9-11 veterans: Jamaine Atkins, Sherman Powell, Russ Dotson (top, L-R), Cassie Michael, Curtis Gibson, Andrew Hunter (middle), Eric Fretz, Cody Barnhart, Brendan Lejeune (bottom).
Mark Brush, Paula Friedrich, Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

The United States military is currently involved in the longest period of sustained, armed conflict in our nation’s history.

Yet only around 0.5% of the U.S. population is on active military duty.

Contrast that with 9% of the U.S. population who served during WWII, and you can understand how there’s been a growing gap between those who haven't served in the military and those who have.

Listen to how these post 9/11 vets from Michigan describe some of the more awkward interactions they’ve had with people:

American flag.
Corey Seeman/Flickr /

"Service Above Self, Honoring Our Veterans" happens tonight at Hill Auditorium in Ann Arbor.

A select number of veterans from Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, Korea, and World War II will be on stage to tell their stories.

The storytelling night kicks off a push to raise $8 million to build a Fisher House.

Jake Neher / MPRN

State lawmakers are taking a three-week break for deer hunting and Thanksgiving.


And they’ll have a lot of work waiting for them when they return to Lansing.

Neal Steeno

When soldiers are sent into war, they often leave a chunk of their hearts and souls on the battlefield.

They may make it home, but part of them remains tied to that far-off battleground.

Tim Keenan of Traverse City lived with that hole in his heart and soul for more than 40 years. He was a 20-year-old infantryman in the fall of 1967 when he was dropped into the frontline fighting in Vietnam at Dak To.

Bennett / Ashlee Kristin Photography


The Grand Rapids based band Bennett is releasing their second EP Friday called A Moment’s Time.



Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Veterans’ Day observances are taking place across Michigan today.   

On this day, many vets are still struggling with old wounds and new obstacles to getting help. 

When it launched in 1958, the 729-foot SS Edmund Fitzgerald was the largest ship sailing the Great Lakes.
user Greenmars / Wikimedia Commons

Of the thousands of shipwrecks that fill the Great Lakes, most people can name only one: the Edmund Fitzgerald.

It’s the last and the largest ship ever lost on the lakes.

This week marks 40 years since the Fitzgerald and its 29 crew members went down in Lake Superior.

But even this many years later, the story still captivates the public’s imagination.

Those gales of November are coming in full force tonight.

The National Weather Service issued a notice that predicts waves up to 20 feet high in Lake Michigan over the next few days.

Election night last year was not a good one for Michigan Democrats.

They lost ground in both houses of the Legislature, which the Republicans already controlled. They lost the governor’s race, despite a weak re-election campaign on the part of Rick Snyder.

But in races for education boards – the state board and the elected trustees of Michigan’s three major universities, it was a terrible night for Republicans.

Jack Lessenberry.
Michigan Radio

This Week in Michigan Politics, Jack Lessenberry explained the politics behind the freshly passed roads funding bill and how it won't actually fix roads for a few years. He also gave an update on the Flint drinking water crisis and how it resulted in a new mayor in that city. 

Lars Plougmann

Michigan would end straight-ticket voting under a bill that cleared the state Senate on Tuesday.

Voters would no longer be able to fill in one dot to vote for all candidates representing one political party on a ballot.

Tulane Public Relations / Creative Commons

Michigan school districts will implement new science standards over the next seven years.

The State Board of Education overwhelmingly adopted the new standards on Tuesday.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Governor Rick Snyder has signed legislation that will increase fuel taxes and registration fees and re-prioritize spending to raise more than $1 billion to fix roads.

Wikimedia Commons

Students, faculty and staff talked about their frustrations – from who gets tenure, to recruiting Detroit students, to what it feels like to be one of the few black students on campus – at a "community assembly” on campus diversity today.

The event was moderated by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Clarence Page, of the Chicago Tribune’s editorial board. Community members were invited to share their own experiences and goals for the university.

Detroit schools' budget deficit smaller than expected

Nov 10, 2015
Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

A recent audit showed the Detroit Public Schools' deficit for the 2014-15  fiscal year is smaller than originally projected.

DPS officials said they had expected the annual deficit to be in the range of $70 million. But the audit puts it at $46.5 million, more than $22 million less.

 The Edmund Fitzgerald in 1971.
user Greenmars / wikimedia commons

What would it be like to have a long, useful live, but only be remembered by the way you die?

Such is the case with the Edmund Fitzgerald, which sank in a Lake Superior storm 40 years ago today.

But there’s a new documentary that focuses on the life of the Edmund Fitzgerald and what the ship did in her time on the Great Lakes.

The film is called A Good Ship and Crew Well Seasoned, and it’s produced by the Great Lakes Historical Society.

It was 2008 when Michigan launched a generous tax-credit program to lure Hollywood filmmakers here. At the time it was so popular, only one legislator voted against it. And Hollywood came: big stars, big productions could be seen shooting throughout the state.

flickr user Thomas Hawk /

Over the past few days, thousands of federal inmates were released from prison due to a change in the way the federal government sentences drug criminals.

It adds up to the largest one-time release of federal prisoners.

Brandon Sample is the executive director of Prisology, a national nonprofit movement dedicated to reform of the criminal justice system.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

By Mike Wilkinson
Bridge Magazine

When state-appointed emergency financial manager Kevyn Orr first pleaded with a federal bankruptcy court to help Detroit in July 2013, he made his case with sobering statistics: the city’s high levels of poverty, blight, and abandonment, its declining population and tax revenues, and its insane crime rate.

EPA region 5 director Susan Hedman (file photo).
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A federal agency will review how the state of Michigan monitors local drinking water.

Regional EPA administrator Susan Hedman says her agency will conduct an audit of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s drinking water program.

Yesterday, the Center for Public Integrity, the highly respected nonpartisan watchdog organization, released a long-awaited report on government integrity in all fifty states.

Not surprisingly, most states stink. In Idaho, a lobbyist who represented a company that makes betting machines tried to get the state legislature to buy them to revive the potato state’s economy.

Nor did he tell lawmakers he represented that company. He was exposed, but no worries; what he did was perfectly legal.

The SS Edmund Fitzgerald in May of 1975.
Bob Campbell / NOAA

I had a friend I never met in person.

His name was Mike Simonson and he was a reporter for Wisconsin Public Radio based in Superior.

Mike and I spoke often by phone when he filed stories for the Great Lakes Radio Consortium – the predecessor of The Environment Report.

Mike had done a lot of interviews and research on the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald. He spoke with many people who are still personally connected to the ship. He was our “go-to-guy” whenever we looked back on the sinking.


Snowy owls are doing some unusual things again this year.

The last two winters, people in Michigan saw a lot of them. There were big migrations of owls called irruptions – that’s when they fly south from their breeding grounds in the Arctic.

This year, researchers don’t expect those big numbers again, but they are surprised by how early owls are arriving.

Most snowy owls start arriving here in the middle of November into December, but owls started showing up in the Great Lakes region in mid-October this year.

A deli that accepts food stamps
Flickr user Eric / Creative Commons

A Michigan senate bill would let some state workers arrest people for retail trafficking of food stamps and other benefits.

The bill would give a small group of specialized state agents power to arrest retailers without a warrant if they have probable cause.

Currently, agents with the state Department of Health and Human Services can only take action against benefit recipients engaged in trafficking.

These 14 states were in the bottom of the rankings. Michigan was ranked the worst.
Center for Public Integrity

Fiftieth out of fifty states.

That's where Michigan ranks in a report released today by the Center for Public Integrity.

The last time we wrote about this, Michigan ranked 43rd out of 50. 

Funeral homes in the area make sure the veterans get a burial at the Great Lakes National Cemetery
flickr user abarndweller /

It's impossible to know just how many homeless veterans are on America's streets.

The federal government estimates that there are nearly 50,000 vets who are homeless on any given night.

The National Coalition on Homeless Veterans tells us they've served in every conflict from World War II right up to Iraq and Afghanistan, although nearly half of homeless veterans served in Vietnam.

The reasons they are homeless are many: lack of affordable housing, inability to make a livable income, post-traumatic stress disorder and substance abuse.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

New tests suggest high lead levels in the drinking water at one Flint school may have a simple and inexpensive solution.

Initial test results on drinking water samples taken at Freeman Elementary showed high levels of lead in the water: 101 parts per billion or roughly six times the federal action level for lead in tap water.

Follow-up tests were conducted last month on water at four Flint schools that tested at or above the federal action level. 

Gov. Rick Snyder

Now that state lawmakers have cobbled together a roads package, the spotlight can turn to fresh priorities.

For example, fixing Detroit’s collapsing school system.

The governor estimates it will take more than $700 million to rehabilitate Detroit’s public schools and warns that if the state doesn’t tackle the mammoth school debt, things will only get worse.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A meeting this week may help produce an update into a possible federal probe of Flint’s water problems.

Congressman Dan Kildee says he plans to meet this week with Regional EPA director Susan Hedman to discuss the status of an investigation into Flint’s drinking water problems.

Kildee says the investigation has to look beyond just assessing blame.

Ribbon cutting ceremony for the new Elijah J. McCoy Patent and Trademark Office in Detroit in 2012
flickr user Senator Stabenow /

The Next Idea

Innovation means new ideas, and new ideas mean investments, all of which need to be protected.

That’s where the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office comes in.

Three years ago, they opened their first office outside of Washington D.C., and chose to put it in Detroit.

What does that mean for Michigan inventors, entrepreneurs, startups and researchers?