News

For years, there’s been an absolutely stupid rumor that the Detroit suburb of Dearborn, birthplace of Henry Ford, is now under extreme Muslim Sharia law.

Sharron Angle, a bizarrely ignorant Tea Party candidate, claimed this was so when she was running for the U.S. Senate in Nevada five years ago.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Cars started lining up at dawn today at a Flint business giving away free water.

Concerns about the safety of Flint’s tap water has created high demand for bottled water. 

But many Flint residents say they have trouble paying for what little bottled water is still sitting on store shelves. 

via city of Detroit

Detroit officials say they’re confident the fledgling Great Lakes Water Authority will work out—despite concerns and complaints from some suburban officials questioning its future.

The GLWA gives regional players a larger role in running Detroit’s city-owned water system, which services some 4 million customers in southeast Michigan.

NWF / screenshot from YouTube video

With national attention being paid to the Keystone XL pipeline, Michigan Democratic Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters have introduced amendments to the controversial legislation.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Giving women a stronger voice in Michigan is the goal of a new coalition.

MI-Lead is composed of more than 30 organizations, from civil liberties and reproductive rights to business associations and unions.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

This week in Michigan politics, Jack and Emily discuss anguish over Flint’s water, a plan for some Detroiters to pay half price on auctioned homes and a new gun bill moving ahead in Lansing.


taxcredits.net

Flint's general fund deficit has gone from $19 million to $9 million in two years, and is on track to being eliminated entirely in five years.

That's according to an audit presented to the city council Monday night.

The second bit of good news for the city's fiscal health was legacy costs.

via Detroit Economic Club

Former Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr was back in town Tuesday for an “exit interview” before the Detroit Economic Club.

Orr reiterated that municipal bankruptcy was the only real option for Detroit, but insisted both he and the city got through the process relatively unscathed.

“We got really lucky,” Orr said of his team. “We managed to get out of here without selling anything. I managed to get out without being indicated, so that’s sort of a badge of success,” he added, to audience laughter.

A. Nich / Flickr

The state has rejected ACT’s claim that Michigan unfairly switched its free college entrance exam to the SAT starting in spring 2016.

  ACT protested two aspects of the bidding process. It said the state changed the timeline of the proposed contract and penalized ACT for having a writing portion. It says both of those things unfairly benefitted SAT.

State officials say they reviewed those concerns carefully.

YouTube / YouTube

Many of the most memorable commercials during past Super Bowls have come from automakers, but fewer will be participating in the expensive marketing during the event this year.

Flickr user Keith Allison / Flickr

After it was discovered that 11 of the 12 game balls used by the New England Patriots during their victory against the Indianapolis Colts were deflated, the media created a new-found obsession over the PSI of a football, in a scandal  dubbed "deflategate."

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Jackson city council tonight will discuss asking voters for a big tax hike to pay to repair the city’s crumbling roads.

Like other Michigan cities, Jackson’s roads have been getting worse for several years.

Paige Pfleger / Michigan Radio

People will be hitting the streets Wednesday to count the number of homeless individuals in Washtenaw County. 

The count is a part of the Point in Time census that is conducted every other year and documents the sheltered and unsheltered homeless people in the area. 

This year's count is especially important, because the county only has one year to end veteran homelessness to meet it's goal as a part of the national Zero:2016 Campaign. 

Andrian Clark / Flickr

DETROIT - Federal health officials say about 300,000 Michigan residents have signed up for health care through the federal exchange, most with financial help.

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell told reporters Tuesday that the 299,750 sign-ups as of Jan. 16 represent those who have selected a health plan or re-enrolled, not paid. Of those, 33% enrolled for the first time.

It’s been almost three months since Democrats lost the race for governor, and you might think that by now, few would care why.

But why they lost an election they thought they could win is still a hot topic, for this reason: The Michigan Democratic Party is holding its spring state convention on Valentine’s Day, and the delegates will decide whether or not to re-elect Lon Johnson party chair.

Graymont is seeking to buy thousands of acres of state-owned land and mineral rights for a proposed limestone mining operation near Rexton.
User clau+ / flickr.com

Next month, a decision could be made on whether to sell thousands of acres in the Upper Peninsula to a Canadian mining company, Graymont Inc.

It would be the largest sale of public land in Michigan’s history.

via buildingdetroit.org

Detroit city workers, retirees and their immediate relatives could soon qualify for a 50% discount off the purchase price on some city homes.

The deal would apply to vacant homes auctioned off by the Detroit Land Bank Authority. That online auction has been one of Mayor Mike Duggan’s signature initiatives.

Andrew Pennebaker / Flickr

A small crowd of Flint residents came out to Monday night's city council meeting to protest what they say is discolored, odorous, unsafe water coming out of their taps. 

"It smells horribly," says Cindy Marshall. "I took a shower the other night and my eyes were blood red and burning. I broke out in a rash and was scratching like crazy just from taking a shower."

Update Monday, January 26th:

The ax has fallen.

This afternoon, Michigan House Speaker Kevin Cotter (R-Mt. Pleasant) and the Republican caucus developed a response that was both ruthless and nuanced to the Democratic insurgency on the House Appropriations Committee.

Abby Rosenberg / Flickr

State lawmakers will try again to crack down on animal cruelty in Michigan.

A state Senate panel will take up a pair of bills on Tuesday that would increase penalties for serial animal abusers. The worst offenders – those who abuse 25 or more animals or who have three or more prior convictions – would face felony charges and up to seven years in prison.

Similar bills failed to clear the Legislature last year.

gophouse.com

Governor Rick Snyder says improving services for the mentally ill is a major civil rights issue. And he says it’s a high priority in his second term.

“Mental health is its own issue in its own right, a major issue. We’ve seen some huge progress because of Healthy Michigan. But I think we still have a lot of work to be done in general mental health and where it intersects with criminal justice,” he told the Michigan Civil Rights Commission.

Alex Ragone / Flickr Creative Commons

Starting a week from today, if you need emergency help in Oakland County, you'll be able to text 911 – as well as call it.

"The sheriff's office in Oakland County just wants to use the latest technology available to identify callers in need," said Mel Maier, chief of  emergency management operations for the Sheriff's Office.

Director Clover Adams and Deputy Commissioner Xia Qianbao of the Ocean & Fisheries Bureau from the Jiangsu Province signing a Memorandum of Understanding.
Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development

Officials from Michigan and China plan to work together on developing advancements in fisheries and aquaculture.

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development last week in Lansing hosted a delegation from the province of Jiangsu.

Daniel Weber / Flickr

A controversial gun bill – similar to one recently vetoed by Governor Snyder – has been reintroduced in Lansing.

Michigan Public Radio Network’s Jake Neher has been covering the story. The initial vetoed legislation, he said, was brought to public attention on the last day of the 2014 "lame duck" session, when legislators raised some concern about the bill's language.

Neher said the language in question seemed to make it possible for people to get a concealed pistol license even if they had personal protection orders, or PPO’s, levied against them. There were concerns that domestic abusers or stalkers could get the permits.

Vaccine informational sheets.
user DARWIN.WINS / Flickr

The measles outbreak has made it to Michigan.

After the mounting headlines about an outbreak that seems to have begun in California’s Disneyland, the first Michigan case was diagnosed late last week.

The diagnosed individual is an adult in Oakland country and according to Dr. Matthew Davis, the Chief Medical Executive with the Michigan Department of Community Health and a Professor at the University of Michigan, this case may well be connected to the Disneyland outbreak.

Rob Swatski / Flickr

It became a kind of overnight urban legend.

A couple of years ago, Detroit's "50,000 feral dogs" made national headlines, which in turn drew eye rolls from residents sick and tired of seeing their city depicted as an apocalyptic hellscape, especially when that 50,000 number was sketchy at best.

Lindsey Smith/Michigan Radio

The Next Idea

Michigan’s economy is changing, and our state’s investment culture must change along with it. As we work to diversify by stimulating entrepreneurship, innovation and talent attraction, among many other things, more Michigan residents with money to invest must learn to see that betting on new local businesses is worthwhile, even if the potential for them to fail is high. 

Last week, we told you about Rebecca Scherm, an emerging Ann Arbor author who has broken into the literary scene with her novel Unbecoming

As Kate Wells explains:

House in Detroit.
Jason Irla / Flickr

DETROIT - Mayor Mike Duggan has released a plan to allow Detroit municipal workers, retirees and their families to pay half the price of their winning auction bids for city-owned houses.

Duggan told reporters Monday that the program will help strengthen neighborhoods and return more residents to home ownership.

He says the plan could be in place by mid-February if approved by City Council.

The city owns thousands of empty houses. It is tearing down those that can't be rehabilitated while attempting to sell others to buyers willing to fix them up and move in. Detroit began auctioning vacant houses last year through its land bank.

Last weekend I ran into the managing director of the road commission for one of our state’s mid-sized counties.

She’s both an efficient manager and an intelligent observer of the pulse of her county, which is half urban, half rural. She knows better than most of us that our state's roads are falling apart.

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