TIME States

Detroit Man Who Walked 21 Miles to Work Each Day to Finally Be Bought Car

James The Walker
Ryan Garza—AP In this Jan. 29, 2015, photo, James Robertson, 56, of Detroit, walks toward Woodward Aveune in Detroit to catch his morning bus to Somerset Collection in Troy before walking to his job at Schain Mold Engineering in Rochester Hills. Getting to and from his factory job 23 miles away in Rochester Hills, he'll take a bus partway there and partway home and walk 21 miles according to the Detroit Free Press

A kickstarted campaign has, so far, raised $130,000

James Robertson has arguably America’s harshest commute, a 21-mile trek that takes him through the Detroit’s worst neighborhoods. Now, his daily journey has captured the nation’s attention and prompted a GoFundMe campaign that has raised $130,000 to provide him with a car.

For the last decade, the 56-year-old has walked eight miles to work and 13 miles back again. He usually arrives home at 4 a.m., sleeps for two hours, and then wakes up at 6 a.m. to return to his factory job, according to the Detroit Free Press.

The daily odyssey takes him through Detroit’s infamous 8 Mile neighborhood in the middle of the night. But despite the ordeal, Robertson remains upbeat about his situation. “I sleep a lot on the weekend, yes I do,” he says. “I can’t imagine not working.”

A Sunday profile in the Detroit Free Press inspired hundreds of people to offer Robertson cash, chauffeur services and even cars.

Evan Leedy, a student of Wayne State University, was inspired to start a GoFundMe campaign. “I set the goal at the beginning of $5,000. Right now my page has more than $30,000,” Leedy said on Sunday evening.

Yet donations have now left $30,000 in the dust — the total stands at $130,000 at time of publication and is rising fast.

Robertson said that he is proud that he has managed his commute for all these years, but with the help of the kickstarter campaign, it looks like his walking days may be over.

[Detroit Free Press]

 

Read next: Inside the California Prison Where Inmates Train Rescue Dogs

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TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: February 2

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

1. Never trust a corporation to do a library’s job.

By Andy Baio in the Message

2. Cost-cutting is killing U.S. military innovation.

By Dan Steinbock in Project Syndicate

3. We should streamline the patchwork of state licenses and certifications required for many jobs.

By Adam Ozimek in Forbes

4. Focusing on responsiveness over efficiency can spur business breakthroughs.

By First Round Review

5. A new concept for a cheaper, lighter space telescope could reach 1,000 times the resolution of Hubble.

By the University of Colorado Boulder

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME States

Now There’s a Day in Texas Celebrating American Sniper Chris Kyle

Chris Kyle
Paul Moseley—MCT/Getty Images Chris Kyle

Monday is Chris Kyle day

Republican Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas is declaring Monday Chris Kyle Day in honor of the Navy SEAL sniper featured in the Oscar-nominated Clint Eastwood film.

“In honor of a Texas son, a Navy SEAL and an American hero – a man who defended his brothers and sisters in arms on and off the battlefield – I am declaring Feb. 2 Chris Kyle Day in Texas,” Abbott said Friday in a speech to the Texas Veterans of Foreign Wars Mid-Winter Convention, KWTX-TV news reports.

Kyle is said to have been the deadiliest sniper in U.S. military history with 160 confirmed kills. He was shot to death in February 2013 at the age of 38 at a North Texas shooting range along with another veteran.

Iraq War veteran Eddie Ray Routh was charged in their deaths.

[KWTX-TV]

TIME Laws

Arkansas Will Carry On Celebrating Robert E. Lee Day On MLK Day

Dewey Spencer
Danny Johnston—AP Dewey Spencer, of Judsonia, Ark., holds a portrait of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee after a meeting of the House Committee on State Agencies and Governmental Affairs, Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015, at the State Capitol in Little Rock, Ark.

A bill would've moved the commemoration of the Confederate general to November

Arkansas will continue marking the memory of Confederate General Robert E. Lee on the same date as the nation remembers civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., after a proposal to remove Lee from the Jan. 19 holiday met opposition from state lawmakers.

An Arkansas House committee rejected a proposal on Wednesday to designate Nov. 30 as “Patrick Cleburne – Robert E. Lee Southern Heritage Day,” giving the Confederate general a separate memorial day from the one celebrating King. (Cleburne was a local Confederate general.)

Opponents of the bill said removing Lee from the Jan. 19 holiday would disparage their Southern roots.

(MORE: One Man. One Speech. One Dream)

Arkansas has commemorated Lee every year since the 1940s, but only began celebrating the two holidays on the same day in the 1980s. The state recently faced backlash to the conflated holiday after being widely criticized on social media.

[AP]

TIME States

Indiana Governor Cancels Plans for State-Run News Site

Mike Pence
Michael Conroy—AP Indiana Gov. Mike Pence plans to launch what would amount to a state-run, taxpayer-funded news outlet in February. But on Wednesday, he appeared to back away from plans to unveil the site.

Taxpayer-funded 'Just IN' would feature news stories and profiles written by press secretaries

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence has dropped plans to launch a communications site that was widely criticized as a state-run, taxpayer-funded news outlet.

Pence, a Republican, had planned to launch “Just IN,” a website that would include stories written by press secretaries and was described in internal memos as competing with other media outlets, the Indianapolis Star reported. The range would include hard news stories and “lighter features, including personality profiles.”

“At times, Just IN will break news—publishing information ahead of any other news outlet,” said one internal memo. “Strategies for determining how and when to give priority to such ‘exclusive’ coverage remain under discussion.”

(MORE: Indiana Drops Common Core Education Standards)

On Wednesday, Pence appeared to distance himself from the site, telling local radio station WIBC-FM: “As governor I can assure you that (the plan) did not meet my expectations and if this website doesn’t meet my expectations of respecting the role of a free and independent press, I will reject it.”

Indiana House Democrats announced Thursday that they would attempt to block funding for the site, and Pence later announced he wouldn’t launch it.

“However well intentioned, after thorough review of the preliminary planning and careful consideration of the concerns expressed, I am writing you to inform you that I have made a decision to terminate development of the JustIN website immediately,” Pence wrote to several state agencies.

(MORE: 8 Long-Shot Republicans Who Are Running for President)

TIME health

These Are the States Where People Live Longest

US map made of medical tools and healthcare items
Getty Images

The states with the longest life expectancies have concurrently low mortality rates

This post is in partnership with 24/7 Wall Street. The article below was originally published on 247WallSt.com.

The United States has a health problem. Across the country, life expectancies routinely fail to meet the standards set by other developed nations. Differences in life expectancy between the United States and other developed nations, such as Switzerland and Japan, are dramatic.

However, some states have closed the gap with these nations. In both Hawaii and Minnesota, a resident born in 2010 could expect to live 81 years on average. In 12 states, the life expectancy at birth was 80 years or more.

The states with the longest life expectancies have concurrently low mortality rates, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Across the United States, the age-adjusted mortality rate was 732.8 deaths per 100,000 people in 2012. However, in eight of the states with the highest life expectancies the mortality rate was less than 700 deaths for every 100,000 residents. In Hawaii, the age-adjusted mortality rate was just 586.5 per 100,000, the lowest in the country.

Access to health coverage is among the important factors that promotes good health — and as a result leads to longer lives. In most of the states with the longest life expectancies a far lower percentage of the population was uninsured relative to the nation as a whole. While 14.5% of Americans did not have health care coverage last year, only 3.7% of Massachusetts residents did not. In Hawaii and Vermont the uninsured rates was also less than half the national rate.

However, not all the research is conclusive on the effects of health care coverage on mortality. One 2009 study in the American Journal of Public Health stated that a lack of coverage led to nearly 45,000 deaths in the United States a year. However, another 2009 study appearing in Health Services Research argued that “there is little evidence to suggest that extending insurance coverage to all adults would have a large effect on the number of deaths in the United States.”

Poverty, too, can contribute to poor health outcomes. In fact, many states that have relatively high life expectancies also have relatively low poverty rates. New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Hawaii were all among the states with the longest life expectancies, as well as among the five states with the lowest poverty rates.

Some contributors to poor health and the resulting low life expectancies are preventable. Smoking, for instance, was far more prevalent in the states with the lowest life expectancies, as was physical inactivity. By contrast, in many of the healthiest states, people were far more likely to have healthy habits, such as not smoking and being more active.

In order to identify the states with the highest life expectancies at birth in 2010, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed figures from the OECD’s 2014 study on regional well-being. Data on age-adjusted mortality rates are from the CDC for 2012. Figures on poverty and health insurance coverage are from the Census Bureau’s 2013 American Community Survey. Other figures cited are from the 2014 edition of America’s Health Rankings, an annual study from the United Health Foundation.

These are the states where people live longest.

10. Utah
> Life expectancy: 80.2 years
> Obesity rate: 24.1% (4th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 12.7% (14th lowest)

Utah has one of the highest life expectancies in the United States, at just over 80 years. No state had a lower percentage of adults who smoke. Utah is also the only top state for life expectancy that has not yet committed to expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. Utah Governor Gary Herbert has instead pushed an alternative plan, called Healthy Utah, to provide coverage to disadvantaged residents.

Read more: Cities With the Largest Homes

9. New Jersey
> Life expectancy: 80.3 years (tied-8th highest)
> Obesity rate: 26.3% (12th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 11.4% (8th lowest)

New Jersey has especially high number of medical professionals. There were more than 143 general practitioners as well as 83 dentists for every 100,000 residents as of the most recently available data. In addition to high numbers of medical professionals, residents were among the least likely Americans to smoke. The effects of a high life expectancy at birth are also reflected in a low age-adjusted death rate, at just 677.6 deaths for every 100,000 people. By comparison, the death rate for all Americans was 732.8 per 100,00 people.

8. New Hampshire
> Life expectancy: 80.3 years (tied-8th highest)
> Obesity rate: 26.7% (16th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 8.7% (the lowest)

Limiting poverty can also improve health outcomes, and no state had a lower poverty rate than New Hampshire. Just 8.7% of the New Hampshire population lived below the poverty line in 2013, versus 15.8% of all Americans. Residents were more likely than most Americans to exercise regularly, and were likely than almost all states to be a victim of a violent crime. Violence has become increasingly recognized as a public health matter in recent decades.

For the rest of the list, please go to 24/7WallStreet.com.

Read next: 20 Things You Should Throw Away for Better Health

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TIME real estate

These Are the Safest States in America

wooden-garden-fence
Getty Images

The list was compiled based on crime data, median household income, poverty rates, and educational attainment rates

This post is in partnership with 24/7 Wall Street. The article below was originally published on 247WallSt.com.

The number of violent crimes dropped across the United States by 4.4% in 2013 compared to the year before, according to estimates released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). In the last decade, the number of violent crimes declined by nearly 15%.

In a previous interview with 24/7 Wall St., John Roman, senior fellow at public policy research organization The Urban Institute said, “A 4.4% reduction in violent crime is astonishing. If you saw a similar increase in GDP, or a similar decrease in unemployment, it would be huge national news.”

The national improvement in crime levels has not been uniform across all states, nor were the resulting crime rates. While some states were relatively more dangerous despite the improvement, others were considerably safer than most states. In Vermont, the violent crime rate dropped by more than 19% in 2013 from 2012 — the largest reduction in the country. The state was also the safest, with 115 violent crimes reported per 100,000 people.

Nationwide, 368 violent crimes were reported for every 100,000 people in 2013. Such crimes include murder, rape, aggravated assault, and robbery. In six of America’s 10 safest states, there were less than 200 violent crimes reported per 100,000 residents. Based on violent crime rates published by the FBI’s 2013 Uniform Crime Report, these are America’s safest states.

Murder and nonnegligent manslaughter were especially uncommon in the nation’s safest states. Half of the 10 states reported less than two such crimes per 100,000 people last year, and the murder rates in all of the safest states were below the national rate of 4.5 incidents per 100,000 people. Similarly, aggravated assault rates did not exceed the national rate of 229 incidents per 100,000 Americans in any of the safest states. In three states — Kentucky, Maine, and Vermont — less than 100 assaults were reported per 100,000 state residents last year.

Not only were residents of these states relatively sheltered from violence, but other sorts of crimes were also less common. For example, nine of the 10 safest states reported less property crimes per 100,000 residents than the national rate of 2,730 property crimes per 100,000 Americans. Motor vehicle crimes in particular were especially uncommon. There were less than 100 vehicle thefts reported per 100,000 state residents in five of the 10 states, versus 221.3 such thefts per 100,000 people nationwide.

While explanations for the level of safety in a particular area are by no means concrete, socioeconomic indicators are powerful predictors of crime. Just as in large U.S. cities, income plays a major role at the state level in predicting crime levels. A typical household earned more than the national median household income of $52,250 in six of the 10 states last year. Kentucky households were the exception among the safest states, with a median income of less than $44,000.

People living in the nation’s safest states were also far less likely than other Americans to live in poverty. The poverty rate in all but two of the 10 states was lower than the national rate of 15.8% last year. New Hampshire, the sixth safest state, led the nation with just 8.7% of residents living below the poverty line in 2013.

Educational attainment rates are yet another factor contributing to violent crime. Lower levels of education result in lower incomes later in life, which in turn can contribute to higher crime rates. In addition, as Roman explained in a previous discussion at the city level, poor education is part of several structural disadvantages that make crime very difficult to address. According to Roman, addressing these underlying economic and social issues is critical to reducing crime. Unsurprisingly, residents in the safest states tended to be more highly educated. More than 90% of adults in seven of the 10 states had completed at least high school last year, versus the national rate of 86.6%. And while less than 30% of Americans had attained at least a bachelor’s degree as of 2013, more than one-third of residents in four of the nation’s safest states had done so.

To identify the safest states in America, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed violent crime rates from the FBI’s 2013 Uniform Crime Report. Property crime rates also came from the FBI’s report. The data were broken into eight types of crime. Violent crime was comprised of murder and nonnegligent manslaughter, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault; and, property crime was comprised of burglary, arson, larceny, and motor vehicle theft. In addition to crime data, we also reviewed median household income, poverty rates, and educational attainment rates from the 2013 Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.

These are the safest states in America.

10. Montana
> Violent crimes per 100,000: 240.7
> Population: 1,015,165
> Total 2013 murders: 22 (tied-6th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 16.5% (19th highest)
> Pct. of adults with high school diploma: 92.7% (3rd highest)

There were nearly 241 violent crimes reported per 100,000 residents in Montana in 2013, a third lower than the national rate. While the violent crime rate fell 5.1% nationwide between 2012 and 2013, it fell more than 13% in Montana. Low crime rates may be attributable to high levels of education. Nearly 93% of Montana residents had at least a high school diploma as of 2013, the third highest rate in the country. Despite the state’s relatively well-educated population, Montana struggled with poverty last year. The state’s poverty rate was 16.5% in 2013, one of only two of the safest states with a poverty rate above the national rate of 15.8%. This was likely due in part to the state’s large Native American population, which tends to be more impoverished.

Read more: States Where People Live Longest

9. Minnesota
> Violent crimes per 100,000: 223.2
> Population: 5,420,380
> Total 2013 murders: 114 (20th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 11.2% (7th lowest)
> Pct. of adults with high school diploma: 92.4% (4th highest)

Minnesota households had a median income of $60,702 in 2013, more than $8,000 higher than the national benchmark. Additionally, state residents were quite educated, as 33.5% of adults aged 25 and older had obtained a bachelor’s degree as of 2013, well above the 29.6% of adults nationwide. The strong socioeconomic environment likely contributed to the low violent crime rate of only 223.2 incidents reported per 100,000 residents in 2013. Overall, the state’s violent crime rate fell 3.3% despite incidents of murder and nonnegligent manslaughter increasing more than 14% between 2012 and 2013.

8. Utah
> Violent crimes per 100,000: 209.2
> Population: 2,900,872
> Total 2013 murders: 49 (14th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 12.7% (14th lowest)
> Pct. of adults with high school diploma: 91.5% (tied-9th highest)

Only 12.7% of Utah residents lived below the poverty line in 2013, more than 3 percentage points below the national rate. As in several other relatively safe states, Utah had one of the smallest income gaps between rich and poor in the country — relatively few residents lived on less than $10,000 a year and more than $200,000 a year. Despite low poverty rates and a relatively balanced income distribution, Utah was one of only a handful of states where the violent crime rate rose between 2012 and 2013, driven largely by a 10.7% increase in reported robberies.

For the rest of the list, please go to 24/7WallStreet.com.

TIME States

New York State Assembly Speaker Surrenders to FBI

The speaker of the New York State Assembly Sheldon Silver, in Albany, N.Y., in 2012.
Hand Pennink—Reuters The speaker of the New York State Assembly Sheldon Silver, in Albany, N.Y., in 2012.

Sheldon Silver faces a federal investigation into payments he received from a real estate law firm

The speaker of the New York State Assembly, a longtime Democratic powerbroker, surrendered to authorities on federal corruption charges Thursday morning.

Sheldon Silver, the Assembly’s speaker since 1994 who was reelected in November, turned himself in to FBI agents in Lower Manhattan, the New York Times reports. State legislatures are still able to serve after an arrest, but must leave if they are convicted of a felony.

“I hope I’ll be vindicated,” he said as he turned himself in, according to the Times.

Silver, 70, is the subject of a federal probe investigating payments he failed to list on annual disclosure filings from a small law firm that specializes in New York City real estate taxes, according to the Times.

[NYT]

TIME States

This State Could Soon Have the Country’s Highest Minimum Wage

World Trade Center at dusk
Raimund Koch—Getty Images

Move over, Washington state

Governor Andrew Cuomo proposed new minimum wages for New York State and New York City to combat the widening wage gap.

Move over, Washington state. The U.S. may soon have a new minimum wage king.

During his annual State of the State address on Wednesday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo formally proposed raising the state’s minimum wage by the end of 2016 from its current $8.75 per hour level to $10.50, a figure that would give the Empire State the highest statewide minimum wage in the nation, moving past Washington’s $9.47 hourly rate. Cuomo also announced a new $11.50 minimum wage for New York City, accounting for the city’s high cost of living.

“The minimum wage is very simple,” Cuomo said on Wednesday. “We believe if you work full-time you should be able to pay the rent and pay for food and not live in poverty. That’s the basic promise of employment, and we’re not there yet,” he said.

The governor’s proposal is expected to face opposition from the Republican-controlled New York Senate.

New York’s minimum wage is set to increase to $9 next year, based on legislation that Cuomo signed into law in 2013. But Cuomo acknowledged that even though the state is in the midst of a three-year minimum wage hike phase-in period, the raises aren’t enough. “The wage gap is continuing to grow,” Cuomo said when he first announced the new wage hike proposal on Sunday.

The governor’s office did not immediately return a request for comment from Fortune on whether the state’s new minimum wage would rise based on the rate of inflation going forward.

Cuomo’s plan to give New York City its own minimum wage for the first time comes in stark contrast to his previous stance on the issue. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has been calling for Albany to give him the power to set a separate minimum wage for the high-cost city since he took office a year ago. (New York State law currently prohibits cities from possessing that authority.) Last year, Cuomo said that allowing local governments set their own minimum wages would lead to a “chaotic situation.” But as the governor sought reelection last summer, his position reportedly began to loosen up. Seeking the support of the progressive Working Families Party, he backed the group’s proposal that municipalities with higher costs of living should be allowed to set their own minimum wages. That plan called for a $13.13 minimum wage in New York City, which Cuomo’s State of the State proposal failed to meet.

While the plan for a separate New York City minimum wage may seem like a major victory for de Blasio, Cuomo’s plan will reportedly keep the power to set minimum wages in the state’s hands. Cuomo’s office did not respond to a question about that aspect of the plan on Wednesday. After announcing the $11.50 wage for New York City on Sunday, the governor did say that he believed the state, not any local government, should set wages.

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com

TIME States

Right-to-Die Law Proposed in California

Brittany Maynard, a terminally ill woman who decided to end her life early under an Oregon law. She died Nov. 1, 2014.
AP Brittany Maynard, a terminally ill woman who decided to end her life early under an Oregon law. She died on Nov. 1, 2014.

Brittany Maynard's family is backing the measure

Two California lawmakers backed by the family of a woman who drew national attention by choosing to end her life after an aggressive and debilitating cancer diagnosis are set to introduce a new right-to-die bill on Wednesday.

The End of Life Option Act would allow doctors to prescribe lethal doses of medications to terminally ill patients with six months or less to live, the San Jose Mercury News reports. Two state senators are pushing the bill with the support of Brittany Maynard’s family.

MORE Brittany Maynard Could Revive the Stalled ‘Death With Dignity Movement

Maynard was living in the San Francisco Bay Area when she and her husband moved to Portland, Ore., to take advantage of the state’s Death With Dignity law, in a widely publicized story that the bill’s authors say could be a tipping point in support for medically assisted suicide. Oregon, Washington and Vermont have such laws, but attempts to pass similar legislation in California have failed before.

“Our hope is to see the end-of-life option as part of a continuum of established rights available to patients,” state Sen. Bill Monning said.

[San Jose Mercury News]

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