A Grand Rapids-based foster care agency that houses immigrant children separated from their parents at the United States and Mexico border says many of the children are “traumatized beyond belief.”

Bethany Christian Services is one of two foster care agencies in Michigan that receives seperated children from the US Department of Refugee Resettlement. According to the organization, roughly 50 children in its Refugee Foster Care program were forcibly removed from their parents near the southern border. 

Business leaders, teachers' unions and school administrators are joining in what is described as an unprecedented alliance to improve Michigan's K-12 public education system by moving past shorter-term partisan fights that influence policymaking in the Capitol.

Two people familiar with the situation say Michigan State University's new general counsel, appointed to help deal with fallout from the Larry Nassar scandal, would make nearly $1.3 million over three years even if he were fired for cause.
     The people spoke Wednesday to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the school had not announced the terms of his pending contract. It's expected to be taken up Friday during the board of trustees' next public meeting.

The Michigan Supreme Court says judges, not juries, have the sole power to decide whether someone under 18 gets life in prison without parole.
     The 4-2 opinion, released Wednesday, centers on murder cases from St. Clair County and Genesee County. Many new sentencing hearings for so-called juvenile lifers have been on hold while a decision was in the works.

Gerrymandering vote to be set by Board of State Canvassers

Jun 20, 2018

The Michigan elections board is set to certify a redistricting initiative for the statewide ballot in November. The proposed constitutional amendment is backed by opponents of political gerrymandering, including the organization Voters Not Politicians. It would task an independent commission with drawing congressional and legislative districts once a decade--instead of allowing the partisan Legislature to do it.

According to the state elections bureau, Voters Not Politicians has gathered 394,000 valid voter signatures---more than the roughly 315,000 needed.

A western Michigan woman faces prison time after pleading guilty to perjury related to the investigation into the beating death of her 4-year-old son and child abuse.

Sonja Hernandez entered the pleas this week in Kent County Circuit Court in Grand Rapids just before her trial was supposed to start. Sentencing is scheduled for July 19 and an agreement calls for prosecutors to recommend 29 and 57 months behind bars.

Scientists are studying water bodies in the area of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in the Upper Peninsula to determine what kind of fish live there.

Fisheries biologist Cory Kovacs of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources says the sampling began in 2017, when staffers sampled Chapel Creek, Hurricane River, Miner's River, Rhody Creek, Towes Creek and Mosquito River.

This year, they'll head to Grand Sable Lake, Chapel Lake, Beaver Lake, Sevenmile Creek and Lowney Creek.

A man convicted of sawing and removing metal fence posts at a Detroit baseball field has lost his appeal, even though police lost track of the evidence before trial.

Marvin Armstead was accused of sawing 10 posts at Jayne Field so he could use them for his own fencing business. Armstead insisted that he had purchased posts that were similar to ones that were stolen.

About two dozen demonstrators were arrested for blocking a light rail line in downtown Detroit to protest the treatment of poor people including water service shutoffs.

Monday's protests by the Michigan chapter of the "Poor People's Campaign" temporarily halted light rail service and blocked the entrance to an office building. The Michigan chapter has been holding rallies weekly leading up to a national demonstration in Washington, D.C., this week.

The Rev. Ed Rowe, pastor emeritus of Central United Methodist in Detroit, said: "We're seeing a crucifixion of the poor."

The City of Grand Rapids is set to begin accepting applications for City Commissioner David Allen’s replacement.

Allen, who announced his resignation in April, said he stepped down in order to focus all of his attention on running the Kent County Land Bank Authority where he serves as Executive Director.

His departure from the City Commission leaves a vacant Third Ward seat. For those who may consider applying to fill it, Allen warns them: it’s not a job for the faint of heart.