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Michelle Huan

Reem Nasr

Chrissy Yates

State of Opportunity

Megha Satyanarayana

Stateside

Bre'Anna Tinsley

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People
12:03 pm
Thu October 18, 2012

Scientist, inventor Stanford R. Ovshinsky dies at 89

Stan Ovshinsky
courtesy of the Ovshinsky family

An obituary from the Ovshinsky family:

Stanford R. Ovshinsky died peacefully at his home just 39 days short of his 90th birthday.  The cause of death was prostate cancer. 

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Economy
4:59 pm
Wed October 17, 2012

Michigan unemployment rate drops for first time since April

Michigan's overall labor force charted with Michigan's unemployment rate from September 2002 to September 2012. (Source MI DMTB).
Mark Brush Michigan Radio

Michigan’s unemployment rate dropped one-tenth of a percentage point in September, to 9.3 percent says a new report released by the Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget (DTMB).

This marks the state’s first decline in the jobless rate since April.

Total employment increased by 11,000 in September and has risen by 58,000 over the course of the past year.

From the report:

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Politics & Government
4:53 pm
Wed October 17, 2012

Ypsilanti Voters May Have Absentee Ballots But No Instructions

As many as 650 voters in Ypsilanti may have received absentee ballots in the mail without any instructions.

Francis McMullen, the Ypsilanti City Clerk, says only two voters have contacted her office so far, but she wants all voters to have what they need.  So her team is mailing instructions to everyone who received an absentee ballot.

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Education
4:42 pm
Wed October 17, 2012

Twitter improves student learning?

Dr Christine Greenhow, Assistant Professor of Education at Michigan State University

Researchers at Michigan State University are exploring the use of Twitter in the classroom.  

The study suggests Twitter will change the way people communicate in the classroom.

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Law
3:26 pm
Wed October 17, 2012

Michigan Appeals Court could determine resentencing of juvenile lifers

Michigan Court of Appeals
Mike Russell Wikimedia Commons

The Michigan Court of Appeals began hearing arguments Tuesday on a case that could determine the fate of Michigan’s “juvenile lifers.”

The case comes in the wake of a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in June determining  that mandatory life sentences without the possibility of parole for minors constituted cruel and unusual punishment.

MLive’s Jonathan Oosting has more:

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Transportation
3:18 pm
Tue October 16, 2012

Ann Arbor funds Rail Study

Ann Arbor’s city council is exploring options for a new train station. 

The council has approved over a half million dollars to identify the best improvements for Ann Arbor’s passenger rail services.

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Health
3:43 pm
Mon October 15, 2012

Dingell Says FDA Not Regulating Meningitis-causing Company

Congressman John Dingell says it will take time to figure out the best response to a meningitis outbreak caused by tainted steroids.  But he's urging Congress to take action and make sure it never happens again.

Dingell says the Food and Drug Administration doesn't have the authority to regulate the company that made the contaminated medicine which has killed 15 people so far, including 4 in Michigan.

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Education
7:00 am
Sat October 13, 2012

Irregardless of its reputation, a word perseveres

Though it may be underlined in red immediately after I type it, “irregardless” is indeed a word.

Anne Curzan, a professor of English at the University of Michigan, confirms its legitimacy ; but its usage, she warns, only invites contempt.

“A year ago I was talking with someone, and I said, ‘You know, people use it, it’s in most dictionaries.' And you could see that his respect for me and my scholarly perspective was shaken,” says Curzan.

The word comes from a blend of “irrespective and regardless.”

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Election 2012
1:48 pm
Fri October 12, 2012

4 things to know about Proposal 6: The bridge vote

The Ambassador Bridge.
Lester Graham

Proposal 6 was introduced by the owner of Detroit's Ambassador Bridge as a direct reply to the proposed New International Trade Crossing (NITC).

The new bridge was first proposed in 2004, after a long-term study highlighting the need for a new crossing was commissioned by the Border Transportation Partnership--a coalition of Canadian and American transportation authorities.

It would be sited two miles south of the Ambassador Bridge and would connect directly to the Canadian highway.

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Election 2012
12:13 pm
Thu October 11, 2012

4 things to know about Proposal 4: Collective bargaining for home health aides

Anna Strumillo fotopedia

Under the federally-funded Home Help Services Program, qualifying elderly or disabled residents of Michigan are eligible to receive in-home assistance with personal care and household chores.

Participants of the program have discretion in the hiring and firing of home health aides, and have their services paid for by Medicaid funds administered through the Michigan departments of Community Health and Human Services.

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Education
4:27 pm
Wed October 10, 2012

Ann Arbor parents protest school tests

Michigan students may have more rigorous performance expectations on MEAP and other standardized tests.
Alberto G. Creative Commons

Parents of children in Ann Arbor public schools are gathering signatures against what they call the overuse of standardized tests. 

More than 150 people have signed the online petition so far.

They say students are tested too often between the pre-tests, practice tests and targeted testing for reading and math. 

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Politics & Government
4:19 pm
Wed October 10, 2012

Michigan Secretary of State will not appeal citizenship checkbox ruling

Update 4:19 p.m.

There will be no citizenship checkbox on ballot applications for Michigan voters this November.

Secretary of State Ruth Johnson said she won’t challenge a federal judge’s ruling that the citizenship question is unconstitutional because the election is getting so close.

She did say there could be further legal action after the election.

Johnson says she also intends to press the federal government for naturalization records that would help her clear voter rolls of non-citizens.

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Economy
1:05 pm
Wed October 10, 2012

It might be more difficult to climb the social ladder than we thought

Biscarotte flickr

What if I told you that you don't just have your parents to thank for where you are today but your ancestors hundreds and hundreds of years ago?

That's what Gregory Clark, an Economic Historian at the University of California - Davis, told State of Opportunity's Dustin Dwyer.

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Politics & Government
1:02 pm
Wed October 10, 2012

Teachers and school employees face pension plan deadline

Michigan’s 250,000 teachers and state school employees face a  deadline of October 26th to choose a new retirement plan. But some groups are asking the State Supreme Court to extend that deadline.

State legislators passed a law changing the pension system in August. Ellen Hoekstra represents the Michigan Federation of Teachers.

"We’re advising people to get as much information as they can and at least fix in their own mind what option they think would be best for themselves and their own family – prior to the 26th – in case that ends up being the deadline," said Hoekstra.

School employees will have four options.

One would require them to pay more than they pay now, to get the same pension.

Another option would allow people to pay the same amount they pay now, but get a smaller pension when they retire.

Election 2012
11:56 am
Wed October 10, 2012

5 things to know about Proposal 3: 25 by '25

Wind power could feature prominently in Michigan energy production if voters amend the state constitution to include a new renewable energy standard.
cwwycoff1 flickr

Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) promote the use of renewable energy by requiring that a minimum percentage or amount of energy sold in a state come from sources like wind, solar, biomass, or hydropower. 

There are currently 29 states with some sort of RPS in place. Michigan is one of them. 

Michigan’s current standard, passed by the legislature in 2008, calls for 10 percent of retail electricity sales to be derived from renewable sources by 2015.

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Health
4:35 pm
Tue October 9, 2012

Federal grant establishes HIV research center at University of Michigan

The University of Michigan Health System will house a new center for HIV research.
UM

A new $21 million grant will establish a Center for HIV RNA Studies at the University of Michigan.

The National Institutes of Health grant will be distributed over a five-year period and is intended to help researchers better understand the virus on a molecular level.

From the University of Michigan:

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Election 2012
3:24 pm
Tue October 9, 2012

Romney closes on Obama in new poll; Stabenow extends lead

The Romney campaign has made significant gains in a recent EPIC-MRA poll.
Gage Skidmore Flickr

A poll released yesterday by EPIC-MRA of Lansing shows the presidential race tightening in Michigan.

Aided by a strong debate performance, Mitt Romney has reduced President Barack Obama’s ten point lead to just three points—within the margin of error for the poll reports the Detroit Free Press.

From the Free Press:

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State of Opportunity
2:03 pm
Tue October 9, 2012

Personal stories of babies born too small, too early or gone too soon

Cheryl Haggard with her son Maddux after his death. Haggard later founded Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, a nonprofit that has provides families of babies who are stillborn or are at risk of dying with free professional portraits.
courtesy of Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep

State of Opportunity's documentary on Michigan’s infant mortality crisis airs today at 3 p.m.

This is a heavy topic, for those looking to share or read some more personal stories there is the site “Too Small, Too Early, or Gone Too Soon.”

The site is a collection of stories from parents whose children were in the NICU or who lost a child. Some of these stories are sad, of course, but some are very hopeful.

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Education
5:25 pm
Mon October 8, 2012

Michigan's reform school district may become the state's largest

Mumford High School is one Detroit school already under the EAA's control.
detroitk12.org

A statewide reform school district could become the largest in Michigan over the next five years.

The Education Achievement Authority of Michigan (EAA)—the district instituted in 2011 to operate the lowest performing five percent of schools in the state—may add as many as 45 schools reports Lori Higgins of the Detroit Free Press.

From the Free Press:

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Election 2012
3:00 pm
Mon October 8, 2012

VP candidate Paul Ryan scheduled to appear at Oakland University 'victory rally'

Mitt Romney's presidential campaign is hoping a visit from VP candidate Paul Ryan will put pressure on the Obama campaign in Michigan.
Monkeyz_Unkle Flickr

Paul Ryan will be at Oakland University in Rochester tonight as the Romney campaign refocuses its attention on Michigan.

This comes after fundraising visits to Midland and Novi from Chris Christie on Saturday night.

As MLive reports, the vice presidential candidate will be introduced by Kid Rock at what the campaign is calling a “victory rally.”

From MLive:

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