Michigan Radio Newsroom

News and Production Staff

Michigan Radio offers internships in its newsroom and production departments. Check our employment page for current openings.

*Updates coming soon!

Newsroom

Michelle Huan

Reem Nasr

Chrissy Yates

State of Opportunity

Megha Satyanarayana

Stateside

Bre'Anna Tinsley

Operations

Ron, East Side Riders
Corine Vermeulen / Courtesy of Detroit Institute of Arts

A new Detroit Institute of Arts exhibit features stories of Detroit residents through portraits taken around the city.

The DIA commissioned Dutch-born Corine Vermeulen to photograph people in diverse communities for the exhibit that opens today and runs through May 17, 2015.

Vermeulen took photos of hundreds of Detroit residents in temporary portrait studios and asked them questions about their current and future vision of Detroit. 

The DIA says the exhibit includes more than 80 photographs from the sessions, including portraits of students, protesters and even custom-bike enthusiasts.

One such custom-bike enthusiast is "Ron," a member of the East Side Riders. Along with having his portrait taken (pictured above), Ron shed some light in an interview with Vermeulen on the reactions he and his fellow East Side Riders have received:

“I mean it was different reactions, some people laughed. A lot of people laugh when they hear the radios on the bike. They go, ‘I can’t believe that’s no radio on there.’ When they get up close, they be like, ‘that’s real nice. That’s real nice.’ But they were just laughing at us. But we still have fun. We just keep it moving. East Side. Keep moving.”

For more portraits and interviews, check out the Detroit Institute of Arts website.

- Ari Sandberg, Michigan Radio Newsroom

Virginia Gordan

There's a digital divide in health care.

Less than one third of Americans over 65 go online to get information about their health, according to a new University of Michigan study.

And barely 10% of older Americans with low health literacy – that is, who have difficulty finding their way around the health system – use the Internet to access health information.

Helen Levy, research associate professor at the U-M Institute for Social Research and lead author, said the digital divide could lead to disparities in health care and health outcomes.

Michigan State University

Researchers at Michigan State University have developed software to help nab criminals when there is no photo of a suspect or when the photo or video is of very poor quality.

The new FaceSketchID System matches police sketches with large photo databases of mug shots and drivers licenses.

Anil Jain, an MSU professor of computer science and engineering, led the research team.  He said this is another tool for identifying a possible suspect when the police only have visual descriptions from witnesses. "The face-recognition systems which we have match two photos," he said. "But they don't do very well in matching a composite with a photo. So that's the gap which we have filled through our research."

The University of Michigan Health System and the state's largest nurses union have signed a contract that protects nurses who care for an Ebola patient. 

The health system and the Michigan Nurses Association announced the agreement Monday. It includes standards for training and protective equipment, as well as provisions on unchanged salary for a quarantined nurse or a nurse who is infected with the virus.

The hospital has agreed to pay for all medical treatment and follow-up, including psychological testing, for nurses who need it.

Detroit's Jessica Hernandez & The Deltas made their television debut on David Letterman last night.

The band, which hails from southwest Detroit, performed their song "Sorry I Stole Your Man" from their album "Secret Evil."

The group was well received, and at the end of the performance Letterman said, "Wow, that's tremendous! That's it, no more calls! We have a winner ladies and gentleman, right here! Jessica Hernandez & The Deltas!" 

You can watch their performance here: 

Roger Greil, manager of LSSU's Aquatic Research Laboratory, holds up a container full of Atlantic salmon fry that were hatched in the wild, not in the lab's hatchery.
John Shibley / LSSU

Lake Superior State University researchers have determined that Atlantic salmon are naturally reproducing in the St. Mary's River.

The prized game fish were originally native to Lake Ontario, but experienced a massive population decline by the late 1800's. Today, Atlantic salmon are stocked in the St. Mary's River and in other parts of the upper Great Lakes.

Though the Atlantic salmon population remained healthy when maintained by the St. Mary's fishery, the salmon population did not take root naturally, apparently due to a thiamine deficiency.

While conducting research for his senior undergraduate thesis on sturgeon, Stefan Tucker found what he suspected were Atlantic salmon fry in the St. Mary's River. His identification was later confirmed by University of Michigan taxonomist Gerald Smith. Tucker and a team of researchers concluded that the Atlantic salmon population is indeed naturally reproducing.

A press release from Lake Superior State University explains the implications of this finding:

The discovery is not only exciting for those at LSSU, the Michigan Dept. of Natural Resources, and others who have been involved with stocking Atlantic salmon in the upper Great Lakes for more than two decades, but also to anyone who follows the changing dynamics of the Great Lakes, especially in relation to lake trout and salmonids.

Though this discovery answers one question, it begs others.

Tucker concluded his thesis by stating that "the extent of natural reproduction and mechanisms influencing reproductive success are unclear and warrant further attention."

- Ari Sandberg, Michigan Radio Newsroom

LGBT flag.
Guillaume Paumier / Flickr

A coalition of business and civil rights leaders is expanding an effort to lobby Michigan's Legislature to make it illegal to discriminate against gay and transgender people.

The Michigan Competitive Workforce Coalition consists of representatives from over two dozen local and national companies, including Google, Dow Chemical Company, and Zingerman's, as well as various local associations and chambers of commerce.

Map showing counties with the highest and lowest voter turnout.
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

The overall voter turnout for Michigan was a bit underwhelming this election cycle - less than half of those people eligible to vote in Michigan showed up at the polls on Election Day.

But what about individual counties? Which had the best voter turnout, and which had the worst?

Here's what we found from data provided by the office of the Michigan Secretary of State:

Counties with lowest voter turnout:

A scene in Portland.
user Ian Sane / Flickr

On November 4, voters in five Michigan cities voted to decriminalize marijuana possession.

  • Berkley
  • Huntington Woods
  • Mount Pleasant
  • Port Huron
  • Saginaw

These are the most recent cities to do so. But decriminalizing a federally illegal substance is complex. These laws leave a lot up to the interpretation of local law enforcement officials. 

Decriminalizing marijuana began back in 1972 in Ann Arbor, and has really picked up steam over the last few years. Here's an overview of the cities that have decriminalized marijuana in Michigan, when they did so, and what it means for residents and law enforcement.

Michigan Humane Society

The Michigan Humane Society recently broke ground on a state-of-the-art animal care center in Detroit.

The new facility will offer improved animal housing, expanded veterinary and rehabilitation services, a home for its cruelty investigation and rescue operations, and a community dog park.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Ann Arbor Public School voters have rejected a proposal to annex Whitmore Lake Public Schools.

Scott Menzel heads the Washtenaw Intermediate School District.

He says it's hard to know what will happen next.

“We've got an Ann Arbor (School) Board election. They'll have at least two new board members on the board and they'll have to decide what they want to do,” Menzel said. “With respect to Whitmore Lake, they're going to go back to the drawing board and do what they need to stay out of deficit.”

Amtrack will be adding 18 trains to its Wolverine Line over Thanksgiving.
JP Moore / flickr.com

Amtrak announced on Saturday that it will be adding 18 trains in Michigan during the Thanksgiving holiday travel period.

According to an Amtrak press release

The busiest travel days are the Tuesday and Wednesday  before Thanksgiving and the Sunday after the holiday. Other than Thanksgiving Day, morning  trains typically have more available seats than those in the afternoon and evening.

Over the past few months, Michigan Radio hosted live call-in shows with the candidates for Michigan governor and U.S. Senate.

The broadcasts were part of the Michigan Public Radio Network’s “Michigan Calling” series of 2014 election specials.

Rick Pluta, the Michigan Public Radio Network’s state Capitol bureau chief, hosted each hour-long program.

Listeners had the choice of calling in or submitting questions via Facebook at “Michigan Calling,” or Twitter using the hashtag: #MICalling.

You can watch or listen to the programs below.

Andrea Church / Morguefile

Whistleblowers in Michigan could earn up to a $5,000 reward if their tip leads to the arrest and conviction of anyone involved in the abuse of farm animals. The Humane Society of the United States has launched a national tip line where callers can report animal abuse at farms, slaughterhouses or livestock auctions.

Paul Shapiro, vice president of farm animal protection for the Humane Society of the United States, says as a result of their undercover investigations, they have found animal abuse at factory farms and slaughterhouses is rampant in the U.S.

An "exoplanet" orbiting a distant sun.
Jet Propulsion Lab/CalTech

In recent years, more than 1,800 exoplanets (planets that orbit a sun outside of our solar system) have been discovered across the universe by telescopes such as the Kepler Space Telescope. Hiding among these planets are some that researchers hope could perhaps be hospitable for life. 

The International Astronomical Union is now opening up the opportunity for the public to become involved with this exciting age of planetary discovery through its "Naming Exoworlds Contest."

Estimates of homeless people by state.
US Department of Housing and Urban Development

Federal and state officials disagree on the number of chronic homeless that are living in Michigan.

In its 2014 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development said that Michigan had a 6.1% increase in homelessness cases from 2013 to 2014, one of the highest in the nation, up 700 from 11,527 to 12,227. 

Morguefile

It's that time of year when we think about things going bump in the night.

So what if you believe a real ghost has taken up residence in your house and you want to move away? Do you need to tell potential buyers about your uninvited guest?

Michigan law is hazy when it comes to the seller's duty to disclose non-physical or so-called psychological defects of property, according to Gregg Nathanson, a Michigan real estate lawyer.  Haunted houses would fall into that category of property.

Recently, Suzette Hackney of POLITICO wrote an article that asked the question, “Is There Room for Black People in the New Detroit?” Her account begins at the corner of Agnes and Parker at a local restaurant where she describes seeing “designer dogs” and “tattooed millennials."

From her piece: 

The whole scene was a far cry from when I lived in the adjoining apartment building in the early 2000s... but this is the new Detroit.

I live in the neighborhood she describes, and even though Craft Work could be considered a “hip” establishment, I'm a little sad the area she described was reduced to a gentrified stereotype.

Michigan Department of Natural Resources

The most recent round of environmental DNA sampling on the Kalamazoo River showed no evidence of genetic material from Asian carp, according to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

Ed Golder, spokesperson for the department, says this is very good news, "but it doesn't mean that we're going to stop being vigilant about the concern that Asian carp generally, and silver carp and big head carp in particular, pose to the Great Lakes."

The Detroit budget department is hosting a public meeting on Tuesday to hear from residents what they believe the city’s budget priorities should be.

Representatives from a number of city departments will be present at the hearing, including fire, police, health, public lighting and public works.

John Roach is a spokesman for City of Detroit. He says because of the bankruptcy, the budget this year is a bit different from a typical city budget.

Image of the partial solar eclipse on October 23, 2014. The darkened spots on the sun are "sun spots," regions of cooler surface temperature.
Ron Moubry

Yesterday, a partial solar eclipse obscured the sun over Michigan and much of North America. The eclipse occurred at sunset, transforming our familiar setting sun into a fiery red.

For the curious, the eclipse was an opportunity to witness an astronomical event that will not happen again until August 2017.

The eclipse was captured in an amazing time-lapse video by the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles:

Ou yang Youheng / Flickr Creative Commons

The National Institutes of Health has made a $21.2 million grant over five years to a group of four Detroit institutions of higher education. 

The University of Detroit Mercy, Marygrove College,  Wayne  County Community College, and Wayne State University make up the consortium.

The goal of the NIH award is to encourage minority and low income students into biomedical research careers.

Lena Nicholson / Flickr Creative Commons

There is occupational segregation and inequality in Metro Detroit's restaurants, according to a report by Restaurant Opportunities Center United, a restaurant workers advocacy group.

Researchers are going to find out how well rubberized asphalt will resist potholes.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A group of researchers at Michigan Technological University is conducting tests to find out if traditional asphalt mixed with rubber from scrap tires could make better roads in Michigan.

The research, led by civil and environmental engineering department chair David Hand, has been granted $1.2 million from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

Professor Zhanping You has been studying the technology of rubberized asphalt for eight years. He says rubber-added asphalt can make roads more durable and make life easier for drivers.

CDC Global

Michigan has activated its Community Health Emergency Communications Center to coordinate statewide preparedness against the threat of the Ebola virus. The goal is for Michigan to be able to respond rapidly and effectively if a patient who may have, or is at risk for, the Ebola virus were identified in Michigan.

Gov. Rick Snyder has designated Director of Michigan Department of Community Health Nick Lyon and Chief Medical Executive Dr. Matthew Davis to lead the efforts.

"The public can be assured that the Department of Community Health is working with its partners across state government and in hospitals across the state to make certain we are maximizing protection for the population," said Davis.

University of Michigan's Burton Bell Tower
User Matthew Britt / flickr.com

According to a University of Michigan press release, the university's "total net position" has increased by $1.6 billion to $13.1 billion, and its endowment has grown by $1.3 billion to $9.7 billion in the past budget year.  

The endowment figures were presented in an annual investment report to the Board of Regents on Thursday in Flint. The report showed an 18.8% investment return for the endowment in fiscal year 2014, up from 10.7 percent last year.

Steven Vance / Flickr

A new state law requires driver education classes to include lessons on traffic laws concerning bicycles and motorcycles.

State Rep. Terry Brown, D-Pigeon, the bill's sponsor, said the law aims to make drivers more aware of bikes and motorcycles.

"New drivers – all of us drivers – are behind the wheel of very powerful instruments that can wreak a lot of harm," he said. "And we think folks need to be much more vigilant."

Road sign for 8 Mile Rd.
Sean Loyless / Flickr

When Michael Imperiale moved to Michigan from Brooklyn, New York, he noticed the mile road system and wanted to know what it was all about. 

"I've asked people from time to time, occasionally, and no one seemed to know," Imperiale said. He's a professor of microbiology and immunology at the University of Michigan. 

Asking his friends was a dead end, but that didn't stop Imperiale's curiosity. He took to M I Curious and asked a simple question: 8 Mile is 8 miles from where? 

User: Kelly Herrin / flickr

It’s the kind of service few of us look forward to having the need for – towing services.

And while many are reputable operators, some are known as "wreck chasers" – trolling for business from customers who are stranded in vehicles or at the scene of a car accident.

A new law in Michigan will prohibit tow truck operators from harassing drivers. Legislation signed by Gov. Rick Snyder on Thursday will fine tow truck drivers who use aggressive or unethical practices to solicit motorists $1,000. 

Wikimedia Commons

Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is joining an ever-growing list of national leaders visiting Michigan to bring out the vote for their parties' candidates.

Clinton will campaign at a public event next Thursday for Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Gary Peters and gubernatorial candidate Mark Schauer. The Michigan Democratic Party said details will be announced soon.

Clinton's visit will follow First Lady  Michelle Obama's Detroit appearance tomorrow to campaign for Peters and Schauer.

Pages