News

Drinking water fountain.
Gabrielle Emanuel / Michigan Radio

All 94 school buildings in the Detroit Public Schools Community District meet federal standards for lead in water, the city’s health department announced Monday.

It had spent months screening tap water at all the city’s schools for lead and copper, to make sure they met U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standards.

“And we’re now confident that children who are drinking water in DPSCD schools are drinking water that’s lead-safe,” says Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, the health department’s director.

Presidential campaign merchandise.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A conservative group is running ads this week in Michigan and three other states asking Republican Donald Trump to withdraw from the presidential race.

The ad features Donald Trump saying he would get out of the race if his poll numbers were bad.  The quotes date back to when Trump was riding high during the Republican primaries.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

The Detroit Public Schools has made “enormous progress” on fixing crumbling school buildings, but there’s still more work to do.

More than 90% of the district’s 94 school buildings are now officially “up to code,” according to city and school district officials.

Detroit’s building department got involved in the situation early this year, after teacher protests that highlighted some decrepit building conditions, among other things, hit the news.

Detroit Federation of Teachers Executive Vice President Terrence Martin says they deserve credit for that.

The former Carstens Elementary School building, on Detroit's east side, is one of many, many schools that have been shuttered in Detroit.
Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

This summer, Detroit Public Schools ceased to exist except on paper.

But there is a new district that has the same schools, teachers and students as the “old” DPS. It’s formally known, at least for now, as the Detroit Public Schools Community District.

Why did this happen? The short story is that the “old” DPS stood on the verge of bankruptcy throughout the last school year. To avoid that, the state — which has controlled Detroit schools for most of the past 17 years — executed a bankruptcy-style restructuring, minus the actual bankruptcy.

There are those who think that Governor Rick Snyder has been made to bear too much of the blame for the mess in Flint.

There may be some truth in that.

The governor certainly didn’t set out to poison the water, though, as Harry Truman said the buck stops on the desk of the top man.

Ecologist Ryan Utz and graduate student Catherine Giles check on a recent arrival to their “moth board” at Chatham University. Utz says they could see as many as 1,500 different species on campus over the next several years.
Kara Holsopple / Allegheny Front

 


What do you know about moths, besides that they’re attracted to your porch lights? It turns out researchers still have a lot to learn about the many species of moths and the role they play in ecosystems.

CMU's central campus.
CMU

Police at Central Michigan University say they're cracking down during the school's "Welcome Weekend ."

The Mount Pleasant police issued 341 citations this past weekend, most of them alcohol-related.

They also arrested 34 people over the weekend. That's up significantly from last year.

Officer Jeff Browne says they've done a lot of student outreach and education efforts. Now, he says, they're stepping up enforcement.

The 2016 M-STEP results come out Tuesday morning
flickr http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

How did Michigan students do on the statewide, standardized test this year?

That's what we'll find out Tuesday morning, when the state Department of Education releases the spring 2016 results of the M-STEP.

Marijuana plant.
USFWS

There will be a new round of court filings this week in the battle to get marijuana legalization on the November ballot. The MI Legalize campaign is expected to file a set of motions Tuesday in an effort to get the case settled in time for the November 2016 election.

Last June, MI Legalize filed a lawsuit with the Michigan Court of Claims challenging a signature rule. The rule says any signatures for a petition gathered outside a 180-day window are invalid. Although MI Legalize had enough signatures to get on the November ballot, too many of them were outside the 180-day window.

Jerry Coyne owns Q 100.3 in Grayling and hosts music in the afternoons.
Peter Payette

These days, most rock and roll radio stations play a limited number of songs. 

They play those over and over again.

That's because audience research has become so high-tech that stations know exactly what songs attract the most listeners.

The owners of a station in Grayling say classic rock is worn out.

So they launched a counter-offensive and are breaking all the rules about how to run a radio station in the 21st century. 

Bill Schroer told us that we waste about 30% of our food in America.
United States Department of Agriculture

The Next Idea

There's a halfway decent chance you scraped food into the trash can today. Or maybe you pitched an apple core out the car window on your way to work.

If so, then you are contributing to America's food waste problem, and it's a big one.

Some $218 billion big.

Battle Creek wants to be America's test laboratory and lead the way to zero food waste.

flickr user zeevveez / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The time is getting closer for launching special tax-free savings accounts for Michiganders with disabilities.

It's called MI-ABLE, the Achieving a Better Life Experience program. 

MI-ABLE was signed into law in Michigan late last year. Now, word has come that the state has firmed up a contract with a Florida-based company to manage this savings program.

Photo of a cell phone with online comment section.
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

You may have read the recent news that NPR decided to discontinue online comments at NPR.org. Editors at NPR reasoned there are better ways to connect with people than what these sections at the bottom of news articles provide.

Michigan Democrats and Republicans held their state conventions last weekend, mainly to nominate candidates for the education boards.

That includes the state board of education, plus two seats each for the three major universities – Wayne State, Michigan State, and the University of Michigan.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The focus is on the November elections with the Republican and Democratic summer nominating conventions wrapped up. Democrats, following their meeting over the weekend in Lansing, are hoping presidential nominee Hillary Clinton will lead them to a string of down-ballot victories if she wins the White House.

“We know in Michigan, that when our voters turn out, we win,” says Michigan Democratic Party Chair Brandon Dillon. “Our voters tend to turn out better in presidential elections, but this is an interesting year.”

Gov. Rick Snyder at the state GOP convention
Cheyna Roth / MPRN

Michigan Republicans were in Grand Rapids this past weekend to finalize their slate for the November ballot, and to fire up for the final weeks of the election season.

We try to keep our language pretty clean here at That’s What They Say, but sometimes things just slip out.

Like when we’re explaining the difference between “they’re”, “their,” and “there” for what feels like the millionth time.

Or when we see "for all intensive purposes" in print, and the writer isn't trying to be ironic.

Sometimes it happens when we stub a toe and it really, really hurts.

In any case, for those of us guilty of occasionally uttering words that would make a sailor blush, the phrase “pardon my French” is a go-to apology.

Senior citizens may be way more tech savvy than you think.
flickr user Jason Howie / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Professor Bill Chopik is here to make you feel really bad about all the times you wanted to run, screaming, from the room after trying to teach your grandparents how to download a photo attachment from an email.

The Michigan State University professor just published a study looking at how nearly 600 seniors (average age 68) feel about the technology they use to communicate, how willing they are to learn new types of technology, and how those responses correlate with their loneliness and overall health.

Spacing Magazine / Creative Commons http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

This Week in Review, Jack Lessenberry and Rebecca Kruth talk about a failed attempt to get recreational pot on the ballot this November, a report that the owners of the Ambassador Bridge might soon throw some legal hurdles down river to block construction of the Gordie Howe Bridge, and the latest chapter in the rivalry between Gov. Rick Snyder and Attorney General Bill Schuette.


Signatures are collected for the MI Legalize campaign.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

As a citizen, you have a right to petition the government for redress of grievances. At the state level, that right and the right to put referenda on the ballot can be restricted or, in some cases, circumvented.

Car accident
Ted Abbott/Flickr

A group of insurance companies that sets a mandatory car insurance fee does not have to say how it comes up with that fee. That decision came today from the Michigan Court of Appeals.

The Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association was created by an act of the Legislature, but it’s run by insurance companies. This year, the MCCA collects $160 on every insured vehicle. The money is used to pay the most-expensive medical bills of victims of car crashes.

Susana Bernabé-Ramirez and her daughter Sayra Hernandez
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

The news came in today that Susana Bernabé-Ramirez and her 16-year-old daughter Sayra Hernandez have been deported. That leaves 11-year-old, American-born Isabella Hernandez here in the United States. This creates an even bigger challenge for the family, because Isabella has epilepsy and needs the medical care that she is receiving here in Michigan.
 

We spoke with Bernabé-Ramirez and Sayra in April as they awaited a stay of removal from the Board of Immigration Appeals.

Their attorney Brad Thompson joined us to talk about this development.

State Rep. Brian Banks was arraigned this week on charges of providing false information on a bank loan application in 2010.
Michigan House of Representatives / Public Domain

The Michigan Freedom Fund's website describes the group as supporting political conservatives who beat up bad policy that favors big business, big banks, big Wall Street bailouts and big government.

This week the chairman of the group, Greg McNeilly, wrote an opinion piece in The Detroit News calling some Democrats hypocrites because they have been lecturing Republicans about the need to distance themselves from their presidential nominee, Donald Trump, while making campaign donations to Democratic state Representative Brian Banks. 

Rep. Banks was arraigned this week on charges related to using false pay stubs when trying to obtain a bank loan. He faces three felony charges and one misdemeanor.

An illustration from the book "Learning, Recycling and Becoming Little Heroes" by Gale Glover.
Gale Glover

There are several people who have been called heroes in uncovering the Flint water crisis. You’ve heard those voices many times on this station. But a new book -- a children’s book -- makes the argument that kids are the heroes, because Flint kids have had to learn new ways to eat, drink, and live their lives.

The title of Gale Glover’s book is Learning, Recycling, and Becoming Little Heroes.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

We've been thinking about the kind of people you might like to meet. We talk with a lot of authors, musicians, politicians and policy wonks. But, what about artisans.? They're the people who use their hands and hearts to build things that we use.

The next stop in our “Artisans of Michigan” series is Zimnicki Guitars in Allen Park, Michigan.

Studying identical twins could unlock some of our medical mysteries
DVIDSHUB / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

Twins: They look alike, many of them sound and act alike. They could also hold the power to help the medical world unlock some of its biggest mysteries.

surgical instrument tray
wikimedia / creative commons

Michigan's Bureau of Community and Health Systems has launched an investigation into dirty, broken, and missing instruments at Detroit Medical Center hospitals.

The investigation was prompted by a report in the Detroit News showing a pattern of improper cleaning and sterilization at DMC facilities,  putting patients at risk for over eleven years.

ER doctors are learning how to identity patients who may be victims of trafficking
Ira Gelb / Creative Commons

So far this year, 133 cases of human trafficking have been reported in Michigan. Another 436 calls and emails referencing human trafficking Michigan have come in to the National Human Trafficking Center.

But spotting these victims can be tough: they’re often isolated, and frequently forced to move from city to city and state to state.

One place experts say they do show up? The emergency room.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The city’s water crisis has given many people in Flint sleepless nights.

Last night, the man who helped reveal the problem spent a sleepless night seeing if things are getting better. 

In the wee small hours of the morning, Virginia Tech water expert Marc Edwards took and tested water samples at the Flint home of Lee Anne Walters. It was in Walters’ home that the extent of the city’s water crisis was first confirmed.

Edwards tested the water hourly to see how chlorine and bacteria levels changed during the hours when water generally flows slower through the system.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. - Gov. Rick Snyder is urging calm ahead of Michigan's release of the lowest-performing public schools, saying there is a "misperception" that schools will be closed.

He said Friday that Michigan is required to publish the bottom 5 percent list by next week, but he told The Associated Press it is wrong to assume listed schools will receive closure notices.

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