Mark Brush


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.

He has won several state and national awards for his work, including a 2011 national Edward R. Murrow award for best audio news documentary on the future of coal in the United States.

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 "public radio junkie" since 1992. Much of Mark's storytelling philosophy was influenced through his close work with veteran CBC "réalisateur" David Candow.

Ways to Connect

Michigan Congressman Dan Benishek, R-MI-1st, will retire.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Congressman Dan Benishek (R-MI 1st) surprised political observers today by announcing he will not seek a fourth term in office. Earlier this year Benishek said he would break a commitment to only serve three terms and seek a fourth. Now he’s returned to his three-term commitment and will retire in 2016.

People living in 80th and 82nd districts in Michigan are currently without a state representative.
Gamrat and Courser websites

The State House lost two members this morning when one resigned and the other was expelled.

(More on that here.)

To fill the gap, Lt. Gov. Brian Calley just announced plans to fill the two vacated seats. He made the call since Gov. Snyder is in Japan on an investment mission.

George Shirley and the University Musical Society will each receive a National Medal of Arts today at the White House.
University of Michigan, and the National Endownment for the Arts

The University of Michigan's University Musical Society and George Shirley, emeritus professor at the School of Music, Theatre & Dance, will each received a 2014 National Medal of Arts today.

They are among 11 winners this year - a list that included Sally Field, Stephen King, and Tobias Wolff. A ceremony was held this afternoon at the White House.

This political cartoon was printed in 1812 in reaction to the newly drawn state senate election district of South Essex created by the Massachusetts Legislature to favor the Democratic-Republican Party candidates of Governor Elbridge Gerry.
Elkanah Tisdale / Boston Centinel, 1812

Michigan Radio and Public Sector Consultants conducted a poll of 600 likely voters from Aug. 4-8 about how they felt financially, possible changes in redistricting, and the potential legalization of recreational marijuana.

In terms of those saying they're better off, Jeff Williams, CEO of Public Sector Consultants says things look relatively "rosy" for Michigan. More than half say they're "about the same," and around a quarter of them say they're "better off."

Much of the corn grown in the U.S. today is genetically engineered to resist the herbicide Roundup.
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

The study, published in the journal Environmental Health, found that continuous exposure to very low doses of the herbicide Roundup might be linked to liver and kidney damage.

The researchers looked at how genes changed in rats that were given a commercial Roundup formulation containing 0.1 parts per billion of glyphosate (the active ingredient in Roundup) over a two-year period.

The red lines show where Enbridge's Line 5 crosses Lake Michigan.
screenshot from Enbridge report to the state

In 2010, we were given a pretty good reason to care about how companies maintain the 3,280 miles of hazardous liquid pipelines crisscrossing our state.

Being the state that suffered through the worst inland oil spill in U.S. history has that effect.

So people perked up when they found out that Enbridge, the company responsible for the Kalamazoo River oil spill, owns another pipeline that travels under Lake Michigan at the Straits of Mackinac.

If Michigan has a “crown jewel,” this area might be it.

Stateside in action in Studio East at Michigan Radio.
Michigan Radio

Michigan Radio is looking for an intern to help produce the online content for Stateside, Michigan Radio’s M-Th talk show.

This paid internship runs from January 4 through April 29, 2016.

Interns will help create daily posts for online news publication.

Stateside online news interns will develop insights into multimedia production and presentation and will also become familiar with how a public radio station in a major market operates.

Applicants should have strong interest and/or knowledge of online news and online news presentation. They should also have strong writing and communication skills and be self-motivated and dependable. Knowledge of multimedia software applications is a plus.

A 15-20 hour/week commitment during normal business hours is requested.

If interested, please e-mail a cover letter and resume to Senior Producer Mark Brush ( Be sure to include the words STATESIDE ONLINE NEWS INTERNSHIP APPLICATION in the subject line.

Please include times and dates available for work in your letter.

Former Michigan Representatives Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat.
From Courser/Gamrat websites

A House Business Office investigation into Michigan Reps. Todd Courser, R-Lapeer, and Cindy Gamrat, R-Plainwell, alleges numerous instances of deceptive and "outright dishonest" conduct to cover up their extra-marital affair.

The Founders baby will remain on labels in other states.
Mike Mozart / Flickr -

"You wanna sell beer in this state? You gotta go through me, kid."

While not an exact quote, that's essentially what Michigan's Liquor Control Commission said when it found that the label for Founders Breakfast Stout was in violation of its rules, which say:

Michigan is toying with the idea of building open-water fish pens, like this one in Ontario.
Northern Ontario Aquaculture Association


OK, this is where I fess up and tell you that the answer to that headline is "only time will tell."

A scientific advisory panel is studying the possibility now (see their names here), and we expect to see their findings this October. After that report, there will be more "time telling" as state officials decide whether to allow it.

The Michigan unemployment rate (red line) graphed with the overall labor force in Michigan (blue line).
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

Michigan’s monthly unemployment rate dropped to 5.3% (the red line in the graph above). That’s the lowest it’s been in 14 years, and it matches the national average.

But the drop this month is due mostly to fewer people out looking for work.

More from the Michigan Department of Labor, Technology and Budget office press release:

Michigan Supreme Court Justice Mary Beth Kelly.
Michigan Supreme Court

The announcement was made today by the Michigan Supreme Court. Justice Mary Beth Kelly will leave the Supreme Court and return to private practice effective October 1, 2015. Kelly is counted as a conservative member on the seven-member court. The court is made up of five Republican nominees and two Democratic nominees.

Cindy Gamrat speaking at an August 14, 2015 press conference.
screen shot - LiveStream

Update 5:32 pm:

Keith Allard, an aide shared by Reps. Courser and Gamrat, issued this response via Twitter: "I look forward to cooperating with any investigation to ensure that taxpayers are protected and faith in our institutions can be restored. Most important, an investigation will reveal the truth. There is absolutely no truth to the accusations against me by Mrs. Gamrat, as will be proven."

A "hacking" sign.
Alexandre Dulaunoy / Flickr -

Update 4:00 p.m.

The offending posts have been removed from the Facebook pages. Kurt Svoboda, an associate director with U-M's athletic department sent us this statement via e-mail:

We are actively working to resolve the issue with experts throughout the University and at Facebook. That remains our top priority. 

Original post 1:12 p.m.

I was wondering why Michigan Football wanted me to know about "22 Child Stars That Grew Up And Got Superhot" last night as I scrolled through my Facebook feed. 

Robert Plutchik's Wheel of Emotions
user Machine Elf 1735 / Wikimedia Commons

Whether you have personal struggles, or you know a family member or friend who has needed help - it seems just about everyone has been personally touched by mental health issues at some point in their life.

The reporters and producers at Michigan Radio are planning a series of stories focusing on mental health in Michigan. But before we get started, we want to hear from you.

What questions or issues have you run across that you want answers to?

Frank Zinn and his family owned a farm right next to ground zero. They sued Enbridge saying their plans for a environmentally-frienly vineyard were lost.
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

On July 25, 2010 at 5:58 p.m., Enbridge's Line 6B split open in a wetland near Marshall, Michigan.

The break was not discovered for 17 hours. During that time, with the pipeline split open, Enbridge controllers in Alberta restarted the system twice, thinking they had a pressure problem in the line.

A diver inspects Enbridge's Line 5 pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac for a possible dent. Enbridge performs inspections, but won't share what they find.
Credit an Enbridge inspection video shared with the state of Michigan

People in Michigan are naturally concerned about the thousands of miles of pipelines crisscrossing the state. After all, Michigan suffered through the worst inland oil spill in U.S. history.  

And there's one pipeline in particular that people are quite concerned about: Enbridge's Line 5 moves more than 500,000 barrels of oil and other liquid petroleum products (like propane) a day under Lake Michigan at the Straits of Mackinac.

This aerial photo of the 2010 Enbridge oil spill was taken five days after the initial spill. We're approaching the five-year anniversary now.
State of Michigan

We're coming up on the five-year anniversary of the largest inland oil spill in U.S. history.

On a Sunday evening, July 25, 2010, an Enbridge oil pipeline split open and dumped around 1 million gallons of thick, heavy, tar sands crude oil into Talmadge Creek and the Kalamazoo River.

No one knew there was a major oil spill underway until the next day.

Since that time there have been massive clean-ups, river restoration projects, real estate being bought and sold, and countless lawsuits.

Your experience

flickr user Thomas Hawk /

The state of Michigan is terminating its contract with Aramark to provide prison food services.

The state and Aramark say the decision to end the $145 million contract was mutually agreed upon.

Aramark has faced fines and other sanctions since the company took over prison food services in December of 2013.

Office for Emergency Management. Office of War Information. Domestic Operations Branch. Bureau of Special Services.

Veterans returning home after World War II received a big helping hand from American taxpayers. The GI Bill helped millions get a college education. 

Today, veterans returning home from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan also get help paying for college. The Post 9/11 GI Bill can pay up to around $20,000 a year in taxpayer-funded college tuition.

9-11 veterans: Jamaine Atkins, Sherman Powell, Russ Dotson (top, L-R), Cassie Michael, Curtis Gibson, Andrew Hunter (middle), Eric Fretz, Cody Barnhart, Brendan Lejeune (bottom).
Mark Brush, Paula Friedrich, Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

There used to be a time in our country's history when many people had a connection to someone serving in the Armed Forces - people had a brother, a cousin, an uncle or an aunt who served in WWII, Korea, or Vietnam.

Today, having that connection to the military is not as common. Volunteers fill the military's ranks, and civilians have grown farther apart from those who put their lives on the line.

All this week, we're bringing you stories about Michigan's post 9/11 veterans - stories about what life has been like since their return home.

The DeYoung Power Plant in Holland burns coal. The city is switching over to natural gas soon.
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed with the state of Michigan, and many other states and industry groups, in their challenge to emissions rules from the Environmental Protection Agency.

They argued that the EPA should consider the costs and benefits of regulating mercury pollution from power plants.

Stephanie Wade (R), and Lori Hazelton (L) from Muskegon get married.
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Same-sex couples are already getting married in a number of Michigan counties after today’s Supreme Court ruling.

With TV crews hovering nearby, Lori Hazelton and Stephanie Wade exchanged rings in a tiny conference room at the Muskegon County Clerk’s office.

It wasn’t the quite the wedding Hazelton once hoped for; one with family and friends.

In a 5-4 decision today, the U.S. Supreme Court changed the lives of millions of gay Americans, allowing them to have the same legal rights of marriage as heterosexual couples.

The state of Michigan played a big part in the case, as April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse challenged Michigan's ban on same-sex marriage in federal court – a case that made it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

This timeline shows the path of how we got here. If you don't see the timeline below, you can view it in full here.

The winning team from Michigan. April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse (seated), and their legal team - L-R - Robert Asedler, Dana Nessel, Carole Stanyar, and Kenneth Mogill.
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in a 5-4 decision that gay marriage is now legal throughout the U.S.

The sweeping ruling clears up years of confusion around a patchwork of state laws both banning and allowing same-sex marriages.

Read the historic opinion here.

The U.S. Supreme Court.
Supreme Court of the United States

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in favor of one of the central parts of the Affordable Care Act, keeping the law in place in states throughout the country.

Their decision comes three years after the high court upheld the constitutionality of the law.

The case before the court, King v. Burwell, centered on health care exchanges run by the federal government – as is the case in Michigan.

The answer is still forthcoming. So far, the National Weather Service has confirmed one EF-1 tornado that touched down in Portland, Michigan yesterday. More than 50 homes were damaged in Portland and there were no reports of serious injuries.

We're seeing a lot of other reports of damage due to the storms, but determining whether those were caused by a tornado takes some ground truth. 

Detroit skyline.
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Development action is centered on downtown Detroit as the city gets back on its feet after bankruptcy. Corktown and Midtown have seen a lot of new construction, and now a developer is stepping up to put ideas and money into a west side Detroit neighborhood, the Herman Kiefer complex.

Gov. Rick Snyder

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has signed a set of laws that let adoption agencies refuse referrals that violate their beliefs.

The new Michigan laws allow agencies that take money from the state for placing children with families to turn away same-sex couples. There would have to be a sincere religious objection and a good-faith effort to refer the couples to another adoption service.

Michigan softball playing earlier this year in Ann Arbor.
MGoBlog / Flickr

Michigan lost to the defending champion Florida Gators in the final and decisive game of the Women's College World Series last night by a score of 4-1. The Gators scored early in the game and it proved too much for the Wolverines to overcome.

Michigan (60-8 on the season) faced a tough pitcher in Lauren Haeger, the National Player of the Year.