WUOMFM

Kate Wells

Host/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.   

people in voting booths
Paulette Parker / Michigan Radio

State senators are making voting laws an issue this year. A mostly Democratic group of senators has introduced a set of bills they say will make voting easier for everyone.

One of the bills would allow people to preregister to vote when they turn 16 – as long as they have a driver’s license or a state ID card.

Democratic Senator Steve Bieda is a bill sponsor. Calling the legislation innovative, he said the state needs to keep up with modern times when it comes to voting. 

Warren Mayor Jim Fouts
Jim Fouts Facebook page

“I will not resign,” says Warren Mayor Jim Fouts on Facebook this morning, just an hour after several Democrats – including Congressman Sander Levin, D-MI, – called on Fouts to quit over racist, sexist audio tapes that are allegedly of Fouts.

Here's his Facebook post:

Charlie Davidson / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

In a perfect world, all of our doctors would be really, really good at something called “motivational interviewing.”

There are a million websites and books devoted to motivational interviewing, but here’s a super-quick synopsis (that might make an expert in motivational interviewing cringe): basically, it’s an in-depth, open-ended, non-judgmental conversation about health behaviors that draws out our own thoughts about our drug use/alcoholism/weight struggles, etc. 

Lawsuits against the university claim students started reporting abuse as early as 1999.
user John M. Quick / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

In 1999, an MSU student athlete says she told her head coach and trainers that Dr. Larry Nassar, then a sports doctor at the school and an Olympics gymnastics physician, “touched her vaginal area although she was seeking treatment for an injured hamstring.”

Michigan Attorney General's office

Eighteen alleged victims are suing former Olympic gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar and his former employer, Michigan State University.

The accusers are current and former athletes who sought treatment from Dr. Nassar, but instead, they say, they were repeatedly molested, with Dr. Nassar groping them and, in some cases, digitally penetrating them.  

Nassar was also a sports medicine professor at MSU until the school fired him in September.

One of the accusers, Rachael Denhollander, says the university failed them in its previous investigations into abuse.

Joy VanBuhler/Flickr Creative Commons

A federal judge has thrown out a sexual assault lawsuit against the University of Michigan, in which a former student claimed he was wrongly accused of rape.

The man – who just goes by John Doe in the court filings – says he had consensual sex with a female student at a party in January 2016.

She filed a complaint, however, saying she’d been drinking and was incapacitated at the time; she says she’d also told him “no sex” that night.

Flickr Creative Commons/Sanofi Pasteur

“Who killed Karina Baxter and the…other individuals (in the 2012 fungal meningitis outbreak)"?

That’s the question federal prosecutors are asking the court to consider, as the murder case against Barry Cadden began today in Boston.

Cadden’s the former co-owner and head pharmacist of the New England Compounding Center. That’s the place that made contaminated back pain injections, which it shipped out to pain clinics and doctors across the country.

Hundreds of people got sick. More than 60 died, including 19 in Michigan.

Ricardo Giaviti / Flickr

Fiat Chrysler says it's investing $1 billion in its U.S. factories to create 2,000 new jobs and add three new Jeep vehicles including a pickup truck, according to the Associated Press. The company says it will modernize a factory in Warren, Michigan to make two large SUVs. A plant in Toledo, Ohio, also will get new equipment to make a new Jeep pickup. The announcement is a continuation of efforts to increase production of SUVs and trucks as the company gets out of the small and midsize car businesses.

user clarita / morguefile

What happens to the state’s economy when 600,000 more Michiganders get health insurance, thanks to the state’s Medicaid expansion – AKA the Health Michigan plan that’s part of the Affordable Care Act?

According to Dr. John Ayanian, professor and director of the Institute of Healthy Policy and Innovation the University of Michigan, you get about 30,000 new jobs a year.

flickr/Sanofi Pasteur

For more than four years, victims of the 2012 fungal meningitis outbreak have been waiting for this.

Two men face second-degree murder charges in a trial set to begin this Friday: Barry Cadden and Glenn Chin, both of whom worked for the drug company that pumped out tainted back pain medications. 

Flickr Creative Commons/Britt-nee

This is the year I’m going to lose weight. And eat better! And go to the gym three times a week!

Those are the most popular kind of New Year’s resolutions in the country: last year, nearly 70% of us vowed to be fit and healthy or lose weight. 

Lopez: "[Immigration] raids affect all sorts of relationships. Relationships between individuals, between family members, between Latino communities and white communities, and also between immigrant and Latino communities and local police departments."
J J / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Just days after the presidential election, a University of Michigan student told police she’d been approached by an unknown man, who threatened to set her on fire with a lighter if she didn’t take off her hijab.

Now, police say they don’t think that actually happened.

In a statement released today, Ann Arbor police say investigators talked to witnesses and looked at several surveillance videos around the “area in question.” The student told them it took place off campus, on November 11th, between 5:30 and 7:00 pm on the 600 block of East William street.  

LSAT study books.
user Shane S / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

A Michigan man wants blind people to be able to opt out of taking the Law School Admissions Test, or LSAT. And now, he’s taking the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Five years ago, Angelo Binno sued the American Bar Association for disability discrimination.

The Bar says law schools are required, as part of their admissions process, to only accept students that have taken the LSAT or another “valid and reliable test.”

Michigan Attorney General's office

Dr. Larry Nassar has been indicted by a federal grand jury for allegedly possessing “thousands of images of child pornography” dating back to 2003. If he’s convicted, he faces up to 40 years in prison, the U.S. Attorney’s office says.

The indictment itself is for two counts of receiving and attempting to receive child porn, and lists several sexually descriptive files.  Dr. Nassar allegedly received “images that involved a minor who had not attained 12 years of age,” according to the federal indictment.

Who is Dr. Larry Nassar?

Babies exposed to opioids in the womb may suffer from Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, especially in rural areas
User anitapatterson / Morguefile / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

As more babies are born addicted to opioids, rural communities are being hit the hardest, according to a new study from a University of Michigan pediatrician.  

Between 2004 and 2013, urban areas saw a four-fold increase in babies born with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (that’s the clinical term for a baby born addicted to opioids, including heroin and some prescription painkillers). Rural areas saw a seven-fold surge.

Shayan Sanyal / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

When teenagers commit murder, you can’t treat them the same as adults.

Legally, the U.S. Supreme Court says you can’t just throw teenagers in prison forever, with no chance at parole, except in very rare cases. 

What "rare" really means in Michigan 

Matt Landry was just 21 years old when he was shot and killed, execution style, in an abandoned house in Detroit.

Doreen Landry, his mom, talked to WDIV about Landry’s killers.

healthcare.gov / YouTube

The deadline to sign up for a 2017 Obamacare plan is December 15th. That's  the last day for normal enrollment, if you want coverage starting January 1st.

After that, you can only sign up if you qualify for a “special enrollment period” prompted by a life event, like having a baby or losing your health insurance.  

Almost 400,000 Michiganders are covered under the individual plans they bought on the Affordable Care Act marketplace.

bottle of pills
Tom Varco / Wikimedia Commons / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Bills making their way through the Michigan Legislature would allow school staff to more quickly treat students who overdose on heroin or prescription opioid pills. 

If they pass, teachers wouldn’t have to wait for an ambulance before getting them naloxone, aka Narcan, the anti-opioid drug that police and EMS workers carry.

The Uptake/Flickr

Hoo boy. Here we go, folks.

A hand recount of 4.8 million ballots, all done before December 13 to meet federal deadlines. 

Oakland County and Ingham County are scheduled to begin their recounts at noon Monday, in order to comply with a judge's early morning order that the state begin its recount right away. That way, state elections workers will be able to focus on these two counties first, iron out the process a bit, and then help the other counties begin tomorrow morning. 

Michigan is undefeated and ranked No. 2 in the country heading into next weekend's rivalry game in East Lansing against Michigan State.
Flickr user Anthony Gattine/Flickr / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Well Michigan fans, we were pretty much resigned to this, but now it’s official: no. 6 Michigan juuust missed a spot in the College Football Playoff. 

Instead, the Wolverines are heading to the Orange Bowl, where they’ll face off against Florida State. 

It’s the first time Michigan has appeared in this game since Tom Brady led the team to victory over Alabama in 2000. 

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 formed a workgroup that made 69 recommendations on how the state of Michigan should manage and improve its mental health care system. The question is, how many of those recommendations will be turned into actual policies?
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.

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