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Paulette Parker

DIGITAL JOURNALIST - BLOGGER

Paulette is a blogger for Michigan Radio's State of Opportunity project, which looks at kids from low-income families and what it takes to get them ahead. She previously interned as a reporter in the Michigan Radio newsroom.

Before working at Michigan Radio, she was the news editor of The Washtenaw Voice at Washtenaw Community College. She has an associate degree in journalism from WCC. And she is currently a junior at Eastern Michigan University, pursuing a bachelor's degree in media studies and journalism.

When she isn't working she is spending time with her husband and two young daughters.

lena epstein
Courtesy of Lena Epstein

Lena Epstein is ending her bid for a Michigan U.S. Senate seat.

The Republican candidate has decided to switch races and instead will run for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The 11th District seat is currently held by Republican Congressman Dave Trott, who announced he would not seek re-election in 2018.

Congressman Fred Upton
Republican Conference / Flickr

The U.S. House of Representatives has rejected an amendment to cut the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency by nearly 25%. The cut would have reduced the EPA budget by nearly $2 billion.

Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, joined Stateside to talk about why he voted against the proposal. Upton said the budget cut would have ended vital programs that protect the Great Lakes.

Syringe with drip
ZaldyImg / Flickr CC / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Physicians are coming out against a bill in Lansing that would make it easier for qualified nurses to administer anesthesia. Currently, a physician has to sign off and supervise while a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist gives anesthesia to a patient. Senate Bill 550 would give hospitals the option to end that mandate.

Woman buckling child into car seat
Intel Free Press / Flickr CC / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

A new bill could help prevent hot car deaths among children.

The legislation was introduced last week by state Rep. Robert Kosowski (D-Westland). It would require car manufacturers to install alarms in all new vehicles that alert drivers when there's a child left in the back seat.

According to noheatstroke.org, 737 children over the past decade have died in cars due to heat stroke.

"And we thought this alarm would be kind of a good mechanism to approach this really big problem," Kosowski said.

Syringe with drip
ZaldyImg / Flickr CC / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

New legislation aims to improve patients' access to anesthesia in Michigan's hospitals.

A current mandate requires physician supervision when anesthesia is administered by certified registered nurse anesthetists — even if that physician has little or no training in anesthesia.

Senate Bill 550 would allow Michigan hospitals to choose the anesthesia model that best meets the needs of their patients and communities, and give them the option to either keep or eliminate that rule.

Ken Lund / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCLO

In a move that surprised many, the government of Canada this week gave the owners of the Ambassador Bridge permission to build a new bridge between Windsor and Detroit.

Canada, Ontario, and the city of Windsor have all had a contentious, even cantankerous, relationship with the Moroun family, which owns the Ambassador Bridge.

Christian Cross
Waiting For The Word / Flickr CC /

A federal appeals court is siding with a Michigan county in a dispute over Christian prayers at public meetings.

It ruled the practice by Jackson County commissioners of starting their meetings with Christian-only prayers does not violate the U.S. Constitution.

The case was heard by the entire 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, upholding the opinion of a Detroit federal judge in a 9-6 decision Wednesday.

James Shotwell is chairman of the Board of Commissioners. He says the commissioners just happen to be Christian, and aren't favoring one faith over any others.

This morning I sent my daughter off to her first day of third grade.

She was excited to go. She was ready to see her friends, and genuinely loves school.

But I'm sure she'll be less than thrilled once her teacher starts assigning homework. Like many kids, I'm sure she'd be happy if homework was simply eliminated.

That will be a reality this school year for more than 500 kids at a Massachusetts elementary school.

Hallway in Huron High School in Ann Arbor.
user rosefirerising / Flickr

A new tuition-based program would mean an increase in Chinese students at Ann Arbor's high schools, as well as more money for the district.

The school board is weighing a proposed partnership between Ann Arbor Public Schools and Troy-based BCC International Education Group, Inc. The Chinese-American company has created similar programs in Saline and Dexter.

Bruce Power / Ontario Power Generation

Plans for a nuclear waste dump site near Lake Huron in Ontario are on hold, at least for now.

The proposed Deep Geologic Repository (DGR) is the work of Canadian power company, Ontario Power Generation.

city of Detroit skyline
James Marvin Phelps / Flicker

Metro Detroit once had a high-tech water warning system designed to detect chemical spills in real time. Now, it sits unused.

Built in 2006, the system was made up of a series of water monitoring devices at 14 plants from Port Huron to Monroe, mostly along Lake St. Clair and the Detroit River. The sensors sent data to computers utilized by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, Macomb County and the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department.

user dig downtown detroit / Flickr

Future strip malls may not have a place in much of Detroit's Midtown district.

The Detroit News reports proposed new zoning rules aim to discourage new development of "single-story shops with a parking lot."

The News reports that the rezoning would also restrict developments including domestic abuse shelters, tattoo parlors, and soup kitchens in the area.

Paulette Parker / Michigan Radio

After a closed search regarded by some Eastern Michigan University faculty as "too secretive," the EMU Board of Regents elected the school's 23rd president at a special meeting Friday.

James M. Smith was selected out of 81 applicants after a national search process that began in April 2015.

The pool was narrowed down by a 10-person Search Advisory Committee, made up of regents, faculty representatives and administrators.

Paulette Parker / Michigan Radio

Wayne County Executive Warren Evans is urging the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality to reject permit requests that would allow Marathon Oil and US Ecology to increase emissions and  hazardous waste.

The Marathon Petroleum Refinery in Detroit has been embroiled in controversy over its request to increase sulfur dioxide emissions.

"Our request there is: Before you even contemplate an increase in the permitting, that you show us that you're making some concrete steps in controlling the pollution that's already there," Evans said.

Diccionario / Flickr Creative Commons / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Detroit has a new high school for bilingual students who speak Spanish and English.

Academy of the Americas has expanded from its main building in southwest Detroit.

Previously, all students attended classes in the same location. The new site will house students in grades 8-10.

The high school teaches a curriculum with a 50-50 ratio of both languages, which means students need to have a prior background in speaking Spanish.

Foreclosure sign
Jeff Turner / Michigan Radio

A Detroit woman is fighting to win back her home of 40 years.

Wayne County foreclosed on Mary Sanders' home over about $1,200 in unpaid taxes and fees.

The home was purchased for $2,300 in a tax auction last fall by Chris Meyer, a California-based developer who owns CDM Real Estate, Inc., in Ann Arbor.

Sanders says she was unaware she owed outstanding taxes. Sanders, 80, also qualified for tax exemptions based on her age and income that she says she was not informed about.

Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

Detroit Public Schools says it has begun fixing violations found during city inspections.

Teachers with Detroit Public Schools held sickouts in recent weeks to call attention to the deplorable condition of many of the buildings.

"We're doing the best that we can with the resources that we have, and we are honestly committed to  working towards resolving the issues that are on the inspection reports from the city of Detroit," said DPS spokeswoman, Michelle Zdrodowski.

UAW sign.
UAW

Michigan union membership and representation rebounded significantly in 2015 after a sharp decline in 2014, according to federal statistics released this week.

The percentage of all employees with union memberships rose from 14.5 to 15.2 percent.

Ron Bieber is the president of the Michigan chapter of the AFL-CIO, the nation's largest federation of unions.

ER doctors are learning how to identity patients who may be victims of trafficking
Ira Gelb / Creative Commons

Human trafficking is a $32 billion global industry.

Between 2013 and 2014, there were 100 state and 94 federal cases of human trafficking in Wayne, Macomb, and Oakland counties, according to the Michigan State Police.

The law enforcement agency is partnering with the Salvation Army and other agencies to help victims of these crimes rebuild their lives.