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Flint water crisis protest
steve carmody / Michigan Radio

President Donald Trump and former President Barack Obama had a hand in last week's grant of $100 million to address the lead in the drinking water crisis in Flint, despite a report that seeks to give Trump credit for the funding.

The report also says Obama refused to give money to Flint, which is false.

Two former deputies of Macomb County Clerk Karen Spranger have filed a lawsuit saying they were fired in retaliation for filing ethics complaints against their boss.
user southerfried / morguefile

Macomb County Clerk Karen Spranger has been a source of controversy since her election last fall. Now two of Spranger's former deputies are suing their old boss.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court Friday, says that Paul Kardasz and Erin Stahl were fired in retaliation for submitting ethics complaints against Spranger. The pair is being represented by attorney Jennifer Lord.

Warren Mayor Jim Fouts
Jim Fouts Facebook page

Jim Fouts will get to stay mayor of Warren longer than some residents might like. 

 

 

The Macomb County Election Commission has rejected all six recall petitions against Mayor Fouts, despite ongoing controversy.

 

 

Fouts has been surrounded by controversy for alleged audio recordings of him saying disparaging and mocking things about mentally ill children, women and black people, and for potentially breaking campaign finance laws.

 

 

The existence of alternative facts in science has also caused confusion in the realm of climate change, where a large portion of the population are skeptical about it, despite overwhelming scientific evidence to support it.
Curran Kelleher / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

It was a verbal tug-of-war that thrust the term "alternative facts" into our vocabulary.

NBC's Chuck Todd grilled White House counselor Kellyanne Conway over the Trump administration's insistence on inflating the crowd size at the president's inauguration.

But pushing out "alternative facts" is not new. It's been happening in the scientific arena for decades.

Western Michigan University's Main Campus
user TheKuLeR / Wikimedia Commons

A new survey has found that fewer international students are applying to universities in the United States.

The survey by the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers says that nearly 40% of schools received fewer admissions from foreign students this year.

And lower international enrollment rates could harm universities in Michigan.

Bentley Historical Library / University of Michigan

William G. Milliken, the longest-serving governor in Michigan history, turned 95 yesterday. The weekend before last, a couple other friends and I got together with Milliken and his son for a private little pre-birthday dinner at his home.

The governor – I find it hard to call him anything but that – is recovering from breaking a small bone in his foot, but hasn’t lost his interest in state affairs or his sense of humor.

Last month, the state School Reform Office (SRO) announced that 38 schools could be closed at the end of this school year.
Kevin Wong / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

In January, the state’s School Reform Office sent a warning letter directly to parents at 38 low-performing schools. The letter told parents their child’s school was at risk of closing by the end of June “due to academic failure for many years” and they would get an update by March.

The schools on this list scored in the bottom 5% on state standardized tests for three consecutive years.

After Wayne County found some 11,000 abandoned rape kits, a statewide survey found another 1800 around the state
http://www.npr.org/2015/02/10/384129985/advocates-join-fight-to-eliminate-detroit-s-rape-kit-backlog

Prosecutors say a second backlog of more than 500 untested Detroit rape kits languished in storage for years after more than 11,000 other unprocessed evidence packages were discovered in 2009.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Health officials are concerned about a growing outbreak of Hepatitis-A in southeast Michigan.

Hepatitis A is a viral disease that attacks the liver.     It’s not usually fatal.  But two of the 107 patients recorded in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties since last August have died. 

“We do think that there are various pockets of this Hepatitis A,” says Dr. Eden Wells, the chief medical executive with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, “We’re not sure what’s driving it, but it is contagious.”

The Detroit Public Schools Community District is searching for its first permanent superintendent.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Finalists vying for the job of Detroit schools’ superintendent will start the public interview process this week, but some people think the best candidate isn’t in the running.

Choosing a new superintendent is the first major task for Detroit’s newly-elected school board, which just took power in January after years of state control. But the process has already become messy and controversial.

European Union approves merger of Dow Chemical and Dupont

Mar 27, 2017
User mgreason / wikimedia commons

The European Union approved the proposed merger of Dow Chemical and DuPont on Monday, declaring itself satisfied with commitments the companies have made to divest businesses.

Both plan to join in a $62 billion deal and then break apart into three separate, publicly traded companies. Those companies would focus on agriculture, material science, and the production and sale of specialty products.

pixanay

The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, remains the law of the land for now.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

We may learn this week if European regulators are going to give the green light to the proposed merger of Midland-based Dow Chemical and DuPont.

Reuters is citing sources saying the European Commission will give its blessing to the proposed merger early this week.

A European Commission spokesman would only say, “We cannot speculate on the precise date for a decision.”   

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The state appointed board that oversees the city of Flint’s finances is expected to approve spending more than $30 million to replace lead service lines when it meets Monday.

The Receivership Transition Advisory Board’s approval is all that’s needed before contractors can begin replacing six thousand aging lead and galvanized pipes connecting Flint homes to city water mains.

The pipes are a primary source of lead in Flint’s tap water.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

This week, the Jackson city council takes up a challenge to an ordinance barring discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

The council approved the ordinance in February, but opponents quickly collected enough signatures to force it back to the council. 

Opponents say the ordinance gives special rights to the LGBT community.

“Granted, you want to treat everyone with dignity, respect,” says Rev. Tim Nelson, “but I think the laws we have as they are do that.”

Ordinance opponents drew a sharp rebuke from an anonymous source.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

FLINT, Mich. (AP) - A federal watchdog agency plans to conduct an audit of $25.5 million in demolition costs in Flint related to the federal Hardest Hit Fund.

  The Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, informed the U.S. Secretary of Treasury last week of the planned audit.

  That letter said the audit would examine demolition and related costs in Flint that were reimbursed with TARP dollars.

In December 2015 the Washington Post announced it was finally dropping the hyphen from "e-mail," two years after the New York Times and four years after the Associated Press Stylebook

While it's surprising that the Post waited so long to let go of a hyphen as obsolete as America Online's free trial CDs, the decision itself wasn't unprecedented.


pbs.org

President Trump’s proposed budget threatens the “very existence” of public television, and would “result in tremendous loss for our country,” PBS CEO Paula Kerger told a Detroit Economic Club audience Friday.

Cutting all federal funds for public broadcasting would have devastating consequences, especially in underserved areas, Kerger said.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Municipalities that are collecting substantially lower property taxes than they used to from big-box stores must overcome opposition from business interests and their allies in the Legislature to tilt the tax assessing system back in favor of local governments.

Paul Ryan
Gage Skidmore / Creative Commons http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Republican US House leaders on Friday withdrew their bill to repeal and replace Obamacare. House Speaker Paul Ryan pulled the bill from the floor after it was clear the measure would not have enough votes to pass. This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about whether Gov. Rick Snyder and Healthy Michigan advocates can breath a sigh of relief.

Chrysler headquarters in Auburn Hills, Michigan.
flickr user fiatontheweb / creative commons

By now it should be obvious that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is for sale.

Not in a desperate do-a-deal-now kind of way. But in a persistent, strategically logical way.

Why? Because CEO Sergio Marchionne says as much, repeatedly. He understands better than most the capital demands of today’s global auto industry -- and FCA’s limited capacity to meet them.

Lead pipes
Mitch Barrie / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

State House and Senate leaders are uneasy about the governor’s proposed changes to the state Lead and Copper Rule.

Governor Rick Snyder is trying to make the state’s regulations stricter than the federal requirements. He wants to lower the safe limit from 15 parts per billion to 10.

Snyder previously called the federal Lead and Copper Rule, “dumb and dangerous.” Now Snyder spokesperson Ari Adler says the governor is working with the legislature to make sure Michigan’s form of the rule is safer than the federal rule.

COURTESY PHOTO / HOLLAND BPW

Each year the state of Michigan spends about $15 million to clean up abandoned industrial sites. Contamination can threaten water sources and public health.

Now, however, the state is about to run out of money to do that clean up.

President Trump's latest budget proposal calls for eliminating funding for protecting the Great Lakes which includes cleaning up polluted areas,  preventing and controlling invasive species, and restoring habitats to protect native species.
Gage Skidmore / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

President Donald Trump’s proposed budget shifts spending from domestic areas to security areas. One of the programs that would be cut under the proposal is the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI).

That money has been used to do the following: clean up polluted areas called Great Lakes Areas of Concern, prevent and control invasive species, reduce nutrient runoff that contributes to harmful blooms of algae (which led to Toledo's water system shut down), and restore habitat to protect native species.

Artwork from the 45th Ann Arbor Film Festival by Brooke Keesling, the creator of "Boobie Girl" which was the Academy Award winning film that was called pornographic by Michigan legislators.
Courtesy of Christen Lien

This year marks the ten-year anniversary of a legal case that challenged free speech.

nico7martin / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

I was sad to hear about Chuck Berry’s death last weekend.

When I worked in St. Louis two decades ago, getting an interview with Berry was a challenge for every reporter in town. He hadn’t given an interview in more than two years when I decided to give it a shot. The owner of a venue where Berry played every couple of months suggested I come to the 40th anniversary of Chuck Berry's Johnny B. Goode. The idea was the club owner would help me get an interview before the show.

crowd of people
GencoSidlePhotos / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

After losing Michigan in a presidential election for the first time since 1988, the Democratic Party is signaling a renewed focus on the state.

Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez will be in Detroit and Flint this weekend on the first leg of a national “Democratic Turnaround Tour.” Other stops on the tour include New Jersey, Texas, and Virginia.

Perez told Stateside that the Democratic Party needs to make a greater effort to connect with voters.

Home along 15 mile road in Fraser being torn down because of the sinkhole.
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

The first home condemned because of a sinkhole in Macomb County was torn down today.

 

Dozens of homes in Fraser were evacuated after the sinkhole formed on Christmas Eve. Most families returned to their homes within a week, but three houses couldn’t be saved. 

 

 

Fraser Mayor Joe Nichols is pleased with the progress of the construction along 15 Mile Road, despite the somber situation. 

 

 

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Since it’s National Cocktail Day, Cheers! is mixing up a cocktail.

“I don’t know who comes up with these days, but I’m kind of glad to have an occasion to celebrate,” Tammy Coxen with Tammy’s Tastings said.

The Cheers! staff is up for a celebratory cocktail just about any day, but it would seem to be necessary today since it's a national holiday.

Jethro Taylor / Flickr, http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

For rural residents worried about visits from black bears this spring and summer, a wildlife expert has some advice: Take down your bird feeders, at least for now.

Katie Keen of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources says bears are particularly attracted to bird seed and suet because they have higher fat content than natural food sources such as roots of early spring plants and insect larvae.

Once a bear finds a bird feeder, it will keep coming back until the seed is gone or the feeder is removed.

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