News

Desiree Duell

A Flint artist is creating installations around the city made out of the empty water bottles she and other residents have been drinking.

Desiree Duell says so far she’s collected some 1,500 water bottles from residents who still don’t trust Flint’s tap water.

“We’ve had businesses and individual families come and drop off their water bottles, and I keep getting more! And we want to show that it’s kind of a waste, that we can’t drink our own tap water,” says Duell.

Wolf on Isle Royale.
IsleRoyaleWolf.org

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. - Several U.S. senators want the federal government to decide faster what to do about Isle Royale National Park's imperiled wolf population.

Scientists say only three gray wolves remain on the Lake Superior island chain. Their numbers have plummeted in recent years, probably because of illness and inbreeding complications. 

How a pothole forms gif animation
Paula Friedrich / Michigan Radio

After Proposal  1 was voted down earlier this month, the message from voters seemed to be that they wanted a bill that simply addressed road funding. No extra politics, special interests or provisions.

So what happens when you strip away the politics of road repair? What goes into the actual, well, road repair?

Classroom
User Motown31 / Creative Commons

Highland Park schools can’t afford to offer high school next year, only grades K-8.

There are about 160 kids at Highland Park High school now. That’s only a third of the number of students there three years ago. That’s when district finances got so bad an emergency manager was appointed.

Finances have improved, thanks in large part to $7.4 million in emergency loans from the state. Repayment of those loans is spread out over decades.

Khimich Alex / Wikimedia Commons

The Home Builders Association of Michigan wants to remove Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters (AFCIs) from the state's residential building code.

AFCIs use a computer chip to detect potentially dangerous arc faults in a home's wiring system. If one is detected, the AFCI shuts down power before an electrical fire can start.

Residential building code requires the devices for bedrooms in Michigan. They cost around $35.

GsGeorge / WIKIMEDIA Commons

The Ann Arbor teachers union is battling with the school district over contract negotiations.

Both have filed charges of “unfair labor practice” against the other.

The union says its current contract lasts until the district pays back $4.5 million in pay cuts that teachers took several years ago.

“They have not done that,” says union president Linda Carter.

But the district says it has to put together a new contract that complies with recent state laws.

taliesin / Morgue File

A suburban Detroit police officer who repeatedly punched a driver in the head during a traffic stop has been ordered to stand trial on assault charges.

Inkster Judge Sabrina Johnson listened to the victim Thursday and watched police video of the bloody arrest, which occurred in January. The incident wasn't publicly known until WDIV-TV aired the video weeks later.

David Ball / creative commons

Every year business minds from around the world come together at the Mackinac Policy Conference to help shape the economic future of Detroit and the state of Michigan.

Hosts of Michigan Radio’s It’s Just Politics, Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta, were there to tell us more.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan made news when he dropped that he will not run for governor in 2018.

Jake Neher / MPRN

Jeb Bush says Michigan is a critical state for Republicans running for president in 2016. The former Florida governor made multiple stops in Michigan on Thursday.

In the afternoon, Bush was in Lansing giving the kind of speech you’d expect from someone eyeing the Republican nomination in 2016. He touted his record as governor of Florida a decade ago and criticized the Obama administration’s economic policies.

Oakland Country police cars.
Oakland County Sheriff's Office / Facebook

In counties all across the state, county sheriff's deputies are using a nasal spray to help counteract the effects of opiates.

A nasal spray containing the drug Narcan or naloxone can reverse the effects of a opiate drug overdose.

This week, it saved a 37-year-old man in Macomb County.

Lt. John Michalke of the Macomb County Sheriff’s Department said 81 of his deputies were taught how to administer the drug in early May. On Tuesday, one of them was able to use it to save a man.

Apartment building in Detroit
Joseph Wingenfeld / Flickr

To afford an average two-bedroom apartment in Michigan, you would need to make $15.16 an hour, according to a recent study done by the National Low Income Housing Coalition. 

The hourly housing wage was derived under a few assumptions, the most significant being that the cost of rent and utilities shouldn't exceed 30% of a person's total income. 

Michigan Attorney General's office

A former priest, teacher and wrestling coach at a Michigan Catholic school has been charged with sexually assaulting several boys more than three decades ago.

State Attorney General Bill Schuette says 75-year-old James Rapp was arraigned Thursday in Jackson District Court on 13 counts of criminal sexual conduct.
Schuette says the investigation started in 2013, when two men came forward with allegations of past abuse.

Rapp was assigned to Jackson Lumen Christi High School at the time. He was told to leave in 1987, following allegations a student was molested.

Rapp was sentenced to prison in 1999 for sexually abusing teenage boys in Oklahoma.

He was jailed Thursday pending a June 26 preliminary examination. He’s being held on a $1 million bond.  

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Lansing Bishop Earl Boyea is calling on Catholics in the mid-Michigan diocese to help the poor. Specifically, he wants them to focus on poor people living in Flint. 

Flint is part of the 10-county diocese. But Boyea feels too many Catholics ignore Flint and its needs.

Decades of economic decline and population flight has left Flint with a poverty rate well above the state average. 

Courtesy of NASA

The Next Idea

You can see Michigan from space. It’s the mitten surrounded by all that blue with the bunny jumping over it.

In fact, almost half of the Great Lakes State is comprised of water. Michigan has more shoreline than any other state in the union, with the exception of Alaska, which is seven times larger.

Wayne State University Press

From 2000 to 2010, Michigan saw a 39% increase in its Asian population. That happened even while the state’s overall population was shrinking.

Asian-Americans are the fastest-growing racial/ethnic group in Detroit’s Tri-County area: Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties.

So what does it mean to be an Asian-American in Michigan, and how did immigrants from so many different Asian countries come to Michigan? These are some of the questions explored in the new book Asian Americans in Michigan: Voices from the Midwest.

Robert Donovan / Flickr

DETROIT (AP) - Automakers and governments are releasing the models covered by a massive expansion of a Takata air bag recall announced last week.

Eric Parker / Flickr http://ow.ly/Nwyd0

Governor Rick Snyder tells a business conference on Mackinac Island that training and getting people interested in skilled trades is his top economic development priority.        

  

Thousands of employers – including some of the state’s largest – attend the annual Detroit Regional Chamber event. The state’s new Talent Investment Agency says many of those employers complain Michigan has a “skills gap” in its workforce.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

State lawmakers want Flint’s city clerk to get more training and supervision.

Or she can resign or be replaced.   

The demands are part of a bill to let Flint hold a mayoral primary in August. 

The city clerk threw the mayor’s race into chaos when she gave the candidates the wrong filing deadline.

Mixed reactions greet new clean water rule

May 27, 2015
The old Velsicol chemical plant site from across the Pine River.
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

The Obama administration has finalized new regulations meant to clarify which bodies of water are protected under the Clean Water Act.

A diver inspects Enbridge's Line 5 pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac for a possible dent.
Credit an Enbridge inspection video shared with the state of Michigan

Environmental advocates are calling for Enbridge to shut down its Line 5 pipeline which runs beneath the Mackinac Straits.

The Traverse City-based environmental group For the Love of Water (FLOW) issued a report today questioning the safety of the 62-year-old line.

The report says structural concerns and possible corrosion put the line at risk for leaks and ruptures.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

A program that’ll offer students in Grand Rapids free college is getting a big boost. A group of 400 donors has raised more than $33 million in one year.

Sixth-graders who commit to come to school regularly and get good grades can go to college for free. The scholarships target middle schoolers who funnel into a low-performing Grand Rapids high school.

Kevin Rosseel / morguefile

State lawmakers have approved a bill that would allow a private prison near Baldwin to reopen and house high-security inmates. It now goes to Gov. Rick Snyder’s desk.

Vermont intends to move more than 300 high-security inmates to the prison near Baldwin. Those inmates include ones with a history of violent behavior in prison and who have attempted to escape.

Marijuana plant
bobdoran / Flickr

A state board is considering adding autism to the conditions that can legally be treated with medical marijuana in Michigan.

Lisa Smith is the mother of a 6-year-old boy with autism. She says no other treatments have helped.

“As a last resort, I decided to try cannabis,” Smith told reporters after a hearing on Wednesday.

Diocese of Lansing

Lansing Bishop Earl Boyea will be in Flint tomorrow to announce a major outreach by the Catholic Church to poor people in the city.

Faith in Flint is being touted as a “major initiative” to support Catholic Church efforts to help the poor in Flint.

The church’s new effort is part of Pope Francis’s call to focus more attention on the needs of the poor.

Flint has a higher percentage of its population living below the poverty line than the rest of Michigan.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Voters believe providing education for Detroit students is the state's duty, but don't think Governor Snyder's recent proposal is the way to do it, according a recent poll conducted by Public Sector Consultants and Michigan Radio.

Of the 600 likely voters polled, 82% agreed the state has an obligation to provide a quality education to all kids in Detroit, but answers varied when it came down to how to fund that education. 

Jamaal May

Tarfia Faizullah was born in Brooklyn, raised in Texas, and now makes her home in Detroit.

Her first book of poems called Seam, won the Crab Orchard Series in Poetry First Book Award.

The poems bring us the stories of the 200,000 to 400,000 Bangladeshi women who were raped during that country's 1971 Liberation War, a conflict that saw East Pakistan and India at war with West Pakistan. That war led to the birth of the Bangladeshi republic.

map of maternity leave by state
http://www.nationalpartnership.org/research-library/work-family/expecting-better.pdf / National Partnership for Women & Families

The Center for American Progress Action Fund, a progressive advocacy organization, released a report that says Michigan has some work to do when it comes to policies that help women. Access to paid sick days, paid family leave, and affordable child care are among the areas it says need some work.

According to the report, 66% of Michigan mothers are the sole, primary, or co-breadwinners in their families, higher than the national rate.

Larry Darling / Flickr http://tinyurl.com/oall5zn

State lawmakers have taken another step to revoke cash assistance from families with kids who persistently miss school.

The state Senate approved the bill on Tuesday with a 26-12 vote.

“The whole goal here is to make sure children are in school because they will succeed and they will have the chance to move ahead with their lives if they are in school,” said state Sen. Judy Emmons, R-Sheridan.

user elioja / Flickr

A state elections board has given a green light to a petition drive to ban prevailing wage requirements in Michigan.

The petition language mirrors legislation currently in the state House that would end laws requiring union-level pay and benefits for workers on publicly-funded construction projects. Those bills appear to be stalled.

Medical Marijuana
Dank Depot / Creative Commons http://tinyurl.com/oall5zn

The state is holding a public hearing Wednesday on a request to add autism to the list of conditions that qualify for medical marijuana. 

Lisa Smith of Van Buren Township filed the request to add the disorder to the list.

Smith said her autistic son's severe behavior stopped after taking medical marijuana orally to treat a different condition.

Colleen Allen, president of the Autism Alliance of Michigan, said alternative treatments for the disorder require more study.

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