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Politics
3:55 pm
Mon June 6, 2011

Supreme Court says stories can be used as evidence

User sabine01 Flickr

A work of fiction written by a person charged with a crime can be used against the defendant in court according to a new decision from the Michigan Supreme Court.

The question before the state’s highest court was whether a story a defendant had written depicting graphic scenes of incest between siblings and their father could be used against him as evidence of his intent.

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Environment
3:22 pm
Mon June 6, 2011

EPA giving money to help Michigan communities clean up brownfield sites

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson announcing brownfield cleanup grants during a news conference in Lansing, Michigan. To the right of the speaker, Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero looks on.
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

Seven Michigan communities are getting help from the federal government to clean up contaminated industrial sites.   Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson says her agency is awarding brownfield cleanup grants to Lansing, Albion, Inkster, Northville and three other Michigan communities.   

The grants total $2.9 million.  

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Politics
3:14 pm
Mon June 6, 2011

Contract talks continue in Lansing

Lansing mayor Virg Bernero talks to reporters along the Grand River
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

Time is running out for the city of Lansing to win new contract concessions from its labor unions.  Meanwhile, another round of layoff notices will soon go to some city employees.  

Lansing’s mayor’s office continues to negotiate with union leaders seeking 3 million dollars in concessions before the city’s new budget takes effect July 1st.   Mayor Virg Bernero says the city and the unions are talking in good faith to avoid possible layoffs.  

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Mackinac 2011
2:58 pm
Mon June 6, 2011

Reinvention vs. Redevelopment: A panel discussion at the Mackinac Policy Conference

The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island is the site of the annual Mackinac Policy Conference.
Lester Graham Michigan Radio

Michigan Radio's Lester Graham moderated a panel discussion looking into the current state of brownfield redevelopment in Michigan at the Mackinac Policy Conference last week.

He spoke with Michael Finney, the President and CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, and James Clift, the Policy Director for the Michigan Environmental Council.

They talked about Governor Snyder's plan to replace the current system of brownfield tax credits with up-front grant money for redevelopment.

You can watch the discussion below.

Environmental Panel: Reinvention vs. Redevelopment

Arts/Culture
2:49 pm
Mon June 6, 2011

Making a music video to support Flint

A music video in support of the city of Flint.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

Grand Rapids pulled off a $40,000 LipDub video to show that Grand Rapids is not a dying city.

Now there's news of a music video to support the struggling city of Flint that has been several months in the making.

On Saturday, the Flint Journal reports that more than 50 community members were being filmed and chanting "We gone make it, the fight ain't yours alone!" in the downtown area.

The Flint Journal reports:

It was all a part of a scene being filmed as part of the Flint collaboration 25-plus musicians who’ve recently felt led to make an uplifting anthem for the city.

Two months in the making, this scene was among the final, yet most powerful, pieces to add to the original Flint-inspired song and music video.

“It was such a beautiful sight to see,” said Yusuf Bauswell, 38, of Flint.

Bauswell, along with Bernard Jackson -- another Flint musician -- spearheaded the project and sent out a calling for people wanting to support their cause.

The Journal reports that Yusuf Bauswell and Bernard Jackson started writing the song together several months ago. They invited other recording artists to help them out and together they created the song and are now working on making the accompanying music video.

June 20 is the scheduled release date for the video.

Here's a clip of the song along with the call for people to help with the music video:

Politics
2:40 pm
Mon June 6, 2011

Detroit City Council votes to override mayoral veto

User sagitariuss Flickr

The Detroit City Council voted today to override Mayor Dave Bing's budget and restore $50 million in cuts.

From The Detroit News:

The Detroit City Council voted this afternoon to override Mayor Dave Bing's budget for the second straight year.

The mayor, who worked in closed-door meetings during last week's Mackinac Policy Conference to reach a last-minute deal, was unable to deliver one. The council voted 8-1 to override Bing's veto, with only Councilman James Tate in opposition.

The council's spending plan included $50 million more in cuts to the proposal Bing delivered in April.

Mayor Bing has scheduled a news conference for 3:30 p.m. today to address the council's vote.

-Brian Short, Michigan Radio Newsroom

Science/Medicine
1:51 pm
Mon June 6, 2011

1 of 4 American E. coli victims recuperating in Michigan

German officials have said that the E. coli outbreak in that country may have originated with contaminated bean sprouts
Tim Ellis Flickr

The recent E. coli outbreak, based largely in Germany but affecting a total of twelve countries, is responsible for at least 22 deaths with thousands more reported ill.

At least one of the victims of the recent E. coli outbreak is in Michigan.

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What's Working
12:31 pm
Mon June 6, 2011

Hospital grows fresh produce for its patients

Eat more locally-grown, fresh fruits and vegetables
jamesjyu via flicker


There’s a big push these days to eat more locally-grown, fresh fruits and vegetables.  St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Ann Arbor has started a farm on its property to supply fresh produce to hospital patients, employees, and the community.  Bridget Bodnar reported on this story for Michigan Radio and she spoke with Morning Edition host Christina Shockley about it.

Auto/Economy
12:29 pm
Mon June 6, 2011

Leaks and outages bump up Michigan gas prices

ExxonMobil in Joliet, Il. is one of three refineries in the Great Lakes region that had unexpected problems in the last two weeks.
User: yooperann Flickr

Gas prices in Michigan are up 17 cents per gallon even though oil prices fell below $100 a barrel Monday.

Patrick DeHaan is with gasbuddy.com. He says gas prices in the Great Lakes region are between 30 and 60 cents higher than the national average.

“A rash of refinery and pipeline problems is leading prices higher as already tight gasoline supply becomes even tighter with these refinery and pipeline outages that we’ve seen in the last two weeks.”

Three refineries in Illinois and two crude suppliers to the Great Lakes region had unexpected problems, including power outages and leaks.

DeHaan expects Michigan gas prices will go back down in the next couple of weeks.

Emily Fox- Michigan Radio Newsroom

Environment
10:57 am
Mon June 6, 2011

Police develop partnership to deal with meth waste

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (AP) - Kalamazoo authorities have developed a partnership to deal with the hazardous waste left behind by illegal methamphetamine production.

The Department of Public Safety says in a statement Monday that it worked with state officials and the city's Public Services Department to develop a methamphetamine remediation program that's modeled after one developed by Kentucky State Police.

Authorities collect the waste and it's transferred to a central location where the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration takes over disposal responsibility.

Kalamazoo says it's the first such Occupational Safety and Health Administration-compliant program in the state.

Commentary
10:47 am
Mon June 6, 2011

Kevorkian Remembered

When Jack Kevorkian died Friday, I was on vacation in the Scottish highlands. For once in my life I was without a cell phone, but someone I was with got the news. I mentioned Kevorkian's death to an Israeli woman on our tour.

"I thought he died years ago," she said. She was not alone.

I've run into plenty of people who didn't know he was still around. And in a sense, Kevorkian the assisted suicide crusader had ceased to exist.

Since being released from prison four years ago, he had mostly faded into obscurity. He largely lived the life of a cranky recluse. He divided his days between the Royal Oak Public Library and a cheap apartment across the street. There was a time when I felt that I knew him better than any other journalist. I covered all his trials for the New York Times, did major pieces for Vanity Fair and Esquire, and saw him frequently for six years in the 1990's.

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Economy
10:11 am
Mon June 6, 2011

Dow Chemical to form carbon fiber joint venture

NEW YORK (AP) - Dow Chemical Co. says its European subsidiary has agreed to form a joint venture with Turkey's Aksa Akrilik Kimya Sanayii to make carbon fibers.

Strong and lightweight, carbon-fiber based materials are in demand for use in alternative energy projects like wind power.

They're also used in vehicle and infrastructure products. Dow is based in Midland, Mich.

News Roundup
9:23 am
Mon June 6, 2011

In this morning's news...

user brother o'mara Flickr

Changing the state's motorcycle helmet law

Michigan is one of twenty state requiring motorcyclists to where a helmet, but that might change. The Saginaw News reports on two pieces of legislation aimed at allowing riders to go without a helmet:

Two bills repealing the state’s helmet law have been introduced in the state Legislature.

House Bill 4608, sponsored originally by Peter Pettalia, R-Presque Isle, and co-sponsored by Rep. Kenneth Horn, R-Frankenmuth, would allow riders 21 or older to go without helmets if they carry at least $20,000 in personal liability insurance.

Senate Bill 291, sponsored by Sen. Phillip Pavlov, R-St. Clair, would not require helmets on riders 20 or older if they have passed a safety course or carried a motorcycle endorsement the previous two years.

The Saginaw News reports Governor Granholm vetoed two bills similar to these, and Governor Rick Snyder hasn't taken a stance on them.

Gas prices up again

AAA Michigan says the cheapest gas in Michigan can be found in Lansing, and the most expensive can be found in Ann Arbor. From the Associated Press:

AAA Michigan says gasoline prices are up 17 cents per gallon over the past week to a statewide average of $4.12.

The auto club says Monday the statewide average is about $1.37 per gallon higher than last year at this time.

Of the cities it surveys, AAA Michigan says the cheapest price for self-serve unleaded fuel is in the Lansing area, where it's $4.07 a gallon. The highest average can be found in the Ann Arbor area at $4.15.

Dearborn-based AAA Michigan surveys 2,800 Michigan gas stations daily.

Flags lowered today

Governor Rick Snyder has ordered flags to be flown at half-staff today for Staff Sgt. Ergin V. Osman - a member of the Army's 101st Airborne Ranger Pathfinders. Osman was killed by an improvised explosive device on May 26.  From the Associated Press:

Gov. Rick Snyder has ordered U.S. flags throughout Michigan to be lowered to half-staff in honor of a military serviceman who died in Afghanistan.

The order was in effect for today.

U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Ergin V. Osman, who grew up in Macomb County's Harrison Township and Sterling Heights, was killed along with five other soldiers by an improvised explosive device on May 26. He was a member of the Army's 101st Airborne Ranger Pathfinders based at Ft. Campbell, Ky.

Osman was 35.

Environment
3:01 pm
Sun June 5, 2011

Rip currents threaten the lives of Great Lakes swimmers

Rip current mechanism: breakers cross sand bars off the shore, the water travels back to sea through the gap in the sand bars, creating a fast "rip" current
Backcomp.gif: National Weather Service, Wilmington, NC

This week, state lawmakers will discuss what can be done to better protect people from rip currents on the Great Lakes. It’s estimated that about 30 people drowned in the Great Lakes last year because of rip currents. 

Rip currents form when powerful winds or surges of water press along the shoreline.  The water must eventually flow back out.  When it does the rip current created can prove too strong for even the best swimmer to escape. 

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Offbeat
10:53 am
Sun June 5, 2011

Kayaker who shuns lifejacket, ends up needing lifejacket

Kayaking can be a great way to experience the Great Lakes.
Flickr user Davichi

Sometimes getting caught can be a good thing.

A kayaker on the Manistee River in the northwestern Lower Peninsula recently was stopped by officers who were checking canoes and kayaks for safety equipment. The Department of Natural Resources says a man was adamant that he didn't need a life jacket or any other flotation device.

Just moments later, he flipped his kayak and landed in 51-degree water. Conservation officers Steve Converse and Sam Koscinski pulled him into their patrol boat and took him to shore.   

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Science/Medicine
8:34 am
Sun June 5, 2011

Michigan must give feds medical marijuana records

Flickr user Chuck Caveman Coker

A judge in Grand Rapids says the state of Michigan must comply with a federal request to turn over information about the medical marijuana records of six people in the Lansing area. The Department of Community Health had refused to comply with a subpoena from federal agents without a court order. That's because Michigan's medical marijuana law has a confidentiality provision.
    

Science/Medicine
3:01 pm
Sat June 4, 2011

Sleepiness & bullying

Flickr Chesi-fotos CC

New University of Michigan research finds a link between bullying and sleepiness.  U of M researchers looked at students in Ypsilanti public schools and found students who got in trouble for bullying were twice as likely to be sleepy during the school day or suffer from sleep apnea. 

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Politics
10:56 am
Sat June 4, 2011

Recalls...not so easy to do

Recalls are not an easy thing to pull off
LucasTheExperience Flickr

The Associated Press reports roughly a dozen state-level Michigan Republicans already face recall threats this year, less than six months into their current terms. Governor Snyder leads the list of recall targets. Some members of the House and Senate also face recall efforts.
    

Recall attempts are fairly easy to start but it's far tougher to make the ballot and win an election. A successful recall of a Michigan state lawmaker has not been accomplished since 1983.
    

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People
5:10 pm
Fri June 3, 2011

Assisted suicide advocate Jack Kevorkian dies at 83

Jack Kevorkian speaking at UCLA last January.
Greg Asatrian wikimedia commons

Update 5:10 p.m.

Here is a piece on Jack Kevorkian from Michigan Radio's Sarah Hulett.

In Hulett's story, we hear the thoughts of Jack Lessenberry, who covered Kevorkian for the New York Times and Vanity Fair; the Oakland County prosecutor in 1999, David Gorcyca (who convicted Kevorkian); and Geoffrey Fieger, Kevorkian's lawyer.

Hulett reports that Kevorkian once said that Johann Sebastian Bach was his god - and that nurses caring for Kevorkian played Bach during Kevorkian's final hours.

Update 10:05 a.m.

Here's the 60 Minutes piece that led to Kevorkian's conviction in 1999. Kevorkian administers the lethal injection (previous patients reportedly administered the drugs themselves). He was daring authorities to convict him and adding more fuel to the assisted suicide debate in the country:


Watch CBS News Videos Online

 

Update 9:42 a.m.

The New York Times reports that Kevorkian's advocacy changed how hospitals approached end of life care:

From June 1990, when he assisted in the first suicide, until March 1999, when he was sentenced to serve 10 to 25 years in a maximum security prison, Dr. Kevorkian was a controversial figure. But his critics and supporters generally agree on this: As a result of his stubborn and often intemperate advocacy for the right of the terminally ill to choose how they die, hospice care has boomed in the United States, and physicians have become more sympathetic to their pain and more willing to prescribe medication to relieve it.

Kevorkian called end of life treatment in hospitals cruel.

In this 1996 60 Minutes interview with Andy Rooney, Kevorkian said many hospitals take food and water away from a dying patient - treatment the U.S. Supreme Court supported, according to Kevorkian.

"Our august Supreme Court has validated the Nazi method of execution in concentration camps - starving them to death!"

Here's the interview (Geoffrey Fieger, Kevorkian's lawyer is by his side):

8:40 a.m.

Assisted suicide advocate, Dr. Jack Kevorkian, is dead at the age of 83.

From the Detroit Free Press:

Dr. Jack Kevorkian, the Michigan pathologist who put assisted suicide on the world’s medical ethics stage, died this morning between 2 a.m. and 2:30 a.m., said his lawyer Mayer Morganroth.

Kevorkian, 83, died at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, where he had been hospitalized for about two weeks with kidney and heart problems.

Morganroth said it appears Kevorkian suffered a pulmonary thrombosis when a blood clot from his leg broke free and lodged in his heart.

With Kevorkian were his niece Ava Janus and Morganroth.

“It was peaceful. He didn’t feel a thing,” Morganroth said.

Morganroth said the hospital staff, doctors and nurses said Kevorkian's passing was “a tremendous loss and I agree with them. He did so much.”

Morganroth said there were no artificial attempts to keep Kevorkian alive.

*correction: my first post put Kevorkian's age at death at 84, he died at age 83

Arts/Culture
5:02 pm
Fri June 3, 2011

Detroit Symphony extends CEO's contract

The Detroit Symphony Orchestra will keep its executive director for the next few years.  The DSO announced this afternoon that its Board of Directors renewed CEO Ann Parsons’ contract through 2014. 

Parsons led the Detroit Symphony through the recent dispute with its unions that shutdown the DSO for much of the past year.  The six month strike came to an end after musicians agreed to a 25% cut in pay. 

In hopes of luring back its fans, the DSO is cutting ticket prices for the upcoming symphony season. 

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