Kate Wells | Michigan Radio

Kate Wells


Kate Wells is a Peabody Award-winning journalist and co-host of the Michigan Radio and NPR podcast Believed. The series was widely ranked among the best of the year, drawing millions of downloads and numerous awards. She and co-host Lindsey Smith received the prestigious Livingston Award for Young Journalists. Judges described their work as "a haunting and multifaceted account of U.S.A. Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar’s belated arrest and an intimate look at how an army of women – a detective, a prosecutor and survivors – brought down the serial sex offender."

Wells and her family live in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

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The Board of Directors of the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD) announced Wednesday it had “terminated its relationship” with Executive Director Elysia Borowy-Reeder, following staff allegations of mistreatment and racial bias. Borowry-Reeder had been put on leave earlier this month.   


black business owner giving bag to shopper
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In a move TCF Bank says delivers on its recent pledge to “take action for racial equality and social justice,” the Detroit-based company said it would loan $1 billion over the next 5 years to women and minority-led businesses in several cities the bank serves, including Detroit.

At a Thursday morning press conference, TCF Executive Chairman Gary Torgow called the program “audacious in its size and ambition.”

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Dr. James Richard has some tough calls to make. As lab director for the Sparrow health system, his team has been “burning and churning” through more than 85,000 COVID-19 tests since the pandemic began.


The lab is a lynchpin for the region, serving as the central test processing hub for multiple hospitals, clinics, and community testing sites, all sending their samples to Sparrow and depending on their speedy results to track and contain the virus. 


a sign that says "stop abortion now" and another that says "keep abortion legal"
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An anti-abortion group says it’s dropping its effort to ask voters whether to ban an abortion procedure. Right to Life of Michigan said Tuesday that it won’t challenge the state Bureau of Elections, which concluded too many of the signatures the group submitted were duplicates or had other problems.

A closed sign on a window
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A newly released survey finds Michiganders are getting most of their COVID-19 information from Dr. Anthony Fauci, Governor Gretchen Whitmer, and the CDC. But trust levels in those sources aren’t that high, with about half of respondents saying they trust Fauci and the CDC “a great deal or quite a bit,” and only about 42% saying the same for Whitmer. (Trust in President Donald Trump, traditional news media, and social media were even lower.) 

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  They wanted Grace to be able to hear them. That’s what organizers of Sunday’s protest outside the Children’s Village juvenile detention center in Oakland County, as they called for the release of a 15-year-old girl who was detained in May after a judge ruled her failure to do her online schoolwork violated her probation.  

Hillsdale College

  Dr. Harle Vogel says he found out on Tuesday that Hillsdale College was planning to hold an in-person, outdoor commencement ceremony this Saturday. As medical director for the Branch-Hillsdale-St. Joseph Community Health Agency, Vogel says college officials told them as many as 2,600-plus people could be in attendance. That’s despite an executive order banning events of more than 100 people in that area. 

Courtesy of the State Theatre and Bijou by the Bay in Traverse City

Grand Traverse County health officer Wendy Hirschenberger hit a milestone this week she was hoping to never reach: 100 cases of COVID-19 in the county since the pandemic began. While that’s a fraction of what some Michigan counties have seen (Oakland County, for instance, is close to 10,000) what worries Hirschenberger is that 55 of those cases are just since July 1.

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Washtenaw County health officials say a large house party in the Saline area over the Fourth of July weekend has led to a spike in COVID-19 cases that is rapidly spreading as infectious people exposed others at “retail stores, restaurants, businesses, canoe liveries, clubs, camps, athletic teams and a retirement community.”

Martin Philbert
University of the Western Cape

Emily Renda’s ex-boyfriend was stalking her. It was 2012, and as a 28-year-old with a master’s degree in public health, she’d recently started a job she loved: working as a global health and student life coordinator at her alma mater, the School of Public Health at the University of Michigan.

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Hospitals will be inspected by state officials in the coming weeks to ensure they’re providing staff with sufficient personal protective equipment, the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced last week.

This comes after the state’s received reports of at least 15 hospital workers whose deaths were potentially linked to the COVID-19 pandemic.


The “state emphasis program” will “increase MIOSHA’s presence in hospitals to enforce the requirement to provide appropriate PPE to protect hospital staff and ensure they can continue to care for those most in need,” the agency said in a public statement. 

Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit
Paulette Parker / Michigan Radio

Early treatment with hydroxychloroquine cut the death rate significantly in certain sick patients hospitalized with COVID-19 — and without heart-related side-effects, according to a new study published by Henry Ford Health System. 

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Linda Vail isn’t sure how much longer she and her staff can keep working 18-hour days. 

The Ingham County health officer is squeezing in a quick bowl of cereal for breakfast while she does this intervew over Zoom. It’s been a busy couple of weeks: As of Tuesday, her staff tallied more than 100 COVID-19 cases connected to Harper's Restaurant and Brew Pub, an East Lansing spot popular with college students. 

Courtesy of Jonathan Marko

The family of Cornelius Fredericks, a 16-year-old boy in foster care who died after being improperly restrained by youth facility staff, filed a lawsuit on Monday against the facility’s parent company.   

Update: Wednesday, June 24 at 9:00 p.m.   


Starting Monday, 15 churches in Pontiac and Southfield will offer free COVID-19 tests on a rotating basis over the next two weeks.

It’s a joint effort with Oakland County health officials to reach two communities hit hardest by the pandemic: Black people and older adults. Officials say African Americans make up just 14% of Oakland County’s population, but represent 33% of the COVID-19 cases, and about 36% of the deaths there. Nearly 80% of COVID deaths in Oakland County were people over 70. (Statewide data shows similar disparities.) 

martin philbert
University of Michigan School of Public Health

Martin Philbert, the former provost of the University of Michigan who was fired following multiple allegations of sexual misconduct, has "voluntarily relinquished" his faculty position and no longer receive tenure, the University announced Wednesday.

Three months after confirming its first case of COVID-19, Michigan's death rate is one of the highest in the nation, even as the number of new cases reported daily has been falling dramatically. 

Courtesy of Patrick Echlin

It’s a hot day to be laying brick, but Patrick Echlin is working on the patio at 734 Brewing Company in Ypsilanti. He and his co-owners celebrated the brewery’s second anniversary just last week, amidst very different circumstances than when they opened. 


Kate Wells/Michigan Radio

A small group of mostly Arab-American organizers led a march of more than 200 people through the streets of Dearborn Sunday afternoon, in support of the Black Lives Matter rallies held across the country in the past week and a half. Calling for the formation of a citizen’s police oversight committee and other reforms, activist Nasreen Ezzeddine told the crowd, “The reality is, we do not need to look beyond Dearborn’s borders to find cases of police brutality and anti-blackness, left unaccountable.”

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Michigan is now testing nearly 15,000 people per day on average, state officials say. That’s a big improvement. But it’s still far short of the “robust level” of 30,000 daily tests needed “to help us identify any new cases and swiftly contain the disease,” Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun said Friday. 

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Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is joining 17 other state AGs in asking Congress to expand federal law to give them "clear statutory authority to investigate patterns or practices of unconstitutional policing,” Nessel’s office said Thursday. 

“We therefore ask Congress to give us explicit authority under federal law to conduct

Courtesy of Maureen Biddinger-Grisius

The nurse’s husband woke her up the night she started screaming in her sleep.

“I was crying.” she said. “I cannot remember what the dream was about, but it was so real.”

Kate Wells/Michigan Radio

Hundreds of protesters, many of them students and young people, came out to at least two separate marches in Ann Arbor on Tuesday, marking more than a week of nearly daily protests in the city.


Treatment and trials go on, but Michigan doctors split on coronavirus drug

May 8, 2020
doctor holding hydroxychloroquine
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Thousands of people are being recruited to participate in southeast Michigan clinical trials — touted as among the largest in the country — to test the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine in the battle against COVID-19.

But since a 3,000-person Detroit trial was announced April 2, an increasing number of reports have shed doubt not only on the drug’s effectiveness, but also its safety. Some warn of potentially deadly changes to the heart’s rhythm — an alarming side effect so widespread the U.S. Food and Drug Administration last month warned against the use of hydroxychloroquine outside of a closely-monitored hospital setting or clinical trial.

Emergency room hospital

A Detroit nurse says he was fired for speaking out about COVID-19 related problems in his hospital, adding to the list of several Michigan health care workers who say they faced similar retaliation.   

In a Facebook Live video posted on Wednesday, Sal Hadwan says he was fired from Detroit Medical Center’s Sinai Grace Hospital in Detroit. 

“I was called to HR this morning, and basically was told that I’m getting terminated,” he said in the video. “They think I leaked the photos to CNN.

EVG Photos for Pexel

Dr. Matthew Sims’ laptop camera is strategically set up so you can’t see his 9 and 12-year-old daughters’ legos and puzzle pieces scattered across the living room floor. In video meetings, all you can is a barrel-chested man with a thick salt-and-pepper mustache and goatee, sitting in front of a bare white wall, next to a tasteful potted plant. 


Emergency room hospital

You can now look up the number of COVID-19 patients at a particular hospital or health system, as well as the total capacity of beds being used, and the number of days of personal protective equipment left on hand.

C/O Luda Khait-Luda Khait-Vlisides

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As lawmakers debate how we can safely start returning to normal life, here’s what you need to know about this “plateau” in Michigan cases, and how the experts say we can avoid a second surge.