Last week, the City of Flint was ranked as the second most dangerous city in America by the FBI, second only to Oakland, California.
The city’s representative in the U-S House, Congressman Dan Kildee (D-Flint), is not happy with that ranking. He has introduced legislation that aims to put criminals behind bars, and keep young people from turning to a life of crime. Read more→
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. Read more→
The IRS said same-sex couples legally wed in a state that allows it will be recognized as married for federal tax purposes, even if they reside in a state like Michigan that does not allow same-sex marriage.
But it’s not clear yet how the state will deal with the ruling.
Michigan tax forms don’t ask about taxpayers’ gender. They don’t have anything that would distinguish same-sex couples from heterosexual couples. State tax forms simply allow a couple to claim their federal marital status.
Emily Dievendorf is with Equality Michigan. She said Michigan also refuses to recognize same-sex marriages.
“I think that, unfortunately, because of this inconsistency between state and federal law, these are questions that continue to come up and decisions that will have to be challenged,” Dievendorf said.
There is an October hearing scheduled in a federal court challenge to Michigan’s same-sex marriage ban.
LGBT rights groups are also getting ready to go the ballot in 2016 to reverse the same-sex marriage ban.
In a recent move, the national Big Brothers Big Sisters organization has had millions of dollars in funding cut, but local chapters said it’s not yet clear what the impact will be for them.
The U.S. Department of Justice cut nearly $20-million in funding from the national organization after finding Big Brothers overpaid consultants, failed to track taxpayer funds and kept sloppy financial records.
Cecilia Chesney is the Executive Director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Michigan. She said the lost funding had been earmarked for a juvenile justice program, aimed at helping incarcerated youth.
She said many smaller, rural local chapters don’t participate in the program. Still, she said, the recent cuts may hit locals through a domino effect.
“You know, we are part of the national organization and if they get hit financially, if they have a big hit financially, there’ll be a trickle down effect. I don’t know what that could be, and they may find some ways to make up for that.” Chesney said.
Chesney said her chapter, and many small, rural ones, get most of their funding through private donations.
Algoma University in Sault Ste. Marie Canada is hosting a conference this week to explore issues surrounding the Canada U.S. Border.
The conference is part of a three year project by researchers to explore the cultural connections at the U.S. / Canada.
Academics will also look at the social and political issues around the border, which is the longest international border in the world.
Jan Clark is a co-organizer for the conference.
“A lot of work has been done looking at the Mexican border with the U.S. and so this is bringing some of that to looking at the northern border.” Clark said.
Academics from the United States and Canada will be joined by researchers from the U.K., Austria, Germany, Bangladesh, and Mexico. They will explore social and political issues as well as the culture surrounding the border.
The organizers of the conference say they hope the project will bring increased interest to the issues.