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Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Lansing city council is getting a 20% pay raise, despite protests from some council members. 

Five of the eight council members voted to reject the pay raise. But they fell short of the super-majority needed to block the raise. 

Picture of the aurora as seen from Peach Mountain Observatory near Dexter, MI
Logan Sisca / Michigan Exploration Laboratory

Recently, Michiganders as far south as Ann Arbor were treated to an amazing Northern Lights show.  Though neither person nor atmospheric ion can stay excited forever, clear skies allowed astronomy enthusiasts to beautifully preserve the event through photos.

Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

Ohio lawmakers are close to a compromise on legislation aimed to reduce farm runoff into Lake Erie and other Ohio waterways.

The goal is to stop the spread of the toxic algae that contaminated Toledo's drinking water supply last summer.

"I think this bill will make sure the nutrients won't get in the water system, and we'll have less algae blooms over time," said Ohio State Senator Bob Peterson who co-sponsored the bill.

user Laura4Smith / Flickr

Five years after the Affordable Care Act was signed into law, enrollment by Michigan residents has surpassed projections.

According to Marianne Udow-Phillips, director of the University of Michigan's Center for Healthcare Research and Transformation (CHRT), nearly 1 million Michigan residents signed up for health care in the last enrollment period. Almost 600,000 of those enrollees took advantage of Healthy Michigan, the state's Medicaid expansion program. 

Paige Pfleger / Michigan Radio

A bus company in Detroit sees a future for the city where every kid can get a ride to their after-school programs, and then back to their door for free. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint fired its long-time water provider, the city of Detroit, last spring, and began treating its own water from the Flint River.

There were problems right away, including complaints by residents about the taste, smell and appearance of the water.

wikipedia

In 1945, Grand Rapids was the first city in the U.S. to add fluoride to its water.

But a candidate for mayor doesn't see that as a bragging point today.

John George says "more than a thousand" studies show risks from fluoridated water, including links to higher levels of ADHD, hypothyroidism, and lower IQs in kids.

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

State Representative Jeff Irwin wants to end daylight saving time for all of Michigan. 

The practice, he says, was adopted during WWI to cut back on energy usage. However, today, daylight saving time actually correlates with an increase in energy usage. 

Freaktography / flickr.com

Though the proposal is formally known by the House Fiscal Agency as the "Transportation Funding Package," the 10 bills included in the May 5 proposal extend beyond road funding to include alterations in state education funding and sales tax policies.  

If Proposal 1 passes, the following bills will be enacted into law:

Tracy Samilton / Michigan Radio

The Ann Arbor school board is requesting that the state legislature repeal a controversial gun law.

The law allows someone with a concealed pistol license to openly carry a gun into a school. Carrying a concealed weapon into a school is still illegal.

The board took the action after a man with a concealed pistol license attended a high school performance last week, bearing an openly displayed, holstered weapon.

Colleen / Flickr Creative Commons

The state Board of Education is expected to pick a new superintendent soon. The board narrowed the list of finalists to three today.

Bill DiSessa, spokesman for the Michigan Department of Education, says the finalists will be interviewed next Wednesday, and the Board will make the final choice after that meeting.

Paige Pfleger / Michigan Radio

The Detroit Institute of Arts is debuting a new exhibition about the year Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo spent in Detroit in 1932. It opens Sunday, March 15, but Michigan Radio got a sneak peek at a media preview.

The exhibition is the brainchild of DIA director Graham Beal and curator Mark Rosenthal. This will be the last major exhibition for Beal before he retires this summer. 

Rae Allen / Flickr Creative Commons

An anti-Islamic Christian group argued in front of the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit this week that the Wayne County Sheriff's Office had violated its First Amendment rights.

The group, called the Bible Believers, carried signs with inflammatory statements about Islam's prophet, Muhammed, and shouted anti-Muslim slogans at the 2012 Arab International Festival in Dearborn.  They also carried a large pig's head on a pole. 

Photo courtesy of Miller's office

Michigan Republican Congresswoman Candice Miller  announced this afternoon she will not seek reelection in 2016. U.S. Rep. Miller has held the 10th District seat since 2003.

"It has been the greatest privilege and sincere personal honor to serve the people of Michigan's 10th Congressional District as their voice in the US House of Representatives.  People of faith, people of family, people of community.  Hard working people, decent people, patriots who are constantly engaged in building our community, our state, a stronger nation," Rep. Miller said in a emailed statement.

The congresswoman also released a video statement on her Facebook page.

Before being elected to Congress in 2002, Rep. Miller served as Michigan's Secretary of State for eight years.

M. Kuhlman

Taking paid time off work to cope with illness is a luxury nearly half of Michigan workers cannot afford, but it's a policy many favor.

A new poll from Denno Research shows that 86 percent of Michigan voters support paid sick time for employees. For 46 percent of the state's private-sector workers, said Dave Woodward with the Economic Justice Alliance of Michigan, time away from work because of illness means no pay.

Senator Debbie Stabenow
USDAgov / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, D-MI, and U.S. Rep. Candice Miller, R-MI, have introduced legislation that addresses the threat of Asian carp entering the Great Lakes.

Paige Pfleger / Michigan Radio

What's the future of Detroit's neighborhoods?

That was a question discussed by a panel at the 2015 Detroit Policy Conference

The panel included former city councilman Ken Cockrel, TechTown Detroit's Bonnie Fahoome, Victoria Kovari from the city's Department of Neighborhoods, and Tahirih Ziegler from the Detroit Local Initiatives Support Corp

user: Dwight Burdette / Wikimedia Commons

The traffic on US-23 between Brighton and Ann Arbor can be rough during rush hours, which is why the Michigan Department of Transportation is considering adopting 'dynamic shoulders' -- the road's shoulders would open as a way to alleviate traffic. 

"They have been used in other states, in Europe," explained Kari Arend, spokesperson for MDOT. "So this would be the first time such a system would be implemented in Michigan"

Rodney Campbell / User: Flickr

Michigan Radio's M I Curious project is a news experiment where we investigate questions submitted by the public about our state and its people.

In December, longtime Ann Arbor resident Ellen Rusten asked this question:

"It seems to me that there are fewer chickadees in Ann Arbor than there were 40 years ago. Is that true and, if so, why?"

Steve Carmody

Hell is for sale, and a Detroit-based artists group called Damned wants to buy it.

"When Hell came up for sale on Friday the 13th, it seemed an interesting switch to focus maybe on creating a natural, larger, world class performance art center," said Anthony DVS, the head producer of Damned who prefers to go by his pseudonym.

Vanessa Miller / Detroit Bus Company

The Detroit Bus Company launched a crowd-funding campaign to raise money for their Youth Transit Alliance.

The Alliance, which began in 2013, helps get kids from the Southwest Detroit neighborhood of Springwells to after-school programs, then safely back home afterwards, for free. 

User: West Midlands Police / Wikimedia Commons

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has announced it will start testing body cameras on agents in the field. The first phase of the feasibility study took place in the border agency's training academies from October through December 2014.

CBP says its goal is greater transparency and accountability. 

A new report released by the Graham Sustainability Institute looks at Michigan's options for regulating hydraulic fracturing of natural gas in Michigan.

The report says current regulations are written for smaller wells drilled to a depth of 800 to 2,000 feet, using about 50,000 gallons of water each. But high-volume fracking, using wells drilled as deep as 10,000 feet, could take off in Michigan if economic conditions become favorable for it. There are currently only 13 high-volume wells in Michigan, compared to 12,000 conventional shallow wells.

City of Detroit

In what officials call an effort towards greater transparency, the city of Detroit launched a website that offers access to many government documents that were once difficult to find. 

"People have questions on how the government works, and it's frustrating when it's difficult to get answers to those questions," said Garlin Gilchrist II. 

Wisconsin Historical Society

Almost 900 square miles of Lake Michigan near Wisconsin have been added to an inventory of sites up for consideration as National Marine Sanctuaries.

The area contains 34 known shipwrecks and 122 reported vessel losses.

Fifteen of the shipwrecks are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. 

The wrecks are interesting for themselves -- and also for their cargo.

NASA

A Michigan native is vying for a one-way ticket to a very unusual destination. 

Laura Smith-Velazquez is one of 100 finalists from across the globe trying to be a part of a mission to begin colonizing Mars. 

Andrew Krietz of MLive reports:

Paul Sullivan / Flickr Creative Commons

The Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division (CVED) of the Michigan State Police has launched a new state initiative to involve the trucking industry in its fight against human trafficking.

Captain Michael Krumm, commander of the CVED, said a lot of human trafficking activity takes place in truck stops and rest areas. So "as the eyes and ears of the nation's highways," the trucking industry is in a good position to help.

user FatMandy / flickr

A judge says Wayne County must take steps to improve the condition of its current jail.

An opinion from Circuit Court Judge Timothy Kenny says problems with the old jail have gotten worse while the county focused its efforts on building a new jail. Kenny says the completion of the new jail is not "imminent."

flickr

A $20 million vision to turn Detroit's Chandler Park into an ecological laboratory is underway. 

"The goal is to create the first urban conservation park in Michigan," said Maggie DeSantis, president of the East Side Community Network, which is facilitating a collaborative effort of several community organizations to revitalize the 200-acre park on Detroit's east side.

User: Limbic / Flickr

Thousands of Michiganders will have something to smile about if Governor Rick Snyder's budget proposal, which takes steps to improve access to dental care, passes through the Legislature.

Snyder wants to expand the state's Healthy Kids Dental program to the three most populous counties in the state - Oakland, Wayne and Kent - for children up to age 8.

Pediatric dentist Martin Makowski, president of the Michigan Dental Association, said children who can't see a dentist regularly stand to lose a lot more than just teeth.

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