Tracy Samilton | Michigan Radio
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Tracy Samilton

Energy and Transportation Reporter / Producer

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Radio. She began her career at Michigan Radio as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.

She took over the auto beat in January, 2009, just a few months before Chrysler and General Motors filed for bankruptcy.

Tracy’s reports can frequently be heard on Morning Edition and All Things Considered, as well as on Michigan Radio.

Her coverage of Michigan’s Detroit Three automakers has taken her as far as Germany, and China. Tracy graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in English Literature.

Rep. Elissa Slotkin
Katie Raymond / Michigan Radio

Update, Monday December 16 at 2:00 p.m.

U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-MI 8) told a large crowd of constituents at Oakland University in Rochester that she will vote to impeach the President Donald Trump on the two articles of impeachment drawn up by the U.S. House: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

Exterior of fence and prison grounds
Katie Raymond / Michigan Radio

State Senator Ed McBroom (R-Vulcan) has introduced a bill that would require the Michigan Department of Corrections to provide a one-year advance notice of the closure of any prison in the state, as well as require the department to conduct community impact studies.

McBroom's district saw the closure of the Ojibway Correctional Facility last year. The facility was the region's largest employer.

"All the taxpayers of Michigan are owed an explanation on the proposed closure," McBroom told Gongwer News Service, adding the Marenisco Township community where the facility was located was "still in the process of being numb" over the impact of the closure.

State officials check out the Detroit Bulk Storage site.
EGLE

State water tests are coming back after a Detroit river shoreline collapsed at a polluted property that’s upstream from one of the Great Lakes Water Authority's drinking water intakes. 

The property now used by Detroit Bulk Storage was used by a company that made uranium parts for bombs in the 1940s, and subsequently by other industries that polluted the soil.

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

State environmental regulators say tests done Friday show below-background levels of radiation at the site of a partial shoreline collapse into the Detroit River. 

Michigan's Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) has wrongly accused tens of thousands of people of cheating on their unemployment claims.
Bytemarks / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The Michigan Court of Appeals says a lawsuit filed by people wrongly accused of unemployment insurance fraud can proceed.

The lawsuit stems from the state's reliance on a new - and defective - software program which wrongly flagged more than 40,000 claims as fraudulent between 2013 and 2015.

Pet coke piles on Detroit riverfront in 2013.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

A Windsor politician is calling for a bi-national investigation - and an environmental group is calling for the restoration of Michigan's "Polluter Pay" laws.

That's after part of a property owned by Detroit Bulk Storage collapsed into the Detroit River last week.  The collapse is initially being blamed on the weight of massive piles of sand, gravel and other construction materials the company is storing on site.

Gretchen Driskell
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Former Saline Mayor Gretchen Driskell announced her candidacy Wednesday for the United States House of Representatives, seeking to represent Michigan’s 7th Congressional District.

It's the third time Driskell has run against incumbant Republican Congressman Tim Walberg, now in his sixth term of office in the U.S. House.

bottle of water
Wilson Hui / Flickr / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The Michigan Court of Appeals says Nestle can't force Osceola Township to rezone some land.

Tracy Samilton / Michigan Radio

Former Livingston County district court judge Theresa Brennan has pleaded guilty to perjury. 

The maximum penalty is 15 years.

Two other lesser charges against Brennan – misconduct in office and tampering with evidence – were dropped. 

Brennan was removed from office by the Michigan Supreme Court earlier this year for numerous offenses.

Wikipedia

State officials say calls to Michigan's "QUIT NOW" smoking hotline are up dramatically, in large part due to the vaping health crisis.

Vaping products that contain marijuana or tobacco have caused lung injuries in dozens of people in Michigan, and killed two. One 17-year-old had to have a double lung transplant at Henry Ford Hospital, his injuries were so severe.   

The state is urging people to stop vaping, and not to turn to smoking cigarettes instead. 

It appears many people are trying to follow the advice. 

NOAA

Michigan is making it easier and cheaper for people to get permits for sandbags, as high water levels in the Great Lakes, often combined with severe storms, are causing big problems for homeowners.  

Many people are losing much of the beachfront part of their properties to erosion, and in a few cases, losing their homes as well. 

Pxhere

An environmental group says many retail stores are improving their policies to reduce harmful chemicals in products.

The Ecology Center says that's especially true for a class of chemicals known as PFAS.

The Center's Jeff Gearhart says PFAS are called "forever chemicals" because they persist in the environment for hundreds and even thousands of years.

woman blowing out smoke from e-cigarette
pavel_shishkin / Adobe Stock

A second person in Michigan has died from lung injuries due to vaping.

56 others in the state have experienced lung injuries from vaping since August, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS).

City of Warren

Two months after Warren's outgoing city council members quietly voted to give themselves and their spouses lifetime health insurance, members of the new city council voted to take it back.

Six of the seven current members of the Warren City Council are new to the job.

Transkohr / wikimedia commons

The state has issued a second asbestos-related violation notice to a company that is demolishing the former McLouth Steel plant in Trenton. 

The McLouth Steel plant is owned by Crown Enterprises - one of the companies owned by Detroit businessman Mattie Moroun

Jeff Reutter / Ohio State University

Scientists have concluded it's going to be more difficult than they initially thought to reduce phosphorus loads into Lake Erie by 40%.

That's the target set by Great Lakes states.

Phosphorus is a crop fertilizer that also encourages cyanobacterial blooms. 

Rebecca Muenich worked on a study to evaluate ways to control the blooms. 

Meunich is a former researcher at the University of Michigan's Graham Sustainability Institute, and now an assistant professor at Arizona State University.

FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne and UAW President Dennis Williams
UAW

General Motors has filed an unprecedented federal racketeering lawsuit against its crosstown Detroit rival, Fiat Chrysler.

Chinnapong / adobestock

The state of Michigan hopes to speed up in-progress adoptions.

Bob Wheaton is a spokesman for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

Wayne County

Updated at 5:12 p.m., November 20, 2019:

Wayne County says the Grosse Ile Parkway Bridge is expected to re-open on the evening of Thursday, November 21st.

The bridge was closed suddenly last week because of deck deterioration.

Gary Jones stands at a UAW podium
UAW

Ford Motor Company and the United Auto Workers have a new, four-year contract with 56.3% of the vote.

screen shot youtube announcement

Two more Republicans have entered the race in the 8th Congressional District - which includes Ingham and Livingston Counties and part of Oakland County.

Kristina Lyke, an attorney, and Paul Junge, formerly an immigration official under the Trump administration, announced their candidacies Thursday.

UAW

United Auto Workers Acting President Rory Gamble has announced the implementation of "widespread ethics reforms." The move comes in the midst of a widening FBI investigation that has uncovered a pattern of corruption among union leaders.

In a statement, Gamble says, "As the acting president, I'm committed to putting in place the right mechanisms to safeguard our union, regaining the trust of our members, and ensuring the misconduct that has recently come to light will never happen again.

Tracy Samilton / Michigan Radio

A group of anti-impeachment protesters, most from outside the 8th Congressional District, tried to derail Democratic Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin's health care town hall meeting on Friday night. 

For the most part, they failed.   

Slotkin urged people to be civil at the beginning of the town hall, and she asked people to write their questions about health care and other issues on cards.  But the protesters flouted the request, and frequently shouted over Slotkin as others shushed them.  

"Shut up," one man shouted at the protesters in frustration.

wikipedia

An Iranian-born engineer accused of stealing sensitive technical information will appear again in federal court on Friday. 

The hearing will determine whether Ypsilanti resident Amin Hasanzadeh remains in detention.  

U.S. EPA

 

Gary Sayers, the owner of a Madison Heights electroplating company, has been sentenced to a year in prison. 

That's after he violated hazardous waste storage laws for more than two decades.

NASA

Ann Arbor's City Council has declared a "climate emergency." That includes the aggressive goal of reaching carbon neutrality for all of Ann Arbor by 2030.

The declaration is in line with a consensus among climate scientists: that humans need to move much faster in reducing carbon emissions if they wish to avoid the worst effects of a rapidly warming globe.

Michigan Radio

Bills to regulate how cities and townships deal with rooftop solar panels have landed on Governor Whitmer's desk.

The bills would resolve an ambiguity in state law that has resulted in municipalities treating rooftop solar installations differently.

Ford Motor Company's headquarters in Dearborn.
Ford Motor Company

A United Auto Workers leadership group has voted to send a proposed contract with Ford to members for a ratification vote.

The agreement largely follows the pattern set by the agreement with General Motors, with a few differences.

Warren Mayor Jim Fouts
City of Warren

Warren's three-term mayor, Jim Fouts, will be seeking a fourth term.

That's despite several secretly recorded tapes of Fouts making vile comments about black people, women, political enemies, and special needs children.

Fouts' opponent, Kelly Colegio, says "words matter," and urges residents to vote him out.

Although General Motors CEO Mary Barra wasn't among the business leaders that quit President Trump's advisory councils before they disbanded, Howes says he believes she was leaning in that direction.
Andrea_44 / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

General Motors reports the 40-day strike by the United Auto Workers will result in a nearly $3 billion profit loss in 2019.

The automaker's output also dropped by about 300,000 vehicles because of the strike.

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