Families & Community | Michigan Radio
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Families & Community

picture of Des Cooper
Courtesy of Des Cooper

Writer Desiree Cooper has learned a lot about coping with uncertainty and isolation while caring for her elderly parents. Both have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. In a moment when so much our day-to-day life has been upended by the COVID-19 pandemic, Stateside turned to Cooper for some perspective, and advice, on adjusting to new realities.

a grocery store aisle
Unsplash

Even during the middle of a pandemic, people need food to eat. That’s why grocery stores are one of the businesses still allowed to operate under the state's "stay at home" order. Some stores have carved out special shopping hours for seniors and those most at risk of complications from COVID-19. But that still puts store workers on the front lines of the outbreak.

Empty grocery store shelves
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Food banks are among those essential services exempt from the governor’s stay home order. And many Michiganders agree.

Since the outbreak began, Michiganders are turning more and more to food banks

The Food Bank of Eastern Michigan serves local pantries and other groups providing food and other supplies to people in 22 counties.

CEO Kara Ross says the governor’s order has not altered their operations.

older couple looking over bills at a table
WavebreakMediaMicro / Adobe Stock

The coronavirus pandemic has upended life for all of us in a matter of days. We want to know: What is your most pressing financial concern right now?

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

COVID-19 is putting a strain on Michigan’s food banks.

Feeding America-west Michigan serves food pantries and other agencies in 40 Michigan counties.

In a normal month, Feeding America distributes 2.5 million pounds of food and other supplies.  On Tuesday alone, they moved more than 100,000 pounds.

To limit exposure to the coronavirus, many companies across the U.S. are urging, and some are mandating, that employees work from home.

Plenty of employees are embracing the new rules, happy to avoid their daily commute and to work in their pajamas. But when a company's employees are suddenly no longer under one roof, it can be a nightmare for managers.

But it doesn't have to be.

The Islamic Center of America.
Dane Hillard / Wikimedia Commons / http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

Houses of worship across Michigan are suspending in person services for the next several weeks to help combat the spread of COVID-19. The Imams Council of Michigan announced that Friday prayers would be cancelled at all mosques across the state for the next two weeks. That is just one example of the difficult decisions faith leaders are making as the number of novel coronavirus cases in the state continues to climb. Stateside talked to a few faith leaders about how they are adapting, and what they are telling congregants at a time when so much is uncertain.

Cat with his little paws up
Tony Wang / Unsplash

Legislation introduced in the Michigan House of Representatives could make the state the second to ban the practice of declawing cats.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Children in Flint faced a myriad of problems well before the city’s water crisis raised new fears of potential negative health effects from lead tainted drinking water.

The challenges faced by Flint kids and the progress that’s been made since the water crisis was the subject of a conference Friday.

Tracy Samilton / Michigan Radio

The city of Saline held a second meeting on Sunday about recent racist incidents - but this time, no one showed up to make racist remarks.

That doesn't mean the meeting was easy. Many people who came were deeply distressed about what has happened, and shared painful experiences of their own involving racism.

profile shot of Gretchen Whitmer
Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, University of Michigan / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Today on Stateside, we talk about Governor Gretchen Whitmer's budget priorities, including a boost in school funding. Plus, parents from Saline and Lansing discuss what it's like to raise kids of color who go to majority-white schools. 

A blackboard sign that says "we thank the community for all the support and business #why didn't you stay in mexico"
Courtesy of Adrian Iraola

Normally, a video of a school board meeting would not be viral content. But a short exchange from a meeting in Saline this week has captured the world’s attention and sparked a conversation about the racism students of colors face in school.

Ruth Ellis
Sarah Uhle

Ruth Ellis was one of the oldest openly gay black women in the world when she died at 101 years old in 2000. She was born in 1899, 36 years after the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect, and 15 years before the First World War started.

This was a time when our country was hostile to women, black people, and gay people. Ellis just happened to be all three.

Fiat Chrysler

The state's Air Quality Division has told Fiat Chrysler that its plans related to permits for its new assembly plant in east Detroit "fall short of expectations."

In a letter to a company official on January 24, AQD Director Mary Ann Dolehanty asked Fiat Chrysler to provide more information about its outreach efforts to people who live near the proposed site.

Michael Hood and Laurie Carpenter, founders of the humanitarian aid group Crossing Water.
Stephanie Kenner / Crossing Water

Crossing Water, an advocacy group founded to provide outreach in Flint during the water crisis, will be headed to Newark, New Jersey this week. Newark has recorded elevated of lead in its water for several years.

a house with a foreclosure sign in front of it
BasicGov / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

An investigation by Reveal, the Detroit News, and PRX discovered the city of Detroit collected $600 million more than it should have in taxes because of over-assessed property values. Detroit News reporter Christine MacDonald and freelance journalist Mark Betancourt co-reported the story. They joined us to talk about how those overvalued properties contributed to the high number of foreclosures on Detroit homeowners.

a house with a foreclosure sign in front of it
BasicGov / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

Today on Stateside, an investigation finds the city Detroit overcharged tens of thousands of homeowners for property taxes. What recourse is there for people who lost their homes as a result? We'll talk to the reporters who broke the story. Also, how the polls misread voters in 2016 – especially ones without a party affiliation.

The bad news? A big winter storm is forecasted to bring a mix of freezing rain, snow, and flooding this weekend. The good news? It's the perfect weekend to stay in your pajamas and curl up with a good book.

If you're looking for recommendations with a Michigan connection, poet and writer Keith Taylor has got you covered. We asked him to give us book recommendations perfect for winter hibernating.

Michigan Secretary of State

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson is considering adding a third option so people don't have to identify as either male or female on their driver's licenses.

Adobe Stock

Researchers from the University of Michigan say the risk of infection and ICU admissions for newborns, and of postpartum hemmorhage for women, are the same whether a woman gives birth in water, or out of it.

Cheryl Garnett and Omer Jean Winborn pose in front of a brick wall
Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

When you decide to dig into your family's roots, the typical approach is to track down your ancestors' birth and death certificates. Maybe you head to a county office or a local church to dig up marriage records. But that's not always an option for African-Americans whose roots date back to American slavery, when family ties meant nothing to slave owners and families were routinely ripped apart. 

baby in white cloth
Unsplash

The birth of a new baby is an exciting time. Family and friends come over to fawn over the new baby. They bring gifts and take turns holding the new addition. But what happens when a mother doesn't feel that same joy—when she feels disconnected from all the excitement around her?

governor gretchen whitmer standing at a podium
Cheyna Roth / Michigan Radio

Updated Dec. 2, 2019 at 10:58 a.m.:

After being delayed one month, new policies, which will make it easier for families to receive public assistance, have now taken effect. 

record player
James Sutton / Unsplash

Today on Stateside, fewer people are stepping up to serve as volunteer firefighters. What does that mean for the safety of Michigan communities? Plus, how best to support non-traditional students in their career paths.

Chinnapong / adobestock

The state of Michigan hopes to speed up in-progress adoptions.

Bob Wheaton is a spokesman for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

Flora Rranxburgaj, left, and her husband Ded Rranxburgaj, right,
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

It's been nearly two years since Albanian immigrant Ded Rranxburgaj and his wife, Flora, took refuge at Central United Methodist Church in Detroit.

Flora has multiple sclerosis and Ded is her sole caregiver. He had been allowed to stay in the United States on humanitarian grounds until a deportation order from ICE came down in 2017, prompting the couple to seek sanctuary at the church.

Andrew Pons / Unsplash

On this Veterans Day, we're 10 months into Governor Gretchen Whitmer's term. Air Force veteran Stephanie Zarb helped advise Whitmer's campaign for governor as co-chair of the Veterans for Whitmer group. Zarb told Stateside that despite Whitmer's promises to make sure veterans get the benefits to which they are entitled, the administration has actually made it harder for veterans to access those benefits. 

U.S. Air Force via Harry Stewart Jr.

This segment originally aired on June 24, 2019.   

There are just 11 surviving members of the Tuskegee Airmen, a legendary all-black military unit that flew combat missions during World War II.

Ninety-four-year-old retired Lt. Col. Harry T. Stewart, Jr., who lives in Bloomfield Hills, is one of them. His life is the subject of a new book from aviation writer Philip Handleman titled Soaring To Glory: A Tuskegee Airman's Firsthand Account of World War II.

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.

a sepia toned photo of Tyrone Chatman in uniform
Courtesy of Tyrone Chatman

With Veterans Day right around the corner, organizations nationwide are putting extra focus on our country’s service members and veterans.

On Wednesday night, the Fisher House Michigan will welcome veterans on stage to share their stories from World War II, Vietnam, Iraq, and other deployments. It's the organization's annual Stories of Service event. 

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