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Michelle Huan

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State of Opportunity

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Stateside

Bre'Anna Tinsley

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Nathan Bishop

Detroit ranked tenth on a list of worst metropolitan areas in the U.S. for asthma attacks in African-American children due to oil and gas exposure. That’s according to a new study, “Fumes Across the Fence-Line,” released by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the Clean Air Task Force, and the National Medical Association.

 

An uncorrected summary of benefits for a Blue Cross Blue Shield PPO plan showing language requiring prior authorization for mental health and substance abuse outpatient treatment.
Dr. Lou Feurino

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is apologizing for a significant error in its benefits plan documents for 2018.

 

The error related to mental health and substance abuse treatment. Benefits summaries for some plans said they required prior authorization for mental health or substance abuse outpatient treatment.

That sent some patients--and their doctors--into a panic. A requirement for prior authorization could mean that some patients would not be able to continue their treatments, or might be required to change providers.

user: jdurham / morguefile

A new bill in the Michigan House of Representatives would allow charter schools to take a cut of regional public school millages, including online charter schools, or cyber schools. Senate Bill 574 would require intermediate school districts that pass enhancement millages to share those revenues with charter schools. The bill was passed by the House Education Reform Committee last week. 

Tracy Samilton / Michigan Radio

On Tuesday, October 24, the Great Lakes Water Authority issued a boil water advisory for parts of Oakland County after a 48-inch water main broke late Monday night.

The boil water advisory ended for all communities on Monday, October 30. 

Michigan Radio followed this story, and updated it as events unfolded and as new information was made available. Scroll down and read up to see how the story unfolded.

runron / morguefile

Michiganders know a thing or two about cars, and a new poll finds a sizable majority of people in the state want their cars to run cleaner and more efficiently.

According to the poll, 73 percent of Michigan voters support requiring the auto industry to continue meeting increased fuel-efficiency standards and reducing tailpipe emissions for new cars, minivans, SUVs and pickup trucks.

person shaking prescription pills from bottle into hand
flickr user frankileon / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The founder of a company being sued by Wayne and Oakland counties has been arrested on charges of racketeering, mail fraud, and wire fraud, among others.

Insys Therapeutics is one of the companies named in a broad lawsuit targeting manufacturers and distributors of opioid drugs. The lawsuit alleges that a number of companies engaged in misleading and deceptive marketing tactics, and that many failed to report suspicious deliveries of drugs a required by law. 

Krosseel / morguefile

Thousands of Michiganders have become trapped in a cycle of debt after resorting to high interest, short-term loans to make ends meet, and advocates for the financially vulnerable say a new package of bills would make matters much worse.

bottle of water
Wilson Hui / Flickr / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

A new bill introduced into the Michigan Legislature would impose a 5 cent per gallon fee on bottled water.

Michigan Radio

Oakland and Wayne County Executives have filed suit in federal court against 13 opioid drug manufacturers and distributors.

They claim the drug makers' deceptive marketing campaigns over many years contributed heavily to the current opioid addiction crisis.

In 2016, there were 817 opioid-related deaths in Wayne County, a 61 percent increase over the previous year. In Oakland County, opioid-related deaths have risent from 9 in 2009 to 33 in 2015. 


governor rick snyder
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A congressional committee has asked Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder to address when he learned about a fatal outbreak of Legionnaires' disease during the Flint water crisis after an aide contradicted the governor's timeline.

Catherine Shaffer / Michigan Radio

The Detroit branch NAACP hosted an event Friday to raise awareness about Detroit's aging water infrastructure, and to call on the federal government to update and repair it.

Detroit's situation is part of a nationwide infrastructure crisis, but the need is critical in the Great Lakes region, advocates say, because more than 30 million people depend on the lakes for their drinking water. 

Undocumented students rally on UM campus

Oct 5, 2017

Undocumented students rallied on the University of Michigan campus to raise awareness of their needs ahead of the repeal of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

People in the DACA program arrived in the United States as children, and have been allowed to remain in the country to work or attend school. The students said they wanted to bring attention to their predicament, and ask the administration for specific supports and resources.

Pippalou / Morguefile

Grand Rapids has earned a reputation as one of Michigan's most "hip" cities, but it also wants to be at the forefront of the movement to create places where age isn't a barrier to being active in community life.

The city is working to become part of the AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities, which includes factors like housing, outdoor spaces and transportation to maximize the economic and social power of older residents. Associate state director at AARP Michigan, Jennifer Munoz, said with changing demographics, cities can't afford to focus only on the young.

"If a community doesn't address the needs of all populations, from stroller to walker, then we will lose residents in our communities," Munoz says. "So, it's important that we allow them the resources and the necessities so that they can age in place."

gavel
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.

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