Detroit schools’ toxic water, ICE deporting deaf Nigerian: Your Wednesday morning briefing

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“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:

$2M solution proposed for toxic water in Detroit’s schools

Detroit’s school superintendent Nikolai Vitti proposed a $2 million solution to reducing elevated levels of lead and copper found in at least 16 schools just days before the first day of school earlier this month.

At a board of education meeting on Tuesday, Vitti laid out a proposal for water hydration stations in all 106 school buildings. Similar systems are used in Flint, Royal Oak and Baltimore.

Vitti ordered all Detroit public schools to turn off drinking water after dangerous levels of lead and copper were found in at least 16 schools.

Vitti, however, said the state would not pay for the system, even though Lansing controlled the district for nearly a decade,

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Vitti plans to provide the board with information on the system next month so the district can tap surplus funds to finance his proposed solution.

ICE to deport deaf, cognitively impaired Nigerian man living in Detroit

ICE authorities are refusing to bend to public pressure and are moving forward with their decision to deport a deaf Nigerian immigrant who has lived in Detroit for three decades, the Free Press reports.

ICE said Francis Anwana, 48, must immediately leave the country voluntarily or he will be forcibly removed.

“In an exercise of discretion, ICE is allowing Mr. Anwana to make arrangements to depart the U.S. voluntarily,” Khaalid Walls, spokesman for the Michigan and Ohio office of ICE, told the Free Press.

The decision incensed supporters of Anwana, who is deaf, can’t speak and has cognitive disabilities, which would make it very difficult for him to survive in Nigeria.

UofM, Harvard team up to tackle poverty, opioid epidemic in Detroit

The Universities of Michigan and Harvard are working with the city of Detroit to confront poverty and opioid addiction.

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The collaboration, announced Wednesday, will pair Michigan’s Poverty Solutions Initiative with Harvard’s statistical and computational research to examine the factors that influence the economy. The effort is designed to identify ways improve the lives of lower-income residents.

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The partnership formed after University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel asked Harvard President Lawrence Bacow, who grew up in Pontiac, for help tackling poverty and the opioid epidemic.

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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.