News

Fred Korematsu, seated center, at a 1983 press conference announcing the reopening of his Supreme Court case
flickr user keithpr / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

We’ve all been hearing a lot of anti-immigrant rhetoric recently. Everything from banning all Muslims from the country to halting the flow of Syrian refugees.

This week, Karen Korematsu has been in Michigan sharing her father’s story from a similar time of fear and confusion.

The Wolverines taking the field in 2009. They enter this season with 90-to-1 odds at the championship, but fans hope Harbaugh can turn them around.
flickr use Anthony Gattine / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

  ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — The University of Michigan hired UConn's Warde Manuel as its new athletic director on Friday, bringing back a well-regarded alumnus who once played football for the Wolverines — just like its coach, Jim Harbaugh.

The 47-year-old Manuel, who had been Connecticut's athletic director since 2012, was given a five-year deal by Michigan. The salary was not immediately disclosed.

By now, everyone in the nation knows about Flint, the aging industrial city that was switched to water that turned out to be toxic, by an emergency manager whose main priority was to balance the books and save money.

But while this wasn’t technically a failure of infrastructure, there is no doubt that in many cities, especially older industrial towns like Flint, things like ancient water and sewer pipes, not to mention roads and bridges, are wearing out.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Now that Stateside is on Fridays, we thought we’d offer a toast to the weekend. Every once in a while Tammy Coxen with Tammy’s Tastings will tell us about a Michigan related drink.

The first is a classic cocktail called The Last Word. It was created at the Detroit Athletic Club during Prohibition.

Marc Edwards alerts the people of Flint that they should take precautions when dealing with drinking water in Flint.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Marc Edwards of Virginia Tech University was one of the first the raise the alarm about staggeringly high levels of lead in Flint water.

For that, he was ignored by staff at the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

That was last summer. Now, Edwards is returning to Flint, bringing his expertise on water treatment and corrosion to the new Flint Water Interagency Coordinating Council.

Jim Harbaugh pleads his case. Michigan's head coach first arrived in Ann Arbor as a kid in 1973.
MGoBlog / Flickr - http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Former Michigan quarterback Tom Brady’s team, the New England Patriots, were knocked out of the playoffs last week. But his unlikely friendship with a 43-year old Ann Arbor dishwasher is still going strong. Michigan Radio sports commentator John U. Bacon heard this story a year ago, and it’s only gotten better since.

user braun / Flickr

Political leaders are lining up to blast a Detroit oil refinery’s plan.

Mayor Mike Duggan was just one of the officials speaking out at a public hearing Thursday night.

Duggan threatened to sue the state if the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality approves the Marathon refinery’s plan.

Darwin Bell / Creative Commons

In January 2015, at the same time state officials were downplaying risks to Flint residents over their water, state employees in offices in downtown Flint were supplied with water coolers.

Progress Michigan released emails showing the state began providing state employees in Flint with alternative drinking water in January 2015.

Progress Michigan’s Hugh Madden says it shows a double standard.

Forty-odd years ago, when I was in college, I worked in factories and warehouses, and there was a sign I saw posted in at least one of them:

“Fix the problem, not the blame.”

That was a good idea then, and still is now. Unfortunately, the Flint water crisis seems to have entered a new unhealthy phase that involves the exact opposite.


Office of the Washtenaw County Prosecutor

More than 1,800 untested sexual assault kits from before Oct. 1, 2014,  have been found at law enforcement agencies outside Wayne County, according to Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette.

That number comes from a survey sent by Schuette in September to prosecutors in all Michigan counties except Wayne. 

"Experience shows that testing every kit helps law enforcement solve crimes and stop serial rapists," Schuette said in a prepared statement.

CDC / CDC

Non-medical vaccination waiver rates for school kids are down significantly since this time last year.

Following a new state law starting in January 2015, the number of families obtaining vaccination waivers for their child is down 39% compared to a year ago – that’s roughly 8,000 fewer waivers this year, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

The new law requires parents seeking a waiver to first meet with a health department official for a consultation.

Flint residents continue to receive bills for contaminated, unsafe water.
flickr user Bart / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The state Senate today unanimously approved $28 million to help Flint with its water crisis. Three million of that has been set aside to “aid with utility/unpaid bills issues.”

Whether or not to pay for water they’re unable to use has been a big question for Flint residents, whose water rates are among the highest in Michigan. Just today residents and activists protested at Flint City Hall, calling for a moratorium on water bills.

IFCAR / Wikipedia/public domain

Ford Motor Company made a record $7.4 billion in 2015, largely on the basis of profits in North America and despite a very big loss of $832 million in South America.

Chief Financial Officer Bob Shanks says the automaker also made a record pre-tax profit of $765 million in the Asia Pacific region – and the automaker returned to profitability in Europe for the first since 2011.

UAW hourly workers will share in the good news.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The state is launching an effort in Flint to recycle the tens of thousands of water bottles and filters pouring into the city. By one estimate, only about 16% of Flint residents routinely recycle.  

The city’s lead-tainted drinking water crisis is creating another problem with what to do with donated water filters and bottles.

State and local officials are teaming up with local companies to give Flint residents more ways to dispose of used water bottles and filters.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Many people in Flint are not paying their water bills these days.

Now there’s a push to make sure they don’t have to.

Lynna Kaucheck with Food & Water Watch handed a stack of petitions to Flint city administrator Natasha Henderson this morning in the hallway outside the mayor’s office.

“Calling on you to issue a moratorium on drinking water bills,” said Kaucheck.

The online petition asking the city to stop charging for water drew 21,000 signatures in a day. 

Kaucheck says the city should stop charging for water people can’t afford or drink. 

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

The Detroit Federation of Teachers, with support from the American Federation of Teachers, and several parents filed a lawsuit Thursday against Detroit Public Schools and its state-appointed emergency manager, Darnell Earley.

The suit is asking the court to compel DPS and Earley to repair all existing building code violations, and for the creation of an appropriately funded capital plan that will bring schools up to "21st century standards."

Looking south on Woodward Ave
flickr user Sean Marshall / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The Next Idea

We may be living in the 21st century, but the transportation infrastructure in Southeast Michigan is lagging way behind.

The number of citizens relying on public transport to get in and out of Detroit for business or pleasure is on the rise, thanks in part to the millennial generation's growing tendency to forgo car ownership in favor of alternative means of transit.

In his story for HOUR Detroit, Patrick Dunn digs into a number of projects that aim to transform the way we get around Metro Detroit.

user Bjoertvedt / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Governor Snyder will not be called to testify at a Congressional hearing next week looking into the Flint water crisis.

Instead, the spotlight will be on the EPA.

On Thursday, the Republican leadership of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform announced the hearings would be focused on “Examining the Federal Administration of the Safe Drinking Water Act in Flint, Michigan.”

Cory Morse / The Grand Rapids Press

Rockford City Manager Michael Young died Wednesday at the age of 48. According to a release, Young suffered a stroke on Monday and was then hospitalized on Tuesday.  

In the close-knit community of Rockford, Michigan, people were shocked and saddened as the news quickly spread. 

"It's a sad day here in Rockford," Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Linda Southwick told WZZM13,  "We've lost our leader." 

Courtesy of Platinum Equity

Detroit Pistons owner Tom Gores has pledged $10 million to help Flint. 

The Platinum Equity CEO announced Thursday he is launching a fundraising campaign to raise money for the city's various needs as it deals with the water contamination crisis. 

“The private sector needs to play role here, and I am committed to helping drive that effort. I grew up in Flint, my family has strong roots there, and I believe in the people who live there,” Gores said in a press release. 

Michigan Radio

Jim Smith, co-owner of Washtenaw Dairy and a treasured member of the Ann Arbor community, passed away Tuesday after a battle with cancer. Affectionately referred to as “Big Jim,” Smith ran the daily operations of the popular Ann Arbor coffee, donuts, and ice cream spot with his business partner, Doug Raab.

Ann Arbor will remember Jim as an immensely generous, fun and friendly man who created a community within his small ice cream and donut shop. 

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The Michigan Senate has unanimously approved $28 million in additional funding to address the lead contamination of Flint's water.

The emergency spending bill includes money for more bottled water and filters and services to monitor for developmental delays in young children. The funds also will help the city with unpaid water bills and cover testing, monitoring and other costs.

It is the second round of state funding allocated since the lead contamination was confirmed in the fall.

The color of this Buick Avista concept car caught the eye of Cynthia Canty at the 2016 National American International Auto Show.
Photo by Steve Fecht for Buick

    

When looking for a new set of wheels, does the color make the car? Or does the color take a back seat to the car's design or what's under the hood?

Car enthusiasts who attended the North American International Auto Show in Detroit had a number of vehicles catch their eyes and the color of the car, likely, played a big role in that.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Donations of bottled water have been flooding into Flint.

Making sure people have safe drinking water is the top priority in Flint right now. But some people are wondering about one side effect of the water crisis: where all those empty bottles are ending up.

Bull-doser / wikimedia/public domain

Fiat Chrysler is making some tweaks to its current five-year plan.  And some of those tweaks are pretty big. 

Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne says the company will double down on increasing its ability to churn out Jeeps and trucks.  In the U.S., he says the trend is clear.  

"There's been in our view a permanent shift towards UVs (utility vehicles) and pickup trucks," Marchionne told analysts during an earnings conference call.

City of Holland

Bills in the state legislature would change the process for designating local historic districts in Michigan.

A State House committee heard testimony on one of the bills Wednesday.

It would amend the 1970 Local Historic Districts Act, which provides for local district commissions with the power to review and potentially nix architectural and other design changes within the area.

Kent County to start testing for lead in water

Jan 28, 2016
Karen Blaha / flickr creative commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The Kent County Health Department will conduct its own tests of water for lead, copper and arsenic, starting in February. New equipment will be installed next week.

Right now, Kent County tests water samples for E.coli and some chemicals like fluoride and chloride. But lead testing is handled by the state.

According to Allyson Chirio, lab manager for the Kent County Health Department, the new testing capacity is not in response to the Flint water crisis. 

Will Greenberg/Michigan Radio

A group of Ann Arbor teachers held a press conference before Wednesday's school board meeting to express their concern with the district's new teacher evaluations. 

Folks frustrated with the new policy also made their complaints heard during the public comment portion of the meeting.

Linda Carter, president of the Ann Arbor Education Association, said many are unhappy with the implementation of the full Danielson Framework, a research-based evaluation method that Ann Arbor schools have used, in part, for several years. 

Inside the Michigan Senate
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The state Senate could vote as soon as Thursday on emergency funding to help address Flint’s water crisis.

A state Senate panel unanimously approved the $28 million on Wednesday, as well as a provision meant to guarantee all Flint kids age zero to three have access to free developmental screenings paid for by the state.

“We’re actually investing directly in those kids in Flint that are most likely to have been ill-affected by lead poisoning,” said state Sen. Curtis Hertel Jr., D-Meridian Twp.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A new bill would require the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to let the public know if their water contains dangerous levels of lead.

Right now, that responsibility lies with state and local officials.

The new bill would give the EPA authority to notify residents of high lead levels if the state fails to act.

Michigan Senators Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow and Congressman Dan Kildee announced the new legislation Wednesday.

Peters said the bill would help ensure situations like the Flint water crisis don't happen again. 

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