wayne county

Politics & Government
8:53 pm
Thu June 6, 2013

Wayne County halts construction on new jail amidst massive cost overruns

Credit Wayne County / via Wayne County

Wayne County will stop building a $300 million jail complex while it tries to figure out how the project got so over-budget.

The new jail was supposed to save Wayne County money by consolidating several facilities into one new, high-tech one.

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Stateside
4:57 pm
Tue April 23, 2013

Wayne v. Washtenaw, a case of drastic health disparities

Access to doctors isn't the only thing that keeps you healthy
Ivan Baldivieso/Flickr

Men who live on one side of Rawsonville Rd. have a life expectancy that's six years longer than men on the other side.

In fact, the life expectancy for males in Washtenaw County is the equivalent of Switzerland, while in Wayne County it's the equivalent of Syria. 

Ron French is a contributing writer for Bridge Magazine, and recently published a story about the health disparities between Wayne and Washtenaw counties, and spoke with us about what he found.

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Health
4:27 am
Wed March 20, 2013

How healthy is your county? The 10 best and 10 worst in Michigan

The darker the green, the less healthy the county.
County Health Rankings and Roadmaps

A new survey shows your health may depend on where you live in Michigan.

The University of Wisconsin puts out an annual assessment of the health of the nation’s counties. The survey compares different factors, including access to clinical care and personal habits, like smoking.

As you may expect, counties surrounding Ann Arbor and Grand Rapids score high on the survey, but so do several counties in northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula.

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Law
7:08 am
Sat February 23, 2013

Group wants Michigan judge's Facebook ruling overturned

(file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) - A consumer advocacy group objects to a judge ordering a Detroit area man to remove comments critical of a restaurant class-action lawsuit on his Facebook page.

Public Citizen said Friday that Wayne County Circuit Judge Kathleen Macdonald's ruling violates the First Amendment. The group filed a motion to have the injunction removed.

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Health
4:11 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

Stateside: Fending off bitter temperatures with shelters

More Michigan residents are seeking help at homeless shelters and warming centers this winter.
SamPac creative commons

Reverend Chico Daniels and Reverend Faith Fowler are giving shelter to the homeless.

The following is a summary of a previously recorded interview. To hear the complete segment, click the audio above.

During these frigid weeks the warmth of a home is invaluable.

But for the homeless, these winter conditions pose life-threatening challenges.

Reverend Chico Daniels, president and chief executive of Mel Trotter Ministries and Cass Community Social Services  executive director, Reverend Faith Fowler, spoke with Cyndy about the necessity of homeless shelters in the winter.

“In the Cass Corridor we have a warming center for 50 homeless women and children. Beyond that we have two regular shelters and some transitional housing,” said Fowler.

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Politics & Government
3:23 pm
Mon January 21, 2013

Some Wayne County towns use money intended for Detroit Zoo for other projects

The Detroit Zoo
The Woodward Spine

Some communities in Wayne County have been using tens of thousands of dollars in property tax money intended to support the Detroit Zoo for their own civic improvement projects.

Voters in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties approved a property tax increase in 2008 to help fund the Detroit Zoo. 

But the Detroit Free Press reports some Wayne County cities have collected the tax and spent it instead on sprucing up their own downtowns.  In some years, the money has added up to more than $200,000.

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Law
5:31 pm
Thu January 3, 2013

New Michigan Laws Increase Arson Penalties

Arsonists face harsher penalties in Michigan.
Photo courtesy of the Project's facebook page

Four new laws are going into effect in 2013 that will dramatically increase penalties for arson in Michigan.

The laws revise sentencing guidelines to give courts more latitude to hand down longer prison terms.

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Detroit
10:42 am
Mon September 24, 2012

"World's largest property auction," Wayne County finishes first round

Dilapidated homes in Delray near Detroit.
Lester Graham Michigan Radio

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 22,000 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. Bob Dorsey is chief analytics-officer with F.N.C., which tracks housing prices nationwide every month.

"We've noticed that there are certain neighborhoods that have done extremely well, and others that have are still very flat or even declining," said Dorsey.

Dorsey said many investors see money in an expanding rental market in Detroit, and nationwide. Leaders in Detroit’s downtown and midtown areas say housing demand now out-paces supply there.

Arts & Culture
11:48 am
Wed August 15, 2012

DIA attendance more than triples after voter-approved millage

The Diego Rivera mural at the DIA. The museum had a good week after their millage passed in three counties.
DIA

Last Tuesday, the Detroit Institute of Arts got a major vote of confidence from area voters when they approved a millage request to fund the museum. Taxpayer support means the museum will have a stable source of funding for the next ten years.

The next day, the museum was free to the residents in Macomb, Oakland, and Wayne counties.

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Politics & Government
1:09 pm
Fri August 3, 2012

Ficano's 20% county worker pay cut upheld

Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano
Robert Ficano RobertFicano.com

Today, the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled that when Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano imposed 20 percent pay cuts on county workers, he was acting within his rights, reports the Detroit Free Press.

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Politics & Government
12:34 pm
Thu August 2, 2012

Grosse Pointe Shores considers moving entirely into Macomb County

Historic Edsel and Eleanor Ford House in Grosse Pointe Shores
Andrew Jameson Wikimedia Commons

Grosse Pointe Shores' City Council is considering whether or not to move the city into Macomb County's jurisdiction.

The city, home to only about 3,000 residents, straddles the Macomb-Wayne County border. Most of the city is in Wayne County, which includes Detroit, while part is in Macomb County. A law from the 1970s allows communities in this position to choose one county in which it wishes to officially reside.

According to the city's website, research revealed that Macomb County taxes are nearly four mills lower than Wayne County taxes, and that the city "receives virtually no direct services from the tax dollars [residents] pay to Wayne County." Calculations by the Grosse Pointe Shores Move to Macomb Committee show the city could save $1 million in taxes if they decide to shift into Macomb County.

On Aug. 21, the City Council will decide if the question will go to voters in November, reports the Detroit News. In order to make the move, voters in Wayne and Macomb counties would also need to approve the idea.

-Elaine Ezekiel, Michigan Radio Newsroom

Politics & Government
5:53 pm
Thu July 26, 2012

Former Wayne Co. official pleads guilty to bribery, will cooperate with feds

One of Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano’s top deputies has pleaded guilty to accepting bribes.

Tahir Kazmi was Ficano’s former Chief Information Technology Officer. He admitted in court that he took bribes in the form of cash, plane tickets and other perks from a Wayne County contractor. In exchange, Kazmi gave the company preferential treatment on county jobs.

He also admitted to obstructing justice during the FBI investigation into his crimes.

In return for his guilty plea, Kazmi has agreed to cooperate with the ongoing federal investigation into Wayne County corruption.

Kazmi is one of several former Wayne County employees who face federal indictments for alleged corrupt activities. But he’s the first to plead guilty, and to offer to cooperate with authorities.

Commentary
10:10 am
Tue July 10, 2012

Commentary: The problem McCotter left behind

Political circles across the state remain stunned by the very public self-destruction of former Congressman Thaddeus McCotter, from the white-collar Wayne County suburb of Livonia.

Yet it seems to me that while many people know the basic facts of his decline and fall, most don’t understand the true consequences of what he’s done. I’ll get to that in a moment.

But first consider this. A year ago, McCotter was a man with an essentially safe seat in Congress who had launched a long-shot campaign for President.

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Politics & Government
6:37 pm
Tue July 3, 2012

Ficano calls for 20% budget cuts; department heads rebel

Robert Ficano

Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano says department heads will have to implement deep cuts.

But department heads are rebelling, and one has already threatened to sue.

In a 2-year budget plan, Ficano says all county departments will have to absorb a 20% budget cut if the Wayne County is to avoid fiscal disaster.

He says property tax revenues have plummeted, and the county faces a $155 million dollar accumulated deficit.

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Politics & Government
12:25 pm
Wed June 20, 2012

State wants to see Wayne Co. books before okaying deficit plan

State Treasurer Andy Dillon
Associated Press

Before giving Wayne County the go-ahead on an unorthodox deficit reduction plan, the state wants peruse the county's books.

According to John Wisely at the Detroit Free Press, Michigan Treasurer Andy Dillon is taking bids from accounting firms to perform the audit. Auditors would look at discrepancies in spending and budgeting along with the timing of certain transactions.

Officials in Lansing are on the lookout for anything fishy because the plan would involve state money.

More from the Freep:

Last month, the county proposed eliminating its deficit by sending unused state grant money, for things like roads and mental health programs, back to the state. It wants the state to return a similar amount to the county unrestricted, meaning it could be used to eliminate the deficit instead of funding the programs spelled out in the legislation.

Wayne County has a cumulative deficit of $155 million and faces declining revenues in its latest budget cycle.

-John Klein Wilson, Michigan Radio Newsroom

Commentary
10:06 am
Mon June 11, 2012

Commentary: Common Sense

Now that I’m in my sixties, I find myself forced to confront the sad truth that I am never going to be a concert violinist or play professional sports. So instead, I have decided to devote my life to urging our leaders to exercise common sense.

True, there are days when it does seem that trying to make the Detroit Lions might hold out slightly more chance of success.  But as an idealistic baby boomer, I refuse to give up.

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Politics
2:49 pm
Thu June 7, 2012

Wayne county commissioners censure executive Ficano

Robert Ficano, Wayne County Executive.
Wayne County YouTube

DETROIT (AP) - Wayne County commissioners have censured executive Robert Ficano, whose office is under an FBI investigation and mired in allegations of corruption.

The commission approved the resolution Thursday on a 14-1 vote. Ficano is elected, and commissioners can't force him out.

Grosse Ile Democrat Joe Palamara sponsored the resolution and says "the power to elect and remove the county executive rests solely with the people."

Federal authorities began investigating county government last summer following reports of a $200,000 severance deal for a Ficano staffer.

Ex-Ficano aide David Edwards pleaded guilty last month to bribery charges involving $13,000 accepted from a private contractor.

Ficano has denied any wrongdoing.

Politics
1:55 pm
Thu May 24, 2012

Wayne County's Ficano censured in "watered down" measure

Wayne County Chief Executive, Robert Ficano.
Wayne County YouTube

Wayne County Commissioners voted today to censure County Executive Robert Ficano, but the vote also exposed divisions within the Commission.

The resolution to “censure the Wayne County Chief Executive Officer” has no real teeth, and it doesn’t mention Ficano by name.

That last fact angered County Commissioner Laura Cox, who sponsored the initial censure resolution. She ended up voting against what she called the “watered down” measure.

Cox called that “pathetic.”

“The Commission has no power to censure, by state law. But I guess we also have no power to ask for somebody to resign, which is exactly what my resolution did. So they feel that that was too strong, obviously,” said Cox.

Cox wants the Commission to put a county charter revision on the ballot. It would ask voters to give Commissioners or other elected officials the authority to remove county officials under certain circumstances.

Commissioner Joseph Palamara said the resolution was appropriate, given the Commission’s limited powers.

“To say that, "you should leave right now," that would have no more authority than Donald Trump walking in here under public comment and saying, ‘Bob Ficano, you’re fired,’” said Palamara.

Ficano’s administration has been under an FBI investigation for months. Several former top aides have been indicted on corruption charges, but Ficano has always denied any personal wrongdoing, and waved off suggestions that he resign.

Commentary
11:42 am
Thu May 10, 2012

Commentary: Where's the outrage?

To badly paraphrase Abraham Lincoln, history will little note nor long remember Bob Dole’s presidential campaign sixteen years ago. Dole was the Republican nominee against President Bill Clinton that year.

This was before the sex scandals came to light, and Clinton breezed to reelection. Bob Dole, an authentic war hero with a hilariously caustic sense of humor, ran a bumbling race that didn’t reflect that he was actually a quite capable man. 

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People
2:59 pm
Tue May 1, 2012

Ex-Detroit, Wayne County finance chief Marshall dies

DETROIT (AP) - Ex-Detroit and Wayne County financial chief Bella Marshall has died. She was 62.

Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano says that Marshall died Tuesday morning at her home but didn't give the cause.

Marshall served as Detroit's finance director under longtime Mayor Coleman Young. She later served as Wayne County's chief financial officer and chief operating officer.

Marshall was married to the late casino promoter Don Barden but was in the midst of a contentious divorce when he died in May 2011.

Barden made millions with cable TV franchises in Detroit and the suburbs and later owned casinos in Indiana, Las Vegas, Colorado and Mississippi.

He and Marshall had feuded in recent years over Barden's ability to manage his assets.

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