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John Auchter / Michigan Radio

I have something of a Wikipedia problem. In idle moments in between tasks, I tend to wander over to the website for a quick nip — the plotline of a half-watched movie here, the defining geographic features of an obscure African country there. I'm in, I'm out, and I'm back to the task at hand. No big deal. I can quit at any time. Really.

prosthetic leg
U.S. Army / Flickr

Rep. Beau LaFave was born with a congenital defect. When he was 18 months old, doctors amputated his left leg at the knee. He’s worn a prosthetic device for most of his life. 

For amputees, a prosthetic device can be life changing, but prosthetics are expensive -- LeFave (R-Iron Mountain) says his latest has a price tag of $70,000 -- and they’re not always covered by health insurance.

Looking up into the rotunda of the Michigan Capitol.
user cedarbenddrive/Flickr / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Gov. Rick Snyder signed the state’s general fund spending plan for fiscal year 2019 Thursday, and it includes a provision he says his administration won’t enforce.

That measure would cut funding to Planned Parenthood. It requires county health departments to favor family planning clinics that don’t offer abortions. 

Snyder said that provision is unconstitutional because there is a separate law that says how family planning money is distributed. It's already illegal in Michigan for public money to be directly used for abortions.

A DWSD interceptor sewer line during construction in 2001. This line is north of Detroit in the Clinton River watershed
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

Tensions boiled over last night at a public hearing hosted by the Detroit Board of Water Commissioners. The hearing was held to address controversial drainage fees that will be applied to all residential properties by July 1st.

Detainees being housed inside fenced rooms at a government facility.
U.S. Customs and Border Patrol

Michigan Congresswoman Debbie Dingell and 50 female Democratic colleagues are pressing the Secretaries for Homeland Security and Health and Human Services to explain where the government is keeping the girls who've been taken from migrant parents. 

So far, the government has only released photos of older boys in make-shift detention centers.  The government has also sent some children to foster agencies in other states, including Michigan.

https://www.michiganstateuniversityonline.com/about/michigan-state/

Tensions could be high at Friday’s Board of Trustees meeting at Michigan State University.

Protestors plan to show up and continue their call for increased transparenc, and for Interim President John Engler’s resignation. These calls come amid repeated blowback in how the university has handled the fallout from Larry Nassar. Nassar is the former MSU sports doctor who sexually assaulted his patients for years.

Dean Reynolds
via Facebook

A jury has found a former Clinton Township trustee guilty on fourteen bribery charges in a “pay-to-play” public corruption case.

Aminimanda / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

Summer in Traverse City is officially underway. But while tourists head up north to enjoy the sights, locals are struggling to find housing.

As it turns out, this is a problem all across northwest lower Michigan, and to a lesser extent, throughout the state as a whole.

Ekaterina Selivanova on a beach.
Ekaterina Selivanova

Michigan Radio has been hosting a visiting journalist from Russia for the past week and a half. 

Ekaterina Selivanova works for the television channel, Drozhd, in Moscow. 

While in Ann Arbor, Selivanova hit the streets to ask Americans about U.S.-Russia relations. She also offers her own reflections on the two countries' relationship.

Bee Hive in Ann Arbor
April Van Buren / Michigan Radio

 


They may be tiny, but the honeybee is a powerful force for good in our environment.

Brian Peterson is a fifth-grade teacher in Rochester and the founder of Bees in the D, a nonprofit centered around urban beekeeping.

Peterson spoke with Stateside about how exactly he caught the bug for beekeeping, and how he's spreading his love for the pollinators around Southeast Michigan.

Detroit News Staff / Walter P. Reuther Library, Archives of Labor and Urban Affairs, Wayne State University

This week marks the 75th anniversary of the 1943 race riots in Detroit, and Stateside is exploring this violent episode in the city’s history – and its legacy in present-day downtown and Midtown.

Jamon Jordan, tour leader for the Black Scroll Network History and Tours, joined Stateside to talk about another “major flashpoint” of the riots: Woodward Avenue.

The DEQ PFAS Investigation Map near Rockford, MI
From Google map provided by Wolverine Worldwide

 


PFAS is a family of chemicals often used in the manufacturing of nonstick and waterproof products. In the past several years, the chemicals have been showing up in high levels in people's drinking water across the state.

News came out Wednesday that a report on the dangers of PFAS exposure had been blocked by officials at the Environmental Protection Agency and the White House. 

Alexis Temkin is a toxicologist at the Environmental Working Group in Washington D.C. She spoke with Stateside on the implications of this new development. 

A sticky bun on a plate
Tombarta / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

Summertime in Michigan bring an endless variety of festivals to explore. 

Some, like the National Asparagus Festival in Oceana County, are pretty self-explanatory. Others, however, are a little more quirky.

Take Sticky Buns Days, for example, which is happening this weekend in Grayling at Wellington Farm, USA.

Brown recluse spider found in ten Michigan counties

17 hours ago
Lisa Ames, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org

A woman reportedly bitten by a brown recluse spider in Northern Michigan has become the latest in a handful of encounters with the poisonous spider in Michigan.

 

Entomologists have been uncertain about whether these sightings are spiders that have been transported north from their normal range, or if there are populations established in the state. However, an increase in documented brown recluse sightings suggest that small populations may have become established.

Michigan Democratic candidates at the podium
Mike Buck / WOOD TV 8

 

The three top Democratic candidates for Michigan governor debated last night on WOOD-TV in Grand Rapids.

Shri Thanedar, Gretchen Whitmer, and Dr. Abdul El-Sayed had one hour to make their case to voters. One candidate presented himself as an immigrant success story, another as the son of immigrants, and the third as the only one with experience in governing.

Adrian Hemond is a Democratic political strategist with Grassroots Midwest. He sat down with Stateside to discuss what stood out at last night's debate. 

Judge's gavel
Pixabay.com

A federal judge in Detroit has ruled the government cannot threaten Iraqi detainees with indefinite detention or prosecution to get them to sign a document saying they want to leave the US. The government is trying to deport the Iraqis, who say they face persecution or death if they return to Iraq.

ACLU attorney Miriam Aukerman says the detainees are being denied legal assistance.

Power plant
Courtesy of Duke Energy

A lot of economists like the idea of putting a price on the use of fossil fuels, as a way to tackle climate change.

But it’s been a hard sell politically.

A new report on this topic is out from the National Surveys on Energy and Environment. It looks at Americans’ opinions on policies like carbon taxes and cap and trade over the last 10 years.

Prison fence barbed wire
Kevin Rosseel / morguefile

 The Michigan Supreme Court says judges, not juries, have the sole power to decide whether someone under 18 gets life in prison without parole.

The 4-2 opinion, released Wednesday, centers on murder cases from St. Clair County and Genesee County. Many new sentencing hearings for so-called juvenile lifers have been on hold while a decision was in the works.

Rick Pluta / MPRN

A state elections board has complied with a court order to place a question on the November ballot.  It would change how congressional and legislative district boundaries are drawn.

A jubilant crowd broke out in cheers as the Board of State Canvassers voted to put the Voters Not Politicians question on the November ballot. Voters Not Politicians leader Katie Fahey says the group has already started voter outreach efforts.

“We are eager and excited to go fixing our state,” she said. “…We look forward to being in the November 6, 2018, ballot.”

Michigan Democratic candidates at the podium
Mike Buck / WOOD TV 8

Immigration and infrastructure were a couple of the big themes as Michigan’s Democratic gubernatorial candidates debated one another in Grand Rapids last night.

Gretchen Whitmer, Shri Thanedar and Abdul El Sayed share the stage.

Thanedar, the only candidate born outside the U.S, says there is a lot of discrimination against immigrants in Michigan.

“I see that discrimination because I’m an immigrant and I see the discrimination because of the color of my skin. And thousands of Michiganders experience that,” Thanedar said.

prison bars
Flickr user FatMandy / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Michigan’s prisons are in crisis. The state cannot find enough corrections officers to staff them. Older officers are retiring, others are quitting, and there are hundreds of officer positions waiting to be filled.

For corrections officerss like Lorraine Emery, that shortage means an exhausting, dangerous job is getting even tougher.

Emery has been a corrections officer for about 17 years. She’s currently at the Bellamy Creek Correctional Facility, in Ionia. When she gets home from her eight-hour shift, the first thing she does is change her clothes.

wikimedia commons

Environmental groups haven't given up trying to stop DTE Energy from building a $1 billion natural gas plant.  

The groups are asking the Michigan Public Service Commission to reconsider the permit it approved for the plant. 

Margrethe Kearney is with the Environmental Law and Policy Center. She says renewable energy becomes cheaper and more reliable every year.  

"And it just doesn't make sense for Michigan to say we're going to build a huge natural gas plant, which means of course we won't be building any of that other stuff," she says.

artist rendering of proposed bridge
Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority

The family that owns the Ambassador Bridge is apparently trying a new tactic to stop a competing bridge from being built: a TV ad appealing directly to President Donald Trump.

dona abbott
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

 

This April, the Trump Administration announced its “zero-tolerance policy” for immigration. It requires every person caught crossing the United State’s southern border be prosecuted in federal criminal court. Since it is against U.S. law for a child to be housed with a parent in a federal prison, children are being separated from the parents who brought them across the border.

white men pulling black man from a bus
Bentley Historical Library: U-M Library Digital Collections

Today marks an infamous anniversary in our state. Seventy-five years ago today, a brawl between African-Americans and whites began on the Belle Isle Bridge.

Water faucet
user william_warby / Flickr http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

A report on the dangers of PFAS exposure that was suppressed by the EPA was released today.

The report details the health effects of PFAS and recommends the advisory level for these chemicals be made stricter.

Emails that surfaced last month found that the EPA feard a "public relations nightmare" would ensue once the report was made public. 

Wendell Brown teaching a group of Chinese people about American football
Courtesy of Antoinette Brown

In September, 2016, Detroit native Wendell Brown was having a drink with friends at a bar in China, when a drunk man threw a glass bottle at him, according to witnesses.

Brown, a former Ball State football star, was accused of throwing a punch and knocking the man down. He has denied he hit anyone.

His trial was last July. Brown's family has been waiting on a verdict ever since, but on Tuesday a decision was postponed yet again. 

Michigan History Magazine, Vol. 6, 1922 / Michigan History Center

You probably know the basics of how a typewriter works – even if you have never used one. What you may not have known, however, is that the “father of the typewriter” was William Austin Burt, from Macomb County.

As it happens, this Saturday is National Typewriter Day. Stateside invited Mark Harvey, state archivist with the Michigan History Center, to talk about what led to the birth of the typewriter. 

Cheryl Angellili at a para dance competition
Courtesy of Charles Pleiness

Do not let a spinal cord injury get in the way of achieving your goals. 

For Cheryl Angelelli, that meant expressing herself through ballroom dancing. Now, she is leading the growth of Para Dance in this country by helping others who live with physical impairment discover the sport.

In this episode, we meet the founder of the Detroit Artists’ Test Lab, the head of an African American podcast network called Audiowave, neighborhood activists young and old, a closet poet, and the woman who taught The Slide to a generation of skaters at Royal Skateland roller rink.

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