Unusual November weather

By Amanda Harrison

If it felt like the month of November was unusually warm; meteorologists say it was.  

For example, Houghton Lake set a city record for the warmest temperature the day after Thanksgiving.

Nick Schwartz is a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Gaylord.

He said November saw above average precipitation and temperatures.

“And what was really interesting is the average temperature for the month of November has run from anywhere from 4 and a half to nearly 5 degrees above normal. Which at first glance does not appear like a lot but when you factor in that you’re averaging in the day time highs and night time lows it defiantly is something to be noted.”

Schwartz said he does not expect mild weather to continue this winter.

He said average temperatures and high precipitation are likely in the second half of the season.

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Philosopher visits CMU to talk about immigration research

By David Nicholas

The immigration debate when it comes to politics has become very divisive, a question of “with us or against us.” Philosopher scholar Michael Blake visited Central Michigan University this month and sat down with me in our studios talking about his research that, as he said, tried to separate the heated political rhetoric from the questions of undocumented workers as human beings

Dr. Michael Blake is on the faculty for the University of Washington and a joint fellow at the Daniel J. Evans School of Public Policy at UWA.

Blake’s research article, “Immigration, Causation and Complicity” was published by Cambridge University Press.

Blake’s visit to CMU was one of a series of events sponsored by the Center for Professional and Persona Ethics for November’s Human Rights Month.

Copyright 2010, MPRN

Ban on for-profit public schools is introduced

By Chelsea Hagger

Democrats at the state Capitol are calling for an amendment to the Michigan constitution that would outlaw for-profit schools. Four out of five charter schools in Michigan operate as for-profit schools.

Democratic state Senator Rebekah Warren said only 17 percent of charter schools out-perform traditional public schools. She said school aid money should not go toward profits for businesses.

Warren said her amendment would not ban charter schools, but it would reform how they operate.

“If those companies are doing such a great job and they want to come in and they want to educate our kids they can reformat their business model and become non-profits. This isn’t saying they can’t operate here.”

Voters must approve amendments to the state constitution.

A Republican proposal in the legislature would remove the cap on charter schools, allowing more to operate in Michigan. Warren said approving the Republican measure would make the problem worse.
 
Copyright 2010, MPRN

Anti-bullying bill heads to Governor Snyder

By Laura Weber

It appears all school districts in Michigan will soon be required to adopt anti-bullying policies. The Legislature sent an anti-bullying proposal to Governor Rick Snyder Tuesday.

Approval of the anti-bullying measure ends a very public saga that focused on Senate Republicans, who originally approved a measure with a so-called “license to bully” that would have allowed exceptions for statements based on religious or moral conviction. That proposal gained a lot of national media attention.

“And I know there’s a rush to recover from that and move on.”

That’s Democratic state Senator Glenn Anderson. He said lawmakers should not rush to approve a less controversial anti-bullying bill.

“This bill falls far short of what we should be doing to protect our young people across Michigan.”

Anderson was one of only two senators to vote against the new anti-bullying bill. He said it may no longer be a “license to bully,” but he said it should do more to protect gay and lesbian kids, and to protect all kids from cyber bullying.

Copyright 2010, MPRN

Snyder names former acting mayor as Flint emergency manager

By Rick Pluta

A fifth local government in Michigan has been placed under the control of a state-appointed emergency manager with sweeping powers to deal with a fiscal crisis. Governor Rick Snyder has named Michael Brown to run the city of Flint and come up with a plan to erase a multi-million dollar deficit.

Michael Brown briefly served as Flint’s interim mayor in 2009 after one mayor resigned and the current mayor was elected.

Flint joins Benton Harbor, Ecorse, Pontiac, and the Detroit Public Schools, which are also being run by state-appointed managers. This is Flint’s second go-round under a state takeover. But Governor Snyder and the Legislature amended the law earlier this year to give new emergency managers much more authority.

Sara Wurfel is the governor’s press secretary. She said Brown’s job is to fix the problems, and return the city to local control as quickly as possible.

“Flint’s in a fiscal crisis and so this is just the next step in the process.”

The city of Inkster’s books are also being reviewed by the state, and the governor is assessing his options to address Detroit’s fiscal crisis.

Copyright 2010, MPRN

Senate panel to look at limiting abortion insurance coverage

By Laura Weber

Some state Senate Republicans want to place new limits on health insurance coverage of abortion procedures. This week, a state Senate panel is expected to look at potential changes to abortion coverage in Michigan.  

Republican state Senator Jim Marleau said the proposal will protect fetuses under all health care options in the state. But he said the measure won’t stop women from getting abortion coverage if they want it.

“Now if you want abortion coverage, that is going to be a rider, and additional rider that’s on the policy, paid for separately, a separate premium.”

Marleau chairs the Senate Health Policy Committee. He said the proposal will prevent Michigan from being forced to participate in potential new national health care laws requiring abortion coverage.

Copyright 2010, MPRN

Snyder could veto first bill this week

By Rick Pluta

The first veto of a bill sent to Governor Rick Snyder’s desk by legislative Republicans could be coming this week. The governor has until Friday morning to sign or reject a measure that would make it harder to enact state rules that are stricter than federal standards.
    
The bill said state agencies cannot enact rules covering things such as workplace safety or environmental protection that are stricter than federal rules unless the Legislature passes a law to allow it. The bill would allow an exception for emergencies.

Sara Wurfel is the governor’s press secretary. She said the bill is being reviewed, but the governor and his team think it may go too far.

“Basically, tying Michigan’s hands to do what it needs to do to protect the state and its citizens.”

The governor has tried to protect his working relationship with conservative lawmakers from his own party who sometimes disagree with Snyder’s more-centrist leanings. The governor has vetoed some budget line items, but this would be the first time he vetoes an entire bill and returns it to the Legislature.
 
Copyright 2010, MPRN