News

John Auchter / WWW.AUCHTOON.COM

In 2009, more than 11,000 untested rape kits were discovered in Detroit's abandoned crime lab. Rape kits contain the physical evidence of a victim's sexual assault. When processed, the DNA data generated can be used not only to bring perpetrators to justice, but also to add this information to a national database of sex offenders.

This is especially useful because those who commit these crimes are often serial rapists. If they are successfully prosecuted, it can prevent future assaults and help victims to find closure.

Courtesy Ed McDonald / Flickr http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Arnold Palmer was born on the cusp of the Great Depression in Western Pennsylvania. His father, Deke, had been the greens keeper at Latrobe Country Club, advancing to club pro when Arnold was four.

A club pro has to listen to every member of the country club like they’re the most important person in the world. According to John Feinstein’s classic book, A Good Walk Spoiled, that’s a habit Arnold learned, too. Whether he was talking to a young professional, the hundredth fan that day, or, heaven forbid, a reporter, Palmer made eye contact, every time, and made the other person feel like they were a valued friend.

Cemetery graves overgrown with weeds.
Friends of B'nai David Cemetery

If you drive Van Dyke on Detroit’s east side, you could easily miss B’nai David Cemetery. It sits on a little hill up off the road, its rows of 1,300 plots tightly spaced.

The gravestones are carved in Hebrew, Yiddish and English. Some look like tree trunks that have been cut short, symbols of lives that ended too soon.

A few years ago, you wouldn’t even have been able to see some of the stones. The weeds had grown tall. Urns had been stolen. Some of the headstones toppled.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan State University received 461 reports of sexual misconduct and relationship violence in the 2015-2016 school year.

That’s way up from the previous year, when the school estimates it got about 200 complaints.

So what’s changed? Jessica Norris, MSU’s Title IX coordinator, says there’s just generally more awareness on campus.

Michigan Governor's office

Lt. Governor Brian Calley is returning from a seven-day trade mission to the U.K. and Ireland.

It's the Snyder administration's first-ever trade mission to the U.K. and Ireland. 

Calley says his focus was on discussing Michigan's wealth of talent in engineering, IT, and skilled trades.  The state no longer offers long-term tax breaks to lure foreign businesses, but Calley says that kind of incentive isn't really necessary.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A new garbage hauler will once again be picking up trash in Flint.

On Thursday, the Michigan Court of Appeals reversed a lower court order blocking Mayor Karen Weaver from hiring her pick to empty Flint’s trash cans.

Rizzo was picking up Flint trash on Monday. But a judge issued an injunction blocking the mayor from hiring Rizzo without the Flint city council’s approval.

Weaver’s choice of Rizzo Environmental Services has been opposed by a majority of the Flint city council.   The council voted to keep the old contractor on the job.

According to Daniel Howes, private car ownership in big cities could be a thing of the past
Ford Motor Company

Picture the starting line at a foot race. In one lane, you've got the auto companies and the supply side. In the other lane, Silicon Valley heavyweights and enterprising start-ups. At the finish line: who gets the big momentum and the money.

The future of the mobility business is ride-sharing and self-driving vehicles which could be a multi-trillion-dollar worldwide industry. So there is a lot on the line. 

Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson.
https://www.johnsonweld.com/about

Conservative news outlets that dislike Donald Trump may turn towards the Libertarian party, that’s what the Detroit News did.

The Detroit News endorsed Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson, breaking a 143-year tradition of endorsing Republican candidates for president.

The endorsement came just one day after Johnson couldn't name a single foreign leader on MSNBC.

Here's the video from Johnson's MSNBC interview:

Ken Lund / FLICKR, CREATIVE COMMONS HTTP://MICHRAD.IO/1LXRDJM

DTE Energy's coal-fired power plant in Monroe has been named one of the nation's "super polluters" in a report by the Center for Public Integrity, a non-partisan, non-profit investigative news organization.

The report said the Monroe plant ranks 11th in the country for the most greenhouse gases emitted into the air and 140th for the most toxic air releases. That's out of 20 thousand power plants, factories and other industrial sites reporting to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Congressman Moolenaar said this approval comes at a good time, following the release of a study this month that showed almost twice as many of Flint’s water lines may need to be replaced than originally thought.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

 

It’s been over a year since the water crisis in Flint became international news.

On Wednesday, the United States House of Representatives approved $170 million to go towards replacing lead water pipe lines in Flint.

The Flint funding amendment to the Water Resources Development Act was co-sponsored by Congressman Dan Kildee, D-Flint, and Congressman John Moolenaar, R-Midland.

Sea lamprey
USFWS Midwest / Flickr


We spend a lot of money to control sea lampreys. The U.S. and Canada spend $21 million dollars a year to keep them in check.

 

The invasive fish drills holes into big fish like trout and salmon, and drinks their blood and body fluids. A single lamprey can kill 40 pounds of fish.

 

Managers are always looking for new ways to control the blood suckers and keep tabs on where they are in the Great Lakes system.

 

Now, scientists are testing the idea of using environmental DNA – or eDNA. It’s a tool that’s been used a lot to see if Asian carp are in a river or lake; it detects genetic material from the fish.

 

Detroit keeps flooding. What's being done about it?

16 hours ago
Detroit residential street flooding.
Ahmad Hicks

Detroit is once again dealing with flash floods after an intense rainfall Thursday.

Infrastructure issues are a big part of why the area has experienced serious flooding multiple times in the past two years, most notably after a 2014 flood that caused damage across the metro Detroit area. 

Courtesy Joel Tonyan / Flickr http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

225 million years.

That's the amount of time it takes Earth -- and our Solar System -- to travel around the Milky Way Galaxy's galactic center.

We may not definitely will not live to see an entire orbit. But today we're celebrating progress. Specifically, we're celebrating "National Galactic Tick Day."

What's a galactic tick?

It's one centi-arcsecond of a rotation around the Milky Way's galactic center.

Democrats are liberals, and Republicans conservatives, right?

We usually talk and think about the major parties that way, as if they were two different flavors of ice cream.

Republicans are red raspberry; Democrats, blueberry.

Republicans want lower taxes and fewer services; Democrats higher taxes and more services.

Democrats are pro-choice; Republicans anti-abortion, et cetera, et cetera.


Double-crested cormorant
USFWS

There’s now more evidence that manmade chemicals can spread far and wide.

 

Researchers have found a chemical called PFPIA in cormorants, northern pike and bottlenose dolphins. The chemical has been used in pesticides, and it belongs to a group of chemicals called perfluorinated acids. They’re used to make cookware non-stick and make carpets stain resistant.

 

Amila DeSilva is a research scientist at Environment and Climate Change Canada.

Getting a cyber charter was the only way Livingston Classical Academy could finally open its doors.
Andy Simonds/Flickr

Technically, Livingston Classical Academy is a "cyber school."

In reality, though, the only class that will be online this year is health – which parents will be encouraged to participate in for the more “sensitive discussions.”

A few more online classes will be added next year, like career readiness and nutrition.

Part of Flint's  hand-written records showing drinking water lines last updated in 1984.
Image courtesty of Jacob Abernethy / U of M

New research suggests there may be many more lead service lines in Flint that need to be replaced than previously thought.

A team of University of Michigan researchers examined 171 drinking water service lines removed as part of Flint’s “Fast Start” program. The pipes had connected homes to city water mains.

Based on the city's records, they expected around 40% of them would contain lead, but they found 96% did.

More from a summary of findings by the U of M researchers:

A crew replacing a lead service line in Flint.
steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Congress is closer to giving Flint tens of millions of dollars to fix its lead-tainted tap water system.

Before it left town on Wednesday, the U.S. House approved a water infrastructure spending bill. The bill was amended yesterday to include $170 million for Flint.

The House approved its version of the Water Resources Development Act by a vote of 284 to 141.

Wayne County / via Wayne County

The structural condition of an unfinished county jail in downtown Detroit will be assessed as part of plans to complete the project.

Wayne County officials expect the assessment to be completed by late November.

An estimated $151 million has been spent for acquisition and design of the jail along Gratiot Avenue. Work stopped in 2013 due to the project's cost going over what was budgeted.

The uncompleted project costs the County about $1.29 million each month in bond interest and other costs like security and storage, according to a County spokesperson.

Jerry Linenger with ham radio equipment in the Russian Mir Space Station Base Block module.
NASA

Imagine you’re 14 years old, camping in Ontario with your family.

It’s July 20, 1969, and you’re watching on a small TV as Neil Armstrong becomes the first man to set foot on the moon.

You decide: I want to go to space.

And so you grow up to become an astronaut. You go into space on the shuttles Discovery and Atlantis. You spend five months on the Russian space station Mir.

You ultimately rack up 143 days and 52 minutes in space, over 2,177 orbits of the earth, and you fly 54.5 million miles through space.

And after all that, you come home to Michigan to settle down in Suttons Bay.

That’s just a brief look at what retired Navy Captain and astronaut Jerry Linenger has done.

If you get a call from someone saying they're police, and they've got a warrant for your arrest, don't give them money.
Sam Carpenter/Flickr

It sounds like a pretty obvious scam: you get a phone call, and then another, both claiming to be from the Ann Arbor police. The callers say there’s a warrant out for your arrest from U.S. Customs and Immigration officials. You can pay $3,000 in iTunes gift cards they say, or go to jail.

If you’re an immigrant, or just unfamiliar with how police operate, this can feel very real, says Ann Arbor Detective Lt. Matt Lige.

Screenshot of Wolverine Access, the university's website for students and faculty, showing the gender identity tab.
University of Michigan

Let's say you were given a male name at birth, but you don't identify as a male. Well, the University of Michigan will now let you choose your preferred pronoun.

Those pronouns will appear on class rosters beside students' names.

Students can choose the pronoun he, she, or they ... or fill in their own.

"This was a proposal brought forward by a group of students working through our Spectrum office on campus," said university spokesman Rick Fitzgerald.

The former Carstens Elementary School building, on Detroit's east side, is one of many, many schools that have been shuttered in Detroit.
Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

Looks like we've got another tug of war between Governor Rick Snyder and Attorney General Bill Schuette.

At stake? Whether failing schools within the new Detroit Public Schools Community District can be shut down at the end of this school year.

Today, Attorney General Bill Schuette issued his legal opinion on the matter and Rick Pluta, Michigan Radio’s Lansing Bureau Chief, joined us to explain what went down.

Image of the U.S. Capitol
user EFF Photos / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Michigan congressmen helped craft a funding solution for Flint’s water crisis that might avert a federal government shutdown.

Democrats are opposing a continuing budget resolution unless money to replace Flint’s pipes is included.   Without the resolution, the federal government would shut down at the end of the month.

If Donald Trump is to be elected President, he almost certainly has to win either Michigan or Pennsylvania.

If Trump carries every state Mitt Romney won and adds Ohio, Florida and Iowa, he still loses – unless he can take Michigan or Pennsylvania away from the Democrats.

So far this year, polls show he may have a better chance here.

Hillary Clinton leads in Michigan, but by less than in Pennsylvania and by far less than President Obama won the state either time. But Republicans in Congress are now doing something that may torpedo any chance Trump has of flipping this state this year.

Jack Lessenberry
Michigan Radio

The U.S. Senate rejected a spending bill on Tuesday to keep the government running through December 9.

A majority of Democrats voted "no" because the bill didn't contain money to help Flint.

This Week in Michigan Politics, Jack Lessenberry and Doug Tribou talk about the impact that could have on the upcoming election. They also discuss Donald Trump's Michigan references in the first presidential debate and calls to reduce recidivism from Hillary Clinton and Gov. Rick Snyder.

A new charter school in Whitmore Lake offers a "classical education" and a Hillsdale College connection
Brett Levin / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

When you think Hillsdale College, maybe you think private, well-respected school that makes a lot of Top 10 lists for “Most Conservative Schools.”

Now, Hillsdale is using its brand to help launch a public charter school in Michigan, but the school’s founders are trying to prove to its critics that this new school is neither biased, nor religious.

New phase announced in Dow dioxin cleanup near Midland

Sep 27, 2016
User mgreason / wikimedia commons

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, has proposed a new phase in its multi-year plan to clean up dioxin contamination from Dow Chemical's Midland plant. 

Discharges from the plant in the last century boosted levels of dioxins in the Tittabawassee and Saginaw rivers and their floodplains.

Dioxins are toxic chemicals that may cause cancer and other serious health problems.

The latest phase targets six miles of a contaminated 21-mile section of the Tittabawassee River and its floodplain. 

State Capitol
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

State government has been distracted by the water contamination crisis it created in Flint, by the financial problems in Detroit schools, and the day-to-day issues that are just a natural part of running a huge operation in a large state. One issue that’s been set aside often – the proverbial “kicking the can down the road” – is underfunded pension plans and health care costs for retirees.

At the state level, Governor Snyder implemented a plan early in his first term to chip away at the problem. At the local level, most cities have been struggling with cutting services and just paying the bills. The idea of trying to catch up on putting more money into pension plans or setting aside money for growing retiree health care costs don’t seem to be as pressing. The result: A looming financial disaster for many cities and counties.

A crew replacing a lead service line in Flint.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Update: 9/28/2016 2:50 p.m.

There appears to be a compromise on funding for Flint that would avoid a potential partial shutdown of the government.  House Republicans say they will allow a vote on U.S. Representative Dan Kildee's amendment to the Water Resources Development Act, providing $170 million to help Flint deal with a lead-tainted water system.

U.S. Senator Gary issued the following statement:

“The people of Flint have waited far too long for Congress to act and finally help put them on the road to recovery. House Republican leadership refused to even go on record supporting Flint as recently as Monday, and I am pleased that under pressure from Senate and House Democrats they are now indicating some willingness to help Flint. I will continue pushing to pass our carefully crafted, fully paid-for agreement that passed the Senate with overwhelming bipartisan support as part of WRDA or another legislative vehicle. I have said that Congress can and should help both flooding victims and Flint residents, and I cannot support a government funding bill that prioritizes one state’s emergency over another’s.”

9/27/16

Democrats in the U.S. Senate voted against a bill to keep the federal government funded through December 9, sending the bill to defeat.

Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow said the bill included $500 million to help victims of flooding in Louisiana, while ignoring residents of Flint, whose water was tainted with lead two years ago.  

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