Earlier this month, the Michigan House of Representatives passed a bill designed to save the state money and allow some people to salvage their lives by making it easier for prisoners who are no longer a threat to society to get out of prison on parole.

This bill makes a vast amount of sense, and is being supported by responsible and intelligent conservatives like State Representative Kurt Heise of Plymouth Township, its Republican sponsor, and Governor Snyder. 

Michigan is drowning financially in our huge and bloated corrections system.

Flickr user Kenneth Lu / Flickr -

Michigan lawmakers are talking about banning tiny balls of plastic in products sold in Michigan.

A lot of us use products with microbeads in them. They’re tiny, perfectly round plastic beads that companies add to face and body scrubs and toothpaste.

We wash them down the drain, but they’re so small that wastewater treatment plants can’t filter them out.

Courtesy Siena Heights University

A Roman Catholic nun living in Adrian has been teaching literature to male prisoners at Gus Harrison Correctional Facility for nearly 30 years.

"They were engaged. They were passionate. They had read the book. They wanted to talk about it," said Sr. Pat Schnapp, associate professor of English at Siena Heights University. "And my teacherly heart just took off and I was hooked from that point on. I thought, 'I always want to do this in my life.'"

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The city of Flint is a small step closer to switching its drinking water back to Detroit.

Tonight the Flint city council unanimously voted to spend $2 million to return to Detroit’s water system.

Appropriately, the vote that is an answer to the prayers of many Flint residents, was punctuated by City Councilman Eric Mays saying “amen,” which drew murmurs of “amen” from the audience.

gonzales2010 / Creative Commons

Today is the last day for the public to weigh in on plans to expand a toxic waste facility in an east Detroit neighborhood.

US Ecology wants permission to expand its capacity to treat and store hazardous materials to 10 times what it handles now.

That includes byproducts from oil and gas fracking.

Concerns from local officials and residents who live near the facility prompted the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality to extend the public comment period twice.

Richard Conforti with MDEQ said so far, the state has received around 450 comments.

my_southborough / flickr creative commons /

State Rep. Martin Howrylak, R-Troy, has introduced a bill that would reopen the W.J. Maxey Boys Training School in Whitmore Lake.

The juvenile justice facility closed Sept. 30 after being removed from the state's budget in June.

The 60-bed facility treated youth offenders, ages 12-21, with mental illnesses.

Overseen by the Department of Health and Human Services, the Maxey School was one of three remaining state-run juvenile facilities.

Portrait of a Man, Said to be Christopher Columbus.
Metropolitan Museum of Art / Wikimedia Commons

So much so that they're apparently taking it out on statues now.

Google "Columbus statue vandalism" and you'll drum up all manner of news stories about statues where people have expressed their opinion of the Italian explorer.

Today, it was Detroit's turn.

Courtesy of MC4ME

The Next Idea

There is a lot of pressure in schools these days.

From the early grades through high school, students take tests and then more tests and shuffle from one extracurricular activity to the next, all while many are also trying to navigate instability at home.

The other night I was part of an informal dinner group that included a number of Republicans, some of whom have served in elected or appointed positions in Lansing.

I asked them if Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette would be their next candidate for governor. To my surprise, almost none thought so. Their choice was Candice Miller. They saw her as a practical, down-to-earth, no-nonsense conservative who could get the job done.

Republicans may be trying to break up with Dave Agema, but Dave Agema is sending plenty of signals that he’s not about to break up with Republicans.

MDEQ Director Dan Wyant talks with the media last Thursday (Oct. 8) when the state announced its support for a move back to Detroit water.
State of Michigan / LiveStream

We should hear more specifics today about what needs to be done to return Flint to Detroit's water system.

Last week, state and local officials announced a plan to spend $12 million to reconnect Flint to Detroit's water system. But it’s not as easy as turning off one tap and turning on another. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The federal government is being asked to investigate a city council election in Lansing. 

Voters in two city wards up for election next month have been getting robo-calls making strong accusations against two candidates. 

The robo-calls do not identify who’s behind them.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan corn growers say uncertainty over the federal renewable fuel standard is hurting the state’s agricultural economy.

The standard sets the ethanol mixture in gasoline. 

The National Farmers Union released a report this week claiming delays in setting ethanol fuel standards are depressing corn prices. 

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Friends, family and supporters of David Stojcevski protested outside the Macomb County jail in Mt. Clemens Saturday.

Stojcevski died of prescription drug withdrawal after spending 16 days in the jail in 2014. He was serving 30 days for a driving offense because he could not afford to pay $772 in fines.

“Justice for my son!” said Dafinka Stojecviski, David’s mother. “Shame on them for what they [did] to my son. Shame on Macomb County jail!”

Stojcevski was under 24-hour video surveillance in the jail’s mental health unit.

When you say the word controversial, do you say “controver-shall?”

Do you say “frustra-shun” for frustration, or “shtreet” for street?  

If so, you’re not alone. But what the h is going on with those pronunciations? Is this a Michigan thing?

Those are the questions a listener posed for us today, and our own University of Michigan English Professor Anne Curzan is ready to help us sound out an answer. But in order to do that, we’ll have to take a close look at the mechanics of how we say what we say.

Musician Britney Stoney is a born-and-raised Detroiter and she's inspired by her hometown in all kinds of ways. She's especially influenced by the people she calls "hustlers and grinders," meaning everyday people who work hard and live good lives, regardless of their circumstances. 

Stoney says her mother is a great example of a grinder, who raised her as a single mom while working as a waitress and bartender.

Here are a few lyrics from the song "Organ Donor:"

Michigan quiltmaker wins top prize at ArtPrize, again

Oct 10, 2015

For the second time, Ann Loveless of Frankfort, Michigan has won the top prize at Grand Rapids' annual ArtPrize competition.

This year, she had some help.

Flint schools to get water filters

Oct 9, 2015
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Every classroom in Flint will soon have a water filter.

ZeroWater, United Way of Genesee County and General Motors Foundation are donation 2,500 filters to Flint schools.

This announcement comes after tests show that four Flint Community Schools have lead levels above the federal action level.

Fiat Chryler CEO Sergio Marchionne, left, and UAW President Dennis Williams.

Local leaders of the United Auto Workers have voted to approve a new, tentative four-year contract with Fiat Chrysler, after workers overwhelmingly rejected the first version last week.

Many workers were confused about the terms of the rejected contract, especially about the vague language describing a new health care co-op. 

Enbridge Line 5 runs from Superior, WI to Sarnia Ontario. One Coast Guard official says the UP section of the pipeline worries him most.

A federal judge has ruled in favor of Enbridge Energy and the federal government in a lawsuit brought by the Sierra Club over a pipeline running through Michigan state forest land.

According to the Sierra Club, Enbridge ought to have been required to carry out a full environmental impact analysis for the pipeline in 2014 when it took out a new permit. 

Honeycrisp apples are explosively popular.
University of Minnesota

In our little informal apple poll, Michiganders agreed: Honeycrisp apples are the tastiest apple to eat.

Unfortunately, your love for Honeycrisp apples could be the reason why they are so pricey.

Up until 2008, farmers had to pay a royalty on Honeycrisp apple seeds to the University of Minnesota, where they were first developed.

Fiat Chrysler Automobile workers on an assembly line.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

DETROIT - Local United Auto Workers leaders have approved a new proposed contract with Fiat Chrysler.

Friday's vote came just over a week after UAW members voted down a previous agreement. The UAW and FCA hammered out a new contract, averting a threatened strike.

The new agreement promises to gradually eliminate a tiered pay system and bring all U.S. factory workers to the same pay level over eight years. The previous agreement promised to raise the wages of newer, lower-tiered employees to $25 per hour, which was still lower than the pay for longtime workers.


The 7th annual ArtPrize competition wraps up in Grand Rapids this weekend, and tonight the winners will be announced.

At stake are two separate $200,000 grand prizes. 

One winner be selected by a panel of art experts, and the other will be decided by public vote.

Art Prize organizers say there were over 1,550 entries in this year’s competition. 

Football Roundup

Oct 9, 2015
A football field.
user: Michael Knight / Flickr

On Monday night, the Detroit Lions – the NFL’s lovable losers – found a spectacular new way to break their fans’ hearts.

Wide receiver Calvin Johnson, the team’s best player, was just about to cross the goal line with a go-ahead touchdown when he let a Seattle defender knock the ball out of his hand, and into the endzone.

Part of the new line 6B pipeline in central Michigan.
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

The two oil pipelines that run under the Straits of Mackinac are not unique.

The National Wildlife Federation says there are 5,110 locations across the United States where oil pipelines run through or under navigable waters.

Enbridge Line 5 runs from Superior, WI to Sarnia Ontario. One Coast Guard official says the UP section of the pipeline worries him most.

There's been a lot of concern expressed about Enbridge's oil and liquid natural gas pipelines running under Lake Michigan at the Straits of Mackinac.

But Keith Matheny of the Detroit Free Press reports that an oil spill contingency specialist with the U.S. Coast Guard is more worried about the above-ground section of Line 5 running across the Upper Peninsula.

From Matheny's piece:

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Thousands of federal prisoners are set to be released within the next month, but fewer than 100 of them are expected to wind up in Michigan.

The historic prisoner release comes as the U.S. Department of Justice reconfigures sentencing guidelines for drug crimes.

photo by Vincent Duffy

A progressive group is crying foul over the price tag a state agency requested for processing a public information request it submitted.

A spokesperson for the Michigan Department of Treasury sent an email to officials in his department and the governor’s office that said the department considered denying the request because it was too broad. But he said Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette advised it to use “the fee approach.”

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

There are new concerns about lead in the water in Flint schools.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality tested the water in 13 Flint schools. 

MDEQ director Dan Wyant says tests at four schools came in above the federal action level for lead (15 parts per billion).

Water faucet
user william_warby / Flickr

Gov. Rick Snyder will ask the state Legislature to kick in half of the $12 million needed to switch the city of Flint back to the Detroit water system. The rest of the cost will be shared by Flint and the C.S. Mott Foundation.