WUOMFM

News

Jack Lessenberry
Michigan Radio

Some Flint residents have said they're worried that Flint's water will meet federal standards and get the "all-clear."

For This Week in Politics, Morning Edition host Doug Tribou and Michiga Radio senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about what government leaders need to do to ensure that people don't feel the process in Flint isn't being rushed. 

They also talk about whether we'll see a political shift from Gov. Rick Snyder during his final two years in office, a bill that would repeal Michigan's school turnaround law, and the odd mix of electric vehicles and SUVs at the North American International Auto Show


Thomas told us the 6th Amendment determines that juvenile lifers should be resentenced by a jury, not a judge.
flickr user Joe Gratz / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The Justice Department is suing a Detroit suburb, alleging it violates the Voting Rights Act by denying black residents an equal opportunity to elect city council representatives of their choice.

The lawsuit filed Tuesday in Detroit says no black candidate has ever served on the Eastpointe city council and that white voters have consistently opposed and defeated preferred candidates of black voters.

The legal action, which follows a federal review, seeks a court order forcing Eastpointe to change how the city council is elected.

Courtesy Nan Palmero / Creative Commons -- http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

According to a U.S. EPA official, Flint’s water system is improving.

This conclusion is the result of a closed-door meeting at EPA headquarters in Chicago yesterday. Data was presented from a number of officials, including the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, Virginia Tech, EPA experts from Flint, and the Center for Disease Control.

Robert Kaplan is the acting administrator for EPA Region 5.

Stateside's Cynthia Canty talked to Kaplan right after last night's meeting ended

President-elect Donald Trump.
user Gage Skidmore / Flickr - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

The NPR Politics team and reporters across the newsroom live-annotated a news conference with President-elect Donald Trump. 

Vice President Joe Biden in Detroit.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Joe Biden made one of his final appearances as vice president at the Detroit School for Digital Technology on Tuesday.

Biden was the public face of the Obama administration’s limited efforts to help the city through its bankruptcy and aftermath.

Biden says that after eight years of slow but steady recovery, he’s confident the country remains a place that “will never bend, never break, and always go forward.”

“And Detroit is the single shining example, if you were to pick any one place in America, to demonstrate that’s who we are,” he said.

Photo of President Obama speaking in Ann Arbor.
Melanie Kruvelis / Michigan Radio

The NPR Politics team and reporters across the newsroom gave us live-annotations to President Obama's farewell address in Chicago on Tuesday night.

You can watch the address here, or below:

What can we learn about water from the people in Bolivia?
Florence.S / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

For centuries, residents of the Great Lakes state have been able to take water for granted. But the Flint water crisis, coupled with 70,000 households in Detroit having their water shut off, have forced Michigan to confront water issues in a way we never have before.

(Support trusted journalism like this in Michigan. Give what you can here.)

Valerie Vande Panne, an award-winning journalist, thinks that in order to learn from these water crises, we need to look to the south. To Bolivia. That's where people fought back, and won, against corporate water control.

Dr. Larry Nassar
Michigan Attorney General's office

Eighteen alleged victims are suing former Olympic gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar and his former employer, Michigan State University.

The accusers are current and former athletes who sought treatment from Dr. Nassar, but instead, they say, they were repeatedly molested, with Dr. Nassar groping them and, in some cases, digitally penetrating them.  

Nassar was also a sports medicine professor at MSU until the school fired him in September.

One of the accusers, Rachael Denhollander, says the university failed them in its previous investigations into abuse.

water faucet
Laura Nawrocik / Flickr http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

A group of water activists who have had their trial delayed for over two years are ready for it to move forward.

The so-called Homrich Nine were charged with disorderly conduct after blocking the trucks scheduled to complete water shutoffs in Detroit from leaving Homrich Inc. back in July of 2014.

The activists wanted to go to trial to present a moral case against shutoffs, but the case was delayed for several reasons.

Michigan State Capitol
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The state's 138-year-old state Capitol building needs $62 million in urgent repairs to its infrastructure, according to the Capitol Commission, which is responsible for overseeing the building and the grounds.

Chairman Gary Randall says there was a big effort to fix the building in the 1980's and 1990's.

 

Dementia rates are going down. That’s even though dementia risk factors like diabetes are rising. What’s behind the decline in dementia? Dr. Ken Langa, associate director of the Institute of Gerontology at the University of Michigan, says higher levels of education and better treatment of diseases that lead to dementia could have a lot to do with it.

 

Joy VanBuhler/Flickr Creative Commons

A federal judge has thrown out a sexual assault lawsuit against the University of Michigan, in which a former student claimed he was wrongly accused of rape.

The man – who just goes by John Doe in the court filings – says he had consensual sex with a female student at a party in January 2016.

She filed a complaint, however, saying she’d been drinking and was incapacitated at the time; she says she’d also told him “no sex” that night.

The U.S. Capitol.
Crazy George / Flickr

The Affordable Care Act is shaping up to be one of the first big battles of the new congressional session. Republicans have promised to repeal it. Democrats are girded to defend it. And there’s a lot at stake for Michigan.

Republicans have still not agreed on what will replace Obamacare. But they say something needs to be done to make healthcare more affordable, and the law has not solved that problem.

thetoad / Flickr

At noon this Wednesday, state lawmakers begin a new legislative session in Lansing. There are 43 new members entering the 110 member State House of Representatives.

Many of these new members are replacing incumbents who faced terms limitations, while others defeated sitting representatives. They come from rural districts and urban districts, from the banks of the Detroit River to the Wisconsin border in the western U.P.

This week, we spoke with two of the new representatives, Beth Griffin, Republican of Mattawan, and Abdullah Hammoud, Democrat of Dearborn.

user cedarbenddrive/Flickr / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Lawmakers, business experts, and school superintendents are tackling Michigan’s schools from multiple angles in the first weeks of the New Year.

On the first day of session, Senator Phil Pavlov plans to introduce a bill to get rid of Michigan’s so-called “failing schools” law. The law determines Michigan’s worst-performing schools and puts them under the supervision of a state school reform officer.   

Sen Phil Pavlov, R-St. Clair Twp., is the bill’s sponsor. He says the current law was passed with good intentions, but has not worked.

 

Ginger Johnson, the founder of Women Enjoying Beer, and the author of the book "How to Market Beer to Women: Don't Sell Me A Pink Hammer"
Courtesy of Ginger Johnson

(Support trusted journalism like this in Michigan. Give what you can here.)

Do women drink beer? It's a dumb question to be sure, but watching any random assortment of beer commercials, one might start to wonder. After all, the vast majority of beer marketing revolves around men: men watching football, men laughing at jokes, men saying "whassup."

To Ginger Johnson, the founder of Women Enjoying Beer, and the author of the book How to Market Beer to Women: Don't Sell Me A Pink Hammerthe tendency of beer marketing to ignore women is not only insulting. It's also a bad business strategy.

Betsy DeVos had her confirmation hearing moved to January 17.
BetsyDeVos.com

Betsy DeVos will have to wait another week for her Senate confirmation hearing.

The West Michigan billionaire and education reform advocate is President-elect Donald Trump's choice for secretary of education. The hearing at the U.S. Capitol was originally scheduled for tomorrow in front of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. Now it has been moved to Wednesday, Jan. 17. Why was the hearing rescheduled? 

Michigan Radio's Lansing Bureau Chief Rick Pluta joined Stateside from Washington D.C. to answer that very question.

Teacher at a chalkboard explaining to his students
Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich.  - A key senator is proposing to repeal Michigan's school-turnaround law and to overhaul a system that potentially could lead to the closure of academically failing schools.

Senate Education Committee Chairman Phil Pavlov said Tuesday he will introduce repeal legislation Wednesday, the first day of the two-year legislative term. His bill comes as Michigan prepares to soon release its latest school rankings list.

The Chevy Bolt
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

The Chevy Bolt won the 2017 North American Car of the Year. It’s a long-range electric car.

The EPA estimates the Bolt can travel 238 miles per charge, and GM thinks of it as an electric car that will have mass appeal. After a federal tax credit, the price of the car comes in around $30,000.

Tesla is planning to release a more affordable electric car. They call it the Model 3. But GM beat Tesla to it.

Karl Brauer is executive publisher at Auto Trader.

Hemlock woolly adelgid
Michigan DNR

State officials want you to check your trees for a tiny insect. It’s called the hemlock woolly adelgid, and it survives by sucking sap from hemlock trees.

This insect was first detected in Michigan in 2006.

Ten days from now we will have a new President, and in time he will name a new justice to the Supreme Court, and eventually a nominee is likely to be confirmed.

I teach college students, mostly seniors and graduates, journalism history and law. And sometime after the new justice takes office, one will ask me when they’ll have to run for reelection. They don’t, of course; they are selected for life.

Gov. Snyder and Lt. Gov. Brian Calley at the Detroit auto show.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Governor Snyder and Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley took in the auto industry’s latest, at Detroit’s annual North American International Auto Show Monday.

“We’re leading the world here” in the “mobility industry,” Snyder said, noting the number of start-ups related to autonomous vehicle technology at this year’s show.

Snyder also hailed what he called “great announcements” recently that signal the “re-consolidation of the auto industry back in Michigan.”

That includes Fiat-Chrysler’s confirmation this week that it will invest $1 billion in two Detroit area plants; and Ford’s announcement last week that it will invest $700 million in its Flat Rock Assembly Plant as part of a plan to bring 13 electrified cars to market (all come attached to state incentives packages; so far no one will comment on the details of packages, and Snyder again declined to do so Monday).

The realities of a world economy aren't just being felt at big companies like General Motors or Ford. Small businesses are feeling the strain of foreign competition.
earl53 / Morguefile

The Next Idea

The realities of a world economy aren't just being felt at big companies like General Motors or Ford. Small businesses are feeling the strain of foreign competition.

Our latest contributor to The Next Idea is directing a federal program aimed at helping small local businesses adjust to that foreign competition.

Senator Jeff Sessions speaking at the Values Voter Summit in Washington, DC in 2011.
Gage Skidmore / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Alabama senator Jeff Sessions was nominated by President-elect Donald Trump to become the next U.S. attorney general, and some Michigan professors don't like it.

26 law school faculty members in Michigan signed a letter urging the rejection of Sessions as an attorney general candidate. More than 1,400 law professors nationwide have joined this effort.

Steven Gray, one of 13 law professors at the University of Michigan who signed the letter, said Sessions has a history of not fighting hard enough for civil rights.

Flickr Creative Commons/Sanofi Pasteur

“Who killed Karina Baxter and the…other individuals (in the 2012 fungal meningitis outbreak)"?

That’s the question federal prosecutors are asking the court to consider, as the murder case against Barry Cadden began today in Boston.

Cadden’s the former co-owner and head pharmacist of the New England Compounding Center. That’s the place that made contaminated back pain injections, which it shipped out to pain clinics and doctors across the country.

Hundreds of people got sick. More than 60 died, including 19 in Michigan.

NAIAS.com

The North American International Auto Show opened today with media previews and model rollouts.

The Car, Utility and Truck of the Year honors were announced

The Chevy Bolt EV was named the Car of the Year. It's made at the Orion Assembly plant in Oakland County. 

Autotrader Senior Analyst, Michelle Krebs said all three vehicles "raise the bar" in their category.  

What caused the Flint water crisis? Rick Sadler from Michigan State University argues the true cause of Flint's water disaster goes back decades.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

What really caused the Flint water crisis?

The obvious and well-known answer is the April 2014 decision to start drawing the city's drinking water from the Flint River. That, in turn, caused corrosion in the city's lead water pipes, which caused lead to leach into the water.

Others point to Governor Rick Snyder's appointment of an emergency manager to control Flint's affairs. That happened in late 2011.

(Support trusted journalism like this in Michigan. Give what you can here.)

Michigan State University public health expert and urban geographer Rick Sadler argues the true cause of Flint's water disaster goes back decades.

Write Michigan authors take part in a book signing
Kent District Library

The Write Michigan short story contest is the only fiction contest exclusive to Michigan writers.

It's a joint effort of the Kent District Library and Schuler Books in Grand Rapids. The contest is embarking on its fifth year and submissions are up by 200% from last year.

Heidi Nagel from the Kent District Library joined Stateside to talk about the contest.

For the first time in seven years, an elected school board is in place in Detroit.
Matt Katzenberger / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

This is an important week for Detroit schools. For the first time in seven years, an elected school board is in place. The board takes control of the schools that have been run for nearly 20 years by state-appointed managers. 63 candidates were on the ballot. The voters chose seven of them to make up the new school board.

One of those is Sonya Mays. She graduated from Detroit Renaissance High School and then went on to the University of Michigan, where she worked her way to a bachelor's degree, an MBA and then her law degree.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Tomorrow, state and federal officials meet in Chicago to discuss the latest data on Flint’s water crisis.

Critics of the state’s handling of the Flint water crisis say they don’t want to hear the city’s tap water is safe to drink once again.

Flint’s water became contaminated with lead after the city’s water source was switched to the Flint River.   Improperly treated river water damaged city pipes. 

Pages