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Families & Community

flickr user JMacPherson / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM


As ISIS claims responsibility for the deadly bombings in Brussels, it raises a serious question: How do news stories linking Muslims with terrorism impact the way we think of all Muslims?

University of Michigan assistant professor of communication Muniba Saleem and her fellow researchers wanted to find out. Their study is called Exposure to Muslims in Media and Support for Public Policy Harming Muslims.

Uniting Three Fires Against Violence advocacy organization logo.
Uniting Three Fires Against Violence

The Next Idea

How does a community address domestic violence and sexual assault when calling the police is not often an option?

This is the question facing Native communities in Michigan, according to Lori Jump and Rachel Carr of the advocacy group Uniting Three Fires Against Violence.

One of Holland's heated sidewalks
flickr user Daniel Morrison / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Imagine, in the wake of a big snowstorm, city sidewalks and streets that never get caked with snow and ice. No salt, no slopping your way through slush or gingerly walking on ice.

That’s a luxury people in Holland, MI have been enjoying for some time now, thanks to their heated sidewalks and streets.

A town-gown controversy continues in Ann Arbor, as University of Michigan Regents heard Thursday from people opposed to a plan to move a campus bus transit center.

That's despite the project being "paused" by UM President Mark Schlissel, who said the university should have been more "thoughtful and responsive" when considering the development.

The transit center would move from the university's South Campus into a residential neighborhood in North Campus.

Pamela Ray lives in Green Baxter Court, a low-income community very close to the proposed site.

Shaka Senghor sits down with Cynthia Canty on Stateside
Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

There are roughly 42,000 men and women serving time in prison in the state of Michigan. They all have stories of how they got there, ranging from poor choices and a bad upbringing to just being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Shaka Senghor, a leading criminal justice reform activist, is now telling his story. He is currently a mentor to youth, and a leader in helping victims and violent offenders heal through the power of the arts. But he didn’t start out that way.

Benjamin Hall

Back in the mid-1800s, a slave by the name of Frank Demas purchased his freedom from a Kentucky slave owner. Demas later settled in Michigan and 170 years later, the document that set him free has survived -- thanks to his family. His family has passed the document, called a manumission, down from generation to generation and now, the great-great-great grandson of Frank Demas has donated it to the Archives of Michigan.

The manumission, as well as some of his Demas’ wife’s belongings, are now on display at the Michigan Historical Center in Lansing.   

Lindsey Smith and her daughter Layla
Adam Schingeck

For the last year, Lindsey Smith has been at the forefront of Michigan Radio’s in-depth reporting of the Flint water crisis. Now, the issue of lead contamination in the environment has dropped right on her doorstep.

Courtesy of Diana Nucera

The Next Idea

Take a moment to think about how much you rely on the Internet.

It’s pretty safe to say many of us find it hard to imagine not being able to get online to communicate, access information, or explore.

Steph Harding / Steph Harding Photo

There's a difference between making your business the best in the world and making it the best for the world.

Recognizing that difference is what has earned the Grand Rapids-based Essence Restaurant Group a B Corp certification.

This certification is what USDA Organic is to milk, or Fair Trade is to coffee. The designation goes to companies that show a commitment to sustainability and positive social impact in their communities. 

The Essence Restaurant Group has become the very first restaurant group in the country to earn the B Corp certification.

Mahir Osman

Muslims in Michigan face a dual challenge: They want to prove that they stand in solidarity with America against extremist groups like ISIS, and they want keep their young people safe from radical extremists.

Imam Yahya Luqman with the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and Mahir Osman with the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association of Metro Detroit talked with Cynthia Canty of Stateside.  

Kalamazoo Mayor Bobby Hopewell
Kalamazoo Public Library

Kalamazoo has joined the list of American cities suddenly thrust into the spotlight because of a mass shooting that left six people dead and two wounded.

Mayor Bobby Hopewell tells us that the investigation is still ongoing and that he hopes to speak with the victims or their families. He has not had a chance to speak with the family of the alleged shooter.

Wikimedia Commons

There’s an innovative idea from Israel that might be taking root in Detroit.

The idea is to train people in the community to respond to emergency calls.

“And they usually can get there much more quickly because they live next door or across the street, in the same apartment building, whatever the case may be, and get there before the professional EMTs arrive,” says Detroit News Business columnist Daniel Howes.

Guy Williams and Lester Graham
Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

Correction for the audio interview: 48217 is the most polluted ZIP code in Michigan (as stated), but the Delray neighborhood is in the neighboring ZIP code. It is the second most polluted.

The Flint water crisis has brought attention to a larger issue: why do we see more contamination and pollution issues in areas where poor people and, often, people of color live?

Flint’s water is just the tip of the iceberg. Flint has been an industrial city for generations, and still suffers from the lingering pollution left behind by over a century’s worth of factories. Much of the city’s housing was built using lead-based products like paint.

Only 17 miles from Lake Michigan's shore, Waukesha, Wis. wants to replace its contaminated drinking water with water from the lake.
flickr user Rachel Kramer / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Should a Wisconsin city with a contaminated groundwater supply be allowed to siphon drinking water from Lake Michigan?

Waukesha's groundwater supply has a radium problem. Being 17 miles from Lake Michigan, Waukesha's proposed solution is to draw water from the lake. 

But according to the Great Lakes Compact, Waukesha cannot just lay down a pipeline and start drinking Lake Michigan water. It has to ask, and all eight Great Lakes governors have to say "yes."

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio


If you’re a police officer in the United Kingdom, chances are you don’t carry a gun.

In fact, you might go through your entire career and never fire a weapon, a stark contrast to police on this side of the Atlantic.

Michael Matthews is a police constable with the London Metropolitan Police and is now attached to Scotland Yard. He’s just spent time shadowing Detroit police officers, conducting research for a book Matthews is writing about the Detroit Police Department.

Deer in the underbrush.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

WARNING: Graphic photos of a dead animal are included at the bottom of this article.

The fierce opposition led by the Humane Society of Huron Valley (HSHV) to Ann Arbor's first deer cull continues.

On Monday, HSHV released photos of a partially eaten deer in the Leslie Park Golf Course, along with a photograph of a fetus fully encased in its sac nearby.

The group also pulled the fetus out of the sac, cleaned it up, and snapped a photo of it lying on a piece of carpet.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Even as President Obama was signing the disaster declaration for Flint and Genesee County, hundreds of protesters were gathering on the front lawn of Flint city hall.

They chanted “Snyder’s gotta go” and carried signs calling for Michigan’s governor to resign and/or be arrested for his role in Flint’s water crisis.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Michigan National Guard is more than doubling its footprint in Flint.

Major General Greg Vadnais says the number of guardsmen handing out bottled water and filters at five fire stations will increase from 32 to 70 on Sunday.  

Vadnais says after staffing the fire stations for a few days, they realized the need for more boots on the ground.

Saugatuck-Douglas Historical Society Collection

What’s unique about your town?

Maybe it’s that little coffee shop down the road, which has inhabited the place for decades. Or that one bar everyone gathers at on Fridays. What about that spooky ghost story that’s based off a true event that happened in your town?

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

We recently got this question on Twitter: 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan National Guardsmen are in Flint today.

They’re there to pass out bottled water and filters to residents. That’s because for more than a year, the city’s tap water has been unsafe to drink.      

Numerous missteps by government agencies allowed the city’s water to become contaminated with lead, and many residents say they no longer trust the governor to fix the problem.

Tuesday afternoon, about a dozen children were sitting at a table in their school gymnasium piecing together snowflakes in an arts and crafts project.  

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan State troopers and volunteers are knocking on doors in Flint, handing out bottled water, water filters, and lead testing kits.

The city and state have been offering the water and kits for months. But many people say it’s difficult for them to travel, especially during the winter.

Lt. David Kaiser says the door-to-door outreach is part of a larger effort to help people in Flint get the clean water they need.

Danny Fowler / Flickr Creative Commons / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

An old, unworn coat taking up space in a closet could be keeping someone warm this winter.

St. Vincent de Paul and Art Van Furniture have teamed up to collect these coats for people in need.

Today, the partnership kicked off Operation Coat Check.

New or gently used coats for children and adults can be dropped off at any Art Van location through Feb. 11.

This is the first year that St. Vincent de Paul and Art Van are partnering for the initiative.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

This week, state and local efforts are being stepped up to help people in Flint have clean water.

Friends School Detroit / via Facebook

A new online directory aims to give Detroit’s grassroots groups a higher profile.

The Detroit Community Organization Mapping project, or d[COM]munity map, went live in December.

It maps and profiles the city’s neighborhood associations, block clubs, and social service providers.

Out of the 38 under-performing schools that could be closed in Michigan, 25 of them are located in Metro Detroit.
Motown31 / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Public schools in Detroit are looking at a rough year ahead.

Debt payments for Detroit Public Schools are already the highest of any school district in the state, but things are going to get even more dire next month.

Chad Livengood of The Detroit News' Lansing Bureau tells us that DPS will owe $26 million every month through 2016 to pay back this year’s operating debts, as well as debts carried over from previous years.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

People in Flint will soon be able to do something they haven’t been able to do in 25 years. Skate on an ice rink downtown.

The University of Michigan-Flint is installing a new cooling system at the old outdoor ice rink by the Flint River.  They plan to open it to the public January 2nd.

The university has owned the property since 1990, but liability concerns kept the rink closed.

University officials hope the ice rink will enhance the student and community experience downtown.

Tracy Samilton / Michigan Radio

In 2003, Shari Elkort and her husband Richard Wickboldt fell in love with this property close by the Huron River. The yard was thick with mature trees, shrubs and other plants. In the spring and summer, there were wildflowers.  

"It was just a paradise," sighs Elkort.

But paradise has been lost,or perhaps, for the deer, paradise has been found.

Vegetation-rich yards like this provide abundant food for a highly-adaptable species. There are no predators, and no hunting, so as the city expands its footprint, deer multiply.

Alyssa Nuñez (left) and Brianna Foster-Nuñez, both have a rare form of rickets. They've been to three school in three years.
Zak Rosen / Michigan Radio

 

 

 

Desiree Foster stands at her stove. She’s cooking up some hamburgers and white rice for her two daughters. I’m hovering near her refrigerator when I notice the tattoo on her neck. It has her two daughters' names, Alyssa and Brianna, scrawled across the nape of her neck. Below the names is the serenity prayer:

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

    

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

A campaign to end New Year’s gunfire in Detroit is still going after eighteen years.

Organizers say it’s successfully put a damper on the unofficial tradition, with celebratory midnight gunfire waning in recent years—at least anecdotally.

Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon says that seems to be true in his Detroit neighborhood, but many Detroiters are still afraid to venture out for New Year’s.

“You still hear a lot of people say, ‘I will be inside when people start shooting around midnight,’” Napoleon said.

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