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Families & Community

Jeff Guy / Courtesy photo

The question was straightforward. 

  “Wouldn’t it be cool to paddle board across Lake Michigan?”

Jeff Guy and four of his friends posed this at a Christmas party in December of 2013. This week, they made it happen. The five Traverse City residents became the first to make the 60 mile trip on stand-up paddle boards without assistance.

“It was one of the most physically grueling things I’ve ever done,” said Guy.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

One week after a white gunman killed nine people at a black church in South Carolina, hundreds of people gathered in Grand Rapids to show solidarity.

“I want you to take somebody by the hand,” the Rev. Gerry Moore motioned to the crowd before bowing his head in prayer. “Take somebody by the hand.”

Rainbow flag, often associated with the LGBT movement
User Marlith / Flickr / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Ken Wilson founded Vineyard Church in Ann Arbor and served on the national board of Vineyard USA for seven years.

Cheyna Roth

About 60 protesters gathered outside the University of Michigan hospital campus in Ann Arbor Wednesday, campaigning against what they say is a flawed child abuse investigation into a Brighton family and a “financial conflict of interest” between the hospital and Child Protective Services.

Last spring, Josh and Brenda Burns saw their infant daughter, Naomi, rushed to the U of M hospital in an ambulance after she became unresponsive three days into an illness.

Dental bus to provide services to kids in Wayne County

Jun 15, 2015
Pieter Vanhaecke / flickr creative commons

Kids across Wayne County are expected to receive access to dental health services via a new bus.

The Delta Dental Foundation gave the University of Detroit Mercy School of Dentistry  $584,907 for a bus, and four portable dental chairs.

Faculty and students from the University will travel on the bus and provide a variety of dental services at different schools. The chairs will be used to treat children at the schools.

 Teri Battaglieri is with the Delta Dental Foundation. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A major blight elimination program is winding down in Flint.

Around 1700 dilapidated homes have been torn down during the past few years. The program is funded with nearly $23 million in grant funding.

Christina Kelly is with the Genesee County Land Bank. She says the before and after effect on neighborhoods is something to see.

Liz Ceay, Jailynn Borck and Nathan Arno of Lenawee Intermediate School District wait for the Special Olympic World Games torch to arrive at their post.
Paula Friedrich / Michigan Radio

The Special Olympics "Flame of Hope" torch is currently on its way through Michigan as part of a cross-country relay trek to California.

It was carried through Detroit on Monday and made it to Ann Arbor on Tuesday, where a group of students from the Lenawee Intermediate School District were waiting at the Big House at 11:30 a.m. for their section of the Special Olympics Unified Relay Across America.

A 140 square foot "tiny house."
Gregory Johnson / The Environment Report

A member of the Ann Arbor City Council says he will introduce a resolution directing city staff to draft a plan for establishing a small village of tiny houses on city-owned property across from the YMCA.

Ryan Stanton of the Ann Arbor News reports that council member Stephen Kunselman announced Tuesday his plans to bring forward the resolution at the next council meeting on June 15.

Washtenaw County Clerk

Washtenaw County says its new county identification card will help a lot of people, like homeless, transgender, and undocumented residents.

But it's available to everyone, and one of its main champions, Yousef Rabhi, Vice Chairman of the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners, says he plans to get one.

Kresge Foundation plans investments in Detroit's future

May 29, 2015
Mackinac Bridge
Julie Falk / Flickr

Kresge Foundation President, Rip Rapson, spoke at the Mackinac Policy Conference this year. He laid out the foundation's plans to invest in Detroit's post-bankruptcy development. Rapson says investments in early education, transportation, and Detroit's small business and entrepreneurial sector are all necessary to create a stable future for the city.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Lansing Bishop Earl Boyea is calling on Catholics in the mid-Michigan diocese to help the poor. Specifically, he wants them to focus on poor people living in Flint. 

Flint is part of the 10-county diocese. But Boyea feels too many Catholics ignore Flint and its needs.

Decades of economic decline and population flight has left Flint with a poverty rate well above the state average. 

Diocese of Lansing

Lansing Bishop Earl Boyea will be in Flint tomorrow to announce a major outreach by the Catholic Church to poor people in the city.

Faith in Flint is being touted as a “major initiative” to support Catholic Church efforts to help the poor in Flint.

The church’s new effort is part of Pope Francis’s call to focus more attention on the needs of the poor.

Flint has a higher percentage of its population living below the poverty line than the rest of Michigan.

Fruehauf Trailer Historical Society

The name “Fruehauf” is an iconic one in American transportation history. 

It was 1914 when a Detroit blacksmith named August Fruehauf came up with a creative way to help lumber barons haul even more lumber and make even more money.

The result became the semi-trailer. Its descendants can be seen to this day, rumbling across the highways of the world.

Ruth Ann Fruehauf is August’s granddaughter.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

People across Michigan are taking time today to remember those who’ve died serving in the US Armed Forces.

Thousands of people lined the streets in Dearborn for that city’s 91st annual Memorial Day parade. 

Further north in Flint, a much smaller observance of the holiday took place.

2 Michigan high schools selected as Grammy schools

May 25, 2015
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode
Sadie Hernandez / Flickr

Two Michigan high schools have been selected as Grammy Signature schools, an honor that is awarded to only 13 schools in the nation each year.

Pioneer High School in Ann Arbor and Allendale High School in West Michigan, both received the honor and will be receiving grants to help continue its music programs. Pioneer has won the award eight times and this is Allendale’s second win.

Runar Pedersen Holkestad / Creative Commons

The federal government will help Michigan come up with a policy over the summer to help traumatized children.

Michigan, California and Massachusetts will get help from the Department of Justice. Each state will develop a comprehensive plan to identify, screen and treat children exposed to violence.

G.L. Kohuth / Michigan State University

The state is kicking in $3 million to investigate evidence found from thousands of backlogged rape kits in Detroit.

Some 11,000 abandoned rape kits were found in an old Detroit police evidence locker in 2009.

By now they've all been tested for DNA.

As results come in, a lot of kits are pointing to serial rapists, because the same DNA shows up in multiple kits.

But this is when the real work begins.

"Escape Room" games have become quite popular as a video game genre. Escape Michigan is the latest venue that allows you to play the game in real life.
user haru__q / flickr

West Michigan’s first “live escape room,” is opening next month in the town of Walker, near Grand Rapids.

Based on the popular video game genre, players are locked in a room where they have to solve puzzles and link clues to eventually escape.

The former Carstens Elementary School building, on Detroit's east side, is one of many, many schools that have been shuttered in Detroit.
Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

On Wednesday a state senate panel will review a bill that would cut off welfare benefits to families whose children skip school repeatedly.

About 29,000 families get cash assistance in Michigan now. Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services has been cutting off families with kids who don’t show up for school.

Promoting health and wellness for black men

May 5, 2015
Stethoscope
Adrian Clark / Flickr

The issue of police violence against black men has been a central news story in recent weeks and months. Reverend James Dickson says many more black men are dying due to preventable and treatable illnesses. Reverend Dickson is the founder of Fitness Fellowship International, a fitness, health, and wellness initiative for black men. Dickson spoke to Jennifer White about why he started Fitness Fellowship International and how he hopes to help black men live healthier lives.

Here's their conversation:

 

Kids in Detroit learn music from U of M students

Apr 23, 2015
Paige Pfleger / Michigan Radio

After school on Fridays, the halls of Woodbridge Community Center are filled with music. There's the sound of guitars from one room, a cello and violin duet of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star from another, and the plunking of piano keys. 

All that music is thanks to University of Michigan student Sam Saunders, and his club Seventh Mile Music. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A new city park is taking shape in downtown Flint.

Millions of dollars have been spent over the years cleaning up the decades of industrial waste at the former Chevy in the Hole auto plant site in the heart of Flint. 

Now that work is largely done and community leaders are starting the next phase.

Courtesy Quicken Loans

As part of its five-year investment in Detroit, JPMorgan Chase conducted a study of the current state of the city's job force.

It released the report today, which details where there will be job openings, and what training will be needed to get those jobs. 

Chauncy Lennon is the head of workforce initiatives for JPMorgan Chase. 

"By providing people more opportunity, opportunities to get GEDs, opportunities to get other kinds of certificates and credentials, we'll be helping those folks really be in position to be candidates for these jobs."

Flickr user Yoshiyuki Takahashi / Flickr

This is International Dark Sky Week, a good time to remember that Michigan is home to an International Dark Sky Park, one of only 16 in the nation. And we've got three Dark Sky Preserves.

Headlands International Dark Sky Park is located along the shore of Lake Michigan near Mackinaw City. The park is easy to find, located just a few miles off of I-75.

You and State of Opportunity volunteering in the community

Apr 13, 2015

A short note of thanks to everyone who came out for our first Day of Opportunity. Visit the State of Opportunity website to see photos from the day.

DETROIT - A judge says the state of Michigan still has "serious problems" in collecting statistics that are crucial to improving foster care, child welfare and other programs for kids.

Detroit federal Judge Nancy Edmunds made the remark Monday as court-appointed monitors delivered their latest report.  The child welfare system has been under court oversight since 2008.

Sofia Gonzalez / flickr

A group of parents and supporters is hoping to shed light on the disappearance of 43 students in Mexico.

They're called Caravana 43 and they are visiting 43 cities in the U.S., including Lansing and Ann Arbor.  

The Mexican students vanished last September from Iguala in the state of Guerrero, Mexico.

Outline of proposed rezoning for Red Wing stadium.
Olympia Development

The Detroit City Council is scheduled take up a rezoning plan for the area around the new Red Wings Arena tomorrow. The proposal calls for demolishing the historic Hotel Park Avenue to make way for an underground loading dock.

But preservation groups aren't happy with the plan. Emilie Evans with the Michigan Historic Preservation Network says she supports new development, but she doesn't think "it needs to come at the cost of our historic properties and our historic architecture."

man repairs front of wwii bomber
Flickr user England / Flickr

There's a lot of talk about supporting our military veterans as they come home and transition back to civilian life. The Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency is standing by to help vets in a variety of ways, from employment to benefits and resources to transition assistance.

www.wcccd.edu

Being a father is both rewarding and challenging.  

But, being a black father can have its own challenges. That's what Curtis Ivery believes. 

Ivery, chancellor of the Wayne County Community College District, discusses the father’s role in a book he co-authored with his son Marcus Ivery, called Black Fatherhood: Reclaiming Our Legacy.

The book discusses the disintegration of the African-American family and the alarm it generates.

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