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state capitol
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Tomorrow morning, the Michigan Court of Claims will hear a lawsuit filed by Oakland County. The county is challenging new criminal defense standards for defendants who are too poor to afford a lawyer.

These new standards were created by a panel appointed by Governor Snyder. The idea was to set up uniform standards throughout the state. Each county is supposed to draw up a compliance plan and submit it to the state by mid-November. 

Oakland County, however, is asking the judge for a stay on the issue.

school zone ahead sign
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan ranks near the bottom of a new report on distracted drivers in school zones.

Jonathan Matus is CEO of Zendrive, a company that uses cell phone data to analyze driver behavior.

He says Michigan ranks 47th among the 50 states when it comes to distracted driving in school zones.

Tracy Samilton

Nikolai Vitt, the new superintendent of Detroit's public school system, says he expects the district to be fully staffed with teachers at the beginning of the school year in 2018.

This year, the district had to begin classes despite being 250 teachers short. 

Vitti spoke to a capacity crowd at an event in Detroit sponsored by the Citizen's Research Council. 

He says he's starting with a base of loyal long-term teachers who've stuck with DPS even when they had other choices.

Minoru Yamasaki with a model of Manhattan and the WTC buildings.
Archives of Michigan

The firm of famed Detroit architect Minoru Yamasaki is returning to the city, seven years after it was forced to close.

The Seattle-born architect lived in Detroit from 1945 until his death in 1986. He launched his own firm in 1950, which survived him until 2009 when it closed due to financial problems.

Photograph of Downtown Detroit
Ifmuth / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Toledo, Ohio isn’t in Michigan, but should be. I’m not just saying this because of the famous and farcical 1835 Toledo “War,” that ended up establishing that the city belonged to Ohio, with Michigan getting the western Upper Peninsula as compensation.

More to the point is that the Toledo economy is essentially the Metropolitan Detroit manufacturing economy. Like the Motor City, Toledo has slowly declined as auto jobs waned. The decline has been slower, however, as has the demographic change.

Grand Rapids Police Department
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

The Michigan Court of Appeals has ruled that the city of Grand Rapids must release recordings in connection with the crash of former Kent County assistant prosecutor Josh Kuiper.

The recordings are phone conversations between police officers who investigated the crash. In those conversations, officers appear to be trying to avoid arresting the prosecutor for drunk driving. 

Are there two Detroits? A new report says yes, but…

Sep 13, 2017
Detroit skyline
City of Detroit

Turns out, there could be something to perceptions about “two Detroits” after all.

The Urban Institute, a nonprofit Washington D.C. think tank, issued a report Tuesday that concludes tax subsidies in Detroit have disproportionately favored downtown and Midtown.

Those areas received 57 percent of state, federal, and local tax subsidy investments from 2013 to 2015, even though they only contain 46 percent of the city’s 245,000 jobs, the report found.

power lines
Stefan Andrej Shambora / Flickr Creative Commons / HTTP://MICHRAD.IO/1LXRDJM

The Michigan Public Service Commission is considering a rule that opponents say would dramatically raise electricity rates for schools, universities and businesses, as well as potentially eliminate competition for Michigan’s two major utilities.

The rule would require electricity providers that compete with DTE Energy and Consumers Energy to supply their customers with energy generated within Michigan — instead of from a larger market.

Syringe with drip
ZaldyImg / Flickr CC / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Physicians are coming out against a bill in Lansing that would make it easier for qualified nurses to administer anesthesia. Currently, a physician has to sign off and supervise while a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist gives anesthesia to a patient. Senate Bill 550 would give hospitals the option to end that mandate.

street performance
Courtesy of the National Theatre of Ghana

 

The magic of theater is coming to Michigan in a new, unique form. Starting today through Sunday, the University of Michigan Center for World Performance Studies hosts the National Theatre of Ghana

The centerpiece of this residency is a series of open-air performances of the Tennessee Williams one-act play 10 Blocks on the Camino Real. Written in 1948, it’s the story of an American sailor struggling to survive in a poor foreign town.

Medical Marijuana
Dank Depot / Creative Commons / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Michigan continues to wrestle with how to regulate and license medical marijuana dispensaries.

But there’s a potentially bigger issue facing the budding cannabis industry: the prospect that someone is trying to build a national monopoly on legal weed.

Michigan Senate Democrats

Gretchen Whitmer is one of the most well-known candidates among the Democrats who are vying to become Michigan’s next governor.

The former state Senate minority leader is viewed by many as a front-runner in the race.

Now James Blanchard, former Michigan governor, is endorsing Whitmer as his choice for the position.

U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Michigan investigators and out-of-state police are tracking down over 30 recalled diesel vehicles that were stolen from the parking lot of a shuttered arena in southeastern Michigan.

Indiana State Police Sgt. Jerry Goodin says the Volkswagen cars were part of a recall due to emissions issues and were being held at the Pontiac Silverdome when they were stolen.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Mayor Karen Weaver’s office announced a plan Wednesday to continue bottled water distribution in Flint for the foreseeable future.

Four delivery sites will continue to serve the roughly 2,100 Flint residents with mobility issues or limited access to transportation. Ten pickup locations will also be accessible.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The public will get a look tonight at four proposed futures for the site of Lansing city hall.

Developers bidding to buy Lansing city hall have four different visions for the property across from the state capitol.

One would renovate city hall into a hotel. Two other bidders would construct new towers on the current City Hall plaza, each featuring a hotel. The fourth proposal would tear down city hall and replace it with a hotel.

Developers will deliver 45-minute presentations starting tonight at the Lansing Center.

Inside Nikolai Vitti's early effort to transform Detroit's battered public school image

Sep 13, 2017
Erin Einhorn

Three months after taking on one of the most daunting tasks in American education, Nikolai Vitti was having a fit over pizza — $340,000 worth of pizza.

Vitti, Detroit’s new school superintendent, had just discovered that the district had set aside that eye-popping sum of money last year to pay Domino’s Pizza for what he assumed were hundreds of thousands of slices for parties in schools.

Bill Schuette
Bill Schuette / Facebook.com

Attorney General Bill Schuette, who actually has been running for governor forever, made it official yesterday, at a barbecue in his hometown of Midland. It wasn’t exactly a grass-roots rally; those who went were supposed to donate a minimum of $50 to the campaign.

If you were willing to give $500, you could be designated a “grill master,” and for a thousand dollars, an “on duty” donor. That may have been a slight error in branding; I think being grill master sounds better. But Schuette hasn’t made many errors in this campaign – though, as he himself noted, his party faces an uphill battle.

Protesters kneel while singing the national anthem in front of Little Caesar's Arena.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Detroit’s new Little Caesar’s Arena opened with controversial first act Kid Rock Tuesday night, and there were some protesters mixed in with the larger concert-going crowd.

Protesters took a knee as they sang the “Star Spangled Banner” in the middle of Woodward Avenue outside the arena just before the concert got underway.

That echoed NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s on-field protests of recent police violence against black people.

Town hall panel meeting at Rockford High School
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Uncertainty lingers in West Michigan following an informational town hall meeting about contaminated well water.

State and county health official know the toxic chemicals discovered in Belmont and Plainfield Township are often used in leather goods.

Abdul El-Sayed talks to a voter.
Kaye LaFond / Michigan Radio

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Abdul El-Sayed made a campaign stop in Kalkaska Tuesday night, where he spent an hour speaking to a group of about 25 people. Kalkaska made national news this summer for the Islamophobic views of its' village president, Jeff Sieting. El-Sayed is Muslim, and attendees were happy that he still chose to visit Kalkaska. Danielle Seabolt is the Chair of the Kalkaska County Democrats, who hosted El-Sayed:

Bill Schuette speaks to a crowd of supporters.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

“Our next governor, Bill Schuette,” Cynthia Schuette introduced her husband to an enthusiastic hometown crowd in Midland on Tuesday.

Michigan’s attorney general’s interest in the state’s top job has not been a secret. 

In his speech, Schuette laid out his priorities.

Courtesy of Buddy Moorehouse

The scenes of white supremacists marching in Charlottesville, including the Ku Klux Klan, led many to think about these groups in our state.

Michigan Radio listener Zachary Jones from Ypsilanti was ahead of the game. He submitted the following question to our MI Curious team back in June:

Why is Livingston County considered the KKK capital of Michigan?

rolls of cash
Flickr user Pictures of Money / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

  

According to new campaign finance disclosures, Quicken Loans spent more on lobbying state government in the first seven months of 2017 than it had spent in previous years.

aerial view of little caesars arena
Michigan Radio

It’s taken 25 years for the Ilitch family’s dreams of a shiny new home for the Detroit Red Wings to come true.

Little Caesars Arena officially opens tonight with a Kid Rock concert.

The $823 million stadium will be the new home for both the Red Wings and the Detroit Pistons. The public’s share of the tab so far has been $324.1 million

Courtesy of Encore Michigan

Theater around Michigan this week ranges from a modern French farce to a show about an exotic dancer’s death in Detroit.

To talk about those shows and everything in between, David Kiley of Encore Michigan joined Stateside for today’s rendition of "Theater Talk."

The Michigan State Capitol
Aunt owwee / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Michigan lawmakers returned to Lansing last week to launch the fall session.

State House Speaker Tom Leonard, R-DeWitt, joined Stateside today to break down the legislative priorities this session for Michigan’s House of Representatives.

Tracy Samilton

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao announced new voluntary guidance for developers of self-driving cars, along with guidance for state legislatures in responding to the rapidly developing technology.

Chao made the announcement at Mcity, Ann Arbor's driverless car test track.  She says the federal government needs to stay out of the way of developers of a technology that has the potential to save thousands of lives a year.

Marijuana plant
USFWS

Michigan is giving medical marijuana businesses until December 15 to close or potentially risk not obtaining a license under a new regulatory system.

The Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs announced the decision Tuesday, and hours later a state board dropped a proposal to potentially force the dispensaries to shut down later this week.

Judge's gavel
Joe Gratz / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

A former state lawmaker who wants a seat on the Detroit City Council has a clear path to the ballot.

The Michigan Supreme Court is interested in the case of Virgil Smith. But nothing will happen before the Nov. 7 election.

Smith had agreed not to seek elective office for five years when he pleaded guilty to shooting at his ex-wife's car. But that part of the deal was thrown out by a Wayne County judge, who said it was unconstitutional.

U.S. Supreme Court
U.S. Supreme Court

The number of state and federal lawsuits related to climate change has been on the rise since 2006.

Sabrina McCormick is an associate professor of environmental and occupational health at The George Washington University Miliken Institute School of Public Health. She's the lead author of a study in the journal Science that finds the role of climate science in court is changing.

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