Kate Wells http://michiganradio.org en So, how big is Flint schools' deficit? Depends who you ask http://michiganradio.org/post/so-how-big-flint-schools-deficit-depends-who-you-ask <p></p><p>Flint Community Schools says it's got a $20 million deficit ($10 million of which was only recently discovered, according to the district.)</p><p>But if you ask Lisa Hagel, Flint Community Schools owes another $8.6 million on top of that.</p><p>Hagel is the superintendent of the Genesee Intermediate School District, which is now suing Flint schools over allegedly misspending $8.6 million of countywide tax money. &nbsp;</p> Fri, 11 Jul 2014 14:27:36 +0000 Kate Wells 18342 at http://michiganradio.org So, how big is Flint schools' deficit? Depends who you ask Central American children, if they come to Michigan, would stay just 2-4 weeks http://michiganradio.org/post/central-american-children-if-they-come-michigan-would-stay-just-2-4-weeks <p>Some 200 people and about a dozen media outlets stuffed into an airless high school cafeteria in Vassar, Michigan last night.</p><p>The small town of some 2,600 has been thrown into the center of the immigration debate during the past few weeks.</p><p>That's because a local juvenile center, Wolverine Human Services, is in talks to temporarily house as many as 120 of the unaccompanied Central American children flooding into the U.S.</p><p>And so far, Vassar appears very, very against that idea.&nbsp;</p> Thu, 10 Jul 2014 03:07:28 +0000 Kate Wells 18324 at http://michiganradio.org Central American children, if they come to Michigan, would stay just 2-4 weeks Some Michiganders protest against unaccompanied minors coming here http://michiganradio.org/post/some-michiganders-protest-against-unaccompanied-minors-coming-here <p></p><p>Some of the chaos at the U.S. and Mexican border has made its way to Michigan.</p><p>About 75 protesters turned out last night in in the tiny, mid-Michigan town of Vassar, population roughly 2,600.&nbsp;</p><p>That's where a juvenile center is in talks to potentially house some of the unaccompanied minors flooding into this country from Central America.</p><p>Michigan Radio's Kate Wells sent us this field report.&nbsp;</p><p> Tue, 08 Jul 2014 21:02:45 +0000 Kate Wells 18299 at http://michiganradio.org Some Michiganders protest against unaccompanied minors coming here Protests Monday night against migrant children coming to Michigan http://michiganradio.org/post/protests-monday-night-against-migrant-children-coming-michigan <p><strong>UPDATE 10:49 PM&nbsp;</strong></p><p>Some 75 protestors and several police officers filled the front lawn of Vassar's city hall Monday evening.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>Even though officials say these kids would stay in the juvenile camp for housing and school while they're going through the asylum, or more likely, the deportation process, lots of people expressed concern about what it would mean for the town.&nbsp;</p><p>"More crime," said Josh Barnes, of Vassar, when asked why he was worried enough to come out and protest.</p> Mon, 07 Jul 2014 20:31:53 +0000 Kate Wells 18284 at http://michiganradio.org Protests Monday night against migrant children coming to Michigan More Michigan cities will vote on decriminalizing pot http://michiganradio.org/post/more-michigan-cities-will-vote-decriminalizing-pot <p><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Georgia, Times, serif; font-size: 15.555556297302246px; line-height: 21.111112594604492px; ">In Berkley, activists say they've now turned in enough signatures to put decriminalization on the local ballot this fall.&nbsp;</span></p><p><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Georgia, Times, serif; font-size: 15.555556297302246px; line-height: 21.111112594604492px; ">The city clerk says they'll know whether or not the signatures are valid by Thursday. &nbsp;</span></p> Tue, 01 Jul 2014 20:34:00 +0000 Kate Wells 18227 at http://michiganradio.org More Michigan cities will vote on decriminalizing pot Here's why Michigan is hiring the people who rolled out Healthcare.gov http://michiganradio.org/post/heres-why-michigan-hiring-people-who-rolled-out-healthcaregov <p>You may have seen the headlines:</p><p><a href="http://www.freep.com/article/20140630/NEWS06/306300010/CGI-botched-Obamacare-website">"Michigan awards $90M deal to builder of problem-plagued HealthCare.gov"</a></p><p>Or the very similarly titled:&nbsp;</p><p><a href="http://www.mlive.com/lansing-news/index.ssf/2014/06/michigan_awards_90m_contract_t.html#incart_m-rpt-2" style="font-family: Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 30px; text-align: left; ">"Michigan awards $90M contract to Canadian tech firm that built troubled HealthCare.gov"&nbsp;</a></p> Mon, 30 Jun 2014 23:01:23 +0000 Kate Wells 18209 at http://michiganradio.org Here's why Michigan is hiring the people who rolled out Healthcare.gov Theater community rallies to save beloved playhouse http://michiganradio.org/post/theater-community-rallies-save-beloved-playhouse <p></p><p>Michigan’s theater community took a hit a few weeks ago, when an iconic professional theater in Ann Arbor suddenly shut down.</p><p>Audiences showed up for the evening performance only to find a note on the door, saying everything was canceled indefinitely.</p><p>In a panic, the theater community rushed to come up with a plan, any plan, that could save it.</p><p><strong>“When the locksmith showed up, the writing was on the wall.”</strong></p><p>May was a busy month for Carla Milarch.</p> Wed, 25 Jun 2014 14:58:46 +0000 Kate Wells 18125 at http://michiganradio.org Theater community rallies to save beloved playhouse "Take on Hate" campaign targets anti-Arab prejudice in Detroit http://michiganradio.org/post/take-hate-campaign-targets-anti-arab-prejudice-detroit <p>Earlier this month there was the annual anti-Islam rally in Dearborn (although more cops than actual protestors showed up.)&nbsp;</p><p>A few days before that, police investigated the burning of several Qurans outside a local Mosque.&nbsp;</p><div>&nbsp;</div><div>And in February, an Arab-American man won more than $1 million dollars in a lawsuit over the religious and racial harassment he said he suffered at work.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><p></p> Mon, 23 Jun 2014 09:00:00 +0000 Kate Wells 18096 at http://michiganradio.org "Take on Hate" campaign targets anti-Arab prejudice in Detroit The guy with one of Detroit's toughest jobs is resigning http://michiganradio.org/post/guy-one-detroits-toughest-jobs-resigning <p>Let's do this MEAP style. Choose one of the following.</p><p>John Covington is:</p><p>A) an education visionary, brought in to turn around some of Detroit's worst schools using a model that lets kids learn at their own level, regardless of age or grade;</p><p>B) an overpaid, underperforming puppet of a state takeover of Detroit's schools;</p><p>C) It just depends on whom you ask.&nbsp;</p><p>Right or wrong, the chancellor of the Education Achievement Authority is stepping down.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Hired to fix Detroit's failing schools, amidst political turmoil&nbsp;</strong></p> Tue, 17 Jun 2014 00:07:27 +0000 Kate Wells 18023 at http://michiganradio.org The guy with one of Detroit's toughest jobs is resigning Remember that plan for a part-time legislature for Michigan? http://michiganradio.org/post/remember-plan-part-time-legislature-michigan <p>Yeah, it's dead, and petition organizers partly blame what we are still talking about in Michigan: the freezing cold winter.</p><p>More from Jonathan Oosting&nbsp;from&nbsp;<a href="http://www.mlive.com/lansing-news/index.ssf/2014/06/michigan_petition_drive_for_pa.html">MLive</a>:</p><blockquote><p>Chairman Norm Kammeraad said an unusually cold winter made it difficult for the group to collect 322,609 (signatures) by July 7 in order to put a constitutional amendment on the fall ballot.</p><p>"Every time we hit the field with these things, we were overwhelmed by people who wanted to sign them," Kammeraad said Tuesday evening. "It was just phenomenal. Problem is, we couldn't get organized enough because of the weather."</p></blockquote><p>Kammeraad<span style="line-height: 1.5;">, the chair of the Committee to Restore Michigan’s Part-time Legislature, also blamed "elite Republicans" for coming up short.</span></p><p> Thu, 12 Jun 2014 20:04:47 +0000 Mark Brush & Kate Wells 17979 at http://michiganradio.org Remember that plan for a part-time legislature for Michigan? Flint school district lays off 250 staff http://michiganradio.org/post/flint-school-district-lays-250-staff <p></p><div>The Flint school district is sending out some 250 pink slips this week.</div><p>They're laying off non-classroom staff, from janitors to secretaries to school safety workers.&nbsp;</p><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Administrators say they have no choice: they're coming up against a state deadline to eliminate the district's $10 million general fund deficit.&nbsp;</div><div><p></p><p>Now the district will look to outsource those positions through a private company.</p><p></p><p>Karon Grubb is a secretary in the administration office.</p><p></p> Thu, 05 Jun 2014 21:09:53 +0000 Kate Wells 17882 at http://michiganradio.org Flint school district lays off 250 staff Detroit high school for pregnant teens is closing – this time, for real http://michiganradio.org/post/detroit-high-school-pregnant-teens-closing-time-real <p>It's kind of heartbreaking.&nbsp;</p><p>The Catherine Ferguson Academy in Detroit is closing at the end of this month, due to low enrollment and financial trouble.</p><p>That's the announcement from the Wayne RESA, the intermediate school district that held the school's charter, and the whole thing feels like deja vu.</p><p><strong>A beloved school repeatedly finds itself on brink of closure &nbsp; &nbsp;</strong></p> Thu, 05 Jun 2014 13:06:29 +0000 Kate Wells 17868 at http://michiganradio.org Detroit high school for pregnant teens is closing – this time, for real Small businesses say higher gas taxes would hurt their bottom line http://michiganradio.org/post/small-businesses-say-higher-gas-taxes-would-hurt-their-bottom-line <p></p><p></p><p>If there's one issue uniting Michigan's old and young, Republican and Democrat, it's the need to fix our crumbling roads.</p><p></p><p></p><p></p><p>Things are so bad, state legislators are even considering hiking the gas tax.</p><p></p><p></p><p>But critics say small businesses will struggle if they have to pay any more at the pump.</p><p></p><p>Charlie Owens is with the National Federation of Independent Businesses.</p><p></p> Mon, 02 Jun 2014 19:33:37 +0000 Kate Wells 17824 at http://michiganradio.org Small businesses say higher gas taxes would hurt their bottom line Artpod looks at autism and art therapy http://michiganradio.org/post/artpod-looks-autism-and-art-therapy <p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">This week in </span>ArtPod<span style="line-height: 1.5;">, we look at the "great wave" generation of young adults and children with autism.&nbsp;</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">We spent a few days on a film set where those teens and adults are learning job skills, social interaction, and how to walk back on set after a small breakdown.&nbsp;</span></p><p>Then we visit a children's hospital that's using art –murals, patient portraits and more – to help parents and kids navigate the stressful, chaotic experience.&nbsp;</p><p>You can also check out ArtPod in iTunes.</p><p> Fri, 30 May 2014 21:11:16 +0000 Kate Wells 17811 at http://michiganradio.org Artpod looks at autism and art therapy A film set, where adults with autism learn job skills http://michiganradio.org/post/film-set-where-adults-autism-learn-job-skills <p></p><p>The“great wave” of&nbsp;kids with autism is growing up.</p><p>That’s what experts are calling this generation, since more than 80% of people diagnosed with full spectrum autism are under 21.</p><p>In Michigan, about 16,000 kids are eligible for special education services, according to a state report.</p><p>But when those kids grow up, the same report says, the state doesn’t have nearly enough services to help them get jobs or transition to adult lives.</p><p>That’s why one program in Rochester is giving young adults with autism the skills to get a job in an unusual way: by training them in the movie business. &nbsp;</p><p> Thu, 29 May 2014 02:45:57 +0000 Kate Wells 17789 at http://michiganradio.org A film set, where adults with autism learn job skills Detroit may have to close 26 schools http://michiganradio.org/post/detroit-may-have-close-26-schools <p>Detroit Public Schools spokeswoman Michelle Zdrodowski&nbsp;(say "<span style="font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 15.55px;">stroh-dow-ski") wants you to know that administrators get it: Nobody likes closing schools.&nbsp;</span></p><p>"We look at a school as the anchor or the center of a&nbsp; neighborhood. And for us to take it away could do some serious damage, and we don't want to do that," she says.</p><div><p>But they do have a $120 million deficit this year.</p><p> Tue, 27 May 2014 22:16:27 +0000 Kate Wells 17769 at http://michiganradio.org Detroit may have to close 26 schools Activists don't want another private charter school company running Muskegon Heights http://michiganradio.org/post/activists-dont-want-another-private-charter-school-company-running-muskegon-heights <p>If you've got a charter school management company and you'd like to run the chaotic, broke school district of Muskegon Heights, today is your last day to submit a bid. &nbsp;</p><p>That's because the school system's emergency manager recently announced a mutual split with their previous contractor, a company called Mosaica Education.</p><p>Mosaica was losing money.</p><p>And it was getting a lot of flack for hiring teachers without proper certification (which earned the district state fines) and not delivering all the required special education services.&nbsp;</p> Fri, 23 May 2014 21:28:18 +0000 Kate Wells 17741 at http://michiganradio.org Activists don't want another private charter school company running Muskegon Heights Yes, Detroit is still shrinking, but much more slowly http://michiganradio.org/post/yes-detroit-still-shrinking-much-more-slowly <p>Let's start with the good news from today's census numbers.</p><div><p></p><p>Michigan is growing overall, up to about 9.9 million people.</p><p></p><p>That's two straight years of growth for the state, a welcome uptick after seven years of declining population.</p><p></p><p>And some of that growth is in areas you might expect: Grand Rapids, Ann Arbor, and their suburbs.</p><p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Detroit itself, however, is still shrinking. It's down 10,000 people from the previous year, with just under 689,000 people now.</span></p><p></p> Thu, 22 May 2014 21:38:14 +0000 Kate Wells 17727 at http://michiganradio.org Yes, Detroit is still shrinking, but much more slowly Ads aimed at future students claim "Michigan has a rape problem" http://michiganradio.org/post/ads-aimed-future-students-claim-michigan-has-rape-problem <p><em>"University of Michigan has a rape problem. Find out more before you decide."</em></p><p>"<em>Accepted to University of Michigan? You should know about its rape problem."</em></p><div><p>Those are the Facebook and mobile ads seen recently by some prospective Michigan students and their parents.</p><p></p><p>They ran during the critical weeks when students have their acceptance letters and are deciding where to enroll.</p><p></p><p><strong>“This is information a lot of colleges have been trying to hide.”</strong></p><p></p> Fri, 16 May 2014 16:20:25 +0000 Kate Wells 17636 at http://michiganradio.org Ads aimed at future students claim "Michigan has a rape problem" Childrens hospital uses art to help parents, patients http://michiganradio.org/post/childrens-hospital-uses-art-help-parents-patients <div><p>Felicia McMillon and her husband are the kind of people who do not like hospitals.&nbsp;</p><p>"My family, we really don’t do too well with hospitals,” she says, standing in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit of C.S. Mott Children's Hospital in Ann Arbor.</p></div><p>And that was before they gave birth to their first child, Elijah.</p><p>He was born a month early with an intestinal infection. He’s now in his fourth surgery.</p><p> Mon, 12 May 2014 17:15:40 +0000 Kate Wells 17560 at http://michiganradio.org Childrens hospital uses art to help parents, patients