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Michigan News
5:44 am
Thu June 26, 2014

Monroe County Area Student Gets New Robotic Hand

An eighth-grader at a Carleton middle school now has a robotic right hand thanks to school staff members' creativity and a 3D printer.

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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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WEMU News
1:45 pm
Tue June 24, 2014

Kiwanis Club Helps Teens In Foster Care

Credit kiwanis.org

A program that helps teens in foster care and other students make up high school credit will be able to proceed this summer thanks to a grant of $2,500 from the Kiwanis Club of Ann Arbor to the Student Advocacy Center of Michigan.

The program offers online credit recovery classes taught by two teachers and also includes transportation and snacks. Six students involved in the foster care system and six academically struggling students have signed up.

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WEMU News
4:39 am
Tue June 24, 2014

AAATA Rolling Out Transit Improvements Soon

Credit TheRide.org

Next month we'll start to see some of the improvements promised by the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority with approval of its .7 mil transit levy.

AAATA says it will begin offering extended hours on many routes starting August 24th. 

It will also start a new route with hourly service between the Ypsilanti District Library and the Ypsilanti Transit Center.

Find a complete listing of transit improvements coming in August online:

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WEMU News
4:38 am
Tue June 24, 2014

Ann Arbor VA Director Says Patient Care Allegations Taken 'Very Seriously'

Credit AnnArbor.VA.gov

The director of Ann Arbor's VA hospital says the facility will continue to cooperate with any and all reviews of the facility.

This comes on the heels of the release of a letter to President Obama from an investigator that says a whistleblower at the facility reported that employees were "practicing unsafe and unsanitary work practices" and untrained workers were improperly handling instruments. 

Ann Arbor VA Healthcare System director Robert McDivitt says any allegations about patient safety are taken very seriously.

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Michigan News
4:35 am
Tue June 24, 2014

Governor Snyder Set To Sign Spending Plans

  Gov. Rick Snyder is preparing to sign Michigan's $53 billion spending plan for the budget year starting in about three months.

     The Republican governor has scheduled a Tuesday afternoon ceremony to sign the $15.8 billion education budget bill on the steps of the Capitol in Lansing. He also may sign the $37.5 billion budget bill that covers all other state spending if it's proofed in time.

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Michigan News
4:33 am
Tue June 24, 2014

Stiffer Penalties For Michigan Drive By Shooters Signed Into Law

   Gov. Rick Snyder has signed laws stiffening criminal penalties for drive-by shooters and people who shoot into buildings.

     People who intentionally shoot from a vehicle get up to four years in prison if they endanger another's safety. The laws signed yesterday increase the prison time to 10 years and put in place longer sentences if there are injuries or death.

     The new law also clarifies that shooting into a potentially occupied structure is a crime without prosecutors needing to prove the structure was actually occupied at the time of the shooting.

Michigan News
4:30 am
Tue June 24, 2014

Ann Arbor VA Under Investigation For Unsafe Practices

  A federal investigator says a health care center for veterans in Ann Arbor has not dealt adequately with complaints about unsafe practices.

     The VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System was among facilities mentioned in a letter to President Barack Obama from Carolyn Lerner of the U.S. Office of Special Counsel.

     The letter released yesterday says a whistleblower reported that employees were "practicing unsafe and unsanitary work practices" and untrained workers were improperly handling instruments.

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Michigan News
4:29 am
Tue June 24, 2014

Yankee Air Museum Set To Purchase Part Of Willow Run Bomber Plant

 A group working to save part of Rosie the Riveter's old factory says it has signed a purchase agreement for the property.

     The Yankee Air Museum announced yesterday it is moving forward with a deal to buy 144,000 square feet of the former Willow Run Bomber Plant.

     The museum says in a statement that, assuming an upcoming inspection goes well, it will close on the purchase "in a few weeks."

     The Save the Willow Run Bomber Plant campaign has raised millions of dollars in an effort to save part of the factory for use as the museum's new home.

Michigan News
4:27 am
Tue June 24, 2014

Faygo Founder's Grandson Claiming Age Discrimination

 The grandson of a founder of an iconic Michigan soft drink company says he was fired because of his age.

     Hugh Rosenthal was marketing director at Detroit-based Faygo when he lost his job at age 68 in 2012. He tells the Detroit Free Press there was no legitimate business reason to let him go.

     Rosenthal's lawsuit is in Flint federal court. The Free Press says Faygo vice president Al Chittaro declined to comment.

Michigan News
4:24 am
Tue June 24, 2014

NRC To Discuss Safety Issues At Palisades Nuclear Plant

   The Nuclear Regulatory Commission plans to hold a public meeting this week to discuss the federal agency's safety assessment of the Palisades power plant in southwestern Michigan.

     The NRC announced yesterday the meeting will take place Thursday at the Beach Haven Event Center in South Haven. Agency staffers will discuss the results of safety inspection findings at Palisades, which is located 5 miles away on the Lake Michigan shoreline in Van Buren County's Covert Township.

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Michigan News
4:23 am
Tue June 24, 2014

NOAA Awards Federal Funds To Protect Michigan Shorelines

 Michigan will receive $2.5 million from the federal government for efforts to protect shore lands and coastal ecosystems, along with public access and recreation.

     The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration awarded the funding this week to the state's coastal management program. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality will administer the grant, which will generate an additional $2 million in state and local spending.

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Michigan News
4:20 am
Tue June 24, 2014

Michigan Challenge Balloonfest This Weekend

 Hot air balloons will take to the skies over Howell this weekend for the 30th annual Michigan Challenge Balloonfest.

     The Livingston County Daily Press & Argus reports  that the event takes place Friday through Sunday at Howell High School. Forty-three balloons with Michigan, Illinois, Ohio, Missouri and Tennessee pilots are scheduled to compete.

     Balloon launch and fly-in times are 6 to 8 p.m. Friday and 6 to 8 a.m. and 6 to 8 p.m.  Saturday and Sunday.

Michigan News
4:18 am
Tue June 24, 2014

Feel Good With Jane Seymour On Detroit Public TV

Jane Seymour is known for her role "Somewhere In Time" which was filmed in Michigan with Christopher Reeves

 

  Emmy and Golden Globe winner Jane Seymour's new show is filming in the Detroit area.

     The actress isn't working on a new movie or a scripted series, however.

     She's the host of a national 13-part series called "Feel Grand with Jane Seymour" that's being produced by Detroit Public Television.

     Seymour will be joined on the show by medical experts such as author Deepak Chopra and Susan Blumenthal, former U.S. assistant surgeon general.

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Michigan News
7:27 pm
Mon June 23, 2014

Office To Help Skilled immigrants Find Work In Michigan

Credit wikimedia commons

Michigan welcomes office to help skilled immigrants get jobs

Highly skilled immigrants in Michigan now have a new resource to help them find jobs. The national nonprofit organization Upwardly Global opened a new office in Detroit on Monday.

Upwardly Global says immigrants and refugees often have valuable job skills that are in high demand in the United States. But the group says they often still have trouble finding work because of cultural differences.

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Music
3:02 pm
Fri June 20, 2014

WEMU Remains Committed To NPR, Music And News

During our recent Summer Pledge Drive you probably heard us mention how difficult it is to maintain our mixed format of music and news.  Keeping knowledgeable local hosts on staff, presenting both news and music content and committing ourselves to support the vibrant community and organizations that are represented by that content is most definitely not the easiest path.  

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