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Investigative

Screen showing Line 5 on the bottom of the Straits of Mackinac.
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

Has Governor Snyder's team partnered with Enbridge Energy in deciding the fate of Line 5?

That's the question explored in a joint investigation by Bridge Magazine and the Michigan Campaign Finance Network.

John Engler at the final MSU Board of Trustees meeting of the 2017/18 school year.
Kate Wells / Michigan Radio

A letter signed by at least 120 victims of former sports doctor Larry Nassar demands that Michigan State University's governing board remove interim school president John Engler.  

The women and girls issued a statement Tuesday, days before the board of trustees' next meeting.

Michigan Truth Squad: Koch brothers group attacks Gretchen Whitmer’s tax votes

May 31, 2018
Gretchen Whitmer
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Americans For Prosperity, a national conservative advocacy group founded by the Koch brothers, has bought an online-only ad targeting Gretchen Whitmer’s Michigan gubernatorial campaign, claiming she has supported tax increases that hurt the state.

Turns out, Whitmer, a leading Democratic candidate, doesn’t seem to mind.

A graph shows that Black people have accounted for roughly 20% of the population of Grand Rapids for the last 5 years, while they've accounted for about 40% of the traffic stops.
Kaye LaFond / Michigan Radio

 


A year ago, the City of Grand Rapids released a study showing that black drivers are twice as likely to get pulled over as white drivers.

 

Since 2015, the most recent year considered by the study, the entire Grand Rapids Police Department underwent racial bias training. So we wondered, has anything improved for black drivers in Grand Rapids?

A chain-link fence and barbed wire
Max Pixel

 


Last year, a state prisoner complained of chest pain and difficulty breathing. According to a Detroit Free Press report, 37-year-old John Stein at the Cotton Correctional Facility at Jackson went to the prison healthcare unit. A short time later, he was sent back to his cell. There, he collapsed and died.  

 

A $50 million lawsuit has been filed against the Michigan Department of Corrections and a private company hired to handle inmate health care, Corizon Health. 

Michigan State University sign
MSU

Michigan State University has named a former state Supreme Court justice, Robert Young, to be its general counsel as it continues to deal with the fallout from the Larry Nassar sexual abuse scandal.

The school's interim president, John Engler, announced Monday that Young will replace Kristine Zayko, who's been serving as acting general counsel.

Tony Webster / FLICKR, https://flic.kr/p/svANYW

Prosecutors are seeking a 14-year prison sentence for a Detroit-area man convicted of dealing diseased body parts for medical training.

Arthur Rathburn is returning to Detroit federal court on Monday, four months after he was convicted of fraud and shipping hazardous material.

 

The sale of human remains is unusual but mostly legal, especially when body parts are used for medical training. But Rathburn was accused of failing to disclose that the parts had tested positive for diseases.

Rachael Denhollander and her husband
Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

Update, Sept. 10, 2018:

Michigan State University has frozen the Healing Assistance Fund while a fraudulent claim is investigated. 

The university says it will reopen the fund when the investigation is complete, but when that will happen is unknown.

gretchen whitmer twitter post on college affordability
Twitter

 

Michigan Radio is partnering with Bridge Magazine's Truth Squad project this year, as we have for each election year during the past eight years, to fact check political claims.

This time, we're looking at gubernatorial candidates.

Tommy Schuette
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

This month a lot of people in Jackson County were shocked by accusations that their sheriff, Steven Rand, is a “multi-faceted bigot.” 

That was among a number of complaints in a federal lawsuit filed against the sheriff.

The Sheriff has apologized for his comments, but yesterday the Jackson County Board called for his resignation and added that if he doesn’t resign, then the governor should remove him. 

How is Detroit Doing?

Dec 22, 2017
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

When traveling out of state, people from Michigan often are asked, “Hey, how’s Detroit doing?”

The largest municipal bankruptcy and the subsequent stories about Detroit’s revival have captured the curiosity of the rest of the nation and the world.

Detroit’s successes in its business districts, downtown and Midtown, get most of the attention. Every billionaire’s acquisition, every refurbished building, every taxpayer assisted development have contributed to the conclusion that Detroit is America’s “Comeback City.”

Detroit has the highest auto insurance costs in the nation. Depending on the survey, it costs somewhere between seven thousand and ten thousand dollars a year.

Indiana lottery counter in a convenience store
User: Indiana Public Media / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

What does it take to obtain information about the Michigan Lottery? Specifically, the information about whether there are repeat winners — people cashing in on a lucky ticket over and over again at incredibly improbable odds?

That's the question a team of investigative journalists has been exploring for the Columbia Journalism Review.

Judy Gail Krasnow standing outside Jackson prison
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

In the first half of the 1800s, the city of Jackson fought hard for the right to build the state's first prison. The horrific conditions that developed at the prison from its gritty early days are well documented by Judy Gail Krasnow in her book Jacktown: History and Hard Times at Michigan's First State Prison.
 

Krasnow gave Stateside's Lester Graham a tour of the prison. She explained how it got started and what it's like today. 

LBJ Presidential Library

News media around the world are talking about Detroit’s resurgence.

Politicians in the city and the state, such as Gov. Rick Snyder, hype its revitalization.

“New investments have helped fuel a rapid dramatic transformation of Detroit and today it’s America’s comeback city,” he said in a video.

But that’s only part of the story of Detroit.

In the city’s neighborhoods, many people are still struggling.

However, there was a plan released in the 1960s to help end racial discrimination in Detroit and the nation.

Detroit in July of 1967
Walter P. Reuther Library / Wayne State University

The violence in Detroit in the summer of 1967 destroyed large swaths of the city, mostly in black neighborhoods. It also energized the political ambitions of the city's African-American citizens.

The Shrine of the Black Madonna, which opened a few months before the riots broke out, wanted to turn the black church into a political force in Detroit. Its founder Albert Cleage combined the church's history in civil rights activism with an emerging black nationalist movement.

As the nephew of the Shrine's first leader, Wayne County Executive Warren Evans has a unique take on how the summer of 1967 changed the course of religious and political life for black people in Detroit. He also had a front-row seat to the chaos that broke out less than two blocks from his home.

Bill Goodman: "People during the uprising in 1967 were arrested en masse, huge numbers of people, hundreds and hundreds, maybe thousands of people were arrested."
Reuther Library

The mistreatment of African-Americans and Detroit's mostly white police force fueled the violence of July 1967. But black Detroiters didn't fare much better in the courts.

Bill Goodman was a young lawyer in the city during the uprising, when thousands of people were being arrested and held in cramped, unsanitary conditions.

When Isaiah "Ike" McKinnon was 14, he made the decision to become a Detroit police officer. Two years after joining the department, he was thrust into the city's 1967 rebellion.
Lindsey Scullen / Michigan Radio

It was 1957 when 14-year-old Isaiah "Ike" McKinnon made the decision to become a Detroit police officer. It was a surprising decision given the beating he'd just suffered at the hands of the cops. But instead of turning against the police, McKinnon, who is African-American, decided to join them. 

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

One of the big issues in Detroit is blight. People walking away from their properties or foreclosures are the base of the problem. After that, it’s people stealing things out of the empty house.

Some neighborhoods have been devastated by abandoned homes and the scrappers who strip them. The MorningSide neighborhood on Detroit’s east side hasn’t hit the level of devastation, but it’s been hit pretty hard.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Detroit still has a reputation for being a high-crime city. However, like the rest of the nation, Detroit’s violent crime rate has been steadily declining since the late 1980s.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Detroit’s reputation as a high crime city has not gone away, but its crime rate is down substantially. It’s been falling since the 1980s. But there are areas of the city that are not as safe as others.

Detroit Neighborhood Police Officer (NPO) DeAndre Gaines at the Department’s Fifth Precinct picked me up for a ride-along in his patrol car. We headed to the MorningSide neighborhood on the city’s east side.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Judith Pruitt’s water bill is $7,545.29.

That’s after the Flint retiree withdrew nearly $900 out of her savings account a few weeks ago to pay the city, or else her water would’ve been shut off, she said.

New data analyzed by Michigan Radio show Pruitt is not alone.

Dearborn Mosque
user rypix / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

One of the men behind the attacks in London on Saturday had closely followed the teachings of a radical American preacher, according to one of his friends.

That preacher is from Dearborn, Michigan, where the BBC’s Aleem Maqbool tried to catch up with him.

kids standing outside
Simon.com / Creative Commons

Have abused children been put in greater harm's way by the very people who are supposed to protect them? 

Reports in the Lansing State Journal point to an answer of "yes." And now lawmakers are promising to investigate alleged faking of records by Department of Health and Human Services officials in at least seven counties.

Michigan History Center

"Ancient relics from the Mediterranean found across Michigan!"

That headline turned heads at the turn of the last century.

Eric Perkins from the Michigan History Center joined Stateside to talk about the story of these ancient "relics" and how they ended up being "discovered" in Michigan.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Update: 5/24/2017 The business, Hammer Time True Value Hardware, closed shortly after the interview with owner Bill Kamman. That leaves another substantial gap in the business district on E. Warren Avenue in the MorningSide neighborhood.

There are small business districts throughout Detroit that are barely hanging on. They were once thriving. But population loss and the loss of wealth in the neighborhoods have created hard times for neighborhood businesses. The question is: what to do with them now?

Interactive Map: Detroit water shutoffs by neighborhood

May 2, 2017
water faucet
Laura Nawrocik / Flickr http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Last year, more than 27,000 Detroit homes had water shut off because of what the city says were unpaid bills. In some neighborhoods, 1-in-5 homes lost water access. To find your neighborhood, type in your Detroit address in the box in the upper right. When the map zooms in, click on the map for more information.

Kaye LaFond / Michigan Radio

Michigan was hit hard by the foreclosure crisis. But now, almost nine years after the crash, the state's housing market is showing promising signs of life.

That's especially true in Grand Rapids, which has one of the hottest real estate markets in the nation. 

Sleeping Bear Dunes
Jim D / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Michigan Radio listener Ashley Lewis of Royal Oak posed this question to our MI Curious team:

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