News

Eric Parker / Flickr http://ow.ly/Nwyd0

Governor Rick Snyder tells a business conference on Mackinac Island that training and getting people interested in skilled trades is his top economic development priority.        

  

Thousands of employers – including some of the state’s largest – attend the annual Detroit Regional Chamber event. The state’s new Talent Investment Agency says many of those employers complain Michigan has a “skills gap” in its workforce.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

State lawmakers want Flint’s city clerk to get more training and supervision.

Or she can resign or be replaced.   

The demands are part of a bill to let Flint hold a mayoral primary in August. 

The city clerk threw the mayor’s race into chaos when she gave the candidates the wrong filing deadline.

Mixed reactions greet new clean water rule

9 hours ago
The old Velsicol chemical plant site from across the Pine River.
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

The Obama administration has finalized new regulations meant to clarify which bodies of water are protected under the Clean Water Act.

The new rule was drafted by the Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.   It says the Clean Water Act protects navigable waterways and their tributaries that show physical features of flowing water. That can include a bed, bank and ordinary high water mark.

A diver inspects Enbridge's Line 5 pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac for a possible dent.
Credit an Enbridge inspection video shared with the state of Michigan

Environmental advocates are calling for Enbridge to shut down its Line 5 pipeline which runs beneath the Mackinac Straits.

The Traverse City-based environmental group For the Love of Water (FLOW) issued a report today questioning the safety of the 62-year-old line.

The report says structural concerns and possible corrosion put the line at risk for leaks and ruptures.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

A program that’ll offer students in Grand Rapids free college is getting a big boost. A group of 400 donors has raised more than $33 million in one year.

Sixth-graders who commit to come to school regularly and get good grades can go to college for free. The scholarships target middle schoolers who funnel into a low-performing Grand Rapids high school.

Kevin Rosseel / morguefile

State lawmakers have approved a bill that would allow a private prison near Baldwin to reopen and house high-security inmates. It now goes to Gov. Rick Snyder’s desk.

Vermont intends to move more than 300 high-security inmates to the prison near Baldwin. Those inmates include ones with a history of violent behavior in prison and who have attempted to escape.

Marijuana plant
bobdoran / Flickr

A state board is considering adding autism to the conditions that can legally be treated with medical marijuana in Michigan.

Lisa Smith is the mother of a 6-year-old boy with autism. She says no other treatments have helped.

“As a last resort, I decided to try cannabis,” Smith told reporters after a hearing on Wednesday.

Diocese of Lansing

Lansing Bishop Earl Boyea will be in Flint tomorrow to announce a major outreach by the Catholic Church to poor people in the city.

Faith in Flint is being touted as a “major initiative” to support Catholic Church efforts to help the poor in Flint.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Voters believe providing education for Detroit students is the state's duty, but don't think Governor Snyder's recent proposal is the way to do it, according a recent poll conducted by Public Sector Consultants and Michigan Radio.

Of the 600 likely voters polled, 82% agreed the state has an obligation to provide a quality education to all kids in Detroit, but answers varied when it came down to how to fund that education. 

Jamaal May

Tarfia Faizullah was born in Brooklyn, raised in Texas, and now makes her home in Detroit.

Her first book of poems called Seam, won the Crab Orchard Series in Poetry First Book Award.

The poems bring us the stories of the 200,000 to 400,000 Bangladeshi women who were raped during that country's 1971 Liberation War, a conflict that saw East Pakistan and India at war with West Pakistan. That war led to the birth of the Bangladeshi republic.

map of maternity leave by state
http://www.nationalpartnership.org/research-library/work-family/expecting-better.pdf / National Partnership for Women & Families

The Center for American Progress Action Fund, a progressive advocacy organization, released a report that says Michigan has some work to do when it comes to policies that help women. Access to paid sick days, paid family leave, and affordable child care are among the areas it says need some work.

According to the report, 66% of Michigan mothers are the sole, primary, or co-breadwinners in their families, higher than the national rate.

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.

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.

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.

Relative sizes of ticks at different life stages.
CDC

Time to break out the long pants: tick season is back!

The past couple of years we've had a tick boom along the west side of the state and it's happening again this year.

Rich Keith spends a lot of time with ticks. He’s the director of the Kalamazoo Valley Bird Observatory. He and his wife Brenda have been doing tick surveys every year since 1997 for university researchers in Michigan and elsewhere.

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.

This week, the Detroit Regional Chamber’s annual Mackinac Policy Conference gets underway on Mackinac Island. This is when Lansing, political Lansing at least, empties out of town and heads north to rub shoulders – and click cocktail glasses – with Michigan’s movers and shakers in businesses, finance and philanthropy.

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