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Jed Jaworski

Large waves and Lake Michigan’s record high water level are breaking down the barrier that protects the historic Point Betsie Lighthouse in Frankfort.

Key parts of the structure are fractured and falling apart. Supporters of the lighthouse are trying to get repairs done. 

But Interlochen Public Radio's Taylor Wizner reports that a lengthy process may stand in the way.

George N'Namdi, Davida Artis, and Anthony Artis smile in front of a brick wall
April Van Buren / Michigan Radio

For a long time, the work of African American artists didn't get much recognition in the world of fine art. That hasn't stopped art lovers from building impressive collections of pieces by black artists. We talked to two collectors about their approach to buying, and how the business of African American art has changed over the years.

portrait of Donald White
Bentley Historical Library

For architects, a groundbreaking ceremony is the beginning of a vision realized. But architect Donald White needed to break new ground in a much different way to get his career started.

In the early 1930s, White became the first African-American to earn a degree from the University of Michigan's School of Architecture. He went on to become the first licensed black architect in the state.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Groups involved with promoting skilled trades and support for military veterans are hopeful Congress will act soon on legislation to bring the two together.

The Support for Veterans in Effective Apprenticeships Act would expand the number of skilled trades apprenticeship programs available to vets.

Sydney James stands in front of a mural she painted
Courtesy of Sydney James

The fine art world has not always been friendly to African American artists. But that’s starting to change, and black artists are now more visible than they’ve ever been. That includes prominent artists of the past, like Harlem Renaissance painters Jacob Lawrence and Norman Lewis, as well as more contemporary figures.

a group of children in front of a large portrait of a black woman lounging on a couch
Courtesy of the Detroit Institute of Arts

When you walk into the African American art wing of the Detroit Institute of Arts, you see a large portrait of a woman on a couch. The portrait is covered in rhinestones, and the glittering woman has a regal air.

The painting, titled "Something You Can Feel," is by artist Mickalene Thomas. The woman is her mother, who was a runway model in the 1970’s. The portrait is filled with color and joy. Its celebration of black womanhood is an example of how African-American artists have reshaped the portrayal of black bodies in fine art. 

Lake Erie at Massie Cliffside Preserve.
Rebecca Williams / Michigan Radio

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers expects Lake Erie to hit record breaking high water levels February through May.

Lauren Fry, Technical Lead for Great Lakes Hydrology with the Army Corps of Engineers, says Lake Erie’s all-time record water level for January was nearly met last month.

Potter Park Zoo

North American river otter Nkeke is a new mom following the birth of two pups Sunday, February 9 at Lansing's Potter Park Zoo.

The two pups are the second successful birth for Nkeke and otter dad Miles.

A photo from 1860 of a man and woman
Anna Lisa Cox

America’s Great Migration between World War I and II brought millions of Southerners, both black and white, to places like Michigan to escape the economic entrenchment of the former Confederate States. But this influx of black Michiganders was not the first group to settle in The Mitten. 

sick child
Adobe Stock

Panic over the spread of coronavirus has reached Michigan. 

Four cases from Michigan have been sent to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control to be tested for the virus but they were all negative. Detroit Metro Airport is screening passengers for the disease, and the U.S. State Department has issued a level four "do not travel" warning for China.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Wildlife are being poisoned and much of the time people using the poisons are not even aware of the danger. One Michigan resident is on a crusade to make people understand what’s at risk when they use rat poison.

Elijah McCoy
Bentley Historical Collection, Detroit Public Library

The U.S. Patent and Trademark office in Detroit bears the name of Elijah McCoy, a pioneering African-American inventor. McCoy was born in the mid-1840s, nearly 170 years before the office opened. McCoy had more than 50 patents to his name.

He’s best known for inventing an automatic lubricator that was used on trains.

A stringed orchestra with a choir behind them
Kevin Kennedy / Sphinx

This weekend, you may notice a surprising number of people toting violin cases around Detroit.

It’s time for the Sphinx Competition. Musician, composer, and educator Aaron Dworkin founded the organization in 1997.

Michigan’s tart cherry industry is dying out to the tune of $5 million dollars of lost impact to the state since 2010, according to a Michigan State University study.

After another trade loss in January, cherry farmers are considering desperate measures.

Kelli Morgan stands in front of a painting
April Baer / Michigan Radio

The Flint Institute of Art's exhibit Community draws attention to black spaces and black lives, in both quiet and dramatic ways. The pieces in the exhibition vary in medium and message, but the story they tell broadens our understanding of black history.

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.

A drawing done by one of the young girls during a police examination.
Courtesy Rob and Crystal Barrett


Gretchen whitmer at a microphone
Jake Neher / WDET

Governor Gretchen Whitmer is seeking $3.5 billion in new bonds to fix crumbling roads and bridges. She unveiled the plan in her second State of the State speech Wednesday evening. She said this is her “Plan B” after Republicans rejected her proposal for a 45-cent fuel tax increase last year.

“So from now on, when you see orange barrels on a state road, slow down, and know that it’s this administration fixing the damn roads,” Whitmer said.

The new plan doesn’t require the Republican-led Legislature to sign off.

A sign in Ann Arbor warns passing drivers of a massive pothole in the road.
Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

It is a fact universally acknowledged that Michigan has terrible roads.

Well, unless you are state Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake), who said this month that he is not convinced there is a need for new road spending.

While there are a lot of arguments to be had about how to actually fix the roads by politicians and policy advisors and opinion columnists, there are some facts about Michigan’s roads that are indisputable.

The home fell into Lake Michigan on New Year's Eve.
Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

A western Michigan lakefront home has fallen down a sandy bluff in an area plagued by erosion.

Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

In a few short weeks, the 2010s will be over, and the 2020s will begin. It's the end of a decade (even if some people insist it's not exactly the end of the decade). Life in Michigan on the cusp of 2020 is quite a bit different than it was in 2010. Our newsroom has been reflecting on the stories that most shaped Michigan in the 2010s. Below is our list. What would you add? 

Rep. Elissa Slotkin
Katie Raymond / Michigan Radio

Update, Monday December 16 at 2:00 p.m.

U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-MI 8) told a large crowd of constituents at Oakland University in Rochester that she will vote to impeach the President Donald Trump on the two articles of impeachment drawn up by the U.S. House: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

Mary Gonzalez has worked at KAM Plastics in Holland since 2017.

This summer, she got a new co-worker named Joey.

And when Joey first showed up, it put a fear in Mary Gonzalez.

“I mean, seriously it did,” she says. “‘Cause when they brought him in, he was over there and I’d go way around him.”

A Thanksgiving dessert tradition, three different ways

Nov 25, 2019
Katie Raymond / Michigan Radio

When you think about Thanksgiving, what’s the first food that comes to mind? Turkey? Mashed potatoes? Pie?

Janice Leach— owner, operator, and baker, of Why Not Pie, tells us that “Thanksgiving is the pie holiday.” 

Why Not Pie came to fruition about 10 years ago — when Leach began baking and selling pies out of her home under the Cottage Food Law. Just a few years later, Why Not Pie expanded and Leach now operates under a commercial license.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint school district officials are putting off decisions on closing some district schools.

Flint Community Schools are facing a multi-million dollar deficit. Earlier this month, district officials floated a proposal to eliminate the debt, that included closing some schools in January.

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 moving image of someone pulling a slice of pizza
Katie Raymond / Michigan Radio

Halloween night is one of the busiest pizza delivery nights of the year. If you're having people over after trick-or-treating, there's a good chance you'll have a rectangular deep dish delivered to your home. 

That style of pizza—with the cheese pushed to the edges, forming a caramelized crust—that's Detroit style pizza. The Michigan invention is now becoming more popular in culinary scenes across the country.

Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) testifies at a hearing in 2009.
Rep. John Conyers office / Flickr

Former Democratic Michigan Congressman John Conyers has died. The one-time dean of the House of Representatives was 90 years old.

Conyers first ran for Congress in 1964 – at a time when the civil rights movement was really coalescing in the south around the work of Martin Luther King.

Frederick M. Remley, age 90, died peacefully at his home in Ann Arbor on October 22, 2019. Fred had enjoyed a lifelong career in radio and television at the University of Michigan.

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