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Empty classroom.
Motown31 / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The Michigan Board of Education wants Governor Snyder's School Reform Office to call off closing any schools this fall. It joins a growing chorus of protest by parents and school administrators against possible school closures.

Last month the School Reform Office announced that 38 schools are at risk of closure because of persistently low standardized test scores. The office said it was reviewing whether a closing would create "unreasonable hardship" before it reaches a final decision on closing a school.

CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION, COURTESY DR. FLANDERS

The warnings about "superbug infections" and over prescribing antibiotics have been getting stronger and louder in recent years. Yet, it's still happening and we are seeing people die from infections that are caused by these so-called superbugs.

The Centers for Disease Control, for example, is telling us that every year 75,000 Americans with hospital-aquired infections are dying while they're in the hospital.

Courtesy of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra

No matter where you are, when you say the words "Detroit" and "music," someone's going to exclaim "Motown!"

But Detroit's music history is much deeper and wider than Motown. There are some locations around the city that have been forgotten and are important in the telling of Detroit's black history, and the history of music.

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver says she felt “anger and disappointment” after a meeting with the governor this week, where he rejected her request to continue state credits on city water bills.

The state has spent $40 million on a credit on Flint water bills during the past 12 months.  The credits were for water that didn’t meet federal quality standards.  

However, Gov. Snyder says Flint’s water quality is now comparable to other communities.  The governor’s office says “residents don’t ‘have’ to use a filter,” though it is recommended in areas where pipes are being replaced.

STEVE CARMODY / MICHIGAN RADIO

Plenty of attention has been paid to the human toll of the Flint water crisis and the city's efforts to recover. But what about the business side of things and the city's effort to rebuild the economy?

MC Sports

MC Sports announced yesterday that the company has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and has begun the process of store liquidation.

The Grand Rapids-based company operates 68 store locations across the Midwest, including 22 in Michigan, and employs 1,300 people.

In a statement, MC Sports President and CEO Bruce Ullery said that the sports supplier has been unable to compete with online retailers.

More from yesterday's announcement:

Steve Hillebrand / Creative Commons

Black bear populations in the northern Lower Peninsula are booming.

According to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the population has increased almost 50 percent since 2000. Kevin Swanson, a wildlife management specialist for the DNR, says this is creating a nuisance for some Michigan residents.

"We have had a pretty notable increase in complaints in the northern Lower Peninsula, especially in Baldwin, over the last few years and that continues to climb," Swanson said. "We've had more notable complaints like bluff charges on humans and some dogs being killed."

In Lansing, the Michigan House Tax Policy Committee was to begin discussions today on a proposal that most Republicans are ecstatic about.

That would be a bill to immediately roll back our state income tax from 4.25 percent to 3.9 percent, and then keep cutting it by a tenth of a percent every year until it would be gone entirely. Well, completely getting rid of the income tax is a fantasy for four-year-olds.

Jack Lessenberry
Michigan Radio

At a meeting with Detroit parents and school administrators earlier this week, one of the governor's advisors told the crowd "there's no way in the world" the state will close 38 failing schools this year.

Ford Motor Company's headquarters in Dearborn.
Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company plans to build a $200 million aerodynamic testing facility in suburban Detroit.

The Dearborn-based automaker announced Wednesday that the wind tunnel complex will be on 13 acres next to Ford's current Driveability Test Facility in Allen Park.

In an announcement, the company highlighted consumers' desire for improved fuel economy:

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Tomorrow, Flint Mayor Karen Weaver will discuss what’s next for her city, now that the governor has refused to restart state credits on Flint water bills.

Gov. Rick Snyder met with Mayor Weaver Tuesday afternoon.  Snyder described the meeting as “constructive," but the governor is not budging on the decision to end state credits on city tax bills.

Leelanau raclette puts Michigan "on the world cheese map"

Feb 14, 2017
DAN WANSCHURA / Interlochen Public Radio

Anne and John Hoyt own Leelanau Cheese Company in Suttons Bay. Leelanau Cheese is famous for it’s raclette.

“When people ask what it tastes like, I often say it’s between a gouda and a gruyere,” says Anne.

Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

“In flux.”

“Dynamic.”

“Amazing.”

“Blurry.”

That’s how Monday night’s Issues & Ale panelists described journalism in today’s ecosystem.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Detroit Police Chief James Craig has signaled his support for President Trump’s law enforcement policies, raising some eyebrows around Detroit.

Craig spoke about Trump’s recent pro-police executive orders with Neil Cavuto on Fox News last week.

Thanks to the rise in popularity of craft beer in Michigan, the state now ranks fourth in the nation in hops production.
Rob Sirrine / Michigan State University

As Michigan's brewing industry continues to grow and flourish, we're seeing a big jump in growing hops in our state.

Consider this: Prior to 2008, Michigan hadn't had a commercial hops-growing operation for more than a century. Now, we're fourth in the nation.

Lawsuits against the university claim students started reporting abuse as early as 1999.
user John M. Quick / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

After 27 years on the job, Kathie Klages is resigning as head coach of women’s gymnastics at MSU. She denies any knowledge about Dr. Larry Nassar’s alleged years-long, repeated sexual abuse of MSU gymnasts.

Two women have filed court documents claiming they told Klages about Nassar’s alleged assaults back in the 1990s. He wasn’t fired from MSU until earlier this past fall.  

Shelby Kroske, MSU Libraries

 

Michigan State University historian Liam Brockey has spent years studying the history of Catholicism. Now, that scholarship is generating something unexpected: Oscar buzz.

Brockey served as a consultant on legendary filmmaker Martin Scorsese’s latest work “Silence,” the story of two Portuguese Jesuit priests who travel to Japan in the 1640's to find their lost mentor.

Rick Pluta / Michigan Radio

The story broke last September in the Indianapolis Star. Complaints surfaced that a Michigan State University sports physician has been sexually assaulting young gymnasts for nearly 20 years.

To date, more than 60 women and girls have stepped forward to tell police they were sexually assaulted by Dr Larry Nassar.
 

More than 30 have filed civil lawsuits against Michigan State and Dr. Nassar, who is currently in the Ingham County Jail facing federal and state charges of sexual assault and child pornography.

Lansing-area attorney Jamie White represents ten of Dr. Nassar's alleged victims, including a current scholarship member of the MSU women's gynmastics team.

Phillip Hofmeister / Wikimedia Commons

A Michigan agency is seeking public comment on a recommendation creating uniform standards for public defenders in the state.

The 15-member Michigan Indigent Defense Commission created the proposal. The standards include better education and training for attorneys and mandatory interviews with defendants, along with other practices that improve legal service.

Commission Chair James Fisher says that these recommendations are necessary to improve a Michigan public defense system that, in his eyes, is failing and inconsistent in too many areas. 

wikipedia

The faculty union at Eastern Michigan University has filed a grievance against the university's administration over a controversial online degree program. 

Many faculty members are outraged, according to faculty union leaders, that they weren't consulted before the university contracted with an outside group called Academic Partnerships. 

McLaren Hospital in Flint.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

State health department officials are ordering McLaren Hospital in Flint to comply with new recommendations stemming from a deadly Legionnaires' disease outbreak. 

A majority of the people who got sick and died during the Legionnaires' outbreak from 2014 to 2015 were patients at McLaren.

As part of its order, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services cites a document from a contractor hired by McLaren to test the hospital’s internal water system.

Dr. Larry Nassar.
Michigan Attorney General's office

A second former athlete says she told MSU’s Coach Kathie Klages some 20 years ago that Dr. Larry Nassar was sexually abusing her. In court documents filed today, the woman claims Coach Klages told her there was "no reason to bring up Nassar’s conduct."

Michigan State University suspended Coach Klages yesterday after 27 years on the job, though a University spokesman did not say why.

Reached Tuesday, Klages' attorney, Shirlee Bobrik, says she'll be issuing a written statement shortly.  

A Valentine's Day postcard arrived today from a friend of ours - Tamar Charney, who used to be our boss as programming director here at Michigan Radio. Now she's left us to be Managing Editor at NPR One. 

Dear Stateside:

I found a heart on the shore of Lake Michigan. It was a stone that had washed up in a storm on New Year's day. It was lying there in the sand with a bunch of other rocks. But this one stood out because it was shaped like a perfect Valentine's Day heart.

Russ / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Flickr user Frank Juarez/Flickr / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

One of Governor Snyder’s key advisors says “there’s no way in the world” the state will close 38 “failing” schools this year.

That’s what Rich Baird told the crowd at a Detroit meeting about potential school closures Monday night.

The State School Reform Office has sent letters to parents at 38 schools across the state, warning they could be shut down because of persistently low test scores. 25 of those schools are in Detroit.

Is Line 5 needed to heat the Upper Peninsula?

Feb 14, 2017
Enbridge's Line 5 runs from Superior, Wisconsin to Sarnia, Ontario.
Enbridge

 

An environmental group in Traverse City is challenging the claim that Enbridge’s Line 5 is necessary to keep residents of the U.P. warm. 

The twin pipelines that run under the Straits of Mackinac deliver natural gas liquids that can be turned into propane.

Well, Happy Valentine’s Day.

I hope you've gotten far more important greetings from someone close to you.

Love is important.

But sometimes, you have to learn how and when to let someone, or something go. I’ve finally accepted that Laura Ingalls Wilder is not going to come back from the dead and marry me.

And in the same vein, it's time for those who think the last presidential election was stolen to give it up. That may sound like an odd thing to say at this point.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Lansing is not yet Michigan’s next "sanctuary city."

After two and half hours of passionate, though civil, public comment, the Lansing city council decided to table the resolution.  

The resolution actually stopped short of declaring Lansing a “sanctuary city." Instead, it describes Michigan’s capitol city as a “welcoming” city. 

Michigan State University suspended women’s gymnastics Head Coach Kathie Klages on Monday, after 27 years on the job.

A university spokesperson said he couldn’t immediately comment about the reason for the suspension.

More than a dozen state senators have sponsored a bill that would eliminate Michigan's income tax by 2022.
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

A survey commissioned by the Michigan League for Public Policy shows little public support for a recently introduced bill in the state Senate that would eventually eliminate Michigan’s state income tax.

Gilda Jacobs is a former Democratic state senator, and the CEO of the Michigan League for Public Policy, which advocates for social programs.

“I think that legislators really need to be very careful proposing this kind of legislation,” Jacobs said. “(Eliminating the income tax) really can have some devastating effects for the state in future years."

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