In September, MLive reporter Amy Biolchini and myself traveled to Portland, Oregon to take a look at Oregon’s legalized recreational marijuana program and how it compares to Michigan’s  recreational marijuana proposal set to go to the polls on the November ballot.

The proposal passed with 56 percent of Michigan voters saying “yes” to the marijuana legalization initiative.

Recreational marijuana became be legal in Michigan on December 6, 2018.

Full story:

Emotional goodbye at Michigan airport as woman deported after 30 years in U.S.

After 30 years in the U.S., where she raised three children, worked and paid taxes in Sterling Heights, Zahrija Purovic, 50, was put on a plane and sent to Montenegro on Thursday.

Despite no criminal record and a pending motion for a stay of removal in federal appeals court, immigration authorities ordered her to pack her belongings, purchase a plane ticket and appear at Detroit Metro Airport.

Upon arriving with family members and friends around 4 p.m. Thursday, two ICE agents told Purovic that she had not been granted a stay, and escorted her to her flight.

Story written by Dana Afana.

Childhood memories from Detroit 1967: ‘It was war’

What Venita Thompkins remembers most from July 1967 is her Easter dress.

It was cut from pristine white cloth, adorned with frilly lace, complete with a set of even purer white gloves.

Her mother was wary of giving her chocolate for fear that she might sully the spotless garment. On Easter morning, as her family went to church, Thompkins’ mother stashed the treats in her purse.

It was hot then, as hot as it is in July 2017. The chocolate melted, and when she ate it, Thompkins got it everywhere.

She never got her dress back – it was burned to a crisp at the local cleaners, one of the first casualties of destruction and looting on 12thStreet in the Detroit 1967 riots.


Looter in Detroit 1967 riot: ‘You can only be held down for so long’

A rebellion: That’s what Frank Thomas, like many longtime Detroiters, calls the riot of July 1967.

To most observers, a riot is a riot. It was senseless violence and opportunistic looting.

For Thomas, it wasn’t that simple.

It was an uprising; a vent for homebrewed rage simmering in the black community for years.

Cops remember Detroit 1967 riot, racial divide that persisted

Tom Robinson never wanted to be a police officer.

But he was broke and unemployed, laid-off from his factory job in 1963.

Eventually, an unemployment counselor insisted he apply to join Detroit police force.

“He said, ‘you want your next check?'” Robinson recalled. “‘Then you’ll take that exam.'”

After two attempts, Robinson became a Detroit cop stationed at the city’s 10th Precinct.

By his own account, the retired 79-year-old sergeant picked a hell of a time to join the force.

Four years later, at 3:30 a.m. on July 23, 1967, police raided an after-hours club at the corner of 12th Street and Clairmount Avenue.

Written by Ben Solis.

Story: Robotic suit makes paralyzed Metro Detroit crash victim feel ‘strangely normal’

Shannon Henry, 21 of New Boston, was able to walk for the first time since her accident with the help of REX, a robotic walking device on trial at the Detroit Medical Center’s Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015. “I haven’t walked in three years, it’s kind of weird,” said Henry. “Sometimes you forget what it is like to walk.”

“Wind: Mid-Michigan’s New Energy” was a group-thesis multimedia project that focused on the emerging Wind Turbine development in Gratiot County.

Trying to show wind energy in a different light proved to be very difficult. We stumbled across a family trying to fly a kite in their yard. Their home was surrounded by the wind turbines.

Here are a couple films stills and images from that evening of feature hunting:



multimedia, photojournalism, portfolio, Uncategorized, video

Green Grazing: Joe Stough


Joe Stough graduated from college in 2003 with a degree in Computer Networks, but in the end he just did not enjoy his intended career. The day after graduation Joe began milking full-time at his family’s 75 year-old dairy farm in Clare, Michigan. Two and a half years ago Joe bought a share in the Stough Dairy Farm and is now more involved in the operation of the business. “It’s a unique industry,” says Joe. The Stough farm is apart of an organization called Michigan Milk Producers Association, a co-operative of diary farmers. “It is a unique organization because it is wholly owned [by the farmers] and we pretty much control it from front to end.” Every morning at 10am Stough begins milking the farm’s 100 cows; it takes him about about 4 hours. He then cleans the milking area, feeds the calves and takes care of any other business around the farm.


Stough’s nights are quite different from his mornings on the farm. Stough is also a medical marijuana caregiver. “Its also strange because most people see the dairy industry or a farmer as a ‘good ol-boy’, a good person. You know, people kind of look up to you as a hard working dairy farmer and then you say ‘i also grow medical marijuana’ and they look out of the corner of their eye and say ‘oh i don’t know about that i thought you used to be a good guy and now i don’t know,” says Stough. “Realize its not a black market industry any more.”

Stough takes care of 72 plants for his 6 patients, who all suffer from different ailments which medical marijuana helps relive. Every night around 6, Stough waters his plants and feeds them any nutrients according to set growing schedule. He originally began growing in his bathroom, but as he gained more patients as a caregiver, he expanded his growroom to half of his pole-barn. Stough explains that there is quite a bit of money in the medical marijuana industry. He says that there are still a lot of gray area in the laws surronding medical marijuana. Stough’s says his cargiver service has benefited a lot of friends, because his income from the grow service stays local. With it, he is able to hire friends to trim and water his plants and hire a second hand milking on the Stough Dairy Farm. Although Joe is only 27, his knowledge of business and management is astonishing. Joe sees himself continuing in both businesses, the dairy industry and as a medical marijuana caregiver, but more in a management position as he has already begun by hiring people under both operations.