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Low-income Grand Rapids preschoolers are catching up. Will Lansing notice?

2 hours ago
In a neighborhood in southwest Grand Rapids, teacher Lorena Lopez leads a group of 4-year-old students.
Photo courtesy of Early Learning Neighborhood Collaborative

In some of the poorest neighborhoods in Grand Rapids, in places inured to academic failure, children are grasping at a chance to defy the odds.

So it was one recent spring day, in a pre-K classroom on the city’s southwest side. In a poor, largely Hispanic neighborhood, where more than half of adults over age 25 lack a high school degree, a group 4-year-olds watched a classmate draw a “2” and a squiggly “0” on a whiteboard.

Their teacher, Sadie Kovich, asked: “What is it if the 2 is in front and a 0 is in back?”

The study found fruits and vegetables were the category of food Americans throw away the most.
FDA

In the U.S., we waste about a pound of food per person per day. The things we throw away the most often? Fruits and vegetables.

Lisa Jahns is a research nutritionist with the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service. She’s an author of a new study looking at American diets and what we throw away.

“Healthier diets were linked to greater food waste,” she says.

headshot
Senate Dems

Democrat Steve Bieda of Warren had been running to replace U.S. representative Sandy Levin, who's retiring.

Now Bieda is running for Macomb County clerk.

In a statement yesterday, he said his decision was influenced by the "corruption and scandal" under former clerk Karen Spranger.

Spranger was removed from office by a judge last month.

Bieda has been a state senator since 2010 and also served as a state representative.

senatedems.com/bieda/photos/

State Senator Steve Bieda is perhaps the biggest history buff in the Michigan legislature. He’s an expert on coins, once designed one for the mint, and fought to get new replicas of Civil War cannons installed on the lawn, and to get the Capitol restored.

Born the day after John F. Kennedy became President, Bieda long dreamed of serving in Congress himself. And for a while, he thought this would be his year. When his congressman, Sandy Levin, decided to retire after 36 years in office, Bieda, who is term-limited out of the state senate after this year, jumped in the race.

Lindsey Smith
Trisha Zizumbo / Oakland County Health Department

It’s not absolutely necessary to get a hepatitis A vaccination according to state health officials, despite the fact that Michigan is in the midst of a hepatitis A outbreak and Indiana recently cautioned residents to get the vaccine if they plan to visit the Great Lakes state, or other parts of the country dealing with an outbreak of hep A, over the summer. 

Eddie Curlin
MDOC

A black man who spray painted racist graffiti on Eastern Michigan University buildings in 2016 and 2017 has pleaded guilty to three charges of malicious destruction of property, a misdemeanor, and four counts of identity theft -- a felony -- related to the investigation.

The investigation into the vandalism cases showed that Eddie Curlin vandalized the buildings and then acted as an informant to police on the pretense of helping to solve the case in order to have other previous criminal charges dropped and be allowed to return as a student to Eastern Michigan University.

COURTESY OF MISS INDIAN WORLD / FACEBOOK

This week brings the Gathering of Nations Powwow in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

A highlight of the powwow includes the Miss Indian World competition, a chance for 35 young women from across the United States and Canada to represent their tribes and nations and share their talents.

pile of one  dollar bills
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

PORT HURON, Mich. (AP) - A rogue trash hauler who bribed public officials to protect his business in suburban Detroit has been sentenced to 5 1/2 years in federal prison.

Chuck Rizzo paid off officials in Macomb County and also stole $900,000 from the company, formerly known as Rizzo Environmental Services, when it was controlled by out-of-state investors.

Rizzo was sentenced Monday in federal court in Port Huron. He says, "I have let many people down."

M. Eric Benbow

 


 

This story will make you think of watching CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, where police forensic investigators solve crimes.

Johnson's Sambo Princess prints hanging in the exhibit
Photo courtesy of Paul Johnson

 


 

Detroit artist Paul Johnson has produced a lot of work that explores the female form — a curvy, tiny-waisted, large-and-drooping-eyed figure. 

Shri Thanedar
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Millionaire businessman Shri Thanedar filed petition signatures Monday to appear as a candidate for governor on the Democratic primary ballot in August.

Thanedar is a PhD who made his fortune in the chemical testing industry after immigrating from India.

“In 1984, I got my green card, which made the way for me to become a U.S. citizen. So, I owe tremendously to Michigan," he says. "I want to give back. And this is my chance, so I am really excited today to make that happen.”

A picture of Lee Anne Walters with her son Garrett outside of her home in Flint in 2015
Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

 


 

The Goldman Environmental Prize is the equivalent of the Nobel Prize for grassroots environmental activism.

solar panels
David Goehring / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Two solar energy companies say DTE Energy is stonewalling to keep them out of the state.

Kevin Borgia is with Cypress Creek Renewables, which plans up to 700 megawatts of new solar farms in Michigan.

He says the company can't proceed without first getting basic information from DTE, like where's a good place to connect to DTE's grid - and what kind of transmission upgrades will be needed.

He says DTE is violating state law by continually failing to meet deadlines to provide the information. "Over 100 times DTE has failed to meet those deadlines," he says.

A sign that says "Thoughts and prayers are not enough," with the Renaissance Center in the background.
Brian Wybenga

The Detroit NAACP branch will recognize students from about a half-dozen Detroit-area high schools for their activism, including participation in protests to end gun violence.

The civil rights organization will present the honor during the 63rd Annual Fight For Freedom Fund Dinner on May 6 at Cobo Center in Detroit.

Students also will present a tribute honoring the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and his work.

Michigan Department of Environmental Quality

More than 100 Brighton homes will be tested for the cancer-causing chemical trichloroethylene (TCE), according to state officials. 

Michigan Radio was the winner of fourteen awards for news coverage this weekend from the Michigan Associated Press Media Editors. The station was recognized with seven First Place awards, including Outstanding News Operation. The station also received seven Second Place awards. Michigan Radio competes in the large market radio category, which includes both public and commercial radio stations that serve Michigan’s largest market of Detroit.  

Here is the complete list of Michigan Radio winners:

First Place

After last week’s Democratic Party “endorsement convention,” there is a distinct probability that three of their candidates for the top four statewide offices will be white women.  Strong, accomplished, politically sophisticated women.

But much of the reaction to that has shown that misogyny is not dead, and that some people are fixated on quotas that have too often given us candidates who were symbolic tokens.

There is a legal question about whether Democrat Abdul El-Sayed is eligible to run for governor. But one thing that is not a question is the fact that the question is not settled, no matter how much the El-Sayed campaign might want to believe that’s the case.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Republican candidates for two of the state’s top offices will be battling for their party’s nomination until the Republican nominating convention in August. Democrats for those two offices have those months to campaign for general election votes. The question is whether that gives Democrats an advantage?

marijuana
flickr user Dank Depot / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The state is looking for ways to help medical marijuana businesses that are having trouble finding a bank or a credit union.

Rick Johnson chairs the state medical marijuana licensing board. He says most financial institutions won’t work with marijuana-related businesses because the drug remains illegal at the federal level. He says that means the businesses don’t have checking accounts and can’t easily handle electronic transfers.

It's no trifle that we received two emails within two weeks about the word "trifle." The first one came from a listener named Matt who writes:

"Something insignificant is often described as 'a mere trifle.' At the same time, something that could be very challenging is said to be 'nothing to trifle with.' How did we end up with such different meanings for the same word?"

As English Professor Anne Curzan was researching Matt's question, a colleague who also wanted to know more about trifle sent her an email with the subject line "Because I'm triflin'." 

Coincidence or kismet? We're pretty sure it's the latter.


a statue of CMU's insignia
CMU

Central Michigan University Journalism Professor Timothy Boudreau has several times over the years invited controversial, or perhaps downright offensive guests to speak to his classes. Tuesday, members of the Westboro Baptist Church and a Satanic activist who was formerly a spokesperson for the Satanic Temple of Detroit will visit Boudreau’s Law of Mass Communication class. Boudreau says the point is to underline the importance of the First Amendment. 

kate wells / Michigan Radio

A federal appeals court will hear arguments Wednesday in a case that will affect the fates of hundreds of Iraqi nationals living in Michigan.

Scores of Iraqi nationals living in Metro Detroit were picked up as part of a nationwide sweep by federal immigration agents.

Michigan State Capitol
David Marvin / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Pretty soon, Medicaid recipients in Michigan who are able-bodied may have to choose between finding a job or losing health insurance. That's under a bill the state Senate passed Thursday. Democrats opposed to the bill say it punishes the poor, while supporters say most people on Medicaid already work -- this would give incentive for others to do so.

This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry discuss the bill, which heads to the House next, and whether Gov. Rick Snyder will sign if it ends up on his desk.


Flint water bottle station
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A federal judge won't force the state to immediately resume giving out bottled water to Flint residents affected by the city's lead-tainted tap water crisis.

The decision Friday concerns the case of Flint resident Allen Bryant Jr. A recently filed lawsuit says that Bryant and other residents still have dangerous levels of lead in their tap water. It asks a judge to compel the state to continue funding bottled water distribution.

Kate Wells / Michigan Radio NPR

“Spartans deserve better.”

That was the message at a rally at Michigan State University Friday night. About 100 students, community members and sexual assault survivors came out to call for the resignations of the entire Board of Trustees and Interim President John Engler.

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

The Chinese say they’re willing to change the rules that protect their precious auto industry. That’d be the industry companies like General Motors have spent a generation building with Chinese partners because, over there, he who controls the government rules.

Yoga mats set out and ready for the class to begin
Sarah Leeson / Michigan Radio

After what is often years of waiting and paperwork, some refugees from desperate situations around the world are fortunate enough to be accepted into the U.S. But then what? If you’ve been in a war-torn area or are a victim of torture, you’re glad to be safe.

But you’re in a strange country. You might not speak English. You might be confused by government bureaucracy or an unfamiliar medical system. Then there’s a chance you’re suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, or other mental health issues. 

Metro Detroit's "Big Four" regional leaders at the 8 Mile Boulevard Association meeting. From left: Moderator Ron Fournier, Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel, Wayne County Executive Warren Evans, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, Oakland County Executive L. Br
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Metro Detroit’s divisions over expanding regional transit have only hardened recently.

That was one takeaway from a meeting of the Eight Mile Boulevard Association today. That organization focuses on supporting regional cooperation across the “8 Mile divide” that’s often seen as the iconic dividing line between Detroit and its suburbs.

Students in the hallway looking at ducks
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

It might not be Pamplona, but the annual "Running of the Ducks" at Ken-O-Sha Park Elementary School in Grand Rapids is its own time-honored tradition. 

This Friday, students and teachers gathered in the hallways to watch as a mother duck marched her ducklings to water for the first time.

The mother duck nests in the school's courtyard every year. When spring comes, she leads her babies through the school and into the woods a few hundred yards away.  

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