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Transportation
9:23 pm
Sun January 26, 2014

Contractors sought for $140M Detroit light rail

Artist's conception of proposed Woodward Avenue light rail line
M-1 Rail Detroit

DETROIT – Detroit's light passenger rail project is moving one step closer to reality with a request for contractors to work on the $140 million mass transit system.

The company serving as construction manager on the 3.1-mile M-1 Rail project announced Sunday night that it's seeking proposals from contractors on the project for such services as paving, salvage, traffic signals, water main work and landscaping.

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Politics & Government
6:09 am
Sun January 26, 2014

Haven't registered to vote? Monday's the deadline

(file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. – Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson says time is almost up for residents who want to register to vote in the Feb. 25 election.

The deadline is Monday for local elections across the state.

To register, applicants must be at least 18 years old by election day and be U.S. citizens. Applicants also must live in Michigan and in the city or township where they wish to register.

Voters may register by mail, at their county, city or township clerk's office or a secretary of state branch office. The mail-in form is available on the Internet.

Environment & Science
6:06 am
Sun January 26, 2014

'Problem' wolves killed in U.P. hunt, DNR says

USFWS Midwest

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — Michigan officials say most of the wolves killed in the recent Upper Peninsula hunt probably belonged to packs that have caused problems for people.

Adam Bump of the state Department of Natural Resources tells The Associated Press that 17 of the 23 kills happened in locations within territories of packs with reputations for "conflicts" such as preying repeatedly on livestock.

Bump says those locations typically were within five miles of a farm or other place where conflicts occurred.

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Politics & Government
3:28 pm
Sat January 25, 2014

President to deliver State of the Union address Tuesday

President Barack Obama
Official White House portrait

President Barack Obama will issue a call for expanding economic opportunity in his State of the Union address. He'll press a divided Congress to help shrink the income gap between the rich and poor, while asserting that he will take action on his own if lawmakers don't.

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Politics & Government
3:12 pm
Sat January 25, 2014

Blighted property survey nearing completion in Detroit

Detroit, Michigan (file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - Surveys have been completed on about two-thirds of all structures in Detroit as part of a project to eradicate blight in the city.

The Detroit Blight Removal Task Force is on track to complete its database of 380,217 structures and vacant parcels in February. The project hopes to determine the number of blighted and deteriorating structures in Detroit.

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Weather
10:09 am
Sat January 25, 2014

Winter storm blusters across Michigan; police ask motorists to stay off roads

PAW PAW, Mich. (AP) — Authorities in one West Michigan county are asking motorists to stay off roads due to blowing and drifting snow.

The Van Buren County sheriff's office says Saturday that it has received reports of people getting stranded in their vehicles and that many back roads are becoming impassable.

Poor weather and slippery road conditions also are preventing tow trucks from getting to stranded motorists.

The sheriff's office also warns drivers not to try driving on roads that appear to be blown over with snow.

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Politics & Government
9:28 am
Sat January 25, 2014

Financial emergencies found in 2 more communities

(file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Review teams have found financial emergencies in two more Michigan communities.

The state treasurer's office says Governor Rick Snyder has 10 days to make a decision on the financial conditions of Royal Oak Township in Oakland County and Highland Park, near Detroit.

The reviews are part of a process that could lead to the appointment of emergency managers.

Politics & Government
8:45 am
Sat January 25, 2014

Agema says he's staying

Dave Agema
legislative portrait

GRANDVILLE, Mich. (AP) - A Michigan member of the Republican National Committee says he's made mistakes but he's not quitting the party post.

Dave Agema issued a statement Friday, hours after chairmen of the Michigan and national Republican Party urged him to step down.

Last March, Agema posted an article on Facebook with an unsubstantiated claim that gays account for half the murders in large cities. He also came under fire from the Council on American-Islamic Relations for a Facebook posting this month questioning Muslims' commitment to charity.

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Politics & Government
7:23 am
Sat January 25, 2014

Snyder takes on K-12 funding 'misinformation'

(file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Gov. Rick Snyder is taking on "misinformation" over his record of funding public schools before putting forward his next budget.

Since the Republican governor took office, he says, state aid to K-12 districts is up an average of $660 per student. But House Democratic Leader Tim Greimel says the figure is "simply untrue."

Until a few years ago, the primary marker of school funding was Michigan's per-pupil grant. Now Michigan is picking up some of the ballooning retirement costs instead of including the money in districts' traditional aid.

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Politics & Government
9:56 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

Gov. Snyder launching Detroit immigration initiative

Gov. Rick Snyder (R-MI) (file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - Gov. Rick Snyder says he's launching an initiative to encourage immigration as a way of fostering Detroit's economic development.

Snyder's office says the governor will join Mayor Mike Duggan at a Thursday morning news conference. It says City Council members and business and community leaders also will participate.

The 10 a.m. event is at the offices of the IDEAL Group, a family-owned manufacturing and construction company.

Snyder has promoted immigrant entrepreneurs as a resource for Detroit's economic development. He said in last Thursday's State of the State address that he wants to make Michigan more immigrant-friendly and more attractive for foreign investment.

Snyder has applied for Michigan to join Vermont as states that run a regional center for the EB-5 visa program targeting immigrant entrepreneurs.

Weather
9:01 am
Wed January 22, 2014

Bitterly cold weather lingers across Michigan

Clearing snow.
Mark Brush Michigan Radio

ALPENA, Mich. (AP) — Bitterly cold weather is lingering across Michigan, with readings below zero and more snow in the forecast for parts of the state.

The National Weather Service reports Wednesday morning it was 18 degrees below zero in Alpena in the northeastern Lower Peninsula. Frigid readings came in throughout Michigan, including 17 below in Ann Arbor and 15 below in Port Huron in the southern Lower Peninsula.

In Detroit, a reading of zero degrees was reported. And it dipped to 3 degrees below zero at Detroit Metropolitan airport in Romulus.

The bitter cold is expected to continue for several more days. In western Michigan, 3 to 5 inches of snow is forecast Wednesday and into Thursday morning. And more lake-effect snow is expected along parts of Lake Superior in the Upper Peninsula.

Auto
12:19 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

Chrysler becomes subsidiary of Fiat

2014 Fiat 500 Abarth
media.chrysler.com media.chrysler.com

MILAN (AP) - The Italian carmaker Fiat says its acquisition of the final Chrysler stake is complete, making the U.S. car company a wholly-owned subsidiary of Fiat.

Fiat SpA said Tuesday that it closed the deal announced Jan. 1 with the cash payment of $1.75 billion to a union-controlled trust fund. That's on top of an initial $1.9-billion payment, which was arranged through a special distribution from Chrysler. Fiat also made the first installment on an additional $700 million payment.

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Environment & Science
9:50 am
Mon January 20, 2014

Spring groundbreaking expected on physics project at MSU

(courtesy of the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams)

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) - A massive physics research project at Michigan State University is expected to break ground this spring.

The Lansing State Journal reports that there is $55 million allocated for the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams in the federal budget. Plans call for more than $160 million in construction costs alone over the next four years.

The U.S. Department of Energy last year estimated the cost of FRIB at $730 million. The aim is for completion between 2020 and 2022.

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Education
9:41 am
Mon January 20, 2014

MSU to pay out bulk of $7M health reimbursements

Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan (file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan State University soon will pay out the bulk of $7 million in negotiated health care reimbursements to thousands of union workers.

School spokesman Jason Cody says the payments of more than $1,000 each will show up Friday in paychecks for employees paid every other week, and Jan. 31 for those paid monthly.

The Lansing State Journal reports the employees include roughly 5,800 mid-level managers, police officers, cafeteria workers and others represented by eight unions.

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Politics & Government
10:13 pm
Sun January 19, 2014

Heat on Michigan GOP committeeman for gay, Muslim comments

Dave Agema
Official legislative portrait

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - As the Republican National Committee prepares for meetings in Washington this week, Gov. Rick Snyder and other party leaders in Michigan are criticizing repeated anti-gay and anti-Muslim remarks by Committeeman Dave Agema.

The 64-year-old ex-state representative from western Michigan represents the state on the Republican party's national board.

Snyder made a semi-veiled reference to Agema in Thursday's State of the State speech, calling for civil discourse in the public arena.

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Sports
9:27 pm
Sun January 19, 2014

A Michigan congressman is raising safety concerns about next month's Winter Olympics

Congressman Mike Rogers (R-MI) (file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Members of Congress, including one from Michigan, say they have serious concerns about Americans' safety at next month's Olympics in Russia, and they want Moscow to cooperate more on security.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has promised his country will do all it can to ensure a safe Olympics.

The State Department has advised Americans planning to go that they should keep vigilant about security because of potential terrorist threats, crime and uncertain medical care.

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Business
8:32 pm
Sun January 19, 2014

Wisconsin shutdown worsens propane shortage in UP

(file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

MARQUETTE, Mich. (AP) - Michigan utility regulators say Upper Peninsula residents whose supplies of propane already are running short face new challenges this week with the closing of a Wisconsin facility for maintenance.

The Michigan Public Service Commission says that inventories in the region are 43 percent below their level of one year ago.

Commission Chairman John Quackenbush says "propane customers in the Upper Peninsula should use their propane supplies wisely in the coming weeks by reducing usage and avoiding energy waste."

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Business
6:34 pm
Sun January 19, 2014

Palisades nuclear plant taken offline to refuel

Mark Savage/Entergy
The Palisades Nuclear Plant sits on the shores of Lake Michigan in southwest Michigan.

COVERT TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) - Operators of southwestern Michigan's Palisades Nuclear Power Plant say it's now offline for refueling and maintenance.

New Orleans-based Entergy Corp. says operators took the plant out of service at 11 a.m. EST Sunday. It's located on the shore of lake Michigan in Van Buren County's Covert Township, about 55 miles southwest of Grand Rapids.

Plant spokeswoman Lindsay Rose says workers will replace 64 fuel assemblies in the reactor as well doing maintenance, tests and inspections.

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Politics & Government
1:49 pm
Sun January 19, 2014

Gov. Snyder blames Washington for new bridge knots

The view of Windsor from Detroit (file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - Michigan Governor Rick Snyder says a new bridge connecting the U.S. and Canada is being delayed partly because Washington doesn't seem to want to pay for a customs plaza on the American side.

Snyder tells the Detroit Free Press it's a "difficult-to-understand attitude." He chalks it up to other similar logjams in Washington but says there's still time to resolve the issue.

Canada has agreed to pay for most of the Detroit-Ontario bridge and then get repaid through tolls. But the U.S. government needs to be responsible for a $250 million inspection plaza.

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Health
11:39 am
Sun January 19, 2014

Michigan insurer doubtful of net jump in plans sold

(file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The uninsured and others have time to sign up for private insurance under the federal health care law without facing a tax penalty.

But one Michigan insurance executive doubts much new enrollment will occur before the March 31 deadline and cautions that the net number of people buying their own insurance in Michigan could stay flat this year.

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