Ex-lawmakers sued by former aides alleging retaliation

19 hours ago
Former Michigan Representatives Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat.
From Courser/Gamrat websites

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Two conservative ex-lawmakers who had an extramarital affair and attempted to conceal it have been sued by former aides.  

The Detroit News and report former state Reps. Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat were sued Friday by Keith Allard and Ben Graham in Ingham County Circuit Court. The ex-aides seek whistle-blower protection and allege they were fired in retaliation for reporting information to House officials.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

State and local officials Friday unveiled a plan for fixing Flint’s water problems.

But one demand of many city residents is not on the list.

Michigan Department of Environmental Quality director Dan Wyant addressed what he sees as the critical problem in Flint. 

“We know many residents are concerned about health and the health of their children. Many have lost confidence in the drinking water," Wyant told a midday news conference in Flint. "We need to build that back. We need to do more."

Many media outlets are livestreaming the press conference. Here is MDEQ Director Dan Wyant speaking at a podium with a "taking action" sign affixed.
screen grab / MLive UStream

Researchers found elevated lead levels in Flint's drinking water, and pediatricians found that the water was likely poisoning some kids in the city. Today, the state revealed that it too had tested kids and their findings seem to be consistent.

Dr. Eden Wells, the state's chief medical executive, said that before the city switched to Flint River water, kids' lead levels in two "high risk" zip codes were 2.7 times higher than the rest of Genesee County. Now they're 3.2 times higher - a statistically significant difference.

One of the things I most dislike about most politicians is their unwillingness to admit when they’ve screwed up.

Take Dennis Williams, the leader of the United Auto Workers union. He and his lieutenants were so out of touch with the membership that they negotiated a contract that the angry workers rejected by almost two to one.

Yesterday, when the results were in, Williams said. “We don’t consider this a setback,” we consider this “part of the process.”

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The White Horse Tavern is turning alcohol into water these days.  All to help the Flint school district. 

White Horse tavern owner Chris Poulos offered me a free drink as I sidled up to the bar.  

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Macomb County officials say they’re being unfairly criticized for a jail inmate’s death.

County Executive Mark Hackel vigorously defended Sheriff Anthony Wickersham and jail staff on Thursday.

His comments came after the release last week of a harrowing video that showed David Stojcevski’s slow death in the Macomb County jail.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Recent studies have shown blood lead levels in Flint children have doubled, even tripled in some parts of town, since the city started using the Flint River as its drinking water source. 

So today Genesee County officials declared a public health emergency.

Part of the Rumsey St. Project, this auto body garage was painted by Los Angeles-based artist Mark Dean Veca

The Next Idea

Collaboration between people of different backgrounds, expertise and points of view is one of the key drivers of innovation.

There’s one entry in this year’s Artprize in Grand Rapids that takes collaboration to another level.

Marissa Anderson / flickr creative commons

The American Civil Liberties Union and the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan have filed a federal lawsuit against a national Catholic health system for failure to provide women suffering pregnancy complications, including miscarriages, with appropriate emergency abortions.

The ACLU claims that the Trinity Health Corporation, which is headquartered in Michigan, violates federal law by requiring its doctors to follow the Ethical and Religious Directives of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops – instead of accepted medical practice.

Kevin Rosseel / morguefile

Michigan would release more inmates on parole under bills approved by the state House on Thursday.

The legislation would guarantee release for many prisoners who’ve served their minimum sentences and are deemed unlikely to re-offend. It does not apply to inmates currently behind bars.

Researchers at Virgina Tech received samples of Flint water (both clear and discolored) from residents.
Flint Water Study / Facebook

Yesterday, Gov. Rick Snyder admitted that the decision to switch the city of Flint's water supply from Detroit's system over to the Flint River was not well planned.

“In terms of a mistake, what I would say is, is there are probably things that were not as fully understood as when that switch was made,” Snyder said.

Michigan Footgolf Club

A combination of soccer and golf, the new sport of footgolf is gaining popularity across the nation.

According to the American FootGolf League, there are more than 250 footgolf courses across the United States, with 25 courses right here in Michigan.

“I’ve been playing soccer my whole life, and I also enjoy golf so it was just a perfect fit,” says Jon Aron, president and founder of the Michigan FootGolf Club.

First Lady Edith Wilson acted as de facto President of the United States for over a year after her husband's stroke
Library of Congress /

One of the big questions of the 2016 presidential race is whether we’ll finally see a woman in the White House.

But there’s a little-known secret that’s finally coming to light: It wouldn’t be the first time a woman has run the country.

From late 1919 until March 1921, first lady Edith Galt Wilson was the de facto president of the United States.

Baby squirrels.
Association to Rescue Kritters

If you can't figure out what to do with the hoards of acorns Mother Nature is piling up on your lawn right now, here's an idea. 

Donate them.

The Association to Rescue Kritters (ARK) in St. Helen has taken in 18 orphaned baby squirrels who won't be able to get through the winter on their own.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A Michigan Senate bill that would ban "sanctuary city" ordinances, which protect people living in the U.S. illegally, is drawing opposition from some lawmakers.

The proposed bill would prohibit city policies that discourage local law enforcement officials from questioning an individual's immigration status.

user alkruse24 / Flickr

This story was updated with additional information at 2:42 pm on 10/1/15

State and local officials may be close to a deal to create a new K-14 school system in Highland Park.

A number of community colleges are interested in bankrolling much of the revamped system, according to people involved in the talks.

Well, as you may know by now, the United Auto Workers union did an absolutely superb job negotiating a new contact with FCA, Fiat Chrysler.

Everybody in the industry was impressed by the result, with one exception, the workers themselves, who voted the contract down by more than a two to one margin.

Courser website

Fourteen candidates to fill an open Michigan House seat are scheduled to appear at a debate Friday evening in Lapeer County, including the man who resigned the seat.

Todd Courser stepped down near the end of a marathon session as House members debated expelling him over allegations he used his office to cover up a romantic affair with another state lawmaker. An hour later, the House voted to expel State Rep. Cindy Gamrat, R-Plainwell, with whom Courser had a romantic relationship.

This photo of Microcystis, a kind of cyanobacteria, was taken in Lake Erie in late July of this year.
Rebecca Williams / Michigan Radio

Michigan officials are taking a victory lap in their efforts to reduce the amount of phosphorus flowing from state farms and other sources into Lake Erie. 

Phosphorus helps those slimy, bright green blooms of toxic cyanobacteria grow.

The winning numbers were sold in Michigan.
Powerball / screen grab

The winning ticket to a $310.5 million Powerball jackpot was sold in a small town in southwestern Michigan.

Michigan Lottery officials are urging the winner to step forward. The jackpot can be paid over 30 years or the winner can choose a lump sum of about $197 million before taxes.

micropterus_dolomieu / Wikimedia commons

A state lawmaker wants to make sure commercial fish farms will never be allowed to operate in portions of the Great Lakes controlled by Michigan.

State Senator Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, says commercial fish farming could create a huge problem with waste.

“This waste could create algae blooms, all sorts of problems on the shore, as well as out on the lake,” he says.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Fewer and fewer people are paying their water bills in Flint. 

Flint’s water bill collections are down by $1.75 million since a judge issued an injunction in August rolling back rates and ordering an end to disconnections.


Governor Rick Snyder acknowledges the decision to switch the city of Flint’s water system was not vetted the way it should have been. The city faces a crisis now that the water going to homes is contaminated by lead.

“In terms of a mistake, I would say is there are probably things that were not as fully understood as when that switch was made,” he said.

Frank Kelley
Detroit Free Press

Frank Kelley is a man of the people and a true public servant.

He became both the youngest and oldest Attorney General in Michigan's history, serving for 37 years. He worked with seven presidents and five Michigan governors, acted to touch the lives of everyone in our state, and bowed out gracefully without a whiff of scandal or disrepute in all that time in office.

His story is told in the new book The People’s Lawyer: The Life and Times of Frank J. Kelley, the Nation’s Longest-Serving Attorney General.

Drinking on Game Day at MSU
Simon Schuster / Bridge Magazine

It's a rite of passage on college campuses: Game Day.

Yes, thousands pour onto campus for a football game, but there’s also the pre-game and post-game celebrations.

The centerpiece of both: alcohol – lots and lots of alcohol.

Bridge Magazine explored on-campus drinking in a series of reports centering on Saturday, Sept. 12.

Adam Gerard / Flickr Creative Commons -

Three of the top five most-violent cities in America are in Michigan, according to new FBI statistics released Monday.

HMN Photography

A year ago, Ypsilanti singer-songwriter Chris DuPont found himself coping with depression and questioning his faith.

DuPont spoke with Michigan Radio's Mercedes Mejia about his renewed outlook on life and the stories that inspired his new album, Outlier.

DuPont is also the music director at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Ypsilanti. 

Holding it Together

Joan Larsen will replace Mary Beth Kelly on the Michigan Supreme Court.
University of Michigan Law School / screen grab from YouTube video

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder appointed Joan Larsen to the Michigan Supreme Court today.

Larsen will replace outgoing state Supreme Court justice Mary Beth Kelly who will leave the court tomorrow (Oct. 1) to return to private practice.

Larsen is a faculty member at the University of Michigan Law School and special counsel to the dean for student and graduate activities.

Flickr user Morgin (with modifications made by Michigan Radio) / Flickr via Creative Commons

When we asked you to nominate the best Michigan apples on social media, one thing was clear: it's probably not the Red Delicious

When I was young I was proud that I didn’t live in Dearborn, whose mayor-for-life, Orville Hubbard, was a bizarre brawling clown who wore outlandish bow ties.

Hugely fat, he would do anything for publicity. Pose with a boa constrictor, wear a giant paper bag, or straddle Michigan Avenue looking like a bargain-basement Mussolini, you name it.