Kate Wells

Kate Wells is an award-winning reporter covering cultural arts, education, and general news for Michigan Radio. Her work has been featured on NPR’s Morning EditionAll Things Considered, and Weekend Edition, as well as on WNYC, Harvest Public Media, KUT (Austin Public Radio) and in the Texas Tribune.

Kate got her start as an intern with New Hampshire Public Radio before heading out to the Midwest, where she covered the presidential caucuses for Iowa Public Radio and won a regional Edward R. Murrow award for investigative journalism. She joined Michigan Radio in 2012. Kate enjoys hiking, the Muppets, and cake in all forms.   

The Michigan National Guard is deploying 24 guardsmen and three helicopters — two CH-47 Chinooks, and one UH-72 Lakota — to Texas on Thursday to assist with Hurricane Harvey rescue and relief efforts. Approximately 350 additional guardsmen are on standby.

Can the court enforce a school’s sanction for sexual assault? And did the University of Michigan deprive a student of his right to due process, when it found him responsible for that assault?

That’s what two separate lawsuits, both filed over the same sexual assault case, are asking this month.

A female student, who’s not being named by Michigan Radio, says she was raped at a frat party back in January.

At first, the school’s investigation ruled in favor of the accused male student. But that decision was overturned by the school’s appeals board.

It started with a taping of a 90s daytime talk show. In March of 1995, The Jenny Jones Show did an episode about “secret same-sex crushes.” Scott Amedure, a Michigan resident, nervously gushed to the studio audience about his feelings for an acquaintance, Jonathan Schmitz. Schmitz was then brought out in front of the cameras, where Jones, the host, revealed that Amedure was his secret admirer.

“Did you have any idea that he liked you this much?” Jones asked.

In the early morning hours of January 16, three football players allegedly assaulted a young woman at a party in an on-campus apartment.

That’s according to Ingham County Prosecutor Carol Siemon, who announced she’s authorizing charges against the three men on Monday.

Their names won’t be released by the prosecutor’s office until they’re arraigned, a spokesman said. Michigan Radio reached out to the men’s attorneys, but they either declined to comment or didn’t immediately respond.

Michigan State University will not renew its contract with Curtis Blackwell, a school spokesman confirmed Tuesday. The news was first reported by Chris Solari of the Detroit Free Press.

Blackwell, a former Detroit high school coach and co-founder of the Sound Mind Sound Body football camp, was brought on staff for his relationships with potential recruits in the region.

Rachael Denhollander will be the first to take the stand at 9 am on Friday, according to her attorney. It's the first day of preliminary hearings in a case involving her and 6 other alleged victims, who claim they were abused by Dr. Larry Nassar. 

“Yeah, I’m really not looking forward to it, to be honest,” Denhollander says. The mom of three is at home on the phone, while her husband’s in the background wrangling their 2-year-old (whose molars are coming in painfully and loudly.)

Big business investors are waiting on Governor Rick Snyder to give them a break. A tax break that is, to build on blighted land.

Investors who buy blighted property would get new tax incentives, under a set of bills on their way to Governor Rick Snyder’s desk.

Last year, these so-called brownfield bills were nicknamed after Dan Gilbert, the prominent Detroit developer. That’s because opponents call them a gift to wealthy corporations at the expense of taxpayers.

Since Rachael Denhollander went public with her accusations against former MSU sports doctor Larry Nassar in September, more than 80 women and girls have come forward with similar complaints.

Seven of the women and girls who say they were sexually abused by a former sports doctor will begin testifying against him next week.

Four more former patients, including a 14-year-old dancer, are suing former MSU sports doctor Larry Nassar for sexual abuse.

They join more than 80 other women and girls who claim Nassar abused them under the guise of treatment.

In the lawsuit filed Monday, one woman says Nassar abused her around 1992 to 1993, when he was still in medical school at MSU. A spokesman for MSU confirmed Nassar graduated in 1993.

Dr. Larry Nassar has been found responsible for sexual assault, for the first time since this scandal erupted in the fall. 

If you're trying to understand what the heck this new Republican health care bill would mean for you, you’re not alone.

Let’s do a quick recap: Medicaid is health insurance for really low income people. Under the Affordable Care Act, states including Michigan expanded their Medicaid programs. Suddenly single adults making $16,600 a year were eligible, or a family of four making about $34,000 a year.

Since then, 650,000 Michiganders have signed up for that Medicaid expansion, called “Healthy Michigan.” Researchers say most of those people didn’t have insurance before this.

Professor John Kerr wants to be really clear: It's not that he thinks MSU police aren't doing a great job, or that the administration has anything to hide in its effort to investigate Dr. Larry Nassar, a former professor and sports physician at the school.

It's just that Kerr, and at least another 150 faculty members at Michigan State University who signed a letter detailing their concerns, are worried it looks bad if the university essentially investigates itself in a massive criminal sexual abuse case.

Members of the MSU women's gymnastics team were told to say "no comment" to any reporters or police asking about sexual abuse allegations against the team physician, Dr. Larry Nassar.

That’s according to a lawsuit (which you can read here) filed by a scholarship student on the team, who also says she was repeatedly assaulted by Nassar as a child.

A team meeting in September 

After 27 years on the job, Kathie Klages is resigning as head coach of women’s gymnastics at MSU. She denies any knowledge about Dr. Larry Nassar’s alleged years-long, repeated sexual abuse of MSU gymnasts.

Two women have filed court documents claiming they told Klages about Nassar’s alleged assaults back in the 1990s. He wasn’t fired from MSU until earlier this past fall.  

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