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Families & Community

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. 

It’s been more than a year since our lives were upended by COVID-19, and Michigan Radio has tirelessly chronicled the news along the way. Not just about the pandemic, but about historic flooding that displaced residents; street protests demanding racial justice; a plot to kidnap Michigan’s governor; and more. 

It’s all felt like a little too much, right? 

We get it.

corktown sign
Robert Duffner / Wikimedia Commons / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

It’s St. Patrick’s Day. While the bars may be emptier than usual, you can still enjoy some Irish history over a socially distant Guinness here at Stateside.

The day is usually marked by large festivities in Detroit’s Corktown, the tradition continues, although smaller. Pat Commins and Elizabeth Rice are the authors of the new book Irish Immigrants in Michigan: A History in Stories.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is expanding food assistance benefits for more than 800,000 children whose access to school meals has been limited due to the pandemic.

It aims to support children who attend school virtually.

Beginning March 15 until the end of June, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services will automatically issue additional Pandemic-EBT benefits for more than 800,000 children who don’t have an in-person learning option available to them on a full time basis.

A neighborhood in Detroit
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

Starting this week, Michiganders can get emergency COVID-19 rental and utility assistance through the Michigan State Housing Development Authority.

The doctors didn't know what to do.

Audrey, the incapacitated young woman in the ICU, had just celebrated her 29th birthday. She was physically fit and had been in perfect health. Just six months earlier, she had run a marathon with her twin sister, Kelsey. And Audrey had always been health conscious; she worked as a transplant nurse in Denver.

The medical team — nine doctors working in unison with X-ray technicians, phlebotomists and nurses — could not explain why Audrey's heart was failing.

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

One year after police in Louisville, Kentucky shot and killed Breonna Taylor, her family members marched down the street now named for her in her old hometown of Grand Rapids.

About 100 others joined them, to remember Taylor, and to continue the calls for police reform in Grand Rapids and elsewhere.

“She couldn’t sleep!” Taylor’s cousin Erica Eaves chanted.

“You can’t either!” supporters responded.
 

sign that says "COVID-19 Keep apart"
Phil Hearing / Unsplash

Most of us have had some sort of bubble throughout the pandemic: a small group of people we limited ourselves to seeing while a novel virus spread among the masses. For some of us, that’s been the family members we already live with. For others it was a few, select friends we gathered with— many of us call them our “pods.”

So what happened over a year of being cut off from a larger, more interactive group of humans?

Pullups for a toddler who is potty training. A bicycle. Clothes that aren't hand-me-downs. A home with heat and working plumbing. A trip to the zoo.

Four in 10 children in the U.S. live in households struggling to afford basic expenses, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Now, as part of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, the House and Senate have passed a child benefit, the first of its kind in the United States.

David Schultz / unsplash

The pandemic may have given a lot of Michiganders cabin fever.

Jason Fleming is a spokesman for the Department of Natural Resources.

He says nights spent at state campgrounds between October and February were up about 40% from the same time period last year.

"You know, the reality is, people want to get outdoors, they want to get out of their house," says Fleming.

Ann Arbor city hall.
Heritage Media / FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS HTTP://MICHRAD.IO/1LXRDJM

Ann Arbor City Council will finalize their budget for the next fiscal year on May 17. In the meantime, council members have already begun discussions about what items will get funding this budget. One idea that's been discussed is an unarmed crisis response team that would respond to psychiatric emergencies instead of the police.

The idea was first brought up at a council work session on February 22. In a March 1 meeting, Lisa Jackson, chair of the Independent Community Police Oversight Commission, expressed her support for the idea, and encouraged the council to find money in the budget to make it happen.

Hand holding rainbow LGBTQ flag
Stavrialena Gontzou / unsplash.com

Today on Stateside, a major Michigan-based adoption agency is opening up adoption to LGBTQ parents. We spoke with Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, who has spent years fighting for LGBTQ families. Plus, a conversation with artist Elizabeth Youngblood about how learning to weave inspired the delicate lines of her sculptures and drawings. 

man wearing a rainbow wristband holds the hand of a child
XavierLorenzo / Adobe Stock

Bethany Christian Services now says it’s open to placing children in homes with LGBTQ parents. The change applies nationwide.

Bethany is headquartered in Grand Rapids. It’s one of the nation’s largest providers of adoption and foster care services.

Georg Arthur Pflueger / Unsplash

Nursing home aides and home care aides could see a two dollar an hour reduction in their pay on Sunday.

That's when a pay increase approved during the pandemic expires.

Robert White has two sons with disabilities who need home aides for the tasks of daily life.

He says the aides aren't paid much anyway, and losing the pay increase could increase turnover.

Spectrum Health

Today on Stateside, the state and Michigan’s counties try to get on the same page, tracking who’s getting vaccinated by race. Also, naming the violence - and the fear - Asian Americans are living with during the pandemic. Plus, a snapshot of what college life is like during this pandemic year. 

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