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News Roundup
7:12 am
Tue November 30, 2010

In this morning's news...

Out-of-State Pick for Budget Director

Governor-elect Rick Snyder has named John Nixon, Utah’s top budget officer, as his administration’s budget director.  Nixon will take over the job from Robert Emerson.  Michigan faces a projected $1.7 billion shortfall in the budget year that begins next October.  Snyder takes the oath of office on January 1st, 2011.

“Lame-Ducks” Back Today

State lawmakers in both the House and Senate are back in Lansing today for what is likely to be the final week of the “lame duck” session.  As Rick Pluta reports, there are more issues for lawmakers to deal with than time to get them done.  The issues include, “selling off future tobacco settlement payments to create a fund for struggling schools, building a new Detroit-to-Windsor international bridge, requiring insurance companies to cover autism treatments, and enacting a statewide anti-bullying policy for schools.”

Pence Visits Detroit Economic Club

Republican Congressman Mike Pence of Indiana spoke yesterday at the Detroit Economic Club.  As Tracy Samilton reports, the club is a traditional spot for politicos testing a possible bid for the presidency.  Pence called for major tax reforms in the speech and said Democratic policies to stimulate the economy and create jobs aren't working.

Bush Back to Grand Rapids

It’s being reported by the Grand Rapids Press that former President George W. Bush will be at the Gerald R. Ford Museum in Grand Rapids on Thursday.  He’ll be promoting his new book, Decision Points.  The former president was last in Grand Rapids in June when he spoke at the Economic Club.

Governor-elect Snyder
6:53 am
Tue November 30, 2010

Snyder picks budget director

John Nixon
Photo courtesy of www.Utah.gov

Governor-elect Rick Snyder is going out of state for his choice of Michigan’s next budget director.

Snyder is naming John Nixon, Utah’s top budget officer, to become his administration’s budget director.

Nixon will take over the job from Robert Emerson.

In a release yesterday, Snyder said:

John is considered one of the best in the business and is widely respected inside and outside of state government. As I traveled the state during the campaign and met with the hardworking men and women of Michigan, I said it was time for the citizens to take back control of Michigan’s broken budget process and to deliver real value for money.  John will work with us to bring fiscal responsibility, stability, transparency and the citizens’ priorities to state government.

Michigan faces a projected $1.7 billion shortfall in the budget that begins next October.

Snyder takes the oath of office on January 1st, 2011.

Asian Carp
11:54 pm
Mon November 29, 2010

Asian carp dinner to raise awareness of threat

Asian Carp
Kate.Gardner Flickr

Michigan is one of five states taking the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers to court to prevent the Asian Carp from getting into the Great Lakes. Organizers of an environmental advocacy group and chefs at a Grand Rapids restaurant want the same thing, but have a different approach. Chefs at a Grand Rapids restaurant are serving Asian Carp at an event Tuesday night to benefit efforts to keep the invasive species out of the Great Lakes.


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Hunting Season
5:54 pm
Mon November 29, 2010

Firearm deer season comes to a close Tuesday

Deer
Noel Zia Lee/Flickr

Tuesday is the final day for a Michigan fall tradition….firearm deer season.

Brent Rudolph is Deer and Elk Program leader for the Department of Natural Resources and Environment.  He says deer season got off to a slow start two weeks ago. But, he says:

We have heard talk that both that first weekend…and the long Thanksgiving weekend…having a decent number of hunters. 

Rudolph says it will be next Spring before a final estimate for the number of deer harvested during the past two weeks will be known.  

Presidential Visit
1:55 pm
Mon November 29, 2010

Former President Bush to visit Grand Rapids

Former President George W. Bush

Update - Tues. 11/30/10 8:22 AM:

It's been confirmed that the former President will, indeed, visit Grand Rapids on Thursday.  He'll visit the Gerald R. Ford Museum as part of his nation-wide tour to promote his new book, Decision Points.

______

The Grand Rapids Press is reporting that former President George W. Bush will be at the Gerald R. Ford Museum in Grand Rapids on Thursday.

According to Krisin Mooney, a museum public affairs specialist, the former president will be at the museum at 2PM.

Mooney said other information about the former president's visit will be released later this afternoon.

Bush was last in Grand Rapids in June to speak at the Economic Club of Grand Rapids.

Flint's budget woes
12:55 pm
Mon November 29, 2010

Flint firefighters voting on new contract, chances of passage "50-50"

Flint firefighters are voting on a new contract and the outcome is far from certain.    The head of the city’s firefighters union says its chances are 50-50.


 Flint firefighters are being asked to approve a new contract that will force firemen to increase contributions to their retirement plan and force them to pay more for health insurance.

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Wikileaks Fallout
12:19 pm
Mon November 29, 2010

Congressman Hoekstra condemns Wikileaks

Congressman Pete Hoekstra
Michigan Radio

Michigan Congressman Pete Hoekstra is condemning the latest Wikileaks disclosure of thousands of classified documents.

Republican Hoekstra, who represents Michigan’s 2nd District, says the leaks undermine U.S. credibility in the world.

The Associated Press reported:

Hoekstra said the disclosure of previously secret diplomatic cables, documents and e-mails secrets puts America's diplomats in "a very awkward position." He said some of the material in the roughly 250,000 released documents is "gossip," but added that there's also material on supersensitive negotiations between the United States and Pakistan on a deal aimed at controlling nuclear proliferation.

Hoekstra, who appeared this morning on CBS's "The Early Show" and ABC's "Good Morning America," is urging the Obama administration to classify Wikileaks as a terrorist organization.

Obit
10:45 am
Mon November 29, 2010

Grand Rapids philanthropist, businessman Peter Cook dies

Peter Cook
gvsu.edu/buildinglegacies Grand Valley State University

Peter Cook was born in Grand Rapids in 1914. He grew up relatively poor, enlisted in the army after graduating high school and worked for less than a dollar an hour on an assembly line. He went to college and studied business and became an accountant. He made his fortune selling imported cars beginning in the 70s.

Aging
10:30 am
Mon November 29, 2010

Seniors find meaning in music

The Beginning Swing Band
Kyle Norris Michigan Radio

In the basement of a church in Grand Rapids, there's a rehearsal for the Beginners Swing Band.

Most of the musicians here are in their sixties and seventies.

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Sparrow Hospital Contract
8:37 am
Mon November 29, 2010

Sparrow Hospital nurses start voting today on a new contract

Sparrow Hospital nurses are supposed to start voting today on a new contract.

Last minute negotiations headed off a threatened lockout at Lansing’s Sparrow Hospital ten days ago.

Hospital administrators threatened to lockout Sparrow’s 21 hundred nurses and support staff if they didn’t agree to the hospital’s final offer. 

Earlier, the nurses union authorized a strike and walked away from contract talks.

In the end, the two sides hammered out a tentative deal that included a modest wage hike and increase nurse staffing levels. 

Unemployment Benefits
8:27 am
Mon November 29, 2010

Unless Congress acts, thousands of Michiganders will lose jobless benefits this week

Jobless benefits will expire for tens of thousands of unemployed Michiganders this week unless Congress approves an extension.



Many of those losing their benefits are expected to turn to Michigan food banks and other non-profit groups.



"Those safety nets are really not prepared to take on all of these extra families," says Judy Putnam, with the Michigan League for Human Services."


Improving Michigan
7:52 am
Mon November 29, 2010

3 Things: Emily Schaller

Emily Schaller

All this year, Michigan Radio has been asking people from across the state for their 3 ideas of what we can all do to improve things here in Michigan.  The series is called 3 Things and today we hear from Emily Schaller, founder of Rock CF Foundation, a group dedicated to increasing the quality of life for people with Cystic Fibrosis.

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News Roundup
7:19 am
Mon November 29, 2010

In this morning's news...

Thousands Stand to Lose Benefits

The extension of federal unemployment benefits expires on Wednesday. If Congress doesn't vote to extend the benefits, some tens of thousands of Michiganders will lose their benefits. Congressional Democrats are expected to push for a vote this week, Republicans oppose the extension unless the cost is covered by cutting other federal spending.

Lawmakers Return to Lansing

State lawmakers return to the Capitol this week as the 2009-2010 legislative session comes to an end. The AP reports, "Lawmakers will continue their so-called lame duck' session held before a new Legislature and incoming governor Rick Snyder take office in January." Both the House and Senate are scheduled to be in session.

Red Kettle Giving

The Salvation Army's red kettle campaign is underway. And, this year, you can donate via text message, Lindsey Smith reports. "We certainly want to make it as easy for people to give as possible," said Major Robert Thompson, Divisional Commander for Wisconsin and Northern Michigan. "Younger people tend to be more electronic than they are cash or check so we've set up this texting opportunity just to reach a younger population." The Salvation Army has also unveiled some kettles that can take credit cards.

State Legislature
7:16 am
Mon November 29, 2010

State lawmakers return to Capitol this week

Capitol Building in Lansing
Terry Johnson/Flickr

State lawmakers return to the Capitol in Lansing this week as the 2009-2010 legislative session comes to a close.

Both the state House and Senate are scheduled to be in session.

The Associated Press reports:

Lawmakers might finalize a plan to distribute more than $300 million in federal money to Michigan schools.  It's not clear if lawmakers will agree on a way to raise more money for the state's Pure Michigan tourism advertising program.

Economy
9:27 pm
Sun November 28, 2010

Michigan nonprofits bank on holiday giving

With the holiday season now underway, Michigan nonprofits are making their big end-of-year push for financial donations.
elstudio creative commons

Over the next couple of weeks, chances are you’ll find lots of letters in your mailbox asking for charitable donations. That's because nonprofits across Michigan are doing their annual end-of-year holiday push for financial donations.

Kyle Caldwell is with the Michigan Nonprofit Association. He likes to call the holiday season the “giving season.”

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Arts/Culture
7:32 pm
Sun November 28, 2010

This year, donate to Salvation Army's Red Kettle campaign via text message

salvation army red kettle
Salvation Army samidlands.com

The Salvation Army’s red kettle campaign is underway.

“The red kettle in a sense is really a piece of Americana.” Major Robert Thompson is the divisional commander for Wisconsin and Northern Michigan. Bell ringers have been braving the frigid temperatures in front of stores for nearly a century. But over the past few years a problem has been emerging. “The red kettles are certainly low-tech and as society changes, fewer and fewer people are using cash,” Thompson said, “They don’t have that dollar or change in their pocket.”

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Holiday shopping
11:07 am
Sat November 27, 2010

Holiday shopping moves online

Michigan retailers have been busy this weekend with the beginning of the holiday shopping season. But Monday could be a very big day as well.

The National Retail Federation coined the term ‘Cyber Monday’ five years ago to describe the growing trend of holiday shoppers flooding store websites on the Monday following thanksgiving.  A recent survey found more shoppers planned to shop online  Monday than stand in line on the Friday after Thanksgiving.  

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Part of Ann Arbor without electricity
1:30 pm
Fri November 26, 2010

Ann Arbor power outage

 


A DTE spokesman expects power will be restored to about 500 customers in the Ann Arbor later area today.


The power went out around midnight last night.  

Justice
12:16 pm
Fri November 26, 2010

The Michigan Supreme Court orders the release of a man who planned a killing spree

Andrew Osantowski
(courtesy the Michigan Department of Corrections)

The Michigan Supreme Court has ordered the release on parole of a 23 year old man who plotted a killing spree when he was in high school. The Macomb County prosecutor opposed the release of Andrew Osantowski.



Osantowski was convicted of plotting to murder students and a security officer when he was 17 years old. He was caught after detailing his plan on an internet chat room. A police raid on his home turned up guns, ammunition, and material for making pipe bombs.


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Offbeat
1:51 pm
Thu November 25, 2010

Thousands in need served hot Thanksgiving meal in Grand Rapids

Volunteers serve Thanksgiving at DeVos Place
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

More than 600 volunteers served people in need a hot Thanksgiving meal today in Grand Rapids. Thousands of homeless, elderly, sick and downtrodden came for the feast.

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