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Families & Community

Flickr user EL Gringo/Flickr / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

You decide to become a teacher because you want to help, to see your students grow and learn. 

But take a deep dive into teacher pay and you'll discover that teachers are taking a beating on that front.

A new study from the nonprofit Economic Policy Institute shows that in 2015, the weekly wages of public school teachers in this country were 17% lower than comparable college-educated professionals.

And who's hurt the most? Male teachers and veteran teachers. 

The Mackinac Bridge connects Michigan's upper and lower peninsulas
flickr user Always Shooting / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Happy 906 Day!

Michigan's Yoopers want us all to know that today is the day to celebrate what they consider to be America's greatest area code. 

Bugsy Sailor is the self-titled "Official Unofficial Ambassador of the Upper Peninsula."

He joined us today to talk about the U.P. why the 906 area code deserves its very own day of celebration.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Genesee County is looking for people who are willing to open their homes to foster children.

The number of children in Genesee County in foster care remains stable.  But the number of foster homes has dropped significantly during the past few years.

Mike Milks is Genesee County’s Child Welfare director. He says the stress associated with Flint’s lead tainted drinking water is a factor for some.

Rick Hodges, left, and John Fox in a May 2016 commercial for Fox Automotve.
screengrab

This year, a Detroit-area auto dealership put out a TV commercial with a unique twist. 

The commercial features John Fox, owner of Fox Automotive, talking about everything they have to offer. 

And standing next to him, there's a man signing for hearing-impaired viewers. 

Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero has not spoken about why Lansing's former city attorney Janene McIntyre resigned, nor why she was given $160,000 in salary and accrued benefits upon doing so.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

 

Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero has taken an unusual step – he’s declared a housing emergency in the Capitol city.

The declaration comes after a south side Lansing hotel informed dozens and dozens of residents they’ll be evicted in just the next few weeks.

Courtesy of Chef Luciano DelSignore

Eat pasta and you could help the people whose lives were shattered by the powerful earthquake that struck central Italy last week.

One of Detroit’s top chefs is joining chefs worldwide in serving a special pasta dish, and he’s calling on other Michigan restaurants to do the same.

Chef Luciano DelSignore joined Stateside to discuss the dish, Pasta all’Amatriciana, and how it’s helping earthquake victims in Italy.

Susana Bernabé-Ramirez and her daughter Sayra Hernandez
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

The news came in today that Susana Bernabé-Ramirez and her 16-year-old daughter Sayra Hernandez have been deported. That leaves 11-year-old, American-born Isabella Hernandez here in the United States. This creates an even bigger challenge for the family, because Isabella has epilepsy and needs the medical care that she is receiving here in Michigan.
 

We spoke with Bernabé-Ramirez and Sayra in April as they awaited a stay of removal from the Board of Immigration Appeals.

Their attorney Brad Thompson joined us to talk about this development.

Humble Design

Humble Design has come a long way from its humble beginnings in the garage of its co-founder, Treger Strasberg.

Strasberg got the idea for the non-profit after a co-worker and her children became homeless. 

After some time in a shelter, the family found a house to rent. But they had almost no possessions.  Strasberg recalls visiting the home and being shocked at how they had to live.

"(They made) little nests on the floor of where they were going to sleep with their coats and their clothing," she says, "and (they had) no furniture at all."

The main field at Urbandale Farm used to be a vacant lot filled with downed trees. It’s now used to grow a variety of flowers, herbs and vegetables.
Daniel Rayzel / Michigan Radio

Just a few minutes away from our state Capitol building rests Lansing’s Urbandale neighborhood – an area trapped in the city’s 100-year floodplain.

The floodplain designation led to rising insurance costs, abandoned homes, and vacant lots overgrown with trees. Locals took it upon themselves to make the best of the situation by growing some fruits and veggies, and starting Urbandale Farm.

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

Homework isn't the only thing some Michigan kids dread as they head back to school, as a new nationwide analysis ranks Michigan worst for bullying. According to the online-survey site WalletHub, the state is also third for the percentage of high-school kids bullied on school property.

Tourists helping villagers set up a community hall in Cambodia
flickr user Thomas Wanhoff / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The Next Idea

Would you be willing to take a vacation that's centered around helping others?

Perhaps through a church or school group. Maybe it's teaching English. Maybe it's building a school in a struggling country like, say, Haiti. 

It's called "voluntourism."

The intentions are good, but the results might not be as helpful as the voluntourists are hoping for.

In the 20 years since AmeriCorps started, more than 28,000 Michigan volunteers have contributed over 41 million hours of service.
flickr user Steven Depolo / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

For more than 20 years, volunteers with AmeriCorps have served in nonprofits, schools, public agencies, and community- and faith-based groups across the country.

The Corporation for National and Community Service is the federal agency that administers AmeriCorps. 

And it turns out Michigan is one of the top states for AmeriCorps volunteers. 

National Director of AmeriCorps Bill Basl spoke with us today about the program and the more than 28,000 Michiganders who have contributed over 41 million hours of service. 

Flickr user Dane Hillard/Flickr / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

They asked for permission to build a mosque in the city of Sterling Heights. After weeks of debate, the city denied their request.

Now, the leaders of the proposed American Islamic Community Center are suing the City of Sterling Heights, accusing the city of bias against Muslims and seeking damages. 

Rebecca Gray

The Next Idea

In an era when it seems much of the country is in a face-off over race, from Black Lives Matter to All Lives Matter, how do we talk about race or even change attitudes about race?

The latest contributor to The Next Idea is Rebecca Gray from Michigan United who is trying a new idea in Downriver Wayne County. It's a new race canvass effort. White people talking to white people about race. The strategy is intended to get white voters thinking about race and racism in a good old-fashioned door-to-door approach.

Flint river
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

It's tough to wrap your mind around the price tag for Flint's lead-in-water disaster.

There's the $58 million the state of Michigan has already spent on filters, bottled water and medical care and testing.

There's the still-undetermined cost of replacing the water lines and pipes damaged by the corrosive Flint River water. 

But there are also social costs.

Tracy Samilton

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver's first State of the City address was a positive speech, full of expressions of gratitude -- and one pointed rebuke.

Weaver took pains to look on the bright side, while acknowledging that the city will be dealing with its damaged infrastructure and the after-effects of lead poisoning in kids for decades to come. 

"We have seen incredible compassion from people and organizations all across the country," said Weaver, "who have sent money, bottled water, and other resources to Flint."

But not everyone has pitched in, said Weaver.

Help Bring Hope met at a summer fundraiser in 2015. Over 30 volunteers showed up to raise money for the group.
Courtesy of Lena Juratli

Helping the homeless often comes from the hands of policymakers or researchers, rather than from one young person helping another. A new Detroit-area project hopes to make that change with a group of young volunteers aiding homeless youth.

Help Bring Hope is a volunteering project founded by Lena Juratli, a recent graduate of International Academy High School. The group has a one big goal: to help every homeless kid in America, starting with Michigan.

“Is that ambitious? Yes,” Juratli told Stateside. “But do I think it’s possible? Yes.”

Bridget Sova told us that some people listen to the recordings every day. For others, it takes a long time before they feel ready.
Public Domain / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Bridget Sova​ is a music therapist at Helen DeVos Children's Hospital in Grand Rapids, and she does some pretty interesting and unconventional work. 

Sova records the heartbeats of young patients, and then sets them to music.

Whether it's the heartbeat of a tiny baby heading home after being successfully cared for in the ICU, or the heartbeat of a child nearing the end of a battle with cancer, the recordings Sova makes are treasured by parents and families. 

Simon Kittock has said that rights for trans people are 30 years behind the rest of the gay community.
flickr user torbakhopper / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs reports attacks against transgender individuals jumped 13 percent in 2014, and nearly half of transgender individuals, 41 percent, attempt suicide.

When compared to the general population, trans people are nearly four times more likely to have an annual income of under $10,000.

A new West Michigan nonprofit is hoping to help trans youth get beyond these challenges. 

Activities like trail riding and paddleboarding are growing in popularity in Michigan.
flickr user Jereme Rauckman / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

What does "outdoor Michigan" mean to you?

For decades, hunting and fishing would have been among the top answers.

But times change, and Michigan needs to retool the way it's pitching its outdoor charms. 

Ted Roelofs looks at selling the Michigan outdoors to a new generation in his latest piece for Bridge Magazine. He joined us today to take a look at how the outdoor sports scene is changing in Michigan.

Trash pickup is the latest hurdle for the city of Flint.
Flickr user J J / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

 

The problems continue to pile on Flint: Over the weekend, Mayor Karen Weaver announced that trash pickup was to be canceled indefinitely, due to a dispute between the mayor and city council over which vendor will receive the city’s garbage collection.

Mayor Weaver hoped to grant the contract to Rizzo Environmental Services, which had the lowest bid. The city council decided to continue with Republic, the city’s current trash hauler. Mayor Weaver then vetoed the council’s decision, which led to an override of the mayor’s veto by the council.

On Monday, city officials reached an interim agreement with Republic to resume trash pickup, starting August 2. The arrangement will remain in place until August 12. Officials say trash collection will be delayed by one day for the rest of this week; it should be back on schedule by the start of next week.

What's your immigration story?

Jul 29, 2016
inside of the mapparium globe in boston
Chase Elliot Clark / Flickr CC/https://flic.kr/p/cLcyQw

This week, State of Opportunity explored the history of immigration policy in the U.S. and looked at what life is like for undocumented immigrants in Michigan in our documentary Out From the Shadows. 

Thomas Phillips presenting his plan for the Aspire Tech Bus at the Hack the Central District Cultural Innovation Conference in Seattle last month.
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The Next Idea

Over and over again, we've heard that tech jobs in Michigan are going unfilled.

We've heard that there just aren't enough students graduating with the tech know-how employers want, and that students in Detroit just don't get many of the same opportunities as kids from other school districts.

Thomas Phillips thinks he's hit on a way to help solve these problems, and he's calling it the Aspire Tech Bus.

Leaders of Detroit's Black LGBT community at the Hotter than July kickoff.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

It’s time for Hotter than July, Detroit’s annual week of celebration and remembrance for the black LGBT community.

This year’s events kicked off Tuesday evening at Detroit’s Palmer Park, with a vigil for community members who faced violence, diseases like HIV-AIDS, discrimination and oppression.

Organizers say the week of events often feels like “a big family reunion.”

But it also has its somber moments, like when attendees honored those who have passed away near a spruce tree dedicated in their honor.

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

The Firekeepers Human Trafficking Awareness Program is continuing its efforts to raise human trafficking awareness. Over the past year, the program has been working to combat human trafficking in its casino and hotel. The program provides training to employees on how to spot and report possible human trafficking.

ACLU sign
Slightly North / Flickr CC / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The ACLU is urging Battle Creek officials to reject proposed anti-panhandling laws.

The civil liberties group sent the Battle Creek city commission a letter discouraging proposals that would regulate solicitation and panhandling.

Battle Creek city officials wrote the so-called "aggressive solicitation" proposals, based largely on complaints from local business owners and residents.

Miriam Aukerman is with the ACLU of Michigan and she says it's not illegal to ask for help.

Jeff Montgomery at the The NAMES Project's AIDS Quilt Memorial Display Candlelight Vigil in October, 1992
flickr user Elvert Barnes / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Jeff Montgomery was one of Michigan's first leading gay-rights activists. 

A personal tragedy drove him to become a fierce advocate for LGBT rights in Michigan and found the Triangle Foundation, which later became a part of Equality Michigan

Montgomery died this week in Detroit.

Anita Peppers/Morguefile

One dirty truth about child rearing is the high price of diapers, which can cost families from $70 to $80 per month per child. Congress is considering legislation that would fund pilot programs in states such as Michigan to help low-income families afford this necessity.

There are currently no federal programs that meet the need, according to Alison Weir, chief of policy and research for the National Diaper Bank Network.

Maan, Bayan, and their three children arrived in Dearborn in April. The family does not want their names or faces revealed because they fear any media attention could endanger their relatives still in Syria.
Joe Linstroth / Michigan Radio

To understand the tragic toll of the civil war in Syria, you need look no further than the city of Homs.

The western Syrian city was held by rebels and under attack by government forces.

Four years ago, on February 22, 2012, American-born reporter Marie Colvin spoke to CNN from Homs, trying to describe her anger at the shelling of civilians in the city:

“There are 28,000 civilians, men, women and children, hiding, being shelled, defenseless.”

“So it’s a complete and utter lie that they’re only going after terrorists. There are rockets, shells, tank shells, anti-aircraft being fired in parallel lines into the city. The Syrian Army is simply shelling a city of cold, starving civilians.”

Shortly after that report, Marie Colvin and a young French photographer were killed when ten rockets blasted into their makeshift media center.

Urban farming is one way public space is being used in Detroit.
Flickr user Liz Patek / Flickr / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

The Next Idea

 

Private development has changed the face of Detroit. New restaurants, shops and houses have popped up in Midtown, Corktown and downtown Detroit. But what about public spaces?

 

Our latest contributor to The Next Idea is Anya Sirota, an assistant professor of architecture at the University of Michigan. She’s also the principal of Akoaki, a practice in Detroit involving architecture, art and cultural infrastructure.

 

Sirota believes there aren’t enough public spaces in Detroit that offer openness and the opportunity to build a sense of belonging. She thinks public space is crucial to the health of a city.

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