News

Designers, engineers connect poetry to safer batteries

Apr 23, 2015
Max Shtein

The Next Idea

This summer, as the latest installment in the Jurassic Park franchise hits movie theaters, we’ll be confronted with a larger-than-life, in-your-face reminder of the dark side of innovation, as a bunch of scientists yet again get so caught up in their inventiveness that they fail to imagine the consequences.

Classroom
User Motown31 / Creative Commons

We’re starting to hear early reports about Governor Snyder’s plan for restructuring public education in Detroit. The school landscape there is very fractured right now, with a combination of traditional public schools, charters, and the Education Achievement Authority.

Troye Fox / UWM Photography

Margaret Noodin has made it her life’s work to fight for the future of the ancient Native American language Anishnaabemowin.

This is the language of “the People of the Three Fires”—the Odawa, Potawatomi and Ojibwe. These people came to the Great Lakes thousands of years ago.

Over the past week, there’s been a lot of attention paid to the death of Detroit philanthropist Al Taubman, and a lesser amount paid to that of former U.S. Senator and Michigan Supreme Court Justice Bob Griffin.

Kids in Detroit learn music from U of M students

Apr 23, 2015
Paige Pfleger / Michigan Radio

After school on Fridays, the halls of Woodbridge Community Center are filled with music. There's the sound of guitars from one room, a cello and violin duet of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star from another, and the plunking of piano keys. 

All that music is thanks to University of Michigan student Sam Saunders, and his club Seventh Mile Music. 

Photo courtesy of Central Michigan Life

The two reasons: 1) the process of moving water that far, and that high, wouldn't make economic sense; 2) Great Lakes water is locked down politically.

The ongoing drought in California has hit its fourth year. 

debt
Christian Schnettelker / Creative Commons

 A new report says restructuring Detroit Public Schools' debt could cost other school districts millions of dollars.

The Citizens Research Council of Michigan says other districts would lose about $50 per student if DPS is allowed to use property taxes to pay off its debt. Schools normally use these taxes to fund operations. But if the taxes were used to pay off debt, the state would have to make up the difference.

Michigan Radio has been recognized with four regional Edward R. Murrow Awards in the Large Market Radio category. The Murrow Awards are presented by The Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) to honor outstanding achievements in electronic journalism. The station won awards in the Investigative Coverage, Documentary, News Series and Website categories. All four winners will now be eligible to win a national Edward R. Murrow Award.

Benjamin Foote

The debut album by Grand Rapids indie rock and soul band Vox Vidorra explores race, inequality, love and religion.

Molly Bouwsma-Schultz is Vox Vidorra’s lead singer and lyricist. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The nation’s top agriculture official will be in East Lansing later today to unveil a new plan for dealing with climate change.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will be on the Michigan State University campus. 

Mika Chang (left) with her sisters Bea, Kallia, Shannon and her nephew, Vincent.
Zak Rosen / Michigan Radio

When we talk about immigrant communities in Detroit, the Hmong don’t usually come up in that conversation. The ethnic group from Southeast Asia began settling in Northeast Detroit’s Osborn neighborhood in the years after the Vietnam War. 

Lawsuit: Michigan unemployment system wrongly fines claimants

Apr 22, 2015
Bytemarks / flickr

A legal advocacy group is suing Michigan's Unemployment Agency for using an automated system to determine whether a user has filed a fraudulent claim.

The Sugar Law Center says the system accuses users of fraud, and slaps them with fines without any human oversight.

Former Michigan Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth (Betty) Weaver has died. She was 74.

Weaver was twice elected as a Republican to the state’s highest court. But her later time on the bench was marked by frequent battles with other GOP justices over the court’s operations and what she said was excessive secrecy.

Weaver resigned from the court in the summer of 2010, which – to the chagrin of Republicans – allowed then-Governor Jennifer Granholm to name a Democrat to succeed her.  

Weaver lived in Leelanau County, where she served as a probate judge before she was elected to the state Court of Appeals. 

Thetoad / Flickr

Nearly 20 years ago, in the midst of a deep budget crunch, the state decided to close the Capitol to visitors on the weekends.

But now, as of June 6, you’ll be able to again visit the state Capitol on Saturdays.

User southernfried / MorgueFile.com

Graduates of Michigan's drug, sobriety, and mental health courts are substantially less likely to commit another crime, according to a report recently released by the Michigan Supreme Court. 

Court spokesman John Nevin says problem-solving courts divert select non-violent offenders into intensive treatment and supervision for underlying problems like addiction and mental illness.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Three weeks from now, we will know the fate of Proposal 1, the plan that would raise around $1.2 billion for road funding by increasing the state’s sales tax. It would also raise money for schools and restore the earned income tax credit for low- to moderate-income families to the 2011 level.

As part of our series Poetically SpeakingScott Beal brings us “American Spring,” his brand-new poem that explores the current tensions surrounding police violence in America.

April always has been a month of hope and renewal, when the last snow disappears, the forsythia blooms, and leaves sprout on the trees. I’ve always been struck by the fact that America’s two worst wars came to an end in spring.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The federal government is accusing one of the largest providers of nursing home and rehabilitative care in Michigan of providing medically unnecessary therapy.

The civil lawsuit was filed under the Federal False Claims Act.

Toledo-based HCR ManorCare operates dozens of nursing, rehab and other facilities in Michigan and more than 200 nationwide.

Ann Arbor church pulls plug on concealed carry class

Apr 21, 2015
Christ the King Catholic Church in Ann Arbor Michigan
Dwight Burdette / Creative Commons

Christ the King Catholic Church in Ann Arbor has canceled the concealed pistol license class it was offering for parishioners. 

The decision comes after Lansing Catholic Bishop Earl Boyea issued a statement saying the classes were "inappropriate for church property."

cincy Project / Creative Commons

Saginaw city council is targeting landlords for their tenants’ bad behavior. Proponents say the new local law adopted Monday night will improve neighborhoods.

Under the change, landlords would pay a fine if they don’t work to evict tenants with multiple complaints. The complaints could range from noise violations to alleged illegal activity. The ordinance says the tenant doesn’t need to be convicted of a crime to be considered a “quality of life” violation.

user william_warby / Flickr

Detroit will start shutting off residents' water again on May 1.

Last summer, the city drew international criticism when it shut off water to thousands of households behind on their bills.

That pushed the city to get some 29,000 people onto payment plans so they could avoid shutoffs. But a lot of them are falling behind again.

Starting this week, the city says it's been leaving notices on people's doors warning their water could be shut off. There is more financial help available.

Sara Schaff

Our series "Poetically Speaking," highlighting Michigan poets, continues. 

Benjamin Landry completed his MFA in creative writing-poetry at the University of Michigan and is a research associate in creative writing at Oberlin College. His collection Particle and Wave (University of Chicago Press), was shortlisted for the 2015 Believer Poetry Award.

Covering the planned Red Wings arena construction
User: WXYZ-TV Detroit / YouTube

After weeks of delays, Detroit's city council has finally voted to let major construction start on the new Red Wings arena.

The city's been going back and forth on the details of this $450 million arena for months with Olympia Development – which is owned by the Ilitch family, who also own the Red Wings and Little Caesar’s.

INKSTER, Mich. - A Detroit-area police officer charged with assault in the beating of a motorist is scheduled to make his first court appearance.

William Melendez is due in Inkster District Court on Tuesday, a day after charges were announced in the bloody beating of Floyd Dent.

The 57-year-old Dent was repeatedly punched in the head during a traffic stop in Inkster on Jan. 28. Prosecutors didn't know about it until a TV station in March aired dashcam video of the arrest.

There’s suddenly a new flurry of rumors that Governor Rick Snyder is inching towards making a run for President. There is some evidence that there’s something to this. The governor, or his supporters, are creating a new non-profit fund, “Making Government Accountable” to pay for his jaunts around the country.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

On a five-to-four vote, the Flint city council OK'd merging the city’s 68th District Court with Genesee County’s 67th District Court.

The council held a special meeting Monday to consider the court consolidation proposal.

National Shrine of the Little Flower Basilica in Royal Oak
Corey Seeman / Creative Commons

The National Shrine of the Little Flower Catholic church in Royal Oak will mark its designation as a minor basilica this week with a Mass of thanksgiving.

The Vatican granted the title last January, making the parish Michigan’s second to be named a minor basilica.

Courtesy of House Democrats

A former state lawmaker is running to become the mayor of Michigan’s second-largest city.

If you pay attention to Grand Rapids politics at all, you’ve probably heard of Robert Dean. He served on the Grand Rapids school board in the 1990s, and then the city commission for years.

taliesin / Morgue File

UPDATE: Highland Park's police chief Kevin Coney has sent out a press release about Officer William Melendez's employment status with department.

It says part-time officer Melendez "has not worked in quite some time, a period exceeding 60 days, [and] shall not return to any role or have any active role within the police department, pending the outcome of the recently charged case."  

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