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Ashley Rose / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/

A non-profit agency based in Livingston County wants sexual assault victims to call them first, before the police. LACASA Center offers medical care, including a rape kit that meets law enforcement standards, counseling, and legal support to victims in a safe and confidential setting. Victims are under no obligation to report their crime to police, but if they choose to do so, LACASA can guide them through a legal process that can be difficult and at times shaming for victims.

Dow Chemical

There’s heated debate over the future of renewable energy policy in Michigan – and it’s not just Democrats versus Republicans.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers is criticizing legislation that would put new limits on Michigan’s net metering program. That program allows people with solar panels to sell surplus energy back to the grid.

UAW President Dennis Williams chats with GM CEO Mary Barra at the kickoff of the 2015 contract negotiations
Jeffrey Sauger / General Motors

Just a week and a half from now, the United Automobile Workers contracts with General Motors, Ford and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles will expire.

In a recent column for The Detroit News, Daniel Howes points out some some things that set these talks apart from years past.

AAA Michigan estimates 1.2 million Michiganders will take to the roads this weekend
flickr user Jeff B / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Labor Day weekend is at hand, and as gas prices slide back down many of us are prepping to get on the road.

AAA Michigan expects 1.2 million of us to be driving somewhere this holiday weekend, the most since 2008.

The Michigan State Police have been tracking road accidents and deaths for some 40 years, and the numbers say that Labor Day is our deadliest holiday.

An average of 20 people die in traffic over the three-day weekend.

Paula Friedrich/Michigan Radio

Dozens of flyers in the front hallway of the newly renovated Pinckney Community Public Library advertise programs: puzzle hour, knitting group, kids yoga, adult Zumba, after-hours movie nights and, of course, book discussion groups. Director Hope Siasoco flits among all of them, calling patrons by name, pointing out the local artwork hanging on the wall and joking that the movie nights are the “cheapest date in town.”

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s troubled water system got some good news this week. 

The system is back in compliance with the Michigan Safe Drinking Water Act.

A year ago, tests showed higher-than-acceptable levels of total trihalomethanes, or TTHM, a disinfectant byproduct, in the city’s water.

The city had recently switched from the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department to the Flint River as its source for the city’s tap water.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

There’s a lot of talk (though as of yet, no action) about a long-term solution for fixing Michigan’s crumbling roads.

One question that comes up a lot in the surrounding debate: What role do all those heavy trucks play, and what should we do about them?

That’s the question at the heart of this edition of MI Curious, Michigan Radio’s series investigating listener questions about our state.

Michigan Radio’s Sarah Cwiek looked into this question from Ethan Winter, who asked: “Why are all the weigh stations always closed?”

Let's stop with the Silicon Valley comparisons

8 hours ago
Flickr/Scott Lewis / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The Next Idea

In Detroit and across Michigan (and just about anywhere else in the Western Hemisphere, for that matter), there is often talk about becoming the next Silicon Valley.  This comparison gets pretty tiresome. If innovation is about new and different, why would we want to be something that already exists?

Detroit has its own set of unique challenges and opportunities, and we should strive to be something new, something different.

(Editor's note: Due to technical difficulties we were unable to record audio for Jack's segment today. No worries, you'll be able to hear him again tomorrow.)

A few weeks ago I was asked about a pledge three Michigan counties and the city of Detroit had made to completely end all veteran and chronic homelessness by the end of next year.

I was, frankly, skeptical. There are far too many homeless in this country. From talking to members of Detroit’s Vietnam Veterans of America chapter, I know that veteran homelessness is a major problem. But I think sometimes setting impossible goals can backfire.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

It looks like most of Michigan will enjoy a warm, sunny Labor Day holiday weekend. Many Michiganders plan to go somewhere to enjoy it.

AAA Michigan predicts 1.2 million people in Michigan will travel more than 50 miles during the holiday weekend. That would make this the busiest Labor Day weekend travel-wise since 2008.  

Paula Friedrich/Michigan Radio

There’s a bright blue bus that rumbles through Ypsilanti streets. The words “Start Here. Go Anywhere.” are painted on the outside. On the inside there are shelves of books, two computers, a reading nook and a checkout station.

“We function as a moving block party,” said Mary Garboden, who runs the bookmobile as Ypsilanti District Library’s outreach librarian. At every stop kids run onto the bus, returning DVDs, checking out books or making use of the bus’ internet equipped computers.

The changing role of women in farming

13 hours ago
Brian Peshek

During the 1970s and 80s, America lost millions of family farms. Agriculture was specializing, and getting bigger —   large dairies and croplands; monocultures of corn and soybeans.

Since then, there have been other changes: the local food movement, for example. And women have taken a bigger role in agriculture.

The number of farms owned and operated by women has tripled in the U.S. in recent decades.

Washtenaw County Prosecutor's office

Officials say a backlog of more than 11,000 untested rape kits found in an abandoned Detroit crime lab is almost cleared. In some instances, the cases go back more than three decades. But, some victims will still have to wait years for justice.

The untested rape kits were discovered six years ago. A combined state, local and private sector effort was launched to clear the backlog.          

City of Sterling Heights / via Facebook

Sterling Heights Mayor Michael Taylor is clarifying comments he made online this week about a controversial mosque project that’s divided the city.

Taylor has said on Facebook and elsewhere that he opposes plans to build a mosque at a busy intersection in the Macomb County suburb.

The red lines show where Enbridge's Line 5 crosses Lake Michigan.
screenshot from Enbridge report to the state

In 2010, we were given a pretty good reason to care about how companies maintain the 3,280 miles of hazardous liquid pipelines crisscrossing our state.

Being the state that suffered through the worst inland oil spill in U.S. history has that effect.

So people perked up when they found out that Enbridge, the company responsible for the Kalamazoo River oil spill, owns another pipeline that travels under Lake Michigan at the Straits of Mackinac.

If Michigan has a “crown jewel,” this area might be it.

Lloyd Hartnett assembly line in 1957.
flickr user John Lloyd / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

We may be several years past the Great Recession, but the shockwave of pain and job loss of those years is still being felt in many homes around the country.

That’s especially true for autoworkers.

Since the mid-20th century, those well-paid jobs on the auto assembly lines built not only cars and trucks, but the American middle class as well.

Today, entry-level jobs in auto plants pay around $16 an hour.

But many unlucky autoworkers have seen their jobs go away, never to return.

Dwight Burdette / creative commons

Washtenaw County is facing up to 70 layoffs in mental health services due to a $4 million budget deficit.

County Commissioner Andy LaBarre is chair of the Ways and Means Committee.

Mark McCulloch / Washtenaw County

People who live in Europe know what to do when they’re driving along and come to a roundabout.

They've been a fixture in road design there for many years.

Michigan drivers are starting to get more familiar with roundabouts. And now, there’s a new kind to get used to: the urban roundabout.

http://msutoday.msu.edu/news/2015/msu-supply-chain-ranked-first-in-the-nation/

This story was updated with a response from MSU at 5:05 pm on 9/2/15

Students started complaining about sexual harassment from a Michigan State University counselor – who was at times working with students seeking sexual assault counseling – back in 2009.

Michigan State University’s response was to hold a meeting between one of those students and the counselor.

The Wolverines taking the field in 2009. They enter this season with 90-to-1 odds at the championship, but fans hope Harbaugh can turn them around.
flickr use Anthony Gattine / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM


The wait is over: College football begins this week.

The University of Michigan kicks off the Jim Harbaugh era at Utah tomorrow night, and Michigan State will play Western Michigan at Kalamazoo Friday night.

Vegasinsider.com lists Michigan State at 20-to-1 odds to win the college football title, putting the Spartans at seventh in the rankings.

“It sounds like a long shot, but if you’re seventh, that’s not bad,” says Michigan Radio sports commentator John U. Bacon.

wikipedia/creative commons

The state is seeking bids for pilot projects to divert mentally ill people from jails, as well as get them better treatment while in jail.

The projects will seek to address the needs of mentally ill people at every step – from arrest to after incarceration.

Steven Mays is with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

He says one thing that's needed is better training of police and guards to recognize the signs of mental illness.

Paula Friedrich/Michigan Radio

On a recent Thursday, the Cascade Branch of the Kent District Library in Cascade Township, just outside of Grand Rapids, was bustling – but not just with patrons checking out books.

Toddlers played in KDLville, a learning center that engages kids and their parents through writing, talking, playing, singing, and reading, which all promote literacy. The branch even offers events where patrons can learn how to hula hoop, watch movies on the big screen and get answers to their technology questions without going to the Apple Store.

Paula Friedrich/Michigan Radio

Although Walton Erickson Memorial Library in Morley is one of only six libraries left in the state that uses a physical card catalog instead of an automated one, that doesn't mean it's technology deficient.

The library has six computers, often occupied by patrons who come to file their taxes, book bus and plane tickets, or do homework.

Morley is a rural town an hour north of Grand Rapids, dotted with cornfields and farm stands full of fresh produce. The library serves an area of 9,800 people, including a sizeable Amish population.

Businesses in Hamtramck, Michigan
Ian Freimuth / creative commons

This weekend brings the 36th annual Hamtramck Labor Day Festival with its food, parade, concerts, carnival and more. All of which is a testament to a tough city that’s refused to be driven to its knees by hard times; a city that’s been made even stronger by its diversity.

Hamtramck Mayor Karen Majewski and City Clerk August Gitschlag joined Stateside to talk about the beginning days of the festival and how, through tough economic times, the celebration continues.

Some days I find myself wishing President Obama would make a speech honoring motherhood and propose a program to honor mothers.

If he did that, it’s very clear most Republicans would refuse to support honoring mothers.

NOAA

This Week in Michigan Politics, Jack Lessenberry and Christina Shockley talk about the other issues involving Todd Courser, R-Lapeer, and Cindy Gamrat, R-Plainwell; more problems with water in Flint; and Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette's opposition to President Obama's new rules to reduce greenhouse gases.


Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

More and more college students are using marijuana on a daily basis.

The University of Michigan's Monitoring the Future program has been studying the drug habits of college students for 35 years. 

Its latest report finds nearly 6% of college students use marijuana daily. That’s the highest percentage since 1980. Rates of frequent marijuana use are also higher. 

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

A Muslim flight attendant disciplined for refusing to serve alcohol has filed a federal complaint in Detroit.

Attorneys for Charee Stanley filed the complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Tuesday.

Stanley is a flight attendant with ExpressJet Airways, working with Detroit-based management and crew.

When she converted to Islam about two years ago, Stanley says she arranged for fellow flight attendants to serve alcohol on her behalf.

Gavel on table
orangesparrow / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Washtenaw County District Judge J. Cedric Simpson could soon be out of a job.

The Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission this week recommended Simpson be removed from the bench for interfering with a police investigation involving a former intern.

In August 2013, Crystal Vargas called Simpson after she was involved in an early morning automobile accident near his home in Pittsfield Township. 

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Leaders of the bus system in Grand Rapids and the union representing mechanics and drivers have not been able to reach an agreement over a retirement plan.

That means The Rapid will no longer collect dues on behalf of the union. But The Rapid's spokeswoman Jennifer Kalczuk says pay and benefits will remain the same for now.

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