News

If you’ve been paying attention to Lansing over the past several years, you know that the Michigan legislature seldom ever misses an opportunity to do the wrong thing.

Bill would update Michigan car seat regulations

16 hours ago
Baby in car seat
Intel Free Press / Creative Commons http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

A bill in the state House would change car seat requirements for Michigan children.

Right now, the state's child safety restraint regulations are generally based on age and height. 

Under the bill, a child's weight would also be included.

Amy Zaagman with the Michigan Council for Maternal and Child Health says the legislation would bring Michigan up to date with national standards.

A Michigan man suspected of spraying a contaminant on unpackaged food at grocery stores faces four charges of poisoning food, according to the Associated Press.  

Kyle Bessemer appeared in an Ann Arbor court Thursday, two days after his arrest.

The FBI says Bessemer admitted to spraying a mixture of hand sanitizer, water, and mouse poison on produce and food bars at three Ann Arbor stores: Whole Foods, Meijer and Plum Market. The charges cover two stores.

pixabay user cocoparisienne / Public Domain

University of Michigan researchers are trying to figure out what exactly it takes to get people to care about climate change. Their study is published in Nature Climate Change

What they found seems to refute the popular line of thinking that culture is the biggest factor in whether we care and are willing to do something about climate change.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A new report suggests it’s getting harder to get reproductive health care at Michigan hospitals.

A series of hospital mergers in recent years means more hospitals in Michigan are part of a Catholic health system.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Ten community health centers in Michigan are getting million dollar federal grants to expand.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says the money will pay for renovations and expansion. By expanding, the health centers will be able to provide more primary and preventative health services to people with little access.

The department’s Dr. Nicole Lurie toured the Genesee Community Health Center today. What she saw was a center bulging at the seams.

Crowd waits to hear President Obama speak in Flint, Michigan.
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

That was the question I asked Flint's Eleasha Aubrey yesterday.

We were waiting for President Obama to speak at Northwestern High School in Flint.

She had a good seat, so I asked her how she got it.

Aubrey said she usually doesn't answer anonymous phone calls, but she was glad she took this particular call. 

Listen to her explain:

More than half a century ago, Michigan had a Republican governor who faced a difficult choice. His party was going to nominate a candidate for president whose views on civil rights were totally opposed to his. George Romney was, make no mistake about it, a politician.

Calvin Lutz is a cherry farmer in Manistee County.
Peter Payette / Interlochen Public Radio

Fruit growers have a new problem: they can’t buy enough young trees to plant in their orchards.

This is especially true for cherry farmers in Michigan who depend on nurseries in the Pacific Northwest. It could get worse, and some farmers are preparing for a day when they can’t buy any trees.

City of Highland Park

Southeast Michigan’s new regional water authority is asking for Governor Snyder’s “personal intercession and involvement” to resolve a billing dispute with the city of Highland Park.

Highland Park now owes the Great Lakes Water Authority nearly $30 million in water and sewer bills.

In a letter to the Governor last month, the GLWA board said the Authority’s other customer communities are growing “concerned and frustrated” as they’re forced to pick up Highland Park’s tab.

Mercedes Mejia

When you think of Cuban exports, you probably think, cigars, sugar, and rum.  But Cuba exports something of much greater value to third-world countries:  doctors.  Cuba has trained 23,000 foreign physicians for free at the Latin American School of Medicine near Havana. 

President Obama speaking in Flint, Michigan on May 4, 2016.
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

President Obama came to Flint, Michigan as the drinking water crisis continues in the city. The people in the city have been dealing with bad drinking water for more than two years, and the water system still hasn't recovered.

Residents have craved action and answers from government leaders since the crisis began, but many haven't trusted the messages coming from Governor Snyder and the state government. 

Senate bills propose plan to cut recidivism

May 5, 2016
Michael Coghlan / Flickr Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

A bi-partisan package of criminal justice reform bills were introduced in the Michigan Senate this week. They are aimed at helping people who come out of  prison stay out.

According to Sen. John Proos, R-St. Joseph, half of the state's prison population is made up of parole and probation violators.

"There are some modernizing changes that need to be made so that rehabilitation for parolees and probationers is the centerpiece of what we do," said Proos. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A former Flint city official has agreed to cooperate with federal and state investigations of the city’s water crisis as part of a plea deal. The deal may also shield him from punishment.

Mike Glasgow oversaw the city’s water supply as lead levels rose after Flint switched its tap water source to the Flint River.

He’s one of three officials charged in connection with Flint’s water crisis.  

Glasgow appeared before a judge today.

From top left clockwise: Evan Murphy, Donaver Cricket, Riley O'Brien, Devyn Farries
Michigan Radio

The issues facing transgender people have received a lot of attention lately. This is due, in large part, to the "bathroom bills" that have been proposed in state and local governments.

Michigan is one of those states with a transgender bathroom bill in the works that would require transgender individuals to only use bathrooms and locker rooms matching their birth sex, unless they have written consent from a parent or guardian.

Gov. Snyder speaks to a crowd at Northwestern High School in Flint, MI.
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

Governor Snyder made a surprise appearance before the crowd of about of 1000 people in Flint waiting to hear from President Obama.

He was instantly and loudly booed by the crowd at Northwestern High School.

The crowd refused to quiet down for several moments, even as Snyder tried to speak.

Listen to his remarks below:

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Michigan Senate has approved spending another $128 million to address the water crisis in Flint, where residents have to use faucet filters or bottled water because of lead contamination.

The emergency aid legislation that passed 34-3 Wednesday next goes to the House for consideration.

It's the fourth round of funding being considered by lawmakers since the health disaster was confirmed seven months ago.

Gov. Rick Snyder and legislators previously authorized $67 million for the emergency – mostly state money but also federal funds.

President Barack Obama
Pete Souza / White House

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, I just had the opportunity to meet with the federal responders who have been on the ground here in Flint, joined by Governor Rick Snyder and Mayor Karen Weaver.  And our discussion underscored how important it was for us to mount a whole-of-government effort across agencies and across levels of government to meet one core mission, and that is make sure that the people of Flint are healthy; that they've got safe water to drink and to use; that we are ensuring that we have a plan for the system to work over the long term; and that we are certain that our kids here in Fli

Watch President Obama's remarks to Flint residents

May 4, 2016
President Barack Obama talks to a crowd at Northwestern High School in Flint, Michigan on May 4, 2016.
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

President Barack Obama addressed Flint community members at Northwestern High School at 4 P.M. Watch his remarks below:

Courtesy of High Five Pedal Tours

Drinking and trolleying could end in Ann Arbor – at least doing it all at once. 

Ann Arbor City Council voted unanimously Monday on the first reading of an ordinance that would regulate pedal trolleys in the city. Among other things, the ordinance would ban drinking while riding on the street. 

This is only the first round for the ordinance – the second reading is scheduled for June 2. 

Governor Snyder approved a state law for drinking on pedal trolleys last summer, but the law allows local governments to make their own regulations. 

Kindell Covey, left, and her sister Denae Covey with the giant sycamore that got Kindell the grand prize in the Michigan Big Tree Hunt
Mike Dickie Photography

Every year since 1993, the group ReLeaf Michigan has encouraged everyone to get out into the woods and search for the biggest tree we can find.

It’s the Michigan Big Tree Hunt.

This year, it was 13-year-old Kindall Covey from Lenawee County who found the biggest tree in the hunt. The sycamore is the biggest tree in Lenawee County, and maybe even the entire state.

Jack Lessenberry
Michigan Radio

This Week in Michigan Politics, Jack Lessenberry talks about Gov. Rick Snyder's plans to meet with President Obama in Flint today, teacher sickouts in Detroit and the future of the presidential campaign, now that the Indiana primary is over.

Six days ago, when it was first announced that President Obama was finally coming to Flint, Governor Snyder sent word from Europe that he was busy and didn’t plan to be in town that day. It was instantly clear that this was a huge political mistake.

Michigan Radio has been recognized as Public Radio Station of the Year according to the Michigan Association of Broadcasters. The recognition was announced Tuesday evening at the MAB’s annual Great Lakes Broadcasting Conference in Lansing.

syringe
mconnors / MorgueFile

A State House bill could require all paramedics and first responders in the state to be trained to handle a drug overdose. 

Rep. Hank Vaupel, R-Handy Township, is lead sponsor on the bill. He said the bill should ensure health professionals on a scene are up to date on overdose treatments – similar to how they are already required to re-certify their skills in CPR. 

Vaupel said his bill is in no way a slight to first responders, who he said are already doing an excellent job. But the bill could help save even more lives.

Kylie Clifton (right) and her mom, Ginger, talk about Kylie's transition and life as a transgender girl.
Kate Wells/Michigan Radio

Kylie Clifton has long, thick waves of blonde hair, the same sandy shade as her mom's.

And the day Kylie's mom took her to the salon to get those hair extensions – that was a big day. And not just because, for the first time, Kylie felt really pretty.

"Today is the first day of the rest of my life," 11-year-old Kylie posted on Instragram that evening.  "So happy I don't know what to do with myself."

Just a few months before, Kylie was still living as Kyle – an earnest, thoughtful boy who struggled with anxiety.  

DPS emergency manager Steven Rhodes.
John Meiu / Detroit Legal News Publishing LLC

Most Detroit teachers are expected back in the classroom Wednesday, after two straight days of teacher sickouts effectively shuttered the Detroit Public Schools.

The Detroit Federation of Teachers called for members to return to work, saying they’ve received written assurance from the district’s emergency manager that teachers will receive full pay for the school year.

The DFT had urged teachers to “sick out” in protest, after discovering just days earlier that DPS didn’t have the money to pay teachers who elect to spread their pay through the summer months.

Capitol Building, Lansing, MI
Matthileo / flickr http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

This week's Detroit teacher sickout protests have renewed pressure on state lawmakers to lead the struggling Detroit Public Schools out of its financial hole.

GOP lawmakers in the House expressed frustration with the labor stoppage, which started after teachers were informed the district might not be able to cover their paychecks after June 30.

The House plan would allocate $500 million to help the school district pay off its debts. It would also erode the power of the teachers’ union.

Kathy Weaver / photopedia

Sediment in Lake Erie, once thought to be safe, could now pose a threat to life in the lake.

Officials at the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency are tracking a collection of pollutants in the lake that are at unsafe concentrations.

The source is a deposit of dredged material from the U.S. Army Corps, put there decades ago – so long ago the pile was "legacied in" before the Clean Water Act passed in 1972. Testing from the Corps indicated the sediment was safe and stationary.

Sen. Goeff Hansen, R-Hart, speaks to reporters on the Senate floor after the Senate passed Senate Bills 710, 711, and 819 - 822, measures that would reform Detroit's public schools.
senatorgoeffhansen.com

Almost every Detroit public school was closed today, the second day of a mass teacher sickout over pay and other issues. Some 45,000 students missed class.

In light of Emergency Manager Steven Rhodes’ declaration that the district will run out of money by June 30 without an influx of cash from the state, it seemed like a good time to speak with Sen. Goeff Hansen, R-Hart, who’s been leading the push to get the rescue plan through the state Legislature.

Hansen tells us this latest round of teacher sickouts creates a legislative challenge.

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