Category: News Briefs Written by WWJ
DETROIT (CW50) New Year’s is almost here, which means it’s time to set those annual resolutions — and try, once again, to stick to them.
Make the first day of the new year a fresh start toward a practical and more manageable fitness program by joining representatives from the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Michigan Recreation and Park Association (MRPA) and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM) for special “Shoe Year’s Day” snowshoe and hiking events taking place in state and local community parks and recreation areas across Michigan on Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013.
Strap on a pair of snowshoes or lace up the hiking boots and join other fitness-minded individuals for the “Shoe Year’s Day” treks. Participants will receive healthy lifestyle tips from local experts, enjoy healthy refreshments and have the opportunity to make an official pledge to get Fresh Air Fit this year.
“Local parks and recreation departments provide affordable, accessible places for people to be active,” said Michigan Recreation and Park Association Chief Operating Officer Ann Conklin. “From trails and parks to local community centers and pools, to health and wellness programs and activities, there are endless opportunities to get fit and healthy through your local parks and recreation departments.”
“Our second annual ‘Shoe Year’s Day’ activities are our way of luring Michigan residents off the couch by offering healthy outdoor alternatives to a day traditionally spent in front of the TV,” said DNR Parks and Recreation Division Chief Ron Olson.
“We feel it’s important for Michigan residents to remember that many of our state parks and recreation areas are open all winter, and our staff is busy grooming the parks for activities such as cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and winter hiking. We hope that ‘Shoe Year’s Day’ inspires participants to get outside even during winter, so that exercising in natural surroundings will become, well, second nature,” Olson said.
Enjoying winter sportsand activities among some of the most beautiful scenery in Michigan offers extra benefits to health-conscious individuals. Studies show that exercising in a natural setting improves not only physical conditioning, but also helps improve mental attitudes by relieving stress and reducing depression. “Plus it’s less expensive than a gym membership,” Olson said. “A half-hour on a treadmill can get you fit, but think about what a half-hour hiking through a quiet winter woods can do to not only increase physical stamina, but to lift the spirits as well.”
“No one can deny the benefits of physical activity,” said Bridget G. Hurd, director of Community Responsibility for BCBSM. “However, when the winter months come along, we are less motivated to get outdoors and exercise. ’Shoe Years Day’ is an exciting program that encourages residents to get outdoors, engage in physical activity, and enjoy the natural wonders that our state and local parks offer.”
All “Shoe Year’s Day” events are free, and snowshoes will be available on loan at most locations. A Recreation Passport is required for vehicles entering all Michigan state parks and recreation areas. For a list of “Shoe Year’s Day” activities, visit: www.michigan.gov/stateparks.
More outdoor fun and exercise is available through the DNR’s Recreation 101 program, which provides expert instruction to budding outdoor enthusiasts by offering free, hands-on training in over 50 different activities. Learn about participating or becoming an instructor, at www.michigan.gov/rec101. The DNR also offers ongoing nature programming; check out the schedule at http://www.michigan.gov/natureprograms” href=”http://links.govdelivery.com:80/track?type=click&enid=ZWFzPTEmbWFpbGluZ2lkPTIwMTIxMjE4LjEzNTgwMjQxJm1lc3NhZ2VpZD1NREItUFJELUJVTC0yMDEyMTIxOC4xMzU4MDI0MSZkYXRhYmFzZWlkPTEwMDEmc2VyaWFsPTE3MzE3NTgxJmVtYWlsaWQ9cHVibGljYWZmYWlyc0B3a2JkdHYuY29tJnVzZXJpZD1wdWJsaWNhZmZhaXJzQHdrYmR0di5jb20mZmw9JmV4dHJhPU11bHRpdmFyaWF0ZUlkPSYmJg==&&&109&&&http://www.michigan.gov/natureprograms?source=govdelivery”>http://www.michigan.gov/natureprograms.
The Recreation Passport is an easy, affordable way for residents to enjoy and support outdoor recreation opportunities in Michigan. By checking “YES” for the $10* Recreation Passport ($5 for motorcycles) when renewing a license plate through the Secretary of State (by mail, kiosk, online at www.expresssos.com or at branch offices), Michigan motorists get access to state parks, recreation areas, state forest campgrounds, non-motorized state trailhead parking and state boat launches. In addition, Recreation Passport holders can experience real savings at businesses and retailers that participate in the Passport Perks discount program. The Recreation Passport is valid until the next license plate renewal date. Nonresidents can purchase the Recreation Passport ($29 annual; $8 daily) at any state park or recreation area or through the Michigan e-Store at www.michigan.gov/estore. *Starting Jan. 2, 2013, the purchase price of the Recreation Passport is $11 for Michigan residents.
Learn more about this creative way of sustaining Michigan’s outdoor recreation and natural resources at www.michigan.gov/recreationpassport. For information on Passport Perks shopping discounts or how businesses and retailers can enroll in the program, visit www.michigan.gov/passportperks.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 26 December 2012 09:55
Category: News Briefs Written by Matt Roush, WWJ
SOUTHFIELD — The holidays are a time of cheer, but they can also be a time for battling traffic and bad weather on the road. Staying safe should be a top priority for all travelers so Better Business Bureau of Detroit and Eastern Michigan recommends taking a few precautions when hitting the road this holiday.
“Before hitting the roads, give your car the attention that it needs,” said Patrick Bennett, BBB Director of Community Relations. “Make sure you are well-equipped and know where to turn should the unexpected happen.”
BBB recommends taking the following steps for safe driving this holiday season:
* Create a car safety kit. Holiday driving often includes the threat of dangerous winter weather. Snow and ice lead to accidents, car troubles, long delays and road closures. You can prepare for bad weather by creating your own safety kit. Basics for the kit include blankets, flashlight with extra batteries, radio, first aid kit, jumper cables, non-perishable foods like granola bars and nuts, bottled water, an ice scraper and warm gloves.
* Take the car in for a checkup. Breaking down on the side of the road can definitely put a damper on the holiday spirit. If your car is due for a check up, take it in before making that long haul. At the very least, check the car’s fluid levels, wipers and tire pressure. Check the condition of your tires and, if you plan on driving through serious winter weather, consider getting snow tires.
* Take BBB with you. When you’re away from home or in the midst of an emergency, it’s hard to know which businesses — such as tow trucks and locksmiths — you can trust. The good news is you can now rely on BBB’s mobilized website or the BBB iPhone App. for finding businesses you can trust when you’re away from your computer.
* Start early and slow down. The best way to fight holiday traffic is to give yourself some extra time to make the trip, and don’t speed. Speeding leads to accidents, which slow traffic and cause bottlenecks. Also, if you’re caught speeding by law enforcement, that adds travel time and puts a dent in your holiday spending.
* Drop the distractions. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, drivers who use hand-held devices are four times as likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves. When you’re behind the wheel, don’t text and drive, use a hands free headset when talking on the phone, and get someone else to fumble with the GPS.
Last Updated on Monday, 24 December 2012 11:34
Category: News Briefs Written by David Sands, Huffington Post
Charter schools could be the next frontier for Michigan teacher's unions determined to keep organizing in the wake of recent right-to-work legislation signed by Gov. Rick Snyder.
Teachers and staff seeking to unionize several Detroit charters rallied in the pouring rain Thursday at a school on the city's southwest side to make their case for collective bargaining. The wet, umbrella-toting crowd, which totaled about 250 people, was a mix of parents, community supporters and school employees.
They gathered to publicize a request for a union election filed that day with the National Labor Relations Board. The campaign involves four campuses of the Cesar Chavez Academy, a charter which has been operating in Detroit for around 15 years. The academy's schools, named after the famous Latino labor leader, are run by the Leona Group, a charter operator that runs more than 60 schools in Arizona, Florida, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio.
If the union drive succeeds employees would be represented by the Michigan Alliance of Charter Teachers & Staff, a group affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and the AFL-CIO. Currently only one charter school in the state is organized under the AFT. It's the second attempt to formally unionize Cesar Chavez Academy in recent years. A 2006 effort to hold a union election through the Michigan Employment Relations Commission (MERC) fell flat -- with MERC finding that the charter school workers didn't qualify as public employees and dismissing the petition.
Organizers with the current campaign say a clear majority of the academy's staff have signed on in favor of a union. Their employer, however, isn't quite as enthusiastic. A recent request for immediate union recognition was declined by the charter operator.
Leona Group spokesman Mike Atkins told the Huffington Post they had received the letter and explained their reasons for rejecting the offer.
"We think that the system, the process that's set up by the National Labor Relations Board for secret ballot elections giving every employee the opportunity to cast the ballot without anybody standing over their shoulder or pushing them in any particular direction is an important right," he said. "We thought it's gone really well for them, but if they think there are some issues that need collective bargaining that's perfectly all right to do so -- and the election will indicate that."
Atkins expects a union election to held within 45 days of the NLRB request.
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Last Updated on Monday, 24 December 2012 11:15
Category: News Briefs Written by WWJ
WARREN (WWJ) - The city of Warren plans to hire 18 new firefighters by early spring 2013.
Fire Commissioner Skip McAdams says the city was won a $3 million grant from FEMA and it will make a big difference.
“It’s very rare that excitement has caused me to get a headache – but I haven’t had this much excitement professionally in a while,” said McAdams.
He said through attrition they’ve dropped from 145 in 2009, down to 119 in 2012.
“Residents will see improved response times, they will see additional manpower on the scene and they’ll see levels of service that they had come to expect prior to 2009,” said McAdams.
During the recession, the city lost 26 firefighters, yet McAdams said they now handle about 3,000 more runs a year.
The hiring is expected to take place by early March.
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Last Updated on Monday, 24 December 2012 10:58
Category: News Briefs Written by WWJ
DETROIT (CBS Detroit) The wings may be finger food, but the footprint of the newest Buffalo Wild Wings in the chain will be astronomical — and it’s right here in Detroit.
The 12,000 square-foot restaurant, reportedly the largest Buffalo Wild Wings ever, opens at noon Sunday.
It will take over the old Temple of Oddfellows Building on Randolph in Detroit, on the border between Greektown and Campus Martius. It’s a stone’s throw from the big Christmas tree and skating rink that are bringing families to Detroit from all around the metro area this time of year.
Bagger Dave’s is opening next door. On three floors, the new Buffalo Wild Wings will seat more than 400 people and have a separate banquet room for parties. Boasting 95 TVs, Detroit sports teams dominate the decor at the newest site.
Brick walls, exposed 150-year-old wooden beams and a replica of the tiger that stands at Comerica Park will give it a unique look.
The new facility comes courtesy of Southfield-based Diversified Restaurant Holdings, which has 31 other Buffalo Wild Wings in Michigan and Florida.
“Literally, my broker and I have been working on this for 3½ years,” Ansley said in an interview earlier this year with Crain’s Detroit. “I knew I wanted to be down there, but what sold me was when I went there a couple years ago, sitting in Campus Martius, looking at that building. That is what sold me.”
Last Updated on Friday, 21 December 2012 10:27
Category: News Briefs Written by David Sands
For many families in Southeast Michigan the reopening of Detroit's science museum may be the most anticipated event of the season. Visitors will have a chance to check out two special traveling exhibits as well as old favorites. The institution will be officially reopening as the Michigan Science Center on Dec. 26 with special holiday hours.
"I'm so happy that it's reopening. The idea of losing the science center for this community was absolutely terrifying," Patience Young of Detroit told The Huffington Post. Young, 23, had purchased a membership shortly before the institution closed and now plans on visiting with her boyfriend and his nine-year-old son.
The museum, formerly known as the Detroit Science Center, closed in September of 2011 as a result of severe financial issues. Since that time it has reorganized with a new board and support from a variety of different donors.
Visitors got a special sneak peak of the revamped museum during Midtown Detroit's annual Noel Night event, but the day after Christmas will be the first chance most people will have to experience the science center in over a year.
The highlight of this season's opening is a special traveling exhibit called "Bodies Human: Anatomy in Motion." It features a number of preserved human bodies in various states of detail, from complete skeletal and muscular structures to smaller cutaways of organs.
All the specimens on display come from real people, who were preserved by a process called plastination that replaces human tissue with a special type of plastic. They have all been posed in realistic position to display the human body in various states of motion. Two of the more fascinating parts of the exhibit are a display of sliced cross-sections of human bodies and a collection that feature systems of blood vessels.
Todd Slisher, Director of Visitor Experiences, told the Huffington Post "Bodies Human" is quite different from the other types of galleries found at the museum.
"It's not a hands-on exhibit. It's something we are very cognizant that we have to be very respectful [towards]," he said. "It really contributes to our learning and understanding of how our body works."
Right now the museum also has a smaller traveling exhibit that's more hands-on. It's set inside a thrumming chamber and called "Diabetes: A Deeper Look." Both "Bodies Human" and "Diabetes" run through late May.
The newly rebuilt museum also features a number of reconfigured older museum staples and newer "Health and Nutrition" and "Roads, Bridges and Tunnels" exhibits, both built shortly before last year's closing.
As in the past, the science center also offers several stages and theaters that allow museum-goers to explore science, technology, engineering and math in a dynamic learning environment. It's worth noting, however, that the new museum has a different pricing structure that now allow visitors to attend IMAX and Planetarium shows by paying a small amount in addition to general admission.
Although the science center officially opens on Dec. 26, members will be able to attend a special preview of "Bodies Human" on Dec. 20 from 4 to 9 p.m. Science center officials say memberships will be available for purchase for the preview. For more information visit www.michigansciencecenter.net. For a special HuffPost sneak preview of the newly reopened museum, see the slides below.
Last Updated on Friday, 21 December 2012 10:19
Category: News Briefs Written by WWJ
SOUTHFIELD (WWJ) - The city of Detroit is turning red to raise awareness of the final days metro Detroiters can donate to The Salvation Army’s 2012 Red Kettle Campaign, which ends when red kettles leave storefronts across metro Detroit on Christmas Eve.
“We invite everyone to rally together with us to Paint the City Red in support of our 2012 Red Kettle mission,” Major Mark Anderson said in a statement. “This is the home stretch of our campaign and we’re relying on the community to help us reach our $8.5 million goal.”
The second annual Paint the City Red celebration kicked off at 12:01 a.m. Monday, Dec. 17 when the General Motors Renaissance Center began glowing red.
On Friday, Dec. 21, others in Detroit will join the Paint the City Red campaign, such as:
• The Compuware and Chase Buildings will join the Renaissance Center in sporting a rosy glow.
• Several of Detroit’s most beloved churches will simultaneously ring their bells for one minute at 9:50 a.m. Scheduled to ring are: Cathedral of St. Paul, Mariner’s Church of Detroit, Old St. Mary’s, St. Bonaventure, St. Florian, St. Francis D’Assisi, St. John’s Episcopal and St. Joseph Sweetest Heart of Mary.
• Bell ringers will man red kettles throughout the workday at the Griswold Street entrance of the historic Guardian Building in the heart of downtown Detroit’s central business district.
The centerpiece of the Paint the City Red observance is a lunchtime celebration in Campus Martius Park from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Friday. The celebration will include a bell-ringing competition, a variety of food trucks, appearances by the Detroit Tigers’ mascot Paws and the Detroit Lions’ mascot Roary, appearances by cast members of “Jersey Boys,” and a live performance by The Salvation Army Brass Band.
In addition, the Campus Martius Park ice rink will be hopping from noon to 1 p.m. for open skating.
WWJ Newsradio 950 will be at the heart of all the action in Campus Martius Park from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
To make a tax-deductible contribution to The Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign:
• Drop a donation into one of nearly 450 red kettles at storefronts across metro Detroit through Dec. 24, or Christmas week at area Kroger and Busch Fresh Food Market locations, which will continue hosting red kettles through Dec. 29.
• Visit www.salmich.org
• Call 877-SAL-MICH
• Text “GOODMICH” TO 80888 (an automatic $10 donation)
• Send a check or money order, made payable to The Salvation Army, to: 16130 Northland Dr., Southfield, MI 48075
Last Updated on Friday, 21 December 2012 09:46
Category: News Briefs Written by Marie Osborne, WWJ
OAKLAND COUNTY (WWJ) Seniors in South Oakland County who are faced with having to turn over their car keys now have a new option to remain mobile.
Independent Transportation Network, a national nonprofit transportation network, opened operations earlier this year as the first business of its kind. The New York Times called ITN “A nonprofit that reinvisions the accepted ideas of transit for the elderly.”
Executive Director Lori Fidler said for many seniors a car is a lifeline.
“If you give up your car keys, you give up a life, it’s really difficult to even think about doing the most simple things, grocery shopping, getting your hair done, socializing,” Fidler said.
Seniors can get a ride 24 hours a day, seven days a week for a small fee. Blanch Pollack, 84, of Southfield, said the program has given her a new lease on life. It’s meant as a low-costoption, saying 46 percent of customers have an annual income of less than $25,000.
“I don’t want to curdle up and die, I want to keep going like the Energizer bunny,” Pollack said.
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Last Updated on Thursday, 20 December 2012 09:48
Category: News Briefs Written by WWJ
DETROIT (WWJ) - It’s looking like a white Christmas is pretty much a sure thing in parts of northern Michigan, where a Winter Storm Warning takes effect Thursday morning.
AccuWeather’s Dave Bowers said storm in the southern plains will be cutting up though the western Great Lakes, putting down a mantle of heavy snow from Colorado all the way to northern Michigan.
Bowers said the Upper Peninsula, as well as northern and northwestern parts of lower Michigan, will see easily 6 to 12 inches; some spots could end up with more than a foot of snow.
“They’re gonna get hammered up there. It’ll actually be blizzard conditions for a time because on the back side of that storm the wind is going to be very, very strong,” Bowers said.
That National Weather Service says Thursday afternoon into Friday morning, heavy, wet snow will occur in the greatest amounts will be in the higher terrain from the Huron Mountains to Ishpeming, Negaunee and Gwinn. Winds out of the north could gust up to 40 mph late Thursday afternoon through early Friday morning, mainly near Lake Superior, resulting in areas of blowing snow
The combination of snow and blowing snow will result in very difficult driving conditions. with reduced visibilities and snow-covered roadways in upper Michigan. The Winter Storm Warning will be in effect from 7 a.m. Thursday until 1 p.m. Friday.
Here in metro Detroit, Bower said we will see rain on Thursday which could change to snow Thursday night, leaving a coating of maybe inch. Snow showers and strong winds are in the forecast for Friday and, according to Bowers, there’s about a 50-50 we’ll have a white Christmas this year in Southeast Michigan.
Last Updated on Thursday, 20 December 2012 03:11
Category: News Briefs Written by WWJ
Southfield (WWJ)- Thousands of students will have an extra long holiday break after school administrators in at least two Michigan counties decided to cancel classes because of talk surrounding the shootings in Newtown, Connecticut and rumors connected to the Mayan calendar predicting the end of the world.
Five districts in Lapeer County and 20 districts in Genesee County posted announcements Wednesday evening cancelling classes Thursday and Friday.
“Given the recent events in Connecticut, there have been numerous rumors circulating in our district, and in neighboring districts, about potential threats of violence against students. Additionally, rumors connected to the Mayan calendar predicted end of the world on Friday have also surfaced,” a letter from Matt Wandrie, Superintendent
of Lapeer Community Schools said.
“These rumors of violence have been thoroughly investigated and determined to be false. There have been no credible threats made against any of our students. However, these rumors have been a serious distraction for students, teachers, administrators, and parents. Therefore, given the significant disruption to the teaching and learning process, I have decided, along with my fellow superintendents of Lapeer County, to cancel school for both Thursday, December 20th, and Friday, December 21st,” the letter said.
All after school extracurricular events, programs and athletic contests and practices are also cancelled.
Wandrie’s letter weconcluded by saying although administrators are reluctant to cancel school because the rumors are unsubstantiated, they felt it was ”the most appropriate decision given the gravity of recent events and our present circumstances.”
In other districts, such as Fraser and Livonia, extra police officers will be patrolling near schools.
Last Updated on Thursday, 20 December 2012 03:04
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