Kate Wells

Arts, Culture & Education 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.   


Now that more than 10,000 of Detroit’s backlogged rape kits have finally been tested for DNA evidence, there’s good news and bad news.

The good (really good) news is that DNA evidence has already turned up some 2,600 hits in the FBI’s national criminal database, called CODIS (Combined DNA Index System).

The statue of Orville Hubbard at Dearborn City Hall was taken down today.
Anne B. Hood

Updated at 5:30 pm The city of Dearborn quietly removed a controversial statue of former mayor Orville Hubbard this morning. 

For years, the 10-foot-tall bronze monument stood outside of the City Hall building. 

Now, it’s on its way to the Dearborn Historical Museum.

Hubbard, who ran the city for more than three decades, from the 1940s through the late 1970s, was an outspoken supporter of segregation. 

Jeremy Peters

You don't hear a lot of hot, danceable tracks about gentrification.

But Detroit emcee/slam poet/teacher Mic Write writes ear worms about the city’s evolution, his pride in its unsung neighborhoods, and how good it feels to disprove anyone who didn’t expect much of a kid from the D.

Wikimedia Commons

  Nearly 1 in 4 college women experience some form of sexual assault, according to a new survey from the Association of American Universities.

The survey polled 150,000 students at 27 schools, including the University of Michigan and Michigan State University.

And what’s interesting is that this survey indicates that sexual assault on campus may be even more prevalent than other, widely-cited studies suggest – for instance, the White House’s “Not Alone” campaign says 1 in 5 women are sexually assaulted while in college.

Wikimedia Commons

The University of Michigan has agreed to erase the findings of a sexual assault investigation against Drew Sterrett, a former student. In exchange, Sterrett will drop a lawsuit he filed against the university.

Sterrett’s case has made him kind of a poster boy for critics who feel universities are overcorrecting on college rape, with a lawsuit that details all kinds of alleged flaws in the school’s investigation process – like failing to include evidence from a roommate who was present while the sexual incident occurred.  

So far, fewer Michigan kids are getting vaccine waivers. But some parents may be waiting until schools kick kids out.

Christina Karpinski is getting a little worried.

She's the immunizations coordinator for Washtenaw County, and she knows there are hundreds of families out there who still need vaccine waivers for their kids.

But even though school started this week, those parents just aren't showing up.


Zachary Anderson will get a new sentence.

The 19-year-old’s case has stirred national debate, after the Indiana teen was sentenced to 90 days in jail, five years of probation, and put on the sex offender registry for 25 years in both Michigan and Indiana.

His crime: having sex with a 14-year-old Michigan girl he met online, who told him she was 17 and registered in the adult section of the online dating app.

During sentencing, both the girl and her mother asked Berrien County Judge Dennis Wiley not to punish Anderson.    


Colleges are now legally required to train new students about sexual assault prevention and awareness.

That’s part of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act.  

And it turns out the training at Central Michigan University has been pretty popular for a while now.  

A lot of other colleges have hired CMU’s training group. The Navy even brought them to instruct groups of sailors and Marines.

So we thought, what better time to check it out?  


This story was updated with a response from MSU at 5:05 pm on 9/2/15

Students started complaining about sexual harassment from a Michigan State University counselor – who was at times working with students seeking sexual assault counseling – back in 2009.

Michigan State University’s response was to hold a meeting between one of those students and the counselor.

This story was updated at 3:03 pm on 9/1/15 

The US Department of Education has finished its investigation into whether Michigan State University mishandled two complaints of sexual assault.

In their report released today, the DOE says MSU's "investigations of both complaints ultimately were thorough and equitable."


Right now, college freshman around the state are getting training about sexual assault on campus.

At Central Michigan University, that even means going into the profile of perpetrators who commit acquaintance rape.

Ann Arbor Public Schools

The one-year contract gives all teachers a small pay bump, and the union and the district agree that teachers have now gotten most of the back pay they were promised when they took previous wage cuts. 

The school district says the new contract also officially puts the district in compliance with recent state laws, which say that the union can’t bargain over certain “prohibited” subjects, including:


This is the first new school year that parents have to attend vaccination education sessions at their county health department, if they want a vaccination waiver for kids going into preschool, kindergarten, or seventh grade. 

Because Michigan has one of the highest waiver rates in the country, the idea is to make it less convenient to get those waivers.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

This year, freshman at the University of Michigan face a new consequence if they violate the school’s drug and alcohol policy: Mom and Dad.

Michigan announced today it’s piloting a new policy, alerting parents of first-year students under the age of 21 if:

Kate Wells

U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez spent an hour in Detroit today speaking with a small group of fast-food servers, home health care workers, gas station clerks and other minimum-wage earners. 

The workers are with "Detroit 15" – a local group that's part of the national push to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

Sitting next to Mayor Mike Duggan, Perez praised the workers, repeatedly comparing their cause to the civil rights movement. 

Kate Wells

A woman in a minivan is not at all happy with Bethany Campbell’s massive poster, which shows the bloody detached head of a fetus and reads “Choice is Abortion.”

“Little kids do not need to see that picture,” the minivan lady shouts over traffic noise at a busy intersection in Ann Arbor.

“Yes, they do,” says Campbell, a blonde 25-year-old from Saline who says she’s worked as a nurse, and that while she’s been “pro-life my entire life,” this is her first time actually coming out to a protest against abortion.


Protestors say they’ll turn out to about a dozen Planned Parenthood clinics across Michigan on Saturday, citing "recent revelations that Planned Parenthood has been harvesting and selling aborted body parts," as one press release describes it.

The Michigan rallies are part of a national day of protests at 300 Planned Parenthood clinics around the country.

http://www.waynecounty.com/executive/index.htm / Wayne County

With Wayne County in a state-confirmed financial emergency, its leaders are trying to avoid an emergency manager or bankruptcy.

Today, the Wayne County Commissioners went for a third option: a consent agreement.

It’s what County Executive Warren Evans has been pushing for since he asked the state to declare the county in a financial emergency.

Once that emergency was declared, the state gave the county four options: emergency manager or bankruptcy, which nobody wants - or a "neutral evaluation" which basically means mediation, or a consent agreement. 

Ackerman for Council

Ann Arbor’s getting a new city council member. He’s 21 and a student at the University of Michigan.

Zachary Ackerman says no one was more surprised than he was this week, when he beat incumbent city council member Stephen Kunselman in the Democratic primary – by just 40 votes.


  UPDATE: Judge Wiley has taken Anderson's request for resentencing under advisement, according to Anderson's lawyer, Scott Grabel. He is expected to issue a ruling within the week. 

He was a 19-year-old from Indiana. She was a Michigan girl who said she was 17. They met online, flirted, and he drove to Michigan to meet her in person. 

They had sex. And when she got home, her mother had called police, worried when her daughter didn't come home for dinner. Turns out, she was actually 14 years old. 

Life Remodeled

Some 9,000 volunteers are remodeling Osborn High School in Detroit this week.

Last year, the same group – called Life Remodeled – focused on Cody High School, on the other side of the city. The non-profit even raised $1 million to build Cody a new football field.

Kate Wells

Detroiters could be able to get a city-issued ID card later this year.

That could help homeless people, senior citizens, undocumented immigrants – anybody who may not be able to provide a birth certificate or Social Security card.

As maybe the only 89-year-old who can claim to be a cult favorite on Twitter, former U.S. Rep. John Dingell has some 31,000 followers. 

But his wife, U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell? Not so much.

So the two announced they'd made a politically savvy wager: If the congresswoman could get to 5,000 Twitter followers by last weekend, then Mr. Dingell would read mean tweets about himself on camera - something late-night host Jimmy Kimmel popularized on his show.

The internet complied. So, here you go:




Detroit Dog Rescue / via Facebook

Detroit Dog Rescue say it’s running the first-no kill shelter in the city.

Executive director Kristina Rinaldi says between its shelter and foster programs, they can care for 40 to 60 dogs at a time.  

"There's too many dogs that need our help,” Rinaldi says. “And there's residents out there that need our help as well.

“I mean, every day we get a call from a mother who can't get her child off of the school bus because there's a stray dog on her porch."


Everybody gripes about Michigan's potholes.

But in Hamtramck, a group of friends is raising money to fix their roads themselves.

Blue Ocean Faith is an all-inclusive Christian community in Ann Arbor
user Marlith / Flickr

Some Michigan activists are lobbying members of Congress to pass civil rights protections for LGBT people.

The Equality Act of 2015 would ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.


If you've ever needed a lawyer, but couldn't hire one because it was too expensive, you're not alone.

Three out of four low- and middle-income people don’t get the legal services they need, Michigan State University claims.

User Motown31 / Creative Commons

Pontiac schools are getting an emergency $10 million loan from the state to pay its employees and vendors.

This is the second $10 million emergency loan the state has given the district. The previous one was made last year.

Beaumont Health System

The Oakland County sheriff says there's an easy way to crack down on prescription drug abuse: require doctors to use a statewide, online database every time they write a prescription for serious painkillers.

Michigan already has an online system called MAPS, the Michigan Automated Prescription System.

Hazen Schumacher. / Michigan Radio

Sad news for jazz lovers this weekend. 

Radio legend Hazen Schumacher died yesterday at the age of 88.

The Michigan broadcaster was known nationally as host of the "Jazz Revisited" program.