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Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The long-vacant Strathmore Hotel in Midtown Detroit  is reportedly being rehabbed to become an apartment complex, opening in 2016. The eight-story building at 160 West Alexandrine is being gutted and cleaned up right now.

Kellogg logo
Flickr user EthelRedThePetrolHead / Flickr

Lobbyists aren't the most well liked people, but George Franklin, attorney and former lobbyist who became the Vice President of World Wide Government Relations for the Kellogg Company, would like to change your perception of them.

Franklin is currently the head of Franklin Public Affairs in Kalamazoo and recently wrote a memoir about his time in Washington entitled "Raisin Bran and Other Cereals: 30 Years of Lobbying for the Most Famous Tiger in the World."

Four years ago, Michigan voters were asked if they wanted to summon a convention to write a new state constitution.

We said no, by a two-to-one margin. Nobody collected signatures to put that on the ballot, by the way. Under the current constitution, we’re automatically asked every 16 years if we want a convention to write a new one.

We’ll be asked again in 12 years.

But I now think the voters made a mistake in 2010. We may well need a new constitution, because there’s increasing evidence the old one, written in the early 1960s, no longer works.

An ailing robin fledging in Teri Kniffen's yard in St. Louis, Michigan in June of 2013.  Some of the highest levels of DDT ever recorded in bird livers and brains were found in this neighborhood.
Teri Kniffen

All this week we're bringing you stories about the chemical company responsible for the PBB tragedy in Michigan. Michigan Chemical accidentally contaminated the state’s food supply in the 1970s, but the legacy of that company is still very much with us today.

Michigan Chemical – which later became Velsicol Chemical – made more than just PBB, and it left these toxic chemicals behind in St. Louis, Michigan.

One woman insists something is wrong with the birds

user MoBikeFed / flickr

Criminal incidents are on the decline in the Detroit Public Schools, according to new data from school officials.

“Serious incidents” such as assault and weapons possession dropped from 456 in the first three months of last school year, to 343 during the same time frame this year—a nearly 25% decline.

“It’s a larger ongoing trend,” said DPS police chief Stacy Brackens. “We’ve had a downward trend since 2010.”

Kate Wells / Michigan Radio

Is everybody at Grand Valley State University just ridiculously friendly and cheery? Is this a thing?

Even in the student club for women who have an extremely high risk of breast cancer, meetings are less Lifetime-movies-about-sadness-and-sisterhood and more like Legally Blonde: a dozen women laughing self-consciously through dance aerobics in leggings and breast-cancer pink tank tops.

Thetoad / Flickr

Supporters of a religious freedom bill in the state Legislature are pushing back against recent criticism. The legislation is meant to protect religious practices against state and local government interference.

Michigan Municipal League / Flickr

It appears there hasn’t been much progress toward finding a way to boost state road funding in the Legislature’s “lame duck” session.

Gov. Rick Snyder and legislative leaders met early on Monday to try to get the discussions rolling in the Legislature’s final week in 2014.

Sander J. Rabinowitz / Wikipedia

His former boss remarked that Bill Bonds could "read the telephone book and make you pay attention." The legendary Detroit TV anchor died over the weekend at age 82.

National Poll on Children's Health / C.S. Mott Children's Hospital

Many parents don't believe their  18- to 19-year-olds are ready to manage their own health care.  

According to the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health, 69% of parents think adolescents should move to an adult-focused primary care provider by age 18. But only 30% of  the parents reported that their adolescents had transitioned from their pediatricians by age 18.  

The poll surveyed a national sample of parents of adolescents and young adults aged 13-30.

pinehurst19475 / Flickr

To anyone who's taking a first-time drive, the border between Detroit and the city of Grosse Pointe Park provides a stunning contrast. Grosse Pointe Park is the western-most of the five Grosse Pointes. And driving east or west on streets like Jefferson, Charlevoix, and Kercheval will give you a real eye-opening lesson in racial and economic disparity.

But you cannot drive the main thoroughfare of Kercheval. That's because Grosse Pointe Park erected farmer's market sheds right in the middle of the street at the Detroit border. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The state Senate Judiciary committee will consider a bill tomorrow that would make it easier for criminals to have part of their records expunged.

House Bill 4186 would allow people convicted of a single felony or a couple of misdemeanors to apply to have them removed from their record.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

In Detroit, city leaders are debating the best way to make sure the city’s neighborhoods see real gains from new development.

One proposal: a city ordinance that would require some big new projects include so-called “community benefits agreements.”

But the idea has some people worried, and has generated pushback in Detroit and beyond.


Nearly a year ago, as car after car was damaged or destroyed by potholes, State Sen. Majority Leader Randy Richardville went to see his constituents in Monroe, a town between Detroit and Toledo.

You may have never heard of Joseph Schumpeter, an eccentric Austrian economist who taught at Harvard in the 1930s and '40s. But to those of us who study the strategic and financial dynamics of innovation, he is far more influential than his peers John Maynard Keynes or Milton Friedman. Schumpeter is the guy who made the entrepreneur the engine of growth for an economy, and several Nobel Laureates since have suggested that he was right on most counts.

Photo courtesy of Emory University

More than 40 years ago, Michigan’s food supply was contaminated. People’s health is being affected, even now.

All this week, we’re looking at the ripple effects left behind by the company that made that tragic mistake.

In 1973, the Michigan Chemical Corporation shipped a toxic flame retardant chemical to a livestock feed plant instead of a nutritional supplement. The chemical is called polybrominated biphenyl, or PBB. It took about a year to discover the accident. 

Ali Lapetina / Michigan Radio Detroit Journalism Cooperative

One thing that strikes us about Detroit – as the city teetered on the brink of insolvency, then entered Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection, and finally, last week, officially emerged from bankruptcy – is that life in the Motor City goes on.

We asked photographer Ali Lapetina to take her camera all over the city in a single day, and shoot pictures from before sunrise until after sunset. What she captured is exactly that: the life that keeps beating in Michigan's oldest and biggest and most complicated city.

Here are some of the people who remain in Detroit after the bankruptcy is over, and will be part of its future.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A plan to shrink the size of the Carriage Town historic district in Flint is running into opposition from people who live in the neighborhood.

Carriage Town is located just across the Flint River from the city’s downtown core. It’s a mix of neatly restored, large single-family homes and blighted buildings.  

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Kalamazoo City Commission will consider selling bonds to help cover part of its retiree health care costs tonight. 

City officials are considering a proposal to sell nearly $91 million in bonds to cover part the city’s legacy health care costs.    

"You Will Do Better In Toledo"

Dec 14, 2014
Toledo, Ohio
OZinOH / Flickr

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) - The city of Toledo is reaching back 100 years for its new slogan. New signs with the words "You Will Do Better In Toledo" will be going up all over town to welcome drivers into the city. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The nearly $10 million renovation of the Cascades Falls in Jackson begins Monday.

The colorful fountains were built during the height of the Great Depression. The Falls was the brainchild of William Sparks, who made a fortune from car horns and radios. The Falls is modeled on a fountain in Barcelona, Spain. 

Those little questions we ask at the end of sentences to confirm what we already know are called "tag" questions – because they tag onto the end of a sentence to turn it into a little question at the end.

It could be something like, "You can speak Chinese, can't you," where you get that little confirmation question at the end.

University of Michigan English Professor Anne Curzan says we also get invariant tags, like "You can speak Chinese, right?"

Curzan says the tag "right" shows up in the Oxford English Dictionary in 1939.

Sander Rabinowitz

Bill Bonds, an iconic Detroit broadcaster who also worked for ABC stations in New York and Los Angeles, has died.

His longtime employer, WXYZ-TV, reported that the former reporter and anchor died Saturday after suffering a heart attack.

Bonds had worked for the ABC affiliate from 1963 to 1968, then returned in 1971. The station terminated Bonds' multi-year contract in 1995 following a drunken driving arrest.

Born in 1933, Bonds was inducted in 2010 into the Michigan Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame. Last year, the Michigan chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences presented him with an award in recognition of his long WXYZ career.

Bradley S. Pines/www.bonniejocampbell.com

Bonnie Jo Campbell is a big-deal writer who has won some fancy awards, including a Pushcart Prize, and she was a finalist for the 2009 National Book Award in fiction. Poor and working-class rural women are at the heart of many of her stories. Michigan Radio's Kyle Norris recently got a chance to ask her why she writes about these women.

Campbell is putting the finishing touches on her next book of stories. It will be called "Mothers, Tell Your Daughters," and will be published next fall.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

  DETROIT - Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan has helped push enrollment for health coverage through the national Affordable Care Act before Monday's deadline.

  He attended a press conference Saturday to kick off a free enrollment assistance event running from noon to 5 p.m. at the Detroit Public Library on Woodward Avenue. U.S. Health and Human Services Region V Director Kathleen Falk also participated.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

KALAMAZOO   (AP) - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced it will be several more years before cleanup work begins on the next phase of an 80-mile stretch of the Kalamazoo River.

  According to agency officials, it will take at least until 2017 to select and implement a plan for cleaning 22 miles of the Kalamazoo River Superfund site.

WASHINGTON (AP) - Retiring Rep. John Dingell has a fractured hip and it will take time for the 88-year-old Michigan Democrat - Congress' longest serving member - to recover. 

An update was posted Saturday on Facebook by his wife, Debbie Dingell, who was elected to the seat last month.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A new report gives Michigan mixed grades on the state of people’s health.

The United Health Foundation ranks Michigan near the middle of its annual report. The state ranks 34th overall.

Hawaii topped the rankings, while Mississippi sits on the bottom.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

EAST LANSING    (AP) - The president of Michigan State University is getting a raise - whether she likes it or not.

  Trustees raised Lou Anna Simon's salary by 44 percent Friday to $750,000 and awarded her a $100,000 bonus. Simon has declined raises since 2007 and donated bonuses back to the university.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

EAST LANSING   (AP) - About 200 people gathered outside Michigan State University's commencement ceremonies to protest a speech by columnist George Will over his commentary on sexual assault reporting at colleges.

  The Lansing State Journal reports that Will didn't mention the protests during his speech to undergraduates Saturday on the East Lansing campus.

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