Michigan has a new teacher retirement plan

Gov. Rick Snyder signed off on a bill that will causes significant changes to the retirement plans for all new teachers and school employees hired after February 1, 2018. The collaborative billed compiled by Michigan’s House and Senate will automatically enroll all new school employees into the program starting next winter. The plans will have school districts pay 4 percent of the employee’s salary into their 401 (k) plan. New employees may also contribute their personal funds and the state would match their addition by 3 percent. University of Michigan-Flint teaching major Alicia Williams believes the changes are for the better.

In Flint, the real estate market is in turmoil

FLINT, Mich. — Since the Flint Water Crisis became public knowledge, residents were left unsure of what to do with their homes. “There has been a great amount of misconstrued information regarding Flint residents selling their homes during the water crisis. Homeowners can certainly sell their homes,” said Royal Reality real estate agent Danielle Green. Amber Hoey is a Flint resident who heard otherwise.

Arson-prone Michigan city gets help to hire more firefighters

FLINT, Mich. — In September of 2016, Flint, Michigan’s fire department received the Staffing For Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Grant (SAFER). According to the FEMA website, the SAFER grant is competitive among fire departments and volunteer firefighter organizations to assist them in increasing and maintaining the number of trained firefighter available in their communities. Its goal is to enhance the local fire departments abilities to comply with staffing, response times and operational standards. Chief of the Flint Fire Department Raymond Barton knew when he stepped into his position, he wanted to bring the SAFER grant back to the city struggling for funding.

Businesses working around fouled water issues to keep doors open in troubled Flint

FLINT, Mich. — “We have to be especially careful in the methods we use to prepare our food since we essentially can’t use the city’s water anymore,” said Banana Boat employee Shayla Burnett. That’s the situation in Flint, Michigan, which was placed under a state of emergency on December 14, 2015 as reaction to the elevated levels of lead in the city’s drinking water. Local restaurants and the Genesee Health Department are responsible for creating methods the city’s restaurants can use to remain open until a long-term resolution is complete. “We have water filters on each faucet, if someone orders water with their meal, we only give out bottled water.

Michigan not immune to opioid epedemic

FLINT, Mich. — There is currently an opioid epidemic happening in our area and across the nation. Opioid use continues to be on the rise. There has been an increase in overdose deaths related to heroin laced with fentanyl or carfentinal (animal tranquilizer),” said Kim Shewmaker, Director of Programs Operations for Flint, Michigan’s Odyssey House drug and alcohol treatment center. Michigan resident Aaron Emerson knows the struggles of battling a heroin addiction.

Like many places, mid-Michigan city bracing for summer crime

FLINT, Mich. — Summertime is crime time. And this Michigan city is no exception. “Research shows that there is an increase in crime during the summer, as opposed to the winter. One explanation for this is the warmer weather, which brings people out of their homes and into the streets,” University of Michigan, assistant professor of criminal justice Kimberly Bender said.

Little Miss Flint: The face of a community coping with crisis

FLINT, Mich. — A small city about 70 miles northwest of Detroit was thrust into mainstream media when it was revealed that residents water was tainted with lead and other contaminates dating back to 2014, when the city attempted to cut budgets, resulting in changing the water source from Detroit, to the Flint River. The water crisis has changed the lives of all city residents, but others say the crisis was a call to action. From public speaking and advocating to bringing awareness to the daily struggles of living with poisoned water, Flint resident Mari Copeny, 10, has become a social media sensation, making her the face,of her hometown and earning her the nickname, Little Miss Flint. “We have been advocating for all of the residents of Flint, but mostly for the kids.

Michigan State University student Jazmine Skala-Wade

Students work to overcome stigma around mental illness

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, one in 20 American adults live with a serious health condition, but people living with mental illness, believe there is a negative stigma attached to it. Michigan State University student, Jazmine Skala-Wade was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, known as ADHD, when she was 11. “People have this idea that mental illnesses aren’t real, that you need to pray them away, that you are making it up or that you are crazy,” Skala-Wade said. “I have been judged and looked at as crazy. People have made up stories about my mental illness and I’ve been treated like I shouldn’t be smart.”

Skala-Wade said she’s doing things in college that people did not think she was capable of because of her ADHD.

Inclusion campaign aims to address discrimination on campus

Michigan State University has launched an inclusion campaign to address issues of race, gender and discrimination on campus. “Inclusion is defined as creating a living, learning and work environment where differences are valued, respected and welcomed,” said Paulette Granberry-Russell, senior adviser to the president for diversity and inclusion. “We’ve committed resources to the reducing the graduation gap between white students and black and Hispanic students, and we recognize there is more that we need to do to reduce the gap,” she said. In fall 2015, MSU launched the Office of Institutional Equity to oversee the university’s efforts to address discrimination and harassment based on factors such as race, gender and sex. The office allows students and faculty to file reports of discrimination on its website.

New student group works to promote health issues on campus

With more than 600 registered student organizations on campus, students at Michigan State University can find a group for just about any interest

The the leaders of Raising Awareness with Students believe they have a mission unlike others. RAWS promotes health issues, with a focus on preventable illnesses. It was created by Kady Cox, an interdisciplinary studies in social science student. The concept of RAWS started with her annual event, “Diabetes is Not Sweet.” “I got the idea for the ‘Diabetes is Not Sweet’ event because mom and my grandmother both have diabetes,” Cox said.