News

Carolyn Gearig / Michigan Radio

In 2013, Michigan’s drug-related death rate was 18.5 deaths per 100,000 people*, higher than most other states in the country. The U.S. average was 14.6.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s city council has been overruled by a state-appointed oversight board.

Yesterday, the Receivership Transition Advisory Board, or RTAB, approved a tax break for a downtown development project.  

Governor Snyder removed Flint’s emergency manager earlier this year, giving the city a greater degree of local control. But RTAB has final say. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

For several years, Michigan’s home foreclosure rate has been declining. 

But Realty Trac reports home foreclosure filings jumped nearly 17% during the first six months of 2015. Roughly half of those foreclosures involve homes in metro Detroit.

Daren Blomquist is with Realty Trac.  He cautions the increase is not as bad as people may think.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

There’s no road funding deal to speak of as state representatives leave Lansing for the week. That means a vote on any plan will have to wait until next week – and possibly until the fall.

It appears Republicans in the state House remain divided on whether a gas tax increase should be part of any plan to boost road funding.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Democrats in the Legislature are calling for changes to how legislative districts are drawn.

The effort is built off a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision. The decision says voters can take the power to draw district lines away from the Legislature and hand it to an independent commission.

Fewer charter schools opening in Michigan this fall

Jul 15, 2015
Classroom
BarbaraLN / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The Michigan Association of Public School Academies says only seven new charter schools are opening for the 2015-16 school year.

That's down from 17 new charters that opened last year, and 32 in 2013.

Dan Quisenberry, president of MAPSA, said there's been a steady decline since state lawmakers voted to lift the cap on university-authorized charters in 2011.

The drop, he said, is a sign the state's authorization system is working.

Eastern Michigan University isn't the only school in Michigan bucking funding incentives
flickr user krossbow / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM


The battle between Michigan’s public universities and state lawmakers over funding has ramped up in recent weeks.

Both Eastern Michigan University and Oakland University have busted state-imposed tuition caps, deciding that the state’s “reward” for not raising tuition just wasn’t worth it.

The universities raised their tuition for the upcoming school year by 7.8% and 8.48% respectively.

The Hekmati family

President Obama rebuked a White House reporter today for the way he asked a questions about four Americans held in Iran. 

One of the four is Amir Hekmati. The Flint man has been held by the Iranian government on spying charges for nearly four years. 

Tara / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Historic Fort Wayne in southwest Detroit may be set to receive a makeover.

Originally constructed in 1845 to protect Detroit interests along the Canadian border, the fort saw its first real action during the Civil War when Michigan soldiers reported there for duty. In subsequent years, it served as an intake center for every American conflict spanning from the Civil War to Vietnam.

flickr

Clio Area School District has filled a motion to dismiss a lawsuit challenging its gun policy. 

The lawsuit was filed by Kenneth Herman and Michigan Open Carry. Herman says he was denied entrance to an elementary school to pick up his daughter because he was open-carrying a pistol and has a license. 

Darius Simpson and Scout Bostley perform "Lost Voices" at the 2015 College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational
screenshot


Darius Simpson and Scout Bostley’s performance poem “Lost Voices” took third place at the 2015 College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational.

Speaking in each other’s voices, the two Eastern Michigan University students tear into reproductive rights, racism, white privilege, and more.

NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center on Flickr / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The Hubble Space Telescope has allowed scientists to peer into deep space, expanding our understanding of the universe. But there are still many gaps in that knowledge, including knowing how many galaxies are really out there.

Brian O'Shea is an associate professor of physics and astronomy at Michigan State and part of a team that has been working on that question.

The team has been using the Hubble Space Telescope to view galaxies that are billions of light years away.

Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company will build the new Lincoln Continental at its Flat Rock, Michigan assembly plant, which currently builds the Mustang and Fusion.

Ford did not provide details, including whether there would be additional hires. Flat Rock has about 3,100 employees now.

Lincoln is bringing back the Continental name for its new flagship sedan, expected in 2016. 

Michigan Radio has won three national Clarion Awards from The Association for Women in Communications. The awards were received in the Best Radio Documentary Series, Radio Documentary-One Time, and Major News Event categories.

UPDATED AT 1:41 pm ON 7/15/15 

Here’s something President Barack Obama and Gov. Rick Snyder have in common: Both were born years after a pipeline to deliver oil was installed under the Straits of Mackinac.

That pipeline, more than four miles of which is actually at the bottom of the lakes, is now 61 years old. Enbridge, the Canadian firm that owns it, pumps as much as 540,000 gallons of oil and liquid natural gas through it every day.

Wolf on Isle Royale.
IsleRoyaleWolf.org

Four public meetings have been scheduled to discuss the wolf and moose population on Isle Royale National Park. 

There are only three wolves left on Isle Royale. The population has dropped by almost 90% since 2009. 

Fiat Chrysler

Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne is still wrangling over what to do with the new Wrangler.

The current Wrangler is made in Toledo. 

It could be a victim of its own success.

This aerial photo of the 2010 Enbridge oil spill was taken five days after the initial spill. We're approaching the five-year anniversary now.
State of Michigan

We're coming up on the five-year anniversary of the largest inland oil spill in U.S. history.

On a Sunday evening, July 25, 2010, an Enbridge oil pipeline split open and dumped around 1 million gallons of thick, heavy, tar sands crude oil into Talmadge Creek and the Kalamazoo River.

No one knew there was a major oil spill underway until the next day.

Since that time there have been massive clean-ups, river restoration projects, real estate being bought and sold, and countless lawsuits.

Your experience

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Why is it that the poorest people in Michigan, the ones who face the biggest struggle to find jobs and get to those jobs, are paying the highest auto insurance rates in the country?

Ricardo Giaviti / Flickr

This week in Michigan Politics, political analyst Jack Lessenberry talks about the auto industry, a major land deal for Detroit, prison food service contracts, and the latest in roads.

Wayne County Executive Warren Evans says the time to right the county’s finances is “fading quickly.”

Evans issued that warning Tuesday as he sent his $1.54 billion recommended budget to the Wayne County Commission for approval.

Jim Wallace / Flickr

The Detroit City Council Tuesday pushed back a vote on a major land deal backed by Mayor Mike Duggan until next week.

Some Council members have lingering concerns about a proposed land swap with the Detroit International Bridge Company. They’re still waiting on state reports and legal opinions concerning some key elements of the deal.

Franca Grassi, Marc Grassi, Mina Grassi and Nikki Rittenour.
Zak Rosen / Michigan Radio

Five-year-old Franca Grassi is only looking for two things in a kindergarten: She doesn't want to be forced to nap, and she wants to see her mom every day. Franca's parents, on the other hand, are a lot more discerning.


“We actually have a google doc spreadsheet of pros and cons of some of the schools,” says Nikki Rittenour from the family’s long, wooden dining room table.

Courtesy of Bill Schuette

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette says the days of an energy pipeline running beneath the Straits of Mackinac are numbered. But, a task force led by Schuette does not recommend that day should come anytime soon.

“You wouldn’t site, and you wouldn’t build and construct pipelines underneath the straits today,” Schuette said at a news conference to roll out the Michigan Petroleum Pipeline Task Force report. “And so, if you wouldn’t do it today, how many more tomorrows will the pipelines be operational?”

Jackson State Prison
STEVE CARMODY

Michigan AFSCME Council 25 says it will challenge the state's new prison food contract with Trinity Services Group.

The state announced the deal with the private Florida-based company Monday after ending ties with Aramark over months of complaints. 

Nick Ciaramitaro, legislative director for AFSCME Council 25, said handing the contract over without first opening it up to other bidders is unlawful.

"We're simply exchanging one private vendor for another with no evidence that things are going to improve," Ciaramitaro said.

Fiat Chrysler

Is there trouble in store for Fiat Chrysler come September?

Some analysts believe so, saying the automaker faces the greatest risk of a strike by fed up Tier 2 workers at Chrysler.

Tier 2 workers make roughly half the pay of the higher-seniority Tier 1 workers – while doing the same job.

Tier 2 workers also get a lower level of benefits, and they do not get health insurance upon retirement.

Both union leaders and Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne agree that it's unfair.

3 Great Lakes lighthouses are up for grabs

Jul 14, 2015
Wikipedia / U.S. Coast Guard

Three Great Lakes lighthouses are being auctioned by the federal government.

Skillagalee Island lighthouse in Lake Michigan, Spectacle Reef lighthouse in Lake Huron and Gravelly Shoal Light in Saginaw Bay can be bid on by non-profits.

Joseph O'Bradovic is with the U.S. General Services Administration, which is putting the lighthouses up for auction. 

user: Dwight Burdette / Wikimedia Commons

GOP leaders in the state House are working to assemble enough Republican votes to pass a road funding plan that’s likely to raise taxes.

House Republicans met on Tuesday to review a Senate-approved plan that raises the state’s gas tax by 15 cents over three years. It also includes a possible rollback in the state’s income tax rate – but that depends on growth in revenues to the state’s General Fund.

Congress will have 60 days to look over the proposed Iran deal
White House

It took years of negotiation and diplomacy to bring about today's historic deal between Iran and world powers. Iran has agreed to curb its nuclear program in exchange for the easing of economic sanctions.

Now, the White House has to sell this deal to Congress and it could wind up being one of the biggest political fights of the Obama presidency. Congress has 60 days to dissect the terms of the agreement.

Barclay Oudersluys / Facebook

It's a key scene in one of the most beloved American films –the moment when Forrest Gump starts running.

Barclay Oudersluys, 23, of Birmingham, has decided to do for real what Tom Hanks pretended to do on film. He is running across America.

It’s called Project Gump and Oudersluys is doing it to raise $10,000 for the Hall Steps Foundation. He hopes the money will go to help build a well in Mozambique. 

In May, his journey began at the Santa Monica Pier in California and he’s headed to Marshall Point Lighthouse in Maine. That’s 14 states and almost 3,200 miles. 

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