News

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Unemployment is improving, and gas prices are relatively low. That means more people are on the road, and they're driving more miles.

"During the recession, motor vehicle fatalities dropped by around 10,000," says the National Safety Council's Ken Kolosh. "Now with the economy improving, with gas prices at relatively low levels, we're beginning to see a rebound."

Matt Kenseth took the checkered flag in the Pure Michigan 400.
MIS

While a million or so people lined Woodward Avenue this weekend for the annual Dream Cruise, another big group of car fans made their way to the Michigan International Speedway for some NASCAR heaven: the Pure Michigan 400.

wikimedia commons

A Detroit police officer is accused of knowing about a conspiracy to commit murder, then lying to investigators about it.

A one-man grand jury indictment unsealed Monday lays out charges against Officer Elijah Lately.

Lately is accused of knowing about a plot to murder a witness in another criminal case.

flickr user Thomas Hawk / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

What determines whether a prisoner should be paroled?

In Michigan, that decision is informed by a risk assessment questionnaire called COMPAS.

Sonja B. Starr is a professor of law at the University of Michigan and is the co-director of the Center for Empirical Legal Studies.

Our "comeback" could use more women investors

Aug 17, 2015
Courtesy of Inforum

The Next Idea

“I never really thought about it that way.”

As someone who regularly judges start-up pitch competitions across Michigan, I tend to hear this phrase rather often from my male colleagues.

Michigan Supreme Court Justice Mary Beth Kelly.
Michigan Supreme Court

The announcement was made today by the Michigan Supreme Court. Justice Mary Beth Kelly will leave the Supreme Court and return to private practice effective October 1, 2015. Kelly is counted as a conservative member on the seven-member court. The court is made up of five Republican nominees and two Democratic nominees.

I may be the only person who felt this way, but when I was watching Cindy Gamrat’s sad little press conference Friday, the first person I thought of was Oliver Cromwell.

I’m not sure that even Ms. Gamrat or Todd Courser or State Senator Virgil Smith ever heard of the 17th century British statesman. 

Marcelo Lopez-Dinardi

The big thing you need to know about Afrofuturism is that it is joyous and fun and a celebration of the past, present, and future.

Late last month, three young artists road-tripped from Toronto to Detroit for a weekend festival called Sigi Fest that celebrated Afrofuturism. And they were certainly joyful. 

General Motors

A University of Iowa survey finds many people are uncertain how many safety technologies work – even those that have been around for a long time.  

27% haven't heard of traction control, and the same percentage don't recognize the symbol indicating low tire pressure. 

(Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

State lawmakers return this week from a month-long break with hopes of passing a new road funding plan.

Action on road funding has been stalled since July when lawmakers left Lansing for a month-long break. That’s after after the state House declined to take up legislation that was narrowly approved by the state Senate.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Lansing schoolchildren can sleep in on Wednesdays starting this fall.

Classes will start two hours later than the rest of the week. The one-day-a-week late start will give teachers time for training, eliminating the need for sporadic half days and full days used for that purpose now. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A judge is expected to sign an order Monday to force the city of Flint to roll back its water rates. But an appeal is also expected.

Judge Archie Hayman is expected to sign a preliminary injunction ordering the city to stop disconnecting and enforcing liens against delinquent water customers.

The city would also have to roll back a 35% rate hike put in place in 2011.

Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is adding another $5 million in grants to help farmers near the Great Lakes plant cover crops.

Colleen Forestieri is with the Van Buren Conservation District.

She says it's one way to keep phosphorus from getting into Lake Erie and feeding the cyanobacteria.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/91/Pontiac_Commercial_Historic_District_B.JPG
Andrew Jameson / wikimedia/GNU Free Documentation License

Doctors' Hospital in Pontiac has filed for bankruptcy protection a second time.

Now, Oakland County officials fear losing a crucial residency training program that is based at the hospital.

Aerial photo of the Bruce Nuclear Generating Station near Kincardine Ontario.
Chuck Szmurlo / Wikimedia Commons

Hundreds of people are expected to gather in Port Huron Sunday to rally against a proposal to store nuclear waste in an underground repository near Lake Huron.

Ontario Power hopes to build a deep geological repository to store low- to medium-level nuclear waste that’s already on the site of one of the biggest nuclear power plants in the world.

From a Ferguson protest in New York City.
user The All-Nite Images / Flickr

Some Detroiters are taking part in a national day of action on Saturday to protest police brutality, especially against people of color.

Mahogany Dixon says she will be there. Dixon just graduated from high school. She and her friends found out about the event on social media, and they're using social media to encourage others to attend.

LadyDragonflyCC - >;< / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

People in Northwest Michigan are still cleaning up the damage from severe storms that caused damage at some of the state's most popular tourist spots.

Hail damaged fruit trees. Nearly 100-mile-an-hour winds damaged homes and other buildings. It caused almost $35 million in damage in Grand Traverse and Leelanau Counties, according to early estimates.

Feds renew Michigan's No Child Left Behind waiver

Aug 14, 2015
Taking a multiple choice test
Alberto G. / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The federal government has renewed a waiver that gives Michigan some wiggle room when it comes to school improvement requirements under No Child Left Behind.

Under the renewal, the state won't have to identify additional struggling schools until 2017.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan’s attorney general is warning gas station owners against price gouging.

Gasoline prices jumped dramatically this week after a problem was reported at an oil refinery in Indiana.   Michigan’s average price per gallon is three dollars, up 50 cents since last week.

State Rep. Cindy Gamrat, R-Plainwell, speaking on August 14, 2015 about the scandal.
screen shot - LiveStream

Update 5:32 pm:

Keith Allard, an aide shared by Reps. Courser and Gamrat, issued this response via Twitter: "I look forward to cooperating with any investigation to ensure that taxpayers are protected and faith in our institutions can be restored. Most important, an investigation will reveal the truth. There is absolutely no truth to the accusations against me by Mrs. Gamrat, as will be proven."

Former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick
Michigan Radio

The U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld the corruption conviction and 28-year prison sentence of former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.

In 2013, Kilpatrick was convicted of two dozen crimes, from tax evasion to bribery. A jury found that he rigged contracts, took bribes and committed other corrupt acts.

Kilpatrick's appeal centered on an alleged conflict among his trial attorneys, among other reasons.

Seventy years ago today, the people of Japan heard their emperor’s voice on the radio for the first time. In perhaps history’s best example of euphemism, he told them, “Circumstances in the world conflict have proceeded in a manner not necessarily to our advantage.”

World War II, the greatest war in history, was over. Sixteen million Americans had served, hundreds of thousands from Michigan. Nearly thirteen thousand Michiganders died. I was born less than seven years after it ended, and growing up, most kids’ daddies had been in the war. They had souvenir Lugers and helmets and battle flags.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A Michigan congressman is proposing legislation to help people struggling with student loan debt.

U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee’s package of bills includes a proposal to make it easier for people filing for bankruptcy to include their student loan debt.

“Only under rare circumstances can student debt be discharged in a bankruptcy. So ... it creates a disincentives for people to try to go to college,” says Kildee.

Kate Hiscock / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Funding cuts are forcing a west Michigan organization that helps people with developmental disabilities and other employment barriers find jobs to shut its doors.

Kandu Industries in Holland provides vocational training, job placement and other services for thousands of people with cognitive impairments, physical disabilities and other barriers that could make it difficult to find employment.

Davidshane0 / Wikimedia commons

It’s hard to miss the Eckert plant’s three towering smokestacks in downtown Lansing. They’ve been around almost 60 years.

“They’re affectionately known as Wynken, Blynken, and Nod,” Steve Serkaian, a spokesman for Lansing’s public utility, said.

“Those stacks’ days are unfortunately numbered,” he added.

State Capitol
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The Wayne County Commission has approved the consent agreement with the state by a 14 to 1 vote. The consent agreement will require the county to make deep cuts in spending and address chronic issues in its jails. 

Susan Demas, publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, and Ken Sikkema, former Senate majority leader and senior policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants, joined Jennifer White to look more closely at how that consent agreement might work.

The incomplete Wayne County jail.
Wayne County

It will get harder from here.

Wayne County Commissioners have approved a consent agreement with the State of Michigan to deal with the county's fiscal emergency.

Of the 14 commissioners, only one, Jewel Ware, voted no.

The agreement means the county will be able to avoid the appointment of an emergency manager, if it can meet the terms.

Gas prices all over Michigan are rising in response to a refinery shutdown in Indiana
Ryan Grimes

Drivers all over Michigan are being hit by sticker shock at the gas pump.

Even though crude oil fell to a six-year low earlier this week, gas prices are skyrocketing.

What happened?

University of Michigan

"MCity" is the 32-acre replica suburb designed to let researchers test self-driving cars in real-world conditions, safely away from pedestrians and other vehicles.

Its recent opening in Ann Arbor is a clear sign that Michigan intends to be a leader in developing self-driving cars.

USFWS Midwest

Walking through an empty parking structure or some public place that isn’t crowded or well-lit can inspire the imagination and bring on a case of the creeps.

It can make people feel the place is unsafe, even when there’s no evidence.

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