Today on Current State: The drive to put a fracking ban on the ballot in Michigan; a visit to the former home of Ulysses S. Grant in Detroit; the Battle Creek branch of the Defense Department that oversees the disposal of excess military equipment; and Neighbors in Action: Caring for the Caregivers.
For the third time in recent years, opponents of hydraulic fracturing are organizing to end the practice in Michigan. The Committee to Ban Fracking, based in Charlevoix, has begun a ballot campaign hoping to put a ban before voters in next years general election.
Earlier this month, President Obama issued an executive order banning the federal government from issuing certain types of military equipment to local police departments. The action is in response to an outcry over a militarized show of force during protests last summer in Ferguson, Missouri.
It’s Wednesday, which means it’s time for Neighbors in Action, when we feature people and organizations working to make mid-Michigan a better place. It’s estimated that there are more than two-million caregivers in Michigan. Some are health care professionals, but many others provide care for their family members at home. Even with the proper training, caregiving is stressful work, both physically and emotionally.
Today on Current State: Is Michigan heading to the bottom ten states for achievement?; MSU students lead a study abroad program examining climate change in Fiji; 96- year-old Rudy Aittama wraps up our coverage of MSU’s Living History Project; the MSU Museum's steam tunnel exhibit; and our Great Lakes Month in Review looks at the Enbridge settlement and new regulations on railcars.
The economy in Michigan is on the upswing, and education budgets that were cut during the great recession are starting to increase again. But despite some funding boosts, educational achievement in Michigan has remained fairly stagnant in the past 10 years. And that’s meant that some of the states that used to trail Michigan, like Tennessee and Florida, are now ahead of us in national rankings. Advocates says Michigan students are unlikely to catch up without substantial changes to the state’s educational policy.
Say the words “climate change,” and the first thing that might come to mind is melting polar ice caps. That’s an accurate image, but of course, climate change affects the entire planet. Scientists say the rising tides from all that melting ice have to go somewhere, and some Michigan State University students are watching one remote part of the world that’s starting to see some effects.
The parking lot in front of the MSU Museum has disappeared. In its place, there are steam shovels, enormous piles of dirt and a deep, deep hole. Workers are in the midst of an ongoing project to maintain the university’s extensive steam tunnel system.
At the end of each month, we check in with Great Lakes commentator and journalist Gary Wilson for updates on environmental stories from around the basin. This month, some of the biggest environmental stories had to do with energy and how we transport it across the Great Lakes region.
Today on Current State: Sen. Gary Peters talks about criminal justice, student debt and President Obama's Pacific Trade measure; Meridian Township starts a youth cricket league; a Public Poetry Announcement with a work written by Anacreon; the executive director of the new Michigan Agency for Energy, Valerie Brader; Scott D. Southard reviews "Above Us Only Sky" by Michele Young-Stone; and Chateau Grand Traverse partners wines with Michigan parks.
Democratic Michigan Sen. Gary Peters has gotten behind legislation that would address two very different national issues: criminal justice and student debt. Monday, on a visit to Detroit, the state’s junior senator called for a “top to bottom” review of the U.S. criminal justice system by creating a National Criminal Justice Commission. And last week, Peters introduced the Federal Adjustment in Reporting (FAIR) Student Credit Act. It would help private student loan borrowers rehabilitate defaulted loans.
Millions of people around the world are wild about a sport many native-born Americans have never played. Cricket is second only to soccer in global popularity. There are several adult cricket leagues in the Lansing area, and it’s not uncommon to see an evening game in progress at a local school playground, but this summer, officials in Okemos will offer the sport to young children for the first time.
May is Older Americans Month and we’ve been featuring the voices of some of Michigan’s senior citizens. Today, we get a perspective on aging from the Greek lyric poet Anacreon, who was born around 582 B.C.
Earlier this week, Valerie Brader, an attorney and former senior policy adviser to Gov. Rick Snyder, assumed her role as executive director of the new Michigan Agency for Energy. Brader will be the top energy adviser to Snyder and state department leaders. Snyder created the agency by executive order in March after setting it as a priority in January’s State of the State address.
Writers are constantly drawing inspiration from the world around them. A story idea can come from almost anywhere: a painting, a historical event, or even other books. Michele Young-Stone’s latest novel draws its inspiration from musicians, specifically John, Paul, George and Ringo.
There’s a unique new partnership between the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and one of the state’s best-known wineries. Chateau Grand Traverse is launching three wines with labels related to Michigan’s park experience, and will be donating part of the profits to one of three projects selected by people voting online.
Four months of negotiations between Lansing’s Board of Water and Light and the utility’s former General Manager, Peter Lark, concluded last night.
BWL commissioners agreed unanimously to settle with Mr. Lark for $650,000 after his January dismissal “for cause” by those same commissioners. A dismissal “for cause” implies employee misconduct. Current State gets an update from LSJ reporter Steven Reed, who has covered the BWL since the 2013 ice storm that eventually led to yesterday’s agreement.
State lawmakers are again looking for ways to pay for road repairs in Michigan, and that means subsidies for the film industry are again being targeted. That has amounted to $50-million a year in recent years.
In February, we brought you the story of Ryan Parrott. He’s a former Navy Seal sniper from Michigan who now runs “Sons of the Flag”, an organization that helps veterans with burn injuries. Parrott is coming back to Michigan from Dallas, where he lives now, to serve as the grand marshal of Dearborn’s Memorial Day parade on Monday. With a name like Parrott, you know he picked up a nickname in the Navy Seals--he’s called Birdman.
Wednesday on CS means it’s time for Neighbors in Action, when we feature people and organizations working to make Greater Lansing a better place. Today, we learn about Hosanna House--an organization that works to get youth aging out of the foster care system find affordable and supportive housing.
Current State talks to executive director Karen Bacon and Nichole Martin, who coordinates the Michigan Youth Opportunity Initiative (MYOI) for the Department of Health and Human Services in Ingham County.
May is Older Americans Month and we’ve been featuring the voices of some of Michigan’s senior citizens. Today, we get some wisdom on aging in the form of poetry.
Here is Lansing poet Ruelaine Stokes reading an unnamed poem by the Chinese writer Lin Yutang. Current State's Public Poetry Announcements are produced in collaboration with the Center for Poetry at Michigan State University.
A Muslim faith leader from southeast Michigan has recently returned home from a long trip. It was not the time-honored pilgrimage to Mecca, which all Muslims are encouraged to do at least once during their lifetimes. Instead, Jameel Syed toured America, visiting mosques in all 50 states.
Syed is a muaddhin, which is a special position in the Islamic faith who calls the faithful to prayer several times each day and is affiliated with the Islamic Association of Greater Detroit in Rochester Hills. Current State's Kevin Lavery talked to Syed about the motivation behind the trip.
Today on Current State: Rep. Sam Singh on efforts to craft a new plan to repair Michigan roads; MSU football legend Gene Washington is the subject of his daughter's documentary in production; the shrinking alewife population in the Great Lakes; Two Men and a Truck founder Mary Ellen Sheets tells her story to Startup Grind Lansing; and 85-year-old Domingo Berlanga of Flint, this week's subject in MSU's MSU’s Living History Project.
It’s a busy time under the dome in Lansing these days. Just two weeks after the historic defeat of a road funding proposal that would have altered the Michigan Constitution, House Democrats and Republicans are offering competing alternatives. The GOP plan would shift revenue to a transportation fund by various means, including siphoning funds from tribal casino revenues and eliminating the Earned Income Tax Credit. Meanwhile, Democrats propose raising the gas tax by 15 cents per gallon over the next three years.
In the 1960s, MSU football coach Duffy Daughterty made the first major recruiting efforts to bring African-American players from the deep south into the sport…players who could not be admitted to segregated schools. That pool of talent wound up bringing championships to East Lansing. Maya Washington is the daughter of one of those players, Gene Washington. She’s making a documentary film about her dad called “Through the Banks of the Red Cedar.”
The alewife was once the scourge of the Great Lakes. The small, silver herring made its way into the basin through the St. Lawrence River in the late 19th century and proceeded to wreak havoc on the ecosystem. If you were around the region in the 1960s, you might remember the stench of thousands of dead alewives washing up on Great Lakes beaches. Now, scientists are concerned with a decline in the population of this invasive species and how the shrinking numbers of alewives could impact their main predator, the popular Chinook salmon.
Few if any Lansing success stories compare with that of Two Men and a Truck. The moving company began in 1985 as an after school endeavor with an advertising budget in a ceramic dish. Today, founder Mary Ellen Sheets leads a company whose revenue clears $300-million annually. Two Men and a Truck has locations in 39 states and four countries. It has completed roughly five million moves. It also donates about two and a half million dollars in moving services annually.
For the past year, students in MSU's School of Journalism have documented the life experiences of seniors in our state as part of the multimedia initiative "The Living History Project: Stories Told by Michigan's Oldest Old." Oldest old refers to individuals who are 85 years old or older. It's also the fastest growing age group in the U.S. In our third installment of the four part series, we hear from 85-year-old Flint resident Domingo Berlanga.