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Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Downtown Detroit is in a revival, but neighborhoods across the city are still declining. One of the reasons is the onslaught of tax foreclosures.  Those foreclosure mean more vacant houses. Soon the homes are stripped by scrappers, and the destruction can affect the whole block.

Ulysses Jones drove me around his neighborhood, MorningSide, on Detroit’s east side. He’s with a community organization also called MorningSide.

Anti-Israeli billboard by Deir Yassin Remembered
Henry Herskovitz

An anti-Semitic group that's been protesting at a synagogue in Ann Arbor was added to a national hate group list earlier this month.

The group "Dier Yassin Remembered" (sometimes referred to as “Witnesses for Peace”) has picketed outside the Beth Israel synagogue with anti-Israeli messages for over a decade now.

In recent years, the group has largely been promoting its message “America First, Not Israel,” which was posted on multiple billboards in southeast Michigan.

Inside the Michigan Senate
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Plans to overhaul how Michigan deals with struggling schools will see continued discussion this week in a state Senate committee.

 

State lawmakers have been working for weeks to overhaul how Michigan deals with struggling schools. The committee is currently trying to find the best ways to judge student performance, and grade schools.

 

Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

Michigan has a law on the books that grants the police immunity from prosecution if they’ve had sex with a prostitute during an investigation.

Michigan is the only remaining state we know of which still grants that immunity, but that might change.

Michigan State Capitol
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

 

A bill in the Michigan Legislature would require all state contractors and subcontractors to check the citizenship status of their employees. Bill sponsor State Representative Jim Runestad, R-White Lake, wants to prevent Michigan citizens from losing jobs to “black market” labor.

Courtesy of John Semper Jr.

In the D.C. Comics universe, Superman has Metropolis, Batman has Gotham, and now Cyborg has Detroit.

When D.C. rebooted its universe a few years ago, the superhero Cyborg got a promotion. He joined Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman as part of the Justice League and has become a higher-profile character. 

The origin of the term "gerrymandering" comes from a political cartoon from March of 1812. This was drawn in reaction to the newly-drawn state senate election district of South Essex created by the Massachusetts legislature to favor
J. Albert Bowden II / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

If you ask a roomful of voters if they think gerrymandering is an issue, it's a fair bet most of the people would raise their hands, regardless whether they were a Republican, Democrat, or independent.

There are several groups in the state looking at the issue for the 2020 the ballot. The group Voters Not Politicians is not waiting that long. It wants to put something on the ballot in 2018.

American Ginseng
Flickr user Forest Farming / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

We know hunters who take deer or goose out of season are poachers. But what about those who take a plant from a park or a reserve without permission?

They too are poachers and plant poaching can be a huge, illegal business.

Removing the Boardman Dam will restore the river to its "historic route," according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Work will soon begin to remove the Boardman dam from the river of the same name near Traverse City.

Monday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced a $6.3 million contract with the Wisconsin-based firm Michels Corporation to begin removal in the spring.

Carl Platz with the Army Corps of Engineers says removing the idle hydroelectric dams is part of a larger slate of projects aimed at restoring the Boardman River ecosystem.

Liesl Clark said Michigan is taking more older, coal-fired power plants offline because they are uneconomical to run.
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

The Next Idea

Michiganders might be using electricity the wrong way. A new report indicates Michigan might be able to meet projected energy shortfalls if residents change how they use power. That would save having to build new, expensive power plants.

Teacher and students at Flint's Southwestern Academy.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

There’s new legislation that may help more Flint school children go to college.

Ten Michigan communities are designated as so-called "promise zones."

The communities raise money, by means including tax increment financing, to pay for students to receive a college education.

State Sen. Jim Ananich’s (D-Flint) new bill would add Flint to that list.

Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

After 12 years as Lansing’s mayor, Virg Bernero says he won’t seek re-election this fall.

Bernero says he will step down as mayor when his term ends in 10 months, citing his family as his reason to not seek re-election.

During his tenure, the Capitol city has weathered the Great Recession, which forced deep budget cuts due to lost tax revenue. Nevertheless, Bernero says Lansing received millions of dollars of economic development during that time as well.

Downtown Jackson, Michigan.
user hor Criticalthinker / Wikimedia Commons

DETROIT (AP) - A full federal appeals court will consider whether a Michigan county's tradition of Christian-only prayers at public meetings violates the U.S. Constitution.

The order on Monday by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals vacates a ruling earlier this month by a three-judge panel of the court that said prayers by the Jackson County Board of Commissioners were unconstitutional. In that 2-1 decision, the court ruled in favor of a Jackson County resident who was offended after he began attending county commissioner meetings in 2013 to discuss environmental issues.

Takata airbags.
NHTSA

DETROIT - Attorneys for people suing air bag maker Takata and five automakers say the car companies knew that the company's products were dangerous yet continued to use them for years because they were inexpensive.

The allegations against Honda, Toyota, Nissan, Ford and BMW were made in a document filed Monday with a federal court in Miami. The court is handling pretrial evidence-gathering in dozens of lawsuits against Takata and the automakers. The document says the allegations are partly based on auto company documents.

Yousef Ajin stands with his family. His wife and kids are U.S. citizens. He has been working toward citizenship, but now faces the possibility of being deported.
screen shot from Donal Harrison's Vimeo video.

Community members around Ann Arbor are planning a show of support for Yousef Ajin this week. According to his family, Ajin was detained on January 30 after one of his routine check-ins with immigration officials.

People learned about Ajin's situation after Joel Apple-Kraut published a piece in the Community High School newspaper, The Communicator.

Kate Wells / Michigan Radio

A bomb threat forced children to evacuate from Hebrew Day School in Ann Arbor Monday morning, as similar threats were reported in Florida, Pennsylvania, Alabama, New Jersey and other states.

An unidentified man called the Hebrew Day School just after 9 am, claiming there was a bomb in a backpack that was about to detonate, according to police.

State House Speaker Tom Leonard (R-DeWitt) is figuring out his next move after his income tax rollback tanked in the House last week. It was an embarrassing defeat largely the result of putting the bill up before the Speaker knew the votes were there. And he ran into a hard-dozen fellow Republicans who, along with all but one of the Democrats, torpedoed what was supposed to be a marquee moment in the early days of this session.

Some years ago there was an effort to boost enrollment at Wayne State University, where I teach. One administrator told me that they were admitting "anyone with a Pell Grant and a pulse." Unfortunately, the result wasn’t what everyone was hoping for.

Some of these students weren’t intellectually ready or able for college, and soon dropped out or flunked out. Others weren’t emotionally ready, and had no idea what they wanted to do.

Gerrymandering allows political parties or groups to gain some political advantage by manipulating district boundaries. Some critics argue that it distorts the real views of the voters.
wikimedia user Jeremy Kemp / Public Domain/http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

A citizens group wants to change how political boundaries are drawn in Michigan. Right now, the Legislature draws new lines for legislative and congressional districts every 10 years following the Census.

John Hanieski is an economist who says, right now, the numbers don’t add up. He says the state is evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats. But he says the GOP wins a lot more seats. 

He says the current system allows lawmakers to put their interests ahead of their constituents.

Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

Formerly nicknamed the “Dan Gilbert bills” after the prominent Detroit businessman and developer, legislation to give developers a tax incentive for building on blighted land sailed through a full Senate vote and is now awaiting a hearing in the House.  

The same kind of incentives came up in Lansing last year. But they didn’t go anywhere, because some lawmakers were worried it would only help big cities like Detroit.

This time, supporters on both sides of the aisle say the legislation is for cities big and small.

When it comes to making a noun plural, there are a few general rules we follow in English. 

Most are are pretty easy. Slap an "s" on the end of "book" or "dog" or "desk" and suddenly you've got more than one. If the word ends with a vowel followed by a "y", the same rule applies, like "keys" and "boys."

If you've got a "y" preceded by a consonant, no sweat. Just trade out the last two letters for "ies" to get "cherries" or "babies" or "buddies."  

There are other rules, and of course, they all have exceptions. But today we want to talk about pluralizing one word in particular: maître d'. 


MI-MAPLESYRUP.COM

Michigan’s maple syrup producers are hoping for a return to more winter-like weather.

Maple syrup relies on days above freezing for the sap to flow, and nights below freezing to make it sweet. 

Lately, the days and nights have been too warm for Kirk Hedding. He’s the president of the Michigan Maple Syrup Association. Hedding says this is turning into a "bitter" season for some maple syrup producers.

“As the sap flows, the sugar content will eventually start dropping if we don’t have any freezing weather,” says Hedding.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

This week, Flint residents will lose a state subsidy on their monthly water bills.

The state has spent more than $40 million subsidizing Flint’s water bills, as part of the response to the city’s lead-tainted tap water crisis. However, the governor’s office says the credits are ending this month because Flint’s water quality is improving.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A Flint police officer will ride to school with a group of children starting Monday.  

Last week, a bullet struck the bus as children rode home from school.

Last Thursday’s shooting remains under investigation. No one was hurt.

Madison Academy canceled classes on Friday as a precaution.

Flint Police Chief Tim Johnson says he’s assigning the officer to ride the bus in order to help people feel safe. 

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Congressman Bill Huizenga held a town hall meeting today north of Grand Rapids that last more than four hours, a bit longer than he anticipated.

“And that’s okay,” he said. “What I knew was going to happen was, after two hours or even three hours if I had said ‘OK, you know maybe we’ve had enough,’ there would be all these calls of, you know, ‘He shut it down early!'”

chairs stacked on a desk in a classroom
Flickr user janine / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

A Republican-backed bill to rollback Michigan's income tax died on the floor of the state House early Thursday morning. This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about fallout from the bill's failure, including a leadership change in Lansing.

We're also talking about the Trump administration's withdrawal of Obama-era guidance on transgender students' rights in schools, the state's delay on announcing which low-performing schools will be closed in the fall, and a new "fake news" course at the University of Michigan.

WMUK

This week marked one year since a mass shooting in Kalamazoo County. A part-time Uber driver, Jason Dalton, is facing charges. The shooting spree killed six people and seriously injured two others. One of the injured is teenager Abigail Kopf.

Gene Kopf​, Abigail's father, joined Stateside to talk about his daughter's recovery.

DPOA President Mark Diaz
via Twitter

The head of the Detroit Police Officer’s Association is facing criminal charges himself.

Mark Diaz is charged with malicious destruction of property, a felony, and reckless driving. He was arraigned at a district court in Clarkston Friday afternoon, and released on $10,000 bond.

The charges apparently stem from a December incident at Holly Academy in Holly. Diaz allegedly drove into school property, causing serious damage.

Lisa Pugliano Mrowiac

Thursday's fire at a Sarnia chemical plant left some St. Clair County residents frightened and desperate for information, says St. Clair County Emergency Manager Jeff Friedland.

But it wasn't until two hours after the fire broke out that he was given any information about the fire.

In the meantime, people in Port Huron, some of whom were 400 yards away from the fire, were wildly speculating on social media and wondering if they should evacuate.

Jeso Carneiro / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

In the 1920s, demand for rubber shot way up. With more cars being made, the auto manufacturers needed rubber for tires, hoses and other things.

Henry Ford decided he would go right to the source for his rubber. In 1928, he planned a rubber tree plantation and what essentially was a model Midwestern town along the Amazon River in Brazil.

He called it Fordlândia.

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