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Wednesday, June 23, marks 39 years since a young Chinese-American named Vincent Chin died after being beaten by two white autoworkers in metro-Detroit. His death came at a time of heightened anti-Asian bias. Many in the region blamed a decline in the local auto industry at the time on Japanese auto-manufacturers.

Chin was Chinese-American, not Japanese. His killing led Asian Americans activists to think of themselves as part of a single racial group.

The following remembrance was originally published on April 5, 2021. We are re-sharing it to commemorate the anniversary of his death.

a USPS mail truck
washjeff.edu

Dana Nessel is part of a coalition of nearly two dozen attorneys general calling on the Postal Regulatory Commission to oppose Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s efforts to increase delivery times for First-Class Mail and other essential postal services.

City of Warren Police Department / via Facebook

Effective Tuesday, a Warren police officer was fired for making racist comments on social media.

The Warren Police Department confirmed that Anwar Khan's Facebook comments reflected racist stereotypes about Black people. Khan also wrote, "Glad I wasn't born b&@ck, I would kill myself."

Khan was put on administrative leave last week after another Facebook commenter filed a complaint with the police department.

woman wearing "defund police" mask
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Today on Stateside, we look into how Michigan cities have responded to calls from activists to defund the police. Then, Governor Whitmer has officially lifed most of the pandemic restrictions, despite a large number of vaccine-hesitant Michiganders, including in the city of Detroit. Plus, we talk to a Michigan State University sociologist about their research on the frustrating interactions transgender people experience at the doctor’s office.

court gavel
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Prosecuting attorneys and law enforcement should have more clarity about how to enforce Michigan’s Sexual Offender Registration Act (SORA) after an opinion and order today from a district court judge.

Michigan recently enacted a new version of SORA in response to litigation challenging the constitutionality of parts of the law, and a February 2020 order from Judge Robert Cleland finding aspects of the old version of SORA unconstitutional.

tart cherries hanging on a tree, ready for harvest
barmalini / Adobe Stock

For the second year in a row, northern Michigan’s tart cherry farmers are expecting a small harvest — less than half as much as 2019’s crop.

Allen Steimel is the general manager at Leelanau Fruit Company. He says low rainfall Up North is stunting the cherries’ growth.

“The drought, it’s gonna affect the size of the individual fruit. What we’re seeing right now is the cherries look fairly small.”

Ewian Van Bergeijk Kwant via Unsplash

Michigan’s officially reopened, baby. As of June 22, it’s goodbye capacity restrictions and broad face mask requirements, regardless of your vaccination status.

Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

Detroit is the most segregated city in America, according to a new study from the Othering and Belonging Institute at the University of California-Berkeley. The study also ranks the Detroit-Warren-Livonia metropolitan area as the fourth most segregated metro area in the country.

Today on Stateside, we hear about the shifting political sands in Oakland County. Also, climate change and Michigan birds. Plus, we discuss the arid conditions in much of Michigan. It’s creating a greater risk of wildfire, earlier in the season than normal.

A fire rescue truck sits in the aftermath of a wildfire.
Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Droughts in parts of West Michigan put large swaths of land at an increased risk of wildfire. 

Despite storms rolling through much of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula over the weekend, some parts of the state are abnormally dry for this time of year.

“There was actually a severe drought north of Kalamazoo, up to Grand Rapids, and then towards the Saginaw Bay area. . . We haven’t seen these conditions in quite a while,” said Paul Rogers, fire prevention specialist with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR). 

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

The Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission wants more time to do its job.

Attorneys for the commission made their case Monday before the Michigan Supreme Court. They say the problem is the court won’t get all the U.S. Census data it needs in time to meet its deadlines, because the COVID-19 crisis has delayed sharing those numbers.

NOAA / Unsplash

Update: 12:32 p.m.

The National Weather Service says it investigated an area near Kinderhook, about ten miles south of Coldwater, near the border with Indiana, for tornadoes. The NWS found evidence of straight-line wind damage, but no evidence for a tornado.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Researchers at the University of Michigan are trying to connect the dots between birds becoming smaller with longer wings and their earlier migration.

Studies have shown birds are migrating here earlier in the spring. Other studies show they have been physically changing over the decades. Both are due to climate change, according to studies.

“On one hand, these birds are dramatically changing in their size and shape, and on the other, they were also changing the timing of their migrations,” said Marketa Zimova, lead researcher in a study to determine if the two were connected.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The state of Michigan will take a major step toward normal as most state COVID-19 restrictions are lifted on Tuesday. 

But many businesses continue to struggle with one lingering effect of the pandemic: a labor shortage.

At a legislative committee hearing Thursday, state lawmakers heard from representatives from different industries. Tony Daoud operates gas stations in the Flint area. He blames pandemic jobless benefits that pay more than he does for his business’ struggle to recruit and retain hourly workers.

An image of the highway sign for the bridge to Canada in Detroit
Ken Lund / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

Despite hopes otherwise, the international border with Canada will remain closed for nonessential travel for another month, until July 21.

Canadian Minister of Public Safety Bill Blair announced via Twitter Friday morning that this decision was in coordination with the United States, and that the government would provide more details about fully vaccinated Canadians travelling.

concert
Yvette de Wit / Unsplash

On today’s Stateside, music festivals are back in business this summer. Plus, podcasters Michelle Jokisch Polo and Araceli Crescencio discuss bringing news to Michigan’s Latinx community. And, a conversation with music producer Waajeed about passing the Detroit-techno baton.

Bakpak Durden

Murals by Bakpak Durden that glaze through the streets of Russell, Brush, and Hazelwood -- covering a Detroit vs. Everybody store, the Brush Street Viaduct, and LGBT Detroit -- have illuminated the city.

A self-taught interdisciplinary artist, Durden began their work years ago, making small pieces out of items found around the house and selling them to the two people who loved them most.

Capitol Building in Lansing, MI
Matthileo / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Almost all COVID-19 restrictions in Michigan will be lifted Tuesday, but that won’t put an end to arguments in Lansing about how the crisis was handled and what should happen next.

Republican lawmakers say the decision is overdue and that the Legislature will continue its inquiries into the administration’s handling of COVID, including restrictions on gatherings and businesses.

Courtesy Grand Haven BLP

The Grand Haven Board of Light and Power has approved building a new natural gas powered plant to supplement buying power from the grid.

The west Michigan municipal utility is asking City Council to approve bonds for up to $50 million. The money would also be used to clean up pollution from a now demolished coal-burning power plant and to build an office complex.

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A sign of the University of Michigan Central Campus
Anna Schlutt / Michigan Radio

The University of Michigan will be extending its Go Blue Guarantee to in-state students on its Flint and Dearborn campuses beginning fall semester. It guarantees free tuition to Michigan residents from families with less than $65,000 in income and less than $55,000 in assets.

Bronze statue of Bo Schembechler in front of Schembechler Hall.
Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

Survivors of sexual abuse are increasing pressure on the University of Michigan to account for what they say is the school’s failure to protect students. New allegations against alleged serial predator Dr. Robert Anderson say the university’s legendary former football coach, Bo Schembechler, knew about Anderson’s abuse for decades.

In a recent column, Michael Rosenberg looked at the hero status that Schembechler was given during and after his coaching career. Rosenberg is a senior writer for Sports Illustrated, a former columnist at The Detroit Free Press, and lives in Ann Arbor. He appeared on Michigan Radio's Morning Edition to talk about the Anderson case.

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

This week saw further developments in the sex abuse tragedy in which a former doctor, Robert Anderson, allegedly sexually assaulted athletes and students over the 36 years he worked for the University of Michigan. Survivors have now stepped forward to urge the University of Michigan and its Board of Regents to take accountability for its failure to protect students.

Ian Harber for Unsplash

In a surprise announcement Thursday, the state says it’s lifting all broad COVID restrictions on June 22, just over a week earlier than planned. Citing some of the lowest case rates since the pandemic began and 60% of residents having had at least one dose of the vaccine, health officials say broad mask and gathering mandates are no longer needed. 

 

The Sarah Elizabeth Ray House
The Sarah E. Ray Project

Today on Stateside, we talk to a researcher who found that the forever chemicals known as PFAS are showing up in rainfall around the Great Lakes. Then, what families should know about kids and COVID-19 as summer vacation begins. And, an effort to save the historical home of Sarah Elizabeth Ray, the Detroit civil rights activist whose U.S. Supreme Court case led to the integration of the Boblo Island ferry. 

Former slaves celebrate in Austin on June 19, 1900.
Austin History Center, Austin Public Library

A series of parades, concerts, and other celebrations will take place this weekend to honor Juneteenth, a holiday commemorating freedom for enslaved people following the Civil War. 

The local commemorations coincide with national recognition of the holiday, which marks the day Union troops freed people who were kept in bondage in Texas two years after the end of the Civil War. President Biden signed a bill making Juneteenth the most recent federal holiday on Thursday. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A federal judge finds Detroit’s effort to reserve half of recreational marijuana retail licenses for city residents is likely “unconstitutional.”   

The legacy provision in Detroit’s ordinance gives an advantage to people who’ve lived ten to 15 years out of the past 30 in the city. Other factors like low incomes or past marijuana convictions would give legacy applicants an advantage in obtaining adult-use licenses.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Tammy Coxen with Tammy’s Tastings received a “lovely gift pack” from Iron Fish Distillery in Thompsonville, Michigan. It included a sample of its bourbon whiskey finished in maple syrup barrels, its maple syrup finished in bourbon barrels, and its aromatic bitters. It was everything she needed to make and Old Fashion.

Spectrum Health; Beaumont Health System

Beaumont Health and Spectrum Health say they plan to merge into a single system with 22 hospitals and 64,000 employees. It's a massive shakeup for two of the state's largest health providers.

Judge writing in background with gavel in foreground
Adobe Stock

A group of news organizations called for the release of recordings of one of the men accused of plotting to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in federal court on Wednesday. 

The recordings, made by the FBI,  feature Barry Croft Jr., one of 14 men charged in the alleged kidnapping scheme. They were entered into evidence and referenced in a detention hearing earlier this year, but not released. 

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