Detroit News at noon: Ellen's big donation, I-75 expansion, Valentine's Day recipes

The Detroit News

Today is Thursday, February 11, 2015. Here's what's in the news today.

Feeling chatty? Talk UM basketball with Tony Paul at noon and then stick around to chat MSU with Matt Charboneau at 12:30 p.m.

Ellen's big surprise

The Ellen DeGeneres Show earlier this year reached out to Detroit Public Schools to help Spain Elementary-Middle School make improvements.

  • Students and staff at Detroit's Spain Elementary-Middle School were shocked when Ellen DeGeneres secured a massive donation on their behalf. 
  • At one point, pop star Justin Bieber popped out next to Ellen and he promised to donate $1 from every ticket sold for his April 25 show at The Palace to Auburn Hills to the school.
  • The talk show host didn't stop there: She announced she was setting up a GoFundMe page with the goal of drawing $5 million in donations for the Detroit Public Schools building that serves more than 650 students. 
  • Spain Elementary-Middle School, like many schools in DPS, has faced troubles that led to a series of sickouts earlier this year. These problems include mold growth and warped wood that has closed down the school gym. 

Preschoolers play in the hallway of Spain Elementary-Middle School.”

I-75 relief coming

  • Work on widening congested Interstate 75 through Oakland County will begin this summer, County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said Wednesday night during his State of the County address. The project will begin with a three-mile stretch in the Square Lake Road area and cost $127 million. 

Chicago auto show update

  • Kia Motors Corp. debuted three hybrid vehicles, including the company’s first plug-in hybrid electric model and the Niro “hybrid utility vehicle.”

For the serious off-road enthusiast, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' truck brand will unveil the 2017 Ram Power Wagon at the 2016 Chicago Auto Show, featuring new exterior and interior designs.

Let's get political

  • Expect the Kasich train to be heading to Michigan. After a second-place finish in New Hampshire Tuesday, Republican presidential contender John Kasich is setting his sights on our primary next month because we are what his campaign considers a "vital must-win state." 
  • "Little House on the Prairie" star and Democratic U.S. Senate hopeful Melissa Gilbert is taking heat from the Republicans for what they say is using the Flint water crisis to raise money for her campaign. 

Are you ready for Valentine's Day?

Oysters are great for romance and for eating at home.

Happening in sports

  • It was an emotional night for former Pistons player Chauncey Billups as his No. 1 jersey was retired to the rafters at The Palace. It was almost too much for Billups to handle. "As I went through my career, I never shot for that; that was never a goal of mine," he said. "I just wanted to be the best I could be; I didn’t know that was my best.”

Chauncey Billups and his family pose with his banner: Ciara, 12, Cydney, 15, Cenaiya, 7, and his wife Piper.

Legal battles

The lighter side 

The signature snow slide, ranging to 200 feet, returns for the 2016 Winter Blast in downtown Detroit.