Packaged salmon recalled for possible contamination

Packages of smoked salmon sold at Meijer stores around the state are being recalled because of possible Listeria contamination.

The recalled packages are labeled “Vita Classic Premium Sliced Smoked
Atlantic Nova Salmon,” and have a sell-by date of December 15th, 2011.

Listeria can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections. Symptoms
include high fevers, severe headaches, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain
and diarrhea.

Vita foods is asking anyone who bought the recalled salmon to return it to its purchase location.

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University presidents say college is still affordable

By Laura Weber

A coalition of Michigan’s public university officials said a college tuition is still affordable, despite increases in tuition. A report from the Presidents Council said need-based financial aid is on the rise, and universities are covering more student costs.

Michael Boulous is with the council. He said a college education is more important than ever for workers in Michigan.  

“The number of jobs for workers with high school diplomas is shrinking rapidly. In many cases, entire industries that employed these workers are vanishing. Unemployment for people who have gone to college is half the rate it is for those who have only a high school diploma.” Said Boulous.

The report said merit-based scholarships have decreased slightly over the past few years. But the report said need-based financial aid has nearly doubled in that time. The report said the average student pays about 48-hundred dollars in tuition at a public university. School officials said about two-thirds of students qualify for financial aid.

© Copyright 2010, MPRN

Melton resigns to lobby for school reforms

By Laura Weber

A polarizing Democratic state representative is resigning to become a national school-reform lobbyist based out of California’s state capital.

Democratic state Representative Tim Melton gained a lot of attention, for better or worse from colleagues, lobbyists and people working in education, when he was chairman of the House Education Committee.

Melton spearheaded many education reforms that have become a springboard for continued changes to the education system under a Republican-led Legislature. Melton lost his chairmanship when Republicans took control of the House, but he continued to be an outspoken member of his caucus.  

“I was one of the few Democrats out of all of them that actually would work with the majority party to get some things done.” Said Melton.

Melton said he is excited to work throughout the country to help other states approve reforms similar to those he pushed in Michigan. He will be a lead lobbyist for Students First, an education-reform advocacy group led by Michelle Rhee. He will not be allowed to lobby the Michigan Legislature until after 2012, when his term would expire.

© Copyright 2010, MPRN

Court says Detroit first in line for Kilpatrick book profits

By Rick Pluta

The Michigan Court of Appeals has rejected former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick’s challenge to a lower court order that seizes his book sale profits to pay his restitution to the city.

The former Detroit mayor is on a national tour to promote the personal chronicle of his rise and fall. His lawyers argued that putting all the proceeds into an escrow account until his debt is paid deprived Kilpatrick of his First Amendment rights.

The argument is that taking money from the book sales discourages Kilpatrick from speaking about his experience as mayor, his trial, and prison. Michigan law forbids felons from making money from telling their stories until they’ve taken care of all their restitution and victim’s compensation payments.

Kilpatrick owes the city 860 thousand dollars. He could appeal the decision to the state Supreme Court. Since his release from prison, the former mayor has been living in a Dallas suburb.

© Copyright 2010, MPRN

Synder endorses Hoekstra for Senate

BY LAURA WEBER
Michigan Public Radio Network
SOUTHFIELD — Gov. Rick Snyder has publically endorsed former Congressman Pete Hoekstra in the Republican primary for the U.S. Senate. 
The winner of the GOP primary will face incumbent Sen. Debbie Stabenow on next year’s November ballot. 
Hoekstra says he and Snyder earned each other’s respect in the Republican primary for Governor last year. He says that’s because both men ran positive campaigns
“We went through a hard-fought campaign and it never became personal, it was always about the issues,” Hoekstra said.
Hoekstra is not the only Republican with big-name support in the Senate primary. Former chairwoman of the Michigan Republican Party Betsy DeVos has lent her support for school-choice advocate Clark Durant, who has yet to officially get into the race. Gov. Snyder says a little competition is okay.   
“I appreciate having other candidates, as part of democracy, but Pete is clearly the choice for this race, and I’m excited to be part of that,” Snyder said.
Snyder says he will not endorse a Republican candidate in the presidential primary.
© Copyright 2011, MPRN
Photo Credit: Laura Weber / MPRN

Democrats: Don’t retire battery incentives

BY RICK PLUTA
Capital Bureau Chief, Michigan Public Radio Network
LANSING — Democrats in the state Legislature say Michigan’s incentives designed to attract advanced battery manufacturers are a success, and should continue after the current round expires. 
Democrats are calling for a return to a job-creation plan that began under the state’s last governor. 
Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s job strategy focused on identifying a few emerging sectors — such as advanced batteries — and using tax breaks and other incentives to lure them to Michigan. 
Senate Democratic Leader Gretchen Whitmer says the advanced battery industry was a winning choice that’s brought new factories and thousands of jobs to the state. 
“Michigan’s advanced battery sector is growing in large part because of the electric vehicle industry and targeted incentives that make Michigan an attractive place for companies to invest,” Whitmer said.
But Republicans led by Gov. Rick Snyder are moving away from industry-specific incentives. 
They say tax breaks have become unaffordable in the long term, and a better strategy is to create a better overall economic climate by reducing taxes and regulations.
© Copyright 2010, MPRN

SVSU limiting incoming students in the future

Saginaw Valley State University said it is limiting the number of incoming students in the future.

University officials say campus housing and a projection of decreasing high school graduation rates are factors in the decision.

University officials said one reason they’re limiting the number of incoming freshman is because they don’t plan to build any more housing in the future. New construction means new debt, and with the current state of the economy, college spokesman JJ Boehm said that’s something to avoid.

“We don’t want to take on additional debt, but at the same time we know that the number of high school graduates in Michigan is declining. So it seems to make sense for us to pause, and say we think that we have for the past couple of years a healthy freshman class and that seems to be the right level for us to have going forward.”

Admissions officials at CMU said they’ve imposed similar restrictions over the past three years with their incoming classes.