Mark Brush

Reporter/Producer

Mark is a senior reporter/producer at Michigan Radio where he's been working to develop the station's online news content since 2010.

From 2000 to 2006, he worked as the technical director and senior producer for Michigan Radio's regional environmental news service known as the Great Lakes Radio Consortium.

From 2006 to 2010, as the unit's co-manager and senior producer, Mark helped transition the GLRC into an award-winning national news service known as The Environment Report. The service was heard on more that 130 stations around the country including WBEZ in Chicago, WAMU in Washington D.C., KUOW in Seattle, and KWMU in St. Louis.

Mark is a graduate of the University of Michigan ('00 MS in Environmental Policy and Planning & '91 BA in Political Science) and has been "a board certified public radio junkie" since 1992. He discovered public radio on his commutes to work in his trusty 1984 VW Rabbit. Much of Mark's storytelling philosophy was influenced through his close work with veteran CBC "réalisateur" David Candow.

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Education
2:48 pm
Wed September 4, 2013

Who is Stephen M. Ross, and what will this $200 million be used for?

Members of the UM marching band with Stephen M. Ross. The University of Michigan publicly thanked Stephen M. Ross for his $200 million gift today.
UM

In the history of major gifts to the University of Michigan, the $200 million gift from alum Stephen M. Ross is the biggest in the University's history. 

In the annals of gift giving to higher education, it's not the biggest, but it is among the biggest.

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Offbeat
10:55 am
Wed September 4, 2013

Michigan's "Fightin' Fifth" Rep. Dan Kildee on Colbert Report

Stephen Colbert 'vogueing' Michigan U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee.

In last night's Colbert Report on Comedy Central, Stephen Colbert featured an interview with U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee (MI-5th - D), in his segment "Better Know a District."

In the course of the segment, Colbert "vogue's" Kildee, 'does' some sugar beet sugar, and steals Kildee's wallet.

Have a look:

(If the video doesn't load for you - follow this link)

The Colbert Report
Get More: Colbert Report Full Episodes,Video Archive

Politics & Government
5:28 pm
Thu August 29, 2013

Detroit featured on MSNBC's 'Morning Joe' today

Screen grab from 'Morning Joe'
MSNBS

It's Thursday, our day to meet up with Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes. Today we spoke with him about how Detroit got the spotlight for the three hours of MSNBC's "Morning Joe" today. The show was broadcast live from the Ford Flat Rock Assembly Plant to highlight the fact that Ford is switching production of its Fusion from Mexico to Flat Rock - spending $550 million to tune-up the Flat Rock plant, and adding 1,400 jobs at the plant. 
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Politics & Government
12:54 pm
Thu August 29, 2013

Detroit officials and creditors meeting today behind closed doors with new mediator

Detroit skyline in the distance.
user: jodelli Flickr

Chad Livengood of the Detroit News reports that a closed-door meeting will take place today between the city and bond insurers, pension funds, and Detroit's casinos.

Livengood reports a Portland-based bankruptcy judge, Elizabeth Perris, will be leading the mediation. She's worked on the Stockton, CA bankruptcy proceedings.

Here's what they'll be talking about according to Livengood:

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Arts & Culture
10:28 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Superman-Batman movie coming to Michigan

Ben Affleck (left), and Henry Cavill (right).
JD Hancock Photos

The "Caped Crusader" and the "Man of Steel" are getting a handout from Michigan.

Julie Hinds of the Detroit Free Press reports Warner Brothers will get millions in tax incentives to shoot the movie in the state.

The upcoming Superman-Batman movie has been approved for the state’s film incentives, the Michigan Film Office announced today.

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Politics & Government
12:49 pm
Wed August 28, 2013

Orr says Detroit's parking system losing money, considering sale

Sarah Cwiek Michigan Radio

The Detroit News reports that Kevyn Orr is considering a sale of the city's parking system.

Michigan Radio's Sarah Cwiek is looking into this story further and will have more later.

Parking systems can be a source of revenue for a city, but according to the News, Orr says the system is losing money:

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Arts & Culture
11:25 am
Wed August 28, 2013

Taking a moment to reflect on the 50th anniversary of the "I Have a Dream" speech

King delivering the speech on the steps on the Lincoln Memorial.
National Archives

"Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred." - MLK

If you want a moment of reflection today, you could save this for 3 p.m. 

At that time 50 years ago today, Martin Luther King delivered his "I Have a Dream Speech" on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. His speech came during the centennial of Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation.

Bell-ringing events around Michigan are scheduled for 3 p.m. today. The Michigan Department of Civil Rights is helping to coordinate these events. 

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The Environment Report
11:52 am
Tue August 27, 2013

Will Enbridge Energy's new pipeline in Michigan be safer?

The new pipeline will run right behind David Gallagher's home.
Mark Brush Michigan Radio

A new oil pipeline is going underground in Michigan.

Enbridge Energy says this new pipeline will be bigger (36 inches vs. 30 inches) - it will pump more oil to the Marathon refinery in Detroit - and they say the pipeline will be safer. (The map in the slideshow above shows where the new line is going in.)

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Education
11:00 am
Mon August 26, 2013

LIVE CHAT: How should Michigan teachers be evaluated?

Sharon Drummond Flickr

It sounds like a great idea.

Evaluate the teachers. Keep the good ones. Weed out the bad ones.

But how do you do this?

Your government representatives in Lansing will be debating a statewide teacher evaluation system this fall.

Here's your chance to talk to the people who put the proposal together.

The proposal was developed by the Michigan Council for Educator Effectiveness, a committee appointed by the state to develop an evaluation model. 

The model would rate teachers by both student test scores and classroom practices.

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Environment & Science
8:30 am
Fri August 23, 2013

285 miles of new oil pipeline being installed across Michigan, neighbors in the path

The new Enbridge pipeline being installed northwest of Jackson, Michigan.
Mark Brush Michigan Radio

Enbridge Energy has begun the next phase of replacing an oil pipeline that crosses Michigan. They hope to have 285 miles of new pipeline online sometime next year.

Seventy-five miles of new pipeline were installed during "phase 1" of Enbridge's maintenance and repair project. During this next phase, they're putting in the remaining 210 miles of pipeline. They started last month and they've got around 25 to 30 miles of pipeline in the ground. Their goal is to get around 2.5 miles of new pipeline installed each day.

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Developing
5:54 pm
Tue August 20, 2013

Confusion over who won the Detroit mayoral primary

Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

Update 5:54 p.m.

The state will settle the issue of who really won the Detroit mayoral primary election earlier this month, after the Wayne County Board of Canvassers declined to certify the results.

At issue are about 18,000 votes, and a controversy over how they were counted.

Apparently votes are customarily counted with hash marks, but some election workers used numbers instead.  If the votes with numbers get thrown out, the two winners would switch places, with Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon coming out on top, and former Detroit Medical Center CEO Mike Duggan finishing second. 

Rather than certifying the election, the Wayne County Board of Canvassers has asked the state Bureau of Elections to settle the question. A spokesman for the state says the last time a county board failed to certify an election was the 1980s.  

Whatever the outcome, Duggan and Napoleon will face off in November. 

Update 4:57 p.m.

Matt Helms and Joe Guillen of the Detroit Free Press report that the Wayne County Board of Canvassers is debating whether to toss 18,000 votes from the August 6th Detroit mayoral election.

The Freep reports that Mike Duggan's legal team says they'll fight any results where that many votes are not counted:

“It’s the most outrageous, disgraceful thing I’ve seen in 20 years of observing elections,” said Melvin “Butch” Hollowell, legal counsel for Mike Duggan. “This is worse than Bush versus Gore.”

He said Duggan’s team has appealed to the Michigan Bureau of Elections for an answer, and would challenge any certification that did not include the left-out numbers.

And from the same piece, Benny Napoleon said the controversy calls into question the whole election process in Detroit and is calling for federal oversight of the general election:

“A citizen’s vote is the cornerstone of Democracy, and people should be able to put their faith in their ballot,” Napoleon, who finished second in the mayoral primary to Duggan, said in a statement.

“This is no small margin of error. This is very troubling and I believe it is cause for Detroit’s General Election to be overseen by the highest authority — either the Federal Elections Commission or the Department of Justice, Napoleon said. 

4:09 p.m.

Area newsrooms are working to find out what happened to all the write-in votes cast for Mike Duggan. WXYZ-TV reports thousands of Duggan votes were not counted because of a difference between how the city and the county tallies votes:

A county election official told the board the remaining votes were not counted because city election workers improperly tallied them. According to a state law, the city no longer has canvass board. Instead, elections must be certified by the county.

The county uses hash-marks to tally votes. Instead, city election workers used numbers to tally some of the votes. Since numbers were used and not hash marks, they were uncounted.

WXYZ reports the county board of canvassers has yet to to certify the election results, "but it was scheduled to take a vote to do so this afternoon."


3:47 p.m.

On August 6, everyone thought that Mike Duggan won the Detroit mayoral primary. 

We interviewed him, and Duggan had already started outlining his plans as Mayor of Detroit.

But today, the Detroit News is reporting that the Wayne County Board of Canvassers said that Benny Napoleon won the mayoral primary.

Two weeks ago, we thought Napolean had come in second. 

According to the Detroit News, the Board of Canvassers announced that Napoleon won with 28,391 votes. Duggan got 23,970. 

The News said that Lisa Howze, a former State Representative and a mayoral candidate who came in 4th in the race, will endorse Duggan for mayor:

She said she is supporting Duggan because they share the same vision about the neighborhood investment and economic development, adding that Duggan has the "tenacity and know-how to make relationships in the community" to get the job done as mayor. 

The panel upheld several different versions of write-in votes cast for Duggan: Mike Duggnn, Mick E. Duggan, Milk Duggan, Mr. Duggan, and Mike Duggan "the Whiteman" were some of the variations submitted.

If these results are upheld, it won't change who will appear on the ballot this November in the Detroit mayoral election. It would only change who we understand to be the top vote-getter in the August 6th primary.

*This post is being updated

-- Lucy Perkins, Michigan Radio Newsroom

Offbeat
12:12 pm
Tue August 20, 2013

'Practice bomb' on sidewalk in Port Huron found to be safe

Robert Gratton talking on video to a Times Herald reporter.
screen grab Times Herald

Police got a little nervous yesterday when a man showed them a bomb he said he found when diving in Lake St. Clair.

Here's how it went down, according to the Times Herald:

Port Huron Police Sgt. Dave Seghi said a Port Huron man came into the police department around 12:30 p.m. to explain that he had found the object on the bottom of Lake St. Clair and would be taking it home.

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Arts & Culture
10:17 am
Tue August 20, 2013

Detroit resident and Hollywood writer Elmore Leonard dead at 87

Elmore Leornard
Facebook

The news was announced this morning on Leonard's Facebook page:

The post I dreaded to write, and you dreaded to read. Elmore passed away at 7:15 this morning from complications from his stroke. He was at home surrounded by his loving family. More to follow.

Leonard suffered a stroke three weeks ago.

He had a long career writing westerns and crime novels that were made into Hollywood films.

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Politics & Government
3:00 pm
Mon August 19, 2013

State says the "financial emergency" in Pontiac is over, lists 5 reasons why

Pontiac
user dt10111 Flickr

The city's emergency manager is no more. Lou Schimmel issued his last orders this week.

But that doesn't mean the state is done overseeing the city.

Now a "transition advisory board" will oversee things in Pontiac, and Mr. Schimmel sits on that board as of today.

The board can oversee many parts of city government, including approving budgets, overseeing cash flow projections, review collective bargaining agreements, and approve requests by the city to issue more debt through bond offerings.

Schimmel cited the following reasons for the resolution of the "financial emergency" in Pontiac:

  • Implementing health care and benefit reforms by consolidating 87 benefit plans into one to ensure quality, affordable but sustainable coverage for employees.
  • Selling excess capacity in the city’s sewage treatment plant to Oakland County for $55 million, allowing the city to significantly reduce its debt ($87 million) and eliminate its structural deficit ($9.2 million).
  • Creating a regional fire department (merger with Waterford Township) that reduced the cost of fire services by $3.6 million annually while strengthening services.
  • Contracting with the Oakland County Sheriff for police services, which saved the city $2.2 million annually while also boosting public safety and ensuring more officers on patrol.
  • Reducing general fund expenditures by nearly $30 million in six years by closing defined benefit pension systems, eliminating money-losing enterprise activities, consolidating or streamlining departments, and modifying the city’s hiring process.

Schimmel and city officials are planning to hold press conference later today. More details to follow.

Environment & Science
1:01 pm
Mon August 19, 2013

Judge dismisses lawsuit aimed at stopping 'fracking' in West Michigan

Gas pipeline marker in Michigan.

A judge dismissed a lawsuit seeking to stop any oil and gas drilling on state land in western Michigan.

The area in question is Allegan State Game Area, the Barry State Game Reserve and Yankee Springs Parks and Recreation Area.

Yvonne Zip reports for MLive that a group called "Michigan Air Land Water Defense" filed the lawsuit last October. The group said the state should first assess the environmental impacts of horizontal hydraulic fracturing on public land.

Zip reports that Barry County Judge Amy McDowell said the lawsuit is jumping the gun:

In her opinion, McDowell called the plaintiffs' claims premature, since the leases auctioned were classified as non-developmental, which means that no surface drilling can occur without an application to the state for a change of status.

"As asserted by Defendants, the mere act of leasing oil and gas rights, in and of itself, does not constitute actual or imminent injury," wrote McDowell. "If the DNR initially classified that lease as 'developmental' or 'developmental with restrictions' prior to a review of the impact on protected areas, then this Court may have reached a different conclusion."

So far, no reclassification permit has been sought by a lessee, so the plaintiffs failed to establish "actual or imminent injury," the judge wrote.

Environment & Science
11:32 am
Mon August 19, 2013

After 12-year-old girl was attacked, officers kill black bear

A black bear.
Photo by Alan Vernon

Here's how the Michigan Department of Natural Resources describes last Thursday's bear attack on 12-year-old Abby Wetherell:

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Offbeat
12:18 pm
Fri August 16, 2013

George Clinton's 'Mothership' will land at the Smithsonian

The 'Mothership' landeth.
rhizome.org

Some serious learning is about to happen.

Parliament-Funkadelic's "Mothership" will land at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington D.C.

Here's the Mothership landing in its heyday:


George Clinton Dr Funkenstein Mothership by oublierleracismeskyblog

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Politics & Government
4:42 pm
Thu August 15, 2013

First public debt is issued in Michigan since Detroit bankruptcy

State lawmakers have passed bills allowing the city to keep taxing at certain rates. The legislation awaits Governor Snyder's approval.
Bob Jagendorf Flickr

People are willing to loan money to Michigan public entities again: that's according to Brian O'Connor, the finance editor at the Detroit News.

O'Connor writes that when Ypsilanti Community Schools and the state sold bonds yesterday, it marked the "first time since Detroit filed for bankruptcy" that public debt was issued in Michigan. 

From The Detroit News:

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Law
4:26 pm
Wed August 14, 2013

Michigan's old law banning panhandling in public found unconstitutional

Ernest Sims was one of the plaintiffs in the case. He was ticketed and arrested in Grand Rapids, Michigan for panhandling.
ACLU of Michigan

Under a decades-old Michigan law, "a person found begging in a public place" is considered a "disorderly person" and can be arrested and prosecuted as such.

Today, a federal appeals court struck down that law saying that begging, panhandling, or asking for money in a public place is protected as free speech under the First Amendment.

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Offbeat
1:58 pm
Wed August 14, 2013

Ann Arbor's iconic Blimpy Burger holds 'last supper' for the public

The restaurant is selling tickets for an exclusive 'last supper' event.
Credit Krazy Jim's Blimpy Burger

Owners promise it's not the end. They say they're still looking for a new location, but it IS the end for Blimpy at its historic location on the corner of Division and Packard Streets in Ann Arbor.

The University of Michigan bought the building and plans to build a dormitory on the site.

Today is the last day for the public to stop by and enjoy a "quad (or a quint!) on a kaiser bun with bacon, cheddar, and a fried egg with fried veggies on the side."

The line is around the block, expect long waits. And remember:

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