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5:31 pm
Sat May 7, 2011

Protesters rally against Gov. Snyder at Blossomtime Parade

Benton Harbor City Commissioner Dennis Knowles (second to left) yells "traitor!" at Governor Rick Snyder as he walks down Main Street in Benton Harbor.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

People came from as far away as Wisconsin to protest Governor Rick Snyder’s appearance in a parade through St. Joe and Benton Harbor Saturday afternoon. The governor of Michigan is invited to be the Grand Marshall of the parade every year.

“They asked me some time ago to participate in this wonderful festival and event and I’m happy to be here. And to the degree that people are exercising their democratic rights, I respect that. But it’s mainly about a quarter of a million people having a great day enjoying a wonderful part of Michigan.”

About 150 protesters mixed in with those gathered to watch the Blossomtime parade. They followed Snyder throughout the parade chanting “Recall Rick now!” and “Shame!” But there were some cheers of support mixed in with the demands to recall Snyder.

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Offbeat
3:00 pm
Sat May 7, 2011

Group uses loft parties to try to lure more residents to Detroit

MOVE Detroit hopes to get 1,100 new residents to move to Detroit by the end of 2011.
Bernt Rosad creative commons

There’s another effort underway to get more people to move to the city of Detroit.

This latest one is called 11-11-11, as in: 1,100 new Detroit residents by November 11, 2011.

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Environment
11:53 am
Sat May 7, 2011

Wait... what's that? Could it be... spring?

Spring finally arrived in terms we could understand this week.
user thebridge Michigan Radio

We’ve been waiting and waiting for spring to arrive, some of us less patiently than others.  April was a soggy, cold month; we even got a little snow dumped on us as Old Man Winter delivered his final hurrah.

The National Weather Service tells us not to expect miracles in May, either, and lays the blame firmly at the feet of La Nina. That’s El Nino’s little sister, which visits us periodically to unleash some nasty storms to our south and keep things chilly and clammy up here.

But in defiance of all that, spring did arrive in the last few days, in full regalia.

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Offbeat
9:16 am
Sat May 7, 2011

Gone Fishin'? Some walleye worth $100

Anglers in lakes Huron and Erie who catch tagged walleye could earn $100. This photo was taken in Garrison, MN - the proclaimed "Walleye Capitol of the World."
Mykl Roventine Flickr

If you catch a special kind of walleye, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources will pay you $100.

The MDNR implanted 400 walleyes with microchips in lakes Huron and Erie so they could track fish. The walleyes also sport an orange tag attached to a back fin.

If you catch one of the fish, contact the DNR during business hours.

And if you plan to have it for dinner? Don't eat the microchip.

Auto/Economy
4:57 pm
Fri May 6, 2011

Train stations in Michigan celebrate "National Train Day" with Saturday events

Saturday is National Train Day and events are being held across Michigan, including at many Amtrak stations. 

Tim Fischer is with the Michigan Environmental Council. 

He says gas prices are going up and so is train ridership. 

But Fischer says the same can’t be said of state and federal investments in the U.S. rail system. 

" So we certainly do need more funding for our rail systems, they are important assets that we should not be abandoning."

Here is a list of events:

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Arts/Culture
4:46 pm
Fri May 6, 2011

Detroit Symphony cuts ticket prices to lure new, returning patrons

The Detroit Symphony Orchestra rehearses on stage at Orchestra Hall.
Jennifer Guerra Michigan Radio

The Detroit Symphony Orchestra is cutting its ticket prices for the upcoming season – in some cases more than 50% – in an attempt to get more people back to Orchestra Hall.

Paul Hogle is the DSO’s executive vice president. He says the new ticket prices will go into effect for the 2011-12 season:

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Auto/Economy
4:20 pm
Fri May 6, 2011

Private companies hiring at faster-than-expected rate

User khalilshah Flickr

The new national employment report shows the economy is churning out new jobs as people return to the workforce to compete for them.

Governor Rick Snyder says that’s good for Michigan as he tries to convince state lawmakers to adopt his jobs strategy.

Private sector employment is considered a strong indicator of the strength of the economy and, for the first time in a long time, private companies are hiring at a faster-than-expected rate.

Governor Snyder says that’s good news.

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Politics
4:15 pm
Fri May 6, 2011

Breaking News: Attorney General files lawsuit challenging Civil Service Commission's authority

User cedar bend drive Flickr

Attorney General Bill Schuette has filed a lawsuit challenging the state Civil Service Commission's authority to approve contracts that allow benefit plans to cover the live-in partners of unmarried state employees.

The lawsuit says the commission exceeded its authority under the state constitution.

The contracts extend benefits to unrelated adults in a household -- that includes same-sex partners -- as well as their dependents

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Transportation
3:47 pm
Fri May 6, 2011

Report: Major Michigan high speed rail announcement coming Monday

Amtrak's "Wolverine" pulls into the station in Ann Arbor. U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is expected to announce new investments in Michigan's rail system.
user smaedli Flickr

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is expected to visit Detroit Monday to make a "major" high-speed rail announcement.

From the Detroit News:

Last month, Michigan applied for more than $560 million in funding - including joining three other states as part of a joint request. Michigan officials expect the state will receive funding for some grants sought.

The state sought track improvements in Detroit and a new transit terminal in Ann Arbor, and new trains are part of Michigan's pitch for more federal money for high-speed rail after Florida said it didn't want $2.4 billlion.

LaHood is expected to be joined by Detroit Mayor Dave Bing and other elected leaders at Detroit's Amtrak station Monday afternoon. LaHood is to make an appearance earlier in the day at New York's Penn Station. Bing's office declined to comment ahead of the announcement.

In the Midwest, there are several sections of rail being improved that will allow trains to travel faster. New money could further develop this system.

It's known as the "Chicago Hub Network" and includes improvements to the rail connections to St. Louis, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Detroit, Chicago, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Louisville, and Columbus. From the DOT's website:

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Offbeat
3:29 pm
Fri May 6, 2011

In case you missed it...

User cccpstorm Flickr

Time again for your weekly roundup

"Without A College Degree, Hard-Pressed For Jobs"

Senior producer Mark Brush liked this Morning Edition feature from Zoe Chace about young people struggling to find jobs in an economic recovery in which the opportunities for young people seem to be constantly receding.

"The Tamale and the Tire Iron"

Michigan Radio's Kyle Norris suggested this moving story from The Splendid Table, about a man whose car breaks down and the generosity of the people who stop to help.

"Have Terry Check Your Head"

For my part, I wish that I could say my favorite something serious like the international hour of the Diane Rehm Show's Friday news roundup--because the commentary was illuminating, thorough, and diverse--but I'd be lying if I said my favorite piece wasn't Terry Gross's interview with the Beastie Boys, which included a fascinating (no, seriously) discussion on how the single "Fight for Your Right" garnered the group some surprising fans, and not the kind they were really looking for at the time, and some interesting facts about the ways in which the group's follow-up album, Paul's Boutique, didn't satisfy some of their listeners.

-Brian Short, Michigan Radio Newsroom

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Politics
2:31 pm
Fri May 6, 2011

Governor Rick Snyder to act as grand marshal in Benton Harbor parade

Governor Rick Snyder
Official Photo

Governor Rick Snyder plans to act as the grand marshal of the annual Blossomtime Grand Floral parade in Benton Harbor and St. Joseph, this saturday.

The Detroit News is reporting that groups are planning to protest the parade.

From the Associated Press:

Gov. Rick Snyder is scheduled to serve as grand marshal of the annual Blossomtime Grand Floral parade in southwestern Michigan.

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Investigative
2:23 pm
Fri May 6, 2011

Support, information offered to families searching for a loved one

Families are asked to bring photographs and dental records that will be scanned into a national database in an effort to find and identify missing people.
michigan.gov

More than three thousand people are listed as missing in Michigan. They’ll be honored Saturday in Detroit at an event that’s also designed to help find them. 

Michigan’s Missing Person’s Day at Ford Field is a day for families who’ve lost a loved one.

They’re asked to bring photographs and dental records of the missing person. Technicians will  collect DNA samples.

All the information will be scanned into the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) database that the public can also access.

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Auto/Economy
1:44 pm
Fri May 6, 2011

AP: Rising jet fuel prices motivate buyouts at Delta

F. Olastuen Flickr

Delta Air Lines is planning to offer "voluntary early retirements and buyouts" to its workers.

The reason? Rising jet fuel prices.

From the Associated Press:

Delta Air Lines Inc. says it will offer voluntary early retirements and buyouts to its employees because it must shrink to cope with high jet fuel prices.

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Politics
12:35 pm
Fri May 6, 2011

Granholm portrait unveiled in the State Capitol

Update:

We have uploaded a copy of the portrait to our website and Facebook page, and people are starting to weigh in with their thoughts.

Michigan Watch's Lester Graham asked, regarding the position of Governor Granholm's hand on the globe to her right, "Is she pointing to Michigan or Canada?"

Peinck Muslimah, a regular Facebook page commenter, said, "Check out the windmill and new-tech car on the desk - and her hand on the globe is also symbolic: Granholm travelled [sic] often to try to convince foreign companies to invest in Michigan."

What symbols do you notice in the portrait?

 

Original article:

Former Governor Jennifer Granholm's portrait has been added to the portrait's featured in the State Capitol. She was the 47th governor of the state.

From the Associated Press:

Former Gov. Jennifer Granholm's portrait has joined those of other governors at the Capitol. A portrait unveiling ceremony was held Friday morning. Granholm participated in the program.

Ferndale artist Charles Pompilius painted the portrait of Granholm, which includes a wind turbine and a mortar board. Those elements are meant to symbolize the ex-governor's work in the areas
of energy and education.

The Democrat was Michigan's first elected female governor, serving from 2003 through 2010.

The unveiling ceremony is to be followed by an invitation-only luncheon.

A bipartisan nonprofit foundation has been raising the money for the portrait, the frame and the Capitol ceremony.

The portrait is shown above.

Education
12:30 pm
Fri May 6, 2011

Are conservative Republicans trying to 'micromanage' state university budgets?

Students walk to class on the Ann Arbor campus of the University of Michigan
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

A leader in Michigan’s higher education community says state universities may urge the governor to veto the state education budget bill.   He says it’s a question of ‘micromanaging’.    

Michael Boulus is the executive director of the President’s Council, a group that lobbies on behalf of Michigan’s public colleges and universities. 

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Arts/Culture
12:00 pm
Fri May 6, 2011

A unique music festival in Ann Arbor (video)

Neighbors play music from their front porch during the Water Hill Music Festival in Ann Arbor, Michigan. There were 60 performances around the neighborhood.
Mark Brush Michigan Radio

""It must be something in the water." - Paul Tinkerhess.

Last Sunday, I walked around a neighborhood in Ann Arbor's west side and witnessed a new music phenomenon - the Water Hill Music Festival - where neighbors played music from their front porches, backyards, and garages.

The idea for the festival came from Paul Tinkerhess, a local business owner and musician.

Tinkerhess described the concept in Groundcover News:

"The concept is simple," Tinkerhess said. "On the afternoon of Sunday, May 1st, everyone in the neighborhood who either is a musician or wants to pretend to be a musician is encouraged to step out onto their front porch and play music. That's it. Or half of it. The other half is that we are inviting all the other neighbors, and the rest of the world, to wander through the neighborhood that afternoon and enjoy something like a music festival with a lot of stages."

The neighborhood in Ann Arbor's west side, dubbed "Water Hill" by Tinkerhess, if filled with musical talent.

I caught a small fraction of the festival, and made this video:

One festival attendee, Patti Smith, said the event was "Ann Arbor covered in awesome sauce."

Politics
11:49 am
Fri May 6, 2011

Michigan political roundup: budget proposals

Michigan Capitol in Lansing
matthileo / Flickr

This past Wednesday, the Michigan State House of Representatives approved their proposed budget for the coming fiscal year. Some pieces of the bill include a forty-eight month limit on welfare benefits, a cut to clothing allowances for poor children, a twenty million dollar cut to local bus systems, a ten million dollar cut to funds appropriated to the Detroit Institute of Arts, as well as the cutting of thirty-four State Police officers. 

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Politics
11:49 am
Fri May 6, 2011

Report: Detroit Public Library administrators accused of nepotism

The Detroit Public Library is being charged with mismanagement and nepotism.
user taubach Flickr

The Detroit Public Library is facing accusations of "nepotism, cronyism and mismanagement" according to a report published in the Detroit News.

The accusations are becoming public at a time when the Detroit library system faces an $11 million deficit and is  considering closing most of its branches. Michigan Radio's Sarah Hulett reported that "one proposal would leave only five of 23 branches open."

The News says top executives at the Library have family members on the payroll and contracts worth thousands of dollars have been awarded to relatives.

From the Detroit News:

Hiring relatives is so common at the library that about one in six staffers have relatives among the 376 employees, according to an internal review obtained by The Detroit News.

"This nepotism and cronyism has led to the downfall of the city," said Reginald Amos, a retired Detroit Fire Department deputy chief and resident who said the family hires remind him of ex-Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick's administration. "It's the friends-and-family plan. It's not about serving the people. It's self-serving."

The Detroit Public Library's human resource director, Trinee Moore - one of the officials accused of nepotism, told the News that there are safeguards in place to prevent preferential treatment and that the Detroit Public Library is no different than other businesses where family members are referred for employment.

So how do you know when the line is being crossed? Is nepotism just a fact of life in politics and business?

NPR's Steve Inskeep discussed these questions with a writer for Harvard Business Online

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Politics
11:05 am
Fri May 6, 2011

Citing protests, Rep. Pscholka bows out of Blossomtime Parade

State Rep. Al Pscholka, R-Stevensville, has withdrawn from the Blossomtime Parade in Benton Harbor and St. Joseph because of planned protests at the event.
wn.com

A West Michigan lawmaker has decided not to take part in a parade in Benton Harbor and St. Joseph Saturday because protests are expected at the event.

State Rep. Al Pscholka says the Blossomtime Parade is not the place to protest Michigan’s new Fiscal Accountability Act.

Demonstrators are expected to rally against the recent actions of an emergency financial manager in Benton Harbor, where the elected city commission was stripped of all its powers.

Pscholka, a Republican from Stevensville, says in a written statement the parade is a wholesome community event and not the forum for a political sideshow conducted by professional agitators.

A staff member in Pscholka’s office says the representative has left the state for a family event and is not available for further comment.

Governor Snyder will be the Grand Marshall at the Blossomtime Parade.

Commentary
10:54 am
Fri May 6, 2011

Social Agenda

Former Michigan Governor John Engler is widely regarded as having been more conservative than Rick Snyder. And certainly, Snyder won the support last year of many prominent independents and even moderate Democrats who never would have voted for Engler.

Yet perceptions and reality aren't always the same thing. You might have expected what some people call the “radical right” to have had a field day imposing their social agenda on the state during the dozen years that John Engler was governor.

However, that mostly didn’t happen. Engler kept those folks pretty effectively bottled up. When they grumbled, he or his people would ask, “would you like a liberal Democrat in this office instead?”

In other words, push too hard, and you risk backlash. Now, nobody ever accused Engler of being stupid. He knew that while Michiganders can be induced to vote Republican, this is anything but a deep red state. There were three presidential elections during the Engler years; Democrats easily carried Michigan each time.

In between, John Engler was re-elected by astonishing landslides. Rick Snyder doesn’t seem to have a social agenda either, except perhaps not to wear ties when he doesn't have to.

Though he has said he is anti-abortion, he is an enthusiastic supporter of embryonic stem cell research. Otherwise, he seems totally focused on the economy. But his fellow Republicans in the legislature have other ideas. They have taken a number of actions that could possibly hurt their party and their governor in the long run.

Yesterday, for example, the House approved both the higher education and the elementary and high school education budgets.

The vote was close, in part because the cuts were too much for even six Republican members to support. But at the last minute, they slapped on another amendment punishing universities that allow benefits for unmarried partners. They can lose up to five percent of their funding.

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