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Tuesday, September 30, 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
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West Africans in Detroit rally over Ebola outbreak
Detroit MI  September 29, 2014  |  WGVU  Detroit's West African communities are rallying to raise money and awareness to help families suffering from the Ebola virus overseas, as well as those in Michigan feeling the effects of the crisis.    
AAA Michigan: Gas prices rise 4 cents in week
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Grand Rapids forum tackles local, state issues
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Music and art featured at Grand Haven festival
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WMPF: Correct framework key to addressing poverty
  September 29, 2014  |  WGVU  Social misunderstandings of poverty may cause additional harm when it comes to education and employment.    
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Snyder hosting 1st of town hall campaign events
KALAMAZOO, Mich.  September 29, 2014  |  AP  Gov. Rick Snyder is kicking off a series of town hall-style events with voters as he campaigns for re-election.   
Michigan pit bull owners protest at ArtPrize entry
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.  September 29, 2014  |  AP  Pit bull owners are protesting an entry in the Grand Rapids ArtPrize contest that memorializes dog attack victims because they say it unfairly blames the dog breeds.   
Man, 83, charged in wreck that killed his wife
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Snyder: US, not Canada, should pay for customs plaza
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Friday
Company working to Mow Down Hunger in Detroit area
Detroit MI  September 26, 2014  |  WGVU  An outdoor power equipment company is continuing to Mow Down Hunger in the Detroit area.    
Muskegon college opens health science center
Muskegon MI  September 26, 2014  |  WGVU  A Muskegon college has opened an $8 million health science center to train health care providers in a simulated operating room and radiology suite.    
Detroit's elected officials regain control of city
Detroit MI  September 26, 2014  |  WGVU  The day-to-day operations of Detroit's city government are back in the hands of its elected mayor and City Council.    
Girl, 10, with leukemia to be celebrity for a day
  September 26, 2014  |  WGVU  A 10-year-old Detroit-area girl with leukemia is about to become a celebrity for a day.    
Grant aimed at improving health in Grand Rapids
Grand Rapids MI  September 26, 2014  |  WGVU  A health department that serves the Grand Rapids area will receive more than $2 million over three years to reduce chronic disease and promote healthier lifestyles.    
Holland looks to link new residents to community
  September 26, 2014  |  WGVU  City of Holland officials want to be better neighbors to new families.    
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Man convicted in fatal shooting at Kalamazoo bar
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Ex-state Sen. Jaye gets plea deal in Macomb County
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Land transfer deal for new border bridge approved
DETROIT  September 26, 2014  |  AP  The state has approved Detroit's transfer of 301 city-owned properties to a Michigan land bank authority in exchange for $1.4 million from the Canadian government as part of plans for an international commuter bridge.   
Christie praises Snyder's handling of Detroit
DETROIT   September 26, 2014  |  AP  New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is praising how Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has addressed bankrupt Detroit, crediting him for being realistic with residents.   
State board completes Detroit EM wrapup
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Thursday
Transportation Secretary Foxx to speak in Detroit
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Conyers to receive first Jazz Advocate Award
Detroit MI  September 25, 2014  |  WGVU  Longtime Michigan Congressman John Conyers is being honored for his advocacy of jazz.    
Groundbreaking set for new Detroit hockey arena
Detroit MI  September 25, 2014  |  WGVU  Officials are expected to hold a groundbreaking for a new 18,000-seat hockey arena and 45-block entertainment complex in Detroit.    
Grand Rapids ArtPrize competition bans artist
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Emaciated falcon rescued from Grand Rapids bridge
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Kent County grant to bolster public health programs
  September 25, 2014  |  WGVU  A $2.18 million grant received by the Kent County Heath Department benefits several Grand Rapids neighborhoods.    
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Baker College of Muskegon expands life science programs with new Health Science Center
  September 25, 2014  |  WGVU  Muskegon’s Baker College is showing off its new Health Science Center. Campus president Lee Coggin tells WGVU the school is positioned to meet the demand for graduating life sciences specialists.   
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Snyder won’t comment on Aramark ‘murder for hire’ accusations during investigation
  September 25, 2014  |  MPRN  Gov. Rick Snyder is staying silent on the latest scandal related to the state’s prison food service contract. That’s while the matter is under investigation.    

Wednesday
Operations begin at new Upper Peninsula mine
Marquette MI  September 24, 2014  |  WGVU  Operations have begun at a nickel and copper mine in the Upper Peninsula following a 12-year legal and political struggle.    
Kmart plans to close 5 Michigan stores this year
Rochester, MI  September 24, 2014  |  WGVU  The Detroit News reports the retailer announced Tuesday that closings will be at stores in Rochester, Madison Heights, Port Huron, Burton and Flint.    
Michigan guardsmen return from Afghanistan
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Michigan responders to practice homeland defense
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Benton Harbor schools OK state consent agreement
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Snyder: Detroit EM should maintain a role with city through bankruptcy
  September 24, 2014  |  MPRN  Governor Rick Snyder says he’d like to see Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr stick around even if the mayor and city council vote this week to remove him. We have more from Rick Pluta.    
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