WBEZ | Front and Center: Water http://www.wbez.org/series/front-and-center-water Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en College presidents wary of Obama tuition plan http://www.wbez.org/story/college-presidents-wary-obama-tuition-plan-95925 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/SIGNAdjusted.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Public university presidents facing ever-increasing state budget cuts are raising concerns about President Barack Obama's plan to force colleges and universities to contain tuition prices or face losing federal dollars.</p><p>Illinois State University President Al Bowman says the reality is that deficits in many public schools can't be easily overcome with simple modifications. Bowman says he's happy to hear Obama call for state-level support of public universities but adds that, given the decreases in state aid, tying federal support to tuition is a product of "fuzzy math."</p><p>During a speech Friday at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Obama fired a warning shot at the nation's colleges and universities, threatening to strip their federal aid if they "jack up tuition" every year and to give the money instead to schools showing restraint and value.</p><p>Obama is targeting only a small part of the financial aid picture — the $3 billion known as campus-based aid that flows through college administrators to students. He is proposing to increase that amount to $10 billion and change how it is distributed to reward schools that hold down costs and ensure that more poor students complete their education.</p><p>The bulk of the more than $140 billion in federal grants and loans goes directly to students and would not be affected.</p><p><strong>Focus on improving clarity, transparency in aid process</strong></p><p>As part of his broad plans to make college more affordable, Obama said Friday that he would push for financial aid "shopping sheets" that make it easier for families to comparison shop between schools.</p><p>Federal education officials say the goal is make adoption of the form mandatory for schools to maintain access to federal aid.</p><p>As it stands, officials say the financial aid award letters that schools mail out to students in the spring can be unclear or even misleading. That can result in students signing up for more debt than they realize.</p><p>For example, schools usually state an "out of pocket" cost in award letters after subtracting aid such as grants and scholarships. But some schools also subtract loans from the out-of-pocket cost. That's despite the fact that loans actually push up costs because of interest charges.</p><p>Schools also may not spell out the type of loans that's included in the aid package, even though the terms on federal and private loans can differ significantly.</p><p>To address the issue, the Department of Education and the newly created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau rolled out a model financial aid form in October and asked for the public's comments on how it could be improved. On Friday, the CFPB said feedback indicated the most important figure for students is the amount of debt they would have upon graduation.</p><p>The Department of Education was required to develop the model form as part of federal education reforms in 2008. The adoption of such a form has also been widely supported by student advocates.</p><p>The push to standardize financial aid award letters comes at a time when students are graduating with more debt than ever before. The Institute for College Access &amp; Success estimates that two-thirds of graduates have student loans, with an average debt of about $24,000.</p><p><strong>Congressional reaction mixed</strong></p><p>Obama can't proceed, though, without the OK from Congress, where the reaction of Republican lawmakers ranged from muted to skeptical. Higher education leaders worried about the details and the threat of government overreach, and one dismissed it as mere election-year "political theater."</p><p>Average tuition and fees at public colleges rose 8.3 percent this year and, with room and board, now exceed $17,000 a year, according to the College Board.</p><p>Obama delivered his proposal with campaign flair, mounting a mainstream appeal to young voters and struggling families. He said higher education has become an imperative for success in America, but the cost has grown unrealistic for too many families, and the debt burden unbearable.</p><p>"We are putting colleges on notice," Obama told an arena packed with cheering students at the University of Michigan.</p><p>"You can't assume that you'll just jack up tuition every single year. If you can't stop tuition from going up, then the funding you get from taxpayers each year will go down."</p><p>Rising tuition costs have been attributed to a variety of factors, among them a decline in state dollars and competition for the best facilities and professors. Washington's leverage to take on the rising cost of college is limited because American higher education is decentralized, with most student aid following the student. And that's not counting the legislative gridlock.</p><p>"If you were a betting person, you would not bet on it getting done, simply because the political atmosphere in Washington is so poisonous," said Terry Hartle, senior vice president at the American Council on Education, an organization that represents colleges in Washington.</p><p>Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., chairman of the House Education and Workforce Committee, said Obama put forward "interesting ideas that deserve a careful review." But Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., who leads a House panel with jurisdiction over higher education, said Obama's plan should have tackled federal regulations that she said contribute to the problem.</p><p>The top Democrat on the House education committee, Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., said Congress has bipartisan concern about the rising costs of college and thinks the president's plan will open up a conversation about the problem. Some Republicans in the past, including Rep. Buck McKeon of California, have offered proposals similar to the president's.</p><p>Others were sharper in their critique.</p><p>Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., a former education secretary, questioned whether Obama can enforce any plan that shifts federal aid away from colleges and universities without hurting the students it is meant to help. "The federal government has no business doing this," he said.</p><p><strong>Key stop in key electoral state</strong></p><p>Enacted or not, Obama's plan may have the kind of popular appeal he can use in the campaign.</p><p>In Ann Arbor, he soaked up the cheers of students as he outlined the agenda from his State of the Union speech, and gave a shout out to the popular quarterback of the school's football team. And Obama used the college-aid matter to put the onus for action on Republicans, again painting them as obstructionists and himself as the fighter for the middle class.</p><p>Mary Sue Coleman, president of University of Michigan, said schools should be challenged to find ways to restrain costs, but they can't continue to make up for state cuts. Money for state universities in Michigan dropped by 15 percent in this year's state budget, and many — including the University of Michigan — raised tuition to help make up for the lost support.</p><p>Obama challenged states to be more responsible, too.</p><p>"He recognizes every part of it," Coleman said. "That's what was so powerful about the speech."</p><p>Kevin Carey, policy director at the independent Education Sector think tank, said higher education leaders will surely detest Obama's plan even if they do not say so directly.</p><p>"Instead, they'll work behind the scenes to kill it," Carey predicted.</p><p>University of Washington President Mike Young said Obama showed he did not understand how the budgets of public universities work. Young said the total cost to educate college students in Washington state, which is paid for by both tuition and state government dollars, has actually gone down because of efficiencies on campus. While universities are tightening costs, the state is cutting their subsidies and authorizing tuition increases to make up for the loss.</p><p>"They really should know better," Young said. "This really is political theater of the worst sort."</p><p>Obama also wants to create a "Race to the Top" competition in higher education similar to the one his administration used on lower grades. He wants to encourage states to make better use of higher education dollars in exchange for $1 billion in prize money. A second competition called "First in the World" would encourage innovation to boost productivity on campuses.</p><p>Obama is also pushing for the creation of more tools to help students determine which colleges and universities have the best value.</p><p>Michigan was Obama's last stop on a five-day trip to sell his State of the Union agenda in politically important states.</p><p>The White House has begun facing criticism from Republicans and daily questions from reporters about the blurring of Obama's governing and campaign-style events. Presidential spokesman Jay Carney said Obama went before Michigan students to promote a policy idea.</p><p>Said Carney: "We're not going to tell people not to applaud."</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Associated Press writers Kimberly Helfing, Candace Choi, Ben Feller and Julie Pace in Washington, David Runk in Ann Arbor, Mich., and Donna Gordon Blankinship in Seattle contributed to this story.<br> &nbsp;</p></p> Sat, 28 Jan 2012 15:15:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/college-presidents-wary-obama-tuition-plan-95925 Using sound to find leaks and save dollars http://www.wbez.org/content/using-sound-find-leaks-and-save-dollars <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-November/2011-11-22/RS4348_Henry Listening to X mic on Hydrant-scr.JPG" alt="" /><p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-November/2011-11-22/RS4348_Henry Listening to X mic on Hydrant-scr.JPG" style="width: 275px; height: 366px; margin: 2px 10px; float: left;" title="With the X Mic placed directly on the fire hydrant, Tim’s crew mate Henry listens for signs of a leak. (Front and Center/Sarah Lu) ">While fresh water is abundant in our region, water loss has an economic cost. It is common for local water utilities to lose between ten and twenty percent of treated drinking water in transmission due to leaky underground pipes. To cut down on water loss, some local utilities have formed their own leak investigation units.</p><p>Illinois American Water in Woodridge created a leak investigation department about two years ago. To see what a day in the life of a leak detector is like, I meet up with supervisor Tim Morris and his crew on a quiet tree-lined street in Bolingbrook.</p><p>“We received a phone call from a customer, saying that they found that their parkway was saturated.” Morris says.</p><p>We survey this customer's front lawn, and a small patch of grass squishes under my feet.</p><p>The customer comes out to talk to us. He points to the squishy area and says, “There’s water all the time here. It all comes up over here"</p><p>The water in his lawn could be groundwater that collects there because of a drainage issue. But if it’s a leaky pipe, Morris and his crew can help by pin-pointing the cause. We can see that there might be a leak, but to find the possible source, Morris’s crew relies on sound.</p><p>They place a sensitive microphone called an “X Mic” directly onto the closest fire hydrant.</p><p>“We’re trying to listen to find the leak,” Morris says.</p><p>A loud squealing sound is a sure sign of a major leak. I hear a quieter sound, which tells us there <em>could</em>be a small leak. To further their investigation, Morris and his crew use another piece of equipment that measures sound waves. It’s called a correlater.</p><p> <style type="text/css"> div .inline { width: 290px; float: left; margin-right: 19px; margin-left: 3px; clear: left; font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 1em; background-repeat: no-repeat; background-position: 0pt 5px; padding-left: 3px; margin-bottom: 0.5em; }div .inlineContent { border-top: 1px dotted rgb(170, 33, 29); margin-bottom: 5px; margin-top: 2px; }ul { margin-left: 15px; }li { font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: 1em; background-repeat: no-repeat; background-position: 0pt 5px; padding-left: 3px; margin-bottom: 0.5em; }</style> </p><div class="inline"><div class="inlineContent"><a href="/frontandcenter"><img alt="" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/story/insert-image/2011-November/2011-11-06/FC-logo-sm_0.jpg" style="width: 280px; height: 38px;" title=""></a><ul><li><a href="http://www.wbez.org/greatlakesjobs"><span style="color: rgb(255, 0, 0);"><strong>GRAPH: </strong></span><strong>Great Lakes, great source for jobs?</strong></a></li><li><strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/resource-wars-mining-vs-environment-94162">Resource wars: mining vs. the enviroment</a></strong></li></ul></div><div class="inlineContent">&nbsp;</div></div><p>One correlater box is attached to the fire hydrant. Another correlater box is attached to a valve at the end of a pipe about one hundred feet away.</p><p>“What they’re doing is they’re sending signals back and forth to each other, trying to find out where they’re losing the frequency that they’re initially sending out,” Morris says as he looks at the correlater readings on a small screen. “You can see from our graph that it’s about twenty-six feet from the red spot there.”</p><p>Morris’s crew mate Skip Semetulskis marks the spot. It’s about ten feet away from the saturated, squishy ground where we first saw evidence of a leak.</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-November/2011-11-22/RS4350_Skip Marking the Spot-scr.JPG" style="width: 275px; height: 366px; float: left; margin: 2px 10px;" title="Tim’s crew mate Skip measures a distance of twenty six feet away from the fire hydrant, where the correlater’s graph shows there might be a leak. (Front and Center/Sarah Lu) "></p><p>Morris says,“You know, if the maintenance crew had come out here before we did any kind of work, they would have dug right here. They would have dug, and if this hadn’t been the spot, then they would have trenched. So now if everything else leads it to being at that point, we dig right there, it ends up being right there, then that just saved us ten feet of excavation. That’s time, that’s money, and that’s the customer’s inconvenience. We were able to limit that. “</p><p>In this way, a proactive approach to leak detection reduces the costs of recouping lost water.</p><p>Morris says that eventually, the Leak Detection Department at Illinois American will pay for itself. Since they started, they have already saved a lot of water.</p><p>“My team has been able to save a loss of tens of millions of gallons over the last year and a half. Less than ten percent of all the earth’s water is drinkable. Lake Michigan itself is constantly losing water. It is a limited resource. I take my job at a very personal level. I love what I do."</p></p> Fri, 25 Nov 2011 14:29:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/content/using-sound-find-leaks-and-save-dollars Company doubling jobs with defense contract http://www.wbez.org/content/company-doubling-jobs-defense-contract-0 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-November/2011-11-21/MarinetteMarine.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A shipbuilder in northeastern Wisconsin plans to double its workforce thanks to a contract with the United States Navy. Marinette Marine will build at least ten Littoral Combat Ships. Called the LCS for short, the ships represent a new direction for the Navy, according to company president Charles Goddard.</p><p>The LCS is small by military standards. The ships are less than 400 feet in length and are able to navigate in shallow waters close to shore. Each ship costs an estimated $400 million and takes a year and a half to construct. Once the initial ten ships are built and delivered Goddard says his company will have the opportunity to bid on more. He says the Navy may eventually want 55 littorals.</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-November/2011-11-21/MarinetteMarine.jpg" style="margin-right: 15px; margin-top: 15px; margin-bottom: 15px; float: left; width: 275px; height: 183px; " title="(U.S Navy/Tiffini M. Jones)">The company is located in Marinette, Wisc. It’s a city of about 20,000 located 60 miles north of Green Bay on the shore of Lake Michigan. The region has a long history of shipbuilding dating back more than one hundred years. The company itself began making ships in 1942 and has employed generations of area residents.</p><p>Goddard says the company currently employs 1,100 workers. “Seven hundred of those are hourly wage earners," he says. "They’re union employees, they’re steel fitters, they’re welders, pipe fitters, they’re electricians, they’re painters, they’re outfitters.” He says Marinette Marine is hiring 35 to 40 people each month, “so by the end of the year we’ll be at 1,200 and over the next year and a half we’ll essentially double the work force here.”</p><p> <style type="text/css"> div .inline { width: 290px; float: left; margin-right: 19px; margin-left: 3px; clear: left; font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 1em; background-repeat: no-repeat; background-position: 0pt 5px; padding-left: 3px; margin-bottom: 0.5em; }div .inlineContent { border-top: 1px dotted rgb(170, 33, 29); margin-bottom: 5px; margin-top: 2px; }ul { margin-left: 15px; }li { font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: 1em; background-repeat: no-repeat; background-position: 0pt 5px; padding-left: 3px; margin-bottom: 0.5em; }</style> </p><div class="inline"><div class="inlineContent"><a href="/frontandcenter"><img alt="" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/story/insert-image/2011-November/2011-11-06/FC-logo-sm_0.jpg" style="width: 280px; height: 38px;" title=""></a><ul><li><a href="http://www.wbez.org/greatlakesjobs"><span style="color: rgb(255, 0, 0);"><strong>GRAPH: </strong></span><strong>Great Lakes, great source for jobs?</strong></a></li><li><a href="http://www.wbez.org/imadeajob"><strong><span style="color: rgb(255, 0, 0);">INTERACT: </span>Made a job? Tell us about it</strong></a></li><li><strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/resource-wars-mining-vs-environment-94162">Resource wars: mining vs. the enviroment</a></strong></li></ul></div><div class="inlineContent">&nbsp;</div></div><p>To ensure a supply of qualified workers Marinette Marine is working with a local technical college. Only 15 percent of local residents have four-year college degrees. So technical training is important to ensure skilled workers. Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, NWTC, is instituting two new degree programs. One is a certification in Marine Construction. It’s a three-semester course that teaches students a variety of welding techniques, safety requirements, and familiarizes them with blue prints. The other is an Associates’ Degree in marine engineering, which teaches more technically involved aspects of shipbuilding.</p><p>According to Pat O’Hara, the Dean of NWTC’s Marinette Campus, the new training programs are part of the school’s efforts to brand the region as a ship building powerhouse. “That’s going to be our North Coast Marine Training center, coining this as the North Coast of the United States," O'Hara says. "Our goal is to be the premiere marine manufacturing training center in the Midwest.”</p><p>Student Logan Dettman is in the inaugural class of the marine construction program. After he completes his schooling he says his first stop will be Marinette Marine’s human resources department. “I feel like getting a job is hard today and with a little bit of schooling, [you can] get your foot in the door and get a good job there," he says. "The pay is a little higher and everything else.”</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-November/2011-11-21/BuildingImage.jpg" style="margin-right: 15px; margin-top: 15px; margin-bottom: 15px; float: left; width: 275px; height: 203px; " title="(Photo courtesy of Marinette Marine Corporation)">Marinette Marine president Chuck Goddard says people like Dettman may well be the next chapter in the company’s seventy year history. “There’s a great heritage of shipbuilding here and there’s a lot of people here, their fathers worked in the shipyard, their uncles, their mom," he says. "And they’re continuing that tradition.”&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>Besides direct employment with Marinette Marine, the Navy contract is expected to have a manufacturing “ripple effect.” The company buys parts from other Wisconsin based suppliers. Also the Navy requires its contract holders to buy American made parts whenever possible. The company is also spending $75 million dollars to improve and expand its shipyard. Local contractors have been hired to build a new construction building and a new paint shop.</p><p>Marinette Marine is owned by an Italian company, Fincantieri. It was one of two companies tapped to build the LCS. The other is, Austal USA, based in Mobile Alabama.</p><p>Marinette Marine’s first LCS was the USS Freedom, which has is already being used by the Navy. The second ship, the USS Fort Worth, will be delivered early in 2012. Work is underway on the third vessel.</p></p> Tue, 22 Nov 2011 13:30:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/content/company-doubling-jobs-defense-contract-0 Milwaukee taps into Great Lakes' economic potential at Water Summit http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-09-20/milwaukee-taps-great-lakes-economic-potential-water-summit-92215 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-September/2011-09-20/Milwaukee.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>An airtight solution for unemployment, the top issue in the U.S. of late, remained unsolved by politicians and policymakers alike. But for the city of <a href="http://www.visitmilwaukee.org" target="_blank">Milwaukee</a>, the economic future was clear: water. The Wisconsin city planned to bank on Great Lakes water and the technology to clean it for their economic boost. In an effort to further that vision, dozens of the region’s top water scientists, business leaders and politicians gathered at the <a href="http://www.thewatercouncil.com/temp2/water-summit/" target="_blank">Water Summit</a> in Milwaukee.</p><p>WBEZ’s Cecilia Vaisman was at the Summit yesterday. Vaisman is the editor of <em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/frontandcenter" target="_blank">Front and Center</a></em>, WBEZ’s project exploring critical Great Lakes issues, and she joined <em>Eight Forty-Eight </em>with an update from the summit.</p></p> Tue, 20 Sep 2011 14:36:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-09-20/milwaukee-taps-great-lakes-economic-potential-water-summit-92215 Postcard: Detroit's floating post office http://www.wbez.org/content/postcard-detroits-floating-post-office-0 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-May/2011-05-31/img_1542.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><iframe frameborder="0" height="384" src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/25048736?title=0" width="577"></iframe></p><p>Twenty percent of the earth’s fresh surface water is contained in the five Great Lakes. From industry to recreation, the lakes affect life in the Great Lakes region. That connection is the focus of a new WBEZ series called <a href="http://www.wbez.org/frontandcenter" target="_blank"><em>Front and Center</em></a>.</p><p>Over the next several weeks the series will be examining critical issues centered on water. The first installment takes a look at how the lakes affect our lives.&nbsp;</p><p>In the banks of the Detroit River, there sits the J.W. Westcott. The ship is only 45 feet long.&nbsp; But believe it or not, it has its own zip code.</p><p>Since 1874, the J.W. Westcott Company has served the Great Lakes Waterways,&nbsp; delivering mail and freight to cargo ships on the Detroit River.</p><p>Zak Rosen provided an audio postcard for <em>Front and Center</em> - Chicago Public Media’s new series about the Great Lakes.</p></p> Tue, 20 Sep 2011 06:44:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/content/postcard-detroits-floating-post-office-0 Testing festival-goers taste: bottle or tap? http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-09-16/testing-festival-goers-taste-bottle-or-tap-92074 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-September/2011-09-16/3175532558_539de1558e_b.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>WBEZ&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.wbez.org/frontandcenter" target="_blank"><em>Front and Center</em></a> series covers a host of environmental issues in the Great Lakes region&ndash;-from the air Midwesterns breathe to the water they drink. Water quality is a big challenge. Sure, Chicago has lots of freshwater &ndash; a resource many are clamoring for. But<em> Front and Center</em> was interested in another debate, a controversy that just wouldn&#39;t go away: Which is better &ndash; tap or bottled water? The environment and a person&#39;s health were at stake in its answer. But for some, it could just came down to taste. <em>Front and Center</em>&rsquo;s Maham Khan decided to do a little experiment this summer at the <a href="http://milwaukeeavenueartsfestival.org/" target="_blank">Milwaukee Avenue Arts Festival</a>.</p><p>There was no better place to find thirsty people, willing to sip some water, than at a street festival on a hot July Sunday.<em> </em>Khan filled one bottle with tap water and another with bottled water. She asked festival-goers at the Milwaukee Avenue Arts Festival in Chicago to try one of each and determine which was what and which they liked better.</p><p>Loud speakers blasted everything from live hip-hop to Polka music. Patrons wandered from booth to booth in search of art. But at Khan&rsquo;s booth, instead of art, they found a challenge: &ldquo;Which do you like better?&rdquo; WBEZ&#39;s volunteer Emilja Novatovich asked this question of each sipper after offering them unlabeled cups of water.</p><p>Victor Navarez was sure his was tap water.</p><p>&ldquo;Tap water. Of course, you can taste the plastic&hellip;the chemical they put in there. I grew up with tap water, and I just think it&rsquo;s good. And now, I mean they&rsquo;re selling us water!&rdquo; Navarez explained.</p><p>The little experiment may have been unscientific but it took place against a backdrop laden with science&mdash;around purity, nutrition, environment and even taste.</p><p>One festival-goer smacked his mouth as he tasted the samples.<br />&ldquo;I can&rsquo;t tell the difference&rdquo; he said at first. But after more smacking, determined one was tapped, the other was bottled&mdash;and he preferred the tap.</p><p>But his estimation was wrong&mdash;and the samples were reversed.</p><p>&ldquo;Both of these are exactly the same right?&rdquo; Angie Hall asked. Hall thought Maham and company were messing with her because they also asked folks if they could identify which is tapped or bottled. Like Hall, over half of the sippers could not tell the difference.</p><p>&ldquo;They taste exactly the same, so therefore why fill up landfills with plastic bottles?&rdquo; Hall asked.</p><p>Hall&rsquo;s question got right into the kind of questions one side of the debate asked. Many of the pro-tap water drinkers at the festival brought up their concerns about the carbon foot print bottled water might leave behind. The advocacy group Food and Water Watch said it was a pretty big footprint&mdash;75 percent of plastic bottles still end up in landfills instead of being recycled.</p><p>One taster was pleased to learn that the sample he preferred was bottled water, which he often invested in.</p><p>Which brought up another contingent&mdash;Americans who collectively spend $21 billion a year on bottled water&mdash;some insisted it was taste; others were convinced bottled water is more pure&mdash;and convenient. A lot of the bottled water lovers said water on the go is a plus.<br />Samplers had their convictions about what was at stake in the choice&mdash;and it turned out, a blind taste test was not easy.</p><p>Ramon Rodriguez confessed he was just thirsty and had no idea there was difference. He was visiting from Puerto Rico.</p><p>He tried the bottled water first.</p><p>&ldquo;Ugh; that was awful,&rdquo; he said. A bit of an overreaction later, he tried the tap water.&ldquo;Ah, a lot fresher,&rdquo; he sighed.</p><p>In a sample of more than 300 thirsty festival-goers, almost half of the sampled Chicagoans&mdash;and one Puerto Rican visitor in particular&mdash;preferred the taste of Lake Michigan tap water over bottled.<br />&nbsp;</p><p><em>Music Button: Ron Trent &amp; Chaz Daimer, &quot;Morning Factory&quot;, (Prescription)<br />Music today provided by guest DJ, DJ Frique</em></p><p><br />&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 16 Sep 2011 15:24:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-09-16/testing-festival-goers-taste-bottle-or-tap-92074 The face of climate change in Lake Superior http://www.wbez.org/content/face-climate-change-lake-superior <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/frontandcenter/photo/2011-07-12/89058/six.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>&nbsp;</p><div class="daylife_smartgalleries_container" style="border: medium none; margin: 0pt; padding: 0pt; overflow: hidden; height: 375px; width: 500px;"><iframe class="daylife_smartgalleries_frame" src="http://galleries.wbez.org/gallery_slideshow/1310510116211?width=500&amp;disable_link_to_hosted_page=0&amp;height=375&amp;show_related=0" style="border: medium none; margin: 0pt; padding: 0pt; overflow: hidden; height: 100%; width: 100%;" frameborder="0" scrolling="no"></iframe></div><p>Wednesday we reported how <a href="http://www.wbez.org/frontandcenter/2011-07-13/climate-change-hits-mightiest-great-lakes-89058">climate change isn’t just hitting polar bears and melting glaciers</a>. Scientists and advocates say it’s hitting the Great Lakes too. Now, see the land and people who are feeling and researching the impact.</p></p> Thu, 14 Jul 2011 16:19:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/content/face-climate-change-lake-superior Who owns the fish? How tribal rights could save the Great Lakes. http://www.wbez.org/frontandcenter/2011-07-14/who-owns-fish-how-tribal-rights-could-save-great-lakes-89135 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/frontandcenter/photo/2011-07-14/89135/OrangePants.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>In Leelanau County in Northern Michigan, a small American Indian tribe has struggled for generations to survive economic and social hardships. The tribe has always been deeply connected to the lakes economically and culturally. The latest threat to that connection is environmental degradation, particularly invasive species.&nbsp; But the tribes are forming unexpected alliances with old enemies to fight the threat.</p><div id="PictoBrowser121120124048">Get the flash player here: http://www.adobe.com/flashplayer</div><script type="text/javascript" src="http://www.db798.com/pictobrowser/swfobject.js"></script><script type="text/javascript"> var so = new SWFObject("http://www.db798.com/pictobrowser.swf", "PictoBrowser", "640", "540", "8", "#000000"); so.addVariable("source", "sets"); so.addVariable("names", "Who owns the fish?"); so.addVariable("userName", "shannonheffernan"); so.addVariable("userId", "30655293@N07"); so.addVariable("ids", "72157631912189822"); so.addVariable("titles", "off"); so.addVariable("displayNotes", "off"); so.addVariable("thumbAutoHide", "off"); so.addVariable("imageSize", "medium"); so.addVariable("vAlign", "mid"); so.addVariable("vertOffset", "0"); so.addVariable("colorHexVar", "000000"); so.addVariable("initialScale", "off"); so.addVariable("bgAlpha", "92"); so.write("PictoBrowser121120124048"); </script><p>When you first arrive in the Leelanau Peninsula, you think: this is heaven in the Midwest. Lake Michigan stretches out everywhere you look, blue as the Caribbean. It is a place full of second homes and tourists. But there is one spot that is different from the rest.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><em>Arthur Duhamel Marina sound fade up</em></p><p>Peshawbestown is the reservation for the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, a group that has lived in this area longer than anyone. It doesn&rsquo;t have any t-shirt shops or beach-front mansions. Instead, there are government offices, a casino, and a tribal marina. Ed John is a tribal fisherman who docks his boat here.</p><p style="margin-left: 30pt;">JOHN: I can weld, and other things. But I enjoy fishing cause I am my own boss. I am not rich, but I don&rsquo;t want to be rich, it&rsquo;s working for me.</p><p>Tribes have always been dependent on the lakes. We asked Ed how invasive species have been threatening the tribes livelihood. &nbsp;</p><p style="margin-left: 30pt;">JOHN: I was just telling my buddy, we got these reporters down here, asking about Invasive species. We know a thing or two about invasive species. First we had the Vikings and all these other countries taking, actually invading our space.</p><p>Ed&rsquo;s wife fishes, and so does her cousin, Bill.</p><p style="margin-left: 30pt;">FOWLER: My name is Bill Fowler, I am a tribal commercial fisherman.</p><p>&nbsp;His nickname is bear</p><p style="margin-left: 30pt;">FOWLER: because I&rsquo;m as big as a bear and I work like a bear</p><p>(Fade up engine)</p><p>Bill fishes with Jason Sams who helps haul in the nets. Also along for the ride is &nbsp;Bill&rsquo;s dauschund puppy, Beauford.</p><p style="margin-left: 30pt;">SAMS: He eats the face of the fishes. Faces ain&rsquo;t worth any money anyway. He&rsquo;s excited &lsquo;Cause he knows there will be fish soon.</p><p>It takes about an hour to reach the first fishing net.</p><p>FOWLER: Here fishy, fishy, come here fishies.</p><p>Lake Trout flop around on the dock, bleeding from the gills.</p><p style="margin-left: 30pt;"><em>Fish flopping</em></p><p>Ice keeps them fresh till they get to shore, where Bill sells his catch under the name 1836 fishing company, in honor of the treaty of 1836.</p><p style="margin-left: 30pt;">FOWLER: I named it that because the treaty is important to us to reserve our rights.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-July/2011-07-14/Ceded_TerritoriesGLIFWC.jpg" style="width: 500px; height: 391px; margin-left: 3px; margin-right: 3px;" title="(photo courtesy of Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission)" /></p><p>You see, back in 1836 the tribes gave away a huge chunk of land &ndash; 1/3 of the state of Michigan. In return they kept the right to hunt and fish.&nbsp; But much later, in the 1960s, the state of Michigan started heavily regulating commercial fishermen, including tribes, limiting where and how they fished.</p><p>John Bailey was a tribal leader at the time and says the regulations hurt the tribes.</p><p style="margin-left: 30pt;">BAILEY: Economically it would destroy us. And it would destroy us as Indian people because it&rsquo;s something that has been passed down generation to generation.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>Inspired by the Civil Rights movement in the south, tribes began using non-violent civil disobedience to protest the regulations. They ignored state fishing restrictions and said to the authorities, come arrest me.</p><p>According to John Bailey, a lot of whites didn&rsquo;t react well.</p><p style="margin-left: 30pt;">BAILEY: One of the groups actually took pictures of Indian fisherman and flooded the state with wanted posters: spear an Indian Save a Trout. We had guns pulled on us<strong>. </strong>We had women verbally and physically assaulted</p><p>White commercial and sports fisherman thought traditional nets used by the tribes would lead to overfishing, destroying the fishing economy.</p><p>The fight came to a head in 1979, when the tribes went to court. They pulled out that treaty from 1836, the one Fowler named his boat after. And because of that they won. The courts said: these tribes, they own a part of that lake and the water and the fish in it too. That&rsquo;s why tribal fisherman like Bill Fowler can still fish today.</p><p style="margin-left: 30pt;">FOWLER: A lot of times people don&rsquo;t realize that treaty right exist, they think we are out on the plains living in teepees and we are here today and living in a modern way just like everybody else, but we still have our treaty rights.</p><p>That treaty could prove to play a deciding role in the current legal battle to protect the lakes against invasive species. And it&rsquo;s a factor uniting the same groups that were at odds over fishing rights in the seventies.&nbsp;</p><p>At the end of the day, Bill pulls his boat into the Fishtown marina and sells his fish to Carlsons Fish Shop, owned by a white family that has been in the fishing business for 6 generations.</p><p style="margin-left: 30pt;">S<em>ounds of Bill handing off the fish</em></p><p>Bill hands over boxes of full of fish that the Carlson&rsquo;s will smoke and sell in their shop. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>This is a remarkable scene. Only thirty years ago the Carlson&rsquo;s were on the opposite side of the fight from the tribes. And now here they are, rolling away all of Bill&rsquo;s fish to sell to tourists.</p><p style="margin-left: 30pt;"><em>Cart sound</em></p><p>Cooperation like this between white and native fishermen, is common now. There are a lot of complicated reasons for that. &nbsp;But the one everyone told us over and over again is this: we have a common enemy, fighting environmental destruction. &nbsp;Jack Nolan is the former president of the Grand Traverse Area Sports fishermen.</p><p style="margin-left: 30pt;">NOLAN: The hard feelings have passed and now we are working on what is needed today. The Asian Carp, all the other invasive species. We don&rsquo;t have time for bickering, we need to take care of our resource.</p><p>Protecting the lakes from the voracious Asian Carp is an urgent concern for more than just sports fisherman. Most Great Lakes states are involved in a Federal lawsuit. They are trying to get the Army Corps of engineers to shut down locks leading into the Great Lakes and stop the carp. But so far the suit&rsquo;s stalled in court and many scientists say carp will get in the lakes before all that&rsquo;s resolved.</p><p>But this is where there is a twist. The tribal rights that were solidified in the 1979 court case established that the tribes owned part of the lake, and others couldn&rsquo;t mess up their ability to fish in it. That might mean the tribes could do something no one else can do can do -- force the Army Corps to close the locks to keep out the Asian Carp.</p><p style="margin-left: 30pt;">FLETCHER: It maybe that the treaty rights are the only thing that protects us, I don&rsquo;t know.</p><p>Matthew Fletcher is a law professor at Michigan Sate University. He says litigating on behalf of the environment, is really hard in our court system, because the environment doesn&rsquo;t have rights.</p><p>But treaties, like the one signed with the tribes, are considered &ldquo;the supreme law of the land.&rdquo;&nbsp; Matthew Fletcher, a member of the Ottawa and Chippewa band of Indians, says tribes may be willing to use those treaties on behalf of the lakes, because of what they have to loose.</p><p style="margin-left: 30pt;">FLETCHER: If the GL tanks and its all polluted or declined to the point where it&rsquo;s useless, Michigan will still be here. But there are 6 or 8 tribes that will disappear. So much of the culture, the tradition, and the economies, even the language is tied to what the lakes look like.&nbsp; If that goes away, the tribes have lost, in terms of basically being extinct.</p><p>The tribes will be presenting testimony in an upcoming injunction hearing, it&rsquo;s the latest development in the effort to get the locks closed immediately.</p><p>No one is sure how the treaty rights will shake out in court.&nbsp; But if they do hold up, it could open all kinds of doors for using tribal rights to fight environmental battles, from privatization of water, to nuclear power plants on the shore. And tribes, once at odds with all of the other fishermen, may prove they have a trump card that could protect the lakes for everyone.</p></p> Thu, 14 Jul 2011 15:55:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/frontandcenter/2011-07-14/who-owns-fish-how-tribal-rights-could-save-great-lakes-89135 Detroit water wars emphasize passion over resources http://www.wbez.org/frontandcenter/2011-07-14/detroit-water-wars-emphasize-passion-over-resources-89033 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/frontandcenter/photo/2011-07-14/89033/A detroit water treatment facility.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>In the Great Lakes region, it’s easy to take abundant, fresh water for granted.</p><p>But in the Detroit metropolitan area, near Lake Huron, water has been at the heart of a decades-long battle pitting city against suburbs. &nbsp;</p><p><em>ambi: water rushing; you can smell it</em></p><p>That’s the smell of water.</p><p>I’m standing above 20 feet of settling liquid inside an enclosed treatment plant -- 1 million gallons in a space longer than an airplane. As I try not to get my high heel shoes caught in the walkway, I look below and watch a complicated chemical process rid the water of dirt particles.</p><p>Detroit Chief Operating Officer Chris Brown gives a quick primer.</p><p>BROWN: You’re making sure getting a good mixture like in your mixing bowl.</p><p>This is one of five Detroit water department treatment facilities. This site cleans 240 million gallons a day. The total system treats more than 1 billion gallons a day.</p><p><em>ambi: water rushing continues</em></p><p>The city built this amazing system and thus became the regional provider. The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department goes back to the early 1800s. The public utility grew as the region grew. Today the service area is more than 1,000 miles and 100 communities…more than 4 million customers.</p><p>But like many cities in the industrial Midwest, Detroit shrunk and turned black and the suburbs flourished and housed white flight.</p><p>Tension over water bubbled.</p><p><em>ambi: water fades</em></p><p>D’ANIERI: The problem in Metro Detroit is the race- and class-based political tension between city and suburb has been so great and going on so many years that suburban residents and suburban political leaders find it very easy to pick fights with Detroit over the water service.</p><p>Phil D'Anieri is an urban planner at the University of Michigan.&nbsp; He says the passion over water is palpable.</p><p>D’ANIERI: Water is so powerful because of its role in our daily lives. We need to it survive. We want what comes out of our tap to be clean and cool and to not have a bad taste. And if you are mistrustful of the person who’s ultimately in charge of that, that’s going to raise a lot of concerns.</p><p>There have been concerns. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency slapped a lawsuit against Detroit in the late 1970s for violating clean water standards by dumping sewerage in the Detroit River.&nbsp; The case morphed into surrounding counties wanting more control over the water system. Recent political indictments over water contracts fueled suburbanite arguments that the department was corrupt. On top of that, many suburbs felt the city gouged them in prices.</p><p>Robert Ficano is the executive of Wayne County, home to dozens of suburbs. He says there has been an us vs. them mentality between the city and suburbs.</p><p>FICANO: In a way it was a perfect foil for a number of suburban mayors to say ‘oh, this is just a cost, boy if we controlled the system maybe we could be more efficient and bring it down.’</p><p>Detroit maintains water rates aren’t inflated and that water bills are among the lowest in the country. There’s been no proof of Detroit gouging the system.</p><p>Detroit COO Chris Brown is acting water department director and says there are a lot of misunderstandings.</p><p>BROWN: There’s no large financial return to the city. The city manages on behalf of not only the residents of city of the Detroit but also the residents of the region for now value. So we get nothing to the general fund.</p><p>In fact, the department has run at a deficit.</p><p>The conflict led to mountains of legal motions, threats and two judges overseeing the water department. At one point, two of the counties even researched building their own system. But the price tag totaled $1 billion dollars and there was no pot of federal gold to help with funding. The intricacy of building of a new water network is akin to remaking an interstate highway system from scratch.</p><p><em>Crowd chanting: Hands off our water</em></p><p>More recently, last winter, there was a bill in the state legislature that would have allowed the state to take control of the water department.&nbsp;&nbsp; Detroiters were none too pleased.</p><p><em>Chants fade under Gaines</em></p><p>GAINES: My name is Gwendolyn Gaines and I’m a member and commissioner on the Detroit’s People Water Board.</p><p>Gaines has been a part of myriad protests with this ad hoc committee. She’s passionate about water …</p><p>GAINES: Because it’s the new gold of our society.</p><p>She wants transparency on contracts.</p><p>GAINES:&nbsp; We want all water board meetings televised. We don’t know what goes on in those meetings unless we go. I’ll wait a few months and if we don’t have no answers by then, I’ll get my crew of senior citizens and we gonna go right back in front of the water department and act a fool again.</p><p>The bill that sparked that protest never passed because a compromise was struck. A new mayor and new judge helped inspire a new climate.</p><p>The changes give suburbs more say. The water board still has seven members but the three suburban ones are appointed by the counties – not Detroit. And a super majority of votes is needed on some big-ticket approvals.</p><p>John McCulloch is the elected drain commissioner of Oakland County. &nbsp;A longtime critic of Detroit water, he’s now the one who appoints a suburban rep to the water board. &nbsp;McCulloch says there’s now transparency – even if it’s not the message constituents want to hear.</p><p>MCCULLOCH: I still tell people that, when asked, will we see some relief in these increases and rates. I indicate no. There’s a lot of reasons why they continue to go up.</p><p>The new water board hasn’t been in effect long and experts are waiting – and hoping – to see if this compromise will quell the simmering battle. Meanwhile, officials are turning their attention to why there was a lawsuit in the first place: clean water violations. They are working toward an August deadline to appease the feds and move on from judicial oversight.</p><p>Urban planner Phil D’Anieri says the balkanization of Metro Detroit has defined the area for the past 50 years. Water has been a landmark. But it’s not unique to other metro areas.</p><p>D’ANIERI: People like to look to Metropolitan Detroit as an example of how wrong things ago. And that’s fair enough. The risk that people face though is in thinking that what Detroit faces is unique to Detroit. In many ways the severity of what Detroit faces is unique. It’s way up there on the scale – no doubt about it. But the underlying problems of how to organize the region of race- and class-based political conflict, of sprawl that is leaving some areas very well off and some areas very poorly off – everybody is dealing with that.</p><p>Detroit’s water war brought out deep-rooted issues of race, political power and class. &nbsp;&nbsp;Issues familiar to most major American cities.&nbsp; And Detroit’s water solutions may offer a window into managing a precious resource.</p></p> Thu, 14 Jul 2011 12:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/frontandcenter/2011-07-14/detroit-water-wars-emphasize-passion-over-resources-89033 Call-in show: Great Lakes water and you http://www.wbez.org/frontandcenter/2011-07-13/call-show-great-lakes-water-and-you-89087 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/archives/images/cityroom/cityroom_20080730_mpuente_2242920_Swim_large.png" alt="" /><p><p>Thursday on Eight Forty-Eight we talk about Great Lakes water and you! As part of our series Front and Center, Alison Cuddy and guests from the Great Lakes region discuss how water affects you most. Get your questions in the mix: Call 312-923-9239, Thursday at 9 am.</p></p> Wed, 13 Jul 2011 15:45:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/frontandcenter/2011-07-13/call-show-great-lakes-water-and-you-89087