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Desmond Hicks and members of the Michigan Innocence Clinic pose outside the prison where Ricks had been held since 1992
Photo courtesy of Michigan Innocence Clinic

A man who was found guilty of shooting his friend outside a Detroit restaurant 25 years ago was released from prison today.

A Wayne County judge threw out Desmond Ricks’ murder conviction after it came to light that the conviction may have been based on faulty evidence produced by the Detroit crime lab. The lab was closed in 2008 after a state audit found widespread problems.

Stateside 5.26.17

2 hours ago

On the program today, a former legislative leader is critical of a bill to give a road salt contractor a sweetheart deal. Plus, we hear about an interceptor missile base that’s supposed to shoot down nuclear missiles aimed at the U.S. east coast—whether it actually works or not. Michigan is one of the finalists. 

To find individual interviews, click here or see below:

The University of North Carolina Press, 2001

When looking at 20th century history in Detroit, there’s been a lot written about cars and labor, specifically men who were hired.

There’s been a lot less written about women, and even less about African-American women in Detroit.

Citizens at a public event in 2015 expressed some concern about making Battle Creek a military target. But more were interested in the potential jobs the missile complex may deliver.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan is one of three states waiting on the Trump administration to review a missile defense system base. Fort Custer located between Kalamazoo and Battle Creek is one site being considered for the interceptor missile base. The other two are Camp Ravenna in Ohio and Fort Drum in New York.

Michigan’s entire Congressional delegation supports the Fort Custer site.

These interceptor missiles are called the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system (GMD). They’re designed to intercept incoming nuclear missiles.

Here’s the problem: the GMD system is flawed.

A Bald eagle perched on a branch
ellenm1 / flickr

After nearly going extinct, the bald eagle population across the United States has been recovering. In Michigan, the number of nesting pairs of bald eagles in Michigan has doubled in the past 15 years.  

Heather Good is the executive director of the Michigan Audubon Society. Good joined Stateside to talk about the bald eagle's recovery, and new challenges facing the birds of prey today.

John Sims has organized the "Burn and Bury Memorial: Detroit 2017" event where the Confederate Flag will be burned and buried.
Courtesy of John Sims

It’s Memorial Day on Monday. Some Michiganders will be visiting cemeteries, others will attend parades, and many will be lighting up the grill.

One person will be burning flags.

Not the United States flag. The flag that’s often a symbol of the Confederacy, the Stars and Bars Confederate battle flag.

More than a dozen state senators have sponsored a bill that would eliminate Michigan's income tax by 2022.
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The Michigan Legislature is debating concealed guns and a sweetheart deal for a salt mine.

To discuss those bills, Stateside welcomed Vicki Barnett – a former mayor of Farmington Hills and former democratic legislator – alongside Ken Sikkema, Senior Policy Fellow with Public Sector Consultants and a former Republican legislator.

Regarding concealed weapons, some members of the legislature support repealing a law that requires training and a permit in order to carry and conceal firearms. Supporters say Michigan law currently lets anyone openly carry firearms, so people should not have to pay more, and file extra paperwork simply to carry firearms inside jackets or other clothing.

Syringe
VCU CNS / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The state wants more people in Michigan to have access to a drug that can save the life of someone who's overdosed on heroin or prescription painkillers.

A new state standing order pre-authorizes pharmacists to distribute naloxone, also known as Narcan, to anyone without a prescription. 

"It could be someone at risk for having an overdose or a friend, a loved one, a partner of someone who is concerned about a person at risk for an overdose," said Dr. Eden Wells, the state's chief medical officer.

A nurse administers a vaccine.
Rhoda Baer / Flickr - http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Authorities are taking steps to limit hepatitis A exposure at the Oakland County Jail in suburban Detroit after an inmate was confirmed to be infected.

The Oakland County Health Division and the sheriff's office announced Friday that they're advising those detained at the jail in Pontiac between May 8 and May 23 to contact the Health Division to determine potential exposure. A male inmate was confirmed to have hepatitis A.

Judge's gavel
Joe Gratz / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

A school district in western Michigan has settled a lawsuit with four young women who say they were inappropriately touched by a former Major League Baseball player who worked at Lakewood High School.

Details of the settlement haven't been released. A federal judge signed an order Thursday dismissing the Lakewood district from the case. Chad Curtis remains in the lawsuit.

John F. Kennedy
By Cecil (Cecil William) Stoughton / US National Archives/Wikimedia Commons

The other night I had dinner with former State Senator John Kelly, who has a law degree and a doctorate and served his country in the JAG, or Judge Advocate General Corps. He told me once about the moment he decided to go into public service.

It was the day before his eleventh birthday at the Michigan State Fair in Detroit on Labor Day in 1960, and he was sitting on his father’s shoulders. He reached out for the hand of the big man with the shock of reddish-brown hair. “My initials are JFK!” he said.

“Well, then, you’ll go into politics too,” John F. Kennedy told him.

Photograph of Downtown Detroit
Ifmuth / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

New numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau show Detroit hasn’t quite yet reversed decades of population loss, but it seems to be getting close.

The Census has Detroit down another 3,541 residents in mid-2016 from the same time a year before. That leaves a total population of 672,795.

That’s a very small drop compared what the city has seen in the past.

Still, many people had hoped this would be the year Detroit finally showed some gains.

row of houses
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

It used to be property taxes skyrocketed when home values went up. Sometimes tax bills increased by double digit percentages in a single year.

Voters fixed that with the passage of Proposal A in 1994. The constitutional amendment capped how much property taxes could go up in a year at five percent or the rate of inflation, whichever is less.

Ford Motor Company's headquarters in Dearborn.
Ford Motor Company

Slumping stock was the undoing of Mark Fields as CEO of Ford Motor Company.

Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes said Fields’ successor Jim Hackett must rally his team to full battle mode, even though times are good and profits are fat.

American flag fluttering against a blue sky
Corey Seeman/Flickr / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Ali Warsame's journey to become a permanent, legal resident of Michigan was long and difficult.

He fled the war in his homeland of Somalia, which is one of the six majority-Muslim countries included in President Trump's revised travel ban. Before eventually reaching Grand Rapids, he passed through Ethiopia, Russia, Ukraine and Europe.

He was a teenager when he left Somalia. He told Stateside that one of the reasons he had to leave was that he felt pressure from terrorist groups, which were recruiting young people to join them.

profile shot of Gretchen Whitmer
Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, University of Michigan / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Flint Congressman Dan Kildee's decision to stay out of the Democratic race for Michigan's governor makes the field a little less crowded, but there's still competition for a spot on next year's ballot. 

Last week, Stateside spoke with Democratic candidate Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, the former head of the Detroit Health Department.

Today, Gretchen Whitmer joined the show. Whitmer served for 14 years in the Michigan House and Senate, including four years as Senate Minority Leader. She was the interim prosecutor for Ingham County during the last half of 2016. She kicked off this year by announcing her run for governor in 2018.

The Spoke Folks, a Grand Rapids non-profit, wants to put "More Butts On Bikes" and help people maintain them.
user kconnors / morgueFile

The Next Idea

Imagine cyclists, and there’s an image that might come to mind of people wearing Spandex pants and helmets out for a ride on country roads; or maybe of someone riding through the city on their way to work or the grocery store.

There is an economic and sometimes racial gap between those two cycling worlds.

Sen. Patrick Colebeck

Controversial legislation surrounding license plate fundraising is on its way to Governor Rick Snyder’s desk.

Republican lawmakers have tried for years to pass similar legislation. The bill would create a Choose Life fundraising license plate with proceeds going to the Choose Life Fund for nonprofit organizations for, “life-affirming programs and projects.”

The Choose Life Fund was created by Right to Life of Michigan – an anti-abortion group.

Democrats in the House attempted to pass several amendments to broaden the scope of where proceeds would go. All failed.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Lansing-area churches are banding together to provide sanctuary to immigrants fighting deportation.

“I officially declare, as of this moment, that All Saints Episcopal Church is a sanctuary church,” Pastor Kit Carlson said, standing in front of her East Lansing church Thursday afternoon. She and other religious leaders announced what they call a community sanctuary effort in the Lansing area.  

Tom Watkins

“Legislators… NOT FOR SALE: My Mental Health Care.”

So says a series of billboards that have popped up along I-75. The billboards, which also feature a couple and their young daughter, are targeted at state legislators who will be driving up north this weekend for the annual Mackinac Policy Conference.

Drowning in manure

May 25, 2017
Free Use Photos / Flickr, http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

I want to warn you that today, I’m going to be talking about poop. Specifically, more than 3.3 billion gallons of it a year, all of it produced in Michigan by what are euphemistically called “Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations,” or CAFOs.

Many of us call them “Factory Farms” instead. They are places where animals are crowded in what are anything but humane conditions to be fattened as quickly as possible for slaughter, or if they are cows, drained of their milk.

But beyond animal cruelty, what I’m concerned about is our drinking water. Three years ago, toxic algal blooms in Lake Erie left the water unsafe to drink for a few days.

Paw print
Tracy Ducasse / Flickr - http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Researchers have developed a way to track endangered species using smartphones and drones, and you can help them with that work.

Brett Levin / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Legislative economists estimate that it would cost $410 million in the first year to close Michigan's pension system to newly hired teachers and instead provide them a 401(k) only.

The non-profit agency Samaritas is the largest resettler of refugees in Michigan.
Courtesy of Samaritas

The number of refugees re-settled in Michigan has dropped sharply over the past six months.

That parallels a larger national trend, according to new analysis of U.S. State Department data from the Pew Research Center.

Pew examined refugee resettlement data from October 2016 through April of this year.

Rainbow flag, often associated with the LGBT movement
user Marlith / Flickr

The largest national survey on transgender people in America shows a need for policy change in Michigan. That’s what a few transgender rights groups say.

Nearly 900 people in Michigan responded to the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey and 22% said they faced mistreatment in the workplace due to their gender identity or expression, while 17% said they had been fired before due to being transgender. 

Over a third of the respondents have been homeless at some point in their life, while only 14% of the country's population was homeless at the time of the survey. 

United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement

Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials arrested three workers at an Ann Arbor restaurant Wednesday morning.

The owner of Sava's Restaurant says the ICE agents had breakfast before they went into the kitchen to arrest an employee who wasn't on duty at the time.

Instead, Sava Lelcaj Farah says they began questioning other employees before taking three into custody.

Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

Senators Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow announced Wednesday they will introduce a package of bills aimed at making oil pipelines safer for the Great Lakes.

Peters says the bills will address the unique needs of the Great Lakes.

"Senator Stabenow and I are very concerned about this threat, and we're teaming up to create a package of legislation to hold Great Lakes pipeline operators to the highest standard possible," Peters said.

Michigan History Center

"Ancient relics from the Mediterranean found across Michigan!"

That headline turned heads at the turn of the last century.

Eric Perkins from the Michigan History Center joined Stateside to talk about the story of these ancient "relics" and how they ended up being "discovered" in Michigan.

A crushed red bull can on the street
psychopyko / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Energy drinks are omnipresent on college campuses. So is alcohol. Unsurprisingly, at college parties and bars, the two are often mixed together. How do such combinations of alcohol and caffeine affect young people?

That's what Aradhna Krishna explored in new research into alcohol and energy drinks.

Democratic Congressman Sander Levin of Royal Oak
http://www.house.gov/levin/

Lawmakers across the United States, both Republicans and Democrats have been reacting to President Trump’s White House budget proposal released Tuesday.

U.S. Rep. Sander Levin, D- Royal Oak,  has served in the House since 1983. He calls the cuts "extreme" and "based on false assumptions."

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