News

STEVE CARMODY / MICHIGAN RADIO

This Week in Review, Jack Lessenberry and Rebecca Kruth talk about the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, and whether mentions of the Flint water crisis this week were political fodder. Kruth and Lessenberry also look at some races to watch in the state primary Tuesday, and a failed attempt to put a millage to fund Detroit regional transit on the November ballot. 

Adios, Adidas. Welcome, Nike.
flickr use Anthony Gattine / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Nike’s $170 million sponsorship deal with the University of Michigan officially launches midnight, complete with the marching band and cheer team, and the rollout on the this thing has been a year in the making.

It started the day after Michigan announced it would be leaving Adidas and reuniting with Nike, says Scott Hirth, the co-owner of The M Den.

“The customer drives this, and as soon as Michigan announced Nike, it was crystal clear to us that the customer was going to want this soon as they could get that,” he says. “To us that meant midnight [August 1.]”

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

Judging by this year’s wild campaign, accountability is a foreign concept in presidential politics. But not in, say, the auto industry.

Ask Volkswagen AG. The $14 billion price tag for its diesel deception is creeping closer to $20 billion. And new lawsuits from three states say knowledge of the long-running global fraud runs all the way to the office of the new CEO. What a surprise.

MSHDA Executive Director Kevin MSHDA Executive Director Kevin Elsenheimer: "We have millions and millions of dollars available Elsenheimer: "[MSHDA is now] funded. We have millions and millions of dollars available to go ahead and use to help people out."
BasicGov / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

During the Great Recession, a lot of people ran into financial trouble and lost their homes to foreclosure. Some still are. And in Wayne County, the number of homes at risk of tax foreclosure is staggering. The Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) has several programs to help eligible people.

One of those programs is called Step Forward. It funnels federal dollars from TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program) into the hands of low-income homeowners and potential homeowners.

Kalamazoo
Public domain

Kalamazoo is getting $70 million from philanthropists and others that will be used to create a foundation to help solve the city's budget woes, and cut property taxes.

The Kalamazoo City Commission decided Thursday to move forward with the idea of creating the Foundation for Excellence.

Officials expect the foundation would be fully funded by 2020, so revenue from investments would be available long-term.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

  

Anvil, hammer, and tongs.

It's sooty. It's screams muscle and metal. But, the thing that strikes you is this: A blacksmith’s shop has a smell like no other. It’s the coal in the forge, the odor hot steel.

We visited Waterloo Metal Works to talk to John Rayer. But, shortly after I started poking around he stopped me.

“I did forget to give the safety warning. Everything in here is dirty, or sharp, or possibly very hot,” Rayer said.

What's your immigration story?

Jul 29, 2016
inside of the mapparium globe in boston
Chase Elliot Clark / Flickr CC/https://flic.kr/p/cLcyQw

This week, State of Opportunity explored the history of immigration policy in the U.S. and looked at what life is like for undocumented immigrants in Michigan in our documentary Out From the Shadows. 

Former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, shown here in 2012, gave a toned down speech in Philadelphia Thursday that focused on unifiying Americans.
NPR

Democrats made history this week in at their convention in Philadelphia. And as Hillary Clinton became the first female presidential nominee from a major U.S. party, Michigan got a share of the national spotlight.

Michigan Radio's Steve Carmody is in Philadelphia covering the convention. He joined me on Morning Edition to discuss:

If I had young adult children I might have called last night and told them, “I’m sorry, but Metropolitan Detroit is hopeless. You should start planning to move somewhere like Chicago.”

That’s because yesterday, two selfish and short-sighted men sabotaged perhaps our last best hope to bring decent 21st century mass transit to a region that largely operates on a 1955 model with worse roads.

A Flint resident holds a jug of tainted Flint water.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The state official once in charge of keeping drinking water safe to drink in Michigan faces criminal charges.

The charges allege Liane Shekter-Smith covered up information that could have averted the Flint water crisis.

Smith is one of six state employees charged today with misconduct and neglect, among other things.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The head of Michigan’s state Democratic Party says his party is largely unified coming out of this week’s Democratic National Convention.

State chairman Brandon Dillon spent a lot of time during the four-day convention trying to calm and cajole Bernie Sanders delegates and supporters in Michigan’s delegation, not always successfully.

Still, Dillon says the news media has overstated the number of Sanders backers who plan to bolt the Democratic Party.

Auchter's Art: That's the mayor of Detroit?

Jul 29, 2016
John Auchter / Auchtoon.com

Artist's POV:

In her later years, my wife's grandmother suffered from dementia. She was the same extraordinarily sweet, wonderful person she had always been, but her short-term memory faded and her filter disappeared. For a time she lived with my wife's family. Their formal dining room became her bedroom — it was easy to keep tabs on her from the adjacent kitchen. 

She would go to her room to watch the TV news, and as my wife did her homework in the kitchen, she could hear Nana talking to the news anchor or reporter as she watched.

Sarah Hulett/Michigan Radio

A millage proposal to fund major transit improvements in Metro Detroit isn’t dead yet—but it’s very close.

That’s because the Southeast Michigan Regional Transit Authority couldn’t muster the votes to put the measure on the November ballot Thursday.

The millage would have raised about $3 billion (estimates vary) over 20 years. It would have helped fund a $4.6 billion master plan to upgrade Metro Detroit’s lackluster, fragmented transit systems.

But the board couldn’t put together enough votes, because of opposition from Oakland and Macomb county leaders.

Matthew Meagher, left, is undecided; but his buddies are Trump supporters.
Kate Wells/Michigan Radio

All of Matthew Meagher’s buddies at this rally are big Donald Trump supporters.

One of them even volunteers with the Oakland County Republican party after work each night – the kind of guy who’s wearing a wool blazer and button-down shirt to this Mike Pence rally in suburban Detroit, even though it’s 80 degrees outside.

But for Meagher, a Kettering University student who’s going into IT work, he just can’t make up his mind.

"Here's what I know: We have to stop Donald Trump!" former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm told the DNC.
steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Speaking at last night’s Democratic National Convention, former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm said Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton understands what the U.S. needs. 

“Our next president knows that our nation is a village. That we are one family. And in a family, no one gets left behind,” says Granholm. 

Granholm cited the Flint water crisis as an example. “When Flint’s water poisons its children, it hurts all of us.  These are our children. We are all Flint!” she told the DNC audience.

Henrietta Ivey works two minimum wage jobs and has a hard times making ends meet.
steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A Detroit home care worker stood in the spotlight at tonight at the Democratic National Convention.

Henrietta Ivey works two minimum wage jobs. She brought her campaign to raise the minimum wage to the main stage at the DNC.

“For me and all home care workers all across America, and my family, this is personal,” says Ivey, “In Michigan, we are ‘fighting for 15.’  A $15 minimum wage and a union … because no working American family should have to be forced to live in poverty.”

Democrats put raising the minimum wage to $15-an-hour in their party platform.

Apple with books
Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The CEO appointed by the state to take over four low-performing East Detroit schools can start working, but with some limits.

Under an agreement in court Thursday, CEO Gary Jensen can act as a consultant in the district, but he doesn't have authority over decisions on academics, curriculum or finances.

The state's decision to hire a CEO has faced months of backlash from teachers and administrators in East Detroit schools, who say they're already working to turn things around in the struggling district.

Thomas Phillips presenting his plan for the Aspire Tech Bus at the Hack the Central District Cultural Innovation Conference in Seattle last month.
screengrab

The Next Idea

Over and over again, we've heard that tech jobs in Michigan are going unfilled.

We've heard that there just aren't enough students graduating with the tech know-how employers want, and that students in Detroit just don't get many of the same opportunities as kids from other school districts.

Thomas Phillips thinks he's hit on a way to help solve these problems, and he's calling it the Aspire Tech Bus.

Brett Masserant
Courtesy of Brett Masserant

What's the most number of push-ups you've ever done?

No matter what your answer, you're got nothing on Brett Masserant of Utica.

Last Sunday, Masserant attempted to set two Guinness World Records: one for the most push-ups in one hour, and then for the most push-ups in eight hours.

Masserant pounded out 2,268 push-ups in the first hour, and in the following seven hours brought that total to 13,186.

Flickr user Pictures of Money/Flickr / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Anna Clark is a freelance journalist who lives in Detroit. She owns a 2007 Ford Focus and has never had to make an auto insurance claim. 

But she's preparing to move out of Detroit, to Ann Arbor, and just recently learned her insurance is going to drop by a staggering amount.

"You'd think I might be delighted that I suddenly have this much extra money per month that I'm not paying on insurance for the next year, but I was actually horrified," Clark said. 

By Bill McGraw is a reporter for Bridge Magazine, a Detroit Journalism Cooperative partner

Though their sprawling region had long wrestled with segregation, and racial violence has dominated national headlines this summer, about half of all metro Detroit residents say local race relations today are generally good, according to an exclusive new poll by the Detroit Journalism Cooperative.

Why do mental health services in Michigan and vary from county to county? Michigan Radio's M I Curious did its best to find out.
FLICKR USER 401(K) / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Don Williams is from Holland, Mich., and recently, he posed this question to Michigan Radio’s MI Curious project: Is it just his perception, or do mental health services vary widely in different parts of the state?

On the final day of the Democratic National Convention, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders met with Michigan delegates, where he talked about Flint water and Donald Trump.

The crowd in the overflowing hotel ballroom started chanting his name before Bernie Sanders entered.

Sanders delegates and supporters had front row seats and cheered the former presidential candidate several times, though not when he talked about the need to vote for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

The Vermont Senator touched on a few Michigan issues.

If you have a sense of history, try to imagine this: Cast your mind back to 1960, when Senator John F. Kennedy was running for President against Richard Nixon, at the time the nation’s vice president.

What if JFK had publicly suggested that the Soviet Union try to steal Nixon’s private foreign policy memos and release them to the press?


Piping plover.
USFWS

There’s some good news for birds on the endangered species list.

A new report by the American Bird Conservancy says 78% of the birds listed as threatened or endangered are now stable, increasing, or have recovered enough to be taken off the list (think: Bald Eagle). The group analyzed data from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

NOAA

Now, you can type in your zip code and see the future.

At least, you can see how hot it’s probably going to be.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has updated the tool it calls Climate Explorer. It’s an interactive website loaded with data for each county in the U.S.

David Herring is with NOAA’s Climate Program office. He says you can type in your city or zip code, and see projections: for example, how many days might be hotter than 95 degrees Fahrenheit.

A map outlining the proposed transit master plan for Metro Detroit.
Regional Transit Authority of Southeast Michigan

Last week, Southeast Michigan's Regional Transit Authority postponed a vote deciding whether to put a millage to fund an ambitious transit master plan on the November ballot.

The delay came as the leaders of Oakland and Macomb counties--and their representatives on the RTA board--outlined a number of objections to the plan, and said they can't support it in its current form. 

Ali Lapetina / Detroit Journalism Cooperative

Attitudes about race have been improving in southeast Michigan, but there are still wide gaps on some issues between white people and black people. Those are some of the findings in a new survey commissioned by the Detroit Journalism Cooperative. 

The survey included people from mostly black communities, mixed communities, and mostly white communities in the Detroit metropolitan area.

When asked to rank the importance of race relations, black and white people ranked that issue below issues such as education and crime.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Mayor Mike Duggan talked about Detroit’s recovery (and took a shot at Donald Trump) during last night’s Democratic National Convention.

Mayor Duggan used his time at the podium to tout Detroit’s recovery.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s lead tainted drinking water has been a crisis for more than a year.  

Now it’s also national political issue.

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver strode to the podium at the Democratic National Convention last night after delegates watched video tracing the history of the crisis dating back to April of 20-14.

Once at the podium, Weaver stated the situation bleakly.

“The problems in Flint are not over,” Weaver told the packed sports arena. “The water is still not safe to drink or cook with from the tap. Our infrastructure is broken, leaking, and rusting away.”

Pages