Teen driving cell phone ban becomes law

BY AMANDA HARRISON
Cell phone addicted kids will now have to curb their cravings if they want to get behind the wheel, or face a 100 dollar fine, starting yesterday.
The restriction known as Kelsey’s Law prohibits teens with probationary licences from using a cell phone while driving. 
The matter was brought to the attention of Republican State Senator Howard Walker, of Traverse City, by a mother who had lost her daughter in a cell phone caused crash in 2010. 
“I really felt like it was common sense and something that parent’s of new drivers would appreciate. I along with many others were really just one of Bonnie’s helpers, she was the driving force.” Walker said.
The law applies to probationary drivers with level 1 or 2 licenses. 
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Ferris State University’s video kids earn national recognition

BY JESI MUNGUIA
Ferris State University is on the national map for one of its undergrad programs.
The Digital Animation and Game Designs program was recently ranked in the Princeton Review as one of the top undergraduate schools to study video game design. 
The Princeton Review is based on a survey of 150 programs at institutions in the U.S. and Canada. Ferris State’s DAGD program made the “Honorable Mentions” list. 
Sandy Gholston, spokesperson for Ferris State University, said the program continues to grow, keeping both student and faculty standards high. 
“Because they continuing to grow their own skill set, that allows them to better to be able to instruct the students that we have. So it really is a matter of the faculty continuing to grow,to continue to stay on the cutting edge of what’s being done in animation and game design.” Gholston said. 
Gholston said too that the program at Ferris will continue to grow along with the game design and animation industry.  

Police focusing on education, not enforcement, with teen driver cell phone ban

BY JAKE NEHER
Michigan Public Radio Network
The state’s new cell phone ban for drivers under the age of 17 takes effect Thursday. 
Police say the law is more about education than enforcement.
Don’t expect to see a flood of added patrols looking for teens on their cell phones. Michigan police say the ban is a tool to educate kids about the dangers of distracted driving. 
Some local officials say the law will be hard to enforce. They say it means having to judge someone’s age based on how they look.
But Michigan State Police Lieutenant Mike Shaw said there are a lot of ways to enforce the ban.
“Our troopers are pretty smart guys out there, and gals. And they can take a look at somebody and decide if they should be talking on a cell phone or not.” Shaw said.
The state is also launching a public information campaign to go along with the new law. It will include billboards, brochures, and posters urging teens to put down their phones while driving.
Copyright 2013, MPRN

Michigan is officially a right-to-work state

BY RICK PLUTA
Michigan Public Radio Network
Michigan is officially a right-to-work state. That means, as existing union contracts expire, workers can opt out of paying dues and fees.
Defenders and opponents of the law marked the day in different ways.
This was the state Capitol last December as the Legislature debated and voted on right-to-work.
“Kill the bill!”
And this was the steps of the Capitol as the clock struck noon on the day the law took effect.
About 30 protesters, many with tape over their mouths, held a silent vigil.
GM worker and union member Brett Brown was one of them. He said unions will use the courts and the ballot to try to get the law reversed. 
“Right to work is temporary.” Brown said.
Brown said right-to-work’s not fair because people can opt out of paying union dues, but, by law, cannot be denied union protection.
  
“Everyone is going to realize, wow, this really was good for the worker because it made unions stronger in the long run.” Bowman said.
Terry Bowman of Union Conservatives said that’s because unions will have to compete for workers’ loyalty and dues. 
Copyright 2013, MPRN

Gov. Snyder approves funding for emergency harbor dredging

BY JAKE NEHER
Michigan Public Radio Network
Close to 60 Michigan harbors should be dredged in time for the summer boating season. That’s according to Governor Rick Snyder, who approved funding for the projects Wednesday.
The governor signed legislation to pay more than 20 million dollars to dredge public harbors, create a loan program for private marinas, and to speed up the permitting process for dredging. 
Snyder said it’s a response to record-low water levels in the Great Lakes, which are making it difficult for ships and boaters to get in and out of harbors.
“Michigan has the third highest number of registered boats of any state in the nation. And we love our boats, and we love our waterways, and our opportunities to do boating.” Snyder said.
Snyder said low water levels are also a threat to the state’s shipping and tourism industries.
State lawmakers are still debating ways to pay for long-term dredging projects if lake levels don’t improve. Governor Snyder said he hopes emergency harbor maintenance won’t become a yearly problem.
Copyright 2013, MPRN

Michigan becomes nation’s 24th right-to-work state

BY RICK PLUTA
Michigan Public Radio Network
Michigan officially becomes a right-to-work state Thursday.
There’s still plenty of fights left over the new law that says employees cannot be required to pay union dues or fees. 
Some Republicans are threatening budget sanctions for public employers that have signed extended labor bargains that would delay the effects of the law. 
Labor groups plan to mark the day with protests and vigils, including one at the state Capitol. Governor Rick Snyder said he’s not concerned.
“Sometimes change is difficult for people and I appreciate that. But we need to keep moving forward and we’re showing progress, and I think you’re going to see a continuation of that progress.” Snyder said.
“This is a sad day, but it’s just another day in a continuing fight. This isn’t over with.” Pratt said.
That’s Doug Pratt of the Michigan Education Association. There are at least three legal challenges to the law pending. And Democrats say right-to-work will be a big issue in elections next year. 
Copyright 2013, MPRN

CMU Percussion Ensemble to be featured on Central Stage

Next time on Central Stage, the CMU Percussion Ensemble, directed by Dr. Andrew Spencer, brings us a program of works that will include a composition by CMU’s Dr. David Gillingham; the Concerto for Piano and Percussion Ensemble. Andrew Spencer describes the concerto.

Join us for this exciting performance of David Gillingham’s Concerto for Piano and Percussion Ensemble, featuring faculty pianist Dr. Alexandra Mascolo-David and the CMU Percussion Ensemble, this week on Central Stage, Thursday at 3 p.m..