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Arts/Culture
11:36 am
Wed December 15, 2010

Artpod: Making a (book) list, checking it twice

The Library of Michigan issued its annual "20 Notable Books List" for 2011
Photo courtesy of Nicola's Books in Ann Arbor

Need help finding the perfect holiday gift for the bibliophile in your life?

The folks at the Library of Michigan have come up with their annual "Michigan Notable Books" list: 20 books about Michigan or by Michigan authors.

We interview Randy Riley on this week's Artpod. Riley is in charge of special collections at the Library of Michigan, and he says "there’s something for everybody on this list."

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Awards
9:22 am
Wed December 15, 2010

Two Michigan libraries to receive prestigious award

Let Ideas Compete/Flickr

Two public libraries in Michigan will be honored Friday at the White House. Peter White Public Library in Marquette and West Bloomfield Township Public Library will be awarded the 2010 National Medal for Museum and Library Service.

First Lady Michelle Obama will present the awards. As the Associated Press explains, "winners are chosen based on their innovative approaches to public service and improving communities.

News Roundup
8:40 am
Wed December 15, 2010

In this morning's news...

Lame-Duck: The Sequel

After already calling it quits for the year, it turns out state lawmakers will be back in Lansing today.  As Laura Weber of the Michigan Public Radio Network reports, legislative leaders called back lawmakers to correct a few procedural mistakes from the earlier lame-duck session. It doesn't appear however, that either chamber will take up any controversial measures including teacher-tenure reform or insurance for autism treatments.

Law Bans Bringing Bighead Carp to U.S.

President Obama signed a bill into law yesterday that bans the importation of the bighead carp into the U.S. The bighead is one of the Asian Carp species that could damage the ecosystem of the Great Lakes.  The Associated Press reports that the measure:

...adds bighead carp to a list of wildlife that cannot be imported or taken across state lines. The only exceptions would be for scientific, medical or educational purposes and would require a permit. Bighead and silver carp have infested waterways in the Chicago area. Authorities are trying to prevent them from getting into the Great Lakes, where they would compete with native fish for food.

Successful Heart Transplant in West Michigan

Doctors in west Michigan are celebrating the first successful heart transplant to take place on the west side of the state.  As Lindsey Smith reports, “In February Spectrum Health was approved to perform heart transplants. Three other hospitals in Michigan are allowed to do the complicated procedure, but they’re all located in southeast Michigan.” A 50-year old man was the first patient, he left the Grand Rapids hospital yesterday, two weeks after his successful surgery.

Tugboat Spills Diesel into Saginaw River

The U.S Coast Guard is estimating that about 800 gallons of fuel spilled into the Saginaw River on Monday.  The spill came from a tugboat that sank near Bay City.  The Bay City Times reports that some 350 gallons have been recovered so far.  It’s still unclear what caused the boat to sink.

State Legislature
7:54 am
Wed December 15, 2010

After already calling it quits for the year... state lawmakers return to Lansing

Capitol Building, Lansing, MI
Matthileo Flickr

Leaders in the state legislature have called lawmakers back to the Capitol today for a final meeting of this year's legislative session. The news comes after lawmakers had called it quits earlier this month. As Laura Weber of the Michigan Public Radio Network reports, lawmakers have to go back to Lansing to correct a few procedural mistakes from the earlier lame-duck session:

The state Senate has a few bills sent back from the House for final approval, including a measure that would lower the minimum age for blood donation from 17 to 16. The House also needs to meet Wednesday to approve a resolution to adjourn for the year. But it's unclear if enough lawmakers can be wrangled on short notice to return to the state Capitol to vote.

And, as The Associated Press reports:

Lawmakers might enroll and send to Gov. Jennifer Granholm legislation allowing sale of the Michigan School for the Deaf site in Flint to a developer who wants to redevelop the property and keep the school open. Bills that would regulate billboards for sexually oriented businesses are among the others that need final approval or procedural votes before they can be sent to Granholm.

It doesn't appear that either chamber will take up controversial measures including teacher-tenure reform or insurance for autism treatments.

Asian Carp
6:58 am
Wed December 15, 2010

New law bans importation of bighead carp into U.S.

Asian Carp threaten the Great Lakes' ecosystem
Kate.Gardner/Flickr

There's a new federal law that bans bringing bighead carp into the U.S. The bighead carp is among the Asian carp species that threatens the ecosystem of the Great Lakes.

President Obama signed the bill known as  The Asian Carp Prevention and Control Act yesterday. The Associated Press reports that the measure:

...adds bighead carp to a list of wildlife that cannot be imported or taken across state lines. The only exceptions would be for scientific, medical or educational purposes and would require a permit. Bighead and silver carp have infested waterways in the Chicago area. Authorities are trying to prevent them from getting into the Great Lakes, where they would compete with native fish for food.

The bill was written by Michigan Democratic Senator Carl Levin and sponsored by Michigan's other Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow.

Health
6:38 pm
Tue December 14, 2010

Spectrum Hospital completes first heart transplant in west Michigan

Rahn Bentley had his surgery November 27th, 2010
Bruce Rossman Spectrum Health

Doctors are celebrating the first successful heart transplant done in west Michigan. In February Spectrum Health was approved to perform heart transplants. Three other hospitals in Michigan are allowed to do the complicated procedure, but they’re all located in southeast Michigan.

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State tax breaks
6:01 pm
Tue December 14, 2010

MEDC approves tax breaks for 17 projects throughout Michigan

Michigan Economic Development Corporation

Michigan’s Economic Development Corporation has approved tax breaks for 17 projects in the state. The incentives are supposed to help companies create nearly 3,000 total jobs.

The expansion of an automotive supplier in the Detroit suburb of Redford will likely have the biggest impact on the job market. Piston Automotive LLC will create 467 jobs – albeit only 135 of those directly. The producer of electric batteries and car chassis was considering expanding in Kentucky.

A close second in terms of creating new jobs is a company that’s expanding in Kentwood, just south of Grand Rapids. Autocam Corporation makes precision parts for transportation and medical devices. They’ll hire 200 new employees and the state estimates the project will create another 265 jobs indirectly.

Eleven of the projects will help investors redevelop blighted buildings.

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Politics
5:29 pm
Tue December 14, 2010

Michael Moore posts bail money for Julian Assange

Michael Moore says he's putting up money to bail out WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
Nicholas Genin Flickr

Michael Moore has announced that he is contributing $20,000 to help bail out WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange (that WikiLeaks link is liable to change).

On his blog post, Moore says he's offering Assange more than just money:

I am publicly offering the assistance of my website, my servers, my domain names and anything else I can do to keep WikiLeaks alive and thriving as it continues its work to expose the crimes that were concocted in secret and carried out in our name and with our tax dollars.

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Education
4:53 pm
Tue December 14, 2010

Alumni plan to protest proposed sale of Michigan's School for the Deaf

A sign at the entrance to the Michigan School for the Deaf in Flint
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

Michigan state senators will briefly gavel themselves back into session Wednesday morning, so they can fix some minor language problems in a few bills. 

But, they will likely hear from people opposed to one proposal to sell Michigan’s School for the Deaf. 

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Environment
4:27 pm
Tue December 14, 2010

Sunken tugboat spills diesel fuel into Saginaw River

Many freighters require the assistance of tug boats along the Saginaw River. A recent tug boat sinking has spilled diesel fuel into the river.
flickr user ifmuth

The Bay City Times reports the tug boat sank early Monday spilling 800 gallons of diesel fuel.

It's reported that Grand Rapids-based Young's Environmental Cleanup Inc. and Mt. Clements-based HM Environmental Services are working to contain and clean up the spill.

The cause of the sinking won't be known until the tug is pulled from the river. Paul Luedtke of Luedtke Engineering, the company that owns the boat, said:

"We won't know until then and anything before then would just be speculation."

A crane will pull the tug from the water once the diesel spill is cleaned up.

Health
3:43 pm
Tue December 14, 2010

More teens using marijuana, fewer using alcohol

The University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research has been conducting this study for 36 years.
United Nations Photo

The University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research has been monitoring drug use among teens for 36 years. This year's "Monitoring the Future" study had responses from more than 46,000 8th, 10th, and 12th graders.

They found that marijuana use is on the rise. 43.8% of 12th graders said they've used marijuana in their lifetime. That's up from 42% in 2009, and 42.6%  in 2008. From the study:

Marijuana use, which had been rising among teens for the past two years, continues to rise again this year—a sharp contrast to the considerable decline of the preceding decade

Alcohol use, on the other had has been decreasing. 54.1% of 12th graders said they'd been drunk in their lifetime. That's down from 56.5% in 2009, and 54.7% in 2008. From the study:

Alcohol use—and, specifically, occasions of heavy drinking—continues its long-term decline among teens into 2010, reaching historically low levels.

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Food
2:37 pm
Tue December 14, 2010

Saccharin removed from EPA's bad list

Use those little pink packets to your heart's delight. Saccharin is off an EPA hazardous list.
William Hartz Flickr

I always thought twice before adding those little pink packets to my iced tea because a little voice in my head was telling me they were bad. No proof, just something I had heard somewhere.

As it turns out, saccharin WAS on EPA's hazardous constituent list. It's been on the list since 1980. The substance was put on the list because the EPA's Carcinogen Assessment Group listed it as a "potential human carcinogen."

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Opinion
1:21 pm
Tue December 14, 2010

Commentary: Fixing Our Courts

Marilyn Kelly, who is now Chief Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court, has given her life to Michigan’s legal system.

Now in her last term on the bench, she doesn’t like a lot of what she has been seeing lately. Besides deciding cases, Michigan’s Supreme Court is charged with overseeing all the other courts.

And she fears that the public is losing respect for the judiciary, in part because of the way judges are chosen. Especially higher-level judges, those who sit on appellate and supreme courts.

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Arts/Culture
1:05 pm
Tue December 14, 2010

Is it art? or Graffiti? or Both?

Lyrics from Paul Simon's "America" painted on an abandoned building in Saginaw
Gus Burns | The Saginaw News

Someone is writing Paul Simon lyrics on walls in Saginaw.   Why?  We don't know.    Why is this unknown Banksy wannabe quoting lyrics from Simon's song "America"?  We don't know that either.  But the song does mention Saginaw. 


Here's the story in the Saginaw News:

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Auto/Economy
12:48 pm
Tue December 14, 2010

The state of Michigan to help brownfield redevelopment

Inside the Packard Plant in Detroit.
Angelique DuLong

The state of Michigan will soon increase assistance to redevelop old industrial sites. 

The Associated Press reports:

Redevelopment projects in Detroit, Flint, Grand Rapids, Hamtramck and Lansing are getting a boost with statetax incentives. 

Gov. Jennifer Granholm said Tuesday the projects are in line for brownfield redevelopment assistance from the state. Granholm, who leaves office at the end of this year, made the announcement at her last scheduled meeting with the Michigan Economic Growth Authority board.

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Health
12:13 pm
Tue December 14, 2010

Lice boutique tackles parasites (audio slideshow)

Most animals get some form of lice. We get these little beauties. A lice nit attached to hair.
Gilles San Martin - wikimedia

It's something a lot of parents dread. Lice in your kid's hair.

Pesticides in shampoo form is one way to tackle the problem, but some people go pesticide-free.

Kyle Norris filed a report on Rapunzel's Lice Boutique in Ann Arbor for the Environment Report. I tagged along with her with a camera when she visited a family getting a treatment and we put together this slide show:

Federal Courts
12:01 pm
Tue December 14, 2010

Help Wanted: Federal Judge

There are two unique job openings in Detroit. How would you like to be a federal judge? The Associated Press reports:

 

Applications are available for people who want to become a federal judge in Detroit. 

Michigan

Sens

. Carl Levin and Debbie

Stabenow

are asking a committee to advise them on two openings. It will be chaired by Detroit lawyer Eugene Driker. 

There are openings at the federal court in Detroit because judges Bernard Friedman and Arthur Tarnow have chosen to take senior status, which can reduce their caseloads. 

Wayne County Judge David Allen recently withdrew his name after more than a year of delay. Levin and

Stabenow

had recommended him to President Barack Obama but he was never formally nominated.  

Allen says the confirmation process in the

U.S

. Senate is "broken."   

Applications from Levin's office are due Jan. 24.

Winter Weather
10:56 am
Tue December 14, 2010

Winter blast causing headaches for truck traffic between Michigan & Ontario

Whiteout conditions blanket Highway 402, OPP issue "red alert"

The blast of artic air that has enveloped the Great Lakes is causing major problems for truck traffic between Michigan and Ontario. Canadian officials have been forced to close Highway 402 which connects with the Blue Water bridge. Here are two reports on the situation in Ontario and in Port Huron:

Digital Journal reports:

A "red alert" issued by Emergency Management Ontario for the stretch of Hwy. 402 between London and Sarnia has been canceled but a state of emergency remains in force.

 680 News is reporting that three Canadian Forces military helicopters are now taking part in the rescue effort as hundreds remain stranded between the two cities.

 The radio station quotes OPP Const. Chrystal Jones: 

"Some of our OPP four-wheel drive vehicles were experiencing difficulties in the snow because again, the plows have not been out. And of course, vehicles have been abandoned in the middle of roadways, so they've become impassable."

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Arts/Culture
10:29 am
Tue December 14, 2010

Detroit Symphony Orchestra cancels concerts through end of the year

Zuu Mumu Entertainment/Creative Commons

The Detroit Symphony Orchestra has announced that it is canceling concerts through the rest of the year because of the continued strike by the orchestra's musicians.

The Associated Press reports:

The orchestra on Monday announced that the Home for the Holidays concerts scheduled for Thursday through Sunday as well as a December 21st concert featuring Canadian Brass had been cancelled. A Manhattan Transfer Christmas concert at Orchestra Hall still is scheduled for Tuesday night.

The DSO musicians have been on strike since October 4th due to a dispute over pay cuts with the DSO management.  Last week, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra reported a $6.7 million budget shortfall for the 2010 fiscal year.

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Auto/Economy
10:03 am
Tue December 14, 2010

GM offering buyouts

A view from GM's Renaissance Center
Santosh Krishnan

GM is offering some of its employees a buyout this Christmas. The buyout offer will target at 8 assembly plants in Michigan. 

The Associated Press reports:

General Motors is offering buyouts to several thousand skilled trades workers at 14 plants around the U.S. 

The automaker will pay eligible workers $60,000 to retire with full benefits. Younger workers will have the option to take the $60,000 in exchange for giving up retiree health care and other benefits.   GM spokesman Chris Lee didn't know how many workers will get the offers.

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