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Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

Flint residents just got a big proposed settlement from the city and the state over the water crisis. A settlement was announced late last week, but more details were released today.

The state is agreeing to pay at least $87 million to pay for at least 18,000 new water service lines in Flint. Under the proposal, which has to get final approval from a judge, the city would have to replace all lead and galvanized steel water lines in the next three years.

What happens when a city can't keep its promises to retirees?
Ken Teegardin / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

What happens when a city can't keep its promises to retirees?

Tomas Castelazo / Wikimedia Commons

The Next Idea

A recent headline in the Financial Times read, “Vancouver seizes chance to lure Silicon Valley tech talent.” The mayor of Vancouver confirms that inquiries from U.S. tech companies have risen sharply in recent months.

It’s no secret that Cisco Systems, Samsung and SAP have recently established a presence north of the border, but now it appears that Apple, Microsoft, Google and Facebook are all also considering their options. If this tire-kicking becomes a trend, it will compromise America’s ability to remain a global leader in technology.

smussyolay / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Grocery store shelves, restaurant menus and cookbooks are a lot different in 2017 than they were 30 or 40 years ago.

Americans tend to pay a lot more attention to the food we eat and how it's prepared. We know more about fine wines. Many of us seek out organic fruits and vegetables, and are willing to try exotic foods our parents and grandparents couldn't even imagine.

But, at the same time, we've seen the income inequality gap widen. How has "good food" become conflated with high status?

Jerome Vaughn / WDET

A state senator is involved in a joint investigation with the FBI and Michigan State Police.

Both departments executed search warrants on the Lansing office and Highland Park home of Democratic Senator Bert Johnson Monday.

Investigators did not give any details about the nature of the investigation. An unidentified man who was with the team of investigators leaving the Senate office building said, “We had investigative activity here in the Senate, but that’s all I’m going to say.”

Flickr user chiotsrun / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

It's sugaring season in Michigan. Did a mild winter and recent burst of warm weather give maple syrup producers anything to worry about?

Flint water crisis protest
steve carmody / Michigan Radio

President Donald Trump and former President Barack Obama had a hand in last week's grant of $100 million to address the lead in the drinking water crisis in Flint, despite a report that seeks to give Trump credit for the funding.

The report also says Obama refused to give money to Flint, which is false.

Two former deputies of Macomb County Clerk Karen Spranger have filed a lawsuit saying they were fired in retaliation for filing ethics complaints against their boss.
user southerfried / morguefile

Macomb County Clerk Karen Spranger has been a source of controversy since her election last fall. Now two of Spranger's former deputies are suing their old boss.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court Friday, says that Paul Kardasz and Erin Stahl were fired in retaliation for submitting ethics complaints against Spranger. The pair is being represented by attorney Jennifer Lord.

Warren Mayor Jim Fouts
Jim Fouts Facebook page

Jim Fouts will get to stay mayor of Warren longer than some residents might like. 

 

 

The Macomb County Election Commission has rejected all six recall petitions against Mayor Fouts, despite ongoing controversy.

 

 

Fouts has been surrounded by controversy for alleged audio recordings of him saying disparaging and mocking things about mentally ill children, women and black people, and for potentially breaking campaign finance laws.

 

 

The existence of alternative facts in science has also caused confusion in the realm of climate change, where a large portion of the population are skeptical about it, despite overwhelming scientific evidence to support it.
Curran Kelleher / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

It was a verbal tug-of-war that thrust the term "alternative facts" into our vocabulary.

NBC's Chuck Todd grilled White House counselor Kellyanne Conway over the Trump administration's insistence on inflating the crowd size at the president's inauguration.

But pushing out "alternative facts" is not new. It's been happening in the scientific arena for decades.

Western Michigan University's Main Campus
user TheKuLeR / Wikimedia Commons

A new survey has found that fewer international students are applying to universities in the United States.

The survey by the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers says that nearly 40% of schools received fewer admissions from foreign students this year.

And lower international enrollment rates could harm universities in Michigan.

Bentley Historical Library / University of Michigan

William G. Milliken, the longest-serving governor in Michigan history, turned 95 yesterday. The weekend before last, a couple other friends and I got together with Milliken and his son for a private little pre-birthday dinner at his home.

The governor – I find it hard to call him anything but that – is recovering from breaking a small bone in his foot, but hasn’t lost his interest in state affairs or his sense of humor.

Downtown Flint.
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

There's so much to talk about in this immensely diverse state of ours that we can't possibly know about it all. 

Last month, the state School Reform Office (SRO) announced that 38 schools could be closed at the end of this school year.
Kevin Wong / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

In January, the state’s School Reform Office sent a warning letter directly to parents at 38 low-performing schools. The letter told parents their child’s school was at risk of closing by the end of June “due to academic failure for many years” and they would get an update by March.

The schools on this list scored in the bottom 5% on state standardized tests for three consecutive years.

After Wayne County found some 11,000 abandoned rape kits, a statewide survey found another 1800 around the state
http://www.npr.org/2015/02/10/384129985/advocates-join-fight-to-eliminate-detroit-s-rape-kit-backlog

Prosecutors say a second backlog of more than 500 untested Detroit rape kits languished in storage for years after more than 11,000 other unprocessed evidence packages were discovered in 2009.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Health officials are concerned about a growing outbreak of Hepatitis-A in southeast Michigan.

Hepatitis A is a viral disease that attacks the liver.     It’s not usually fatal.  But two of the 107 patients recorded in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties since last August have died. 

“We do think that there are various pockets of this Hepatitis A,” says Dr. Eden Wells, the chief medical executive with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, “We’re not sure what’s driving it, but it is contagious.”

The Detroit Public Schools Community District is searching for its first permanent superintendent.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Finalists vying for the job of Detroit schools’ superintendent will start the public interview process this week, but some people think the best candidate isn’t in the running.

Choosing a new superintendent is the first major task for Detroit’s newly-elected school board, which just took power in January after years of state control. But the process has already become messy and controversial.

European Union approves merger of Dow Chemical and Dupont

16 hours ago
User mgreason / wikimedia commons

The European Union approved the proposed merger of Dow Chemical and DuPont on Monday, declaring itself satisfied with commitments the companies have made to divest businesses.

Both plan to join in a $62 billion deal and then break apart into three separate, publicly traded companies. Those companies would focus on agriculture, material science, and the production and sale of specialty products.

pixanay

The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, remains the law of the land for now.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

We may learn this week if European regulators are going to give the green light to the proposed merger of Midland-based Dow Chemical and DuPont.

Reuters is citing sources saying the European Commission will give its blessing to the proposed merger early this week.

A European Commission spokesman would only say, “We cannot speculate on the precise date for a decision.”   

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The state appointed board that oversees the city of Flint’s finances is expected to approve spending more than $30 million to replace lead service lines when it meets Monday.

The Receivership Transition Advisory Board’s approval is all that’s needed before contractors can begin replacing six thousand aging lead and galvanized pipes connecting Flint homes to city water mains.

The pipes are a primary source of lead in Flint’s tap water.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

This week, the Jackson city council takes up a challenge to an ordinance barring discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

The council approved the ordinance in February, but opponents quickly collected enough signatures to force it back to the council. 

Opponents say the ordinance gives special rights to the LGBT community.

“Granted, you want to treat everyone with dignity, respect,” says Rev. Tim Nelson, “but I think the laws we have as they are do that.”

Ordinance opponents drew a sharp rebuke from an anonymous source.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

FLINT, Mich. (AP) - A federal watchdog agency plans to conduct an audit of $25.5 million in demolition costs in Flint related to the federal Hardest Hit Fund.

  The Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, informed the U.S. Secretary of Treasury last week of the planned audit.

  That letter said the audit would examine demolition and related costs in Flint that were reimbursed with TARP dollars.

In December 2015 the Washington Post announced it was finally dropping the hyphen from "e-mail," two years after the New York Times and four years after the Associated Press Stylebook

While it's surprising that the Post waited so long to let go of a hyphen as obsolete as America Online's free trial CDs, the decision itself wasn't unprecedented.


pbs.org

President Trump’s proposed budget threatens the “very existence” of public television, and would “result in tremendous loss for our country,” PBS CEO Paula Kerger told a Detroit Economic Club audience Friday.

Cutting all federal funds for public broadcasting would have devastating consequences, especially in underserved areas, Kerger said.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Municipalities that are collecting substantially lower property taxes than they used to from big-box stores must overcome opposition from business interests and their allies in the Legislature to tilt the tax assessing system back in favor of local governments.

Paul Ryan
Gage Skidmore / Creative Commons http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Republican US House leaders on Friday withdrew their bill to repeal and replace Obamacare. House Speaker Paul Ryan pulled the bill from the floor after it was clear the measure would not have enough votes to pass. This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about whether Gov. Rick Snyder and Healthy Michigan advocates can breath a sigh of relief.

Chrysler headquarters in Auburn Hills, Michigan.
flickr user fiatontheweb / creative commons

By now it should be obvious that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is for sale.

Not in a desperate do-a-deal-now kind of way. But in a persistent, strategically logical way.

Why? Because CEO Sergio Marchionne says as much, repeatedly. He understands better than most the capital demands of today’s global auto industry -- and FCA’s limited capacity to meet them.

Lead pipes
Mitch Barrie / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

State House and Senate leaders are uneasy about the governor’s proposed changes to the state Lead and Copper Rule.

Governor Rick Snyder is trying to make the state’s regulations stricter than the federal requirements. He wants to lower the safe limit from 15 parts per billion to 10.

Snyder previously called the federal Lead and Copper Rule, “dumb and dangerous.” Now Snyder spokesperson Ari Adler says the governor is working with the legislature to make sure Michigan’s form of the rule is safer than the federal rule.

COURTESY PHOTO / HOLLAND BPW

Each year the state of Michigan spends about $15 million to clean up abandoned industrial sites. Contamination can threaten water sources and public health.

Now, however, the state is about to run out of money to do that clean up.

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