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Politics & Government
6:58 am
Mon October 22, 2012

In this morning's Michigan news headlines. . .

User: Brother O'Mara flickr

Snyder holds town hall meeting on Prop 6 today

"Governor Snyder will hold a town hall meeting with members of the Canada-United States Business Association in Detroit today. He’ll be stressing the need for a new Detroit-Windsor bridge—and for voters to reject Proposal 6. Proposal 6 would require voter approval for any new international bridges or tunnels for motor vehicles,” Sarah Cwiek reports.

Voters in West Michigan can learn more about Prop 3 this week

"People living in West Michigan will have two opportunities early this week to learn about and discuss the so-called 25 by 25 ballot proposal. If voters pass Proposal 3, utility companies in Michigan would have to get 25-percent of their energy from renewable sources like wind and solar. There’s a panel discussion tonight with people for and against Proposal 3. It’s at the Michigan Alternative and Renewable Energy Center in Muskegon. Tomorrow morning in Grand Rapids the President of the Union of Concerned Scientists will travel from Massachusetts to join west Michigan business leaders in favor of Proposal 3," Lindsey Smith reports.

Some Michigan lawmakers looking to increase retirement age for public school employees

"Michigan lawmakers are looking at a plan that would increase the minimum retirement age for public school employees. The current retirement age is 60. But some people want to index the retirement age according to life expectancy, which would be determined every year. Mark Guastella is with the Michigan Association of Retired School Personnel. He says the system paid more than $700 million in benefits last year to people who outlived their life expectancy," Rina Miller reports.

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It's Just Politics
2:38 pm
Sun October 21, 2012

Voting for state Supreme Court Justices is a complicated affair

Immortalpoet Flickr

This week on It’s Just Politics we take a look at Michigan’s Supreme Court races.

State Supreme Court candidates appear on the non-partisan part of the ballot with no hint of party-affiliation, except if a candidate is an incumbent. But these justices are initially nominated by political parties at conventions. It’s slightly bizarre. The idea was the political parties would do the initial vetting, but then the candidates – and the Supreme Court – would be independent of partisan influence. As a matter of fact, an incumbent Supreme Court justice can nominate himself or herself without having to win at a party convention. Justice Charles Levin used to do that that until he retired in 1996. However, this hasn’t happened since, largely because of money.

The Supreme Court nominees don’t get the benefit of straight-ticket voting. But they do get all the other benefits of major party nominations. The Republican and Democratic parties and their kindred interest groups spend millions of dollars to get their candidates elected to the Supreme Court. Those kindred interests are business groups, the insurance industry for Republicans; the trial bar for Democrats. The campaigns go largely unnoticed, but they’re fierce, even personal sometimes.

There was the “sleeping judge” ad in 2008 that depicted then-Chief Justice Cliff Taylor as someone who slept through arguments (which wasn’t true). The ad helped make Taylor the first sitting justice to lose his job in an election in something like a quarter century. One year, Republicans ran an ad against a Democrat that showed this shady character’s shifty eyes and said as a judge, he favored lenient treatment for all kinds of horrid criminals. And, just this year, Michigan Democratic Party Chair Mark Brewer said Republican Justice Stephen Markman would be sympathetic as a judge to Jerry Sandusky, the assistant Penn State coach charged with child molestation.

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Politics & Government
12:38 pm
Sun October 21, 2012

Retirement eligibility age may rise for Michigan public school workers

mensatic MorgueFile

Michigan's public school employees may have to work longer before they can retire. They're living longer,  
and that's hitting the bottom line of retirement programs.

Mark Guastella is Executive Director of the Michigan Association of Retired School Personnel. Hesays the current retirement age is 60, but that will have to change.

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Health
12:11 pm
Sun October 21, 2012

Grand Rapids research organization to lead new pancreatic cancer study

The Van Andel Institute is on Grand Rapids' "medical mile".
John Eisenschenk Creative Commons

The National Cancer Institute has chosen the Van Andel Institute in Grand Rapids to lead a new study on pancreatic cancer.

The NCI estimates 43,000 people in the U.S. will get pancreatic cancer in 2012; leading to 37,000 deaths.

Brian Haab Ph.D., Head of Van Andel Institute’s Laboratory of Cancer Immunodiagnostics, will head the research team.

Many times pancreatic cancer spreads to internal organs before people realize they have it and by then the prognosis is usually not so good. "It’s an aggressive disease. It doesn’t respond well to almost anything we’ve tried. Though there are individual cases that have worked out well,” Haab said.

He says pancreatic cancer is still hard to detect.

“It can be a long, expensive, and sometimes invasive process to do that and we want blood tests that can make it quick and inexpensive process,” Haab said.

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That's What They Say
7:00 am
Sun October 21, 2012

At the end of the day, everyone loves a good cliché, right?

It is what is, says Anne Curzan, professor of English at the University of Michigan.

She spoke with Michigan Radio’s Rina Miller about the clichés she has been hearing lately and how they came into being.

“'To throw something,' or 'to throw someone under the bus,' it looks like that is first cited reliably about 1991 and has taken off since then,” said Curzan.

She finds clichés to be much like fashion--usage depends on repeated exposure to the phrases and often they develop momentum all on their own.  

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Environment & Science
3:28 pm
Sat October 20, 2012

Mount Clemens wins contest for best water

H20
Flickr user Carol VanHook

Mount Clemens in southeastern Michigan has been honored for the best drinking water.

The Macomb Daily says Mount Clemens recently received the nod from the Michigan branch of the American Water Works Association. The competition was conducted by a state engineer, and three judges graded the city's water and others on clarity, taste and odor.

Mount Clemens water comes from Lake St. Clair. The city has its own water department and doesn't rely on Detroit, a major supplier of water to the suburbs.

Law
10:53 am
Sat October 20, 2012

Shots fired at vehicles along I-96 corridor in three Michigan counties

WIXOM, Mich. (AP) - The Oakland County sheriff says authorities are investigating at least 16 shootings for any common threads in many Michigan communities.

Sheriff Mike Bouchard says no one has been injured but there have been "some very close calls." He told reporters Friday that cars and people appear to be the targets. Shootings have been reported in Oakland, Livingston and Ingham counties.

Bouchard says the shootings occurred Tuesday through Thursday. Someone shot at five vehicles in Wixom in just a few minutes Thursday.

Films
4:47 pm
Fri October 19, 2012

Indie film Middle of Nowhere, now showing in Michigan

Actors Omari Hardwick and Emayatzy Corinealdi star in the film "Middle of Nowhere."
Screen shot from Sundance Film video.

The film, Middle of Nowhere tells the story of a young woman caught between loyalty to her incarcerated husband, and possibilities she finds outside the walls of the prison. Jennifer White interviews actor Omari Hardwick who portrays Derek, the incarcerated husband. Hardwick has also appeared in the films Sparkle and For Colored Girls, to name a few. Ava DuVernay won the Best Director Award for the film at the 2012 Sundance film festival, the first time that award has been won by an African American woman. The film is showing in Southfield.

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Politics & Government
4:40 pm
Fri October 19, 2012

Stabenow supports green energy subsidies despite A123 bankruptcy

A123 Systems Inc.'s battery manufacturing facility in Livonia, Michigan. The company filed for bankruptcy on Tuesday.
A123 Systems Inc. Facebook

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow is defending federal subsidies to promote green energy and advanced manufacturing businesses.

The loans, grants, and tax credits were part of the federal economic recovery package.

A company that got a quarter-billion dollar grant declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy this week. A123 employed hundreds of people in Michigan at facilities in Livonia, Romulus, and Ann Arbor.

Stabenow said the subsidies remain an important part of national energy and economic policy—even if some of the investments don’t pan out.

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Health
3:36 pm
Fri October 19, 2012

Another death in Michigan linked to the national meningitis outbreak

The latest Centers for Disease Control map of the national fungal meningitis outbreak
Centers for Disease Control

Another death has been linked to a tainted steroid injection in Michigan.

The Centers for Disease Control says five people in Michigan have now died as part of a fungal meningitis outbreak tied to the tainted injections. A sixth person from Michigan died in Indiana.

Angela Minicuci is with the Michigan Department of Community Health. She says state health officials have made contact with almost all the 1927 people who received the injections at four Michigan clinics.

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Economy
3:33 pm
Fri October 19, 2012

Michigan 4th worst in gender-based income inequality

Gender-based income inequality by county.
screenshot Slate/New America Foundation

Mitt Romney’s “binders full of women” comment from the second presidential debate became an instant Internet meme, but it also brought attention to the issue of income inequality based on gender.

It’s an issue with particular relevance for Michigan.

The state ranks fourth in the country for the largest pay gap between men and women.

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2:10 pm
Fri October 19, 2012

A lunker is landed, new record set

Lead in text: 
He doesn't look all that thrilled, but he did fight this thing for two hours, so maybe he's a little tired.
At 58 pounds and 59 inches, a new state-record Great Lakes muskellunge was caught by a Portage man on Antrim County's Lake Bellaire last Saturday, the Department of Natural Resources announced today. Joseph Seeberger was fishing for bass with a minnow when the big muskie bit.
Election 2012
1:11 pm
Fri October 19, 2012

Senator Debbie Stabenow on "Michigan Calling" this morning

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow in Studio East at Michigan Radio.
Cameron Stewart Michigan Radio

There won't be a U.S. Senate debate this year, but that doesn't mean the candidates aren't taking questions.

This morning, U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow stopped by our studios to talk with callers from around the state.

Host of Michigan Calling Rick Pluta directed the conversation which covered topics such as jobs and the economy, green energy, education and student debt, Asian carp, and Michigan agriculture and the Farm Bill.

You can listen to the conversation above.

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Health
12:53 pm
Fri October 19, 2012

Washtenaw Co. death is Michigan's 5th in meningitis outbreak

Current case count for fungal meningitis outbreak. State officials have reported 49 infections related to contaminated steroids.
CDC

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Authorities are reporting a fifth Michigan death in a national outbreak of fungal meningitis linked to contaminated steroids.

The Michigan Department of Community Health said Thursday that its death count has risen by one in the last day. Mlive.com says the latest victim was a 62-year-old Washtenaw County man.

The state agency now reports 45 Michigan cases of fungal meningitis, plus four non-meningitis infection cases related to the same contaminated steroids.

Politics & Government
11:37 am
Fri October 19, 2012

Commentary: Farewell to Stan Ovshinsky

Somewhere in most Michigan newspapers today, past the stories about the Tigers winning the pennant and the campaign ads, you may find an obituary for a gentle man who changed the world.

Stan Ovshinsky died at his Bloomfield Hills home Wednesday night, a few weeks short of his 90th birthday. You may never have heard of him, but he almost certainly touched your life.

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10:27 am
Fri October 19, 2012

Witness testifies how he kept money flowing to the Kilpatricks

Lead in text: 
An update on the public corruption trial of former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, his dad, his friend Bobby Ferguson, and former Detroit Water and Sewerage director Victor Mercado.
When Kwame Kilpatrick needed money, wealthy homeless shelter operator Jon Rutherford always delivered. Rutherford told jurors in the ex-mayor's public corruption trial Thursday that he helped bankroll Kilpatrick's political campaign, his lifestyle and his father's $10,000-a-month salary to the tune of more than $440,000 over a two-year period.
Politics & Government
7:26 am
Fri October 19, 2012

In this morning's Michigan news headlines. . .

User: Brother O'Mara flickr

ACLU files challenge to state ruling banning election signs in bars and restaurants

"The American Civil Liberties Union filed a legal challenge to a state rule banning election campaign signs at bars and restaurants Thursday. The Michigan Liquor Control Commission rule forbids businesses with liquor licenses from displaying signs endorsing a political candidate or party," Jake Neher reports.

Rapid transit system to be built in Grand Rapids

"Michigan’s first bus rapid transit system will be built in the Grand Rapids area. Federal transportation officials signed the agreement Thursday. Bus rapid transit operates similar to light rail, but at a fraction of the cost. Buses will arrive at stops every ten minutes. They’ll have designated lanes and be able to shift traffic lights so they don’t have to slow down," Lindsey Smith reports.

Expansion of oil pipeline comes under fire in northern Michigan

"A planned expansion of an oil pipeline that passes through the Mackinac Straits is coming under fire. The National Wildlife Federation released a report opposing Enbridge Energy’s plans to increase the amount of oil passing through the straits. Beth Wallace is with the Federation. She fears the nearly 60 year old pipeline could rupture like another Enbridge pipeline near Marshall did in 2010. An Enbridge spokesman says the Calgary-based oil company is reviewing the Federation report," Steve Carmody reports.

Sports Commentary
7:06 am
Fri October 19, 2012

Ann Arbor high school football players show better sportsmanship than coaches

user: Michael Knight /flickr

Last week, the Ann Arbor Pioneer high school football team went across town to play long-time rival Ann Arbor Huron.  It wasn’t the players’ performance during the game that made news, however, but the coaches’ behavior afterward.  And the news wasn’t good.

Ann Arbor Pioneer came into the annual rivalry with Ann Arbor Huron, sporting a solid 4-3 record and a good chance to make the playoffs.  Huron hadn’t won a game all year, and was simply playing out the season.  The only stakes were bragging rights – and even those weren’t much in question.

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Investigative
7:03 am
Fri October 19, 2012

Truth Squad: foul for Stabenow; flagrant foul for Hoekstra

After the presidential race, the top of the ballot in Michigan is the U.S. Senate race.  Michigan Watch teamed up with the Center for Michigan’s Truth Squad to review recent ads produced by Republican Pete Hoekstra and Democratic incumbent Debbie Stabenow.

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Sports
9:21 pm
Thu October 18, 2012

Next Stop, The World Series: Tigers rout Yankees 8-1 for 4-game ALCS sweep

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - Max Scherzer capped a stupendous stretch for Detroit's starting rotation, and the Tigers advanced to the World Series for the second time in seven years by beating the New York Yankees 8-1 Thursday for a four-game sweep of the AL championship series.

Miguel Cabrera and Jhonny Peralta hit two-run homers in a four-run fourth inning against CC Sabathia, who was unable to prevent the Yankees from getting swept in a postseason series for the first time in 32 years.

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