

"It just allows a student to make a real, realistic comparison as to what the net price will be at one school versus another school," Williams said.

Margaret Rodriguez works in the financial aid office at the University of Michigan. She says the mandate is a good thing.

"The more information that we can make available to families about the availability of financial aid, the better it is," she said.

Schools can use their own system or the generic calculator provided by the federal government.

- Amelia Carpenter - Michigan Radio Newsroom

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Education
4:53 pm
Mon August 15, 2011

CMU start date questionable

cmich.edu Central Michigan University

Central Michigan University classes may not start as planned on August 22nd. The faculty and administration have been fighting tooth and nail in contract talks since April. The two sides have not met since last month. Union members are expected to talk about informational picketing or a strike in a meeting 4:30 p.m. Monday.

Jeffrey Weinstock is a professor at CMU. He says he feels as if the faculty is being strong-armed by the administration.

"We have never not had an extension of the current contract during bargaining and we’ve never struck and nobody really wants to but … I get the sense we’re really being backed into a corner and being dared," Weinstock said.

The administration released a statement today welcoming students back for the start of school. The statement says students are moving in and freshmen are attending orientation activities to prepare for next week.

- Amelia Carpenter - Michigan Radio Newsroom

Culture
3:11 pm
Mon August 15, 2011

Cell phones used to text, take pictures, and avoid others

Is she really texting someone, or does she just not want to talk to you?
user edenpictures Flickr

The Pew Internet & American Life Project has released its annual findings on how Americans use their cell phones. Other than talking on the phone (it was a phone survey, after all), most of us use our phones for texting and picture taking.

From Pew:

As in previous Pew Internet surveys of mobile usage, texting and picture-taking remain the most common mobile phone activities—73% of cell owners engage in each of these—followed by sending photos or videos to others (54%) and accessing the internet (44%). The two least prevalent activities (among the 15 we inquired about) are accessing Twitter and using one’s phone to take part in a video call or chat (6% of cell owners do each of these).

People interacting with younger cell phone users take note.

30% of cell phone users aged 18-29 say they pretend to use their cell phone to avoid interacting with people around them.

The avoidance technique is used significantly more by this age group than by others (11% of those 30-49 said they do this, 6% of those 50-64, and 2% of those 65 and older).

So younger users... teach the elders.

How is this best done? Do you pretend to take a call? Or do you just glance down at your device when you feel eye contact coming your way?

Or maybe you really are playing Angry Birds.

Environment
2:26 pm
Mon August 15, 2011

A settlement reached for part of River Rouge cleanup

An aerial view of the Ford River Rouge plant near Dearborn, Michigan, circa 1927.
Library of Congress

The U.S. government has agreed to pay $10.8 million for part of a cleanup at the River Rouge complex in Dearborn.

From the Detroit News:

The Dearborn automaker filed suit in May 2004 against the federal government in U.S. District Court in Detroit, arguing the government should pay a share of the costs of cleaning up the automaker's Rouge manufacturing complex that opened in 1917 stemming from military production from World War I.

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Science/Medicine
1:28 pm
Mon August 15, 2011

U of M poll finds parents worry about childhood obesity and illegal drug use most of all

Courtesy of Children First

A new poll from the University of Michigan shows parents have a growing concern about childhood obesity and illegal drug use.    The University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital has been asking parents for five years what’s their greatest health concern when it comes to their children.   

Obesity has topped the list since it started.  But this year illegal drug use tied for the top spot.

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Economy
1:11 pm
Mon August 15, 2011

Lansing city council to discuss the future of an old golf course tonight

In this artist's conception of future development along Michigan Avenue in Lansing, buildings on the south side of the road will take up a portion of the Red Cedar golf course
(Courtesy the Lansing Economic Development Corp.)

Lansing city council members tonight will discuss whether to ask voters to approve the sale of 12 acres of city park land for a future economic development deal.  The mayor’s office wants to include the Red Cedar golf course as part of a multi-million dollar development along US 127.  

The development is just speculative as this point, since the city has not settled on a developer or a specific plan.  Bob Trezise is the president of the Lansing Economic Development Corporation.  He supports making the land available for development.

“This is very neglected that shouldn’t be the way it is.  Its many vacant properties.  It’s a golf course that’s not a golf course anymore....nor is it even a park.”

The city council is being asked to put the potential sale of the old golf course on  the ballot in November.

Here's an artist's conception of future development along Michigan Avenue in Lansing from the Lansing Economic Development Corporation:

DTE adds electric vans to fleet
11:55 am
Mon August 15, 2011

Detroit Edison adds electric vans to its fleet

Transit Connect Electric Van
staff media.ford.com

Detroit Edison is taking the next step toward an electric car future. The electricity provider will power some of its own fleet using electricity.

Some of Detroit Edison's service calls will now be made by technicians driving Ford Transit Connect electric vans.

The van's range is about 80 miles - that's enough for an average day's worth of calls, says Detroit Edison President Steven Kurmas.

 Kurmas says more of the vans may be added to the fleet later.

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Education
11:55 am
Mon August 15, 2011

More Michigan schools fail to meet federal education goals

Mercedes Mejia Michigan Radio

The number of schools in Michigan meeting federal "Adequate Yearly Progress" goals dropped off in the last academic year.

Adequate Yearly Progress goals are part of the No Child Left Behind law.

Michigan Radio's Sarah Hulett has more:

Fewer schools in Michigan met federal benchmarks for students’ academic progress this year, and state officials blame the slide on higher standards required by the federal government.

Read more
Commentary
10:27 am
Mon August 15, 2011

Congressman Hansen Clarke: Shaking Things Up

There was a time in Hansen Clarke’s life when the thing he wanted most in the world was to be a Congressman, back when he was twenty-five years old or so.

This year, that happened. He beat Detroit incumbent Carolyn Cheeks-Kilpatrick in the Democratic primary a year ago, and then won an easy victory in his district, centered on his native east side of Detroit. Ever since, he’s been going a mile a minute.

“You know everybody told me that I needed to get experienced Washington staffers,” he said. But then “I found out what they knew how to do was tell me why things couldn’t be done and tell me I shouldn’t try.”  Clarke’s an easygoing guy.

But he has small patience for that kind of attitude. Early on, someone told him that drafting and developing a complex piece of legislation could sometimes take up to a year. “I don’t have a year,” he told me.  “Neither does Detroit or the nation.”

But Clarke told me he had learned an important lesson. He said he was now getting things done because he didn’t know that he couldn’t do them. This happened last month with the administration’s Homeland Security budget. The budget zeroed out funds for Detroit.

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News Roundup
8:33 am
Mon August 15, 2011

In this morning's news...

Morning News Roundup, Monday, August 15th, 2011
Brother O'Mara Flickr

Snyder to UP

Governor Snyder will visit the Upper Peninsula this week where he’ll meet with state lawmakers, community leaders and tour businesses. The governor will be in St. Ignace and Sault Ste. Marie early today with state Senator Howard Walker and state Rep. Frank Foster. He’ll then meet with state Sen. Tom Casperson in the afternoon in Grand Marais and then address the Marquette Economic Club in Marquette this evening.  Snyder is scheduled to travel to Houghton tomorrow.

The Continuing Bridge Debate

A group of state lawmakers will head to Detroit as discussions intensify over whether to build a publicly owned bridge to Canada. Laura Weber reports:

A group of lawmakers will tour the site proposed for a second bridge from Detroit to Canada. And they will hear from parties interested in and opposed to building the second span. The tour and meetings are expected to last all day, and Senate hearings on the bridge issue will resume when lawmakers return next week. Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley says Governor Snyder’s administration is serious about getting the project approved before the end of the year.

Kalamazoo River Oil Spill Update

The federal Environmental Protection Agency will hold a public meeting this week to discuss what’s happening with the Kalamazoo River oil spill. “Wednesday’s public meeting is expected to focus on the ongoing need to remove oil that remains submerged in three distinct parts of the Kalamazoo River,” Steve Carmody reports. An oil pipeline, owned by Enbridge Energy, ruptured near Marshall in July 2010 and spilled more than 800,000 gallons of crude oil into the Kalamazoo River. It has cost Enbridge about a half billion dollars to clean up the spill and reimburse residents living near the spill zone.

Politics
6:09 am
Mon August 15, 2011

State officials dig in on bridge

State lawmakers are scheduled to return next week to the Capitol from their two-month summer break. However this week a handful of legislators will head to Detroit as discussions intensify over whether to build a publicly owned bridge to Canada.

A group of lawmakers will tour the site proposed for a second bridge from Detroit to Canada. And they will hear from parties interested in and opposed to building the second span. The tour and meetings are expected to last all day, and Senate hearings on the bridge issue will resume when lawmakers return next week. Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley says Governor Rick Snyder’s administration is serious about getting the project approved before the end of the year.

As for the governor, this week he is in the Upper Peninsula, touring businesses and meeting with community leaders. A spokeswoman for the governor says the bridge in Detroit could come up in those meetings. She says a bridge in the southern part of the state is still an important issue in the UP because the infrastructure would have a big impact on agriculture and businesses throughout the state.

Arts/Culture
6:00 am
Mon August 15, 2011

Students take to the stage to tell the story of Flint arsons

UM-Flint students interviewed more than 50 residents about the arson fires.
Photo courtesy of the Project's facebook page

Students in Flint have written a new play inspired by the string of arson fires that plagued the city last year.

Students at the University of Michigan-Flint spent a good part of the this year interviewing victims of the arson fires that ripped through the city in 2010. The students then transcribed the interviews and strung them together to create a new play called EMBERS: The Flint Fires Verbatim Theatre Project.

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Teen Employment
8:02 pm
Sun August 14, 2011

What we learn from the work we do as teenagers

Many teens work their first job in a fast food venue
Flickr user silverlinedwinnebego

This summer Michigan teenagers faced an employment rate of 30% which meant that 84,000 teenagers who wanted to work were un-able to find jobs.

Teen unemployment is a big deal. By not working, teens miss out on acquiring new life skills which can help them move on to better-paying jobs as adults. Unemployed teens are also more likely to become unemployed adults.

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