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9:56 am
Thu October 18, 2012

Detroit conference looks at labor history

Fur hat maker, 1938
photo by NIOSH on Flickr

DETROIT (AP) - Examining the history of labor in Michigan and beyond is a goal of a three-day conference being held in Detroit.

The North American Labor History Conference kicks off Thursday at the Wayne State University Law School. The conference aims to explore a range of themes under the topic of "insurgency and resistance."

The conference also coincides with the 100th anniversary of Michigan Workers' Compensation Act and a daylong symposium discussing its past, present and future is planned for Friday.

Speakers and presenters include Lt. Gov. Brian Calley and Workers' Compensation Agency Director Kevin Elsenheimer, as well as business and academic leaders.

The event is free and open to the public.

Sports
9:32 am
Thu October 18, 2012

State celebrates Willie Horton Day for 8th time

Horton honored across Michigan on his birthday for past achievements
detroit.tigers.mlb.com via getty

DETROIT (AP) — Willie Horton Day is being celebrated in Michigan for the eighth consecutive year.
 
The Tigers great is being honored Thursday, as he has since former Gov. Jennifer Granholm signed House Bill 5200 into law in 2006 that permanently decrees Oct. 18 "Willie Horton Day."
 
It coincides with the seven-time All-Star's birthday.
 
Horton was a Tiger for 14 seasons, including their 1968 World Series-winning team.
 
Horton's No. 23 is retired by the Tigers, and a statue of his likeness stands at Comerica Park.
 
He's a special assistant to team president and general manager Dave Dombrowski.

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The Environment Report
9:00 am
Thu October 18, 2012

A year full of extreme weather hits home

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

You can listen to today's Environment Report here.

Here's one of those headlines that'll probably confirm your hunch:

Weather-wise, this January through September was the most extreme the country’s ever experienced, ever since we started keeping records. 

Let's just flip back through the 2012 calendar, shall we?

First, there was the winter-that-wasn't. Meteorologist Jeff Masters is based in Ann Arbor and is a big name in the weather-blog world.

"It started with the non-winter of 2012. It was one of the warmest Januarys and Februarys on record."

He says that warm winter led into a stormy spring, with a big tornado in March.

"Which ripped through Dexter, Michigan, causing a lot of damage there. And in addition, in March we had summer in March."

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The Environment Report
8:55 am
Thu October 18, 2012

21 universities team up for Great Lakes Futures Project

NOAA

A new project is going to try to predict the future of the Great Lakes. 

It’s called... wait for it... the Great Lakes Futures Project.  It’s a collaboration of 21 universities from the U.S. and Canada. 

Don Scavia is the director of the Graham Sustainability Institute at the University of Michigan. He’s one of four project leaders.  He says students will team up with a counterpart from the other country, along with a faculty mentor.  The teams will develop white papers outlining the biggest things driving change in the Great Lakes region. 

“They’ll be looking at things like climate, economics, demographics, chemical and biological pollution, invasive species. Looking back, what have the trends been in the past 50 years and what do we expect trends to look like in the next 50 years?”

Scavia says climate change is making everything more complicated.

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Politics & Government
8:31 am
Thu October 18, 2012

Commentary: Campaign for the birds

During the presidential debate the other night I joked that Mitt Romney seems to have a problem with birds. The only memorable moment from the first debate was when he famously brought up Sesame Street’s Big Bird. Legends take on a life of their own, and most people now seem to think the candidate said he was going to “fire” Big Bird. In fact, what Romney really said was that he was, quote “Gonna stop the subsidy to PBS,” something he said he was sorry about because, as he put it, “I like Big Bird.“

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Politics & Government
8:13 am
Thu October 18, 2012

The week in Michigan politics

cncphotos flickr

This week Morning Edition host Christina Shockley talked with Michigan Radio's political analyst about the legislation to overhaul Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, results of a poll that looks at where Michiganders stand when it comes to the six ballot proposals voters will see in the next three weeks and the bankruptcy of U.S. operation of electric car battery maker, A123 Systems.

Politics & Government
7:31 am
Thu October 18, 2012

In this morning's Michigan news headlines. . .

User: Brother O'Mara flickr

Blue Cross Blue Shield overhaul passes Senate

"Legislation to overhaul Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan easily passed the state Senate Wednesday. The bills would turn the state’s largest health insurer into a customer-owned non-profit. Only four Senators voted against the package," Jake Neher reports.

Michigan's unemployment rates drops for the first time in 6 months

"Michigan’s jobless rate declined very slightly in September to nine-point-three percent. It’s the first drop in the state’s unemployment rate in six months. The rate is also a full percentage point below where it was at this time last year. The rate of unemployment and under-employment in Michigan is 17 percent. That number takes into account people who have quit looking for work, and part-timers who’d like full-time jobs," Rick Pluta reports.

Lawsuit claims flaws in Michigan's parole system

"A lawsuit filed this week alleges the state Department of Corrections has been too lax in supervising roughly 18 thousand paroled felons in Michigan. The lawsuit was first reported by The Detroit Free Press. It was filed by the family of an elderly Royal Oak woman who was murdered in her home. Two fugitives on parole have been charged with the killing," Rick Pluta reports.

Lansing
7:22 am
Thu October 18, 2012

Deadline ahead for Lansing casino project

artist's conception of proposed Kewadin Lansing casino

A deadline is looming for a proposed downtown Lansing casino.

The proposed $245 million casino project involves a complicated business and land deal between the city of Lansing, private developers and an indian tribe from the Upper Peninsula. 

So complicated those involved were not able to reach an agreement on the various aspects of the project by an August deadline.   So they gave themselves an extension until November 1st.

But with two weeks before the extended deadline there’s still no final agreement.

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Politics & Government
5:46 pm
Wed October 17, 2012

Michigan Senate approves overhaul of Blue Cross

Blue Cross Blue Shield building on Lafayette in Detroit.
Mikerussell wikimedia commons

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan Senate has approved a Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan overhaul that supporters say levels the playing field among health insurers and critics argue doesn't adequately protect elderly and vulnerable residents.

The Senate passed the legislation Wednesday. The House is expected to consider it when the chamber returns after the November election.

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Law
5:35 pm
Wed October 17, 2012

Lawsuit claims flaws in Michigan's parole system

The Department of Corrections is being sued over how it supervises parolees and handle parole violators.
Eddie Mingus flickr

A lawsuit filed this week alleges the state Department of Corrections has been too lax in supervising roughly 18,000 paroled felons in Michigan.

The lawsuit was first reported by The Detroit Free Press.

It was filed by the family of an elderly Royal Oak woman who was murdered in her home. Two fugitives on parole have been charged with the killing.

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Economy
4:59 pm
Wed October 17, 2012

Michigan unemployment rate drops for first time since April

Michigan's overall labor force charted with Michigan's unemployment rate from September 2002 to September 2012. (Source MI DMTB).
Mark Brush Michigan Radio

Michigan’s unemployment rate dropped one-tenth of a percentage point in September, to 9.3 percent says a new report released by the Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget (DTMB).

This marks the state’s first decline in the jobless rate since April.

Total employment increased by 11,000 in September and has risen by 58,000 over the course of the past year.

From the report:

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Politics & Government
4:53 pm
Wed October 17, 2012

Ypsilanti Voters May Have Absentee Ballots But No Instructions

As many as 650 voters in Ypsilanti may have received absentee ballots in the mail without any instructions.

Francis McMullen, the Ypsilanti City Clerk, says only two voters have contacted her office so far, but she wants all voters to have what they need.  So her team is mailing instructions to everyone who received an absentee ballot.

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Education
4:42 pm
Wed October 17, 2012

Twitter improves student learning?

Dr Christine Greenhow, Assistant Professor of Education at Michigan State University

Researchers at Michigan State University are exploring the use of Twitter in the classroom.  

The study suggests Twitter will change the way people communicate in the classroom.

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Law
3:26 pm
Wed October 17, 2012

Michigan Appeals Court could determine resentencing of juvenile lifers

Michigan Court of Appeals
Mike Russell Wikimedia Commons

The Michigan Court of Appeals began hearing arguments Tuesday on a case that could determine the fate of Michigan’s “juvenile lifers.”

The case comes in the wake of a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in June determining  that mandatory life sentences without the possibility of parole for minors constituted cruel and unusual punishment.

MLive’s Jonathan Oosting has more:

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Election 2012
12:36 pm
Wed October 17, 2012

5 things to know about Proposal 5: Tax hike supermajority

States with supermajority requirements for tax increases. Mich. has a supermajority requirement for raising property taxes. If Proposal 5 passes, Mich. would join the states in gray with the most restrictive taxing policies.
Citizens Research Council of Michigan

State legislators play the game. Michigan voters will set the rules.

The playing field for Michigan lawmakers could change significantly after Nov. 6, if voters approve any one of five constitutional amendments on the ballot.

The "bed sheet ballot" is something California voters are used to, but Michigan voters haven't seen this many proposed constitutional amendments since 1978, when voters faced 9 proposed amendments.

We're posting on all the proposals seeking to amend the Constitution.

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Politics & Government
10:47 am
Wed October 17, 2012

Commentary: Debating Autos

The second presidential debate is over, and I’m pretty sure that if you polled Michigan voters and asked, simply, “who won last night?” there wouldn’t be any doubt of their answer.

It would be Justin Verlander, who last night pitched the Detroit Tigers to within one game of the World Series.

Indeed, I’d bet that more people were following their victory over the hated Yankees than were watching the confrontation in New York between the major presidential candidates.

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Politics & Government
9:25 am
Wed October 17, 2012

Voters get absentee ballots without instructions

YPSILANTI, Mich. (AP) — A city clerk in Michigan says up to 650 people may have received absentee ballots without instructions.


AnnArbor.com reports (http://bit.ly/V6pdUa ) that Ypsilanti City Clerk Frances McMullen says letters will be sent to those people. She says the city has received at least two complaints from residents who said they received absentee ballots for the Nov. 6 election without marking instructions.


McMullen says a former assistant clerk was in charge of mailing some ballots and an intern involved later indicated she hadn't been told to place instructions in of envelopes.

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8:08 pm
Tue October 16, 2012

Lab responsible for meningitis outbreak raided by feds

Lead in text: 
There have been calls for a criminal investigation. Now news of a raid from Reuters.
(Reuters) - The top federal prosecutor in Massachusetts on Tuesday said federal agents raided the New England Compounding Center, the pharmacy linked to a meningitis outbreak that has killed 15 people and sickened more than 200 others. U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz said: "I can confirm that this office and our law enforcement partners are investigating allegations concerning the New England Compounding Center."
Politics & Government
5:41 pm
Tue October 16, 2012

Expanding Medicaid would save Michigan $1 billion over10 years, study finds

Michigan could save a billion dollars over 10 years by expanding Medicaid, according to a new study
user Laura4Smith Flickr

Over 10 years, Michigan could save a billion dollars and get more than 600,000 previously uninsured people health coverage.

That's the upside of expanding Medicaid in Michigan, according to a new study from the Center for Healthcare Research and Transformation (CHRT) in Ann Arbor. 

The federal government can't force states to expand their programs, but they are offering big incentives: for 10 years, the feds will pick up 100% of the costs of covering newly-eligible Medicaid patients, as part of the Affordable Care Act. 

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Transportation
3:18 pm
Tue October 16, 2012

Ann Arbor funds Rail Study

Ann Arbor’s city council is exploring options for a new train station. 

The council has approved over a half million dollars to identify the best improvements for Ann Arbor’s passenger rail services.

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