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Opinion
9:46 am
Wed July 18, 2012

Let Detroit go bankrupt: The famous line Romney never said

Charles Brown

The four most famous words that Mitt Romney never wrote are, “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt.”

You read that right.  Mitt Romney never wrote those words.  They were the headline of a New York Times op-ed column that was authored by Romney and published in the newspaper on November 18, 2008.

I doubt that most people could accurately recite so much as a sentence of the op-ed that Governor Romney actually wrote in that column.  All that anybody remembers is the headline, which I have discovered was written by a New York Times editor, not Governor Romney.

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News Roundup
8:26 am
Wed July 18, 2012

In this morning's Michigan news headlines...

Morning News Roundup, Wednesday, July 18th, 2012
Brother O'Mara Flickr

MI Education Funding

Public discussions began yesterday on overhauling how Michigan pays for schools. Rick Pluta reports:

Governor Snyder has asked a workgroup to come up with a plan that focuses less on per-student funding and more on proficiency. The workgroup’s first hearing included suggestions from the audience on what Michigan’s education system should look like. The workgroup will revamp the state’s 30-year-old school aid act. It will also revisit key aspects of the Proposal A school funding reforms. Governor Snyder has asked for the recommendations to be done in time to include in his budget proposal next year.

Voting Rolls

Michigan’s Secretary of State will soon ask again for access to immigration records. “The intent is to find non-American citizens who may have ‘inadvertently’ registered to vote in Michigan. For years, a person applying for a driver’s license in Michigan would also be encouraged to register to vote without a check first to see if the person was actually a U.S. citizen. Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson has asked for the immigration records before….but was denied. However…last week…the Department of Homeland Security granted a similar request from Florida officials. A spokeswoman for the Secretary of State says its unclear if the review process can be completed before November’s general election,” Steve Carmody reports.

A2 Art Fairs

Visitors from all over the state – and the county – are preparing to converge on Ann Arbor for the city’s annual art fairs. “The four-day celebration kicks off Wednesday, featuring four different fairs: The Ann Arbor Street Art Fair, the Ann Arbor Summer Art Fair, the State Street Area Art Fair and the South University Art Fair. The original Ann Arbor Street Art Fair is more than 50 years old. The fairs in downtown Ann Arbor and on the University of Michigan campus typically attract hundreds of thousands of visitors,” the Associated Press reports.

Politics & Government
6:13 am
Wed July 18, 2012

Medical malpractice bills before Senate committee

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - A hearing is scheduled in Lansing on Wednesday on a package of bills that would prevent some patients from suing doctors for malpractice.

The hearing is 8 a.m. before the state Senate Insurance Committee in Lansing.

Leaders of the 16,000-member Michigan State Medical Society say the Patients First Reform Package closes a legal loophole that allows unnecessary suits to be filed and prevents trial lawyers from artificially inflating awards.

Politics & Government
6:09 am
Wed July 18, 2012

Michigan Senate to vote on changes for teachers retirement health care plans

Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The Michigan Senate is expected to vote on legislation that would end state-provided health care coverage in retirement for new public school hires and require current employees to pay more toward pensions.

The Wednesday legislative session is the only one scheduled for July. The Senate is expected to take up the bill passed last month by the House.

The bill doesn't contain earlier language that would force new teachers into a 401 (k)-style plan. The measure calls for studying how ending the pensions would affect the state.

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Auto
9:10 pm
Tue July 17, 2012

Share your car, says GM, and we'll help you do it (with Onstar)

RelayRide will allow car-renters unlock a vehicle they're renting with their smart phone
Onstar

General Motors says its On-Star customers can now use their GM cars to make some extra money - by renting out their vehicles.

Car-sharing allows someone to rent their personal vehicle to people who don't own one. Typically the borrower just needs a car for a few hours, for errands, grocery store visits or the like.

Now, GM car owners who subscribe to Onstar can rent out their cars through a car-sharing company called RelayRides.

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Politics & Government
7:10 pm
Tue July 17, 2012

Rep. Roy Schmidt, GOP leader, apologize for recruiting fake Democrat in party switch

Rep. Roy Schmidt (R-Grand Rapids) pictured last summer when he was a Democrat, rallying against Gov. Rick Snyder's K-12 education budget.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

The Kent County Prosecutor says a state representative who switched political parties minutes before an election filing deadline may have committed election fraud. But the review concludes Democrat-turned-Republican Roy Schmidt did not do anything criminal.

You can view the full report here.

The prosecutor’s investigation shows Roy Schmidt (R-Grand Rapids) worked with House Speaker Jase Bolger (R-Marshall) to switch parties and run as a Republican.

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Environment & Science
6:04 pm
Tue July 17, 2012

A good day to sit next to an air conditioner in Michigan

Is it hot or is it just me? No, it's hot.
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

How hot was it today?

Hot enough for Consumers Energy to smash its all-time record for electricity demand.

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Law
6:01 pm
Tue July 17, 2012

Juvenile lifer ruling requires authorities to track down victims

There is some question on the reach of a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that struck down automatic life-without-parole sentences for juveniles.

Attorney General Bill Schuette’s office says it may only apply going forward and not to the 366 juvenile lifers currently serving in Michigan prisons.

Dawn Van Hoek directs the State Appellate Defender Office, which represents some of the juvenile lifers. She disagrees and said every juvenile sentenced to life without parole should get a new hearing.

“I think they’ve already signaled, the Supreme Court has, and, you know, you have to wonder why even bother if you’re not going to apply it to the hundreds of people who were affected nationwide by these unconstitutional laws,” said Van Hoek.

That would also require the state to track down the families of murder victims who have a right under Michigan law to testify at sentencing hearings.

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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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Law
4:12 pm
Tue July 17, 2012

Investigators say they have new evidence in the Oakland County child killings of the 1970's

PONTIAC, Mich. (AP) - A Michigan prosecutor says investigators have DNA evidence linking the deaths of two of four children killed during a 13-month period in the 1970s.

Oakland County Prosecutor Jessica Cooper said Tuesday that DNA tests fond hairs found during the investigation of the deaths of 11-year-old Timothy King and 12-year-old Mark Stebbins came from the same person. They're seeking tips from the public in the case.

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Politics & Government
3:44 pm
Tue July 17, 2012

Michigan will ask for immigration records as part of purge of voter rolls

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Michigan’s Secretary of State will soon ask again for access to immigration records.

The intent is to find non-American citizens who may have “inadvertently” registered to vote in Michigan.

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Education
3:07 pm
Tue July 17, 2012

Check out the details of Michigan’s first privatized public school system

From left to right; Mosaica Regional Vice President Alena Zachery Ross, Mosaica founder and President Gene Eidelman, and Emergency Manager Don Weatherspoon during a budget hearing Monday afternoon.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

Parents in the Muskegon Heights Public School district are just starting to get an idea of what to expect for their children this fall.

The district is having major financial problems and is under the control of a state appointed emergency manager, Donald Weatherspoon.

Weatherspoon said turning over the entire district to a charter school operator was his only option to keep school open this year.

Last week, the three-member school board (appointed by the Weatherspoon) hired Mosaica Education Inc. to operate the schools in Muskegon Heights.

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Education
2:24 pm
Tue July 17, 2012

Superintendent: School funding reform should include early childhood, college

Mike Flanagan
Mike Flanagan Twitter.com

The state’s education chief says money for early childhood education and community colleges needs to be part of fixing Michigan’s school funding system. Mike Flanagan is the Michigan Superintendent of Public Instruction and leads the state Department of Education.

He spoke today at the first public hearing held by Governor Rick Snyder’s workgroup that’s devising a school funding proposal. The governor wants a system that rewards proficiency.
    
Flanagan says that won’t happen if the state doesn’t find a way to offer universal early childhood learning.

"We spend a billion dollars per grade and we spend nothing on early childhood, and we wonder why the results are exactly the same, and we blame the teachers, we blame the state superintendent, we blame the parent for not reading to them enough, and the bottom line is, we should blame the system first and foremost," he said.

Flanagan says every student should also be guaranteed a year or two of community college or its equivalent.  
    
The school funding workgroup will spend the summer working on its recommendations.

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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Politics & Government
1:21 pm
Tue July 17, 2012

Detroit City Council rejects proposed union contract terms, 5-4

Detroit City Council
Detroit City Council Facebook

The Detroit City Council has rejected a proposal to impose new contract terms on most city employees.

Mayor Dave Bing asked for the changes, which include a 10-percent pay cut and major work rule changes.

City officials say Detroit’s consent agreement with the state allows them to impose the terms even without the council's approval.

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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Auto
11:44 am
Tue July 17, 2012

Detroit asked to build a car that runs on natural gas

Honda Honda

Governors of 13 states that produce natural gas are asking Detroit car companies to make them a passenger car that runs on the fuel.

Advances in a drilling technique called horizontal hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, are making natural gas more plentiful.

The drilling technique has plenty of environmental critics, but Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper says it's safe when done properly, and he says natural gas is a better fuel than gasoline.

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Politics & Government
11:35 am
Tue July 17, 2012

Troy mayor Janice Daniels will face a recall vote this November

Troy Mayor Janice Daniels.

Despite Daniels' effort to stop the recall campaign, Oakland County officials certified more than the 7,985 petition signatures needed to place the recall question before voters on November 6.

The Detroit News reports 8,877 signatures were certified:

The challenge, which Daniels filed with the Oakland County Elections Office at 4:20 p.m. Thursday — 10 minutes before the deadline — resulted in the disqualification of five signatures, not enough to prevent the issue from going before voters.

Daniels became a controversial figure the moment she took office. She refused to recite a pledge to uphold the city's charter at her inauguration, she posted an anti-gay slur on Facebook prior to taking office, and she refused to accept federal money for a new transit center (Troy city council later approved a scaled-down version of the transit center despite Daniels' objections). "Recall Janice Daniels" organizers say they expect the mayor will be recalled by voters. From the Detroit Free Press

"The recall campaign looks forward to the November ballot, when responsible leadership will be restored to the city of Troy," said petitioners from the group Recall Janice Daniels in a statement released late Monday evening.

Daniels has told the Free Press that continued conversation about her views on homosexuality is being foisted upon her. She previously said she would beat the recall effort.

energy
11:05 am
Tue July 17, 2012

Report on Palisades nuclear plant: 'Lack of accountability at all levels'

Mark Savage Entergy Corporation

Update 11:05 a.m.

Palisades Spokesman Mark Savage issued these bullet points Tuesday in an email response to reporters about the report by Conger & Elsea:

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