royal oak

Stateside
6:52 pm
Wed May 28, 2014

The oldest video store in the US is in Royal Oak, but now it's closing

Thomas Video in Royal Oak is closing their doors.

Thomas Video opened in 1974, and was the first store in the country to sell films. 

On Stateside, we spoke with Jim Olenski, the owner of Thomas Video about his business and why it's closing. 

According to Olenski, the store has been losing money for a long time, partly because of the rise in online movie streaming options, like Netflix. 

To hear Cynthia Canty's interview with Olenski, click the link above.   

Politics & Government
8:36 am
Wed November 6, 2013

Lessenberry discusses election highlights

The Secretary of State says 95.5% of eligible voters are registered
Lars Plougmann Creative Commons

This Week in Michigan Politics Jack Lessenberry and Christina Shockley discuss some of the highlights from Tuesday's election, including the Detroit mayoral race, elections on LGBT issues, and proposals to decriminalize marijuana.

Week in Michigan Politics interview for 11/6/13

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Election 2013
10:14 pm
Tue November 5, 2013

Royal Oak voters uphold LGBT ordinance

LGBT rainbow flag flapping in the sun
user Marlith Flickr

Voters in Royal Oak approved by a wide margin a local ordinance that protects people from discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Royal Oak is the 30th Michigan community to adopt an LGBT anti-discrimination ordinance. And gay rights supporters say that should put pressure on politicians at the state Capitol to do the same.

“I think as more non-discrimination policies are passed at the local level, that it does make quite the statement that are legislators are not doing the job that our citizens are expected of them,” said Emily Dievendorf of Equality Michigan.

There is an effort underway to add LGBT protections to Michigan’s civil rights law. But a bill to do that has not been formally introduced.

The Royal Oak city council approved the human rights ordinance last March. Opponents went to the ballot in in an effort to block it.

Opinion
8:26 am
Mon November 4, 2013

Human rights and Royal Oak

Lessenberry commentary for 11/4/13

The Detroit suburb of Royal Oak is a fascinating little city which has had far greater historic importance than its size would lead you to expect. And how its citizens vote in tomorrow’s election may provide an important clue to how attitudes are changing statewide.

Royal Oak’s 57,000 citizens are going to be asked to vote on a proposed charter ordinance that would forbid discrimination based on a wide variety of factors, including sexual orientation, gender identity, or HIV status. Twelve years ago, Royal Oak voted a similar ordinance down by more than 2-1. But opinions have evolved, and since then, a steadily growing group of states have legalized same-sex marriage. 

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Politics & Government
4:40 pm
Tue October 29, 2013

Royal Oak to vote on human rights initiative

Royal Oak will vote on a ballot measure that includes protections for LGBT people against discrimination.
Credit Guillaume Paumier/Flickr

Royal Oak will go to the polls on Nov. 5 to vote on  a ballot initiative that proposes adding a human rights ordinance to the city code. The measure is controversial because it calls for protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, among other groups.

Royal Oak's city code does not currently include a non-discrimination clause. The city relies on state and federal protections to prevent discrimination.

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Auto
11:00 am
Sat August 17, 2013

Woodward Dream Cruise, Back to the Bricks lure classic car lovers

(file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

BERKLEY, Mich. (AP) - A big day has dawned in Michigan for classic car enthusiasts in the state that put America on wheels.

The Woodward Dream Cruise officially kicks off Saturday. But the rides - and the legions of folks who love them - have been out for days already along the Detroit-area thoroughfare.

It's the 19th year for the free event, which is hosted by numerous Oakland County communities along the route.

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Politics & Government
7:58 am
Wed April 17, 2013

The week in Michigan politics: Roads funding, lottery and welfare, human rights in Royal Oak

cncphotos flickr

Week in review interview

This week in Michigan politics, Jack Lessenberry and Christina Shockley discuss funding proposals to fix Michigan’s roads, the number of lottery winners on welfare, and how a human rights ordinance is moving forward in Royal Oak.

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Politics & Government
12:09 am
Tue April 16, 2013

Royal Oak voters to decide human rights ordinance

Royal Oak voters will decide whether to approve the city’s human rights ordinance in November.

That ordinance extends civil rights protections to some people not covered by state or federal law—including gays and lesbians.

A citizen group had gathered enough signatures to either force the commission to rescind the ordinance, or put it on the ballot.

Royal Oak resident David Sims says voters should have the final say on the law, which he calls “ridiculous.”

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Politics & Government
9:10 am
Tue April 9, 2013

In this morning's news: Democrats' budget, Detroit restructuring, Royal Oak explosion

User: Brother O'Mara flickr

Democrats announce budget priorities

State House Democrats announced a new set of priorities for the state budget yesterday.

“The Democrats’ plan calls for $1.5 billion in new spending on education, tax cuts for middle-class residents and seniors, and small business investments. They say they would pay for that partly by eliminating government waste and cutting corporate tax breaks,” Jake Neher reports.

Consultants recommend changes to Detroit city departments

A restructuring firm hired by the city of Detroit has presented two proposals to re-shape city departments to a city-state advisory board.

“One proposal would downsize the City Council, and make its members part-time. The other suggests ways to consolidate the Police Department,” Michigan Radio’s Sarah Cwiek reports.

Safety violations at fault for natural gas explosion in Royal Oak

In a letter to state regulators, Consumers Energy said utility workers failed to follow company protocols in the lead-up to a deadly natural gas explosion in Royal Oak earlier this year.

“The utility says workers didn't follow procedures as they replaced a gas main near the house, and then left the area after smelling gas,” reports Michigan Radio’s Tracy Samilton.

Politics & Government
9:49 am
Mon April 8, 2013

Commentary: Politics and human rights

Lessenberry commentary for 4/8/13

If you were looking for a quintessential solidly middle-class Michigan suburb, Royal Oak, Michigan might be it. Its 57,000 people are mainly white and solidly middle-class.

The downtown became somewhat of a magnet for the young, and trendy a decade or so ago, and hip twenty-somethings still mingle there with motorcycle bikers and teenage skateboarders on warm summer evenings. But by and large, Royal Oak is average middle-sized suburban homes, built around the baby boom era.

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Law
4:31 pm
Fri March 15, 2013

Civil rights, or voters' choice? Royal Oak divided over anti-discrimination law

Royal Oak's anti-discrimination law is on pause.
user Tyrone Warner Flickr

A new law in Royal Oak protecting gay and lesbian people from discrimination has hit a bump in the road.

You’ve heard that a handful of cities in Michigan have anti-discrimination ordinances that say you can't fire or deny housing to someone just because they're gay.

And Royal Oak was about to join that club when their city commissioners okayed the new law.

But 200 people recently signed a petition to put that law on hold.

Now opponents of the ordinance need some 700 signatures by April to bring it up for a city-wide vote. 

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Health
2:36 pm
Mon December 3, 2012

Stateside: Dr. Jack Kevorkian's legacy

Kevorkian's controversial case raised numerous quality-of-life questions
Greg Asatrian wikimedia commons

Jack Lessenberry talks about Kevorkian's legacy.

Twenty-two years ago today, Dr. Jack Kevorkian was first charged with murder.

He was charged with the death of Janet Adkins, an Alzheimer's patient who traveled from Oregon seeking Kevorkian’s assistance in ending her life.

Michigan Radio’s Jack Lessenberry knew Kevorkian and extensively covered his trial.

“Kevorkian was more of a scientist than a doctor. He was obsessed with death and obsessed with the idea of organ transplants. He was presented by Geoffrey Fieger as concerned with alleviating peoples’ suffering,” said Lessenberry.

Lessenberry found Kevorkian to be both impatient and strikingly intelligent.

“He was brilliant; he probably had an IQ of 200. He was a restless person and a self-destructive person. He was a very different individual,” said Lessenberry.

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Politics & Government
11:38 pm
Mon November 19, 2012

Royal Oak moves to join other Michigan cities protecting gay rights

Royal Oak City Commissioners unanimously approved a measure to start drafting a human rights ordinance Monday.

Such an ordinance would ban discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and other characteristics not covered under state or federal law. A number of Michigan cities have similar laws on the books.

Royal Oak voters overwhelmingly rejected a proposed human rights ordinance in 2001.

But City Commissioner Jim Rasor is convinced public opinion on gay rights has shifted drastically since then.

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Law
5:35 pm
Wed October 17, 2012

Lawsuit claims flaws in Michigan's parole system

The Department of Corrections is being sued over how it supervises parolees and handle parole violators.
Eddie Mingus flickr

A lawsuit filed this week alleges the state Department of Corrections has been too lax in supervising roughly 18,000 paroled felons in Michigan.

The lawsuit was first reported by The Detroit Free Press.

It was filed by the family of an elderly Royal Oak woman who was murdered in her home. Two fugitives on parole have been charged with the killing.

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Culture
10:29 am
Fri September 14, 2012

PHOTOS: Muslims in metro Detroit hold vigil in response to attacks in Libya

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

Zanah Ghalawanji 22, gave a speech of condolence to the families of those killed in an attack on the U-S Consulate in Libya Tuesday.

Metro Detroit Muslims held a vigil last night in downtown Royal Oak, in memory of those killed in an attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya Tuesday.

U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, along with four Americans and many civilians were killed in Benghazi.

Zanah Ghalawanji is a Syrian American.

"The Muslim community absolutely does not support anything that occurred in Libya. Violence is against our religion. Our religion is all about peace," said Ghalawanji.

Candles burned as Ghalawanji gave words of condolence to the Stevens family.

"We are deeply thankful for the courage and selfless dedication that so many of the U.S. diplomatic corps have shown in Libya, Syria and throughout the region during this turbulent period," said Ghalawanji.

The violence was sparked by a video that makes fun of Islam, and the Muslim prophet Mohammed.

David Sawulski didn't participate in the vigil. But he had a front-row sit at a nearby cafe.

"I think it is great. They're supporting the American ambassador and the U.S. by standing here and giving support for some body who has killed who was assisting those people. The ambassador was obviously loved by the Libya people," he said.

The controversial video has sparked violence in several countries.

Politics
9:32 am
Tue June 7, 2011

In the face of safety concerns, more cuts to police in Royal Oak

Local governments are coming to terms with the effects of the Great Recession as shrinking revenues are leading to police and fire layoffs in many parts of the state.

The Royal Oak Police Department is making cuts to its department. Going from 70 to 65 sworn officers.

This despite the concern over safety in Royal Oak.

From the Daily Tribune:

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Legal
12:38 pm
Thu January 20, 2011

Is a firefighter's discovery of pot plants an illegal search?

The defendant was charged with possessing marijuana plants after a firefighter discovered them.
USFWS

The Supreme Court will hear arguments in a case regarding a possible illegal search today.

In the case "The People of the State of Michigan vs. Mark Slaughter" - the defendant, Mark Slaughter, was charged with possessing marijuana plants in his basement after a firefighter found the plants during an emergency call. From the court filing:

On May 6, 2007, firefighters were called to the residence of Kathleen Tunner at 3206 Coolidge, Royal Oak, Michigan. Ms. Tunner testified that she suspected that water was running down the wall of her basement in her unit over her electrical box. Ms. Tunner contacted 911 and the fire department arrived...even though the unit in which called for assistance was Ms. Tunner's unit, Lieutenant Schunck never entered or inspected Ms. Tunner's unit...[Schunck] testified that they entered Defendant's unit, absent any signs of leaking water or hearing water running from outside Defendant's unit...Upon entering Defendants unit, the firefighters observed suspected marijuana plants...and subsequently contacted the police."

The Associated Press reports that lower courts have ruled in Slaughter's favor:

Slaughter's defense lawyer successfully argued that it was an illegal search. Prosecutors say there's an exception when authorities find evidence of a crime during an emergency.

So let's play armchair Supreme Court justice. Do you think this amounted to an illegal search? You can read the complaint to gather more information before you issue your ruling.