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Thursday, November 27, 2014

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GM creates new post to spearhead safety issues


March 18, 2014 | AP       General Motors has named a 40-year engineer as its new safety chief, placing a single person in charge of recalls and other safety issues as it deals with a huge compact car recall that has damaged the company's reputation.
 
     The move, announced Tuesday by CEO Mary Barra, comes after revelations that GM knew about a deadly ignition switch problem in 1.6 million compact cars at least 11 years ago, but failed to recall them until last month. The problem has been linked to more than a dozen deaths in the Chevrolet Cobalt and five other models.
 
     Barra on Tuesday named engineer Jeff Boyer to the new global post. She says it gives GM a single safety leader with access to senior managers and the board. Boyer is responsible for development of safety systems, vehicle testing, and safety of cars after they are sold, including recalls.
 
     "If there are any obstacles in his way, Jeff has the authority to clear them," Barra said in a statement. "If he needs any additional resources, he will get them."
 
     Two congressional committees and the Justice Department are investigating GM's behavior in the ignition switch case. The company has admitted knowing as early as 2003 that the switches can unexpectedly shut down car engines and cause drivers to lose control. Despite multiple company investigations, the cars were not recalled until last month. In one of the investigations that didn't lead to a recall, GM failed to consider four fatal accidents in one of the models.
 
     "Something went wrong with our process in this instance, and terrible things happened," Barra said Monday in a video posted on GM's media website.
 
     On Feb. 13, GM announced the recall of more than 780,000 Cobalts and Pontiac G5s (model years 2005-2007). Two weeks later it added 842,000 Ion compacts (2003-2007), and Chevrolet HHR SUVs and Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky sports cars (2006-2007). All of the recalled cars have the same ignition switches.
 
     The company said the ignition switches can wear from heavy, dangling keys. If the key chains are bumped or people drive on rough surfaces, the switches can suddenly change from the "run" position to "accessory" or "off." That cuts off power-assisted steering and brakes and could cause drivers to lose control.  Also, the air bags may not inflate in a crash and protect the driver and passengers.
 
     The company is urging people not to put anything on their key rings until the switches are replaced.
 
     The recall crisis quickly ended Barra's honeymoon as CEO. She took over the top job on Jan. 15, becoming the first woman to lead a major global automaker.
 
     Since 2011, Boyer had been executive director of engineering operations and systems development. Before that, he headed global interior engineering and safety performance. In that post, he was responsible for certifying GM vehicle safety and crashworthiness, the company said.
 
     Boyer started with GM in 1974 as a college student at Kettering University in Flint. He has an electrical engineering degree from Kettering and a master of business administration degree from Michigan State University.
 
     On Monday, GM issued new recalls of 1.5 million vehicles, part of an effort to assure buyers that it's moving faster to fix safety defects in its cars and trucks.


More WGVU News
Yesterday
Several hundred attend Grand Rapids Ferguson rally
  November 26, 2014  |  WGVU  Residents, students and community organizations came together in cities and campuses across West Michigan after this week’s grand jury decision in Ferguson.    
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Jury deciding case of tutor who had sex with boy
Grand Rapids MI  November 26, 2014  |  WGVU  Jurors are returning to a Grand Rapids courtroom to resume deliberations in the case of a Catholic school tutor charged with sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy.    
Kalamazoo cop car damaged during Ferguson protest
Kalamazoo MI  November 26, 2014  |  WGVU  The rear window of a Kalamazoo police car was broken during an otherwise peaceful protest tied to the shooting of an 18-year-old in Ferguson, Missouri.    
Steelcase sale moves education site forward
  November 26, 2014  |  WGVU  A group focused on growing area educational programs finalizes plans to purchase Gaines Township’s former Steelcase Pyramid building.    
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Tuesday
Grand Rapids holds Ferguson solidarity event
  November 25, 2014  |  WGVU  Grand Rapids joins other Michigan cities gathering tonight following Monday’s decision in Ferguson.    
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'ReThink' promotes region to former residents
  November 25, 2014  |  WGVU  A Thanksgiving Eve event hopes to attract former Michigan talent back to the area.    
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WGVU-HD airing FRONTLINE "Ebola Outbreak"
  November 25, 2014  |  WGVU  Tuesday, November 25th @ 10:00 PM on WGVU-HD, FRONTLINE takes you to the villages outside Sierra Leone, Africa. Producer and reporter Wael Dabbous introduces you to patients infected with the deadly virus and the health care workers treating and tracking Ebola.    
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Michigan Supreme Court taking part in adoption day
LANSING, Mich.   November 25, 2014  |  AP  A Michigan Supreme Court justice joins other judges in approving adoptions as part the state's 12th annual adoption day.   
Michigan commission urges gay rights protections
KALAMAZOO, Mich.   November 25, 2014  |  AP  The Michigan Civil Rights Commission is calling on the Legislature to prohibit discrimination against gays by passing civil rights protections for sexual orientation and gender identity.   
Michigan delays implementing health care program
LANSING, Mich.   November 25, 2014  |  AP  Michigan is delaying the implementation of its health care coordination program for people eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid.   
Detroit vigil takes place after Ferguson decision
DETROIT  November 25, 2014  |  AP  A peaceful vigil took place in downtown Detroit after a grand jury's decision not to indict a white police officer who killed a black 18-year-old in Ferguson, Missouri.   
State police boost patrols around Thanksgiving
LANSING, Mich.  November 25, 2014  |  AP  Michigan State Police troopers are boosting patrols as part of an effort to keep roads safe for Thanksgiving travelers.   
Michigan woman gets probation for animal cruelty
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.   November 25, 2014  |  AP  A Grand Rapids woman has received five years of probation after 37 dogs were found living in unsanitary conditions in her home.   
U of M: 11 sex misconduct violations over 12 months
ANN ARBOR, Mich.  November 25, 2014  |  AP  The University of Michigan says that students made 129 sexual misconduct complaints in one 12-month period, and it found 11 violations of school policy.   
State House expected to take up film credit extension in December
LANSING, Mich  November 25, 2014  |  MPRN  By Jake Neher The state House is expected to take up legislation next month that could decide the future of Michigan’s film credit program.   
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Monday
High winds, snow forecast in parts of Michigan
Grand Rapids MI  November 24, 2014  |  WGVU  Forecasters say a cold front moving through the Great Lakes region will bring high winds and lower temperatures to Michigan.    
Homeless camp faces eviction in Ann Arbor
Ann Arbor MI  November 24, 2014  |  WGVU  People living in an Ann Arbor homeless camp are bracing for eviction from the privately owned woods where they've established their tent community.    
Rhodes scholars include Michigan man
Holland MI  November 24, 2014  |  WGVU  A University of Michigan student from western Michigan has been named a Rhodes scholar.    
AAA Michigan: Gas prices fall 13 cents in week
Dearborn, MI  November 24, 2014  |  WGVU  AAA Michigan says gasoline prices have dropped about 13 cents a gallon in the last week.    
Authorities: Man, 22, fatally stabs woman, 57
Antwerp Township, MI  November 24, 2014  |  WGVU  Authorities say a 22-year-old man fatally stabbed a 57-year-old woman at a home in southwestern Michigan following a dispute.    
Fire put out at Grand Rapids trucking business
Grand Rapids MI  November 24, 2014  |  WGVU  Authorities say a suspected natural gas explosion may have started a fire at a trucking business in Grand Rapids.    
Conversations can 'move the needle' of inequity
  November 24, 2014  |  WGVU  A recent event addressing racial inequity in Grand Rapids underscores the importance of having those conversations.    
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Michigan-Ohio rivalry... over insurance sign-ups?
ANN ARBOR, Mich.  November 24, 2014  |  AP  In a nod to their states' historic football rivalry, Michigan and Ohio health advocates have launched a competition to see which state can reach the most uninsured residents about health coverage.   
Murder charge for man, 22, in stabbing of aunt, 57
ANTWERP TOWNSHIP, Mich.  November 24, 2014  |  AP  Authorities say a 22-year-old man fatally stabbed his 57-year-old aunt at their home in southwestern Michigan following a dispute.   
Kalamazoo County re-count to begin Dec. 8
  November 24, 2014  |  MPRN  Candidates and campaigns that are unhappy with the results of the November elections have until Wednesday afternoon to ask for recounts.    
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Friday
Weekend warm-up in Michigan to melt some snow
Grand Rapids MI  November 21, 2014  |  WGVU  Forecasters say a weekend warm-up in Michigan will lead to melting snow and rain that could combine to bring rising river levels and even flooding in places.    
Woman with gun arrested outside White House
Washington DC  November 21, 2014  |  WGVU  A Michigan woman carrying a gun was arrested outside the White House just after President Barack Obama completed a nationally broadcast speech announcing his plan for the U.S. immigration system.    
Dallas to host 19-day ArtPrize competition in 2016
Dallas, TX  November 21, 2014  |  WGVU  Members of the public will have a say in honoring aspiring artists when Art Prize Dallas begins in 2016.    
Thanksgiving travel to include 1.5M in Michigan
Dearborn, MI  November 21, 2014  |  WGVU  AAA says nearly 1.5 million people in Michigan plan to travel 50 miles or more from home during the Thanksgiving holiday period.    
County, GRCC decline city tax plan
  November 21, 2014  |  WGVU  Grand Rapids Community College and Kent County have both opted out of a $5 million western Grand Rapids development project.    
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“The Discovery of King Tut” exhibition tour coming to Grand Rapids
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.  November 21, 2014  |  WGVU  Coming in 2015, visitors to Grand Rapids Public Museum can experience one of the world’s greatest archeological discoveries.   
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West Michigan U.S. Representative responds to President Obama's immigration order
  November 21, 2014  |  WGVU  In response to President Barack Obama’s executive order protecting roughly 5 million immigrants living in the U.S. illegally from deportation, House Speaker John Boehner says the president’s decision to go it alone "cemented his legacy of lawlessness and squandered what little credibility he had left." One west Michigan House Republican calling the order an overreach of Constitutional power.   
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Immigration and Nationality Act provides President with "legal basis"
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.  November 21, 2014  |  WGVU  Is President Barack Obama’s executive order to shield as many as 5 million immigrants in the U.S. illegally from deportation, and grant them work permits, legal? Republicans on Capitol hill are raising that question. WGVU ran it by Grand Rapids immigration attorney, Susan Im.   
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Kalamazoo Democrat seeks state Senate vote recount
KALAMAZOO, Mich.  November 21, 2014  |  AP  Democratic state Rep. Sean McCann says he'll request a recount in the 20th District state Senate race, which a preliminary count shows him losing by 59 votes.   
Economists predict continued Michigan job growth
ANN ARBOR, Mich.  November 21, 2014  |  AP  University of Michigan economists say the state's economy will continue to move forward over the next two years after five years of steady job growth.   

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