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steve carmody / Michigan Radio

It took two weeks, but the Lansing city council finally has a president.

The deeply divided city council ended its deadlock last night, when it picked Councilwoman Patricia Spitzley to fill its vacant president’s chair.

The new council president is hopeful the eight-member board can now move forward after the sometimes-personal debate.

Photo courtesy of Michigan's Attorney General office / michigan.gov

A federal judge has turned down Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette’s request to file a brief supporting a group of pastors suing the state over the Flint water crisis. He says it’s Schuette’s job to represent the state in the case.

Schuette's office is defending the state and Governor Rick Snyder in the lawsuit. Schuette also tried to file a separate argument backing the group suing the state. Judge David Lawson rejected the request, saying Schuette can’t be on both sides of the case – that crosses an ethical line that undermines his client’s position.

Kevin Rosseel / morguefile

Michigan senators are making a big push for prison and parole reform this year.

Over 20 of the 52 bills introduced during session last week were about criminal justice changes.

Several of the bills focus on probation and parole violations. They would change penalties for probationers that commit technical probation violation and discontinue services to parole absconders.

Republican Senator Rick Jones is the main sponsor of a couple of the bills and a former sheriff. He said they have been working on the package for a while.

Courtesy of Aaron Robertson

President Bill Clinton, astronomer Edwin Hubble, singer and actor Kris Kristofferson, ABC journalist and former White House spokesman George Stephanopoulos, Senator Cory Booker and former Senator and basketball Hall-of-Famer Bill Bradley.

That's just a shortlist of people who've won the Rhodes Scholarship, one of the most prestigious scholarships. 

Now, you can add Aaron Robertson to that list. 

Robertson was born in Detroit and currently calls Redford Township home. The Princeton undergrad is one of just 32 Americans awarded a 2017 Rhodes scholarship, and he joined Stateside to talk about it.

Courtesy of Lena Epstein

 

 

Lena Epstein, a resident of Bloomfield Hills and former co-chair of Trump's Michigan Campaign, had an "up-close and personal seat" for the historic inauguration of President Donald J. Trump.

She says she and her husband had tears in their eyes as they watched the peaceful exchange of power amidst the "very patriotic" and "supportive" crowd.

 

Trump’s address moved her, she says, especially when he mentioned Michigan, one of "the states that have felt forgotten for so long."

Tashmica Torok (left) was one of the many women from Michigan that made the trip to the Women's March on Washington.
Courtesy of Tashmica Torok

Washington D.C. officials say half a million people marched in the nation’s capitol on Saturday. Another one million people joined rallies around the country, according to estimates; plus big crowds around the world, from London to Berlin, Tokyo to Antarctica.

Tashmica Torok of Lansing was one of the Michiganders who made the trip to Washington. Torok is executive director of the Firecracker Foundation, a group that works with child survivors of sexual trauma, and she joined Stateside to talk about her experience and her motivation for going.

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

The Next Idea

 

What if governments just gave money to people?

 

That’s the big question that Thomas Weisskopf​, professor emeritus of economics at the University of Michigan, is asking. Since automation is replacing human-powered labor in fields like manufacturing, robust employment may be a thing of the past. A permanent surplus of labor has massive consequences, driving down wages and even contributing to social unrest. According to Weisskopf, such a dramatic problem demands a dramatic solution.

Agricultural groups in Michigan say they can't rely on the support of domestic markets alone, and want President Trump to preserve free trade.
U.S. Department of Agriculture / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

One of Donald Trump's first actions as president was to cancel any U.S. involvement in the Trans-Pacific Partnership today. The big criticism around TPP? That it would lead to more job losses, according to its opponents.

But agricultural groups in Michigan say trade deals like the TPP (and NAFTA) are actually good for farmers. When foreign markets are making money, they can buy more of our Michigan and American-made food, the thinking gos. 

Out of the 38 under-performing schools that could be closed in Michigan, 25 of them are located in Metro Detroit.
Motown31 / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

On Friday, Michiganders learned that state officials are preparing to shut down as many as 38 under-performing schools in Michigan. Twenty-five of those schools are in Detroit.

What, if anything, could keep the School Reform Office from closing the schools? And how should we, as a state, deal with schools that are turning out unprepared students?

Nobody knows exactly what our new president will do, or will be able to do. He hasn’t always been consistent, and much of what he wants would have to get through Congress.

But one of the things he has been fairly consistent about is immigration. He is still promising to build a wall, and has said he wants to force every undocumented person to leave.

Nothing goes better with a Sunday morning than a cup of coffee and a newspaper. Fortunately, in Michigan, we've got a pretty long list of papers to choose from.

In Battle Creek, we've got the Enquirer. In Lansing, it's the State Journal. Muskegon has the Chronicle, and Detroit has both the Free Press and the News. 

With so many different mastheads out there, we couldn't help but wonder where some of these papers get their names.


Electronic cigarette
www.ecigclick.co.uk / creative commons http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Minors in Michigan wouldn't be able to buy or possess electronic cigarettes or nicotine cartridges under a bill recently introduced in the state Senate.

The legislation would add vapor products and alternative nicotine products to the Youth Tobacco Act.

Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, says it would close a loophole that lets minors purchase e-cigarettes in Michigan.

Women's march draws thousands to Lansing, Ann Arbor

Jan 21, 2017
Thousands gathered to advocate for womens rights and protest President Donald Trump at the state capitol saturday
Tyler Scott

Holding a sign that read “First protest since Vietnam”, protestor Becky Melarba of Charlotte, Michigan said she decided to join the protest at the steps of the state capitol in Lansing because she fears that in coming years, progress made in the realm of women’s rights could be lost.

Malerba said she hopes the protest sent a message for politicians to protect women’s rights and women’s access to healthcare in particular.

A Cuban worker fumigates an apartment in Havana
Tracy Samilton / Michigan Radio

State health officials are warning Michiganders headed south on vacation this winter to be aware that Zika is still a major health threat.

The mosquito-borne virus can cause serious birth defects.  The Centers for Disease Control reports people have been infected in Florida, Texas, and Puerto Rico, as well as the Caribbean and South America.

Dr. Eden Wells is Michigan’s chief medical executive. She’s concerned travelers may be less worried because Zika has not been in the news very much lately.

Cheyna Roth / MPRN

From Detroit to Kalamazoo, thousands of people have turned out at rallies for women's rights, social causes and peace.   The marches were in response to the inauguration of President Donald Trump.

An estimated 7,000 men, women, and children were at the State Capitol Saturday for the Women’s March on Lansing. It was a sister rally to the Women’s March in Washington D.C.

A kitchen sink in Flint with a point-of-use water filter.
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

In Flint, experts are warning that one potential solution to the city’s lead-tainted tap water has some serious potential downsides.

Whole house filters cleanse water of impurities and chemicals. Groups have been promoting their use in Flint to screen out lead. A company gave a presentation to the city council just a few days ago.

But experts say the filters have a downside.

Dr. Mona Hanna Attisha helped raised the alarm about lead in Flint’s tap water. She says ‘whole-house’ filters don’t screen out lead that leaches from pipes and filters inside the home.

michigan.gov

Gov. Rick Snyder delivered his seventh State of the State address on Tuesday. This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about why the speech isn't considered to be one of Snyder's finest.

They also discuss the governor's push to save Medicaid expansion, Attorney General's Bill Schuette's stance on a Flint water crisis lawsuit, and education secretary nominee Besty DeVos' hearing on Capitol Hill.

flickr.com

The city of Detroit is signing onto a federal lawsuit that claims many Detroit students are being denied a fundamental “right to read.”

Activists and pro bono legal groups filed the suit last September, with support from groups like the American Federation of Teachers.

But now the city of Detroit is also jumping on board. City lawyers filed an amicus brief this week.

Mark Savage / Entergy Corporation

A state board wants more information on how Consumers Energy will make up for the nearly 800 megawatts of power that will be lost after the Palisades Nuclear Plant’s planned shut down in 2018.

In documents filed this month, Consumers said it plans to make up for the lost nuclear power with an expanded wind farm in Michigan’s Thumb region, increased energy efficiency, and by purchasing power from within the regional electric grid.

bottom of chalkboard, with an eraser and chalk sitting on the ledge
user alkruse24 / Flickr

The Michigan Department of Education released the state’s School Score Cards and the “Top to Bottom” list today. The Top to Bottom list is used by the School Reform Office to identify low-performing schools.

The “Priority List” is made up of the lowest-performing five percent of schools in the state, and schools that were previously in the five percent and haven’t improved enough to get off the list.  Schools on the list for three years could be subject to closure.

Great Lakes Water Authority COO Cheryl Porter explains what cause water to have bad smell and taste.
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Metro Detroit's water authority is assuring people the water is safe to drink after some downriver Detroit-area residents noticed their drinking water tasted or smelled bad.

Despite the odd smell, taste, and in some cases discoloration of the water, the Great Lakes Water Authority has not found any troubling contaminants in the water samples it has tested.

Cheryl Porter, GLWA’s Chief Operating Officer, doesn't know exactly what caused the smell and taste, but said the complaints started after a river basin's biannual cleaning began.

Warren Mayor Jim Fouts says the leaked tapes are fake, and he won't step down
Jim Fouts Facebook page

Tuesday, members of the Warren city council will meet for the first time since more audio tapes allegedly containing the voice of Mayor Jim Fouts were leaked.  

The tapes purportedly show Fouts making disparaging comments about African-Americans and women.

Fouts says the tapes are fake. The source of the tapes is unknown.

Warren city council secretary Robert Boccomino says council members will discuss the tapes and try to uncover more information about their source and when they were recorded.

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

The president rightly credited with saving Detroit’s auto industry from itself is gone. Barack Obama’s $80 billion-dollar decision remains controversial but the outcome is much less so.

In the space of eight years, the automakers once teetering on the edge of collapse look nothing like the two creaking hulks that endured bankruptcy. The third, Ford Motor, barely avoided a similar fate.

Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

Several students worked diligently on signs and hats to carry and wear in Saturday's Women's March on Lansing. It's a sister march to a larger event happening in Washington, D.C.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Two more deer have tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease in Michigan.

The two female deer are from a farm in Mecosta County, north of Grand Rapids. The farm has been quarantined and other deer are being tested for CWD. 

State wildlife officials are investigating to see if the source of the infection can be determined.

CWD can be transmitted directly from one animal to another, or indirectly through the environment. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

State officials are looking at ways to improve their response to Flint’s water crisis, almost three years after the disastrous decision to pump water from the Flint River. 

As the city of Flint continues to rip out thousands of old lead and galvanized pipes connecting homes and businesses to city water mains, state officials expect they will see spikes in lead levels in the water.

While the Japanese use our calendar for practical purposes, they officially start a new era every time an emperor takes office. This is, for example, Heisei 29 in Japan, not 2017.

We do a version of the same thing. We talk of the “Clinton years,” or the “Bush years,” and even link cultural events to the reigns of our presidents, none of which last more than eight years. We talk about Reagan-era fashions, for example.

Donald J. Trump takes the Oath of Office and becomes the nation's 45th President.
White House

Donald Trump became the nation's 45th President at noon on January 20, 2017. 

We provided live annotations and analysis of Trump's speech. NPR reporters, editors, and producers transcribed his remarks in real time and provided footnotes with analysis, context, and fact-checks.

You can watch the inauguration here, or below:

JOHN AUCHTER / AUCHTOON.COM

One of the big downsides to January in Michigan is the annual State of the State address. We have not been blessed with governors who are accomplished orators, at least not during the time that I've been editorial cartooning.

John Engler was so bad it was actually part of his charm. (That may be the only published instance where you will see "charm" and "John Engler" in the same sentence.)

He was an effective behind-the-scenes guy who was clearly uncomfortable speechifying. You could almost see the thought balloon above his head as he talked

The U.S. Capitol at 6:31 a.m. ET this morning.
Steve Inskeep / NPR

The country inaugurated a new president on Friday, January 20, 2017

Donald J. Trump became the 45th U.S. President after he took the Oath of Office at noon eastern time on the steps of the U.S. Capitol.

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