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Wayne State men’s tennis falls to Barry in Division II national championship

Wayne State’s men’s tennis team, seeking the program’s first national championship, fell to third-seeded Barry, 4-1, in Altamonte Springs, Florida Sunday. Wayne State, the fourth seed, finishes the season at 26-5. It was a rematch of a March 17 showdown won by Wayne State, 4-3, in Miami Beach. Daniel Grey won Wayne State’s lone match, defeating Barry’s Ignasi Forcano, 6-4, 6-3. Wayne State reached the national title match, coming from behind to defeat Columbus State, 4-3, in Saturday’s semifinals.  
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With renewed winning culture, Wayne State baseball ties school record with 36th victory

Rudy Ramirez was a freshman on the last team to come close. And on Friday at Harwell Field, with his team’s backs against the wall, Wayne State’s senior right fielder wanted to make sure that the Warriors didn’t have to face coming up short again. Wayne State missed a chance Thursday to tie the single-season program record for wins for a second time. Ramirez drove in four runs and threw out a runner at the plate during a pivotal moment in the second inning to set the tone in what would become a 10-3 win over Ashland Friday in a Midwest Regional elimination game. The victory tied the program wins record for Wayne State (36-18) and kept the season alive. “We came up a little short (in 2019) and it kind of was a big idea in our head that we missed out on,” Ramirez said. “Getting to 36 this year was a huge stepping stone.” Both Ramirez and Wayne State head coach Ryan Kelley were quick to note that there are still much bigger games to play for the season. And yet, accomplishing the milestone is not lost on them. “There’s a lot of work that’s been done behind the scenes with this team. So when they look back at it, and they see they have a piece of Wayne State baseball history with the wins and the season, I think that’s something they can look back with pride on,” Kelley said.  
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Baby formula industry was primed for disaster long before key factory closed down

By Kevin Ketels  Kevin Ketels, assistant professor, teaching, of global supply chain management at Wayne State University’s Mike Ilitch School of Business wrote an article for The Conversation analyzing the factors that have contributed to the baby formula supply chain issues, which have left retailers with dwindling supplies and parents across the country traveling or paying exorbitant sums of money to obtain formula for their babies. Ketels says that the conditions that led to a shortage of baby formula were set in motion long before the February 2022 closure of the Similac factory tipped the U.S. into a crisis. News that the Food and Drug Administration and Similac-maker Abbott have reached a deal to reopen the formula factory in Sturgis, Michigan, is welcome news for desperate parents, but Ketels says it will do little to alleviate the shortage anytime soon – in no small part because of the very nature of the baby formula industry. “The closure of the factory may have lit the fuse for the nationwide shortage, but a combination of government policy, industry market concentration and supply chain issues supplied the powder,” he writes.  
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Stateside: The legacy of Malcom X in Michigan

Wayne State University associate professor Kidada Williams, who also hosts and produces the podcast “Seizing Freedom,” joins Stateside to shed light on the life of Malcom X and his legacy in Michigan. Malcom X isn’t as frequently discussed as other civil rights leaders. “I think we don’t talk about Malcom because a lot of people don’t understand who he was and what he really stood for. I think that the root of that is that he was unapologetic in his love for Black people and his willingness to point out the harms of white supremacy and the moral bankruptcy at the root of it. That makes a lot of people uncomfortable.” Williams said she teaches her students about Malcom X, and more importantly, she said she has them read his work. “A lot of them come with these preconceived ideas – they’ve been told Malcom hates white people, and they don’t like people who hate. So they come with these preconceived notions of who he was and what he stood for. But when they read his work for themselves, when they see what he stood for and what he actually said and tried to do, they have a much deeper appreciation for him as someone who believed in justice and liberty, and was willing to fight for it...”  

Researchers working to reduce micro-plastics in the Great Lakes

Plastic waste may be a bigger problem in the Great Lakes than we realize. Researchers from the University of Michigan, Michigan State University and Wayne State University met in Traverse City on Monday to discuss the impact that micro-plastic pollution has not just on the Great Lakes, but for us. 22 million pounds of plastic go into the Great Lakes every year. As researchers work to lower that number, the Watershed Center Grand Traverse Bay says the amount of trash in the bay increases every year. The micro-plastics found in the water can also be harmful to our health. “We know historically that micro-plastics, one of the many issues, is that they can carry molecules that can be harmful or toxic to organisms, including people,” said Dr. Rodrigo Fernandez-Valdivia, professor at the Wayne State University School of Medicine. It’s estimated we swallow microscopic plastic materials that add up to a credit card a week. “You can find it in food, as well as beverages, so you don’t know, you’re not aware of it, but you are actually ingesting micro-plastics,” said Fernandez-Valdivia. Single-use plastics seem to be the biggest culprit. “I think probably most people are most familiar with the plastic bags at grocery stores or other types of stores, having your own bag to use, using paper instead – could be a better choice, but it’s also single-use meaning little bags for sandwiches, bottled water,” said Britany Affolter-Caine, executive director of Michigan’s University Research Corridor.  

5 minutes with Timmy Nelson: Digital design specialist streams video games to raise money for children’s hospitals

When Timmy Nelson isn’t working as a digital design specialist for Wayne State University’s Office of Alumni Relations, he loves to play video games, draw and entertain. These interests are at the heart of his Twitch livestream, trueTIMfoolery, which he uses to raise money for local children’s hospitals through the nonprofit organization Extra Life. Since he began streaming in 2019, Nelson and his followers have raised more than $17,000 by playing video games and board games – and participating in a variety of incentives aimed at bringing in extra money. “Extra Life allows me to do the things that I really enjoy, but also teach people that philanthropy can be a hobby,” said Nelson. “You don’t have to be a Fortune 500 CEO that’s giving all this money out to people. Every single dollar counts. Anyone can do it.”  
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‘We have a lot of work to do’: Experts examine warning signs of mass shootings 

By Jim Kiertzner  With every mass shooting, there are elements that are closely examined: why it happened, and could it have been prevented? In Buffalo, New York, that starts with the white 18-year-old alleged shooter who targeted Black customers inside a grocery store, based solely on race and hate. “First, they study what other people have done. And either because they want to emulate them, or because they want to out-compete them or somehow achieve something bigger,” said Pontus Leander, director of the Center for Peace and Conflict Studies at Wayne State University. The evidence in the Buffalo case is the alleged shooter wrote about what’s called “The Great Replacement” to target Black people. The extremist theory can also be used to attack others, including Jewish people. “They’re looking to express a certain set of motivations in a certain way,” Leander said. “Especially if they’re in a state where they’re looking to blame others or to offload problems onto other groups and justify engaging in certain actions, such as violence against those groups.” Leander said that potential copycat threats send the message that “we have a lot of work to do.”  
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Small businesses shift gears to compete for seasonal workers

For small business owners who depend on the warmer months for the majority of their revenue, time is money. From landscapers, restaurants and summer camps to house painters, public relations firms and swim clubs – they all need additional help each summer. And they’re all competing for a smaller pool of workers, whether it’s students on break or adults looking for full-time or supplemental income. Businesses are using financial incentives like higher pay and signing bonuses as well as some now-sought-after perks like flexible hours and hybrid office-remote work models to attract talent. Adding to full-time payroll takes away some flexibility, according to Matt Piszczek, Wayne State University assistant professor of management. Still, Piszczek, who specializes in employee relations and human resource management, sees seasonal employment as a major benefit to small business owners because it allows them to avoid hiring too many full-timers who may not be needed in the off-season. However, small and seasonal businesses are facing new staffing problems, Piszczek said. “Businesses are generally facing the opposite problem. They need more full-time staff over the long term, not just temporary help over the summer,” he said. “Competition for seasonal workers will be stark this year, but rather than thinking of them as a stopgap to wait out the ‘Great Resignation,’ businesses may want to consider this as an opportunity to convert some of those seasonal workers into permanent employees in order to fill now-persistent gaps.”  
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Graduating law student donates over 1,000 pro bono hours, sets school record

Graduating Wayne State University Law School student Muthu Veerappan set the school record for the highest number of pro bono hours donated by a single student. Veerappan reached 1,020 total pro bono hours with the Macomb County Prosecutor’s Office as part of the Warrior Pro Bono Pledge. The graduating class donated nearly 2,400 pro bono hours. “It was remarkable because I learned a lot working there over the past year,” Veerappan said. “I have done everything from preliminary exams, motions, briefs, and a jury trial to watching a victim’s 8-month-old child while they were testifying. Prior to completing his pro bono hours, Veerappan worked at Wayne Law’s Free Legal Aid Clinic, Asylum and Immigration Law Clinic, and completed a public service externship.  
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State was told of problems before man fell through Detroit bridge, nonprofit says

Advocates said they warned the state that the city’s freeway walkways were in need of repair, including a pedestrian bridge a Detroit man claims collapsed beneath him last week, causing him to fall toward the freeway below. The Spruce Street pedestrian bridge was the subject of at least one previous complaint about structural problems, according to the Detroit Greenways Coalition, a nonprofit that pushes for better hiking and biking paths in the city. A spokeswoman for the Michigan Department of Transportation said she wasn’t aware of any previous issues with the span in Detroit. A group of Wayne State University students in 2016 visually inspected the then-71 pedestrian bridges in Detroit. Alex Hill, a professor at Wayne State’s Center for Urban Studies who also helps run the DETROITography blog about mapping different parts of the city, helped the students with data collection and then created an online map showing the problem bridges. The study found that the structural integrity of 33 bridges, or 46%, was compromised, with the structures in operation but with observable issues ranging from crumbling and disintegrating concrete to significantly rusted support beams, down signage and missing fencing or railing. Hill said the problems have likely gotten worse since the study was conducted. “The pedestrian bridges have not gotten better since then,” Hill said. “The only change I can see is that a number of the bridges have been torn down and haven’t been replaced – so potentially that means they’re safer because those bridges are no longer there.”  
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A window to them as people’: This Detroit teacher helps adult learners return to the classroom

By Ethan Bakuli  In recent years, the Detroit Public Schools Community District has prioritized restructuring its GED program. Adult educator Christian Young, a Wayne State University College of Education alumni, was named Adult Educator of the Year by the Michigan Reading Association. Young focuses on welcoming his adult students back to school, recognizing that for many of them, it is the first time they have stepped foot in a classroom in years. For Young, endearing students to class assignments and term papers starts with an autobiographical essay, an exercise that focuses on the student’s life. Not only does it allow him to gauge their writing skills, but it “gives me a window to them as people,” Young said. He added, “I continue to pay attention to them throughout the year and find plenty of ways to incorporate their likes and dreams into the lessons.” 
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Hyundai EV plans in Georgia reflect watershed moment for auto industry

By J. Scott Trubey and Kelly Yamanouchi   Ford announces an electric vehicle manufacturing mini-city in Tennessee. General Motors unveils a $7 billion road map to build EVs at plants across the Midwest. An electric upstart picks Georgia for a truck, SUV and delivery van plant. Peach State leaders prepare to uncork a second multibillion dollar EV plant near the coast. Factories to make EV batteries spring up in Georgia and across the South. After years in which Tesla was a lone standout in battery-powered cars and the rest of the industry appeared mired in the slow lane, the biggest vehicle brands are suddenly placing future-defining bets. “We are definitely at a watershed moment, at a tipping point in the automobile industry,” said Kevin Ketels, an assistant professor of global supply chain management at Wayne State University in Detroit.  
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How a global shortage of contrast dye is affecting CT scans, tests at Michigan hospitals

By Kristen Jordan Shamus  A shortage of contrast dye used for CT scans, gastrointestinal imaging, angiograms and cardiac catheterizations is expected to cause delays across the country and around the world in need of the procedures. The shortage of iodine-based contrast dye was sparked by ongoing COVID-19 lockdowns in Shanghai, China, which have forded GE Healthcare’s pharmaceutical manufacturing plant to temporarily close. Dr. Daniel Myers, a vice chairman of radiology at Henry Ford Health System and clinical professor of radiology at Wayne State University’s School of Medicine, said the hospital system’s supply has been interrupted. “We have had meetings with folks at Bracco and discussed it…We’ve had assurances from them that there won’t be issues for customers such as Henry Ford Health, who obtain a high percentage of our contrast from them…” Myers said. Myers said he’s like to think the impact in Michigan will be minimal, and it’s important for people to continue scheduling testing as their doctors recommend. “I don’t want people to think they shouldn’t go see their doctors because they won’t get an adequate test. People need to get their health care.”  
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Enforcing unprecedented subpoenas for GOP lawmakers turns on complex legal precedent going back centuries

Jennifer Selin, co-director of the Levin Center at Wayne Law, wrote an article for The Conversation analyzing the enforcement of unprecedented subpoenas for GOP lawmakers related to the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. An attempt to force five Republican lawmakers into providing information to the House panel investigating the attack is unlikely to end with the subpoenas, Selin writes. “The question of whether a committee can subpoena a sitting member of Congress is almost certain to be headed to the courts. If it does, Congress’ authority will be determined in part by a little-known provision of the U.S. Constitution called the “speech or debate” clause,” Selin writes. The clause protects legislators and their staff from liability for doing things like giving floor speeches, voting on legislation, and conducting investigations. 

Former MI Supreme Court chief justice examines legal paths for Whitmer’s abortion law challenge

By Doug Tribou and Lauren Talley  Governor Gretchen Whitmer is waiting to find out whether the Michigan Supreme Court will hear the challenge to Michigan’s dormant abortion law that would come back into effect if Roe v. Wade is overturned at the federal level. The governor has asked the state Supreme Court to bypass lower courts and declare that Michigan’s 1931 law violates privacy protections in the state constitution. Whitmer is using a combination of legal maneuvers in her challenge. To look at the possible paths, Michigan Radio turned to former Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Marilyn Kelly, who served on the court from 1997 to 2012. She’s now the distinguished jurist in residence at Wayne State University Law School. “This is rare. It’s unusual. But the governor definitely has the legal authority to use her executive power to seek an informal opinion of the Supreme Court. She also has the legal authority under the Michigan constitution to bring a lawsuit in the name of the state in order to prevent violations of a constitutional power. So, that’s what she did,” Kelly said. “…The Michigan Supreme Court has to consider whether this is of such public importance that it should grant this rather extraordinary remedy of not hearing from the lower courts,” Kelly said.  
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More than 50% of all Michiganians should mask up inside, CDC says

More than half of all Michiganians live in counties where they should mask up indoors following a spike in COVID-19 cases, according to recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Across the state, 16 counties – including Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb and many others near heavily-populated Metro Detroit – are now in “high” community levels, a CDC classification to show where COVID cases and hospitalizations have risen to the point that people are recommended to wear masks indoors. The city of Detroit is also at a high risk level. Dr. Matthew Sims, director of infectious disease research for Beaumont Health and a faculty member in the Wayne State University School of Medicine, said that upticks tend to follow a particular pattern. First, community levels rise, followed by a rise in hospitalizations, and then, a few weeks later, a rise in deaths. “We’re certainly not at a crisis point,” said Sims, acknowledging the number of COVID patients he has seen in recent days has risen. “But we could be there in a few weeks if things don’t go well. We’re going to keep watching this and doing everything we can.”  
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New measure of sperm age may be predictor of pregnancy success

A novel technique to measure the age of male sperm has the potential to predict the success and time it takes to become pregnant, according to a newly published study by researchers at the Wayne State University School of Medicine. “Sperm epigenetic clock associates with pregnancy outcomes in the general population,” published in the journal Human Reproduction, found that sperm epigenetic aging clocks may act as a novel biomarker to predict couples’ time to pregnancy. The findings also underscore the importance of the male partner in reproductive success. “Chronological age is a significant determinant of reproductive capacity and success among couples attempting pregnancy, but chronological age does not encapsulate the cumulative genetic and external – environmental conditions – factors, and thus it serves as a proxy measure of the ‘true’ biological age of cells,” said J. Richard Pilsner, Ph.D., lead author of the study. Dr. Pilsner is the Robert J. Sokol, M.D., Endowed Chair of Molecular Obstetrics and Gynecology and director of Molecular Genetics and Infertility at WSU’s C.S. Mott Center for Human Growth and Development. “Semen quality outcomes utilizing World Health Organization guidelines have been used to assess male infertility for decades, but they remain poor predictors of reproductive outcomes. Thus, the ability to capture the biological age of sperm may provide a novel platform to better assess the male contribution to reproductive success, especially among infertile couples.”
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Michigan baby formula factory focus of FDA probe after infant illnesses

A southwest Michigan factory just a few miles from the Indiana border is at the center of an infant formula recall that’s helped fuel shortages across the U.S. and raised concerns about federal oversight of contamination in food production. Abbott Nutrition, a division of Abbott Laboratories that employs an estimated 420 people in its factory and R&D facility in Sturgis, voluntarily recalled various brands and lot codes of powdered formula – including Similac, the most sold brand in the U.S. – in February. The recall came five months after an initial complaint that an infant in Minnesota hospitalized with a bacterial infection had consumed Similac from the Sturgis factory. The Food and Drug Administration first inspected the plant last September, when it found contamination risks. By the end of February, the FDA had identified five infants who became seriously ill with bacterial infections after they consumed the formula. Four had been infected with Cronobacter sakazakii – an infrequent infection that can be deadly for babies – and one had been infected with salmonella. Two of the infected infants died. The FDA continues to investigate. “It’s super serious – one of the worst” infant infections, said Dr. Eric McGrath, director of Wayne Pediatrics. He said he had treated a child with a cronobacter infection years ago – the only one in his 12 years as a pediatric infectious disease specialist. “The reason that this germ is devastating is that can cause blood infections and meningitis, and complications that include brain abscesses,” McGrath said. At minimum, a baby with cronobacter infection is hospitalized for three weeks and likely subjected to a spinal tap and other trauma.  

Ned Staebler of TechTown and Wayne State University on challenges to equitable economic growth

The president and CEO of TechTown Detroit and vice president for economic development at Wayne State University, Ned Staebler, talks with host Jeff Sloan about the group’s pursuit of equitable growth, funding and access to opportunity for entrepreneurs. He shares success stories, but also explains the significant challenges to communities that have to occur to draw a talented workforce to Michigan.  
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Southfield funeral director hopes Barbie will bring more women to her profession

By Chanel Stitt  Every time Sarah Brown-Derbah takes a stride down the Barbie aisle of a store, she sees a lot of professions that the doll is portraying — certified nursing assistant, doctor, nurse, teacher, social worker and politician. But she has never been able to find her profession — funeral home director. So she started a petition, which she plans to send to Mattel, the parent company of Barbie, in an effort to get the company to make a funeral director doll. She's collected 415 so far and plans to draft the letter to the toymaker once she feels she has gathered enough signatures.  “I've been looking for a funeral director Barbie for probably about 10 years, Brown-Derbah, of Southfield, said, "and I noticed the Barbie line has expanded.” The National Funeral Directors Association's membership reports that 81.1% of funeral home directors are men. But there is a shift happening within mortuary schools. In 2019, the organization reported that women made up 71.9% of mortuary school attendees. While Brown-Derbah was in mortuary school at Wayne State University, there were only seven men in her class.