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John Auchter / Michigan Radio

Auchter's Art: Moving our country forward, one step at a time

It may seem a little odd, but this started out as a Memorial Day cartoon. Late last year, a former neighbor passed away. He was in his mid-90s and a well-decorated World War II vet. He never talked about the medals and rarely about the experience, except to explain the significant scar on his left bicep from a sniper's bullet.

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LGBT Pride Flag
Tyrone Warner / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Let’s say there had been a Michigan Civil Rights Commission in 1961, and it announced that it was going to start investigating claims of discrimination against black people.

morels, mushrooms
Mercedes Mejia/Michigan Radio

It’s that time of year again, when hunters hit the woodlands in search of that elusive Michigan delicacy: the morel mushroom.

Phil Tedeschi, vice-president of the Michigan Mushroom Hunters Club, gave me some foraging tips this month as we walked the woods of a secret location somewhere in Washtenaw County. 

Wikimedia Commons

For the first time in Michigan, people can file a complaint if they are discriminated against for being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. 

The state's Elliott-Larson Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, among other categories. Today the Michigan Civil Rights Commission adopted a regulation stating that "sex" under the Act includes sexual orientation and gender identity. 

A grouo of student inamtes wearing caps and gowns
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

The first group of student inmates received their associate’s degrees from a program at Calvin College today.

Fifteen men walked out of the fieldhouse at Handlon Correctional Facility in Ionia today with their heads held high.

Those men all now have associate’s degrees in administrative leadership.

Larry Conic, a student inmate serving a life sentence for murder, says he wants to help younger inmates since he has no chance of parole.

“But you know what, if I have to stay here, I’m going to spend my time here making other people better,” Conic said.

Wikipedia

We are getting closer to the age of the autonomous vehicles, whether we like it or not.

Driving to work could soon be opening a laptop rather than sitting behind the wheel. And while this is expected, driverless cars will likely bring much more unexpected change.

Mark Wilson, professor and program director of Urban & Regional Planning at the School of Planning, Design, and Construction at Michigan State University, talked with Stateside today about what some of these changes may be. 

pixabay

A question to boost Michigan’s minimum wage to $12 an hour could be headed to the November ballot. A petition drive says it’s gathered enough signatures to force the Legislature to adopt the initiative, or it goes to voters.

Michigan’s minimum wage rose to $9.25 an hour in January.

Campaign chair Alicia Farris says the initiative will not only increase the minimum wage again, it will also end the lower minimum wage for workers who earn tips.

A crumbling road with a large pothole in the asphalt
Chris UK / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

A bill in the state house would block insurance companies from increasing car insurance premiums on drivers who have made claims for damage caused by Michigan’s failing roads.

Lawmakers behind the bill say the state’s roads have been underfunded and poorly maintained and residents shouldn’t be punished for driving on them.

State Rep. John Chirkun, D-Roseville, is the bill sponsor. He said his constituents have had to get hundreds of dollars in car repairs because of potholes.

Michigan State University sign
MSU

John U. Bacon joined Stateside to discuss his thoughts on the $500 million settlement between Michigan State University and 332 survivors of abuse by former sports doctor Larry Nassar.

Bacon very closely covered Penn State University as it worked its way past the Jerry Sandusky scandal.

He came to the studio to compare the two universities, and the different ways they dealt with their unfortunate predicaments.

Lily Holshoe in her Mermaid Nadie costume touching a fish
Courtesy of Lily Holshoe

 

If South Haven figures in your Memorial Day plans, get ready: You're going to see mermaids, mermen, and even merkids. 

It's the first-ever Mermaid MegaFest – four days of celebrating merfolk while focusing on preserving our natural freshwater resources. 

Kristina Stonehill

When you think of a mermaid story, maybe an ocean comes to mind.

But couldn’t a mermaid live in the Great Lakes? Lake Michigan maybe?

Writers Linda Nemec Foster and Anne-Marie Oomen posed that question to each other ten years ago. Their new book is called The Lake Michigan Mermaid: A Tale in Poems.

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