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Education
7:20 pm
Sat June 14, 2014

House speaker's dad to join Western Michigan University board

James Bolger earned a master's degree in public administration from Western Michigan.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (AP) - Gov. Rick Snyder has appointed House Speaker Jase Bolger's father to serve on the Western Michigan University Board of Trustees.

James Bolger is a retired Michigan State Police official who lives in Whitehall. The Kalamazoo Gazette says he'll fill the seat vacated when Trustee Michelle Crumm resigned.

Bolger will complete Crumm's eight-year term, which ends on Dec. 31, 2020.

Bolger earned a master's degree in public administration from Western Michigan.

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Politics & Government
5:16 pm
Sat June 14, 2014

Detroit announces settlement with largest union

Terms of the bondholder deal also weren't released. Mediators say details "are in the final documentation process" and that the creditors are companies that either hold or insure a large majority of limited-tax general obligation bonds.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - Detroit has announced settlements with its largest union and a group of unsecured bondholders.

Mediators said Friday the bankrupt city completed a series of tentative agreements with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 25.

In a statement, AFSCME Council 25 President Al Garrett says the deals represent "the best path forward for city employees and retirees."

The Detroit Free Press reports that terms of the union agreements weren't released.

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Arts & Culture
12:19 pm
Fri June 13, 2014

Arab American museum to host visit by Gov. Snyder

Inside the Arab American National Museum.
Credit www.accesscommunity.org

DEARBORN, Michigan – The Arab American National Museum plans to host Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder for a tour, meetings with community leaders and town hall-style event.

The museum in Dearborn says the visit is planned for Monday, including remarks by Snyder around midday. 

Dearborn has large Arab and Muslim populations. The museum says Manal Saab, who is on the museum's National Advisory Board, invited the governor to visit.

Arts & Culture
12:48 pm
Sat June 7, 2014

Don Davis, musician, producer and composer, dies

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said in a statement Friday that Davis was "the epitome of Detroit's can-do spirit."
Credit blackenterprise.com

DETROIT (AP) - A family spokeswoman says Don Davis, a longtime Detroit musician, composer and recording executive, has died at 75.

Lisa Wilmore said Davis died Thursday in Michigan after a brief illness. She declined to say where he died.

Davis was a session musician during the 1960s at Motown Records in Detroit. He then went to work for Memphis, Tennessee-based Stax Records. He also started the independent Groovesville label.

He was a co-writer and co-producer of "Who's Making Love," a 1968 Stax hit for Johnnie Taylor.

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Politics & Government
10:44 am
Sat June 7, 2014

Meth production targeted by Michigan lawmakers

Rep. John Kivela of Marquette says meth abuse is "a scourge in mainly rural areas" of Michigan. He says the bills try to keep over-the-counter drugs out of the wrong hands.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan lawmakers are trying to curb methamphetamine use by making it harder for certain people to buy its main ingredients.

The House passed bipartisan legislation Thursday to use a database to stop the sale of ephedrine or pseudoephedrine to people with meth convictions. The drugs are most commonly found in over-the-counter cough and cold medicines.

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Transportation
5:24 pm
Sat May 31, 2014

Mother: Son missed flight, caused Detroit airport lockdown

Inside Detroit Metro Airport.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

ROMULUS, Mich. -- The mother of an Arkansas man who caused a two-hour lockdown at Detroit Metropolitan Airport says he mistakenly re-entered a secure area after missing a flight this week to a basketball tryout.

Jennifer Smith of Pine Bluff, Arkansas, told The Associated Press on Saturday that 22-year-old Christian Smith's actions "were a complete misunderstanding."

Christian Smith was arrested Thursday night after exiting and going back into a secured side of a screening checkpoint at the airport in Romulus. The lockdown delayed flights at the McNamara Terminal.

Jennifer Smith says her 6-foot-7-inch son was cited and posted a $100 bond. She says he now is in Los Angeles where he hopes to latch on with a professional basketball team overseas.

Christian Smith played college basketball at Bacone College in Muskogee, Oklahoma.

Business
1:33 pm
Sat May 31, 2014

Ohio paper considers layoffs, closing facility

Credit T. Voekler

TOLEDO, Ohio - The Blade newspaper in Toledo says it's considering shutting down its printing and mailing facilities and laying off about 130 workers.

Block Communications Inc. notified city officials in a letter released Friday that it plans to begin the job cuts in August.

The layoffs would not include newsroom, advertising or circulation employees.

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Transportation
11:45 am
Sat May 31, 2014

Judge won't stop permit for Detroit-Canada bridge

Judge Rosemary Collyer in Washington, D.C., disagreed with private owners of the existing bridge, who claim a permit would cause "irreparable harm."
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

DETROIT -- A federal judge won't stop the U.S. Coast Guard from issuing a permit for a new bridge between Canada and Michigan.

The Detroit Free Press reports that Judge Rosemary Collyer in Washington, D.C., disagreed with private owners of the existing bridge, who claim a permit would cause "irreparable harm." It was a defeat Friday for Manuel "Matty" Moroun, whose family controls the Ambassador Bridge and wants to build its own second span.

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder and Canada are trying to build a bridge over the Detroit River that would compete with the Ambassador Bridge. Canada is willing to pay for it and be reimbursed through tolls.

The Moroun family says the bridge could take up to 75% of traffic from the Ambassador Bridge.

Auto
11:02 am
Tue May 27, 2014

U.S. car buyers paid more because of price fixing

Car dealership.
Credit GM

WASHINGTON – A price-fixing investigation into the auto parts industry has mushroomed into the Justice Department's largest criminal antitrust probe ever, and it's not over.

The investigation was made public four years ago with FBI raids in the Detroit area.

It's led to criminal charges against dozens of people and companies, stretched across continents and reverberated through an industry responsible for supplying critical car components.

Thirty-four individuals have been charged and 27 companies have pleaded guilty or agreed to do so. Collectively, they've agreed to pay about $2.3 billion in fines.

A Justice Department official says it's safe to say that U.S. car buyers paid more as a result of the conspiracy.

Officials say the investigation stands out for its scope and for the cooperation received from Japan, Australia and other countries.

Law
10:54 am
Tue May 27, 2014

U.S. Supreme Court rules against the state of Michigan in casino case

The high court on Monday disagreed with state officials who want to shutter the Bay Mills Indian Community's casino about 90 miles south of its Upper Peninsula reservation.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Supreme Court says Michigan can't block the opening of an American Indian casino.

The high court on Monday disagreed with state officials who want to shutter the Bay Mills Indian Community's casino about 90 miles south of its Upper Peninsula reservation. Michigan argues that the tribe opened the casino in 2010 without permission from the U.S. government and in violation of a state compact.

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Law
5:31 pm
Sun May 25, 2014

Report: Flint man requests new trial in Iran

Amir Hekmati was arrested in August 2011, then tried, convicted and sentenced to death for spying. Iran's Supreme Court annulled the death sentence, and the country's Revolutionary Court resentenced him to 10 years in prison for "cooperating with hostile governments"
Credit Hekmati family

DETROIT (AP) - A news agency reports that a retired U.S. Marine from Michigan has requested a new trial in Iran, where he has been imprisoned since 2011 after being accused of spying.

Thirty-one-year-old Amir Hekmati is a dual U.S.-Iranian citizen born in Arizona and was raised in the Flint, Michigan, area.

He was arrested in August 2011, then tried, convicted and sentenced to death for spying. Iran's Supreme Court annulled the death sentence, and the country's Revolutionary Court resentenced him to 10 years in prison for "cooperating with hostile governments"

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Politics & Government
3:06 pm
Sun May 25, 2014

New Michigan law waives fees for vets seeking job licenses

Two bills unanimously approved by the Legislature would waive fees for veterans applying for occupational, security and alarm licensing fees if they were honorably discharged.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Gov. Rick Snyder has signed laws waiving fees for Michigan veterans seeking certain job licenses from the state.

Two bills unanimously approved by the Legislature would waive fees for veterans applying for occupational, security and alarm licensing fees if they were honorably discharged.

Snyder says the bills "will help connect our veterans to job opportunities that may have not been available otherwise." Approximately 680,000 veterans live in Michigan.

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Auto
11:59 am
Sun May 25, 2014

Auto parts price-fixing probe rattles industry

The investigation was made public four years ago with FBI raids in the Detroit area.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

WASHINGTON (AP) - A price-fixing investigation into the auto parts industry has mushroomed into the Justice Department's largest criminal antitrust probe ever, and it's not over.

The investigation was made public four years ago with FBI raids in the Detroit area.

It's led to criminal charges against dozens of people and companies, stretched across continents and reverberated through an industry responsible for supplying critical car components.

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Politics & Government
11:23 am
Sat May 24, 2014

Where things stand on completing Michigan's budget

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan lawmakers are tackling some hefty issues like fuel taxes, Detroit's bankruptcy and the minimum wage in the last weeks before their summer break.

They're also trying to finalize Michigan's next spending plan.

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Economy
11:03 am
Fri May 23, 2014

Lower mortgage interest rates offered in 8 Michigan cities

Michigan State Housing Development Authority Executive Director Scott Woosley says most of Michigan's real estate market has bounced back, but some areas are still experiencing significant sales declines.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING – Michigan is helping provide lower interest rates to first-time homebuyers in eight cities.

About 300 individual or families in Detroit, Grand Rapids, Flint, Pontiac, Saginaw, Battle Creek, Benton Harbor, and Jackson can take advantage of a program announced Friday.

First-time homebuyers who meet eligibility requirements can get a 3.125% mortgage interest rate without down payment assistance. If they need help with their down payment, the interest rate is 3.625%.

Gov. Rick Snyder says he wants to increase home sales in five cities hit hard by blight and three other cities needing a boost.

Michigan State Housing Development Authority Executive Director Scott Woosley says most of Michigan's real estate market has bounced back, but some areas are still experiencing significant sales declines.

Politics & Government
2:14 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

Lawyers for Conyers argue to get back on ballot

Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) testifies at a hearing in 2009.
Credit Rep. John Conyers office / Flickr

DETROIT -- A Detroit judge says he might make a decision Friday in a dispute over whether one of the country's longest-serving congressmen gets on the primary ballot.

Several nominating petitions turned in by U.S. Rep. John Conyers have been thrown out because people gathering signatures weren't registered voters or put a wrong registration address on the petition. The Detroit Democrat doesn't have enough signatures.

Conyers' lawyers asked federal Judge Matthew Leitman on Wednesday to throw out a Michigan law that puts restrictions on circulators. But the judge questioned why critics would claim the law is a burden when the campaign believed it had followed it.

Leitman says he might rule Friday. He first wants to see what state election officials say that day about Conyers' candidacy.

Conyers has been in Congress since 1965.

Transportation
12:15 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

Court: Records of car insurance fund not public

Credit Dimland

LANSING – The public has no right to see the records of an insurance fund that puts a fee on cars to pay for catastrophic injuries. That’s the opinion of the Michigan appeals court.

The Appeals Court said today that the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association is not covered by a public records law.

It overturned a 2012 decision by an Ingham County judge.

The insurance fund was created by the Legislature to reimburse insurance companies for claims that exceed $500,000.

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Politics & Government
3:07 pm
Tue May 20, 2014

State opposes Conyers in lawsuit over election

Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) testifies at a hearing in 2009.
Credit Rep. John Conyers office / Flickr

DETROIT – The Michigan attorney general's office is urging a judge to stay on the sideline in the controversy over U.S. Rep. John Conyers' re-election campaign.

The Detroit Democrat has been barred from the August primary ballot because of problems with his petitions. He's appealing to the secretary of state's office and also asking a judge to throw out a law that sets rules for collecting signatures.

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Auto
12:28 pm
Tue May 20, 2014

GM recalls 2.4 million more vehicles

2015 Cadillac Escalade

DETROIT – General Motors is recalling 2.4 million vehicles in the U.S. as part of a broader effort to resolve outstanding safety issues more quickly.

The latest action brings to 13.6 million the number of vehicles GM has recalled this year, a new record for the automaker.  

The recalls announced Tuesday include 1.3 million older-model crossovers with defective front seat belts and 1 million sedans with a shift cable that can wear out. 

GM is also recalling 1,400 new Cadillac Escalade SUVs with faulty air bags. No fatalities related to the defects have been reported, GM says. It expects to take a $400 million charge in the second quarter to repair the vehicles. 

GM agreed to a $35 million federal fine last week for delays in reporting a deadly ignition switch defect.

Law
8:18 pm
Mon May 19, 2014

Building unions OK giving to Detroit retiree costs

On Monday, U.S. District Court released a statement from bankruptcy mediators saying that the Michigan Building and Constructions Trades council "will be participating in the so-called `grand bargain' by making material contribution toward health care costs for Detroit's retirees."
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Mediators in Detroit's federal bankruptcy case say that building trade unions have agreed to contribute to a fund to cover retirees' benefits.

Some legislative Republicans have made union contributions to the pensions a condition for state aid, designed to protect the Detroit Institute of Arts' collection from sale to cover the costs.

A state House committee is to vote Tuesday spending $195 million to help Detroit emerge from bankruptcy.

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