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Veterans courts
12:26 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

Veterans courts expanding rapidly in Michigan

A Marine veteran places his hand over his heart as a sign of respect during a ceremony Feb. 19, 2010 at the Marine Corps League Detachment 246 meeting hall in honor of the Marines who fought in the Feb 19 - March 26, 1945 battle of Iwo Jima.
Credit Official Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Randall A. Clinton

There are now 17 counties in Michigan that offer special courts for veterans, to try to steer them towards treatment, instead of incarceration.

Monroe County began its new Veterans Court this month.

Melody Powers is a veterans outreach justice coordinator with the VA Health System in Ann Arbor.  She says many veterans who get in trouble with the law have untreated alcoholism or post-traumatic stress disorder.  But it's often very difficult for them to ask for help.

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Stateside
12:23 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

Lovers of jazz see Detroit as the New Orleans of the north

A Detroit Jazz Festival float.
Credit Maia C / Flickr

The 35th annual Detroit Jazz Festival is this Labor Day weekend. It is the largest free jazz festival in the world, and it will be held in downtown Detroit at Campus Martius and Hart Plaza.

Chirs Collins, the artistic director, and Jim Gallert, jazz broadcaster, writer and researcher, joined Stateside today to talk about the history of this festival and of jazz in Detroit.

“The Detroit Jazz Festival celebrates not only the greater jazz landscape, but, in particular, this amazing legacy of the city of Detroit,” Collins said.

Detroit came into the jazz scene in the early 1920s. Gallert said Detroit was an important feeder city. A lot of Detroit bands set the style for bands in New York.

“Many of us think of Detroit as the New Orleans of the north,” Gallert said.

The Detroit Jazz Festival is a year round effort to spread the gospel of jazz and support jazz artists. They work with students in Detroit Public Schools in what is called the "Jazz Infusion" where professional jazz artists work with the students to teach jazz, form bands, and put on shows.

The Detroit Jazz Festival runs this Labor Day weekend in downtown Detroit. You can get schedules, artists and all the information at their website.

*Listen to the full interview with Chris Collins and Jim Gallert on Stateside at 3:00 pm. Audio for this story will be added by 4:30 pm. 

Stateside
12:15 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

Grand Marais is home to the Pickle Barrel House Museum

The Pickle Barrel House in 2008
Credit Wikimedia Commons

Michigan boasts a fine array of museums. It seems there's something for everybody: 

  • The Henry Ford in Dearborn
  • The Gerald R Ford Museum in Grand Rapids
  • The Sloan Museum in Flint
  • The Great Lakes Children's Museum in Traverse City

And how about "The Pickle Barrel House Museum" in Grand Marais?

Pat Munger, president of the Grand Marais Historical Society, said the museum was originally built for William Donahey, a cartoonist and author of children’s books from 1914 to 1972.

His cartoons were about people who were about two inches tall and lived in the woods around Grand Marais.

For a promotional campaign for Monarch Food’s Pickles, Donahey drew a tiny family that lived in a pickle. The pickles were put in little pickle barrels.

One of the owners of Monarch Foods, named Mr. Murdock, was friends with Donahey and built him a pickle barrel house as a surprise to Donahey’s wife.

That house now serves as a museum.

*Listen to the full interview with Pat Munger on Stateside at 3:00 pm. Audio for this story will be added by 4:30 pm. 

Politics & Government
11:43 am
Wed August 27, 2014

Pro and anti-wolf hunting groups square off at state Capitol

Hunters wearing orange pass through a crowd of blue-shirted wolf hunt opponents outside the state Capitol in Lansing.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

People for and against a wolf hunt in Michigan are at the state Capitol today.

Orange-wearing hunters are mixing with people waving signs calling for protecting Michigan’s wolves.

The state House is poised to vote on the Scientific Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act. The act would open the door once again to wolf hunting. The state Senate has already voted in favor of the act.  

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Opinion
11:01 am
Wed August 27, 2014

What do we need in politics today? Adults who treat us like adults

Normally journalists never say how they vote, but I am about to violate that rule. Eight years ago, I voted to re-elect Michigan Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land. I thought she was doing a good job; I still think she was less partisan and more practical than others who have held that post.

Yet I have a hard time recognizing that official in the Terri Lynn Land now running for the U.S. Senate. And yesterday, she unveiled an idea that may be one of the worst I’ve ever heard. If you ever leave your house, you know many Michigan roads are in bad shape. Gov. Rick Snyder does.

He’s been trying to get lawmakers to come up with $1.2 billion a year in new money to restore our crumbling roads and bridges. Actually, experts with the Michigan Department of Transportation, now say more like $2 billion a year is needed. The governor suggested getting this from a combination of increased registration fees and raising the state gas tax.

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Environment & Science
10:45 am
Wed August 27, 2014

Residents of Pelee Island in Lake Erie warned not to drink or bathe in their water

A lighthouse on Pelee Island in Lake Erie.
Credit Richard Hsu / Flickr

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) - Residents of a small Canadian island are being warned not to drink their well water because of potentially toxic bacteria in Lake Erie.

Cyanobacteria blooms causing the warning are the same stuff that contaminated the drinking water of about 400,000 people in the Toledo area earlier this month.

Some 300 people who live on Canada's Pelee Island year-round are also being told not to bathe or cook with water from their private wells that draw water from the lake.

The warning from the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit in Ontario also says residents and visitors to the island shouldn't swim in the lake.

The island about 50 miles east of Toledo is situated along the U.S.-Canadian border in Lake Erie.

This Week in Michigan Politics
10:02 am
Wed August 27, 2014

Lessenberry explains how the November election is getting in the way of issues in Michigan

Credit World Resources Institute

This Week in Michigan Politics, Emily Fox and Jack Lessenberry discuss U.S. Senate Terry Lynn Land's plan to fix Michigan's roads, if residents can have an impact on oil drilling and fracking in their communities, and how Michigan won't be a a dumping ground for other states' radioactive waste.

Week in Michigan Politics interview for 8/27/14

Education
6:00 am
Wed August 27, 2014

After public backlash, Detroit Public Schools changes budget cut tactics

DPS emergency manager Jack Martin
Credit Detroit Public Schools

After a public outcry, the Detroit Public Schools is walking back plans to cut teacher pay and boost class sizes.

The district is battling a $127 million deficit, and the Michigan Department of Education approved its revised deficit elimination plan last week.

It called for cutting teachers’ pay by 10% (on top of another 10% pay cut imposed in 2011), and putting up to 43 students in some classrooms.

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Politics & Government
8:05 pm
Tue August 26, 2014

Battle Creek military base may host U.S. missile base

People at last night’s public expressed some concern about making Battle Creek a military target. But more were interested in the potential jobs the missile complex may deliver.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A decade from now, Battle Creek could be a key component of the nation’s missile defense program. 

Fort Custer is one of several sites in the eastern U.S. being reviewed for an expansion of a missile interceptor system.

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Law
6:09 pm
Tue August 26, 2014

Education groups join calls for LGBT rights in Michigan

Credit user Marlith / Flickr

The list of groups calling on state lawmakers to pass protections for LGBT people is growing. Organizations representing Michigan college, university, and school officials now say they support the measure.

They join more than 50 business and non-profit groups urging lawmakers to pass the legislation, which the coalition expects to be introduced next month.

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Stateside
5:12 pm
Tue August 26, 2014

The cold winter helped bring in a big apple crop in Michigan

Credit dailyinvention / Creative Commons

While we were begging for winter to end, the Michigan Apple Committee was happy for the cold temperatures.

As a result, the 2014 Michigan apple crop is expected to be 28.74 million bushels. That’s about 435 million apple pies.

Diane Smith, executive Director of the Michigan Apple Committee, said that apple trees like the cold winter. The past lengthy winter allowed for the trees to stay dormant, and not wake too early before the spring.

“The apples look beautiful, there aren't any issues, and everything’s coming along the right way,” Said Smith.

*Listen to the full interview with Diane Smith above. 

Stateside
5:12 pm
Tue August 26, 2014

36% of Americans don't have enough money saved for retirement

Credit American Advisors Group / Flickr

A recent survey by Bankrate.com found this stat.

Detroit News personal finance writer Brian O’Connor said this number is not that surprising when looking at what has happened in the last several years.

“A lot of people wound up having to raid their retirements. A lot of people got nervous and took their money out of retirement accounts when the stock market fell,” O’Connor said.

O’Connor added that there are people living paycheck to paycheck with wages not keeping pace with inflation. And although jobs are coming back to Michigan, they are not paying what they used to.

Sixty-nine percent of younger Americans, between ages 18 and 29 don’t have anything saved. That’s understandable as they have student loans, are trying set up households, and are getting businesses launched.

However, the 14% of people aged 65 and older with no savings are in a tight spot. These people may have had a financial crisis – a divorce, bankruptcy, medical issues, etc.

“It’s going to be a serious, serious problem,” O’Connor said.

O’Connor said one of the reasons that people aren’t saving is that there are relying on their pensions. But as we have seen in the Detroit bankruptcy, pensions are not always guaranteed.

“When it comes to retirement security, we are in a situation that is just like health care,” he said.

O’Connor said we wound up with this employer based system and it’s become too easy to lose it all.

O’Connor said it’s never too early to start saving, and opening a 401k plan can be useful.

*Listen to the full interview with Brian O’Connor above. More on his latest book, "The $1,000 Challenge: How One Family Slashed Its Budget Without Moving Under a Bridge or Living on Government Cheese," can be found here

Stateside
5:11 pm
Tue August 26, 2014

11 Michigan counties failed to report crimes commited by concealed weapon permit holders

Credit Augustas Didzgalvis / Wikimedia Commons

Michigan law requires each county to file an annual report spelling out crimes committed by concealed handgun holders.

These reports were ordered by lawmakers at the same time they were overhauling Michigan's concealed handgun law to make it easier to obtain permits.

The reports were supposed to make it easier to take away the permits of any concealed gun holder who broke the law.

However, some counties are not filing the mandated reports.

John Barnes dug into this story for MLive. He found that last year, 11 counties broke this law.

Barnes says the main reason given for not filing the reports is that the law was an "unfunded mandate."

From 2011 to 2013, there has been an estimated 50% increase in people who have concealed gun permits. One in 16 adults have the permit, but that does not meant that they are all carrying a gun.

Barnes said there is not a penalty for counties who do not comply.

“What you see are some extreme examples of people who commit heinous crimes, who continue to carry gun permits, even though they are in prison,” Barnes said.

*Listen to the full interview above. 

Stateside
5:10 pm
Tue August 26, 2014

Wolf hunt, LGBT rights, and IBM ruling all await Michigan lawmakers tomorrow

Does this wolf look any different to you? It's an Eastern Wolf; a separate species from the Gray Wolf. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials say they're working to set the record straight on where these wolves historically ranged in the U.S.
Christian Jansky wikimedia commons

  Lawmakers in the state House are back for a special summer session day tomorrow. It’s just one day and it’s the last session day before the Legislature returns from its summer break in September.

MLive’s Lansing reporter Jonathon Oosting joined Stateside today to talk about what will be covered in the session.

First: Wolf hunting.

Oosting said the Senate initiated legislation would enact the third wolf hunting law in as many years. Two of those have already been suspended by anti-wolf-hunting groups. This third law would render those two moot. If the House approves this legislation tomorrow, wolf hunting will continue to be allowed in Michigan regardless of what voters say in November.

Second: Building protection for LGBT rights.

Oosting said legislation still needs to be introduced. Lawmakers have been debating the issue behind the scenes for months. There is a possibility legislation would appear tomorrow, but we're more likely to see it in September. Republicans seem to be willing to have the discussion, but are still sympathetic to arguments regarding religious freedom.

Third: IBM ruling

It is a Supreme Court ruling dealing with tax liability in the state. Oosting said the Supreme Court found that the state left a few loopholes in place when it eliminated the Michigan business tax. As a result, IBM is owed what could be $1 billion by next year.

*Listen to the full interview with Jonathon Oosting above. 

Stateside
5:09 pm
Tue August 26, 2014

Challenge accepted: Cross Lake Michigan on a paddle board

Credit user: The.Rohit / Flickr

If you've spent any time in Michigan, chances are strong that you've enjoyed the beauty of the Lake Michigan.

We've talked to scuba divers, snorkelers, even surfers who love Lake Michigan. Well, how about this: crossing Lake Michigan on stand-up paddleboards.

That's what Andrew Pritchard and four of his friends are planning to do.

Pritchard said the idea started about a year ago. He and his friends decided it would be a fun challenge a great way to raise money. They hope to raise $10,000 for the Alliance for the Great Lakes.

The trip would be 58 miles, starting in Algoma, Wisconsin and paddling straight east to Frankfort, Michigan 24 hours later.

They will have a support boat with them, equipment with communication and emergency gear. They will keep food and refreshments on their boards so that they won’t have to step foot on the boat.

Go to here to find out how to support Andrew and the guys in their stand-up paddleboard trek across Lake Michigan.

*Listen to the full interview with Andrew Pritchard above. 

Stateside
5:08 pm
Tue August 26, 2014

How fur trapping has changed over time in Michigan

Fur pelts.
Credit Ari Moore / Flickr

You could say Michigan was built on fur pelts.

Native tribes were trapping animals for fur long before the French founded Detroit in order to control the rich fur trade in the Old Northwest.

We wondered what trapping is like in Michigan today.

Roy Dahlgren is the man to ask.

He's the District 3 President of the Upper Peninsula Trappers Association.

Dahlgren said trapping was at its peak before Michigan was a state, and that Mackinac Island was built to protect the fur trade.

Dahlgren said fur trapping has become a hobby where you can make a little money on the side. There are still some who rely on it as a good source of income.

In addition to supporting today's trappers, Dalhgren’s organization also works to get children involved in trapping.

*Listen to the full interview above. 

Health
3:05 pm
Tue August 26, 2014

Affordable Care Act funding supports construction projects at 7 Michigan health care centers

Outside the Community Health and Social Services Center in Detroit.
Credit CHASS / Facebook

Part of the Affordable Care Act calls for big investments in community health care centers to increase access to primary health care services. The health care law calls for a total investment of $11 billion over a five-year period “for the operation, expansion, and construction of health centers” throughout the country.

Today, Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell announced that $35.7 million in Affordable Care Act funding will go to 147 health centers in 44 states.

The funding will support 21 new construction projects and 126 renovation projects.

Seven of those health centers are in Michigan. These seven centers will split close to $1.7 million to support construction and facility improvements.

Here’s the list of health centers receiving funding:

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Offbeat
1:00 pm
Tue August 26, 2014

Take it from this "Trustafarian," these judgy maps are meant to make us laugh

This map of metro Detroit is all wrong.
judgmentalmaps.com

Want to know where the "Millionaires who like country music" and the "Intensely Boring" live in southeast Michigan? You can find them on this handy "judgmental map."

The wholly inaccurate, satirical map takes a jab at just about everybody in the region. 

It's the latest in a series of "judgmental maps" of major metropolitan regions across the U.S.

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The Environment Report
12:59 pm
Tue August 26, 2014

Debate ongoing over fish farming in the Great Lakes

Harietta Hills Trout Farms co-owner Dan Vogler is in favor of fish farming in the Great Lakes.
Credit Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

The Environment Report for Tuesday, August 26, 2014- Fish Farms in the Great Lakes?

Michigan took a big step forward this summer in the business of fish farming. The state issued a permit to expand the Grayling Fish Hatchery more than tenfold.The hatchery raises trout for restaurants and grocery stores.

The expansion comes as interest in fish farming is growing nationwide and there is now talk of going offshore into the open waters of the Great Lakes.

The Grayling Fish Hatchery could soon be the largest aquaculture operation in Michigan by far.

Dan Vogler is one of the owners of Harrietta Hills Trout Farm based near Cadillac. He hopes the expansion is a sign of a growing fish-producing industry in Michigan.

Read more
Stateside
12:01 pm
Tue August 26, 2014

Michigan might take radioactive sludge after other states refused

Credit Eusko Jaurlaritza / Flickr

Michigan officials might allow up to 36 tons of low-level radioactive waste from Pennsylvania into a landfill in Bellville after other states have refused to accept it.

The technical term for this sludge is "technologically enhanced, naturally occurring radioactive materials," or TENORM. The waste comes from oil and gas drilling.

Keith Matheny’s article in the Detroit Free Press prompted action by Governor Snyder, who announced he will convene a panel to look at the situation.

Matheny said in another article that EQ, a USEcology company, announced yesterday that they have decided to voluntarily stop taking oil and gas related waste while this panel makes its decision.

State Representative Dian Slavens, D-Canton, plans to introduce a House bill to ban importing radioactive waste into Michigan. And State Senator Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, said he will do the same in the Senate.

*Listen to the full interview with Keith Matheny above.

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