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Politics & Government
3:48 pm
Fri October 12, 2012

UAW-Moroun quid pro quo could backfire

"The enemy of my enemy is my friend."    

Sun Tzu, The Art of War

The Detroit Free Press reports that the United Auto Workers union - no friend to Governor Rick Snyder - is considering a deal with billionaire Ambassador Bridge owner Matty Moroun - also no friend to the Governor.

The deal would involve Moroun helping the union pay for ads in support of Proposal 2, which would enshrine labor organizing rights in the state constitution.

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Offbeat
3:44 pm
Fri October 12, 2012

A Hoffa-themed scam in Roseville, Michigan

ROSEVILLE, Mich. (AP) - Authorities say someone's trying to scam residents of a Detroit suburb into believing that missing Teamsters boss Jimmy Hoffa could be buried on their property.

Roseville police are warning city residents about a letter that purports to be from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. The letter says a recent dig at a Roseville home for Hoffa was a ruse to keep the media away from the real site.

The letter's author implies the true Hoffa dig site is at the recipient's home.

Several residents received a copy of the fake letter as a lure to get them outside while thieves go inside their homes.

Roseville police investigated a claim last month that Hoffa was buried in a backyard, but testing on soil samples showed no traces of human decomposition.

Election 2012
3:08 pm
Fri October 12, 2012

Bridge group releases statement on today's Detroit Free Press report

Concept NITC Drawing
NITC

Mickey Blashfield, Ambassador Bridge owner Matty Moroun's director of government relations and head of the Moroun-financed group "The People Should Decide" released a statement following a report from the Detroit Free Press on a possible deal between the UAW and Moroun.

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Arts & Culture
1:52 pm
Fri October 12, 2012

Detroit's art scene gets a $4 million boost

The Detroit Children's Choir is one of 60 city arts organizations that will share the funding.
Photo Courtesy of the Detroit Children's Choir

From potters to puppeteers, there are some very relieved artists in Detroit this week.  More than 60 of the city's cultural groups are splitting a $4 million grant from the Kresge Foundation.

While four million bucks spread across 60 groups may not sound like a lot, it could actually be what keeps the lights on for some of them. Especially teeny groups, like the Detroit Children’s Choir.

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Election 2012
1:48 pm
Fri October 12, 2012

4 things to know about Proposal 6: The bridge vote

The Ambassador Bridge.
Lester Graham

Proposal 6 was introduced by the owner of Detroit's Ambassador Bridge as a direct reply to the proposed New International Trade Crossing (NITC).

The new bridge was first proposed in 2004, after a long-term study highlighting the need for a new crossing was commissioned by the Border Transportation Partnership--a coalition of Canadian and American transportation authorities.

It would be sited two miles south of the Ambassador Bridge and would connect directly to the Canadian highway.

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Environment & Science
1:09 pm
Fri October 12, 2012

Proposal 3: 25 x '25 would amend Michigan's Constitution to increase use of renewables

cwwycoff1 flickr

This is a story I produced for NPR's Morning Edition.  Editors were interested in Proposal 3 in Michigan because, if it passes, it would be the first time a state constitution would be amended for a Renewable Portfolio Standard. We'll be looking at this proposal in more detail in future reports.

There are business effects to some of the more than 170 statewide ballot measures to be decided in next month's elections. In California, voters will determine if labels should be required on genetically-modified food. People in Arkansas will vote whether to increase taxes for highways and bridges. And one measure in Michigan is capturing attention - whether the state constitution should be amended to change how utilities get their electricity.

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Politics & Government
12:53 pm
Fri October 12, 2012

Commentary: Challenging Brooks; Challenging Oakland

For the last 40 years, two things have been true. Oakland County, home to most of Detroit’s white-collar suburbs, has been Michigan’s richest county. And L. Brooks Patterson has been Oakland’s dominant
personality, first as county prosecutor, then as county executive. When his current term ends in January, he will have held that office for 20 years.


That’s exactly as long as his longtime political enemy, Coleman Young, was Mayor of Detroit. But while Coleman finally retired after 20 years, Brooks is, at age 73, running again.

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11:53 am
Fri October 12, 2012

Free Press reports on a UAW, Matty Moroun backscratching deal

Lead in text: 
Nathan Boomey and Brent Snavely of the Detroit Free Press have a report on a "2 for 6" deal between the UAW and Ambassador Bridge owner Matty Moroun. 'You support my proposal.... I'll support yours.' Michigan Radio's Tracy Samilton is following up on this report.
The UAW and Ambassador Bridge owner Manuel (Matty) Moroun are discussing a deal that calls for the billionaire to pump cash into a labor-sponsored ballot initiative in exchange for the union's support for a Moroun-backed campaign to block a new international bridge from Detroit to Windsor, according to a senior auto executive and several local political leaders.
Politics & Government
11:27 am
Fri October 12, 2012

Ann Romney gushes love for Michigan, praises Paul Ryan's debate performance

A few hundred people showed up to a conference center outside of Grand Rapids early Friday morning to hear Ann Romney speak.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

Ann Romney is making stops across Michigan Friday. The wife of Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney started early at conference center in Hudsonville, just outside of Grand Rapids.

Ann Romney has been doing a lot of campaigning for her husband. So she says she made one “special request” of planners; “Will you please send me to Michigan?”

Standing in front of a “Women for Mitt” banner, Ann Romney held up her hand, pointed to her hometown and confessed her love for the state.

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Politics & Government
8:21 am
Fri October 12, 2012

In this morning's Michigan news headlines. . .

User: Brother O'Mara flickr

No more Senate candidate debates

"It appears there will be no debate between Senator Debbie Stabenow and former Congressman Pete Hoekstra. Stabenow called off talks to schedule the debates, saying her opponent won't negotiate in good faith. Hoestra says Stabenow is afraid to debate him. Senate candidates usually hold at least two debates. One debate has traditionally been held at the Detroit Economic Club. Hoekstra says the sticking point was holding debates in a medium that lots of voters could see. Hoekstra says he wanted debates on major TV networks," Tracy Samilton reports.

Meningitis cases continue to rise in Michigan

"There’s been a big jump in the number of people in Michigan affected by that national fungal meningitis outbreak. The Centers for Disease Control says 39 people in Michigan have contracted fungal meningitis from tainted steroid injections. Just Wednesday there were only 28 confirmed cases in Michigan. Three Michigan women have died since receiving the injections which were intended to treat back pain," Steve Carmody reports.

Medical Marijuana discussed in Michigan Supreme Court

"The Michigan Supreme Court will decide whether the state’s medical marijuana law allows dispensaries and growing cooperatives. The court heard arguments in two medical marijuana cases today Thursday. Prosecutors say patients have to either grow their own, or get it from a licensed caregiver. Prosecutors say patients have to either grow their own, or get it from a licensed caregiver. The operators of a marijuana dispensary are challenging the county’s decision to shut down their operation. A man who ran a growing cooperative is also trying to fend off a charge that he exceeded the 12-plant limit in the law. The court is expected to rule in coming months. In the meantime, the Legislature is also looking at adding some definition to the medical marijuana law that was approved by voters in 2008," Rick Pluta reports.

Sports
1:00 am
Fri October 12, 2012

Remembering Budd Lynch

Budd Lynch began his career with the Red Wings at Detroit's Olympia Arena.
Library of Congress wikimedia commons

His parents named him Frank Joseph James Lynch—but everybody knew him as Budd. 

He passed away this week, at the age of 95.  No, you can’t call that a tragedy, but you can call it a loss—one thousands are feeling. 

In a week that included no Big Ten teams ranked in the top 25, the idiotic NHL lockout and, far worse, Jerry Sandusky’s sentencing, I’d rather spend my few minutes with you honoring a man who lived as long as he lived well. 

Lynch was born in Windsor, Ontario, during World War I.  

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Education
7:53 pm
Thu October 11, 2012

Muskegon Heights will vote on renewing millage for privatized public schools

Emergency financial manager Don Weatherspoon speaks to parents at a public forum in May 2012.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

The emergency financial manager of Muskegon Heights Public Schools is asking voters to renew an operating millage for the next 16 years.

“The outcome of this millage will change the future of Muskegon Heights forever,” says a letter the school district’s emergency financial manager Don Weatherspoon sent home to parents this week.

Weatherspoon privatized the school district so he could focus on paying off its $16 million debt. That debt is mostly owed to the State of Michigan.

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Education
3:57 pm
Thu October 11, 2012

Despite more school choice, Detroit parents still frustrated

A charter advocacy group gives Michigan's charter law a passing grade
Mercedes Mejia Michigan Radio

Eighty percent of Detroit parents say they do not believe the city's public schools are the best choice for their child. But they’re split on the other options as well.

A new survey from the Detroit News and the Thompson Foundation asks Detroit parents how they feel about their school choices.

Only one in five parents picked DPS as the best for their kid. But even with the recent increase in school options - charter, private, public schools outside the city - none was a clear winner.

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Law
3:40 pm
Thu October 11, 2012

Michigan Supreme Court hears medical marijuana cases

The Michigan Supreme Court has taken up two cases that address the distribution of medical marijuana.
user elioja Flickr

The future of medical marijuana dispensaries and growing cooperatives are on the line with two cases before the Michigan Supreme Court. The court heard arguments on those cases Thursday.

Isabella County Prosecutor Risa Scully said the medical marijuana act does not allow dispensaries where patients can share marijuana with each other.

“The act clearly delineates two methods in which a qualified patient may obtain their marijuana—they may grow it themselves or they may designate a caregiver to grow it for them,” Scully said.

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Health
3:36 pm
Thu October 11, 2012

Number of confirmed fungal meningitis cases in Michigan jumps

CDC map showing the spread of fungal meningitis cases tied to tainted steroid injections
Centers for Disease Control

There’s been a big jump in the number of people in Michigan affected by that national fungal meningitis outbreak.

The Centers for Disease Control says 39 people in Michigan have contracted fungal meningitis from tainted steroid injections.  Just Wednesday, the CDC listed only 28 confirmed cases in Michigan.

Three Michigan women have died since receiving the injections, which were intended to treat back pain.

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Politics & Government
2:07 pm
Thu October 11, 2012

Former congressman McCotter testifies in campaign case

Former Republican Congressman Thaddeus McCotter jammed with his blues band after announcing his run for the presidency over the July 4th weekend in 2011.
Vincent Duffy Michigan Radio

LIVONIA, Mich. (AP) - A former Detroit-area congressman says it was "shocking" to learn that he didn't have enough petition signatures to qualify for the 2012 election.

Thaddeus McCotter, a Republican from Livonia, is speaking publicly for the first time. He testified Thursday for the defense in the case against two high-ranking staffers who are charged with conspiracy and other crimes in submitting phony petitions to qualify McCotter for the August Republican primary.

A Livonia judge must determine if Paul Seewald and Don Yowchuang go to trial. McCotter has not been charged, although Judge Sean Kavanagh told him he had the right to remain silent.

McCotter quit Congress in July, weeks after being barred from the ballot.

He testified that he was repeatedly told by aides that he had enough signatures to run again.

Election 2012
12:13 pm
Thu October 11, 2012

4 things to know about Proposal 4: Collective bargaining for home health aides

Anna Strumillo fotopedia

Under the federally-funded Home Help Services Program, qualifying elderly or disabled residents of Michigan are eligible to receive in-home assistance with personal care and household chores.

Participants of the program have discretion in the hiring and firing of home health aides, and have their services paid for by Medicaid funds administered through the Michigan departments of Community Health and Human Services.

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Economy
10:46 am
Thu October 11, 2012

Kellogg's Mini-Wheat recall comes after cutbacks, company reinvesting in supply chain

Kellogg's

Three days ago, Battle Creek cereal maker Kellogg's announced a voluntary recall of Frosted and Unfrosted Mini-Wheats.

From Kellogg's:

We have initiated a voluntary recall due to the possible presence of fragments of flexible metal mesh from a faulty manufacturing part. Recalled products include only Frosted Mini-Wheats Bite Size Original and Mini-Wheats Unfrosted Bite Size with the letters KB, AP or FK before or after the Best If Used Before date.

You can see a list of UPC codes on the Kellogg's website.

The Wall Street Journal reports on how much the recall will cost the company:

Kellogg Co. K +0.54% said Wednesday it would take a charge of up to $30 million to cover the recall of Mini-Wheats cereal in the U.S. due to possible contamination by pieces of metal mesh.

Retailers have been contacted about the recall of 2.8 million packages of Frosted Mini-Wheats Bite-Size Original and Mini-Wheats Unfrosted Bite Size, which are being pulled from store shelves. Kellogg blamed the contamination on "a faulty manufacturing part," and said no injuries had been reported.

The WSJ reports the metal mesh problem comes after the company went through another recall in 2010 for a variety of cereals.

The paper reports the company is spending hundreds of millions of dollars to fix its supply chain, "which suffered deep cost cuts, leaving several manufacturing facilities overworked and too few people overseeing operations."

Politics & Government
9:56 am
Thu October 11, 2012

Commentary: Time to step up against Proposal 5 and 6?

There’s one thing that the vast majority of mainstream Republicans and Democrats agree on—Governor Rick Snyder, the man he defeated, Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero, and virtually every other elected official in the state:

Ballot Proposal 5, which would require a two-thirds vote of the legislature or a statewide vote of the people to raise any taxes, would be an absolute disaster for Michigan. It would cripple our ability to change with the times, respond to crises or make infrastructure improvements necessary to attract new business.

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Politics & Government
9:25 am
Thu October 11, 2012

In this morning's Michigan news headlines. . .

User: Brother O'Mara flickr

No citizenship box on ballot

"Secretary of State Ruth Johnson says there will be no citizenship box for voters to check on ballot applications this November. Johnson says the election is getting close, so she won’t challenge a federal judge’s ruling that the citizenship question is unconstitutional. But she says there could be further legal action after the election. Johnson says she also intends to press the federal government for naturalization records to help clear voter rolls of non-citizens. She ordered the check box even after Governor Rick Snyder vetoed a bill to require it. No one could be denied a ballot for refusing to check the box, but Johnson says it's useful to remind people that only U.S. citizens can vote," Rick Pluta reports.

DHS says foster care is getting better in Michigan

"Child welfare officials say Michigan’s foster care system is getting better. Steve Yager is the director of Children’s Services for the state Department of Human Services. He told a legislative committee the state is doing a much better job of recruiting and keeping foster parents. Yager also says child welfare workers have more manageable caseloads. The state has been working to overhaul its child welfare system since 2008, after the group Children’s Rights sued the state over problems in the system," Steve Carmody reports.

Michigan foreclosure rate at a five year low

"Michigan’s home foreclosure rate could soon reach a milestone. A few years ago the state's foreclosure rate was near the top of the 50 state list. But Daren Bloomquist with Realty Trac says the latest data shows Michigan is poised to drop out of the top 10 possibly by the end of the year. He says Michigan’s home foreclosure rate is near a five year low," Steve Carmody reports.

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