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There was a fair amount of presidential excitement in the Detroit area this week, because both major party nominees came to campaign here just a few days and a few miles apart.

Once, this wouldn’t have seemed unusual. Back at the turn of the century, 16 long years ago, Michigan was seen as one of the three most important states in the nation.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

It's tough to wrap your mind around the price tag for Flint's lead-in-water disaster.

There's the $58 million the state of Michigan has already spent on filters, bottled water and medical care and testing.

There's the still-undetermined cost of replacing the water lines and pipes damaged by the corrosive Flint River water. 

But there are also social costs.

Courtesy of the Michigan Campaign Finance Network

It looks like dark money groups were hard at work trying to influence your vote during last week’s primary – particularly targeting Republicans running for the State House.

Craig Mauger heads up the Michigan Campaign Finance Network.

“This was an effort, a well-orchestrated effort, to keep extremely conservative candidates out of the House GOP caucus,” Mauger told us.

He sat down with us today to talk about what role these secret donors play, and why they’re so hard to identify.

Flickr user christiaan_008/Flickr / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

The Next Idea

July automotive sales were up only 0.7%, bringing back memories of when Detroit’s Big Three struggled to stay afloat not too long ago. Both serve as a reminder of what keeps the state’s economy alive: diversification of industry.

John Auchter
Auchtoons.com

ARTISTS POV:

In the cartoon series South Park, there is a classic episode titled "Gnomes." In that episode, a high-strung, over-caffeinated boy named Tweek is freaked out when gnomes repeatedly sneak into his bedroom at night to steal his underpants from his dresser. Tweek tells his fellow grade-school friends about the gnomes, but they don't believe him.

Trump supporters at the Hillary Clinton speech in Warren.
Tracy Samilton / Michigan Radio

Under the watchful eyes of several Warren police officers, about 40 Trump supporters gathered on one side of the street, near the building where Hillary Clinton gave a speech on her economic policies.

About 30 supporters of Clinton gathered on the other side.

“Lock her up!” chanted the Trump side. “Where’s your taxes?” chanted the Clinton side.

On the Trump side, Lisa Mankiewicz of Shelby Township is a true believer. She is sure Donald Trump will create jobs, and Hillary Clinton won’t.

Fibonacci Blue / Flickr

Thousands of workers from across the country, including some from Michigan, converge on Richmond, Virginia, this weekend to ramp up the fight for better wages and call attention to what poverty is doing to people of color. It's the first-ever nationwide "Fight for Fifteen" convention, today and Saturday.

According to Charley Ballard, the biggest difference between Trump and Clinton is their stance on immigration.
Cheyna Roth / MPRN

Millions of Americans would be put to work if Hillary Clinton is elected president. That was the promise the candidate delivered in Metro Detroit Thursday. Clinton said Republican nominee Donald Trump is presenting a dismal and incorrect picture of Michigan’s economy. She pushed pack at Trump’s economic plans while at an advanced manufacturing plant in Warren.

Filling a sample bottle.
Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech released its latest round of water tests from Flint homes today.

Here are the take-home messages:

Some good news: The team, led by former Flint resident LeeAnne Walters and the Flint citizen science group, sampled lead levels in water in 162 homes in July 2016. The 90th percentile level for lead was 13.9 ppb. This is below the EPA action level of 15ppb.

But there’s an important caveat here. Kelsey Pieper, a postdoctoral fellow at Virginia Tech, said their sampling pool is a random sample of homes and does not specifically target the highest risk homes for lead. So, while their results show the homes they tested are below the action level, it’s not an official result that would qualify under the EPA’s Lead and Copper Rule.

Michigan Radio expanded its list of honors in 2016 with two recent awards from the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ).

A year or so ago, one of my students saw me talking with Kathleen Straus, a longtime member of the state board of education.

Later, he asked me who she was. When I told him, he said he hadn’t known there was such a board and asked me what they did.

Whiskey Point, at the west end of the harbor at Beaver Island.
Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

Fifteen coastal projects in Michigan have landed more than $927,000 of federal money.

Rachel Cromwell is with the Office of the Great Lakes Coastal Management Program. The state agency decides which projects will be funded.

“The overall objective is to help restore and protect and enhance coastal resources. So we’re looking at different areas like public access, restoration, habitat, things like that, to help bring back those coastal resources or preserve them," she says.

Terrapin Flyer / Flickr

The first day of school probably isn't the best day to miss, but that's what plenty of students in Ypsilanti experienced on Monday.

Holmes Elementary School and Ford Early Learning Center in Ypsilanti both started school last Monday, but roughly a third of students were absent. 

Both schools have waivers from the state to start earlier than September as a part of the balanced calendar, which is more effective than longer summer vacations.

Yen Azzaro is with Ypsilanti Community Schools and she says the schools gave parents plenty of notice for the start of school.

A state police trooper making a roadside stop
MI State Police website

There’s “sufficient evidence” that “race was a motivating factor” when two black state police troopers were denied promotions, the Court of Appeals ruled this week.

The Court also unanimously upheld a jury’s decision to award the troopers a total of $5.2 million in lost wages, benefits and emotional damages.

State AG Bill Schuette wants to make sure no one can vote straight-ticket this November.
Theresa Thompson / flickr http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The battle surrounding straight ticket voting has taken a new turn. Attorney General Bill Scheutte filed an emergency motion today asking a federal appeals court to reinstate a ban on the practice in time for 

In July, a federal judge blocked the Michigan law that banned the practice of allowing voters to use a single mark on the ballot to vote for a political party’s entire slate of candidates. The judge said it violated voting rights of urban African-Americans who are most likely to use the option, and would likely lead to longer lines on Election Day.

Flint city council President Kerry Nelson addresses the board overseeing Flint's transition out of receivership.
steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The panel in charge of Flint’s exit from state oversight says the city council isn't ready yet.

The Receivership Transition Advisory Board has extended the end of council’s probation period from October to December.

The board cites the council’s ongoing conflict with Flint’s mayor over a trash collection contract.

So often we hear people say, "Our immigration system is broken." But what exactly does that mean? 

In this State of Opportunity special, we hear answers to that question from various angles.

Hillary Clinton addressed the 2016 SEIU international convention in Detroit this May.
SEIU / via Twitter

Hillary Clinton will pitch her economic plan in Macomb County Thursday.

Clinton will speak at Futuramic Tool & Engineering, a Warren auto parts supplier that’s branched out into defense and aerospace.

It comes just days after Donald Trump shared his economic vision with the Detroit Economic Club.

It will be a very different crowd. In Warren, Clinton will try to win over some of Macomb County’s famed Reagan Democrats — white, blue-collar voters.

Jack Lessenberry
Michigan Radio

This Week in Michigan Politics, Jack Lessenberry and Doug Tribou talk about whether Donald Trump's fiscal strategy speech to the Detroit Economic Club on Monday will resonate with Michigan voters. Lessenberry and Tribou also discuss Hillary Clinton's upcoming visit and whether she'll take a sunnier view of the state's present and future. They also look at legal challenges to requirements for putting a question on the statewide ballot.


steve carmody / Michigan Radio

People in Flint may get good news about about lead tests for their water tomorrow, though many probably won’t believe it.

Thursday morning, researchers from Virginia Tech will release the results of the third round of testing on Flint’s drinking water. The researchers have conducted hundreds of tests on the tap water of the same dozens of Flint homes.

A year ago, the first round revealed the city’s tap water was contaminated with lead. 

The second round of testing conducted earlier this year showed improvement, but levels were still above the federal action level.

Michigan Radio’s statewide talk show, Stateside, hosted by Cynthia Canty, will travel to Traverse City on Saturday, September 17, 2016, for a special live audience show.

I certainly haven’t been thrilled with the moral leadership shown by the leaders of the Michigan Democratic Party. None called for former State Senator Virgil Smith’s resignation after he shot up his ex-wife’s car on a residential street.

That was last year, and Smith is finally in jail now. Nor did any leading Democrats call on voters to reject another embarrassing creature, State Representative Brian Banks, who won a primary last week despite having been convicted of eight felonies.

Neal Herbert / flickr

Immigrants make Michigan's economy stronger and they should be welcomed, not feared.

That's the take-home from the Partnership for a New Economy, a bi-partisan group that supports federal immigration reform. 

The group’s recent study estimates nearly 642,000 Michigan residents were born abroad, and in 2014, they earned $19.6 billion, and paid $5.4 billion in local, state, and federal taxes.

Karen Phillippi is with the Michigan Office for New Americans. 

Wikimedia

Updated: 11:46 a.m. 8-10-16

Most Michigan pediatricians will be following the recommendation of the Centers for Disease Control, which says children ages 2-17 should get a regular flu vaccine injection this year, not the FluMist nasal spray vaccine.

"The (FluMist) vaccine effectiveness is just simply not there," says Teresa Holtrop, a pediatrician and president-elect of the Michigan chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

FluMist was developed by Michigan-trained epidemiologist Hunein Maassab.  He died in 2014.

250 investors lost money, the AG's office says.
TaxCredits.net / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Two brothers have been found guilty of running a Ponzi scheme in Lansing that defrauded 250 people out of $18 million.

For years the Mulholland brothers, James and Thomas, were buying up rental houses in college towns in Michigan.

But after the recession hit, they struggled to stay afloat and started recruiting new investors, promising big returns.

But the Michigan Attorney General’s office says that in reality, the Mulhollands were losing money, and using new investor money to pay back previous investors.

Then, they filed for bankruptcy in 2010.

Wikimedia Commons

UPDATE: The EAA has released emails that appear to show the state and DPS agreeing to revise payments from the EAA. You can read those emails here.

Yesterday, the governor's office said this debt debate is "really an issue for the EAA and MDE to be responding to," while the Michigan Department of Education declined to comment and referred questions to the Treasury Department. 

A Lake Michigan lighthouse is being auctioned

Aug 9, 2016
KudzuVine / wikimedia commons

If you've ever dreamed of owning a lighthouse, now's your chance.

The North Manitou Shoal Light has a view of the Sleeping Bear Dunes and the Manitou islands. 

According to the Grand Rapids Press, the U.S. General Services Administration organized a visit to the lighthouse for registered bidders who've placed a $10,000 deposit. 

Cat Langel with the G.S.A. says properties like these hold great community significance.

Barbara Lucas

 

As the Olympics approached, Ann Arbor was a hive of training activity for a group of New Zealand athletes. They were drawn to the University of Michigan for the chance to work with retired men’s track and field coach Ron Warhurst.

Warhurst helped New Zealand runner Nick Willis win a silver medal in the 2008 Olympics. Willis' success encouraged countrymen Julian Matthews and Hamish Carson to travel from New Zealand to Michigan and work with Warhurst in the hopes of qualifying for their first Olympics.

Warhurst’s coaching paid off — Willis, Matthews and Carson all flew to Rio to compete in the men’s 1500 for their country.

Rashida Tlaid says Donald Trump's rhetoric has caused damage that will take years to address.
flickr user Gage Skidmore / http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

Donald Trump came to Detroit to give a speech. For Michiganders opposed to Trump and what he stands for, it was a chance to speak back. 

Some 300 protestors gathered to chant outside Cobo Center as Trump spoke to the Detroit Economic Club. 

And nearly 20 women took their protest inside, interrupting Trump and eventually getting escorted outside by Secret Service. 

Among those kicked out of Monday's speech was former Democratic State Representative Rashida Tlaib, who was there as a part of Moms Against Trump.

Economist Charley Ballard said Trump's economic speech failed to address a modern economy.
Flickr user Gage Skidmore / Flickr / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

 


Donald Trump had the opportunity to lay out his economic vision for America at the Detroit Economic Club on Monday.

 

But his speech garnered criticism, including from Michigan State University economist Charley Ballard.

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