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Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Four weeks from today, Lansing voters will elect the capitol city’s first new mayor in a dozen years.

The next mayor will be a departure in style from the current holder of the office.

Michigan Radio

Oakland and Wayne County Executives have filed suit in federal court against 13 opioid drug manufacturers and distributors.

They claim the drug makers' deceptive marketing campaigns over many years contributed heavily to the current opioid addiction crisis.

In 2016, there were 817 opioid-related deaths in Wayne County, a 61 percent increase over the previous year. In Oakland County, opioid-related deaths have risent from 9 in 2009 to 33 in 2015. 

East Rockford Middle School
Rockford Public Schools

A West Michigan shoe manufacturer is sending bottled water to East Rockford Middle School. 

An old dumpsite for shoemaker Wolverine Worldwide is believed to be responsible for a chemical leak in the area that could pose health risks. That dumpsite is within a mile of the school.

About 800 students are drinking bottled water until groundwater test results come back.

Michigan Senate passes dental therapist bill

9 hours ago
person having their teeth cleaned
Matt Lemmon / Flickr Creative Commons HTTP://MICHRAD.IO/1LXRDJM

State lawmakers are considering a new way to help underserved populations get dental care.

bill that passed the Senate 21-15 on Wednesday would authorize and license a new kind of mid-level dental professional called a "dental therapist."  

The legislation sets out educational and training requirements that would have to be met before dental therapists could perform basic dental care, like fillings and simple teeth extractions, that are currently handled by dentists.  

governor rick snyder
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A congressional committee has asked Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder to address when he learned about a fatal outbreak of Legionnaires' disease during the Flint water crisis after an aide contradicted the governor's timeline.

Pete Markham / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Lake Superior is cold, deep and clear. But it’s no longer the clearest of the Great Lakes.

Lakes Michigan and Huron have gotten clearer, bumping Lake Superior to number three.

Scientists have been able to figure how much clearer by using satellite imagery.

Pneedham / Flickr

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan municipalities would be prohibited from levying local taxes on food and beverages under a bill advancing to Gov. Rick Snyder's desk for his expected signature.

No local government in Michigan is now considering such a tax. But lawmakers say it is possible, pointing to Philadelphia and Chicago as places with soda taxes. Similar taxes have been approved in San Francisco and Oakland, California.

Owe taxes? That’s OK. Wayne County will still sell you foreclosed homes.

15 hours ago
Sarah Alvarez / Bridge Magazine

Wayne County doesn’t always enforce a law that forbids tax delinquents from buying properties at its tax foreclosure auctions, contributing to a cycle of speculation that perpetuates blight, a Bridge Magazine investigation has found.

Peter McPherson, one of the best presidents Michigan State has had in recent years, told me once that when he was a student at MSU, there was a controversy over whether to allow a Communist to speak on campus.

This was back in the early sixties, we were at the height of the Cold War, and the administration didn’t want to allow a perceived enemy of America to speak. Eventually the Communist did get to speak… and the students who went found him mind-numbingly boring.

A Republican candidate for governor has been kicked off of his Senate committees.

Senator Patrick Colbeck (R-Canton) is known for being outspoken on conservative issues – even against his own party. He’s spoken out against Republican handling of the Medicaid expansion and the gas tax. Colbeck was already one of the few Republican Senators without a committee chairmanship.

Colbeck said he’ll continue to represent his district – it just might be a little harder now.

Michigan State Police

Legislation to nix Driver Responsibility Fees is moving through the state Legislature.

The fees require drivers to pay to get their driver’s license back after getting too many points on their license or committing certain driving offenses.

There’s already a law to phase out the fees completely in 2019. But lawmakers say that’s not soon enough. They want the fee to be gone by October of next year. And they want people that haven’t paid their fees to be forgiven.

A Michigan lithium battery maker is rolling out its next generation battery.

Xalt Energy has suffered setbacks in recent years, including lost business opportunities in China when it changed regulations, and losing out on a major bus contract in California, resulting in layoffs at its facilities in Midland and Pontiac.

Lisa Stevenson is the director of cell development at Xalt.    She says their next battery stores more energy and is a good fit for the electric bus market.

“Absolutely, it’s going to make us more competitive,” says Stevenson.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Detroit Police Chief James Craig says a high-speed chase that ended with a teen’s death Monday was an “egregious incident” that “never should have happened.”

Craig has already suspended the two officers involved in the pursuit, which ended in a collision that killed the 19-year-old driver and injured a 67-year-old man.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

A new study says Michigan's transportation system is better prepared for climate change than many other Midwest states.

But it's still not enough, according to the Midwest Economic Policy Institute.

Study author Mary Craighead says Michigan will see higher temperatures, heavier rains, increased erosion, and more frequent freeze-thaw cycles.  That will damage bridges, roads and other infrastructure.

Craighead says it's an economic issue for the whole country, not just Michigan.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A Flint city councilman says it’s time for the tents to come down from a six-month protest against Flint’s water crisis.

Out-of-state activists founded Camp Promise in April in Flint’s Kearsley Park to draw attention to Flint’s water crisis.  The collection of tents and fire pits takes up a large section of the park.  

Six months after its founding, most of the activists have left, but the tents remain.

Councilman Wantwaz Davis says it’s time for the campsite in the middle of a city park to be cleared out.

I took a trip back in time yesterday, sort of, to Plymouth, Michigan – a tidy, mostly gentrified Wayne County town 26 miles and at least that many light years from the city of Detroit.

I turned on Main Street, and stopped in the law office of John Stewart, who has practiced there for more than 30 years. When I looked around, I expected to see Atticus Finch, or Jimmy Stewart, the folksy yet brilliant country lawyer from Anatomy of a Murder.

The offices were in what had been a comfy private home built nearly a century ago. There were bookshelves everywhere, lined not just with law books but biographies of Lincoln, Jefferson, and other books you might actually want to read.

A tribal member of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians.
Eva Petoskey

Detroit plans to recognize Indigenous Peoples Day starting next year instead of Columbus Day.

The Detroit News reports City Council approved a proposal Tuesday on the issue about how to mark the second Monday of October.

Detroit joins five other  Michigan cities that have adopted Indigenous Peoples Day, including Alpena, Ann Arbor, East Lansing, Traverse City and Ypsilanti.

Marijuana plants
Flickr user A7nubis / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The criminal prosecutions in the Flint Water crisis are just starting to make their way into the courts. This week, the state's medical officer, Dr. Eden Wells,  was supposed to begin a preliminary exam to determine if her case would go to trial, but prosecutors said they're adding charges including involuntary manslaughter. That pushed the exam back to next month. There are 13 defendants who have not pleaded guilty. Only one has actually begun an exam.

Morning Edition host Doug Tribou asks senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry whether the trial process is moving too slowly. 

wikipedia

It’s still not clear who paid for Ypsilanti city officials to travel to China at the end of last month.

At a special meeting last night, Ypsilanti council questioned Mayor Amanda Edmonds, Economic Development Director Beth Ernat, Mayor Pro Tem Nicole Brown, Police Chief Tony DeGiusti, whom all travelled to China; as well as City Manager Darwin McClary, who was involved in scheduling the trip.

The trip to China from Sep. 21 to Oct. 2 was a chance for city officials to meet with Chinese investors in a proposed $300 million housing and retail development dubbed International Village in Ypsilanti.

There are ethical concerns that the developer of International Village, Troy-based Amy Foster, may have used a Wayne State University Student group as a pass-through for money to pay for the Ypsilanti officials’ travel.

Alex Pasarelu

The state health department says it found no significant increases in stillbirths or infant mortality in Flint, following the city's water crisis.

Detroit NAACP President Rev. Wendell Anthony led the call for "insitutional" change at MSP.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

The Detroit chapter of the NAACP and other civil rights advocates say the Michigan State Police has a race relations problem, and needs serious institutional change.

Some leaders, including Detroit NAACP leader Rev. Wendell Anthony, called again Tuesday for current MSP Chief Col. Kristy Etue to resign.

battlecreekcvb / flickr

Battle Creek Public Schools has balanced its budget for the first time in ten years.

Superintendent Kim Carter says the district sold two under-capacity school buildings, outsourced bussing, and sold its buses.  

Selling the schools also meant the district could reduce some administrative and support staff who worked in those buildings.  Carter says they avoided direct cuts to classes and teaching staff.

Morgan Brenner / Flickr

A bill in the state Legislature would change how schools teach sex education. The new curriculum would focus on “changing the culture” around sexual assault.

“Under the current system, my daughter will be taught where not to walk, what not to wear, where not to leave her drink, while my sons will never be taught not to be perpetrators,” said bill sponsor, state Senator Curtis Hertel, D-East Lansing.

Water faucet
user william_warby / Flickr

A West Michigan shoe company is supplying whole-house water filters to some residents affected by water contamination near Grand Rapids.

Chris Hufnagel is with Wolverine World Wide, the company believed to be responsible for the toxic chemicals, called PFAs, that were discovered in private drinking wells.

Lead Beyond / Flickr Creative Commons HTTP://MICHRAD.IO/1LXRDJM

Charter schools in Michigan currently don't get any money raised by regional enhancement millages. Those are property taxes up to 3 mills approved by voters in intermediate school districts. Under existing state law, the money can only go to traditional pubic schools.

But the Senate Education Committee today approved a bill that would let charter schools share in that money.

"We have ten percent of our students who attend charter schools in my county," said bill sponsor Sen. Dave Hildenbrand, R-Lowell. "And I feel like it's an equity issue."

Kerry Wixted / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Forests in our region are under attack from a shrub.

The culprit is an ornamental plant called Japanese barberry. It was introduced from Asia in the late 1800s. It’s been in used in landscaping in Michigan for decades, but it’s considered invasive.

I just found out I have some in my front yard.

They’re pretty, with bright red berries that birds love to eat.

Judge's gavel
Pixabay.com

The criminal cases in the Flint water crisis are unfolding. State health director Nick Lyon had a hearing in court last week. The state’s chief medical officer Dr. Eden Wells had a hearing on Monday and she is now facing some new charges.

Michigan Radio reporter Steve Carmody has been covering the criminal prosecutions and was at that hearing. He spoke with Morning Edition host Doug Tribou about the ongoing proceedings. (You can hear the conversation above.)

Part of a polished Petoskey stone.
Michelle Pemberton / Wikimedia Commons

Most Michiganders have spent hours walking up and down shorelines, hoping to spot a Petoskey stone or two for their collection.

Hunting for Petoskey stones can be tough - they're often small, hidden among thousands of other little rocks and their distinctive pattern is only visible when wet.

Sam VarnHagen / Ford Motor Co.

My guess is that virtually everyone who even half-heartedly follows the news knows that a Republican senator from Tennessee called the White House an “adult day care center” after the President called him a coward, et cetera, et cetera.

A man stands on building steps and speaks through a megaphone. Signs reading "Dignity and Rage" and "No More Stolen Lands" can be seen in the background.
Kaye LaFond / Michigan Radio

Students and community members marched on the University of Michigan campus Monday to mark Indigenous Peoples' Day -- an alternative to the Federal Columbus Day Holiday, which many see as a celebration of genocide. 

A pamphlet distributed by the marchers states that Christopher Columbus is "perhaps the most violent symbol possible for Indigenous communities". 

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