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Economy
2:15 pm
Mon July 23, 2012

Another Gilbert company will likely relocate from Detroit suburb to downtown

Dan Gilbert
Quickenloans.com

Another Dan Gilbert company will probably move into downtown Detroit, bringing 1,500 more employees from the suburbs into the city.

Gilbert's Title Source provides title insurance, property valuations and settlement services.

The Detroit Free Press reports the company scheduled a news conference for Wednesday morning to announce the move to the Gilbert-owned First National Building in Downtown Detroit.

Title Source is moving locations from the Detroit Suburb of Troy. About 500 of the company's employees will move in immediately, with the remaining 1,000 moving in over the next six months, reports the Freep.

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Arts & Culture
9:14 am
Sun July 22, 2012

Going 'grammando'

This week on That’s What They Say, we find out whether it’s okay to go "grammando" during a casual conversation. Grammando is a new word used to describe people who correct other people’s grammar, and Anne Curzan, a professor of English at the University of Michigan who specializes in linguistics, kind of loves it.

Curzan, who first came across the word back in March, said that in the online age, fussy bloggers sometimes use grammar as a way to discredit one another.

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Politics & Government
4:55 pm
Fri July 20, 2012

Six candidates filed to finish out McCotter's term today

Republican Kerry Bentivolio, a veteran and former teacher from Milford, will run to replace Rep. McCotter.
Kerry Bentivolio http://bentivolioforcongress.com

Democrat Dave Curson, and Republicans Kerry Bentivolio, Kenneth Crider, Steve King, Carolyn Kavanagh and Nancy Cassis all say they have filed enough valid signatures to run in the special election to fill the remainder of U.S. Rep. Thaddeus McCotter's congressional seat, according to the the Detroit News.

The deadline for filing signatures was 4 p.m. today.

After McCotter abruptly resigned from his seat in Detroit’s 11th Congressional district, he left a gap between his absence and the end of his term in early January. 

In order to fill the gap, Gov. Rick Snyder's office called for a special question to appear on the November ballot, in which 11th District voters will decide on a candidate to finish out the remaining six weeks of McCotter's term.

On the same ballot, these constituents will vote again for whom they want to serve the following term beginning January 3, 2013.  The deadline for candidates to file for that election has already passed.

A primary for the special election could be held on September 5, if more than one candidate from either party file enough signatures.

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Health
2:14 pm
Fri July 20, 2012

New app designed for early skin cancer detection

Tony Buser, flickr Flickr

Every year, two million people in the United States get diagnosed with skin cancer, and 50,000 of them have melanoma.

Early detection is important for successful treatment, but regularly seeing a dermatologist to monitor skin health can be expensive and inconvenient.

Enter UMSkinCheck. The University of Michigan Medical School debuted the free app earlier this month. Dr. Michael Sabel, an associate professor of surgery at U of M, was the primary physician involved in the project.

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Transportation
12:05 pm
Fri July 20, 2012

A second bomb threat in week-long slew did not shut down Ambassador Bridge traffic

The Ambassador Bridge
user Mikerussel Wikimedia Commons

Detroit police say they received another bomb threat on the Ambassador Bridge on Wednesday evening. This time, authorities kept the busy international crossing open while they investigated the call.

Police said the call came about 5:15 p.m, and the site was "officially cleared" for safety at 7 p.m.

This latest bomb threat is the second called on the bridge this week, and it marks the third recent bomb threat on transportation links between the United States and Canada.

On July 12, someone called in a similar threat on the Detroit-Windsor tunnel. 

The previous two calls resulted in several-hour shutdowns of the Ambassador Bridge and Detroit-Windsor tunnel, which allowed police to search the area.  No bombs were found during either search.

After receiving the latest threat to the Ambassador Bridge on Wednesday, Sgt. Eren Stephens says, police let traffic continue, reports the AP.

A statement from police says "preliminary Intelligence" indicates that Wednesday's caller "may have made hoax bomb threats in the past."

Authorities let Comerica Park remain open Tuesday despite another bomb threat during a Detroit Tigers game.

The Detroit News also reported that a bomb squad responded to a report of a suspicious package found at Cobo Center last Monday.

Although the bomb-related threats occurred over a short time period, it remains unclear if the calls are made by the same people or person, reported the Wall Street Journal:

Andrew Arena, the former head of the Detroit FBI office who now is executive director of the Detroit Crime Commission, said bomb-threat hoaxes often come in bunches. "Is it one person or a copycat? A lot of times somebody does this and then copycat people jump on board," he said. "It's certainly a stress on law enforcement and everybody who has to respond to this stuff."

-Elaine Ezekiel, Michigan Radio Newsroom

Auto
4:40 pm
Thu July 19, 2012

Ford recalls 2013 Escapes with 1.6-liter engines

2013 Ford Escape
user Explorationofspace Wikimedia Commons

Ford Motor Company issued a media release today, alerting owners of a safety recall on 2013 Escapes with 1.6-liter engines. The release says the model has faulty fuel lines that could leak and cause a fire.

The car maker advises that its affected customers stop driving the cars immediately in order to allow dealerships to pick them up to remedy the problem, which will take about an hour, according to the statement.

More from the advisory:

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Environment
12:26 pm
Thu July 19, 2012

Diesel fuel spills into Lake Huron after tug and barge sink

The oil spill site is reported to be two miles off the coast of Lakeport.
Google Maps

Friday, July 20, 9:06 a.m.

The U.S. Coast Guard released a statement this morning declaring that the diesel fuel tanks onboard the sunken dredge, the Arthur J, have been secured and that no more diesel fuel is spilling into Lake Huron:

All the fuel valves and vents on the Arthur J have been plugged. 

The Arthur J has ten vents to its fuel tank and responders where able to plug four of them early Thursday afternoon, but six remained open until responders were able to plug them late Thursday night.

The impact to the shoreline has been minimal; however there is visible sheening along the shores of Lakeport, but there has been no report of a thick product wash ashore. However, there is still a strong diesel odor in the air, so residents and visitors of the lower Lake Huron area are encouraged to avoid areas where there is an odor in the air.

Thursday, July 19, 12:26 p.m.

Mlive.com reports that if storms do not let up, all 1,500 gallons of diesel fuel will get into Lake Huron.

The Michigan Department of Enviromental Quality is monitoring the situation from the periphery, and spokesman Brad Wurfel said ongoing storms may limit the effectiveness of the containment boom.

"We're hoping to recover all we can," he said. "But it's anticipated that if the storms do not let up, it's best to plan on the idea that all 1,500 gallons will get into the lake."

The weather, the weight of the fuel, wind direction and underwater currents make it difficult to predict where the fuel may head. Some local beaches may see a sheen, Wurfel said, but the "environmental impact is not expected to be catastrophic."

"The upside is, it's a big lake. A lot of this will dissipate."

St. Clair County officials have closed all public beaches on Lake Huron as a precautionary measure, according to health education and planning director Jennifer Michalul.

A local hazmat team and fire crew are aiding the Coast Guard, which has established 100-yard safety zone around the periphery of the oil sheen.

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Politics & Government
12:10 pm
Thu July 19, 2012

Detroit's 'Summer 2012 Demolition Plan' receives bank settlement funds

An abandoned home in Detroit
Kate Davidson Michigan Radio

The city of Detroit will receive $10 million of a statewide $25 million fund to counter blight in Michigan.

Last month, Detroit Mayor Dave Bing pledged to demolish 10,000 vacant buildings in the city by December 2013, the end of his four-year term.

The state funding comes during the mayor's "Summer 2012 Demolition Plan," during which he plans to raze 1,500 buildings by this September.

Some of those buildings went down today. In a media advisory this morning, the Mayor's Office said,

Four apartment buildings and another dangerous structure will be razed simultaneously Thursday morning in the Detroit Works Project Demonstration Area #3.

The demolition funds come from the state's $97 million share of a national settlement with banks over faulty foreclosure processes.  Yesterday, the Michigan house and senate voted on how to divvy up the money across state projects.

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Environment & Science
11:09 am
Thu July 19, 2012

Coping with a historically low crop in the Cherry Capital

Ben LaCross manages 750 acres of cherry trees on the Leelanau Peninsula. This year some of his trees were bare of fruit when they would normally hold 50-100 pounds of cherries each.
Emily Fox Michigan Radio

The great loss of cherries

Earlier this month, most of the counties in Michigan were designated disaster areas for agriculture. Michigan is the largest producer of tart cherries in the nation, and this year, the state lost 90 percent of its crop.

Ben LaCross is one of the many farmers who is trying to cope in what is known to be the Cherry Capital of the world. He manages 750 acres of cherries in Leelanau County, just outside Traverse City.

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Economy
3:20 pm
Wed July 18, 2012

Michigan unemployment rate ticked up for the second month in a row

Mark Brush Michigan Radio

Unemployment in Michigan rose one-tenth of a percentage point in June to 8.6 percent, when seasonally adjusted.

The Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget (DTMB) issued a press release today that said the state's labor force, for the first month this year, did not increase, and the number of unemployed people grew by 7,000.

The good news is that this year's unemployment rate is 2 percent lower than last year's June rate, and four tenths of a percent lower than the rate at the beginning of this year.

From the press release:

“The state labor market displayed little change in June, and has been relatively stable through the first half of 2012,” said Rick Waclawek, director of the Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives.  “Job gains in Michigan were modest during the second quarter, which was similar to national trends.”

Check out the graph above showing DTMB's data on the labor force and the unemployment rate over the past decade.

-Elaine Ezekiel, Michigan Radio Newsroom

Health
12:12 pm
Wed July 18, 2012

U of M tops ranking of best hospitals in Michigan

The University of Michigan Health System.
UM

U.S. News & World Report has identified 34 high-performing hospitals in Michigan out of more than 175 hospitals statewide. The rankings were released earlier this week.

Regional rankings around the country are based on how hospitals compare nationally in 16 medical specialties.

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Politics & Government
12:05 pm
Wed July 18, 2012

Bing cuts Detroit city worker pay, benefits despite City Council's disapproval

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing
Mayor Dave Bing Facebook.com

Today, Detroit Mayor Dave Bing decided to go ahead and impose new contract terms that will cut wages by 10 percent and drastically change their work rules for many of Detroit's city union workers.

This decision comes after the Detroit City Council voted down the proposed plan yesterday, 5-4.

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Transportation
5:35 pm
Tue July 17, 2012

Gov. Snyder: Ambassador Bridge bomb threat exposes need for new crossing

The Ambassador Bridge
user Patr1ck Wikimedia Commons

Gov. Rick Snyder says last night's bomb-threat that closed the Ambassador bridge for hours provides another reason to build a second bridge.

Last week, when a similar bomb-threat closed down the Detroit-Windsor tunnel, Michigan Radio's Lester Graham had his mind 1.5 miles down river, on the Ambassador Bridge. 

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Offbeat
5:34 pm
Tue July 17, 2012

Facebook followers share 'up north' highlights

Lake Michigan Sunset
User acrylicartist MorgueFile.com

Earlier today, Michigan Radio’s Kyle Norris posted a story about Michiganders’ love of traveling north of their hometowns for an in-state getaway.  On our facebook page, we asked fans to join the conversation:

“Ok, let's hear your favorite thing about going ‘up north.’”

Followers posted comments detailing the perks of their favorite spots up north.

Several answered that the drive north is the best part of the experience.

Gary: Crossing the tension line (or "ecotone") between southern and northern forests. The pines and sand sneak in so slowly you barely notice, until they seem suddenly to dominate.

Cathrin: Not only do the trees change, but the landscape begins to rise and fall in drastic contrast to the flat plains of the center of the mitten. So beautiful!

Dani: crossing the bridge to the u.p ...being so close to 3 of the great lakes the beautiful scenery the falls the fudge in mackinaw smoked fish in st ignance and most of all being away from the big city

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Auto
1:31 pm
Tue July 17, 2012

Chrysler will idle Mack Avenue Engine II plant

The the 3.7-liter, V6 engine built at the Mack Avenue Engine II is used in Jeep Liberty vehicles, seen here.
Jeep Liberty Facebook.com

The Detroit Free Press' Brent Snavely reported today that Chrysler plans to close its Mack Avenue Engine II plant in Detroit this September. The company plans to replace the engine built there with a different one made in Chrysler plants in Trenton, Mich. and in Saltillo, Mexico, reports the Detroit News.

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Health
12:00 pm
Tue July 17, 2012

Triple-digit highs forecast for southern Michigan... again

user davidwilkerson MorgueFile.com

A day of triple-digit temperatures is forecast for much of southern Michigan, leading school officials in Detroit and Flint to cancel activities.

The National Weather Service says today's high should reach 101-105 degrees in Detroit and 100-104 in Ann Arbor and Midland. Heat advisories have been issued for Michigan 53 lowermost counties.

It's just the latest in a string of scorching summer days in the state.

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Law
4:52 pm
Mon July 16, 2012

Flint judge sets deadline for state welfare review

Flint, Mich.
Flint Michigan Facebook.com

A judge in Flint has given the Michigan Department of Human Services until Aug. 10 to process 5,000 or more remaining applications for cash assistance from people whose benefits were ended because of a five-year federal limit.

Genesee County Circuit Judge Geoffrey Neithercut imposed the deadline today during a hearing on a complaint from the Center for Civil Justice.  The complaint accused the Michigan DHS of intentionally processing the assistance applications slowly while it waited for decisions from the Court of Appeals and the Michigan Supreme Court.

On June 27, the state Court of Appeals ruled that Michigan can end benefits under a five-year federal limit, even if recipients still might qualify for cash under state law.

Michigan has a four-year limit, but the state stops the clock when someone with a disability can't work or when people care for a disabled spouse or child.

The state says following the stricter federal cap could save $70 million a year.

In a press release sent out today, DHS Director Maura Corrigan said the judge's ruled window for processing applications is reasonable. She said,

We are and have been committed to complying with this court’s orders. The completion date of August 10th set forth by the court today is well within our internal timeline already in place.

MLive.com reports that the groups will return to court Aug. 20 if DHS fails to process all of the cases by the deadline.

-Elaine Ezekiel, Michigan Radio News

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Economy
1:21 pm
Mon July 16, 2012

Forbes: Detroit ranks 3rd in adjusted wages compared to national average

Detroit
user andrea_44 Flickr

Detroit has the third highest average annual income out of the 51 largest metropolitan areas in the country.

Shocked? Let me explain.

Forbes Magazine and the Praxis Strategy Group re-ranked the incomes in these 51 cities after adjusting for cost of living. Not surprisingly, it turns out a dollar goes a lot farther in Detroit than in, say, New York City or Boston.

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That's What They Say
9:12 am
Sun July 15, 2012

Sometimes, you just have to let your noun become a verb

English is evolving, and to keep up with the times, some nouns are becoming verbs.  One such noun-verb is "impact."

"Linguists call this 'functional shift,' when a word moves from one part of speech to another," said Anne Curzan, a professor of English specializing in linguistics at the University of Michigan.

Although this isn't a new phenomenon, technology seems to be having an influence on the switch.  With search engines came the phrase "to Google something," and now we can "friend" or "un-friend" others. 

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Politics & Government
3:24 pm
Fri July 13, 2012

Detroit-area meeting will help Syrians in Michigan apply for temporary protected status

Troy Public Library
Troy Public Library Facebook.com

A group will hold a town hall meeting and legal clinic in the Detroit area on Saturday designed to provide assistance to Syrians looking to temporarily stay in the United States beyond the expiration of their visas.

The Obama administration has said it will allow Syrians to temporarily stay beyond the expiration of their visas and not deport those in the country illegally due to deteriorating conditions in their native country.

The United for a Free Syria-hosted event will be held at the Troy Public Library  tomorrow where immigration lawyers will take questions from attendees. 

UFS is a pro-democracy nonprofit organization based in Flint.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano in March said Syrians will get temporary protected status because they'd face "serious threats to their personal safety" if they were to return to Syria.

Under the terms of the notice, Syrian nationals who have continuously resided in the United States since March 29 of this year can apply for the status.

Serene Katranji-Zeni is a TPS Coordinator who works with United for a Free Syria.

She says the clinic is the second of its kind in Michigan, and she anticipates helping those eligible complete the time-consuming task of filling out necessary paperwork.

Although she can't say to how many Syrians in Michigan could qualify for the status, she says her office has fielded several requests for help, though many are not eligible.

"The major issue we're running into is that many more people have come into the country since [the March deadline] who want the status, but they don't qualify," she said.

According to the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services website, the temporary protected status for Syrians is designated through September of next year.  USCIS currently lists seven other countries on its list for foreigners in the United States who may qualify for temporary protected status.

-Elaine Ezekiel, Michigan Radio Newsroom

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