News

School Bus
Nicolae Gerasim / Flickr

Michigan prisoners have raised more than $53,000 to help buy children school uniforms and supplies. The program, Dress for Success, is part of the Pathways to Potential project of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. 

 A suburban Detroit police officer won’t face charges for shooting and killing a high school senior.

Police in the downriver community of Trenton shot 18-year-old Kyle Baker inside his home in late May.

They were called to do a welfare check on the teen, after school officials reported his “erratic and paranoid behavior before leaving campus.”

Officers entered the home, where Baker advanced on them with a two-foot-long lawnmower blade, according to Trenton police.

I-94 in Michigan
Corey Seeman / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Drivers can expect a higher police presence along I-69 and I-94 this weekend after reports of possible shots being fired at vehicles.

Police say there have been nearly 20 reports of vehicles that have sustained damage from "projectiles" in Branch, Calhoun and Eaton counties.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

 The first human cases of West Nile virus have been confirmed for 2015. Three patients in Macomb, Monroe and Ottawa counties have been diagnosed with the disease. Kim Signs, an epidemiologist with the Department of Health and Human Services, says, "All were men in their 60s who were hospitalized with an illness consistent with West Nile neuroinvasive disease. And all were released and are recovering."

An additional two individuals have tested positive for West Nile virus through blood donation. 

Paula Friedrich / Michigan Radio

The Macomb Library for the Blind looks more like a combination of a post office and library than just a library. Plastic bins stamped with “US Postal Service” are stacked in the backroom where administrative assistant Kathy Nuss and librarian Anne Mandel run through lists of patron orders. The library ships audiobooks, braille books and descriptive DVDs (films where the action is narrated) to Macomb County residents that can’t make it into the library due to a visual or physical impairment. 

Traverse Area District Library

At the Woodmere branch of the Traverse Area District Library in Traverse City, storytelling doesn’t just mean picture books and reading aloud. It means singing, crafts and sometimes, tackling difficult topics: like sexual abuse.

In April, children’s librarian Catherine Lancaster planned a story time based on Jill Starishevsky’s children’s book “My Body Belongs to Me”, which tells the story of a child inappropriately touched by an uncle’s friend. The child tells on the adult and is met with praise for being brave.  

As you might expect, I spend a good deal of time talking to people about politics, at least if I can manage to get them not to run away.

And I’ve noticed something remarkable this year. If I can badly abuse William Butler Yeats, the worst may be filled with passionate intensity, but the best are largely frustrated and bored out of their skulls. Here’s something to think about.

moare / MorgueFile

Michigan expects there will be a shortage of teachers in certain subjects this school year. Early childhood, special education, foreign language and a variety of occupational teachers are facing a “critical” shortage.

“Ideally I’m looking for bilingual certified educators. I know that’s a pipe dream to think I’ll fill every seat with a certified person,” Margaret Trimer-Hartley, chief administrative officer of Escuela Avancemos!, said.

This is what a $2,000 FOIA request looks like.
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

A Michigan lawmaker is renewing a push to subject the state legislature and governor's office to requests under the Freedom of Information Act.

This comes the same week the House Business Office released a summary of its findings on the recent sex scandal involving  representatives Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat.

The full report hasn't yet been made available to the public.

A diver inspects Enbridge's Line 5 pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac for a possible dent. Enbridge performs inspections, but won't share what they find.
Credit an Enbridge inspection video shared with the state of Michigan

The state of Michigan has signed a deal with Enbridge Energy that heavy crude oil will not be shipped through a pipeline that runs beneath the Straits of Mackinac.

But the agreement doesn’t change anything as far as protecting the Great Lakes.

Enbridge Line 5 wasn’t built to carry heavy crude oil and never has. 

Ashley Rose / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/

A non-profit agency based in Livingston County wants sexual assault victims to call them first, before the police.

LACASA Center offers medical care, including a rape kit that meets law enforcement standards, counseling, and legal support to victims in a safe and confidential setting. Victims are under no obligation to report their crime to police, but if they choose to do so, LACASA can guide them through a legal process that can be difficult and at times shaming for victims.

Dow Chemical

There’s heated debate over the future of renewable energy policy in Michigan – and it’s not just Democrats versus Republicans.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers is criticizing legislation that would put new limits on Michigan’s net metering program. That program allows people with solar panels to sell surplus energy back to the grid.

UAW President Dennis Williams chats with GM CEO Mary Barra at the kickoff of the 2015 contract negotiations
Jeffrey Sauger / General Motors

Just a week and a half from now, the United Automobile Workers contracts with General Motors, Ford and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles will expire.

In a recent column for The Detroit News, Daniel Howes points out some some things that set these talks apart from years past.

AAA Michigan estimates 1.2 million Michiganders will take to the roads this weekend
flickr user Jeff B / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Labor Day weekend is at hand, and as gas prices slide back down many of us are prepping to get on the road.

AAA Michigan expects 1.2 million of us to be driving somewhere this holiday weekend, the most since 2008.

The Michigan State Police have been tracking road accidents and deaths for some 40 years, and the numbers say that Labor Day is our deadliest holiday.

An average of 20 people die in traffic over the three-day weekend.

Paula Friedrich/Michigan Radio

Dozens of flyers in the front hallway of the newly renovated Pinckney Community Public Library advertise programs: puzzle hour, knitting group, kids yoga, adult Zumba, after-hours movie nights and, of course, book discussion groups. Director Hope Siasoco flits among all of them, calling patrons by name, pointing out the local artwork hanging on the wall and joking that the movie nights are the “cheapest date in town.”

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s troubled water system got some good news this week. 

The system is back in compliance with the Michigan Safe Drinking Water Act.

A year ago, tests showed higher-than-acceptable levels of total trihalomethanes, or TTHM, a disinfectant byproduct, in the city’s water.

The city had recently switched from the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department to the Flint River as its source for the city’s tap water.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

There’s a lot of talk (though as of yet, no action) about a long-term solution for fixing Michigan’s crumbling roads.

One question that comes up a lot in the surrounding debate: What role do all those heavy trucks play, and what should we do about them?

That’s the question at the heart of this edition of MI Curious, Michigan Radio’s series investigating listener questions about our state.

Michigan Radio’s Sarah Cwiek looked into this question from Ethan Winter, who asked: “Why are all the weigh stations always closed?”

Let's stop with the Silicon Valley comparisons

Sep 3, 2015
Flickr/Scott Lewis / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The Next Idea

In Detroit and across Michigan (and just about anywhere else in the Western Hemisphere, for that matter), there is often talk about becoming the next Silicon Valley.  This comparison gets pretty tiresome. If innovation is about new and different, why would we want to be something that already exists?

Detroit has its own set of unique challenges and opportunities, and we should strive to be something new, something different.

(Editor's note: Due to technical difficulties we were unable to record audio for Jack's segment today. No worries, you'll be able to hear him again tomorrow.)

A few weeks ago I was asked about a pledge three Michigan counties and the city of Detroit had made to completely end all veteran and chronic homelessness by the end of next year.

I was, frankly, skeptical. There are far too many homeless in this country. From talking to members of Detroit’s Vietnam Veterans of America chapter, I know that veteran homelessness is a major problem. But I think sometimes setting impossible goals can backfire.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

It looks like most of Michigan will enjoy a warm, sunny Labor Day holiday weekend. Many Michiganders plan to go somewhere to enjoy it.

AAA Michigan predicts 1.2 million people in Michigan will travel more than 50 miles during the holiday weekend. That would make this the busiest Labor Day weekend travel-wise since 2008.  

Paula Friedrich/Michigan Radio

There’s a bright blue bus that rumbles through Ypsilanti streets. The words “Start Here. Go Anywhere.” are painted on the outside. On the inside there are shelves of books, two computers, a reading nook and a checkout station.

“We function as a moving block party,” said Mary Garboden, who runs the bookmobile as Ypsilanti District Library’s outreach librarian. At every stop kids run onto the bus, returning DVDs, checking out books or making use of the bus’ internet equipped computers.

The changing role of women in farming

Sep 3, 2015
Brian Peshek

During the 1970s and 80s, America lost millions of family farms. Agriculture was specializing, and getting bigger —   large dairies and croplands; monocultures of corn and soybeans.

Since then, there have been other changes: the local food movement, for example. And women have taken a bigger role in agriculture.

The number of farms owned and operated by women has tripled in the U.S. in recent decades.

Washtenaw County Prosecutor's office

Officials say a backlog of more than 11,000 untested rape kits found in an abandoned Detroit crime lab is almost cleared. In some instances, the cases go back more than three decades. But, some victims will still have to wait years for justice.

The untested rape kits were discovered six years ago. A combined state, local and private sector effort was launched to clear the backlog.          

City of Sterling Heights / via Facebook

Sterling Heights Mayor Michael Taylor is clarifying comments he made online this week about a controversial mosque project that’s divided the city.

Taylor has said on Facebook and elsewhere that he opposes plans to build a mosque at a busy intersection in the Macomb County suburb.

The red lines show where Enbridge's Line 5 crosses Lake Michigan.
screenshot from Enbridge report to the state

In 2010, we were given a pretty good reason to care about how companies maintain the 3,280 miles of hazardous liquid pipelines crisscrossing our state.

Being the state that suffered through the worst inland oil spill in U.S. history has that effect.

So people perked up when they found out that Enbridge, the company responsible for the Kalamazoo River oil spill, owns another pipeline that travels under Lake Michigan at the Straits of Mackinac.

If Michigan has a “crown jewel,” this area might be it.

Lloyd Hartnett assembly line in 1957.
flickr user John Lloyd / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

We may be several years past the Great Recession, but the shockwave of pain and job loss of those years is still being felt in many homes around the country.

That’s especially true for autoworkers.

Since the mid-20th century, those well-paid jobs on the auto assembly lines built not only cars and trucks, but the American middle class as well.

Today, entry-level jobs in auto plants pay around $16 an hour.

But many unlucky autoworkers have seen their jobs go away, never to return.

Dwight Burdette / creative commons

Washtenaw County is facing up to 70 layoffs in mental health services due to a $4 million budget deficit.

County Commissioner Andy LaBarre is chair of the Ways and Means Committee.

Mark McCulloch / Washtenaw County

People who live in Europe know what to do when they’re driving along and come to a roundabout.

They've been a fixture in road design there for many years.

Michigan drivers are starting to get more familiar with roundabouts. And now, there’s a new kind to get used to: the urban roundabout.

http://msutoday.msu.edu/news/2015/msu-supply-chain-ranked-first-in-the-nation/

This story was updated with a response from MSU at 5:05 pm on 9/2/15

Students started complaining about sexual harassment from a Michigan State University counselor – who was at times working with students seeking sexual assault counseling – back in 2009.

Michigan State University’s response was to hold a meeting between one of those students and the counselor.

The Wolverines taking the field in 2009. They enter this season with 90-to-1 odds at the championship, but fans hope Harbaugh can turn them around.
flickr use Anthony Gattine / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM


The wait is over: College football begins this week.

The University of Michigan kicks off the Jim Harbaugh era at Utah tomorrow night, and Michigan State will play Western Michigan at Kalamazoo Friday night.

Vegasinsider.com lists Michigan State at 20-to-1 odds to win the college football title, putting the Spartans at seventh in the rankings.

“It sounds like a long shot, but if you’re seventh, that’s not bad,” says Michigan Radio sports commentator John U. Bacon.

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