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steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A Wayne State University professor testified today that the state health department director worried a study of a deadly Legionnaires' disease outbreak would upset the public.

At least a dozen people died during the outbreak from 2014 to 2015 in Genesee County.  

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

When we talked with Babacar Lo of the Wicker Shop, the weather was still warm and Lo was in his backyard in Detroit, working. Under a tent and surrounded by potted plants, he was repairing rattan and wicker furniture, a skill he first encountered in his home country of Senegal.

“I did a little bit of weaving, making rattan and bamboo furniture in Africa just in my spare time,” Lo said.

the Solanus Center

70,000 people are expected to pack Ford Field Saturday.

Not for a football game, but for a Mass to celebrate the life of a Catholic priest who is one step away from sainthood.

Fr. Solanus Casey died 60 years ago, but he continues to be an inspiration to many.  During his lifetime, he developed a reputation of a simple man who inspired faith and healed the sick.    

inside of lead service line
Terese Olson / University of Michigan

Ever since the Flint water crisis, Michigan cities and citizens have started paying attention to lead in drinking water pipes and faucets and the potential dangers they pose.

You might have lead pipes, or fixtures that contain lead, in your home without even knowing. Many cities are only replacing the public side of lead service lines. So determining what's coming into, and what's inside your home is up to you.

There are lead service lines in older communities across Michigan. Because of their age and population size, it’s fair to say the bulk of Michigan’s lead service lines are in cities in Southeast Michigan.

I spent a lot of time trying to determine which Detroit suburbs have lead service lines and how many. I wanted to see how far out into the suburbs lead was found in underground water pipes.

Congressman Fred Upton
Republican Conference / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Republican Rep. Fred Upton of Michigan has ruled out running for U.S. Senate next year.

Upton, of St. Joseph, has held southwestern Michigan's congressional seat for 30 years. He said Friday there was "a path" to running, but he has chosen "not to follow it."

He instead will seek re-election to the House, saying, "We need focus and fortitude in Washington now more than ever."

Third-term Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow is up for re-election in 2018.

Don Haffner is a witty and smart guy in his late 60s who grew up in Downriver Detroit’s working class town of Allen Park. Growing up, he didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life, except not to become one more cog on the assembly line.

So he went to tiny Albion College, until one day in 1972 when he was about to graduate and got a letter asking him if he might want to consider serving in South Korea in the Peace Corps. He did, and it changed his life. South Korea is prosperous now, and the United States hasn’t sent Peace Corps volunteers there in 35 years.

But that wasn’t the case in the early 70s, less than a generation after the entire country was devastated by the Korean War. The experience was, indeed, life-changing. Don, who I’ve known slightly for years, was sent to a town then called Mukho only about 40 miles from the infamous 38th parallel, where he taught English in middle school.

User Xanteen / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Americans have become obsessed with concussions, and with good reason. But for medical professionals, it’s a double-edged sword: people are interested, but they also have more misinformation.

For example, concussions last only a week or two, while smaller, more frequent hits can result in chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE – but the two are often lumped together.

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

Remember nine years ago, when the auto industry was teetering on the brink of disaster? The housing bubble had burst, credit evaporated, and nobody was buying cars. Years of poor decision-making made the American automakers particularly vulnerable, so their execs headed to Washington to seek a bailout.

State Sen. Steve Bieda, D-Warren.
bieda.senatedems.com

A teen was recently attacked in Muskegon County. Officials say it’s because he’s gay. Now prosecutors and lawmakers are calling on the legislature to expand the state’s hate crimes law.

A 17-year old boy was stripped of his clothes and assaulted. The evidence was clear to Muskegon County prosecutor D.J. Hilson – The teen was attacked because he was gay. But when he looked at the statute, he couldn’t charge the case as hate crime, which comes with increased penalties.

Hilson says it’s time for the Legislature to protect all citizens.

Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence
Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence's website

Michigan Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence’s Chief of Staff, Dwayne Marshall resigned today following multiple sexual harassment allegations.

Congresswoman Lawrence says her office will “move forward with an investigation focused on the current and future climate of our workplace.”

Documents: US Steel sought to keep chemical spill secret

22 hours ago
Ken Lund / Flickr Creative Commons HTTP://MICHRAD.IO/1LXRDJM

Environmentalists are questioning why the public wasn't notified about an October chemical spill into a Lake Michigan tributary that U.S. Steel asked Indiana regulators to keep confidential.

Documents released by the University of Chicago's Abrams Environmental Law Clinic show that U.S. Steel's plant in Portage, Indiana, released 56.7 pounds (25.7 kilograms) of chromium on Oct. 25 after a wastewater treatment system malfunction. That's nearly double what the plant is permitted to release of the potentially cancer-causing chemical over 24 hours.

A dive team works on Line 5 under the Straits of Mackinac.
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

It’s been a steady drip-drip-drip of revelations from Enbridge Energy about its Line 5 — the oil and gas pipelines running beneath the Straits of Mackinac.

The latest revelation is that there are more spots where the protective coating has worn off — lots more spots, even though a year ago we were told there weren’t any coating gaps.

The latest admission from the Canadian energy company drew a quick response from a plainly exasperated Governor Snyder, who called Enbridge’s “lack of transparency” to be “deeply troubling.”

But what are we hearing from Michigan's business leaders?

Libraries Without Borders-US

The Next Idea

Pretend it’s Saturday. 

You and the kids are running errands, including a several-hour stop at the laundromat. They are bored, you are bored.... What if you could use that washer time for something like education? What if your laundromat had the services of a library? 

Well, over the summer, this started happening in Detroit. 

Courtesy of City Rescue Mission of Lansing

Think about this: providing enough meat to make more than half a million meals for people in need. That's over 100,000 pounds of meat, and much of it is venison.

That's the remarkable result of of Tom Cullimore's work through his effort called HOPE: Help Other People Eat. 

Stateside Staff / Michigan Radio

When a child who has grown up speaking Spanish comes to school, that student is going to be sitting in English-only classrooms, being mainstreamed into the English language and culture.

How does this English-all-the-time approach affect those students?

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A major obstacle to Flint’s recovery from its drinking water crisis has been removed.

The city of Flint has been hobbled in its efforts to remain its aging water system by its inability to repay more than $20 million borrowed from the Drinking Water Revolving Fund (DWRF).  

notices
Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

Because of the Flint water crisis, several Michigan cities are making long term plans to replace old lead water pipes that connect homes to the water main.

That is good for public health, but well-meaning municipal water operators can actually make lead exposure worse if they’re not careful.

There’s a mix of lead and copper pipes buried near the corner of Trinity and Florence in a neighborhood on Detroit’s northwest side. When I visited a month ago the block was lined with nice, two story brick homes and orange construction barrels. It smelled like diesel.

I talked yesterday about two bills before the legislature that would make it more difficult for hospitals to honor “do not resuscitate” orders, especially if an individual was unconscious and their stated desire to allow someone to die was opposed by a family member.

This made me wonder about who legally has the right to make decisions in such cases, especially when there is some question about someone’s soundness of mind. Since Michigan closed most of its state hospitals in the 1990s, mental health care in this state has sometimes resembled the Wild West, with a patient’s fate dependent on a particular probate judge.

Michigan to launch a new online school evaluation tool

Nov 16, 2017
Lead Beyond / Flickr Creative Commons HTTP://MICHRAD.IO/1LXRDJM

In early January, the public will have a new online resource to vet and compare public schools.  

The so-called "school transparency dashboard" will have information about every school in Michigan. That includes things like graduation rates, test results, student/teacher ratios, advanced coursework, post-secondary school enrollment, and disciplinary data. 

According to Chris Janzer of the Michigan Department of Education, parents are a key audience.

Larry Nassar in court in recent months with his attorneys, Shannon Smith and Matthew Newburg.
Kate Wells / Michigan Radio

For the 120-plus women and girls who were allegedly abused by former Michigan State University sports doctor Larry Nassar, it’s overwhelming to think that he may actually admit to assault as early as next week.

Nassar, who also worked as the doctor for the US Olympic women’s gymnastics team, is scheduled to have a plea hearing in Ingham County Circuit Court next week, where he’s facing more than a dozen charges, including multiple counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct involving a child under the age of 13.

Tracy Samilton / Michigan Radio

Eastern Michigan University's faculty unions are running ads to try to stop an online degree initiative.

The university has a contract with Academic Partnerships, a for-profit company, to recruit students for online degrees. AP gets 50% of the tuition for the students it enrolls in EMU online degree courses.

Dino Bucci
Macomb Township Board of Trustees

The federal government has dropped its biggest, highest-profile indictment yet in the sprawling Macomb County corruption investigation.

Dino Bucci, 58, was a Macomb Township trustee for 16 years until this past December. He was also a manager with the county’s Department of Public Works, and well-known as longtime former Public Works Commissioner Anthony Marrocco’s close associate.

Wikimedia Commons

This Saturday, some 70,000 people will pack Ford Field in Detroit.

They'll witness a ceremony called beatification. It will elevate a humble Capuchin priest to the title of Blessed.

When Father Solanus Casey becomes Blessed Solanus, he will be one step away from Catholic sainthood, something no American-born priest has accomplished.

Courtesy of the Northern Indiana Center for History

When you’re a leader, the decisions you make, for better or for worse, have lasting repercussions that echo into the future. And if you ask the descendants of Leopold Pokagon, they’ll testify he made the right decisions.

With November being Native American History Month, we wanted to discuss the story of Pokagon, a Potawatomi leader in the early 19th century. 

Researchers manipulating the number of plant species in an experimental plot to determine how biodiversity impacts the productivity of ecosystems.
David Tilman

Biodiversity.

It's one of those scientific terms we hear and think, "That's a good thing. We need it,” without truly knowing why it's a good thing.

A University of Michigan and Smithsonian study now helps us understand. The researchers found biodiversity is even more powerful and important than they thought it would be.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A judge is considering whether to allow testimony that could link state health director Nick Lyon to an effort to limit a study into a deadly Legionnaires' disease outbreak.

Lyon is facing charges of involuntary manslaughter and misconduct in office.  

Wayne State University environmental engineering professor Shawn McElmurry was part of a team studying the legionella outbreak in Genesee County from 2014 through 2015.   

Courtesy of Chris Wysocki

Firearm deer season starts today and thousands of hunters are heading out with their rifles. But around this time of year, there's a tiny group of Michiganders heading out with birds instead.

A "No Trespassing" sign hangs outside the Handlon Correction Facility.
Tracy Samilton / Michigan Radio

Drone technology is quickly becoming more sophisticated and affordable. While that's great for people who want a drone under the Christmas tree - it's a nightmare for prison officials. 

Criminals are using drones to try to smuggle in drugs, cell phones, and other contraband.

Jack Kevorkian.
UCLA

For years, I covered the assisted suicide crusade of Dr. Jack Kevorkian, who became internationally famous in the 1990s. Today, we tend to remember his outlandish antics –his bizarre suicide machine; the battered Volkswagen van, and the strange Mutt and Jeff combination of the wacky aged physician and a young, brash, and outrageous Geoffrey Fieger.

But we tend to forget that Kevorkian was fulfilling a need. Medical science can now prolong people’s existence far beyond the point when they have any quality of life.

People were being made to endure horrific suffering with no possibility of relief. Others just wanted to be freed from the prison of lives that no longer held any promise of happiness.

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