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Blogtrepreneur / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

The Michigan Court of Appeals has ruled against plaintiffs in a discrimination lawsuit against Wayne County over tax foreclosures.

The ACLU filed the lawsuit on behalf of a group of Detroit homeowners. It alleges that cities in Wayne County failed to perform required property tax assessments for years, over-assessing homes and forcing homeowners into tax foreclosure. The plaintiffs argue that these actions violated the Fair Housing Act because they disproportionately affected African-American homeowners. 

transfiguration school building
City of Detroit

An old Catholic school in Detroit’s Bangladeshi neighborhood will be redeveloped into 23 units of affordable housing.

 

Mayor Mike Duggan announced the $6.4 million project by Ethos Development Partners and Building Blocks Nonprofit Housing Corporation today. The groups will acquire the Transfiguration School from the Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit and renovate it.

lily tomlin and jane fonda
Photo: Marla Aufmuth/TED Conference / Creative Commons / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Actresses Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda partnered are in Michigan with restaurant worker advocacy groups to promote a ballot initiative raising the minimum wage in Michigan.

Advocates are raising money and collecting signatures to get the measure, which would raise the state's minimum wage gradually to $12 an hour by 2022, on the 2018 ballot. 

Defer Elementary School in Grosse Pointe Park.
Appraiser / Creative Commons http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Grosse Pointe Public Schools has some of the strictest residency rules in the state. The district has never participated in schools of choice, and aggressively pursues and expels students who are improperly enrolled from outside of the district.

Students' families must bring five original documents, in person, to the school office during business hours. Those documents include identification, proof of home ownership or rental, utility bills, and proof of car insurance. 

kid rock holding hot dog and vernors can
kidrock.com

The advocacy group Common Cause has filed complaints with the Federal Election Commission and the Department of Justice against Robert Ritchie, better known as Kid Rock, alleging the singer promoted himself as a candidate without filing the proper paperwork.

Federal election law requires candidates for office to register their candidacy, comply with campaign contribution restrictions, and disclose contributions publicly. Ritchie launched a campaign website and began selling "Kid Rock for Senate" merchandise in July, but has been coy about officially announcing his candidacy. 

D. Weckerle

Some of the most toxic chemicals used in industry are treated and temporarily held at the US Ecology plant on the Hamtramck-Detroit border, and plans to expand it tenfold have raised fears for neighbors and environmentalists.

Courtesy of Romeo Durscher / NASA

It is indeed dark during the day as a total solar eclipse makes its way from Oregon to South Carolina.

Fourteen states are in the path of total darkness.

Follow the astronomical phenomenon's journey across America along with NPR journalists and others experiencing the eclipse.

Our live blog will start at around 10 a.m. and end around 3 p.m.

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Katie Park and Leanne Abraham/NPR / Source: NASA

The excitement has been building for weeks and weeks. On Monday, August 21st the solar eclipse will finally be here. It will darken the skies along a path from Oregon to South Carolina. It's the first eclipse that will be seen from coast to coast in 99 years. Millions will don special glasses or watch through pinhole projectors. Eclipse enthusiasts say totality never disappoints.

Follow this live updating map tracking the position of the eclipse across the United States. The map will be live starting around 10 a.m. and end around 3 p.m.

Syringe
VCU CNS / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office is hosting an open community meeting on Monday, Aug. 21, 2017, to discuss the rising rates of opioid-related fatalities in the county. Nearly 300 people have died in Washtenaw County from opioid overdoses since 2011. In 2016, opioid-related fatalities outnumbered automobile accident fatalities. That reflects overall trends across the country. 

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has issued a recommendation against adopting "hunter pink" as an approved alternate color for hunting safety gear.

Other states like Colorado and Wisconsin allow hunters to ditch the traditional orange safety gear for pink. But Tom Wanless, Hunter Education Administrator with the DNR, says the agency doesn't have enough information on whether pink is safe enough.

"Contrary to what some people are thinking, hunter pink is not a true color," Wanless said. "Hunter orange is a true color. It is nationally and internationally recognized as the safety color for hunting."

Michael Dorausch / Flickr, http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

A lawsuit filed Thursday in Wayne County Circuit Court alleges Detroit’s city clerk violated election law.

Detroiter Anita Belle says she was trying to challenge the legitimacy of potentially more than a thousand absentee ballots. She says there are voters registered at addresses that are actually vacant lots owned by the Detroit Land Bank. Belle had hoped to challenge any ballots from those addresses. But she says she wasn’t allowed to.

Lake Michigan
User airbutchie / flickr.com

Communities along the shore of Lake Michigan in Wisconsin and Michigan have been recording unusually high levels of ozone for years. On some days, these levels even put them in violation of federal air quality standards.

The source of the pollution is presumed to be upwind urban centers, primarily Chicago, but little is known about how the ozone is transported to shoreline areas. 

Pontiac, Michigan. The Pontiac Commercial Historic District.
Andrew Jameson / wikimedia/GNU Free Documentation License

The cities of Lincoln Park and Pontiac have both improved their finances enough to exit state oversight and return to local control, according to press releases issued today by the Michigan Department of Treasury.

The Receivership Transition Advisory Boards, which have been monitoring the cities' finances since the departure of emergency managers, have been dissolved. That means locally elected officials have complete control of the municipal government again.

MDEQ seeks comments on Line 5 plan

Jul 24, 2017
One of the anchors used to hold Line 5 in place under the Straits of Mackinac.
Screen shot of a Ballard Marine inspection video / Enbridge Energy

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality is hosting a public meeting on Tuesday, July 25, to hear comments from the public on a new plan by Enbridge Energy to stabilize Line 5, an aging oil pipeline that runs beneath the Mackinac Straits.

Enbridge is already under fire ahead of the meeting for failing to take a worst-case oil spill scenario into account in its plans. The National Wildlife Federation has submitted a detailed critique of the plan.

Eleleleven / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

More Detroit school kids could get art instruction, if a non-profit group succeeds in raising the money.

Last year, Art Road provided art teachers in four Detroit public schools. It hopes to boost that number in years to come.

This weekend, the group is teaming up with the Michigan Glass Project for its third-annual glassblowing festival at the Russell Industrial Center.

Citing nationwide trends towards cuts in art programs in schools, Art Road's Carol Hofgartner says the organization's mission is to replace those missing classes in schools that have need. 

Search finds no additional Asian carp

Jun 30, 2017
Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/

A search of Chicago-area waterways has turned up no additional Asian carp. Recent discovery of a live silver carp nine miles beyond an electric barrier raised concerns that more of the fish may have slipped through. The barrier was set up to keep invasive Asian carp from migrating into the Great Lakes.

Charlie Wooley, Deputy Regional Director for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, says that the discovery of the out-of-place carp is "concerning, but not catastrophic." 

police officer holding gun
NPR

A shooting occurred around 7 a.m. in Alexandria, Virginia at a baseball practice for Congressional Republicans. Three members of Michigan's Congressional delegation were at that practice: John Moolenaar, Jack Bergman and Mike Bishop. None of them were injured.

A former Michigan House staffer was among those shot, although the injuries are reportedly not considered life threatening.

A Health Blog / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

A controversial proposal to integrate behavioral healthcare with physical healthcare under management by private insurance companies is moving ahead, under a budget plan making its way through the state Legislature.

The new budget would require a pilot program  in Kent County, and allows the state to conduct up to three more pilot programs. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Hundreds of thousands of people in Michigan live in poverty, and new research suggests that number would be lower if some workers weren't being cheated out of pay they have earned.

Bike share program launches in Detroit

May 19, 2017
Red MoGo bikes
MoGo, Detroit Bike Share

Detroit's first bike share program will kick off next Tuesday, with a community ride starting at One Ford Place. The event will begin at 10:30 AM with remarks from Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, and then commence with a ride out by volunteers who will disperse the bikes to 43 stations around the city. 

Courtesy of Rebecca Fedewa / Flint River Watershed Coalition

After battling bottled water giant Nestle, residents and concerned citizens near Evart now are trying to keep another company from drawing down and potentially contaminating their water supply.

Just six miles from Nestle's wells, Michigan Potash, a Colorado-based company, is seeking permits to drill 11 injection wells for a potash mining operation. Potash, a mineral element, is naturally occurring in Michigan and is used in many forms of fertilizer.

User mgreason / wikimedia commons

A conservation group is raising questions about Dow Chemical's attempts to convince the Trump administration to drop studies that show Dow's pesticides could harm endangered species.

A rally in support of Jose Luis Sanchez-Ronquillo at Bach Elementary School
Catherine Shaffer

Supporters of Jose Luis Sanchez-Ronquillo rallied at Ann Arbor's Bach Elementary School today to protest his deportation. Sanchez-Ronquillo has been detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement since April 19. He is married with two children in Ann Arbor schools, and is the primary breadwinner for the family.

Sanchez-Ronquillo has been fighting to remain in the U.S. since a 2012 court order for his removal. He was detained during what his family thought was a routine immigration check-in. 

Switchblade ban repeal headed to House

Apr 22, 2017
A switchblade.
Torus Mastaz / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/

Michigan's ban on switchblades could soon be repealed.

The state Senate voted overwhelmingly in favor of repealing the ban.

The bill's sponsor, state Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, was inspired by 1950s Hollywood movies depicting their use in gang violence. Jones says those depictions were unrealistic and the law is outdated. He says that a switchblade is no more dangerous than other types of small knives, and is not being used in any significant numbers in violent crime.

Humane4 / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Clothing donation bins operated by Houston, Texas-based A.T.R.S. are labeled with claims that 100% of the market value of every donation is given to the Michigan Humane Society. However, an investigation by the Michigan attorney general's office revealed that the company only passed on 6% of its revenues from sales of the donations to the charity, and pocketed 94%.

Chris Chan / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

JCPenney released its list of 138 planned store closures nationwide, including seven Michigan stores. The closures are part of a plan to "optimize its national retail operations" in order to return to profitability, according to the company. It will also relocate a supply chain facility in Buena Park, California. The closures will cut about 5,000 jobs nationwide. JCPenney says it will provide outplacement support services for eligible associates. Liquidation of the stores will begin April 17.

The stores to be closed in Michigan are:

Lakeview Square Mall, Battle Creek

Goats can prove useful in managing urban weed populations.
User rlsycle / flickr.com

Battle Creek residents may soon be able to keep hens, rabbits, miniature goats, and honey bees in their back yards. City commissioners are holding a public workshop on Tuesday, March 21, to discuss the proposal. 

The ordinance would include some limitations. It would not allow roosters, or on-site slaughtering. Licensing and permits would be required to keep the animals, and there would be some guidelines for distance from neighbors and shelters for the animals.

Relative sizes of ticks at different life stages.
CDC

Ticks that carry Lyme disease have become active in Michigan with the recent unseasonably warm temperatures. The range for ticks has been expanding in Michigan for years, bringing with it a spike in Lyme disease cases. 

Jean Tsao, an associate professor at Michigan State University's Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, said that a student brought in several ticks that were found on a dog in Lansing.

"The ticks that are out now are the black-legged adults. Those usually overwinter. But they can become active if you have several days that are warmer," says Tsao.

Michigan Dept of Corrections

Lamarr Monson is a step closer to being a free man, after serving nearly two decades in prison for a murder he likely didn’t commit.

A Wayne County judge today ordered a new trial in Monson’s case. New evidence suggests a different man used a toilet tank lid to bludgeon a 12-year-old girl to death in 1996.

Monson was arrested by police shortly after the murder of Christina Brown. 

Donald J. Trump takes the Oath of Office and becomes the nation's 45th President.
White House

Donald Trump became the nation's 45th President at noon on January 20, 2017. 

We provided live annotations and analysis of Trump's speech. NPR reporters, editors, and producers transcribed his remarks in real time and provided footnotes with analysis, context, and fact-checks.

You can watch the inauguration here, or below:

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