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Families & Community

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Today on Stateside, the head of Detroit’s health department expresses tentative optimism about the current stage in the city’s battle against COVID-19. Plus, visions of Afrofuturism as seen in American comics. And, what homeschooling has to offer for Black families during—and after—the pandemic.

religious cross hanging on side of building with lights behind it
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The Southern Poverty Law Center, a civil rights watchdog, says it has identified 25 hate groups in the state of Michigan for its 2020 annual "Hate Map" report.

Among those groups is the Christ the King Reformed Church in Charlotte, Michigan.

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Democrats in Congress have become divided on whether someone’s immigration status determines receiving COVID-19 stimulus checks. Michigan Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters are two of the eight Democrats in the Senate who supported an amendment to the budget during last week's marathon voting session which would prohibit undocumented immigrants from receiving stimulus checks.

Emma Winowiecki

Today on Stateside, a firsthand look at one Detroit family’s vaccine experience. Plus, a new short film takes on Detroit’s Motown past and the artists shaping its future. And, how Michigan’s GOP leaders are grappling the state’s growing militia movement.

If you live in a part of Michigan that has COVID vaccine doses, and you’re in a priority group, you might be trying to make a decision right now: Is it time to get the shots?

But if you’re someone who’s had a complicated relationship with establishment health care, it may not be so simple. Donna Allen-Brown checks all those boxes.

Depression and anxiety among teens have gone up over the past decade. Same goes for the number of teens admitted to hospitals for suicidal thoughts or attempts. Suicide for 10-24 year olds is now the second leading cause of death, up one spot from just a decade ago. Some say today’s teens are in the middle of a mental health crisis. 

 

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Today on Stateside, Michigan has reached over one million COVID-19 vaccinations. We explore what this milestone means, and the work ahead. Plus, the pandemic cancels another event. This time it’s sled dog race. And, as the virus ripped through the country, misinformation tore through a small U.P. town.

Prison bars
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A for-profit prison in a rural county in Michigan is expected to close when its contract expires at the end of September, 2022.

That's after President Joe Biden issued an executive order ending federal contracts with private prison companies. 

North Lake Correctional Facility near the Village of Baldwin in Lake County houses about 1,500 non-US citizen inmates convicted of federal crimes. It's run by the for-profit company GEO Group.

dearborn ford community and performing arts center
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Dearborn City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to change the name of the Hubbard Ballroom in its civic center, the Ford Community and Performing Arts Center. The venue used for weddings and other events will now be called the Lincoln Ballroom in honor of President Abraham Lincoln.

Orville Hubbard was the longest serving mayor of Dearborn, but gained notoriety for his racist remarks and fervent support of racial segregation. 

City of Flint

Flint's residents, many of whom experienced serious medical problems, including a lethal outbreak of Legionnaire’s Disease, may be able to take part in a multimillion-dollar civil settlement, but the question of accountability remains. That's why many were heartened by the news Thursday that criminal charges were being filed against Governor Rick Snyder and other state officials for their parts in the water crisis. We wanted to check in with the man currently leading Flint right now about what all this means for his community.

silhouette of mom holding hands of two kids in front of sunset sky
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Kent County shelters are seeing more families experiencing homelessness as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Family Promise in Grand Rapids usually houses 30 to 40 families a night during the winter. This year, they're providing shelter to twice that amount. The families are staying in hotels, with many people working and going to school remotely.

Courtesy Michelle Matiyow

More than 13,000.

That is the tally of lives COVID-19 has taken here in Michigan as of Sunday.

We don’t talk as much about the other people we’ve lost over the past ten months.

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This is not only the first day of 2021. It’s also the final day of Kwanzaa.

The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History had to move its observance of the seven days of Kwanzaa online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Yolanda Jack is the director of the museum’s Kwanzaa program. She believes Kwanzaa’s emphasis on faith, self-determination and unity have been important for many people during a tumultuous 2020.

courts.michigan.gov

Bills waiting for Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s signature would send fewer people to jail for minor infractions such as driving on a suspended license or a technical violation of a probation order.

The bills were recommended by a task force co-chaired by Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Bridget Mary McCormack.

She says the current system punishes people who don’t pose a threat to public safety, and makes it less likely they’ll get their lives in order.

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

This was a wrenching year of racial reckoning both nationally, and right here in Michigan. Detroit journalist Stephen Henderson has been grappling with these issues both on-air as a radio host on WDET, and also in writing. Many of his conversations about race and racial justice this year featured prominent American writers and thinkers, and those conversations became the basis of a new season of Henderson’s podcast “Created Equal”.

Wayne County

Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon has died after contracting COVID-19.

Napoleon was 65 years old.  He was admitted to the hospital on November 21, and died several weeks after being placed on a ventilator.

Napoleon was appointed sheriff in 2009, and he was elected to the position in 2012, and reelected every four years since then. 


Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

They stood on cold concrete at dusk, in masks and heavy coats, just around the corner from the hospital where every day more patients succumb to the virus.

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

A new emergency shelter will soon open in downtown Grand Rapids, with up to 100 beds.

The shelter will be in an old retail space in the Heartside neighborhood downtown. Two existing shelters – Mel Trotter Ministries and Guiding Light, are working together to open up the space, along with the building’s owner.

Dennis Van Kampen, head of Mel Trotter Ministries, says demand for shelter has increased since the start of the pandemic, even as the shelter space has declined.

The small city of Portage is playing a big role in getting out Pfizer’s new COVID-19 vaccine.

Pfizer is manufacturing the vaccine at its 1,300 acre factory site in Portage, and distributing throughout the U.S.

Patricia Randall is mayor of Portage. She says everyone in town knows someone who works at the plant

“They have offered hope to the world,” Randall says. “I mean we have been unified in the world with suffering. And this has gone on for nine months. And it’s definitely a miracle. It’s a gift that we’ve all been waiting for.”

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Today on Stateside, COVID has turned life upside down for many people. For homeless LGBTQ youth, their lives were already in a state of crisis. We speak with two people at the Ruth Ellis Center about what life looks like for these youths right now. Plus, Detroit extended its water shutoff moratorium until 2023. What that will mean for residents and the city.

 Jerry Bishop is senior pastor at LifeQuest Urban Outreach Center in Grand Rapids. His ministry serves people in the heart of Grand Rapids, and he has a particular focus helping young Black men.

The virus has taken an immense toll on the community Jerry Bishop serves. Bishop says he’s presided over funerals for 21 people who’ve died of COVID. Click the link above to listen to his story.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan groups that provide meals for people who need them for Thanksgiving are having to make some changes this year due to COVID-19.

In Midland, Open Door executive director Renee Pettinger says her agency will be serving special Thanksgiving meals to hundreds of people.
  
She says because Open Door is not serving meals indoors, her agency is having added expenses.

Today on Stateside, a conversation with Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) about making mental health accessible and the future of the Senate under President-elect Biden. Plus, a look at the history of some notable Black Michiganders—from the pre-Civil War era to the suffrage movement.

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

A line of candles on a concrete porch. A white teddy bear. Her face, shining through in photographs. Balloons, purple and silver, let loose into the night sky.

Her name filling the air.

“Honestie!”

“Long live Honestie, my baby!”

“I love you monster!”

“We love you!”

Fourteen year old Honestie Hodges passed away Sunday, from complications of COVID-19. Friends and family held a vigil Monday night.

He had dementia and COVID. She wanted to hold him when he died.

Nov 23, 2020
Daytona Niles / Bridge Michigan

Jerry Zeiger tested positive for COVID on a Tuesday.

The next day, the hulking former engineer with late-stage Alzheimer’s is tucked under a soft brown blanket at Sue’s Loving Care, an adult foster home in Kalamazoo.

He is 73. Outside his screened window, the woman he shared truckstop coffee with on their first date teeters on a step ladder on a raw November day.

a pumpkin pie on a table
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Planning a Thanksgiving celebration isn’t usually a simple task—but this year, it’s bound to be particularly complicated. As COVID-19 cases continue to surge in Michigan, health officials warn that even small holiday gatherings pose risks.

It’s hard to know how to celebrate. Do you brave the cold and see family from a safe distance outdoors? Host a virtual dinner? Load up on turkey and take a long, tryptophan-induced nap? 

Like many married and working couples first confronting the pandemic, Bianca Flokstra and Victor Udoewa tried to go on with their lives as normal.

Flokstra continued to work full time while taking care of their kids, ages 4 and 2. She also handled most of the housework, with her husband helping from time to time. It didn't work.

"Those first couple of months were really hard," Flokstra says. "There was ... a lot of fighting. A lot of tears."

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

A 14-year legal battle over child welfare reform in Michigan still isn’t done.

A monitoring report released Tuesday in federal court found the state only met 13 of the 52 performance standards it needs to meet before the child welfare system can be released from court oversight.  

The report period covered the second half of 2019, months before 16-year-old Cornelius Fredrick died following a restraint at a residential facility in Kalamazoo.

The state had dozens of investigations into the facility in the years before Fredrick died, yet it remained open.  

young people with masks drinking
Adobe Stock

Rev. Robert Teszlewicz was doing everything right. In the spring, he was off work, and followed the stay-at-home orders.

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