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Mornings in Michigan: Setting up at Greenfield Village

What do your mornings sound like? Which sounds shape the start your day? Our new series, Mornings In Michigan features the sounds of morning rituals from people and places across our state.

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One of the best ways to help close the education gap for low-income kids is Head Start.

Up to 36,000 children around Michigan, and their families, rely on Head Start for free early childhood education, meals, and support services for parents, all of which are funded by the federal government.

But Chalkbeat Detroit reports  11 Head Start centers in Southwest Detroit are closing by the end of the year. That means some 420 children will have to be transferred to other centers, and 122 employees will be laid off. The affected centers are run by Southwest Solutions, a social service organization.

What happened? And are other Head Start centers in Michigan on shaky ground too?

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A top city official admits there has been a “learning curve” after the city of Flint took over bottled water distribution from the state two months ago.

Flint distributes more than 65,000 cases of bottled water a week, comparable to what the state was doing before it handed the job over to the city in September. The city is working with local churches, the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan and United Way of Genesee County to manage the water distribution program.  

Flint City Clerk Inez Brown administers the oath of office to the new Flint city council members.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

“I do solemnly swear,” intoned City Clerk Inez Brown, as she led the nine members of the Flint city council through their oath of office.

The new city council were sworn in today at noon. Five of the nine council members are new to the job.  Last week, Flint voters ousted a majority of incumbents from the panel.   

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver suggests voters wanted the new blood on the council to move beyond old arguments.

Was last year’s Trump-wave a one-time deal? This past Tuesday’s election results are a hint at what might be in store for Election 2018.

Democrats pretty much ran the table last week in Virginia and New Jersey so Republicans have to face some tough political truths. That President Donald Trump has a very low approval rating. That voters upset with him were motivated to get out and vote. And, that it’s tough in mid-terms to be the party that controls the White House and Congress.

construction workers
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Public and political pressure from the Flint water crisis is beginning to shape new, tougher water regulations in Michigan - and other states are taking notice.

If passed, they’d be the strongest such measures in the country.

Two years ago, when news broke about the Flint water crisis, lots of people wondered if Michigan’s governor would resign. That’s because emails show Rick Snyder’s top aides had concerns about Flint’s water long before pediatricians and scientists proved there was a huge problem.

City of Flint emblem
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

At noon today, the new Flint city council is sworn in. It could signal a change in the city’s long debate over where its tap water should come from.

Last week, Flint voters elected five new people to the city council. They replace five council members who have fought, in court and out, against signing a 30-year contract with the Great Lakes Water Authority.   Flint has been getting its tap water from the authority on a temporary contract since it turned off the tap to the Flint River.

“Let’s go make this legal.  Let’s go sign this bill,” Gov. Rick Snyder told a crowd of dignitaries gathered at Kettering University in Flint last week.

The governor was in Flint to sign an expansion of Michigan’s ‘Promise Zone’ law.   The legislation expands the number of Michigan communities that can provide special ‘promise zone’ college scholarship programs from 10 to 15.

Beitler Real Estate Services

Monday night, the Lansing city council will begin reviewing a plan to sell city hall to a developer.

Mayor Virg Bernero picked a Chicago real estate developer to turn the site of Lansing city hall into a hotel.    Beitler Real Estate Services was one of four bidders.

Bernero says the company’s $42 million City Hall development plan was the overwhelming favorite of the city’s internal and external review teams. The plan includes the construction of a new City Hall.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Enough is enough, Macomb County Commissioners say.  It's time for County Clerk Karen Spranger to go.

Before she was elected, Spranger was a political neophyte known for odd forms of protest, such as showing up at a Warren City Council meeting wearing a silver track suit, sunglasses, and two hats, to protest DTE smart meter installations.

It's not clear why Macomb County voters chose someone with no qualifications as their next County Clerk, but most county officials believe she was elected solely by virtue of straight-party ticket voting, and won the office on Donald Trump's coattails.

Spranger's tenure has been a whirlwind of one scandal after another, with lawsuits, employee grievances, a car wreck, allegations of perjury, and chaos in the day-to-day workings of a crucial county department that touches the lives of citizens, businesses, and the courts.

"She refuses to hire new employees," says County Commissioner Robert Leonetti, "so now we're down 11 or 12 employees, in her department, not to mention the ones that are on administrative leave because of harassment."

An uncorrected summary of benefits for a Blue Cross Blue Shield PPO plan showing language requiring prior authorization for mental health and substance abuse outpatient treatment.
Dr. Lou Feurino

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is apologizing for a significant error in its benefits plan documents for 2018.

 

The error related to mental health and substance abuse treatment. Benefits summaries for some plans said they required prior authorization for mental health or substance abuse outpatient treatment.

That sent some patients--and their doctors--into a panic. A requirement for prior authorization could mean that some patients would not be able to continue their treatments, or might be required to change providers.

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