News

Attorney General Bill Schuette
Courtesy of Bill Schuette

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette says it will be up to Governor Rick Snyder to hire his own attorney if the administration pursues an appeal of a court decision. It says the state owes roughly $550 million dollars to teachers for illegally withholding 3% of their paychecks to fund retirement health benefits.

  

Schuette’s spokeswoman, Andrea Bitely, says the attorney general doesn’t think the state can win the case. 

A mosquito
flickr user trebol-a / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

In a normal year, Michigan sees about a couple dozen or so cases of West Nile virus: 18 cases last year, according to the CDC’s map. Just one in 2014. And 36 cases in 2013.

But the state saw some 200 cases in 2012.

And experts at the state health department are worried this year is shaping up to be another surge.  

For one thing, Oakland County just found West Nile virus in one of its testing pools, even though it’s still relatively early in the season.  

Howard Lake/flickr

The American Red Cross has issued an emergency call for blood and platelets, urging all eligible donors to give now to replenish an extremely low summer blood supply.

The group says blood donations have fallen short of hospital needs for the past few months, resulting in about 39,000 fewer donations than what’s needed, as well as a significant draw down of the overall Red Cross blood supply.

Julie Plawecki
http://housedems.com/

Thirteenth District Democratic Party Chairman Jonathan Kinloch says "there are a lot of moving parts" in naming candidates to fill the vacancy left by the sudden death of State Rep. Julie Plawecki.

Plawecki, who represented the 11th House district, died of a heart attack on July 25 while hiking in Oregon.

Kinloch says Plawecki's daughter has expressed interest in running in the special primary election on August 30. The election was called by Governor Snyder to fill the remainder of Plawecki's term through the end of 2016.

Pictured Rocks is struggling to adjust to housing and economic changes caused by a surge in tourism.
Jodi Grove / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCL0

 

Pictured Rocks is the main tourist attraction in Munising, Michigan. But a surge in tourism has created challenges for the Munising community.

Some 723,000 tourists appeared last year alone, and the area is struggling to accommodate so many people while maintaining its quality of life.

Munising Mayor Rod DesJardins joined us to talk about how tourism has changed life in the communities near Pictured Rocks.

Detroit's new Red Wings arena under construction.
Rick Briggs / Flickr / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

 

A petition drive to get a proposed Detroit city ordinance on the ballot has hit opposition. The ordinance would require that new, large developments that use public money or land return some benefits to the local community. Benefits could include things such as employment preference for neighborhood residents, or health and safety measures.

According to the International Dyslexia Association, as much as 20% of Americans have some symptoms of dyslexia.
pixabay user picjumbo / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

By the time they leave kindergarten, kids are supposed to have learned the building blocks of literacy. 

They should be able to connect letters to sounds and spell simple words like "cat" and "book."

But for an estimated one in five children with dyslexia, those basic skills aren't so easy to master.

Well, the Fourth of July is over and it is now, emotionally as well as officially, summer. The presidential primary season is over too. That, unlike even a Michigan winter, seemed to last forever. 

But we now know – with all due respect to the Libertarian and Green party candidates – either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump will be our next president. The only excitement remaining is to find out who they will select as their vice presidential candidates.

user mytvdinner / Flickr

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say 48 million Americans get sick from eating contaminated food each year. That's one in six people.

One of the big challenges for companies is tracing those food products and getting them off the shelves quickly.

Kaitlin Wowak is an assistant professor of management at the University of Notre Dame Mendoza College of Business. She’s the lead author of a new study in the Journal of Business Logistics. She says a number of factors determine how difficult it is to recall a food product quickly.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Next week, Virginia Tech researchers return to Flint to test the city’s drinking water for a third time.

A year ago, their tests showed high levels of lead in the city’s tap water.

A second round of testing showed improvement, but not enough.

Rod Hansen
via WJR

One of the great voices in Detroit radio journalism has died.

Rod Hansen was an investigative reporter with WJR-AM 760 from 1967 until 2005.

A tough and tenacious reporter mostly on the federal court beat, Hansen won a slew of prestigious awards over the course of his career.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A proposed Detroit city ordinance is facing a well-organized, but so far anonymous, challenge.

A coalition gathered more than 5,000 signatures in favor a community benefits ordinance.

The ordinance would require large-scale developments that receive public money or use public land to return some benefits to surrounding communities.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

This weekend, Michigan delegates to the Republican National Convention get to work on the party’s national platform.

This will be Meshawn Maddock’s first convention as a delegate. At the state party convention this spring, she was chosen to be one of two Michiganders on the platform committee. Maddock has spent the past few weeks reviewing past party platforms and getting input from her fellow Michigan Republicans.

Maddock says there are certain issues about which she doesn't want to see the party’s position shift.

An unusually dry, hot June is hurting crops across the Midwest, including Michigan.

Everything from beans to sugar beets to wheat is suffering, says Kate Krepps of the Michigan Farm Bureau.

"It's been a strange year," says Krepps.  "We had such a wet beginning, so it was really challenging for folks to get crops in the field in a lot of different areas, particularly in southern Michigan.  And then they got them in the field, and we haven't had much rain since then."

The situation could reduce yields and profits for the roughly 75,000 people who farm in the state.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

This fall, water experts from around the world are expected to come to Flint for a summit on water infrastructure issues.

Flint’s water crisis has become a symbol for the problems facing aging water systems.

Bryce Feighner is special advisor on drinking water with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. He’s helping to organize the summit.

Feighner says they’re reaching out to experts across the U.S. and Europe, seeking innovative answers to the problems that Flint and other cities with aging, faltering municipal water systems face.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

This month’s Republican and Democratic National Conventions are big parties. 

But they’re expensive parties for the participants.

Charles Niswander is a Bernie Sanders delegate. He’s looking forward to being in Philadelphia for the DNC. 

But there’s a cost: $3,000 to $4,000 in travel and hotel.

“There is a part of me that feels like they would rather keep poor, working people out and not have their voices heard as much,” says Niswander.  

Kellogg

Kellogg's of Battle Creek is taking cereal in a different direction.  A really different direction.

The company has opened a cereal cafe in Times Square, where for $6.50 (small) or $7.50 (large) you can order cereal from a menu that includes "Lemon Pistachio." 

That's a combination of Special K and Frosted Flakes, with pistachios and lemon zest and fresh thyme leaves on top.  With locally sourced fresh milk on the side, of course.

Ypsilanti veteran will receive Medal of Honor

Jul 3, 2016
Medal of Honor recipient Charles Kettles
Rebecca Kruth

In 1967, helicopter pilot Charles Kettles led a platoon on several trips through enemy fire to rescue wounded soldiers near the district of Duc Pho in Vietnam.

The Ypsilanti native then flew back again, alone, to rescue eight more soldiers who couldn't reach the evacuation helicopters due to the intense enemy fire. 

In recognition of Kettles’ actions nearly 50 years ago, President Barack Obama will present him with the Medal of Honor in a ceremony at the White House July 18.

Kettles says the award isn’t his alone. He says it belongs to the entire crew.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

After a busy Fourth of July weekend, more than a hundred Michigan State Police troopers will travel to Cleveland to provide security during the upcoming Republican National Convention.

The Michigan troopers will be part of the large police presence in Cleveland during the four-day convention in mid-July.

The troopers leave July 16th for a seven-day deployment to northeast Ohio where they will assist with security and crowd management outside the convention center as well as motorcycle escorts for motorcades.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Detroit school children, Flint residents and residents across Michigan will be affected when the next state budget takes effect in three months.

  Gov. Rick Snyder signed the $54.9 billion spending plan this week. It touches many corners of Michigan life - from spending on public schools and road repairs to increased dental coverage for low-income children and more troopers patrolling highways.

  Per-pupil grants for K-12 schools will increase by between $60 and $120. The gap between wealthier and poorer districts will shrink.

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

Don’t believe the smart folks who say Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, and the wild show that passes for American presidential politics today, are just evidence of one big, transatlantic hissy fit. They’re wrong.

Republican and Democratic leaders here, political classes on both sides of the pond and financial markets around the globe are demonstrating, once again, a remarkable disconnect from the concerns of everyday people from Liverpool to Lansing.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A top economist says Michigan’s economy is at its strongest point in seven years, but he expects growth to begin flattening out.

Robert Dye is the chief economist with Comerica Bank. His mid-year Michigan Economic Activity Index looks at home prices, payrolls, exports and a variety of other economic factors.

Dye says strong auto sales have powered Michigan’s economy since the Great Recession.    But he believes auto production has plateaued.

Thetoad / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

A federal judge says a Michigan law that takes aim at political fundraising by unions violates the constitution.

The law says unions cannot use payroll deductions to collect donations to a union political action committee. The law still allows businesses to use payroll deductions for donations to corporate political committees.

  

Andrew Nickelhoff is a union attorney. He says that goes against the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision.

cash money
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The powerful credit ratings agency Standard and Poor’s has downgraded two sets of bonds issued by Detroit Public Schools.

The agency also expressed doubt about a new arrangement that splits the school district in two.

On Friday, new state laws took effect splitting the Detroit Public Schools into “old” and “new” districts.

The old one exists solely to pay off debt with tax revenues, while the new one receives state aid payments to educate students.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

The state has fully relinquished oversight of Benton Harbor, six years after the city was placed under emergency management to address a budget deficit.

Friday's decision followed a recommendation from a state-appointed receivership transition advisory board.

The southwestern Michigan city will manage operations and finances without oversight. City council ordinances no longer need approval of the board that was appointed in 2014 once emergency management ended.

Both Gov. Rick Snyder and former Gov. Jennifer Granholm appointed emergency managers in Benton Harbor.

Flickr user RAY TYLER IMAGES/Flickr / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

While personnel are still in the military, the doctors they see understand their experiences in combat, or in other situations, might mean they have certain healthcare issues.

Once veterans are out of the military, though, their private physicians might not even think to ask if they’ve served. That’s an oversight one doctor is working to correct.

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

For most of Michigan, this has been one of the driest starts to summer we’ve seen in a long time.

With Fourth of July coming up, there are concerns about fires in these dry conditions.

For this reason, Julie Secontine, the State Fire Marshal, has been considering banning fireworks this Fourth of July.

Jacobs said Legislature was "penny wise and pound foolish" in neglecting to add $3 million to the "heat and eat" program in the new state budget.
Flickr user Liz West / Flickr / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

An advocacy group for low-income people has been going over the new state budget. The Michigan League for Public Policy (MLPP) found some good things in the budget, and a whole lot of federal money left on the table.

Gilda Jacobs, president and CEO of the MLPP, started with the good things:

Michigan school boards are struggling to fill seats.
wikimedia user motown31 / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Governor Rick Snyder has approved an education budget which includes $2.5 million for private and religious schools.  That seems to be incongruent with the Michigan Constitution, which states:

Flickr user Brian Turner/Flickr
HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

A group says free speech is threatened on college campuses.

FIRE, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, rates colleges and universities based on how they restrict free speech.

Its mission is “to defend and sustain individual rights at America’s colleges and universities.”

That includes protecting freedom of speech, freedom of the press, due process and more.

Shelby Emmett, Legal and Legislative Policy Advocate for FIRE, said she views the group as an “empowerment organization for students.”

Pages