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Michelle Huan

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State of Opportunity

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Stateside

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Lars Plougmann / Creative Commons

Today is the last day to register to vote in the Nov. 4th general elections.

To register, you can stop by your local Secretary of State’s office or your county, city or township clerk’s office. Applicants will be required to present a picture ID or sign an affidavit.

Carmella Sabaugh is the county clerk and Register of Deeds of Macomb County. She says the clerk’s office will remain open and accept registrations until midnight on Monday.

“We have got a lot of last-minute registrations that way. The important thing is people have to be registered before they can vote.” 

Center for Effective Government

They are supposed to be a safe places to learn, but a new report finds that hundreds of thousands of Michigan children attend schools inside what chemical companies call a vulnerability zone.

Sean Moulton, director of open government policy with the Center for Effective Government, says the level of risk associated with a particular chemical facility has to do with the quantity of chemicals being handled, how dangerous those chemicals are and the proximity of the facility to population centers.

SDRandCo/morguefile.com

From bagels to bags, pizza boxes to pajamas, 'tis the season when pink-ribbon products pile up on store shelves across Michigan. But one group says if the goal is to one day eradicate breast cancer, it's important to Think Before You Pink.

Karuna Jaggar is executive director pf the watchdog organization Breast Cancer Action. She says while many purchases do benefit breast-cancer programs, marketers can put a pink ribbon on anything in the name of awareness, without actually donating any money to the cause.

A diamondback terrapin hatchling.
C.A. Chicoine / TurtleZone News

The Detroit Zoo is caring for more than 1,000 turtles authorities say are tied to an international smuggling ring.

According to a news release Friday from the zoo, a number of the turtles were found stuffed into rubber snow boots and cereal boxes inside a Canadian man's luggage at Detroit Metropolitan Airport last week. The man was attempting to board a plane for Shanghai, China. 

Participants in the 2013 Flint Zombie Walk
Flint Zombie Walk / Facebook

Tomorrow, Flint will be overrun with the undead participants of its annual Flint Zombie Walk.

The walk begins at 1:00 p.m., with zombie inspired makeovers and registration at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. respectively. 

In addition to the walk, the event will feature vendors, "horror celebrities" and other entertainment.

Proceeds from the event will be donated to the Little Free Library organization. 

For more information, visit the event website.

Where's the tracker? This Kirtland's warbler has a tracker attached to its back that is incredibly tiny, weighing just 0.65 g.
Dan Elbert / USFWS

October is a time of falling leaves, eager trick-or-treaters, and the southward migration of the exceptionally rare Kirtland's warbler.

The Kirtland's warbler is found almost exclusively in the jack pine forest of northern Michigan. To counteract the devastating impact of habitat loss on the bird's population, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources initiated the Kirtland's Warbler Management Plan in 1981.

Attorney General Bill Schuette has been reelected.
Bill Schuette

The Michigan Legislature has given final approval to bills that aim to "fully combat human trafficking and assist victims."

The bills now head to Gov. Rick Snyder.

Among other things, the bills would let victims clear their criminal records. Minors under age 18 suspected of prostitution would be presumed to be trafficking victims, and "johns" soliciting sex from minors would face tougher criminal penalties.

The Michigan Public Radio Network's Rick Pluta sat down with the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Terri Lynn Land  on Friday, Oct. 3, 2014.

She took questions from our statewide audience.

Terri Lynn Land served two terms as Michigan’s 41st Secretary of State (2003-2010). Land was elected to the Republican National Committee. She is a graduate of Grandville High School, and went to Hope College, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science.

Lynn’s Democratic opponent in the race for U.S. Senator is Gary Peters. To listen to our Michigan Calling program with Peters, go here.

  A baby giraffe was born at the Detroit Zoo on Tuesday evening. And it's a boy!

The calf arrived after a 15-month gestation period.

"When I first saw him, he was lying in the grass. And he picked his head up," said Carter. "Of course he picked up this big neck, and I was struck by how tiny and fragile he looked."

Scott Carter, chief life sciences officer at the Detroit Zoo, said this is the first live giraffe birth at the Zoo in 22 years.

Ferndale Police Department

The ACLU of Michigan wants to know why black drivers are far more likely to be ticketed in Ferndale than white drivers?

Mark Fancher, an ACLU attorney, said records obtained from the Ferndale Police Department show that about 60% of motorists who received traffic citations in a recent 16-month period were black. He said black people make up less than 10% of Ferndale's population, according to the 2010 census.

Detroit Public Schools

Detroit City Council recently voted to strip Kevyn Orr of most of his powers as the city's emergency manager. Now, the Detroit Public School Board is hoping to oust their emergency manager as well.

Under Michigan's current emergency manager law, local officials can vote to strip EMs of their power with a two-thirds vote after 18 months.

The Detroit school board voted Monday evening with the belief that Jack Martin’s tenure as emergency manager would end this week.

Heidelberg Project

This morning's fire marks the 11th house in the Heidelberg Project to be damaged by suspected arson. The project is an outdoor art installation on Detroit's east side.

The house, called the Birthday Cake House, was a vacant home on Heidelberg Street that Tyree Guyton, Heidelberg's creator, had boarded up and beautified.

Katie Hearn is the marketing and communications director from the Heidelberg Project.

User rlsycle
flickr.com

Back in June, Idyll Farms Detroit and the Brightmoor community teamed up to clean-up the weeds and trash that had overrun the Brightmoor neighbors. 

Their method of choice: goats.

At the time, Detroit Animal Control enforced a Detroit ordinance against farm animals within city limits, demanding Idyll Farms remove the goats immediately.

Practically speaking, did Detroit make the right call?

Zinn art found in Berkley, MI
David Zinn / Facebook

For over a decade, David Zinn has been creating impromptu, temporary street art across the Ann Arbor area. With nothing more than some chalk and charcoal, Zinn is able to transform ordinary objects - sidewalk cracks, street curbs, light fixtures - into whimsical, visually deceptive pieces of art.

Recently, Zinn completed a permanent mural on S. Fifth Ave., near Liberty St, which features Gene Kelly from his iconic scene in "Singin' in the Rain."

SST inc.

A Detroit Police Department pilot project is using gunfire detection technology to reduce gun crime.

Police spokesman Sgt. Michael Woody said the ShotSpotter system identifies "gunfire in a specific area wherever the technology is set up." He said it is designed to also pinpoint the location, time, and direction of gunshots.

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory / flickr.com

Researchers at the University of Michigan's School of Public Health and Medical School are working on a genome sequencing study to help better understand bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

The Ann Arbor university announced Monday that its researchers are leading the collaboration with researchers at the University of Southern California as well as the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT to sequence the genomes of 10,000 people.

They received three separate four-year awards totaling $16 million from the National Institute of Mental Health to help fund the work.

Neil deGrasse Tyson / Facebook

Tomorrow, Sept. 30, the world-renowned science educator and astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson will deliver a keynote speech at the Wayne County Community College District Chancellor's Banquet. 

The event will be held at 6 p.m. at the Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center. Event proceeds will benefit the Wayne County Community College district scholarship fund. 

Alpena Community College / Facebook

In an effort to raise employment through increased job training, the Obama administration has distributed $450 million to nearly 270 community colleges across the country.

Among these recipients are two community colleges in Michigan: Alpena Community College and Wayne County Community College District in Detroit. The community colleges were selected for their partnerships with employers on job training. Together, they will be receiving nearly $5 million in federal funding.

User: The Gouger / flickr

Students in Michigan schools can now report potential threats through a confidential tip line.

The “OK-2-Say” line allows students and concerned citizens to report anonymous tips via a 24-hour hotline, web, text messages and a mobile app.

Sen. Judy Emmons, R-Sheridan, sponsored the bill to create the 24-hour, confidential tip line. She hopes the program will become a safe way to prevent violence in schools.

NOAA

Several Great Lakes mayors want stronger and faster action to keep Great Lakes drinking water safe.

A drinking water summit was held this week in Chicago, hosted by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative.

Nicola Crawhall, deputy director of the initiative, said the meeting was triggered by the August shutdown of Toledo Ohio's drinking water system. The water was contaminated by microcystin toxins.

"We felt that was a watershed moment, if you like," said Crawhall.

NEA

She was the first in her family to go to college, but the head of the nation's largest teachers' union fears many Michigan children won't be able to accomplish the same goal if something isn't done about the cost of higher education.

As part of a nationwide tour, Lily Eskelsen Garcia visited Michigan State University this week to meet with future educators and deliver a message she calls "Degrees, Not Debt."

Barbara Webb (left) sitting with wife Kristen Lasecki
User: I Stand With Barb Webb / facebook

The congregation of nuns that manages Marian High School in suburban Detroit said it will review the policies that led to the controversial firing of a pregnant gay teacher in August.

That's according to a letter sent Monday to the Marian High School community and its alumnae on behalf of the leadership council of the Immaculate Heart of Mary sisters.

Sister Mary Jane Herb wrote the letter. It says the IHM sisters will work with Marian Catholic Board of Directors' executive committee to re-examine policies and procedures in light of Catholic identity and IHM values.

Search for images of Detroit and you're likely to find pictures of abandoned buildings and crumbling walls filled with graffiti – urban blight captured by the camera's lens.

In recent years, however, communities have embraced some graffiti artists.

The increase in the amount of sanctioned graffiti art is the focus of our most recent "Michigan Radio Picture Project." The Picture Project is a forum for photographers who capture Michigan's people, places, events, and issues.

Dwight Burdette / Wikimedia Commons

The U.S. Department of Transportation is awarding the city of Detroit $26 million to buy 50 new buses. 

Long wait times and broken-down buses have been a problem in the city, as it's struggled to keep its aging fleet in working order. 

"Like any good triage, you've got to tackle the biggest things first," Megan Owens said. Owens is executive director of Transportation Riders United, a non-profit that aims to improve public transportation in downtown Detroit. "The biggest things are having enough working buses, and having enough people to drive them." 

Wikimedia Commons

When it comes to public universities in the U.S., the University of Michigan is truly the leader and the best, according to QS World University Rankings.

U of M was named the No. 1 public university in the U.S. In the worldwide rankings, U of M came in at 23. 

It is one of 14 U.S. schools that made the top 30, and, along with the University of California, Berkeley (ranked 27th), is one of only two public universities to make the top 30. 

User: bnosnhoj / Wikimedia Commons

A group in Detroit hopes that 158,000 signatures will be enough to persuade city officials to stop shutting off water to residents. 

The People's Water Board Coalition has been working on a petition over the summer that has three main goals: stop water shutoffs in Detroit, restore household water to those living without, and implement a water affordability plan. 

denise.weerke / Flickr

According to a report from the U.S. Department of Commerce, Michigan's exports in 2013 totaled $58.7 billion. More than 90 percent stemmed from Detroit, Warren and Dearborn. And about twenty percent of the Michigan exports were generated by small and medium size businesses with less than 500 employees.Michael Finney heads the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. He said exports improve the state's employment picture, diversify the economy, and provide a hedge against domestic economic downturns.

A sign indicating a "Michigan Left".
User diablo234 / SkyScraperCity

As part of our M I Curious project, Nick Ochal asked Michigan Radio this question:

What is the origin of the infamous "Michigan Left" that befuddles so many out-of-staters?

User: *Grant* / flickr

The University of Michigan’s preliminary reading on September consumer confidence came in at 84.6, marking the highest level in 14 months.  

Improved outlook reflected by this estimate today could mean Americans feel more comfortable about their spending.

This fall, hiring at Kroger and Meijer are on the rise, too.

Kroger has announced it will hire 20,000 permanent positions at its supermarkets, including roughly 1,800 in Michigan.

User: Brett L / flickr

Beginning in October, the University of Michigan will run Wayne County's Medical Examiner's Office. 

The $16.7 million contract will be in effect for three years.

Wayne County's Chief Medical Examiner, Dr. Carl Schmidt, says the partnership could allow the county greater access to pathologists, advanced lab facilities, and forensics through the University of Michigan.

“The vision is that we will gain more flexibility in hiring the people that we need. And because of the economies of scale that are provided by the university, we can do things that we used to do at a lower price,” says Schmidt.

The agreement is expected to save taxpayers at least $1.5 million. It's also expected to address criticism the county faced over understaffing and long waits for autopsies.

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