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Year in Review 2021: Michigan stories you may have missed

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Emma Winowiecki
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Michigan Radio
Accident survivors are losing care due to Michigan's new auto insurance law

A lot happened in Michigan this year. Here's a rundown of some of the biggest stories you may have missed:

Fallout of no-fault auto insurance reform

When the state’s no-fault auto insurance reform kicked in on July 1, some Michiganders faced a new - and totally expected - crisis. Throughout the year, Michigan Radio’s Tracy Samilton has reported on the fallout of that crisis, one in which survivors of catastrophic auto accidents have lost care, been abandoned at emergency rooms, and protested in defense of their support.

Great Lakes in Peril: Invasives, pollution, climate change

When you visit one of the Great Lakes, whether it’s a sandy beach or a rocky coastline, it’s hard to imagine how something so big could be affected so profoundly by alien invasive species, or pollution, or climate change. This Environment Report special looked at each of these threats.

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Allegations of sexual assault at the University of Michigan

In 2020, former University of Michigan student athletes spoke out about the alleged sexual abuse they endured at the hands of sports doctor Robert Anderson, who died in 2002.

In 2021, the son of legendary football coach Bo Schembechler said he was also assaulted by Anderson - and that his father knew. Former football player Jon Vaughn staged a protest outside of UM President Mark Schlissel’s house, camping outside until the president and Board of Regents agreed to meet with survivors. And despite promises of change, other sexual assault survivors at the school say they don’t believe anything will ever be different.

man standing at a podium outdoors
Emma Winowiecki
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Michigan Radio
Jon Vaughn speaks at a June 16 press conference (file photo).

Enbridge ignores Michigan’s order to shut down Line 5

The debate over Line 5 raged on in 2021. Despite an order to shut down the oil pipeline by May 12, Enbridge Energy kept the oil flowing, resulting in a legal battle that is complicated and ongoing.

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Lester Graham
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Michigan Radio

One year later, what's changed and what hasn't since the killing of Cornelius Fredrick

One year ago, a 16 year-old boy sat in a cafeteria at a group home for teens in Kalamazoo and tossed a piece of bread at another boy. The adults in the room told him to stop. Smiling, he tossed another piece. An adult pushed him to the floor, and eventually seven other grown men held the boy down for 12 minutes.

Cornelius Fredrick died two days later, his death ruled a homicide.

In the year since his death, there have been lawsuits, criminal charges, and promises of reform. The home where Fredrick lived, Lakeside Academy, has closed.

Much has changed. But much remains unresolved.

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Courtesy of Jonathan Marko
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Abandoned home of lesser-known civil rights hero named one of US' "Most Endangered Historic Sites"

The house is small, run down, boarded up, surrounded by tall grass. A blue tarp covers the roof. The wood exterior is weathered gray from the elements, with just a few paint chips remaining.

This week, this house at 9308 Woodlawn, near Detroit’s City Airport, was named one of the “11 Most Endangered Historic Sites” in the U.S. by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

The reason? It was the home of Sarah Elizabeth Ray – a Black woman who supporters of the preservation project say should be as well known as Rosa Parks.

The Sarah Elizabeth Ray House
The Sarah E. Ray Project
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Will sandhill cranes be hunted in Michigan?

A resolution in the Michigan Senate encourages the state Natural Resources Commission to approve making sandhill cranes game to hunt. Some Michigan lawmakers say there’s been an “explosion” in the eastern sandhill crane population, and that it’s causing problems for farmers.

Advocates for the large birds say sandhill cranes really don’t do that much damage to crops compared to other animals. They also say we just don’t know enough about the birds and their reproduction to consider a hunting season.

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Lester Graham
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Sandhill cranes usually only have one or two babies each year.

Editor's note: The University of Michigan holds Michigan Radio's license; Enbridge Energy is a corporate sponsor of Michigan Radio.