Rina Miller

Weekend Edition host

Rina Miller got her start in radio on accident when she was sent to WCAR in Detroit as a temp employee. Since then, she has gained many years of experience in print and broadcast journalism, including work as a producer and program host at Radio Netherlands and as a reporter for ABC Radio News in New York. She enjoys working in public radio because the listeners are "interested, involved, and informed."

Outside the studio, Rina enjoys watching movies from the 1930s and '40s and absolutely hates karaoke. She has a deep love for animals and urges people to spay or neuter their pets, adopt from shelters and rescues, and purchase only from reputable, responsible breeders.

Q&A

What three people, alive or dead, would you like to have lunch with? Why?
Dorothy Parker, because her one-liners were the best.
Kurt Vonnegut, because he was the first writer who made me laugh out loud.
Bella Abzug, because she put her courage where her mouth was.
And if there could be a No. 4? George Clooney. You know why.

How did you get involved in radio?
By accident. I was sent to WCAR in Detroit as a temp employee, and loved the environment.

What is your favorite way to spend your free time?
Watching 1930s and '40s movies, especially those with Joan Crawford, Bette Davis or Rita Hayworth.

What has been your most memorable experience as a reporter/host/etc.?
Covering the crash of a cargo jet into a high-rise apartment complex in Amsterdam in 1992. The story was more complex than the obvious; many victims were illegal immigrants whose families were reluctant to come forward because they feared deportation. There were many substories that arose from this tragedy.

What one song do you think best summarizes your taste in music?
Leonard Cohen's Famous Blue Raincoat, sung by Jennifer Warnes.

What is your favorite program on Michigan Radio? Why?
Fresh Air. Terry has an amazing range of guests, so the show's never predictable or stale.

What is one ability or talent you really wish you possessed?
To sing like Etta James.

What do you like best about working in public radio?
The listeners. They're interested, involved and informed.

Is there anyone in the broadcasting industry you find to be particularly admirable or inspiring? Who?
Jon Stewart. He's fearless without being cruel.

If you could interview any contemporary newsmaker, who would it be?
Vladimir Putin

Is there a T.V. show you never miss? If so, which one?
Mad Men

What would your perfect meal consist of?
An Indonesian rice table

What modern convenience would it be most difficult for you to live without?
The Internet

What are people usually very surprised to learn about you?
That I despise karaoke.

What else would you like people to know about you?
That I have a deep love for animals. I urge people to spay or neuter their pets, adopt from shelters and rescues, or purchase only from reputable, responsible breeders.

Ways To Connect

AcrylicArtist / MorgueFile

The men and women who make Michigan's laws have someone watching over their shoulders. 

So who's putting legislators' feet to the fire? It's the public --  with some help from a conservative think tank.

Jack McHugh is a legislative analyst for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.

He compiles the "Michigan Votes Report,"  a searchable online database that was launched in 2003 to track lawmakers' votes  -- or lack of them.

"We had legislators missing hundreds of votes, who frankly just weren't showing up to work," McHugh says.

The Lansing Board of Water and Light says it's getting some help from other utilities and contractors as it continues to repair damage from an ice storm that hit the region a week ago.

The utility says about 3,000 customers are still without power.

BWL spokesman Stephen Serkaian says the crews are working on circuits in the following areas:

Grand River/Edgebrook

W. Saginaw/Carey

Pattengill/Barnes

Chieho/W. Saginaw

St. Joe/Canal

Cavanagh/Pennsylvania

Mt. Hope/Sunnyside

Northeast/Community

Old Lansing Rd/E. Libby

How are you preparing for the new year? Cleaning the house from top to bottom? Clearing out paper and files? Changing smoke alarm batteries (yes, you really should do that)? Whether you're working, relaxing, or pondering what 2014 holds, click through to State of Opportunity and catch up on our thought-provoking documentaries. 2013 saw us cover what race means to kids today, the gap in educational achievement in two local school districts, and how we as a society are defining manhood. Listen on the State of Opportunity website. Or download the podcasts from iTunes and listen while you take down those outdoor holidays lights. Listening to stimulating radio guarantees you'll wrap the lights carefully this year.

e-cigarettedirect.com

Electronic cigarettes may be smoke-free, but they do contain nicotine, and that has parents worried.

E-cigarettes are battery-operated inhalers that simulate cigarettes.

Dr. Matthew Davis is director of the National Poll on Children's Health from C.S. Mott Children's hospital in Ann Arbor.

He says the devices are unregulated and no long-term health studies have been done.

The freezing rain is causing havoc for Michigan residents and businesses throughout the state.

Utilities report about 200,000 customers were without power at noon today (Sunday) after a heavy icing brought down tree limbs and power lines.

The weather has also affected Michigan Radio transmitters. We are aware that WVGR, 104.1 in Grand Rapids, is off the air and our engineer is working on the problem. We are also operating at reduced power at our two other transmitters. We're still online, though, at michiganradio.org.

David Defoe / flickr

This Week in Review, Jack Lessenberry and Rina Miller discuss General Motor's investments in the state, the fate of state employee benefits, and the part-time legislature debate.

Google maps

About  45 people, including young children, are scrambling to find shelter today after being evicted from the Avalon Hotel in Blackman Township near Jackson

Some say they can live temporarily with family during the holidays, but others had no place to go.

"There are a lot of people moving stuff," says Katie Anderson, assistant manager of the Interfaith Shelter of Jackson. "There are U-Hauls backed up to rooms. It's a lot of craziness, there's a lot of tears. A lot of people are a little lost and confused about what to do."

The Michigan House of Representatives.
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

This Week in Review, Rina Miller and Jack Lessenberry discuss the passage of the ani-abortion coverage bill and campaign finance bill, as well as the appointment of the first female CEO of General Motors.

taliesin / MorgueFile

Michigan's history and social studies teachers may be required to include specific topics for an annual "Patriot Week."

The Senate this week passed a trio of bills that would require public schools to focus on the U.S. Constitution and other founding documents for one week every year.

cdc.gov

Mothers who choose to breastfeed their babies in public have every right to do so in Michigan. But not everyone's clear about the law.

Women cannot be told to leave a business or public transportation in order to breast feed their baby. Just because it may make some people uncomfortable, Michigan law is on the mother's side.

Several cases made recent headlines, including a woman who was told to get off a public bus because she was breastfeeding her baby.

kakisky / MorgueFile

Here's something you can tell that neighbor whose power lawn mower shatters your Saturday morning quiet: You're making me sick!

Researchers at the University of Michigan School of Public Health and the Network for Public Health Law say Americans live in a dangerously noisy society.

U-M assistant professor of environmental science Rick Neitzel says noise does much more than cause hearing loss. He says  noise can contribute to heart disease, hypertension, sleep disturbances and learning problems in children.

This Week in Review, Rina Miller and Jack Lessenberry talk about how Rand Paul thinks Detroit should lower it's tax rate in order to stabilize, what's behind Governor Rick Snyder's 36 percent approval rating, and how the average Michigan graduate has $29,000 in student loans.

From the report "Access to mental health Care in Michigan" / Center for Healthcare Research & Transformation

Michigan's mental health care providers are already stretched far beyond capacity, according to an Ann Arbor research agency.

A report released Thursday by the Center for Healthcare Research & Transformation says the state's mental health system "is broken."

And if it's bad now, care providers will be overwhelmed when the Affordable Care Act takes effect next month.

Ladyheart / MorgueFile

Last year, Governor Snyder said parents who don't get their kids to school should have their state financial aid suspended.

A child who has ten or more unexcused absences in a school year is considered truant.

The state House passed a truancy bill in May;  it's now in the Senate.

State Sen. Vincent Gregory, D-Southfield, says the bill punishes poor families, rather than looking for solutions.

Allegiance Health

The head of Jackson's Allegiance Health says a planned affiliation with the University of Michigan Health System will be good for patients, the community and employees.  

The 400-bed facility is the closest hospital for people in several counties.

Allegiance Health CEO Georgia Fojtasek says the UMHS affiliation will allow the hospital to expand patient services, including cardiovascular, neuromuscular and trauma care.

Rina Miller / Michigan Radio

As  Americans gather to celebrate the holidays, many will be joined by family members of the furry persuasion.

Most dogs like to position themselves near the dinner table, ready to Hoover up any morsels that fall to the floor, eyes beseeching  diners as they lift  each forkful of feast. 

Cats may be more assertive and attempt to tiptoe among your fine glassware and serving platters.

But as we humans are well aware, just because something is delicious doesn't mean it's good for us.

That goes for pets, too.

High wind warnings and watches are in effect from 4 p.m. today (Sunday) until 4 a.m. tomorrow for the entire region. Strong to severe thunderstorms are expected to develop along the Lake Michigan shore and move east late this afternoon. Wind gusts to 60 miles per hour are possible, which could cause power outages and make driving difficult, especially on north-south roads.  It'll be unseasonably warm today with highs in the mid to upper 60s.

Jusben / MorgueFile

Renters in Michigan might be held financially responsible if they they don't properly take care of their home under a bill being considered in Lansing. 

For example, if you put a couch on your porch and there's a law against that in your community, or you leave trash lying around  you should be fined, not your landlord. That's the gist of the bill that would put more legal responsibility on tenants.

Detroit Skyline
Dave Linabury / Flickr

This Week in Review Rina Miller and Jack Lessenberry discuss next week's elections, the Detroit bankruptcy eligibility trial and the accusation by a Senator from Oklahoma that Isle Royale is wasting money and is not worthy of preservation.

Photobucket

Nineteen occupations in Michigan may no longer be regulated under a recommendation from the state's Office of Regulatory Reinvention, which is part of the state's Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA).

In the health field, the occupations include respiratory therapists, dieticians and nutritionists, acupuncturists, ocularists (someone who makes and fits prosthetic eyes) and speech pathologists.

Photobucket

Researchers at Michigan State University say video-based teaching could help teens with autism learn social skills so they can live more independently.

Earlier studies have shown that many people with autism pay closer attention when they're getting information from innovative technology.

sideshowmom / MorgueFile

More police agencies are using license plate readers while they're out on patrol, and that has some people worried about privacy.

The state House Criminal Justice Committee is discussing a bill that would limit the use of license plate readers  and require a purge of data after 48 hours.

The readers are usually mounted on patrol cars and automatically scan vehicle license plates. The scans are then cross-referenced for outstanding warrants or stolen vehicles, and in some cities, even unpaid parking tickets.

michigan.gov/mdot

Michigan drivers who hit a pedestrian, bicyclist or person in a wheelchair could face years in prison -- even if the victim is not seriously injured.

According to a state police report,  178 pedestrians and bicyclists were killed in Michigan in 2012; almost 4,400 were hurt in traffic accidents.

State Rep. Ed McBroom, who represents three Upper Peninsula counties, says his proposal would expand the state's existing law to cover what's called "vulnerable roadway users."

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

In This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rina Miller and political analyst Jack Lessenberry discuss bills in Lansing to penalize poor people who use drugs, a delay in the decision over gay marriage, and the sentencing of Bernard Kilpatrick.

Bob Jagendorf / Flickr

This week in review, Rina Miller and Jack Lessenberry discuss Governor Snyder's testimony regarding the Detroit bankruptcy filing, the governor's NERD fund, and the sentencing of former Detroit mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick.

The interview can be heard below


mensatic / MorgueFile

Accident victims and their families would be shielded from opportunistic lawyers under a bill approved by the Michigan House Wednesday.

Representative Joe Graves says the law would require a 30-day waiting period before a victim could be solicited for services.

Graves  says informants who work at hospitals or ambulance companies sometimes tip off personal injury attorneys.

"You go direct to the person and try to get them to sign on the dotted line, before they're ready -- you pressure them -- this backs it off a little bit," Graves says.

Xandert / MorgueFile

Juveniles who've been in trouble with the law may be able to keep that information secret under a bill passed by the Michigan Senate today.

The bill would prohibit public and media access to juvenile criminal records.

Lisa McGraw is a spokeswoman for the Michigan Press Association, which opposes the bill.

dee37 / MorgueFile

Squirrels: They're cute, they're clever and they're diabolical.

Okay,  they're not evil, but they are responsible for about two-thirds of substation outages caused by animals.   When you consider more than a third of all substation outages are animal-related, squirrels are indeed on the most-unwanted list.

The substations are premium real estate for squirrels and raccoons, which are attracted to the warmth and vibration from electrical equipment.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Each week, I review the news with political analyst Jack Lessenberry.

This week we discuss how the government shutdown will affect Michigan, new endorsements in the Detroit mayor's race, and the state agreement to fund Belle Isle.

mconnors / MorgueFile

What's 232 pages long and took more than two years to write? It's a proposal to overhaul Michigan's public health code.

Michigan's public health code regulates everything from medical facilities to disease control to taxes.  It was created in 1978 and hasn't changed much since.

State Sen. Jim Marleau, R-Lake Orion, says one proposal calls for a team approach to medicine in Michigan,  so MDs and osteopaths, physician assistants and nurses are all on the same patient care page.

Marleau says that's a big change.

Pages