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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.

Time-Based: "Peralux" by NewD Media
ArtPrize

After 11 days of public voting, 20 finalists out of 1,536 entries have been selected for the ArtPrize grand prize of $200,000.

So far, over 37,000 people have cast votes in four categories: two dimensional, three-dimensional, time-based and installation artwork.

According to Christian Gaines, ArtPrize executive director, this public involvement is important to giving ArtPrize its societal relevance. 

Lars Plougmann / Creative Commons

Today is the last day to register to vote in the Nov. 4th general elections.

To register, you can stop by your local Secretary of State’s office or your county, city or township clerk’s office. Applicants will be required to present a picture ID or sign an affidavit.

Carmella Sabaugh is the county clerk and Register of Deeds of Macomb County. She says the clerk’s office will remain open and accept registrations until midnight on Monday.

“We have got a lot of last-minute registrations that way. The important thing is people have to be registered before they can vote.” 

Center for Effective Government

They are supposed to be a safe places to learn, but a new report finds that hundreds of thousands of Michigan children attend schools inside what chemical companies call a vulnerability zone.

Sean Moulton, director of open government policy with the Center for Effective Government, says the level of risk associated with a particular chemical facility has to do with the quantity of chemicals being handled, how dangerous those chemicals are and the proximity of the facility to population centers.

SDRandCo/morguefile.com

From bagels to bags, pizza boxes to pajamas, 'tis the season when pink-ribbon products pile up on store shelves across Michigan. But one group says if the goal is to one day eradicate breast cancer, it's important to Think Before You Pink.

Karuna Jaggar is executive director pf the watchdog organization Breast Cancer Action. She says while many purchases do benefit breast-cancer programs, marketers can put a pink ribbon on anything in the name of awareness, without actually donating any money to the cause.

A diamondback terrapin hatchling.
C.A. Chicoine / TurtleZone News

The Detroit Zoo is caring for more than 1,000 turtles authorities say are tied to an international smuggling ring.

According to a news release Friday from the zoo, a number of the turtles were found stuffed into rubber snow boots and cereal boxes inside a Canadian man's luggage at Detroit Metropolitan Airport last week. The man was attempting to board a plane for Shanghai, China. 

Participants in the 2013 Flint Zombie Walk
Flint Zombie Walk / Facebook

Tomorrow, Flint will be overrun with the undead participants of its annual Flint Zombie Walk.

The walk begins at 1:00 p.m., with zombie inspired makeovers and registration at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. respectively. 

In addition to the walk, the event will feature vendors, "horror celebrities" and other entertainment.

Proceeds from the event will be donated to the Little Free Library organization. 

For more information, visit the event website.

Where's the tracker? This Kirtland's warbler has a tracker attached to its back that is incredibly tiny, weighing just 0.65 g.
Dan Elbert / USFWS

October is a time of falling leaves, eager trick-or-treaters, and the southward migration of the exceptionally rare Kirtland's warbler.

The Kirtland's warbler is found almost exclusively in the jack pine forest of northern Michigan. To counteract the devastating impact of habitat loss on the bird's population, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources initiated the Kirtland's Warbler Management Plan in 1981.

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