Obama Administration

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Several Michigan colleges and universities took part in a White House conference on math and science education this past week. 

The college initiative summit focused on better preparing students to succeed in college.

Two Obama administration officials were in Detroit this week to highlight White House efforts to help Detroit.

Labor Secretary Thomas Perez and Education Secretary Arne Duncan visited Macomb Community College.

That school is one of eight Michigan community colleges sharing a $25 million grant to “create and expand innovative partnerships between community colleges and businesses” to train more workers for in-demand jobs.

Whitehouse.gov

CRYSTAL FALLS, Mich. (AP) - The UP is back on the map.

MLive.com says a map that the White House put up on the website showing which states were expanding Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act was showing an outline of Michigan that omitted the Upper Peninsula.

Michigan is among the states that are expanding Medicaid under the health care law.

The White House is doing what it can to help Detroit—but don’t look for much financial aid to flow from Washington.

Some top administration officials told state and local leaders in Detroit Friday that the White House will “unlock” millions in federal funds for the city.

That’s largely money the city had already been granted, but couldn’t use because it didn’t meet certain federal guidelines.

cncphotos / flickr

This week in Michigan politics, political analyst Jack Lessenberry and Morning Edition host Christina Shockley talk about why the Obama administration will be in Detroit this week, how a federal government shutdown could affect Michigan's poor, Democrats plan to turn around Michigan schools, and Governor Snyder's ad campaign.

Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee

The Obama administration released the “2013 Asian Carp Control Strategy Framework” this past Wednesday. It outlines a $50 million strategic plan to keep the invasive species out of the Great Lakes.

We’ve reported on Asian Carp many times before. They’re an invasive species that was imported to the U.S. in the 1970s. While they were originally used in research ponds and fish farms, they escaped and have been making their way up the Mississippi River system ever since.

The fish could pose a real threat if they reach the Great Lakes. The carp could be a huge disruption to the natural ecosystem of the Great Lakes, potentially harming other fish species like walleye, yellow perch, and salmon.

whitehouse.gov

Events in Washington Monday honored President Obama’s inauguration, and the Martin Luther King Day holiday.

The two events also meshed at Detroit’s Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, where a few dozen people came to the Wright Museum to watch a live broadcast of President Obama’s second inauguration.

stmarylansing.org

The Michigan Catholic Conference has filed a lawsuit in federal court to block an Obama administration rule that requires employer health plans to offer contraception coverage. The Catholic church opposes birth control.

The Catholic Conference offers health coverage to about 10,000 employees and their dependents at Catholic parishes, schools and charities across the state.

Paul Long is the president of the Michigan Catholic Conference.

“Inasmuch we provide this benefit, this mandate would be very restrictive upon us," Long said. "We felt that we needed to act in a way that was in keeping with who we are and being able to continue to provide the plan that we’ve always provided.”

The lawsuit says the contraception requirement violates the church’s religious freedom. It was filed at a federal court in Ohio. Franciscan University of Steubenville-Ohio is also part of the lawsuit.

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

The Obama Administration wants to step up efforts to promote the U.S. as an international tourism destination. That’s welcome news to the folks who run the “Pure Michigan” campaign.

Michigan tourism officials know people from foreign countries come here to vacation, but they don’t know how many, and that’s important to know when they’re planning how to spend the “Pure Michigan” campaign’s $25 million advertising budget.  

This year, only about one percent,  or about $250,000, is being spent to promote Michigan as a tourism destination in Europe, mainly in England and Germany. Nothing is being spent in Asia.

George Zimmerman oversees the “Pure Michigan” campaign for the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. He says the Obama Administration’s tourism strategy includes determining where foreign visitors want to go.

“For about half the states, including Michigan, there just isn’t enough sample size to really have good data. So, that’s been a challenge for us, says Zimmerman. 

Right now, the “Pure Michigan” campaign is focusing on regional promotions with some national ads, and “a modest effort” in Canada.

Photo courtesy of EPA

When you’re on the highway, you see all those big 18-wheelers... the cement trucks and trucks hauling logs... the refrigerated trucks heading to the grocery store... pretty soon, all these kinds of trucks will be seeing some changes.

David Friedman is with the Union of Concerned Scientists. He says these trucks are cleaner than they used to be.