News

Paula Friedrich / Michigan Radio

Pre-Wikipedia there was the encyclopedia.

Pre-Google there was the reference desk.

In the age of the Internet, what’s the future of the local library?

We drove across the state and visited several local libraries to see for ourselves. We found libraries that serve their communities in different ways.

Well, this is the day everyone in Lansing has been waiting for. Unfortunately, if you think I’m talking about fixing the roads, you’re wrong.

No, this is the day the Michigan House of Representatives is due to release its report on the Todd Courser-Cindy Gamrat scandal. We already know they found evidence of misconduct and misuse of taxpayer resources.

CMU

Right now, college freshman around the state are getting training about sexual assault on campus.

At Central Michigan University, that even means going into the profile of perpetrators who commit acquaintance rape.

Rep. Todd Courser, R-Lapeer, and Rep. Cindy Gamrat, R-Plainwell.
From Courser/Gamrat websites

Early this week, the public will find out the details of a state House investigation into two tea party lawmakers involved in a sex-and-cover-up scandal.

morgueFile

A state official says $3,000-a-day lease payments on idle train cars should end by Sept. 30.   

The Michigan Transportation Department is negotiating with a railroad to change a contract that has been a costly embarrassment.

The state has spent more than $10 million since 2010 to lease and refurbish the rail cars, although commuter rail service in southeastern Michigan appears to be years away. 

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Union negotiators head back to the bargaining table Monday morning, on behalf of more than 300 bus drivers and mechanics in Grand Rapids.

“Obviously, things are hot right now,” Local 836 union president RiChard Jackson told me last week, at a packed board meeting of the Interurban Transit Partnership, also known as The Rapid.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A judge will consider granting class action status  on Monday to a lawsuit against the city of Flint in the continuing legal fight over that city’s water rates.

Giving the lawsuit class action status could expand the suit to include as many as 30,000 Flint water and sewer customers. 

Since the city raised rates by 35% in 2011, many Flint residents say they can’t afford the higher bills.

People sometimes get fussy with University of Michigan English Professor Anne Curzan for saying that the English language is always changing. But why does the English language constantly change? Is there a schedule out there somewhere saying how fast it will change? Why can’t we all keep saying the same things, all the time, forever?

But change is progress, says Curzan, and the language cannot simply stay still, for several reasons. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

This week, Michigan lawmakers are expected to continue discussing ways to spend more money to fix state roads. It’s estimated the state has to come up with at least $1.2 billion annually to repair Michigan’s aging and crumbling roads and bridges.

In May, voters rejected a proposal to increase fuel and sales tax rates to pay for fixing the roads.

Most of the proposals on the table now include tapping existing state revenues. The general fund is used to fund most state government programs.    

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Around 75 people marched in Grand Rapids Saturday afternoon, calling for an end to gun violence.

“We’re trying to get the message out, that anybody can be a victim. We've got the kids in the streets killing each other, we've got people getting killed going into shopping malls, court houses, movie theaters,” Theresa Ward, one of the march's organizers said.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

August auto sales may be down slightly.

Automakers will release their August sales numbers Tuesday.

Charles Chesbrough is an auto industry analyst with IHS Global Insight.     He says unlike most years, this year’s August sales numbers will not include Labor Day weekend sales.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Patients with autism and Parkinson’s disease could use medical marijuana under a new effort to overhaul the system in Michigan.

The Michigan Responsibility Council (MRC) announced this week it will push lawmakers to make the state’s medical marijuana system safer and more accessible to qualified patients.

wikimedia commons

Oakland Community College, Michigan’s largest community college system, will sharply cut back its online course offerings next year.

OCC has offered online courses for years.

More recently, it sought accreditation as a “virtual campus” that’s authorized to grant online-learning based degrees as well.

flickr user Thomas Hawk / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The family of a veteran who committed suicide in an Ottawa County jail cell two years ago has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the county.

Scott Meirs was left alone in a single-person cell several days after he was arrested for breaking into a neighbor's home and stealing prescription medication.

A button promoting marijuana legalization.
Danny Birchall / Flickr - http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Everything you ever wanted to know about marijuana in Michigan was discussed this week on Stateside.

From the politics - to the business - to the potential downsides.

We sat down with reporters, business owners, and law enforcement to learn more about the topic.

Here's a quick rundown of what we covered:

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Tomorrow, the family of a Flint man will mark the fourth year of his being held in an Iranian prison cell.

Amir Hekmati’s family and supporters plan to gather in Bay City to mark the anniversary of his arrest on spying charges. The former U.S. Marine denies the charges. He was in Tehran visiting family members.

The Founders baby will remain on labels in other states.
Mike Mozart / Flickr - http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

"You wanna sell beer in this state? You gotta go through me, kid."

While not an exact quote, that's essentially what Michigan's Liquor Control Commission said when it found that the label for Founders Breakfast Stout was in violation of its rules, which say:

Dave Mesrey needs a root canal and possibly shoulder surgery and can’t afford either one, on his very part-time job doing editing work for an alternative newspaper.

He doesn’t much care about that. His car broke down years ago and he can’t afford to fix it, but he doesn’t dwell much on that, either. What he cares about is a nine and a half acre field of dreams to which he’s devoted himself for the last five years.


Friends School Detroit / via Facebook

Michigan’s only Quaker-run school is closing its doors—at least for now.

Detroit’s Friends School told parents the news this week.

Parents and board members say it’s a huge blow to the school and larger Detroit communities.

flickr user bobdoran / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

We’ve reviewed the movements pushing for marijuana legalization in Michigan, we’ve taken a look at how legal pot has treated Colorado, and we’ve heard the viewpoint of a medical marijuana caregiver in Ann Arbor.

Today, we get the law enforcement perspective.

flickr user Eljoja / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Despite getting the go-ahead from a state board made up largely of physicians, Michigan will not allow autism patients to use medical marijuana.

Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs Director Mike Zimmer overturned the board’s recommendation to add autism to the list of qualifying conditions. Zimmer cited a lack of scientific research on the benefits of cannabis for autism patients as well as concerns about effects on children.

Nhandler/wikipedia / Jonesy22/creative commons

Berrien County Commissioners voted unanimously Thursday to stop using carbon monoxide to euthanize unwanted animals that end up at its animal control facility.

The gas chamber has been used for decades in Berrien County to kill dogs, cats and other wildlife. Now that it’s building a new facility, public pressure to stop the practice has been increasing.

Lawmakers have tried passing bans statewide, but they’ve never gotten to the governor’s desk.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

This fall, Michigan high schools are testing two different programs for detecting concussions in high school athletes.  

Girls’ sports are getting equal attention.

Complaints by Ann Arbor residents have prompted Scio Township to look into an odor problem originating with the township's waste system. Sewage pumped from Scio Township's wastewater treatment system enters Ann Arbor's system near the corner of Arborview Boulevard and Miller Avenue. At times, especially on hot summer days, the sewage produces a powerful odor that residents say forces them to stay indoors.

The Wolverine football program, with its famed winged helmet, has taken some lumps over the years.
MGoBlog / Flickr - HTTP://MICHRAD.IO/1LXRDJM

This time a year ago, there was no scarcity of news coverage of the troubled University of Michigan football program, leading to the firing of athletic director Dave Brandon and coach Brady Hoke, and the eventual hiring of Jim Harbaugh as the new Wolverine coach.

Ann Arbor Public Schools

The one-year contract gives all teachers a small pay bump, and the union and the district agree that teachers have now gotten most of the back pay they were promised when they took previous wage cuts. 

The school district says the new contract also officially puts the district in compliance with recent state laws, which say that the union can’t bargain over certain “prohibited” subjects, including:

Flickr/Penn State / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The Next Idea

In his recent op-ed piece in the Financial Times, “Europe is a continent that has run out of ideas,” Economics Nobel Laureate Edmund Phelps hangs the near collapse of the world’s second largest economy on a failure of the collective culture to produce real innovators.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Starting next week, Flint pastors will begin handing out water filters to people who don’t trust the city’s tap water.

The 1500 water filters come from an anonymous donor. A spokesman says the filters will remove particulates, like lead. 

Fairy's signature black-and-white "Andre the Giant" face appeared on a water tower in downtown Detroit.
Eugene Kim / Flickr

DETROIT - Damage to illegally tagged buildings in Detroit that led to charges against graffiti artist Shepard Fairey is estimated at around $30,000. The figure was presented Thursday by a Detroit city attorney during a pretrial conference for Fairey. Three of the nine properties listed in court are city-owned.

DIA

The Detroit Institute of Arts’ chairman says top museum officials — including the museum’s recently-departed director — deserve bonuses and other perks.

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