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Politics & Government
4:45 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

Changes could be on horizon for backyard farmers

Backyard chicken coop
Credit Josh Larios / Wikimedia

Many small and urban farms could lose the protection of Michigan's Right to Farm Act.

The Act protects farmers against nuisance lawsuits if they follow Michigan's Generally Accepted Agricultural and Management Practices (GAAMPS).

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development wants to exclude farms with fewer than 50 animals from Right to Farm protection if those farms are in areas zoned exclusively residential.

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Education
4:30 pm
Mon January 20, 2014

University of Michigan administrators boost efforts to improve racial climate on campus

The Trotter Multicultural Center at the University of Michigan may move closer to the university's central campus as part of an effort to improve race relations on campus.
MESA/Trotter University of Michigan

Administrators at the University of Michigan are “doubling down” on efforts to improve race relations at the university’s Ann Arbor campus.

Minority enrollment is down at the university: In 2008, black students made up about 6.8% of the university’s freshman class. In 2012, that number dropped to 4.6%.

A recent Twitter campaign caught the attention of administrators, as students took to the Web to express their frustrations with race relations on campus. The #BBUM campaign – Being Black at Michigan – went viral, with more than 10,000 tweets using the hashtag in November.

As MLive’s Kellie Woodhouse reported, the university is now launching a campus-wide effort to increase enrollment of underrepresented students and improve the campus climate.

One plan in the works is to renovate the Trotter Multicultural Center, a hub dedicated to providing a safe working environment for students on campus.

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Politics & Government
12:59 pm
Mon January 20, 2014

Ann Arbor's longest-serving mayor looks back on career

Ann Arbor Mayor John Hieftje.
Doug Coombe Concentrate Magazine

In 2000, John Hieftje began his tenure as mayor of Ann Arbor, and every two years after that, Hiefjte won reelection with numbers reflecting strong support from the people in the city. His 14-year run makes him the city’s longest-serving leader.

He recently announced he is not planning on running for reelection, a decision he says he’s been considering for the past few years.

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That's What They Say
8:05 am
Sun January 19, 2014

Homing in on ‘comprise’

If the whole comprises the parts, it seems like the parts should not be able to comprise the whole.

This week on That’s What They Say, Host Rina Miller and University of Michigan English Professor Anne Curzan take on the verb comprise used to mean compose.

In the 15th century, comprise meant “to seize” or “to comprehend.” From there, comprise took on the definition “to include.” With this meaning, a big part comprises smaller parts.

However, by the 18th century, comprise also meant compose, allowing small things to comprise a larger thing. Ever since this change, the two words have often been used interchangeably.

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Economy
3:34 pm
Sat January 18, 2014

It's a tough time to be a millionaire in Michigan

Buddy, can you spare a million?
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

A report from the Phoenix Global Wealth Monitor says Michigan had fewer millionaires in 2013.

Michigan had around 170,000 households with more than a million dollars in investable assets. But that's 10,000 fewer than in 2012.   Michigan's top year was 2007, when it had more than 214,000 millionaires.

David Thompson is Managing Director of Global Wealth Monitor.  He says Michigan's wealth stability is more vulnerable than other states like New Jersey or Maryland with strong centers of wealth creation.

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Politics & Government
10:10 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

Listen to Gov. Snyder's 2014 State of the State speech

Gov. Snyder delivers 2014 State of the State address.
Gov. Snyder's office

If you missed tonight's speech, you can listen to here:


Education
1:23 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

Today's State of Opportunity call-in show tackles standardized testing

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

Update: If you missed the program, you can catch the audio on this post.

Do at-risk kids have more on the line when it comes to testing? Are low expectations playing a part in poor test performance? How does the Smarter Balance test compare to the MEAP?

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Politics & Government
12:10 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

What words has Gov. Snyder used most in his State of the State addresses?

A word cloud of Gov. Rick Snyder's most frequently used words in his 2011 State of the State address.
Melanie Kruvelis Tagul

Tonight, Gov. Rick Snyder will deliver his fourth State of the State address.

Michigan’s leaders are already spelling out what issues they hope to see the governor address in this year's annual speech: road funding, higher education, LGBT discrimination and tax cuts, to name a few.

We thought we’d take a look at what Snyder has said in his past talks, and how his speeches have changed during his past three years in office.

Snyder’s 2011 State of the State address:

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Politics & Government
7:58 am
Thu January 16, 2014

In this morning's headlines: State of the State, school employee benefits, replacement for the MEAP

User: Brother O'Mara flickr

State of the State address tonight

Gov. Rick Snyder will deliver his State of the State address at 7 pm. You can listen to the speech live on Michigan Radio.

Court upholds increase in public school employees' share of retirement, benefits costs

"Public school employees will continue to pay more for retirement and health benefits under a ruling by the Michigan Court of Appeals. The unanimous decision upholds a 2012 law that was challenged by teachers’ unions," Rick Pluta reports.

Lawmakers debate new standardized test

"Michigan education officials are defending their choice of a new standardized test. The Michigan Department of Education wants state lawmakers to endorse the Smarter Balanced Assessment. It would replace the Michigan Educational Assessment Program – known as the MEAP. Smarter Balanced is a computer-based test that officials say better measures student growth," Jake Neher reports.

Arts & Culture
5:30 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

DIA helps us correct errors in an earlier broadcast

Flickr

Yesterday, on Michigan Radio, we discussed the news that a group of philanthropists and foundations have raised more than $300 million to try to save works from the Detroit Institute of Arts and protect city worker pensions.

However, in the course of our conversation, we had a couple errors.

AnneMarie Erickson is the Chief Operating Officer of the Detroit Institute of Arts and she joined us to help clarify the situation.

*Listen to the audio above.

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Transportation
5:22 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

Potholes straining road commission budgets

net_efekt Flickr

County road commissions are closely watching their budgets, after spending more than usual on winter maintenance this year.

Freeze-and-thaw cycles have caused a wave of potholes across Michigan.

"If winter is very expensive, that can impact our other activities that the road commission performs, but pothole filling is something of great importance for us and we will address that," said Jim Harmon, director of field operations for the Washtenaw County Road Commission. 

Gov. Rick Snyder called for $1.2 billion a year in additional money for fixing roads in last year's State of the State address. But his proposal failed to gain traction in the legislature. He's expected to try again this year.

Health
3:20 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

Low flu vaccination rate in Michigan despite serious flu threat

Credit by samantha celera

About a dozen flu patients have been in intensive care at  University of Michigan hospitals on any given day since the new year began. Some are on advanced life support. Most are middle-aged.  And most have the H1N1 strain of flu.

Michigan has seen a flood of H1N1 flu cases in the last few weeks.

That's according to Dr. Matthew Davis,  Chief Medical Executive with the Michigan Department of Community Health.

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Education
4:48 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

Last week's snow days bring schools closer to having to make up the lost time

Credit Morguefile

Many of Michigan's public schools were closed for three days during the Polar Vortex last week.

This brings them close to the state's annual limit of five or six calamity days.

The number of days varies among school districts depending on the length of their school days and of their school year.

Michigan requires schools to offer 170 days of instruction and 1,098 hours of classes.

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Health
12:47 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

Claim deadline quickly approaching for Michigan residents affected by fungal meningitis outbreak

Michigan had more fungal meningitis cases during the outbreak than any other state.
Center for Disease Control

Michigan was hit hard by the fungal meningitis outbreak, which stemmed from tainted steroids from the New England Compounding Center. According to the Center for Disease Control, 264 cases have been reported in the state – more than 100 more than any other state in the nation.

Victims and their families are urged to file claims for possible compensation through a $100 million victim compensation fund created by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Massachusetts; however, time is running short.

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Politics & Government
7:34 am
Mon January 13, 2014

In this morning's headlines: Power in Flint City Council, Detroit swap deal, MEAP tests

User: Brother O'Mara flickr

Flint City Council could gain power back today

The Flint city council has been largely powerless in the two years since the appointment of an emergency manager. But that begins to change this evening. Emergency manager Darnell Earley says the City Council will now be asked to get more involved in city decisions.

Detroit swap deal to resume today

"A bankruptcy court hearing on Detroit's renegotiated deal to pay off two banks in an interest rate swaps deal is scheduled to resume today," The Associated Press reports.

Lawmakers to discuss which standardized test students will take this year

"State lawmakers will begin hearings this week to determine which standardized test Michigan students will take starting next spring. State education officials say the Smarter Balanced Assessment is the only good option to replace the Michigan Educational Assessment Program – or MEAP," Jake Neher reports.

That's What They Say
8:05 am
Sun January 12, 2014

When proper names become everyday words

People’s names show up in the English language in surprising places, such as "pasteurized milk" and "ham sandwiches."

University of Michigan Professor of English Anne Curzan and Weekend Edition host Rina Miller discuss eponyms, or words that are derived from proper names, on this week’s edition of That’s What They Say.

The verb pasteurized is an eponym. It comes into the English language in 1881 from the name Louis Pasteur, who invented the pasteurization process.

Sandwich is also an eponym.

“We think that the word comes from John Montagu, the 4th Earl of Sandwich. He was a gambler, and once he spent 24 hours at the table gambling, and all he had to eat was meat between two slices of bread," Curzan explains.  Thus, the sandwich was named after him.  

The adjective ritzy is yet another eponym. Unrelated to the crackers, ritzy came from hotels.

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Law
4:52 pm
Sat January 11, 2014

Who's that knocking on your door?

A new state law exempts process servers from trespassing laws.
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

In Michigan, you can no longer invoke trespassing laws to avoid being served court papers at your door.

At the end of 2013, a new law took effect to exempt process servers from trespassing laws.

Michigan Sen. Rick Jones sponsored the legislation.    He says the goal is to increase safety for process servers who sometimes are confronted with threats of violence.

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Politics & Government
4:46 pm
Sat January 11, 2014

Michigan's governor declares energy emergency

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

Gov. Rick Snyder has declared an energy emergency in the state due to a temporary heating oil and propane shortage.

The shortage was caused by a huge spike in demand due to the extreme cold and heavy snowfalls that delayed deliveries.

The governor's order suspends regulations on how many hours and how many consecutive days the fuel delivery drivers can work.

The order will in effect until January 31st unless the Governor rescinds it earlier.

Health
4:41 pm
Sat January 11, 2014

There's a blood shortage in Michigan because of the recent severe weather

American Red Cross (file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Blood banks in Michigan had much lower donation rates this week due to the weather.

Michigan Blood is a non-profit blood bank that usually collects 2,200 units of blood every week.

Spokesman Jim Childress says this week, donations dropped to 800.

“We do need people to donate at a higher rate than they normally do, and take this very seriously and help out the nation's blood supply,” says Childress.

The group is offering donors $10 Meijer gift cards and expanding its hours of operation through next Friday.

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Weather
6:39 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

Southern Michigan prepares for floods

Past flooding in Ionia
Michigan State Police

Local goverments in southern Michigan are bracing for possible flooding.

William Byl is Kent County's Drain Commissioner.  He said how serious it becomes depends on the temperature swing and on the amount of rain.

"These kind of conditions are really the perfect storm because what you have is snowmelt combined with rain on top of the snowmelt, all falling on frozen ground. And you have no place for the water to go," Byl explained.

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