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Mark, Rebecca, and Lester in 2017
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Michigan Radio lost a member of our family last week. Mark Brush was our director of digital media. He passed away at age 49 from brain cancer.

prescription drugs
flickr/Charles Williams / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The United States Surgeon General Jerome Adams joined a panel discussion on opioid addiction at the University of Michigan Thursday. 

Adams highlighted the challenges of the opioid addiction epidemic, calling for a cultural change in how people use opioid medications.

"We need you all to have discussions in your communities, at your board room tables, at your break room tables, at your dinner tables, about how dangerous these medications can be when used improperly and the fact that in the majority of cases you simply don't need them," said Adams. 

Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

Last week, Michigan Radio lost our friend and coworker, Mark Brush.

Mark’s passion for journalism was evident in everything he produced. His 20 years at Michigan Radio took him across the state, bringing stories to our audience with his unique style – a mix of empathy, humor, and optimism that shone in his voice and his writing.

automotiveauto.info

A new report from Moody's credit rating agency says that Michigan is one of the most vulnerable states if the U.S. withdraws from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The report says that Michigan, Texas, Vermont, and North Dakota have the most exposure to risk from NAFTA withdrawal.

St. Agnes Parish in Freeland
Diocese of Saginaw

Saginaw County Prosecutor John McColgan Jr. assigned the investigation of sexual abuse involving officials in the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw to a special team that will work with Saginaw and Tittabawassee police and the Michigan State Police, as well as state and federal agencies. The move follows sexual assault charges against Rev. Robert DeLand, Jr. filed last month.

Pedro Szekely / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

A University of Michigan engineering professor may have solved the mystery of the so-called Cuban sonic attacks of 2016 and 2017. Over a period of about six months, 24 U.S. embassy personnel based in Havana heard high-pitched chirping noises in their homes, and later developed a range of symptoms such as nausea, hearing loss, difficulty walking, or difficulty focusing. Their symptoms resembled mild traumatic brain injury, but the exact cause was unknown.

Agência Brasil Fotografias / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

There are new developments in the Larry Nassar sexual abuse scandal, including a lawsuit filed against USA Gymnastics, and the first allegations by a male victim.

Olympic gold medal-winning gymnast Aly Raismain claims the U.S. Olympic committee and USA Gymnastics were aware of sexual abuse by Larry Nassar "at the highest levels" and failed to intervene as required by their own policies and procedures.

Detroit Parks and Recreation is reopening the Scout Hollow campground in Rouge Park after a closure of more than 10 years. The campground will offer group camping for Detroit children. The project is funded by $200,000 from the Kresge Foundation. The funds will prepare the 17-acre site and pay for sleeping bags, tents, and other gear. "This is going to give the kids an experience not like any other they've been able to experience," says Keith Flournoy, Detroit Parks Director. 

net_efekt / Flickr

Heavy pothole damage is being reported on many major roads in Macomb County. Those include Garfield, Hayes, Romeo Plank, Metro Parkway, 10 Mile Road, Ryan, Dequindre, and particularly Mound Rd.

Tire shops in the area have been overwhelmed with repair calls for damaged wheels, tires, and suspensions, and many drivers are reporting multiple cars pulled over along the roadsides.

The University of Michigan Union
Wikimedia Commons

An outside expert will be hired to review the University of Michigan's polices and procedures related to sexual misconduct. U of M President Mark Schlissel announced the review at a meeting of the Board of Regents, and said it was prompted by sexual misconduct incidents across the country, as well as a scandal involving U of M doctor Mark F. Hoeltzel.

Catherine Shaffer

The Lecturers' Employee Organization at the University of Michigan is asking for a pay hike for its members.

Union members gathered at a public meeting of the Board of Regents to present their arguments during public comments. The LEO cited a report saying that the university generated $377 million in excess revenue from classes taught by its union members. However, the cost of salaries and benefits for all lecturers only totaled $85 million. And members claim those salaries are barely enough to live on.

Catherine Shaffer

Eastern Michigan University will add comprehensive primary care and seven-day-a-week urgent care to its existing on-campus health service offerings in a new, $6.6 million health facility.

The project is a collaboration between EMU, Saint Joseph Mercy Health System, and Integrated Healthcare Associates, a multi-specialty health care group based in Ann Arbor. 

Services currently offered in the University's Snow Health Center will be incorporated into the new facility, as well as Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS).

Vincent Duffy / Michigan Radio

Some state lawmakers want to shift control of environmental rules from the Department of Environmental Quality to state-appointed boards, a move environmentalists say would put the fox in charge of the henhouse.

Senate Bill 652 would create an 11-member committee, mostly from industry groups like manufacturing, small business, oil and gas, and agriculture, to oversee all DEQ rule-making. And SB 653 would form another board with the ability to modify or reverse DEQ decisions.

Randall Margraves
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

Donations flooded an online legal defense fundraiser after the father of three daughters rushed disgraced former sports doctor Larry Nassar at his sentencing hearing last week.

Now, Randy Margraves says he wants to give that money back.

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 665, launched the fundraiser -- which raised more than $30,000.

Margraves, an electrician, says he deeply appreciates the outpouring of support. But he says he does not need the money.

Parker Village HP

Thompson Elementary School in Highland Park has been vacant for 20 years. It's a scrapped-out shell of a building, reflecting the economic troubles of the city overall.

But now, there's a plan for it. The proposed Parker Village project will convert the school into a community center surrounded by energy efficient, net-zero homes that its developer, Juan Shannon, is calling a "smart neighborhood." 

Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

Moments after asking for five minutes alone with Larry Nassar, Randall Margraves, a father of three of Nassar's victims, made a run at the defense desk.

Michigan Medicine

It's well known that weight loss can reduce pain in obese people, but that's been generally assumed to apply to pain in load-bearing joints like the knees, hips, and back. A new study from Michigan Medicine at the University of Michigan revealed a surprising new link between obesity and overall pain. The study was published in The Journal of Pain. It found that a 10 percent reduction in body weight helped patients with obesity reduce pain in places like the abdomen, arm, chest, and jaw, in addition to the expected weight-bearing areas. 

Michigan Municipal League / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

The Howell-based activist group Citizens for Unity has organized a "March Against Fear" Saturday afternoon in response to flyers distributed by a white supremacist group.

The incident occurred during a fundraising event at the Howell Theater for girls in India. When attendees left the event, they found their cars covered with flyers produced by Patriot Front, a nationally recognized white supremacist organization.

Kim Carpenter / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

A new study from Michigan State University reveals an important mechanism in stress related illness. It's well-known that both physical and psychological stress are factors in a range of illnesses, including inflammatory and allergic diseases like irritable bowel syndrome, asthma, severe food allergies, and autoimmune disorders like lupus. Mast cells are a type of immune system cell believed to be involved in the development of these illnesses.

Robert Cindric

Saline Area Schools is partnering with First Presbyterian Church of Saline and Care Village Orphanage in Middleburg, South Africa to start a new school for about 100 children there. The project was inspired by a church mission trip last summer. While on the trip, Robert Cindric, a music teacher at Saline schools, recognized a need for an on-site school at the orphanage.

Tony Brown

Ann Arbor's Delonis homeless shelter says it's seeking solutions for a lack of capacity created by funding cuts in 2016. The loss of more than $100,000 in funding forced the shelter to remove 27 beds and close the second floor of its facility. That reduced the shelter's capacity to 50 beds. However, at any given time there are as many as 60 people waiting for beds to open up in the shelter.

"We really want to get these beds back online in some way. There's up to 300 people homeless on any given night. That 300  number includes people in the streets and in shelters," says Kelly.

Courtesy Dank Depot / Creative Commons -- http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The Trump administration says federal prosecutors will begin to more aggressively enforce marijuana laws, even in states where marijuana is now legal.

The Justice Department is planning to roll back a policy instituted during the Obama administration that discouraged those prosecutions. It's not yet clear what specific type of enforcement the government is planning.

Photo of Gov. Rick Snyder
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A Detroit attorney has filed a lawsuit against Governor Rick Snyder over the timing of the 13th Congressional District's special election.

Michael Gilmore is also a candidate running to replace former U.S. Representative John Conyers.

The special election has been scheduled to run concurrently with the general election, with a primary in August and the election in November. That means the seat would remain vacant for 11 months. Gilmore says that deprives the constituents of the 13th District their constitutional right to representation. 

Christian Collins / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says colder-than-normal temperatures will continue in Michigan through mid-January, at least. That's as far as their models can reliably predict. Long-range models suggest temperatures might return to normal toward the end of the month, but those predictions are not very accurate. That's according to Richard Otto, a meteorologist with NOAA's weather prediction center in College Park, Maryland.

Sarah Bird/Michigan Tech

A new study from Michigan Technological University shows that the moose of Isle Royale are getting smaller. A comparison of moose skulls collected over the past 40 years revealed a 16% decline in overall size. That's in spite of a booming population.

Rolf Peterson, one of the authors of the study, says the change in size is due to poor nutrition early in life, and that can be attributed to a lack of predators and climate change.

flint mayor karen weaver
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Environmental Protection Agency wrote a letter to the City of Flint and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality last week urging them to spend $100 million in federal funds for water infrastructure repair.

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver responded Friday that the city plans to have any requested information available to the EPA in January.

Catherine Shaffer / Michigan Radio

Ann Arbor activists joined protestors nationwide today to speak out against the FCC's planned rollback of net neutrality rules.

Net neutrality regulations enacted in 2015 require that all internet traffic is treated the same by internet service providers. Once the regulations are eliminated, providers would in theory be able to block, slow down, or charge extra for access to certain web sites. 

Doctor's stethoscope
Pixabay.com

The Michigan Department of Health and Human services is preparing to notify families of 116,000 children enrolled in health insurance under the Children's Health Insurance Program that their coverage could soon end.

Congress failed to reauthorize the program by October 1, the end of the fiscal year. Unless it takes action to restore funding, states will no longer receive support for their CHIP services. In Michigan, reserve funds for those programs could run out as soon as April 2018.

Nathan Bishop

Detroit ranked tenth on a list of worst metropolitan areas in the U.S. for asthma attacks in African-American children due to oil and gas exposure. That’s according to a new study, “Fumes Across the Fence-Line,” released by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the Clean Air Task Force, and the National Medical Association.

 

An uncorrected summary of benefits for a Blue Cross Blue Shield PPO plan showing language requiring prior authorization for mental health and substance abuse outpatient treatment.
Dr. Lou Feurino

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is apologizing for a significant error in its benefits plan documents for 2018.

 

The error related to mental health and substance abuse treatment. Benefits summaries for some plans said they required prior authorization for mental health or substance abuse outpatient treatment.

That sent some patients--and their doctors--into a panic. A requirement for prior authorization could mean that some patients would not be able to continue their treatments, or might be required to change providers.

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