jim harbaugh at podium
Courtesy MGoBlog / Creative Commons --

Michigan has seen particularly warm weather the past few days, and one person taking notice is the University of Michigan's head football coach Jim Harbaugh. 

On his weekly radio show, Harbaugh talked about recruiting prospective candidates and why he loves living in Michigan. He also joked that global warming could help the football team's recruitment efforts, according to MLive's Nick Baumgardner:

A radar image of bird migration.

2016 has been on a record-breaking warm streak, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. 

So what does this unseasonably warm fall mean for birds that need to start packing up and heading south?

Andrew Farnsworth is a research associate with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and he runs BirdCast – it’s a tool the lab created to forecast what’s happening with bird migration each week. 

Last weekend I was invited to a birthday party with a 1980s theme in which guests were supposed to dress accordingly. Well, I don’t have any mustard-colored sports coats of the sort President Reagan sometimes wore.

So, as the guest of honor was a Democrat, I wore political buttons honoring that party’s three great losers of that decade – Jimmy Carter, Walter Mondale, and Michael Dukakis.

$340 billion dollars: a new study estimates that’s how much it costs Americans every year for daily low-level exposure to chemicals that mess with our hormonal systems. The figure includes health care costs and lost earnings. 

Dr. Leonardo Trasande is an associate professor of pediatrics, environmental medicine and population health at NYU School of Medicine.

teenage driver

In the past decade, fatal car crashes for teen drivers ages 18 to 20 haven't declined as much as those for younger teens, ages 15 to 17.

That's according to a study commissioned by Ford Safe Driving for Life, a program to teach teens to be safer drivers.

Jim Graham is Manager of the program.  He says the problem appears to be that more teens are waiting until they are 18 or older to get their license.

Pence spoke to a packed house at the Macomb County Republican Party's Lincoln Day dinner.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

President Obama and Hillary Clinton have “weakened America’s status in the world” with their policies.

But a President Donald Trump would boldly reverse course, Indiana Governor and Vice Presidential hopeful Mike Pence told a crowd of Macomb County Republican loyalists Monday night.

Pence fired up a sold-out crowd at the Macomb County GOP’s annual Lincoln Day Dinner.

Pence said Clinton “literally personifies the failed status quo in Washington D.C.” He accused her of being the “architect” of policies that have led to a “weakened America and a stifled economy.”

Under Mayor Mike Duggan, Detroit has used federal anti-blight funds for an aggressive demolition campaign.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Detroit’s rapid-fire demolition campaign under Mayor Mike Duggan was rife with questionable bidding practices and lacked major internal controls, according to state and federal reviews of that program.

That revelation emerged Monday, as the city announced the U.S. Treasury had released another $42 million in federal funds for the program.

But that funding had been suspended for two months, as the treasury department reviewed a Michigan State Housing Development Authority investigation.

A Flint resident holds a jug of tainted Flint water.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

It was late September 2015 when the lid blew off of the Flint water disaster.

At the time, much of the attention and credit went to Virginia Tech water scientist Marc Edwards and to Flint pediatrician Dr Mona Hanna-Attisha.

Edwards had been issuing a steady flood of warnings based on his tests of water from Flint homes while Dr. Hanna-Attisha's study of blood lead levels in Flint's children finally convinced state officials that a public health catastrophe had occurred.

But there's another player in all of this and his analysis of Dr. Hanna-Attisha's medical findings destroyed the state's contention that Flint's water problem was being overblown.

Courtesy of Sue Nichols


Jack Liu of Michigan State University has spent some two decades studying pandas and people in a remote corner of China. His work has yielded powerful lessons in sustainability.

Liu is a human-environment scientist and a sustainability scholar at MSU, where he directs the Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability.

He joined us today to talk about his panda research and what it means for people outside of the remote Wolong Nature Reserve.

Motown Museum announces $50 million expansion

Oct 17, 2016
Conceptual Rendering of the Motown Museum Expansion from the street
Motown Museum

Since it was founded in 1985, the Motown Museum allowed visitors from around the world to visit the historic “Hitsville U.S.A.” recording studios, the first headquarters of Motown Records.

Now the museum has announced a $50 million plan to expand out from the original museum and studio, adding 40,000 squre feet of new exhibits, recording studios, a theater, and retail space for visitors.

Museum CEO Robin Terry says other developments in Detroit in recent years have created the atmosphere to go forward with a Motown expansion project.

Changes could be in store for Michigan’s veterans’ services. 

A House and Senate joint committee heard testimony Monday about a package of bills that would create a new Michigan Veterans’ Facility Authority. The Authority would oversee new veteran facilities, and eventually, lawmakers hope, the entire Michigan Veteran Health System would go under the umbrella of the authority.

The legislation comes after an audit of the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans last February revealed persistent issues like staffing shortages and not following through on abuse complaints.

According to Pete Bigelow, the Willow Run facility could be open for its first phase of testing as soon as the end of 2017.
Ford Motor Company

The Next Idea

Start talking about Willow Run and chances are pretty good that images of Rosie The Riveters building B-24 bombers in World War II come to mind.

But there are big plans being cooked up to transform the old factory grounds near Ypsilanti into a highly advanced proving ground for autonomous and connected vehicles.

Pete Bigelow spells it all out in his story for Car and Driver.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

There are 7,495,216 people registered to vote in Michigan in the 2016 presidential elections. That’s more than 40,000 more than were registered in the last presidential election, according the Secretary of State’s Office. There are more voters registered now than in 2008, the previous record.

The deadline to register to vote in the November election was last week.

Some of the biggest registration surges came from counties with a large college-age population; Washtenaw, Ingham, Isabella, Marquette, and Kalamazoo counties.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Indiana Governor Mike Pence brings the campaign spotlight to Macomb County tonight. He'll be speaking at the Lincoln Day dinner in Shelby Township. Organizers say it’s the largest crowd in recent memory for the Lincoln Day dinner, and it’s proof that Macomb County is still fertile ground for the GOP message.

Trump merchandise
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A state Republican leader is losing her party position because she won’t back Republican nominee Donald Trump for president. Wendy Lynn Day was elected grassroots vice chair at a state party convention last year. In the role, she served as a liaison between the Republican Party and the tea party movement.

Day backed Senator Ted Cruz in the primary, but said she cannot support Trump, whom she does not consider a Republican.

doctor's office
steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The next round of Obamacare will cost more for hundreds of thousands of Michiganders who get their health insurance through the federal program.

Four fewer companies are offering health insurance plans through Michigan’s Affordable Care Act marketplace next year.  That will directly affect about 10,000 Michiganders currently covered by plans offered by those companies.

There are three weeks to go until Election Day and Republicans are in despair, while Democrats are paranoid because no one is quite sure what the Donald Trump Effect will be on the ballot come November 8th.

It appears the Trump campaign is in a free fall, the statistical analysis website 538 now rates Trump’s chances of winning Michigan at 7.7 percent.

The Michigan House of Representatives in Lansing
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Michigan's House Democrats are looking to take control of the chamber this November, but that won't be easy.

The Democrats need to win at least 56 of 110 seats to have a House majority. They currently hold 46.

The Associated Press reports that the Democrats do have some advantages that should spur optimism going into the November election. 

More from the Associated Press:

Vice presidential candidates Republican Mike Pence (L) and Democrat Tim Kaine (R).
wikimedia commons

Both major party candidates for the next U.S. vice president plan campaign stops in Michigan this week.

Donald Trump’s running mate is up first. Indiana Governor Mike Pence is scheduled to headline a dinner hosted by the Macomb County Republican Party tonight.

Traditionally blue-collar Macomb remains one of Trump’s few bright spots in Michigan, where most recent polls show Hillary Clinton regaining a healthy lead, though none has her topping 50% of the total vote.

Clinton’s running mate, Virginia Senator Time Kaine, will pay a visit to Detroit Tuesday.

Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

The Great Lakes Water Authority put $1.3 billion worth of bonds on the market last week.

It’s the first bond offering for the new regional authority, which emerged from Detroit’s bankruptcy process. It now provides wholesale water and services to millions of people across southeast Michigan.

About $1.1 billion of that will be used to refinance existing debt at a lower interest rate, says Nicolette Bateson, the GLWA’s Chief Financial Officer. She says that should produce almost $310 million in savings over the life of the bonds.

Someone asked me, what if Donald Trump loses the presidential election and refuses to concede defeat?

Well, legally, it doesn’t make any difference whatsoever.

From time to time, we’ve had Michigan candidates who didn’t have the grace to face their supporters and congratulate their opponents.

Geoffrey Fieger never formally conceded his race for governor. Neither did Terri Lynn Land when she was defeated by Gary Peters for the U.S. Senate two years ago. But both lost badly, the state certified the results, and that was that.

Michigan's 10th Congressional District.
United States Department of the Interior / Wikimedia Commons

Michigan’s 10th Congressional District stretches from the tip of the Thumb to northern Macomb County. 

Voters will choose between two candidates with relatively thin resumes in the District.

Businessman Paul Mitchell is making his second run for Congress. He ran two years ago in a different district in a different part of the state.  

When asked about that, this was his initial response.

“Turn that off for a second,” Mitchell asked for the recording to stop, “I have one question for you.”

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - Two judges from the Detroit-area are challenging Michigan Supreme Court justices Joan Larsen and David Viviano.

  The two races are the most significant races for statewide office on the Nov. 8 ballot.

  Larsen was a law professor before she was appointed to the court last year by Gov. Rick Snyder. Viviano, a former Macomb County judge, has been on the Supreme Court since 2013. He, too, was appointed by Snyder.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Conditions are ideal for Democrats to bolster their ranks in the Michigan Legislature, but capturing a House majority to end Republican control of state government could be elusive.

  Democrats' advantages include higher voter turnout for the presidential election and the departure of dozens of Republicans who cannot run again under term limits. Democrats have gained House seats in every presidential contest since 2004.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

This week, the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan will announce plans for a new class action lawsuit related to the Flint water crisis.

The ACLU’s new lawsuit will focus on the education rights of Flint area school-age children and what is needed to ensure their right to free and quality education.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

FLINT, Mich. (AP) - The city of Flint will receive more than $970,000 to help residents get increased access to health services.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Update 1:05pm 

Power distribution was restored at 11:38am today to 29,729 customers following a suspected lightning strike at 8:55am that caused the Eckert Substation to trip offline causing outages across BWL’s service territory.

 Original Post - 10:45am  A suspected lightning strike on a key power substation knocked out power to 29,729 Lansing Board of Water and Light customers just before 9am this morning. 

Electricity service is slowly being restored.

A utility spokesman is urging BWL customers to avoid any downed power lines today.  

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

ST. IGNACE, Mich. (AP) - Presidential nominee Donald Trump is trying to put Michigan in the Republicans' corner for the first time in two dozen years by taking aim at trade deals and an economy that's left blue-collar workers behind.

Democrat Hillary Clinton says the billionaire businessman is no friend of workers because of using Chinese steel in his construction projects and opposing the auto bailout.

In the middle are voters, who say they're split over the candidates' trustworthiness.

Detroit Bike City Kendra /

Detroit's popular weekly Slow Roll bike ride was canceled for the second week in a row due to competing events.

Flint river
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Lawsuits keep piling up in the wake of the Flint water crisis. This Week in Review, Jack Lessenberry and I talk about a new complaint that calls for a grand jury criminal investigation into Gov. Rick Snyder's legal fees. We also talk about another challenge to Michigan's 180-day time limit on collecting petition signatures and upcoming visits from vice-presidential candidates Tim Kaine and Mike Pence.