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Michigan State Capitol Building
Nikopoley / Wikimedia Commons

In Michigan, the Governor’s Office and state legislators are not subject to Michigan’s Freedom of Information Act.

State Representative Brandon Dillon,  D-Grand Rapids, wants to change that.

Dillon says he believes that the Governor's Office and state legislators should be subject to the same laws as other elected officials, such as school board members, city commissioners, county commissioners and many more, who aren't protected under the exemption.

Update, March 17th, 2015 1:15 PM:

In response to Governor Snyder's Executive Order moving the state School Reform Office (see original story below) out from control of the state Department of Education and into the state Department of Technology, Management and Budget, the State Board of Education released the following statement, calling into question the constitutionality of the Governor's order:

FLICKR USER 21INNOVATE / FLICKR

 In the spirit of the Irish on this St. Patrick’s Day, let’s peek back through their history in Detroit, where the Corktown neighborhood wears its Irish heritage proudly.

In an article for the Detroit News entitled, Irish helped form Detroit for centuries, Bill Loomis sifts through the several “waves” of Irish immigrants to Detroit, the first of which came in the early 1800s.

photo by Vincent Duffy

It took a lawsuit, but the Michigan Liquor Control Commission has agreed to reduce a $1,550 bill to $50 to provide documents related to a Freedom of Information Act request.

The documents were requested by Michael LaFaive of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.

Allen Kurta / Eastern Michigan University

  

The northern long-eared bat is a little thing with brown fur.  And its ears are longer than average, for a bat.

In winter, it hangs out in mines and caves in the Upper Peninsula.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Highland Park officials say they want to board up more blighted homes with steel, rather than wood.

Steel is really good at keeping out squatters. Problem is, it's also really expensive.

The city started using steel shutters on a handful of houses after an 11-year-old girl was raped in December in an abandoned house.

Detroit orders inspections to find broken hydrants

Mar 16, 2015
Downtown Charlottesville fire hydrant
Ben Schumin

Detroit officials have ordered inspections for all 30,000 of the city’s fire hydrants to figure out which are frozen or broken.

The city’s firefighters have reported about 1,000 broken hydrants since the beginning of December.

Jeff Pegg, president of the Detroit Fire Fighters’ Association, said broken hydrants mean big risks for fire fighters and the citizens they’re supposed to protect.

“If the hydrant is frozen, then you have to go to the hydrant down the street,” Pegg said. “The further you go, the more problems, because of the longer distance you have to travel.”

Is powdered alcohol in Michigan's future?

Mar 16, 2015
Thomas Hawk / Flickr

The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau recently approved a powdered alcohol product called Palcohol.  Add water, and you get a rum or vodka drink.

But it can't be sold in Michigan without the approval of the Michigan Liquor Control Commission. 

FLICKR THE D34N / FLICKR

The madness has begun: March Madness brackets are out. Lots of time and money go into those basketball pools, all a result of the national obsession with brackets.

It turns out, though, that you’ll have a better chance of having a successful March Madness bracket by flipping a coin.

Professor Dae Hee Kwak, an assistant professor of Sports Management at the University of Michigan’s School of Kinesiology, recently published a study in the Journal of Gambling Studies.

Todd Petrie / Flickr

FLICKR USER ABADLER / FLICKR

It's been a busy month in Lansing.

Detroit Free Press Lansing Bureau reporter Kathy Gray has compiled a list of the bills and resolutions introduced so far in March.

“There were 113 bills introduced, and if history repeats itself, about 40 of those will become law,” Gray said. “And, you know, there’s some pretty controversial bills that have been introduced and some pretty mundane ones too."

Take House Bill 4279, for example.

DMedina / morgueFile

Some Michigan nurses would be able to prescribe drugs without a doctor’s consent. That’s under a bill up for a state Senate committee hearing on Tuesday.

Senate Bill 68 would allow nurses with additional training to be licensed to treat, diagnose, and prescribe drugs to patients. Advanced practice registered nurses would include certified nurse midwives, certified nurse practitioners, and clinical nurse specialist-certifieds. 

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder.
Photo courtesy of Governor Snyder's office

Governor Rick Snyder has rolled out a new state department with the job of matching skilled workers with employers.

Meet TED. That’s the new state Department of Talent and Economic Development. Governor Snyder created the department by executive order to look at better ways to train and place workers with businesses that are hiring.

“It’s a new way of looking at government,” said Snyder. “Let’s take care of people. Let’s deal with root causes, and let’s give ‘em great opportunity.”

Sarah Hulett/Michigan Radio

The Next Idea

You’ve heard the impassioned arguments about public transportation in Michigan. Let’s start with the rational. Our roads are among the worst in the nation. Our lawmakers have clearly demonstrated that they are not up to the task of maintaining our aging infrastructure. Michigan, a state known for producing automobiles, has become a place where it is increasingly difficult to drive one.

Flickr user Julie Weatherbee / Flickr

There's a lot of attention and talk directed at start-ups about attracting new business to Michigan.

But writer Ilene Wolff pays tribute to some venerable long-time Michigan businesses. Her story, The Century Club: Michigan firms and businesses that have truly withstood the test of time, is in the current March/April print edition of DBusiness.

Michigan State University

An Alzheimer’s treatment developed by a Michigan State University researcher may be available in the next few years.

Muraleedharan Nair is a natural products chemist at MSU.   He’s been working with Ashwagandha, a plant compound used in Eastern medicine.   From that work, Nair has patented a botanical compound called  withanamides.

Courtesy photo / Ben Schultz

It appears old man winter is finally loosening his grip on Michigan. (Dare I type that sentence?)

With temperatures close to the 50s over the weekend, some folks may have busted out the grill. I dug around my shed and got my bike out.

My office in Grand Rapids is only about a mile and a half away from my house. But it costs $14 a day to park there. It makes sense most days to commute on my bike.

But I don't bike to work in the winter. I’m just not that hardcore. The black ice, the wind chill, it’s daunting. I already hate driving in the snow. I can’t imagine riding my bike in it. I just can’t.

But people do it. Maybe you’ve seen them around your town? They’ve got those weird fat tire bikes and full face masks with icicle mustaches. They’re crazy, right?

Emilio Labrador / Flickr

The average car loan was 44 months in 2006. 

Today, it's 66 months - and even longer car loan terms of 72, 84 or 96 months are no longer rare.

Analyst Ed Kim of AutoPacific says one reason is cars have become more expensive, due to "must-have" infotainment systems, and costly technology that improves safety and fuel efficiency.

parentinginpublic

A new University of Michigan poll says many parents may want to rethink some of the things they’re posting online about their kids.

The C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health finds a lot of parents of young children talk about them a great deal on social media:

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Flint city council will do something today it hasn’t done in four years: play a role in writing the city’s budget.

An emergency manager has made all Flint’s budget decisions since 2011.

But that’s changing.

www.flicr.com

Thirty-eight percent of the main city and county streets and state highways are in poor condition, according to the Michigan Transportation Asset Management Council - a significant jump  from last year's 33 percent.

The Council sends out 100 teams of drivers every year to assess the condition of Michigan roads. 

We're humans, and we don't always get along, but there are degrees of disagreement – and some colorful words to describe them, like "brouhaha."

University of Michigan English Professor Anne Curzan says the word comes from French.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan's public records law allows anyone to request information that can help shine a light on what government is doing, but not all of government is subject to those disclosure requirements.

  Michigan's Freedom of Information Act does not cover the governor, lieutenant governor, their offices or legislators. It does, however, cover state departments, local governments and schools.

Michigan Radio

A new report suggests Michigan and 45 other states should consider raising their legal smoking age from the current 18 years old. 

The report entitled Public Health Implications of Raising the Minimum Age of Legal Access to Tobacco Products was released this week. 

The Epoch Times

Honda Motor Company will run newspaper and radio ads as well as Facebook posts to get the word out about a potentially lethal defect in millions of its cars.

Since 2008, Honda has recalled 5 million vehicles with airbags manufactured by Japanese supplier Takata.  The airbags can rupture during deployment, sending shrapnel towards the driver and in some cases the front seat passenger.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan voters may decide in 2016 if they want to legalize marijuana.

Organizers hope to start a petition drive this summer to put the issue on the ballot.

Rick Thompson is with the Michigan Comprehensive Cannabis Law Reform Initiative Committee.

He says the path has been laid by decriminalization votes in nearly two dozen Michigan cities.

A coalition of mayors is urging lawmakers to reject a measure that would make it easier to buy handguns.
flickr

When it comes to schools, pot and guns in Michigan, who's the boss? This week, Jack Lessenberry and Rina Miller discuss an executive order that puts control of the state's worst performing schools in the governor's hands, whether legalizing recreational marijuana would be good for Michigan, and a skirmish in Ann Arbor over openly carrying weapons in schools.

 

Michigan Radio received eleven awards last night from the Michigan Association of Broadcasters for achievement in broadcasting during 2014.  Several of the awards recognized Michigan Radio’s State of Opportunity project, the station’s multi-year initiative looking at what can be done to improve opportunities for Michigan’s most disadvantaged children.

The education community was all a-flutter yesterday over the news that Governor Snyder had moved the school reform office from the Department of Education, which he doesn’t control, to the Department of Technology, Management and Budget, which he does.

That may not sound like the most exciting development in the history of American government, but it is significant in this sense. This is the office that oversees the state’s worst-performing schools. 

Robbie Howell / Flickr

Some lawyers say the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association should lower the annual fee for Personal Injury Protection in the coming year.

According to the MCCA, "all auto insurance companies operating in Michigan are required to pay the assessment to the MCCA to cover the cost of Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits guaranteed under Michigan’s no-fault insurance law. PIP coverage is mandatory and provides for the payment of unlimited, lifetime medical auto insurance benefits.

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