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Courtesy of Lynne Golodner

The Next Idea

I grew up in a suburb of Detroit and went to school where most of the kids looked like me. During the Jewish holidays, teachers didn't assign work because so many of us were absent. There might have been five or six African-American kids in my high school, and no one wore a hijab in public.

I’ve always been curious about the way other people live. My journey as a journalist and author and writing professor has taken me to find common ground in people different from me. I visited a mosque, attended a candlelight service in a Catholic church in Ireland, and spent a plane ride to Israel having a deep, powerful conversation with a Palestinian man going to see his family. As I developed my writing craft, I continued to seek out stories that showed the similarities in people, the beliefs we share, and the customs we have in common.

The Detroit Lions lost a 15-3 fourth quarter lead before losing their home opener to the Tennessee Titans, 16-15.
meesh / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

It's not easy to be a Detroit Lions fan. Like many across the state of Michigan and beyond, Michigan Radio's sports commentator John U. Bacon has been through a lot (of losing).

As a result, it came as no surprise to Bacon that after the Lions won their season opener on the road against the Indianapolis Colts in dramatic fashion last week, they would return home and lay an egg. On Sunday, the Lions had a 15-3 lead over the Tennessee Titans going into the fourth quarter, but their defense allowed a pair of touchdown passes and lost the game 16-15.

According to the report, if Michigan lawmakers don't appropriate $7.5 million, the state could lose $20.5 million in matching federal funds for child care.
U.S. Army / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

Any parent can tell you that child care is one of the biggest challenges a family can face. A new report finds that Michigan can do better in helping families who need day care. A LOT better. 

Michigan's missed out on tens of millions of federal dollars that could help more parents and kids access quality child care. In fact, if state lawmakers don't commit another $7.5 million to child care by the end of this month, Michigan will lose $20.5 million in matching federal funds.

Missile Defense agency logo
United States Missile Defense Agency

All but one member of Michigan's congressional delegation have sent a letter of support to the Missile Defense Agency to show their support of the proposed new missile site.

Both Republican and Democratic members of the U.S. House and Senate sent Vice Admiral James D. Syring, director of the Missile Defense Agency, a letter urging his agency to select Fort Custer as the new missile site. 

Fort Custer, which is in Battle Creek, Mich., is being considered along with Camp Ravenna Joint Military Training Center in Ohio and Fort Drum in New York.

Michigan’s 1st Congressional District is huge - almost 25,000 square miles - and it is where, with the pending retirement of Republican Congressman Dan Benishek, former Marine Corps General Jack Bergman – a Republican – is facing former Michigan Democratic Party Chair Lon Johnson.

If you’ve been living in Michigan for a while, chances are that you have noticed a drop in the quality of services you are getting from local government. I’m not just talking about distressed cities like Detroit or Pontiac, I’m talking about everywhere.

Well, guess what. You think you are getting less because you are. Some of that has to do with the mentality that all taxes are bad, even when not levying them costs us more than the tax would, as is the case with the roads.


Flint Mayor Karen Weaver
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Days after Flint's mayor served notice the city might sue Michigan over Flint's crisis with lead-tainted water, the state removed the city's ability to sue.

Flint hasn't been under a state-appointed emergency manager since April 2015, but the state still exerts partial control over the city through a five-member Receivership Transition Advisory Board, whose members are appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder.

A road sign says "Share the road" for bicycle safety.
user Richard Drdul / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

This week, a Senate legislative committee will consider bills that supporters say will make Michigan roads safer for bicyclists.

The package would require drivers to give riders a 5-foot-wide passing zone.

“It is kind of scary to have two tons of fast moving vehicle pass you,” Paul Selden says, “and the closer they pass, the more scary it is.”

Selden directs public safety for the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club. He says requiring a five-foot passing zone won’t prevent every crash, but he believes clarity about the rules will save lives.

The city of Flint is slowly replacing damaged lead service lines. But city officials say they need money from the federal government to pay for much of the work.
steve carmody / Michigan Radio

This week, the U.S. House of Representative could vote on spending billions of dollars to fix the nation’s crumbling municipal water systems.

Last week, the U.S. Senate passed a $10 billion bill that included $100 million specifically to replace Flint’s damaged pipes. The pipes have been leaching lead into the city’s drinking water.

But U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Flint, is concerned the House legislation does not include money earmarked for Flint.

Dow Chemical
steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee is holding a hearing this week that could affect the planned merger of Midland-based Dow Chemical and DuPont.

Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley is the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. He called the special hearing into Consolidation and Competition in the U.S. Seed and Agrochemical Industry. Grassley is concerned major consolidation in the agri-chemical industry will mean less competition and hurt American farmers.

Some acronyms have become so common as words, that it’s tough to remember what they stood for in the first place.

We’re talking about words where each letter actually stands for its own word. Instead of saying each word individually, we mash the first letters together and say that instead.

Take scuba, for instance. We don’t call it “scuba” diving because some guy named Steve Scuba invented a cool way to stay under water for a long time.

“Scuba” actually stands for Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus.

Giant burger in California
Sam Howzit / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

We asked and you answered. 

In preparation for National Cheeseburger Day on Sunday, September 18th, we asked you about the strangest burger toppings you'd ever had — like olives or a fried egg. 

Wind turbines
(courtesy Consumers Energy)

Researcher Markus Hagemann says even he was surprised by the radical degree of change that will be required in energy use in order to limit global warming to a 2 degree Celsius increase.

Hagemann is with NewClimate Institute, a partner with Climate Action Tracker.

The group's research shows that gas and diesel-burning cars and trucks would have to get about 100 miles to the gallon by 2030, and the entire fleet will need to be at least 50% electric by 2050.

More than 60 people have been exonerated in Michigan since 1989, according to the Innocence Clinic at the University of Michigan.
Dave Nakayama/Flickr

There’s a question Dave Moran asks whenever he gives talks about his work at the University of Michigan Innocence Clinic.

"If the state said, ‘We’re going to lock you up for something you didn’t do. We’re going to frame you, or just be sloppy with our job … And then after one year, we’ll announce that we made a mistake and we’ll set you free.’ How much would it take for you to agree to that?

Longtime Macomb Public Works Commissioner Anthony Marrocco.
Macomb County

A typically low-profile county office has become one of the most high-stakes political contests in Michigan this year.

It’s the race for Macomb County public works commissioner.

Republican Candice Miller is leaving her seat in Congress to challenge Democrat Anthony Marrocco, a longtime incumbent, for the post.

“This could be one of the most expensive races, if not the most expensive race, that happens on the state or local level this fall,” said Craig Mauger, executive director of the Michigan Campaign Finance Network.

Donald Trump gets it wrong about Ford's Mexico move

Sep 17, 2016

Facts detailing how the global auto industry operates shouldn’t muck up the campaign between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Nor should they slow the candidates’ flailing efforts to score cheap political points in the industrial Midwest, right?

Yet, this week, Trump predicted the Dearborn automaker will “fire all of their employees in the United States” because it’s ending small car production in Michigan. And a CNN anchor actually asked Ford CEO Mark Fields whether the allegation is true.

DTE Energy / via Twitter

Construction got started Friday on one of the largest urban solar farms in the country to date.

DTE Energy is behind the project, which will convert 10 acres of largely vacant, city-owned land in O’Shea Park, on the city’s west side, into a site that produces enough energy to power 450 homes.

U.S. energy secretary Ernest Moniz was on hand for the groundbreaking.

A Tesla supercharging station at a Meijer store in Ann Arbor.
Tracy Samilton / Michigan Radio

In an administrative hearing, the state of Michigan denied electric car company Tesla of California a dealership license that would permit it to sell cars here.

No one was surprised by the denial, including Tesla.

In 2014, Michigan car dealers successfully lobbied the state Legislature to essentially Tesla-proof a Michigan law that forbids auto manufacturers from selling cars directly to consumers. 

That's Tesla's business model, and dealers see it as an existential threat. 

Report reveals child care gaps in Michigan

Sep 16, 2016
United States Department of Education / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

State lawmakers need to spend more to make child care in Michigan affordable and high-quality. That’s the message in a report prepared for the state Department of Education.

Michigan helps working families with child care through the Child Development and Care program. But the report says the program and all childcare need to improve in five key areas:

kenny Mcdonald / Flicker https://flic.kr/p/8HGMDv

Officials from the Kent County Sheriff’s Department say they believe they’ve encountered heroin laced with carfentanil in three separate cases this month.

Carfentanil is 10,000 times more potent than morphine. It’s commonly used to tranquilize large animals. The drug caused a spike in overdose deaths this summer in Ohio.

“It’s extremely dangerous. You don’t want to touch it. If you touched it, it would get in your blood stream and it could ultimately kill you,” Kent County Sheriff’s Captain David Kok said.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

One of the constants in our series on cocktails is having a Michigan theme. A Detroit bar is offering a new menu of drinks that features Michigan ingredients. Sugar House in the Corktown neighborhood of Detroit is offering a Fall Harvest menu which uses Michigan produce and Michigan spirits.

Tammy Coxen with Tammy’s Tastings arranged a Stateside visit with owner Dave Kwiatkowski and asked him to mix us a drink.

Room in an abandoned school in Detroit
user Freaktography / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

More than 152,000 students in metro Detroit attend class in a district or charter other than the district where they live. As minorities move into some districts, other students use the state schools-of-choice law to move to less-diverse districts.

Families say they use "choice" to move their kids to higher-performing, or safer, schools. Consciously or not, however, this law has left many districts in Wayne, Oakland or Macomb County more racially segregated.

More refugees will be settled in the Kalmazoo and Ann Arbor areas, Samaritas says
Michigan Municipal League / Flickr - http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

As soon as next week, the details of the Foundation for Excellence's $70 million gift will be presented to the Kalamazoo City Commission

The city manager and the mayor have been working with the donors to determine how it will work. 

Some city commissioners have been expressing reservations about the gift since it was announced this summer. Matt Milcarek​ is one of them.

wikimedia user Adbar / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

When you hear about the Gates Foundation, the Mott Foundation, or any of the myriad other philanthropic organizations, how do you describe what they do?

Do they give money? Solve problems? Improve conditions?

Is there a downside to throwing money at problems or wielding influence with cash?

According to Craig Mauger, Meijer was one of several entities that donated to the Senate Republican Campaign Committee on the day a senate panel began considering whether to block local plastic bag regulation.
Wikimedia Commons / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The first line of a release from the Michigan Campaign Finance Network reads:

"The same day a Senate panel began considering whether to block local efforts to curb the use of plastic bags, the Senate Republican Campaign Committee reported receiving a $20,000 contribution from the political action committee of one of Michigan's largest retailers."

According to MCFN executive director Craig Mauger, that retailer is Meijer. 

Teacher Anastasia Katapodis with her Montessori students at Maybury Elementary School.
Sarah Cwiek / Michgian Radio

This year marks a fresh start for the newly restructured Detroit Public Schools.

The district is unrolling some new, experimental programs for students. They’re meant to entice parents who might otherwise take their kids elsewhere.

After years of upheaval in Detroit schools, success isn’t guaranteed. But at least one school has high hopes they will.

Montessori: Learning together

Anastasia Katopodis has taught young kids in Detroit for 20 years.

Black Lives Matter protesters Anthony Sammour, Shauna Jones, Michelle Bishop-Dawkins, Samona Dunn, and Jade Bishop in Ann Arbor.
Catherine Shaffer

The Detroit Journalism Cooperative commissioned a poll, asking people about race. It was conducted by Epic-MRA.

The sample was unique in that one-third of those surveyed lived in mostly black communities, one-third from communities which include different races, and one third from mostly white communities.

Metro Detroit racial divide is widest over police

Sep 16, 2016
Demostrators in downtown Detroit protest police-involved shootings that have killed African-Americans.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

While black and white metro Detroiters are finding common ground on racial progress, there remains a gulf, shaped by vastly different experiences, in how the two groups view police.

And nowhere are those differences laid more bare than in the divergent views on the protest movement known as Black Lives Matter.

Roughly eight-in-10 African-American residents in metro Detroit express support for Black Lives Matter, according to to a survey on racial attitudes conducted this month for the Detroit Journalism Cooperative. BLM arose three years ago in reaction to the killing of unarmed blacks by police. Black support for the group (79% strongly or somewhat support BLM) is more than double that among white metro-Detroiters, 34%.

CREDIT FLICKR USER MIC445 / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

"Hearing voices" is known as an auditory hallucination. The Mental Health Foundation tells us that it may or may not be associated with a mental health problem.

It's the most common type of hallucination in people with disorders such as schizophrenia. 

There's a stigma that follows such hallucinations. If you speak openly about hearing voices, you're likely to be labeled, medicated, even hospitalized. 

But the Hearing Voices Network thinks it has another way to help people understand and learn to live with those voices. 

McLaren Hospital in Flint and the Genesee County Health Department have been working with the Centers for Disease Control since a court order is preventing local officials from talking directly with the state health department.
steve carmody / Michigan Radio

State officials are confirming an eighth case of Legionnaire's disease in Genesee County.

A press release from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says state health department officials can’t say much about the latest case because of a court order preventing it from talking directly to Genesee County health officials.

The court order is part of a criminal probe of the Flint water crisis, which includes the state health department.  

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