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Michelle Huan

Reem Nasr

Chrissy Yates

State of Opportunity

Megha Satyanarayana


Bre'Anna Tinsley


Traverse Area District Library

At the Woodmere branch of the Traverse Area District Library in Traverse City, storytelling doesn’t just mean picture books and reading aloud. It means singing, crafts and sometimes, tackling difficult topics: like sexual abuse.

In April, children’s librarian Catherine Lancaster planned a story time based on Jill Starishevsky’s children’s book “My Body Belongs to Me”, which tells the story of a child inappropriately touched by an uncle’s friend. The child tells on the adult and is met with praise for being brave.  

Ashley Rose / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/

A non-profit agency based in Livingston County wants sexual assault victims to call them first, before the police.

LACASA Center offers medical care, including a rape kit that meets law enforcement standards, counseling, and legal support to victims in a safe and confidential setting. Victims are under no obligation to report their crime to police, but if they choose to do so, LACASA can guide them through a legal process that can be difficult and at times shaming for victims.

Paula Friedrich/Michigan Radio

Dozens of flyers in the front hallway of the newly renovated Pinckney Community Public Library advertise programs: puzzle hour, knitting group, kids yoga, adult Zumba, after-hours movie nights and, of course, book discussion groups. Director Hope Siasoco flits among all of them, calling patrons by name, pointing out the local artwork hanging on the wall and joking that the movie nights are the “cheapest date in town.”

Paula Friedrich/Michigan Radio

There’s a bright blue bus that rumbles through Ypsilanti streets. The words “Start Here. Go Anywhere.” are painted on the outside. On the inside there are shelves of books, two computers, a reading nook and a checkout station.

“We function as a moving block party,” said Mary Garboden, who runs the bookmobile as Ypsilanti District Library’s outreach librarian. At every stop kids run onto the bus, returning DVDs, checking out books or making use of the bus’ internet equipped computers.

Paula Friedrich/Michigan Radio

On a recent Thursday, the Cascade Branch of the Kent District Library in Cascade Township, just outside of Grand Rapids, was bustling – but not just with patrons checking out books.

Toddlers played in KDLville, a learning center that engages kids and their parents through writing, talking, playing, singing, and reading, which all promote literacy. The branch even offers events where patrons can learn how to hula hoop, watch movies on the big screen and get answers to their technology questions without going to the Apple Store.

Paula Friedrich/Michigan Radio

Although Walton Erickson Memorial Library in Morley is one of only six libraries left in the state that uses a physical card catalog instead of an automated one, that doesn't mean it's technology deficient.

The library has six computers, often occupied by patrons who come to file their taxes, book bus and plane tickets, or do homework.

Morley is a rural town an hour north of Grand Rapids, dotted with cornfields and farm stands full of fresh produce. The library serves an area of 9,800 people, including a sizeable Amish population.

Paula Friedrich/Michigan Radio

You check out rent the giant chess set that’s in the lobby of the downtown branch of the Ann Arbor District Library. Production librarian Jody Harnish said since it takes about about a dozen human-sized bags to transport, they haven’t found a good way to coordinate it. But that’s about the only thing that’s off limits. There are electric guitars, models of the human brain, sewing machines, Frisbee golf sets and energy meters, all ready to be checked out, just like a book.  

Paula Friedrich/Michigan Radio

  Pre-Wikipedia there was the encyclopedia.

Pre-Google there was the reference desk.


In the age of the Internet, what’s the future of the local library?

Paula Friedrich / Michigan Radio

Pre-Wikipedia there was the encyclopedia.

Pre-Google there was the reference desk.

In the age of the Internet, what’s the future of the local library?

We drove across the state and visited several local libraries to see for ourselves. We found libraries that serve their communities in different ways.

Complaints by Ann Arbor residents have prompted Scio Township to look into an odor problem originating with the township's waste system. Sewage pumped from Scio Township's wastewater treatment system enters Ann Arbor's system near the corner of Arborview Boulevard and Miller Avenue. At times, especially on hot summer days, the sewage produces a powerful odor that residents say forces them to stay indoors.

(courtesy of HIVandHepatitis.com)

Doctors have been grossly underestimating liver damage in patients with hepatitis C, according to a new study in the American Journal of Gastroenterology.

The study, which involved 9,783 patients, showed that 2,788, or 29 percent, had signs of cirrhosis, but only 1,727 had the condition properly documented in their medical records. 

Grand River Edges Trail.
user deckheck / Rails to Trails Conservancy

The Grand River, from Jackson to Grand Haven, will become a water trail, under a new designation by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

The project will make improvements along the river, adding trail markers and amenities for paddlers. The Michigan water trails project is intended to promote tourism, healthy lifestyles, and natural resources, according to Marc Miller, Regional Initiatives Deputy with the DNR.

Paula Friedrich / Michigan Radio

A few decades ago, if you wanted to know how far Port Huron is from Grand Rapids, you'd have had to look it up in a book. And that book would have probably come from the library. Today, Google will tell you the answer (180.9 miles) in less than a second.

So where does that leave libraries, with their stores of atlases, story books, encyclopedias and dictionaries?

That's what we're exploring when we hit the road on tomorrow to do some reporting for an upcoming online feature.

LadyDragonflyCC - >;< / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

People in Northwest Michigan are still cleaning up the damage from severe storms that caused damage at some of the state's most popular tourist spots.

Hail damaged fruit trees. Nearly 100-mile-an-hour winds damaged homes and other buildings. It caused almost $35 million in damage in Grand Traverse and Leelanau Counties, according to early estimates.

Lake Improvement Association / Flickr

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that a 2011 algae bloom shut down Toledo's water system. It also incorrectly attributed to Dr. Sonia Joseph-Joshi a statement that this year's blooms are not expected to affect the system.

A growth of harmful algae on Lake Erie has grown larger than last year's bloom, according to the National and Oceanic Atmospheric Adminstration's Lake Erie Harmful Algal Bloom Bulletin. 

User Motown31 / Creative Commons

 Lincoln Consolidated Schools will resolve its budget deficit in part by cutting about 50 teaching jobs, says Superintendent Ellen Bonter. About ten teachers have accepted buyout offers, and another 24 have been laid off by the Ypsilanti-area school district.

"We’re hoping that number could increase, hoping that we could return some of our laid off teachers to full employment," Bonter says.

A reduction of $4.7 to $5 million will come from the teacher's unit alone, with another million to 1.5 million from other areas of the budget. 

Joe Woods
Paula Friedrich / Michigan Radio

After five years, Washtenaw County’s street paper “Groundcover,” is facing more demand than the monthly publication can handle.

Groundcover pledges news “from the ground up,” and serves as an accessible source of income for homeless and for other people for whom mainstream employment is difficult to find. Vendors buy the paper for 25 cents and sell it for a dollar.

The confluence of Talmadge Creek and the Kalamazoo River in 2010 (left), and in 2015 (right).
USEPA and Mark Brush / USEPA, Michigan Radio

Five years ago today, an oil pipeline near Marshall, Michigan split open, starting the biggest inland oil spill in U.S. history.

The heavy tar sands oil came from Enbridge Energy's pipeline 6B. The oil flowed into Talmadge Creek and then into the Kalamazoo River.

Historical Society of Greater Lansing

When the Historical Society of Greater Lansing hosted an oral history with the owner of Lansing's longstanding Jim's Tiffany restaurant, more than 80 people showed up to listen.

The primary election for Grand Rapids' new mayor will take place next Tuesday
All photos courtesy of candidate Facebook pages

All four Grand Rapids mayoral candidates, Rosalynn Bliss, Robert Dean, John George and Willard participated in a town-hall style forum hosted by Michigan Radio, The Grand Rapids Press and the Michigan League of Conservation Voters at the Grand Rapids Public Museum.

Each candidate was given the opportunity to make an opening statement, followed by a question-and-answer session. The event was moderated by Zoe Clark, Executive Producer for Stateside on Michigan Radio, and questions will be asked by Lindsey Smith, Michigan Radio West Michigan reporter and Matt Vande Bunte, The Grand Rapids Press government reporter.

Kalamazoo Poem
Flickr User Joel Dinda / Creative Commons (http://bit.ly/1iowB8m)

Michigan last had a poet laureate in 1959, but a bipartisan bill introduced in the state House of Representatives is looking to change that.

Michiganders are feeling better about the economy, but lukewarm on other topics
morguefile user Penywise / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Mom and dad are spending again.

For the first time since 2010, parents are the biggest contributors to college bills. At 32%, their giving just outpaces the 30% paid through scholarships and grants. That's according to a national survey on how Americans pay for college by Sallie Mae and Ipsos, an independent market research company based in France.

Tijl Vercaemer / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg says he can't support a new deal negotiated between Iran and six world powers – the U.S., the U.K., France, China, Russia, and Germany – because it gives Iran too much freedom to continue developing weapons and does not include a provision for the release of four U.S. citizens currently in Iranian prisons. One of those Americans is Amir Hekmati, a marine from Flint, Michigan, who has been in prison in Tehran for over three years on spying charges.

User: penywise / MorgueFile

U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell won't support a free-trade deal she says will harm the auto industry and Michigan's economy.

She's criticizing the Obama administration's Trans-Pacific Partnership on the basis that it doesn't address currency manipulation that keeps foreign currencies artificially low compared to the U.S. dollar. 

Catherine Shaffer / Michigan Radio

A  veterans fair in Washtenaw County today offered one-stop shopping for employment, counseling, health, and other services. About 20 groups participated in the event at Scio Township Hall. Michigan U.S. Reps. Tim Walberg and Debbie Dingell hosted the event. 

Organizations on hand to offer help included the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System, the VFW Department of Michigan Service Office, the Washtenaw County Department of Veterans Affairs, Buddy-to-Buddy Volunteer Veteran Program, Michigan Operation Freedom Outdoors, and many more. 

The ArduCopter from DIY Drones can take pictures in the sky.
DIY Drones

Legislation in Lansing would make it a crime to fly a drone around the state Capitol building without a permit.

The Michigan State Capitol Commission is responsible for maintaining the Capitol grounds, and it voted unanimously on Monday to ban remote-controlled aerial vehicles from flying over the building.

Carolyn Gearig / Michigan Radio

In 2013, Michigan’s drug-related death rate was 18.5 deaths per 100,000 people*, higher than most other states in the country. The U.S. average was 14.6.

Tara / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Historic Fort Wayne in southwest Detroit may be set to receive a makeover.

Originally constructed in 1845 to protect Detroit interests along the Canadian border, the fort saw its first real action during the Civil War when Michigan soldiers reported there for duty. In subsequent years, it served as an intake center for every American conflict spanning from the Civil War to Vietnam.

Joe Hertler and the Rainbow Seekers
Courtesy of Joe Hertler

Detroit is listening to Peezy, Ann Arbor to Joe Hertler and the Rainbow Seekers, and Grand Rapids is sticking to Top 40 country. 


Detroit area cancer specialist Dr. Farid Fata will serve 45 years in prison for a health care fraud scheme that generated about $34 million in fraudulent Medicare claims.

Fata admitted to administering medically unnecessary cancer treatments to 553 patients. Those treatments included chemotherapy, intravenous iron, and various infusion therapies.