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Kate Wells / Michigan Radio

Here’s a question some doctors and attorneys are getting: if you’re an immigrant – even a legal one – could you get deported for using food stamps? What about Medicaid? 

There's a lot of fear among immigrants right now that getting public assistance could make them a target. 

Take the calls Dr. Eric Bouwens started getting a few weeks ago at the Clinica Santa Maria in Grand Rapids. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

2016 was a good year for Michigan home builders – just not as good as expected.

Data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows 15,176 permits were issued in Michigan for new home construction in 2016. That’s the highest since 2006 (16,538).  

But that’s 1,700 fewer permits forecasted.    

Bob Filka, with the Michigan Home Builders Association, says the industry should be doing better.

“When you look at the job creation numbers in the state, the unemployment level,” says Filka, “we should have more housing investment happening right now and we’re not.”

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The Trump administration’s new immigration policies are causing “fear, anxiety, anger and confusion” among Michigan’s Latino communities.

The new guidelines under President Donald Trump call for the deportation of any individuals in the country illegally if they are convicted, charged or suspected of a crime, which could include traffic infractions.

Constituents of Rep. Dave Trott protest at his office in Troy, demanding that the Congressman hold in-person town hall meetings.
Sarah Scwiek / Michigan Radio

Across the country, members of Congress have been holding town halls and some have gotten a little heated.

Here in Michigan, constituents of Republican Congressmen Dave Trott (R-Birmingham), Mike Bishop (R-Rochester) and Tim Walberg (R-Tipton) are calling on their representatives to hold in-person town halls.

Three constituents of those elected officials joined Stateside to discuss the challenges they've faced while seeking audiences with their respective congressmen.

The sign posted at Rep. David Trott's Troy office.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

A group of Detroit-area Congressman Dave Trott’s (R-11th district) constituents tried again to meet with him on Tuesday.

And once again, they weren’t successful.

Some constituents accuse Trott of ducking meetings and public appearances since Donald Trump was elected.

Empty classroom.
Motown31 / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Are Michigan’s schools improving? According to a new analysis of national testing data, the answer is a clear “no.”

The report, authored by University of Michigan professor Brian A. Jacob, looked at the scores of 4th- and 8th-grade students on the National Assessment of Educational Progress. The nationally administered test measures for proficiency in reading and math.

Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

The possessive “s” could be in danger.

At least, that’s what linguist Anne Curzan says. 

Warm weather putting winter tourism at risk in Michigan

13 hours ago
Vince Pahkala / Wikimedia Commons

Planning your next winter excursion in Michigan could get harder this year. 

Unusually warm temperatures throughout the state, including record highs in certain areas over the weekend, have led tourism experts and representatives to question whether enough snow will stay on the ground to support outdoor activities. 

user Werwin15 / Creative Commons

One of the largest hubs for artists in the Midwest may soon be abandoned, at least temporarily, after Detroit's Building Department ordered all tenants in the Russell Industrial Center to immediately vacate the premises, due to building code violations.

Jimi Custer owns a video production company, The Afterhours Network, that operates out of the Center, as well as Channel 313.tv.

He says the notice was a complete surprise.

"I came to my work today and all of a sudden I can't do my business," says Custer.  "Now I've got to figure out where I'm going to relocate."

So many early campaigns

19 hours ago

I've been a journalist for almost forty years, and while I tend to specialize in politics and government, at one time or another I’ve covered everything from nutmeg cultivation in Grenada to reunions of World War I veterans.

Along the way, I’ve discovered there are three things people often think they can do without any background whatsoever: Start a magazine, open a restaurant, or run for office. Most people who blindly start magazines or restaurants just end up losing their money.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Energy costs can be a huge burden on low-income communities.

That’s especially true in Highland Park. The tiny enclave within Detroit was literally left in the dark after it ran up a big street lighting bill.

But there are some small bright spots popping up—thanks to solar power, and the efforts of one community group.

(Support trusted journalism like this in Michigan. Give what you can here.)

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver is once again criticizing the Snyder administration’s decision to end the state subsidy on city water bills.

The state has spent more than $40 million subsidizing Flint’s water bills.  

But the governor’s office says the credits are ending this month because Flint’s water quality is improving. 

Weaver says she wants to hold the state “accountable” to promises to help Flint through its water crisis.

“I think we deserve the credits until the water is ‘tap drinkable’ without a filter,” says Weaver.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell
Atlantic Council / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Democratic U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell agrees with a major campaign promise of President Trump: NAFTA needs to be re-negotiated.

Dingell co-sponsored a resolution introduced by Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Oregon, last week that she calls a “road map” to reshaping the trade deal.

"Michigan's the heart and soul of the American Auto Industry,” Dingell said. "And since NAFTA passed, we have seen factories shuttered, jobs lost, and real incomes drop for too many people."

A vintage snowmobile exhibit is on display on Saturday, Feb. 18 at Snowfest in Cedarville, Mich. in the Upper Peninsula. As you can see, the snow was already starting to melt.
Josh Hakala / Michigan Radio

Some folks in Michigan were walking around outside with t-shirts this past weekend, and just in case you haven't checked the calendar, it's February! It's just the latest chapter in the often unpredictable and strange weather here in the Great Lakes State.

Tracy Samilton / Michigan Radio

Students at Michigan State University can no longer have message whiteboards mounted on their dorm doors, starting this fall. Misuse of the whiteboards has made them more trouble than they're worth.

Kat Cooper is Director of Communications for Residential Services at MSU.  She says too often, students would scrawl offensive comments on the whiteboards. 

"Racist, sexist, anything in that category. Those have happened. There's been issues with them for a long time," says Cooper. "People write things on them that really aren't not part of our value set at MSU."

Courtesy of David Kiley

Two young people kept their love alive throughout World War II with letters – hundreds of them.

If the Red Wings don't turn things around in the final 23 games of the season, the record of 25 straight seasons of playoff hockey at Joe Louis Arena will end.
Mark Goebel / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

In all the four major sports, no team has had a longer streak of consecutive playoff appearances than the Detroit Red Wings.

The last 25 years, Red Wings fans have enjoyed playoff hockey in the spring, but that could be coming to an end.

Courtesy of Lydia Rae Levinson/Michigan Community Resources

The Next Idea

You can’t rebuild your home or your neighborhood without tools. But tools cost money.

Here’s a solution: a community tool-sharing program. “Shovel Share” is just that, and it’s a finalist in the Knight Cities Challenge.

Should the idea win, Shovel Share would create a network of tool-sharing centers around Detroit.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The state will stop subsidizing Flint water bills this month.

When will the state stop distributing bottled water? 

People in Flint still make daily or weekly trips to the city’s water distribution sites to pick up cases of bottled water. 

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver says she’s heard discussions of ending bottled water distribution by September, which she says is too soon. 

“We know we still need bottled water,” says Weaver, “If we still need to use filters, we still need bottled water as well.”

Michigan drivers are seeing changes in gas prices in 2017.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

AAA Michigan says gas prices statewide have fallen by about 5 cents per gallon in the past week.

The Dearborn-based auto club says Monday the average price for self-serve regular unleaded gasoline was about $2.26 per gallon. That's about 52 cents more than it was at the same point last year.

AAA says the lowest average price was about $2.20 per gallon in the Benton Harbor area, where it is down 1 cent from a week ago. The highest average was about $2.45 in the Marquette area. It was the sixth consecutive week that Marquette had the highest average price in the state.

Planned Parenthood of Michigan

Michigan legislators in the House and Senate are trying to de-fund Planned Parenthood.

Identical bills introduced last week, one in the House and another in the Senate, would prohibit the state from contracting with any healthcare service providers that perform abortions. The bills would also prohibit the allocation of any state or federal funds to such agencies.

Well, it is still deep winter, even if it doesn’t feel like it. The Super Bowl is over, and the baseball exhibition season hasn’t gotten started.

So naturally, the restless minds of those interested in politics are turning to the next election, or make that, elections. State Senator Coleman Young Jr., who is term-limited and will need a new job, has announced he is running for mayor of Detroit.

There’s a battle over taxes emerging in Lansing.

Is it real? Or is it actually a proxy for other looming political fights?

Tax rollback

We could see action soon on a plan that would begin to rollback and eventually, after four decades, completely eliminate the state income tax.

But this idea from state House Republicans is getting the cold shoulder from Governor Rick Snyder, a lot of state Senate Republicans and, not to mention Democrats.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Nearly a year after Governor Snyder first proposed it, a package of bills addressing lead in Michigan’s drinking water should soon be in the hands of state lawmakers.

Gov. Rick Snyder has repeatedly faulted the federal lead/copper rule and how it’s been interpreted for helping to create Flint’s lead tainted tap water crisis.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

State lawmakers will soon discuss proposed solutions to Michigan’s opioid drug epidemic.

State Senator Tonya Schuitmaker’s bills would crack down on doctors or clinics that prescribe narcotics without a legitimate medical purpose, and pharmacies that dispense them.

“Opioid related overdoses are skyrocketing nationwide, and unfortunately, Michigan’s overdose death rate is one of the highest in the nation,” said Schuitmaker (R-Lawton) in a written statement.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan’s top 150 Political Action Committees raised a record amount during the 2016 presidential election cycle.

The Michigan Campaign Finance Network crunched the numbers and found Michigan’s largest PAC’s raised more than $48 million in 2015 and 2016. That's an increase of seven million dollars over the previous record set in the 2008 presidential election.

Executive director Craig Mauger says that well outpaced the rate of inflation.

FLICKR USER 401(K) / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Macomb County officials are sounding the alarm about scheduled budget cuts for its mental health programs.

A changed state formula for distributing Medicaid funds has hit the county disproportionately hard. Medicaid “rebasing” has cut money for mental health services there by about $30 million in the past year.

John Kinch, director of Macomb County Community Mental Health, said those cuts to Macomb’s budget are staggered, with the final one kicking in April 1.

“And then starting April 1, it will be another $12.4 million,” Kinch said. “I can’t absorb $12.4 million.”

oak wilt
Greg Blick / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0 cropped

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources will discuss efforts to combat oak wilt disease in trees on Belle Isle in Detroit.

Public informational meetings are scheduled Thursday at the Nature Zoo and Great Lakes Dossin Museum on the island park in the Detroit River.

The state says oak wilt is a fungus that can spread from tree to tree through underground root connections, or grafts. Spores also can be spread by beetles attracted to the fungus' smell.

There's no question that deviled eggs are a staple at family reunions and church picnics. But what makes them "deviled"?

Maybe it's all the things they can be stuffed with that aren't very good for you.

Besides mayonnaise, we've found recipes that include cream cheese, bacon, condensed milk and ranch dressing.

That's not a bad guess, but these delectable little goodies actually get their name from a different ingredient. 


Dr. Larry Nassar in his office.
From one of Nassar's YouTube videos

Dr. Larry Nassar, a former athletic doctor at Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics, is accused of assaulting a young girl under the age of 13 in his home. He has been ordered to stand trial. If convicted, Nassar faces up to life in prison.

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