Lindsey Smith

West Michigan Reporter/Producer

Lindsey Smith is Michigan Radio's West Michigan Reporter. Lindsey has worked as a reporter at radio stations in both West and Southeast Michigan, and her work has been recognized by both the Michigan Association of Broadcasters and Michigan AP. She's a graduate of Eastern Michigan University and Specs Howard School of Media Arts.


What has been your most memorable experience as a reporter?
Reporting from a hot air balloon was one of the scariest. Trying to bubble-wrap my recording equipment to come with me down a giant waterslide took the most preparation and ingenuity. Mostly I remember people; so many downtrodden, truthful, funny, inspiring, regular-everyday people. Nearly everyone I meet and talk to shapes how I view life in at least the slightest way.

What is your favorite program on Michigan Radio?
"Wait Wait, Don't Tell Me." It's hilarious. "On the Media" is a very, very close second.

What do you like best about working in public radio?
Mostly, I'm proud of what we do and the stories we produce.

What modern convenience would it be most difficult for you to live without?
The internet! What did anyone do without it! I mean, I remember life without it, but it's amazing how much I rely on it every day.

What is your favorite way to spend your free time?
It depends on the season. I love wakeboarding in the summer, hanging out on the beach, going on long walks with my dog Lola, grilling. In the winter I wish I could hibernate. I do enjoy snowboarding and movies and warm drinks indoors then.

What are people usually very surprised to learn about you?
If I told you, it wouldn't be a surprise!

Muskegon Heights High School
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

The financial emergency in Muskegon Heights schools is over. That’s according to Governor Rick Snyder and the emergency manager who’s leaving the district.

Ann Storberg works for Michigan’s treasury department and will serve on a Muskegon Heights schools’ Receivership Transition Advisory Board.

She says Highland Park schools is now the only entity under emergency management.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump claims there will be “large-scale voter fraud” this election. But election officials say they’re confident that will not be the case in Michigan. 

“We want to assure everyone, regardless of their political ideology or their partisan affiliation that their voice will be heard on election day and their voice will be counted,” said Fred Woodhams, a spokesman for Michigan’s Secretary of State.

Woodhams says this isn’t the first election he’s fielded these concerns, and guesses it won’t be the last.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan’s congressional Democrats sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice today asking for a review of a legal provision. The provision seemed to prevent the city of Flint from suing the state of Michigan without the state’s approval.

But it appears the state is prepared to strike that provision anyway. If it does, that could allow Flint to sue the state over the water crisis.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Kalamazoo City Commissioners voted Monday night in support of a public-private partnership they hope will stabilize the budget, lower property taxes and fund “aspirational projects” as early as next year.

The donation comes from two local businessmen and philanthropists. Both have ties to the Kalamazoo-based medical device manufacturing giant Stryker Corporation. One is heir to the Upjohn Company.

They’re offering the major donation to help stabilize Kalamazoo’s budget. The city was considering an income tax to help close a deficit.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

U.S. EPA announced Friday it will consolidate and cap one-and-a-half-million cubic yards of old industrial waste in Kalamazoo. It’s been dubbed a compromise plan after residents and city leaders urged the EPA to choose a plan that would remove the waste entirely from the Allied Site.

“I’m reluctant to use terms like compromise because protectiveness is something the EPA can’t compromise on,” EPA Remedial Project Manager Michael Berkoff said.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

The hunt is on for lead pipes in Detroit.

Flint officials still don’t know where all the city’s lead service lines are. That’s because the building records were in horrible shape.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

There are 7,495,216 people registered to vote in Michigan in the 2016 presidential elections. That’s more than 40,000 more than were registered in the last presidential election, according the Secretary of State’s Office. There are more voters registered now than in 2008, the previous record.

The deadline to register to vote in the November election was last week.

Some of the biggest registration surges came from counties with a large college-age population; Washtenaw, Ingham, Isabella, Marquette, and Kalamazoo counties.

Courtesy Photo / Hoekstra True Value Hardware

People are flocking to a family owned hardware store that’s become a staple in Kalamazoo.

Hoekstra’s True Value Hardware is closing after nearly 150 years in business.

Co-owner Phil Ippel says he’s looking forward to more golfing, traveling and volunteering in the community. He’s even got a river cruise booked for next year.

“It’ll be a few months here, some hard work to get it down where we can do that,” he chuckled.  

people at sculpture exhibit
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

A collection of carved wooden dogs received the most votes in this year’s ArtPrize. James Mellick, a craftsman from Ohio, takes home $200,000 for Wounded Warrior Dogs.

According to the artists’ statement, Mellick hopes the installation at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel raises awareness of wounded veterans.

grand rapids school administrators at podium
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Leaders of Grand Rapids Public Schools say they’ve gained 160 students this school year, finally reversing a downward trend that’s lasted more than a decade.

The district has lost more than 3,000 students in 10 years. This is the first time since the fall of 2003 that the district gained students over the previous year.

Mike and Keri Webber
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Today marks one year since health officials in Genesee County warned people living in Flint to stop drinking their tap water.

The water is improving, but Flint’s water is still not safe to drink without a filter. But there are stories of hope on this not-so-pleasant anniversary.

The Michigan Union on the U of M's campus.
Andrew Horne / Wikimedia Commons

The University of Michigan removed several racist flyers posted on campus today.

One flier explained “Why White Women Shouldn’t Date Black Men.” Others told white people to stop “apologizing” and “living in fear” and “be white.”

Filling a sample bottle.
Courtesy photo / Virginia Tech

This week, a state lawmaker from Flint says he’ll introduce legislation that would make Michigan’s regulations on lead in drinking water some of the strictest in the U.S.

Governor Rick Snyder first rolled out the proposal in April in reaction to the Flint water crisis. He said federal rules on the amount of lead allowed in drinking water were “dumb and dangerous” because they’re not based on protecting public health.

A road sign says "Share the road" for bicycle safety.
user Richard Drdul / Flickr -

This week, a Senate legislative committee will consider bills that supporters say will make Michigan roads safer for bicyclists.

The package would require drivers to give riders a 5-foot-wide passing zone.

“It is kind of scary to have two tons of fast moving vehicle pass you,” Paul Selden says, “and the closer they pass, the more scary it is.”

Selden directs public safety for the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club. He says requiring a five-foot passing zone won’t prevent every crash, but he believes clarity about the rules will save lives.

kenny Mcdonald / Flicker

Officials from the Kent County Sheriff’s Department say they believe they’ve encountered heroin laced with carfentanil in three separate cases this month.

Carfentanil is 10,000 times more potent than morphine. It’s commonly used to tranquilize large animals. The drug caused a spike in overdose deaths this summer in Ohio.

“It’s extremely dangerous. You don’t want to touch it. If you touched it, it would get in your blood stream and it could ultimately kill you,” Kent County Sheriff’s Captain David Kok said.

Work crew replacing a lead service line in Flint.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The U.S. Senate has approved a $10 billion water projects bill that includes money for Flint, Michigan - nearly a year after a public health emergency was first declared there because of lead-contaminated water.

Senators approved the bill by a 95-3 vote. It goes to the House, where approval of a similar bill - minus the Flint provision - is expected as soon as next week.

“The people of Flint have waited too long. They cannot wait any longer and we must take action,” U.S. Senator Gary Peters, D-MI, said today.

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

A school that’s housed inside the Grand Rapids Public Museum is getting a $10 million boost.

The XQ Super School Project announced the national award today. The institute says it offered the money to get schools “to rethink and redesign the American high school.”

The money going to Grand Rapids Public Schools will help cover the costs of renovating the 80-year-old public museum building into a new high school.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A federal lawsuit alleges the chairman of Michigan State University’s Board of Trustees is running a “racketeering enterprise” in Lansing. The suit targets Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero and MSU Board of Trustees Chairman Joel Ferguson, among others.

“This is about an elaborate extortion scheme over a project that some say is worth as much at $380 million,” attorney Mike Cox said.

Cox filed the suit on behalf of two businessmen who pitched the development project in 2012. But he says Ferguson used his political influence to win the project instead.

Rex Babiera / Flicker

In Flint, we know lead has leached from water pipes, called service lines. But it’s not as clear how much the plumbing in people’s homes is contributing to the problem.

“There were no lead service lines to any of the schools and yet there was a significant amount of lead in a number of the samples,” said George Krisztian, who’s coordinating the state’s response in Flint for Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality.

“So the question was, 'OK, where is the lead coming from?” Krisztian recalls.

Flickr user David Salafia/Flickr /

The state is advising schools to test their water for lead, even though it’s not required. Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality wants schools to take action, even if lead levels are below the federal standard.

The federal action limit for lead in water is 15 parts per billion. Governor Rick Snyder would like to see Michigan have an even stricter standard; 10 ppb.

A new study now underway will help determine if police in Grand Rapids is biased when pulling over and searching vehicles.
Flickr user Matthew Sutherland / Flickr / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Back in 2004, researchers found Grand Rapids police officers did not pull black drivers over at higher rates than whites ones.

But now, the city is getting an updated study.

It’s part of a broader effort to improve relations between minority communities and GRPD in reaction to riots in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014. Grand Rapids outfitted all officers with body cameras last year as part of the effort.

Gov. Snyder speaks at a Flint news conference.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

It’s been almost six months since the Flint Water Task Force blamed the culture of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality for the Flint water crisis.

The Task Force said a culture of quote “technical compliance” exists inside the drinking water office.

Its report found that officials were buried in technical rules – thinking less about why the rules existed. In this case, making sure Flint’s water was safe to drink.

police officer directing traffic
Flickr user lincolnblues / Flickr

The Grand Rapids City Commission tomorrow will vote on whether to hire an outside consultant to study if its police force is racially biased when pulling over drivers.

A similar study conducted in 2004 found no systemic bias in Grand Rapids. But after the riots in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014, people who spoke at community meetings still felt racial targeting was a problem in Grand Rapids. 

That's why city leaders are recommending a second study based on more current data. 

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

The Gerald R. Ford presidential museum reopens this week. The museum has been closed since October to undergo $15 million in renovations.

“We basically took the museum down to the cement floors and the outside walls,” said Joe Calvaruso, executive director Ford’s Presidential Foundation.

He says technology has changed a lot since the museum first opened in 1981. 

A new charter school in Whitmore Lake offers a "classical education" and a Hillsdale College connection
Brett Levin / Creative Commons

Leaders of the charter school system in Highland Park are more confident as they wrap up this school year.

Highland Park's charter system was created by an emergency manager in 2012 to save money. But soon the charter district ran into its own money problems, and began running a deficit.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

The Grand Rapids Symphony has made one of the most important decisions an orchestra makes: selecting a new music director. The search for a new director has taken the better part of four years.

Brazil native Marcelo Lehninger says he felt a “great chemistry” with Grand Rapids' musicians when he guest-conducted in 2015 and earlier this year.

“Every single concert that orchestra plays, you know we need to convey that passion, because that, it’s really what gets to people’s hearts,” Lehninger said.

Simon Brass / Flickr

Michigan is closing one of its 32 prisons to save $22 million in the next fiscal year.

The Pugsley Correctional Facility in Grand Traverse County will close in September. The minimum security prison has more than 1,300 beds and 230 employees. It’s been open since 1956.

The corrections department made the announcement Tuesday, a day before a legislative committee is expected to endorse the closure in the next state budget.

Courtesy Photo / Coast Guard Cutter Mobile Bay

Federal officials are figuring out a plan to safely recover a cargo vessel that’s run aground in a small channel west of Sault Sainte Marie. The 833-foot-long Roger Blough was taking iron ore pellets from Minnesota to Ohio when it ran aground Friday night.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Christopher Yaw is with the U.S. Coast Guard. He says it’s not clear what happened.

“There are a lot of factors in the marine environment that just, any one of them can cause something like this and so it’s really hard to say,” Yaw said Monday afternoon.

Virginia Tech

The head of Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality says the agency will be taking a much closer look at how cities across the state are testing for lead in water this summer.

MDEQ interim Director Keith Creagh says his agency will ask the state’s 1,400 water systems tough questions about how and where they’re testing for lead.

Creagh says DEQ will ask cities to prove they’re testing for lead at the right homes, particularly those with lead service lines.

Alper Çuğun / Creative Commons

A group of West Michigan business leaders wants their peers to consider hiring people who’ve served time in jail.

Butterball Farms started hiring people with criminal records 20 years ago to attract more qualified candidates to their butter processing business.