News

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

The state has fully relinquished oversight of Benton Harbor, six years after the city was placed under emergency management to address a budget deficit.

Friday's decision followed a recommendation from a state-appointed receivership transition advisory board.

The southwestern Michigan city will manage operations and finances without oversight. City council ordinances no longer need approval of the board that was appointed in 2014 once emergency management ended.

Both Gov. Rick Snyder and former Gov. Jennifer Granholm appointed emergency managers in Benton Harbor.

Flickr user RAY TYLER IMAGES/Flickr / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

While personnel are still in the military, the doctors they see understand their experiences in combat, or in other situations, might mean they have certain healthcare issues.

Once veterans are out of the military, though, their private physicians might not even think to ask if they’ve served. That’s an oversight one doctor is working to correct.

Flickr user pcurtner/Flickr / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

For most of Michigan, this has been one of the driest starts to summer we’ve seen in a long time.

With Fourth of July coming up, there are concerns about fires in these dry conditions.

For this reason, Julie Secontine, the State Fire Marshal, has been considering banning fireworks this Fourth of July.

As of now, no burn ban or fireworks ban has been issued.

Jacobs said Legislature was "penny wise and pound foolish" in neglecting to add $3 million to the "heat and eat" program in the new state budget.
Flickr user Liz West / Flickr / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

An advocacy group for low-income people has been going over the new state budget. The Michigan League for Public Policy (MLPP) found some good things in the budget, and a whole lot of federal money left on the table.

Gilda Jacobs, president and CEO of the MLPP, started with the good things:

wikimedia user motown31 / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Governor Rick Snyder has approved an education budget which includes $2.5 million for private and religious schools.  That seems to be incongruent with the Michigan Constitution, which states:

Flickr user Brian Turner/Flickr
HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

A group says free speech is threatened on college campuses.

FIRE, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, rates colleges and universities based on how they restrict free speech.

Its mission is “to defend and sustain individual rights at America’s colleges and universities.”

That includes protecting freedom of speech, freedom of the press, due process and more.

Shelby Emmett, Legal and Legislative Policy Advocate for FIRE, said she views the group as an “empowerment organization for students.”

Governor Snyder patches potholes on M-37.
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Gov. Rick Snyder today vetoed a road funding bill aimed at giving some relief to cities.

Right now, cities with more than 25,000 people have to share the costs of nearby state trunk line road construction projects. Senate Bill 557 sought to end that practice. It passed both the state House and Senate with big majorities.

Wayne County Treasurer Eric Sabree.
Wayne County

Some breaks for Michigan homeowners struggling to pay property taxes have expired.

Governor Snyder signed laws in 2015 that reduced interest and other penalties on delinquent taxes. They also reduced back taxes for some homeowners who owed much more than their properties were worth.

That was largely meant for Wayne County, and especially Detroit, where tens of thousands of properties enter the tax foreclosure process every year.

Flickr user Jesús Corrius/Flickr / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Adults with autism often face a life of unemployment despite the fact that many are brilliant and have exceptional skills.

The Autism Alliance of Michigan is encouraging employers to hire potential workers with autism, taking advantage of their skills while making considerations to accommodate the challenges people with autism face.

Steven Glowacki has an IQ of 150, scored a 1520 on the SAT and placed in the 95th percentile for a Certified Public Accountant test. The bottom line? He’s pretty darn smart.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

This is the first in a series on Stateside we're calling Artisans of Michigan.

Our first stop in this trip around Michigan is in downtown Northville at the Cobbler’s Corner.

“Shoe repairing is a lot more than what you think,” Tony Piccoli assures us as soon as we meet.

He says Cobbler’s Corner is the oldest shoe repair shop in Michigan. It originally began as the Northville Shoe Service owned by the Revitzer family, starting in 1928.

Dogs as Weapons

5 hours ago

To me, one of the most horrific stories over the last year came in December, when a lady named Lucille Strickland was walking her five-year-old son to kindergarten in Detroit.

Suddenly, a pack of four pit bull-type dogs appeared, grabbed the child, pulled him under a fence and into their yard and killed him. Neither the child nor his mother had done anything to provoke the dogs.  Police came and killed the dogs, but were too late to save the child.

DPS EM Steven Rhodes, center, takes notes at a meeting with Detroit's elected school board.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

The Detroit Public Schools’ board of education met for the final time ever on Thursday.

The board has very little to do now as part of the "old,” debt-ridden DPS.

It will be replaced by a “new” district, run by a “transition manager”—currently the district’s last emergency manager, Judge Steven Rhodes.

Gov. Snyder just signed bills setting up this bankruptcy-style restructuring just last week.

Ford Motor Company

Nearly 75% of people surveyed by AlixPartners say they'd be interesting in an autonomous, AKA self-driving car.

The number jumps to 90% if the self-driving car includes the option of letting a human take control if deemed necessary.

Mark Wakefield of AlixPartners says he thinks his survey found more interest in self-driving cars because of the way they phrased the questions. The survey provided details about the positives of self-driving cars, in addition to the negatives.

Flickr user sin9e/Flickr / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

As more and more people turn to bicycles for transportation, fun and fitness, one might think it would be great to be able to bike between Detroit and Windsor. 

Once upon a time, that was possible. But no more.

Cyclists on social media write of being able to ride, even walk across the Ambassador Bridge from Detroit to Windsor and back.

But after Matty Maroun bought the Ambassador Bridge, the bike and pedestrian walkway was replaced by wider lanes to better handle 18-wheelers. 

Courtesy of the Kent County Department of Public Works

The Next Idea

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure – one that’s worth about $56 million. That’s the estimated value of the wasted material sent to landfills every year, reports the West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum (WMSBF).

Use NPR's new elections simulator tool to see what demographic shifts could help or hurt Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton this November.
Colleen P / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

It would take a major swing in voter demographics to turn Michigan red in the upcoming presidential election, according to a new tool developed by NPR.

The 270 Project, which maps likely state-level winners based on the demographics and turnout rates of voters, allows election junkies to sketch out November's presidential election between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump by playing with five different margins of victory and turnout rates in various demographics: white male, white female, Black, Hispanic, and the rest of the electorate. 

Some 2001-03 Hondas and Acuras are too dangerous to drive.
NHTSA

Every recall is a safety recall, as one of my favorite auto industry analysts, Michelle Krebs of Autotrader says.

But there is a lot of recall fatigue out there. And it's dangerous. Autotrader's recent survey finds that 40% of people are ignoring recalls because they think the recall is "not important."

So let's cut through that recall fatigue right now. 

U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Flint.
Michigan Municipal League / dan kildee

The Washington, D.C. and Flint offices of U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Mich., are nearly 600 miles apart. But lead-tainted water has recently been a problem in both. 

Monday, the Architect of the Capitol's office sent an eye-opening advisory to staffers in the D.C. building housing Kildee's office.

"This week, the AOC received results within the Cannon House Office Building that indicate lead levels in drinking water sources are slightly above the EPA standard," wrote William Weidemeyer, the House Office Buildings superintendent. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The Flint Institute of Arts is planning a “fiery” expansion.

FIA officials are announcing plans to expand the museum’s gallery space, and add a glass making studio.

Executive Director John Henry says museum-goers will be able to watch as glass artists work with fire to create art.

This has been a surprising political year, to put it mildly, and there are still more than four months to go before the actual election. Whatever happens, it is safe to say that nobody a year ago really thought Donald Trump would be the Republican Presidential nominee.

Hillary Clinton was expected to be the Democratic choice – but nobody imagined that a grumpy old socialist named Bernie Sanders would do as well as he did. In fact, the biggest upset on the Democratic side this spring was Sanders’ stunning victory in the Michigan primary.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The Genesee County Medical Society suggests pregnant women and children under 6 in Flint should stick to bottled water until more tests are performed.

That's despite the fact that federal agencies claimed water filters are working to remove lead from Flint tap water.

"We finally have enough data to agree that the filters work so well to remove the lead that everyone in Flint -- even pregnant women, nursing moms and young children -- can used filtered water here," Dr. Nicole Laurie, leader of the federal response to the Flint water crisis, told reporters last week.

The Kent County Prosecutor has warned Zach Sweers to stop his video vigiliantism for fear of the dangers involved
Wikimedia user Colin / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

How far should a citizen go in trying to bust online predators?

Zach Sweers is a 23-year-old West Michigan man who goes online posing as an underage girl. He meets men online, records everything as he sets up encounters, and then posts it all on YouTube.

So far, Sweers' efforts have led to the arrests of seven men.

Michigan Democrats call for "common sense gun laws"

Jun 30, 2016
Daniel Weber / Flickr

Democrats in Michigan's Congressional delegation are pushing for a pair of gun safety laws. 

One bill, dubbed "No Fly, No Buy," would prevent people on the terrorist watch list from buying guns. The other would expand background check policies.

U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Flint, says it's time to do something about gun violence. 

"We have it within our power to take action. Will it prevent all violence? No. Could it have an effect on the next terrible event? Perhaps," Kildee says.

Flint resident Michael Poole says he has enough water in his basement, "I could probably put it in a big ol' barrel and take a shower for days."
Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

Michael Poole doesn’t buy the line that filtered tap water is safe for him and his neighbors to drink.

“There may be a day when I might be able to trust” the water, he says. “But until then, I’m getting this right here.”

Man in rainbow hat
Guillaume Paumier / Creative Commons http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Michigan's civil rights law offers protections based on race, religion, color, and national origin.

It doesn't currently protect lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender people from being fired, denied housing or other forms of discrimination.

However, a growing list of Michigan cities have adopted measures to protect LGBT people.

Detroit officials announce Paradise Valley redevelopment plans.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

More upscale development is coming to downtown Detroit.

These new plans are part of what’s being dubbed the Paradise Valley Cultural and Entertainment District.

It aims to revive the area’s past as a vibrant center of African American culture. The original Paradise Valley left a huge imprint as a hub of blues, jazz and vibrant entertainment culture on early 20th-century Detroit.

Detroit’s Downtown Development Authority bought five buildings in the current Harmonie Park area in 2006.

Lindsey Scullen/Michigan Radio

One Well Brewing in Kalamazoo opened its doors Tuesday night for Michigan Radio’s latest rendition of Issues & Ale, our community conversation event series.

For the second time this summer, Michigan Radio and the Center for Michigan met up with listeners to discuss why trust in government is eroding in our state – and how that trust might be restored.

The First Cannabis Church of Logic and Reason uses bumper stickers to spread their message.
First Cannabis Church of Logic and Reason / Facebook

The First Amendment guarantees us the freedom to practice whatever religion we choose.

For Jeremy Hall, that religion centers around cannabis. 

Hall is a marijuana caregiver and an ordained minister. He's also the founder of a new church in South Lansing.

It's The First Cannabis Church of Logic and Reason.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette announces charges in his team's investigation into the Flint water crisis on April 20, 2016.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette says lawyers hired by Governor Rick Snyder won't turn over documents demanded by his Flint investigation team. 

As of now, taxpayers are paying for both the AG's special investigation as well as Governor Snyder's attorneys, which, at least from the AG's special investigator Todd Flood's point of view, are not cooperating fully with the investigation. 

Beachgirlphotography.com

 

Michigan Bookmark is a series that features Michigan authors reviewing Michigan books.

Pages