Toxic water in Detroit’s schools, fighting Schuette endorsement, legalized pot: Your Thursday morning briefing

Cass Tech High School. Photo by Steve Neavling

“Morning Briefing” is a new feature in Motor City Muckraker to keep you informed as we add award-winning reporters to our independent newsroom that soon will be a nonprofit watchdog. Your donations are key to our ability to produce more vigorous, meaningful, nonpartisan journalism at a time when news rooms are cutting back on impactful, investigative stories.

These are the top stories you’re waking up to:

More than half of Detroit’s public schools have contaminated water

More than half of Detroit’s public schools have dangerous levels of copper or lead at a time when Mayor Duggan’s administration is spending hundreds of millions of dollars in corporate welfare to billionaire developers.

New test results received by the Detroit Public Schools Community District identified an additional 33 schools with copper or lead that exceed acceptable standards, the Detroit News reports.  On Sept. 4, just days before the school year began, 16 schools tested above acceptable levels. An additional eight had elevated levels of contamination in the spring.

That brings the total number of schools affected by dangerous levels of lead or copper to 57 in a district that needs $500 million in building repairs – a little more than half what the Ilitch family received in public money to build the Red Wings facility.

The budget problems will continue as the schools use bottled water for drinking and cleaning food. The school district plans to buy filters to prevent toxic exposure.

Founder’s Brewing cuts ties with Grand Rapids chamber over Schuette endorsement

Founders Brewing Co. is among an increasing number of businesses cutting ties with the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce’s decision to endorse Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Schuette.

Attorney General Bill Schuette

In a social media post, the Grand Rapids-based brewer cited Schuette’s negative views of LGBTQ rights as its reason for withdrawing its membership from the chamber, the Free Press first reported

“We will be terminating our membership in the meantime and encourage our fellow local businesses to consider doing the same,” the company tweeted.

Other Grand Rapids businesses that canceled their chamber memberships are Donkey Tacqueria and 8ThirtyFourt Integrated Communications.

Schuette, the state’s attorney general who was endorsed by President Trump, spent millions of dollars in public resources fighting for Michigan’s gay marriage ban. 

Legalized marijuana won’t protect your job

If voters legalize the recreational use of marijuana in November, smoking weed may still cost you a job. 

The Free Press reports that employers will still have the right to take action against people who test positive for marijuana in pre-employment screenings or drug tests on the job. Employees with medicinal marijuana cards in Michigan have been fired for testing positive to THC, and courts have sided with the employer. 

The five-page legalization proposal spells it out:

This act does not require an employer to permit or accommodate conduct otherwise allowed by this act in any workplace or on the employer’s property. This act does not prohibit an employer from disciplining an employee for violation of a workplace drug policy or for working while under the influence of marijuana. This act does not prevent an employer from refusing to hire, discharging, disciplining, or otherwise taking an adverse employment action against a person with respect to hire, tenure, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment because of that person’s violation of a workplace drug policy or because that person was working while under the influence of marijuana.

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Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.