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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:

The U.S. Capitol at 6:31 a.m. ET this morning.
Steve Inskeep / NPR

The country inaugurated a new president on Friday, January 20, 2017

Donald J. Trump became the 45th U.S. President after he took the Oath of Office at noon eastern time on the steps of the U.S. Capitol.

Gov. Snyder delivers his 2017 State of the State address.
House TV

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder delivered his 2017 State of the State address last night.

Snyder focused much of the annual address on his achievements as governor, while insisting there is more work to be done. See more analysis of his speech here.

You can watch the address below:

President-elect Donald Trump.
user Gage Skidmore / Flickr - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

The NPR Politics team and reporters across the newsroom live-annotated a news conference with President-elect Donald Trump. 

Photo of President Obama speaking in Ann Arbor.
Melanie Kruvelis / Michigan Radio

The NPR Politics team and reporters across the newsroom gave us live-annotations to President Obama's farewell address in Chicago on Tuesday night.

You can watch the address here, or below:

General Motors

In another tweet targeting a U.S. company, President-elect Donald Trump is threatening to slap a tax on General Motors for importing one model of a compact car to the U.S. from Mexico.

Fermi 2 plant renewed for 20 more years

Dec 16, 2016
Enrico Fermi Nuclear Generating Station
Nuclear Regulatory Agency

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has renewed the Fermi 2 nuclear power plant's operating license for another 20 years. That will extend the plant's operating license through March 20, 2045.

The approval follows safety and environmental impact studies showing that the plant met standards for its license to be renewed.

"The NRC found that there's reasonable assurance that the plant's systems and functions can still operate safely and be conducted in a safe manner to go ahead and grant the license renewal," says Prema Chandrathil, a spokesperson for the NRC.

Kaye LaFond / Michigan Radio

As this infographic shows, only Pennsylvania ranks higher than Michigan when it comes to handing out life sentences without the possibility for parole to juveniles.

The U.S. Supreme Court says states have to review these sentences for all those who were convicted and sentenced as juveniles, and that "life without the possibility of parole" should only be reserved for "the rarest of juvenile offenders, those whose crimes reflect permanent incorrigibility."

Click on the graphic to see more.

Device generates energy from movement

Dec 9, 2016
Smart phone
Johan Larsson / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

A new device developed by researchers from Michigan State University may soon be available for development of wearable devices that harvest energy from walking, touching, or other human motions. The film-like device produces an electrical potential when moved. The researchers showed that it can power an LCD screen, a bank of 20 LED lights, and a keyboard. 

Rick Pluta / MPRN

We followed the twists, turns, and drama surrounding Michigan's presidential recount. Green Party candidate Jill Stein requested the recount in Michigan (and in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania) after stories circulated about the need for a robust auditing system of elections in the U.S. (Read more about that here.)

The number of hate incidents logged during the 10 days after the general election.
Southern Poverty Law Center

The Southern Poverty Law Center released a new report showing that it received 40 hate incident complaints in the 10 days following the U.S. general election on Nov. 8, 2016.

Hate incidents are defined as acts of hostility directed at a person based on race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, gender identity, or sexual orientation. The center recorded 22 incidents in Ohio, 16 in Indiana, 25 in Illinois, and 13 in Wisconsin. There were 867 incidents nationwide.

Many hate incidents have been reported by the media in Michigan.

Ann Arbor-based Esperion Therapeutics is riding a wave of renewed enthusiasm for pharmaceutical stocks since the presidential election. Esperion is developing a cholesterol-lowering drug, bempedoic acid, that experts believe may be more effective and less expensive than drugs currently on the market. Bempedoic acid is in Phase III clinical trials and, if all goes well, is expected to hit the market as soon as 2019. 

flickr user Gage Skidmore / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Hundreds of people gathered on U of M's Ann Arbor campus yesterday to protest Donald Trump's election. The president-elect used sexist and racially charged speech for the majority of his campaign.

David Schafer is a senior at U of M.

He says the key for students is to stay involved after the vigil.

“I think it's ensuring that our work does not start and stop tonight or even tomorrow or next week,” he said. “I think it's continuing to challenge people who might be saying problematic things.

Charles Pugh

A former Detroit City Council president and Channel 2 anchor was sentenced to five and a half to fifteen years in prison for criminal sexual conduct with a minor by Wayne County Circuit Judge Thomas Cameron.

The victim, Austin Williams, previously testified that he met Pugh at the Channel 2 (Fox TV) station in March 2003 when Pugh worked there. At the time the sex acts occurred, Williams was 14, below the legal age of consent. 

Williams filed charges in 2013. By that time Pugh had moved on to become Detroit City Council president. 

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