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Book Store with a "store closing" banner
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

Amazon is planning to build its second distribution center in Romulus, partly with funds from a five million dollar state grant. The Michigan Strategic Fund board approved the grant Tuesday. 

Amazon had considered other locations in the Midwest and Canada as potential development sites, according to Josh Hundt, Vice President of Business Development Projects at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, which oversees the Strategic Fund Board. The Michigan Business Development Program is the pot of money allocated by the state legislature where the funds will come from. 

Domestic abuse survivor Nicole Beverly is fighting to keep her ex-husband Kevin Beverly in prison as his parole date is approaching.
Stateside Staff / Michigan Radio

Nicole Beverly was abused for years by her ex-husband Kevin Beverly.

He's now serving time for an aggravated stalking conviction. But he is scheduled to be released from the Newberry Correctional Facility Aug. 24.

Since her ex-husband went to prison, Nicole has heard that he is threatening to kill her and their two teenage sons. And he's allegedly tried to hire other inmates to kill her.

With Kevin Beverly's parole date fast approaching, Nicole believes she must act quickly to save herself and her family.

Nicole Beverly joined Stateside today.

The Vogue Theater in Manistee, MI was restored after a Rural Development Office feasibility test was conducted.
PunkToad / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCLO

Agencies across the country are waiting and wondering if their programs will be on the federal government's chopping block this year. They're hoping a groundswell of public support will help convince Congress to spare their funding.

One of the threatened programs is the USDA's Rural Development Office. It provides grants to businesses that are supporting rural communities and residents.  

According to Director of the Alliance for Economic Success Tim Ervin, small grants can make a big difference. Projects the Rural Development Office funds range from revitalizing movie theaters to launching regional recycling programs to creating a senior center.

A scene from Shakespeare's "The Taming of the Shrew," performed by Burnsville High School Theatre Guild.
Mraz Center for the Performing Arts / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

In another edition of Theater Talk on StatesideDavid Kiley of Encore Michigan joined the show to discuss what's happening in the community this summer with professional theater productions.

He began by discussing the Michigan Shakespeare Festival. This year, the festival is offering Julius Caesar, among others.

J Curnow / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

It's been 35 years this month since the murder of a young Chinese American man named Vincent Chin, who was beaten to death by two white men in Detroit.

His death, and the lenient sentences the killers received, sparked an Asian-American activist movement with protests in cities across the U.S.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Thousands of delinquent Flint water customers are once again at risk of losing their homes.

Today, a state oversight board struck down a moratorium on putting unpaid water bills on county tax rolls.

EAA
Sarah Cwiek/Michigan Radio

The state's experiment in running a school district ends this week: the Education Achievement Authority will cease to exist as of Friday.

Its 15 schools will be absorbed back into the Detroit Public Schools Community District. So, did anything actually work under the EAA?

Nir Saar is the principal of the Mumford Academy in Northwest Detroit.
Courtesy of Nir Saar

Michigan's experiment in running a school district ends this week.

The Education Achievement Authority (EAA) will cease to exist as of Friday. Its 15 schools will be absorbed back into the Detroit Public Schools Community District.

Nir Saar, the principal of the Mumford Academy in Northwest Detroit, joined Stateside to look back at the EAA's legacy and what we can learn from it.

A program booklet from the 2017 R&B Hall of Fame induction ceremony
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Detroiters may get yet another museum honoring the city's music legends: the founder of the Rhythm And Blues Hall of Fame wants to build a museum in the Motor City.

On Tuesday, LaMont Robinson, the Hall's founder, told city council members he's identified a city-owned building that could become the museum: it's a vacant nursing home on West Grand Boulevard,  less than a mile from the Motown museum. 

“We’re looking at anywhere from $3-$5 million [in costs,] so we’ve already started fundraising," he said. "So we just need the blessings of the city."

Pixabay / Creative Commons

The Michigan Department of Corrections has revised its policy on transition-related care for transgender inmates. Before the change, inmates were only allowed to receive hormone therapy or gender-affirming surgery if this care was already scheduled before the person was incarcerated. Now, trans inmates can start this care in prison.

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

A non-profit in Grand Rapids says it’s reached an agreement to buy 177 homes to preserve affordable housing in the region.
The Inner City Christian Federation, or ICCF, plans to buy the homes from a Chicago-based investment company, known as RDG. Michigan Radio first reported in April that RDG had quietly become the single largest investor in single family homes in Grand Rapids, with more than 140 properties in the city alone.

ICCF says its purchase agreement is for 177 homes in Grand Rapids, Wyoming and Eaton Rapids, near Lansing. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Defense attorneys oppose a move by prosecutors to consolidate Flint water crisis criminal cases.

Michigan's Chief Medical Executive, Dr. Eden Wells, is charged with “obstruction of justice” and “lying to an officer” in connection with a Legionnaires' Disease outbreak during Flint’s tap water crisis.  She made a brief appearance in court today in Flint.   

During the hearing, prosecutors raised the potential of consolidating all the ongoing criminal cases in the Flint water probe into one court. Currently, the 13 cases are spread among several different judges in 67th district court. 

needle
mconnors / morguefile.com

A pharmacy co-owner in Massachusetts was sentenced to nine years in prison Monday for his role in a nationwide fungal meningitis outbreak that killed 76 people.

Barry Cadden was acquitted of second-degree murder charges under federal racketeering law, but was convicted of conspiracy and fraud charges.

“I like to think of myself as a problem solver,” Macomb County Public Works commissioner Candice Miller told me.

She’s needed to be. The week before she took office came the collapse of the sewer line in Fraser, the now-infamous giant sinkhole, what she calls “probably the biggest infrastructure emergency in the state of Michigan, at least at this time, perhaps ever.”

Dredging the Flint River.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A century-old legacy of Flint’s industrial past is the focus of a major cleanup project this summer.

The Flint River is the main artery flowing through Flint’s industrial heart. For decades, from the late 1800’s and into the 1920’s, a gasification plant located along the river turned coal into much-needed natural gas.

A courtroom
Bill Ledbetter / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

A federal judge in Detroit has ordered the U.S. not to deport any Iraqi nationals for at least the next two weeks. U.S. District Court Judge Mark Goldsmith’s ruling Monday night expanded a temporary restraining order he issued last week.

That order applied only to Iraqi immigrants that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement rounded up in the Detroit area this month.

Doctor Jim Hines climbs aboard his campaign bus with a box of petition signatures to be dropped off with state elections officials.
Rick Pluta / Michigan Radio

A doctor from Saginaw Township is the first candidate for governor to file petition signatures to appear on the ballot next year.

Doctor Jim Hines filed more than 22,000 signatures to appear on the August 2018 Republican primary ballot. It takes 15,000 signatures to qualify. The petitions must still be checked and certified by elections officials.

Hines says he’s a fan of President Trump and Governor Rick Snyder, who were also political novices when they first ran for their jobs.

Troy Holden / flickr http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

A new state medical marijuana licensing board met for the first time Monday.

The meeting was mainly for the board to hear public comment about how the new medical marijuana program should operate. It won’t start issuing licenses until next year.

John Kroneck came to the meeting to represent Michigan Prevention Association. That group is concerned about potential consequences of expanding the medical marijuana system.

little girl walking away from camera
unsplash

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is the cultural, and sometimes religious, practice of cutting young girls – often with the goal of restricting their ability to enjoy sex later in life.

The practice became a federal crime in 1996, but now for the first time, the government is prosecuting an alleged case of FGM.

The investigation is focused on a clinic in metro Detroit. Last week, prosecutors released a new indictment. A total of six adults are now facing charges. They're all members of a small Indian Muslim sect. Authorities say they have identified six victims, four girls from Michigan and two from Minnesota. The charges include "conspiracy to commit female genital mutilation." 

A sign that says "City of Flint Municipal Center"
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint city council members say they need more information before they can approve the agreement with the Great Lakes Water Authority. The 30-year deal is part of a broader agreement addressing Flint's water crisis.     The council did approve a three month extension of the current contract instead.  

asian carp on bucket
COURTESY OF ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES

At the same time the Trump Administration is pushing to slash funding for the Great Lakes, a commercial fisherman has discovered a live Asian carp just nine miles from Lake Michigan.

Duane Chapman is a research fish biologist who leads Asian carp research for the U.S Geological Survey. He told Stateside how the Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee is formulating its next steps.

veterans on bikes
Courtesy of Project Peace Peddlers

They served and protected the United States while in the military. Now, as veterans, they’re volunteering to serve and protect Detroit — and they're doing it on bicycles.

Project Peace Peddlers brings together all ages of veterans, from those who served in Vietnam to those who've just returned from Afghanistan. 

State Rep. Joe Haveman and Andy Ribbens, President of Premier Finishing in Grand Rapids, look over some of the products created by prisoners in the machines shop at the Richard Handlon Correctional Facility.
mihousegop / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The Next Idea

Most offenders in Michigan’s prisons will someday be released. Figuring out what to do next is difficult. Some may lack skills, and employers are wary of hiring people who have done time.

At Ionia's Handlon Correctional Facility, they're addressing this problem with a program called Trading Places. Inmates use their time inside to prepare for trade apprenticeships on the outside.

white building with columns and yellow tree in front
VasenkaPhotography / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Leaders from some of the world’s most prestigious universities gathered for a meeting of the minds today at the University of Michigan.

They are taking part in the UM President's Bicentennial Colloquium, which includes a session titled “The Evolving Bargain between Research Universities and Society.”

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Gov. Rick Snyder is concerned about what a Republican plan to replace the Affordable Care Act will mean for tens of thousands of Michiganders on Medicaid.

Today, U.S. Senate Republicans issued a revised version of their health care bill. The changes include a penalty for people who let their insurance lapse. 

Governor Rick Snyder was overseas last week as his top legislative priority tanked in the state House. And now he has to pick up the pieces.

'Good jobs'

The state’s economic developers have big dreams of landing big employers offering thousands of workers big paychecks. So, they hatched this idea of letting big businesses keep the state income taxes paid by their employees in exchange for creating jobs in Michigan. The legislation is known as “Good Jobs for Michigan.”

Gov. Rick Snyder exits a Michigan State Police helicopter after a tour of flooded parts of Isabella and Midland counties.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Gov. Snyder says it’s important for Michiganders to “rally together” in the wake of flooding in Isabella and Midland counties.

More than seven inches of rain Thursday caused rivers to burst from their banks, inundate neighborhoods and wash out roads.

This morning, the governor spent time inspecting the flood damage on the ground and from the air. Snyder saw many parts of the region are still underwater.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Judith Pruitt’s water bill is $7,545.29.

That’s after the Flint retiree withdrew nearly $900 out of her savings account a few weeks ago to pay the city, or else her water would’ve been shut off, she said.

New data analyzed by Michigan Radio show Pruitt is not alone.

Matty Moroun, the billionaire owner of the Ambassador Bridge across the Detroit River, turned 90 earlier this month. I don’t know how he celebrated, but I do know something happened last week that may well have ruined his birthday.

Michigan Radio was recognized this past weekend with two awards from the Public Radio News Directors Incorporated (PRNDI). The station received a First Place award in the Large Newsroom-Nationally Edited Continuing Coverage category for the station’s on-going reporting about the Flint water crisis. Michigan Radio was among the first news organizations to report about contaminated drinking water in Flint and has been bringing this story to listeners across the state and the nation from the very beginning.

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