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.

The group says by law, the operators of those pipelines must file an emergency spill response plan with the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The law, the Oil Pollution Act, was passed after the Exxon-Valdez disaster in Alaska.

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.

Keith Allison / flickr creative commons

Headlined "Love Does Not Hit," a wanted poster has been released by Silent Observer, a Grand Rapids crime-stopper organization, to bring attention to Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

The poster shows 24 people with outstanding arrest warrants on domestic violence charges in the Kent County cities of Grand Rapids and Wyoming.

VW showed off their Gold TDI Clean Diesel at the 2010 Washington Auto Show. The company has since admitted to evading emissions standards for the last seven years.
wikimedia user Mariordo /

Today Volkswagen’s top U.S. executive is facing the wrath of Congress.

The hearing before a congressional oversight panel is in response to VW’s admission that is has been cheating on U.S. diesel emissions tests for the past seven years.

Last year General Motors CEO Mary Barra was lambasted by a congressional panel over GM's ignition recall scandal, and the Detroit News’ Daniel Howes expects today will be no easier for VW U.S. chief Michael Horn.

Paula Friedrich / Michigan RAdio

We asked, you answered: Honeycrisp is the best apple. If we're being real, it wasn't much of a contest. Almost 50% of you voted for the Honeycrisp in our poll for "'Best Apple to Eat." 

A clear showing of Michigan's refined culinary palette--Honeycrisp apples are known to be kind of a "diva" to grow. 

The officers of the Mystic Order of Veiled Prophet of the Enchanted Realm, 1890 including the founder, Leroy Fairchild on the right seated.
Public Domain

Does wearing exotic uniforms, wielding sabers, riding camels, or driving tiny cars sound like a good time to you? Then you might have been right at home in one of the scores of social clubs that sprang up around America hundreds of years ago.

The Freemasons, the Odd Fellows, the Loyal Order of the Moose, the Daughters of Rebekah and the Order of the Eastern Star – men and women flocked to these clubs, especially in Detroit.

Bill Loomis took a look at these groups in his piece, Hanging at the club: the golden age of fraternal societies.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint is going back to Detroit water.   

The state, the city and the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation together are kicking in $12 million to shut off the tap to the Flint River.

A year and a half ago, city leaders stood in Flint's water plant and raised plastic glasses to toast the city’s switch to the Flint River.

Eighteen months later, Governor Snyder has announced the end of the Flint River experiment.

Flickr/MichBio /

The Next Idea

For decades men have considered bars, clubs, locker rooms and golf courses open territory in which they can ask for introductions and guidance to advance their businesses and careers.

But something like the Old Boys’ Network has mostly eluded women. Our formal and informal networks are not as robust, perhaps because we are still hampered by the competition that existed when there was only one seat for a woman at any important table.

Rebecca Williams / Michigan Radio

This week, the 2nd Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in New York ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to write new rules for the ballast water in ships.

Four environmental groups sued the EPA over its current ballast water rule.

Invasive species can get into the Great Lakes in ballast water. Salties are ships that cross the ocean, and lakers are ships that travel only within the Great Lakes. In the decision, the judges criticize the EPA for exempting lakers from certain regulations. 

Gov. Rick Snyder taking questions this morning after the announcment.
Gov. Rick Snyder / screengrab

Gov. Rick Snyder this morning held a press conference in which he said he supports reconnecting the city of Flint’s water supply back to Detroit’s water system.

Snyder said he will ask the Legislature to provide half ($6 million) of the $12 million bill to reconnect the system. The city of Flint will pay $2 million, and the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation will contribute $4 million.

Mayor Dayne Walling said he expects the city to reconnect to the Detroit system in two weeks.

I’m not in the least surprised that the United Autoworkers Union reached a new agreement with Fiat Chrysler late last night. Nobody, but nobody wanted a strike.

I did think it possible that the union might have workers put down tools and walk off the job for a few hours in an effort to remind the rank-and-file of their heritage.

But if there had been a serious strike, the only winner would have been Toyota.

Teen pregnancies down in Michigan, study says

23 hours ago
Hobo Mama / flickr creative commons

Teen births in Michigan have dropped 40% over the past two decades, according to a recent report by the Michigan League for Public Policy.  

In 1992, about 18,000 Michigan teens had babies compared to 8,000 20 years later. That puts Michigan's teen birth rate of 24 per 1,000 slightly below  the national average of 27 teen births per 1,000 in 2013. 

Nikolai Nolan / Creative Commons

The City of Southfield has purchased the closed Northland Center mall for $2.4 million.

Northland fell into receivership last year, after years of financial struggles.

The mall closed its doors for good in March, shortly after losing its last anchor store, Macy's.

Since then, Southfield Mayor Donald Fracassi said the city has been monitoring bids and offers to redevelop the property.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A panel of experts is recommending the city of Flint return to Detroit's water system.

As protesters marched outside Flint city hall chanting “lead free water,” inside local, state and national health and water experts agreed that change is needed. 

Jeremy Lim / flickr

The Legislature has sent bills to Governor Rick Snyder that make some big changes to Michigan’s civil forfeiture law, which allows police to seize and keep assets of people who are suspected of criminal activity even if they’re never charged or convicted.

The bills would make it easier for people to recover assets such as homes, cars, or bank accounts.

Troy Holden / flickr

The state House has overwhelmingly approved bills to overhaul Michigan’s medical marijuana system.

The legislation creates legal protections for dispensaries and for patients using non-smokable forms of cannabis.

Bill sponsors say patients should not face prosecution for using forms of marijuana that are safer than smoking.

Flower House will be open Oct. 16-18 before the house is deconstructed

A sad, old, derelict house in Hamtramck will literally blossom for three days this month when it becomes Flower House.

Brittany Bartkowiak / Michigan Radio

We spent our evening in Kalamazoo October 6, 2015 talking college affordability and access with our State of Opportunity team and a panel of special guests.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s drinking water controversy has led to the cancelation of a festival celebrating the Flint River.

Tests link the corrosive nature of the river water to high lead levels in Flint tap water.  Complaints about the quality of Flint’s drinking water have been escalating since the city switched from Detroit water to the Flint River last year.

Just think about this: What if some emergency forced the state to temporarily appoint an emergency manager in a more affluent, mostly white area?

Pretend this happens to Birmingham in Oakland County, say, or Holland.

To save money, the emergency manager stops using the longtime clean water source and switches to a local river. When residents complain that the water smells and is discolored, the emergency manager tells them it is just as good as they were getting before.

jordanmrcai / Creative Commons

This Week in Michigan Politics, Michigan Radio's Jack Lessenberry and Christina Shockley discuss the latest on the Flint water problem, how Michigan State University doesn't want to release  the names of student-athletes who were suspects in criminal cases to ESPN, and Lessenberry reflects on the life of Grace Lee Boggs.

University of Michigan

The University of Michigan’s President made his first appearance at the Detroit Economic Club Tuesday.

Mark Schlissel addressed the promise of “big data,” the importance of increasing student diversity, and his efforts to tamp down the school’s sometimes “exuberant party culture.”

Schlissel said university data shows that much—though not all—of that party culture stems from Greek life on campus.

David Goehring / Creative Commons

A new state Senate bill would add the Fostering Futures Scholarship fund to Michigan’s voluntary contribution schedule.

The state-funded program helps foster youth in Michigan pay for tuition and other costs associated with college.

Under SB 543, taxpayers would be able to donate a portion of their return to the fund via a check-off a box on their tax form.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Today people lined up in the rain to get water filters in Flint.

The state is handing out 20,000 Brita filters to people at risk for high lead in their tap water.   Over the weekend, the Genesee County Health Department and United Way gave away 4,000 PUR filters.

“Our goal is to make sure that every single resident in the city of Flint, who needs a water filter gets one,” says Sheryl Thompson, with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

Jake Neher / Michigan Public Radio Network

Michigan would stop automatically charging 17-year-olds as adults under new bills in the state House.

The bipartisan legislation would prohibit placing people under 18 years old in adult prisons and jails. Any teenager could still be charged as an adult for violent crimes such as murder.

Sponsors say putting minors in adult jails and prisons keeps them from the rehabilitative services they need.

CedarBendDrive / Creative Commons

Michigan State University has asked the Michigan Supreme Court to put a hold on an order to release the names of student-athletes who were suspects in criminal cases.

MSU is supposed to comply with the lower court order by the end of the month. But the university asked for a delay while the case is appealed to the state Supreme Court.