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Community
1:53 am
Fri February 21, 2014

Voters To Decide in May if They will Pay For Expanded Transit Service

Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority officials hope to begin making service upgrades in August.  That’s if voters in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, and Ypsilanti Township pass a .7 mill tax that will be on the May ballot. 

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Michigan News
9:24 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

GOP lawmakers try to revive no-fault overhaul

House Speaker Jase Bolger unveils new Republican no-fault overhaul proposal that would set limits on fees, cap lifetime medical benefits at $10 million.
Credit Michigan Public Radio Network

At the state Capitol, House Speaker Jase Bolger (R-Marshall) says he still hopes to get an overhaul of Michigan's no-fault auto insurance law through the Legislature this year.  He rolled out a new plan to end Michigan's unlimited lifetime medical benefits coupled with the promise of a rate reduction. 

Rick Pluta reports.

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Michigan News
9:22 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

$100 million for emergency road repairs and plowing clears state Senate

The state Senate has approved a plan to fix and maintain roads being ripped apart by brutal winter weather. The Senate passed a mid-year budget bill Thursday that includes $100 million of emergency money for roads.

Jake Neher reports.

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Michigan News
9:20 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

Former Governor Milliken Joins Debate over Parole for Juvenile Lifers

Milliken joins effort to win parole hearings for juvenile lifersBy Rick Pluta Former Michigan Governor William Milliken says more than 350 prison inmates sentenced to life without parole as juveniles deserve a chance at freedom. Milliken - along with more than 100 law school deans and retired judges and prosecutors -- filed a brief today with the state Supreme Court. The Michigan Supreme Court holds oral arguments in the case next month. The court will decide whether a US Supreme Court decision that struck down automatic life without parole for juveniles applies retroactively - or only to current and future cases. The Milliken brief says justice demands that the decision should apply regardless of when a juvenile was sentenced.  It says juveniles sentenced before the decision have the same protections against cruel and unusual punishment as teens sentenced today. It also says Michigan's indigent defense system is particularly unfair to juveniles.   Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette says families of murder victims deserve to know the rules will not be changed in their cases.  Michigan's adult-time-for-adult-crimes law was signed 18 years ago by Governor John Engler. William Milliken served as governor from 1969 to 1983.  

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WEMU News
6:11 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

U of M Board of Regents Take Action on Several Fronts

Credit U of M

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) - Under pressure to increase the number of minority students, the University of Michigan Board of Regents today approved an Associate Vice President's job that will specifically focus on enrollment management, with an eye towards more diversity of campus.   Provost Martha Pollack announced the position last month, promising to hire someone to help recruit qualified minority students to the university. 

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WEMU News
4:15 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

Rain, Melting Snow Cause Flooding

Rain and melting snow has caused widespread flooding across Washtenaw County.   County Road Commission Operations Director Jim Harmon says crews worked hard Wednesday to clear storm drains, but as the rain fell and snow melted, those same drains clogged again. Harmon says flooding is reported anywhere from a few inches to several feet.   He urges motorists to expect flooding, and not to try to drive through areas where you can't tell how deep the water is.   Harmon welcomes reports of flooding at 734-761-1500, and if residents can safely do so, trying to clear neighborhood storm drains would be a big help.

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WEMU News
4:12 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

EMU Students, Faculty Protest Education Achievement Authority

Credit electablog.com

A group of about 30 people gathered at Eastern Michigan University today to protest the university's affiliation with the Education Achievement Authority. 

Samir Webster is a member of the group "Students for an Ethical and Participatory Education", which organized the protest.  He says they've met with the Board of Regents and EMU President Susan Martin, but they feel their voices aren't being heard.

 Critics of the EAA says it's failing in its mission to turn struggling schools around.  Area school districts have been boycotting EMU student teachers because of the school's ties to the EAA. 

 Eastern Michigan University officials say they respect the right of faculty members to share their concerns, but the school has no plans to end its affiliation with the EAA.

WEMU's Bob Eccles reports.

Michigan News
2:51 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

Detroit Bankruptcy Update

State-appointed emergency manager Kevyn Orr (right) and Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, at a news conference in Detroit.
Credit Carlos Osorio / AP

DETROIT (AP) - The office Detroit's state-appointed emergency manager Kevyn Orr says the blueprint for the city's restructuring through and after bankruptcy is expected to be filed Friday in federal court.       Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes had set a March 1 deadline for the long-awaited plan of adjustment. The plan will spell out how individual creditors will be treated as Orr reduces the city's $18 billion debt.       Spokesman Bill Nowling says Orr's office plans to file the plan with the court Friday.

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Michigan News
2:34 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

Senate OKs Road Cash And Medicaid Expansion Changes

Michigan Senator Roger Kahn, R-Saginaw
Credit Michigan Senate

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The Michigan Senate has voted to spend more for winter road maintenance and to adjust the budget to account for a delay in the expansion of Medicaid. The legislation includes $100 million to fix potholes and help governments with higher-than-usual salting and snow plowing bills. Expanding Medicaid to more low-income adults was supposed to occur in January before senators delayed  it until April.  

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Weather
1:02 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

Winter Strikes Again

Freezing rain falls on the Eastern Michigan University campus.
Credit David Fair

Wet, heavy snow blanketed portions of the region late this morning. Add in a bit of freezing rain and light rain showers, and you have the makings of a bad weather day.

There is a Winter Weather Advisory in effect until 4pm for Washtenaw and Wayne Counties.  Snowfall totals could exceed two inches and ice accumulation could reach a tenth of an inch. that makes for potentially slippery and hazardous road and sidewalk conditions, so caution is advised. 

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Ypsilanti
10:45 am
Thu February 20, 2014

Ypsilanti Mayor Joins Call For Minimum Wage Hike For City Workers And Contractors

Ypsilanti Mayor Paul Schreiber supports increase in city minimum wage
Credit Erica Hamilton

Efforts to boost the minimum wage are underway at all levels of government, and now you can add Ypsilanti to the list.  MLive.com reported this morning City Councilman Peter Murdock is planning to introduce a resolution to boost the minimum wage from the current  $7.40 to $10.10 per hour. 

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WEMU News
10:14 am
Thu February 20, 2014

Law Enforcement Seeks Public Help To Catch Home Invasion Suspect

Suspect in string of home invasions.
Credit Michigan State Police

Law Enforcement in Washtenaw and three other counties are looking for a suspect in a rash of home invasions that target people attending funerals. Washtenaw is among four counties where homes of the recently deceased , or their family members, have been robbed. The others are Livingston, Monroe and Oakland counties.

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Cinema Chat
8:55 am
Thu February 20, 2014

Cinema Chat: Berlin Film Festival, BAFTA, The Past, Pompeii, 3 Days To Kill And More

Credit Michigan Theater

There is plenty of Hollywood and movie related news this week, and there are some new films opening this weekend. 89.1 WEMU's David Fair and Michigan Theater Executive Director and CEO, Russ Collins, have the breakdown for you. It's Cinema Chat and you can listen right here:

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Michigan News
6:24 am
Thu February 20, 2014

Nation of Islam Returns To Detroit

Minister Louis Farrakhan to deliver Keynote Address at Detroit Convention
Credit Brian Jackson

DETROIT (AP) - The Nation of Islam is returning to the place it started for its annual four-day convention.

 The Chicago-based movement kicks off Saviours' Day today at Cobo center in Detroit. Organizers say it will feature workshops, spiritual renewal, fellowship and networking.

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Community
2:54 am
Thu February 20, 2014

Washtenaw County to Develop Dental Clinic for Medicaid Patients

Washtenaw County’s approximately 60,000 residents on Medicaid or without any dental insurance will have a source for dental work starting next year.  The Washtenaw County Commissioners Wednesday night approved plans for a Public Health Department owned dental clinic. 

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Community
2:41 am
Thu February 20, 2014

Platt Road Site to be Springboard for Larger Affordable Housing Talks

Washtenaw County will be engaging neighbors of the old Juvenile Center on Platt Road in Ann Arbor and other community members to determine how to redevelop the site.  The County Commissioners have given final approval to a community driven process for planning for the 13.5 acre property. 

WEMU's Andrew Cluley reports on planning for redevelopment of Washtenaw County's old Juvenile Center site on Platt Road in Ann Arbor, and a larger discussion on affordable housing issues in general.

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Michigan News
6:23 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

EAA no longer Only Option for Struggling Schools

State ends contract with the Education Achievement AuthorityBy Jake Neher This time next year, the Education Achievement Authority will no longer be the only entity that can take over failing schools in Michigan.  State Superintendent Mike Flanagan has notified the EAA that the state is ending its exclusive contract with the authority.

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WEMU News
5:39 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

Washtenaw County Property Values Rise

Washtenaw County home owners are seeing a rise in their property values for the first time in five years. Values are rising all across the county and properties are spending less time on the market before selling. Catherine McClary is Washtenaw County's Treasurer. She says the rising values is good news overall, but the county still faces challenges, especially when it comes to making sure there is enough affordable housing.  McClary says the area's homeless are often families.

WEMU News
5:36 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

Bald Eagles call Monroe Power Plant Home

Close to 200 bald eagles have made D-T-E Energy's Monroe power plant home for the winter.   Utility spokesperson Randy Barret says the property makes for a great nesting area, with shelter from the elements, seclusion and plenty of fishing. Barret says up to 180 bald eagles have been counted at the plant on Lake Erie, which has a warm-water discharge that prevents ice from forming and gives the eagles a prime spot for catching fish. 

Community
4:56 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

Ann Arbor Officials Asking Residents to Clear Sidewalks, Drains During Warmer Weather

Ann Arbor Mayor John Hieftje calls on residents to take advantage of the warmer weather and clean off their sidewalks.  Hieftje admits the amount of snow, and the freezing rain a few walks ago caused a mess, but many people rely on walking to get to jobs and other important appointments.

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WEMU News
3:12 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

Man Accused of Shooting at Plow Driver charged with Assault with Intent to Murder

The man accused of shooting at the driver of a front end loader who was clearing snow in Pittsfield Township is now facing charges including assault with intent to murder.  

Bevan Wilson was being held in the Washtenaw County jail on $45,000 cash bond.  He's accused of firing a handgun at the driver of a front end loader who was clearing snow from the parking lot at the Valley Ranch Apartments Tuesday morning. 

The wind shield of the vehicle was damaged, but the driver was not injured.

WEMU News
10:30 am
Wed February 19, 2014

Hundreds Call For Enrollment Diversity At the University of Michigan

Shapiro Undergraduate Library
Credit University of Michigan

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) - Hundreds of University of Michigan students participated in an all-night protest over what they call low minority enrollment and inclusion.  The Ann Arbor News reports students crammed into Shapiro Undergraduate Library for the 12-hour, overnight event.  The "Speak Out" was hosted by the United Coalition for Racial Justice, a group comprised of undergraduate and graduate students, faculty and staff.

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Environment
10:12 am
Wed February 19, 2014

Issues Of The Environment: Pharmaceuticals in Ann Arbor Water

Drinking tap water in Ann Arbor is common practice. It rates rather highly in terms of quality and taste, and most find it difficult to tell the difference between city water and bottled water. Many may not know that research shows pharmaceutical drugs are making it into the water supply.

In this week's "Issues of the Environment"  89.1 WEMU's David Fair explores the issue and what it may mean for you. The guest this week is Larry Sanford, the city of Ann Arbors' Assistant Manager of Water Treatment Services. 

Issues of the Environment for 2/19/14

Community
3:08 am
Wed February 19, 2014

Debate Continues Over Ann Arbor's Public Art Program

Ann Arbor City Council remains conflicted on the city’s public art program.  Council Tuesday night voted ten to nothing for an ordinance amendment that allows them to return old percent for art funds to their original source.  Two resolutions to actually do this however were postponed.  

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Community
2:50 am
Wed February 19, 2014

Ann Arbor City Council Likely to Decide Fate of Edwards Brothers Property Monday

With the deadline to use a right of first refusal to buy the Edwards Brothers Property on State Street about a week away, Ann Arbor City Council will hold a special meeting on the issue Monday.  

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