Kate Wells

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.   

http://www.waynecounty.com/prosecutor/

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
krossbow / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

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.  

Water running from tap
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.

Alberto G. / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Today’s the deadline for teachers and students to tell the state how Michigan's new standardized test went.

The test is called the M-STEP, and students took it for the first time this year.

Benjamin Chun / Flickr creative commons

The Ann Arbor school board is rethinking how it deals with students who opt out of state tests.

The board is scrapping a controversial proposal to remove kids from magnet schools if they opt out of state tests. An online petition protesting that move got more than 700 signatures.  

Alberto G. / Flickr creative commons

As the Ann Arbor school board considers cracking down on students who opt out of state tests, we’re now getting a clearer picture of why the board is so worried about the “opt out” movement.

The Michigan Department of Education says it could cut a portion of any district’s federal funding, if a single school in that district misses a test-participation requirement for four years in a row.

The district is considering a new requirement for all kids to take the state test, or be excluded from magnet schools and programs.
Ryan Brown

The Ann Arbor school board is considering a new rule that would require all students to take the state standardized test, or risk losing their spots at magnet schools and programs.

Now a parent has responded with an online petition protesting that policy.

Desiree Duell

A Flint artist is creating installations around the city made out of the empty water bottles she and other residents have been drinking.

Desiree Duell says so far she’s collected some 1,500 water bottles from residents who still don’t trust Flint’s tap water.

GsGeorge / WIKIMEDIA Commons

The Ann Arbor teachers union is battling with the school district over contract negotiations.

Both have filed charges of “unfair labor practice” against the other.

City of Inkster sign.
City of Inkster

The city of Inkster has reached a settlement with Floyd Dent, a man who was beaten by Inkster Police after being pulled over during a traffic stop back in January, according to the offices of Dent's attorney.  

Dent will receive $1.4 million in the settlement, according to his attorney's office. 

Paul Hitzelberger / United Photo Works

Detroit expects to shut off water to about 1,000 households this week, according to the city’s water department.

Earlier this month the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department hung about 3,000 door-hangers, warning people they had 10 days to get on a payment plan with the city, or be shut off.

Water running from tap
jordanmrcai / Creative Commons

Detroiters behind on their water bills have a new place to turn for help.

The Heat and Warmth Fund, also known as THAW, has received a $1 million dollar donation to create a new water assistance fund.

Jeff Reutter / Ohio State University

It looks like the toxic bacterial blooms on Lake Erie won't be as bad this summer.

Last August the blooms, which look kind of like algae or pond scum, were dangerous enough that people in Toledo and parts of Michigan couldn't drink their tap water for a few days.

Sal Rodriguez

World-renowned street artist Shepard Fairey has unveiled his new, 180-foot mural in downtown Detroit.

He also opened a new exhibit at the Library Street Collective gallery in the city over the weekend.

Kate Wells

The ACLU of Michigan is suing Ruth Johnson, the Secretary of State, for making it difficult – and sometimes impossible – for transgender people to get a license that accurately reflects their gender.

The policy essentially requires proof of a surgical sex change

If a transgender person wants to change the gender listed on their license or state ID, Johnson’s policy requires them to first amend the gender listed on their birth certificate.

UPDATED AT 7:37 PM on 5/20/15

More scandal today for Aramark, the company that provides food for Michigan's prisons.

A former food supervisor in a Northern Michigan prison is being charged for allegedly trying to hire one prisoner to assault another prisoner, who had reportedly killed one of the supervisor's relatives. 

Michael R. Young worked at the Kinross Correctional Facility in Chippewa County.

Persons with Fungal Infections Linked to Steroid Injections, by State
CDC

 A judge has approved a $200 million settlement for victims of the fungal meningitis outbreak in 2012.

It was caused by a Massachusetts pharmacy called the New England Compounding Center, which was making massive amounts of back pain shots in a dirty lab.

G.L. Kohuth / Michigan State University

The state is kicking in $3 million to investigate evidence found from thousands of backlogged rape kits in Detroit.

Some 11,000 abandoned rape kits were found in an old Detroit police evidence locker in 2009.

By now they've all been tested for DNA.

As results come in, a lot of kits are pointing to serial rapists, because the same DNA shows up in multiple kits.

But this is when the real work begins.

Water faucet
user william_warby / Flickr

With water shutoffs in Detroit resuming as early as this week for some 18,000 households, activists say many officials are refusing to consider one possible solution: discounted bills for low-income residents.

Otherwise known as an affordability program, some activists say it’s a better option than the current assistance programs – which offer temporary financial help only after people are already behind on their water bills.

Water running from tap
jordanmrcai / Creative Commons

Detroiters owe the city water department millions of dollars in late water bills – at least $47 million, according to a city report back in March.

And that makes rates higher for everybody in the city.

But with shutoffs resuming next week and some 18,000 households in “shutoff status” –  meaning they’re two months behind and owe more than $150 – the city is facing a crucial question.

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