News

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A judge will consider granting class action status  on Monday to a lawsuit against the city of Flint in the continuing legal fight over that city’s water rates.

Giving the lawsuit class action status could expand the suit to include as many as 30,000 Flint water and sewer customers. 

Since the city raised rates by 35% in 2011, many Flint residents say they can’t afford the higher bills.

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People sometimes get fussy with University of Michigan English Professor Anne Curzan for saying that the English language is always changing. But why does the English language constantly change? Is there a schedule out there somewhere saying how fast it will change? Why can’t we all keep saying the same things, all the time, forever?

But change is progress, says Curzan, and the language cannot simply stay still, for several reasons. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

This week, Michigan lawmakers are expected to continue discussing ways to spend more money to fix state roads. It’s estimated the state has to come up with at least $1.2 billion annually to repair Michigan’s aging and crumbling roads and bridges.

In May, voters rejected a proposal to increase fuel and sales tax rates to pay for fixing the roads.

Most of the proposals on the table now include tapping existing state revenues. The general fund is used to fund most state government programs.    

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Around 75 people marched in Grand Rapids Saturday afternoon, calling for an end to gun violence.

“We’re trying to get the message out, that anybody can be a victim. We've got the kids in the streets killing each other, we've got people getting killed going into shopping malls, court houses, movie theaters,” Theresa Ward, one of the march's organizers said.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

August auto sales may be down slightly.

Automakers will release their August sales numbers Tuesday.

Charles Chesbrough is an auto industry analyst with IHS Global Insight.     He says unlike most years, this year’s August sales numbers will not include Labor Day weekend sales.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Patients with autism and Parkinson’s disease could use medical marijuana under a new effort to overhaul the system in Michigan.

The Michigan Responsibility Council (MRC) announced this week it will push lawmakers to make the state’s medical marijuana system safer and more accessible to qualified patients.

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Oakland Community College, Michigan’s largest community college system, will sharply cut back its online course offerings next year.

OCC has offered online courses for years.

More recently, it sought accreditation as a “virtual campus” that’s authorized to grant online-learning based degrees as well.

flickr user Thomas Hawk / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The family of a veteran who committed suicide in an Ottawa County jail cell two years ago has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the county.

Scott Meirs was left alone in a single-person cell several days after he was arrested for breaking into a neighbor's home and stealing prescription medication.

A button promoting marijuana legalization.
Danny Birchall / Flickr - http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Everything you ever wanted to know about marijuana in Michigan was discussed this week on Stateside.

From the politics - to the business - to the potential downsides.

We sat down with reporters, business owners, and law enforcement to learn more about the topic.

Here's a quick rundown of what we covered:

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Tomorrow, the family of a Flint man will mark the fourth year of his being held in an Iranian prison cell.

Amir Hekmati’s family and supporters plan to gather in Bay City to mark the anniversary of his arrest on spying charges. The former U.S. Marine denies the charges. He was in Tehran visiting family members.

Dave Mesrey needs a root canal and possibly shoulder surgery and can’t afford either one, on his very part-time job doing editing work for an alternative newspaper.

He doesn’t much care about that. His car broke down years ago and he can’t afford to fix it, but he doesn’t dwell much on that, either. What he cares about is a nine and a half acre field of dreams to which he’s devoted himself for the last five years.


Friends School Detroit / via Facebook

Michigan’s only Quaker-run school is closing its doors—at least for now.

Detroit’s Friends School told parents the news this week.

Parents and board members say it’s a huge blow to the school and larger Detroit communities.

flickr user bobdoran / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

We’ve reviewed the movements pushing for marijuana legalization in Michigan, we’ve taken a look at how legal pot has treated Colorado, and we’ve heard the viewpoint of a medical marijuana caregiver in Ann Arbor.

Today, we get the law enforcement perspective.

flickr user Eljoja / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Despite getting the go-ahead from a state board made up largely of physicians, Michigan will not allow autism patients to use medical marijuana.

Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs Director Mike Zimmer overturned the board’s recommendation to add autism to the list of qualifying conditions. Zimmer cited a lack of scientific research on the benefits of cannabis for autism patients as well as concerns about effects on children.

Nhandler/wikipedia / Jonesy22/creative commons

Berrien County Commissioners voted unanimously Thursday to stop using carbon monoxide to euthanize unwanted animals that end up at its animal control facility.

The gas chamber has been used for decades in Berrien County to kill dogs, cats and other wildlife. Now that it’s building a new facility, public pressure to stop the practice has been increasing.

Lawmakers have tried passing bans statewide, but they’ve never gotten to the governor’s desk.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

This fall, Michigan high schools are testing two different programs for detecting concussions in high school athletes.  

Girls’ sports are getting equal attention.

Complaints by Ann Arbor residents have prompted Scio Township to look into an odor problem originating with the township's waste system. Sewage pumped from Scio Township's wastewater treatment system enters Ann Arbor's system near the corner of Arborview Boulevard and Miller Avenue. At times, especially on hot summer days, the sewage produces a powerful odor that residents say forces them to stay indoors.

The Wolverine football program, with its famed winged helmet, has taken some lumps over the years.
MGoBlog / Flickr - HTTP://MICHRAD.IO/1LXRDJM

This time a year ago, there was no scarcity of news coverage of the troubled University of Michigan football program, leading to the firing of athletic director Dave Brandon and coach Brady Hoke, and the eventual hiring of Jim Harbaugh as the new Wolverine coach.

Ann Arbor Public Schools

The one-year contract gives all teachers a small pay bump, and the union and the district agree that teachers have now gotten most of the back pay they were promised when they took previous wage cuts. 

The school district says the new contract also officially puts the district in compliance with recent state laws, which say that the union can’t bargain over certain “prohibited” subjects, including:

Flickr/Penn State / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The Next Idea

In his recent op-ed piece in the Financial Times, “Europe is a continent that has run out of ideas,” Economics Nobel Laureate Edmund Phelps hangs the near collapse of the world’s second largest economy on a failure of the collective culture to produce real innovators.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Starting next week, Flint pastors will begin handing out water filters to people who don’t trust the city’s tap water.

The 1500 water filters come from an anonymous donor. A spokesman says the filters will remove particulates, like lead. 

Fairy's signature black-and-white "Andre the Giant" face appeared on a water tower in downtown Detroit.
Eugene Kim / Flickr

DETROIT - Damage to illegally tagged buildings in Detroit that led to charges against graffiti artist Shepard Fairey is estimated at around $30,000. The figure was presented Thursday by a Detroit city attorney during a pretrial conference for Fairey. Three of the nine properties listed in court are city-owned.

DIA

The Detroit Institute of Arts’ chairman says top museum officials — including the museum’s recently-departed director — deserve bonuses and other perks.

Earlier this year I talked about Southfield, which I think is one of the more intriguing communities in Michigan.

Southfield, which has between 70,000 and 75,000 people, basically was born, like so many other places, with the great suburban sprawl that began in the early 1950s, with the coming of the freeways and the malls.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

In October, people will have to pay more money to ride the bus in Grand Rapids.

Cash fares will cost a $1.75. That’s more than it costs to ride the bus in Ann Arbor, Kalamazoo, Lansing and Detroit.

“I’m not trippin’ about it,” Trill Bettison said, while waiting at Central Station Wednesday night.

Craig and Sharon Goble invested $30,000 in their solar array. They say the proposed changes to Michigan's solar program would make their investment less valuable.
David Cassleman / Interlochen Public Radio

More and more people are putting up solar panels in Michigan. It's getting a lot more affordable to do it. And there's a payback when you get your monthly utility bill.

But a bill in the state Senate could fundamentally change the solar program in Michigan, and it has some people worried. 

How "net metering" works in Michigan

Craig and Sharon Goble’s electricity bill looks different than most people’s.  

A youth reporter takes you inside the huddle

Aug 27, 2015
Reporter and Detroit Community High Student, Jai'shaun Isom.
Nicholas Williams

As summer fades into fall, another season of high school football is set to begin.

Jai'Shaun Isom is a Junior at Detroit Community High in Brightmoor.

He's spent most of the summer practicing with his team in northwest Detroit.

When he wasn't on the football field, he was in school, learning how to make this radio story:

 

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Federal prosecutors and law enforcement from a half-dozen states across the Midwest and South met Wednesday in Detroit.

On the agenda: how to grapple with the heroin and prescription opioid epidemic.

everydayfamily.com

This is the first new school year that parents have to attend vaccination education sessions at their county health department, if they want a vaccination waiver for kids going into preschool, kindergarten, or seventh grade. 

Because Michigan has one of the highest waiver rates in the country, the idea is to make it less convenient to get those waivers.

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