Mark Brush

Reporter/Producer

Mark is a senior reporter/producer at Michigan Radio where he's been working to develop the station's online news content since 2010.

From 2000 to 2006, he worked as the technical director and senior producer for Michigan Radio's regional environmental news service known as the Great Lakes Radio Consortium.

From 2006 to 2010, as the unit's co-manager and senior producer, Mark helped transition the GLRC into an award-winning national news service known as The Environment Report. The service was heard on more that 130 stations around the country including WBEZ in Chicago, WAMU in Washington D.C., KUOW in Seattle, and KWMU in St. Louis.

Mark is a graduate of the University of Michigan ('00 MS in Environmental Policy and Planning & '91 BA in Political Science) and has been "a board certified public radio junkie" since 1992. He discovered public radio on his commutes to work in his trusty 1984 VW Rabbit. Much of Mark's storytelling philosophy was influenced through his close work with veteran CBC "réalisateur" David Candow.

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Law
4:49 pm
Thu May 29, 2014

ACLU files lawsuit to force Michigan to recognize same-sex marriages

Samantha Wolf and Martha Rutledge are among the plaintiffs in the ACLU's case. They said, "we were so excited when we got married, but it felt like such a blow to have that taken away so soon."
Credit ACLU

The ACLU of Michigan has filed a lawsuit that seeks to force Michigan to recognize the marriages of around 300 same-sex couples.

The couples married on Saturday, March 22 after a federal judge struck down Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage the day before. Several county clerks had opened their offices to allow the marriages to go forward. A federal appeals court later issued a stay on the ruling, which put a hold on any more marriages from taking place.

And Gov. Snyder later announced that the state would not recognize the marriages that took place on that Saturday.

From the ACLU’s press release:

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of eight same-sex couples who were married after a federal judge struck down the state’s ban and before the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals put the decision on hold.

"As a matter of law and fundamental fairness, the state is obligated to extend the protections that flow from marriage to all those who celebrated their weddings last month," said Kary L. Moss, ACLU of Michigan executive director.

The ACLU has more on the families who have joined the lawsuit. You can read more here.

Politics & Government
12:34 pm
Wed May 28, 2014

Watch two of Detroit's top leaders speak at the Mackinac Policy Conference

More than 1,500 statewide businesses, government and community leaders will be at this year’s Mackinac Policy Conference, May 28 through May 30.

The conference will feature speakers, stakeholders and panelists discussing issues in STEM education, workforce development, public policy, and more.

You can join a live chat and screening for two sessions with two of Detroit's top leaders: Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, and Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr.

The chat and screening will take place on a social screening platform called OVEE (Online Video Engagement Experience).

Watch and discuss Mayor Duggan's keynote address today at 4:45 p.m. by clicking here. You can also add this event to your calendar.

And you can watch and discuss Kevyn Orr's keynote address on Friday, May 30, at 9:45 a.m. by clicking here, or add it to your calendar.

Politics & Government
2:37 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

Report identifies 84,641 structures and vacant lots in Detroit that need help

The main image on the report released today.
Credit Data Driven Detroit

The number comes from a much-anticipated report on the state of decay in Detroit's neighborhoods and what can be done about that decay.

The final report from the Detroit Blight Removal Task Force is titled, "Every Neighborhood Has a Future...And It Doesn't Include Blight."

The report's authors say a combination of blight removal and investment in Detroit's neighborhoods should be the goal for the city's leaders.

From the report:

Structure removal alone will not be enough to fully transform Detroit’s neighborhoods. There must be a concentrated reinvestment in Detroit’s neighborhoods, which will allow for the rebuilding of value.

The report draws heavily on a technology project aimed at cataloging buildings in the city. The Motor City Mapping Project relied on teams of people going out, snapping photos of a building or lot, and then attaching information to that cataloged parcel.

Here's how it worked:

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Families & Community
2:42 pm
Fri May 23, 2014

This interactive map shows why people stay in Michigan

Credit Image made by Mark Brush

For the last two weeks, people in Michigan have shared their reasons for staying in the state.

We asked people to publish images that capture why they stay after a Gallup poll showed that 37% of us would rather live somewhere else.

This was a project with 10 other public radio stations spread across the country. We all asked our audience members to use the hashtag #whyIstay when sharing a picture.

Thousands of people shared their reasons for living where they do.

Read more
Weather
8:00 am
Fri May 23, 2014

VIDEO: Watch a huge fog bank roll off Lake Michigan

The fog bank on Lake Michigan edges closer.
imgr

Spring is here and warmer air has finally come to the region, but we're still surrounded by five refrigerators – the five Great Lakes.

Lake Michigan broke a record this past winter for total ice coverage, so you know there won't be many people swimming in the lake over Memorial Day weekend.

The lakes will, however, have plenty of fisherman on them. And with the cold water and warm air, they might experience fog.

But have you ever seen a fog bank like this?

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Transportation
6:52 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

What goes into the cost of a gallon of gas in Michigan?

These days are long gone. A gas pump in 1974.
Credit USEPA

The roads are crumbling and people want them fixed.

But just how do we pay for what some are calling a $2 billion a year problem?

Right now, state lawmakers are considering raising revenue through higher taxes on gas, and that's raised a lot of debate around what we pay at the pump already.

The average gallon of gas in Michigan stands at $3.85 today. In Louisiana, by contrast, the average gallon of gas is $3.38.

Why the difference?

Read more
Offbeat
10:45 am
Wed May 21, 2014

Better late than never? A Transformer reveals himself in Ann Arbor

Car or human? This "transformer" street performer wants to reassure the kids he's human.
Credit Mark Brush

We in the media world go crazy for anything that might get shared by thousands... nay millions of people around the Internet. 

Entire sites like Gawker, Buzzfeed, and ViralNova are dedicated to getting these shares. The New York Times gazed at its navel and didn't like what it saw. "More shareable content!" they said.

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Food
3:52 pm
Mon May 19, 2014

A morel mushroom recipe from a café in Cadillac

Morel mushrooms spring from the ground in Michigan.
Credit State of Michigan

Listen to Chef Hermann Suhs cooking up morels in his kitchen at Hermann's European Café in Cadillac, Michigan.

This audio postcard was produced by Tom Carr.

Here's the recipe for "Fettuccine Morello a la Chef Hermann"

Ingredients:

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Culture
2:13 pm
Thu May 15, 2014

Here are 100 reasons why people stay in Michigan

Photos by Margie Thomas-Boyd, Rob Rosario, Sara Cardinal.
collage by Mark Brush Michigan Radio

Last Friday, we asked people to share a photo that represents why they stay in Michigan.

So far, people have shared thousands of photos and tweets using the hashtag #whyIstay.

Public radio stations all over the country are asking their communities the same question. Here's a collection showing all the responses.

Read more
Health
1:27 pm
Wed May 14, 2014

Health officials looking into a cluster of E. coli contamination in Michigan

Health officials suspect under cooked ground beef.
Credit user i believe i can fry / Flickr

State health officials say they're working with health departments in Kent, Livingston, Oakland, Ottawa and Washtenaw counties to investigate a cluster of recent illnesses due to the bacteria E. coli O157.

The state Department of Community Health and the state Department of Agriculture and Rural Development announced Wednesday that the suspected source of the bacteria is ground beef.

More from the MDCH press release:

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Investigative
3:57 pm
Tue May 13, 2014

We want to know what you're curious about in Michigan

Logo design by Harrison Lott

We're launching an innovative journalism project here at Michigan Radio that will allow the public to drive the stories we investigate. 

Ask yourself, "what am I curious about?" and then share that question with us.

Our MI Curious project will launch in the coming weeks with a website that will ask:

"What do you wonder about Michigan, the region or its people that you want Michigan Radio to investigate?"

Read more
Politics & Government
3:25 pm
Fri May 9, 2014

States that opposed Obamacare, like Michigan, may have made it more efficient

A computer screen showing HealthCare.gov in action.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

That's one of the lessons drawn from a report put out by the law firm Mehri & Skalet.

The author of the report, Jay Angoff, once led the U.S. Health and Human Services office in charge of implementing the Affordable Care Act.

Angoff looked at the amount it cost to set up health care exchanges in each state along with the number of enrollees in each state through March 31, 2014.

By doing that, he came up with a “cost-per-enrollee” for each state’s health care exchange.

Overall, the average cost-per-enrollee was $922. The average cost was higher for states with their own exchanges, and lower in states with the federally-run exchange.

Read more
Environment & Science
12:56 pm
Wed May 7, 2014

New research finds that the emerald ash borer may have arrived in the early 1990s

Credit USDA Forest Service

Researchers are uncovering evidence for a timeline for the arrival of an invasive beetle that has destroyed tens of millions of ash trees in the U.S. and Canada.

The emerald ash borer is native to China. Scientists think it arrived in the U.S. via wood packing crates. The beetle eats through the living part of an ash tree underneath the bark and cuts off the tree's water and food supply. This starves the tree to death.

The ash borer continues to spread across the U.S. The researchers found that it may have arrived in North America a decade before it first was detected.

More from the Associated Press:

Michigan State University researchers collected cores from trunks of more than 1,000 ash trees in six southeastern Michigan counties. By studying them, they determined the year each tree was killed by the emerald ash borer and found trees killed as early as 1997.

The ash borer was detected in southeast Michigan in 2002. The researchers say it would take several years before the beetle population was large enough to kill trees, so they concluded it had been in southeast Michigan since at least 1992 or 1993.

The study is published in the journal Diversity and Distributions.

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Education
2:33 pm
Mon May 5, 2014

Has public education funding gone up or down under Gov. Snyder's watch?

Gov. Rick Snyder (l), and Mark Schauer (r). Both claim the "education" mantle.
Facebook

Funding for public schools in Michigan is becoming a centerpiece in the race for Michigan's next governor.

In this corner, you have current Gov. Rick Snyder:

"I'm proud to say, in the last three years we've increased educational spending at the state level for K-12 each and every year to the point where we've invested $660 more per student than there was previously before I took office. That's a huge investment in K-12 education."

And in the other corner you have the guy who wants his job, Democratic hopeful Mark Schauer:

"[Snyder] cut over $1 billion from education to pay for his $1.8 billion corporate tax break."

There have been a lot of "so-who's-right-here?" analysis pieces written. You can find them herehere, and here.

As always, with budget numbers – especially with school funding budget numbers – it can be quite confusing. And politicians cherry pick their favorite numbers to make a point.

This much is true: Schools all over the state are feeling the pinch.

Forty-six school systems across Michigan are running in the red. And if they're not running in the red, many are making big cuts to stay in the black.

School funding is a hot-button political issue – especially now that some parents are noticing more kids packed into the classroom, half-day kindergarten is gone, some art teacher positions have been cut, and some schools have closed.

So can we blame those at the top?

Read more
Arts & Culture
12:20 pm
Mon May 5, 2014

DIA plans an exhibition on the year Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo spent in Detroit

Frida Kahlo overlooking Rivera Court at the DIA circa 1932-33.
DIA Archives

The Detroit Institute of Arts is planning a unique exhibition that highlights the year Mexican artists Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo spent in the city.

Between April 1932 and March 1933, Rivera created the famed Detroit Industry murals on the walls of a courtyard at the Detroit museum.

Here’a video of the murals being made at the DIA:

Sherri Welch reports for Crain’s Detroit Business that other museums and private collectors will help the DIA with the exhibition:

"When Rivera was here, he was regarded as one of the most important artists in the world of western art at that time," [DIA Director Graham] Beal said.

Edsel Ford paid for the murals, which wound up costing just less than $21,000 at the time, according to the DIA.

Rivera, seen as one of the greatest muralists of his time, was a very important influence on the artists who became abstract expressionists, Beal said.

And Kahlo's development as an artist took place when she was here in Detroit. Renowned as not only a portrait artist but as a symbol of feminist strength, Kahlo's works range in style from folk art to surrealist.

In its press release, the DIA says most of the works Kahlo created in Detroit will be shown for the first time in the city.

The show is scheduled to run from March 15, 2015, to July 12, 2015.

In all, 80 artworks will be featured in the exhibition, including Rivera's preparatory drawings for the Detroit Industry murals.

Politics & Government
11:29 am
Mon May 5, 2014

City of Warren hoping for a turnaround

The Warren Civic Center.
Credit City of Warren

The city of Warren, Michigan has been wresting with population declines for several decades and with that comes the common problems many industrial cities face - how to deal with vacant property.

Last week, Mayor Jim Fouts announced a plan to relieve the city of caring for some of these empty lots.

If you live next to one, you can buy it from the city for $1.

More from the Associated Press:

Fouts says the buyers will be responsible for closing costs that won't exceed $700 per lot. Additional property taxes will be around $150 annually.

The mayor calls it a "win-win" deal for Warren and the nearby property owners. He says the price is hard to beat, plus the city will no longer have to cut weeds or grass and shovel snow at the sites.

And now the city is hoping to convert some of its empty parcels into a bustling downtown around its city center.

Christina Hall writes for the Detroit Free Press:

In the next few months, Mayor Jim Fouts would like to reveal specific plans for some of those parcels in the city’s downtown — details he hopes will describe a five-star hotel, fashionable movie theater, high-class restaurant, nightclub and grocery store...

After roughly a decade of failed attempts, Fouts believes plans finally are falling into place to develop a bustling downtown in Michigan’s third-largest city.

The mayor says the city's Downtown Development Authority has "received many 'strong feelers from businesses wanting to develop' more than 16 acres around the civic center."

Going from "strong feelers" to actual construction can be a long process.

Culture
2:53 pm
Fri May 2, 2014

37% of you would rather live somewhere else than Michigan

The darker the green, the more likely the state has residents who want to move elsewhere.
Gallup

I mean, it's not like we're living in Hawaii, after all.

Michigan is "above the national average" for the number of people who say they'd rather live somewhere else, according to the Gallup poll.

Here was the question they put to the 600 people they reached by phone in Michigan:

"Regardless of whether you will move, if you had the opportunity, would you like to move to another state, or would you rather remain in your current state?"

Read more
Education
2:22 pm
Thu May 1, 2014

U of M's endowment is bigger than the GDP of the Bahamas

Editors of the New Republic saw this tweet from NYU professor and Eurasia Group president Ian Bremmer:

Read more
Culture
11:52 am
Wed April 30, 2014

Arab American festival in Dearborn canceled once again

The festival in past years.
Credit The Arab American News.com

The festival has been canceled for the second year in a row due to higher liability insurance costs for festival organizers.

The three-day festival in Dearborn celebrated Arab culture and was one the largest gatherings of Arab Americans in the U.S., but it also attracted anti-Islamic protestors and Christian missionaries from around the country.

Niraj Warikoo reports for the Detroit Free Press:

Tensions at the festival broke out in 2010 when a group of Christian missionaries arrived with video cameras to record their attempts to debate Muslims. Some were arrested for disturbing the peace, though later acquitted of most charges. Their arrests drew outrage from conservatives across the U.S.

Another Christian group filed a lawsuit against the city, saying the missionaries were restricted in where they could distribute their literature. In 2012, a separate group of Christians brought a pig’s head mounted on a pole with anti-Islam signs, resulting in some youth hurling bottles at them.

Warikoo reports that Dearborn was forced to pay $300,000 to the Christian missionaries arrested in 2010.

The Arab-American Chamber of Commerce says they’re still looking for ways to move forward with the festival.

Environment & Science
5:04 pm
Tue April 29, 2014

Michigan proposes updates to "fracking" rules for oil and gas drillers

Credit Eusko Jaurlaritza / Flickr

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality is proposing changes to their rules for oil and gas drilling in the state.

MDEQ leaders say they've had a successful record regulating the practice of hydraulic fracturing in the state for more than five decades, but new practices by the oil and gas industry are leading to the rule changes.

The industry's practice of horizontal hydraulic fracturing, known commonly as "fracking," has allowed companies to extract a lot more oil and gas from the ground.

Read more

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