News

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The state board of education wants more input on the fates of Michigan schools deemed “failing.”

That’s what some board members signaled in a statement released this week.

It called on the State School Reform/Redesign Office to work with the Michigan Department of Education “to provide assistance to local districts to succeed at turning around their own schools and to keep the public fully informed of decisions affecting their local schools.”

If troopers think they have to increase their stop and arrest numbers, the ACLU worries that could mean more poor, black drivers get stopped
Michigan State Police

Michigan State Police may be pulling over more low-income drivers and people of color, because of police quotas.

That’s a concern the ACLU of Michigan describes in a public letter to the MSP today.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A veteran’s home in Marquette says it’s already fixed problems found by the state Auditor General. After a four-month review, the auditor raised concerns about the D.J. Jacobetti Home for Veterans’ control over medications and its background checks of volunteers.

Officials with the home say they’d started fixing the issues before the auditors visited, and the issues had to be raised because they were previously not in compliance.

The main field at Urbandale Farm used to be a vacant lot filled with downed trees. It’s now used to grow a variety of flowers, herbs and vegetables.
Daniel Rayzel / Michigan Radio

Just a few minutes away from our state Capitol building rests Lansing’s Urbandale neighborhood – an area trapped in the city’s 100-year floodplain.

The floodplain designation led to rising insurance costs, abandoned homes, and vacant lots overgrown with trees. Locals took it upon themselves to make the best of the situation by growing some fruits and veggies, and starting Urbandale Farm.

"Wanda & Winky" was illustrated by Susan VanDeventer
Susan VanDeventer Warner

In April 2005, the Detroit Zoo made history.

It moved its last two elephants, Winky and Wanda, to a sanctuary in warm-weather California. 

That made Detroit the very first zoo in the nation to give up its elephants for humane reasons. 

Now retired Walled Lake teacher Linda McLean has written a children's book telling the story of Winky and Wanda, and in doing so, educating youngsters about how elephants live while in captivity. 

michigan.gov / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

There's a new chapter in the very public rivalry between Governor Snyder and State Attorney General Bill Schuette.

This time, they're going at it over a circuit judge's order that bars state health workers from having any contact with the Genesee County Health Department and McLaren Hospital of Flint over new cases of Legionnaire's Disease. 

Flickr user David Drexler/Flickr / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

It seems tourists driving up north on M-22 are a little bit too enthusiastic in expressing their appreciation for what’s been called one of the most scenic drives in the country.

People are stealing those M-22 signs. Around 90 signs have been replaced in the past three years.

In response, the Michigan Department of Transportation is changing the signs. No longer will they read “M-22”, but rather just “22”.

The state hopes that will make signs less attractive to sticky-fingered vandals.

Photo of Gov. Rick Snyder
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Genesee County health officials insist a court order restricting communication with state health officials is not preventing them from investigating cases of Legionnaires Disease.

The court order is related to the Attorney General’s investigation of the Flint water crisis. 

The Snyder administration is challenging the order.

I met a former student of mine for an early lunch Tuesday, in a little café in the bustling, cosmopolitan suburb of West Bloomfield. Anasie Tayyen has three children, who are seven, nine and 12, and has her hands full running after them and managing her pediatrician husband’s office.

But she now realizes she was also meant to be a writer.

Last week, she had a beautiful piece in the Huffington Post, called “The Olympics Chased the Bogeyman Away.” It begins with these lines:

"Being Muslim in America has been anything but easy this past year. The presidential election has been particularly hard on many Muslim-American children’s psychological well-being."

Jack Lessenberry
Michigan Radio

This Week in Michigan Politics, Jack Lessenberry and Doug Tribou talk about political pushback on Melissa Gilbert's request to get her name off the November ballot and whether enough justice is being done in a $2.7 million school supplies kickback scheme in Detroit.

Lessenberry and Tribou also discuss the latest news from Flint, including the lead crisis and a hometown hero who brought home her gold medal.  


Suzanna Shkreli will officially appear on the ballot

Aug 24, 2016
Suzanna Shkreli, the Democratic Party's new candidate for Michigan's 8th Congressional District
Suzanna Shkreli / Facebook

She is the underdog in the eighth district congressional race, but Suzanna Shkreli is happy to be officially on the ballot. Shkreli will replace Melissa Gilbert as the democrat on the ballot. Gilbert dropped out of the race citing health reasons. Shkreli is running against incumbent Republican Mike Bishop. Shkreli says nothing will change in her campaign now that she's on the ballot.  "I'm excited to finally be officially announced, however, nothing changes," she says.

stevendepolo / flickr http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The architect of a bribery-and-kickback scheme in the Detroit Public Schools deserves to spend almost six years behind bars, at the least.

Or, he’s a “compassionate” and “devoted” person who, “despite his greed-filled actions in latter years, was an honest, upright businessman for the bulk of his career,” and merits leniency.

Those are dueling descriptions of Norman Shy found in sentencing memorandums from both federal prosecutors and Shy’s lawyer.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Two-time Olympic boxing champion Claressa Shields returned home to Flint this afternoon to a hero’s welcome.

“When I say two-time, you all say champ!” Shields yelled, leading her own cheers at Flint’s Bishop Airport, and the crowd willingly followed her lead.

WFIU Public Radio / flickr http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

More local government leaders are feeling insecure about their fiscal health than in years past. A new study shows the first decline in feelings about fiscal health since the end of the Great Recession in 2010.

pixabay

Thousands of disabled people in Michigan may soon be able to save up to $100,000 without jeopardizing their federal social security disability payments and other benefits like SNAP.

Lt. Governor Brian Calley says he believes the federal program, called MI-ABLE in Michigan, is the most important program to help disabled people since the Americans With Disabilities Act was passed in 1990.

It applies to those who were disabled or blind before age 26.

University YES Academy told parents and students this week that the high school was shutting down
Brett Levin / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Tregan Bradley, a rising senior at University YES Academy in Detroit, had been hearing rumors from his teachers over the summer.

“One of my favorite teachers, she told me that they’re not sure if they’re going to be opening up the high school, like around July or June,” he says. “I called her, I was checking in with her, because I was missing her and stuff.”

Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaking with supporters in Manchester, New Hampshire
Gage Skidmore / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

A big section of Michigan’s economy is being targeted by Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, 98.2% of businesses in Michigan are small businesses. The SBA defines a small business as one with fewer than 500 employees.

According to Bowens, the report "does not adequately reflect the realities of today."
morgueFile user kconnors / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Anyone driving between Detroit and Grosse Pointe will be struck by the stark change that happens when you cross the border at Alter Road.

A report from a New Jersey non-profit group has declared that the economic divide between Detroit schools and Grosse Pointe schools is the worst in the nation. 

The report from the group EdBuild says nearly half the households in Detroit's school district live in poverty. In Grosse Pointe, that number is 6.5%. 

It also found that 82% of Detroit's public school students are African-American. In Grosse Pointe schools, it's 16%.

When you go to vote this fall, you'll have a chance to weigh in on education.

Amidst mounting calls for the state to do a better job educating its students, state Board of Education candidates are up for election, as well as trustees and governors of Michigan's major universities. 

Michigan Radio's Jack Lessenberry joined us today to talk about the myriad issues at stake in the upcoming education races. 

Local government meeting room in Lansing.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A new report on the fiscal health of local governments in Michigan raised the question of whether those governments feel the steam running out of the recovery from the Great Recession.

The Michigan Public Policy Survey was performed by the Center for Local, State and Urban Policy at the Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan.

CLOSUP administrator Tom Ivacko joined us today to talk about their most recent findings. 

A federal report says improperly treated Flint River water was a “plausible” cause of skin rashes suffered by city residents.

People in Flint have been blaming painful itchy rashes on the city’s tap water. Many pinpoint the development of their skin irritation to the city’s switch to the Flint River as its tap water source. Now a panel of experts for the most part agrees.

John Ford Coley
Friday, September 9 at 8:00 PM
Green Wood Coffee House
1001 Green Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48105

John Ford Coley, a Dallas native, is best known as half of the Grammy nominated duo England Dan & John Ford Coley.  Active throughout the 1970s, they released 11 albums and nine singles in their career and are best known for their 1976 single, "I'd Really Love to See You Tonight", a No. 2 pop hit and No. 1 Adult Contemporary hit.

I heard over the weekend from a retired night city editor from an Ohio newspaper who sent me an article from the New York Post about media bias and the presidential election.

He, and the authors of the article, believe the mainstream media is outrageously in favor of Hillary Clinton. Not that the old editor was especially a Donald Trump supporter.

“There’s never been an election with two less-qualified candidates,” he said, but added, “but that still doesn’t give journalists the right to choose sides so blatantly.”

Tougher pipeline safety rules could be a tough sell

Aug 23, 2016
Two men walk the scene of a natural gas transmission line explosion in western Pennsylvania, April 29, 2016. The blast was so powerful it ripped a 12-foot crater into the landscape and burned a section of the field with a quarter-mile radius.
Reid Frazier / The Allegheny Front

There's a building boom for pipelines all across the country right now, and that’s created anxiety about new pipelines close to where people live and work. While the federal government is trying to ratchet up safety rules, there are limits on what these new rules can do.

Work is moving along more quickly than expected on Detroit's Riverside Park.

The city gave three acres of the park in Southwest-Detroit to the owners of the Ambassador Bridge in a controversial deal last year. Detroit got five acres of land owned by the bridge company as part of the swap. That land will be used to expand the park.

Part of the deal called for the demolition of a former warehouse by late 2018. But that's underway now. 

Durene Brown's basement has now flooded several times. She has yet to hear back about a claim filed in May.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department is about to process an “unprecedented” number of claims, although it’s uncertain what claimants can expect to get out of the process.

It’s the result of a July 8 rainstorm that caused sewage to back up into basements across a swath of Detroit’s east side. A similar, smaller event happened in the same area just last week.

DWSD has urged affected residents to file claims, and many have.

There is a saying in politics that three-quarters of what you do in a campaign doesn’t matter -- you just don’t know which three quarters until after the campaign is over.

That’s because there are so many variables that can make a difference once the voting starts, so candidates, campaigns, and political parties do all they can to gain every marginal advantage.

Kentwood, MI

Methane, a combustible gas, has been discovered underground, outside the boundaries of a Kent County landfill.

The now-closed landfill is near Kentwood's City Hall. 

Dar Baas, Kent County Director of Public Works, says methane usually vents up, into the air, but in this situation, some of it is moving horizonally, under the surface.

He says there will be increased monitoring in the area.

"We did some testing at the city office," says Baas, "and everything's coming back there non-detect, which is really good news. But we want to make sure we're thorough."

Cheyna Roth / MPRN

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is boosting his presence in Michigan. Michigan's campaign for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is expanding from one to seven senior staffers. 

Dave Doyle is the Executive Vice President for Marketing Resource Group. He says this is a big commitment to Michigan and shows that the campaign sees Michigan as a battleground state.

 

“The important thing is the expansion of the staff,” he says. “They’ve basically gone from a one man operation to seven people. So that’s again pretty significant.”

This year, just seven new charter schools are opening in Michigan.
flickr

This is an unusually slow year for new charter schools, according to the state charter association, which says the seven charters opening this fall are “among the fewest in history.”

“Only six schools opened last year,” the Michigan Association of Public Schools Academies said in its release today. “That was the fewest since 2008, when seven schools opened under the charter cap. (The cap on university-authorized schools was lifted by the Legislature and Governor Snyder in 2011.)”

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