News

As long as the rain keeps coming, we're going to see more mosquitos
flickr user trebol-a / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

If you live in Michigan, you probably don't have to worry about the Zika virus. 

The virus usually causes fever, rash, or joint pain, and is rarely bad enough to send someone to the hospital or prove fatal. Pregnant women have the most to worry about: if a mother gets infected, the fetus could become malformed. 

Zika gained national attention about a year ago when there was a confirmed case in Brazil. Then, in February of this year, the World Health Organization declared the virus a "Public Health Emergency of International Concern." 

Possible case of mumps reported at Calvin College

May 10, 2016
A nurse administers a vaccine.
Rhoda Baer / Public Domain

A suspected case of mumps has been reported at Calvin College near Grand Rapids.

As of Tuesday morning, the school was still waiting on lab results to confirm the case which was reported late last week.

In the meantime, the school is working with the Kent County Health Department to help mitigate potential exposure to the highly contagious illness. 

Mumps is viral disease that is spread through mucus and saliva. It primarily affects the parotid glands on the sides of the face and can lead to painful swelling around the jaw.

Years ago, soon after term limits first took effect in Michigan, a friend of mine served her three terms, and was forced to retire. To my surprise, her husband ran to succeed her. She came to the Legislature with a background in local government; he had none.

I thought his running was somehow faintly wrong. In any event, he lost in the primary, possibly because he had a different last name than she did.

If anyone had asked me then, I would have said I thought his candidacy was an aberration. In fact, the only aberration was that he happened to lose.

A Detroit water shutoff notice
Ali Elisabeth / Michigan Radio

One week after Detroit resumed water shut offs to residential customers behind on their bills, more than 1,800 households saw their service turned off. 

But city officials say another 3,000 customers avoided shutoffs in the last week in two ways:

1) by paying their bills, which 765 customers did, according to official numbers.

2) by getting on a new payment plan, as 1,892 customers opted to do. 

Those payment plans allow residents to pay off their past-due bills a little bit each month, on top of paying new monthly water bills.

Flickr user thinkpublic/Flickr / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

The Next Idea

 

Modern, high-tech innovation has benefited the world enormously. It has improved health and safety, and helped us communicate and travel across borders. But lots of people cannot afford these technologies – many of which are of limited usefulness for economically disadvantaged citizens who live outside of metropolitan areas. Indeed, these citizens were never the main market for these technologies in the first place.

american flag and lgbt flag
Flickr user Praveen / flickr http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The Michigan State Board of Education holds its final public session Tuesday on controversial guidelines to help schools come up with plans to deal with gay and transgender students.

If adopted, the voluntary guidelines for schools cover allowing students to choose how they are gender-identified, which bathrooms they can use, and what their names and pronouns are.

Board President John Austin says LGBT kids are more likely to skip school, struggle academically, and attempt suicide than other students. He says that’s a reality schools have to address. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s former city administrator is suing the city and Mayor Karen Weaver.

The lawsuit claims Natasha Henderson was fired after she raised questions about donations to a Flint water crisis charity being redirected to another fund created by Mayor Weaver.

Katherine Smith Kennedy is Henderson’s attorney. She claims Henderson’s job was terminated hours after she raised the issue with the city attorney.

“The timing is so suspicious,” says Kennedy, who admits she doesn’t know if there was anything illegal about redirecting donations.   

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan National Guardsmen are no longer distributing bottled water at three Flint fire stations as part of the state response to the water crisis.  

Just before noon, guardsmen loaded pallets of the cases of bottled water onto trucks behind Flint Fire Station #8. 

For months, this was one of five Flint fire stations where residents went to pick up bottled water and filters.  But the city is transitioning to nine neighborhood giveaway sites manned by paid employees.

Staff Sergeant Thomas Vega says it’s a sign of progress in the Flint water crisis.

This weekend I had a chance to see President Obama’s speech to the graduating class at Howard, the nation’s best known historic black university. He talked to them about voting and voting rights – but not quite the way you might think.

It was a highly impressive speech.

Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

A legislative panel investigating the Flint water crisis will hear a report tomorrow about how serious the problem might be in the rest of the state.

The Michigan Infrastructure & Transportation Association and Public Sector Consultants released a report last month on Michigan’s water infrastructure. 

Mike Nystrom with MITA says the report found Michigan is up to a half billion dollars short annually of what it should spend on water infrastructure.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

With the Detroit Public Schools on the verge of financial collapse, many people want to know how things went so wrong.

Some teachers are trying to do something about that. They want a forensic audit of the district’s finances since it came under state emergency management in 2009.

A group of DPS teachers set up a lemonade stand near Detroit’s Eastern Market to raise money for the cause this weekend.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Expanded Medicaid coverage starts in Flint today.

The expanded Medicaid coverage was approved in response to the Flint water crisis.

Medicaid will cover Flint residents up to 21 years old and pregnant women. 

Dr. Eden Wells, Michigan’s Chief Medical Executive, says they’ve been “waiting for this day for a long time.”

“This city’s residents have been exposed to lead in their water,” says Wells, “This requires long-term access to good, comprehensive primary and specialty healthcare.”

There is no agreement at the state Capitol about how to fix Detroit’s schools and time is growing short as the possibility of a default looms. But, it’s not Republicans versus Democrats on this one. This is a showdown between Republicans.

wolfgangfoto / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

Some patients in the intensive care unit spend weeks moving from one crisis to the next in a cascade of critical illness that sometimes has little connection to the original reason they were placed in the unit.

These patients seem to never quite improve enough to get out of the ICU, but also aren't dying. This group comprises 5% of ICU patients, but they consume 33% of ICU resources, and likely a vastly greater proportion of compassion and emotional resources. That's according to a new study led by University of Michigan physician Theodore Iwashyna and published this week in The Lancet.

University of Michigan English Professor Ann Curzan has a confession.

"I witness jaywalking on campus all the time and participate in the practice myself. I'm an impatient pedestrian," she admits. "When I lived in Seattle it was very difficult for me, because in Seattle people really do obey the crosswalks, but I struggled."

She'd never thought about where the word "jaywalking" came from until a friend's daughter asked about it.

"I found out it takes us back to another great word, that I hope we’ll be able to revive," she says. "It goes back to jay driver, and that shows up early 20th century, in a citation from 1905 in Kansas. Jay drivers were people who drove on the wrong side of the road," Curzan says.

Courtesy of mattwalker69 from Flickr

A new study from the University of Michigan finds white men are comparatively worse at dealing with depression symptoms than their black counterparts. 

The study compared depression symptoms of white Americans and African-Americans over 65 years old. While black depression is underreported, whites struggle most with hopelessness. 

hstreetagent

The Fair Housing Center of Southeast and Mid Michigan has filed a discrimination complaint with the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development against Ypsilanti Township. The complaint relates to an ordinance the township passed last year banning government subsidies in a new development. That would exclude tenants with Section 8 vouchers. It is the first time a Michigan municipality has attempted to ban subsidized housing.

Blanche Jackson, right, with Rep. Sandy Levin. Jackson successfully appealed a finding of unemployment fraud, but the state still says she owes $4000.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Michigan U.S. Rep. Sander Levin, D-Royal Oak, says the state needs to fix its “lawless” unemployment claims system, or risk losing federal money to administer the program.

The state switched to an automated claims processing system, the Michigan Integrated Data Automated System (MiDAS), in 2013.

Since then, fraud claims have spiked. But many people say they’ve been falsely accused, and that the system for appealing is a nightmare.

Michael Byers introduces his English 346 class.
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

Some say you can mark the day the “golden age of radio” ended.

CBS Radio aired the final episode of the radio drama Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar at 6:35 p.m. on September 30th, 1962.

(You can find that last episode here.)

One English teacher at the University of Michigan says there’s a lot to learn from that era.

Mexican and U.S. flags
Flickr user Ken Bosma

Throughout this year's presidential campaigns, there's been a lot of talk about immigration in this country. We've heard proposals ranging from reform that would be a roadmap to citizenship, to building a wall between the United States and Mexico.

We've had immigration arguments for a long time, about as long as the U.S. has been a country, and these debates always escalate when the economy takes a downturn. 

When there are labor shortages, we turn to Mexico and encourage immigration. But the moment the economy tanks, we want to send those workers packing back to Mexico. 

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Mojito recipe:

  • 2 sprigs of mint
  • 1 oz. simple syrup 
  • 2 oz. white rum
  • 1/2 lime (quartered)
  • club soda

Directions:

Strip the leaves from one sprig of mint. Place in shaker cup. Put lime quarters on top of mint. Muddle. (Putting the limes on top of the mint helps prevent bruising the mint which causes it to be bitter.) Add simple syrup and rum. Shake. Strain into high ball glass filled with ice. Add club soda until filled. Garnish with other sprig of mint.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Time is running out for the petition drive to recall Governor Rick Snyder.

A spokesman says the Stop Snyder petition drive has collected around 400,000 signatures. 

a sink
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The effort to get Flint residents to flush their pipes daily moves into its second week this weekend.

But it’s not known if people are doing it.

“Run your water for five minutes a day. In the kitchen. In the bathroom,” Nicole Lurie told reporters at a news conference this week.  Lurie leads the federal response to Flint’s water crisis.

She says running the water will help flush lead particles out and allow chemicals to get in that will heal the damaged pipes.   

The campaign to get Flint water customers to run their water every day started last Sunday.  

If you’ve been paying attention to Lansing over the past several years, you know that the Michigan legislature seldom ever misses an opportunity to do the wrong thing.

National Football League commissioner Roger Goodell at the podium at the 2009 NFL Draft, at the Radio City Music Hall, New York City.
Marianne O'Leary / wikimedia commons

  Last week, more than 4,000 people crammed into Chicago’s redundantly named Auditorium Theater to watch NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announce the names of 256 players. Two-hundred-thousand more watched the action on big TVs in Grant Park.

The black widow is one of two venomous species of spiders in Michigan
flickr user matt maves / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The Next Idea

Pesticides are a critical part of a business that is very important to Michigan: agriculture.

You need to control the insects that are threatening your crop, but you don’t want to kill off the “good” bugs along with the “bad.” Nor do you want to pose a threat to people, pets, water sources or livestock.

A new Michigan-made insecticide could be the answer to this problem, and it all starts with spider venom.

Bill would update Michigan car seat regulations

May 5, 2016
Baby in car seat
Intel Free Press / Creative Commons http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

A bill in the state House would change car seat requirements for Michigan children.

Right now, the state's child safety restraint regulations are generally based on age and height. 

Under the bill, a child's weight would also be included.

Amy Zaagman with the Michigan Council for Maternal and Child Health says the legislation would bring Michigan up to date with national standards.

Michigan state Capitol
User: mattileo / flickr http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

A set of Republican-sponsored bills to fund and overhaul the Detroit Public Schools is being met with skepticism in the state Senate. The state House adopted the legislation in a marathon session that lasted until early this morning.

A Michigan man suspected of spraying a contaminant on unpackaged food at grocery stores faces four charges of poisoning food, according to the Associated Press.  

Kyle Bessemer appeared in an Ann Arbor court Thursday, two days after his arrest.

The FBI says Bessemer admitted to spraying a mixture of hand sanitizer, water, and mouse poison on produce and food bars at three Ann Arbor stores: Whole Foods, Meijer and Plum Market. The charges cover two stores.

pixabay user cocoparisienne / Public Domain

University of Michigan researchers are trying to figure out what exactly it takes to get people to care about climate change. Their study is published in Nature Climate Change

What they found seems to refute the popular line of thinking that culture is the biggest factor in whether we care and are willing to do something about climate change.

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