Veterans Day in Flint.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Governor Rick Snyder signed a bill Wednesday that requires the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency, its successor agency, or the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA) to send reports to the governor and Legislature four times a year. The reports must examine issues like timeliness of medication distribution, how patient’s money is accounted for, and staffing levels.

Representative Holly Hughes, R-White River Twp., was a sponsor of the bill. She said the reporting is necessary given the constant turnover in state government.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s elected leaders once again have the ability to file a lawsuit against the state for its handling of the city’s water crisis.

Today, the city’s state-appointed oversight board reversed a policy that effectively blocked the city from filing lawsuits.  

Back in March, Flint Mayor Karen Weaver filed a notice with the court, saying the city was potentially looking at suing the state of Michigan for decisions and mistakes made by state employees that led to Flint’s drinking water crisis.

ACLU Michigan

The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a complaint against a Flint-area Catholic hospital with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights.

The complaint says Ascension Health and its subsidiary, Genesys Health System, would not allow doctors to perform a medically necessary tubal ligation on a pregnant woman with a brain tumor.

Scio Residents for Safe Water

After waiting three years for the state to issue a stricter cleanup standard for the carcinogen 1,4 dioxane, Ann Arbor Township and Scio Township are done.

The two townships, along with the Sierra Club of Huron Valley, will jointly file a petition next month requesting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to conduct a preliminary assessment for a plume of contaminated groundwater to become a federal Superfund site.

Frank Szymanski likes to startle audiences by asking, “Have you ever seen a naked trial judge?” after which he takes off his suit coat and flings it on a chair.

“Don’t worry, I’m going to stop there,” he tells them.

“But if you don’t educate yourselves before you go into that voting booth, if you don’t know who I and Judge Deborah Thomas are, we might as well be naked. You need to know that we are both circuit court judges, we care about kids, that we care about justice for everyone, and that we were nominated by the Democratic Party for the Michigan Supreme Court.”

Clifford Freitas
via LinkedIn

An FBI probe into Macomb County municipal corruption has netted another local elected official, and forced a major garbage company founder to resign.

Macomb Township trustee Clifford Freitas is the second local government official charged with bribery this month.

Frietas allegedly demanded more than $40,000 in bribes to help a waste hauler, Rizzo Environmental Services, get a favorable contract.

That happened despite the fact that Freitas worked for Rizzo, and was supposed to remove himself from any government business involving the company.

eltpics / Flickr -


While their friends may have been moving back to dorms or apartments to start the new school year, a group of occupational therapy students from Western Michigan University moved their things into their new rooms at the Clark Retirement Community on Keller Lake.

It’s one of the first research projects of its kind in this country: three college students living side by side with senior citizens.

A group of Syrian refugees.
user Freedom House / Flickr -

Waterford Township residents won't see any Syrian refugees moving in next door. At least that's what city leaders are saying.

In a unanimous vote (7-0), the Waterford Township board of trustees passed a resolution to opt out of the federal refugee resettlement program. Thirteen of the 29 Waterford residents who spoke at the meeting opposed the board's decision. 

Gary Wall is the board of trustees’ supervisor. He says the decision has to do with the safety of the residents, not bias against Syrians.

The Michigan Union covered in blooming ivy
Wikimedia Commons

There were fewer reported cases of student sexual misconduct at the University of Michigan last year. 

In the 2015-16 fiscal year, there were 157 reports of student sexual misconduct -- a drop from 172 reports in the previous year. 

“Pedal to Porch is a neighborhood bike ride that includes stops along the route where residents of the neighborhood use their front porch as a stage to tell their story,” Cornetta Lane told us.
Courtesy of Pedal to Porch


The Knight Cities Challenge is an opportunity for 26 Knight Foundation Communities across the nation, including Detroit, to answer the question:

What’s your best idea to make cities more successful?

At stake is a share of $5 million in grants.

“It’s really simple. Proposal A says if we have to pay, we should have a say,” Ross told us.
flickr user justgrimes /


How much voice should people have about a development proposed for their neighborhood?

When a developer gets tax breaks or public funding, should the people living around that project get something?

Those questions are at the heart of a pair of a proposals in Detroit.The two competing community benefit ordinances, or CBOs, are on the November ballot.

Oscoda residents talk with government officials about the PFC plume contaminating their wells.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Residents of a northern Michigan town are getting briefed today on a threat to their drinking water.

For decades, fire crews trained at Wurtsmith Air Force base not far from Lake Huron. But while the base closed more than 20 years ago, the chemicals used to extinguish the flames continue to seep into nearby wells and streams.

"It’s not perfect, it does need to be fixed," said Udow-Phillips on the Affordable Care Act. "But it’s a place to start from.”
Flickr user/Images Money /

Word came from the federal government this week: premiums for popular health plans sold on are going up an average of 25% next year.

And, depending on where you live, you may have fewer choices when shopping on the exchange.

New report analyzes transit millage proposal

Oct 25, 2016
flickr user Matt Picio /

Voters in four Southeast Michigan counties will decide on November 8 whether to raise property taxes to enhance mass transit systems in the region.

The ballot proposal would authorize the Regional Transit Authority of Southeast Michigan to levy a new 1.2 mill tax for 20 years in Macomb, Oakland, Wayne, and Washtenaw counties. That would mean about $120 a year for the owner of a $200,000 house.  

Governor Rick Snyder
Flickr user Michigan Municipal League /

An Ingham County Circuit court denied a Flint resident’s request for an investigation into Governor Rick Snyder Tuesday.

Governor Snyder has said his use of tax dollars to pay for his legal counsel on issues surrounding the Flint water crisis was appropriate because the investigations relate to his official duties as governor.

But Flint resident Keri Webber filed a complaint earlier this month asking a court to appoint a one-judge grand jury to investigate Snyder for criminal wrongdoing.

Balloons drop at the 2012 Republican National Convention.
PBS NewsHour / Flickr -

In big election years like this one, the two major parties typically host election night parties where candidates and party officials gather to hopefully celebrate their victories.

But this year, there will be no big party for the Michigan Republican Party. 

More from Chad Livengood of the Detroit News:

Grand Rapids
Steven Depolo / Flickr

Grand Rapids and Flint are both in the spotlight in a new report on the sustainability of cities.

Researchers with the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine looked at nine cities, including New York and Vancouver. All of them have sustainability plans in place.

Linda Katehi chairs the committee that wrote the report.

Sam Corden / Interlochen Public Radio

Researchers who work in wetlands in Michigan are taking a new approach to invasive plants. They’re harvesting them for fertilizer and fuel. 

U of M hopes to crack down on opioid addiction

Oct 25, 2016
Courtesy frankieleon / Creative Commons --

With a $1.4 million per year grant from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Service, the University of Michigan launched a five-year project called the Michigan Opioid Prescribing Engagement Network (Michigan-OPEN).

Garbage truck in Flint.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

As expected, the Flint City Council last night approved a multi-million dollar, one-year contract for the city’s trash pick-up.

The city’s state oversight board is expected to give the deal its approval. The contract would pay Republic Services $3.7 million, and carries an option for an additional year.

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver wanted to use a different company, Rizzo Environmental Services for the city's trash pickup. Councilman Scott Kincaid fought against Weaver to keep Republic Services on the job.

Gretchen Driskell got into politics by accident twenty-some years ago, when she was home with a toddler and a neighbor knocked on her door.

He was running for city council and wanted her support; she was an accountant and an MBA who had taken a few years off to raise her three kids, and was happy to talk to another adult.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Kalamazoo City Commissioners voted Monday night in support of a public-private partnership they hope will stabilize the budget, lower property taxes and fund “aspirational projects” as early as next year.

The donation comes from two local businessmen and philanthropists. Both have ties to the Kalamazoo-based medical device manufacturing giant Stryker Corporation. One is heir to the Upjohn Company.

They’re offering the major donation to help stabilize Kalamazoo’s budget. The city was considering an income tax to help close a deficit.

The University of Michigan Health System
The University of Michigan

After being tipped off by a hospital chaplain that it seemed like hospital security was called more for black patients then white patients, Dr. Carmen Green decided to look into it.

In December 2014, Green was as the head of the Office for Healthcare Equity and Inclusion (OHEI) at the University of Michigan Health System (UMHS). Green filed a report to the then-acting CEO of UMHS Anthony Denton. According to the report, “More requests (to call security) were made for black patients/visitors then would be expected by their representation in the overall patient census.”

Ballot in a voting booth

A federal judge says Michigan cannot enforce a ban on Election Day “ballot selfies.”

Voters who used their smart phones to take pictures of their ballots in past elections risked losing their vote, and criminal prosecution. But U.S. District Court Judge Janet Neff in Grand Rapids ruled the “ballot selfies” ban appears to violate the First Amendment, and threatens to ensnare people who are just trying two celebrate their vote, and share it on social media.


President Obama is endorsing Democratic candidates for Congress, and a Michigan candidate is among them.

The president publicly endorsed 30 Congressional candidates Monday, including the 8th District’s Suzanna Shkreli.

Shkreli was a late addition to the ballot after actress Melissa Gilbert withdrew for health reasons in late May. She is hoping to unseat incumbent Republican Mike Bishop.

Shkreli says she thinks her focus on working class families grabbed the president’s attention.

“This whole election, it’s being rigged.” That’s the message coming from Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump. And, there are certainly some Trump supporters who believe it.

But, is there any truth to that claim? Can an election be rigged the way Trump seems to be suggesting?

Dr. Farha Abbasi told us that healthy diet, sleep and exercise are all key to a healthy mind.
flickr user A Health Blog /


What do we really mean when we talk about mental health and mental illness? We use those terms so often, but do we really understand what we’re talking about?

Michigan is undefeated and ranked No. 2 in the country heading into next weekend's rivalry game in East Lansing against Michigan State.
Flickr user Anthony Gattine/Flickr /

One thing that college football fans love about the sport is that you never really know what's going to happen from week to week. It's tough to predict, and there are a number of interesting stories happening across the Michigan sports landscape that very few people saw coming. 

Michigan Radio's sports commentator John U. Bacon admits that he knew Michigan would be good under Jim Harbaugh, but not this good this quickly. He knew Michigan State would have a down year (by their standards), but not bad enough to have their first five-game losing streak in 25 years. He knew Western Michigan would be good, but not good enough to be 8-0 and ranked in the Top 20 for the first time in school history.

Freewrite, from Astrohaus
Courtesy of Astrohaus

The Next Idea

If someone asked you to give up your smartphone, your tablet, your laptop, It’s likely you’d have a hard time agreeing to let go.

But as much as we revel in technology and all its bells and whistles, there is a growing awareness that the technology is controlling us.

The tail is wagging the dog.

That thinking has led a couple of Michiganders to come up with something that strips all this technology down to its purest form. No bells, no whistles, no distractions.

According to Stephanie Lacambra, a cell-site simulator like the Stingray can gather data from all phones within a 200 to 500 meter radius.
Public Domain


Federal agents recently revealed that the key to tracking down a low-level accused drug dealer in Wayne County was a device that’s been used in the war on terror.

It’s called Stingray, and it helped police track down and arrest suspected drug dealer Daiven Hollinshed of Inkster.