WKAR

In Michigan
5:14 pm
Fri January 27, 2012

DNR officially moves gray wolf off endangered list

LANSING, MI –

The gray wolf no longer has endangered species protections in Michigan. The wolf was officially moved off the federal endangered species list Friday. And, as we hear from Michigan Public Radio's Rick Pluta, state wildlife officials are now responsible for wolf management

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In Michigan
4:41 pm
Fri January 27, 2012

Jackson County judge removed for misconduct

JACKSON, MI –

The Michigan Supreme Court has removed a Jackson County judge from office for misconduct.

District Court Judge James Justin was accused of dismissing traffic cases after talking to people in the hallway or elsewhere outside court. He also was accused of dismissing tickets for himself, his wife, friends and staff.

The Supreme Court unanimously ordered Justin's removal Friday. Justin has been a judge for decades in Jackson. He's been suspended with pay since July 2010.

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In Michigan
4:26 pm
Fri January 27, 2012

Lawmakers weigh MI rail-to-trail dilemma

LANSING, MI –

A conversation about a small piece of unused train track in Petoskey has turned into a larger discussion about the future of train transit in Michigan. As Michigan Public Radio's Laura Weber reports, state lawmakers are weighing the benefits of converting old train tracks into recreational trails.

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WKAR Features
4:21 pm
Fri January 27, 2012

EL selects Lahanas as permanent city manager

East Lansing, MI – East Lansing has a new city manager. In a unanimous decision, the city council chose George Lahanas. He's acted as interim city manager since October. He's served East Lansing for 13 years, having previously worked as a labor relations specialist and deputy city manager. Lahanas says he's looking forward to working with the council on a permanent basis.

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In Michigan
4:16 pm
Fri January 27, 2012

Mich. governor likes some of Obama's tuition ideas

GRAND RAPIDS, MI –

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder says he liked some of President Barack Obama's ideas on college tuition restraint.

The Republican governor didn't attend the president's Friday speech at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor about holding down college costs. Instead, Snyder was in Grand Rapids addressing the Michigan Press Association's annual meeting.

Snyder declined to say whether he'll recommend more state money for universities, saying "that will be part of the budget message" on Feb. 9.

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In Michigan
2:08 pm
Fri January 27, 2012

Spartan Stadium to get new video displays

The new scoreboard at the south end of Spartan Stadium will be ten times bigger than the existing scoreboard. Rendering: Courtesy Michigan State University

EAST LANSING, MI –

Michigan State University Trustees have approved a $10-million dollar project to upgrade scoreboards at Spartan Stadium.

The main video board at the south end of the stadium will be 5,400 square feet, about ten times the size of the existing scoreboard.

At the north end, two video boards will be in place. A video ribbon will link the two.

Deputy athletic director Greg Ianni says the new sound system will be a big improvement.

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In Michigan
7:57 am
Fri January 27, 2012

Governor to decide this week on Highland Park finances

LANSING, MI – Governor Rick Snyder will decide no later than Friday whether to appoint an emergency manager in the Highland Park school district in southeast Michigan. He says he is considering the recommendation of a financial review panel to appoint an emergency manager,as well as an appeal from the district.

Snyder says his goal is to make sure the district is not forced to shut down.

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In Michigan
6:51 am
Fri January 27, 2012

Lahanas chosen as permanent East Lansing city manager

East Lansing, MI – The East Lansing City Council has selected interim city manager George Lahanas to fill that post on a permanent basis. The decision ends a three-month national search process.

Lahanas was one of five finalists to apply for the job as city manager. He's a 13-year veteran of East Lansing government, having served as a labor relations specialist and deputy city manager.

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In Michigan
6:48 am
Fri January 27, 2012

MSU Trustees approve F-RIB site prep

F-RIB rendering. Courtesy Michigan State University

EAST LANSING, MI –
Michigan State University Trustees have approved proceeding with phase one of site preparation and excavation for the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams, or F-RIB.

U-S Energy Secretary Steven Chu recently sent shock waves through the MSU community with comments expressing some doubt about the future of federal funding for the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams.

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In Michigan
6:48 am
Fri January 27, 2012

George Lahanas accepts EL city council's city manager offer

EAST LANSING, MI –

East Lansing interim city manager George Lahanas has accepted a city council offer to assume the position permanently. More on this story on 'All Things Considered' beginning at 4pm on 90.5/WKAR.

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In Michigan
6:15 pm
Thu January 26, 2012

Pres. Obama to talk college affordability in Ann Arbor stop

DETROIT –

Officials at the University of Michigan say they hope President Barack Obama's campus speech will prompt more people to think about the importance of college affordability and its role in strengthening U.S. global competitiveness.

Mr. Obama is scheduled to arrive in the Detroit area Thursday night before his speech Friday in Ann Arbor. He's on a three-day, post-State of the Union tour of politically crucial states to promote his 2012 economic policy goals.

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In Michigan
6:14 pm
Thu January 26, 2012

Farmers eager for right to kill attacking wolves

TRAVERSE CITY, MI –

Ranchers in the western Great Lakes region are eager to take up arms against a longtime enemy: wolves.

The gray wolf comes off the federal endangered species list Friday in Minnesota, Michigan and Wisconsin, where the combined population is 4,400.

Wolves have rebounded strongly there after being hunted to near-extinction. They gained federal protection in 1974.

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In Michigan
6:10 pm
Thu January 26, 2012

Key Ambassador Bridge ramp could be done by spring

DETROIT –

The state of Michigan says it's received federal approval to build an elevated ramp that will take trucks directly to interstates from Detroit's Ambassador Bridge.

The job could be completed by Memorial Day. In a statement Wednesday, the Transportation Department says the property finally was signed over last month by the bridge owner.

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In Michigan
4:27 pm
Thu January 26, 2012

Michigan regional jobless rates rise in December

LANSING, MI –

Michigan officials say that seasonally unadjusted unemployment rates have increased in all 17 major state labor markets.

The December figures were released Thursday. Rates rose everywhere, with the Upper Peninsula and the northeastern and northwestern Lower Peninsulas showing the highest percentage jumps from November to December.

Statewide, the unadjusted jobless rate was 9%, up from 8.4% in November. The seasonally adjusted rate has been falling for months.

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WKAR Features
1:28 pm
Thu January 26, 2012

East Lansing city council to interview city manager finalists

WKAR file photo

EAST LANSING, MI –

The finalists for East Lansing city manager met with residents at a public forum Wednesday evening.

The next step in the process is today, when the city council will conduct interviews with all five.

The council is scheduled to make a selection on Friday.

WKAR's Scott Pohl spoke with East Lansing mayor Diane Goddeeris about what she and her colleagues on the city council are looking for in the search's final days.

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In Michigan
1:05 pm
Thu January 26, 2012

MI transportation bill package introduced

LANSING, MI –

A package of bills that would increase the state's vehicle registration fees and the amount drivers pay for a gallon of gas has been rolled out at the state Capitol. As Michigan Public Radio's Laura Weber reports, it's designed to generate more than a billion dollars to help fix the state's crumbling bridges and roads.

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WKAR Features
7:41 am
Thu January 26, 2012

Gregorian previews MSU Symphony concert

MSU Symphony Orchestra conductor Leon Gregorian. Photo: Courtesy MSU Photo: Courtesy MSU College of Music

EAST LANSING, MI –

WKAR's Melissa Benmark speaks with conductor Leon Gregorian about the next Michigan State University Symphony Orchestra concert, which features a new Tuba Concerto by MSU professor Ron Newman.

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In Michigan
6:51 pm
Wed January 25, 2012

Cyber school discussion heats up at state Capitol

LANSING, MI –

The debate over the effectiveness of cyber K-12 schools is ramping up at the state Capitol. A state House panel is considering a measure that would allow more cyber schools to operate in Michigan. Michigan Public Radio's Laura Weber has more


There are currently two cyber schools authorized in Michigan. Supporters of online learning say kids and parents should be afforded more education options and opportunities in the digital age.

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In Michigan
6:49 pm
Wed January 25, 2012

Tribe's board votes to move ahead with Lansing casino

LANSING, MI –

The Board of Directors for the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians has voted to move forward with a proposed $245 million casino in downtown Lansing.

Roger Martin, a spokesman for the tribe, said in an email that the board voted 8-2 on Tuesday night to approve an agreement with the City of Lansing.

Backers of the Kewadin Lansing Casino plan announced Monday that it could create about 1,500 permanent jobs and 700 construction jobs. Money also could be used to fund scholarships for area students.

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In Michigan
6:16 pm
Wed January 25, 2012

Meadows calls for school inspection mandate

EAST LANSING, MI –

State representative Mark Meadows wants more frequent school building inspections in Michigan. The East Lansing Democrat has announced he is seeking a co-sponsor for legislation that would mandate inspections every five years.

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In Michigan
4:17 pm
Wed January 25, 2012

Schuette calls for 1,000 more cops this year

LANSING, MI –

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette says the state should use a budget windfall to hire a thousand more police officers. Statewide, violent crime has gone down in recent years, but -- as we hear from Michigan Public Radio's Rick Pluta, Michigan still has some of the most dangerous cities in the country.

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WKAR Features
8:32 am
Wed January 25, 2012

Kids Count report: Eaton County reports huge jump in child abuse, neglect

Illustration: Courtesy of Michigan League for Human Services

Eaton County, MI – The latest report from Kids Count in Michigan shows a disturbing trend: growing numbers of children are living in poverty, and statewide the rate of child abuse and neglect rose by 34 per cent over the last 10 years.

Perhaps the most shocking statistic for mid-Michigan comes from Eaton County, where the rate of child abuse and neglect jumped more than 400 percent over the past decade.

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In Michigan
6:10 pm
Tue January 24, 2012

Anti-abortion group could get Mich. license plate

LANSING, MI –

A bill that would authorize a fundraising license plate connected to an anti-abortion group is advancing in the Michigan Senate.

Legislation that would allow the license plate linked to Right to Life of Michigan was approved unanimously Tuesday by the Senate Transportation Committee.

The legislation would allow Michigan residents to buy a "Choose Life" license plate with a portion of the money going to Right to Life. The organization says the money would go to abortion prevention projects.

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In Michigan
4:45 pm
Tue January 24, 2012

State Senator proposes income tax rollback

LANSING, MI –

A new proposal at the state Capitol would reduce the state's income tax rate over the next few years. As Michigan Public Radio's Laura Weber tells us, a Republican state lawmaker says he wants to make good on a promise made to people in Michigan.

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In Michigan
4:40 pm
Tue January 24, 2012

Audit knocks state over flight school inspections

LANSING, MI –

A state audit says Michigan regulators have fallen behind in inspecting flight schools.

The state Transportation Department is supposed to inspect schools every three years, but auditors found the rule was missed at 80 percent of 63 flight schools reviewed. Inspections were more than three years late at 26 schools, and more than five years tardy at eight.

The Transportation Department generally agreed with the finding and says the Aeronautics Office will comply with state law.

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In Michigan
1:35 pm
Tue January 24, 2012

BWL to hold rate hike vote this evening

LANSING, MI –

Commissioners of Lansing's Board of Water and Light plan to vote this evening on a nine-percent rate hike for the utility's water and steam customers. Approval would mean about a $116 average monthly increase for non-residential steam heat customers. The average monthly residential water bill would rise a few dollars a month.

BWL officials say more revenue is needed to update aging water and steam infrastructure.

If approved, rate increases would take effect March first.

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In Michigan
1:04 pm
Tue January 24, 2012

Report: uptick in poverty, abuse

LANSING, MI –

About one-fourth of kids in Michigan live in poverty. That's according to the Kids Count report from the Michigan League for Human Services. The report says the percent of kids living in poverty and "extreme poverty" has risen dramatically in the past decade, as has the rate of kids who qualify for free or reduced-price school lunches.

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WKAR Features
7:41 am
Tue January 24, 2012

Lansing economic officials don't like USPS streamlining process

Photo: Mark Bashore/WKAR

Lansing, MI –

A group of area business figures and politicians is urging the United States Postal Service to rethink a plan that would end mail processing operations at Lansing's Collins Road postal facility. The group says it's perplexed by what it considers poor communication by the postal service.

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In Michigan
6:26 pm
Mon January 23, 2012

Fight over MI no-fault data headed to court

LANSING, MI –

A coalition opposed to a proposed overhaul of Michigan's no-fault insurance law is headed to court. The group wants to know how much money no-fault claims cost ratepayers and the insurance industry. We have more from Michigan Public Radio's Rick Pluta.

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In Michigan
6:20 pm
Mon January 23, 2012

Family: 21-year-old missing after travel to Syria

FARMINGTON HILLS, MI –

Family members say a 21-year-old man living in Michigan has been missing nearly three weeks after traveling to Syria.

Firas Nashef of Farmington Hills said Monday that his nephew Obada Mzaik boarded a flight for Damascus Jan. 3 at Detroit Metropolitan Airport but wasn't seen exiting immigration clearance in Syria.

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