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week in review

The four Republican governor candidates on the stage together for the debate
Screenshot from WOOD-TV's stream of the debate / WOOD-TV

The four Republicans running for governor held their first debate this week. It was the first time Attorney General Bill Schuette, Lt. Gov. Brian Calley, Sen. Patrick Colbeck and Dr. Jim Hines have appeared together on one stage.

There were arguments over the handling of the Flint water crisis and who's the biggest Trump supporter. One thing they all agreed on is that Michigan should not legalize recreational marijuana, but they said they'd respect the wishes of the voters. This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about what else stood out in the debate.

On the Kalamazoo River just downstream from the confluence of Talmadge Creek. Around 1 million gallons of tar sands oil spilled into the river in 2010.
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

A new study says Michigan's economy would take a big hit if there was an oil spill in the Mackinac Straits. A Michigan State University professor estimates a spill could cost the state's economy more than $6 billion. Enbridge Energy says the study is "flawed" and based on "unrealistic estimates." This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry discuss the study's potential impact.

The Ford Taurus at an auto show
Dave Pinter / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Ford this week announced plans to stop making almost its entire line-up of cars by 2022. That means we can say farewell to the Fiesta, the Taurus, the Focus, the Fusion, and the C-Max hybrid. Only Ford's iconic Mustang and a small crossover will remain in production in the North American market. 

This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry discuss Ford's decision to focus on its better-selling lines of trucks and SUVs, and whether GM might follow suit.

Michigan State Capitol
David Marvin / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Pretty soon, Medicaid recipients in Michigan who are able-bodied may have to choose between finding a job or losing health insurance. That's under a bill the state Senate passed Thursday. Democrats opposed to the bill say it punishes the poor, while supporters say most people on Medicaid already work -- this would give incentive for others to do so.

This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry discuss the bill, which heads to the House next, and whether Gov. Rick Snyder will sign if it ends up on his desk.


The Cobo Center in Detroit
Richard Landskroener / Wikimedia Commons

Michigan Democrats will gather at the Cobo Center in Detroit on Sunday for their party's state endorsement convention. These conventions are generally pretty drama-free, but this one could be different.

This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about the bitter race between Dana Nessel and Patrick Miles, who are both seeking the nomination for Michigan's next attorney general.


A box of Ice Mountain brand water bottles
Steven Depolo / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has approved a permit for Nestle to increase the volume of water it pumps from its well in Osceola County from 250 gallons per minute to up to 400 gallons per minute.

More than 80,000 people spoke out against Nestle's permit request, but the MDEQ said it cannot base its decision on public opinion.

This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry discuss potential political blow-back that could stem from the state's approval of Nestle's permit.


Road in need of repair.
Peter Ito / Flickr

Gov. Rick Snyder says it's time to raise the federal gas tax to fix Michigan's disintegrating roads. Snyder says the state has done its part by increasing fees and fuel taxes, and local governments have come up with their own ways to increase revenue. Now, he says its the federal government's turn to step up.

This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about whether that's a realistic expectation.


Former Governor John Engler
WikiCommons

Michigan State University interim president John Engler accused state lawmakers of interfering with negotiations to settle out of court with victims of former sports doctor Larry Nassar. Engler's comments came in response to a set of bills adopted by the senate this week that give victims more time to file lawsuits. The former governor also said the bills could subject universities to more lawsuits and drive up tuition.

This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about Engler's reaction to the legislation.


Gratiot construction site
Tony Brown / Michigan Radio

It looks like Wayne County may finally have a solution for its long-stalled jail project. The county has reached a tentative agreement with Dan Gilbert's Rock Ventures. Gilbert's company will construct a brand new $533 million "criminal justice center," pending approval from the county commission and building authority.

This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about the plan and what it could mean for Wayne County.


Someone shooting a gun at a gun range.
Peretz Partensky / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Democrats in Lansing want a state law that requires background checks for all firearm purchases. This is one of a number of ideas lawmakers have floated since the school shooting in Parkland, Florida. But the House Republican leader says he’s focused on improving mental health services, while other Republicans have proposed allowing certain teachers to carry weapons.

This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about the divide in the Capitol over how to keep kids safe from gun violence.


Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette (left) and Special Counsel Todd Flood, along with Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton and the Flint Water Investigative Team have been investigating the Flint water crisis for most of the year
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

State Attorney General Bill Schuette faced questions this week over whether the state's inquiry into Michigan State University's handling of the Larry Nassar scandal is truly independent. In a newly released letter regarding his appointment of Bill Forsyth to lead the investigation, Schuette says Forsyth will "serve under my direction and at my pleasure."

This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry discuss Schuette's role in the investigation.


money
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Gov. Rick Snyder presented his final budget proposal for the upcoming fiscal year to the House and Senate this week. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle found things they did and didn't like about the governor's spending plan, which includes increased spending for roads and education.

This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about what else stood out in Snyder's budget.


Plaque on the door of the MSU Board of Trustees
Cheyna Roth / MPRN

State Attorney General Bill Schuette wants the governor to be in charge of appointing board members at Michigan State University, Wayne State University and the University of Michigan. Board members at those schools are currently chosen through statewide elections.

This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry discuss Schuette's call to eliminate the elections, which comes as MSU's board faces public scrutiny over its response to the Larry Nassar scandal. 


Larry Nassar listens to Ingham County Judge Rosemarie Aquilina hand down his sentence of 175 years in prison.
Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

This week, former Michigan State University sports Dr. Larry Nassar was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison for sexually assaulting women and girls under the guise of medical treatment. Two top MSU officials have since resigned, and investigations into the school are stacking up.

This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry discuss what could be just the beginning of MSU's troubles.


Michigan State University President Lou Anna Simon
File photo / Michigan State University

Michigan State University President Lou Anna Simon is facing mounting pressure to resign over how the university handled complaints against former sports Dr. Larry Nassar. The full leadership of the state Legislature, MSU's student newspaper and MSU's student government have all called for her resignation. However, it doesn't look like Simon is going anywhere at the moment.

This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about what could be keeping Simon from stepping down.


Job application and pen
flazingo.com / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

When it comes to unemployment insurance, Michigan is the worst state in the Midwest for unemployed workers. A recent report from the Michigan League for Public Policy says the maximum benefits paid to the state's unemployed workers are the lowest in the region.

This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about what Michigan needs to do to clean up its act.


Dollar bills and pennies
Jeffrey Smith / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Minimum wage in Michigan bumped up again with the start of the New Year on Monday. For most workers, that means a jump from $8.90 an hour to $9.25. A group wants to put a measure on the November ballot that would drive that figure up to $12 by 2022, but business groups have expressed concerns.

This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry discuss what might be best the move for the state.


Michigan State Police patrol vehicle shield
Michigan State Police

Wayne County Prosector Kym Worthy has charged a former Michigan State Police trooper with 2nd degree murder. Last summer, Mark Bessner fired his Taser from a patrol car during a chase in Detroit. The Taser struck a teenager who was fleeing police on an all-terrain vehicle. The 15-year-old crashed the ATV and died. This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry discuss the case.


Nassar in court.
Kate Wells / Michigan Radio

The dean of Michigan State University's school of osteopathy, who supervised former sports Dr. Larry Nassar, is stepping down. Lawsuits filed against the university by alleged victims and their families say William Strampel and other MSU officials ignored warnings that Nassar was a predator. MSU says Strampel is resigning as dean for "medical reasons" and will remain on the faculty.

This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about whether we'll see more stories like this from MSU in the coming weeks and months.


Sander Levin
levin.house.gov

Last week, U.S. Rep. Sander Levin, D-Mich., confirmed that he will retire at the end of this term. On Wednesday, Andy Levin announced his bid to succeed his father. State Sen. Steve Bieda launched his campaign for the Washington D.C. a few hours later.

This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about what kind of advantage Andy Levin could have as a legacy candidate.


Congressman John Conyers
The Henry Ford / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and other top Democrats are calling on Congressman John Conyers to resign over sexual harassment allegations. Pelosi called the accusations against Conyers "serious, disappointing and very credible." Conyers' attorney says the 88-year-old lawmaker might consider resigning if he can no longer effectively represent his constituents.  This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about what Conyers' next move might be.


injured piggy bank
Ken Teegardin / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The state's savings account wouldn't last long if there was another economic downturn. That's according to new analysis from the Citizens Research Council.

The independent government watchdog says Michigan's "rainy day" fund is slowly recovering after it was drained during the Great Recession, but the state is still unprepared for a new downturn.

This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry discuss what needs to happen to get Michigan's piggy bank back in shape.

Traffic lights
Thomas Hawk / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

District judges want Gov. Snyder to drop his opposition to bills that would get rid of so-called driver responsibility fees. They say the fees are ruining people's lives because they lose their driver's license if they can't afford to pay them. This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about why Gov. Snyder is concerned about the bills.


"Out of water" sign after Oakland County water main break
Tracy Samilton / Michigan Radio

Thousands of people in Oakland County are still dealing with a mandatory boil water advisory this weekend. It was issued after a broken water transmission main caused system pressure to drop, and then extended after another leak was detected. The CEO of the Great Lakes Water Authority called it an "unprecedented" event in the regional water system's history, but this Week in Review, senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry tells Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth why he wasn't surprised.

Michigan State Police patrol vehicle shield
Michigan State Police

The director of the Michigan State Police will work five days without pay. That's the penalty Gov. Rick Snyder gave Col. Kriste Etue for sharing a Facebook post that called NFL players who kneel during the National Anthem "degenerates." Snyder also ordered all state departments to ensure their policies promote diversity and inclusiveness. This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about whether the punishment will be enough for those who've called for Etue's resignation.

State Senator Patrick Colbeck sitting at a table
Kate Wells/Michigan Radio

A Republican candidate for governor was booted off his Senate committees this week. Sen. Patrick Colbeck (R- Canton) says Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof (R-Grand Haven) ousted him because he attended an event in Meekhoff's district without telling him. This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about whether this is a case of a rogue politician or just politics as usual.

Law enforcement officials and victims of sexual assault in Michigan could soon be able to track the rape kits used to gather evidence. A state budget amendment would set aside money for training and software that keeps track of where a kit is located at each step of an investigation. This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about why Michigan isn't already using tracking software.

Michigan State Police patrol vehicle shield
Michigan State Police

Michigan's state police director this week jumped into the debate over the decision of some NFL players to take a knee during the National Anthem. Col. Kriste Etue now faces an internal review by her department after she shared a Facebook post that called those players "anti-American degenerates." This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about whether her career can recover.

hundred dollar bills
Pictures of Money / creative commons http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Gov. Rick Snyder this week signed off on legislation that expands campaign donation limits for certain types of donors. Moreover, the "Citizens United" bills let politicians solicit money on behalf of political action committees. This Week in Review, Michigan Radio Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry try and read between the lines.

The Ambassador Bridge
cmh2315fl / creative commons http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The owners of the Ambassador Bridge scored a big victory this week. The Canadian government has finally given the Detroit International Bridge Company permission to build a new bridge next to the Ambassador, just a couple of miles upriver from the site of the publicly funded Gordie Howe International Bridge project. This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about hurdles the DIBC still needs to clear before the new span can move forward.  

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