washtenaw county

Courts
5:16 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

Washtenaw judge dismisses lawsuit to block oil drilling project

An oil well.
Credit morguefile

A judge in Washtenaw County today dismissed a lawsuit to prevent oil drilling in Scio Township, near Ann Arbor.

Citizens for Oil-Free Backyards wants to stop West Bay Exploration from drilling. So it sued the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality for what it calls an "unfair and faulty" permitting process.

But the judge ruled that he had no jurisdiction over the case. He said Ingham County is the appropriate court.

Arthur Siegal represents the non-profit group. He said West Bay could start drilling within a week.

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Health
1:23 pm
Sat June 28, 2014

Group wants "Health" to be a key consideration in all government decisions

The idea is that the “health” is determined by many factors that fall outside the control of health care professionals. Factors include: income, employment, education and where people live, work, and play.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A handful of Michigan county health department leaders say “health” should play a bigger role in local decision making. 

Health department officials from Wayne, Genesee, Ingham, Kent, Kalamazoo, Saginaw and Washtenaw counties met in Lansing this past week to strategize how to change the way local governments do pretty much everything. 

Linda Vail is Ingham County’s Chief Health Officer.   She says city and county leaders often fail to consider the potential effects their decisions will have on their community’s health.

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Opinion
10:47 am
Thu March 27, 2014

All the cuts to news gathering should scare us

Newspapers, even big-city newspapers, are in a sorry state these days.

Thanks largely to the Internet, their circulation and advertising revenue has been in free fall, with the result that they have far less staff than they once did.

There are also fewer papers than there used to be.

Washtenaw County, outside of Ann Arbor, is home to a collection of fascinating and picturesque little towns like Manchester, Saline, Dexter, and Chelsea. Each had its own thriving weekly newspaper: The Saline Reporter, Dexter Leader, and Chelsea Standard.

Years ago I did some consulting for the local company that owned those papers and learned that no matter how physically close these places might be, the good people of Chelsea did not want Dexter news in their paper, and vice-versa.

Times are different now.

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Law
3:12 pm
Sat March 1, 2014

Washtenaw County ordered to pay in Muslim bias

The verdict was returned Thursday in Detroit federal court. Attorney Shereef Akeel says Ali Aboubaker was awarded money for lost wages and pain and suffering.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

ANN ARBOR – A jury has awarded nearly $1.2 million to a Muslim man who said he was called a terrorist and repeatedly passed over for promotions while working for Washtenaw County.

The verdict was returned Thursday in Detroit federal court. Attorney Shereef Akeel says Ali Aboubaker was awarded money for lost wages and pain and suffering.

Aboubaker worked for Washtenaw County for 17 years until 2008. The native of Tunisia says he was demoted and bypassed for promotions despite having engineering skills and college degrees.

Health
1:24 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

Ann Arbor to consider limit on outdoor smoking

A proposed ordinance would prohibit smoking at bus stops and city parks
nick see flickr

It may soon become more difficult to smoke outdoors in Ann Arbor.

A proposed city ordinance would prohibit smoking at bus stops and parks designated by the city administrator.

It would also prohibit smoking near the entrances, windows and ventilation systems of city-owned buildings, which is already banned by a Washtenaw County ordinance.

The ordinance, introduced by council member Chuck Warpehoski, D-5th Ward, is on the agenda for Monday night's city council meeting.

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Health
1:17 pm
Wed December 25, 2013

Native American organization struggling but hopeful

Shoshana Beth Phillips & friends
Credit http://uofmhealthblogs.org

A new organization in Ypsilanti that promotes cancer awareness for Native Americans is struggling to stay afloat.

Shoshana Beth Phillips is executive director of Heritage of Healing. It incorporates native traditions and activities into its services, and supports families with a parent dealing with cancer. (Phillips is originally from the Omaha Nation of Nebraska and was diagnosed with bone marrow cancer seven years ago.) 

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Politics & Government
9:00 am
Sat August 31, 2013

The week in review: Detroit Public Schools, Washtenaw County ID cards, Detroit mayoral race

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Sarah Hulett Michigan Radio

Week-in-review for 8/31/2013

 This week, Rina Miller and Jack Lessenberry discuss the Detroit Public Schools student quota, Washtenaw County’s identification card plan that includes undocumented immigrants, and the continuing campaigns of Detroit mayoral candidates Benny Napoleon and Mike Duggan.

Detroit Public Schools trying to meet enrollment goal

The Detroit Public School district is depending on enrolling 5,000 more students for the 2013-2014 school year.  If the district doesn’t meet its goal, they will lose millions of dollars in funding from the per-pupil-allowance from the state.  Jack Lessenberry says that Detroit used to enroll almost 200,000 students thirteen years ago.  They now only enroll 46,000.  Lessenberry says “they’ve been going door-to-door trying various gimmicks, of course those are sort of dubious too, to get kids to come back.  But it’s all about how many bodies they have in seats on Count Day.”

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Politics & Government
8:36 am
Fri August 30, 2013

In this morning's news: Governor Snyder heads to Asia; Detroit bribery, and IDs for immigrants

Morning News Roundup, Thursday, Oct. 13, 2011
User: Brother O'Mara Flickr

Governor Snyder in China next week

Next week Governor Snyder will travel to Asia on a third economic development mission to the region.  MLive.com reports that he will visit China and Japan to “market the state's export offerings, promote Michigan as a tourist destination, and convince Chinese business leaders that Detroit, despite its bankruptcy filing, is still a good place to invest." Funds for the business trip come from the Michigan Economic Growth Foundation.

Building inspectors charged with bribery

Yesterday Michigan Attorney Bill Schuette charged seven Detroit building inspectors with bribery.  Michigan Radio’s Sarah Cwiek reports that Schuette says “inspectors took bribes to overlook code violations – in some cases, going to the lengths of falsifying architectural plans.” An investigation led by the Southeast Michigan Public Corruption Task Force and the FBI led to yesterday’s charges.

Washtenaw program may provide ID cards for undocumented immigrants

Washtenaw County is considering a program that would issue identification cards to all its residents, including undocumented immigrants.  The Washtenaw County Board Chairman says that while undocumented immigrants are a large group of people affected by the ID program, they would not be the only ones to benefit.  Yousef Rabhi says “it could apply to immigrants; it could apply to folks that are homeless; it could apply to folks that are transgender and who don't believe that the male/female designation on the current state ID is representative of who they really are.”

Law
5:51 pm
Thu August 1, 2013

Officials reject school board recall petition drive

The Lansing Capitol
Lester Graham Michigan Radio

The elections board in Washtenaw County has rejected a recall petition drive aimed at local school board members. It’s one of the first such actions since the Legislature passed a law making it harder to recall elected officials. The Washtenaw County Elections Commission ruled the petition was not sufficiently clear on why six members of the Ann Arbor Board of Education should be removed by voters.

The board did not rule on whether the petitions were factual. That’s also required under the new law. Washtenaw County Clerk Lawrence Kestenbaum says he thinks that would violate the Michigan Constitution.

“For us to make those kinds of determinations flies in the face of what the Constitution provides that the sufficiency of reasons for a recall is a political question, not a judicial question. It’s a political question... means it’s up to the people.”

Kestenbaum says he expects the recall law will eventually face a court challenge.
 

Stateside
4:57 pm
Tue April 23, 2013

Wayne v. Washtenaw, a case of drastic health disparities

Access to doctors isn't the only thing that keeps you healthy
Ivan Baldivieso/Flickr

Men who live on one side of Rawsonville Rd. have a life expectancy that's six years longer than men on the other side.

In fact, the life expectancy for males in Washtenaw County is the equivalent of Switzerland, while in Wayne County it's the equivalent of Syria. 

Ron French is a contributing writer for Bridge Magazine, and recently published a story about the health disparities between Wayne and Washtenaw counties, and spoke with us about what he found.

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Economy
12:31 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

Washtenaw County on the edge of an economic rebound

University of Michigan Economists, George Fulton
http://rsqe.econ.lsa.umich.edu

Today, the annual Washtenaw County Outlook event will bring  economists, businesses, and government officials together to address the current and future economic prospects for the county.

Lizzy Alfs of AnnArbor.com reports many were surprised to hear an economic forecast that Washtenaw County is expected to increase its job growth.

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Economy
5:01 pm
Fri January 4, 2013

Washtenaw County Exploring How to Keep Union Business

Will unions continue hosting conventions in Washtenaw?
dannybirchall/flickr

Washtenaw County is exploring how to keep union business in the area, despite Michigan's new Right To Work laws which goes into effect in March.

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Investigative
4:20 pm
Mon November 12, 2012

Stateside: Poverty simulations

Tomorrow's simulation aims to reveal the struggles faced by those dealing with poverty and homelessness
Washtenaw Housing Alliance

To better inform those unfamiliar with the challenges faced by the impoverished and homeless, Julie Steiner will host a poverty simulation tomorrow night at the Michigan Theater.

Steiner, the director of the Washtenaw Housing Alliance, spoke with Cyndy about Washtenaw County’s poverty problem.

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Health
12:53 pm
Fri October 19, 2012

Washtenaw Co. death is Michigan's 5th in meningitis outbreak

Current case count for fungal meningitis outbreak. State officials have reported 49 infections related to contaminated steroids.
CDC

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Authorities are reporting a fifth Michigan death in a national outbreak of fungal meningitis linked to contaminated steroids.

The Michigan Department of Community Health said Thursday that its death count has risen by one in the last day. Mlive.com says the latest victim was a 62-year-old Washtenaw County man.

The state agency now reports 45 Michigan cases of fungal meningitis, plus four non-meningitis infection cases related to the same contaminated steroids.

Health
3:26 pm
Fri July 27, 2012

First 2012 West Nile Virus case confirmed in SE Michigan man

user Filiford MorgueFile.com

Oakland County health officials say they've received Michigan Department of Community Health confirmation of West Nile virus in a 44-year-old man, the first such case reported in the state this year.

Today, the Oakland County Health Division announced that the man was hospitalized earlier this month after showing symptoms and he is now at home recovering.

On July 3, the MDCH announced it detected the virus in a mosquito pool sample in Saginaw County, and a wild turkey in Washtenaw County.

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Transportation
2:36 pm
Wed May 9, 2012

Making public transit easier for Washtenaw Co. Spanish speakers

The Ride Facebook

Casa Latina, a new non-profit organization supporting Washtenaw County's Latino residents, has some interesting figures:

  • According to the US Census Bureau, nearly 30 percent of Washtenaw County community members who speak Spanish at home speak English ‘less than well’
  • Latinos make up 4 percent of Washtenaw County, yet 7.4 percent of those who use public transit are Latino
  • More than 70 percent of Spanish speakers in Washtenaw County are native-born US citizens, and 6.5 percent are naturalized citizens

With that in mind, Casa Latina has partnered with the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority (The Ride) to begin publishing a bus route and scheduling guide in Spanish.

In a press release, Charo Ledón, Executive Director of Casa Latina, commented, "This effort will help many of our fellow community members effectively use the bus system to get to and from work, school and the grocery store. It's a big step for Spanish-speakers to be able to fully participate in our community."

And a Spanish translation might just be the first step.

Carrie Rheingans, also with Casa Latina said, "In working with TheRide, we learned that there are folks who would like to see the Ride Guide published in other languages, too, and we applaud TheRide for trying this pilot project in Spanish first with Casa Latina." 

According to the release, The Ride's new website will allow users to find information in several languages.

-John Klein Wilson, Michigan Radio Newsroom

This story was informed by the Public Insight Network. If you want to learn how to be a part of our network, click here.

Dexter Tornado
8:33 pm
Sat March 17, 2012

Dexter tornado cleanup continues

DEXTER, Mich. (AP) — The American Red Cross says hundreds of volunteers turned out to help people whose homes were damaged or destroyed by a tornado in Washtenaw County.

Spokeswoman Jenni Hawes says the village of Dexter is quickly getting cleaned up. The Red Cross moved its services Saturday to Creekside Intermediate School, which is more centrally located.

A tornado damaged more than 100 homes Thursday and destroyed at least 13.   The Red Cross no longer will offer an overnight shelter. No one had spent the last two nights at a school.

Auto/Economy
4:01 pm
Tue January 10, 2012

Hyundai plans Michigan temperature testing facility

DETROIT (AP) - Hyundai Motor Co. says it plans to build a Michigan testing facility to help examine the effects of extreme hot and cold temperatures for vehicle development.

The expansion announced Tuesday at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit will be at the South Korean automaker's Hyundai America Technical Center in Washtenaw County's Superior Township, near Ann Arbor. Hyundai will spend $15 million on the facility and other upgrades.

Hyundai says 50 full-time jobs will be added at the location in the coming years.

To secure the deal, the governor's office says the state agreed to make a $2.5 million loan to build a power substation.

The deal was announced after Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and Lt. Gov. Brian Calley toured the show on the second day of media previews.

Courts
10:13 am
Thu January 5, 2012

Woman sues over wagon accident in Washtenaw County

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) - An employee of a Michigan market who was paralyzed from the waist down after being run over by a horse-drawn wagon during a hayride has filed a lawsuit.

AnnArbor.com reports 23-year-old Mary Armbruster of Ann Arbor sued Tuesday in Washtenaw County Circuit Court seeking more than $25,000 from Jenny's Dexter Market in Webster Township.

Armbruster claims the market gave her faulty equipment and didn't fix it when she complained.

Jennifer Lambers, who owns the market, declined to comment to Ann Arbor.com. A telephone listing for the market was busy when called Thursday morning by The Associated Press.

The market is a popular weekend destination in Washtenaw County near Dexter, about 40 miles west of Detroit.

Education
10:48 pm
Wed October 26, 2011

Islamic school may sue over zoning change denial

Michigan Islamic Academy

An Islamic school may sue a Washtenaw County township over a zoning decision. The Pittsfield Township Board of Trustees last night turned down the Michigan Islamic Academy’s request for a zoning change that would have allowed the academy to build a new school in the township, just south of Ann Arbor.   

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