News

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Republican state lawmakers are eyeing electric and hybrid vehicles as a possible source of road money. They say vehicles that are built to use less fuel should have to pay higher registration fees.

Larry Darling / Flickr http://tinyurl.com/oall5zn

State lawmakers have taken another step to revoke cash assistance from families with kids who persistently miss school.

The state Senate approved the bill on Tuesday with a 26-12 vote.

“The whole goal here is to make sure children are in school because they will succeed and they will have the chance to move ahead with their lives if they are in school,” said state Sen. Judy Emmons, R-Sheridan.

user elioja / Flickr

A state elections board has given a green light to a petition drive to ban prevailing wage requirements in Michigan.

The petition language mirrors legislation currently in the state House that would end laws requiring union-level pay and benefits for workers on publicly-funded construction projects. Those bills appear to be stalled.

Paul Hitzelberger / United Photo Works

Detroit expects to shut off water to about 1,000 households this week, according to the city’s water department.

Earlier this month the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department hung about 3,000 door-hangers, warning people they had 10 days to get on a payment plan with the city, or be shut off.

Medical Marijuana
Dank Depot / Creative Commons http://tinyurl.com/oall5zn

The state is holding a public hearing Wednesday on a request to add autism to the list of conditions that qualify for medical marijuana. 

Lisa Smith of Van Buren Township filed the request to add the disorder to the list.

Smith said her autistic son's severe behavior stopped after taking medical marijuana orally to treat a different condition.

Colleen Allen, president of the Autism Alliance of Michigan, said alternative treatments for the disorder require more study.

Viviana Pernot

You might have heard of Camp Take Notice, the tent city in Ann Arbor that was forced to close nearly three years ago.

Viviana Pernot has made a short documentary film about that homeless community and the non-profit group that helps them.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A serious health threat to state’s wild deer population has been detected in mid-Michigan. 

A six-year-old doe found in Haslett last month has tested positive for chronic wasting disease. 

The neurological disease is always fatal.  The disease is transmitted through saliva and other bodily fluids.   The disease is fatal to deer, elk and moose. 

Buckets of Rain / Facebook

Chris Skellenger likes to say he's gone from ornamental to survival horticulture. That's because he used to run a landscape company and nursery near his home in Empire on the Leelenau Peninsula, but these days he drives each week to Highland Park where he tends an urban farm that produces fresh food for people whose nearest food source might just be a gas station or convenience store.

Legally grown marijuana in Colorado.
Brett Levin / creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

As state lawmakers search for ways to come up with the money needed to fix Michigan’s battered and bumpy roads, one state representative tossed out this idea: Legalize and tax marijuana, and then put that new revenue to work.

State Rep. Brandon Dillon, D-Grand Rapids, joins us today to talk about this idea.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Like many Michigan cities, Saginaw has been struggling to deal with blight and crime. At least in Saginaw, the struggle appears to be paying off.

A study released today finds major crimes (arson, aggravated assault, criminal sexual conduct, homicide, robbery, burglary, larceny-theft and motor vehicle theft) decreased 54% between 2005 and 2014. The number is expected to be lower this year. 

A bighead carp at the Shedd Aquarium.
Rebecca Williams / Michigan Radio

Researchers with the U.S. Geological Survey want to find out where Asian carp eggs will have the most success.

They’re using a model nicknamed FluEgg to predict which rivers in the Great Lakes region are the most suitable for Asian carp to reproduce. The fish are not established here yet, but scientists want to be ready in case they do get in and get comfortable.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The clock is ticking for Flint mayoral candidate Eric Mays to find enough validate signatures to guarantee a spot for him on the November ballot.

Flint voters are electing a mayor this fall.     

Councilman Eric Mays fell 48 signatures short of the 900 needed for a spot on the ballot. 

House Foreclosure
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Thousands of Detroit and Wayne County homeowners face tax foreclosures.  Some of those families still have time to save their homes, but they might be paying more in taxes than they should have had to pay.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A House committee will take up bills tomorrow that pay for roads partly with funds from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

Doug Rothwell of Business Leaders for Michigan says the legislature should look elsewhere for the money.

jordanmrcai / Creative Commons

Detroiters behind on their water bills have a new place to turn for help.

The Heat and Warmth Fund, also known as THAW, has received a $1 million dollar donation to create a new water assistance fund.

Marijuana plant.
USFWS

Tuesday is a critical day for two groups – one which hopes to legalize and tax recreational marijuana in Michigan, and another which seeks to ban prevailing wage requirements in the state.

The Board of State Canvassers will review petition language submitted by the Michigan Cannabis Coalition. It’s one of at least three groups working to put a marijuana legalization question on the November 2016 ballot.

Jeff Reutter / Ohio State University

It looks like the toxic bacterial blooms on Lake Erie won't be as bad this summer.

Last August the blooms, which look kind of like algae or pond scum, were dangerous enough that people in Toledo and parts of Michigan couldn't drink their tap water for a few days.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

People across Michigan are taking time today to remember those who’ve died serving in the US Armed Forces.

Thousands of people lined the streets in Dearborn for that city’s 91st annual Memorial Day parade. 

Further north in Flint, a much smaller observance of the holiday took place.

Sal Rodriguez

World-renowned street artist Shepard Fairey has unveiled his new, 180-foot mural in downtown Detroit.

He also opened a new exhibit at the Library Street Collective gallery in the city over the weekend.

Benton Harbor High School
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Despite some state intervention this school year, Benton Harbor schools is still struggling. This spring has been rough for the district.

Benton Harbor schools has more than a $15 million deficit. The district signed a consent agreement with the state last fall to avoid an emergency manger.

media.ford.com

The economy in China may be slowing, but Ford says its plans for future sales increases are still on track.

Ford of China head Dave Schock says the days of "frantic" double-digit GDP growth are likely over. But he says the government plans to transition the economy to a 7% rate of growth, which means plenty of opportunities to increase car sales. 

Ford is pinning its hopes on so-called Tier 3 through Tier 6 cities in China. Those are small to mid-sized cities (a small city in China can still have several million residents.) 

2 Michigan high schools selected as Grammy schools

May 25, 2015
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Sadie Hernandez / Flickr

Two Michigan high schools have been selected as Grammy Signature schools, an honor that is awarded to only 13 schools in the nation each year.

Pioneer High School in Ann Arbor and Allendale High School in West Michigan, both received the honor and will be receiving grants to help continue its music programs. Pioneer has won the award eight times and this is Allendale’s second win.

GM hopes the Chevy Bolt will make long range electric cars affordable.
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

Electric cars can't compete on price or range with gas-burning cars, yet. But they're getting closer, according to a new study from Lux Research, because of the work being done by advanced battery manufacturers.

Analyst Cosmin Laslau says advanced lithium ion batteries could hit a price target of $172 per kilowatt hour by the year 2025. That's a 35% reduction from the current price.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Budget talks are wrapping up at the state Capitol. As part of the discussion, lawmakers are looking to cut Michigan’s $50 million film incentive program in half.

Many say the savings should go toward fixing Michigan’s roads.

“There is overwhelming public support from Democrats, Republicans, and Independents to reprioritize that spending to fix the roads,” Michigan Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Rich Studley told lawmakers last week during a committee hearing on the road funding issue.

Famed Detroit jazz trumpeter Marcus Belgrave dies at 78

May 24, 2015
http://www.marcusbelgrave.net/

DETROIT (AP) - Marcus Belgrave, a jazz trumpeter who graced stages and studios with Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Dizzy Gillespie, Joe Cocker and Motown artists galore, has died. He was 78.

Runar Pedersen Holkestad / Creative Commons

The federal government will help Michigan come up with a policy over the summer to help traumatized children.

Michigan, California and Massachusetts will get help from the Department of Justice. Each state will develop a comprehensive plan to identify, screen and treat children exposed to violence.

Capitulate, and its often confusing cousin, recapitulate, sound similar, but have completely different meanings. Why is that and how do we sort out all of this confusion? Michigan English Professor Anne Curzan cracked open the Oxford English Dictionary and other sources to find the answers.

“Capitulate, which for most of us means to give in to something, that you capitulate, is one thing,” Curzan explains. “But recapitulating is not giving in again, it’s to summarize something.”

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

A petition drive is launching this weekend in an effort to ban a controversial natural gas extraction process.

This will be the third time the campaign’s tried to get a question to outlaw fracking on the Michigan ballot.

LuAnne Kozma is leading the effort. She says with every attempt, it’s gotten easier to get people to sign the petitions.

Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce / Courtesy photo

Muskegon is marking the unofficial start of summer with a rebranding campaign. Leaders in Muskegon are trying to improve the lakeshore community’s not-so-great image.

“It’s changed a lot, I would say, in the last 15 years,” said Cindy Larsen, president of the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce.

Detroit's mayor wants to let neighborhoods put some of their vacant land to use.

"For recreation purposes, for gardening, for off-street parking, or whatever else their community wants, on the condition that the block club approves the use," says Mike Duggan.

Duggan says his plan would build off the city's successful side lot sale.

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