Category: Breaking News Written by Huffington Post
A five-day strike at a Detroit wastewater treatment facility is over, according to the union local responsible for the action. AFSCME Local 207 announced in a release Thursday that its executive board had voted to end the strike. They also said that 36 workers slated to be fired for participating in the walkout would be reinstated. The department had given workers suspended for striking until Oct. 5 to request a hearing to appeal their terminations.
Members of the union left their posts and started a picket line Sunday morning to protest proposed job cuts and to encourage Detroit residents and other union members to fight for better living conditions. In September, the Detroit Board of Water Commissioners approved a four-year $48 million no-bid contract with the Minnesota-based consulting firm EMA, which has proposed cutting the department's staff by 81 percent.
“This is a victory for the City of Detroit because it has set the precedent that unions, the community and the City of Detroit can stand up against the whole array of powers-that-be and win.” AFSCME Local 207 President John Riehl said in a release.
U.S. District Court Judge Sean Cox had issued a temporary restraining order Monday morning preventing union members and anyone else from interfering with the water department's operations. Attorneys with the union responded that Cox's order was illegal because of his prior involvement with the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD). The local's lawyers are scheduled to appear in the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals next Tuesday to challenge an order concerning DWSD labor relations issued by Cox last year. The DWSD has been under federal supervision since 1977 due to a lawsuit related to compliance with the Clean Water Act.
On Tuesday AFSCME Council 25 broke ranks with the local, urging workers to comply with Judge Cox's temporary restraining order.
According to the Detroit News, sludge hauling trucks had refused to cross the union picket early on in the strike and smokestacks had idled, indicating a low rate of waste processing.
Water department spokeswoman Mary Alfonso told the News Wednesday that the facility was compliant and that operational water quality was good.
80 percent of workers on the plant's afternoon shift had checked into work on Wednesday, the Detroit Free Press reports citing state monitors.
The city's water department provides drinking water to 4.3 million residents in Detroit and 126 neighboring Southeast Michigan communities.
A spokesperson with the city did not respond to requests for comment in time to be included in this article.
Last Updated on Monday, 08 October 2012 10:33
Category: News Briefs Written by WWJ
DETROIT (WWJ) Tamela Wells, 29, was last seen at 9:30 p.m. Aug. 6, 2012 in the 19700 block of Appleton. She was driving her vehicle, a white, four-door Pontiac Grand Prix.
Her car has been recovered, but she is still missing.
There’s no evidence of a crime, but no one has heard from or seen her since, which makes no sense to friends, family and her boyfriend Rickey Tennant.
Wells is 5 foot-6 inches tall, weighs 150 pounds, has brown eyes, black hair, and medium complexion. She was last seen wearing a white shirt, and blue jean shorts with a cuff. She is in good mental and physical condition.
If anyone has seen Tamela Wells, please contact the Criminal Investigations at 313-596-5240.
Last Updated on Monday, 08 October 2012 09:56
Category: Breaking News Written by Huffington Post
When Lauren Bigelow drove into downtown Detroit last year for a dinner event at the historic Madison building, she witnessed a surprising sight. As she passed through areas where the automotive industry decline and the economic recession hit hardest, and through neighborhoods where property values had fallen 80 percent over the course of three years, she looked up and saw a light on the horizon -- literally.
Less than a mile away from the Madison, the lights of Comerica Park were on, illuminating the stadium's all-brick exterior, the giant stone tigers with baseballs in their teeth, and all of downtown Detroit, weeks after the baseball season had ended.
Bigelow was driving in with the team organizing the Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition. The competition is one of many efforts to jumpstart the state's recovery, and it was the host of the VIP dinner party at the Madison that evening. Bigelow later learned that through mutual connections between supporters of the competition and the stadium owner, the lights had been turned on specifically for the event.
"It was really cool that two billionaires would help each other out like that for a business competition," Bigelow said. "It just showed the camaraderie and companionship we have built around revitalizing the city and the region."
Bigelow is the CEO of the Growth Capital Network and the executive director of the innovation competition, which awards students and later-stage entrepreneurial companies prizes of $25,000 and $500,000 respectively to catalyze their ideas and companies.
"We're looking for those companies for which the prize is going to be nitrous in their tank," Bigelow said. "We're hoping that the companies that get that infusion of cash will also get the visibility and the platform for more interest from investors."
The student portion of the competition is run around ideas, Bigelow said, and doesn't require submissions to have a concrete product yet. Students who have a great idea can submit it for consideration, get experience presenting in front of judges, and connect with other resources that will be valuable in the future.
"We really want them to find a love match," Bigelow said. "A mentor relationship, or maybe a potential investor who could help get an idea off the ground so when they graduate, they can start their business and have a network around them."
The second part of the competition is for later-stage entrepreneurial companies that already have a prototype or business plan. "The focus of the company competition is to get their pitches polished, get them more practice in front of venture capitalists, feedback on a national scale, and getting the companies networked in," Bigelow said.
By having both students and later-stage startups involved, the competition is able to help companies that are at various stages along the "food chain of entrepreneurship," as Bigelow calls it.
Bigelow started the competition after being approached by the heads of two local organizations focused on spurring growth in the area, the New Economy Initiative for Southeast Michigan and Ann Arbor SPARK. Unbeknownst to the two organizations, a group called the Business Leaders for Michigan was trying to organize a similar competition at the same time.
"Both forces were trying to do the same thing," Bigelow recalled. "They decided to convene and partner and start the competition together."
It wasn't the last coalition forged via the Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition.
Last year, the competition received a three-year grant from the State of Michigan's Economic Development Corporation to form a public-private partnership. The competition is now made up of a variety of different players in the community who are all working together to re-establish Michigan as a thriving, innovative area.
"It's a really unique blend of corporate foundations, Universities, incubators, accelerators and the State," Bigelow said. "[The mix] is really powerful."
Last Updated on Monday, 08 October 2012 09:48
Category: Breaking News Written by Huffington Post
While Friday's news that the overall unemployment rate dropped to 7.8 percent generated headlines and unfounded conservative allegations that the monthly jobs report had been rendered rosy in a conspiracy to improve Obama's election chances, two little-reported measures do indicate that Obama's odds may be improving.
The nation's Latino and black unemployment rates -- both so critically elevated since the recession began that they have together kept the nation's overall unemployment rate far above a level most economists consider healthy -- also declined. In fact, Latino and black unemployment fell at a sharper clip than did that of white workers and the total workforce nearly reaching multi-year lows.
In September, 9.4 percent of Latino workers, 2.3 million men and women, remained jobless. That's down from the 10.1 percent or 2.45 million workers who were unable to find jobs the month before. The September jobs report brought Latino unemployment near a level unseen since 2008.
Black workers saw even bigger jobs gains. In September, 13.4 percent of black workers, or 2.44 million people, remained out of work. That's an improvement over the 14.5 percent of black workers, or 2.68 million black men and women who sought work in August but were unable to find it. September job gains pushed black unemployment down, quite close, to a level unseen since 2009.
Comparable data for white workers showed that the group's unemployment rate fell to 6.8 percent, meaning about 8.37 million white men and women were unable to find jobs, compared to 7.2 percent of white workers or 8.95 million people stuck in the same position in August.
While the September jobs report includes some good news, it also paints a picture of an economy in continued convalecense. Many of the workers who found jobs were hired to work part-time hours despite wanting full-time work. Low-wage industries have also added far more jobs since the recession than those that pay workers moderate and high wages. The job market has been particularly hard on minority families reducing all sorts of measures of household economic well being, including homeownership, median wages, wealth and employer-provided health insurance.
Given that no president seeking re-election has ever managed to retain his job with an unemployment rate above 8.0 percent, the September jobs report may prove be a boon to the Obama campaign. The drop in both Latino and black unemployment could also silence or at least tamp down administration critics who say that Obama has refused to propose or initiate targeted minority job-creation programs out of fear that the administration will be accused of favoring or somehow attempting to give an advantage to Latino and black workers.
Earlier this week, Fox News and The Drudge Report claimed that video of a 2007 speech in which Obama talked about the way that public policy and spending can influence -- if not shape the economic fortunes of communities -- was evidence of his biases and interest in creating racially-divisive programs.
In the video candidate Obama pointed out different levels of federal aid brought to bear after hurricanes struck areas populated mostly by white Americans and black Americans and talked about the critical need to enhance public transportation systems in order to help workers who live in the nation’s biggest cities reach jobs in the suburbs. Many of these workers are black and Latino and do not have their own cars. Since taking office, Obama has argued that general efforts to stimulate the economy and facilitate private sector hiring will, ultimately, benefit all workers.
Friday's job news may also be a boon to Obama in another way. Hispanic voters have consistently ranked jobs and the state of the economy as a top concern in national polls. Both the Obama and Romney campaigns have openly courted the Latino vote this election cycle because Hispanics comprise the fastest-growing segment of the electorate.
Last Updated on Monday, 08 October 2012 09:33
Category: Breaking News Written by Huffington Post
Another Black Editor Hire At Condé Nast
Major hire alert!
We were thrilled a few weeks ago when Condé Nast announced the hire of its first-ever African American editor-in-chief, Keija Minor at Brides, and now comes news that Elaine Welteroth has been tapped as the new Beauty and Health Director at Teen Vogue.
Although the lack of diversity within the publishing industry remains, it's hires like these that provide a little more light at the end of the tunnel.
"We live in a multi-cultural world, so embracing diversity is important in every industry," Welteroth told Fashionista.com. "As it's related to publishing, I think magazines really benefit from having a staff with a range of different perspectives and cultural references so that any reader can feel like there is someone on the masthead they can relate to, someone they can trust to speak up for them. It’s great to see that idea being embraced more and more."
Welteroth will officially settle into her new gig on October 15, after wrapping up her current role as Senior Beauty Editor at Glamour (where she landed just one year ago after serving as the Beauty and Style editor at EBONY). The torch is being passed to Welteroth by Eva Chen, who became a mini Teen Vogue celeb for the brand in the Beauty and Health director role. Chen's popularity in the position is a credit to her 36,000+ Twitter followers and 24,000+ Instagram fans. Those are pretty high stilettos to fill, but we're sure Welteroth will fit them well.
Welteroth's move from Glamour to Teen Vogue doesn't require too much change in terms of job responsibilities--writing, editing, shooting, market work and covering all the social networks--however she will now be spouting advice to teens and dealing with the business side of publishing thanks to that "director" title.
And how did the curly-top cutie land this plum position?
"It’s all about preparation meeting the opportunity at the right time," Welteroth said. "I had the chance to learn from some really talented people who have taught me a lot. So, this next step is sort of the culmination of a lot of work, great mentorship, and perfect timing."
Last Updated on Monday, 08 October 2012 09:27
Category: News Briefs Written by WWJ
DETROIT (WWJ) – The average price for a gallon of gas in Michigan is 3.1 cents higher this week than it was last week.
According to AAA Michigan, the statewide average is now $3.91 per gallon. That’s 52.8 cents more than it was at the same time last year.
Following is a list of average gas prices in several cities across Michigan:
AAA surveys 2,800 Michigan gas stations daily. To find the cheapest gas nationwide, go to AAA.com and look for AAA Fuel Price Finder.
Last Updated on Monday, 08 October 2012 09:22
Category: News Briefs Written by WWJ
DETROIT (WWJ) – General Motors and the State of Michigan are expected to announce details on 2,000 new hi-tech jobs being created by GM in Michigan, with 1,500 of them coming to the Warren Tech Center.
GM is out to bring more of its information technology operations in-house. Right now, most of the company’s IT is handled outside the automaker. To that end, GM is spending $300 million on new IT innovation centers in Warren and in Austin, Texas.
About a third of the 1,500 jobs in Michigan may be made up of recent college graduates. The governor is happy about the new developments, seeing how it will make Michigan a bigger player in hi-tech, keep younger workers from moving away and even attract younger workers to the state.
Last Updated on Monday, 08 October 2012 09:15
Category: Breaking News Written by Huffingtonpost
WASHINGTON -- Following an unexpectedly strong jobs report Friday showing unemployment falling to 7.8 percent and 114,000 new jobs added, conservative media figures and one prominent business leader quickly latched on to conspiracy theories about the veracity of the numbers.
Call it jobs-numbers trutherism. And for the sake of historical record, its origin was a tweet from former General Electric CEO Jack Welch.
"Unbelievable jobs numbers..these Chicago guys will do anything..can't debate so change numbers," tweeted Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric.
The right-leaning Americans for Limited Government released a statement saying, "Either the Federal Reserve, which has its fingers on the pulse of every element of the economy, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics manufacturing survey report are grievously wrong or the number used to calculate the unemployment rate are wrong, or worse manipulated. Given that these numbers conveniently meet Obama's campaign promises one month before the election, the conclusions are obvious."
Economic journalist Stuart Varney said on Fox News, "There is widespread distrust of this report."
The numbers released just after 8:30 a.m. Friday differed from numbers released for months which offered a predictable pattern: sub-par job growth, an unchanged unemployment rate hovering above 8 percent, and more people dropping out of the labor force.
This report was different. There were upward revisions from July and August, more people started looking for work and the unemployment rate fell to a level matched by the period when President Barack Obama took office.
Conn Carroll, of the Washington Examiner, tweeted, "I don't think BLS cooked numbers. I think a bunch of Dems lied about getting jobs. That would have same effect.
Rick Santelli, the CNBC media personality, yelled, "I told you they'd get it under 8 percent -- they did! You can let America decide how they got there!"
Hilda Solis, the United States secretary of labor, said on CNBC that the notion that the numbers were being manipulated was "ludicrous."
Nevertheless, some groups stuck with the narrative that the economy isn't improving fast enough. The Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC primarily backed by GOP mega-donor Sheldon Adelson, launched a robocall attacking vulnerable House Democrats over the figures.
"I am calling on behalf of the Congressional Leadership Fund to tell you about the weak new jobs report," reads the script. "With just 114,000 jobs added, it's yet another failure of policies supported by Obama and Kathy Hochul. But we don't need a jobs report to know that these failed economic policies are hurting family's bottom lines. We've been buried in it."
UPDATE: 2:13 p.m. -- On Friday afternoon, White House spokesman Josh Earnest dismissed allegations that the numbers in the jobs report were tampered with for political gain, according to a pool report.
"They're utter nonsense," Earnest said while speaking with reporters aboard Air Force One en route to Cleveland. "Anybody, any serious person who has any familiarity with how these numbers are tabulated understands that these are career employees at the Bureau of Labor Statistics that are responsible for compiling and analyzing these numbers and they do that on their own."
UPDATE: 10:27 a.m. -- Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) joined in on the trutherism Friday on his Facebook page. "I agree with former GE CEO Jack Welch, Chicago style politics is at work here. Somehow by manipulation of data we are all of a sudden below 8 percent unemployment, a month from the Presidential election. This is Orwellian to say the least and representative of Saul Alinsky tactics from the book "Rules for Radicals"- a must read for all who want to know how the left strategize."
He went on, "Trust the Obama administration? Sure, and the spontaneous reaction to a video caused the death of our Ambassador......and pigs fly."
Last Updated on Friday, 05 October 2012 16:16
Category: Breaking News Written by Christy Strawser,WWJ
DETROIT (CBS Detroit) Those who have only witnessed his tense-faced courtroom demeanor may have forgotten something: Detroit’s former mayor Kwame Kilpatrick loves a laugh.
He loves joviality so much that Kilpatrick, who reportedly sweated through his custom-looking suit during testimony in his federal corruption trial Thursday, took a moment at the end of the day for a hearty social media guffaw.
In response to someone who Tweeted a message about “old lady” Emma Bell testifying that she pulled fundraising cash from her ample bra and handed it to the former mayor, Kwame wrote this: “If this case was in another State, not paid for by taxpayers, & my life was not on the line, this ish would be laughable.”
He was referencing what witnessed called a brutal day of testimony where Bell explained the $200,000 in kickbacks she said she was forced to hand over during the former mayor’s reign.
Kilpatrick’s defense attorneys have portrayed Bell as a convicted tax cheat and gambling addict with a drinking problem. In earlier testimony, it was revealed she had gambled $800,000 at Detroit’s Greektown Casino.
She pleaded guilty a year ago and agreed to testify against Kilpatrick in exchange for a lesser sentence, which has not yet been finalized.
Bell’s deals with Kilpatrick are part of the government’s broad case against the ex-mayor. Kilpatrick, his father and longtime friend Bobby Ferguson are on trial for suspicion of running a criminal enterprise out of the mayor’s office. They each face 30 years in prison.
Scandal followers will recall Kilpatrick’s downfall started with the Detroit Free Press outing sexy text messages between him and Chief Of Staff Christine Beatty, revealing the two had an affair and tried to cover it up by firing a police official who got too close to revealing the truth. It came to light after Kilpatrick had already testified he had no romantic relationship with Beatty, setting up his first trial for perjury.
He had a favorite tagline in the text messages: “LOL.”
Last Updated on Friday, 05 October 2012 15:58
Category: Breaking News Written by WWJ
DETROIT — (WWJ) Researchers, who have been working on some of General Motors most important long term technologies are being moved closer to home.
“General Motors notified employees today that we do plan to consolodate our fuel cell activities, that were taking place in Honeoye Falls, New York to our Global Powertrain Engineerning Headquarters in Pontiac,” said GM spokeswoman Kim Carpenter.
A lot has changed since those operations were set up in Honeoye Falls, just outside of Rochester, in the 90′s. That area was chosen because it was close to research and development of fuel cells, which create electricity by combining hydrogen and oxygen. At that time, fuel cells were large, expensive and not very reliable. More than a dozen years of research has created many prototype vehicles, with electric motors, powered by fuel cells.
It make sense, Carpenter says, to move research on this technology closer to other work being done on electric vehicles, and other alternative technologies.
“We think we’ll really be able to capitalize on the technical expertise of not only the fuel cell team, but our other engineering and research groups.”
GM will offer transfers to the 220 employees now working in New York.
Fuel cell powered vehicles were embraced by the Bush Administration as a long term alternative to gasoline powered vehicles. They’ve recieved less attention in recent years, as the Obama Administration placed its emphasis on electric vehicles. But, carcompanies have continued research on fuel cells. In fact, Toyota has promised to have a fuel cell powered vehicle on the road for the 2015 model year.
The cost of fuel cell technology has fallen in recent years, and recent advances have made fuel cells more reliable. But there remains the issue of a hydrogen infrastructure for refueling fuel cell powere vehicles.
GM’s fuel cell team has been working on these issues in New York. They will continue to seek savings and breakthroughs at their new operations in Pontiac.
“We think this decision has a lot of business advantages for the company,” Carpenter said. “Certainly it will be great to capitalize on all of the synergies of the technical expertise being in one location.”
Last Updated on Friday, 05 October 2012 15:53
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