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Michelle Huan

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State of Opportunity

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Governor Rick Snyder
Rick Snyder for Michigan / Facebook Page

As Governor Rick Snyder begins his State of the State address tonight, audience members will be listening closely for what he says about Flint.

So what could Snyder actually do for the people in Flint, besides promise money?

Here are three actions people have been asking for:

1) Create a "Future Fund" for those kids who were exposed to high levels of lead

user jonballard / Flickr

Seven months after an executive order from President Barack Obama called for the removal of militarized vehicles in cities across the country, 14 Michigan police agencies could receive new armored vehicles from the federal government.

These agencies expressed interest in getting the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles as of Dec. 21, 2015 with the 1033 program, which is led by the Defense Logistics Agency in the Defense Department. The program provides support to the country’s law enforcement with military surplus supplies.

Saugatuck-Douglas Historical Society Collection

What’s unique about your town?

Maybe it’s that little coffee shop down the road, which has inhabited the place for decades. Or that one bar everyone gathers at on Fridays. What about that spooky ghost story that’s based off a true event that happened in your town?

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

We recently got this question on Twitter: 

flickr user Motown31 / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

A coalition of business and community leaders continues to push for reform and repair of Detroit's education system.

The Coalition for the Future of Detroit School Children's co-chairs held a press conference today to discuss the current state of the Detroit education landscape, and to renew a call for action to lawmakers.

A Flint water protest
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has activated the National Guard to help distribute bottled water and filters in a city that is confronting a drinking water crisis.

His executive order issued late this evening is intended to bolster outreach to Flint residents. The crisis comes after state health authorities confirmed elevated blood-lead levels in children.

Danny Fowler / Flickr Creative Commons / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

An old, unworn coat taking up space in a closet could be keeping someone warm this winter.

St. Vincent de Paul and Art Van Furniture have teamed up to collect these coats for people in need.

Today, the partnership kicked off Operation Coat Check.

New or gently used coats for children and adults can be dropped off at any Art Van location through Feb. 11.

This is the first year that St. Vincent de Paul and Art Van are partnering for the initiative.

NATO Training Mission - Afghanistan / Flickr Creative Commons / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

New legislation would require students in Michigan to be equipped with save life-saving skills before they graduate high school.

Senate Bill 647, introduced by Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker, R-Lawton, would require schools to add 30 minutes of Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) training to their curricula for students between 7th and 12th grades.

The legislation is based on the American Heart Association guidelines.

Paul Wright / Flickr Creative Commons /http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The Michigan Department of Corrections is setting up a 30-person unit to monitor the department's 184 private contracts for services, including food and medical treatment.

The department came under intense scrutiny last year for major problems with its food service provider.

Glenn Fleishmann / Flickr Creative Commons / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Some Michigan jails are introducing technology to inmates, and jail officials say it creates a safer environment and improves productivity.

Last month, Sanilac County began a pilot program in cooperation with Securus Technologies – the company that provides the jail's video visitation and phone – to provide inmates with tablet computers for their use.

With the devices, inmates are able to access resources such as a library of approximately 10,000 readable items, some radio stations or music and job search tools.

cafegulistan.com

A southwestern Michigan cafe owner who the U.S. government says hid his ties to a group labeled a terrorist organization has been granted a 90-day extension of a deferral that has kept him from being deported.

The Kalamazoo Gazette reports that the Department of Homeland Security gave Ibrahim Parlak the extension Wednesday. His two-year deportation deferral was to expire at midnight Thursday.

Lakes are getting warmer worldwide

Dec 18, 2015
user Rhonda Noren / Flickr

A study of 235 lakes around the world shows water temperatures are on the rise. The overall average increase was 0.61 degrees per decade over the past 25 years. Four of the five Great Lakes were included in the study, with deeper, colder Lake Superior showing the biggest temperature gain – about three times the worldwide average.

The ongoing temperature change could be damaging to Michigan's lake ecosystem and economy, says Donald Uzarski, director of the Institute for Great Lakes Research at Central Michigan University. 

Brian Turner / Flickr Creative Commons / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

A new law would protect rape victims from a custody battle with their rapists when a child is conceived.

The Michigan Senate unanimously passed legislation this week that would allow courts to terminate a rapist's parental rights to a child conceived by the rape of the mother.

Senate Bill 629 was introduced by Republican Sen. Rick Jones earlier this month.

Images Money / Flickr Creative Commons / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

After months of negotiations, union members at Detroit's three casinos - MGM Grand Detroit, MotorCity and Greektown - ratified a new contract on Sunday.

The Detroit Casino Council, a consortium of the UAW Local 7777, Unite Here Local 24, Teamsters Local 372 and the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 324, reached a tentative agreement with the casinos last week.

The deal replaces a contract that expired on Oct. 16 and covers approximately 6,000 workers.

Ted Murphy / Flickr Creative Commons / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

After a round of negotiations lasting six days, a tentative agreement has been reached between the Detroit Casino Council and Detroit's three casinos - MGM Grand Detroit, MotorCity and Greektown.

Fishing on Lake Michigan.
Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore / Flickr - http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Although domestic clean energy efforts are leading to decreases in mercury pollution in the Great Lakes, a new International Joint Commission report says that increased reliance on fossil fuels overseas poses new concerns.

The IJC report urged the Canadian and U.S. governments to better monitor for mercury in the Great Lakes after noting increased levels of mercury in some fish in some parts of the Great Lakes.

USDA.gov

A deer killed by a hunter in DeWitt Township in Clinton County tested positive for chronic wasting disease. It is the fourth deer found with the disease in southern Michigan this year, and it shows that efforts by the Department of Natural Resources to stop the disease from spreading have not been successful. 

hmm360 / morgueFile

The Michigan Postsecondary Credential Attainment workgroup wants more people in Michigan to obtain some type of post-secondary credential by 2025.

That's according to a report the workgroup released this week.

James Craig, Detroit police chief, says terrorist attacks would not occur in Detroit because of armed citizens.
M&R Glasgow / Flickr - http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Detroit police chief James Craig said the casualties following the terrorist attacks in Paris — resulting in more than 100 deaths — would not have occurred had the citizens been armed.

"A lot of Detroiters have (concealed pistol licenses), and the same rules apply to terrorists as they do to some gun-toting thug," Chief James Craig told The Detroit News. "If you're a terrorist, or a carjacker, you want unarmed citizens."

You’ve probably heard of the word eavesdropping, but what about the word easedropping?

“Eavesdropping can be easy, which is why some folks now refer to the act of listening in on other peoples’ conversations as easedropping,” says University of English Michigan Professor Anne Curzan.

Is this an act of lexical wrongdoing? Or is it, perhaps, a stroke of creative genius?


Many local MIchigan restaurants give back to their communities by providing free meals on Thanksgiving.
Satya Murthy / Flickr - http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Many family-owned businesses across the state provide free turkey meals to local patrons to help give back to their communities. Michigan Radio spoke with a few owners of these restaurants and created a map to make note of the rest. 

We all admit to being a rabble-rouser once in a while, but no one wants to be a part of the rabble.

It’s even built into the language.

After all, how often do you see the word rabble without the word rouser attached to it?

“Not very often at all,” says University of Michigan English Professor Anne Curzan.

Much like some people, there are words that just don’t like to hang out on their lonesome.

Michigan gas prices fall below $2 a gallon in time for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.
user cobalt123 / Flickr - http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Good news for Thanksgiving travelers: gas prices have fallen to below $2 a gallon in Michigan for the first time since January, the Associated Press reports.

Today, the average gas price in Michigan is about $1.99 per gallon, down 24 cents from last week and about 92 cents less than this time last year, according to AAA Michigan.

American astronaut Scott Kelly posted a picture of Michigan and some of its Great Lakes to Twitter on Monday.
Scott Kelly

Many astronauts are using social media to showcase images of the blue planet from outer space – including awe-inspiring photos featuring Michigan cities and its Great Lakes.

Monday morning, NASA astronaut Scott Kelly tweeted out a picture of Michigan and the area surrounding the Great Lakes at nighttime. Kelly calls the Great Lakes "unmistakeable," even from 250 miles up.

Indigenous Peoples Day celebration in Berkeley, California.
Quinn Dombrowski / Flickr

Ann Arbor city council passed a resolution on Nov. 16 recognizing Indigenous Peoples Day in place of the nation-wide holiday, Columbus Day.

The Ann Arbor News reported Ann Arbor city council's decision this morning:

A pair of Eastern Massasauga rattlesnakes, the only venomous snake native to Michigan.
Steven Parrish / Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum, the University of Michigan

The Eastern Massasauga — the sole rattlesnake to inhabit the state of Michigan — is facing rapid population loss that's prompting national concern for Michigan wildlife.

In September 2015, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed to list the snake as a "threatened species" under the Endangered Species Act, which would qualify the snake for national funds to help preserve the species. 

Tom Casperson

State Senator Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba, announced early Monday that he will run for the 1st U.S. House District, which represents northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula.

He is the first Republican to officially announce to succeed Rep. Dan Benishek, R-Crystal Falls, who is retiring. Casperson has served almost 11 years in the Michigan Legislature.

stevendepolo / flickr

  A successful program that rewards students with cash for boosting their grades has expanded to a second high school in Westland, Michigan. Bill Gray, a retired school psychologist with Wayne Memorial High School, started the Champions of Wayne program in 2009 with the goal of improving performance of at-risk students.

The program offers mentorship and a $200 reward each semester to each students who successfully increase their grade point averages. 

Flint water treatment plant
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will conduct a full review of the actions taken to address drinking water quality issues in Flint. It is expected to be completed by the end of this week, with results released next week.

EPA regional administrator Susan Hedman said in a Nov. 3 letter to U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Flint, that she was asked by the head of the federal agency to carry out the review.

Paula Friedrich / Michigan Radio

Connections is a State of Opportunity documentary about the power of networks.

The show looks at the importance of a strong network, and how those who start with sparse networks can start to build more connections.

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