Emma Winowiecki | Michigan Radio
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Emma Winowiecki

Digital Producer

Emma is a producer and reporter for the digital news team at Michigan Radio. Her duties span all things web-related, from reporting news online to producing videos to creating maps and graphics for other reporters.

A native of northern Michigan, Emma is a graduate of the University of Michigan, with a dual degree in Communication Studies and Film Studies. As such, she is a movie and TV junkie, and is always up for a game of trivia. Her other passions include reading, cooking, and taking too many pictures of her dogs: Gus and Seamus.

absentee ballot
Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

This primary season, absentee ballots are all the rage.

Michigan voters passed a ballot measure in 2018 that allows for no-reason absentee voting, and the March 10 primary will be a major test for the new policy.

The Secretary of State says absentee ballot requests are up more than 70% from the same time in 2016.

sick child
Adobe Stock

The disease COVID-19, which is caused by the novel coronavirus, continues to spread throughout the world. 

At the moment, the World Health Organization says it appears to be deadlier than the flu, although it may not spread as easily.

A sign in Ann Arbor warns passing drivers of a massive pothole in the road.
Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

It is a fact universally acknowledged that Michigan has terrible roads.

Well, unless you are state Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake), who said this month that he is not convinced there is a need for new road spending.

While there are a lot of arguments to be had about how to actually fix the roads by politicians and policy advisors and opinion columnists, there are some facts about Michigan’s roads that are indisputable.

U.S. EPA

Thirty years before toxic green ooze spilled onto a Madison Heights road, the state's Pollution Emergency Alerting System hotline received a complaint about chemical storage pits dug into the basement of Electro-Plating Services (EPS).

For three years, it appears the state took no action. Then, in 1993, another complaint was made to the hotline. This time, the state investigated.

dog cbd oil
Pixabay

CBD, the non-psychoactive compound of marijuana, is becoming popular for people and pets alike. You can find CBD oil in cookies, gummies, teas, lotions, and, yes, pet treats. These products claim to treat stress, anxiety, pain, and more — although research on the subject is still undecided.

But if you were to go to a veterinarian in Michigan and ask about the possible benefits or side effects of marijuana for your pet, they legally could not discuss it with you.

green ooze
Michigan Dept. of Transportation

On December 20, a neon green slime was discovered leaking onto I-696 in Madison Heights. 

Cars in a snowstorm
Adobe Stock

The National Weather Service is predicting a massive storm across the Midwest this weekend. 

In Michigan, a variety of snow, freezing rain, and flood warnings have been issued, and are in place from 10 p.m. Friday until 10 p.m. Sunday. That could mean widespread power outages, downed trees and wires, and difficult traveling conditions throughout the state.

Wikicommons

Former Michigan State University head football coach George Perles has died. He was 85.

At MSU, Perles was a player, coach, athletic director, and university trustee. 

Prison fence barbed wire
Kevin Rosseel / morguefile

After a years-long battle, two class-action lawsuits against the Michigan Department of Corrections have reached a settlement. The lawsuits were brought by hundreds of juvenile prisoners who allege the MDOC failed to protect them against sexual abuse while serving time in adult prisons.

These are the stories only Michigan Radio reporters could bring you. 

When it's a big year for news, political cartoonists have plenty of material. Michigan Radio cartoonist John Auchter definitely took advantage of this year's chaotic news cycle.

2019 was such a big year for news, we couldn’t fit it all in a single round-up. But here are some of the biggest stories that has Michigan talking this year.

2019 was one of the hottest, wettest years on record. 

The U.S. Capitol
user kulshrax / creative commons

Reps. Haley Stevens (D-MI 11)  and Debbie Dingell (D-MI 12) say they will vote in favor of both articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.

That means all seven Michigan House Democrats, and Independent Rep. Justin Amash, will vote yes on impeachment. The state's six House Republicans plan to vote no.

Rep. Elissa Slotkin
Katie Raymond / Michigan Radio

Update, Monday December 16 at 2:00 p.m.

U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-MI 8) told a large crowd of constituents at Oakland University in Rochester that she will vote to impeach the President Donald Trump on the two articles of impeachment drawn up by the U.S. House: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

Michigan Legislature
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Updated December 11, 2019 at 5:29 p.m.:

The Legislature has adopted more measures that are part of a deal to end the budget standoff with Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

House and Senate appropriations committee voted Wednesday to reverse some actions taken by a state executive branch board. The restored funds include money for adult foster care and child care.

Al McWilliams and Gordie Garwood
Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

Dungeons & Dragons is having a cultural revival, and not just in Hawkins. In Ann Arbor, the tabletop fantasy roleplaying game is being played regularly by all kinds of people — including those nerdy kids-now-adults that played it in the 1970s and 80s.

Kids like Al McWilliams. When he heard a friend was playing D&D, McWilliams recalls, he instantly wanted in.

marijuana
Adobe Stock

It's happening. Starting Sunday, December 1, 2019, Michiganders over the age of 21 will be able to purchase recreational marijuana from licensed retailers.

But you can’t just walk down to your nearest pot shop without a medical card and stock up. The licensing process is still in the very early stages, and only a handful of businesses will be open starting on Sunday.

Money
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

On September 30, Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued line-item vetoes worth $947 million of the $59.9 billion state budget plan. She also received approval from a state board to shift $625 million within state departments to better reflect her budget priorities.

Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on the past year, to reconnect with family and friends, and to express gratitude for the all that is good in our lives.

But more importantly, Thanksgiving is a time to eat.

City of Howell

The Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy has discovered a toxic chemical in the air near a manufacturing plant in Howell.

Velsicol Chemical operating on the banks of the Pine River in St. Louis, Michigan.
Pine River Citizen Superfund Task Force

According to a report by the federal Government Accountability Office, 60% of Superfund sites nationwide are threatened by floods, wildfires, and hurricanes that are becoming worse due to climate change.

In Michigan, twenty toxic sites are at a high risk of spreading due to increased flooding. The sites are scattered across the state, but most are located near former industrial hubs, including the Velsicol Chemical Company in St. Louis

Mike Shirkey speaking
senatormikeshirkey.com

Weeks after comparing abortion to slavery, Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Jackson) has made another controversial comment.

Speaking to Republican students at Hillsdale College last week, Shirkey said Governor Whitmer was "on the batshit crazy spectrum." Democratic lawmakers say it's just the latest in a string of sexist remarks about the Governor by Republican politicians.

The U.S. Capitol
user kulshrax / creative commons

The first public hearings in the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump began last week. Since no Michigan representatives sit on the House Intelligence Committee, which held the hearings, we collected their statements on the inquiry.

Beaumont Health

16 year-old Titus Cromer has been on life support since October 17. Beaumont Hospital says he is brain dead, and needs to be removed from life support. His mother, LaShauna Lowry, disagrees.

Lowry filed a civil suit against Beaumont in Oakland County Circuit Court, and on October 28, a judge ordered that Cromer stay on life support. Now, the case is in front of the U.S. District Court in Detroit.

U.S. Congress / congress.gov

State Rep. Jim Lower (R-Greenville) announced Tuesday that he is no longer running to replace U.S. Rep. Justin Amash (MI-3).

Coldwater is home to Lakeland prison.
Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

Halfway between Detroit and Chicago, is a small town that lives under the shadow of a prison.

But Coldwater is more than a prison town. Founded in 1837, residents pride themselves on their historic downtown, vibrant small businesses, and strong community.

John Auchter

I know this is a fairly obscure reference but hang with me - there is a point to it:

Thirty-ish years ago the late, great Phil Hartman had a recurring character on Saturday Night Live called The Anal Retentive Guy. A sketch would have him as an instructor demonstrating how to do something. For example, a chef showing you how to create a certain dish. The humorous conceit was that he was so overly meticulous that he would never get around to doing what he was actually supposed to do. In the end, he'd pleasantly acknowledge that he'd run out of time as he continued to be sidetracked.

Adobe Stock

It’s that time of year: the days are getting shorter, the temperature is dropping, and Michiganders are beginning to (reluctantly) accept that winter is near.

The last two winters have been overall warmer on average, but with multiple periods of “polar vortex,” or extremely frigid temperatures.

The UAW has been striking since September 16.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

After one month of striking, the United Auto Workers have reached a deal with General Motors.

The proposed deal, which was announced Thursday, would increase wages, keep the Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Plant Plant open, and lead to 9,000 new or retained jobs - a jump from GM's original proposal of 5,400 jobs.

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