Texting while driving
C. Todd Lopez / Photo courtesy of U.S. Army

Four high school students were recently awarded between $500 and $2,000 in scholarships.

The reason? Advocating against "distracted driving." Distracted driving includes any activity -- such as texting, talking on the phone, eating, talking to passengers -- that could divert a person's attention away from driving.

These students applied to Kelsey's Law Scholarship: a contest promoting awareness of the dangers of distracted driving through video, tweets, and graphic submissions.  

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s sagging poll numbers in Michigan may be behind a surprising rise in TV ad buys in one state congressional race.

Perpetual Plastic Project

Plastic pollution is all around us, from grocery bags that aren’t properly recycled to islands of plastic floating in the oceans. An industrial designer from the Netherlands is trying to get people to think differently about plastic’s long life cycle.

A cyanobacteria bloom on Lake Erie in 2013.
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

A lot of people are focused on trying to fix Lake Erie’s toxic bloom problem. The green cyanobacteria blooms are fueled by phosphorus that gets into the lake from farms and sewage treatment plants.

A new report says we need to focus a lot more on cleaning up the streams in Michigan and other states that feed the lake.

Stuart Ludsin is an author of the report and an associate professor at Ohio State University. He says too much sediment, phosphorus and nitrogen can also hurt the fish in streams.

I’ve been fascinated by politics my entire life, and have usually regarded election night the same way football fans regard the Super Bowl.

Whether the candidates I supported won or lost, I felt sort of a letdown after it was over; I’d have to wait another four years before a new presidential contest.

Menachem Kaiser / Michigan Radio

Today is Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. It’s the holiest day on the Jewish calendar. Many Jews spend the day praying and fasting, seeking forgiveness from God and fellow man.

In the days leading up to Yom Kippur, some observant Jews perform kapparot, a ritual involving live chickens.

Each person swings a chicken over their head and says a prayer. Afterward, the chickens are taken elsewhere to be processed and donated as food for those who need it.

Some 100,000 women diagnosed this year with breast cancer will undergo mastectomy and breast reconstruction.
Rhoda Baer, National Cancer Institute / Public Domain


October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Each and every year, more than 230,000 American women will hear the words, “You have breast cancer.”

Of those, some 100,000 will undergo mastectomy and breast reconstruction.

When your world’s been turned upside down by a breast cancer diagnosis, it can be hard to grasp what options are there for you.

Pat Anstett’s new book provides answers, presented through the stories of women who have been handed that breast cancer diagnosis and then followed many different paths in treatment and reconstruction.

Centers for Disease Control

State health officials have asked for help from the Centers for Disease Control to investigate shigella outbreaks in Saginaw and Genesee Counties.

Shigella is a highly infectious bacteria that causes gastro-intestinal illness. 

According to Dr. Eden Wells, Michigan's Chief Medical Executive, the State Epidemiologist made the request last Friday. The CDC investigative team arrived today to map the bacteria's spread, and to look into possible risk factors and causes.

user anna / Flickr

Yes, this is a real thing.

But if you've never heard of reproductive coercion before, you're not alone.

It's a dimension of domestic and intimate partner violence that's only recently been recognized by the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. And researchers just started studying it in the last 15 years or so.

Heather McCauley, an epidemiologist and an assistant professor at Michigan State University, says she first heard about it through a colleague.

The plaintiffs say older, poor and impoverished people in Flint aren't getting enough water
Flickr user Daniel Orth /

When the Flint water disaster exploded, the state began sending emergency supplies to the city: millions and millions of dollars worth of bottled water, filters and cartridges.

Detroit Free Press reporter Paul Egan's front-page story this week suggests the state overpaid for those supplies, to the tune of hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars. Egan found that instead of using a formal bidding process, the State went directly to Georgia-based Home Depot to buy the supplies. And it failed to seriously seek bids from  Michigan companies.

"Anything that you would want, from shopping, to health care, to buying a car, you name it, we have it all right here. But yet, we have an incredible small town feel, and that's a very special thing," Brenda Quick told us.
flickr user zenmasterdod /


What happens to a picturesque city when its charms draw more and more people who want to live or work there, and when the push for new housing threatens the very thing that made that city so special?

Traverse City is wrestling with these questions right now, including the lack of affordable housing.

Transmission electron microscopy image of Legionella pneumophilia, responsible for over 90% of Legionnares' disease cases.
CDC Public Health Library /


The federal government offered help with Flint’s Legionella outbreak, and the state of Michigan turned the offer down.

That’s what MLive reporter Ron Fonger has learned from Environmental Protection Agency documents released through the Freedom of Information Act.

Some locals fear that Traverse City is losing its small town feel.
flickr user zenmasterdod /


For many visitors, Traverse City is the heart of Up North.

The natural beauty is complemented by the town’s vibrant culture of fine foods, craft beer and endless festivals.

But for locals, all that popularity comes at a cost.

Tens of thousands of water filters have been distributed in Flint.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The University of Michigan, Wayne State University and Michigan State University have researchers looking into when Flint residents should replace their home water filters.

The point-of-use filters, which became widely installed amid the Flint water crisis, are known to be effective in removing metals like lead and other contaminants from drinking water.

The universities have been looking into the water filters since news of the water crisis became public.

Jack Lessenberry
Michigan Radio

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton told a crowd in Detroit Monday that we can expect "a positive message" during the last month of her campaign.

This Week in Michigan Politics, Jack Lessenberry and Doug Tribou discuss whether that will resonate with Michigan voters. Lessenberry and Tribou also look at a Detroit Free Press investigation that finds the state may have overpaid for supplies it bought in response to the Flint water crisis, and the teacher shortage that continues to plague Detroit Public Schools.

David MacNaughton, Canada’s relatively new ambassador to the United States, came to Detroit yesterday, to speak to an important but too-little known group, CUSBA, or the Canada-United States Business Association. Our relationship with Canada is, by far, the most important one there is for both countries.

Canadians always know that; Americans tend to forget.

Detroit-Windsor is also easily both countries’ most economically important border crossing. The Canadian consulate graciously invited me to lunch with the ambassador, a witty and urbane man who isn’t a typical career diplomat. After serving his nation briefly as a young man, he went on to build his own political PR firm, sold it, and went on to run two more. .

Little Caesars Arena under construction in June 2016.
Rick Briggs / Flickr -

Detroit officials say an estimated half-million dollars in fines have been levied on contractors working on the new Red Wings arena because the companies haven't hired enough Detroit residents.

Little Caesars Arena's developer, Olympia Development of Michigan, is required to ensure at least 51% of the workers live in Detroit.

Surgical instruments.
Windell Oskay / Flickr -

DETROIT - Detroit Medical Center says the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has approved its plan to address problems with its sterilization of surgical instruments. The medical center announced Tuesday the plan includes the formation of a surgical improvement council and task force to oversee instrument sterilization. It says the plan also addresses better policies and procedures for cleaning, processing and sterilization of instruments and enhanced training and monitoring.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A complaint filed in Ingham County calls for a grand jury investigation into Governor Rick Snyder’s spending on a legal defense team. It accuses him of misconduct and abusing taxpayer dollars.

The legal action takes aim at Governor Snyder’s hiring of a private law firm to look out for his interests as state, federal, and county prosecutors conduct criminal investigations into the Flint water crisis.

The complaint says the governor violated the Michigan Constitution and state procurement laws by unilaterally approving a contract that he has a personal stake in.

a pair of feet and chalk spell the word vote on a sidewalk
User Theresa Thompson / Flickr /

Updated 10/12/16 at 11:45 am to include redacted complaint and note from attorney.

A Kalamazoo man was wrongly told by the Secretary of State’s office that he was not a legal U.S. citizen and therefore was ineligible to vote, according to the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center. 

Managing attorney Susan Reed said the young man, who doesn’t want to be named, was born in Liberia and became a U.S. citizen when his American parents adopted him 10 years ago.

He turned 18 earlier this year, registered to vote, and cast a ballot in the state primary.

But when he and his dad went to their local SOS branch to get him a state ID, a staffer told him that he was not, in fact, a legal U.S. citizen – and therefore shouldn’t have voted.

Charles Lewis at a hearing in Wayne County Circuit Court.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

A Detroit man sentenced to life without parole for a 1977 murder is entitled to a new sentence.

But efforts just to start that process have stalled again because of missing court files.

Charles Lewis was only 17 when he was convicted in the robbery-murder of an off-duty Detroit police officer.

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in two recent cases that sentencing juveniles to life without parole is unconstitutional, except in the “rarest” cases.

Lewis is one of more than 300 Michigan “juvenile lifers” now awaiting re-sentencing, which should mean at least a shot at parole.

Kourt Frame (right) with his mother Sherri Frame (left)
Sherri Frame

Grand Blanc High School just crowned its first transgender homecoming prince. 

Kourt Frame, 15, said he didn't think he'd get enough votes to win homecoming prince, but he was shocked by how much his peers supported him. 

"It was so nice, you know, the feeling like they actually voted for me and that they supported me, you know they were like, 'Yeah, you can do that, we think of you as a dude,'" Frame said.

A Kurdish boy from the Syrian town of Kobani holds onto a fence that surrounds a refugee camp in Turkey.
User Jordi Bernabeu Farrús / Flickr /

Robin Wright began her journalism career as a student at the University of Michigan, where she was the first female sports editor in the history of the Michigan Daily.

She has gone on to become a widely known and honored foreign affairs analyst, journalist and author. Her books include Rock the Casbah: Rage and Rebellion Across the Islamic World, Dreams and Shadows: The Future of the Middle East, Sacred Rage: The Wrath of Militant Islam and The Last Great Revolution: Turmoil and Transformation in Iran.

This coming Thursday, Wright returns to Ann Arbor to give the Margaret Waterman Alumnae Lecture. She joined us today.

A Nation Engaged: Kitchen, After Rumi's Guest House

Oct 11, 2016
Kyndall Flowers
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

Throughout this election season, NPR and its member stations have been having a collective national conversation called “A Nation Engaged.”  The project has looked at central themes in this year’s election, including this week’s question:

What does it mean to be American?

test with bubble answers
User Alberto G. / Creative Commons /

Michigan may soon be making changes to student testing. 

The state's Department of Education is considering adding  a standardized test that would go beyond what's included on the Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress (or M-STEP), which was implemented during the 2014-2015 school year. 

sign that says "Flint Vehicle City"
Michigan Municipal League/flickr /

Amid the torrent of headlines about Flint's water calamity, it's far too easy to lose track of the long history of that city.

There are powerful and poignant lessons to be learned in the way rich, vibrant neighborhoods were taken apart and plowed under in the name of "development.”

Communities like the old St. John Street neighborhood.

Charles Winfrey grew up in the St. John Street community. Today he is the executive director of The New McCree Theatre. He joined us on Stateside

Listen to the full interview below.

bat with white nose syndrome
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters / Flickr /

It's hard out here for a bat.

Especially if it's a bat in Michigan, according to Detroit News reporter Charles E. RamirezHe writes that the three biggest threats to bat populations are: "disease-causing fungus, wind turbines and loss of habitat."

Type some words like “will the Republican Party survive this election” into any search engine, and you’ll find stories predicting its coming collapse.

Without any doubt, the GOP is now being torn by an internal civil war, and most of its key figures privately or publicly have written off Donald Trump’s chances.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint homeowners are getting new kits to test their tap water from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

For nearly a year, Flint residents have been able to pick up testing kits at water distribution sites.  The state would test the water samples for the presence of lead.

The new testing kits will now contain two bottles. Residents will be instructed to fill the smaller bottle first. State officials say the test will produce three results.   

The intent is to assess if home water faucets are a significant source of lead in the tap water. 

JACKSON, Mich. (AP) - Health officials in Jackson County are reporting twice as many cases of Legionnaires' disease so far this year as they've had in any of the past five years.

The Jackson County Health Department says it has eight confirmed cases through the end of September, including three each reported in August and September. That compares with zero to four cases in each of the last five years.

None of the cases have been fatal.