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Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A former state health department official has been sentenced for her role in the Flint water crisis.

Monday, retired state epidemiologist Corrine Miller was sentenced to 12 months probation and 300 hours of community service.  She will also have to pay a fine of more than a thousand dollars. 

Many people I know would find it easier to understand someone who is transgender than someone who voted for Donald Trump for president.

That’s just a statement of fact. And emotionally, I have to confess that I feel the same way. I can understand that one might feel trapped in a body and within a gender that feels wrong. I’ve known people in that predicament, and my heart went out to them.

Christoper Sessums / Flickr http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Michigan’s major utilities have restored power to the vast majority of those who lost it after last Wednesday’s unprecedented windstorm.

Capitol Hill
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

Last week, House Republicans submitted their bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

The bill, which has been under intense committee debate, has drawn criticism from Democrats, some Republicans, health care organizations, doctors, and others. But it is largely supported by House Republicans and the White House.

Some of the bill’s provisions would be enacted as soon as it is put into law, including the elimination of individual and employer mandates. Others would be delayed until 2020, such as limiting the Medicaid expansion and a repeal of subsidies for out-of-pocket expenses.

Federal prosecutors are recommending an eight-year prison sentence for a Detroit-area man accused of endorsing Islamic State and making threats against a church.

Khalil Abu Rayyan of Dearborn Heights is returning to federal court Monday, six months after pleading guilty to gun charges. He was not charged with terrorism-related crimes. But investigators say he made threats against a church and others in support of Islamic State.

What’s a Republican governor to do when his own political party is the problem?

We’re hearing a lot about the divide among Republicans in D.C. over the “repeal and replacement” of Obamacare.

President Donald Trump and the House Republican leadership have a plan. But, conservatives don’t like it. Democrats don’t like it. Interest groups like the AARP are already piling on, and let’s add to the list: Republican governors like Ohio Governor John Kasich and Michigan’s own Rick Snyder.

Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

The heads of most of the 38 schools facing closure for low academic performance are drafting agreements that would allow the schools to stay open and collaborate with the state.

The state offered the agreements as a sort of olive branch after major backlash to the closure announcements in late January.

user H.L.I.T. / Flickr

Michigan has a new law directing the Michigan Department of Transportation to increase speed limits to 75 miles an hour on up to 600 miles of rural highways in the state.

Russ Rader of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says there's decades of research proving that more people will die as a result.

For every five miles' increase in the speed limit on interstates and highways, says Rader, fatal crashes increase 8%.

Flint Water Study / Facebook

Two Flint water crisis figures will return to court Monday.

Stephen Busch and Michael Prysby are facing a variety of charges related to their role in the Flint water crisis. Busch and Prysby were mid-level officials in the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality during the crisis.

The two allegedly failed to make sure Flint River water was adequately treated to reduce corrosion.  The result was the river water damaged pipes which leached lead into the drinking water. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

State lawmakers will discuss a bill this week to give financial incentives to build grocery stores in Michigan’s "urban food deserts."

Lansing Representative Andy Schor wants to use about 5% of the Michigan Strategic Fund to bring grocery stores to downtowns and commercial corridors in urban areas, which have seen other types of economic development in recent years.  

“The use is to help revitalize a community,” says Schor, “and right now grocery options are probably one of the bigger pieces lacking.”

Flickr user 401(K) 2012/Flickr

An additional 650,000 low-income people have been able to get health care through Michigan's Medicaid expansion, with the federal government picking up most of the tab. However, a Republican plan to replace the Affordable Care Act would change how funding for the program is doled out.

The Shockey family sits on their couch waiting to start a card game.
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

About 400,000 homes and businesses in Michigan were still without electricity Friday night – after high winds knocked out power to much of the state on Wednesday.


Big Three New World

Mar 11, 2017
user paul (dex) / Flickr

GM is bailing out of Europe. The company is cashing in its Euro-chips and choosing to focus more on other markets. And GM’s not alone in that. While it might look like the Detroit car makers are turning tail and running, Daniel Howes of The Detroit News explains why it could be a good thing for Michigan.

Protesters waved American flags and said the president's executive order and deportation of people living in the U.S. illegally contradicted American values.
Tyler Scott / Michigan Radio

People in Dearborn braved the wind and cold today to protest a recent executive order by President Trump, and the deportation of people living in the United States illegally.

The executive order in question, issued March 6, blocks people in six mostly Muslim countries from traveling to the U.S. for 90 days.

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

Governor Rick Snyder is one of the Republicans who is not on board with the GOP plan in Congress to overhaul the Affordable Care Act.

Michigan is one of the states that expanded its Medicaid program under the ACA.

Snyder is particularly concerned about how the congressional plan would affect Medicaid, especially the Healthy Michigan program that enrolled more than 650,000 people who wouldn’t have coverage otherwise.

Chalkboard
user alkruse24 / flickr http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Some lawmakers want Michigan to dump the Common Core education standards. But that might put them at odds with Governor Snyder’s vision for education in Michigan.

Michigan’s current education standards are Common Core with a twist. But some lawmakers want to use the standards that another state used a few years ago.

Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

Michigan needs to “invest with urgency” in some “high-yield” education strategies, or risk falling even further behind other states.

That’s the gist of a new report from Gov. Snyder’s 21st Century Education Commission, which lays out a “blueprint” for that effort.

Those recommendations run the gamut. Among the most prominent or controversial:

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

American workers are facing an enormous retirement savings deficit. In Michigan, nearly 1.7 million workers have jobs where the employer does not offer a retirement savings plan.

In response to this shortfall, two Democrats in Lansing introduced legislation that would set up an alternative statewide retirement savings plan for employees of businesses who do not have a plan of their own.

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

President Donald Trump’s budget proposes cutting the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative from $300 million to $10 million.

Earlier this week, Attorney General Bill Schuette was on Dave Akerly's radio show on WILS in Lansing to discuss, among other things, his recent visit with President Trump. When asked about the President’s proposed cuts to Great Lakes protections, Schuette said this:

“Where this really stems from is again, Obamacare and the mayor of Chicago and the Illinois shipping interests really don’t care about the quality of the Great Lakes and the fresh water. And what we don’t want is the Asian carp coming from the Mississippi River up into the Great Lakes.”

New rules forbid chocolate as bear bait in Michigan

Mar 10, 2017
Ken Thomas / wikimedia commons

Hunters won't be allowed to bait bears with chocolate for the 2017 hunting season.

The DNR's Natural Resources Commission passed new regulations that apply to bear hunting, including a ban on bait containing chocolate or cocoa products. 

Chocolate is popular with hunters as a bait for the same reasons it's attractive to humans -- it's sweet and high in calories. But chocolate contains a chemical called theobromine that is toxic to many animals, including dogs, bears, and many species of wildlife such as wolves and coyotes.

"The business incentives are just one small part of what our economic development effort is overall," said Steve Arwood, the CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)
MEDC

For years, the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, a conservative, free-market think tank, has been critical of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), calling it secretive and referring to it as the state's corporate welfare arm.

Last week we talked to James Hohman with the Mackinac Center for Public Policy about the MEDC. 

One of the Mackinac Center's criticisms is that the MEDC uses its billions of dollars to pick winners and losers in the business world. Steve Arwood, CEO of the MEDC, joined Stateside to respond to that criticism and discuss his organization's efforts to boost the state's economy.

STEVE CARMODY / Michigan Radio

A House committee has approved a package of bills to expand the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to cover the governor and the legislature, with a few exemptions.

That has happened before, but Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof buried it. It looks like he might do that again this year.

McLaren hospital in Flint
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint’s McLaren Hospital is responding forcefully to state health officials' demands for more information on Legionnaires' disease cases and prevention. 

In a letter to Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, McLaren hospital CEO Chad Grant accuses the department of misplacing blame for the Legionnaires' outbreak in Genesee County.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

It's nearly spring, and the sap is running. Maple syrup makes a good choice for a sweetener in our pick for a cocktail.

“This is just a little whiskey sour variation,” Tammy Coxen of Tammy’s Tastings explained.

“When I was a kid we would go every year as part of a school trip and I remember loving to see the maple syrup boiling down,” Coxen said, adding, “It’s a really great memory for me and I love maple syrup because of it.

Angela Setters / Flickr

In 2016 alone, lobbyists provided Michigan lawmakers with $690,681 in food and drinks, according to a report from the Michigan Campaign Finance Network.

Somewhere beneath the waves of Lake Michigan lies the wreck of the 'Andaste'
Daniel X. O'Neil / Flickr, http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Supporters of a Great Lakes cleanup program are taking their case to Congress as preliminary budget figures suggest the Trump administration may try to cut nearly all its funding.

The Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition represents nearly 150 groups that favor the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

It has funded toxic waste removal, wetlands restoration and the fight against invasive species such as Asian carp.

Christoper Sessums / Flickr http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

For the last couple days, I, together with a million or so of my fellow Michiganders, have been living a sort of 19th century life.

By that I mean that we’ve been living without power, electricity or heat, thanks to the freak windstorms that whipped through much of our state.

Now, we’re not quite in the same boat as Abraham Lincoln. He didn’t have Double-A batteries, nor could he go to a motel with internet access, which is how I am broadcasting today.

tEdGuY49 / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Detroit’s incinerator is in hot water with state regulators again, but many people think the proposed punishment lets it off the hook too easily.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality cited the state’s largest incinerator for a number of violations in 2015 and 2016. The “waste-to-energy” facility provides power to sections of the city’s core.

Those violations included violating emissions limits for sulfur dioxide, carbon dioxide, and particulate matter. The agency says the incinerator also failed to monitor emissions properly.

Last week, Michigan men’s basketball team traveled to take on Northwestern. For years, that trip amounted to a fun field trip for the Wolverines, a chance to pad their stats before taking on the Big Ten’s big boys.

Not this year. The Wolverines and the Wildcats both entered the game in the top half of the league, and on the verge of an invitation to the NCAA tournament.

Government records revealed under the Freedom of Information Act.
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

A battle is brewing in the state legislature over government transparency for the governor and legislature.

 

A large package of Freedom of Information bills that passed a House committee Thursday will likely be halted in the state Senate. 

 

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