News

Jake Neher / MPRN

The race is on to legalize marijuana in Michigan in 2016.

At least three groups are working to put the question in front of voters. But money will play a big role in deciding which of those groups actually makes the ballot.

Two of the campaigns appear have financial backing from businesses and industry groups with deep pockets – while the other is relying heavily on small donations and volunteer support.

Gray wolves.
USFWS / Flickr

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says it won’t change the status of the gray wolf in Michigan and other Great Lakes states from “endangered” to “threatened.”

Michigan wildlife officials cheered the decision, even though it denies them a measure of flexibility to manage wolves in the western Upper Peninsula.

Michigan Supreme Court orders Detroit judge's removal

13 hours ago
Joe Gratz / Flickr Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The Michigan Supreme Court has ordered that 36th District Judge Brenda Sanders be removed from office due to mental illness.

The ruling was in agreement with a March recommendation from the Judicial Tenure Commission.

The commission said Sander's mental disability was preventing her from doing her job.

DarkRoomIllusion / flickr http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The Cuban Chamber of Commerce has chosen Troy, Michigan, as its third location and national headquarters.

Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Dana McAllister says the choice was a natural fit because of affinities between Detroit and Havana, a significant presence of Cuban-Americans in Michigan, and support from the Oakland County government and city of Troy.

Potholes are a familiar obstacle on Michigan roads.
user Michael Gil / Flickr

The Michigan Senate this week approved a package of bills that would gradually increase the state gas tax over three years and give $1.5 billion to roads funding. But the House and Senate still have to overcome significant differences in their respective plans to fund roads and infrastructure.

Zoe Clark, Michigan Radio’s co-host of It’s Just Politics, and Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants, joined Jenn White to talk about what it will take to finally get a roads funding plan passed.

Today on Stateside:

  • Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes takes a look at the booming popularity of paddling in Michigan.
     
  • It’s been four years since fireworks laws were loosened in Michigan, allowing the purchase of aerial fireworks. Jonathon Oosting tells us about what prompted that decision and what changes could be coming around the bend.
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

Under current state law, utilities in Michigan must get 10% of their power from renewable sources, like wind and solar, by the end of the year.  

After a year of work, Republican lawmakers have outlined an energy policy to replace Michigan’s renewable energy standard.

State Sen. John Proos, R-St. Joseph, says the new policy wouldn’t require utilities to have a certain amount of renewable energy, like wind or solar.

yingmeishow2011 / mandatory

Law enforcement officials are concerned about iPhone cases that look like guns. 

Numerous websites sell the cases, but police officers are urging the public not to buy them. 

Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard says the cases are dangerous because people may mistake them for real guns. 

Courtesy of Phil Stagg

You’ve heard of storm chasers and tornado chasers.

Phil Stagg is a waterfall chaser.

He runs a business in Cadillac, but his real passion lies in taking photographs of Michigan.

He’s especially interested in the hundreds of waterfalls in the Upper Peninsula.

user adam j.w.c. / wikimedia commons

In 2011, state lawmakers loosened Michigan fireworks laws to allow the sale of just about any consumer-grade fireworks approved by the federal government.

Instead of being legally limited to low-impact ground fireworks like sparklers and poppers, consumers can now buy high-powered and aerial fireworks.

user Tyrone Warner / Flickr

Michigan's Christian colleges don't need to worry about losing tax exemptions for their stance on same-sex marriage.

Amid questions about whether an institution could receive governmental funds and still discriminate against gay couples, schools have moved to reevaluate their positions. Yet they can rest easy on this one – at least for now.

Bridge Magazine

If Mike Duggan wants to remove a major barrier keeping people from moving to Detroit, he may have to deal with an even bigger barrier: Michigan’s guaranteed lifetime benefits for catastrophic auto accident injury.

Several bills wending through the Legislature's attempt to alter a popular state benefit: no-fault auto insurance. Among those proposals, the one sparking the most chatter doesn’t even address no-fault insurance for most of the state. Duggan’s plan, called “D-Insurance,” would create first-ever coverage caps that could drastically lower rates in Detroit.

Read the story here.

american flag in autumn with car and fence
Vox efx / Flickr

Over 70,000 people in Michigan served in the U.S. armed services during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.

Beginning Monday, July 6,  Michigan Radio’s Beyond the Battlefield project will take a look at how those post-9/11 vets are faring. Through news features, interviews, and online video profiles, Michigan Radio will explore issues like employment, entrepreneurship, and reintegration into civilian life.

Flickr user Joey Lax-Salinas / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

"Poets at the Grand Hotel" is a chance for Mackinac Island visitors to take time out from soaking up the sights, riding bikes, and eating fudge to explore poetry.

Every Wednesday morning in July and August, poet Jim Lenfestey presides over a weekly poetry gathering in the Audubon Room at The Grand Hotel.

This is the 10th year of the series and it's being marked by Lenfestey's latest book, Seeking The Cave.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Ottawa County has a new weapon in the fight against invasive plants. This week, I got a chance to check out the weapon in action at Burr Oak Landing, a 260-acre natural park about 20 miles west of Grand Rapids.

“These are what we call our ‘prescribed browsers,’ aka, goats,” said Melanie Manion, Natural Resources Management Supervisor for Ottawa County.

 

Well, with great difficulty, the state senate passed a package of roads bills yesterday. They would raise some new revenue, shift billions over time from other priorities to the roads, and include a complex formula for a possible income tax cut.

Flickr user St Stev / Flickr

Pity the lowly wood pallet. Nobody thinks about it. But it does so much work.

Most merchandise in supermarkets and big box stores is shipped on wood pallets. There are roughly two billion wood pallets circulating in the U.S.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Michigan State Police is among several law enforcement agencies on heightened alert for possible terrorism this holiday weekend.

Concerns have been raised by recent terrorist attacks in other parts of the world.

Michigan House Republicans

The state Senate has approved its $1.5 billion plan to boost road funding.

Lt. Gov. Brian Calley cast two tie-breaking votes on bills to gradually raise Michigan’s gas tax by 15 cents over three years. Calley says those votes were meant to move the process along toward reaching a final compromise on road funding.

 A state panel says Wayne County is in a state of “probable financial stress.” It was a unanimous determination by the Local Emergency Financial Assistance Loan Board. 

Board member and state Treasurer Nick Khouri says now the state will send in a review team to examine the books in Michigan’s most-populous county, which includes the city of Detroit and its suburbs.

A Women's Business Social held in 2012 by No More Nylons, an organization that teaches women how to be successful entrepreneurs.
Jodie Womack / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Women are getting tired of waiting for corporate America to give them the pay and opportunities they need.

So they’re taking matters into their own hands.

via Facebook

The Detroit City Council voted down a proposed jump in water rates Tuesday — and that means city officials have to figure out what to do now.

The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department says it needs the roughly $27 million that 7.5% rate hike would have provided.

The Eastern Spruce Budworm is one of the most destructive native insects in Eastern United States and Canada.
Jerald E. Dewey, USDA Forest Service / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The State Department of Natural Resources is keeping an eye out for one of the most destructive insects in our northern spruce and fir trees.

After nearly 30 years on hiatus, it looks like the spruce budworm is once again rearing its head.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

This story has been updated to reflect Sen. Jones' apology.

A race-related debate is causing some tensions in the state Senate after an attempt to rewrite a resolution commemorating the end of slavery.

Senate Resolution 75 celebrates Juneteenth, a holiday commemorating Texas’ formal recognition of the abolition of slavery in 1865.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and I have something unusual in common.  My brother is one of the state’s leading dog behavior experts; both the mayor’s dog and mine have had an issue or two, and so this week, he is giving both our dogs a tune-up.

By the way, my brother didn’t tell me that; client confidentiality is important to him. Mayor Duggan first told me his Leo was a patient of his at the Mackinac Conference last year. “Well, at best you must be only the second smartest Lessenberry,” he told me on the ferry.


(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

The East Lansing City Council is considering a new ordinance that would make recreational activities such as tanning or drinking on residential rooftops a misdemeanor.

George Lahanas is the city manager of East Lansing. He says he noticed many young people have been using roofs as a hangout spot.

Thomas Marthinsen / Flickr

The Livingston County Jail is expanding because of a boom in the female population.

The number of women currently doubles the jail's capacity. Officials attribute the overcrowding to a rise in heroin use and related crimes.

Courtesy of the author

The Old Testament story of Cain and Abel is one of the most compelling in the Bible. How could a man kill his brother?

The tragedy is at the heart of the stunning debut novel The Fishermen from Chigozie Obioma.

Obioma was born in Nigeria and earned his Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from the University of Michigan.

The Fishermen is a parable set in 1990s Nigeria.

Gemma Amor / flickr-http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Hey, America! The rest of the world is wondering: What's with the bland beer?

It's no secret that the American beer market is dominated by pale, mild beer.

Despite the rising number of craft brewers here in Michigan and across the country, our best-selling beer is, you guessed it, Bud Light! Coors Light and Miller Lite come in right behind it.

Economist Ranjit Dighe wanted to figure out why Americans like bland beer.

user Tyrone Warner / Flickr

This week in Michigan Politics, political analyst Jack Lessenberry talks about a new law affecting Michigan workers, a plan to fix the roads that increases the gas tax, the high cost of information, and government officials looking at the effects of the same sex marriage ruling.

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