Stateside

Last year was a record year for Michigan lottery money going to schools.

Jeff Holyfield, director of public relations at the Michigan Lottery, joined Stateside to discuss the Michigan Lottery’s financial involvement in the state, and what's up with repeat winners.

The Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD) has been through its first count day of the school year. It’s an important day, because the number of kids in attendance helps determine the amount of money the district receives from the state.

Nikolai Vitti, DPSCD’s new superintendent, joined Stateside to report how the day went in Detroit and to explain what the district is doing amidst teacher shortages and other challenges.

 


Nobody ever thought they would find it: the P-39 fighter plane that Tuskegee Airman Frank Herman Moody, originally of Oklahoma, was flying over Lake Huron when he crashed.


But then, as luck or fate would have it, there was a bad storm on Lake Huron in April of that year, a barge and tug went down, and a cleanup was scheduled.


It was during this cleanup that a set of almost perfectly intact wings were found on the lake's floor.

Legislation to restrict the authority of state departments has passed the Michigan House and is making its way through the Senate.

House Bill 4205 would not let agency rules be any stricter than federal rules without proof that it’s necessary. 

Environmental groups are concerned. As the Great Lakes state, past legislatures have embraced a role of being a guardian of the lakes. Stricter agency rules were seen as part of the state being a good steward and an example for other states.

File a FOIA request, get sued.

A journalist, taxpayer, or government watchdog group can use the Freedom of Information Act to request records from a public body — maybe a government agency or state university, for instance.

The response? The public body sues the requester.

It’s happening in Michigan and spreading through the country. But what does this mean for a free press and transparency of public information?

Today (10/4)  is Count Day. For school districts in Michigan, it’s crucially important to have as many enrolled kids sitting in their seats as possible. That’s because this is one of the two days during the school year when attendance determines how much state aid schools will get.

There’s much work to do in boosting attendance, not just on Count Day.  A recent report from Johns Hopkins University finds Michigan's chronic student absence rate of 18-percent is well above the national average of 13-percent.

You might have heard the phrase, “A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.” But did you know that in the 1880s, leaders in Michigan decided that fish needed a train?

Congress is investigating ways Russia tried to meddle in the 2016 election, especially through social media.

The Senate Intelligence Committee has asked Facebook, Google, and Twitter to testify at a hearing on Nov. 1. The House Intelligence Committee will do the same sometime this month.

Now, an exclusive report from CNN puts Michigan at the center of this investigation – with Russian trolls and Facebook ads.

It's October, and deer are in the mood for love. That means Michigan drivers are at greater risk of hitting a deer. October through December is mating season for deer, so they're extra active and on the move.

The director of the Michigan State Police has apologized for sharing a Facebook post that called NFL players who take a knee during the national anthem "degenerates."

The Michigan Black Legislative Caucus is demanding that Governor Snyder fire Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue. The black lawmakers say they're "appalled" by the post.

But Governor Snyder says he will not ask Col. Etue to resign, citing her decades of public service.

Michigan universities say they will not immediately implement new federal guidance on campus sexual assault.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos recently announced that her department would rescinded the Obama-era guidance on campus sexual assault.

Most Americans say they want to protect the "DREAMers," the term often used to refer to undocumented immigrants brought here as children.

That poll was taken after President Trump announced he is phasing out the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, a federal program that afforded some protections to those immigrants, and he gave Congress six months to come up with a replacement.

Three Republican senators this week announced details of their reform idea, the Succeed Act. It spells out steps for receiving "conditional status" in the U.S., including maintaining gainful employment, or pursuing higher education classes or military service. Ultimately, holders of this status could apply for a green card.

What does it take to obtain information about the Michigan Lottery? Specifically, the information about whether there are repeat winners — people cashing in on a lucky ticket over and over again at incredibly improbable odds?

That's the question a team of investigative journalists has been exploring for the Columbia Journalism Review.

Leaping from branch to branch, bearing nuts and acorns, teasing backyard dogs by staying just out of reach, let’s face it — squirrels are so common in Michigan that it’s easy for us to take their presence for granted.

But, just as Holden Caufield worried about where the ducks go in winter, we got to wondering: where do squirrels go? Do they cluster up in hibernation holes? Or perhaps join Michigan snowbirds and head south to warmer locales?

Standing on the shores of the Great Lakes on a sunny late-summer day, it’s virtually impossible to think of those sparkling waves as a death trap.

But divers have seen what those angry lakes can do to a ship.

Becky Kagan Schott, noted underwater photographer, joined Stateside to discuss what it’s like to document these untouched wrecks.

The Next Idea

 

So many innovative ideas begin with inventors observing simple events. Take Newton’s falling apple, for example, or Archimedes’ overflowing bathtub. 

For Emil Ureel of West Michigan, it was building an ice rink in his backyard — or rather designing a refrigeration system to keep it from melting.

 

I thermodynamically ended up producing a chiller system from a used central air unit,” Ureel said. “Going through the process, I learned something related to thermodynamics that’s referred to as saturation vapor pressure.”

There are 100,000 unfilled jobs right now in Michigan.

Roger Curtis, director of the Michigan Department of Talent and Economic Development, said this is due to a career awareness gap rather than a talent gap in the state.

It's a big game hunt, with big investment and a lot of jobs on the line. 

This week, Wisconsin's governor signed the legislation that landed a monster project from Taiwan-based Foxconn, which is promising a $10 billion investment and up to 13,000 jobs. 

But at what price to taxpayers?

Does killing coyotes make things safer for livestock?

Last winter, Stateside did a story about a sporting goods store near the Irish Hills that held a bounty hunt on coyotes. The store said the hunt came in response to customers who expressed worry about their chicken coops and family dogs.

Megan Draheim, a lecturer in conservation biology and human dimensions of wildlife at Virginia Tech, joined Stateside today with a differing perspective. She said there’s no evidence that killing coyotes makes livestock safer. In fact, she said it can make the coyote-human problem even worse.

 

The city of Ypsilanti is inching forward with a proposal to sell city-owned land to developers who want to build a more than $300 million housing and retail development on the polluted site.

After a meeting that lasted more than six hours, the council voted 4-3 to agree to a non-binding land purchase agreement with International Village LLC, the development company headed by Troy-based Amy Foster. Two city council members abstained from voting and one voted no. 

When your biggest customer talks, smart companies listen. For car makers, that customer is China.

So when China recently announced it's preparing to ban vehicles powered by fossil fuels, auto executives around the world quickly took notice.

Russell Padmore, a BBC business reporter, joined Stateside to talk about the future of the auto industry, and he says China’s not alone.

The Lions will play under the Monday night spotlight this evening as they face off against the Giants.

Last week, fans watched the team start the season with a win – amidst errors all over the place.

Gretchen Whitmer is one of the most well-known candidates among the Democrats who are vying to become Michigan’s next governor.

The former state Senate minority leader is viewed by many as a front-runner in the race.

Now James Blanchard, former Michigan governor, is endorsing Whitmer as his choice for the position.

The Next Idea

One afternoon while waiting for my flight to board, a headline caught my eye: “Civilization-Destroying Comets Are More Common Than We Thought.” I assumed it was one of those flashy clickbait attention-grabbers like the ones about how researchers have discovered how you can lose ten pounds just by drinking dandelion tea. Much to my surprise, it wasn’t one of those smarmy websites you’ve never heard of. It was Popular Mechanics. Yes, that do-it-yourself periodical for the pocket-protector jet set that has all the panache of your dad’s brown shoes. So why the hyperbole?

Last Thursday, commerce giant Amazon announced it would build a second corporate headquarters, known as Amazon HQ2, somewhere in North America. It's now up to metropolitan areas across the country to show they're the best option to meet the company's needs.

"It's going to set off an inter-state bidding war," said Chad Livengood, a senior reporter covering Detroit for Crain's Detroit Business.

Pages