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Politics & Government
10:00 am
Sat April 26, 2014

Tax cut plans dim as focus at the state capitol shifts to potholes

Legislative leaders aren't ready to give up on tax cut discussions but acknowledge that road funding could ultimately be a higher priority. New revenue estimates for the next budget in mid-May could prove crucial.
Credit Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - An income tax cut seemed inevitable just two months ago, as Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and Republican lawmakers offered up and even began passing rival plans to use some of a budget surplus for tax relief before the 2014 elections.

Now plans for a tax reduction are waning and shifting instead to addressing pothole-ridden roads.

   Snyder says he's open to dropping his tax plan to set aside more money for transportation. He attributes the shrinking interest in tax relief among legislators to drivers who voiced frustration with crummy roads.

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Auto
2:45 pm
Fri April 25, 2014

Judge accepts deal in sudden-acceleration suit

A 2005 Toyota Camry.
Credit ownersmanualblog.com

FLINT, Michigan – A judge has accepted a settlement involving the family of a 77-year-old Flint-area woman killed when her 2005 Toyota Camry slammed into a tree after alleged sudden acceleration.

Terms of the settlement that was approved Friday between the family of Guadalupe Alberto and the automaker aren't being released. Genesee County Judge Archie Hayman in Flint says it's been a "long road" for the family and his prayers are with them.

The Flint Journal reports that Alberto's daughter, Lilia Alberto, says a payment from the settlement will be distributed among family members.

Lawyers for both sides declined to comment after the hearing. Toyota said earlier this month that it was satisfied that a mutually acceptable agreement was reached.

Guadalupe Alberto died instantly in the April 2008 crash in Flint.

Economy
1:19 pm
Fri April 25, 2014

Governors form Great Lakes investment partnership

Eight Great Lakes governors and the premiers of Ontario and Québec launched a new initiative with the Paulson Institute today. The Paulson Institute is headed up by former U.S. Treasury Secretary, Henry Paulson.
Credit Fortune Live Media / Flickr

TRAVERSE CITY, Michigan – An organization representing the eight states and two Canadian provinces in the Great Lakes region is teaming with former U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson in an effort to attract foreign manufacturing investment.

The Council of Great Lakes Governors announced the initiative Friday during a meeting in Chicago.

Paulson says many emerging economies such as China's are beginning to seek direct investment opportunities. The Great Lakes governors say they'll step up efforts to steer those investments into the U.S. manufacturing heartland.

The governors' council and the Paulson Institute are planning a "competitiveness forum" this summer in Detroit, led by Paulson and Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder. The partnership also will develop strategies for matching investors with opportunities, and for linking the region's research and development to foreign markets.

Arts & Culture
12:32 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

Diego Rivera's Detroit murals get landmark status

Credit user VasenkaPhotography / Flickr

DETROIT (AP) - Diego Rivera's murals at the Detroit Institute of Arts have been designated as one of four new national historic landmarks.

Federal officials announced the designation on Wednesday.

The Detroit Industry murals were conceived by Rivera as a tribute to the city's manufacturing base and labor force of the 1930s. The Mexican artist in 1932 and 1933 completed the murals on walls of a court in the museum and they're considered to be among his greatest works.

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Auto
2:31 pm
Tue April 22, 2014

GM restructuring engineering in response to recall

Credit John F. Martin / Creative Commons

DETROIT – General Motors is adding 35 product safety investigators as part of a larger restructuring in response to a series of safety recalls.

GM says the new investigators will more than double the size of its current team, to 55.

The company is also dividing its global vehicle engineering organization into two sections. A product integrity section will oversee vehicle and engine engineering as well as safety, while a separate department will oversee parts engineering and advanced vehicle development.

GM's product development chief Mark Reuss says the changes were made to ensure that potential problems are spotted and handled more quickly.

The government is investigating why it took GM more than a decade to recall small cars with a defective ignition switch.

Auto
1:43 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

Judge won't order recalled GM cars to be parked

A consumer alert from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
NHTSA

DETROIT (AP) - A federal judge in Texas has denied an emergency motion that would have forced General Motors to tell owners of 2 million recalled cars to stop driving their vehicles until their ignition switches are repaired.

U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos issued her order Thursday in Corpus Christi. Attorney Robert Hilliard, who represents some owners, had argued that the GM cars could at any moment lose power and expose their occupants to serious injury or death.

GM had urged the court not to intervene and instead let a recall overseen by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration proceed. The carmaker said extensive testing had shown that if the recall instructions were followed, there was no risk that the ignition switch would fail.

GM has linked the switch to 13 deaths.

Politics & Government
10:58 am
Thu April 17, 2014

Detroit bankruptcy judge revives talks on regional water agency

A Detroit Water and Sewerage manhole cover.
Credit user rob zand / Flickr

DETROIT (AP) - A judge has ordered the city of Detroit and the suburbs to further explore the creation of a regional water department.

Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes granted Wayne County's request Thursday to have the parties sit down with a mediator.

Detroit's water department provides water to Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties. Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr has expressed interest in spinning off the department as a regional agency.

But some suburban leaders are concerned about future financial burdens on their residents.

The judge says the bankruptcy case is a "unique opportunity" to keep negotiating. Otherwise, Rhodes says the opportunity "will be lost forever."

Environment & Science
10:32 am
Tue April 15, 2014

Whitefish shortage causing Passover meal problems

Whitefish filets.
Credit user Cheryl Q / Flickr

TRAVERSE CITY – Many fish markets in the Great Lakes region are running short of whitefish, and it's coming at a bad time: the Passover holiday.

Whitefish is a key ingredient in gefilte fish, a traditional Jewish dish that originates in eastern Europe. Recipes vary, but it often consists of ground fish, vegetables such as onion and carrots, and bread crumbs formed into loaves or balls.

The shortfall results partly from the bitterly cold winter that caused vast sections of the Great Lakes to freeze over. The ice cover kept some commercial fishing crews stuck in port. A drop in the whitefish population is also to blame.

Kevin Dean of Superior Fish Co. near Detroit says his latest shipment amounted to just 75 pounds, although he requested 500 pounds.

Law
6:53 pm
Sun April 6, 2014

Body found in Indiana lake, Officials believe it may be missing Kalamazoo doctor

Police believe this picture of Teleka Patrick was taken either last summer or fall after she arrived in Kalamazoo
Credit Kalamazoo County Sheriff Dept.

PORTER, Ind. (AP) - Authorities say the body of a woman has been found in a northwestern Indiana lake near where they conducted a January search for a missing Michigan doctor.

Indiana State Police say a fisherman on Lake Charles in the town of Porter reported something suspicious Sunday morning. They say divers helped recover a female body dressed in dark clothing.

Police say an autopsy will be conducted this week to positively identify the body.

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Politics & Government
11:13 am
Sat April 5, 2014

Flint Council commenters can have their say – for 3 minutes

FLINT – The clock is ticking on people who have something to say at Flint City Council meetings.

Anyone with a beef or praise will have three minutes near the end of meetings – not before council members consider issues on the agenda.

Emergency Manager Darnell Earley says it gives people an opportunity to talk without being burdened by long-winded speakers. But council member Eric Mays says he has no objection to listening to people who need more than three minutes.

Arts & Culture
8:48 am
Sat April 5, 2014

Women to get "potty parity" at DeVos Hall

GRAND RAPIDS — The latest shouts of "bravo!" have nothing to do with the stage at a Grand Rapids performance hall.

The group that oversees DeVos Performance Hall will spend $69,000 to add five bathroom stalls for women. It's a response to complaints about long lines for women at intermission.

Broadway Grand Rapids complained that long waits were disrupting performances.

Offbeat
8:28 am
Sat April 5, 2014

It's Hash Bash Saturday in Ann Arbor today

ANN ARBOR – Thousands of people are expected to attend an annual pro-marijuana rally that's been held on the University of Michigan campus for more than 40 years.

The 43rd Hash Bash is to be held Saturday in Ann Arbor.

This year marks the return of longtime organizer Adam Brook, who was released from prison in October after serving a two-year sentence for a weapons violation. He told The Ann Arbor News for a story this week that the experience only served to reinvigorate him as a pot activist.

Law
8:26 am
Sat April 5, 2014

Michigan's medical schools need more cadavers; law would make donation easier

LANSING – Any accredited Michigan medical school could receive dead body donations under legislation being considered in the state House.

Residents now can donate their bodies to one of three older medical schools, which allocate some donations to other schools and hospitals. But Michigan's new medical schools want to receive bodies independently to promote donations in their areas and streamline the process.

The number of medical schools in Michigan doubled from three to six in recent years, largely in response to a shortage of doctors in many areas of the state.

Economy
12:26 pm
Fri April 4, 2014

University of Michigan says licensees must follow safety pact

Photo from the the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) - The University of Michigan says it will require companies that make licensed products at factories in Bangladesh to meet worker safety standards.

President Mary Sue Coleman announced this week that licensees must either sign and abide by the worker safety initiative or demonstrate that they have an equivalent safety plan.

The Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh is a five-year agreement between apparel manufacturers and trade unions. It was developed in response to a 2013 factory collapse that killed more than 1,000 people in Bangladesh.

The Michigan Daily reports Coleman's announcement came a day after a protest in the Fleming Administration Building.

According to a news release from Michigan, the Ann Arbor school becomes the 10th university to add the accord to its licensing requirements.

Environment & Science
2:34 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

Network aims to boost Michigan-produced food

A farm in southeast Michigan.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

LANSING – A new network aims to connect farmers, food processors, and food service directors as part of an effort to increase the amount of Michigan-produced food served in institutions.

The Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems and the nonprofit Ecology Center environmental group on Thursday announced the launch of the Michigan Farm to Institution Network.

Organizers want schools, child care centers, hospitals, colleges and universities to get 20 percent of their food products from Michigan growers, producers and processors by 2020. The Center for Regional Food Systems says food service directors have expressed interest in the idea.

The Ann Arbor-based Ecology Center is working with Michigan hospitals on the effort. A campaign called "Cultivate Michigan" aims to help institutions reach the goal.

Politics & Government
3:16 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

U.S. Supreme Court ruling on campaign donations may affect Michigan politics

The U.S. Supreme Court has struck down limits in federal law on the overall campaign contributions the biggest individual donors may make to candidates, political parties and political action committees.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A campaign spending watchdog is worried about the potential effect on Michigan’s politics by a U.S. Supreme Court decision today. 

The Supreme Court has struck down limits in federal law on the overall campaign contributions the biggest individual donors may make to candidates, political parties and political action committees.

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Politics & Government
3:27 pm
Sat March 29, 2014

Gov. Snyder signs bills so Michigan cities don't lose revenue

The bipartisan legislation Gov. Rick Snyder signed Friday incorporates a recent deal worked out among his administration, municipalities and business leaders to fully reimburse cities for their lost personal property tax revenue with other state revenue.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has signed legislation designed to ensure local government budgets aren't hurt if manufacturers and small businesses get planned tax cuts.

A phase-out of taxes on industrial machinery starts in 2016 and is underway for small businesses with equipment. The tax cuts will be halted if a statewide vote fails in August.

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Environment & Science
3:14 pm
Sat March 29, 2014

Developer gets OK for road across Michigan dunes

The view of the McClendon property from the mouth of the Kalamazoo River.
Credit Lindsey Smith/Michigan Radio

SAUGATUCK TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) - Construction is expected to begin in the coming months on an access road across part of the Lake Michigan shoreline for 18 home sites.

The Grand Rapids Press reports that Singapore Dunes LLC says it has received permission from the state Department of Environmental Quality to build the two-lane blacktop in Allegan County's Saugatuck Township.

 

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Auto
1:24 pm
Sat March 29, 2014

Ford CEO's pay up 11% to $23.2 million in 2013

Ford CEO Alan Mulally earned $2 million in salary, the same as 2012. But he earned more in bonuses, at $5.9 million, and in stock and option awards, which totaled $14.7 million.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - Ford CEO Alan Mulally's compensation rose 11 percent to $23.2 million in 2013, as the company reported record profits in North America.

Mulally earned $2 million in salary, the same as 2012. But he earned more in bonuses, at $5.9 million, and in stock and option awards, which totaled $14.7 million.

The company's board said Mulally exceeded profit and cash flow targets. The company also earned a record pretax profit of $8.8 billion in North America.

Law
11:21 am
Sat March 29, 2014

Michigan Supreme Court to hear dispute over court costs

Judges statewide have used their discretion to order local court costs, citing Michigan law. The attorney general's office is defending the practice, saying the Legislature could have restricted the meaning of the law but didn't.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - The Michigan Supreme Court soon will hear arguments in a dispute over whether convicts can be ordered to pay the operating costs of local courts.

Fred Cunningham is asking the Supreme Court to throw out a $1,000 bill that was part of his sentence for a drug crime in Allegan County, southwest of Grand Rapids.

Judges statewide have used their discretion to order local court costs, citing Michigan law. The attorney general's office is defending the practice, saying the Legislature could have restricted the meaning of the law but didn't.

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