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Woman's silhouette
Creative Commons

State lawmakers are quickly pushing through legislation to make female genital mutilation a state crime. About two weeks ago a Senate committee passed legislation that would make performing female genital mutilation a 15-year felony.

The legislation was introduced shortly after two Detroit area doctors were federally charged with conspiring to commit female genital mutilation on two young girls from Minnesota.

Bill sponsor, Republican Senator Margaret O’Brien, said the five-year federal penalty isn’t enough.

Battle Creek Central High School Building
Battle Creek CVB / Flickr CC / HTTP://BIT.LY/1RFRZRK

Michigan's school choice policy has opened the door for thousands of parents across the state to take their kids out of their home school district and go to schools in neighboring districts.

That shift of students from mainly poorer urban districts to better-off suburban schools has created big financial challenges for the urban districts.

Take Battle Creek Public Schools, where shrinking enrollment meant a $20 million cut in state funding.

Photograph of a sunset over Torch Lake, Michigan
brentdaily / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Rachel Redmond had wanted to be a mother for a long time, ever since she was a little girl.

When she and her husband decided to have a child, Redmond became pregnant quickly.

“Everything was going according to plan, all of my early ultrasounds were perfect,” she said. 

Archives of Michigan

 


 

May 18 marks the 90th anniversary of largest school massacre in U.S. history. On that day in 1927, in Bath, Michigan, 38 elementary school children and six adults were killed and nearly 60 others were injured. Andrew Philip Kehoe had packed 100 pounds of dynamite and blown up half of a school. 

Detroit fire captain suspended over Facebook posts

6 hours ago
CAIR-Facebook

The Detroit Fire Department has disciplined a captain for allegedly posting xenophobic and racist material on his Facebook page.  

According to David Walid, executive director of the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the more than 50 offensive posts targeted Muslims, Jews, blacks and immigrants, and some of the most offensive were posted when the captain was on duty.

Walid praised the leadership of the Detroit Fire Department.

Capitol Hill
johrling / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

In case you haven’t heard, it's been a crazy few days in Washington. A number of breaking stories have come out related to President Donald Trump, now ex-FBI director James Comey, former national security adviser Michael Flynn, and Russia.

Vegetable aisle.
Erelster / Flickr, http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

A loan fund designed to boost access to healthy food in underserved Michigan communities has made more than $10 million in investments.

The two-year-old Michigan Good Food Fund announced Wednesday it surpassed that mark through financing six enterprises in southeastern Michigan, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo and the Upper Peninsula.

U.S. Department of Agriculture / Creative Commons

A new federal bill up for a vote in Congress Thursday could hurt efforts to protect the Great Lakes from invasive species.

An amendment to a Coast Guard bill would loosen regulations against ballast water discharges by cargo ships. Experts say this is one way that invasive species enter new environments.

Marc Smith is Regional Conservation Director for the National Wildlife Federation. He says the harm from invasive species is well known.

Enbridge Energy's Line 5 oil and liquid natural gas pipelines run under Lake Michigan at the Straits of Mackinac.
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

The Kalamazoo County Board of Commissioners has decided to close a pipeline that spilled over 843,000 gallons of heavy crude oil into the Kalamazoo River seven years ago.

The Kalamazoo Gazette reports the board passed a resolution Tuesday in opposition to Enbridge Inc.'s Line 5 pipeline. The resolution passed on a 7-3 vote.

15 other counties, 24 cities and 26 townships throughout the state have also voted in favor of shutting down Line 5.

Terry Kreeger / Wyoming Game and Fish Department/CWD Alliance

The state House has passed a bill that would increase penalties for bringing animal carcasses with chronic wasting disease into Michigan.

The crime would be a misdemeanor with fines from $500 to $2,000 and a possible 90-day jail sentence. It would be illegal to import infected deer, elk, moose, or other animals.

Chronic wasting disease is a neurological disorder that is fatal to animals. It is contagious among white-tailed deer, mule deer, moose, and elk. It has not been shown to be contagious to humans.

Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

I spent an hour the other morning with a newcomer on the political scene, one of the most brilliant and charismatic candidates I’ve ever met.

Let’s imagine for a moment that his name is Andy Smith. Make Andy the son of completely legal immigrants who enthusiastically embraced everything American. As a boy, he went to one of the best public high schools in Michigan, where he was the captain of the football, the wrestling and lacrosse teams, and then played lacrosse in college.

prison bars
Thomas Hawk / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

A Senate subcommittee has passed a budget cutting the Department of Corrections' budget by $40 million. The department says that would mean cutting jobs and programs to fight recidivism. Both Republicans and Democrats want to see lower prison populations.

Morning Edition host Doug Tribou and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry discuss whether this plan could get bi-partisan support.

Satellite photo of the St. Clair River, Lake Saint Clair, and Detroit River
Wikimedia Commons

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality is recommending that loss of fish and wildlife habitat be removed from the list of environmental impairments on the U.S. side of the St. Clair River.

The Removal Recommendation Report is available for public comment until June 14, 2017.

Durfee Elementary-Middle School in Northwest Detroit
Jenna Belevender

 

Durfee Elementary-Middle School on Detroit’s northwest side is a spectacular neo-gothic building flush with architectural detail. As you walk through the main entrance, you’re greeted by highly decorative arches, rich paneling, and Pewabic-tiled floors.

 

Built in the early 1900s, generations of Detroiters have attended Durfee.  

 

The Mackinac Bridge connects Michigan's upper and lower peninsulas
flickr user Always Shooting / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The Mackinac Bridge will be closed to most vehicle traffic the morning of Labor Day. The bridge authority made that decision today. Their concern was the risk of a terrorist attack on the Labor Day bridge walk, which attracts thousands of people.

The decision means no vehicles will be allowed to cross the bridge from 6:30 a.m. to noon except for busses and emergency vehicles.

Handguns.
user Ben Re / Flickr

Gun rights are up for debate in the state Legislature, again.

A set of bills to get rid of the requirement to carry a permit in order to carry a concealed pistol was up in front of a House committee Tuesday.

Advocates say the legislation is long overdue and the legislation wouldn’t take away the regulations on who can carry a firearm.

But opponents say it erodes gun safety.

Protestors outside of the federal courthouse in Detroit in suport of Jose Luis Sanchez-Ronquillo and his family.
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

A federal judge in Detroit did not give a ruling on the pending removal of Sanchez-Ronquillo today. By law, that means he cannot yet be deported.

Hundreds of people protested outside the federal courthouse today, hoping to keep Jose Luis Sanchez-Ronquillo from being deported.

Two busloads of Ann Arbor Pioneer High School students came to Detroit to support Sanchez-Ronquillo, his wife and two sons.

Krystie Linton is a teacher at Pioneer, where one of Jose’s sons is currently a student.

She says the students have been taught to fight for the common good.

Smokestacks at a coal-burning power plant
Michigan Radio

DTE Energy will close its last coal-burning plant by 2040, and reduce its carbon emissions by 80% by 2050, compared to 2005 levels.

The decision comes in spite of the Trump administration's decision to slam the brakes on the Clean Power Plan, which would have allowed the U.S. EPA to regulate carbon emissions for the first time.

While the president and top administration officials continue denying the causal connection between carbon emissions from human activity and climate change, many corporations, including utilities like DTE, have accepted it as fact.

A street sign that says, "Caution, Flying Discs."
Don Jensen

The game of disc golf is on the rise in Michigan. The relatively young sport, which began in California, follows the rules of traditional golf, but there's a twist. Instead of striving to smack dimpled balls into 4-inch holes, players hurl hard, flat discs into baskets.

Courses can be found all throughout the state, from metroparks in the southeast, all the way up to Copper Harbor in the U.P. Disc golf is especially popular in West Michigan, which has been dubbed the “Golf Coast” by Don Jensen.

Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

Congressman Dan Kildee's decision to not seek the Democratic nomination for governor has changed the playing field for existing and potential candidates.

And that includes Dr. Abdul El-Sayed.

Marijuana plants.
scubabrett22 / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

New medical marijuana laws mean that by this time next year, things will be very different for the medical marijuana industry in Michigan. The state will be handing out licenses to growers, testing facilities, transporters and dispensaries.

That means the state will have to regulate and license this business as it expands.

It will also mean new taxes. Some predict that the medical marijuana industry could generate revenues topping $700 million in Michigan.

kids walking in a school hallway
Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

Fewer teens  are dying from accidents and disease, but teen deaths from suicide continue to rise.

The Michigan chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is offering two programs to high schools for students, teachers and parents in an effort to address this issue.

Michigan Opera Theatre will present Cyrano de Bergerac with music by David DiChiera and a libretto by Bernard Uzan, after Edmond Rostand’s play, from May 13 through May 21.
EncoreMichigan.com

There are plenty of shows to see this time of year from professional theater companies across the state. David Kiley from Encore Michigan joined Stateside to talk about a few of the highlights.  

Ford Motor Company's headquarters in Dearborn.
Ford Motor Company

Ford has reportedly come up with an answer to its lackluster stock performance: shed jobs.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Ford is getting ready to cut about 10% of its workforce to help boost its stock price.

Reuters further reported that those jobs will come from salaried workers in North America and Asia, not hourly workers.

Water faucent in Flint.
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

The ACLU of Michigan and the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund are calling for Flint City Council and Mayor Karen Weaver to suspend any efforts to impose liens on homes where resident's haven't paid their water bills. Those liens could eventually give the city the right to sell off the home if the debt isn't paid back. 

State capitol building in Lansing
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio file photo

Republican legislative leaders remain committed to closing the pension system to new teachers and instead giving them a 401(k) after getting mixed news about tax revenues.

University of Michigan campus
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A Michigan city has been ranked number one in the country for clean energy innovation. Washington D.C.'s Brookings Institution, a public policy think tank, says Ann Arbor has the most clean energy patents per million people.

Mark Muro is a policy director for the Brookings Institution, and a co-author of the report.

"I think it's very clear that Ann Arbor has a pretty well developed clean energy economy," Muro said.

(courtesy of KQED)

Late Friday, it was announced that the Detroit Federation of Teachers and the Detroit Public Schools Community District had reached a tentative contract agreement after nearly three months of negotiations.

Now, the teacher's union says it has dismissed that agreement.

The union announced late Monday that its executive board voted to reject the agreement, and that it wants to continue negotiations.

Details about the terms of Friday's agreement haven't been released.

Jane M Sawyer / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

High school graduates from Flint could qualify for college scholarships under legislation that would make the city eligible for a Promise Zone.

The Senate approved the bill 35-2 Tuesday. It now goes to the House, where a similar measure died last year in a committee whose chairman has since left the Legislature due to term limits.

GRPD
Matthew Sutherland / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Three Grand Rapids police officers remain on paid administrative leave as state police investigate an exchange of gunfire earlier this month that left an 18-year-old probation violator dead.

Grand Rapids police Chief David Rahinsky tells The Grand Rapids Press that the department is following protocol following officer-involved shootings. He isn't commenting on details about the case until after the state police conclude their investigation.

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