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Kate Wells

Reporter/Producer

Kate Wells is an award-winning reporter covering general news for Michigan Radio. Her work has been featured on NPR’s Morning EditionAll Things Considered, and Weekend Edition, as well as on WNYC, Harvest Public Media, KUT (Austin Public Radio) and in the Texas Tribune.

Kate got her start as an intern with New Hampshire Public Radio before heading out to the Midwest, where she covered the presidential caucuses for Iowa Public Radio and won a regional Edward R. Murrow award for investigative journalism. She joined Michigan Radio in 2012. Kate enjoys hiking, the Muppets, and cake in all forms.   

The Uptake/Flickr

This could be a stressful week for Chris Thomas, Michigan’s director of elections.

DeAngelo Lamar Davis, a 31-year-old Detroit man, allegedly shot and killed Wayne State University Police Officer Collin Rose during a traffic stop on Tuesday.

The Wayne County Prosecutors Office is charging Davis with First Degree Murder, Felony Firearm, Murder of a Police Officer, and Felon in Possession of a Firearm.

Rose, age 29, was apparently trying to take Davis into custody during a traffic stop, when he called for backup. Davis, who was on a bike, allegedly shot Rose in the head and fled on foot.

http://www.sessions.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/official-photo

Activist groups are protesting Donald Trump's pick for Attorney General in Detroit on Monday.

Gov. Rick Snyder
gophouse.com

A year after he called for a “pause” in resettling refugees from the Middle East, Governor Snyder says he’s watching and waiting to see what Donald Trump will do with immigration policy.

That includes the president-elect’s promise to cut funding to sanctuary cities. Michigan has at least two cities – Detroit and Ann Arbor – that have policies to harbor immigrations regardless of their visa status.

United States Department of Education / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Little kids have a lot of questions about the election right now. And for parents, those conversations can be painful. Or comforting. Or sometimes, just hard to navigate.

Kids learning through the election that "there are dishonest people" 

Bill Pickens is an organic farmer from Dundee who used to be an engineer. He says he and his wife have four kids under the age of 8 right now. They lost their fifth child to SIDS last year, and now, they’re pregnant again.  

Republican incumbent Tim Walberg beat Democratic challenger Gretchen Driskell
Tim Walberg for Congress; Gretchen Driskell for Congress

Republican Congressman Tim Walberg beat Democratic state lawmaker Gretchen Driskell in the 7th District.

That race was one of the most expensive in the state, with both candidates raising more than $2 million each. Democrats were hoping this district would be a tossup race, since the voter registrations are split almost 50/50 between Democrats and Republicans.

Driskell alone put about a million dollars into TV ads, trying to depict herself as a job-focused independent, and paint Congressman Tim Walberg as "Trade Deal Tim."

Wikimedia Commons

It’s been a rough election day for Marie Wicks, the city clerk of East Lansing.

This morning, she got word of a possible voter intimidation incident: a voter reported a man pulling two women wearing hijabs out of line at a polling site, and possibly redirecting them to another polling place.

Then the lines at Michigan State University campus started getting longer. Really, really long.

Sign directing voters to polling place
Steven Depolo / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0 cropped

When Mother Jones published a story called “Voter Intimidation Targeting Muslims Reported at Michigan Polling Site,” Tuesday afternoon, Ron Fox started getting a lot of calls.

Tim Walberg
US House of Representative

Where is Tim Walberg? The Republican congressman from Michigan’s 7th district is in a fierce battle for reelection, raising millions of dollars, and pouring huge amounts of money into a slew of attack ads against his Democratic opponent. You would not think he’d be an especially hard guy to reach these days.

Dean Reynolds is a Clinton Township trustee who allegedly took thousands of dollars – and a free divorce attorney – as bribes.
Macomb County

A grand jury has indicted a metro Detroit official for allegedly taking thousands of dollars in bribes from two companies, and from an undercover FBI agent.

It’s the latest in what the U.S. Attorney’s office describes as a “ongoing and long-running investigation into the systemic corruption in multiple municipalities in southeast Michigan, primarily Macomb County.”

No photo ID? Just fill out this affidavit at your local polling place to cast your vote.
Michigan Secretary of State / YouTube clip

We recently asked people what they wanted to know about the upcoming election in Michigan.

Steve Merring of Hastings, Michigan submitted this question to our MI Curious project:

"Do I have to present my voter registration card at the polling station?"

Merring asked the question because he had some firsthand experience with this.

Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

So you're sick of the election.

Good news: just a few days left.

Better news: we're taking you on a road trip around a divided part of the state, where we hear from Michiganders (including an activist 8-year-old) about their own lives, and how it's shaping their perspectives on this election.

Fried pickles, grass fed beef, and some excellent coffee are included. But maybe don't eat them all at the same time.

About 13% of Michiganders are undecided – enough to possibly make a difference this year
User: Keith Ivey / flickr

The vast majority of reputable polls show Hillary Clinton winning Michigan by pretty comfortable margins – single digits, maybe, but still comfortable.

Downtown Eaton Rapids, in Michigan's 7th Congressional District, a race that's become one of the most expensive in the state.
Jodi Westrick/Michigan Radio

So you’re flipping around TV one night, and this campaign ad comes up:

 “Walberg DID vote yes on every trade deal. And just last year, he voted to give Obama enhanced power to negotiate T.P.P.” 

Money
Flickr user 401(K) 2012 / Creative Commons

If you’re completely sick of everybody in Washington by now, and find yourself thinking "I literally could do a better job than any of those folks in Congress," then you're going to need at least $2 million.

Slatkin is the music director of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.
Leonard Slatkin

If you've ever looked at a symphony conductor waving their arms around and thought, "I could do that," here's your shot.

World-renowned conductor and Detroit Symphony music director Leonard Slatkin will teach a free, monthly conducting course on YouTube and his website.

user anna / Flickr

Yes, this is a real thing.

But if you've never heard of reproductive coercion before, you're not alone.

It's a dimension of domestic and intimate partner violence that's only recently been recognized by the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. And researchers just started studying it in the last 15 years or so.

Heather McCauley, an epidemiologist and an assistant professor at Michigan State University, says she first heard about it through a colleague.

a pair of feet and chalk spell the word vote on a sidewalk
User Theresa Thompson / Flickr / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Updated 10/12/16 at 11:45 am to include redacted complaint and note from attorney.

A Kalamazoo man was wrongly told by the Secretary of State’s office that he was not a legal U.S. citizen and therefore was ineligible to vote, according to the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center. 

Managing attorney Susan Reed said the young man, who doesn’t want to be named, was born in Liberia and became a U.S. citizen when his American parents adopted him 10 years ago.

He turned 18 earlier this year, registered to vote, and cast a ballot in the state primary.

But when he and his dad went to their local SOS branch to get him a state ID, a staffer told him that he was not, in fact, a legal U.S. citizen – and therefore shouldn’t have voted.

Clinton speaks to supporters in Detroit Monday
Rick Pluta/Michigan Public Radio

One day before the voter registration deadline in Michigan, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton says she’s going to spend the last month of the campaign delivering "a positive message."

At her campaign stop in Detroit today, Clinton laid out her economic plans, like raising the minimum wage, guaranteeing equal pay for women, and making sure students can graduate from college debt-free.

The lawsuit says the health department's vaccine waiver policies are unconstitutional
Sanofi Pasteur/Flickr creative commons

Michigan cut way down on the number of kids with vaccination waivers last year. But now a group of activists, called Michigan Opposing Mandatory Vaccines, is suing the state health department over policies that contributed to that decline.  

A new policy will hopefully help supervisors track any racial profiling
Michigan State Police

State police will now be required to document the race of people they stop.

This change comes after the ACLU of Michigan recently expressed concern about possible racial profiling in an open letter to the Michigan State Police.

State officers have quotas for traffic stops and arrests, but they haven’t been required to document the race of who they stop in their daily electronic logs.

The clinic will take on more cases involving Shaken Baby Syndrome
User anitapatterson / Morguefile / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Some parents and caretakers in prison for child abuse may get their cases reopened if the University of Michigan Innocence Clinic believes they were wrongfully convicted for inducing “shaken baby syndrome."

SBS is when a child sustains serious, possibly even deadly, head trauma after being violently shaken. It can cause internal bleeding in the brain and behind the eyes, as well as neck and spinal cord damage.   

cdc.gov

Four years after the fungal meningitis outbreak that sickened more than 260 people and killed 19 in Michigan, victims are just now starting to see some compensation.

“Checks are just now starting to come out,” says Marc Lipton, a Southfield attorney who represents dozens of the fungal meningitis patients. “I mean, the very first checks are being issued. And they’re going to be on a rolling basis.”

After Wayne County found some 11,000 abandoned rape kits, a statewide survey found another 1800 around the state
http://www.npr.org/2015/02/10/384129985/advocates-join-fight-to-eliminate-detroit-s-rape-kit-backlog

After Wayne County found some 11,000 abandoned rape kits in police storage, Michigan’s Attorney General asked every other county to report how many untested rape kits they had in their property.  

More than 1,800 additional kits were reported, including 327 in Calhoun County.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan State University received 461 reports of sexual misconduct and relationship violence in the 2015-2016 school year.

That’s way up from the previous year, when the school estimates it got about 200 complaints.

So what’s changed? Jessica Norris, MSU’s Title IX coordinator, says there’s just generally more awareness on campus.

Getting a cyber charter was the only way Livingston Classical Academy could finally open its doors.
Andy Simonds/Flickr

Technically, Livingston Classical Academy is a "cyber school."

In reality, though, the only class that will be online this year is health – which parents will be encouraged to participate in for the more “sensitive discussions.”

A few more online classes will be added next year, like career readiness and nutrition.

If you get a call from someone saying they're police, and they've got a warrant for your arrest, don't give them money.
Sam Carpenter/Flickr

It sounds like a pretty obvious scam: you get a phone call, and then another, both claiming to be from the Ann Arbor police. The callers say there’s a warrant out for your arrest from U.S. Customs and Immigration officials. You can pay $3,000 in iTunes gift cards they say, or go to jail.

If you’re an immigrant, or just unfamiliar with how police operate, this can feel very real, says Ann Arbor Detective Lt. Matt Lige.

A new charter school in Whitmore Lake offers a "classical education" and a Hillsdale College connection
Brett Levin / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

When you think Hillsdale College, maybe you think private, well-respected school that makes a lot of Top 10 lists for “Most Conservative Schools.”

Now, Hillsdale is using its brand to help launch a public charter school in Michigan, but the school’s founders are trying to prove to its critics that this new school is neither biased, nor religious.

Lamarr Monson is fighting for a new trial in a 1996 murder case
MDOC

A Detroit man imprisoned for a brutal killing in 1996 is fighting for a new trial this week.

Lamarr Monson was convicted of murdering a 12-year-old girl, Christina Brown, who may have been his girlfriend and allegedly sold drugs with him. He confessed, but later said police coerced him.

In 2013, Gov. Rick Snyder, Attorney General Bill Schuette, and Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy held a news conference to announce $4 million to help reduce a backlog in processing thousands of rape kits. Schuette holds a rape kit box.
Rick Pluta / MPRN

Since Detroit discovered some 11,000 untested rape kits in 2009, cities around the country have tackled backlogs of their own. 

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