Ben Thorp

Reporter

Ben grew up listening to WCMU and has become an obsessive of podcasts, radio, and the home life of Ira Glass. Ben joined WCMU in December, 2015 as a general assignment reporter. Since then, Ben has won multiple statewide awards for his reporting efforts, and had several stories aired nationally on NPR's 'Morning Edition' and 'All Things Considered.'

Ben is a native of Petoskey, and graduated from Michigan State University in 2014.

Ways to Connect

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Matthias Mueller

The Michigan Department of Corrections is sending out letters to lawmakers this week, pleading for changes to a proposed budget that would cut 41 million dollars to prison facilities statewide.

The Senate passed the controversial prison budget on May 4th.

The cuts are predicated on a declining prison population: in the last two years the Michigan Department of Corrections has reported a five percent decrease in prisoner populations.

Republican State Senator John Proos sponsored the budget bill. He said corrections spending needs to be efficient.

A new bill could change the way auto insurance is calculated across the state.

Supporters of the bill hope to make the cost of auto insurance in the state, which has some of the highest rates in the country, a little more fair.

Democratic State Senator Morris Hood is the bill’s primary sponsor. He says insurance rates would be calculated based on multiple factors.

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Will Kimeria

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is seeking information regarding turkey poaching on state land.

Lt. Jeremy Payne works with the Michigan DNR. He said they received a complaint on the "Report All Poaching" hotline that there were turkey carcasses in a field on state land near Castor Road in Midland county.  Payne said the turkey carcasses were left after meat was cut out of them.

“They were breasted out so the carcasses were left in this field. There were five dead turkeys that we located in the field.”

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Caden Crawford

A new report, from the Michigan League for Public Policy, looks at the real cost of living in each of Michigan’s 83 county and calculates the income needed to make meet basic needs.

https://flic.kr/p/chEN1u
Carol

A 70 year old Flint man was sentenced this week for returning more than ten thousand pop cans and bottles to illegally collect on Michigan’s ten cent bottle return.

State officials say John Custer Woodfill partnered with an Indiana scrap dealership that bought uncrushed cans from residents at 60 - 80 cents per pound.

Andrea Bitely is the press secretary for Attorney General Bill Schuette. 

Jeff Kramer / https://flic.kr/p/xSThT

A new bill in Lansing would protect people who leave their car idling in their driveway from getting a ticket. 

The measure would change an existing law that allows police to ticket drivers who leave their cars idling.

But some lawmakers argue that law is intended to protect residents from car theft.

The current law allows police to ticket idling vehicles - whether they’re in public parking lots or in private driveways.

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Ujjwol Lamichhane

Student enrollment has been on a steady decline across Michigan since 2010.

New data from the Michigan Department of Education show the trend has continued into the 2016-2017 school year.

https://flic.kr/p/nMJKs9
Mike Fritcher

The Air Force said it will not comply with a new Michigan safe water law because it says it is discriminatory.

Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary/NOAA.

Scientists are launching an exploratory mission into the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary in search of undiscovered shipwrecks.

Brian Stansberry / http://bit.ly/2pEodjZ

Cities statewide have been struggling financially, according to the Michigan Municipal League.

The league is proposing legislative solutions to help balance municipal budgets.

Matt Bach is with the Michigan Municipal League. He said city revenue has not tracked with the economy.

“People might think ‘oh the economy is getting better there is more jobs, there are more things happening.’ Which is true, Michigan’s economy is improving, but Michigan’s cities aren’t seeing that because of the way things are structured. The cities aren’t seeing that growth.”

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