News

On Friday, I was sharply critical of Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley for a statement he made last week in an interview.

The lieutenant governor, who is supporting Donald Trump, indicated he was doing so mostly because he was concerned about the next several appointments to the United States Supreme Court.

official portrait

A senior U.S. Senator is asking federal anti-trust officials to investigate the planned merger of Dow Chemical and DuPont.

Stockholders for Midland, Michigan-based Dow Chemical and Delaware-based DuPont vote on the merger next month.

The merger would create a company worth $130 billion, though eventually, the plan is to divide it into three different companies, one of which would be based in Michigan.

Michigan Radio

Virginia Tech researchers are back in Flint this week.

This time they’re focused on the city’s hot water heaters.

Many Flint residents fear lead and other metals leaching from damaged pipes have accumulated in their hot water heaters making bathing hazardous. 

For the next few weeks, Virginia Tech researchers will be testing water heaters not only for lead, but also for bacteria, including Legionella.  

ANTIOCHLA.EDU / ANTIOCH UNIVERSITY

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Some lawyers and gay rights supporters say lingering statutes criminalizing sodomy and laws prohibiting same-sex marriage could be used to harass gay couples in Michigan, despite court rulings that render those laws moot.

  The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2003 that laws banning sodomy are unconstitutional. But a Ferndale attorney, Rudy Serra, says if a conservative prosecutor and judge paired up in Michigan they could financially devastate a gay couple.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) - Experts in flood management will get a firsthand look at flood-prevention efforts in Grand Rapids during a nearly weeklong gathering.

  The National Association of Floodplain Managers Conference starts Sunday and runs through June 24.

  More than 1,200 visitors are expected to attend. They're being offered a chance to check out the Grand River and its floodwalls, see projects taking place to improve the floodwalls and learn about efforts to restore rapids to the Grand River and improve recreation.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - A Kalamazoo lawmaker says the recent crash that killed five bicyclists may renew the push to make roads safer for people not driving cars.

  Two state senators have introduced legislation after a pickup truck crashed into a group of bikers June 7 in the Kalamazoo area that could mean tougher penalties for those who fatally hit a bicyclist. It would extend existing penalties for those who hit construction workers.

  Kalamazoo Democratic state Rep. Jon Hoadley says the tragedy underscores the need to make roads safer.

ANTIOCHLA.EDU / ANTIOCH UNIVERSITY

DETROIT (AP) - Detroit-area federal officials say they have met with LGBT community leaders in response to last weekend's mass shooting at a Florida nightclub.

U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade and FBI Special Agent in Charge David Gelios hosted Thursday's gathering. Attendees included representatives of Equality Michigan, the Ruth Ellis Center, Affirmations and LGBT Detroit.

Gelios said in a statement Friday it's "essential to reassure" Michigan residents of "the FBI's commitment to protecting the civil rights of all persons."

Could bankruptcy change the flow of Flint water?

Jun 18, 2016

 

Flint’s water war is intensifying, if that’s possible.

Genesee County officials backing the new Karegnondi Water Authority are warning that Flint could “lose everything”  -- if Mayor Karen Weaver turns her public second guessing into action and bolts from the city’s long-term contract with KWA.

Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - To rescue Detroit's school district from potential insolvency, Michigan is turning to a familiar playbook.

  It will shift more than a quarter of the state's $250 million annual payment from tobacco companies to Detroit schools. The move is the latest in a line of tapping the legal settlement when the governor and lawmakers are in a pinch.

  With the latest Detroit bailout, all but $26 million, or about 10 percent, of the yearly tobacco cash is automatically spoken for.

James Tolbert
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A Michigan State Police investigation into a nine-year-old murder case suggests Detroit police lied about evidence, and failed to follow up on big breaks in the case that might have freed a wrongfully imprisoned young man.

That man, Davontae Sanford, was finally released from prison last week, after serving eight years – largely because of what the Michigan State Police investigation found.

A brutal crime, a young teen, and a professional hit man

Gary Jensen
State of Michigan

For the first time, Michigan’s State School Reform/Redesign office has appointed a CEO to take over some low-performing schools in one district.

That’s despite an ongoing lawsuit by district officials to stop the state intervention.

Gary Jensen will take control of four “chronically underperforming” East Detroit Public Schools. The district has seven schools altogether.

Jensen was named Michigan’s Principal of the Year in 2014. He’s credited with leading an academic turnaround at Lakeview High School in Montcalm County.

New online map tracks demolition in Detroit

Jun 17, 2016
Abandoned house in Detroit
sj carey / Creative Commons http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Detroit residents have a new way to check when blighted and vacant homes in their neighborhood will be demolished.

People can enter an address on the Demolition Tracker map on the city's website to see if and when a blighted building is scheduled for demolition.

Structures set to be demolished are represented by orange dots that turn blue after the structure is torn down.

Flint River and water plant
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The head of the Environmental Protection Agency says Flint’s water system still faces major problems. EPA chief Gina McCarthy sent a warning to Governor Rick Snyder and Flint Mayor Karen Weaver.

The letter says the city’s water treatment plant is understaffed – and the water distribution network is too large and sprawling.

Three months after adopting a plant-based lifestyle, Ramirez had lost 45 lbs and was off all five of his daily medications.
Marc Ramirez

In the late 1980s, Marc Ramirez played football for the University of Michigan.

While he was playing he was able to eat pretty much whatever he wanted and stay healthy. 

Then he graduated, and without all that physical activity, he started gaining weight and developing health problems.

Lester Graham/Michigan Radio

Yesterday we heard the latest Detroit Journalism Cooperative installment about jobs and poverty in Detroit

One of the experts we heard from was Kevin Boyle, a professor at Northwestern University and the author of Arc of Justice, which won the National Book Award for Nonfiction.

Watkins Lake.
Legacy Land Conservancy

The state of Michigan and Washtenaw County have each purchased land for a new state park.

Watkins Lake State Park and County Preserve spans 1,122 acres of Jackson and Washtenaw counties.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Whiskey Sour

2 oz. bourbon or rye

3/4 oz simple syrup

3/4 oz lemon juice

1 tsp egg white (or more as preferred)

Combine all ingredients in shaker without ice. Shake for several seconds, then add ice and shake again. Strain into any glass you like.

"Who wants the hand that rocks the cradle mixing whisky sours?"

That little gem was one of the arguments to make it illegal for women to tend bar. That's after they'd been slinging drinks throughout World War II. Many of the male bartenders were in the military.

Like most people, I haven’t paid a lot of attention to Brian Calley, Michigan’s lieutenant governor. Generally speaking, there’s a quiet understanding that lieutenant governors are standby equipment whose job is to stay out of the limelight.

They break ties on important legislation before the Senate, represent the governor at all sorts of second-tier functions, and preside over the state when the governor is off on trade missions. Calley, who is 39 but looks younger, is even more invisible than most.

Auchter's Art

Jun 17, 2016
John Auchter / auchtoon.com

ARTIST'S POV:

There is a scene in the movie Raising Arizona where a couple of delinquent brothers go to rob a bank. They feel pretty confident about their plan because they fancy themselves sophisticated criminals. As they bust in the front door of the dusty, country bank, one of the brothers shouts out, "All right, ya hayseeds, it's a stick-up. Everybody freeze. Everybody down on the ground."

Gordie Howe's Hockey Card at age 43.
Trish Thornton / Flickr

Gordie Howe lived so long that most Americans don’t know that he set just about every record there is, he helped the sport expand, he got hundreds of thousands of Americans playing the game, and millions more watching.

Howe was one of nine kids born in a farmhouse in Floral, Sasketchewan – a town so tiny, their post office closed in 1923. During the Great Depression, a neighbor brought over a gunnysack full of used things, including a beat-up pair of skates.

Counterfeit sports championship rings
U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Pro athletes: If you're going to put a ring on it, make sure you've got the real thing.

Customs and Border Protection officials say they seized $680,000 worth of counterfeit sports championship rings at Detroit Metropolitan Airport last April.

The rings were found in a shipment that originated on a flight from China.

They had the names and logos of several pro sports teams, including the Oakland Raiders, the New York Giants and the Dallas Cowboys.

A demolition in Flint.
Genesee County Land Bank

A new Special Inspector General’s report says a federal program that funds blight removal lacks key safeguards against waste and corruption.

Michigan has received more than $381 million in blight removal funds from the US Treasury’s Hardest Hit Fund – by far the most of any state.

The HHF was originally intended to help homeowners facing foreclosure. Starting in 2013, Treasury allowed some of the funds to be diverted to blight removal, mostly in the form of demolitions.

Marijuana plant.
USFWS

The campaign trying to legalize marijuana in Michigan has filed a lawsuit challenging the state's six-month time limit to gather petition signatures.

The MI Legalize drive is still trying to either get the Legislature to adopt a law or place the question on the November ballot after its petitions were rejected by a state elections board last week because too many signatures were too old under the 180-day rule. 

M-I Legalize attorney Jeff Hank says what the state’s doing is not allowed.

Mendez currently works with Minute Men Staffing Services, a staffing agency located in Southwest Detroit. She says the work environment treated her well, but she felt that as a woman she didn’t have as many advantages as a man would.
DJC

“Let’s go take my daddy out of that place. I miss him why is he there?”

These were the words of a three-year-old Dana whose father had just been detained to be deported.

The mother, Mireya, says the little girl cried every night, saying she wanted her father home and was confused as to why he was in there in the first place, demanding that he is brought home to her. The mother says on one visit to the detention facility, the daughter asked her to break the glass, unbeknown to the child that she would probably never see her father free any time soon.

Gov. Snyder speaks at a Flint news conference.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

It’s been almost six months since the Flint Water Task Force blamed the culture of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality for the Flint water crisis.

The Task Force said a culture of quote “technical compliance” exists inside the drinking water office.

Its report found that officials were buried in technical rules – thinking less about why the rules existed. In this case, making sure Flint’s water was safe to drink.

Detroit companies cooperate to train new IT workers

Jun 16, 2016
Flickr user PaulSh/Flickr / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

The Next Idea

Six years ago, an IT solutions provider outsourced their New Jersey jobs to ... Detroit. GalaxE.Solutions initiated their “Outsource to Detroit” campaign to encourage new technology workers to come to the Motor City.

American Dog tick
Jerry Kirkhart / Creative Commons http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Michigan health officials say they've confirmed the first case of Rocky Mountain spotted fever contracted in the state since 2009.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced Thursday that the case involved a child in Cass County in the southwestern corner of the state.

Rocky Mountain spotted fever is caused by bacteria and can be fatal if not treated promptly and correctly, even in previously healthy people.

Symptoms typically include fever, abdominal pain, vomiting and muscle pain. A rash may develop a few days later.

Flazingo Photos / Creative Commons http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Laws that ban criminal background questions on job applications have backfired, according to a study from the University of Michigan and Princeton University.

So-called "Ban the Box" laws are meant to give job seekers with criminal records a better shot at finding employment.

The study suggests that while such policies may produce that outcome, they also increase racial discrimination by employers.

U of M researcher and study co-author Sonja Starr says this unintended outcome relates to a theory called "statistical discrimination."

A man begs for money from a patron leaving one of Midtown’s critically acclaimed restaurants, where a roasted mushroom salad is $14.
Bill McGraw / Bridge Magazine

While Detroit has seen positive changes in the police department and the inclusion of African Americans in civic life since 1967, the decline of manufacturing and flight of people over the past five decades have contributed to significantly higher levels of unemployment and impoverished residents in the city. Reynolds Farley, a retired University of Michigan sociologist, notes that in 1950, Detroit had the nation’s “most prosperous black population.”

Jodi Westrick/Michigan Radio

On Tuesday, we sipped Brewery Becker’s “historic” ales and lagers while discussing a similarly historic topic: public trust in state government.

The Flint water crisis, gerrymandering, term limits, campaign money and more were on the minds of audience members and panelists at our Issues & Ale event.

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