Stateside
4:15 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

HIV cases in Washtenaw County hit a 15 year high

Scanning electron micrograph of HIV particles infecting a human H9 T cell, colorized in blue, turquoise, and yellow.
Credit NIAID / Flickr

A total of 33 new HIV cases were reported in Washtenaw County in 2013. That's 37% more than the cases reported in 2012. This is the highest number of cases in the County since 1999. This also reflects a trend happening in Southeast Michigan.

Cathy Wilczynski is a nurse practitioner and program supervisor at Washtenaw County Public Health. She said most of the newly infected are younger.  

“We have ten new cases between the ages of 15 and 24. That is unheard of,” Wilcynski said.

The cases are clustered in the African-American and gay communities. Nearly 80% of the cases in the region involved men who identified themselves as men who have sex with men.

Wilcynzski said one of the reasons for the increase could be that the message that HIV exists is not real to those under 30.

“We need to come up with a new message. We need to figure out what message is going to work,” she said. “I had someone tell me the other day that there is no ownership to that message anymore.”

*Listen to full story above. 

Stateside
4:09 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

The untold story of the gay rights movement in Detroit

Credit Wikimedia Commons

Every movement has its landmarks and history, and that holds true for the gay rights movement.

LGBT history has landmarks in New York, with The Stonewall Inn, Christopher Street, and the theater district.

San Francisco has the Castro and Market Districts, and the San Francisco City Hall where Harvey Milk was assassinated.

Chicago has the Old Town Triangle District and the home of early gay rights leader Henry Gerber.

But what about Detroit? LGBT historian Tim Retzloff says there is a rich history of Detroit’s gay community that has not been properly told.

Retzloff corrected that omission with the dissertation that earned his PhD from Yale: two volumes, 680 pages, taking an exhaustive look at gay life and history in Detroit and its suburbs from 1945 to 1985.

“Detroit had a different story than what you are finding in New York and San Francisco, or even the other cities that had been done,” Retzloff said.

Read more
Environment & Science
4:00 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

Vacant lots in Flint are becoming urban gardens

Credit Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

There are more than 12,000 vacant lots in Flint, and Genesee county is trying to change that.

Edible Flint is a non-profit organization that helps residents turn these vacant lots into urban gardens.

The group offers classes, resources and helping hands to get new gardeners started.

This year the group will host its sixth annual Food Garden Tour.

The tour will provide transportation to 15 gardens around the city that showcase different techniques of local growers.

Deb Hamilton is with Edible Flint.

Read more
Stateside
12:42 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

"Up North" Cottage prices are at an all time low

Credit user: gwyrah / Flickr

If you are looking to buy a cottage up north, now is the time to buy. With the recession, the burst of the housing bubble, and the loss of pension plans and other savings, there are a lot of cottages on the market today and they are more affordable than ever.

John Carr is the associate broker with Coldwell Banker in Harbor Springs. Carr said buyers will never see prices this low. Houses on Lake Michigan are as low as $179,000 and condos next to ski resorts are going for under $100,000.

“You are never going to see prices this low,” Carr said.

Read more
Education
11:43 am
Mon July 7, 2014

Michigan test scores up, college readiness slips

Credit Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - State officials say high school juniors improved in all subject areas on the Michigan Merit Exam this year, while the average ACT college-entrance exam score rose slightly.

Even so, the percentage of Michigan juniors considered ready for college declined after rising in the previous four years. Officials said that was because of a slight drop in the percentage of students meeting proficiency levels in the math section of the ACT.

Results released Monday show the biggest improvements on the merit exam were in social studies, where the average score rose from 38.6 to 43.9, and in reading, with a jump from 53.5 to 58.7.

Read more
Stateside
11:38 am
Mon July 7, 2014

"Up North" Cottage interest is low

Credit Emily Fox / Michigan Radio

Owning a cottage up north used to be the ‘Michigan Dream’.  However, with the recession, the burst of the housing bubble, the auto bailout, and the loss of pension plans and other savings, interest in the market is low.

Craig Hinkle, a broker and owner at RE/MAX Grayling, said auto workers used to be one of the biggest cottage buyers, and now many others are not holding on to their second homes. In 2006 values dropped 25-30%. With the market so low, people who want to sell can’t.

“You put up a cute log place on one of these trout streams, you are all proud of it. You get a good price on it, you post it on the internet, you do a mailing, and you get zero responses and it’s just like ‘Oh my goodness, what’s going on here?’” Hinkle said.

John Beck is an associate professor at the School of Human Resources and Labor Relations at Michigan State University. He said a lot of auto workers had cottages because they had disposable income, but now they are not making enough to do so. The younger generation does not have the income, assets, or savings for a second home, or can’t even afford first homes. The interest is also not there. 

*Listen to the interview on Stateside at 3:00 pm. Audio for this story will be posted on Michigan Radio by 4:30 pm.

Opinion
10:43 am
Mon July 7, 2014

Charter school supporters’ response to investigations is "Soviet" in style

Late last month, the Detroit Free Press published a stunningly comprehensive look at Michigan’s charter schools.

A team of journalists spent more than a year looking at every charter school in the state. They interviewed hundreds of people, examined thousands of documents, and used sophisticated computer techniques to analyze data.

What they discovered was stunning and shocking. While some charters do an excellent job, many don’t. There is essentially no effective oversight, and bad schools stay open year after year.

Read more
Environment & Science
9:57 am
Mon July 7, 2014

Making plans for the future of the Kirtland's warbler in Michigan

Lower Michigan has the largest population of Kirtland’s warblers. The song bird’s habitat covers roughly 19 counties.
Credit Joel Trick / USFWS

The Kirtland’s warbler is starting its migration from Michigan to the Caribbean.

By the time the song birds return to their Michigan breeding grounds next year, the Kirtland’s warbler may no longer be listed as an endangered species.  

Read more
Health
7:30 am
Mon July 7, 2014

New U of M study digs into why some soldiers can't continue military service

Credit University of Michigan Health System

A new University of Michigan study suggests muscle and bone injuries are the most prevalent common factor among soldiers deemed “unfit” for further military service—but other factors play nearly as a big a role.

The researchers followed an Army brigade of more than 4100 soldiers who deployed to Iraq in 2006 through their 15-month deployment, and for another four years after they returned.

Read more
Politics & Government
7:00 am
Mon July 7, 2014

Monday is the deadline to register to vote in Michigan primary

Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The deadline to register to vote in Michigan's primary is today.

On Aug. 5, Michiganders will vote in the party primaries for state House and Senate seats.

But turnout has been historically low in the primaries.

Read more
Politics & Government
6:00 am
Mon July 7, 2014

As Detroit water shutoffs continue, groups look to provide emergency relief

Water bottles, with attached fliers, ready for distribution at the Dexter-Elmhurst Community Center.
Credit Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Thousands of Detroit residents are without water service right now due to unpaid bills—but social service agencies and community groups are trying to make sure no one goes thirsty.

The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department cut off service to more than 7500 delinquent account-holders in April and May—and ramped up shutoffs in June.

Department officials say it’s a necessary step to collect millions of dollars in back payments.

But critics say it’s caused real suffering, and could lead to a public health crisis.

Read more
Business
5:52 pm
Sun July 6, 2014

Proposed food truck rules go back to Ohio mayor

The Grand Rapids "What The Truck" truck
Credit Steven Depolo / Creative Commons

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) - Proposed regulations for food trucks in a northwestern Ohio city have gone back to the mayor for more discussion after opposition from supporters of the mobile businesses. The Blade newspaper in Toledo reports that Toledo City Council declined to vote on Mayor Michael Collins' proposals last week.

Read more
Politics & Government
1:35 pm
Sun July 6, 2014

Deadline approaches for bankruptcy plan vote

Credit JSFauxtaugraphy/Flickr

DETROIT (AP) - The most anticipated vote in Detroit this summer isn't for a city office.

Instead, ballots due by Friday from city retirees could determine how quickly Detroit exits its historic bankruptcy and how much of the financial weight pensioners will bear.

Non-uniformed retirees are being asked to take a 4.5 percent pension cut and no cost-of-living allowances. Police and fire retirees are faced with reduced cost-of-living payments.

Read more
That's What They Say
8:05 am
Sun July 6, 2014

Various pronunciations of common words

You say potato and I say ... well, that depends.

On this week's edition of That's What They Say, host Rina Miller and University of Michigan English Professor Anne Curzan investigate the  various pronunciation of commonly used words.

Read more
Arts & Culture
1:21 pm
Sat July 5, 2014

Cherry festival features air shows, orchard tours

The festival runs from Saturday through July 12. Also scheduled are concerts, races, parades and fireworks. Visitors can tour a nearby cherry orchard and research station.
Credit Pure Michigan

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) - The National Cherry Festival is getting underway in Traverse City, with the opening weekend featuring a return appearance by the U.S. Navy Blue Angels and several events linked to the region's growing reputation as a foodie haven.

On Saturday, the headliner is a "Blues, Brews and BBQ" program featuring beers and ciders from Michigan microbreweries and a wide selection of barbecues, with some recipes featuring cherries.

Read more
Law
11:11 am
Sat July 5, 2014

Michigan man with odd sentence stuck with life in prison

Leon Echols was convicted of second-degree murder in 1989 for shooting a man in a dispute over a used car. He says it was self-defense.
Credit Michigan Department of Corrections

JACKSON, Mich. (AP) - Leon Echols has spent his adult years in Michigan prisons for killing a man when he was 18. He's not eligible for parole until he's in his 80s, but he's been trying to convince authorities that his punishment doesn't fit the crime.  

Echols was convicted of second-degree murder in 1989 for shooting a man in a dispute over a used car. He says it was self-defense.

Read more
Politics & Government
8:00 am
Sat July 5, 2014

Some children fleeing Central American violence may be headed to Michigan

Credit via Center for American Progress

Michigan will probably receive some refugee children from Central America—but not an “overwhelming number” of them, according to one immigrant rights advocate.

About 50,000 unaccompanied minors, mostly from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, have overwhelmed the southern border in recent months. Most say they’re fleeing mounting gang violence, chronic poverty, and social breakdown in those countries.

Read more
Business
11:22 am
Fri July 4, 2014

Fireworks business booming in Michigan

“It has been a good fireworks state. And now with the laws having been relaxed, Michigan is on its way to becoming a great fireworks state," says Bill Weimer with Phantom Fireworks.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Business is looking up for people selling fireworks in Michigan.

Since state lawmakers expanded the kinds of fireworks that can be sold in Michigan, fireworks are a growing business in the state.

Bill Weimer is a vice president with Phantom, one of the nation’s largest fireworks retailers. He says Michigan is a ‘developing’ market since the state loosened the rules on ‘consumer” fireworks starting in 2012.

Read more
Stateside
10:56 am
Fri July 4, 2014

Duggan’s results in 6 months not going unnoticed

Credit Mike Duggan

There seems to be little doubt that Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan is making his mark.

His bulldog nature and savvy political instincts have combined to make Mike Duggan a force to be reckoned with, even as he serves under a state-appointed emergency manager.

Detroit News Business Columnist Daniel Howes reviewed Duggan's progress in his first six months. He said that people should not expect that he change the world in 6 months. What’s important here is the process and the direction.

“The direction is positive and bipartisan, and he’s clearly repaired relationships with city council,” he said.

Read more
Michigan's Silent Poison
10:16 am
Fri July 4, 2014

What researchers are finding out about low-level exposure to arsenic

New research suggests low levels of arsenic in drinking water may impact your health.
Credit jordanmrcai / Creative Commons

This week, the Environment Report is taking a look at Michigan’s silent poison — arsenic.

Federal standards allow public drinking water supplies to have arsenic levels of up to 10 parts per billion (ppb), but these standards do not apply to private well owners (that's left up to the well owner to determine).

And in counties throughout Michigan, some wells have much higher levels of arsenic than this "maximum contaminant level" set by the EPA.

Higher levels of arsenic in drinking water have been linked to skin cancer, lung cancer, and bladder cancer, among others.

But are lower levels of arsenic a threat to human health?

Read more

Pages