Author Archive

Georgia University Warning About HIV-Positive Man Transmitting HIV Comes Under Fire

Posted on: September 5th, 2013 by Todd Heywood 6 Comments

On a Tuesday in August, Georgia Southern University issued an alarming “health alert” to its students. A “dominant” black man was “intentionally and knowingly” transmitting HIV. School officials warned the press, too. But weeks later, amid denials by state health officials that they authorized or distributed the alert, the school has quietly removed it from its website. A lot of people are demanding to know why it was posted in the first place. (more…)

Michigan Oil Spill Contractors Convicted on Immigration Crimes Linked to Cleanup Work

Posted on: August 26th, 2013 by Todd Heywood 2 Comments
Unidentified members of a crew of Hallmark Industrial Services employees working on the oil spill in 2010. Photo provided to The American Independent by an anonymous source.

Unidentified members of a crew of Hallmark Industrial Services employees working on the oil spill in 2010. Photo provided to The American Independent by an anonymous source.

Two men indicted for their role in exploiting undocumented workers during a 2010 oil spill cleanup have pleaded guilty to multiple immigration crimes. An investigation by The American Independent’s former sister site Michigan Messenger uncovered the exploitation of undocumented workers – mostly from Central America – during the cleanup following a July oil spill in Marshall, Mich. (more…)

In Wake of Supreme Court Marriage Decisions, Gay-Rights Mecca Braces for Celebration

Posted on: June 26th, 2013 by Todd Heywood 16 Comments

SAN FRANCISCO – The city where the battle for marriage equality in California began in 2004 is bracing for massive celebrations in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s rulings involving same-sex marriage on Wednesday.

Activists celebrate the Supreme Court rulings on same-sex marriage in San Francisco Wednesday morning, June 26, 2013 (THE AMERICAN INDEPENDENT/Todd Heywood)

Activists celebrate the Supreme Court rulings on same-sex marriage in San Francisco Wednesday morning, June 26, 2013 (THE AMERICAN INDEPENDENT/Todd Heywood)


Amendment to National Defense bill would require feds to review HIV crimes

Posted on: June 13th, 2013 by Todd Heywood 2 Comments

This article has been updated.

A bipartisan amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act would require the Department of Defense to conduct an internal review of policies and prosecutions related to military members living with HIV. (more…)

Source: Former Michigan Congressman Mark Schauer will run for governor

Posted on: May 8th, 2013 by Todd Heywood 2 Comments

This story has been updated to include a statement from Gov. Rick Snyder’s spokesperson.

LANSING – Former U.S. Rep. Mark Schauer of Michigan will seek the Democratic nomination for governor, a source close to him confirmed Tuesday. The source spoke on background but is part of Schauer’s decision-making circle and is currently acting in an informal advisory position as the former lawmaker prepares for a run.

Schauer did not return calls seeking comment for this story. However, an elected official from Ingham County confirmed that Schauer had personally told him that he would seek the nomination.

The one-term congressman from Battle Creek has been mentioned as a possible candidate for months, with a growing chorus singing his praises and two recent polls showing he could likely oust Republican Gov. Rick Snyder in November 2014.

On Tuesday, Politico reported on a polling memo strategically leaked by the Democratic Governors Association, which shows Snyder losing to Schauer.

“The bad news for Snyder is that undecided voters are much more likely to split for the Democratic candidate: they voted for Obama over Romney by 24 points and they are 18 points more likely to identify with the Democratic Party than with the Republican Party,” [Democratic pollster Geoff] Garin wrote [in the leaked memo]. “After hearing a brief positive description of Mark Schauer’s background, voters prefer Schauer over Rick Snyder by 54 percent to 38 percent. When given this alternative to the incumbent, independent voters favor Schauer by 16 points.”

A similar poll by Lansing-based EPIC MRA in April had similar findings, reported

Snyder, a first-time governor and political neophyte, took a serious bruising in December, when he helped the Republican-controlled legislature pass a controversial “right to work” initiative without public hearings or much public discussion. He has also signed into law a massive tax cut, which shifted the burden of taxes from businesses to citizens by taxing senior pensions and eliminating the earned-income tax credit for lower income Michiganders.

Schauer served in Congress for one term, riding into office on the Obama sweep of 2008. He served Michigan’s conservative 7th congressional district, which includes Calhoun and Jackson counties. He was ousted from that seat in Tea Party sweep of 2010 by Tim Walberg.

Since leaving office, Schauer has been running the BlueGreen Alliance, a green-energy job consortium. He also worked closely with organized labor. In fact, during “right to work” protests in December, Schauer was pepper-sprayed by Michigan state troopers while attempting to move protesters away from the base of the state capitol.

Snyder’s office was not immediately available for comment.

UPDATE: Sara Wurfel, spokesperson for Snyder, emailed the following statement regarding this story:

I’d say both on reaction and any timing for 2014, that Governor is focused on sound policy, not politics. He’s working hard on completing the budget and several key initiatives that will help ensure Michigan’s comeback continues and that we invest in Michigan’s future and moving forward. No determination on his announcement/timing for any next steps beyond 2014.

Would also share that every stop we do, we come across Michiganders of all backgrounds, communities, small businesses who say that may not have agreed with everything he’s done, but they’re starting to see it make a difference and to keep going.

Michigan Supreme Court upholds partner benefits for unmarried state workers

Posted on: May 6th, 2013 by Todd Heywood 1 Comment

LANSING – State employees in Michigan can continue to receive health benefits for their significant others, even if they’re not married, and even if they’re gay. That’s because the Michigan Supreme Court on Thursday declined to hear an appeal from the attorney general’s office, which has been challenging a local body’s decision to offer health-care benefits to unmarried state employees, saying it violates the state’s anti-gay-marriage statute. According to Attorney General Bill Schuette, the policy treats married and unmarried couples differently. (more…)

The crime of being positive

Posted on: April 1st, 2013 by Todd Heywood 6 Comments

In the late fall of 1988, state lawmakers and representatives from major insurance and pharmaceutical companies were hard at work addressing the looming AIDS crisis for the American Legislative Exchange Council, a conservative-leaning think tank that produces state-based business-friendly model legislation. (more…)

Mich.’s AIDS planning group trades transparency for protection of members’ HIV status

Posted on: March 28th, 2013 by Todd Heywood 2 Comments

{link url=

LANSING, MICH.—The Michigan Department of Community Health has launched an investigation into whether its HIV/AIDS advisory body violated the state’s Open Meetings Act by requiring attendees to sign a confidentiality agreement. (more…)