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Today on Stateside:

The Supreme Court recently ruled that state legislatures aren't the only ones that can draw congressional district lines, and that decision has one lawmaker considering legislation to give that authority to an independent commission.

At least half of Michigan voters polled think the state isn’t doing enough to help its veterans. Peter Pratt joins us to discuss the survey results.

Michigan Photography

In an era when newspapers are struggling, the Michigan Daily has been going strong since 1890. 

The student-run newspaper at the University of Michigan has produced eight Pulitzer Prize winners and many others have gone on to make their mark in journalism and writing.

Courtesy photo / Oscar G. Johnson VA Medical Center

The VA hospital that serves 26,000 veterans in the Upper Peninsula and northern Wisconsin is having trouble recruiting healthcare providers.

Plus, almost one in five employees at the Oscar G. Johnson VA Medical Center is eligible for retirement.

Brad Nelson is a spokesman for the Iron Mountain based clinic. He says they’ve compiled a list of providers they’re expecting to be short on in the next decade.

Bellamy Creek Correctional Facility
Michigan Department of Corrections / Facebook.com

Michigan improperly spent $1.7 million on health care for former inmates. That’s according to a new audit that tracked payments between October 2011 and April 2014.

The Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) pays for inmates to see doctors while they’re in prison. But officials say the problem apparently occurred after more than 300 went back to the same doctors after being released or paroled.

We must do more than say "thank you" for veterans in Michigan

2 hours ago
Flickr/wiguardpics / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The Next Idea             

I can’t recall a time when I was thanked for my military service and didn’t wonder just what exactly that person meant. Were they thankful that I took the defense of the nation in hand? Did they think that I stood watch on some specified border between insurgents and our coalition forces? Perhaps it was simply good American manners that they show appreciation for those who serve.

Capitol Building, Lansing, MI
Matthileo / Flickr

State of Michigan employees in same-sex marriages can sign their spouses up for benefits during a special enrollment period this month.

The Civil Service Commission said gay state workers married after the U.S. Supreme Court's same-sex marriage ruling have until July 27th to sign their spouse up for benefits.

Gay employees married legally somewhere else before the ruling can also enroll their spouses.

Children playing with toys
The Children's Healing Center

A new recreation center set to open in Grand Rapids will give children with weak immune systems and their families a safe, germ-free place to play.

The Children's Healing Center has been specially-designed for children facing cancer, auto-immune diseases, organ transplants or other conditions that put them at high risk for infection.

A big chunk of the center's budget will go toward keeping it as clean as possible.

John M. Cropper / Flickr

A new poll from Michigan Radio and Public Sector Consultants asks voters in Michigan about their perception of veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The survey of 600 Michigan voters found that a strong majority support the military as an employment option, despite the fact that most do not have family currently serving in Iraq or Afghanistan.

It’s clear that our grossly gerrymandered legislature is painfully out of touch with the needs and desires of Michigan citizens.


The Supreme Court’s decision to allow voters to take the authority to draw congressional district lines away from state legislatures and give it to independent commissions has many Democrats and progressives in Michigan very happy.

There’s been lots of rejoicing among those who’ve hated gerrymandering – the drawing of district lines to benefit one party over the over.

9-11 veterans: Jamaine Atkins, Sherman Powell, Russ Dotson (top, L-R), Cassie Michael, Curtis Gibson, Andrew Hunter (middle), Eric Fretz, Cody Barnhart, Brendan Lejeune (bottom).
Mark Brush, Paula Friedrich, Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

There used to be a time in our country's history when many people had a connection to someone serving in the Armed Forces - people had a brother, a cousin, an uncle or an aunt who served in WWII, Korea, or Vietnam.

Today, having that connection to the military is not as common. Volunteers fill the military's ranks, and civilians have grown farther apart from those who put their lives on the line.

All this week, we're bringing you stories about Michigan's post 9/11 veterans - stories about what life has been like since their return home.

Blue Ocean Faith is an all-inclusive Christian community in Ann Arbor
user Marlith / Flickr

Democrats hope the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage will provide momentum for adding LGBT protections to Michigan’s civil rights law.

Ten Democrats have sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof (R-West Olive) asking him to hold a vote on Senate Bill 315.

They say the fact that Michiganders can be fired or denied housing for being gay reflects poorly on legislative leaders.

“It’s an embarrassment and people are laughing at them right now.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

After spending years of taking orders in the military, a growing number of Michigan veterans are now giving orders in the civilian world. 

"A couple years ago, I had a few home-brew beers with a buddy of mine," Erik May says. "And I started asking him where the beer geographically came from.  Where the ingredients came from.  Pretty quickly I realized there was a big need for local malt."

From that realization, Air Force veteran Erik May launched his West Michigan malt-making business.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A new poll shows shifting views on the safety of childhood vaccines.

The University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health asked parents how their views have changed during the past year.

Poll director Matt Davis says a third of parents say they believe vaccines are safer and more effective than they thought a year ago. A smaller percentage have more doubts.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Voters in Flint face a deadline today [Monday] to register for next month’s mayoral primary. But it’s not that easy.

Anyone wanting to register to vote at the Flint city clerk’s office today will find the city hall’s doors locked.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

People could soon pay more to ride the bus in Grand Rapids.

A proposal to help balance The Rapid’s operating budget would hike regular fares from $1.50 to $1.75. That’s what regular fares cost in Flint, but more than it costs to ride the bus in Ann Arbor, Kalamazoo, Lansing or Detroit.

The Rapid spokeswoman Jennifer Kalczuk says staff compared prices with systems in Michigan and beyond. “We’re comfortable that the proposal keeps us within that peer group range,” she said.

Sometimes we wake up on the wrong side of bed, and most of us find the sunshine the next day. But an ancient fellow by the name of Richard Grant White seemed to always be a bit cranky, and he took his crankiness out on language.

There were many words and phrases that White griped about in his 18th century grammar book, Words and Their Uses Past and Present.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A new University of Michigan study finds teenage girls are less likely to use contraception if they are obese.  

Researchers from the U of M Health System surveyed 900 18- and 19-year-old Michigan women.  

The researchers found obese teens are less likely to use contraception than their normal weight peers.  Obese girls who do use contraception are less likely to use it consistently.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

You may see fewer Confederate flags at next month’s NASCAR race at Michigan International Speedway.

A spokesman for the race track in Brooklyn says they want events at the track to be “the most fan-friendly and welcoming environments”. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan’s effort to prepare for threats like Ebola is getting a boost from the federal government.

Michigan’s Special Pathogen Response Network is getting a $5.5 million dollar grant from the Centers for Disease Control and another federal agency. 

morguefile.com

Veterans who prefer a quieter Fourth of July weekend can find fireworks-free celebrations at a dozen state parks between now and Sunday.

Park officials say the idea for the events came from conversations with veterans. They say the sound of loud fireworks can trigger distressing memories for many vets – especially those with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The cost and quality of tap water in Michigan cities is the subject of a week long journey starting in Detroit today.

Activists, led by the The Detroit People’s Water Board Coalition, are upset about water shutoffs in Detroit and the quality of Flint’s troubled water system.

Scott Schopieray / Flickr

This weekend cherry growers in southwest Michigan will begin to harvest their crop.

Despite a hard freeze in late May, Michigan is expected to produce 134 million pounds of tart cherries, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  That’s about a third less than last year, but still, more than any other state.

A few days ago, I went to see Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan in his downtown office. I’ve visited a lot of mayors in that office, and generally they have a large picture of their families in the space behind their desk.  Duggan doesn’t.

Instead, he has a picture of the famous civil rights march down Woodward Avenue in 1963, the place where Martin Luther King first gave a version of the “I have a dream,” speech.         

World War II ended 70 years ago in September. Here are three stories from veterans who live in Michigan.

We'll start with a love story.

Bill Berkley, U.S. Navy, Pacific

Bill Berkley was just a kid without a care in Paducah, Kentucky until December 7, 1941.

“I was 14 years old, but I can remember that day just like it was yesterday. We had been playing football and I got home and mom was crying,” Berkley says, recalling when he first learned of the attack and the death of so many sailors.

Jake Neher / MPRN

The race is on to legalize marijuana in Michigan in 2016.

At least three groups are working to put the question in front of voters. But money will play a big role in deciding which of those groups actually makes the ballot.

Gray wolves.
USFWS / Flickr

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says it won’t change the status of the gray wolf in Michigan and other Great Lakes states from “endangered” to “threatened.”

Michigan wildlife officials cheered the decision, even though it denies them a measure of flexibility to manage wolves in the western Upper Peninsula.

Joe Gratz / Flickr Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The Michigan Supreme Court has ordered that 36th District Judge Brenda Sanders be removed from office due to mental illness.

The ruling was in agreement with a March recommendation from the Judicial Tenure Commission.

The commission said Sander's mental disability was preventing her from doing her job.

DarkRoomIllusion / flickr http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The Cuban Chamber of Commerce has chosen Troy, Michigan, as its third location and national headquarters.

Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Dana McAllister says the choice was a natural fit because of affinities between Detroit and Havana, a significant presence of Cuban-Americans in Michigan, and support from the Oakland County government and city of Troy.

Potholes are a familiar obstacle on Michigan roads.
user Michael Gil / Flickr

The Michigan Senate this week approved a package of bills that would gradually increase the state gas tax over three years and give $1.5 billion to roads funding. But the House and Senate still have to overcome significant differences in their respective plans to fund roads and infrastructure.

Zoe Clark, Michigan Radio’s co-host of It’s Just Politics, and Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants, joined Jenn White to talk about what it will take to finally get a roads funding plan passed.

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