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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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Investigative
1:54 pm
Tue October 16, 2012

Truth Squad on Prop 4

Michigan voters have plenty of homework to do before election day. One of the more complicated of the five proposed amendments to the Michigan Constitution is Proposal 4.  Michigan Watch teamed up with the Center for Michigan’s Truth Squad to review the ads.

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Detroit
1:15 pm
Tue October 16, 2012

Belle Isle plan blocked by Detroit City Council

Some Detroiters have expressed their displeasure with the Belle Isle plan.
Sarah Cwiek Michigan Radio

Matt Helms of the Detroit Free Press reports the Detroit City Council has dug their heels in on a plan for Belle Isle. The plan calls for the state to lease the park from the city and run it as a state park.

The Council has "indefinitely postponed" plans for a public hearing on the plan.

From the Freep:

The council's decision means the proposal can't go forward until council members get what they want: more funding guarantees from the state as well as a fuller hearing on alternative proposals for the island park.

Council members said the state had yet to respond to its request that guarantees of millions of dollars in upgrades to the island be put in writing, information that was not specifically spelled out in the state’s proposed 30-year lease. The lease would be for 30 years with two optional 30-year renewals.

Politics & Government
11:35 am
Tue October 16, 2012

Commentary: Is this vote necessary?

Odds are that when you vote three weeks from now, you’ll be voting for some of the people I am about to name:  Michael Busuito, a plastic surgeon from Troy.  Lupe Ramos-Montigny. Todd Courser and Melanie Kurdys. Melanie Foster and Brian Mosallam. Satish Jasti and Shauna Ryder Diggs. She‘s a dermatologist, by the way, from Grosse Pointe.

I‘ll bet you didn‘t know that, but don’t feel bad. Neither did I, until I looked it up this morning. I‘d also bet that you probably haven‘t heard of most or all of those people either, right?

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Auto
11:14 am
Tue October 16, 2012

GM to start producing electric Cadillac in 2013

Cadillac ELR

DETROIT (AP) - General Motors says production is set to begin late next year on a luxury version of its Chevrolet Volt hybrid.

The automaker said Tuesday the Cadillac ELR will be assembled at the Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly plant. That plant makes the Chevrolet Volt, Opel Ampera and Holden Volt.

The Cadillac will run on electricity and carry a four-cylinder gasoline engine to generate power when the batteries run out of juice. It's based on the Cadillac Converj, a concept car unveiled in 2009 at the Detroit auto show.

GM North America President Mark Reuss said in a statement that the car is "further proof of our commitment to electric vehicles and advanced technology."

The company will invest $35 million at the plant, which hasn't produced a two-door car since the 1999 Cadillac Eldorado.
  

Auto
10:25 am
Tue October 16, 2012

Battery maker A123 files for bankruptcy protection

A123 Battery in Passenger Vehicle Application
.a123systems.com/media-room-photos.htm

DETROIT (AP) - The U.S. operations of electric car battery maker A123 Systems filed for bankruptcy protection and its automotive assets are being acquired by Johnson Controls for $125 million.

The announcement Tuesday comes one day after A123 warned in a regulatory filing that it likely would miss some debt payments and could be headed for bankruptcy court.

A123, based in Waltham, Mass., got a $249 million U.S. government grant to help it build a battery factory in Michigan.

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Auto
10:13 am
Tue October 16, 2012

Ford recalls Fiesta subcompact for air bag problem

media.ford.com

DETROIT (AP) — Ford is recalling more than 154,000 Fiesta subcompacts to fix a problem with the side air bags.
 
The company says that if the front passenger seat is empty, the side air bag won't inflate to protect rear-seat passengers in some crashes.
 
Ford says it doesn't know of any crashes or injuries linked to the problem.
 
The recall affects Fiestas from the 2011 through 2013 model years. They were built in Mexico from Nov. 3, 2009 to Sept. 21, 2012.

Dealers will reprogram the computer that controls the side air bag so it inflates even if no one is in the front passenger seat. The repair will be done for free

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Health
9:28 am
Tue October 16, 2012

Meningitis cases in Michigan reach 46, other meds could be involved

Current case count from the fungal meningitis outbreak. Michigan has reached 46 cases.
CDC

The Michigan Department of Community Health said the number of meningitis cases associated with the recent outbreak reached 46 yesterday. Three deaths in Michigan are linked to the outbreak.

In the meantime, the New York Times reports the FDA warns other drugs could be involved:

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Politics & Government
9:26 am
Tue October 16, 2012

In this morning's Michigan news headlines. . .

User: Brother O'Mara flickr

Senate Fiscal Agency says Prop 6 will cost taxpayers

"A ballot proposal meant to stall a new international bridge in Detroit could cost Michigan taxpayers tens of millions of dollars. That’s according to a report from the Senate Fiscal Agency. Proposal 6 would require a public vote on any new international bridge or tunnel. The report says it would cost the state nearly $10.5 million  to hold a special election on a new crossing. On top of that, researchers say tens of millions of dollars in infrastructure funding could also be in jeopardy," Jake Neher reports.

ACLU suing Morgan Stanley for racist lending in Detroit


"The American Civil Liberties Union is suing Morgan Stanley on behalf of five Detroit homeowners. The group says Morgan Stanley violated federal anti-discrimination laws by encouraging a now-defunct sub-prime mortgage lender to make risky loans in predominantly black neighborhoods. The lawsuit was filed in a New York federal court, and seeks class-action status," Sarah Cwiek reports.

Response to meningitis outbreak might take time

"Congressman John Dingell says it will take time to figure out the right response to a meningitis outbreak caused by tainted steroids. But he's urging Congress to take action and ensure the same thing never happens again.   Dingell says right now, the Food and Drug Administration lacks the authority to regulate the company that made the contaminated medicine -- which has killed 15 people so far," Chris Zollars reports.

Politics & Government
8:45 pm
Mon October 15, 2012

LaHood: Metro Detroit, state need to move on regional transit authority

US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood was in Detroit for the tenth time Monday to talk about the region’s mass transit future.

LaHood met with Governor Snyder, Mayor Dave Bing, and state lawmakers, and again made clear that the federal government is willing to put money into a regional transportation authority (RTA) for Detroit.

But Lansing hasn’t acted on bills to create an RTA to run that system.

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Politics & Government
7:06 pm
Mon October 15, 2012

ACLU sues Morgan Stanley on behalf of 5 Detroit homeowners

An abandoned home in Detroit.
Sarah Cwiek Michigan Radio

The American Civil Liberties Union, the National Consumer Law Center and others have sued investment bank giant Morgan Stanley on behalf of five black Detroit homeowners.

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Health
3:43 pm
Mon October 15, 2012

Dingell Says FDA Not Regulating Meningitis-causing Company

Congressman John Dingell says it will take time to figure out the best response to a meningitis outbreak caused by tainted steroids.  But he's urging Congress to take action and make sure it never happens again.

Dingell says the Food and Drug Administration doesn't have the authority to regulate the company that made the contaminated medicine which has killed 15 people so far, including 4 in Michigan.

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