Year in Review 2021: Michigan stories you may have missed
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.
- For quadriplegic car crash survivors, July 1 could be start of second tragedy (June 7)
- Insurance companies hasten collapse of care industry for people hurt in car accidents by not paying (September 21)
- Experts say Michigan's "bipartisan success" on no-fault reform is really a "bipartisan failure," as people lose care (October 21)
- Care for survivors of catastrophic car accidents in other states is typically very poor. Michigan could soon be among the worst. (November 10)
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.
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.
- Anderson survivors: Bo Schembechler knew of abuse and did not stop it (by Sarah Cwiek & Jodi Westrick; June 9)
- After a series of public incidents, U of M makes dramatic changes to its sexual misconduct policies (by Nisa Khan; July 15)
- “I will never be a ‘Go Blue’ girl”: Survivors find it hard to trust UM’s efforts to improve sexual assault complaint process (by Nisa Khan; September 24)
- Stateside Podcast: Jon Vaughn’s Vigil for Survivors (by Stateside; October 13)
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.
- Is the Line 5 tunnel a bridge to Michigan's energy future or a bad deal? (by Kelly House | Bridge Michigan & Lester Graham; April 1)
- On eve of Line 5 shutdown deadline, Enbridge vows to defy Michigan order (by Kelly House | Bridge Michigan & Lester Graham; May 11)
- "Water is life" is the theme of Day 1 of protests to shut down Enbridge Line 5 (by Lester Graham; May 13)
- Ignore the buzz, here's why Enbridge Line 5 won't likely close anytime soon (by Kelly House | Bridge Michigan & Lester Graham; November 18)
- Governor Whitmer drops federal lawsuit, shifts fight against Enbridge Line 5 pipeline back to state court (by Rick Pluta & Patrick Shea; November 30)
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.
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.
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.
Editor's note: The University of Michigan holds Michigan Radio's license; Enbridge Energy is a corporate sponsor of Michigan Radio.