Grand Rapids Jewish temple hit with anti-Semitic graffiti

A Jewish synagogue in Grand Rapids was the target of anti-Semitic graffiti over the weekend. The graffiti at Temple Emanuel on East Fulton Street was found Sunday morning. Rabbi Michael Schadick declined to share the specific nature of it with the Advance, citing concerns of copycat incidents. A notice from the Jewish Federation of Grand Rapids said the messages were posted on entrances to the temple. Sunday evening marks the first night of the Jewish holiday of Sukkot. Sunday school and other planned activities at the temple continued without interruption, according to the Jewish Federation. "Our Jewish community is stronger together," the Jewish...

Some Detroiters still aren’t sold on the ‘Green Rush’ of legal marijuana

As Michigan prepares for the emerging recreational cannabis industry and attempts to level the field for minority business owners, Detroit’s budding “cannapreneurs” are eager to take part — but still face mistrust from residents who’ve seen the corrosive effects of drug enforcement in communities of color. Those tensions emerged earlier this summer as residents of the Bagley neighborhood in Northwest Detroit gathered to hear updates on the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act (MRTMA) from state Sen. Marshall Bullock (D-Detroit) and state Rep. LaTanya Garrett (D-Detroit). The lawmakers told the Bagley Community Council meeting attendees that state regulators had been...

Dingell, Tlaib back workers’ rights at Trump’s EPA 

A trio of U.S. House members met Friday in Dearborn with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) workers affected by the recent closure of the Large Lakes Research Station office on Grosse Ile. U.S. Reps. Debbie Dingell (D-Dearborn), Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit) and Betty McCollum (D-Minn.) and union members also discussed the President Trump administration’s efforts to weaken employees’ collective bargaining rights and the impact of EPA’s relocation of employees from Grosse Ile to Ann Arbor. Nicole Cantello, president of American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) Local 704, said she and her colleagues “won’t be silenced.” “EPA employees have legitimate concerns about this lab closure...

Susan J. Demas: After years of cutting Michigan to the bone, Republicans cry crocodile...

In 2011, I was having dinner with a big media executive on a day that teachers were protesting GOP then-Gov. Rick Snyder's budget cuts in Lansing. As everyone seems to have forgotten, Snyder — who was supposed to be some sort of moderate — took a hatchet to Michigan's public education system and safety net all in the name of giving corporations a $2 billion annual tax cut. He also probably raised your taxes along the way, between the pension tax and axing tax breaks for kids, college tuition, charitable contributions and more. Snyder's first budget was something out of Charles Dickens'...

Michigan sees efforts to establish Indigenous Peoples’ Day

State Sen. Jeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor) on Thursday introduced bills that would replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples’ Day in Michigan, echoing similar measures that have been already been adopted by multiple Michigan cities.  If passed, Senate Bill 568 would make Michigan the eighth state to opt for a holiday that pays tribute to indigenous and native tribes, and Senate Bill 569 would remove Columbus Day as a holiday.  “Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti adopted Indigenous Peoples’ Day in 2016, and the State of Michigan should follow their lead,” Irwin said. “Six other cities in Michigan — Alpena, Detroit, East Lansing, Ferndale,...

Michigan snags 2020 general election presidential debate

Updated, 1:04 p.m. 10/11/19 with comments from Mark Schlissel and Debbie Dingell. Three presidential debates will be held in 2020 — and one will be in Michigan. The nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates announced Friday the dates and locations of three general election presidential debates and one vice presidential debate. The second forum on Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020, will be held at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel wrote on Twitter that the university has "led the way in advancing understanding of our nation’s biggest issues" and called the debate an "exciting opportunity to enhance...

Column: Michigan gets called out for having the most Black children living in concentrated...

We want every child to thrive in Michigan. A new snapshot from the Annie E. Casey Foundation calls out our state on this goal … but not for praise. Due to a legacy of racial discrimination and oppression that we have yet to address, Michigan was ranked as the worst state in the nation for the percent of African American children living in concentrated poverty, at 50%.   We know that growing up in concentrated poverty, defined as a census tract with a poverty rate of 30 percent or more, can limit possibilities – for any child. Research shows that poverty affects...

Clinton on impeachment: ‘It’s a solemn, sad moment for our country’

Former first lady, U.S. senator, secretary of state, and 2016 Democratic nominee for president Hillary Clinton had a dark message on Thursday about the state of domestic and international affairs for students at the University of Michigan. Clinton said she supports the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump, who she faced in the last presidential election, but takes no joy in doing so. “This particular impeachment inquiry is not anything anybody should be happy about. Nobody should celebrate,” Clinton said. “It’s a solemn, sad moment for our country. But we have to enforce our laws and our Constitution, and we have...

Senate panel passes bipartisan compromise on ‘Raise the Age’ legislation

Michigan’s “Raise the Age” campaign scored big Thursday morning, as a Senate committee unanimously passed bipartisan legislation that will raise the age limit for an offender to be tried as a juvenile to 18 years old. Michigan is one of just five outlier states — along with Missouri, Georgia, Texas and Wisconsin — which regards 17-year-olds as adults in the criminal justice system, although Missisouri is set to change its law by January 2021. In every other state, offenders younger than 18 are charged as juveniles. In April, both the state House and Senate passed their own bipartisan bill packages supporting...

Dem spending bills emerge as budget talks resume

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said Thursday that “good faith” efforts are being made to complete the budget process by as soon as next week.  Whitmer and GOP legislative leaders met Thursday morning. State House Speaker Lee Chatfield (R-Levering) called it a “productive conversation,” but declined further comment.  A week after Whitmer vetoed almost $1 billion in GOP spending in the Fiscal Year 2020 budget, Republicans put forward supplemental bills totaling $257 million containing many of their priorities that had been cut by the governor.  Then on Thursday came Whitmer-backed supplemental spending bills that contain some of the GOP priorities.  State Sen. Curtis Hertel (D-East...