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Stateside: Electroplating company’s pollution history; UIA lawsuit, Sen. Lucido comments

Anna Schlutt
Michigan Radio
The "National Sword" policy in China banned the imports of plastics, paper, and other recyclable materials. We talked to two men in the recycling business in Michigan about how they've responded.

Today on Stateside, what the story about a state senator's alleged sexual harassment of a female journalist says about Capitol culture. Plus, a look at where Michigan's recyclables are going, two years after China stopped accepting U.S. waste.

Listen to the full show above or find individual segments below.

State officials knew about the problems at Electro-Plating Service for 30 years

Stateside’s conversation with Tracy Samilton

  • The green ooze that spilled onto I-696 last month came from a company called Electro-Plating Services in Madison Heights. Michigan Radio recently learned the company's history of dodging laws regulating hazardous chemicals goes back further than previously known. The state was first alerted of violations by Electro-Plating Services in 1990. Michigan Radio reporter Tracy Samilton discussed why it has taken the state so long to take action. 

State appealing ruling in unemployment insurance fraud lawsuit to Michigan Supreme Court

Stateside’s conversation with Jennifer Lord

  • The state of Michigan is asking the state Supreme Court to strike a ruling that will allow some Michigan residents to sue for damages. Those residents had been receiving unemployment checks when a computer error wrongly concluded they should not have been getting payments. Jennifer Lord is with the law firm Pitt McGehee Palmer & Rivers, and is the lead attorney for the class-action lawsuit against the state. We talked to her about what's at stake for those wrongly accused of fraud, and Attorney General Dana Nessel's decision to appeal the ruling after she said as a candidate that the state should settle.
  • Stateside reached out for a response to the change in Nessel's position. AG spokesperson Kelly Rossman-McKinney said, "What the AG said during her campaign was said before she took office and had an opportunity to learn far more about the case." You can find the full statement here.

China isn’t taking recyling from U.S. What has that meant for local recyclers?

Stateside’s conversation with Dar Baas and Matt Naimi

  • It's been about two years since China enacted a policy called "National Sword", which banned imports of plastics, paper, and other materials for recycling. It was a heavy blow to U.S. consumers, who've been sending waste to China for decades. It forced Michigan's solid waste authorities to find alternatives fast. Dar Baas, the director of the Kent County Department of Public Works, and Matt Naimi, one of the founders of Recycle Here in Detroit, talked about the effect China's ban has had on local recycling efforts in Michigan.

Deported Michigan father reunites with family after two years

Stateside’s conversation with Jorge and Cindy Garcia

  • This past Christmas was a very happy one for Jorge Garcia of Lincoln Park and his family. Their gift? A reunion after nearly two years apart. Jorge, who was born in Mexico, moved with his family to the U.S. at the age of 10. He married a U.S. citizen, his wife Cindy, and lived here for 30 years. Jorge and Cindy shared the story of Jorge's deportation in January of 2018, and the events that led up to the family’s reunion late last year.

Sen. Lucido comments reflect “undercurrent in Capitol culture” say statehouse reporters

Stateside’s conversation with Kathy Gray and Emily Lawler

  • This week, Michigan news was dominated by a story from an online political publication the Michigan Advance. Reporter Allison Donahue wrote about an exchange with state Senator Peter Lucido. Lucido, while giving a tour to a class of high school boys, reportedly told Donahue the boys could "have a lot of fun" with her. That story has been picked up by national media. Emily Lawler, political reporter for MLive, and Kathy Gray, political reporter for Detroit Free Press, discussed that story for our weekly political roundup. They also talked about Freedom of Information Act bills in the state Legislature and the ongoing debate over road funding. 

The Bitter End straight from a Grand Rapids distiller

Lester Graham and Tammy Coxen mix up a cocktail

  • The weekend is here. Let's celebrate with a drink! Michigan Radio’s Lester Graham told us about a Grand Rapids distiller making bourbon, whiskey, and gin just off the eastern banks of the Grand River. Lester and Tammy then mixed up a whiskey cocktail with coffee liquer called the "Bitter End." 

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