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Courtesy of the author

The Old Testament story of Cain and Abel is one of the most compelling in the Bible. How could a man kill his brother?

The tragedy is at the heart of the stunning debut novel The Fishermen from Chigozie Obioma.

Obioma was born in Nigeria and earned his Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from the University of Michigan.

The Fishermen is a parable set in 1990s Nigeria.

Gemma Amor / flickr-http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Hey, America! The rest of the world is wondering: What's with the bland beer?

It's no secret that the American beer market is dominated by pale, mild beer.

Despite the rising number of craft brewers here in Michigan and across the country, our best-selling beer is, you guessed it, Bud Light! Coors Light and Miller Lite come in right behind it.

Economist Ranjit Dighe wanted to figure out why Americans like bland beer.

user Tyrone Warner / Flickr

This week in Michigan Politics, political analyst Jack Lessenberry talks about a new law affecting Michigan workers, a plan to fix the roads that increases the gas tax, the high cost of information, and government officials looking at the effects of the same sex marriage ruling.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Starting today, the Export-Import Bank can't offer new loans to foreign customers.

The bank helps American companies sell their goods overseas when regular banks won’t take on the risk. Congress did not reauthorize the 80-year-old bank before leaving for the Fourth of July recess, allowing it to expire.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

A Muslim woman says the Dearborn Police Department violated her constitutional rights when officers forced her to remove her headscarf.

Maha Aldhalimi is suing the city of Dearborn, the police department, police chief Ronald Haddad, and the officers who arrested her last September.

Focus: HOPE / focushope.edu

A $5 million U.S. Department of Labor grant will help the city of Detroit provide more job training and placement services.

The initiative will target some of the hardest-to-employ city residents — particularly returning prisoners.

Wikimedia Commons

The state Senate could vote as soon as Wednesday on a road funding proposal that includes a possible income tax rollback.

A state Senate panel approved a plan Tuesday afternoon that could generate about $1.5 billion annually for roads, in part by raising Michigan’s gas tax by 15 cents a gallon over three years. It would also shift about $700 million in existing state funds to roads.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder.
Photo courtesy of Governor Snyder's office

Governor Rick Snyder has signed a bill that stops local governments from adopting their own ordinances that cover wages and working conditions.

The new law does not affect existing ordinances, but it does preempt nascent efforts to adopt local “living wage” and mandatory sick leave ordinances. In a written statement, Governor Snyder says it makes sense to ensure consistency in local ordinances that regulate jobs and employment.

photo by Vincent Duffy

A Goodrich family is outraged after being told they would need to pay $77,718.75 for information about their son.

Sherry Smith sent a Freedom of Information request to Goodrich Area Schools for 14 months of emails that mention her son, after the school changed her son's individual education plan for his disability.

"I never in a million years would have imagined it would amount to $77,000 worth," Smith said.

 U.S. Army Surgeon General Lt. Gen. Patricia Horoho speaks on Capitol Hill for National Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Awareness Day June 27, 2012
user Army Medicine / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

As veterans return home after serving in the Middle East, the nation is becoming increasingly aware of post-traumatic stress injury.

PTSI affects millions of vets and significantly boosts the risk of depression, suicide, and drug- and alcohol-related deaths.

On top of that, for the veterans struggling with PTSI, it can lead to more run-ins with police.

Macomb County offers free Uber to jurors

19 hours ago

Jurors in Macomb County are getting a free ride to court.

A pilot project will offer jurors free transportation via Uber.

And the best news: It comes at no cost to the county. The ride service company is picking up the tab for round trips under $40 for the duration of the 60-day trial.

Carmela Sabaugh is the Macomb County Clerk. She adds this innovation to an extensive list that includes providing restaurant-style pagers to jurors while they wait to be called into the courtroom and furnishing the jury room with free wireless Internet.

Michigan Radio, The Grand Rapids Press and the Michigan League of Conservation Voters  will host a Grand Rapids mayoral candidate forum at the Grand Rapids Public Museum at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 22. All four mayoral candidates, including Rosalynn Bliss, Robert Dean, John George and Willard Lee, will participate.

Just a few years ago, we had never even heard the word "selfie".

These days, our social media feeds are filled with them. And that's sparked conversations and questions: Are they ridiculous? Are they little more than a deep dive into narcissism? Are they important ways to record our lives?

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A Michigan State University economist says a looming loan default by Greece should not greatly affect Michigan’s economy.

Greece and its European creditors will be discussing a last-minute proposal by Athens for a new two-year rescue deal.

The proposal came just hours before the country's international bailout expires – at which point it will lose access to billions of dollars in European funding.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint residents will soon get another letter saying there’s a problem with their tap water. It’s a letter they’ve seen before.

The city remains technically in violation of the Safe Drinking Water Act for higher than acceptable levels of the disinfectant byproduct Total Trihalomethanes, otherwise known as TTHM.

The "Pure Michigan" campaign highlights beautiful and memorable places and experiences in Michigan.
user PunkToad / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

State lawmakers are searching for money to fix the roads, and they’ve been eyeing the budget of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and its “Pure Michigan” campaign.

The MEDC’s funding was reduced by $15 million with the recently passed budget.

Flickr / bitznbitez

The U.S. Supreme Court has sided with the state of Michigan, other states, and industry groups in a challenge to the Environmental Protection Agency’s emissions rules.

The justices ruled the EPA was unreasonable when it refused to consider costs in its initial decision to regulate mercury emissions from power plants.

Read the Supreme Court's ruling in Michigan vs. EPA here.

barbed wire fence
FLickr user H. Michael Karshis / Creative Commons https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode

How much does crime really cost? Millions of dollars per day and billions per year. The high cost has jail and prison administrators seeking ways to ease this burden on taxpayers.

One way to do that is charging the inmates fees.

In Michigan, inmates are required to pay for necessities. It's called "pay to stay." Backers say it teaches the prisoners a lesson and keeps them from making frivolous and wasteful requests. But what happens when a prisoner's small paycheck doesn't cover the expenses?

Just in case you hadn’t noticed, the U.S. Supreme Court has released a flurry of momentous decisions in the last few days covering everything from lethal injection methods to the environment.

The two which drew the most attention were, of course, the rulings which saved the Affordable Care Act, and found that same sex couples have the right to marry everywhere in America.

But the court made another tremendous ruling yesterday that, in effect, said we can take back representative democracy in this state if we want to.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Saginaw School Board may pick a new superintendent next month.

The district’s interim superintendent is retiring, in part, because of frustration with the board.    

Kelley Peatross came out of retirement 8 months ago to lead the district.  But she says the “antics” of some individuals have made it difficult for her to continue in the position. 

Lansing Capitol
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Two bills are being considered by the Michigan Legislature that would give some former Michigan State Police troopers higher pensions.

Senate bills 21 and 22 would give 96 ex-troopers who retired before Oct. 1, 1986, a pension of at least $16,000 a year.

Brianna and Alyssa Foster have been to three different schools since 2013.
Zak Rosen / Michigan Radio

 

This fall, it’s looking like Alyssa and Brianna Foster might switch to a new school.

Again.

It’s a pretty common experience in Detroit, where students switch schools 2.5 times more frequently than kids in the rest of the state.

Christopher Peplin / Flickr

One new study suggests repealing Michigan’s prevailing wage law is a bad idea.

Smart Cities Prevail and the Midwest Economic Policy Institute — two groups that support union-level pay and benefits for workers on publicly-funded construction projects — say their research shows overturning the prevailing wage would have “quite profound impacts” on Michigan’s economy.

Hantz Farms

Wayne State University researchers are taking a close look at some of the potential hazards of urban agriculture.

They’ve launched a three-year study at several farm sites around Detroit, to examine soil and vegetable samples from those sites for “physical, chemical, and biological contaminants,” says Yifan Zhang, assistant professor of food and nutrition at Wayne State.

Dept of Corrections

The Michigan Supreme Court says a man convicted of killing a three-year-old girl deserves a new trial.

A Calhoun County jury convicted Leo Ackley of felony murder and child abuse in the death of his girlfriend’s daughter. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

DIA director retiring after 16-year tenure

Jun 29, 2015
DIA

The director of the Detroit Institute of Arts is retiring after leading the museum for 16 years.

Graham Beal first announced plans to step down from the position back in January. Tuesday will be his last day.

Manufacturing Tech Expo at College of DuPage 2014 4

Michigan has a teacher shortage, at least when it comes to vocational programs.

Education administrators say it's creating "emergency situations" in some parts of the state, especially rural areas. 

flickr/jmarty / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The Next Idea

Silicon Valley churns out apps to “change the world,” but whose world are they really changing? How do we know if these new technologies are going to work in a city like Detroit, for example?

All across America, digital innovations have proliferated in the last four decades, but poverty rates haven’t budged, and inequality has skyrocketed.     

An exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History displays the science behind evolution.
Flickr user Dom Dada / Flickr - http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Can strict Christian belief co-exist with science and the scientific view of evolution?

A West Michigan-based group called Biologos believes the answer is "yes."

Deborah Haarsma, the president of Biologos, is an astrophysicist and former chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Calvin College.

cincy Project / Creative Commons

The landlord association in Kent County is teaming up with Grand Rapids police to try and reduce crime. They’re offering a new training program for their 1,400 members on how to react to, reduce, and even prevent crime at their properties.

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