David Cassleman is a reporter and Morning Edition host for IPR News Radio. He got his start in public radio at WDET in Detroit, and joined Interlochen Public Radio in June 2014. He’s a graduate of the University of Michigan.
Traverse City school officials have voted to cut Spanish class for most elementary school students in a move that the district says will save $400,000.
The board of education for Traverse City Area Pubic Schools met Monday night to vote on the proposal. The board also approved sunsetting the International Baccalaureate program at the middle school level.
Northern Michigan Rep. Jack Bergman (R-Watersmeet) says he supports the GOP health care bill in its current form. The legislation could come up for a vote on the floor of the U.S. House as soon as this week.
Northern Michigan’s Congressman says he’s just now getting a chance to look at the details of a new Republican health care plan. But Rep. Jack Bergman (R-Watersmeet) sounded upbeat talking about it during a telephone town hall he hosted on Tuesday night.
It was hours after fellow House Republicans unveiled their plans for replacing the Affordable Care Act.
“The American Health Care Act … is going to ensure that number one everybody is able to get health care,” Bergman said.
Last week was dramatic at the state Capitol. In a late night vote, a dozen GOP House members broke from their Republican colleagues and voted with Democrats against a bill that would have lowered the state income tax to 3.9 percent.
The legislation failed and never made it to the state Senate.
Sen. Wayne Schmidt of Traverse City had questions about the income tax bill.
“It was easy to say, ‘let’s lower taxes,’ Schmidt told IPR News Radio in an interview. “But was it the right amount? Is it what working families wanted?”
“I’m all about giving tax relief but you’ve got to make sure it’s especially targeted for working families,” Schmidt said.
Sen. Wayne Schmidt talks about what's going on at the state Capitol.
Schmidt spoke with IPR News Radio about the tax legislation, and about two bills that he has introduced.
Many people in northern Michigan live without access to broadband internet. Others have high-speed fiber connections. In this special call-in hour, IPR tackles the future of broadband in northern Michigan.
In Kalkaksa County, 60 percent of residents lack access to high-speed internet. That’s according to data from the Federal Communications Commission, which increased its standards for speed in 2015.
More than a third of rural residents in the United States do not have access to broadband service, according to the FCC.
The past few weeks have been challenging ones for a new refugee program in northern Michigan. The plan is to resettle up to 15 refugee children with foster families in the Traverse City area this year.
President Trump has complicated things with his executive order on immigration and refugees.
But with the order temporarily halted, the program in Traverse City is welcoming its first refugee on Wednesday — a teenage girl from Africa.
A child refugee from Africa arrives in Traverse City on Wednesday.
Veterans in rural America often have to travel far to get medical care. In northern Michigan, a veteran enrolled in health care through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs might be required to drive to Saginaw, Detroit or Ann Arbor for a doctor’s visit.
Tens of thousands of people in northern Michigan could lose health insurance if the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is repealed. Congressional Republicans, along with President Donald Trump, have promised to replace the controversial law.
In fact, northern Michigan has a greater percentage of its population who have signed up for health care through the law than the state average, according to a report by Bridge Magazine.
“A lot people in northern Michigan who are taking advantage of [the ACA] have benefited from the expansion of Medicaid,” says Mike Wilkinson, a reporter for Bridge Magazine.
Reporter Mike Wilkinson says the Affordable Care Act has helped thousands get health insurance in northern Michigan.
House Republicans in Lansing have a plan to give you an income tax break — and eventually to end the tax.
State Rep. Lee Chatfield (R-Levering) introduced a measure last week that would cut the rate from 4.25 percent to 3.9 percent in 2018. The legislation would then reduce the income tax yearly by .1 percent until it was eliminated.
“I think this is a very fair tax reform that impacts every family,” Chatfield told IPR News Radio. “It provides yet another opportunity for our families to move back here to Michigan, begin working [and] keep more of their hard-earned dollars.”
Chatfield spoke with IPR News Radio about his tax plan:
Rep. Lee Chatfield discusses his legislation that would end the state income tax.
Revenue from the income tax made up about one-third of the state’s total revenue in 2015 – around $9 billion, according to the State Budget Office.
Tsunamis can devastate communities along the oceans. The giant waves are often triggered by earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. But scientists say tsunamis are also a common occurrence on the Great Lakes.
Political candidates raised millions of dollars - and spent millions of dollars - in Michigan this election season, but they weren’t the only ones.
There was also plenty of political spending by independent groups. Those are the groups not connected to any candidate, which can accept unlimited amounts of cash from donors. The top 20 groups in Michigan spent $9.9 million between January 2015 and Election Day, according to a report by the watchdog Michigan Campaign Finance Network.
About half of the money raised by those groups came from a dozen sources, the report says.
“Those 12 sources are driving the independent spending in Michigan, and the main force behind it is the DeVos family,” says Craig Mauger, executive director of the Michigan Campaign Finance Network.
Craig Mauger of the Michigan Campaign Finance Network says a dozen sources are driving political spending in the state.