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Car accident
Daniel X. O'Neil/Flickr / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Michigan has two intertwined problems when it comes to car insurance rates, according to a new University of Michigan report: overall high premiums that place the biggest burden on the poorest communities.

The report finds that car insurance is unaffordable for the vast majority in Michigan, with “affordability” defined as two percent or less of an area’s median income.

Tracy Samilton / Michigan Radio

General Motors CEO Mary Barra says the automaker will build a new electric vehicle at its Orion Assembly Plant - where it already builds the all-electric Bolt. She says details about the vehicle will come later.

Barra, who's been head of General Motors since 2014, says GM will invest $300 million in the plant and add 400 jobs.

"EVs are going to help us drive our vision of a world with zero crashes, zero emissions, and zero congestion," says Barra. "And allow us to deliver cleaner air and a healthier planet."

cover of the book American Islamophobia: Understanding the Roots and Rise of Fear
University of California Press

The global Muslim community has been in mourning since a gunman open fired in two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, nearly a week ago. Fifty people were killed in the attack, which New Zealand’s prime minister has described as an act of terrorism.

The massacre has prompted a larger discussion about the rise of Islamophobia across the world, including here in the United States. Stateside spoke with Khaled Beydoun, a law professor at University of Detroit Mercy and author of American Islamophobia: Understanding the Roots and Rise of Fear, about the increase in anti-Muslim sentiment.

president trump
flickr user Gage Skidmore / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

President Donald Trump is bringing a campaign rally to Grand Rapids. 

The rally is scheduled for Thursday, March 28 at 7 p.m. at Van Andel Arena. Free tickets are available here.

LGBT Pride Flag
Tyrone Warner / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

The state of Michigan has promised to make sure adoption and foster agencies that receive state money do not discriminate against same-sex couples.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Friday is World Water Day.

In Flint, nearly five years after the city’s disastrous drinking water switch, activists are calling for more to be done to help city residents recover from Flint’s lead-tainted tap water crisis.

Members of the group, Color of Change, carried boxes containing 15,000 petition signatures into Flint city hall to mark World Water Day.

Pixabay

Eight more people have contracted measles in Oakland County, the state health department said Friday morning, bringing the total up to 9. 

This comes just over a week since a visiting Israeli citizen picked up the highly contagious virus in New York and brought it to Michigan.

Health officials are asking anyone showing symptoms not to go to the hospital or their doctor’s office without calling ahead, so they can keep the individual isolated from other patients.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Flint city council failed Thursday night to vote down pay raises for themselves and the mayor.

The pay raises were proposed by an independent commission. In order to stop the pay hike, a majority of the Flint city council had to vote to reject it.

Councilman Santino Guerra made a motion to stop the pay hikes during last night’s meeting. He says now is not the time for Flint’s elected leaders to get a pay hike.

“We still have the Flint water crisis going on... there are still homes with pipes in the ground that need to be replaced,” said Guerra.

Michigan governor's office

Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed her first bill into law on Thursday. The new law will keep a judge’s seat in a court in the Upper Peninsula.

Representative Beau LaFave (R-Iron Mountain) represents part of the Upper Peninsula, including Menominee County, where the judge will be. He sponsored a similar bill in the state House.

“We want to make sure that judges don’t have to drive 250 miles to ensure the due process rights of everybody,” he said. “Doesn’t matter if you’re in Monroe or Menominee. You have a right to due process and that means you've got to have a judge close by.”

The current judge plans to retire at the end of the month. Under state law, his retirement would have eliminated the district judge position due to attrition.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The clock is ticking on dozens of unlicensed medical marijuana provisioning centers in Michigan.

Starting April 1, the state will direct those dispensaries to shut their doors.

Advocates are concerned that could mean medical marijuana patients will have trouble getting their medicine.

“We’re going to see a reduced access for medical marijuana patients because of the shuttering of some of those provisioning centers that are in the process of the licensing,” says Rick Thompson, with the Michigan chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

A police officer talks to a student on the scene.
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

On Saturday March 16,  at 4:35 p.m., in the middle of a vigil on the University of Michigan's Ann Arbor campus for the victims of the mass shooting in New Zealand, two police officers ran through the event, shouting for the students to move.

Picture of Lake Superior
Isabella Isaacs-Thomas / Michigan Radio

A new report commissioned by the Environmental Law and Policy Center urges Great Lakes states to mitigate and prepare for the "profound" effects of climate change.

The report, authored by more than a dozen Midwest and Canadian researchers, says Great Lakes states will see more very hot days, increases in heavy rainfall and flooding, declines in crop yields, and threats to drinking water.  

William Murphy / FLICKR - HTTP://BIT.LY/1XMSZCG

A nonpartisan policy group says Michigan needs to do more to improve regional transit in urban areas.

A recent report from the Citizens Research Council (CRC) of Michigan said regional transit is key to economic development, revitalizing communities, reducing pollution and traffic congestion, improving residents' mobility, and reducing stress on roads and parking infrastructure.

Inside of a public bus.
Unsplash

Today on Stateside, a conversation about what it would take to get Michigan to rethink its approach to public transit. Plus, why the traditional A-F grading system might not make sense for the modern classroom. 

picture of wallpaper
michigan history center

 

In the 19th century, wallpaper became an increasingly popular home decor trend among Americans. Influenced by the culture of Victorian England, these wallpapers were adorned with loud patterns, flowers, animals, and a lot of colors.

But those bright, vibrant hues held a dark secret.  

“In the mid-19th century, green became a very popular color. And the way to get the various hues of green was to mix it with arsenic,” explained the Michigan History Center's Rachel Clark. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A judge has dismissed a lawsuit brought by a researcher who exposed Flint’s lead tainted tap water against activists who criticized him.

In 2015, local activists worked with Virginia Tech’s Marc Edwards to reveal Flint’s drinking water exceeded the federal action level for lead.  But by 2018, Edwards’ relationship with some of those activists had soured. 

A long table surrounded by red chairs in a school classroom.
BES Photos / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

If you think about public schools in Michigan with declining student populations and funding, chances are you think of Detroit. Those issues have been affecting Detroit schools for decades. But more affluent communities aren’t immune to them.

Detroit Free Press columnist Nancy Kaffer joined Michigan Radio's Morning Edition host Doug Tribou to discuss a similar problem in the public schools in Grosse Pointe.

Michigan AG Bill Schuette
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Several years ago, Progress Michigan started what would become a years long court battle with then-attorney general Bill Schuette.

The group accused Schuette and his office of using private emails for state business in 2016. The group filed a public records request for emails that were sent using private accounts.

user dig downtown detroit / Flickr

Wayne State University will offer free tuition to its employees’ children. The program is called "Born to Be a Warrior".

It's a pilot scholarship program for freshmen and transfer students who do not have a bachelor’s degree.

women posing at a Holi event
Razi Jafri / Michigan Radio

It's finally here! Wednesday's vernal equinox marks the first day of spring. Celebrations marking the transition from the dark days of winter into a gentler season are part of cultural traditions across the world. 

Mary Stewart Adams, a star lore historian and the founder of Michigan's only international dark sky park, joined Stateside to tell us more about why the equinox has received so much attention throughout time.

Water filter
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Plainfield Township could end up paying millions of dollars more than it though due to PFAS.

Residents of Plainfield Township in Kent County, north of Grand Rapids, are dealing with PFAS pollution. State officials believe it was caused by shoe-manufacturer Wolverine Worldwide, and there is ongoing lawsuit addressing who is to blame

Empty classroom
Brad Wilson / FLICKR - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Michigan's eighth graders will face a change in mandatory state tests starting this April. They will  take the College Board's PSAT 8/9 in math and English Language Arts.

The new test will replace the M-STEP test previously required of eighth graders for these subjects.

a sample of poison wallpaper - it's light green with blue stripes and floral decoration
Courtesy of Michigan History Center

Today on Stateside, despite an upward economic trend in Michigan, nearly half of households in the state are struggling to afford basic necessities. Plus, it’s (finally) spring! We hear about the cultural significance of this transition for different cultural groups across the state.

Kate Wells / Michigan Radio

After two months of trying to negotiate an interview between the Michigan attorney general’s office and former interim MSU President John Engler, things hit the fan on Tuesday.

marijuana leaves
user eljoja / flickr http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The head of Michigan’s marijuana program says he intends to watch and learn as the state figures out the rules for future sales of recreational marijuana.

Andrew Brisbo testified before a legislative committee on the future of marijuana in Michigan Wednesday. That’s after voters approved recreational marijuana use last fall.

Ben LaCross of Leelenau Fruit Company prunes young cherry trees.
MAX JOHNSTON / INTERLOCHEN PUBLIC RADIO

For the past decade, Americans have been buying tart cherries from Turkey for cheap. Tart cherry farmers in Michigan say that’s hurting their bottom line. Now they’re hoping a new bill in Washington will balance the scales.


AP file photo / Associated Press

Disgraced ex-Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick has failed again in his efforts to reduce the time he's spending in federal prison for corruption.

U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds on Tuesday denied a motion to vacate the 28-year sentence she handed Kilpatrick in 2013 for extortion, bribery, conspiracy and other crimes during his years in office.

The 48-year-old Kilpatrick said in his motion that the court made errors during his trial that included incorrect jury instructions.

Corner of a library with bookshelves and a study table
Blue Mountains Library / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

State lawmakers want to give librarians immunity from any issues that could arise if they administer opioid overdose medication. A state House committee passed bills on Tuesday that would do that.

The quiet, secluded nature of libraries makes them an attractive place for some drug users to get their fix. Librarians can administer overdose medication like Narcan. But some don’t carry it because they could be sued if something goes wrong.

Picture of the Lansing capitol building
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Lawmakers in the state House unanimously passed a group of bills they say will make state government more transparent.  The bills would, in some cases, open the governor’s office up to freedom of information requests. They would also create a new Legislative Open Records Act to allow for some records requests from state lawmakers.

Representative Daire Rendon (R-Lake City) is a bill sponsor. She says Michigan is one of only two states that doesn’t allow for records requests from the governor and Legislature.

“It was necessary for us to be like everyone else and make government more accountable to the state of Michigan,” says Rendon.

A former student at Detroit Country Day School accuses the school of having “a culture of systemic racism” in a new federal civil rights lawsuit.

LaNard Graham, Jr.’s family is suing Detroit Country Day, an elite private school in Oakland County. Graham was a senior student-athlete there until 2016. That’s when the Grahams say they were forced to withdraw after he was allegedly caught smoking marijuana with two other students on campus.

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