Today on Current State: Juveniles serving life sentences in Michigan; an update on wolves, moose and more in the state; outgoing Michigan Supreme Court Justice Michael Cavanaugh; and the Detroit Lions are heading to the NFL playoffs.
Michigan has the second highest number of juvenile lifers in the U.S. Those are people who were sentenced to life in prison without parole before they turned 18. In 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that sentencing laws mandating life without parole for juvenile offenders amounted to cruel and unusual punishment. Michigan was one of a few states not to apply that ruling retroactively. But now, a case before the U.S. Supreme Court could determine whether those juvenile lifers sentenced before 2012 will get a shot at release.
Last week, a Michigan-made home video created a stir on the internet, particularly among animal lovers. It showed a pair of adult moose in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula being fed through the window of a cabin. According to Mlive, the resident says the moose have begun appearing daily, apparently expecting to be fed. The video offers a fascinating, close-up view of these extraordinary animals in or near the wild.
When 2014 comes to a close, so too will an era in Michigan’s judicial system. On New Year’s Day, Justice Michael Cavanagh will retire after 32 years on the Michigan Supreme Court. Only one other person in history has served longer on the state’s highest court, and not by much longer.
The Detroit Lions improved to 11-4 yesterday by beating the Chicago Bears 20-14 in Chicago. With one game left to play, Detroit has secured a place in the NFL playoffs for the first time in three years. That last game will be next Sunday at Green Bay, the team they’re tied with for first place in the NFC North, so a lot will be at stake.
Today on Current State: A wrap-up of the state legislature's lame duck session; the power needs of MSU's FRIB project; East Lansing tennis great Todd Martin now leads the International Tennis Hall of Fame and Museum; and Live Music Friday with Three Men and a Tenor.
Early this morning, Michigan’s 2014 legislative session concluded dramatically. The state legislature will be sending a proposal to Governor Rick Snyder for a one-cent increase in the Michigan sales tax. The additional revenue would generate about $1.2-billion a year for road and bridge repair. Michigan voters will decide whether to implement the measure, possibly next May.
The construction of what will become the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams, or FRIB, continues at Michigan State University. The massive concrete floor of the underground chamber has been poured. Last week, the MSU Board of Trustees approved plans to connect a new power line from the T.B. Simon Power Plant on the south end of the main campus here in East Lansing to FRIB. It will require a substantial amount of power.
Todd Martin’s days on the professional tennis circuit are behind him, but the East Lansing native has launched a new phase of his career that is keeping him active with the sport he loves. In September, he became CEO of the International Tennis Hall of Fame and Museum in Newport, Rhode Island.
Today on Current State: The Religious Freedom Restoration Act; Lansing attorney Richard McLellan on normalizing relations with Cuba; the controversy over religious displays at the state capitol; and a preview of the 2015 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
One of the hot button issues of this year’s lame duck session was the controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) bill. The bill would exempt people from state and local laws if they can prove those laws violate deeply held religious beliefs. Opponents of the legislation say it amounts to a “license to discriminate”, and they are worried about its implications after a companion bill that would have expanded LGBT protections died in committee.
Americans have been busy discussing President Obama’s call to normalize relations with Cuba. Lansing-based attorney Richard McLellan, a long-time Michigan political insider and a two-time visitor to Cuba, supports the President’s move.
Today on Current State: Gov. Snyder discusses lame duck issues; a look at the competing plans to fund road repairs in Michigan; Neighbors in Action with the Southside Community Kitchen; and the invasive faucet snail.
The Michigan legislature is in the eleventh hour of this year’s lame duck session. This week, legislative leaders and Gov. Rick Snyder have been meeting more often to try to hammer out a measure for road and bridge funding in the state. A couple meetings were held yesterday, and the Governor expressed concern over how little time remains. The 2014 session is scheduled to conclude tomorrow.
The clock is counting down on the lame duck legislature at the state Capitol. Tomorrow is the last full day of the session. Lawmakers are facing a hard deadline to reach a deal to raise more than a billion dollars each year in new revenue to fix Michigan’s deteriorating roads.
It’s Wednesday and time for our Neighbors in Action segment, where we feature people and organizations working to make our community a better place. Today, we learn about the Southside Community Kitchen that serves meals to hungry residents on Lansing’s Southside.
The populations of an invasive snail in the Great Lakes may be increasing, according to a new study. Researchers from ten universities including Central Michigan University and Grand Valley State University have found “faucet snails” in more areas along the Great Lakes coastline than experts previously thought.
Today on Current State: Remembering TV newsman Bill Bonds; a look ahead to next year's contract talks between the United Auto Workers union and the domestic carmakers; a new project connects watersheds with green infrastructure; and a Profiles conversation with Lansing Symphony Orchestra maestro Timothy Muffitt.
New contract bargaining between the United Auto Workers union and American automakers is scheduled for next year. Recently, we’ve been getting a clearer picture of the union’s priorities. UAW President Dennis Williams has indicated members want to eliminate a recently introduced feature of the autoworker landscape: “two-tier” wages and benefits.
The water cycle is pretty simple. Evaporation. Condensation. Precipitation. But when urban areas filled with buildings and parking lots get in the way, the cycle gets interrupted, and that can cause all sorts of problems, from flooding basements to sewer overflows.
Today on Current State: Michigan's vaccination rates; charity fraud; the "Women of Vision" exhibition at the Cranbrook Institute of Science; and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra's "Symphony in D" project.
Before you register your kid in a public school, you have to show proof they’ve been vaccinated against diseases like measles and whooping cough. But parents can get vaccination waivers for medical, religious, or philosophical reasons, and an increasing number of Michigan parents are doing just that. Public health officials say that means preventable, but highly contagious, diseases are making a comeback.
We’re halfway through December, and you’ve probably noticed retailers aren’t the only people competing for your cold, hard cash. ‘Tis the season for charitable organizations to ramp up their efforts to solicit donations. Most groups out there do represent worthy causes, but the holidays also tend to bring out the less-than-legitimate actors hoping to pull off the perfect scam.
For 125 years, National Geographic has documented the world and all that is in it with stunning photography and images that capture the soul of a story. Some of the most powerful and impactful stories of the past decade have been produced by a new generation of female photojournalists. "Women of Vision", currently on exhibit at the Cranbrook Institute of Science features the work of eleven photographers.
The Detroit Symphony Orchestra has launched an ambitious project with composer Tod Machover. He’s been commissioned to write a piece inspired by, and including, the sounds of the Motor City. “Symphony in D” will debut late next year.