morning news roundup

Politics & Government
7:01 am
Tue October 23, 2012

In this morning's Michigan news headlines. . .

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Michigan curriculum has disappointing results

"An effort to improve Michigan’s high school academic standards appears to be having a disappointing result. The Michigan Merit Curriculum was implemented in Michigan high schools in 2006. Researchers from Michigan State University, the University of Michigan and the state of Michigan found that test scores improved only slightly for students  entering high school with strong academic skills.   But for those with weak skills, test scores fell and graduation rates declined," Steve Carmody reports.

Snyder says Prop 6 would cause court battle if passed

"Governor Rick Snyder is worried Proposal 6 on the November ballot would spark a lengthy court battle if it’s passed. The initiative would require a state-wide vote before any new international crossing could be built in the state. Governor Rick Snyder says his plan for a new international bridge in Detroit is not meant to put the existing Ambassador Bridge out of business. Current bridge owners say a new bridge is not necessary, and would be expensive for Michigan taxpayers. Canada has agreed to front the costs of the new bridge, and a number of studies have concluded there will be no new costs to state taxpayers," Jake Neher reports.

McCotter aids in court for campaign scandal

"Two men who worked for a Detroit-area congressman are returning to court to learn if they'll stand trial in a campaign scandal. Paul Seewald and Don Yowchuang are charged with conspiring to get then-Congressman Thaddeus McCotter on the 2012 ballot with bogus petitions. The judge says he'll make a decision on the matter today," the AP reports.

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

In this morning's Michigan news headlines. . .

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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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Politics & Government
7:26 am
Fri October 19, 2012

In this morning's Michigan news headlines. . .

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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.

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

In this morning's Michigan news headlines. . .

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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
9:28 am
Mon October 15, 2012

In this morning's Michigan news headlines. . .

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Schools might get a break on standardized tests

"The Michigan Department of Education is considering a proposal to give schools a break on standardized test accountability. The proposal would amend the department's accountability system to allow students who fail a Michigan Educational Assessment Program exam to be considered proficient on the test if they show significant improvement. The Detroit Free Press reports the change would mean some schools could get a better rating from the state," the Associated Press reports.

More money spent on TV ads for  ballot proposals than candidates

"Interest groups are spending unprecedented amounts of money on TV ads supporting or opposing initiatives to amend the state constitution. That’s according to a report from the Michigan Campaign Finance Network. Since August, groups have poured about $30 million into TV ads. That’s far more than what’s being spent on individual candidates, including those running for president or US Senate," Jake Neher reports.

Asian carp search begins this week

"Federal and state officials will hunt for Asian carp near Chicago starting Tuesday, after finding more DNA evidence of the fish close to Lake Michigan. Crews will go out this week on the North Shore Channel and an area of the Chicago River," Rebecca Williams reports.

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

In this morning's Michigan news headlines. . .

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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.

Politics & Government
7:53 am
Tue October 9, 2012

In this morning's Michigan news headlines. . .

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Paul Ryan in Michigan as presidential race narrows

"For the first time this fall, the Romney-Ryan ticket is spending time in Michigan. Republican Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan rallied voters in Rochester Monday. He told hundreds of supporters at Oakland University that President Obama has failed when it comes to economic and foreign policy, especially by proposing cuts to defense spending. Ryan’s visit comes as Republicans are narrowing the President’s lead in Michigan. After last week’s debate, Mr. Obama’s advantage fell from 10 points to just 3, according to a new poll from the Detroit Free Press," Kate Wells reports.

Political ads in Michigan lopsided

"A new study shows TV ad spending in the presidential and Senate campaigns in Michigan has been lopsided so far. The Michigan Campaign Finance Network says incumbent Senator Debbie Stabenow’s campaign has spent over a million dollars in the last three weeks. Her opponent, former Congressman Pete Hoekstra, has not run any TV ads since the August primary. But the Hoekstra’s campaign announced a big TV ad buy Monday. The study also shows groups supporting presidential hopeful Mitt Romney have spent about $13 million in the state. The Obama campaign and its supporters have not run many ads, but Mr. Obama still holds a lead in most Michigan polls," Jake Neher reports.

Kalamazoo study investigates if police racially profile

"Kalamazoo’s public safety department is conducting a study to see if its officers unfairly target racial and ethnic minorities. The study is not being court ordered, the city isn’t being sued, and there hasn’t been any big incident that sparked the study. Similar studies have been undertaken at police departments in Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids and Washtenaw County. The results will be available in the spring. Federal grants will pay for the bulk of the study’s cost," Lindsey Smith reports.

morning news roundup
7:03 am
Mon October 8, 2012

In this morning's Michigan news headlines. . .

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Romney campaign in Michigan this week

"Mitt Romney's campaign is showing Michigan some love this week. Romney's running mate Paul Ryan holds a rally at Oakland University tonight. That follows Saturday's appearance by Republican New Jersey Governor Chris Christie in suburban Detroit. And this Friday, Mitt Romney's wife, Ann, will stop in Grand Rapids," Tracy Samilton reports.

Voter registration deadline is tomorrow

The last day to register to vote in the Nov. 6 election is tomorrow. According to Michigan Secretary of State's website.

"Voters may register by mail, at their county, city or township clerk's office, or by visiting any Secretary of State office. The mail-in form is available at www.Michigan.gov/elections. First-time voters who register by mail must vote in person in their first election, unless they hand-deliver the application to their local clerk, are 60 years old or older, are disabled or are eligible to vote under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act. To check their registration status, residents may visit the Michigan Voter Information Center at www.Michigan.gov/vote. On the website, residents can view a sample ballot, find their polling location, learn about absentee voting, get information on Michigan's voter ID laws and view contact information for their local clerk."

Twenty cases of meningitis in Michigan

"At least 20 cases of meningitis have been confirmed in Michigan, including two deaths. The meningitis outbreak has been linked to a steroid produced by a specialty pharmacy in Massachusetts. The steroid has been recalled," the AP reports.

Politics & Government
6:44 am
Thu October 4, 2012

In this morning's Michigan news headlines. . .

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Some data shows motorcycle helmet repeal has not increased deaths

"The group that led the charge to repeal Michigan’s motorcycle helmet requirement says the state has not suffered a rash of biker deaths in the past six months. That’s how long it’s been since the law was changed. American Bikers Aiming Toward Education points to state data between January and the end of August. But state officials say that’s not the whole story. They say early data also show a 14-percent jump in disabling injuries. The state Office of Highway Safety Planning says the data are preliminary and it’s too early to reach real conclusions on the effects of the changes in the law," Jake Neher reports.

Detroit Tiger first player to win Triple Crown in 45 years

"Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera became the first player in 45 years to win baseball's Triple Crown last night, joining an elite list that includes Mickey Mantle, Ted Williams and Lou Gehrig. He's the 10th Triple Crown winner in baseball history. In Major League Baseball, a player earns the Triple Crown when he leads a league in three categories---  batting average, home runs, and runs batted in," the AP reports.

EPA tells Enbridge more clean up is needed on Kalamazoo River

"Enbridge Energy has more clean-up work to do along the Kalamazoo River. The federal Environmental Protection Agency has ordered the oil company to tackle some new areas of pollution in the river. Enbridge has already done a lot of clean up work after one of  their pipelines ruptured and spilled massive amounts of oil into the Kalamazoo River near Marshall in July, 2010.  But the EPA says oil is coming to the surface is some new areas," Tracy Samilton reports.

Politics & Government
7:50 am
Wed October 3, 2012

In this morning's Michigan news headlines. . .

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Snyder likely to veto handgun bill

"Governor Snyder has indicated he will likely veto a bill that would change the state's gun sales law. The bill would eliminate a state background check requirement for sales made over the Internet or at gun shows. Those account for close to half of all gun sales," Sarah Hulett reports.

House speaker Bolger criticized for his company's tax history

"State House Speaker Jase Bolger is facing harsh criticism about his business record from a liberal advocacy group. Progress Michigan released documents alleging Bolger’s company, Summit Credit Service, failed to pay more than $100,000 in taxes and fees between 1997 and 2000. The papers include liens from the Michigan Treasury Department, the state Unemployment Agency, and the IRS," Jake Neher reports.

Striking Detroit workers suspended and face firing

Thirty-four striking Detroit employees of the water and sewage department who went on strike this week have been suspended and face firing. It's illegal in Michigan for municipal workers to strike. Sarah Cwiek reports that, "City officials plan to largely privatize the water department over five years, and cut up to 80-percent of its staff."

Politics & Government
7:32 am
Mon October 1, 2012

In this morning's Michigan news headlines. . .

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Welfare benefits lost if children miss more than 10 days of school

"A new policy goes into effect Monday that takes away welfare benefits from families with children who miss more than 10 days of school without an excuse. The policy requires families that apply or re-apply for cash assistance to prove their children don’t have too many unexcused absences," Rick Pluta reports.

Liquor license bill passes state House

"The state house has approved a bill that would let Michigan businesses get a liquor license more quickly. The review process often takes months and in some cases, years. The proposed law would allow a conditional liquor license while a review is under way," Rina Miller reports.

Law would allow STD treatment of partners without exam

"A bill in the state House would let doctors prescribe medication to the partner of a patient who's been diagnosed with a sexually transmitted disease -- without examining the partner. The law would apply to chlamydia and gonorrhea. More than 50,000 cases of chlamydia and more than 13,000 cases of gonorrhea were reported in Michigan in 2011. Both are highly infectious and can cause serious damage to a woman's reproductive system," Rina Miller reports.

Politics & Government
7:29 am
Fri September 28, 2012

In this morning's Michigan news headlines. . .

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Schuette cautious about Blue Cross-Blue Shield overhaul

"Hearings continue at the state Capitol on the future of Blue Cross-Blue Shield of Michigan. Attorney General Bill Schuette showed up to urge a cautious approach to overhauling the state’s largest health insurer. The attorney general would give up a considerable amount of oversight under the plan proposed by Governor Rick Snyder. It would convert Blue Cross from a tax-exempt charity to a member-owned not-for-profit company. Bill Schuette says he wants Blue Cross and its assets audited to make sure this is a fair deal for Michiganders. Schuette says he’s not out to stop the changes. Governor Snyder and Blue Cross executives want the switch done by the end of the year. They say the changes are needed because the new federal health care law will change the mission of the Blues," Rick Pluta reports.

More on the EM saga

The debate over emergency managers and emergency financial managers has been heating up. The Michigan Supreme Court last month ruled a union-backed referendum to repeal the law could go on the ballot. "The leader of the Michigan Senate says he and fellow Republican colleagues are armed with a proposal to replace the state law that lets emergency managers take over local governments in case voters strike it down in November. Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville told The Associated Press yesterday that a draft is under legal review. The behind-the-scenes effort aims to keep a form of the contentious law on the books. Richardville says it acknowledges some concerns by critics, who say it takes too much power from local leaders struggling with budget deficits," the AP reports.

Trying to uncover death of former Teamsters boss

The Department of Environment Equality work to uncover the death of a former Teamsters boss.  "Soil samples will be taken from beneath a Detroit-area driveway in the search for the body of former Teamsters boss Jimmy Hoffa. The Department of Environmental Equality plans to start its work this morning in Roseville. Authorities are investigating a man's claim that he saw a body buried under the driveway 35 years ago," the AP reports.

morning news roundup
7:04 am
Thu September 27, 2012

In this morning's Michigan news headlines. . .

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Snyder against handgun bill

"Governor Rick Snyder says he won’t support new legislation to make it easier to buy handguns. The package of bills would no longer force people to license handguns before purchasing or carrying them. It would also get rid of a registry keeping track of handgun owners with criminal backgrounds. The Governor says he’s concerned it would make it too easy for the wrong people to buy handguns. His office says he’s working with bill sponsors to work through those concerns, but he doesn’t support the legislation in its current form. Critics of the proposal say there should be background checks on people who buy firearms gun shows, over the internet, or from private individuals. They say those account for nearly half of all guns purchased in the state. Representative Paul Opsommer is sponsoring the legislation. He told the Capitol news service Gongwer this week 44 other states have similar bills on the books, and haven’t seen any major problems as a result," Jake Neher reports.

Democrats say GOP have been violating Michigan Constitution

"Democrats are taking their challenge to how state House Republicans rule the chamber to the Michigan Supreme Court. They say the GOP majority has been violating the Michigan Constitution by refusing to count the votes on a procedural motion that determines when laws take effect. The motion requires two-thirds super-majorities. But many laws have been allowed to become effective right away on voice votes that are not counted or recorded. Lower courts have said the judicial branch should not tell the Legislature how to conduct its business. Republicans say the lawsuit is just pre-election politics," Rick Pluta reports.

State House hear proposals on transit in southeast Michigan

"A State House panel will hear pitches for better regional transit coordination in southeast Michigan Thursday. A proposed regional transit authority for the region has support from Governor Snyder, many business leaders, and transit advocates. But the proposal has languished in the state legislature. Federal transportation officials have indicated they’re willing to put lots of money into Metro Detroit’s transit system. But they’ve been clear that won’t happen without a governing authority to run it," Sarah Cwiek reports.

Politics & Government
8:46 am
Wed September 26, 2012

The week in Michigan politics

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Every Wednesday Michigan Radio's Morning Edition host Christina Shockley and Michigan Radio's political analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about what's been going on in the news when it comes to Michigan politics. This week they talked about a Michigan family's request to release a Marine Veteran imprisoned in Iran in order to see his ailing father in Flint, where the state's incarceration system stands when it comes to inmates releases in Genesse County and Attorney General Bill Schuette's stance on juvenile lifers, and the Kwame Kilpatrick trial.

Politics & Government
8:17 am
Wed September 26, 2012

In this morning's Michigan news headlines. . .

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148,000 Michiganders getting settlement letters

Michigan residents who lost their homes to foreclosure between 2008-2011 will be sent claims forms as part of a $25 billion national settlement of complaints about improper conduct by lenders. Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette says about 148,000  are being sent claims forms. "Schuette said Tuesday that those eligible to share in the settlement lost their homes to foreclosure in 2008-2011. He says his office continues to look at possible criminal actions involving what are called "robo-signing" practices in foreclosures. Robo-signing involves people signing documents without proper review. Eligible borrowers had mortgages serviced by Ally/GMAC, Bank of America, Citi, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo. The companies agreed to the settlement with the federal government and attorneys general for 49 states and the District of Columbia," the AP reports.

House bill would make it easier and cheaper to get public records

"The chairman of a state House committee says it’s too easy for government agencies to delay and sidestep requests for public records. The state House Oversight, Reform, and Ethics Committee opened hearings yesterday on measures to make it easier and cheaper for people to get public records. One bill would limit how much government agencies could charge for providing copies of records. Another would create a state commission to hear citizen complaints about compliance with Michigan’s Freedom of Information Act," Jake Neher reports.

30,000 kids missing from preschool

"Because of uneven or inadequate state funding, around 30,000 4-year-olds eligible for public preschool in Michigan are not enrolled. That's according to a new report by Bridge Magazine. More than half the kids in the state are eligible for public preschool because they are from low or moderate income families. But, some districts don't have enough money to meet demand. State officials admit money for the program is uneven and inadequate. Momentum for more early childhood education funding appears to be growing among legislators. The Snyder administration has also said it's a priority," Sarah Alvarez reports.

morning news roundup
7:29 am
Tue September 25, 2012

In this morning's Michigan news headlines. . .

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Michigan Attorney General fights to keep juvenile lifers behind bars

"State Attorney General Bill Schuette has not given up on trying to keep so-called juvenile lifers behind bars. Next week, he plans to file to join a case before the state Court of Appeals involving a 21-year-old man convicted in 2006 of assisting a murder. The US Supreme Court in June struck down mandatory life sentences without parole for juveniles as unconstitutional. Schuette spokeswoman Joy Yearout says the attorney general believes the ruling should not apply to people who are already serving sentences. The ACLU of Michigan says the state cannot continue to keep people in jail without a new hearing if the US Supreme Court says the sentence is cruel and unusual. Michigan has more than 360 people serving mandatory life sentences for crimes committed when they were under the age of 18," Jake Neher reports.

Flint family pleas for Marine's release

"The family of a Marine veteran  imprisoned in Iran for more than a year, says time is running out for the family to reunite. The Marine's father, a professor at Mott Community College, has been diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumor. Amir Hekmati is still being held in Iran on charges of spying for the United States. Both his family and the US government say he is not a spy. But their pleas for his release haven't worked - although his death sentence was overturned by an Iranian court. The family is pleading for their son's release while Amir's father is still alive. The Hekmatis are holding a candlelight vigil in Flint today. They hope their case will be discussed with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad while he's in New York this week for a meeting at the UN," Kate Wells reports.

Research buoy shows wind in Lake Michigan averages 22 mph

"Wind speed in the middle of Lake Michigan appears to be some of the best in the state for developing wind energy. That’s according to preliminary data from a high-tech research buoy that’s been anchored there all summer. Early data show the average offshore wind speed is at least 22 miles an hour. Wind farms have been built on land in Michigan where wind speeds average around 17 miles an hour. The research buoy will continue collecting data through December. Ultimately it could determine whether an offshore wind farm is viable in Lake Michigan," Lindsey Smith reports.

mornings news roundup
7:38 am
Mon September 24, 2012

In this morning's Michigan news headlines. . .

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Faith-based groups look to health insurance alternative

"Members of faith-based groups in Michigan could soon be allowed to share the costs of their medical bills as an alternative to buying health insurance. The state House is expected to vote this week on the measure. Several states already allow faith-based groups that share the costs of medical bills. Republican state Representative Lisa Lyons sponsored the measure. She says some families and businesses have found it’s a way to manage their healthcare costs. And that’s because there’s no guarantee anyone’s medical bills will be covered. The commitment to share the costs of medical bills is a faith-based promise, but not a legal contract. Members of health care ministries are exempt from the requirement in the new federal health care law that most people carry insurance starting in 2014. That’s led some critics to complain that faith-based medical bill-sharing could undermine the benefits of the federal health care law," Rick Pluta reports.

World's largest property auction in Wayne County

"Wayne County has finished the first round of what’s been called the 'world’s largest property auction.' The county is trying to get rid of more than 22-thousand tax-foreclosed properties by auction. More than 20,000 of them are in Detroit. But despite the glut of vacant properties, housing prices are headed up in certain areas of the city. Leaders in Detroit’s downtown and midtown areas say housing demand now outpaces supply there," Sarah Cwiek reports.

Hunters track deer virus

"State wildlife officials are looking to hunters to help track a virus that's been killing thousands of Michigan deer. Many hunters spent this weekend in the woods, a few of them deer-hunting legally, but most stalking deer ahead of next month's opening of bow season. Some 4,000 deer have died of the virus in Michigan since July. And there are outbreaks in eleven other states as well, including Ohio and Indiana. Dan O’Brien is a veterinarian with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. He says the Michigan outbreak has affected deer in 24 counties. O’Brien says the outbreak will continue until a hard freeze kills off the insects that spread the virus to the deer.  The virus is not harmful to humans," Steve Carmody reports.

morning news roundup
7:00 am
Thu September 20, 2012

In this morning's Michigan news headlines. . .

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Michigan unemployment rate up to 9.4 percent

"There were more Michiganders out of work in August. The state’s unemployment rate jumped last month. Michigan’s unemployment rate rose to 9.4 percent in August. That's up four tenths of a percent from the July jobless rate. Unemployment has been rising in Michigan for the past four months. Now is at its highest point since last November. A big reason for the jump is large cuts in manufacturing jobs. On the positive side, Michigan’s unemployment rate was still a full percentage point lower last month than it was in August 2011. There were also some gains in the number of people finding work in the professional business and government sectors," Steve Carmody reports.

Public defense bill moves forward

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morning news roundup
6:47 am
Mon September 17, 2012

In this morning's Michigan news headlines. . .

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Some election officials will ignore citizenship question at polls

"A handful of local election officials say they won't ask voters to affirm their U-S citizenship at the polls in November. Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson wants ballot applications to include the question. A spokesman for the Secretary of State's office says the intent is to clean up voter rolls. Until 2008, the federal government required the Secretary of State to ask anyone who got a driver's license whether they wanted to register to vote. Some non-citizens were inadvertently registered, although it's not clear how many," Sarah Hulett reports.

Palisades inspections start this week

"Federal inspectors begin a critical review of operations at West Michigan’s Palisades nuclear power plant beginning Monday. Nuclear Regulatory Commission inspectors want to determine if Palisades’ owners have addressed problems that have raised questions about the nuclear plant’s “culture of safety." The problems have resulted in four unscheduled reactor shutdowns. If Palisades doesn’t get very good ratings from the NRC inspectors, the west Michigan nuclear plant will be subject to a much more intensive inspection that could take 18 months. Despite the problems a federal official insists Palisades can be operated safely," Steve Carmody reports.

Michigan Civilian Conservation Corp gets support

"Colleges, universities, and community groups are lining up to support an effort to revive Michigan’s Civilian Conservation Corps. The corps puts unemployed young adults to work on conservation projects. Legislation at the state Capitol would turn the MCCC into a public-private partnership, which wouldn’t use any taxpayer dollars. But not everyone thinks the program can just sprout back up overnight. The program hasn’t had adequate state funding for years. But sponsors of the bi-partisan bill say the level of enthusiasm so far suggests the program can make a strong comeback," Jake Neher reports.

morning news roundup
7:41 am
Fri September 14, 2012

In this morning's Michigan news headlines. . .

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Snyder promotes vocational training

"Governor Rick Snyder says Michigan and the rest of the country lost sight of the value of vocational training as young people were encouraged to get four-year college degrees. The governor spoke Thursday at a business conference in Grand Rapids.  He says too many students have been pushed toward getting four-year college degrees when vocational education or community college might have made more sense. The governor says the result is thousands of jobs in skilled trades go unfilled while people are looking for work. Snyder says he intends to convene a summit of educators and employers early next year to get a better sense of where the demand for jobs is strongest – and use that information to help re-design Michigan’s education system. The governor has also called for stronger integration of pre-school through post-high school education," Rick Pluta reports.

Report finds 17 percent of Metro Detroit youth are not working or in school

"A new report says Metro Detroit has one of the country’s highest rates of youth who are not working or in school. The group Measure of America looked at 16- to 24-year-olds in the nation’s 25 biggest metro areas. It found Metro Detroit had the third-highest rate of so-called “disconnected” youth, at about 17-percent. Only Phoenix and Miami had higher rates. The report recommends universal preschool education, and re-building vocational education programs, as effective ways to fight the disconnection problem," Sarah Cwiek reports.

Public defense overhaul stalled

"The state Attorney General has stalled a plan to overhaul Michigan’s public defense system. The state is consistently ranked as one of the worst in the country for providing defense attorneys to those who can’t afford one. But Bill Schuette’s legislative relations director Alan Cropsey came to the hearing with a long list of concerns about the bill. He says it would open the state to lawsuits, and doesn’t provide enough oversight. Supporters of the bill hope to have another hearing this month," Jake Neher reports.

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