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Families & Community

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.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

It’s the last day before Christmas. 

And amidst the frantic last-minute shopping and traveling, some people in Flint took some time out for music.

For 78 years on Christmas Eve, a bank lobby in Flint has turned into a small concert hall.

Dozens of people filled the First Merit bank lobby in downtown Flint to listen to choir sing a mix of holiday standards and carols, as well as sing along themselves.

user anonymonous / Flickr

Like many of us, the folks at Washtenaw County have something on their Christmas wish list: 17 apartments to house 17 homeless veterans.

Andrea Plevek is with the county's Office of Community and Economic Development.

If she were writing a letter to Santa, "I think that we would ask Santa Claus to open the hearts and minds of the landlord community here in Washtenaw County," says Plevek.

The county hopes to reach its goal of zero homeless veterans by the end of 2015, but Plevek says the county can't do it alone.

Muslims hold a vigil in Royal Oak in response to attacks in Libya
Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

In the U.S., random attacks against Muslims – or people the attackers think look like Muslims – are on the rise. Michigan is not exempt.

In her recent article for The Islamic Monthly, Michigan public school teacher Zeinab Chami wonders why, 14 years after the most significant incident of violence in the name of Islam ever, we are now seeing more vitriolic comments against Islam – not fewer.

The article is called The Prayer of the American Muslim. That prayer: “Please, God, don’t let them be Muslim.”

user myeyesinthemirror / deviantart

"Yes, there's a place we all know, where people of all ages go. It doesn't matter if there's even snow at all.

In Michigan it's loved by all."

Those are lines from "Christmas in Frankenmuth" a song recorded by the American Legacy Jazz Band. The brassy number celebrates Bavarian chicken and "Christmas time all year round."

Take a listen for yourself:

Two children sitting at a table
Public Domain

Michigan officials say the state is now complying with federal requirements for child welfare and foster care.

Gov. Rick Snyder's administration said Monday that Michigan has completed a program improvement plan required by the U.S. Administration for Children and Families.

Federal officials determined the state wasn't in compliance in 2009.

Officials say by meeting the federal goals, about $2.8 million in federal penalties have been rescinded.

Paula Friedrich / Michigan Radio

When you’re driving into Lexington, Michigan on M-25, you pass this house with a teeny wooden sign out front: “Mary’s Pie Shop: Ho’Made.” No store front, just a house. I loved it as soon as I saw it.

“That’s so cute,” I said to Daniel, my friend whose family has a cottage down the road.  

“Have you been there? Who’s Mary?”

“She's so cool! But I think she’s retired,” he said. “They sell her DVD in the general store. It costs $100.”

It’s true. It does. It’s totally real.

VIDEO: Dinner with Ms. Chris

Dec 18, 2015

Our series Bringing up Detroit takes you inside the lives of four Detroit families as they navigate the city's often unpredictable school systems, economy, transportation networks, and neighborhoods. 

58 year-old Christina Lumpkin is her family's sole breadwinner.
Zak Rosen / Michigan Radio

This story is part of Michigan Radio's year-long series Bringing Up Detroit, which examines the inner-lives of four Detroit families as they navigate the city’s often unpredictable school systems, economy, transportation networks, and neighborhoods.

The MacIntyre family took photos of how Flint's water crisis affected their day to day lives. From left: Sean, Ian, Laura, Evan and Broghan.
Paula Friedrich / Michigan Radio

As Flint's water crisis unfolded, there was a lot of news about decisions made by top level officials.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A growing number of Michigan cities are opening their doors to immigrants, despite a national debate over allowing Syrian refugees into the U.S.

Lansing city officials today signed a pledge making the capitol one of nearly a dozen Michigan cities pledging to welcome immigrants.

Mayor Virg Bernero laments the current national debate over Syrian refugees is creating negative feelings about immigration.

African American Santa Claus
soulchristmas / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM / cropped from original

Some Detroit children will have a chance to read their Christmas lists while sitting on the lap of a Santa Claus who looks like them.

BLAC Magazine will host a free event this Saturday and Sunday for children to visit  and get their picture with a black Santa.

For years, Northland Mall in Southfield was a "sure-fire place" for parents to take their children for a photo with a black Santa.

Alas, Detroiters, this is going to be our first Christmas without Northland Mall. And that raises a difficult question for the black community — where will we go to find a black Santa Claus?

Ever since I can remember, Northland was the sure-fire place where parents could take their kids to see a black Santa. My children grew up with two astounding life experiences that, for me, are the hallmark of the progress we have made as a race: They've never voted for a white president, and they've never sat upon the lap of a white Santa.

Edda Photography

    

You've heard the saying, "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade." Well here's another take on that saying: "When life gives you stage-four lung cancer, open an improv comedy club that's also a brewery."

Tori Tomalia and her husband, Jason, are preparing to do just that: the Pointless Brewery & Theatre is about to open in Ann Arbor nearly two years after she was blindsided by the cancer diagnosis.

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