News

The Berrien County Courthouse.
Berrien County / Facebook

The bailiffs killed Monday in a shooting at the Berrien County Courthouse ran toward the sounds of chaos to protect others in the building, according to Berrien County Circuit Judge Charles LaSata. 

"I heard some shouting, and my bailiff ran to the disturbance," LaSata told Chad Livengood of the Detroit News.

Once upon a time there was a Republican politician who took office at a time when the nation was bitterly divided over social issues.

He knew this was not the way things should be.

“We are not enemies, but friends,” he pleaded with his people. He told them he was optimistic that America would do better, and that our hearts would be touched by “the better angels of our nature.”

G.L. Kohuth / Michigan State University

Soul artist Erykah Badu will donate proceeds from her upcoming Detroit concert to help process untested rape kits in the city.  

The singer agreed to donate $5 from each ticket to the African-American 490 Challenge, a collaboration with the Michigan Women's Foundation and the Detroit Crime Commission. 

The cost of processing a rape kit is about $490, hence the name of the organization. 

Kim Trent is the President of the African-American 490 Challenge. She says the group reached out to Badu because the singer is vocal about social issues. 

Troy Holden / flickr http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The state has asked a court to dismiss a legal challenge filed by the campaign to legalize marijuana in Michigan.

The MILegalize campaign wants a court to order state elections officials to count petition signatures regardless of how long ago they were collected. The state is defending a rule that says signatures more than 180 days old can’t be counted, unless a campaign goes through the onerous process of making sure each signer is a registered voter.

 

Screenshot of Facebook post by Det. Nate Weekley
Detroit police department

A white Detroit police detective has been demoted for his reaction to the Dallas shootings last week.

Detective Nate Weekley blamed Black Lives Matter for the murders of five Dallas police officers in a Facebook post, although the killer was not actually part of the otherwise peaceful protest. 

Weekley called members of Black Lives Matter "racists" and "terrorists." 

He was demoted to officer and is being reassigned. 

Urban farming is one way public space is being used in Detroit.
Flickr user Liz Patek / Flickr / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

The Next Idea

 

Private development has changed the face of Detroit. New restaurants, shops and houses have popped up in Midtown, Corktown and downtown Detroit. But what about public spaces?

 

Our latest contributor to The Next Idea is Anya Sirota, an assistant professor of architecture at the University of Michigan. She’s also the principal of Akoaki, a practice in Detroit involving architecture, art and cultural infrastructure.

 

Sirota believes there aren’t enough public spaces in Detroit that offer openness and the opportunity to build a sense of belonging. She thinks public space is crucial to the health of a city.

Attorney General Bill Schuette
Bill Schuette

 

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette faces complex legal hurdles in civil lawsuits against a water company and an engineering company, along with their parent companies.

 

The lawsuit claims that Veolia North America of Delaware and Lockwood, Andrews and Newnam of Texas failed to take proper steps in the Flint water crisis and created a public nuisance. The suit aims to collect money for damages.

 

But legal experts say there are a number of issues that could stand in the way of a potential win for the attorney general in trial or in a settlement.

Flickr user Scott Davidson/Flickr / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

The lawyer for a suburban Minnesota police officer who killed a black driver during a traffic stop last week says the officer was reacting to Philando Castile's gun, not his race. The attorney  did not elaborate on how Castile presented the weapon or what led up to the fatal traffic stop and shooting. The video Castile's fiance took of the aftermath of his shooting has Concealed Pistol License (CPL) holders asking themselves: What are the do's and don'ts if you are stopped by police?

Tensions have heightened between police departments and communities across the country.
Flickr user Matthew Sutherland / Flickr / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

 

It’s been a tough week for the nation. It saw numerous tragedies, such as the police shootings that killed Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, and the shootings in Dallas that killed five police officers.

These events have heightened unrest between police and their communities, and protests were seen across the country in places like Baton Rouge, Chicago and New York City.

Sgt. Terry Dixon, the public information officer for the Grand Rapids Police Department, joined us to talk about his department's response to last week's tragedies and its effort to bring diversity into law enforcement.

Berrien County Sheriff Paul Bailey addresses the media after today's shooting.
screen grab / WOOD-TV

Update 9:56 a.m.

Authorities say the man who killed two courthouse bailiffs in Berrien County before being killed by other officers was probably trying to escape.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A $32 million campaign to renovate an historic building in downtown Flint is getting a big boost.

The 90-year-old Capitol Theatre has been a vaudeville house, movie palace, and for many years a vacant, decaying building in downtown Flint.

But the theater has been undergoing extensive renovations. 

Today, The Hagerman Foundation donated $4 million to the project.

Philanthropist Phil Hagerman remembers as a 14-year-old going to the Capitol to see The Sound of Music with his family.

taliesin / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

State Senator Mike Kowall plans to introduce legislation called "Uniformed Lives Matter."  

The bills make it a hate crime to assault someone in law enforcement.

It's Kowal's response to the murders of Dallas police officers last week.

Kowall says he doesn't intend to upset people in the "Black Lives Matter" movement.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/raidokaldma/12617680335
Raido / Flickr.com

The National Insurance Crime Bureau warns that hacking poses an ever-growing threat to car owners, as cars increasingly become computers with wi-fi on wheels.

"As more and more technology is incorporated, the vulnerability is huge," says the Bureau's Frank Scafidi.  "We're not seeing huge events like this or great numbers.  It is sporadic but it is something to be aware of."

A recent video caught a thief sitting in a car with his laptop, reprogramming a car to start, most likely using a new, blank key. A few minutes later, he takes off in the car.

Two days after the killings of five police officers in Dallas, there was an editorial in the Detroit News that began “The last thing we need in this country is a race war.”

Well, just about everybody who is sane would agree with that. But there are a lot of black people who could tell you that a race war has been going on for centuries. 

VOX EFX / FLICKR

Michigan Radio has won a national Clarion Award from The Association for Women in Communications. The award was received in the Radio Documentary Series category for “Beyond the Battlefield.”

The Atlantic posted a piece on July 8th which gets to the heart of what Michigan Radio and the Detroit Journalism Cooperative have been reporting on this year: Have things changed since the Kerner Commission's report of 1968 was published?

That presidential commission report outlined the grievances of black America and remedies to ease racial tensions.

The Atlantic explores the issue and contrasts it with the current presidential election year.

The sultry days of summer are no break from politics. In fact, the state Legislature’s summer recess is becoming a political wedge itself.

flickr user Joe Gratz / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The Michigan appeals court says a woman has no parental rights to a child born during a long same-sex relationship but before gay marriage became legal in 2015. 

The court overturned decisions by a Washtenaw County judge, who had granted parenting time to Michelle Lake.

Lake and Kerri Putnam ended a 13-year relationship in 2014. During that time, Putnam gave birth to a boy, who's now 8.

Genesee County has its first confirmed case of Legionnaires' disease this year, but health officials say there’s no indication it’s connected with Flint water.

The patient isn’t being named, nor are officials disclosing where he’s being hospitalized, but Genesee County epidemiologist Christine Rygiel says it looks like he didn’t have any contact with Flint water when he got sick.

David Bowie
Adam Bielawski / Creative Commons http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

It's been a rough year in the music world.

Prince, Glenn Frey and Merle Haggard all passed away this year, and that's just to name a few.

On Sunday evening, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra will honor another artist many fans feel left the world too soon: rock legend David Bowie.

Bowie died of liver cancer in January, two days after his final album was released.

His musical style was characterized by "chameleon-like" genre-jumping and his various stage personalities, including Ziggy Stardust and the Thin White Duke.

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

A nationwide wave of protest against recent police-involved killings hit Detroit Friday night.

A rally dubbed “Black Friday” grew from a gathering in Campus Martius park to a large march through traffic in the surrounding streets.

Detroit police had a heavy presence, but the protest remained peaceful until the end.

Participant Lee Qualls said the murder of police officers at a similar event in Dallas was on everyone’s mind, even as they expressed anger and frustration over police treatment of African-Americans.

GOP schism deepens after Flint water crisis

Jul 9, 2016
The Detroit News

Credit good ol’ politics for the widening split separating Michigan’s top two Republicans.

The legal jeopardy posed by the Flint water crisis—and controversial decisions affecting special interests—are exposing Attorney General Bill Schuette’s unmistakable desire to succeed Rick Snyder as governor come 2018.

Not that the AG will say so. The growing record of disagreements between Schuette and Snyder is producing a special kind of political fallout: It’s positioning the AG for the state’s top office, and sometimes doing it at the expense of the sitting governor.

New Detroit police officers receiving their badges
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Eighteen new officers officially joined the ranks of the Detroit Police Department today, but the celebration was tempered by what their chief called a “troubling day.”

There was a mix of music, cheers and somber prayer during the graduation ceremony for the members of class “2016C.”

Chief James Craig said the sniper attack that killed five Dallas police officers has put all law enforcement on a “heightened state of alert,” but won’t change how his department does business, or approaches dangerous situations.

Jewell Jones
Campaign video screen grab

Democratic precinct delegates have selected a new candidate to run for a Detroit-area state House seat.

Inkster City Councilman Jewell Jones will replace the late Rep. Julie Plawecki on the August 2 primary ballot.

Jonathan Kinloch, chair of the 13th Congressional District Democratic Party, says delegates selected Jones based on his active engagement in the party and in his community.

Flickr user TS Elliott/Flickr / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Race is very difficult for people to talk about.

Many white people want to believe we’re in a post-racial society. After all, we have an African-American president.

Many black people note the inequalities that exist, the segregation that exists.

How can Americans begin to have a real discussion about race when we’ve been comfortable in our own beliefs about that subject for so long?

John Dingell, 29, is sworn in as a member of Congress in 1955 by House Speaker Sam Rayburn of Texas
John Dingell website

When he retired, John Dingell was the longest-serving congressman in U.S. history.

He was sworn in on Dec. 13, 1955 which began a long career that lasted through 11 presidencies until the Democrat retired at the end of 2014. In retirement, he's not showing any signs of slowing down as he took some time from "celebrating the hell" out of his 90th birthday to join Lester Graham on Stateside.

An Occupy Wall Street protester records police in 2011.
flickr user Paul Stein / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

We likely would not know about the killings of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge or Philando Castile in Minnesota if not for the video recordings. 

In April, MLive published a story that dives into the question of whether police can order you to delete a recording on your phone after you've captured video of a police action.

The story refers to a case in which two of the officers who are accused of beating and falsely arresting the wrong person were undercover. A uniformed officer told people who'd recorded the scene to "delete it for the safety of the officers."

ACLU of Michigan Legal Director Michael Steinberg joined us today to talk generally about whether or not police can order you to delete a recording or seize your phone or camera. 

Water running from tap
jordanmrcai / Creative Commons

A lawsuit asking Flint to remove lead service lines free of charge for all of its water customers may proceed, according to a U.S. District Court ruling. The suit was filed by the Natural Resources Defense Council, the ACLU of Michigan, Concerned Pastors for Social Action, and Flint resident Melissa Mays. 

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Bourbon Fruit Smash

1-2 slices ginger (optional)
Fruit (8-10 blueberries, 2-3 strawberries, 4 peach slices, etc)
3-5 leaves mint or other fresh herb
2 oz Bourbon
1/2 oz lemon juice, or to taste
1/2 oz simple syrup, or to taste

Muddle ginger well (if using), then add fruit and herbs and muddle again. Combine remaining ingredients in shaker with ice. Shake, strain into ice filled old-fashioned glass.

Most people don’t spend a lot of time thinking about politics; they have lives instead. They go to work or practice their professions; raise their kids, spend time on their hobbies.

Many of them do get somewhat interested every four years, when the time comes to pick a new president. Slightly more than half of them actually vote, which doesn’t happen in other elections.

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