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Flint's water rates are on track to double in the next five years – even though the city already pays some of the highest water rates in the country.

That was a big takeaway at a meeting today of the team charged with overseeing Flint’s recovery. 

Right now, the typical water bill in Flint is $53.84 a month. But it could be $101.95 in five years, if nothing changes.

That’s because of the growing gap between what Flint’s water system costs, and the city’s shrinking customer base.

Though he's attended in the past, former Kalamazoo County Republican chair Dave Worthams did not attend this year's Republican National Convention. 

But he did watch Donald Trump's Thursday night acceptance speech from home, and told us he didn't really like everything he saw. 

Using plants to make plastics is an idea that’s been around for a while. Henry Ford produced an experimental car with a soybean plastic exterior in 1941.

Now, 75 years later, Ford is looking to make car parts out of another plant, a plant that’s best known for being an ingredient in Tequila.

Governor Rick Snyder
Rick Snyder for Michigan / Facebook Page

Fewer than half of Michigan’s local leaders are optimistic about the state’s direction, and more of those leaders have soured on Governor Snyder’s leadership.

That’s according to the latest results from a twice-yearly University of Michigan survey.

The feelings about the state’s overall direction are just slightly more pessimistic than a year ago, but down significantly from 2014, when 55% of local leaders felt good about the state’s prospects. Now, it’s 44%.

Something happened in a courtroom in Detroit Thursday that may have more impact on the November elections in Michigan than anything at the Republican convention.

Earlier this year, Republicans in the legislature outlawed straight-ticket voting in all elections in Michigan. They gave a lot of phony excuses for why they did this, but the real reason is clear. Straight-ticket voting tends to help Democrats, especially for offices that are less high-profile, like board of education seats.

French 75

1-1/2 oz gin (Detroit City Distillery Railroad gin)

1/2 oz lemon juice

3/4 oz simple syrup

2  oz champagne/sparkling wine

Garnish: lemon twist

Shake first three ingredients with ice, strain into champagne flute. Top with champagne and garnish.

The debate about raising the speed limit on Michigan freeways to 75 miles per hour made Tammy Coxen of Tammy’s Tastings think of the cocktail called the French 75. 

Last week, Michigan Radio's news director Vincent Duffy previewed the sights and sounds of Cleveland, his hometown, in advance of this week's Republican National Convention. 

Michigan’s Republican leaders are moving on from this week’s national convention with issues to address.

State Party Chairwoman Ronna Romney-McDaniel says support is coalescing around Republican nominee Donald Trump. But she says the refusal of some of Trump’s former rivals to endorse him is a problem. 

“Bush, Kasich and Cruz, those are the ones that are not coming around. I understand it was a tough primary.   But if they don’t lead, it hurts our party,” says Romney-McDaniel. “Hopefully they’ll grow up soon.”

The first thing you notice about the street in front of Walter Hicks' home is it's peaceful.  There are lots of trees, chirping birds, and most of the lawns are mowed.  

But then you see that the houses on either side of Hicks' home are boarded up. And there are lots of boarded up homes all down the street. 

That doesn't seem to put even a little dent in his pride of ownership.

Some Grand Rapids homes are about to get a lot safer.

The city is among 23 state and local agencies across the country to receive Lead Based Paint Hazard Control grants from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Lead paint has been banned from use in housing since 1978, but it's still on the walls and woodwork in many older Michigan homes.

"It was marketed as 'the good paint', so if you cared about your home, then you used it," said Doug Stek, who directs hazard control projects for the City of Grand Rapids.

A Lansing-based video game company is putting the final touches on a video game that got a big helping hand from a Michigan State University computer science expert. 

The game is called Tuebor, which means "I will defend" in Latin.

Scott Reschke has been laboring over this game for years, so it's a big moment to see this work come to fruition.

Michigan Bookmark is a series that features Michigan authors reviewing Michigan books.

Seasonal Roads is the title of L.E. Kimball’s impressive new book of stories. The title refers to roads that are unplowed and therefore unpassable in winter. Kimball guides you down some of these roads in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula – into cabins, forests, and rivers, and into the lives of three women. Author Lisa Lenzo has this review.

Michigan could see a West Nile virus outbreak this year

Jul 21, 2016

The wetter the summer, the more mosquitos you’re likely to find outside.

In hot, dry summers, like the summer we are having now, there are fewer mosquitoes. But the mosquitos that are around pose a greater threat. That’s because West Nile virus spreads more easily in warm weather.

This summer Michigan State University has predicted an outbreak of West Nile in Michigan.

The Next Idea

Take an abandoned, unloved alley. 

Clear away the trash and debris, and then turn artists loose with their paint and brushes to transform those alleys and, in turn, the neighborhood.

Jason Ostro did just that.

The Michigan-born artist cleaned up the area around his Los Angeles art gallery, the Gabba Gallery.

The Gabba Alley Project L4 is four decaying alleys transformed into works of art.

Now he's launched the Gabba Alley Project Detroit, recently painting his first mural in an alley in Detroit's Midtown.

DETROIT (AP) - A federal judge has blocked Michigan's new ban on straight-party voting, a law that was passed by Republicans but criticized by Democrats as a way to discourage turnout among minorities.

Judge Gershwin Drain signed an injunction Thursday, a week after hearing arguments. He says the law would place a "disproportionate burden" on the rights of blacks to vote in the fall election.

Lawyers say more than 70 percent of ballots in Detroit and Flint have been cast as straight-party - votes that go for all candidates of one party with just a single mark.

It would be easy to watch the terminal narcissism unfolding in Cleveland this week and conclude that politics have nothing to do with real life. I was half-tempted at one point to call Dr. Mona, the hero doctor of Flint, and ask her how important the question of Melania Trump’s plagiarism was to the poisoned children and desperate parents of Flint.

Then I realized I couldn’t justify wasting even a few seconds of her time that way. But that doesn’t mean everyone who runs for office is an egomaniac.

A Detroit program focused on boosting small business in the city’s neighborhoods has a year under its belt.

The Motor City Match program has awarded $2 million in grants so far. It awarded another $500,000 to 11 new or expanding ventures on Wednesday.

They include food and restaurant businesses, two child care centers, a beauty supply store, and a music center.

Consumers Energy in April closed seven of its coal-burning units.

DTE Energy plans to shut eight of its coal-burning units by the year 2023.

Mark Barteau is Director of the University of Michigan Energy Institute.  He says eventually, coal is going away because natural gas, wind and solar are more cost-effective - as well as being better for public health and the planet.

Michigan school boards are struggling to fill seats.
wikimedia user motown31 / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

A former school supplies vendor who admitted defrauding the Detroit Public Schools will see his major assets seized by the federal government.

Norman Shy pleaded guilty to running a bribery and kickback scheme that defrauded the district of nearly $2.8 million, paying off principals and a district administrator with money he received for school supplies that were never delivered.

Shy’s plea agreement spelled out assets the government could seize to repay that.

Donald Trump’s strength among white, blue collar, male voters powered him to victory in the Republican primaries, including Michigan’s.

But can expand his hold on this key demographic group?

Wednesday was a sunny day in downtown Cleveland and the food trucks were doing a brisk business. Joseph Albrecht was among those waiting their turn. He works construction. He says he used to have his own business, until Obamacare came along.

Now he’s planning to vote for Donald Trump.

Michigan’s Ted Cruz supporters liked what their candidate had to say at last night Republican National Convention.

They didn’t like that Donald Trump supporters booed him off the stage.

State Senator Patrick Colbeck sat on the convention floor listening to Cruz as the Texas senator outlined his vision for America, but didn’t endorse Trump.

Task force looks to reduce solid waste in Michigan

Jul 20, 2016

Members of the public told a state panel they have concerns about landfills in their backyards. The hearing on Wednesday was part of the Department of Environmental Quality’s waste management task force. The task force was created in April of 2015. Its job is to come up with ways to increase recycling and re-use trash in the state.

Steve Sliver is the acting chief of the state Office of Waste Management and Radiological Protection. He says the panel is hoping to create laws to promote sustainability in Michigan.

Janika Edmond was found lying in the prison shower with her bra wrapped around her neck.  

On November 2, 2015, the 25-year-old inmate at the Women’s Huron Valley Correctional Facility apparently tried to hang herself by attaching her bra to the shower head, but the bra broke and Edmond fell to the floor, landing on the back of her head.

She was rushed to the hospital, where she was eventually pronounced brain dead and, days later, taken off life support.

New requirements for Michigan sign language interpreters are now in effect for courtrooms and doctor's offices.

Anne Urlasky is the director of Division on Deaf, Deaf-blind and Hard of Hearing within the Michigan Department of Civil Rights.

She says the new requirements are a chance to improve a system that is flawed.

"This is a positive opportunity here to set the standard and make sure that certified interpreters going forward and from here on out will meet the standard, rather than focusing on how things worked before," Urlasky says.

"Minding Michigan" is Stateside's ongoing series that examines mental health issues in our state. 

When it comes to finding a pathway to helping an addict to recovery, most people and most courts think of Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous.

The popular view is that AA and NA are the only ways for someone to get clean and sober, and stay that way.

But there are other options, organizations like SMART Recovery, LifeRing Secular Recovery and the Buddhist Recovery Network

For some, these alternatives can do what AA and NA could not.

a guy doing something with a tool
American Panel

Michigan’s monthly job rate has dropped slightly, to 4.6%. But it’s not because more people are working. The one-tenth of a percentage point is because of a shrinking number of people competing for jobs.

The shift in the jobless rate is slight. But it is the second month in a row that the unemployment rate has dropped because the workforce got smaller.

It's the mid-way point for the Republican National Convention.

 

And now you can peel away that word "presumptive" when talking about Donald Trump. Because after last night, he is now officially the GOP Presidential nominee.

 

Judi Schwalbach is the former mayor of Escanaba. She's a delegate representing the 1st Congressional District at the convention.

 

Schwalbach voted for Gov. John Kasich during the primary. However, Trump won her district.

Jeff Montgomery was one of Michigan's first leading gay-rights activists. 

A personal tragedy drove him to become a fierce advocate for LGBT rights in Michigan and found the Triangle Foundation, which later became a part of Equality Michigan

Montgomery died this week in Detroit.

Michigan’s House speaker says he doesn’t want the focus on Donald Trump to take away from the Republicans' need to protect their majority in the state House in November.

Republicans hold a nearly 20-seat majority in the state House: 63 Republicans, 45 Democrats and two vacant seats. Some of those seats are in safe Republican districts and others in are safe Democratic districts

But House Speaker Kevin Cotter says 15 to 20 seats may be in play in November’s general election. He says the Republican Party will need to invest its campaign money wisely to maintain its majority.

On the night Donald Trump officially became the Republican Party's presidential nominee, Michigan added an asterisk to its political history. 

The state-by-state roll call for delegates goes in alphabetical order. When Michigan's turn came up Tuesday night, state party chairwoman Ronna Romney-McDaniel announced that she would pass. Michigan eventually delivered its votes - last. 

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