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Education
10:11 am
Fri August 5, 2011

Snyder appoints 11 board members to oversee new education system

The authority board will oversee the state's new Education Achievement System.
user jdurham morguefile

Governor Snyder has appointed eleven people to oversee the state’s Education Achievement System. That’s the system designed to turnaround the state’s worst schools – starting with Detroit.

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News Roundup
8:11 am
Fri August 5, 2011

In this morning's news...

Morning News Roundup, Friday, August 5th
Brother O'Mara Flickr

MI Politics

President Obama will visit Holland next week to tour the Johnson Controls Inc. advanced battery facility. The President came to Holland last year for the LG Chem battery facility ground-breaking. Holland Mayor Kurt Dykstra says the president’s visit is a great opportunity for his community, and the state in general. Meanwhile, Republican Congressman Thaddeus McCotter of Livonia, who wants President Obama’s job, has opened up his national campaign headquarters in Plymouth. Rep. McCotter says opening the national office in Plymouth proves his commitment, "to running a winning, grass-roots campaign for the presidency."

Auto Earnings

General Motors made $2.5 billion in the second quarter, slightly more than its rival Ford which took in $2.4 billion in the same period. “Most of GM’s second quarter profit came from North America, as truck and Chevrolet brand car sales rebounded.  North American President Mark Reuss says the strong performance came despite the slow economy and some unexpected events… This is GM’s sixth quarterly profit in a row, a dramatic improvement compared to the years leading up to the bankruptcy,” Tracy Samilton reports.

Looking for Asian Carp

Crews in Chicago are on the hunt for Asian carp this week, Rebecca Williams reports. From Williams:

The crews are looking for the carp in Lake Calumet, which is linked by a river to Lake Michigan. Asian carp have been found in the rivers that feed into Lake Michigan from Illinois. John Rogner is the assistant director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. He says they’re looking for live carp after finding carp DNA in Lake Calumet. He says it could mean there are live Asian carp in the lake… He says so far this week, they have not found any live bighead or silver carp in Lake Calumet.

Lawsuit
6:25 am
Fri August 5, 2011

Detroit school unions sue over pay cut

Three unions representing about 10,000 Detroit Public Schools employees have sued over a 10 percent pay cut and 20 percent contribution to health insurance imposed by the district.

Detroit Federation of Teachers President Keith Johnson tells The Detroit News the cuts are "an unprecedented power grab." Secretary's union President Ruby Newbold tells the Detroit Free Press employees will fight them any way they can.

The federal court suit seeks an injunction to block the changes, which were made under new state legislation expanding emergency financial managers' power.

The suit is against emergency financial manager Roy Roberts and state Treasurer Andy Dillon, who approved the cuts.

Roberts declines comment on the suit but says he's encouraged by the "overall attitude of the unions" in showing willingness to work with him.

Education
6:22 am
Fri August 5, 2011

NMU will not face sanctions related to tuition increase

Photo courtesy of Northern Michigan University

Governor Rick Snyder’s budget director has given his OK to Northern Michigan University’s tuition increase for the fall term. The decision means the public university in Marquette will not face sanctions for exceeding the state’s tuition increase cap of 7 percent. NMU said the university’s rate increase should not be measured against the fall 2010 rate after students got a discount. The university reduced student costs last year based on a windfall of federal stimulus dollars.

A spokesman for Budget Director John Nixon says he does not put Northern’s tuition hike in the same category as fall increases at Wayne State and Michigan State universities. He says MSU and Wayne State technically complied with the law, but violated the intent of efforts by Governor Rick Snyder and the Legislature to hold down tuition increases despite budget cuts to higher education.

Local
12:30 am
Fri August 5, 2011

Muslim group further from building new school

Community members listened to a line of people share their opinions on the rezoning of property in Pittsfield Township Thursday night.
Amelia Carpenter Michigan Radio Newsroom

An Islamic group is no closer to building a new school in Pittsfield Township after a long and controversial meeting last night. The Michigan Islamic Academy owns a residential property in the township and wants it rezoned. The township turned the Academy down after hearing from about 50 people on both sides of the issue.

Stu Collins lives close to the Academy’s property. He says he was pleased with the outcome.

“I welcome them somewhere else just not at that site. I think most people who were opposed to it can concur with what I’ve just said here,” Collins said.

Tarek Nahlawi is with the Academy. He says they are going to keep fighting.

"We are disappointed," he said. "I wouldn't expect this. We came into this with full hope that they would look at things in an objective way - not in a subjective way."

The Academy has said the Justice Department will get involved if the property is not rezoned. The board of trustees for the township still has to vote on the issue.

- Amelia Carpenter - Michigan Radio Newsroom

UAW negotiations
12:02 am
Fri August 5, 2011

GM may ask for (and get) pay-for-performance clause in UAW contract

GM CEO Dan Akerson and UAW President Bob King shake hands at opening of 2011 contract talks
General Motors

A top GM executive said Thursday that the automaker wants to peg United Auto workers' pay to their job performance. Workers who turn out quality vehicles would benefit financially.

"We want to pay for the performance," GM North American President Mark Reuss told reporters at an industry conference.   “All of those things that I get measured on, I want everybody else measured on, too.”

That would be a big change at GM, where the current UAW contract expires Sept. 14.

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Auto/Economy
5:59 pm
Thu August 4, 2011

National homeowner's assistance expo in Detroit

The nation’s largest home mortgage counseling agency is in Detroit for a five-day stop.

The Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America will be at Cobo Center through Monday as part of its “Save the Dream” tour.

NACA offers homeowners with unaffordable mortgages a chance to modify their mortgage terms directly with lenders.

NACA communications director Darren Duarte says the organization is able to “hold banks accountable” through binding contracts.

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John U. Bacon
5:56 pm
Thu August 4, 2011

The seeds of Tiger Woods tragic fall might already have been sown

This photo was taken using a Canon EOS-1D Mark III.
user: Keith Allison flicker.com

Tiger Woods has missed most of the season due to his injured left knee. In the past decade, he’s fractured the tibia, torn the ligaments, and had it operated on several times – making it the kind of hamburger more commonly seen on NFL running backs. But he returned this week to play in his first PGA tour event in months. This is big news in the golf world – because without Tiger Woods, there’s barely any golf news at all. Watching golf on TV without Tiger Woods is like…watching golf on TV.

Woods returns ranked 28th in the world – his lowest mark since he was just getting started 14 years ago. So what? The TV ratings will skyrocket. People love him, people hate him – but few are indifferent. His first decade was arguably the greatest any golfer ever had in the history of the game. After winning his 14th major tournament in 2008, the question wasn’t if he would pass Jack Nicklaus’s 18 major titles, but when.

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Arts/Culture
5:53 pm
Thu August 4, 2011

DIA launches program for Alzheimer's patients

The Detroit Institute of Arts
user sbj4 flickr.com

The Detroit Institute of Arts is taking the first step toward building a program for Alzheimer’s patients and their caregivers.

The DIA and the Michigan Alzheimer’s Association have been trying to launch the “Minds on Art” program for more than a year. But it’s stalled from lack of funding.

But the groups decided to hold an initial session anyway, and hope to expand the program.

The program offers gallery tours for patients and caregivers. Renee Grant is a DIA docent who trained to work with Alzheimer’s patients.

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Politics
3:44 pm
Thu August 4, 2011

Rep. Scott recall campaign will hand in petitions

State Rep. Paul Scott
Rep. Paul Scott

Organizers of the recall campaign against Republican state Representative Paul Scott say they will have enough petition signatures to hand in tomorrow to get the recall on the November ballot in Genesee County.

Bobbi Walton is a coordinator with the recall campaign. She says the recall of one lawmaker would send a message everyone working in the Capitol.

“For me personally it means that the residents in Michigan, when they see that their government has extended their reach , or disappointed them or lied to them, that they then have a law that allows them to come forward and correct the mistake and recall the person that is sitting in that chair.”

Walton says the recall question is also a referendum on Governor Rick Snyder’s job performance. Scott is the chairman of the House Education Committee.

The Michigan Education Association teachers union helped organize the petition drive against Scott.

Scott sponsored the recent changes in Michigan’s teacher tenure laws.

Legal
3:08 pm
Thu August 4, 2011

ACLU challenges "pay or stay" jail cases

The American Civil Liberties Union is challenging the sentences of five Michigan residents who were jailed because they could not pay their court fines.

Michael Steinberg of the ACLU of Michigan says judges are supposed to hold a hearing to prove whether an individual is too poor to pay a fine.

Steinberg says in the five misdemeanor cases they’re challenging, those hearings didn’t happen and the people were locked up. They’re called “pay or stay” cases.

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Politics
2:49 pm
Thu August 4, 2011

Capitol Farmer’s Market brings out Gov. Snyder and opponents

Governor Rick Snyder visited the annual Farmer’s Market on the Capitol lawn today.

Alongside the booths of sweet corn, wild flowers and homemade soap were petition collectors for the campaign to recall Governor Snyder.

Governor Snyder says he is focused on the future, and met recently with legislative leaders to discuss their plans for the fall and winter.

“Yeah, we had a very good meeting and it was largely talking about an assessment of how the first six months went, and where we’re going for the future, and I appreciate it. It’s good to do some longer-term planning and looking at how we’ve done, rather than just talking about the issue of the day.”

Representatives of the campaign to recall Snyder say they will continue to collect signatures through September, and they hope to get the recall question on the February 2012 ballot.

The campaign did not collect enough signatures in time to make the November ballot.

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Auto Earnings
1:41 pm
Thu August 4, 2011

GM makes 2.5 billion in profit in the second quarter

James Marvin Phelps / Wikimedia Commons

General Motors made $2.5 billion in the second quarter. 

That’s slightly more than GM’s cross-town rival, Ford Motor Company made in the same period.    Ford made $2.4 billion.

But both companies are forecasting a dip in profitability in the second half of this year. 

Most of GM’s second quarter profit came from North America, as truck and Chevrolet brand car sales rebounded.  North American President Mark Reuss says the strong performance came despite the slow economy and some unexpected events.

“I didn’t think the debt ceiling crisis was going to happen, " Reuss told reporters at an annual auto industry conference in Traverse City.  "I didn’t think the tsunami was going to happen, all those things you don’t know what’s going to happen.  But if you’ve got a business and an operational model that can handle it and adapt quickly, then I think that’s the key."

General Motors may have beaten analysts’ expectations, but the company is not yet meeting investors’ expectations.

This is GM’s sixth quarterly profit in a row, a dramatic improvement compared to the years leading up to the bankruptcy.

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Auto/Economy
12:48 pm
Thu August 4, 2011

President Obama expected to visit Holland next week

President Barack Obama
www.whitehouse.gov

President Obama is expected to visit Holland in one week from today. His visit coincides with the opening of a new Johnson Controls plant that will make batteries for electric cars.

Mr. Obama visited Holland last year to mark the ground-breaking of an LG Chem battery facility. Holland Mayor Kurt Dykstra says the president’s visit is a great opportunity for his community, and the state as a whole.

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Environment
11:00 am
Thu August 4, 2011

Crews looking for Asian carp in Lake Calumet

Kate Gardiner Creative Commons

Crews in Chicago are on the hunt for Asian carp this week. The term Asian carp refers to two species: bighead and silver carp. The crews are looking for the carp in Lake Calumet, which is linked by a river to Lake Michigan. Asian carp have been found in the rivers that feed into Lake Michigan from Illinois.

John Rogner is the assistant director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. He says they’re looking for live carp after finding carp DNA in Lake Calumet.

He says it could mean there are live Asian carp in the lake.

“But there are some other possibilities. One is that there is DNA that comes upstream from downriver from boat hulls; it might be coming from restaurants in parts of Chicago that come out through the storm sewers.”

Some restaurants in the city serve Asian carp, so waste water could contain DNA from the fish. Rogner says people could also be releasing live carp into the lake, even though that’s illegal.

He says so far this week, they have not found any live bighead or silver carp in Lake Calumet.

Arts/Culture
11:00 am
Thu August 4, 2011

Flint Jazz Festival this weekend

Jazz Yellow 2 - jazz poster
user: echoaa23 flickr

The 2011 Flint Jazz Festival will celebrate its 30th anniversary at Riverbank Park this weekend.

The event will begin with a Jazz Walk from 6 -11 p.m. Thursday.

Greg Fiedler is with the Greater Flint Arts Council.

"We created something entirely new called Jazz Walk, and the Jazz Walk is fashioned sort of as our famous Flint Art Walk that we do every month. Only the difference is that Jazz Walk is going to be in the pubs downtown and we’re in six of the local pubs."

Fiedler also says every year the festival celebrates the jazz drummer and founder of the festival, Joe Freyre. This year his nephew -- who has the same name -- will headline with Freyre’s former band, The People's Jazz Band.

The festival is charging admission for the first time. Fielder explains with corporate sponsorships decreasing, it is important for the community to begin investing in its major annual events.   

Admission is $2 per day or $5 for a three-day pass.

The festival runs through Sunday.

Traci Currie, Michigan Radio Newsroom

Environment
10:41 am
Thu August 4, 2011

Koi herpesvirus shows up in wild Michigan fish

Koi are susceptible to koi herpesvirus, and so are carp and goldfish. Officials want to study whether native Michigan fish, such as minnows, are also at risk.
Photo by Flickr user: eye of einstein

State officials say they’ve discovered a virus for the first time in wild fish in Michigan. It’s called koi herpesvirus.

Gary Whelan is with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

He says the virus might have contributed to the death of several hundred common carp in Kent Lake last June. Whelan says the virus is known to affect common carp, goldfish and koi. And it can be fatal.

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Environment
10:25 am
Thu August 4, 2011

EPA asks Enbridge for missing data

The Environmental Protection Agency is asking the company responsible for last year’s oil spill in the Kalamazoo River for information they say is missing. Last summer an Enbridge Energy pipeline ruptured, releasing more than 840,000 gallons of tar sands oil. Cleanup is still underway.

Last spring after the snow and ice melted, cleanup efforts on the Kalamazoo River really ramped up. The EPA came up with a plan to monitor air quality. The agency directed Enbridge to collect air samples to look for contaminants that could have been stirred up during the spring cleaning. Enbridge also was supposed to collect weather data so the EPA knew the conditions when the samples were taken.

Ralph Dollhopf heads EPA’s Incident Command for the Enbridge spill. He says some of that weather data is missing.

“It’s not necessarily a bad thing but we want to make sure that we understand the complete situation.”

Dollhopf says they’re asking Enbridge to supply the missing data or explain why it’s missing.

Marshall resident Susan Connolly says she’s disappointed, but not surprised the data Enbridge is responsible for gathering could be missing.

“That would be just like letting a pedophile babysit a child. I mean why would you let the person that caused the pipeline to spill to be the ones to monitor?"

The EPA oversees the cleanup.

An Enbridge spokesman says the company has not received the EPA’s notice yet so he declined to comment for now.

Commentary
9:49 am
Thu August 4, 2011

Debt debate aftermath

Well, the great battle over the federal debt limit is over, at least for now. For the last several weeks, most of us seem to have been arguing over this, whether or not we understood it.

This came just months after the great battle in Lansing over Governor Snyder’s budget cuts. Now that these momentous issues have been decided, we can move on to more interesting debates.

Such as, for example, how long it will be before Justin Verlander pitches another no-hitter. But seriously, there’s a tendency to think that now that all these budget cuts have been passed we don’t have to worry any more.

The unpleasant truth is that the effects of all these changes haven’t really started, on either the national, state or local levels.

We’ll begin to see some of the consequences this fall, when our kids go back to public schools with fewer teachers and fewer programs. Some of my students at Wayne State are already howling over their higher tuition and fee payments.

We don’t have any idea yet of the social costs of cutting people permanently off welfare. If the governor’s tax cuts produce a fast bumper crop of new jobs, and some of these long-term unemployed are hired, great. If that doesn’t pan out, we’ll all be in trouble.

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Media
7:50 am
Thu August 4, 2011

In the digital age, social media is changing the way the media gathers information

Facebook is just one way that media organizations are asking you for information about the news
Jurveston Flickr

You’ve probably seen news outlets asking for your opinion, or asking you to share your story with them. More and more, media outlets are asking YOU for your personal stories to help them tell the news. Michigan Radio’s Changing Gears project has recently started trying it out with the Public Insight Network. It’s all about using social media to reach out to you. The goal is to tell a more compelling news story because it includes examples and real-life experiences.

To find out more about this trend in information-gathering and whether or not it's a good thing for a news-consumer, we caught up with Cliff Lampe, an assistant professor at the School of Information at the University of Michigan.

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