News

Rep. Todd Courser, R-Lapeer, and Rep. Cindy Gamrat, R-Plainwell.
From Courser/Gamrat websites

A select committee will begin its work to help whether state Representatives Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat will keep their jobs following a just-released internal investigation that says the two are guilty of misconduct.

  

The report by the non-partisan House Business Office says the two tea party lawmakers used state computers, staff and other resources for a variety of political and personal purposes, including efforts to cover up their extra-marital affair.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Back-to-school events are taking place around Michigan this week.

Thousands turned out at an event in Lansing today.  Along with school supplies and back packs, students could also get their required immunizations.

“Many of them are ones without a primary care doctor … to make sure the families are following up on that,” says Joan Jackson Johnson, Human Relations director for the city of Lansing.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Critics say they have new reasons to demand the city of Flint go back to Detroit water.

“It’s time for us to stand up … speak up and tell this mayor to get out of town,” Pastor Allen Overton told a small crowd gathered outside Flint city hall on Monday. Overton and others are angry with Flint Mayor Dayne Walling and other city leaders for the city’s problem-plagued water system. 

Tracy Samilton / Michigan Radio

Officials with the Michigan Agency for Energy and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality will announce results of the state's initial review of the federal Clean Power Plan on Tuesday.

The plan aims to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants by roughly 30% by the year 2030.

Flickr user audreyjm529 / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

If you count yourself among those who cannot imagine life without your faithful dog by your side, you would have been a pretty rare breed a century or two ago.

That’s when packs of feral dogs were roaming the streets of Detroit.

People lived in fear of rabies, and the dog catcher prowled the streets scooping up the many strays.

Bill Loomis has tracked the history of dogs in Detroit for The Detroit News.

Mark Schlissel
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

This week marks the one year anniversary since Dr. Mark Schlissel became the University of Michigan’s 14th president.

He took over the job in a somewhat tumultuous time: complaints over high tuition costs, the university’s handling of sexual assaults, and an athletic department under heavy scrutiny.

Rep. Todd Courser, R-Lapeer, and Rep. Cindy Gamrat, R-Plainwell.
From Courser/Gamrat websites

A House Business Office investigation into Michigan Reps. Todd Courser, R-Lapeer, and Cindy Gamrat, R-Plainwell, alleges numerous instances of deceptive and "outright dishonest" conduct to cover up their extra-marital affair.

Courtesy of Michigan Nonprofit Association

The Next Idea

In Michigan and across the country, our society is suffering from a lack of civic engagement. Many people do not have strong connections to their communities. In addition, we have vast unmet needs in our cities, our neighborhoods, and our other social infrastructure. Government has limited resources, and communities are suffering. But there is a generation of young people like me who want the opportunity to make a difference in our country by helping communities address their most difficult social challenges.

Paula Friedrich / Michigan Radio

Pre-Wikipedia there was the encyclopedia.

Pre-Google there was the reference desk.

In the age of the Internet, what’s the future of the local library?

We drove across the state and visited several local libraries to see for ourselves. We found libraries that serve their communities in different ways.

Well, this is the day everyone in Lansing has been waiting for. Unfortunately, if you think I’m talking about fixing the roads, you’re wrong.

No, this is the day the Michigan House of Representatives is due to release its report on the Todd Courser-Cindy Gamrat scandal. We already know they found evidence of misconduct and misuse of taxpayer resources.

CMU

Right now, college freshman around the state are getting training about sexual assault on campus.

At Central Michigan University, that even means going into the profile of perpetrators who commit acquaintance rape.

Rep. Todd Courser, R-Lapeer, and Rep. Cindy Gamrat, R-Plainwell.
From Courser/Gamrat websites

Early this week, the public will find out the details of a state House investigation into two tea party lawmakers involved in a sex-and-cover-up scandal.

morgueFile

A state official says $3,000-a-day lease payments on idle train cars should end by Sept. 30.   

The Michigan Transportation Department is negotiating with a railroad to change a contract that has been a costly embarrassment.

The state has spent more than $10 million since 2010 to lease and refurbish the rail cars, although commuter rail service in southeastern Michigan appears to be years away. 

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Union negotiators head back to the bargaining table Monday morning, on behalf of more than 300 bus drivers and mechanics in Grand Rapids.

“Obviously, things are hot right now,” Local 836 union president RiChard Jackson told me last week, at a packed board meeting of the Interurban Transit Partnership, also known as The Rapid.

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.

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.

wikimedia commons

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.

The Founders baby will remain on labels in other states.
Mike Mozart / Flickr - http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

"You wanna sell beer in this state? You gotta go through me, kid."

While not an exact quote, that's essentially what Michigan's Liquor Control Commission said when it found that the label for Founders Breakfast Stout was in violation of its rules, which say:

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.

Pages