News

wikimedia commons

LGBT activists ready to “blow up” civil rights bill if it ignores gender identity

Supporters of adding LGBT protections to Michigan’s civil rights law say they have enough votes in the Legislature to pass a bill before the end of the year. But they say that’s only if Republican leaders take up a version of the bill that includes protections for gender identity.

Activists say a bill that leaves out protections for transgender people would cause more harm than good.

Barack Obama
Wikipedia Media Commons

President Barack Obama's executive action protects up to five million undocumented immigrants from deportation for at least two years. It's unclear how the local immigrant population will react.


michigan.gov

Michigan is saying goodbye to the MEAP test this coming spring.  Washtenaw County school districts appear ready to roll out the new online Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress, or M-STEP test.

 

Naomi Norman is Executive Director of Achievement Services for the Washtenaw Intermediate School District. 

She says M-STEP is more than a bunch of multiple choice questions - students are going to have to answer some questions in writing.

The Washtenaw Intermediate School District is holding a Bus Driver Job Fair Saturday with a goal of finding 15-20 additional drivers.


wikimedia commons

Prison reform activists see opportunity in "lame duck" for legislative overhaul

Bills that seek to reduce prison spending in Michigan seem to have momentum going into the last weeks of the Legislature's 2014 session.

Michigan spends about $2 billion every year on prisons. The legislation seeks to reduce the length of some prison stays and provide more supervision for people after they are released from prison.

Camp Serenity site earlier this year
Andrew Cluley / 89.1 WEMU

Ann Arbor officials have been notified of another tent community for homeless people in the city. Complaints by neighbors may lead to the eviction of the camp on Burton Road near Packard and U-S 23. The handful of tent community residents face a challenge if they need to find a new place to call home. 

wikimedia commons

Effort to get LGBT civil rights protections pressing on after setbacks

A coalition of business and civil rights groups is still optimistic state lawmakers this year will make it illegal to discriminate against LGBT people.

http://www.milmi.org/

Michigan jobless rate falls slightly to 7.1 percent

More people were looking for work last month, but more businesses were hiring, which helped drive Michigan's unemployment rate to 7.1 percent, the lowest it's been so far this year.

That's one-tenth of a percentage point below where it was a month ago, and one-and-half percentage points below a year ago.

wikimedia commons

Judge allows legal challenge to emergency manager law to move ahead

A federal judge in Detroit has refused to toss out a legal challenge to Michigan's emergency manager law. Judge Joseph Caram Steeh will allow a trial on the claim the law violates equal protection rights in the US Constitution.

Ann Arbor Ypsilanti Regional Chamber
facebook.com

State lawmakers are down to their last nine days of work before the lame duck session ends December 18th.  The Ann Arbor Ypsilanti Regional Chamber is calling for a plan to fix the roads, and an update to the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act.


In response to the death of 40-year-old Aura Rosser, some Ann Arbor City Council members want a review of police policies including the possibility of having officers wear cameras. A local state lawmaker is working on a plan for all police in Michigan to have body cameras.


insurancemarketplace.org

The new open enrollment period for Michigan's Health Insurance Marketplace has begun, and efforts in Washtenaw County are off to a good start.


annarborshelter.org

Washtenaw County is expanding its shelter services this winter.  Starting in January the county will begin operating a second warming center.

The county's shelter services routinely exceeded their capacity last year, particularly during January-March.

Ellen Schulmeister is the Executive Director of the Shelter Association of Washtenaw County.

She says several local groups have offered to act as the site of the second center.

Bob Eccles

Ypsilanti renters having trouble with landlords have a new ally.  The Ypsilanti Tenants' Rights Association recently formed to advocate for renters having trouble with issues like harassment, neglect, or landlords who won't perform maintenance requests.

Alex Upham is a member of the Association, which was to introduce itself at Tuesday night's Ypsilanti City Council meeting. 

He says they're asking council to do what it can to help.

Washtenaw County
Andrew Cluley / 89.1 WEMU

Communities across Michigan struggle with homeless individuals, but Washtenaw County officials are dealing with an extra problem.


Ann Arbor Public Schools
Andrew Cluley / 89.1 WEMU

An exchange program bringing together educators from Ann Arbor and Singapore is letting the districts learn from each other.  An 11 day visit by teachers from the Southeast Asian island country wraps up Thursday.


Bob Eccles

If you live in Ypsilanti's second ward and think you might like to serve in city government, now's your chance.  City Council is taking applications from people interested in filling the vacancy created by Susan Moeller's resignation.

wikimedia commons

Governor Rick Snyder has said that the 300 or so same-sex marriages performed in Michigan back in March are void.  Local marriage equality supporters are not happy.

Sandi Smith is President of the Jim Toy Community Center. 

She says they held a community meeting Sunday night where about 50 people gathered to talk about the situation.

"It really throws them into chaos," Smith says, "and I think that the Governor ought to consider that before making sweeping statements."

wikimedia commons

Bill to overhaul Michigan's electoral votes blasted in committee hearing

A plan to change the way Michigan awards its electoral votes for president got largely panned at a state House hearing on Monday.

The legislation would award up to seven of the state's 16 Electoral College votes to the presidential runner-up in Michigan. The number of votes they get would depend on how close the popular vote is.

Michigan Public Radio Network

DeBoer case appealed to SCOTUS

The legal team for April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse filed its appeal Monday with the US Supreme Court. They want the court to rule that Michigan's ban on same-sex marriage and others like it across the country are unconstitutional.

Lead in text: 
In March, David Isay, the founder of the oral history project StoryCorps, will give his first TED talk — typically, a big-idea lecture delivered in a large hall while pacing alone on stage with an unseen, wireless microphone.
WEMU News

Listen to Michael Jewett's interview with Mr. B on the last leg of the trip.

On October 30th, The University of Michigan School of Music, Theater and Dance gave pianist, composer and arranger Bob James their highest award.  He received The Distinguished Alumnus Award and was inducted in to the School Of Music, Theater and Dance Hall Of Fame.  The celebration will be complete when Bob James makes his debut appearance as a jazz quintet leader in Hill Auditorium presented by The University Musical Society.  

recycleannarbor.org

Recycle Ann Arbor hopes to raise awareness of what sorts of things can be re-used or recycled at a special "America Recycles Day" event.  Saturday's celebration at the ReUse Center will focus on helping people understand what sorts of things can be reused.

 

Christine Chessler-Stull is Outreach and Zero Waste Coordinator for Recycle Ann Arbor. 

She says lots of stuff that ends up in landfills doesn't have to go there.  And Saturday is your chance to help give those items a new life.

wikimedia commons

Eastern Michigan University is being recognized for its continuing efforts to prevent suicide and promote mental health.

 

The recognition comes in the form of a federal grant.

EMU is getting a three year, $300-thousand grant from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

Pages