Issues of the Environment
4:56 am
Wed June 25, 2014

Issues Of The Environment: Coal Ash And Our Water Supply

Coal Ash Sludge

  A House Bill was recently passed that reclassifies coal ash and a handful of other petroleum byproducts from hazardous waste to low-hazard materials that are suitable for “beneficial uses”.

The coal ash and byproducts will be repurposed to pave roadways and enrich farmland, but environmental watchdog organizations warn that the mercury that is trapped in the ash could eventually leach into groundwater and soil.

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Michigan News
4:28 am
Wed June 25, 2014

Gun Records Exempted From Freedom Of Information Act In Michigan

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has signed laws exempting gun records from the state's Freedom of Information Act.

The legislation signed Tuesday codifies a 1999 Michigan Supreme Court decision that found disclosure of gun registry records to be an invasion of privacy. The information will still be available to law enforcement officials for certain purposes, though there are new restrictions on when police can access the records.

 A log of who accessed the records and the reason for doing so also is now required by the new laws.

Michigan News
4:27 am
Wed June 25, 2014

Work To Start On Detroit Light Rail

Work on Detroit's light rail project is scheduled to start next month following City Council's approval of construction and operating agreements.

M-1 Rail President and CEO Matt Cullen said Tuesday that groundbreaking and construction details will be announced in the coming weeks.

Cullen says a public information campaign will prepare people living along the Woodward corridor and area businesses for the work.

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Michigan News
4:25 am
Wed June 25, 2014

Breastfeeding Antidiscrimination Act On The Books In Michigan

Michigan now has a law ensuring that women have the right to breastfeed their babies in public.

Gov. Rick Snyder on Tuesday signed the Breastfeeding Antidiscrimination Act. Lawmakers introduced the legislation after getting some past reports of women being asked to leave stores, restaurants and government agencies for nursing in public.

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Michigan News
7:40 pm
Tue June 24, 2014

Economists: Michigan Didn't Think Ending Public Employee Pensions Through

Credit wikimedia commons

Michigan economists warn against ending pensions for public employees

Some economists say Michigan failed to consider the consequences of ending pension plans for public workers.

The state stopped offering pensions to new employees in 1997. Budget officials say that decision has cut Michigan's long-term debt by about $5 billion.

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Education
5:42 pm
Tue June 24, 2014

Concerns Remain Over Plans To Outsource Ann Arbor Schools Custodial Work

Credit Andrew Cluley / 89.1 WEMU

A group of parents, union members, and others in the community continue to object to Ann Arbor Public Schools plan to outsource custodial work.  Earlier this month the school board accepted a bid from GCA Services that will reduce custodial costs by $2 million annually.  

89.1 WEMU's Andrew Cluley reports on community members still protesting Ann Arbor Public Schools decision to outsource custodial work.

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Community
5:26 pm
Tue June 24, 2014

Literati Bookstore Hosting Ann Arbor Mayoral Debate

Credit Andrew Cluley / 89.1 WEMU

How will Ann Arbor's next mayor take on the challenges around the city's always changing downtown?  That will be among the primary topics discussed Wednesday night at a mayoral debate hosted by Literati Bookstore.  

89.1 WEMU's Andrew Cluley reports on the Ann Arbor Mayoral Debate Literati Bookstore is hosting.

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Education
5:09 pm
Tue June 24, 2014

Ann Arbor Teachers Considering Salary Freeze Agreement

Credit Andrew Cluley / 89.1 WEMU

Ann Arbor teachers are voting on an agreement that will freeze wages for next school year.  The deal was reached after the district announced they would cancel the entire teachers contract  if necessary to hold salaries flat.  

89.1 WEMU's Andrew Cluley reports on Ann Arbor teachers considering an agreement that will hold their salaries flat in the fall.

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Education
5:00 pm
Tue June 24, 2014

Ann Arbor and Whitmore Lake Schools Considering Annexation

Credit Andrew Cluley / 89.1 WEMU

Whitmore Lake Public Schools has a small fund balance and only plans to open two buildings in the fall, which could make the district ripe for  state take-over.  A possible alternative now being studied is annexation by Ann Arbor Public Schools.  

89.1 WEMU's Andrew Cluley reports on Ann Arbor Public Schools potentially annexing Whitmore Lake Public Schools.

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WEMU News
2:13 pm
Tue June 24, 2014

'Bee-Friendly' Plants May Actually Be Harmful To Bees

Credit ecocenter.org

Just because a plant is labeled as "bee friendly" doesn't mean it is.

That's according to a new report from The Ecology Center, which partnered with the group "Friends of the Earth" to test plants sold as "bee friendly". 

About half contained neonicotinoid pesticides that can kill bees.  Ecology Center environmental health educator Melissa Sargent encourages people to talk to plant sellers "and find out do they know about the neonicotinoid pesticides? And let them know that you would prefer to buy plants that didn't have those pesticides on them."

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