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Detroit Financial Review
6:37 am
Tue January 3, 2012

Hundreds rally against possible Detroit takeover

Hundreds of people gathered at a Detroit church to voice their opposition to the possibility that the state could
take over the city's government.

Michigan Democratic Congressman John Conyers was among those at Monday's gathering at Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church. He told the crowd he would use his relationship with the White House to fight any attempt to appoint an emergency manager.

Last week, Gov. Rick Snyder announced members of a review team that will dig deeply into Detroit's finances.

The team's appointment comes after a preliminary review found that there was "probable financial stress" in Michigan's largest city.

Ultimately, Detroit could be appointed an emergency manager, which state and city officials have said they want to avoid.

Auditors say Detroit may run out of money as early as April.

Sports
6:06 pm
Mon January 2, 2012

Spartans win Outback Bowl in OT

Kirk Cousins threw for 300 yards and one touchdown and Dan Conroy kicked a 28-yard field goal in the third overtime, giving No. 12 Michigan State a 33-30 victory over No. 18 Georgia in the Outback Bowl on Monday.

Georgia's Blair Walsh became the Southeastern Conference's career scoring leader with a field goal in the second extra period. But he missed a 42-yarder in the first overtime after conservative play-calling and had a 47-yard attempt blocked on the final play of the game.

Police
1:36 pm
Sun January 1, 2012

Training helps troopers deal with people with autism

MI State Police website

The Michigan State Police says more than 200 troopers have been trained to recognize autism and provide services.
    

The Mid-Michigan Autism Association has been working with state police to teach troopers how to communicate with autistic people as well as their families. The group says it's common for someone with autism to have contact with law enforcement, typically in situations that don't involve crimes.
    

Weather
1:11 pm
Sun January 1, 2012

Winter storm blowing into Michigan

(courtesy NOAA)

Northern and western Michigan are in the path of a winter storm that's expected to bring more than a foot of snow and winds gusts of up to 50 miles per hour.

The National Weather Service's office in Gaylord says the storm is hitting Sunday through Monday, with much of the northwestern Lower Peninsula and eastern Upper Peninsula getting at least a foot of snow.

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Economy
9:28 pm
Sat December 31, 2011

Northern Michigan dispute over wind farm may land in court

Consumers Energy wind farm in Ubly, Michigan
(courtesy Consumers Energy)
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Religion
2:16 pm
Sat December 31, 2011

Detroit church builds homes to build community

(file photo)
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

A church on Detroit's west side has become a community developer by building 90 homes over four years and injecting pride and optimism in the neighborhood.

The last batch of new tenants moved in this month. The Rev. Oscar King III says stable housing is crucial if Detroit wants to recover. The homes are near his Northwest Unity Baptist Church.

The Detroit Free Press says there were more than 800 applicants for the homes, mostly two-story colonials. The renters include professionals, low-income families and even the homeless. Jack Bostic Jr. says homes are more important than a church having a fancy place to worship. He says his neighborhood looks like any suburb.

Janet Norfleet says her children pick up trash on their block, a habit that others are following.

crime
4:23 pm
Mon December 26, 2011

Detroit police: 3 of 4 murder victims linked to escort service

Detroit Police Chief Ralph Godbee
Sarah Hulett Michigan Radio

Detroit police say three of four women recently found dead in car trunks had promoted themselves as escorts through a website.

Police Chief Ralph Godbee talked to reporters Monday, a day after the burned bodies of two women were discovered in a trunk on Detroit's east side. On Dec. 19, the bodies of two other women were also found in a car trunk.

Politics
3:34 pm
Sat December 24, 2011

Governor Snyder focuses on bottom line during 1st year

michigan.gov

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has made improving the state's bottom line his top priority.
    

During his first year in office, the GOP governor has shaved billions of dollars off future health care and retirement commitments, scaled back tax breaks for retirees and low-income workers, ended welfare benefits for 11,000 families and reduced both the state budget and business taxes.
    

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Police
2:13 pm
Sat December 24, 2011

EMU's police chief commits suicide

The police chief at Eastern Michigan University has died in a suicide. The Washtenaw County sheriff's office says Greg O'Dell was found dead Friday just west of Ann Arbor. He was 54 years old.
    

O'Dell had recently returned to Ypsilanti as EMU's police chief after three months as public safety chief at the University of Michigan. He said he wanted to return to a job he loved.
    

EMU President Susan Martin says the campus is "shocked and saddened" by O'Dell's death. He was in law enforcement for 30 years, much of it with Ann Arbor police.

Politics
5:11 pm
Thu December 22, 2011

Michigan lawmakers to revisit autism coverage plan

Michigan House of Representatives.
Lester Graham Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan lawmakers plan to make another attempt at passing legislation that could prompt insurance coverage for certain autism treatments in 2012.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville said Thursday that new legislation related to autism coverage is expected early next year.

It's likely the plan will differ in some ways from previous proposals that would have mandated insurers to offer coverage for autism treatments. Those measures were opposed by business and insurance groups that say mandating coverage would raise the cost of employer-sponsored health insurance.

Supporters of an insurance mandate say it would save Michigan money in the long run while helping families with autistic children.

Previous bills that would have mandated insurance companies to offer the coverage died in the Legislature, most recently last year in the Republican-led Senate.

Auto/Economy
10:55 am
Thu December 22, 2011

Toyota aims for 8.48 million vehicle sales in 2012

user danielctw Flickr

TOKYO (AP) - Toyota says it aims to sell 8.48 million vehicles next year as it attempts a comeback from a year battered by the March disaster in Japan and the flooding in Thailand.

Toyota said in a release Thursday that its target for calendar 2012, which does not include group companies, would represent 20 percent growth from its global sales this year.

The manufacturer behind the Prius hybrid and Lexus luxury models said it plans to sell 8.95 million vehicles around the world in 2013.

Courts
3:54 pm
Wed December 21, 2011

Michigan Supreme Court to hear emergency manager removal case

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The Michigan Supreme Court plans to hear a case over whether the state-appointed emergency manager for the Detroit Public Schools should be removed from office.

The court announced in an order Wednesday it would hear the case brought by Robert Davis, which was rejected by the state Court of Appeals. It says oral arguments are planned and briefs from those
involved are due within 42 days.

Davis argues that the office of emergency manager should be declared vacant because Roy Roberts didn't immediately take the oath of office earlier this year.

Roberts later took the oath.

The district said in a statement that Roberts "continues to work on the hard daily tasks of strengthening educational opportunities for Detroit students and righting Detroit Public Schools finances."

Politics
8:49 am
Wed December 21, 2011

In Pontiac, Michigan, city hall, police and fire stations could be up for sale

Pontiac, Michigan. The emergency manager is planning to sell off some of the city's assets.
Dave Garvin Flickr

PONTIAC, Mich. (AP) - The cash-strapped city of Pontiac is moving forward with plans to sell a number of properties, listing sites such as police and fire stations as possibilities.

The Detroit Free Press reports Wednesday that city hall, a golf course and cemeteries also are on the list for possible sale. State-appointed emergency financial manager Lou Schimmel says he wants the option to sell them if needed.

The city has said that the cemeteries, however, can't be sold without a change in state law. And the newspaper reports that city officials aren't prepared to immediately turn over the keys to city hall or its police or fire facilities.

The Pontiac police department closed this summer.

Other sites on the list include parking lots, community centers, a library and two landfills.

Politics
12:52 pm
Tue December 20, 2011

Ex-union leaders sent to prison for labor dispute

DETROIT (AP) - Two former union officials have been sentenced to prison for threatening to prolong a strike against General Motors for personal gain.

Donny Douglas and Jay Campbell had been placed on probation, but the light punishments were overturned by an appeals court.

Douglas got 18 months in prison Monday while Campbell received a year and a day. They had been accused of threatening to extend a three-month strike at the Pontiac truck factory in 1997 unless a
friend and family member were hired for $150,000 jobs.

Prosecutors say it was akin to public corruption.

The appeals court overturned the original sentences because a judge failed to consider the financial loss suffered by GM when the two people were hired and many UAW members filed grievances.

Education
11:40 am
Tue December 20, 2011

Adrian College gets $20 million gift of support

Herrick Tower, Adrian College, Adrian, Michigan.
wikimedia commons

ADRIAN, Mich. (AP) - Adrian College says it recently received a $20 million gift that's the largest in its history.

The private college about 60 miles southwest of Detroit said in a statement Monday that the bequest is from the estate of Willard M. Cornelius Sr., who served as a member of the school's board of trustees from 1931 to 1948.

According to the school, Cornelius was an early innovator in rustproofing for the automotive industry. The money will be used to help students with tuition as well as support renovation to the college's science and business buildings.

Adrian College President Jeffrey Docking says the "benefits of this tremendous gift are difficult to quantify."

Auto/Economy
11:45 am
Mon December 19, 2011

Gas prices down 13 cents in past week

Gas prices are lower this week.
user futureatlas.com Flickr

DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) - AAA Michigan says gasoline prices are down about 13 cents per gallon during the past week to a statewide average of $3.20.

The auto club says Monday the average is about 20 cents per gallon higher than last year at this time.

Of the cities it surveys, AAA Michigan says the cheapest price for self-serve unleaded fuel is in the Saginaw and Bay City areas, where it's $3.10 a gallon. The highest average can be found in the Marquette area at $3.30.

Dearborn-based AAA Michigan surveys 2,800 Michigan gas stations daily.

Offbeat
4:29 pm
Sun December 18, 2011

Tiger cub exhibit called off at West Michigan mall

Flickr/Tambako the Jaguar

A newspaper reports a tiger cub exhibit has closed at a Grand Rapids mall after public complaints and a planned protest. The Grand Rapids Press reported Friday that mall officials canceled the touring display that allows shoppers to play with and be photographed with the cubs for a price.

Sarah Hale tells the newspaper she had planned a protest for Saturday against the exhibit but called it off.

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Homelessness
1:17 pm
Sun December 18, 2011

Big rise in Michigan kids with no permanent roof

A young homeless person from NY
Flickr/Elvert Barnes

A newspaper says there were more than 31,000 homeless students in Michigan schools last year, an increase of more than 300 percent since 2007. Experts tell the Detroit Free Press that the reason appears to be home foreclosures across the state. In the past, schools typically heard different reasons, such as fire or domestic abuse.

Kids with no permanent address are living with relatives or friends or at shelters and motels. Nicole Larabee and her 14-year-old son have bounced from house to house in Livonia, including one with fleas. She had a $12-an-hour job but quit in 2010 for another job that fell through.

Larabee and 14-year-old son Matt are living in a friend's basement. Matt says it's hard to relax "unless you have your own place."

Environment
10:45 am
Sat December 17, 2011

St. Joseph pays for capture, relocation of coyotes

kabir Morguefile

ST. JOSEPH -- City officials are hoping to have coyotes roaming near downtown trapped and released into the wild.

The Herald-Palladium of St. Joseph reports two coyotes were sighted last week.

A business called Awesome Critter Gitters is being paid $25 per day by the city.  Owner Jim Sheffield says he will release the coyotes onto private land once they are captured.

Sheffield says his company typically euthanizes captured coyotes.

Coyotes are considered nuisances in a number of urban areas across Michigan, although they are not generally considered a threat to humans. They do prey on smaller animals, including pets.

Grosse Pointe Shores officials have said coyotes that wander too close to the Detroit suburb may have to be shot.  Bloomfield Hills ordered rifles with scopes and silencers in recent years to kill coyotes.

Politics
3:10 pm
Fri December 16, 2011

Judge: Airport violated state act in hiring ex-CEO

 DETROIT (AP) - A Wayne County Circuit judge has ruled that Detroit Metropolitan Airport officials violated Michigan's Open Meetings Act during the hiring of ex-Chief Executive Turkia Mullin.

Judge Robert Colombo on Friday found multiple violations of the state act and issued an injunction against future violations.

Mullin was fired Oct. 31 by a 5-2 vote after board members returned from a closed-door meeting. She is suing the Airport Authority, claiming it violated the act.

She took the airport job after resigning in September as Wayne County's economic development director. She got $200,000 in severance after leaving the county job, but later returned the money after coming under criticism.

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