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Stateside 9.14.2016

29 minutes ago

Today, we discuss the "questionable" report of a Marine trainee's suicide. And, we hear how humans could soon leave the Holocene behind by pushing Earth into a new geological era. 

Brett Levin / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Today the State Board of Education voted 6-2, along party lines, to approve revised school guidelines to offer a safe and supportive environment for Michigan students who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning.

The board's first set of proposed guidelines was posted earlier this year for public comment. The public had a lot to say, posting more than 13,000 comments, both pro and con. 

From that feedback came these revised guidelines. 

Flickr user NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/Flickr / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

You may remember from your school days that one of the ways geologists measure time is by epochs, which can be seen in changes in rock layers. These epochs tell us much about what was happening on the earth at that time.

Courtesy of 5iveit Entertainment

As part of our series "Minding Michigan," we explore mental health issues in our state.

Today, we introduce you to Patrick Cleland, better known as Rick Chyme.

He’s a rapper from West Michigan who's been collaborating with local artists from around the state and has several project in the works.

People protesting near Flint's water plant ahead of Trump's stop there.
Rick Pluta / MPRN

Demonstrators lined a highway in Flint near the water plant today, ahead of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's visit there. Some of the demonstrators supported Trump. Many were opposed.           

Leslie Wilson blasted the timing of Trump’s visit, and the fact that no events were open to the general public.  

“It’s just ridiculous. Why he’s coming 60 days before the election. It’s ridiculous.”

 Wilson says she thinks the visit was aimed at attracting the support of skeptical moderate Republicans, and not people who live in Flint or other cities.

Dawud Walid told us that in his work in the civil rights field, "we're always skeptical about government investigating ... actions of its own members."
flickr user DVIDSHUB / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

This week, the Council on American-Islamic Relations called for the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department to launch an investigation in to Raheel Siddiqui's death. 

Siddiqui was a Pakistani-American Muslim who was 11 days into his basic training with the United States Marine Corps on Parris Island in South Carolina when he died. 

The Marines say the 20-year-old committed suicide by jumping 40 feet in a stairwell. Siddiqui's family says that's absolutely not the case. 

Raheel Siddiqui
Facebook

The United States Marine Corps says a 20-year-old Taylor man committed suicide by jumping 40 feet in a stairwell. 

The family of Raheel Siddiqui says that's absolutely not the case.

Siddiqui was a Pakistani-American Muslim who was 11 days into his basic training on Parris Island in South Carolina when he died.

Ford Motor Co. is moving all of its U.S. small car production to Mexico

1 hour ago
CC-BY-CarImages / flickr creative commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Ford's small car production is moving to Mexico.

Ford CEO Mark Fields confirmed the move today during an event for investors and Wall Street analysts.

Ford can build the cars for less money by paying lower wages in Mexico.

Matt DeLorenzo, managing editor for news at Kelley Blue Book,  said the move is part of an industry-wide trend.

"Behind it are the rather slim margins on small cars in general," said DeLorenzo.

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

A school that’s housed inside the Grand Rapids Public Museum is getting a $10 million boost.

The XQ Super School Project announced the national award today. The institute says it offered the money to get schools “to rethink and redesign the American high school.”

The money going to Grand Rapids Public Schools will help cover the costs of renovating the 80-year-old public museum building into a new high school.

The Flint River.
Sarah Razak / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Michigan Democrats and Flint leaders continue to urge Congress to help Flint with its ongoing water crisis.

State and city officials want Congress to help Flint and other cities improve or replace their aging water infrastructure.  

Congressman Dan Kildee, D-MI, represents Michigan's 5th district, which includes Flint. He says too many children in Flint have been exposed to the lead in the city's drinking water.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Prosecutors say there is a link between Flint’s use of the Flint River as its drinking water source and a deadly Legionnaires Disease outbreak. 

The link was announced during a court hearing that saw another former government worker plead to charges in the city’s drinking water crisis. 

When news came yesterday morning that State Representative Peter Pettalia had died in a motorcycle crash, the first question everybody I knew asked was: Was he wearing a helmet?

Pettalia was a key player in the successful drive four years ago to repeal the law requiring motorcyclists to wear helmets. Turns out that he was wearing a helmet at the time of the tragedy, which evidently was not his fault. The brutal fact is that if you are going to collide with a heavy, vast-moving vehicle, a motorcycle, unlike a car, offers almost no protection.

Ty Schmidt told us safety is a huge part of the Norte! experience. "We really take it serious. They signal, they stop at every stop sign, and their confidence builds, their independence builds," he said. "As they get older, these will be lifelong skills."
Courtest of Norte!

It used to be that getting to school meant hopping on your bike.

But when Ty Schmidt moved to Traverse City ten years ago, something stuck him: crowded bike racks outside schools had been replaced with long lines of cars at drop-off and pick-up.

That led Schmidt and his wife Johanna to launch an effort to get kids to ride their bikes - safely - to and from school. 

Jack Lessenberry
Michigan Radio

This Week in Michigan Politics Jack Lessenberry and Doug Tribou look at Todd Courser's $160 million civil lawsuit, a rejected challenge to Michigan's emergency manager law and a push to stop local communities from regulating plastic grocery bags. Lessenberry and Tribou also talk about a WWE wrestler turned Republican nominee who's looking to pin down a seat in the Michigan House this November.


M1-Rail streetcar design
M1 Rail

Detroit's light rail system will get its first streetcar delivered ahead of schedule. 

M1-Rail officials say the first streetcar for the "Q-Line" will be delivered Wednesday, nearly two months ahead of initial projections. There will be four streetcars when the Q-Line opens. 

M1-Rail's Sommer Woods says when the streetcar arrives, they will immediately begin training and testing.

Donald Trump plans to visit Flint.
DonaldJTrump.com

Ever since the Flint water crisis broke open this past January, Flint has been no stranger to visitors.

Politicians, movie stars, musicians, and media from all over the world have come to see the city stricken by lead-tainted water.

Now it's Donald Trump's turn to visit Flint.

Wikimedia Commons

State lawmakers want to make sure your city won’t tax or ban plastic grocery and retail bags.

A State House committee heard testimony Tuesday about a bill that would prevent cities from banning or taxing plastic bags. The bill has already been passed by the State Senate and is waiting for a decision from the House.

No city in Michigan actively bans or taxes the use of plastic bags right now. A Washtenaw County 10-cent fee on plastic bags at retailers is scheduled to begin on Earth Day in 2017.

There are now two desks on the floor of the state House draped with black ribbon and bedecked with flowers.

 

Lawmakers returned to the state Capitol Tuesday to the news that state Representative Peter Pettalia, R-Presque Isle, was killed Monday evening in a motorcycle crash. The desk of state Representative Julie Plawecki, D-Dearborn Heights, also remains vacant after she died this summer from a heart attack.

 

Grass carp.
USGS

The Canadian government has confirmed that, for the first time, a fertile grass carp has been caught in the Canadian waters of western Lake Erie.

Grass carp are considered less of a threat than bighead and silver carp (but grass carp can eat a lot of aquatic plants) and for a long time, people thought the grass carp in the lakes were sterile. But lately, fertile grass carp have been turning up.

A commercial fisherman caught the fish off Point Pelee.

Mobile farmers market on the road in Flint

Sep 13, 2016
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A traveling farmers market has begun popping up around the City of Flint.

It's a retrofitted 14 passenger bus that's been equipped to carry fresh produce and other healthy foods to Flint neighborhoods.

The project, called Flint Fresh Mobile Market, is the joint effort of several local non-profit organizations and one local business, according to Pam Bailey of the YMCA of Greater Flint.

The groups are the Community Foundation of Greater Flint, Flint Food Works, The Local Grocer, Neighborhood Engagement Hub, and YMCA of Greater Flint.

Tracy Samilton

Some customers of Espresso Royale in Ann Arbor had to wait a little longer for their cappuccinos and lattes Tuesday afternoon, due to a stop there by Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine.

Kaine,with a sizeable contingent of local and national press at his heels, shook hands and chatted with customers, before ordering a cup of coffee and heading to a rally on the University of Michigan diag.

About 1,250 Clinton-Kaine loyalists gathered inside the gated area, and another 5,000 or so lined up farther out, according to a U of M event coordinator.

Stateside 9.13.2016

Sep 13, 2016

Today, we discuss the court ruling that upheld Michigan's emergency manager law. And, we learn what happens when parents disagree with schools over how best to teach kids with special needs.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A federal lawsuit alleges the chairman of Michigan State University’s Board of Trustees is running a “racketeering enterprise” in Lansing. The suit targets Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero and MSU Board of Trustees Chairman Joel Ferguson, among others.

“This is about an elaborate extortion scheme over a project that some say is worth as much at $380 million,” attorney Mike Cox said.

Cox filed the suit on behalf of two businessmen who pitched the development project in 2012. But he says Ferguson used his political influence to win the project instead.

"It's really challenging for parents to be able to voice any kind of disagreement with what schools decide their child should be getting," McWilliams told us.
United States Department of Education / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

What happens when you're the parent of a child with special needs, and your view of how you want your child to be educated clashes with the school district's?

Whiting told us Parallel 45 likes to put on plays that most people have probably at least heard of, so there's a sense of familiarity, then "turn things on their heads and give a new perspective to some of these stories."
Parallel 45 Theatre and Melisa McKolay Photography / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Can the northwest lower peninsula of Michigan support a professional theater group that dares to really challenge its audience? Delivering theater "for the adventurous mind," not comfortable, touristy and familiar?

Turns out, the answer is yes.

A natural gas pipeline
www.FERC.gov

Are people writing from beyond the grave to support a proposed natural gas line that would run from Ohio into Southeast Michigan and on into Ontario?

According to a story in today's Detroit Free Press, the answer is yes.

Hammer told us he was "very disappointed" but "not surprised" with the appeals court ruling.
flickr user swskeptic / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

A federal appeals court has upheld Michigan's emergency manager law.

The Sixth Circuit United States Court of Appeals says the law does not violate voting rights, and it does not racially discriminate. 

The court's opinion says there is no fundamental right to vote for local officials. It also says the state has a legitimate interest in fixing financially struggling local governments. 

In light of Monday's ruling, where does Michigan go from here?

The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Detroit.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Learning conditions in many Detroit schools are so bad, they violate students’ basic rights under the U.S. Constitution.

That’s what a new federal lawsuit contends. It was filed on behalf of students at five of the lowest-performing Detroit schools, including one charter school.

The suit cites an ongoing lack of basic educational resources, including teachers, that together deny children of their “constitutional right to literacy.”

What's the weirdest burger topping you've ever had?

Sep 13, 2016
Burger with a fried egg on top.
user Jason Thien / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Have you ever ordered a burger with strange toppings? You know, not the typical stuff - like mustard, ketchup, tomatoes, onions, pickles or lettuce - but something like a fried egg.

As we approach National Cheeseburger Day  — September 18th — we're curious about the most unconventional topping you’ve had on a burger in Michigan.

Did you like it? Or... no so much.

Here are three places we found with some out-of-the-ordinary toppings. 

School choice, metro Detroit’s new white flight

Sep 13, 2016
Photo courtesy of Chastity Pratt Dawsey / Bridge Magazine

When the high school in Eastpointe recently welcomed the football team from Lakeview High, it was a homecoming of sorts.

That’s because nearly 700 students from Eastpointe actually attend school in Lakeview, a public school district five miles away in St. Clair Shores. As it happens, many of the students who left Eastpointe for Lakeview are white.

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