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Families & Community

Overstressed and unpaid, 1.3M in Michigan care for relatives amid aging crisis

Jun 11, 2021

JACKSON ─ As is her habit, Cathy Moore called out as she made her way through the kitchen toward the living room where her mother lay in a hospital bed.

“Hey, Puddin’, how are we today?” she asked, using her nickname for 92-year-old Willie Mae Dunlap, whose eyes fluttered in recognition of her daughter’s arrival.

Moore and her brother, Melvin Moore, who have spent much of their lives since 2018 caring for their mother in her Jackson home despite a progressive form of palsy that’s claimed her mobility inch by inch.

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.

Tracy Samilton / Michigan Radio

Chanting, "We can't wait," survivors of catastrophic auto accidents, their families, and friends gathered Wednesday to call on state legislators to take action to prevent deep cuts to payments to their long-term care providers.

Bills to prevent the cuts (HB 4486 and SB 314) have been languishing in committees in the state House and Senate, with no hearings scheduled before elected leaders leave Lansing for summer recess. The 45% cuts will be imposed on July 1 as part of Michigan's new auto insurance law.

Mandi Wright / Detroit Free Press

Today, on Stateside, let’s dive into a reflection on the HIV/AIDS crisis and how it relates to the current pandemic. We’ll look into COVID infections, vaccinations, and health care equity. Plus, we talk about the year 1971 that gave rise to Marvin Gaye’s masterwork --  What’s Going On. Lastly, if you're in search of a vacation, we’re rediscovering Idlewild, where generations of Black Michiganders went for vacation and respite.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

On June 7, 2016, a pickup truck crashed into a group of bicyclists in Kalamazoo County, killing five people and injuring four others. Five years later, cyclists in the area are reflecting on the aftermath of the crash.

Paul Runnels is a member of the Chain Gang Bicycle Club, and one of the four survivors. He said the crash impacted him and other survivors physically and emotionally in ways he still feels today.

The Sarah Elizabeth Ray House
The Sarah E. Ray Project

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.

Clarke Historical Library

A grim chapter of the history of the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan was remembered today. The Mt. Pleasant Indian Industrial Boarding School closed 87 years ago this week.

Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

Staying safe inside for the past 15 months has done a number on most people. Anxious for a change of scenery, many Michiganders have been perusing the housing market these past few months.

Even if it’s just the casual late-night Zillow rabbit hole, you’ve probably noticed that the current market is on the fritz. Buyers are paying significantly over the asking price, forgoing inspections, and paying in cash, creating an unprecedented housing market for buyers and sellers.

mohamed soumah stands outside the ann arbor friends meetinghouse where he has lived in sanctuary for two years
Caroline Llanes / Michigan Radio

Mohamed Soumah was offered sanctuary by the Ann Arbor Friends Meeting House two years ago, after an immigration judge ordered his deportation. Now, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has granted him a stay of removal for one year. 

Soumah has polycystic kidney disease and needs dialysis, something he says he can't get in Guinea. He only left the Quaker meeting house for those appointments, accompanied by clergy members from the Washtenaw Congregational Sanctuary.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

In Royal Oak, a controversy over a war memorial was a distraction hovering over Monday’s Memorial Day parade.

Thousands of people lined Main Street, listening to bands play, waving at veterans riding floats and hearing several groups of women dressed as “Rosie the Riveter” chant “Land of the Free and Home of the Brave.”

Normally, Memorial Day unites communities, but there is a division in Royal Oak.

designer491 / Adobe Stock

People who receive unemployment payments must once again prove they’ve engaged in some type of state-approved job search activity or risk losing the benefit.

The rule had been suspended since March of 2020 because of the COVID-19 crisis. It was reinstated May 30.

Now, people will need to again show proof every week they’ve applied for a job, been through some type of training, or engaged in some other type of work-search activity.

Steve Carmody

Hundreds of people are expected to attend a picnic at the Genesee County jail in downtown Flint Sunday.

The picnic will be from noon 'til 2 p.m. After that, organizer Johnell Allen says Sunday’s picnic is part of broader day of service in Flint and other parts of the county.

“We’re going to do some paint. We’ll straighten up some fences. We’re going to be able to clean some stuff,” says Allen. “We’re going to make sure we go to these parks. We’re going to make sure it’s clean in Genesee County.”

The Detroit skyline as seen from across the Detroit River.
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Today on Stateside, with an influx of cash from the 2021 stimulus bill, Mayor Duggan has big plans for Detroit. We talk with a reporter about the proposed spending plan for a city in recovery. Plus, infrastructure week never ends. A new book by a Michigan journalist focuses on “bridging” the gap in a polarized America.

Still Point Zen Buddhist Temple in Detroit, MI.
Erin Allen / Michigan Radio

For most of us, to start the day is to turn off our alarm, get dressed, have a coffee or maybe water, and then start work or school. But there’s a little place in Detroit where the first few things on the list are instead — sitting, chanting and meditating.

As a part of our Mornings in Michigan series, Michigan Radio’s Erin Allen returns to a morning ritual that brings her peace and mindfulness.


woman gets COVID vaccine
Adobe Stock

Earlier in the pandemic, health officials were worried Indigenous populations would be hesitant to get a COVID vaccine. Now, they’re among the most vaccinated populations in the country. That's according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In Michigan, community nurses say there was already a lot of trust in tribal health centers that administer the shots.

saba saed holds a palestinian flag that says it was, is, and always will remain palestine
Caroline Llanes / Michigan Radio

Thousands of people gathered at the Ford Community and Performing Arts Center in Dearborn Sunday afternoon to express their support for Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem. People of all ages sang, danced, wore kufiya scarves, and waved Palestinian flags large and small.

The United Nations says Israeli airstrikes have killed more than 180 Palestinians in the past week, and Hamas missiles have killed at least ten people in Israel.

gravel mining
Adobe Stock

Supporters and opponents of bills to remove local control over gravel mines testified at a hearing in the state Senate Thursday.

The bills would have the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy approve or deny permits, instead of villages, townships and cities.  

The sponsor of the bills, Democratic Senator Jim Ananich, admitted there were no gravel mines in his district. He also said he had not met with township officials while the bill was being drafted. 

Jamie Capp helps, from left to right, Margaret Clark, Diane Chisholm and Betty Doyle keep a balloon aloft at New Hope Valley assisted living near Saginaw. They've only recently resumed activities like this after months of isolation waiting for COVID-19 va
Brett Dahlberg / WCMU

Three women in their 80s and 90s sat around a table together last month, taking swipes at a bright yellow balloon emblazoned with a smiley face.

Margaret Clark, Diane Chisholm and Betty Doyle are residents at New Hope Valley, an assisted living facility just outside Saginaw.

Their game of keep-the-balloon-off-the-floor was overseen by Jamie Capp, who said it was a bit of physical therapy to get upper-body muscles moving and practice hand-eye coordination.

But Clark, Chisholm and Doyle have only recently been able to start playing this game again.

Tim Mossholder / Unsplash

Today on Stateside, we break down who received loans federal Paycheck Protection Program loans in Metro Detroit, and who was left out. Plus, a conversation with Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel about how the state will handle the new U.S.  Supreme Court ruling on juvenile lifers. And, a conversation with a Detroit chef, food activist, and contestant on Bravo’s Top Chef about sharing stories through food.

Edward Lofton and his mom, Joanna sitting on a grey sofa
Paulette Parker / Michigan Radio

Edward Lofton loves road trips with his mom, Joanna. He’s like a human GPS: he doesn’t need maps or a phone, he knows exactly where to go.

“I have a gift for roads, freeways, for directions. I can tell you how to get to mostly anywhere in the country, to any downtown city.” 

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

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. 

Sarah Sutherlin and Carmela Palamara
Ryan Garza/Detroit Free Press


Photo taken from a BLM protest in Detroit this summer
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Today on Stateside, how activists who took to the streets after the death of Geroge Floyd are feeling after the police officer who killed Floyd was found guilty of murder. Also, how much that verdict changes about the future of policing and criminal justice in America. And, the cross-cultural exchange between Detroit and Berlin that helped shape the sound of techno music. 

ann arbor city council
Caroline Llanes / Michigan Radio

Ann Arbor City Council passed a resolution Monday night directing the city administrator to establish an unarmed team to respond to public safety calls.

The idea behind the team is to reduce violent encounters with the police. The resolution posits that experts, specifically non-police people who have training in public health, mental health, and human services, are better equipped to respond to certain emergencies. 

When ‘om’ can help you take care of Mom: Meditation, mindfulness useful tools for many caregivers

Apr 1, 2021
Kathie Gansemer uses breathing exercises to incorporate mindfulness into her nature walks. She says using such practices helps her with the stress she sometimes feels as a caregiver to her parents.
Max Schulte / WXXI News

Kathie Gansemer concentrates on her breath first.

Slow, steady breaths.

Then, perhaps, she recites an inspirational quote or a poem to set the mood. One of her favorites is from the 13th-century Persian poet, Rumi. It encourages the reader to welcome even the most disturbing thoughts and emotions as a potential means to clear the way for an unexpected delight.

Then, focus.

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

Michigan has more than its fair share of lighthouses. In fact, the Great Lakes state, with its expansive shorelines, boasts the most in the country. When you think of a lighthouse keeper, you may think of a stoic, bearded man a la The Lighthouse with Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe. While many men led this life, Michigan has a long, beautiful history of female lighthouse keepers.

mom in red dress, girl in pink dress, boy in blue jacket and red tie
Courtesy of Charisse Tuell

A lot of kids in the Lansing School District will have to wait a little longer to go back to the classroom.

Some students with special needs were set to return to in-person learning this week. Then the district pushed their start date to March 29, and on Wednesday, pushed it back again to April 12. That’s because of a spike of COVID cases in the area.

Also, some families that had been planning to join in-person classes recently learned they don't have the option anymore.

Michigan caregivers got a $2 hourly boost in COVID. Should it be permanent?

Mar 25, 2021
Daytona Niles / Bridge Michigan

The sweet moments pop up in everyday tasks — a walk in the surprisingly warm winter sun, or silly smiles over a dinner plate. They’re what keep Holly VanVolkinburg coming back to a job she’s now held for 22 years.

But in a profession where starting pay is just over $11 an hour to help people with developmental disabilities, it’s tough for workers to cover groceries, lighting and heat bills, a mortgage or a car payment.

She’s lucky, she said.

Gabriella Clare Marino / Unsplash

Today on Stateside, we talk about how the pandemic has reshaped public spaces in Michigan. Two urban planners weigh in on whether some of those changes should stay for good. Plus, a conversation with acclaimed Detroit documentary filmmaker dream hampton. Her 2019 docuseries Surviving R. Kelly sparked a national reckoning on Kelly's long history of abusive behavior.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A new report shows more than a third of Michigan households were struggling even before the COVID-19 pandemic.

The United Way’s 2021 ALICE report documents the challenges facing Michigan’s working poor families.   ‘ALICE’ stands for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed. 

These so-called 'ALICE' families typically work for minimal hourly working wages that do not cover the basic costs of living. 

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