Kate Wells

Arts, Culture & Education Reporter/Producer

Kate Wells is an award-winning reporter covering general news for Michigan Radio. Her work has been featured on NPR’s Morning EditionAll Things Considered, and Weekend Edition, as well as on WNYC, Harvest Public Media, KUT (Austin Public Radio) and in the Texas Tribune.

Kate got her start as an intern with New Hampshire Public Radio before heading out to the Midwest, where she covered the presidential caucuses for Iowa Public Radio and won a regional Edward R. Murrow award for investigative journalism. She joined Michigan Radio in 2012. Kate enjoys hiking, the Muppets, and cake in all forms.   

Kate Wells

U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez spent an hour in Detroit today speaking with a small group of fast-food servers, home health care workers, gas station clerks and other minimum-wage earners. 

The workers are with "Detroit 15" – a local group that's part of the national push to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

Sitting next to Mayor Mike Duggan, Perez praised the workers, repeatedly comparing their cause to the civil rights movement. 

Kate Wells

A woman in a minivan is not at all happy with Bethany Campbell’s massive poster, which shows the bloody detached head of a fetus and reads “Choice is Abortion.”

“Little kids do not need to see that picture,” the minivan lady shouts over traffic noise at a busy intersection in Ann Arbor.

“Yes, they do,” says Campbell, a blonde 25-year-old from Saline who says she’s worked as a nurse, and that while she’s been “pro-life my entire life,” this is her first time actually coming out to a protest against abortion.


Protestors say they’ll turn out to about a dozen Planned Parenthood clinics across Michigan on Saturday, citing "recent revelations that Planned Parenthood has been harvesting and selling aborted body parts," as one press release describes it.

The Michigan rallies are part of a national day of protests at 300 Planned Parenthood clinics around the country.

http://www.waynecounty.com/executive/index.htm / Wayne County

With Wayne County in a state-confirmed financial emergency, its leaders are trying to avoid an emergency manager or bankruptcy.

Today, the Wayne County Commissioners went for a third option: a consent agreement.

It’s what County Executive Warren Evans has been pushing for since he asked the state to declare the county in a financial emergency.

Once that emergency was declared, the state gave the county four options: emergency manager or bankruptcy, which nobody wants - or a "neutral evaluation" which basically means mediation, or a consent agreement. 

Ackerman for Council

Ann Arbor’s getting a new city council member. He’s 21 and a student at the University of Michigan.

Zachary Ackerman says no one was more surprised than he was this week, when he beat incumbent city council member Stephen Kunselman in the Democratic primary – by just 40 votes.


  UPDATE: Judge Wiley has taken Anderson's request for resentencing under advisement, according to Anderson's lawyer, Scott Grabel. He is expected to issue a ruling within the week. 

He was a 19-year-old from Indiana. She was a Michigan girl who said she was 17. They met online, flirted, and he drove to Michigan to meet her in person. 

They had sex. And when she got home, her mother had called police, worried when her daughter didn't come home for dinner. Turns out, she was actually 14 years old. 

Life Remodeled

Some 9,000 volunteers are remodeling Osborn High School in Detroit this week.

Last year, the same group – called Life Remodeled – focused on Cody High School, on the other side of the city. The non-profit even raised $1 million to build Cody a new football field.

Kate Wells

Detroiters could be able to get a city-issued ID card later this year.

That could help homeless people, senior citizens, undocumented immigrants – anybody who may not be able to provide a birth certificate or Social Security card.

As maybe the only 89-year-old who can claim to be a cult favorite on Twitter, former U.S. Rep. John Dingell has some 31,000 followers. 

But his wife, U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell? Not so much.

So the two announced they'd made a politically savvy wager: If the congresswoman could get to 5,000 Twitter followers by last weekend, then Mr. Dingell would read mean tweets about himself on camera - something late-night host Jimmy Kimmel popularized on his show.

The internet complied. So, here you go:




Detroit Dog Rescue / via Facebook

Detroit Dog Rescue say it’s running the first-no kill shelter in the city.

Executive director Kristina Rinaldi says between its shelter and foster programs, they can care for 40 to 60 dogs at a time.  

"There's too many dogs that need our help,” Rinaldi says. “And there's residents out there that need our help as well.

“I mean, every day we get a call from a mother who can't get her child off of the school bus because there's a stray dog on her porch."


Everybody gripes about Michigan's potholes.

But in Hamtramck, a group of friends is raising money to fix their roads themselves.

Blue Ocean Faith is an all-inclusive Christian community in Ann Arbor
user Marlith / Flickr

Some Michigan activists are lobbying members of Congress to pass civil rights protections for LGBT people.

The Equality Act of 2015 would ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.


If you've ever needed a lawyer, but couldn't hire one because it was too expensive, you're not alone.

Three out of four low- and middle-income people don’t get the legal services they need, Michigan State University claims.

User Motown31 / Creative Commons

Pontiac schools are getting an emergency $10 million loan from the state to pay its employees and vendors.

This is the second $10 million emergency loan the state has given the district. The previous one was made last year.

Beaumont Health System

The Oakland County sheriff says there's an easy way to crack down on prescription drug abuse: require doctors to use a statewide, online database every time they write a prescription for serious painkillers.

Michigan already has an online system called MAPS, the Michigan Automated Prescription System.

Hazen Schumacher. / Michigan Radio

Sad news for jazz lovers this weekend. 

Radio legend Hazen Schumacher died yesterday at the age of 88.

The Michigan broadcaster was known nationally as host of the "Jazz Revisited" program.

Pipeline being installed by Enbridge in Michigan. Now Wolverine Oil Company is proposing a new pipeline.
Rina Miller / Michigan Radio

Growing demand for oil means Metro Detroit could be getting a new pipeline. And some residents aren’t happy about that.

The Wolverine Pipeline Company wants to install 35 new miles of pipeline next to its already-existing pipeline between Washtenaw and Wayne Counties. It runs from Romulus to Freedom Township.


The Wayne County Prosecutor’s office says it's still investigating the death of Terrance Kellom, a 20-year-old man fatally shot by a federal agent in April.

“We are waiting for a report that we expect to receive in the near future,” said spokesperson Maria Miller on Thursday afternoon. “We must have that before a decision can be made in this matter. We do not expect to release anything at this time.”

But Friday morning a group of activists plan to hold a silent vigil outside the courthouse, saying the prosecutor promised the investigation would be released by tomorrow.

Oakland University Campus
Oakland University

Oakland University is raising tuition by more than 8%, one of the biggest increases by a state school this year.

This means Oakland is busting a state-imposed, 3.2% cap on tuition increases.

Because of that, the school gives up about $1 million in state incentives for schools that stay below that cap.

But the tuition hike should bring in $12 million for the school next year, says Oakland University President George Hynd.

Kate Wells

When Eric Thompson hit rock bottom, he really hit rock bottom. Like, fleeing-from-the-police-in-a-car-chase rock bottom.

“I wasn’t scared,” Thompson says of that night. “I didn’t have a plan. I was done. Seriously. I wanted to die. I just didn’t want to feel anymore.”

As part of our series looking into how returning veterans are living in Michigan, we took a look at a system of courts across the US and Michigan that are designed specifically for veterans.

Manufacturing Tech Expo at College of DuPage 2014 4

Michigan has a teacher shortage, at least when it comes to vocational programs.

Education administrators say it's creating "emergency situations" in some parts of the state, especially rural areas. 


Lawyers with the Michigan Innocence Clinic say they believe at least two people have been wrongfully imprisoned for child abuse because they say medical experts misdiagnosed shaken baby syndrome.

The clinic’s attorneys are representing Joshua Burns, of Brighton, and Terry Lee Caesor of St. Clair County. Juries have convicted both men of child abuse.

Wikimedia Commons

The University of Michigan has released the results from its campus climate survey on sexual misconduct.

And while the vast majority of students said they feel safe on campus, 11% of students had an unwanted sexual experience in the last 12 months.

user paul (dex) / Flickr

General Motors is adding 300 new jobs and investing $245 million in one of its metro Detroit plants in Orion Township.

And residents there are breathing a sigh of relief, because just a few years ago, it looked like that plant was going to close.

Film rolls.
Luca Nonato / Flickr

It looks like a new Comedy Central pilot called "Detroiters" will be one of the last projects to get Michigan's film tax incentive.

The legislature voted this week to phase out the state's tax rebates for film crews that hire people and spend money in the state.

Kate Wells

Two months after 20-year-old Terrance Kellom was shot by an Immigration and Customs officer in Detroit during a police raid, his family says the investigation into his death is taking too long.

“Had this been the other way around, my son would have been charged, doing time already,” Kevin Kellom told reporters after a rally at a neighborhood church.  

Earlier in the evening the family’s attorney told supporters he believes the Wayne County prosecutor’s investigation should be wrapped up in a week to 10 days.

Cheyna Roth

About 60 protesters gathered outside the University of Michigan hospital campus in Ann Arbor Wednesday, campaigning against what they say is a flawed child abuse investigation into a Brighton family and a “financial conflict of interest” between the hospital and Child Protective Services.

Last spring, Josh and Brenda Burns saw their infant daughter, Naomi, rushed to the U of M hospital in an ambulance after she became unresponsive three days into an illness.

User: Mrs. Logic/flickr

Senior citizens who fall victim to elder abuse now have a Michigan shelter just for them.

Jewish Senior Life of Metro Detroit is opening an “Elder Abuse Shelter” today to offer emergency housing for 90 days at both an independent and an assisted living center, as well as a medical center for those who need full-time nursing.

“We know that [elder abuse] really is silent, and the older adult either feels so vulnerable or they don’t know where to turn,” says CEO Rochelle Upfal.

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

Eastern Michigan University will raise tuition by 7.8%, one of the biggest recent hikes by a public university in the state.  

The school is exceeding a state-imposed 3.2% cap on tuition hikes, which means the school is giving up a $1 million incentive payment it would have received if it had stayed below the cap.  

In-state students will now pay $10,417 in tuition and fees.

EMU says it's spending a lot of money on building improvements and repairs, hiring new faculty, and creating new academic programs for health-care workers, like a physician assistant program.  

jordanmrcai / Creative Commons

It's official: Detroit and the suburbs have struck a water deal.

Leaders voted today to let Detroit lease its massive, crumbling water and sewer system to a new, regional board called the Great Lakes Water Authority.