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Old art, new job
11:01 am
Wed October 20, 2010

Crafting a career out of woven rugs (slideshow)

Petrie learned how to weave at the nonprofit Cross Village Rug Works. She says anyone can learn how to weave if they have patience and like to work with their hands.
Jennifer Guerra Michigan Radio

Cross Village in northern Michigan is like a lot of small, rural towns in the state, where money is tight and jobs are scarce. And when winter comes around and all the tourists are gone, the outlook is even bleaker. So a group of women started up a cottage industry of rug making to help locals sustain themselves through the lean months.

23-year old Jasmine Petrie wears her hair in pigtails and has tattoos on her back and arms; she looks more like a rock star than a rug weaver.

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Death of a candidate
10:51 am
Wed October 20, 2010

Mayor of Kalamazoo to run for Michigan Senate

Kalamazoo Mayor Bobby Hopewell will make a quick run for the Michigan Senate.
Kalamazoo Public Library

Democratic Party leaders in Kalamazoo and Van Buren counties have chosen their candidate to replace Robert Jones - Kalamazoo Mayor Bobby Hopewell.

Robert Jones was running for the Michigan Senate in the 20th district when he died over the weekend. He was battling esophageal cancer.

In Michigan, votes for a deceased candidate do not count, so party leaders had to put forward a new candidate.

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Rebuilding Detroit
10:26 am
Wed October 20, 2010

Artists seek a room of their own in Detroit (audio slideshow)

Artist kt Andresky teamed up with the 555 gallery to purchase a 40,000-square foot building for $21,000. The building will be turned into a live/work space for artists.
Jennifer Guerra Reporter

Struggling artists generally don't make a lot of money, so they tend to live in grittier parts of the city where rent is really cheap. Inevitably, they spruce things up, more people move in, rent goes up, and artists are priced out. To ensure that doesn't happen to them in Detroit, a group of artists are taking matters into their own hands.

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Jack Lessenberry's Take
10:06 am
Wed October 20, 2010

Unanswered questions for Snyder and Bernero

Capitol Building in Lansing
Terry Johnson Flickr

Last night I presided over a fascinating meeting in Grand Rapids, the second in Michigan Radio’s “Issues and Ale” series designed to stimulate public discussion.

The main event was a look at this year’s campaign advertising by two members of the “Michigan Truth Squad,” John Bebow, director of the non-partisan Center for Michigan, and Susan Demas, perhaps the best columnist in Lansing.

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Election 2010
12:08 am
Wed October 20, 2010

Snyder keeps positive message two weeks away from the election

Snyder spoke Tuesday at Wealthy Theater in Grand Rapids
Lindsey Smith

Candidates for Michigan governor have been making stops throughout the state in the final two weeks before the election. Republican Rick Snyder was in Grand Rapids Tuesday night.

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Michigan Film Incentives
11:59 pm
Tue October 19, 2010

Supporters of Michigan's film incentives rally in Grand Rapids

Stasia Savage of International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees local #26 speaks during the rally Tuesday.
Lindsey Smith

About 80 people shared success stories they said are a result of the tax breaks passed two years ago.

Producers, actors, caterers, assistants, hotel owners, even personal trainers from all over west Michigan gathered to trumpet their success since the film incentives passed 2 and a half years ago.

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Punk Rock Executive
2:59 pm
Tue October 19, 2010

Iggy Pop's Silicon Valley guitarist

Iggy Pop performs at the South by Southwest festival
Kris Krug Creative Commons

I got hepatitis and moved back to Detroit

That's from a 2006 interview with James Williamson, the former and now current guitarist for Iggy Pop and the Stooges.

Williamson was describing his tumultuous time with a band addled by drug addiction.

Williamson left the rock and roll lifestyle and went on to a successful career as an electronics executive with Sony.

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Death of a candidate
1:20 pm
Tue October 19, 2010

Voters around Kalamazoo will have a new name on their ballots

The Michigan Senate chamber. Democratic Party leaders will name a replacement tonight for their 20th district candidate.
Lester Graham Michigan Radio

Since Robert Jones  passed away this past weekend, election officials have been working to come up with a plan of action. Jones was a candidate for the Michigan Senate and the election is just fourteen days away.

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Jack Lessenberry's Take
1:12 pm
Tue October 19, 2010

Should Robert Jones have been running for the state Senate?

State Representative Robert Jones
Photograph courtesy of www.060.housedems.com

State Representative Robert Jones was an enormously popular former mayor of Kalamazoo who was in an intense battle to win a seat in the state senate. Intense, but not nasty.

But two days ago, Robert Jones suddenly died in his home, throwing the race into chaos and elections officials into a tizzy.

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Preparing to Vote
11:31 am
Tue October 19, 2010

High voter registration numbers in Michigan

The Secretary of State says 95.5% of eligible voters are registered
Lars Plougmann Creative Commons

Here are some numbers for you from the Michigan Secretary of State's office.

  • 95.5% - percent of the voting age population in Michigan registered to vote
  • 7.28 million people registered - a record for a Michigan gubernatorial election
  • 7.40 million people - the highest number of registered voters Michigan has ever seen (2008 presidential election)

But just because people are registered to vote doesn't mean they will.

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Have Vines, Will Travel
10:30 am
Tue October 19, 2010

The Kudzu of the North

If you've ever lived in the south, you know kudzu. It's an invasive plant that grows like crazy. Covers highway signs and telephone poles and anything that doesn't run fast enough.

There's a plant in Michigan that's getting a little crazy too. It's not kudzu-crazy yet, but experts say we need to get a handle on it.

It has a memorable name: dog-strangling vine.

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News Roundup
8:07 am
Tue October 19, 2010

In this morning's news...

Photo by user Infrogmation / Creative Commons

Final Arguments in Carp Lawsuit

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Jack Lessenberry's Take
6:43 am
Tue October 19, 2010

Detroit newspapers to squeeze the belt tighter

Michigan Radio's Jack Lessenberry

Newspapers aren’t doing well these days, though the companies that own them are still making money. Michigan Radio’s Jack Lessenberry says the result is being played out in Detroit.

_______

Thirty years ago, I worked for the publisher and owner of a family-owned newspaper in Ohio, a somewhat crotchety gentleman  in his early seventies who I came to know pretty well.

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Business Tax Breaks
5:07 pm
Mon October 18, 2010

Businesses rush to get tax breaks for next year

The deadline for businesses to apply for 2010 tax breaks is Oct. 31
whiteoaksblog.com

Local approval is one of the first hurdles companies must overcome to get the tax breaks they want. The deadline to get tax breaks in 2010 is October 31st. That means there's a surge of projects in front of local city councils and commissions.

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Health Care Costs
2:52 pm
Mon October 18, 2010

More on the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan lawsuit

The U.S. Department of Justice has filed suit against Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan
user cliff Creative Commons

The U.S. Department of Justice along with the Michigan Attorney General's office filed a lawsuit against Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.

U.S. Department of Jusitice Assistant Attorney General Christine Varney Holds said:

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'Blues' facing anti-trust charge
2:35 pm
Mon October 18, 2010

Blue Cross/Blue Shield accused of hiking Michigan hospital prices

Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

 Federal and state prosecutors are suing Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Michigan.

 The non-profit health insurance company is accused of violating anti-trust laws. 

When Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Michigan negotiates a contract with a hospital, it includes a provision giving it a discounted rate compared to other health insurance companies. 

Blue Cross insists that allows it to provide its members with discounted hospital stays.    But the US Justice Department and Michigan’s Attorney General’s office disagree.

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Substance abuse & older Michiganders
2:25 pm
Mon October 18, 2010

The number of older Michiganders in substance abuse treatment doubles in a decade

 The number of adults over 50 entering into substance abuse treatment nearly doubled in Michigan during the past decade, according to a new state health department study.

 The Department of Community Health compared data on substance abuse treatment admissions from 2000 and 2009. 

Alcohol was and is the main reason most older adults ended up in treatment Michigan.

A decade ago, alcohol was the reason 85% of older Michiganders ended up in substance abuse treatment.  But by 2009,  that percentage dropped to 59%.

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Police
2:15 pm
Mon October 18, 2010

Michigan State Police are looking for sex offenders

Michigan state police troopers are knocking on the doors of paroled sex offenders this week.

 The state is conducting its annual sweep to see if sex offenders are complying with the law requiring them to report with local law enforcement.

"Currently we’re at a 92 percent compliance rate in the state of Michigan," says State police Sergeant Kevin Mark, "That’s the highest it’s been since we really started cracking down and doing enforcement back in 2007."  

 Mark says the annual sex offender sweep will wrap up by the end of the month.

Death of a candidate
1:03 pm
Mon October 18, 2010

Death of Robert Jones raises questions about election

Michigan State Representative Robert Jones and friend
Photo from Jones campaign website

Michigan House Representative and current Democratic candidate for State Senate Robert Jones died this past weekend. He was 66 and being treated for esophogeal cancer, but officials at Kalamzoo's Democratic Party Headquarters say his death still came as a surprise.

Jones' death has raised several questions about the race for the State Senate seat in Michigan's 20th district (representing parts of Kalamazoo and Van Buren counties).

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GM IPO
8:57 am
Mon October 18, 2010

Is the General Motors IPO losing steam?

GM's Headquarters in Detroit
John F. Martin Creative Commons

 Next month’s General Motors’ big stock offering is expected to be much less than at one time predicted.

The GM Initial Public Offering is expected to hit the market around November 18th.

 When GM initially started talking about selling stock, the speculation was that November’s sale could be easily one of the largest initial public offerings in history.   Perhaps generating more than $16 billion.

Now some analysts are predicting the GM IPO will collect only about $6 billion. 

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