Violinist Anne Akiko-Myers talks about her most recent CD

By Susan McTaggart-Dennis

For nearly three decades, violinist Anne Akiko-Meyers has been recognized as one of the world’s premiere concert artists, with regular appearances in prestigious venues like Carnegie Hall, the Concertgebouw, the Sydney Opera House and the Hollywood Bowl, among many others. Her recording career is equally as robust and recently I had the opportunity to talk with her about her current release, Seasons…dreams. Born and raised in Southern California, Akiko-Meyers began her formal studies at the age of four, but her exposure to music came long before that!

Violinist, Anne Akiko-Meyers talking about her current release, Seasons…dreams. Her next CD, also on Eone, is called Air – The Bach Album is available next month.

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Shiawassee Co Animal Shelter closing amid what sheriff says are misplaced concerns

By Amy Robinson

Officials in Shiawassee county were fielding calls Monday about the closing of their animal shelter.  The shelter stopped taking animals January 11.  Now homeless pets are being taken to the local Humane Society.

Monday the county shelter was down to placing its last two dogs.  But comments began surfacing on commercial media websites that any dogs that didn’t find homes would be euthanized.  

Shiawassee county Sheriff George Braidwood said that’s not the case.  He said housing dogs at the Humane Society is a good move for the county and the Humane Society.

“it actually worked out to be a super partnership. the human society’s excited about it because they like to try and find homes for the animals.  It actually relieves our animal control officer from having to do any duties at a shelter, so he can devote 100% of his time now to animal control issues.  So it’s worked out good for everybody.”

Sheriff Braidwood said the county decided to close the animal shelter as a cost-cutting move.  He said the facility was old and maintenance costs continued to climb.  

Garrison Keillor puts off his retirement from Prairie Home Companion

By Amy Robinson

Garrison Keillor performed his one-man act in front of a full house at the Temple Theater in Saginaw last night.  During the act, the host of A Prairie Home Companion talked about receiving a clean bill of health from doctors at the Mayo Clinic. He said that clears the way for him to continue performing.  

Keillor had previously announced that he’d be retiring from his show in 2013.  

He told CMU Public Radio last night that the retirement is off.

Well the retirement just doesn’t exist, it was one of those idle rumors that I allowed to be out there, but the show is going well and I’m having a great time doing it.  And so I think as long as I can, I should.  My wife agrees with me about that. She’s not interested in seeing me sit around the house, especially not on weekends.

Keillor said his 14-year old daughter also supports his continued  work.  The 69 year old has been hosting  A Prairie Home Companion for 37-years.

Education advocates urge Michigan to reinvest in schools

After a year that saw nearly one-billion dollars in cuts to public schools, many education leaders had high hopes that better things were on the way for 2012.

But Michigan Education Association President Steven Cook says the current agenda in Lansing, as laid out in the governor’s State of the State address, offers more of the same.

He said it’s time for lawmakers to stop paying lip service to the idea of making education a priority.

“The data and the research were ignored, and every bill, policy and program were dictated by politics.”

Michigan is projected to have a four-hundred fifty-seven million dollar budget surplus this year. Education leaders are calling on the governor to put some of that money back into public schools.

Michigan “charging up” for electric cars

It was only 15 years ago when the first hybrid vehicle rolled into Michigan, and now, just about everyone seems to know someone who drives one.

The question is, will electric cars catch on?

Howard Learner with the Environmental Law and Policy Center said cost is certainly an issue with electric vehicles, but government rebates and tax incentives can help.

However, he predicts it will take a while for the auto industry to “go green…”

“We need to get the policies right, but this is going to live and die based on consumer demand. And if consumers see cars they like, drive well, that look good and that help them save money, and also help reduce pollution, that market will grow.”

Learner said the Michigan Public Service Commission has approved lower electric rates for drivers who charge their cars at night during off-peak hours.

More information about electric vehicles is available at pluginmichigan.org

Tech integration is helping mid Michigan schools save money

By Amanda Harrison

As some in Lansing argue that the states budget surplus should be put back into the schools local districts have been forced to tighten their belts.  One way is through consolidation.

The Clare Public Schools is merging with four other districts within its RESD,  the Regional Education Service District, to share their technology services.

Consolidation of technology includes workers.

Ken Chinavare is the director of technology for the Clare Gladwin RESD.

He said IT techs, maintenance and others will be centralized at the RESD.  

“One person for a school district is what a lot times a lot of schools used to have years ago and then they would add a couple more people here and there. But the problem is with the shrinking budgets that have been happening across the state and the federal for that matter, we just couldn’t afford to have all the people necessary in one school district to take care of all the technology.”   

Chinavare said one person in the Clare School District will be out of a job after the merger.

But he said there will be a job opening for repair technician at the RESD.

Justice: Challenge to EM law dragging on too long

By Rick Pluta

A Republican on the Michigan Supreme Court said a legal challenge to the state’s emergency manager law is dragging on too long. Justice Steven Markman is part of a four-judge Republican majority on the court.

Markman said the state’s highest court should take over the case and make a decision.

The Michigan Supreme Court has yet to rule on Governor Rick Snyder’s request to bypass lower courts and make a decision on whether the emergency manager law violates the state constitution. That request was made last summer. Opponents of the law say it robs local voters of the right to choose their leaders and violates nine clauses of the Michigan Constitution. If that’s true, said Justice Markman in a sharply worded dissent to a procedural order, the law needs to be struck down, and quickly. But, he said if the law is constitutional and necessary to ensure local governments remain solvent, that authority needs to be affirmed. There are two school districts and four cities in Michigan being run by emergency managers with sweeping authority under the year-old law.

Copyright 2010, MPRN