Caroline Llanes | Michigan Radio

Caroline Llanes

Newsroom Intern

Caroline is a third year history major at the University of Michigan. She also works at The Michigan Daily, where she has been a copy editor and an opinion columnist. When she’s not at work, you can find her down at Argo Pond as a coxswain for the Michigan men’s rowing team. Caroline loves swimming, going for walks, being outdoors, cooking, trivia, and spending time with her two-year-old cat, Pepper.

David Pilgrim with items on display at the Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia
Tyler Scott / Michigan Radio

The Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia is home to over 14,000 items that showcase the nation's racist past. Those items are getting a new home, thanks to a planned $18.5 million expansion.

The museum is currently housed in a campus library at Ferris State University in Big Rapids. The planned expansion would make the museum a standalone building, and would address limitations like "lack of visibility and tight configuration."

an arctic grayling
Jim Mogen / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Arctic Grayling are a fish that used to be native to Michigan's waterways. About a century ago, Michigan's populations were decimated by overfishing, habitat destruction, and nonnative competitive species. 

Now, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians are hoping to reintroduce the fish to the state's waterways.

Ed Eisch is the statewide fish program manager for the DNR. He's also overseeing the Arctic Grayling Initiative.

governor gretchen whitmer chats with a lawmaker after signing a bill
Caroline Llanes / Michigan Radio

Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed Senate Bill 27 in Ypsilanti on Monday. The bill appropriates $384.7 million dollars in supplemental money. Most of the money comes from federal COVID-19 relief, but $17 million comes from the state's general fund.

More than $105 million will go to providing childcare to Michiganders, particularly for frontline workers.

Sign that says Flint vehicle city
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint Mayor Sheldon Neeley has declared a state of emergency in the city due to gun violence. According to the mayor, there have been 158 non-lethal shootings in the city in 2021—a nearly 80% increase from 88 in 2020.

The declaration means the city can use federal funds from the American Rescue Plan to fight gun violence. The city of Flint is set to receive $94 million of the federal $1.9 trillion stimulus package.

Neely says the steps the city is taking to address gun violence are based on feedback taken from Flint residents. 

A Kent County Health Department employee tests mosquitos for arboviruses, including West Nile Virus.
Kent County Health Department

It's been a mosquito-heavy July for many Michiganders. Experts say the reason for this boom is recent warmer temperatures and heavy rainfall.

young Black teen receives a vaccine in his right arm
Seventyfour / Adobe Stock

According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, 31% of Michigan children are not up to date on CDC-recommended childhood vaccinations.

Those vaccinations include MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) and DTaP (diptheria, tetanus, and whooping cough or pertussis).

Physicians and school administrators across the state want kids up to date on all their shots when they come back to school in-person this fall. 

Dr. Mark Hamed is the president of the Michigan Academy of Family Physicians, and the director of emergency medical services for McKenzie Health.

The National Weather Service has issued a flood warning for Wayne County as heavy rains moved across the region Friday. NWS reports 1 to 2 inches of rain has already fallen in southern portions of Oakland and Macomb counties.

Westbound I-94 closed to traffic just after 12:30 p.m. at I-75 due to flooding; and Eastbound I-94 closed to traffic just after 12:45 p.m. The I-96 East Ramp to I-94 East is also closed.

The University of Michigan football stadium
Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

The University of Michigan is taking big steps to address sexual misconduct and institutional problems, hiring consultant Guidepost Solutions after a law firm uncovered sexual misconduct by then-Provost Martin Philbert

a flooded interstate 94 with a submerged vehicle
Russ McNamara / WDET

President Joe Biden has issued a presidential declaration of disaster for Wayne and Washtenaw Counties, following severe storms and flooding on June 25-26 that impacted homes and businesses around the region.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer requested that Biden issue a presidential declaration on Tuesday, July 13. She declared a state of emergency in Wayne County on June 26, then extended that to Washtenaw County on July 8. 

Flooding in a Detroit neighborhood on June 26.
Courtesy of Cam Mills

Severe storms led to major flooding in Metro Detroit in late June, and caused massive damage to homes and businesses in the region. There were also problems with two pumping stations on the city's east side: Freud and Conner Creek.

The Great Lakes Water Authority operates both of those stations. Now, GLWA's board of directors is conducting its own investigation, separate from management, into the issues with the two pumping stations.

Flooding in metro Detroit this weekend.
Courtesy of Dan Austin

The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department has received more than 24,000 claims of water damage from residents since the severe storms and floods that occurred on June 26.

5,400 of those claims are from households with senior citizens and those with disabilities. Those residents are eligible to have city crews come and clear debris from people's basements.

Kamala Harris at the TCF Center in Detroit
Screenshot from Fox2Detroit

Vice President Kamala was in Detroit Monday, discussing voting rights and the COVID-19 vaccine. She arrived Monday morning, and participated in a voting rights listening session with Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson.

Ann Arbor at sunset.
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

Ann Arbor residents could see a proposal another millage on their ballots this November. This 20-year tax would go towards fighting climate change.

Mayor Chris Taylor saw how voters supported the affordable housing millage last year, and floated the idea at the June 6 city council meeting. He says he will introduce a resolution to put the millage on the November ballot at the next meeting.

Detroit flooding
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

In the wake of devastating damage brought on by historic flooding, Wayne and Washtenaw County are waiting to see if President Joe Biden will issue a presidential declaration of disaster. In the meantime, the city of Detroit will provide low-income residents with contractors to help clean and repair flood-damaged homes.

Residents eligible for help from the city include homeowners with a poverty tax exemption, people with a disability, senior citizens, and people with children under ten. 

gretchen whitmer sitting at table

Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed a bill into law on Wednesday that appropriates $4.4 billion of federal COVID-19 relief funds for Michigan schools.

This supplemental aid comes from the federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief, or ESSER. $841 million comes from ESSER II funding allocated in December 2020 and the other $3.3 billion comes from ESSER III funding from the American Rescue Plan.

person receives COVID vaccine shot
Adobe Stock

Michigan's COVID-19 numbers are significantly lower than they were months ago in March and April, when the state saw its third surge. At the height of the third surge, on April 7, Michigan had a seven-day death average of 75 per day. Over the last week, an average of one person died each day of COVID in Michigan.

ann arbor public schools district office building
Caroline Llanes / Michigan Radio

Ann Arbor Public Schools and the Michigan Department of Education are defendants in a lawsuit filed in federal court on June 30. The lawsuit, brought by parents of special education students in AAPS, alleges inadequate special education services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Flooding in metro Detroit this weekend.
Courtesy of Dan Austin

Metro Detroit is still recovering from severe storms which brought historic levels of flooding to the area. The damage from the flooding extended to freeways, roads, and homes—including flooded basements and tons of damaged property.

Affected cities have asked residents to pile unsalvageable debris from the storm onto the curb. In many places around the region, it's still sitting there.

Joe Munem is the director of government affairs and public relations for GFL Environmental Michigan, a Toronto-based waste management company that serves much of the metro Detroit region.

the trans pride flag the transgender pride flag
Sharon McCutcheon / Unsplash

Attorney General Dana Nessel has issued an opinion calling Michigan's requirement of proof of sex-reassignment surgery to change the gender on an individual's birth certificate "unconstitutional."

This comes after Michigan Department of Health and Human Services director, Elizabeth Hertel, made a formal request for the attorney general's opinion regarding the issue in February. 

jennifer dowker with a message in a bottle she found in the cheboygan river
Courtesy Jennifer Dowker

When Jennifer Dowker went diving in the Cheboygan River on June 18, she wasn't expecting to find a piece of history.

Dowker owns and operates Nautical North Family Adventures in Cheboygan, which does glass-bottom shipwreck tours, snorkeling, and other activities in the area. She says she was with a potential client who was hoping to scuba dive, and was going to clean the windows of her glass-bottom boat when she found the message in the bottle.

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.

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.

An image of the highway sign for the bridge to Canada in Detroit
Ken Lund / Flickr -

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.

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.

michigan state capitol building in lansing, mi
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

What possible connections did Michigan have to the January 6 U.S. Capitol insurrection? That's a question Democratic state lawmakers are hoping to answer. Democratic leadership filed a resolution on Tuesday calling for the creation of a bipartisan joint committee to investigate potential ties in the state to the events of January 6.

the michigan masonic home in alma, michigan, a former nursing home
rossograph /

Grand Rapids-based Bethany Christian Services is hoping to use a former nursing home in Alma, Michigan to house migrant children who were unaccompanied at the southern U.S. border.

The building Bethany would use to house the children is owned by Michigan Masonic Homes. The property would need to undergo conditional rezoning in order for Bethany to use it.

The city of Alma is still in the process of reviewing Bethany and Michigan Masonic Homes' request and proposal. It has scheduled a public comment hearing for July 12.

u.s. secretary of agriculture tom vilsack talks to volunteers distributing the covid-19 vaccine at huron high school in ann arbor
Caroline Llanes / Michigan Radio

United States Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack is visiting Michigan this week. His first stop was at Huron High School in Ann Arbor, where the Washtenaw County Health Department was distributing COVID-19 vaccines.

Most of the people getting the shot at the popup clinic were young people, aged 12-18. Vilsack watched as a middle-schooler got the vaccine, and commended her responsibility to her community.

court gavel
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

A Michigan man charged with threatening elected officials has pleaded guilty to two counts of threatening public officials in Livingston County. Daniel Thompson from Clare County made threatening remarks in voicemails and emails to the offices of U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-Michigan) and U.S. Representative Elissa Slotkin (D-Holly).

Attorney General Dana Nessel said in a statement that Thompson will serve two years of probation and will pay almost $2,000 in fines.