News

The Kirtland's warbler, an endangered bird in Michigan.
USFWS

Endangered species are waiting in long lines for the federal government to make a decision.

That’s the conclusion of a study in the journal Biological Conservation on wait times for listing a species under the Endangered Species Act.

WINDSOR TOWNSHIP, Mich. - Donald Trump is scheduled to hold a campaign rally near Lansing later this week.

The Republican presidential candidate will rally supporters Friday afternoon at the Summit Sports and Ice Complex in Eaton County's Windsor Township.

It is Trump's second visit to Michigan in as many weeks, following his economic speech in Detroit last week.

The public can request tickets on a first-come, first-served basis on Trump's campaign website.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm is part of the team planning Hillary Clinton’s move into the White House if she wins the presidency in November.

The Clinton campaign announced its White House transition team this morning.

Clinton tapped former U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to lead her White House transition team. Salazar will chair a team that includes Granholm, former National Security Adviser Tom Donilon, and longtime Clinton allies Neera Tanden and Maggie Williams.

Mike Flanagan retired voluntarily a year ago, after ten years as state superintendent of public instruction, a job often referred to as state superintendent of schools.

That he lasted so long and retired of his own accord is more remarkable than it may seem. Most of his immediate predecessors were fired by the state board of education.

Jane Kramer photographing the American lotus.
Rebecca Williams / Michigan Radio

Plants usually don’t get as much love as cute animals. Sometimes it’s hard to get people fired up about an endangered plant.

But Jane Kramer’s trying to do that anyway.

She’s a fine art photographer. She takes photos of the shadows of rare or threatened plants, and then prints them on paper she makes out of invasive plants like garlic mustard and purple loosestrife.

Members of the so-called "Homrich 9" before their initial trial.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Why has a criminal misdemeanor case involving seven Detroit protesters been stalled for nearly nine months?

Those defendants and their lawyers want to know, and in a letter sent to Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Michael Hathaway, they petition him to resolve the case “promptly.”

The defendants, part of the self-proclaimed “Homrich 9,” had briefly blocked contractors’ trucks tasked with shutting off water to Detroit homes.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Lansing residents will decide in November if they want to renew a public safety and road millage.

The Lansing City Council approved putting the millage renewal on the ballot Monday. 

The millage raises nearly $8 million annually and costs the average Lansing homeowner about $200 a year.

Back in 2011, Lansing voters narrowly approved a millage increase to pay for police and fire, as well as road improvements. Voters had rejected it six months before.

freestockphotos

It happens every summer.  The rate of young children showing elevated blood lead levels goes up.  

That's in large part because kids spend more time in their houses, rather than at preschool and kindergarten.  They also spend more time outdoors where they can be exposed to sources of lead such as paint dust and soil.

But this year, in some cities and counties in Michigan, the spike was greater than usual.

Today marks the beginning of MDOT's $1.3 billion project to reconstruct I-75.
Flickr user Bill Lund / Flickr / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

 

The Michigan Department of Transportation began its reconstruction of I-75 in Oakland County today. The plan is estimated to take until 2030 and an estimated $1.3 billion.

 

Rob Morosi from the Michigan Department of Transportation and Nick Schroeck, director of the Transnational Environmental Law Clinic, joined us today to discuss the plan.

Michigan State University hopes a new ban on using tobacco products on campus will lead to an overall reduction in tobacco use.
Sudipto Sarkar / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

If you want to smoke, chew or vape in East Lansing, you'll have to make sure to step off the Michigan State University campus first. 

A new policy taking effect today bans all tobacco use on MSU's campus. The University of Michigan passed a similar ban in 2011, meaning the state's two largest public universities now both prohibit tobacco use anywhere on their grounds. 

Peter Williams

The "N-word" probably gets you thinking about the racial epithet that's been used for centuries like a club against black people. Renowned painter Peter Williams has turned that version upside-down and inside-out.

He's created an African-American superhero: N-Word.

Rebecca Gray

The Next Idea

In an era when it seems much of the country is in a face-off over race, from Black Lives Matter to All Lives Matter, how do we talk about race or even change attitudes about race?

The latest contributor to The Next Idea is Rebecca Gray from Michigan United who is trying a new idea in Downriver Wayne County. It's a new race canvass effort. White people talking to white people about race. The strategy is intended to get white voters thinking about race and racism in a good old-fashioned door-to-door approach.

A Grand Rapids therapist is using virtual reality technology to help his patients confront traumatic environments.
Flickr user UTKnightCenter / Flickr / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

 

"Minding Michigan" is Stateside's ongoing series that examines mental health issues in our state. 

Virtual reality doesn’t immediately pop into mind when you think about psychotherapy, but one therapist is using this burgeoning technology to treat his patients.

Tom Overly is using multi-sensory virtual reality technology to help patients confront their fears and anxieties. He’s the owner of VR Therapy and Counseling Center in Grand Rapids.

Kalamazoo gets a new solar power facility

Aug 15, 2016
Unsplash / Pixabay

Renewable energy is on the rise as more solar power is being produced in Michigan.

Consumers Energy has opened a solar garden at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo.

The 1-megawatt power facility will service about 200 people.

Roger Morgenstern  is a spokesperson at Consumers Energy and says customers can join a program to help fund renewable energy.

Beachgirlphotography.com

In John Smolens’ riveting new novel, Wolf's Mouth, the action begins in 1944, in Camp Au Train, a lumber camp near Munising, Michigan. But it’s not a typical lumber camp. It’s a Prisoner Of War camp, one of the many in Michigan during World War II. 

The prisoners are mostly Germans, with a smattering of other nationalities.

But even in an American-run POW camp, the Nazis secretly hold the reins, meting out a cruel justice to anyone who disobeys Kommandant Vogel, a man known for vengeance and violence.  

Yet one Italian soldier, Francesco Verdi, dares to defy Vogel.  It’s a choice that will have repercussions for the rest of his life.  He also happens to be the narrator of Wolf's Mouth.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan’s Democratic Party leader is accusing Republicans of “shielding” Gov. Rick Snyder from accountability for the Flint water crisis.

Brandon Dillon is the Michigan Democratic Party chairman. At the first of a series of news conferences today, Dillon spoke in Flint about the need to not let the governor “off the hook.”

“Anybody, whether they were a state employee or a political appointee right up to the governor himself, need to be held accountable,” Dillon said, “And the Republican Legislature has so far has been shielding him at all costs.”

Twenty years ago, before he was finally sent to prison, I asked Dr. Jack Kevorkian whether he thought physician-assisted suicide would ever be legal throughout America.

He told me yes, but not for the right reasons.

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“You are a baby boomer,” he said. “There’s 75 million of you. There are only about 17 million in the next generation. Do you think they are going to spend all their money to keep you hooked up to machines? They’ll make (assisted suicide) a sacrament!”

How much of a role will the state of Michigan’s economy play in deciding your vote in November? Last week, the presidential candidates acted as if it might be a big deal as they both made stops in Michigan to deliver speeches on jobs and the economy. 

Michigan, and Detroit, in particular, remain economically emblematic. But there are two stories to tell and the candidates each packed a different one for the trip. 

Did you own a talking car in the 1980s?

The Chrysler New Yorker was one of a handful of models in the mid-80s to feature an electronic voice alert system.

We're guessing it launched more than a few Knight Rider fantasies.

The car would remind you to fasten your seatbelt or to replenish your wiper fluid. It would let you know if your lights were on or if your engine was overheating. All in a robotic monotone.

A Detroit water shutoff notice
Ali Elisabeth / Michigan Radio

Detroiters looking for help with their water bills are hitting some barriers, as a new aid program tries to get a handle on its funding situation, and navigate confusion between the different agencies involved.

The Water Residential Assistance Program (WRAP) just launched in March. It was touted as a comprehensive solution to Detroit’s chronic problem with delinquent water bills, and the subsequent service shutoffs that have hit tens of thousands of households over the past three years.

Syrian refugee children in Jordan enjoy a concert.
CGFome MRE

The pace of refugees resettling in the state has picked up this summer, with more than 1,000 arriving in just the last couple months.

About half those were Syrian, according to the State Department, many of whom are coming to the Detroit area and Southeast Michigan.

In Grand Rapids, meanwhile, Samaritas refugee volunteer coordinator Troy Howley says they’re seeing a big increase in people from Congolese refugee camps.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

This week, Flint officials hope to ink contracts with three companies to begin removing lead service lines.

The service lines have been a major source of lead in Flint’s drinking water. But of the thousands of lead service lines in the city, to date, only 33 have been replaced.

Final agreements are expected to be signed this week with the companies hired to replace about 250 service lines. Plans are to fully replace 100 lines. Another 150 will involve partial replacement. Homeowners may be notified later this week that their service lines will soon be replaced.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s ongoing water crisis is on the minds of some participants ahead of this week’s Back to the Bricks auto show.

Back to the Bricks is expected to draw up to 500,000 people to downtown Flint to see thousands of classic cars and trucks.

Founder Al Hatch says some car clubs have expressed concern about Flint’s lead tainted tap water. But he’s not worried.  

“Car people don’t come to a car show to drink water,” says Hatch, “If anything, car owners are going to go for an adult beverage.”

Jack Lessenberry
Michigan Radio

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton were in Michigan this week to deliver big economic speeches. This Week in Review, Jack Lessenberry and Rebecca Kruth talk about each candidate's fiscal vision, and whether it will resonate with voters. Lessenberry and Kruth also discuss the latest move in a battle over straight-ticket voting in the state.


Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The federal emergency declaration for the Flint water crisis ends Sunday.

One big change will be who’s paying for all the bottled water and filters being handed out to Flint residents.

The feds have been picking up 75% of the cost, with the state chipping in 25%.  

Now the state will have to pay 100% of the costs. 

Update: 11:37 a.m., August 15

Michigan State Housing Development Authority Executive Director Kevin Elsenheimer issued the following press release over the weekend related to broken elevators at Towne Centre Place in Ypsilanti: 

A map shows the link between water debt and property tax foreclosures in Detroit.
We the People of Detroit Community Research Collective

New citizen-led research is drawing a link between two of Detroit’s biggest social crises: water service shutoffs, and property tax foreclosures.

The We the People of Detroit Community Research Collective gathered that data for its report “Mapping the Water Crisis: The Dismantling of African American Neighborhoods in Detroit.”

Detroit’s aggressive and controversial water shutoff policy for delinquent households was ramped up during the city’s bankruptcy, and has continued with some modifications since then.

money
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Fourteen Michigan schools received a total of $40 million in the fifth and final round of federal School Improvement Grants. The grant program was authorized under the 51-year-old Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The ESEA is being replaced with the Every Student Succeeds Act, and the grants will not continue.

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

For the first time, researchers show how much patients with private insurance actually pay for hospital stays. Out-of-pocket costs are high and rising fast for many plans, even those considered “good” insurance.

Emily Adrion is a research fellow at the University of Michigan medical school. She and her team looked at the rising out-of-pocket costs for people with private insurance.

Costs are rising in two main areas: deductibles and co-insurance.

To begin with deductibles, Adrion said they rose by around 86% between 2009 and 2013.

KWA pipes
STEVE CARMODY / MICHIGAN RADIO

Earlier this week, Stateside's Cynthia Canty spoke with Wayne State University professor Peter Hammer about a paper he wrote which argued that the Michigan departments of Environmental Quality and Health and Human Services weren't the only players in the events that led to the lead contamination of Flint's drinking water. 

Among the entities mentioned in that paper was the Department of Treasury, which made many of the final decisions leading up to the switch to the Flint River for a water supply. 

It also mentioned the Karegnondi Water Authority, the entity building a pipeline from Lake Huron to Genesee County.

Pages