Author Archives: CMU Public Radio News

Report: More low-income students getting a higher ed head start

file000727454092More Michigan kids are making college dreams come true while still in high school. That’s according to a new report that finds the number of low-income Michigan pupils taking Advanced Placement coursework has increased eight-fold over the past ten years.
Continue reading

Social workers bridging the gap between veterans and civilians

gr-37414-1-1While it’s good to come home to family and friends after military deployment, getting back into the swing of daily life can be difficult for armed services members, and social workers in Michigan are helping to ease the transition for many veterans.
Continue reading

Muslims launch education, awareness initiative in Michigan

Drivers on some Michigan highways may have noticed billboards offering the chance to “Gain Peace,” discuss Islam, and obtain a free copy of the Muslim holy book. It’s all part of an Islamic outreach group’s attempt to change the conversation about the religion.

Dr. Sabeel Ahmed is the director of the Gain Peace campaign, which he said is not about trying to convert anyone, but simply an educational effort.

“We want to make sure that we work on the commonalities that there may be between Islam, Christianity, Judaism, and other faiths,” he said. “If they are activists in the church or in the synagogue, we would like to work with them for the betterment of the society.”

Gain Peace is a national organization supported by the Islamic Circle of North America. In addition to the billboards, the group has taken out newspaper, television, and radio ads in different parts of the state.

Ahmed said that, despite Michigan being home to one of the largest Muslim populations in the country, there are still many misconceptions about the religion and what he described as a certain degree of “Islamophobia” in the state. He said the response to the campaign has been largely positive.

“Not only (do) we have our Christian friends and our Jewish friends calling, we’ve also had a few atheist people who are calling, and they want to know who is doing this, and they want to engage with us about discussing topics within Islam,” he said.

According to FBI statistics, hate crimes against Muslims nationally jumped 50 percent in 2010 and remain at what the Bureau calls “relatively high levels.”

On The Web:
Gain Peace Campaign: www.GainPeace.com

This story was produced by Mona Shand with the Michigan News Connection.

Michigan “Goes Red for Women” on Friday

Red and hearts are all around this month, and the American Heart Association hopes Michiganders will put the two together this Friday, to join in the fight against the number-one killer of women – which some people may be surprised to learn is heart disease.

Janine Krolikowski of Royal Oak, an AHA spokeswoman, lost both her parents to heart disease at an early age, and as a cardiac ultrasound technician, she knew the warning signs. However, she said, she still downplayed her own heart attack symptoms until it was almost too late.

“The one thing I did right that day is, I took an aspirin when I thought it was cardiac-related,” she recalled. “What I did wrong was, I didn’t call 911 immediately.”

Friday marks the 11th annual National Wear Red Day. Men and women alike are encouraged to wear the color to help raise awareness of heart disease, which according to the Heart Association claims more women’s lives each year than all forms of cancer combined.

Krolikowski said she hopes the simple act of wearing red will help remind women across Michigan just how critical it is to take care of themselves.

“Everything takes priority and we end up at the bottom of the heap, and that has to change for women, because if we’re not here, we can’t take care of our children, we won’t be able take care of our husbands, or work,” she warned. “We need to make that a number-one priority.”

The American Heart Association estimates that 43 million women in the U.S. are affected by heart disease.

On The Web: 
“Go Red” Campaign: www.goredforwomen.org

This story was provided by Mona Shand with the Michigan News Connection

Report: Majority of MI 4th-Graders Reading Below Grade Level

Michigan isn’t making the grade when it comes to teaching children to read, according to a new report.

The study from the Annie E. Casey Foundation found that nearly seven out of 10 Michigan fourth-graders cannot demonstrate reading proficiency. The percentage of young readers lagging behind their grade level is even higher for kids from lower-income families, said Jane Zehnder-Merrell, Kids Count director at the Michigan League for Public Policy – and the gap is growing.
Continue reading

AARP to lawmakers: Use surplus to help seniors

It’s the billion-dollar question: what to do with the state’s budget surplus, and advocates for seniors say the answer is to ease the burden older Michiganders have been carrying since being hit with a series of tax hikes in 2011.

According to Lisa Dedden Cooper, manager of advocacy for ARRP Michigan, using the budget surplus to reverse some of that damage would have a ripple effect through the state’s economy.
Continue reading

Michigan activists continue fight for immigration reform

Prasanna Vengadam of Michigan United, seen here announcing a 24-hour "Fast for Families" at a recent news conference, is among those hoping 2014 is the year Congress will agree on a comprehensive immigration reform bill. Photo courtesy Michigan United.

Prasanna Vengadam of Michigan United, seen here announcing a 24-hour “Fast for Families” at a recent news conference, is among those hoping 2014 is the year Congress will agree on a comprehensive immigration reform bill. Photo courtesy Michigan United.

They joined with thousands of others in a nationwide “Fast for Families,” and Michigan activists say they won’t give up the fight for comprehensive immigration reform, despite inaction this year by House Republicans in Congress.
Continue reading

Hunters hope to fill Michigan food banks

Buck in the BrushAs hunters across Michigan head for the woods today with the opening of firearms hunting season, many will be helping to feed the state’s hungry, thanks to a program that connects processors, food banks, and the generous spirit of the state’s sportsmen and women.
Continue reading