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Wed May 23, 2012
In this morning's Michigan news headlines...
Detroit Consent Agreement
Last week, Detroit’s top lawyer suggested the agreement was illegal because the state owes an outstanding debt to the city. State officials say that premise is all wrong. Some City Council members oppose a legal challenge, calling it pointless and counterproductive. But council member Kwame Kenyatta took the opposite view. He says if city lawyers are right and the agreement violates the city charter, that’s a serious problem. Detroit Mayor Dave Bing declined to comment on the legal challenge.
The board voted Tuesday to lay off 108 elementary and 129 secondary school teachers. Earlier this month, the board voted to close both middle schools, along with Bunche and Summerfield elementary schools. Board documents say the district selected teachers for layoff based on recent evaluations. Statewide teacher tenure legislation last year put an end to seniority-based layoffs. The board must adopt a budget by June 30.
Kalamazoo River Update
Tests suggest household wells near the 2010 Kalamazoo River oil spill have not been contaminated. “Health officials have spent the past few years testing 150 wells in the spill zone. Jennifer Gray is a state toxicologist. She says a draft report released this week by the Department of Community Health shows no organic oil-related chemicals have turned up in any of the water wells. But she says a few wells have tested positive for iron and nickel. Gray says testing will continue for years to come," Steve Carmody reports. A pipeline break in July, 2010, resulted in more than 800,000 gallons of crude oil leaking into the Kalamazoo River.