News

Downtown Grand Rapids
Grguy2011 / Public Domain

Violent crimes are down in Grand Rapids, but police there say rape investigations are on the rise.

The Grand Rapids Police Department says it's investigated 40 rape cases so far in 2015, compared to 21 this time last year.

Deputy Chief Dave Kiddle says that doesn't necessarily mean more rapes are being committed.

"We've seen better reporting, specifically in juvenile cases,” Kiddle said. “It's not necessarily an indication of an increase, but improved reporting."

Kiddle says in most of the cases reported, the victim knew the suspect.

Ford Motor Company

Ford's F-150 pickup truck has been the best selling vehicle in the United States for 28 years -- and the best selling truck for 33 years.

And the truck is Ford's most profitable vehicle, according to analysts.

So there were some raised eyebrows when Ford announced it would make the next F-150 with a mostly aluminum body, instead of steel.

"Will it be as safe?" some wondered.

The answer, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, is an unequivocal "yes."

Michiganders are feeling better about the economy, but lukewarm on other topics
morguefile user Penywise / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM


In Michigan we get a regular glimpse of what people in the state are thinking about the economy, how well they’re doing financially, what they think of the president, the governor, Congress, the state Legislature, and local government.

Michigan State University released its State of the State Survey today. Charles Ballard is the director of the survey.

UGA College of Ag & Environment / flickr http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

A homeowner in Howell has to pay the city for cutting the grass in the public right of way in front of his house. That’s the decision from a federal appeals court.

  

Lawn-mowing in Howell became a federal case after the city pulled a tree from the strip between the sidewalk and the curb and replaced it with saplings without the homeowner’s approval.

Michigan Supreme Court
photo courtesy of the MI Supreme Court

The Michigan Supreme Court dealt two blows to public employee unions on Wednesday.

The court ruled that Michigan’s right-to-work law does apply to state workers. That means they can decline to pay union dues without risking losing their jobs.

Jo Christian Oterhals/flickr / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Divorce is complicated. Even more so if there are children involved. But, for Carter Cortelyou there was another layer to his divorce that made it difficult for him to talk to about it, until now.  

In 2009, his wife came out to him — told him she is a lesbian. Since then, Cortelyou has gone through grief, isolation, financial challenges and re-entering the dating world unexpectedly.

“My first thought was there goes our 25th wedding anniversary (laughs), we were 24-years-married at the time and…there goes our 25th.”

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

An unspecified “technical glitch” in the Detroit Public Schools’ payroll system has left teachers in the lurch this week.

Some teachers were shorted hundreds of dollars in the last pay period, while others weren’t paid at all, according to Detroit Federation of Teachers President Steve Conn.

flickr user Sara Long / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM


Your dollar is worth more.

At least, it is in Canada.

Just four years ago the exchange rate meant it took more than one U.S. dollar to get a Canadian one, but now you can get a Canadian dollar for only 77 cents American.

Summer interns learn life lessons on the farm

14 hours ago
Joan Donaldson

One evening, while my husband and I were talking with a young couple who manage a Community Supported Agriculture business, we wandered onto the topic of summer interns. Because of the couple’s urban location, their CSA drew workers from the local college who were eager to build raised beds and weed beets.

Mercedes Meija

Living off the grid can be a lot of work, but Joe and Shelly Trumpey and their two daughters have managed it for years. Their home is near Grass Lake in Jackson County. Finished in 2009, the home relies on straw bale insulation, solar power year-round, wood burning in the winter and efficient construction to keep it running.

Public Domain

Hospitals are supposed to make their patients better, but some may be making patients sick.

A new set of hospital ratings from Consumer Reports says nine of the Detroit area's largest hospitals aren't doing enough to prevent patients from contracting infections during hospital stays.

Four years ago, Marian McClellan was a retired teacher who’d lived for the past quarter century in the small Detroit suburb of Oak Park, just north of the city.

Oak Park’s story was similar to that of many older, so-called inner ring suburbs. It was largely pastures and swamps before World War II. Then, as the freeways came, it exploded. Barely a thousand people lived there in 1945.


Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

At a meeting in Port Huron yesterday, targets of law enforcement drug task forces said those officers are abusing their power in Michigan.

Speaker after speaker claimed the raids by heavily armed police officers on their homes have resulted in extensive damage and scared their children.  During the raids, they claim officers tried to intimidate them. 

Norris Wong / Flickr

This Week in Michigan Politics, Michigan Radio’s senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry and Morning Edition host Christina Shockley discuss a land swap deal between Detroit and the owners of the Ambassador Bridge; the beginnings of a lawsuit over an Enbridge pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac; and how some residents in Hamtramck are getting so fed up with bad roads, they are filling in potholes on their streets themselves. 


Garretttaggs55 / wikipedia commons

Attorneys specializing in marijuana law now have their own division within the State Bar of Michigan.

The state Supreme Court and the Michigan Court of Appeals have had to rule on several cannabis issues since voters approved medical marijuana in 2008.

The chair of the new division says it will make it easier to attorneys to keep track of Michigan’s complex and ever-evolving medical marijuana law. 

The Mackinac Bridge on a warmer day.
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

The National Wildlife Federation says it’s making plans to sue the federal government.

The environmental group says the U.S. Department of Transportation is not enforcing a law that requires “worst-case” disaster plans for underwater pipelines to be on file.

Tracy Samilton / Michigan Radio

Russia is in a recession. China's auto market, the largest in the world, is softening. 

The currency situation in South America is causing no end of headaches for global automakers.

Europe's market has improved, but it's still just coming out of a very deep trough.

Detroit Dog Rescue / via Facebook

Detroit Dog Rescue say it’s running the first-no kill shelter in the city.

Executive director Kristina Rinaldi says between its shelter and foster programs, they can care for 40 to 60 dogs at a time.  

"There's too many dogs that need our help,” Rinaldi says. “And there's residents out there that need our help as well.

“I mean, every day we get a call from a mother who can't get her child off of the school bus because there's a stray dog on her porch."

Jim Wallace / flickr

After several postponements, the Detroit City Council has voted to approve the first step in a controversial land swap deal.

Detroit will receive almost five acres and $3 million from the Detroit International Bridge Company, which owns the Ambassador Bridge.

Sleeping Bear Dunes
flickr user Danielle Lynch / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Last year Sleeping Bear Dunes ranked 13th out of more than 100 national parks, lakeshores, and recreation areas for the number of search and rescue operations conducted there.

With VHS camera in hand, Michigan native Jerry White Jr. and friends recorded over 400 hours of experimental video art and comedy sketches in a Detroit-area public access TV show they called 30 Minutes of Madness.

bitsorf: Thank you 1,500,000 times / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

An effort to restore the rapids to the Grand River in Grand Rapids is slowly making progress.

The rapids that gave Michigan’s second-largest city its name are long gone. The plan is to remove a few old dams, add more natural boulders and improve land along the riverfront.

“The exact date of construction is unknown,” said Jay Steffen, an assistant planning director for the city.

Michigan Radio sports commentator John U. Bacon brings us this week's sports roundup:

Tigers approaching the trade deadline

The Tigers came out of this past weekend 11.5 games behind AL Central Division leaders the Kansas City Royals.

After the Red Sox, “beat the crap out of us,” as described by Tigers manager Brad Ausmus, there’s some question as to how things are going to play out approaching Friday’s trade deadline.

Steven Depolo / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

It took almost 30 years and $400 million, but Grand Rapids has finished updating part of its 100-year-old sewer system.

The city’s old system combined stormwater with sewer water, and sent it all to the wastewater treatment plant.

Mayor George Heartwell says it generally worked, until heavy rain hit.

This photo gives you a sense for why the pig was called "Giggles."
Giggles the Pig for Flint Mayor / Facebook

Flint's mayoral race has been one to watch this year. An incorrect deadline given by the city clerk led to an almost completely write-in election that brought us the campaign of Giggles the pig.

The legislature eventually stepped in and there are now four candidates on the ballot. Next week Flint voters will finally get to go to the polls for the city's August 4 mayoral primary.

Flickr user Christopher Peplin / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The Legislature has been discussing eliminating the prevailing wage law. The law requires contractors hired by government entities to pay workers at union scale wages.

The law has been in Michigan for a few decades and Chris Fisher, president of the Associated Builders and Contractors of Michigan, believes its bad for Michigan.

Rebecca Williams / Michigan Radio

Lake Superior is the largest freshwater lake in the world by surface area, and it has something the other Great Lakes don’t — stable populations of mostly native fish species.

But scientists say a key fish in Superior’s food web is now in trouble because of mild winters and an appetite for caviar in Europe.

For the past week or so, I’ve gotten emails and calls from people who want to know why I won’t help “expose” the evil being done by Planned Parenthood. They say that it has now been definitely proven that the non-profit family planning organization profits off the sale of fetal body parts, which they say Planned Parenthood deliberately harvests in brutal ways.

This has caused sort of a national “primal howl” by conservative and anti-abortion activists, who are demanding Planned Parenthood be defunded or even prosecuted.


Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A new study shows African-American, poor and academically weak students tend to be the ones opting for Michigan’s "schools of choice" program.

In 1994, Michigan began allowing school districts to enroll students from outside their borders. Since then, tens of thousands of Michigan school children have opted out of their local public schools. More than 200,000 students now attend "schools of choice" or charter schools.

Michigan State University researchers wanted to know who these students are.

http://www.gofundme.com/8r4m7ukx4m

Everybody gripes about Michigan's potholes.

But in Hamtramck, a group of friends is raising money to fix their roads themselves.

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