News

Urine Collection Event
Hayley Hershman

It looked like an April Fools' Day joke.

A pair of Porta-potties set up near a busy campus bus stop, student and faculty volunteers in T-shirts with "Pee Maize 4 Blue" written on the back, and a #peecycler Twitter campaign.

Virginia Gordan / Michigan Radio

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan has announced a new program to grow neighborhood businesses and match them with the right physical space.

The program is called Motor City Match.

"There is tremendous interest among entrepreneurs who want to open or grow their businesses in the city of Detroit," said Duggan. "The Motor City Match program is designed to expand the growth we are seeing downtown, Midtown, and Corktown to key neighborhood corridors across our city." 

By Jim Conrad [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has put the northern long-eared bat on the “threatened” species list. The agency stopped short of saying the species is in danger of being wiped out by white-nose bat syndrome. The fungus has already killed millions of bats across the country.

FLICKR USER SENATOR STABENOW / FLICKR

Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow is announcing legislation aimed to support those with Alzheimer’s disease. It’s known as the “HOPE for Alzheimer’s Act.”

“This is a very important piece of what needs to be done, because it focuses on encouraging doctors to diagnose early and to do caregiver planning,” Stabenow said.

user redjar / Flickr

Transportation Security Administration officers rallied at Detroit Metro Airport on Wednesday afternoon, demanding more armed personnel at airports across the country.

Alan Jackimowicz is American Federation of Government Employees Council 100 Executive Vice President. He represents 46,000 TSA screeners in the U.S. He suggests Congress cut spending overseas to pay for improved domestic airport security.

FLICKR USER DREAD PIRATE JEFF / FLICKR

As part of our “Learning to Teach” series this week, we’ve been talking about teacher effectiveness.

Paramount to that effectiveness are teacher evaluations.

“There’s nothing more powerful to move the needle in student learning gains than great teaching,” said John Austin, president of the State Board of Education.

Austin says evaluations must be improved on all levels of a teacher’s career. That includes supporting new teachers in their learning, professional development, and creating rewarding teacher career paths, so that teachers advancing in their careers don’t solely end up  in administration and out of the classrooms.

Erna Roberts has had a full life. As a survivor of the WWII Nazi takeover of her homeland, Latvia, as well as two separate Russian occupations, still living on her own at the age of 97 is the least of her feats.

Her experiences are the subject of "Erna's Life," a new biography written by Janice Whelan and Erna Roberts.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan State University officials hope to discourage “destructive” celebrations during next week’s final four basketball games.

Ten people were arrested Sunday after the MSU Spartans won their quarterfinal game in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

Jason Cody is an MSU spokesman. He bristles at the suggestion post big game rowdiness is a school tradition. 

He says the university is pushing a message to get more students to celebrate responsibly.

Two days ago a group calling itself the Coalition for the Future of Detroit Schoolchildren presented its recommendations for how to fix the Detroit Public Schools.

They had some good ideas, such as creating a citywide data system so parents can better compare schools to find the best options for their children. The coalition also suggested better transportation, and coordination of services to better service student needs.

But most of the media attention went to two more controversial ideas. One, that the state should assume a large chunk of the system’s debt, something that seems politically unlikely.

User Motown31 / Creative Commons

This Week in Michigan PoliticsEmily Fox and Jack Lessenberry discuss the likelihood of a Religious Freedom Restoration Act being passed and signed into law in Michigan, and if the state will take over some of the hundreds-of-millions of dollars in debt from the Detroit Public Schools. 


Porta potties in a lovely setting.
E. Dronkert / Flickr

Researchers have set up two Porta potties by a bus stop on the University of Michigan's central campus today. They're hoping to gather enough urine to research whether disinfected human urine can be safely recycled to fertilize food crops.

In a press release, the University of Michigan said they're working with four other institutions in this "first of its kind" research project.

Why recycle pee? Good question.

RegBarc / Wikimedia Commons

The American Lung Association is not happy with state health insurance plans.

Jim Harrington with the Lung Association says in Michigan, many plans aren't covering the drugs or therapy needed to help people quit. 

David Bazemore

Ira Glass, host of This American Life, is bringing his multimedia show, "Three Acts, Two Dancers, One Radio Host " to the Wharton Center on the Michigan State University campus.

EMU president will step down this summer

Mar 31, 2015
Susan Martin, EMU president.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Eastern Michigan University President Susan Martin announced today she'll step down as president in July.

Martin will take a one-year sabbatical before returning to EMU as a tenured professor in the Department of Accounting and Finance in the College of Business.

Daniel Lobo / Creative Commons

Nearly 100 workers at seven Michigan hotels will share $50,000 in back pay. The consent judgment was announced today.

Housekeepers and maintenance workers at the hotels in Grand Rapids and Monroe were paid less than minimum wage in some cases, didn’t get overtime pay, or were not paid fully for work they did before and after their shifts ended.

A gay couple marries in Michigan.
Emily Fox

We've said it before, and then we said it again.

There's no Michigan or federal law that protects lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender people from discrimination.

Michigan's civil rights law protects you from discrimination based on your religion, race, color, national origin, age, height, weight, familial status, or marital status.

(courtesy of KQED)

In our informal survey, 61% of teachers indicated that better pay is the best way to retain teachers. As part of our "Learning to Teach" week at Michigan Radio, Joshua Cowen, an associate professor at the Education Policy Center at Michigan State University, discusses teacher pay in the state.

flickr/David Allen

Frogs really sing in earnest after dark.

They drink and breathe through their skin without a filter and are very sensitive to environmental changes. Scientists can determine the health of an area by measuring how much the frog and toad population is increasing or decreasing – sort of like a canary in a coal mine. How does Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources count the number of frogs and toads across the state?

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

DETROIT – The federal government has ended 10 years of management of Detroit's public housing system and restored it to local control.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development says in a statement Tuesday that the change is effective March 16. U.S. Housing Secretary Julian Castro says the update "represents an important milestone in Detroit's road to recovery."

University of Michigan Supermileage Team

Imagine how much money you'd save on gas if your car got 1,000 miles per gallon. 

That's the goal of the University of Michigan's Supermileage Team. They're competing in the Shell Eco Marathon in Detroit next week.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A program requiring some Michigan sex offenders to wear electronic monitors for the rest of their lives might face a legal challenge.

The U.S. Supreme Court says a North Carolina sex offender should have a chance to challenge a requirement that he wear a GPS monitoring bracelet for the rest of his life.

User shockmotion / Flickr

A former University of Michigan grad, Derek Stevens, walks into a Las Vegas hotel to plop down a $20,000 bet with sportsbook director Tony Miller. 

ESPN's Darren Rovell takes it from there:

Kathy Evans, West Michigan Shoreline Regional Development Commission

They're known as "Areas of Concern" and Michigan had 14 of them at one time.

Now, we have 12 of these toxic places where pollution from the past is lingering.

This summer, work crews will tackle the next phase of cleanup in the Muskegon Lake area.

Susan Martin, EMU president.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

David Jesse at the Detroit Free Press reports that Eastern Michigan University President Susan Martin will resign at the end of the school year.

More from the Freep:

Kristen Van Ollefen leads 5th graders to her music class at TEP.
Dan Bobkoff / Courtesy of WBEZ in Chicago

This week, Michigan Radio is presenting Learning to Teach, a series of reports on the state of teaching in Michigan.

Teachers in Michigan average around $61,000 a year in salary, with starting salaries in the $36,000 range.

Would paying our teachers more lead to better teachers and more effective learning environments for Michigan kids?

A charter middle school in the Washington Heights area of New York City is testing this theory. It’s a school that serves mainly low-income Latino students.

The Coalition for the Future of Detroit School Children
Rebecca Kruth

A coalition of business and community leaders yesterday released their recommendations for improving Detroit’s struggling school district.

The Coalition for the Future of Detroit Schoolchildren said control over Detroit Public Schools needs to go back in the hands the school board and out from under emergency management.

When Indiana passed its controversial “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” last week, one of my more irreverent friends asked me, “Do you think the Taliban will do the same?”

A new report from the University of Michigan-Dearborn finds more than a third of Washtenaw County workers don't earn enough to meet basic needs such as food and housing.

That's in spite of job growth in recent years. 

The study found that from 2005 to 2013, Washtenaw County saw a 23% increase in jobs requiring high levels of education or technical skill sets, while industrial jobs decreased by 31 percent.

Median wages fell across the board, but workers earning the least saw the greatest decline in their income.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint school officials heard from the public last night for the first time on a plan to close more city schools

People who packed the meeting came to have their questions answered and their voices heard. They at least had their questions answered. But school officials only took written questions. 

The public hearing did not include actual public comment.

Elsa Blaine / Flickr Creative Commons

The  ACLU of Michigan wants state law to be changed so that local prosecutors would no longer handle cases involving deaths caused by police in their home counties.

"We would very much like to see a new system in Michigan that calls for independent prosecutors to be appointed when cases of this kind come up." said Mark Fancher, staff attorney for the Racial Justice Project of the Michigan ACLU.

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