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5:00 pm
Fri May 13, 2011

There's good & bad news today about Lansing's city budget crisis

Lansing city council president A'Lynne Robinson (right) talks to the news media about the city's budget crisis, while council vice president Kathie Dunbar listens, outside the Southside Community Center
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

There’s mixed news today concerning the city of Lansing’s budget crisis.  City leaders have been trying to figure out how to deal with a projected 20 million dollar budget deficit.   

 N0w, city council vice president Kathie Dunbar says the city learned this week that its employee health care costs will rise 2 million dollars higher than expected next year. 

She says fortunately the state legislature has passed a budget plan that should guarantee the city 4 million dollars in state revenue sharing funds. 

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Science/Medicine
4:29 pm
Fri May 13, 2011

Wayne Co. launches initiative to improve health care for low-income kids

Wayne County has launched an initiative to improve health care for low-income children. The Wayne County Child Healthcare Access Program is modeled after a similar project in Kent County. It’s based on a concept called the “medical home.”

Project Director Jametta Lilly says that concept already exists for many kids covered by private insurance. But she says care is often less consistent and coordinated for kids in the Medicaid program:

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Politics
4:26 pm
Fri May 13, 2011

Governor Snyder defends tax plan

Russ Climie Tiberius Images

Governor Rick Snyder defends his tax overhaul, which has drawn a lot of criticism from the public in recent weeks, saying that he is confident that cutting taxes for Michigan businesses will create jobs. The Legislature approved his tax plan yesterday and it’s on its way to Snyder’s desk for his signature.

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Politics
4:15 pm
Fri May 13, 2011

White House, Christie and others respond to Romney's health care speech at U-M

Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

The responses are in for Mitt Romney's health care speech, and they are pretty mixed. 

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie praised former Massachussetts Governor Romney's honesty without commenting directly on either his policies or his candidacy. 

Politico reports:

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Science/Medicine
4:09 pm
Fri May 13, 2011

MRSA bacteria found in meat sold in Detroit area

The MRSA bacteria, usually found in hospital settings, was found in samples of meat taken from Detroit-area supermarkets and meat markets.
From prep4md Flickr

Wayne State University researchers say there’s another reason to be extra careful when handling meat: It’s a bacteria that’s usually found in hospital settings.

You may have heard of MRSA – which stands for methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus.

It’s a nasty little bug that can be difficult to treat and can make you quite sick.

Dr. Yifan Zhang is an assistant professor at Wayne State.

Her research team collected nearly 300 samples of beef, chicken and turkey from Detroit-area markets.

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Environment
3:49 pm
Fri May 13, 2011

The hunt is on for morels in Michigan

The hunt is on for morels in Michigan.
user jdurham morguefile

It’s morel season in Michigan!

May is morel month in Michigan, and people from all over comb the state for the delectable mushrooms.

Phil Tedeschi is president of the Michigan Mushroom Hunters Club. He leads folks on more than 50 mushroom hunts throughout the year in southeast Michigan, starting with the first mushroom of the season: black and white morels.

Tedeschi has this advice if you're on the hunt for morels:

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Environment
3:48 pm
Fri May 13, 2011

Detroit gardeners frustrated by new rules for city lots

Tony Buser flickr

Community gardeners in Detroit are angry about new permit requirements for gardening on city-owned lots.

Reit Schumack heads an organization on the city’s west side called Neighbors Building Brightmoor, which puts in gardens, wildflower stands and pocket parks on dozens of city lots. Schumack says the new rules include a ban on bringing in new soil or compost, unless the city grants lot-by-lot permission:

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Politics
3:45 pm
Fri May 13, 2011

A conversation with Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer (audio)

Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer

Yesterday the state Senate passed a comprehensive tax overhaul bill. It went to the House where it was approved and it’s now headed to Governor Rick Snyder’s desk for his signature.

The tax overhaul includes the elimination of the Michigan Business Tax, in favor of a corporate profits tax.  It also eliminates a host of tax breaks, including the income tax exemption for pensions.

Seven Republicans joined the twelve Democrats in the Senate in voting against the proposal. Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer is opposed to the tax restructuring

Michigan Radio's Jennifer White spoke with Whitmer. Here's the interview.

On the Radio
2:57 pm
Fri May 13, 2011

In case you missed it...

user cpstorm creative commons

Here's a look back at the week in public radio. We can't hear it all, but there are always stories worth a rewind.

On the Media - The 'Decline Effect' and Scientific Truth

On the Media is a public radio show that attempts to "lift the veil from the process of 'making media,' especially news media."

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Auto/Economy
2:02 pm
Fri May 13, 2011

Michigan consumer sentiment index rising

Richard Holden Flickr

Some potentially good news for Michigan's economy.

In May, the consumer confidence index for the state rose "to 72.4, a three-month high," according to Bloomburg News.

Omair Sharif, an economist, says that the rise can be attributed to improvements in employment numbers despite the destabilizing effect of high gas prices.

Bloomburg News reports:

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Politics
1:30 pm
Fri May 13, 2011

Michigan to take in $427M more than expected

Andy Flickr

The House Fiscal Agency says it expects Michigan to take in $427 million more by Sept. 30 than earlier forecasts.

It tempers the good news with a warning that the new business tax cut just enacted will create a deficit in the next budget year that will have to be filled with about $77 million of the extra revenue.

The agency released its figures Friday in anticipation of Monday's revenue estimating conference where state economists will forecast how much tax money the state will take in through 2012.

Weather
1:10 pm
Fri May 13, 2011

Looks like rain this weekend

Rain is in the forecast for much of Michigan.
Tom Grundy Flickr

Look at the forecast for the weekend around the state and here's what you're likely to find:

Showers likely and possibly a thunderstorm - Grand Rapids

Showers likely and possibly a thunderstorm - Detroit

Showers likely and possibly a thunderstorm - Kalamazoo

Showers likely and possibly a thunderstorm - Flint

So... looks like rain.

Temperatures will drop as well - going from highs in the low 80s or upper 70s, to highs in the low 60s or upper 50s.

National Weather Service meteorologist Phil Kurimski told the Detroit Free Press this is what we should expect:

"It’s May; it’s not the middle of summer yet, we’re still transitioning into the warmer summer months."

And we were so close! Ah well, enjoy the warmth today, and the rain over the weekend.

Arts/Culture
12:06 pm
Fri May 13, 2011

Artpod: Small art raises big bucks

Folks in Saline have sold art to raise $100,000 over seven years, and all the money goes to an area nonprofit.
Dani Davis

On today's installment of Artpod, we hear how artists use their talents to raise money for a local nonprofit.

People don’t often think of “art” as a money-making endeavor, but a group in Saline, Michigan is proving otherwise. Their story is about taking little pieces of art and turning them into big money makers. And all that money is being used to help feed hungry people in Washtenaw County.

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Auto/Economy
11:33 am
Fri May 13, 2011

Chrysler moves up summer plant shutdowns to June

Chrysler headquarters in Auburn Hills, Michigan.
user fiatontheweb creative commons

DETROIT (AP) - Chrysler is moving its normal summer shutdowns at three factories into June from the usual July closings because of parts shortages from the earthquake in Japan.

The company says its pickup truck plant in Warren, Mich., and its Toledo, Ohio, North assembly plant will be idled the weeks of June 20 and 27. Both plants had been scheduled to close the weeks
of July 11 and 18.

In addition, a Toledo parts operation will close the week of June 20 instead of July 11.

The company says its other plants will have their normal summer shutdowns in July and August.

Nearly all automakers have lost production due to parts shortages from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that hit northern Japan. The quake damaged parts supply plants or knocked out electricity.

Politics
11:09 am
Fri May 13, 2011

Lansing city council leaders to discuss budget

The city of Lansing is facing a projected $20 million dollar budget deficit. 

On Monday, the city council is scheduled to vote on a budget intended to close that gap.   As it stands now, the city may have to lay off dozens of police officers and firefighters, as well as making other painful spending cuts to balance the budget.  

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Commentary
11:01 am
Fri May 13, 2011

Now for the Hard Part

Well, Governor Rick Snyder pulled it off. Yesterday, the legislature passed his radical restructuring of the state tax system, agreeing to slash business taxes, eliminate tax credits and for the first time ever, to tax pensions.

The man who was supposed to be a political babe in the woods skillfully guided his agenda home. They will tell you he almost didn’t pull it off. Indeed, Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley had to break a tie vote in the senate to get the bill passed.

But to some extent, this was theater. While some Republicans were genuinely opposed, others were really opposed to being defeated when they run for re-election.

So the outcome was skillfully managed to allow some Senate  Republicans in swing districts to tell their constituents that they voted against Snyder’s plan. But were they really against it? Here’s a clue. When they took a second vote on whether to bypass the waiting period and have the bill take effect immediately, the Republicans unanimously voted to support the governor.

And now for the real test: Will it work? After the vote, the governor praised the legislature for, as he put it, “taking the bold actions necessary to put our state on the path to prosperity, and “paving the way for economic expansion.”

The contrast between Democrats and Republicans on this couldn’t be more stark.

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Politics
10:49 am
Fri May 13, 2011

A conversation with Michigan Governor Rick Snyder (audio)

Governor Rick Snyder said the passage of his tax overhaul package will create a better climate for businesses in Michigan.
Russ Climie Tiberius Images

Governor Rick Snyder took questions from listeners this morning on a public radio call-in show hosted by the Michigan Public Radio Network's Capitol Bureau Chief Rick Pluta .

For those of you who missed it, here's the audio:

The show was produced by the Michigan Public Radio Network in cooperation with WKAR, Michigan Radio, and Michigan Government Television.

Arts/Culture
10:13 am
Fri May 13, 2011

Small art raises big bucks

Valerie Mann & Peter Bowe holding small art for sale

Vibrant paintings by children will hang next to artwork from professional artists at the Circle of Art silent auction on Sunday, May 15th.

Sculptor and painter Valerie Mann came up with the idea for the art show seven years ago when she was wondering how she could help people in the area who were struggling economically.

She bounced the idea off her friend Peter Bowe.

Bowe is co-owner of Saline Picture Frame Company. He says, “When you have a business in a small town there’s a lot of need people are always asking for money to sponsor an event or that sort of stuff.”

The two friends figured they knew a lot of people who made art, had a cool space (the frame store) and had the tools and materials to mat and hang works of art.

So they asked folks to donate small pieces of artwork like a sketch they’d already done, or something that wouldn’t take too much effort to produce.

In seven years, they’ve made $100,000 and all the cash has gone to Food Gatherers, a non-profit that feeds people-in-need in Washtenaw County.

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Politics
10:09 am
Fri May 13, 2011

Is it time to get rid of Fannie Mae? Congressman Gary Peters thinks so.

Rep. Gary Peters, (D) Michigan
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

Michigan Congressman Gary Peters is proposing doing away with the federal home mortgage financing system.   Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac became the backbone of the nation’s mortgage system in the past decade.  Fannie and Freddie played a critical role in the housing market collapse.  

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Politics
8:45 am
Fri May 13, 2011

LIVE WEBCAST: A conversation with Governor Rick Snyder

Update 10:50 a.m.

The Webcast is over. Here's the recorded program:

8:45 a.m.

LIVE WEBCAST: A Conversation with Michigan Governor Rick Snyder

9:00 a.m. Friday, May 13, 2011

Public radio call-in show hosted by MPRN's Capitol Bureau Chief Rick Pluta

e-mail your quesitons to: askthegov@mprn.org

video served by
WKAR Public Media at Michigan State University

 

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