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Election 2012
3:28 pm
Tue October 9, 2012

Romney, Stabenow far outspend opponents on ads in Michigan

A new TV ad for Senator Debbie Stabenow.
screen grab

Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney and Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow are both far outspending their opponents on TV ads in Michigan.

That’s according to a report released Monday by the Michigan Campaign Finance Network.

The report says groups supporting Romney have spent about $13 million for ads in Michigan since the February primary.

The Obama campaign and supporters haven’t spent as much in Michigan, but Obama still has a lead among likely voters, according to most polls.

Rich Robinson is with the Michigan Campaign Finance Network.

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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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Health
3:19 pm
Tue October 9, 2012

CDC: Meningitis outbreak claims third life in Michigan

Map of Meningitis outbreak,as of 10/09/12
CDC

The Centers for Disease Control reports a third fatality in Michigan tied to a nationwide meningitis outbreak.

A 78 year old Washtenaw County woman is the latest fatality.   Previously,  a 56 year old woman from Genesee County and a 67 year old woman from Livingston County were the only known fatalities in Michigan.

The CDC now says 25 patients in Michigan are linked to the outbreak tied to tainted steroid injections.   

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Election 2012
2:49 pm
Tue October 9, 2012

6 things to know about Proposal 2; Collective bargaining

Protestors outside the Indiana Capitol building when the "right-to-work" legislation passed earlier this year.
screen grab from video The Statehouse File

Michigan voters are faced with a choice:

Should the right to collective bargaining for all Michigan workers be enshrined in the Michigan Constitution?

The amendment would affect the rights of workers in private companies and workers in the public sector.

If you work for a private company, the right to collectively bargain is upheld by federal law (the National Labor Relations Act). But the NLRA does not cover government workers.

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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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Energy
2:01 pm
Tue October 9, 2012

Chair of House Energy and Commerce Committee suggests cutting subsidies for oil and gas companies

Congressman Fred Upton
Republican Conference Creative Commons

Congressman Fred Upton says he’s in favor of getting rid of federal subsidies for the oil and gas industry.

He made the comments during a debate last Monday night in Kalamazoo. The debate was hosted by The Kalamazoo Gazette/Mlive.com and public radio station WMUK. You can hear the entire debate on their website.

During a discussion about renewable energy, Upton said the country “doesn’t need tax subsidies” for any energy companies.

Upton railed against President Obama’s investment in failed solar panel company Solyndra.

“We don’t need subsidies like this, particularly when the taxpayer losses every dime in their pocket. So I’m for putting all of these on an even footing. Let’s look at the oil and gas subsidies. Let’s taken them away. Let’s let them compete just like everyone else at the same level. We can do that with the tax code to take those special provisions away,” Upton said.

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2:01 pm
Tue October 9, 2012

Longtime Red Wings announcer, Budd Lynch dies

Lead in text: 
Lynch was 95. The Detroit Free Press has more.
Who: Frank Joseph James Lynch - legally changed to Budd after World War II when he became a dual U.S.-Canadian citizen. * Died this morning at age 95. * Born: Windsor, Ontario. * Resided: Wyandotte. * Family: Six children, eight grandchildren, two great grandchildren.
Energy
1:57 pm
Tue October 9, 2012

Palisades sues federal government over lack of waste storage

Nuclear waste cools off in a storage pool, before being stored in dry casks. Most waste is stored on-site at nuclear power plants around the country.
NRC

Nuclear waste is the 800 lb gorilla for the nuclear power industry.

Where do you stash waste that can have a half-life of tens of thousands of years?

The federal government has been trying to figure out a long term nuclear waste plan for decades. Yucca Mountain in Nevada was to be the site, but that plan was defunded by the Obama Administration in 2010.

Without a long-term solution, nuclear waste is typically stored on-site at nuclear power plants around the nation.

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Health
11:35 am
Tue October 9, 2012

Stories of the meningitis outbreak in Michigan, cases treated in Ann Arbor

Map of Healthcare Facilities which received three lots of Methylprednisolone Acetate (PF) recalled from New England Compounding Center.
CDC

News about the meningitis outbreak continues this morning. The outbreak has been linked to patients receiving steroid injections for back pain. The steroid shots could be contaminated with a meningitis-causing fungus.

From the CDC:

At this point, there is not enough evidence to determine the original source of the outbreak, however there is a link to an injectable steroid medication.

The company responsible for the medication, New England Compounding Pharmacy, Inc., announced a recall on Oct. 6 "of all products currently in circulation that were compounded at and distributed from its facility in Framingham, Massachusetts."

Ed White of the Associated Press reports on the heartbreaking case of 67-year-old Lilian Cary of Howell, Michigan.

Late last month, Cary had been responding to treatment at the University of Michigan hospital:

"She was responding to medication. Her spirits were up. Her fever was broken," George Cary said. "She was walking the hallway and Skyping with grandsons."

But she became unresponsive Sept. 26, and eventually was removed from life support after suffering a stroke, he said.

Cary said he was informed Saturday that his wife had been treated with tainted steroids for back pain. The doctor at Michigan Pain Specialists in Brighton, one of four Michigan clinics to get shipments from the Massachusetts pharmacy, said Cary also was at risk.

George Cary is now waiting to hear whether he was exposed when he received an injectable steroid shot.

The CDC reports that as many as 13,000 people received steroid shots suspected in the outbreak, but who is in danger is unclear.

From the Associated Press:

About 17,700 single-dose vials of the steroid sent to 23 states have been recalled. Inspectors found at least one sealed vial contaminated with fungus, and tests were being done on other vials.

The first known case of the rarely seen fungal meningitis was diagnosed last month in Tennessee.

Meningitis is an inflammation of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. It can be caused by a bacteria or virus. Exposure from fungi is a less common way to contract meningitis.

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Politics & Government
10:01 am
Tue October 9, 2012

Striking water workers suspended without pay

DETROIT (AP) - Three dozen Detroit Water and Sewerage workers will be suspended without pay for walking off the job in protest of the city's plans to downsize the department and eliminate most of the jobs over several years.

Water department director Sue F. McCormick says Monday in a release that 33 workers will get 5-day suspensions, while three union leaders each will be suspended for 10 days.

The suspensions follow 10 hours of disciplinary hearings Friday. They come with agreements that the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees Local 207 workers may be fired for any future action that can be punished by suspension. The 36 workers walked off the job Sept. 31 at a wastewater treatment plant in southwest Detroit. Their union local announced the strike over on Thursday.

The Environment Report
9:00 am
Tue October 9, 2012

Team resumes search for the oldest shipwreck in the Great Lakes

Le Griffon
Wikimedia Commons

The search for the oldest shipwreck in the Great Lakes has resumed.  The team that believes it has found the wreck is moving ahead after closing a legal dispute with the State of Michigan.  They’re trying to prove that what they’ve found in Lake Michigan could be a French ship that disappeared in 1679.

It’s been thirty years since Great Lakes Exploration began searching for the Griffon.  In fact, the original team has been at it so long, they’re running out of time to see it through themselves.

Jim Cucharski is one of the original divers on the team.  But he’s not in the water today because he recently had a heart attack.

In fact, just one of the original divers, Cucharski’s brother Tom, is in good shape for diving this week.

"You know, time takes its toll. We’re all getting older. I was like thirty years old when I started this and I’m 63 now, so, yeah, it doesn't get any better, you know?"

The group out of Dayton, Ohio spent countless vacations up here camping and combing the bottom of northern Lake Michigan.

Their leader, Steve Libert, lives in Virginia these days. Libert says his interest in the Griffon goes back to junior high. That was when he first heard of the French explorer Robert de La Salle, and his ship with a mythical animal carved on the stern; half lion and half eagle.

"It was a figurehead to ward off evil spirits and they called it the Griffon."

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Politics & Government
8:47 am
Tue October 9, 2012

Commentary: How Democrats can fight back after new congressional boundaries

Michigan’s congressional districts have all new boundaries this year, drawn by the Republican majority which controls the legislature. They wanted to maximize their party’s chances, and did so brilliantly.

They drew the new districts in a way designed to produce nine Republican and only five Democratic congressmen. But this year, Democrats have a fighting chance at an upset in two districts.

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Politics & Government
7:53 am
Tue October 9, 2012

In this morning's Michigan news headlines. . .

User: Brother O'Mara flickr

Paul Ryan in Michigan as presidential race narrows

"For the first time this fall, the Romney-Ryan ticket is spending time in Michigan. Republican Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan rallied voters in Rochester Monday. He told hundreds of supporters at Oakland University that President Obama has failed when it comes to economic and foreign policy, especially by proposing cuts to defense spending. Ryan’s visit comes as Republicans are narrowing the President’s lead in Michigan. After last week’s debate, Mr. Obama’s advantage fell from 10 points to just 3, according to a new poll from the Detroit Free Press," Kate Wells reports.

Political ads in Michigan lopsided

"A new study shows TV ad spending in the presidential and Senate campaigns in Michigan has been lopsided so far. The Michigan Campaign Finance Network says incumbent Senator Debbie Stabenow’s campaign has spent over a million dollars in the last three weeks. Her opponent, former Congressman Pete Hoekstra, has not run any TV ads since the August primary. But the Hoekstra’s campaign announced a big TV ad buy Monday. The study also shows groups supporting presidential hopeful Mitt Romney have spent about $13 million in the state. The Obama campaign and its supporters have not run many ads, but Mr. Obama still holds a lead in most Michigan polls," Jake Neher reports.

Kalamazoo study investigates if police racially profile

"Kalamazoo’s public safety department is conducting a study to see if its officers unfairly target racial and ethnic minorities. The study is not being court ordered, the city isn’t being sued, and there hasn’t been any big incident that sparked the study. Similar studies have been undertaken at police departments in Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids and Washtenaw County. The results will be available in the spring. Federal grants will pay for the bulk of the study’s cost," Lindsey Smith reports.

Politics & Government
1:00 am
Tue October 9, 2012

Catching up in the polls, Republicans return to Michigan

Paul Ryan at a rally in Michigan this week.

Republican Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan stopped in southeastern Michigan yesterday. His visit comes as a new poll shows Republicans closing in on the President’s lead in this state.

It’s the first time either member of the Republican ticket has visited this fall, and thousands lined up in the chilly evening weather at Oakland University campus in Rochester for the chance to see Ryan.

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Law
12:18 am
Tue October 9, 2012

Study will determine if racial profiling a factor in Kalamazoo traffic stops

The study will look at data from traffic stops in several locations in Kalamazoo.
Inventorchris Creative Commons

Kalamazoo’s Public Safety Department is conducting a study to see if its officers unfairly target racial and ethnic minorities.

The study is not being court ordered, the city isn’t being sued, and there hasn’t been any big incident that sparked the study. Kalamazoo Public Safety Chief Jeff Hadley says that’s a good thing.

“These types of issues can bring a lot of emotion… and it makes it a lot more difficult to talk reasonably and to talk productively and constructively in how we move forward,” Hadley said.

Hadley says the department wants to try to avoid problems and they’re hoping the study will help.

“Spending money on this type of study I think is really an investment into our relationship with the community; and how important they are in how we operate as a public safety department and how we keep this city safe,” Hadley said.

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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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Health
5:04 pm
Mon October 8, 2012

More Michigan cases reported in meningitis outbreak

Persons with meningitis linked to epidural steroid injections, as of October 7, 2012.
CDC

Update Monday, October 8, 5:04 p.m.

The Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) now reports 22 confirmed cases of fungal meningitis in Michigan.

From the MDCH:

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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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Law
2:55 pm
Mon October 8, 2012

CEO of West Michigan auto supplier sues feds over Affordable Care Act provisions

The leader of another Michigan business is suing the federal government over provisions of the Affordable Care Act.

John Kennedy, CEO of Kentwood-based Autocam Automotive, filed a complaint in a federal court in Grand Rapids Monday. In it, he says his company shouldn’t have to provide employees with health insurance that includes contraception coverage he considers “intrinsically wrong and gravely sinful”.

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Law
12:59 pm
Mon October 8, 2012

Muskegon prison reopens; set to employ 240

Ken Mayer flickr

The Muskegon Correctional Facility has reopened and will employ 240 people.

That is freeing up space for inmates in other parts of the state.

Michigan began closing prisons in 2007 as part of budget cuts. The Muskegon Correctional Facility was shut down in 2009.

Now the 1,300 bed, medium-security facility is open again and the state has begun transferring inmates from other places—mostly from the Ryan Correction Facility in Detroit.

Russ Marlan is a Department of Corrections spokesman.

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