WUOMFM

News

Three days ago, the Michigan Civil Rights Commission asked the highest court in the land to decide whether our state’s emergency manager law is unconstitutional.

Specifically, the issue is whether the law violates the federal Voting Rights Act by lessening the voting power of minorities. Nearly all the cities and school districts where emergency managers have been appointed had black majority populations.

JOHN AUCHTER / AUCHTOON.COM

ARTIST'S POV: After three years of the Flint water crisis, fatigue has set in — first and foremost, for the citizens of Flint who have had to live with the daily grind and persistent worries. But also for Michiganders living outside and looking in. The fatigue for us is different — it's trying to stay engaged with a story that may not seem to affect us, at least not directly. Three years is a long time to hold somebody's attention.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mel_Pearson

This week, the University of Michigan did something it hasn’t had to do in 33 years: hire a new hockey coach.

The last time the job opened was 1984. Athletic director Don Canham heard Red Berenson was on campus moving his oldest son, Gordie, into his dorm room. Canham called Berenson to his office, offered him the job for the third time, and Berenson finally took it.

If he hadn’t, it’s not clear who Canham could have hired. After all, the guy Michigan just fired was a failed former high school hockey coach. Michigan was at the bottom of a glorified bus league, with an empty building, and nothing to brag about.

Vintage postcard "Greetings from Grand Haven, Michigan."
Boston Public Library Tichnor Brothers collection / Wikimedia Commons

This time of year a lot of people start thinking about summer vacations. If you’re like many Michiganders, when you’re planning a week or two off, you might find a cottage or a beach house to rent online. Airbnb, VRBO and HomeAway are a few of the most popular short-term rental websites.

A steelworker straddling a beam
Christopher Peplin / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

A new report from the AFL-CIO says 134 Michigan workers died on the job in 2015, while 96,000 suffered workplace-related injuries or illnesses.

Those numbers are down slightly from the previous year, but Zack Pohl with the Michigan AFL-CIO says the state still isn’t doing enough to make sure people are safe at work.

People loading cases of bottled water into an SUV
steve carmody / Michigan Radio

All nine state water distribution sites will remain open for at least another month in Flint.

A settlement of a lawsuit gave the state the option to close two of the sites starting in May.

But Mission Flint spokeswoman Tiffany Brown says the number of people picking up cases of bottled water at each of the sites is still high enough to warrant keeping them open.

Brown says Flint residents would receive plenty of notice if the decision to close one or more the sites is made. 

Lindsey Scullen / Michigan Radio

The Environment Report's Rebecca Williams kicked off Tuesday night’s Issues & Ale event at Bell’s Brewery in Kalamazoo with this question:

Where do you get your drinking water?

Mayor Mike Duggan announcing plans for Midtown west development project at Delta Prep Academy in Detroit
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

A new development project is coming to Detroit's Cass Corridor.

Midtown West will be a $77 million development project that will be located at what was once the Wigle Recreation Center near Midtown.

It will include a total of 335 residential units, 175 rental units and 160 units for sale. About 20% of those rental units will be affordable housing.

Councilwoman Raquel Castaneda Lopez represents the district where the project will be.

She says it’s important that development be done with and for the people.

This map shows the probabilities of where oil might go after a spill in the Straits of Mackinac.
From the UM Water Center report

A group hopes to get a ballot question before voters that would ban Enbridge from transporting oil through its Line 5 pipelines, which run under the Straits of Mackinac.

Attorney Jeffrey Hank is with the group, Keep Our Lakes Great.

Hank says while there are other efforts underway, including studies assessing the risks of the pipeline and alternatives to it, "we can't dawdle. After Flint and all these other lessons, we've seen we can't just sit around. So if the state doesn't do something, we're going to put the question before voters."

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Controversial legislation to scrap unlimited, lifetime medical coverage for car crash victims is back up for consideration in Lansing.

Proponents of the current system say the law makes sure victims are taken care of. But Republicans have been trying for decades to scale back the state’s unlimited medical coverage for people injured in car crashes.  

The proposed legislation would let consumers pick their levels of coverage.

Speaker of the House Tom Leonard says auto no-fault overhaul is one of his party’s biggest priorities.

The Flint water treatment plant
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The state Legislature has finally approved a $100 million grant to help Flint replace lead pipes and other water infrastructure. The money originally came from the federal government, but had to be approved by the Legislature as part of a larger budget bill.

That got delayed for weeks as the House and Senate argued over the separate question of money to help Macomb County deal with a giant sinkhole.

State Senator Jim Ananich says he’s glad it all finally got resolved.

Sen. Jim Ananich at Stateside's live show in Flint: "Michigan should lead the way [in water quality standards]. We should have the best standards of anywhere in the country and other people should follow us and we should start that here in Flint."
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

This week brought an important development in the future of Flint and its drinking water.

Mayor Karen Weaver says she wants Flint to return to a long-term agreement with the Detroit-based Great Lakes Water Authority. This reverses the plans to connect Flint to the new, competing Karegnondi Water Authority (KWA).

The Michigan Senate Minority Leader, Senator Jim Ananich, D-Flint, joined Stateside's live show in Flint last Saturday to talk about the state of the city and why something needs to be done about the water rates. 

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Donald Trump was elected President by pledging to "Make America Great Again." 

Economist Marina von Neumann Whitman thinks the proposed Trump budget would deeply harm the very things that make our country great: public goods.

Screen grab from ONE OF NASSAR'S YOUTUBE VIDEOS

More than 100 women and girls claim they were sexually assaulted by former MSU and USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar.

Complaints against the former MSU sports doctor range from the late 1990s up to 2016.

Doc pleads not guilty in female genital mutilation case

19 hours ago
Joe Gratz / flickr

A not-guilty plea has been entered for a Detroit-area doctor charged with performing genital mutilation on two Minnesota girls in a first-of-its-kind case in the United States.

Dr. Jumana Nagarwala appeared in Detroit federal court Thursday, a day after being indicted.

She's charged with six crimes, including conspiracy to bring the girls across state lines. It carries a minimum sentence of 10 years in prison.

Michigan History Center

Eighty years ago, a few years before Bruce Wayne made his comic book debut, our nation experienced its first wave of “bat-mania.”

In the 1930s, the country’s imagination was captured by winged daredevils like Michigander Clem Sohn.

Recently, the Federal Communications Commission decided to eliminate most of the net neutrality regulations that required broadband providers to inform customers about how they manage their networks.
Dion Hinchcliffe / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The Next Idea

In the early 1990s, I visited billionaire George Soros’ office in New York City to provide some direction on an investment his firm had made in a technology startup run by senior Israeli Air Force officers. Their technology was something akin to an iPod, and this was almost a decade before you could store your entire music collection on a device the size of a bar of soap.

Fiat ensignia on a vehicle
Martin Abegglen / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

It's a double dose of good news for Fiat Chrysler.

First-quarter profits are coming in, and Fiat Chrysler net profits are up 34% over year-ago levels, including a strong showing in Europe.

A storm
Flickr/mdprovost

Any time there’s a heat wave, or a drought or a big flood, scientists like Noah Diffenbaugh get a lot of calls.

“We are as scientists being asked whether or not global warming has played a role in individual extreme weather events,” he says.

Todd Van Hoosear / Flickr - http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

One of the most famous and vocal climate scientists is speaking out, again. Penn State researcher and author Michael Mann was recently asked by Democrats to be a witness at a hearing on climate science. It was held by the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology.

Mann called the other three witnesses fringe experts because they were questioning the science behind climate change.

Saving Lake Erie

Apr 27, 2017
A cyanobacteria bloom on Lake Erie in 2013.
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

There’s a little-noticed battle going on across the region to save Lake Erie. Now, I know this story can’t possibly compare in interest or importance to a bunch of football players visiting Rome, or which politician might run for something next year.

Larissa Boyce's scrapbook photos from the MSU Spartan youth gymnastics program
Courtsey of Larissa Boyce

What happens when a child reports sexual abuse, but adults don’t believe them?

Two dogs fighting (or playing, it's hard to tell)
Alex Proimos / flickr http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

A dog in Michigan is not considered legally dangerous until it bites or attacks someone. That’s the word from the state Court of Appeals.

An Eaton County couple was charged with knowingly owning a dangerous animal after their dog got through a fence and attacked a lawn care worker employed by a neighbor. The dog was shot to death by a police officer who said he felt threatened.

There was evidence presented at trial that some neighbors were nervous about the dog, and that it could sometimes behave aggressively, such as attacking a lawnmower and biting the tires.

pixabay

Two Michigan Senators plan to introduce bills to criminalize the practice of genital mutilation of minor girls under state law.

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a crime under federal law.  The U.S. Justice Department this week brought the first-ever charges under the law against two Detroit-area doctors and a third person.

Dr. Jumana Nagarwala, 44,  Dr. Fakhruddin Attar, 53, and his wife, Farida Attar, 50, are charged with performing FGM on minor girls out of Fakrhuddin Attar’s medical office in Livonia, Michigan.

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

Two Detroit-area doctors and a third person were indicted by a grand jury today.

Dr. Fakhruddin Attar and his wife Farida Attar are being charged with aiding and abetting in Doctor Jumana Nagarwala’s alleged female genital cutting on two seven-year-old girls from Minnesota.

Female genital mutilation – or FGM – on minors is illegal in the U.S. unless there is a medical need for the procedure.

Mary Chartier, Doctor Attar’s attorney, says her client maintains that he’s innocent.

Gun in holster on hip
Teknorat / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM / cropped from original

Wednesday was the annual Second Amendment March in Lansing. Gun enthusiasts took to the Capitol for speeches and mass open-carrying of firearms.

According to the march’s website, they met for a, “peaceful gathering to demonstrate the political strength of Michigan’s legal gun owners and Second Amendment advocates.”

Dean Greenblatt is an attorney in Bloomfield Township. He represents Michigan Open Carry in several pending court cases.

401(K) 2012 / Creative Commons

A new report from a Michigan nonprofit says the state's households are still struggling financially. 

Michigan's unemployment rate is currently at 5%.  However, 75% of Michiganders face stagnant or declining incomes.

Lou Glazer is President of Michigan First, the nonprofit that released the report.

"It's pretty clear that you can have a low unemployment rate and still have a lot of people struggling. In a growing economy, the same thing is true," Glazer said.

Flint water crisis protest
steve carmody / Michigan Radio

This week, my colleagues at Michigan Radio have done an amazing package of stories to mark the third anniversary of the Flint water crisis. If you didn’t have a chance to hear them, I recommend you go read and listen.

Even if you’ve heard them, they are worth hearing again. In journalism, the very first sentence in a story is called the lede. And for sheer eloquence and simplicity, it would be hard to improve on the way Lindsey Smith began her story Tuesday: Three years ago today, Flint switched the source of its drinking water, and triggered a public health crisis.

Kaye LaFond / Michigan Radio

Michigan was hit hard by the foreclosure crisis. But now, almost nine years after the crash, the state's housing market is showing promising signs of life.

That's especially true in Grand Rapids, which has one of the hottest real estate markets in the nation. 

speed limit sign
Famartin / Wikimedia Commons http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The speed limit on rural highways throughout Michigan will be lifted to 75 mph as soon as next week.

The Michigan Department of Transportation announced Wednesday that 600 miles of interstate will increase from 65 to 75 mph limits, and 900 miles of non-interstate highway will increase from 55 to 65 mph. 

Pages