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Families & Community

Drawing of a Thanksgiving dinner on a table at the Mel Trotter Thanksgiving dinner.
Mel Trotter Ministry

Homeless, elderly and poor people in several cities in Michigan are being given a reason to be grateful on Thanksgiving.

The Detroit Rescue Mission is serving free food to homeless people and others in need at different locations in and around the city.

While the ministry has been around for 107 years, it has been doing Thanksgiving dinners for over 20 years.

Barbara Willis, the Chief Operating Officer for the Detroit Rescue Mission, said these dinners make a big difference to the homeless in the community.

The Salvation Army is a crucial resource for many people all year round. It provides housing assistance, food assistance, utility assistance and all kinds of other help to people in need.

And around the holidays, that effort ramps up with Christmas assistance.

 

We learn a recipe for a conflict-free Thanksgiving today. We also hear a reaction to Trump's nomination, Betsy DeVos, for U.S. education secretary.

flickr user Satya Murthy / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0


The holidays can be a happy time, but gathering family members around the Thanksgiving table can also resurrect tensions and old resentments.

“There are so many obituaries that I read, ... and I think, I’ve been aware of this person but I didn’t know this person," Thomas Lynch told us.
Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

 

How much do you care about the ultimate story of your life?

For many people, that final story is contained within their obituary.

Alyse & Remi / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Following the election of Donald Trump, many Mexican-Americans are worried about how the president-elect’s proposed immigration overhaul, if implemented, might affect them.

Feliciano Paredes grew up in a family of migrant farm workers.
Courtesy of Feliciano Paredes

The Next Idea

I grew up in a family of migrant farm workers. Every spring, Dad would take the truck to the mechanic to make sure it was in good condition to make that 2,000-mile trip across the country to pick crops. I’d let my friends know when we were leaving, and when they could expect to see me again in the fall. I remember waking up to Mom yelling at us from downstairs to get up and get ready to go. We’d scramble out of bed, make sure we all went to the bathroom, and sit down for breakfast before heading out just before dawn.

No matter how prepared we were, we faced many challenges as we went from state to state. We’d break down on the road, and because we weren’t familiar with what resources were available, we would end up spending a few nights in the truck until Dad could find help. It was common to arrive at farms only to find out that we didn’t have work, or that the labor camp was full. Basic health care and educational resources were also scarce. The transient nature of our work, our language and income, and the insecurity of not knowing the local area worked against us.

"I feel like everything has become partisan nowadays," Demas told us.
flickr user Forsaken Fotos / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

 

Across America, reports of politically related harassment have soared in the wake of the presidential election.

To list a few incidents that have happened in Michigan:

There are more. Too many more.

Susan Demas joined us today to talk about how the post-election bullying has impacted her family.

Courtesy of the Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit

The Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit is holding a meeting to determine its priorities for the coming years. It’s called a synod, and since the Archdiocese was established in 1833, there have been only ten. The last one was in the 1960s.

Detroit Archbishop Allen Vigneron joined Stateside to talk about this rare gathering. He said the impetus for the Synod came from no less than Pope Francis himself.

agilitynut.com / File photo

A group of people met in Albion last night in an attempt to unify the community after someone vandalized several buildings downtown.

Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

There’s a big, coordinated push in Detroit for more and better early childhood services.

But first, its boosters need to come up with a plan.

The biggest boosters—and likely funders—of this “civic partnership” dubbed Hope Starts Here are the Kellogg and Kresge Foundations.

They’re rounding up groups and people with a role in Detroit’s early childhood services, from day care providers to pediatricians.

Kellogg Foundation CEO La June Montgomery Tabron says the idea is to come up with an “action plan” that lets everyone can claim ownership.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Across Michigan, people paused to honor the nation’s military veterans.

This morning, veterans fired a volley in honor of those buried at the Great Lakes National Cemetery in Holly.

Several hundred people braved a cold, stiff wind as speakers extolled the virtues of service by the nation’s soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines. 

Retired Col. Kevin Pratt praised the nation’s military who serve in places around the globe.

Flickr user rgmcfadden / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Donald Trump’s victory sent people to their favorite social media platform to express their thoughts, fears and hopes as our divided nation tries to figure out what’s next.

A Facebook post from Michigan filmmaker Amy Weber asked each side to open up to the other.

“We will brush off our bruised hearts and open our arms to LOVE for ALL people and join together, because we MUST. Let’s use our powerful voices to educate and break down the walls that divide us.”

Weber is a lesbian mother and she said when Donald Trump was elected, she felt afraid.

Courtesy of Deborah Trimble

Kevin Trimble’s life changed forever on September 18, 2011. A private in the army, his unit was sweeping a village in Afghanistan for IEDs when, as he puts it, they found one the hard way. Specialist Ryan James Cook, the soldier who stepped on the IED, died immediately. Kevin was standing eleven feet away and lost both legs and his left arm.

Minutes later, on the other side of the ocean, his sister, Deborah Trimble, answered her phone. A military police officer with the Air Force, she was her brother’s emergency contact, and she tried to understand what the sergeant at the other end of the line was telling her. Her brother was still on his way to the hospital, and the extent of his injuries was not yet clear.

Courtesy kyler kwock / Creative Commons -- http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Some people find some pennies while using a metal detector.

Tom Shively found a wedding ring.

Shively has pursued metal detecting as a hobby for five years, Lansing State Journal's Judy Putnam reports

The story starts with a woman living in Holt, Michigan named Catherine Tucker, who lost the wedding ring worn by her late husband, Chris. Chris died three years ago in a motorcycle accident.

Kohlrabi and rutabaga
flickr user Seacost Eat Local / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

 

Getting bored with serving up the same old veggies?

That’s your cue to think seasonally, just the way folks did in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Right now, you can turn your attention to fall root vegetables – the ones you might never have thought of serving.

Tomm Becker of Sunseed Farm in Ann Arbor sat down with us today to talk about some forgotten fall root vegetables: kohlrabi, rutabaga and celeriac.

Ruth (Maki) Powell

 

Ninety years ago yesterday brought the worst mining accident in Michigan history.

The Barnes-Hecker Mine disaster on November 3, 1926, killed 51 miners. The disaster rocked the community west of Ishpeming.

Mary Tippett’s grandfather was killed in the disaster. It was his first day on the job.

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

Michigan non-profits are looking into an innovative way of fighting human trafficking. The idea is to take advantage of free advertising on Google.

Google offers ten thousand dollars in free ads to non-profit organizations. The Michigan Human Trafficking Commission and a state police task force are working on gathering as many non-profits as possible to apply for the advertising with one goal in mind: Deter people who search for paid sex from following through.

Cheyna Roth / Michigan Radio

A new program to help people with disabilities launched Tuesday.

The Mi – ABLE program gives people with disabilities a savings account with benefits like investment and tax incentives. The account also lets users save up to $100,000  without losing other financial disability benefits.

Kathleen Wochaski is a 2nd grade teacher at Cherokee Elementary School in Clinton Township. Her now 22-year old son has physical disabilities and a cogitative impairment. She said, “It’s a next step in allowing everybody the freedoms that we have as Americans.”

side view of a red Detroit Fire Department Firetruck.
flickr - user cutedtownboi

It seems like the city of Detroit has Halloween arsons under control. The Detroit Fire Department responded to 59 fires over this year's three-day Angels' Night campaign, the second lowest total on record.  

It's the second consecutive year there were fewer than sixty fires. There were 52 fires reported on Angels' Night in 2015. For decades, volunteers have struggled against a notorious tradition of fires in the city on the nights surrounding Halloween. Prior to 2014, the annual Angels' Night count had hovered around 100 fires. 

(Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

Detroit's immigrant population is on the rise once again.

After taking a dip between 2000 and 2010, the number of immigrants in the city has grown more than 12% since then, according to U.S. Census Bureau data analyzed by the non-profit group Global Detroit.

That accounts for more than 4,000 new Detroiters, says Global Detroit Executive Director Steve Tobocman.

“That is a major turnaround, and hopefully it’s a bellwether for the stabilization of neighborhoods in the city of Detroit,” Tobocman said.

This is Apricot. She's a Vizsla/Pit mix up for adoption at Detroit Dog Rescue.
Courtesy of Detroit Dog Rescue

 

A quick internet search on pit bull dogs and attacks will reveal some pretty awful stories in Michigan.

In July, for example, we heard about a 71-year-old Detroit woman killed by her own pit bull. That same month, a child in Washtenaw County was hospitalized after a pit bull attack.

A mural in the Hope District of Detroit.
Zak Rosen / Michigan Radio

Turn on the TV news in metro Detroit, and you're bound to catch the latest story about a shooting, a stabbing, or some other tragic story about another lost life in the city.

Violent crime is something every major urban center struggles with, and Detroit is no exception.

eltpics / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

 

While their friends may have been moving back to dorms or apartments to start the new school year, a group of occupational therapy students from Western Michigan University moved their things into their new rooms at the Clark Retirement Community on Keller Lake.

It’s one of the first research projects of its kind in this country: three college students living side by side with senior citizens.

“Pedal to Porch is a neighborhood bike ride that includes stops along the route where residents of the neighborhood use their front porch as a stage to tell their story,” Cornetta Lane told us.
Courtesy of Pedal to Porch

 

The Knight Cities Challenge is an opportunity for 26 Knight Foundation Communities across the nation, including Detroit, to answer the question:

What’s your best idea to make cities more successful?

At stake is a share of $5 million in grants.

Nawrocki Center is working to help older, recently-single people adjust to life on their own.
Public Domain

 


Baby boomers are retiring. While many look forward to spending more time with their spouse in their golden years, others face retirement alone.

We were joined today by Sandy Olger, who’s starting that journey, and Lisa Beatty, an attorney with Nawrocki Center.

That firm focuses on seniors. It recently held a seminar on helping women who become single later in life. Whether they are widowed or divorced, they have to adjust to life on their own, socially, financially and otherwise.

Sandison told us that parents should focus on what their child with autism can do rather than what they can't.
Courtesy of Ron Sandison

 

October is National Bullying Prevention Month. One of the most likely to be on the receiving end of bullying is the child who is on the autism spectrum.

Ron Sandison knows what that’s like.

Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

At first glance, there wasn’t anything particularly unusual about their group: a handful of seniors at a local café, gathered over their weekly coffee. The topics of conversation could be wide-ranging, often touching on politics or thorny social issues. And there was a bond that strengthened with each weekly get-together.

But when Bill Haney first joined this “gaggle of geezers,” he quickly realized there were lessons to be learned in the stories they told. Haney has written, edited or published more than 400 books about Michigan and its people. So he was the right person to see a book in the lives of the group, which meets every Monday at Brioni Cafe & Deli in Clarkson.

Courtesy of the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation.

If you had 20 years to give away $1.2 billion, how would you do it?

That’s the question facing one Detroit-based philanthropy, the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation.

Funded by the estate of the late Ralph C. Wilson Jr., who was born in Detroit and went on to become the owner of the Buffalo Bills, the Foundation plans to focus its efforts on the areas Mr. Wilson called home: southeast Michigan and western New York.

And unlike many philanthropic foundations, which invest their endowments and give away the income generated by those investments, Mr. Wilson’s foundation has a mandate to spend all of the money by 2035.

October is National Bullying Prevention Month, so it’s a good time to take a look at how well Michigan schools are doing in their efforts to curb bullying.
M. Kukhlman / newsservice.org

 

His name was Matt Epling. His eighth-grade classmates voted him as having the best smile, the best personality and the most likely to become an actor.

On his last day of eighth grade, Matt was attacked by upperclassmen who took it upon themselves to give him a “welcome to high school” hazing.

40 days later, Matt Epling committed suicide. That was in 2002.

Since then his parents Kevin and Tammy Epling have worked tirelessly to end bullying, and to make school safe for kids.

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