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.

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

The Detroit River.
Patricia Drury / Flickr

The Detroit RiverFront Conservancy hopes to raise $3 million to fund a new transportation system in Detroit. They envision a system of water taxis and trolley buses working in and along the Detroit River.

The Detroit News’ Jennifer Chambers reports the conservancy hired Michigan-based Freshwater Transit to study the feasibility of such a system.

A fall leaf on Election Day.
Mike Perini / Michigan Radio

We've told you how Proposal 1 went down in spectacular defeat. You can see vote tallies on that statewide ballot measure here.

Elsewhere in Michigan, voters faced all manner of local elections for things like schools, roads, and marijuana decriminalization.   

User _chrisUK / flickr.com

We in Michigan have been talking about fixing our roads for years.

"Just fix the damn roads," was the mantra Michigan lawmakers heard over and over from their constituents.

Now the refrain sounds more like "just don't fix the damn roads this way."

Michigan State Route 46.
Doug Kerr / Flickr

When it comes to spending on roads, Michigan lags behind its neighbors.

Earlier this year, the Associated Press looked at how much states spend on roads. The numbers show how far Michigan lags behind.

From Matt Vande Bunte of MLive:

The Michigan meridian is clearly visible in the map of Native American land cessions in Michigan.
wikimedia commons

This month marks the 200th birthday of something that helped make Michigan the state we know today.

It's the bicentennial of the Michigan meridian.

That north-south line was the reference point for the Michigan Survey. Every single piece of property in Michigan is defined by that meridian and two east-west baselines.

Photo courtesy of Central Michigan Life

The two reasons: 1) the process of moving water that far, and that high, wouldn't make economic sense; 2) Great Lakes water is locked down politically.

The ongoing drought in California has hit its fourth year. 

John Vucetich and Rolf Peterson / Isle Royale Wolf-Moose study

The ongoing study of wolves and moose on Isle Royale in Lake Superior has hit a critical juncture. Researchers in charge of the longest continuous study of a predator-prey system anywhere in the world released their annual report today. 

You can read the full report here.

We asked all 148 Michigan lawmakers the following questions:

"Do you have K-12 school-aged children?"

"If so, what type of school do they attend?"

"What type of K-12 school did you attend?"

See our infographic below.

The chambers inside Michigan's Capitol.
user CedarBendDrive, ae1106, and Lester Graham / Flickr/Michigan Radio

Jeff Salisbury asked us this question as part of our M I Curious news experiment. It's where you ask a question, questions are put to a vote, and we investigate the question with the most votes. 

Porta potties in a lovely setting.
E. Dronkert / Flickr

Researchers have set up two Porta potties by a bus stop on the University of Michigan's central campus today. They're hoping to gather enough urine to research whether disinfected human urine can be safely recycled to fertilize food crops.

In a press release, the University of Michigan said they're working with four other institutions in this "first of its kind" research project.

Why recycle pee? Good question.

A gay couple marries in Michigan.
Emily Fox

We've said it before, and then we said it again.

There's no Michigan or federal law that protects lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender people from discrimination.

Michigan's civil rights law protects you from discrimination based on your religion, race, color, national origin, age, height, weight, familial status, or marital status.

User shockmotion / Flickr

A former University of Michigan grad, Derek Stevens, walks into a Las Vegas hotel to plop down a $20,000 bet with sportsbook director Tony Miller. 

ESPN's Darren Rovell takes it from there:

Susan Martin, EMU president.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

David Jesse at the Detroit Free Press reports that Eastern Michigan University President Susan Martin will resign at the end of the school year.

More from the Freep:

Piping plover.
USFWS

RJ Wolcott of the Grand Rapids Press spoke with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Vince Cavalieri about the return of the piping plover.

The endangered birds winter along the Gulf of Mexico, the southern Atlantic coast and in the Caribbean. Cavalieri says breeding pairs will soon arrive along the coasts of the northern Great Lakes. 

Michigan Lt. Gov. Brian Calley wears the "Google Trekker."
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Today, Google released into the world more than 40 images of iconic places in Michigan.

Google is known for capturing 360-degree street view images with their camera. For these latest images, the camera was strapped onto a backpack and taken to places cars can't go.

Here's a video produced by Google that shows the "Google Trekker" in action in Michigan:

A piece of a Michigan overpass being interviewed on Michigan Radio. Gov. Snyder brought this chunk of road to our studios during our call-in show. The piece of concrete said she's glad to be free from the confinement of the overpass.
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

On Tuesday, May 5, voters will decide whether to increase the sales tax from 6% to 7%, and to change the way fuel is taxed in the state.

In addition to the sales tax increase, Proposal 1 will strip all sales tax off the price you pay at the pump. Instead, you'll pay more in the state fuel tax - money that goes into fixing our roads.

Gov. Rick Snyder takes questions from listeners on Michigan Calling.
Roger Hart / Michigan Photography

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder took questions from a statewide public radio audience at 9 a.m. this morning.

The program originated from Michigan Radio’s studios in Ann Arbor. It was part of the Michigan Public Radio Network’s Michigan Calling series and was hosted by MPRN managing editor Rick Pluta.

West Michigan speedskater April Chernoby takes advantage of unusual ice conditions on Lake Michigan.
courtesy April Chernoby

The beginning of March brought on some unusual conditions along the coast of West Michigan. The ice off the coast of Grand Haven was as smooth as glass - perfect for skating. 

D.Clow / flickr

A recent NPR/ProPublica investigation calls the nation's worker's compensation laws a "grand bargain" between workers and their employers. It's supposed to work like this: if a worker gets injured on the job, workers agree not to sue, and employers agree to help care for those workers.

Film rolls.
Luca Nonato / Flickr

The Michigan film incentives have been a point of debate for years.

The incentives give film companies cash rebates based on the amount of money they spent in the state to make their movies.

At their peak, film incentives in Michigan would pay production companies 42% of their costs. That's when movie stars like Drew Barrymore, Clint Eastwood, and David Schwimmer started showing up regularly in the state.

A new contractor will run Ann Arbor school buses next year.
Leslie Science and Nature Center / Flickr

Update 2:48 p.m.

The school buses are running again this afternoon in Ann Arbor. A spokesperson for the Washtenaw Intermediate School District, the agency responsible for operating the district's bus system, has drivers for this afternoon.

Michigan Radio's Virginia Gordon spoke with WISD spokesperson Emma Jackson.

The University of Michigan fraternity Sigma Alpha Mu and the U of M sorority Sigma Delta Tau took responsibility for trashing hallways and hotel rooms at the Treetops Ski Resort near Gaylord, Michigan.

Their actions resulted in more than $100,000 in damages.

This tweet shows some of the damage:

Earl Lloyd became the first black player in the NBA on October 31, 1950. He broke the NBA color barrier three years after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball.

The Associated Press reports that Lloyd died Thursday at age 86.

Lloyd made his 1950 NBA debut with the Washington Capitols, just before fellow black players Sweetwater Clifton and Chuck Cooper played their first games.

You can watch clips of that game in this video produced by the Golden State Warriors:

Former Congressman Kerry Bentivolio.
Gage Skidmore / Flickr

He was called the "accidental congressman" because he was the only Republican on the 2012 primary ballot after incumbent Republican Thad McCotter's campaign imploded from a petition scandal.

Bentivolio went on to win and served two years in Congress until he lost his reelection bid in 2014.

The I-96/23 Interchange only approximates a "Thunderdome." To find the real thing, you would, of course, have to go Burning Man.
Matthew Gordon / Flickr

The I-96/US 23 highway interchange can be like Thunderdome - two cars enter, one car leaves.

But that's about to change.

MDOT (Michigan Department of Transportation) is set to make what it calls "major safety and operational improvements" to how cars and trucks merge and exit the two major highway systems next month.

How the Great Lakes look from space as of yesterday (Feb. 23, 2015).
NASA

With below freezing and single digit temperatures expected to continue through the week, ice cover on the Great Lakes is expected to continue to increase.

We hit a peak for the season yesterday with almost 86% ice cover for the Great Lakes -- that's well above where we were at this time last year (62%).

Wolf drawing on the cover of the Michigan Wolf Management Plan.
MDNR

Gray wolves in the western Great Lakes region went back on the federal endangered species list last December. That's when a federal judge vacated the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's 2011 delisting of the gray wolf in the western Great Lakes.

Today, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service published the final rule in the Federal Register. From the rule:

Empty desks in a classroom.
Matt Katzenberger / Flickr

Most people in a Michigan Radio/Public Sector Consultants poll would give Michigan a "C" when it comes to the state's education system.

Six-hundred likely voters in Michigan were polled from February 2 through February 5, 2015. Thirty-five percent gave Michigan's school system an A or a B - 49% gave Michigan a C, D, or an F (16% were unsure or didn't offer an answer).

"Telefunken!" from Facebook fan Chris B.
Chris B. / Facebook

Just about every day of the year has something for some niche group out there.

Do you like peanut butter? There's a day for that.

Don't like to wear socks? Wave your sock-free freak flag every year on May 8.

Today is our day. 

Budget tiles
Simon Cunningham / Flickr

A Michigan Radio/Public Sector Consultants poll of 600 likely voters in Michigan found that if they were making today's tough budget decisions, a majority would invest more in job creation, and most would make cuts to prisons.

The findings were released today - a day before Governor Snyder is expected to announce where he thinks money in the state budget should be spent, and where it should be cut.

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