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Law
10:16 pm
Wed October 1, 2014

Human trafficking bills expected to clear state Legislature this week

Credit Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Bills meant to fight human trafficking in Michigan are on track to clear the state Legislature before the end of this week.

The bipartisan legislation would make it easier to prosecute human trafficking cases, increase penalties, and provide more services for victims. The state House passed several bills in the package on Wednesday.

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Law
9:56 pm
Wed October 1, 2014

Michigan ACLU asks Ferndale to investigate possible racial profiling of black drivers

Credit Ferndale Police Department

The ACLU of Michigan wants to know why black drivers are far more likely to be ticketed in Ferndale than white drivers?

Mark Fancher, an ACLU attorney, said records obtained from the Ferndale Police Department show that about 60 percent of motorists who received traffic citations in a recent  16 month period were black. He said black people make up less than ten percent of Ferndale's population according to the 2010 census.

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Stateside
9:04 pm
Wed October 1, 2014

Uncovering a key ingredient in perfume: whale poop

Ambergris
Credit User: aquagreenmarine.blogspot.com

Ambergris is an animal by-product that's been used for centuries in, as flavoring for food, and as an aphrodisiac. It's one of the world's most expensive substances.

Pretty glamorous, especially when you consider that ambergris is: whale poop.

Christopher Kemp is a molecular biologist at Michigan State University. He's written a book about ambergris called Floating Gold: A Natural (& Unnatural) History of Ambergris.

Kemp says ambergris is used in perfumes because of its musky scent that can hold together the other lighter tones. Besides, its fatty, cholesterol-rich texture can stabilize the fragrance and make it last longer on the wearer's skin. 

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Stateside
9:02 pm
Wed October 1, 2014

63% of millennials do not have a credit card, report says

Credit User: Eric Allix Rogers / Flickr

A recent report from Bankrate.com finds millennials are not embracing credit cards the way their parents or older siblings have done.

A hefty 63% of millennials do not have a credit card.

Brian O'Connor is the Detroit News personal finance columnist. He says one of the reasons young people aren't using credit cards is that they can't get them. 

"It's harder for kids to qualify – because they probably don't have jobs, and they have a bunch of debts," explains O'Connor.

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Stateside
8:59 pm
Wed October 1, 2014

Where's the truth in the campaign ads?

Terri Lynn Land
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The race to fill Carl Levin's seat in the U.S. Senate is one of the most hotly contested in the country.

The sheer number of campaign ads attests to that: Democrat Gary Peters and Republican Terri Lynn Land, volleying charges and counter-charges.

Detroit Free Press Washington reporter Todd Spangler has been truth squadding the Peters and Land campaign ads. 

Spangler says that Gary Peters has been accusing Terri Lynn Land of lying about her support of the 2008-09 auto bailout. 

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Stateside
8:55 pm
Wed October 1, 2014

UM astronomers say the water in your bottle may be older than the sun

Credit User: NASA Goddard Space / Flickr

 

University of Michigan researchers believe the water in your glass or bottle might be older than the sun.

One of those researchers is Ilse Cleeves, an astronomy PhD student. 

Cleeves and her fellow researchers arrived at the estimate by simulating the chemistry that went on as our solar system formed. They studied the ratio of two different varieties of water – common water and a heavier version. Through the simulation, the researchers found that at least half of our water likely formed in the cold molecular cloud that spawned our solar system. 

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Families & Community
6:00 pm
Wed October 1, 2014

The shifting conversation around domestic violence

Barbara Niess-May, MPA, MSW

  October is Domestic Violence Awareness month. I spoke with the director of Safehouse Center, Barbara Niess-May, about how the conversation around domestic violence is shifting.  Safehouse Center provides support for those impacted by domestic violence and sexual assault.

Here's our conversation:

Safehouse Center has a number of events planned in October. You can learn more at their website.

Education
5:34 pm
Wed October 1, 2014

Flint schools fall short on count day, but officials say numbers headed in the right direction

Flint Community Schools fell short of its projected student population goal again.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Flint school district once again fell short of its student count day forecast.   

90% of a district’s per-pupil funding from the state is based on the fall count day number.    

Flint fell about 150 students short of its projection for this year. Flint gets roughly $7,500 from the state for each student.  The district will now have to redo its plan to eliminate its $20 million deficit. 

Larry Watkins is Flint’s interim superintendent. He’s not disappointed by the number.

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Stateside
5:20 pm
Wed October 1, 2014

Married women can keep their maiden names, thanks to Michigan AG's ruling 40 years ago

Frank Kelley
Credit Detroit Free Press

 

Forty years ago this week, Michigan Attorney General Frank Kelley issued an opinion that has resonated in countless homes through the years:  can a woman keep her maiden name? 

The question was raised by the state Board of Nursing, asking if female nursing graduates could use their maiden names on their licenses. 

Kelley replied that married women can maintain their maiden names. Not only that, six years later, he said husbands are allowed to take their wives' surnames as well. 

"This sounds like nothing that would raise an eyebrow these days, but that was a fairly momentous development back then," said Jack Lessenberry, Michigan Radio's political commentator.

* Listen to the full interview with Jack Lessenberry above.

Politics & Government
4:48 pm
Wed October 1, 2014

Republicans and Democrats roll into Livonia

Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Livonia will be the center of Michigan’s political landscape on Thursday.  

Republicans and Democrats are both planning big rallies in the Detroit suburb tomorrow.

The Republicans roll into town first. Their event will be headlined by former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney.  

The event’s being called “CommMITT to the Comeback” rally. Top Republican candidates will be there, from Attorney General Bill Schuette to U.S. Senate nominee Terri Lynn Land. 

Noticeably absent is Gov. Rick Snyder.

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It's Just Politics
4:07 pm
Wed October 1, 2014

Say Yes to the Dress ... I mean Rick Snyder?

Zoe Clark co-hosts Michigan Radio's It's Just Politics with Rick Pluta

It’s looking more and more like Republicans and Democrats are doubling-down on getting female voters to the polls in November. As Rick Pluta and I talked about last week in It’s Just Politics:

Michigan is not a decisively blue state because so many Democrats sit out during the mid-term elections … It’s largely why we have a Republican governor, attorney general and secretary of state (many Democrats stayed home on Election Day four years ago). So, the challenge for Democrats is to convince Democrats to get out and vote, especially younger voters, minorities and females, who are statistically more likely to stay at home. That’s one of the reasons we’ve been hearing SO much about the so-called ‘War on women’. 

But, really, it’s a ‘war FOR women.' Women’s votes. Young women’s votes.

We linked to this anti-Obama ad that’s been airing for the past few weeks:

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Opinion
1:22 pm
Wed October 1, 2014

Terri Lynn Land is running an odd campaign in “Wizard of Oz” style

Pretty much every major political campaign develops a certain weirdness of its own. Some more than others.

There was Howard Wolpe, who ran for governor of Michigan by talking a lot about South Africa. And now we have the U.S. Senate race between Democrat Gary Peters and Republican Terri Lynn Land. You might think that there was a modern-day state or national issue or two worth worrying about, like jobs or education or ISIS.

But forget all that. For the past couple days, the candidates have been squabbling over what in economic terms is ancient history. Specifically, the so-called bailout of the auto industry in 2008 and 2009, and whether Land would have supported it.

What makes this weirder is that one of the candidates is only arguing about it by proxy. Land doesn’t talk to reporters or interviewers and so far hasn’t consented to debate her rival.

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Stateside
1:17 pm
Wed October 1, 2014

Families in Michigan watch, worry from afar as Ebola crisis worsens in Liberia, West Africa

Helping fight Ebola in Monrovia
Credit User: USAID / Flickr

The headlines and images of Africa's Ebola epidemic are chilling.

The death toll has passed 3,000 and continues to rise.

And it's raising alarms in the U.S. On Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed a patient in Texas, who flew from Liberia to visit family in the U.S., has been diagnosed with Ebola.

Meanwhile, affected countries in the middle of the Ebola epidemic are struggling to find doctors and the resources needed to care for the sick.

Here in Michigan, the Liberian and West African communities are feeling this crisis in a very personal way.

Martha Toe is the chairperson of the Liberian Association of Michigan. She says she tries to comfort her family in Liberia on the phone. 

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Politics & Government
11:39 am
Wed October 1, 2014

DPS votes to oust emergency manager, court to decide

Jack Martin was appointed Detroit Public Schools' emergency manager in July 2013.
Credit Detroit Public Schools

Detroit City Council recently voted to strip Kevyn Orr of most of his powers as the city's emergency manager. Now, the Detroit Public School Board is hoping to oust their emergency manager as well.

Under Michigan's current emergency manager law, local officials can vote to strip EMs of their power with a two-thirds vote after 18 months.

The Detroit school board voted Monday evening with the belief that Jack Martin’s tenure as emergency manager would end this week.

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Politics & Government
10:57 am
Wed October 1, 2014

Water shutoffs, Detroit Public School’s emergency manager, and campaign trail updates

This Week in Michigan Politics, Emily Fox and Jack Lessenberry discuss Detroit’s water shutoffs, Detroit Public School’s emergency manager and updates from the campaign trail.

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Politics & Government
10:33 am
Wed October 1, 2014

Ebola a question in 8th Congressional District debate

Ebola virus
Credit CDC

Congressional candidates in mid-Michigan appeared together in a debate Tuesday night. The 8th District candidates were asked about the usual topics, and one very unusual topic.

Ebola.

The first case of Ebola diagnosed in the United States turned up in Texas.   

The man flew to the U.S. from Liberia in West Africa before he was diagnosed with the deadly virus. Officials say the unidentified patient is critically ill and has been in isolation at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital since Sunday.

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9:57 am
Wed October 1, 2014

Taking inspiration from Cookie Monster to teach kids impulse control (he's got a few things to learn.)

Lead in text: 
One of the most famous studies about how important impulse control is gets called the "marshmallow study." Enter the "cookie monster study," about how to actually teach kids that impulse control. And, more importantly what not to do.
Today, we have a story about the time one of the most famous television characters in history re-enacted one of the most famous psychology experiments in history. The character is Cookie Monster. And the experiment, well for Cookie Monster, it was called a game: The game Cookie Monster played is based on a series of experiments that have come to be known as the Marshmallow Test.
Sports
9:32 pm
Tue September 30, 2014

U of M students want athletic director fired

Hundreds of students gathered on the U of M Tuesday night, often chanting 'Fire Brandon.'
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

University of Michigan students are demanding top athletic department officials be fired, in the wake of the football program’s concussion controversy.

Hundreds of U of M students chanted “Fire Brandon” during a rally on the Ann Arbor campus tonight.   Brandon is Dave Brandon, U of M’s athletic director.

The students are upset about many things, from the latest concussion controversy to the cost of tickets. Many students are also dissatisfied with the Wolverine football program’s disappointing season. 

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Sports
9:27 pm
Tue September 30, 2014

Congressman wants Big Ten to investigate U of M concussion controversy

“You got to prevent these things from happening," says Rep. Bill Pascrell, D-New Jersey. "You certainly don’t send a player back in after he’s had a concussion.”
Credit Pascrell office

The University of Michigan’s concussion controversy has reached the halls of Congress.

A New Jersey congressman wants the Big Ten conference to investigate the University of Michigan’s compliance with its own head injury protocols.

The university is under fire for allowing a player return to the field during a football game Saturday after he suffered a mild concussion. Quarterback Shane Morris appeared to be dazed after a hard hit in the second half of the game against Minnesota. 

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Stateside
6:19 pm
Tue September 30, 2014

The classic, smiley Raggedy Ann dolls were originally handmade in West Michigan

An original Raggedy Ann doll.
Credit User: Muskegon Heritage Museum

If there's been a little girl in your life at any point, chances are pretty good that Raggedy Ann made her way into your home.

The cloth doll with the yarn hair and the candy-cane-striped stockings has been a part of America's toy scene for a century.

Raggedy Ann has some very strong roots in West Michigan.

Anne Dake is a curator at the Muskegon Heritage Museum. She says almost 90,000 Raggedy Ann dolls were handmade in Muskegon from 1918 to 1926.

According to Dake, the story of Raggedy Ann began when cartoonist Johnny Gruelle's daughter found a red doll at her grandmother's house. They painted her a new face, and Gruelle's daughter named it "Raggedy Ann."

"Her iconic smile, her joy ... Every time you see one, you can't help but smile and be happy," says Dake.

* Listen to our conversation with Anne Dake.

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