Category: News Briefs Written by WWJ
LIVONIA (WWJ) -It’s one of the most sensitive topics heading into the holidays and those get-togethers with family and friends: How do you deal with someone coping with the loss of a loved one? Should you stick with the traditions that you had with that person?
Rebecca DeRaud, who is a grief counselor at Angela Hospice, said everyone handles things differently but change can really make a difference.
“Often times people will say ‘Well, you know, we just need to take a vacation and get away,’ or something like instead of doing dinner at Grandma’s they’ll go out to a restaurant. So, I think there are some people who are very rigid in their traditions and feel like they must keep those up, but I think for many people doing something different can be helpful,” said DeRaud.
The best advice DeRaud said she could give is to take it easy on yourself when you’re grieving and allow yourself to say “no” to things that may be too hard.
“There are people who want to isolate themselves, and then there are people who say they can be in a room with 100 people and still feel alone. It’s a hard balance and I think making sure that you’re taking care of yourself, especially in the cold and flu season, because usually people who are grieving, their immune system is down,” said DeRaud.
DeRaud said survivors often feel isolated after a loss and not quite sure where they fit in, but talking about those who have passed can make things easier.
“No one wants their loved one to be forgotten, we want them to be remembered forever. And so I would say that it’s very uncommon for someone to say to me ‘I don’t like to bring them up.’ The most frequent complain I hear is ‘No one talks about them anymore,’” said DeRaud.
DeRaud said she has found that the second holiday without a loved one is often more difficult than the first, when many people report they feel like they’re on “automatic pilot.”
Last Updated on Wednesday, 26 December 2012 10:09
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: Breaking News Written by CNN Staff
(CNN) -- A federal judge signed off on BP's settlement with businesses and people hard hit by the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier in New Orleans issued a 125-page ruling Friday night on a class-action suit. He gave the settlement preliminary approval in May and overruled questions and criticism of the agreement in his Friday ruling.
"None of the objections, whether filed on the objections docket or elsewhere, have shown the settlement to be anything other than fair, reasonable, and adequate," the ruling said. "The low numbers of objections and opt-outs are evidence of the settlement's fairness."
BP has estimated a settlement of about $7.8 billion paid from a $20 billion trust. Thousands of businesses and individuals made claims in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, some coastal counties in eastern Texas and western Florida and adjacent Gulf waters and bays.
With the exception of seafood claims, there is no cap on the amount BP will pay to those who agree to the settlement.
BP will pay $2.3 billion to commercial fishermen, seafood boat captains and crew, seafood vessel owners and oyster leaseholders.
The money represents "approximately five times the annual average industry gross revenue for 2007 to 2009 of the seafood industry in the region covered by the settlement agreement." It also "represents 19.2 times lost industry revenue in 2010," the ruling said.
The ruling notes that "the settlement program is processing claims in an "impressive fashion." By last month, 4,500 claims were processed per work.
BP said it is pleased the court approved the settlement "resolving the substantial majority of legitimate economic loss and property damage claims stemming from the Deepwater Horizon accident."
It called the decision "another important step forward for BP in meeting its commitment to economic and environmental restoration efforts in the Gulf and in eliminating legal risk facing the company."
"We believe the settlement, which avoids years of lengthy litigation, is good for the people, businesses and communities of the Gulf and is in the best interests of BP's stakeholders," it said in a statement.
Dean Blanchard, a shrimp processor in Grand Isle, Louisiana, said he opted out of the agreement. He said he wouldn't have gotten a fair amount of money and is planning his own lawsuit.
"BP is trying to make a one size fits all," he said, saying some people and businesses were hit worse than others and deserve more money. "It's not right."
The oil spill -- one of the worst in U.S. history -- began after a rig explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf. Eleven workers died.
Oil spewed into the sea for nearly three months before a cap was placed on the BP-owned Macondo well, nearly a mile beneath the surface.
The spill damaged coral reef formations, according to researchers. Scientists have previously confirmed that a plume of hydrocarbons from the well settled in the deep Gulf. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said about 59,200 barrels of oil a day flowed from the well.
Last month, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that BP will plead guilty to manslaughter charges stemming from the explosion and the spill. It agreed to pay $4.5 billion in government penalties.
Of those penalties, $4 billion will resolve criminal charges. An additional $525 million will be paid to resolve claims brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission that BP lied to investors by understating the amount of oil flowing into the Gulf.
Separate from the corporate manslaughter charges, a federal grand jury returned an indictment charging the two highest-ranking BP supervisors on board the Deepwater Horizon on the day of the explosion with 23 criminal counts.
The two men were charged with seaman's manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter for each of the 11 men killed in the blast, as well as a criminal violation of the clean water act.
The Justice Department in September also accused BP of gross negligence and a "culture of corporate recklessness" in a federal court filing, which expanded the company's liability. A major civil trial is set to take place in New Orleans in February.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 26 December 2012 09:52
Category: Breaking News Written by Britney Spear
(CNN) -- A sniper who ambushed volunteer firefighters in upstate New York on Monday, killing two and seriously wounding two others, left a note saying he hoped to burn down his neighborhood and kill as many people as possible, police said Tuesday.
A charred body, believed to be his sister's, was found in the burned house she shared with him Tuesday, police said.
William Spengler, 62, used a Bushmaster semiautomatic rifle, the same kind of weapon used in the assault on Sandy Hook Elementary School, Webster Police Chief Gerald Pickering said.
"He was equipped to go to war," Chief Pickering said.
The shooter, who was convicted of killing his grandmother decades ago, was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound hours later.
Pickering, at a news conference Tuesday, read a sentence from the three-page typewritten note that detectives believe Spengler left behind: "I still have to get ready to see how much of the neighborhood I can burn down and do what I like doing best -- killing people."
The note indicated Spengler's intentions, but not his motive, Pickering said. The rest of the contents will not be made public because it is evidence in a criminal investigation, he said.
There is "all kinds of speculation" about why he wanted to destroy his neighborhood and kill firefighters and residents, Pickering said.
One theory is that he was upset about a donation his mother, who died in the past year, made to the fire department, he said. Another theory is there could be a connection to his arrest in the killing of his grandmother, he said.
"Motive is always the burning question, and I'm not sure we'll ever really know what was going through his mind," Pickering said.
Spengler was convicted in 1981 of first-degree manslaughter in the death of his grandmother and had been released on supervised parole, Pickering said.
It will be a challenge for the medical examiner to determine if William Spengler's sister -- 67-year-old Cheryl Spengler -- was killed before the fire was set, because it was a "raging inferno," Pickering said.
A former neighbor, Roger Vercruysse, said that Spengler was a nice guy who used to come over to Vercruysse's sister's house for holiday parties and would wave to the family from his front porch, where he often sat during the summer.
"He'd come to our house, we used to have picnics," he said.
Spengler was especially attentive to his mother, who passed away in October, Vercruysse said, visiting her every day in the nursing home where she lived until she died.
"He loved his mama," Vercruysse said. "He always talked about his mother."
Spengler did not share the same closeness with his sister, with whom he shared his home, Vercruysse said.
"He told me he hated his sister and never could tell me why," he said. "I'd always wave to the sister, but she was not friendly."
Firefighters from the Rochester-area town of Webster responded before 6 a.m. Monday to a 911 call, reporting a fire that Spengler is believed to have set, when the gunfire began, Pickering said.
"This was a clear ambush on first responders," he said. Spengler was firing from "a natural depression" against a bank and a tree, he said.
An off-duty police officer, who happened on the scene, returned gunfire and sheltered firefighters with his car, Pickering said.
"Had the police officer not been there, more people would have been killed because he immediately engaged the shooter with a rifle," he said. "Essentially, it was a combat condition." Investigators won't know until after an autopsy if any of his shots hit Spengler, he said.
Officer John Ritter of the Greece, New York, Police Department, suffered minor shrapnel wounds but was released after treatment at a hospital.
The two wounded firefighters were in stable condition after surgery Tuesday, Pickering said Tuesday morning. They were being treated for "serious injuries" in intensive care at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, New York, he said.
Seven houses were destroyed and several others damaged by the fire, which investigators believe spread from a car parked next to the home where they believe Spengler lived, Pickering said.
Authorities do not know how Spengler obtained the Bushmaster rifle, .38-caliber revolver and 12-gauge shotgun he used, Pickering said. As a convicted felon, Spengler was not allowed to legally possess weapons.
In chilling audio heard over a scanner Monday, a West Webster Fire Department firefighter reported "multiple firemen shot" -- including himself, with wounds to his lower back and lower leg -- and "shots still being fired."
"I'm pretty sure that we have two DOAs" -- the term for dead on arrival -- "on the street," the wounded firefighter said. "... They're down and not good."
For several hours after that, the threat of gunfire stopped firefighters from battling the blaze and forced police SWAT teams to evacuate 33 people in the neighborhood of small waterfront homes.
The fire destroyed seven houses. It was under control by 2:30 p.m. ET, but authorities weren't able to get into any of the homes. Pickering said it's possible that more victims could be inside.
Lt. Michael Chiapperini, a firefighter who died at the scene, was a veteran of the West Webster Fire Department and a police lieutenant. He'd been named Firefighter of the Year just two weeks ago. And not long before that, he had volunteered to go to Long Island to help those suffering after Superstorm Sandy, New York Lt. Gov. Bob Duffy said.
The other slain firefighter was Tomasz Kaczowka, who was also a 911 dispatcher. He'd been with the West Webster Fire Department for just more than a year, department spokesman Al Sienkiewicz said.
The shooting occurred amid a renewed gun control debate after the December 14 elementary school massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, that killed 26 people, most of them children. The gunman in that case, Adam Lanza, also killed his mother and himself.
The head of a lobbying group that represents first responders said the Monday shooting was "senseless and cruel."
"The firefighters who responded today were performing a selfless, meaningful service to their community, unaware that a cold-hearted maniac was planning to ambush them and take their lives," said Harold Schaitberger, general president of the Washington-based International Association of Fire Fighters. "Coming on the heels of the horrific tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, and on Christmas Eve, this shooting is even harder to comprehend."
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo described the Webster shooting as "horrific." And the state's attorney general called it a "senseless tragedy"
President Barack Obama has set a January deadline for "concrete proposals" to deal with gun violence after the Newtown shooting.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, has said she will introduce legislation to reinstate the assault weapons ban that expired in 2004, while National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre has said his group will fight any new gun restrictions, saying most gun laws now on the books are rarely enforced.
Pickering, the Webster police chief, said it was important -- after the shooting in his town and others -- to "get a handle on gun control." He also said more needs to be done to make sure that dangerous people aren't in society, where they can kill.
"For the last 20 years, we have been turning people loose and de-institutionalizing people, and I think we've swung too far," he said. "I think there are still people that need to be in institutions that are a danger to themselves or others. And this is a classic example."
Last Updated on Wednesday, 26 December 2012 09:36
Category: Breaking News Written by CNN
(CNN) -- President Barack Obama is ending his Hawaiian vacation Wednesday to make a late-hour bid to reach a fiscal-cliff deal before the year ends.
He will leave Honolulu Wednesday night and should be back in Washington on Thursday, the White House said. First lady Michelle Obama and their daughters will remain in Hawaii.
House and Senate members are expected to reconvene Thursday.
Obama and Republicans have been at loggerheads over how to prevent automatic tax increases for everyone and deep spending cuts that will be triggered in the new year without an agreement.
Small businesses fear fiscal cliff GOP Rep.: I want fiscal cliff averted
With neither side showing any sign of blinking, the battlefield will probably shift to the Senate this week after GOP disarray in the House stymied any progress before Christmas.
According to multiple Democratic and Republican sources, no weekend conversations occurred between the White House and Senate leaders from either party or their aides.
The main dispute continues to be over taxes, specifically the demand by Obama and Democrats to extend most of the tax cuts passed under President George W. Bush while allowing higher rates of the 1990s to return on top income brackets.
Republicans oppose any kind of increase in tax rates, and House Speaker John Boehner suffered the political indignity last week of offering a compromise that his colleagues refused to support.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 26 December 2012 09:24
Category: Breaking News Written by Ann-Marie Adams, The Root
The extra attention that politicians will pay to gun control issues after the Newtown, Conn., tragedy is a blessing for urban communities, writes Ann-Marie Adams in the Hartford Guardian, even if it does expose the fact that for too long, people in power are moved to action only when gun violence reaches their own communities.
The latest and most deadly school massacre in America, the Newtown mass shooting presents an opportune moment to address these issues, including gun control laws. But unfortunately too much of the discussion has been focused on "assault weapons" with lethal firepower. For example, U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) proposed a ban on "high capacity magazines" with more than 10 rounds.
Sadly, many have unwittingly implied that people in urban areas are not violently assaulted by handguns. In fact, some have normalized tragedy in urban communities.
At a town hall meeting at the CPTV Studios on Thursday, Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra realized that much and called for an expanded definition of "assault weapons" to include handguns that have killed innocent children and adults in Hartford, Bridgeport and New Haven for decades. Between 1998 and 2012 in Hartford alone, there has been 700 lives lost to gun violence. And 200 homicides remain unsolved.
Moreover, many residents across the state have been traumatized by gun violence. For instance, in 2001 a bullet disfigured seven-year old Takira Gaston’s face, which needed several rounds of reconstructive surgery. In 2008, a bullet scraped seven-year-old Tyrek Marquez’s head, and he is now partially paralyzed. In 2010, bullets shattered the rear view mirror of a car and sliced the finger of a two-year-old boy. And after a weekend of gun violence in June left two dead and many injured, Hartford residents held another round of vigils.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 26 December 2012 09:00
Category: Breaking News Written by Leland Stein III
The tragic Newtown, Connecticut massacre where a heavily armed man walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School and within a couple minutes, killed 26 people - 20 of them children, is seemingly having a lasting effect on the consciousness of caring Americans.
Following legendary college coach Jim Boeheim’s third-ranked Syracuse Orange's 72-68 victory over Detroit in the Gotham Classic, thus becoming only the third Division I men's coach to win 900.
Boeheim, 68 and in his 37th year at his alma mater, is 900-304 and joined an elite fraternity. Mike Krzyzewski (936) and Bob Knight (902) are the only other men's Division I coaches to win that many games.
It was a sobering end to what was a memorable evening for Syracuse basketball. Boeheim quickly put his landmark achievement behind him as his thoughts in the postgame press conference moved to the re-occurening mass shootings that are engulfing America,
"To me, it's just a number," said Boeheim, whose first victory was against Harvard in 1976. "If I get 900, have I got to get more? That's why maybe it's just not that important to me because to me it's just a number, and the only number that matters is how this team does.
With his wife, Juli, looking on at the postgame press conference and his young children close by, Syracuse coach Boeheim's final remarks were not about his milestone 900th career victory.
Instead, he was thinking about the Newtown victims.
"If we cannot get the people who represent us to do something about firearms, we are a sad, sad society," Boeheim said. "If one person in this world, the NRA president, anybody, can tell me why we need assault weapons with 30 shots — this is our fault if we don't go out there and do something about this. If we can't get this thing done, I don't know what kind of country we have."
Boeheim was not along, following first-year Winthrop basketball coach Pat Kelsey Eagles’ 65-55 loss to No. 7 Ohio State he spoke about last week's school shootings in Newtown, Conn.
Using his postgame press conference following the his team’s loss to Ohio State, Kelsey during the press conference, spoke passionately about the need for people to "stand up" and keep the United States the "Greatest Country. Ever." He challenged national leaders to bring about changes necessary to prevent future tragedies.
Kelsey told reporters: “When I walked into the press conference, I had never been in a chair with a microphone in front of me with that many cameras. Something came over me. I don't know if it was divine intervention or what, but it struck me that I had a platform that very few people in the world have."
He expressed thanks for having the ability to go home and kiss his daughters, ages 4 and 5, who are barely younger than the youngest Newtown victims.
"Parents, teachers, rabbis, priests, coaches, everybody needs to step up,” Kelsey said. “This has to be a time for change.. And I know this microphone's powerful right now, because we're playing the fourth-best team in the country."
Such a strong statement from the first-year coach of a mid-major university took some people by surprise, but longtime Elder coach Joe Schoenfeld said that type of talk is part of what makes Kelsey a respected coach and humanitarian.
"He's a servant-leader. He's not afraid to lead, but he's leading to try and help other people," Schoenfeld said. "He does a lot of nice things for people, often behind the scenes, and this time just happened to be in front of the camera."
Last Updated on Monday, 24 December 2012 11:44
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: Breaking News Written by Michael David Smith ,profootballtalk.nbcsports
When NFL Network polled a panel of football experts two years ago to name the Top 100 players in NFL history, Jerry Rice came in first. So when a player breaks a record owned by Jerry Rice, that player has done something special.
On Saturday night, Calvin Johnson did something special.
Johnson broke Rice’s all-time single-season receiving yardage record, a record that Rice set in 1995, when he gained 1,848 yards. Johnson entered Saturday night’s game with 1,667 yards on the season, and in the fourth quarter against the Falcons, Johnson broke Rice’s record. Saturday night’s game has been a masterful performance from Johnson, who topped 100 yards before halftime and also broke the NFL record for consecutive games with at least 100 yards.
Amazingly, not only did Johnson reach a yardage total that no NFL player has ever totaled, but he did it in just the 15th game of the season. Next week, Johnson can turn his attention to a new goal: Becoming the first NFL receiver to gain 2,000 yards.
Last Updated on Monday, 24 December 2012 11:05
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