News

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A Flint city councilman is standing by his statement that the city’s water situation amounts to a “genocide” by Governor Snyder and Flint’s emergency manager.

Councilman Wantwaz Davis made the original “genocide” charge on his Facebook page last Sunday. 

“Either they are trying to run us out of here, the low/moderate income people,” says Davis, “Or inadvertently or intentionally - I hope that it’s inadvertently - I think that it’s going to create a genocide.”

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Sunday is the deadline to submit ideas for what to do with the old Pontiac Silverdome.

The Silverdome’s owner is holding an online competition to determine what can be done to redevelop the 127 acre property.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell came to the University of Michigan yesterday to host an hour-long roundtable discussion on student loan debt.  

She began by saying,

“I think we’re all concerned about the staggering amount of student debt we now see in this country.”

Rebecca Kruth

The federal government this week closed its annual application period for H-1B visas after applications exceeded the annual cap of 65,000.

Some Michigan business leaders are calling for the government to raise the cap, which they say hurts the state’s economic growth.

CAIR

The Michigan Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations has filed a federal lawsuit to compel the U.S. government to evacuate American citizens trapped by the conflict in Yemen. 

"The U.S. government has done absolutely nothing to protect, evacuate and repatriate its own citizens, estimated at 55,000,- that are currently stranded in Yemen," said Lena Masri, staff attorney at CAIR Michigan. 

John Lloyd/Flickr

Vehicles don't last forever, and old vehicles need extra maintenance.

That's the take-home message from a four-year investigation into brake-line failures on very old GM trucks.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration investigation focused on complaints of brake failures in GM trucks built between 1999 and 2003.

firefighters-South_Carolina-Natl-Guard-flickr.jpg

This week we've been talking about the higher cancer risk that firefighters face.

And the good news about all this is that Michigan passed a new law this year, creating a fund to cover firefighters if they get certain kinds of cancer on the job.

But there are two problems.

First, female firefighters feel they're being unfairly left out, because while the law covers prostate and testicular cancer, it doesn't cover breast cancer.

Wikimedia Commons / Wikimedia Commons

This weekend marks the 50th anniversary of one of the most devastating weather events in Michigan history: the Palm Sunday tornado outbreak.

It happened with virtually no warning on April 11, 1965. Killer tornadoes smashed through the Midwest over a 12-hour span, killing 271. Michigan was one of the hardest-hit states with 53 deaths.

Struggling to repay student loans is something that unites many of us. Across the country, almost 40 million people are trying to repay $1.3 trillion in student loan debt.

Here in Michigan, 1.5 million people are trying to erase more than $39 billion in debt.

Earlier today, U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Michigan, was on the campus of the University of Michigan, where she hosted a roundtable on college affordability.

Dingell is one of the sponsors of a bill in the House called the "Bank on Students Emergency Loan Reinforcement Act."

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Officials in Grand Rapids joined a nationwide effort today to rally support for long term federal funding for transportation infrastructure.

Current funding for things like new busses expires at the end of May.

Courtesy of Laurentide Winery

The Next Idea

When was the last time you drank a bottle of Michigan wine? If it’s difficult to remember, you are sadly not alone.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint is looking to borrow its way out of its budget deficit.

Emergency Manager Jerry Ambrose wants to ask the Michigan Local Emergency Financial Assistance Loan Board for a $7 million loan.   

The term of the loan would not exceed 15 years and the interest rate would not exceed 3%. Annual payments on such a loan would be less than $600,000 annually. 

Can you imagine a war in which two hundred thousand young Michigan men were killed? Well, we had one, proportionately as bad, and it was settled exactly 150 years ago today.

Couches will flame retardants in them will still burn.
Mark H. Anbinder / Flickr

This week, we’re bringing you a series of stories about firefighters and cancer. Firefighters say they’re worried about getting exposed to certain kinds of toxic flame retardant chemicals. These chemicals are everywhere. They’re called polybrominated diphenyl ethers or PBDEs. Firefighters are exposed to these chemicals in the line of duty, but they aren’t the only ones exposed.

For decades, these chemicals have been added to the foam in our couches, our chairs, and the padding underneath our carpets.

But they don’t stay put.

Job cuts as Michigan closes regional prison stores

Apr 8, 2015

Michigan is slated to close three regional prison stores in Ionia, Jackson, and the Upper Peninsula.

That means around 30 employees who staff the stores will lose their jobs.

The stores stock items like toiletries and food, which inmates can purchase through an electronic kiosk system.

FLICKR USER VICKI DELOACH / FLICKR

The robin became the official bird of Michigan 84 years ago today, and that decision stirred up a lasting controversy. 

Dan Austin of the Detroit Free Press and HistoricDetroit.org, said the process to elect the robin as the state bird was a democratic one.

The Michigan Audubon Society held a contest in 1929 and almost 200,000 Michiganders voted. The final runners in the election? The robin and the chickadee.

In the end, though, the robin came out on top and became out state bird officially in 1931.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A group of Flint pastors today called on the city and governor’s office to let Flint get its tap water from Detroit again.

Nearly a year ago, Flint stopped getting water from Detroit, and instead turned to the Flint River for its tap water.   

Since then there have been complaints about the appearance, taste, even health and safety of Flint’s tap water. 

Campus Martius park.
Michigan Municipal League / Flickr

The American Civil Liberties Union says it's gotten Detroit to create new, interim rules to protect free speech and protests in public parks – even if those parks are privately managed.

The ACLU sued the city because it believes several protests were illegally shut down by private security at Campus Martius, a downtown park that's run by a private consortium.

FLICKR USER WILLIAM HOOK / FLICKR

Dial-up. That’s how we used to get online. Today, however, that’s part of pre-history. Is it fathomable that our existing Internet access could soon be as outdated as those old dial-up modems?

Jack Amick / Creative Commons

A group of former inmates at the Kent County Jail is suing the sheriff in federal court.

The case also blames the food service company Aramark for what inmates called a “mass poisoning.”

The case stems from one meal served at the jail three years ago. About 250 inmates suffered diarrhea, cramps, and other ailments after eating some chicken tacos that went bad; 16 of those former inmates are suing the county and Aramark in federal court.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Flint school district needs a new superintendent. Larry Watkins announced today he's retiring.

During Watkins’ two years as interim schools superintendent, the Flint school district has seen its budget deficit grow (from $4 million to nearly $22 million), staff laid off and enrollment continue to decline.

MSU's power plant to stop burning coal

Apr 8, 2015
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan State University will no longer use coal to power its campus after 2016. 

That's according to an announcement today by MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon. 

FLICKR USER THOMAS HAWK / FLICKR

Good news, drivers. Look out for a summer of road trips that will be cheaper than they've been for the past six years.

Right now, national gas prices average around $2.40 per gallon while Michigan gas prices average around $2.37 per gallon. And gas prices for the summer – a time when drivers take to the roads a bit more than in the winter – are projected to stay at about those same levels.

Pothole in a road.
Wikimedia Commons

Michigan voters head to the polls in less than a month to vote on a ballot proposal to raise the state's sales tax from 6 percent to 7 percent to fund roads. For this Week in Michigan Politics, Michigan Radio's political analyst Jack Lessenberry explains why there's a lack of support for the proposal and what will happen if voters reject the tax increase. 


Stateside celebrates National Poetry Month with a special month-long series on poetry in Michigan.

We'll be talking with Michigan poets about their new work, about poetry in the 21st century and about why poetry continues to inspire.

I have to say that for once I admire something Republican State Rep. Gary Glenn of Midland has done. Glenn is a freshman in the legislature, but has been a militant Michigan conservative activist on social issues for a long time, especially opposed to same sex-marriage.

G.L. Kohuth / Michigan State University

A new report outlines ways big-city police departments can avoid massive backlogs of untested sexual assault kits.

The project was launched after more than 11,000 unprocessed rape kits were found abandoned in a Detroit Police Department storage facility in 2009.

Covering the planned Red Wings arena construction
User: WXYZ-TV Detroit / YouTube

Detroit's City Council is delaying a vote that would let the new, multi-million dollar Red Wings arena move ahead.

It was supposed to decide today whether Olympia development could go ahead with its current plans to build around one historic hotel, the Eddystone, while razing another, the Park Avenue.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan voters will decide May 5 if they want to add a penny to the state sales tax to pay for fixing Michigan’s roads.  The proposal also includes money for schools and local governments.   

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