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  LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Two Michigan lawmakers who were forced from office in a sex scandal face a key hearing on charges that they committed felony misconduct in office.

  The preliminary exam scheduled to begin Wednesday in a Lansing courtroom will determine if there is probable cause to go to trial. Todd Courser resigned last September and Cindy Gamrat became the fourth legislator to ever be expelled.

  The conservative Republicans had an extramarital affair.

The photo Melissa Gilbert used in her announcement to run for Congress
Melissa Gilbert for Congress

Melissa Gilbert has ended her campaign as the democratic Congressional candidate in Michigan's 8th district. The actress, best known for her role as Laura Ingalls in the television series Little House on the Prairie, said in a statement emailed from her campaign that health concerns make it impossible to run.

From Russia with rockin' love for Detroit

13 hours ago
Courtesy of Vladislav Yermachenko

In recent years, Detroit hasn't just inspired local artists. It's also inspired artists across the world. Russian rocker Vladislav Yermachenko, drummer for a Kazakhstan-based Russian rock band Polygon, has been inspired by the city since childhood when his father gave him a book on the world’s automotive industry. After seeing pictures of Motor City-made cars, he fell in love with Detroit. He's now a journalist for automotive magazines.

But cars aren’t the only thing that has inspired Yermachenko. Detroit’s resilience in the face of struggle inspired him to write Polygon’s song, “Winners in This Life.” His love for cars and resilient nature show in his lyrics. 

A protester shows her support for Planned Parenthood outside the Supreme Court Building in March
flickr user Lorie Shaull / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Planned Parenthood has been getting some very strong pressure from pro-life supporters, including members of the state Legislature, who want to shut the organization down because it provides abortions.

Or, at the very least, they want to severely restrict Planned Parenthood's funding and operations. 

Stateside 5.24.2016

13 hours ago

Today, we learn about the latest move to determine a legal THC limit for Michigan drivers. And, we talk to a Russian rocker who's inspired by Detroit.

Don't do this: learning from the Flint water crisis

14 hours ago
Gov. Snyder at a press conference in Flint
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder promoted his business skills when first running for office, but those skills are now being questioned as the Flint water crisis continues to be a government nightmare. Grand Valley State University is taking the opportunity to learn from the mistakes made by the Snyder administration.

Marie McKendall is a business professor at GVSU who will be using the Flint water crisis as a case study in her business ethics class this fall.

“It’s horrible that it happened, but it’s a wonderful case study,” McKendall said on Stateside. “There are structural problems, there are cultural problems, there are social problems and psychological problems. … It’s a far richer case than a lot of the ones we have used before.”

In the course, McKendall wants to make it clear that there isn’t a “villain” to hunt down, but that government incompetence did make the situation worse.

“I think they completely lost sight of the fact that there were people who were being affected by the decisions they were making," she said.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Government agencies will practice responding to an oil spill from a pipeline crossing the St. Clair River tomorrow. 

The pipeline passes beneath the St. Clair River just south of Port Huron.

The drill will involve a simulated a 13-minute, 5,000-barrel oil spill. The exercise will involve boats in the river and absorbent booms in the water, all to corral and collect fictional oil leaking from the pipeline.

The drill involves government agencies and the pipeline’s owner, Enbridge.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Gov. Rick Snyder has declared a "state of energy emergency" in Michigan.    

The governor issued the executive order in response to issues at a Detroit oil refinery and a Wisconsin pipeline.

The Marathon refinery in Detroit is currently experiencing an “outage” related to maintenance work.    

Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

The effort to get paid sick leave for all Michigan workers on the ballot this November is over for now.

Dave Woodward is the Oakland County Commissioner for Berkley and Royal Oak.

He and the Time to Care coalition organized the campaign to get paid sick leave on the ballot, but aren't confident the group would get enough petition signatures in time.

The proposed law would require businesses with ten or more employees to provide one hour of sick time for every thirty hours worked.

West Park, Ann Arbor
matth / public domaine

State environmental officials say 35 private wells on or near Rose Drive in Ann Arbor had no detectable level of 1,4 dioxane after testing water samples.

It's a little bit of good news in the ongoing saga of Ann Arbor's dioxane-contaminated groundwater. 

A plume of water contaminated with the dangerous chemical is slowly moving under the city towards the Huron River.

Richard T. Cole, who most people know as Rick, is a remarkable man who’s had several careers, sometimes simultaneously. I was first aware of him when he was press secretary and chief of staff to Governor Jim Blanchard in the 1980s.

Later, he was a senior executive at Blue Cross Blue Shield, and worked with Mike Duggan back when the man who became Detroit’s mayor was overhauling the Detroit Medical Center.


Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Studies suggest even low levels of lead exposure can hurt a fetus’ development in the womb.

And for months now, the state health department has been looking into whether the Flint water crisis caused problems with pregnancies.  

Meanwhile, researchers at Hurley Medical Center are investigating whether the lead in the water increased the number of miscarriages.

But it turns out that trying to track miscarriages is really tough.

markbwavy / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The Next Idea

Climate change presents one of the biggest problems we have ever faced. It is literally as large as our planet. We must take action to address it or its consequences will intensify, growing more costly and increasingly affecting us all.

Fortunately, we know what to do -- transition to cleaner sources of energy to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. Quickly.

In the electricity sector, this means rapidly tapping into renewable energy resources like wind and solar on a grand scale.

An empty hallway lined with lockers.
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

The state is giving Benton Harbor Area Schools another emergency loan.

The southwest Michigan school district of roughly 2,200 students has already received more than $5 million in emergency loans from the state’s Emergency Loan Board. A Michigan treasury department spokesman says last week the appointed board approved another one, this time for $3.3 million, making it the largest loan the board has given the district so far.

Hillary Clinton address the 2016 SEIU international convention at Detroit's Cobo Center.
SEIU / via Twitter

Hillary Clinton made her second stop in Detroit this month, addressing union activists at the Service Employees International Union’s  convention on Monday.

Clinton told them the American economy and workplace have changed drastically in recent years, but too many of the policies that govern them haven’t.

She emphasized her support for worker-friendly policies like paid family leave, boosting the minimum wage, and equal pay for women.

A panhandler.
C Tanti / flickr http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

A state House committee could vote tomorrow on a bill to create a crime of “aggressive panhandling.” The legislation would forbid begging for money near banks and ATMs. It would also forbid threatening or offensive language and gestures. And it would require a panhandler to stop asking if someone communicates it’s not welcome.

State Rep. Mike McCready, R-Bloomfield Hills, sponsored the bill. He says the goal is rein in the growing number of panhandlers.

Curly fries and a burger
flickr user ebruli / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Fast food has dramatically changed our food landscape.

Unlike our parents or grandparents, we don't have to plan too far ahead to figure out what's for dinner tonight.

But the greater variety and convenience of ready-to-eat meals hasn't made finding good food easier for everyone.

a giant tooth greets children. Not as terrifying as it sounds.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

New programs are getting underway in Flint to help protect the teeth of thousands of children.

Since Flint’s drinking water crisis began, parents have stopped letting their children drink from the kitchen faucet.  

But while that is protecting the kids from contaminants in the water, it’s also cutting them off from fluoride added to the water to protect their teeth.

“We do know that kids who don’t have access to fluoridated water are much more likely to develop cavities,” says Terri Battaglieri, director of the Delta Dental Foundation.  

student at a desk raising hand
Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

Yet another Detroit Public Schools administrator is accused of stealing from the district.

This time the alleged scam steered at least $1,275,000 to a former grants manager for tutoring services that were never delivered.

Carolyn StarkeyDarden worked for the district from 1968 to 2005. She went on to set up a series of companies that got tutoring contracts with the district.

DPS interim superintendent Alycia Meriweather makes an announcement.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Amidst tremendous uncertainty about its future existence, the Detroit Public Schools is trying to recruit teachers.

The district is holding a “DPS Day” recruitment fair for new teachers at Martin Luther King High School on Tuesday.

Officials admit that’s a challenging task when the district’s future is so insecure.

It’s waiting on state lawmakers to pass a huge aid package before it runs out of money altogether this summer.

DPS interim superintendent Alycia Meriweather says the sooner Lansing can get that resolved, the better.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The last Flint fire station distributing water to city residents will stop doing it by the end of this week.

Michigan National Guardsmen have been handing out cases of bottled water and filters at the fire station on Martin Luther King for months.

Gen. Greg Vadnais leads the Michigan National Guard. He credits the public’s support for the guard’s ability to respond to the city’s drinking water crisis.

“It’s really helped us to be able to complete our mission to provide the resources to them that they needed,” Vadnais sais last week.

The governor and the legislature are currently fighting over how to rescue the Detroit public schools from financial collapse. There’s a general recognition that this has to be done, if only because the consequences of not doing so would cost the state even more.

The state constitution requires Michigan to provide an education for all children.

Michigan Radio received ten awards for news coverage this weekend from the Michigan Associated Press Media Editors. The station was recognized with five First Place awards and five Second Place awards in the large market radio category. The large market radio category includes both public and commercial radio stations that serve Michigan’s largest market of Detroit.  Here is the complete list of Michigan Radio winners:

First Place

(l to r) Joel Beauvais, Office of Water, EPA - Keith Creagh, Director, MDEQ - Marc Edwards, Virginia Tech - Lee Anne Walters, former Flint Resident
screen grab YouTube

The head of Michigan’s environmental regulatory agency says he won’t take any more administrative action against state employees involved in the Flint water crisis until the criminal cases against them are resolved.

In January, interim director of Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality Keith Creagh asked Michigan State Police to investigate employees in his department.

The report was finished in March, but it hasn’t been released to the public yet. A request for the report under the Freedom of Information Act is pending.

C/O MDOC

The Michigan State Police have wrapped up a nearly year-long investigation into who really killed four people in a Detroit home one September night in 2007.

Back then, police brought in a 14-year-old kid named Davontae Sanford. After hours of interrogation without a parent or a lawyer, he confessed and was later sent to prison.

But just weeks later, a professional hitman, Vincent Smothers, was arrested and confessed to those same killings, even leading police to the weapon he used. 

Holocaust survivor sings national anthem at Tigers game

May 21, 2016
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

An 89-year-old Holocaust survivor has fulfilled her longtime wish to sing the U.S. national anthem at a Major League Baseball game.

Hermina Hirsch sang Saturday at Comerica Park in Detroit before the Detroit Tigers played Tampa Bay.

Michigan Oil and Gas Association

Leaders of Michigan’s oil and gas industry are optimistic their business is poised to rebound from a prolonged price slump.

Oil and natural gas prices are half of what they were in recent years. But just over the past few months, oil prices have jumped nearly 50 percent.

Allan Cleaver / Flickr

A new report says the tax burden on Michigan businesses has declined slightly.

The Anderson Economic Group report ranks Michigan’s business tax burden 20th in the nation, improving from 21st last year.

Jason Horwitz is a senior AEG consultant. He expects the trend line will continue to go down in the coming years.

“When you look where taxes are so high for businesses in Michigan, the reason to be optimistic is that even though it’s been going down for five years, we would expect it to continue going down over the next few years,” says Horwitz.

Dioxane concerns prompt collection of groundwater samples

May 21, 2016
Ann Arbor's West Park
adaenn / flickr http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

State officials want to collect water samples in the West Park area of Ann Arbor due to concerns that groundwater contaminated by a toxic chemical may be seeping to the surface.

The Ann Arbor News reports that the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality plans to start the groundwater collection next week.

The chemical is dioxane, an industrial solvent. Federal agencies say long-term exposure could cause health problems, including cancer.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Cancer patients and survivors are lobbying lawmakers to make Michigan the latest state to require equal insurance coverage of chemotherapy regardless of whether the drugs are given by needle or taken orally.

The bill addresses the tendency for chemo pills to cost patients much more out of pocket than IV chemo.

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