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

derrhama / MorgueFile

A bill in the Michigan Senate would put tighter restrictions on large-scale dog breeders.

The legislation is aimed at preventing puppy mills in which breeders keep dogs in cages, producing litter after litter.

State Sen. Steven Bieda, D-Warren, says large-scale breeders aren't currently regulated by any state entity.

He says the bill would require the breeders to register with the Department of Agriculture.

southernfried / MorgueFile

Even the most organized people sometimes slip up -- such as when you forget to put a copy of your  proof of insurance in your car.

If you get stopped in Michigan without that paperwork,  your license could be suspended, the plate could be canceled and you might have to pay a fine.

State Sen. Mike Green, R-Mayville, says we're in a new era. He says drivers should be able to show proof of insurance electronically on their smart phone or tablet.

vicky53 / MorgueFile

State Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Detroit, says this may be the year that thieves who strip homes, businesses and public places of valuable metals hit roadblocks when they try to sell the materials.

Tlaib has been working for more than three years to enact tougher regulations  for scrap-metal dealers who buy copper wire, aluminum, and other metals. This year she's getting bipartisan support in her efforts.

"We're second in the nation in scrap metal theft," Tlaib says. "That's not a great place to be, especially when we all  have been impacted in some way by illegal scrapping."

nasirkhan / MorgueFile

Beginning next April, all babies born in Michigan will be screened for Critical Congenital Heart Disease -- or CCHD.

The Michigan Department of Community Health says Michigan will join 31 other states that include pulse oximetry screening to their newborn screening tests.

The painless test measures the amount of oxygen in a newborn's blood.

MDCH spokeswoman Angela Minicuci says congenital heart disease is one of the most common birth defects and impacts about nine out of every 1,000 newborns.

David Defoe / flickr

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

Today we discussed Common Core education standards, new details about some practices that led to Detroit's financial crisis, and legislation to refuse adoptions based on religious reasons.

user Tyrone Warner / Flickr

A new study finds young, gay black men in Michigan are often victims of physical, social and emotional abuse.

The Michigan State University study finds that abuse started early for many of these young men. About 70 percent of 180 black gay or bisexual men reported they were assaulted when they were 12 or younger.

"There are high rates of these kinds of exposures to traumas, and it is associated with things like having a substance abuse problem, depression, things like that," says MSU Professor of Ecological Community Psychology Robin Lin Miller.

stuartjessop / morguefile

Michigan health officials want to do a better job of educating parents about the dangers of co-sleeping with their babies. 

User: David Defoe / flickr

This week in review, Rina Miller and Jack Lessenberry discuss Michigan's rising unemployment rate, the possible regulation of the state's drug compounding center, and a plan at the state Capitol called "Pot for Potholes."

atf.org

A free-market think-tank in Michigan is taking the city of Westland to court. 

The Mackinac Center for Public Policy says Westland charges way too much for documents requested under the Freedom of Information Act.

Spokesman Patrick Wright says the center wanted information about a municipal golf course.

That's when they were told Westland charges a $5 fee to start the process. It can get expensive quickly after that, Wright says.

Rina Miller / Michigan Radio

What was meant to stir a football rivalry in Michigan last Saturday has turned into a good deed. 

A skywriter left this message over the East Lansing sky last weekend: "Go Blue."

Those are fightin' words in Michigan State University territory.

The aerial taunt by University of Michigan supporters did not amuse most Spartan fans, but one managed to turn the jab into a  constructive form of revenge.

It seems like if you, or your clothes, or your hair can be disheveled, it should be possible for them to be sheveled.

On this week’s edition of That’s What They Say, host Rina Miller and Professor of English at the University of Michigan Anne Curzan discuss negative words without a positive counterpart.

Curzan explains, “The word gruntled, which was back-formed from the word disgruntled - people assumed if you could be disgruntled you could be gruntled -  goes back to 1938. The word wieldy has also been around for quite a long time. Consulate meaning something like comforted, existed in the 15th century through the 19th century it’s now obsolete. So, it’s not that some of the words have never existed, but they are certainly not common compared with their negative counterparts. And then a word like sheveled doesn’t seem to have ever existed.”

This week in review, Rina Miller and Jack Lessenberry discuss the Medicaid expansion and Kerry Bentivolio's primary challenger.

University of Michigan

Things got very busy in the delivery room at Von Voigtlander Women's Hospital at the University of Michigan this week.

Quintuplets were born to Jessica and Robert Hicks of Fenton Thursday.

Mom, the three boys and two girls are all doing well.

Mark Schauer
www.markschauer.com

A Democratic challenger for governor wants to change the rules for Michigan's for-profit charter schools.

Mark Schauer says Gov. Rick Snyder's education policies are undermining traditional public schools.

The former state representative and senator says charter schools need better financial and performance oversight.  Schauer sees the growth in the number of for-profit  and cyberschools as a misuse of taxpayer money.

"It's become the Wild West out there, and these for-profit schools see children with dollar signs in the middle of their foreheads," Schauer says.

Waymarking.com

A Chelsea business known nationally for its blue-and-white boxes of affordable baking mixes is also known for rising to economic challenges. 

For eight generations, the Holmes family has operated  Chelsea Milling Company. It began making Jiffy Mix during the Depression and has weathered all the economic ups and downs since.

Howdy Holmes (yes, the former race car driver)  is the current president and CEO.

Grand Rapids Public Schools

When Grand Rapids Public Schools students head back to class after the Labor Day holiday, many of them will be wearing uniforms for the first time.

The school board approved a plan last year to phase-in district-wide school uniform requirements.

It’s odd when you stop to think about it that everyone who graduates from college is a bachelor of something.

On this week’s edition of “That’s What They Say,” host Rina Miller and Professor of English at the University of Michigan Anne Curzan discuss opaque abbreviations, and often forgotten acronyms.

“The B in BA stands for bachelor, and it’s the same word we use to refer to an unmarried man,” says Curzan.

“The word [bachelor] goes back to the 13th century in English. It used to refer to a knight, a young man, and could refer to a young man who had achieved the lowest rank of something. From there it’s come to mean someone who has achieved the lowest rank from university, the lowest degree.”

Of course back then those would have been all men, but now we have lots of women who are Bachelors of Arts, or Bachelors of Science.

Then there’s the abbreviations i.e. and e.g. that many people mix up. The latter, exempli gratia (e.g.) means “for example.” And, id est (i.e.) means “that is” as in "that is to say." Thanks to us you will never mix those two up again. 

Let’s turn now to acronyms once learned and quickly forgotten. LASER is the acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation.  And, RADAR stands for Radio Detection and Ranging.

Finally, here’s an acronym you will want to talk about this week with friends, and that's SNAFU, which stands for Situation Normal All F’d Up.  

Thanks for joining us for another enlightening edition of “That’s What They Say.”

Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

 This week, Rina Miller and Jack Lessenberry discuss the Detroit Public Schools student quota, Washtenaw County’s identification card plan that includes undocumented immigrants, and the continuing campaigns of Detroit mayoral candidates Benny Napoleon and Mike Duggan.

Detroit Public Schools trying to meet enrollment goal

The Detroit Public School district is depending on enrolling 5,000 more students for the 2013-2014 school year.  If the district doesn’t meet its goal, they will lose millions of dollars in funding from the per-pupil-allowance from the state.  Jack Lessenberry says that Detroit used to enroll almost 200,000 students thirteen years ago.  They now only enroll 46,000.  Lessenberry says “they’ve been going door-to-door trying various gimmicks, of course those are sort of dubious too, to get kids to come back.  But it’s all about how many bodies they have in seats on Count Day.”

Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Opponents of a wolf hunt set to begin in November say one farmer's poor livestock management led to the planned kill. 

Nancy Warren is the  Great Lakes regional director of the National Wolf Watcher Coalition. She lives in Ewen in the Upper Peninsula.  That's about 10 miles from a farm where a large number of livestock kills were reported between 2010 and 2013. She wanted to find out why this particular farm was experiencing such a big problem with wolves.

earl53 / MorgueFile

A state agency says there are more than 60,000 jobs available in Michigan, and it wants to help connect employees and employers.

The positions range from retail, manufacturing and service jobs to nursing, engineering and human resources.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

This week, Rina Miller and Jack Lessenberry discuss the certification of Detroit’s mayoral primary results, the Detroit ACLU’s case against the FBI, and a union’s “fee-for-service” for employee grievances.

www.ci.glendale.ca.us

Michigan will soon privatize its prison food services. The change is supposed to save the state at least $10 million a year.

Philadelphia-based Aramark Corporation won a three-year state contract to provide meals to Michigan's 43,000 inmates at a cost of $64 million a year.

arabamericannews.com

The Detroit chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union has lost a round in its fight with the FBI over racial and ethnic mapping. 

The ACLU sued the FBI after the bureau refused to release details about how it uses demographic information in its investigations.

But a federal appeals court says the FBI is allowed to withhold some information so that criminals and terrorists don't know what the bureau is looking into.

Pothole in a road.
Wikimedia Commons

  This week in review, Rina Miller and Jack Lessenberry discuss how right-to-work affects state employees, legislation for road improvements, and the half-finished Wayne County jail project.

State appeals court and unions clash on Right-to-work

A Michigan appeals court says the right-to-work law also applies to state employees.  The unions are saying that it does not. 

Jack Lessenberry says the disagreement “could mean an appeal to the state Supreme Court but that’s not likely to be favorable to the unions.”

Funding delayed for Michigan roads

A proposal to improve Michigan’s roads is unlikely to be on the November ballot.  Lawmakers disagree on the best way to raise money for transportation and will likely delay the bill until May. 

Lessenberry says “originally the Governor wanted to raise money to fix the roads by a combination of gasoline taxes and registration fees on cars.  Republicans in the legislature didn’t want to do that.  Instead, what they want to do is a sales tax increase.”

Future of Wayne County jail debated

Construction has stopped on the Wayne County jail project after managers already spent $120 million.  Governor Snyder is suggesting an alternative to finishing the building.

Lessenberry says “they’re not going to build it and what the Governor would like to do and what Wayne County executive Robert Ficano is now talking about is taking over the state’s old Scott Prison, renovating that, and putting county prisoners in there.”

safezone.in

The Flint School District is changing its student search policy.

Flint students will still have to walk through metal detectors when school begins next month.

But the American Civil Liberties Union objected to the district's plan to allow students and their backpacks or purses to be searched without cause.

wikimedia commons

Travelers who ride the Amtrak train between Detroit and Chicago will have a new choice beginning Monday. They can enjoy some peace in newly designated "quiet cars."

"People say, 'Look, I want to travel, but I want to get away from all the sounds of people with phones ringing and chatting,'" says Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari. "They just want to chill out. So the quiet car will be our chill-out car.'

Magliari says tickets to ride in the quiet car won't be any more expensive, but the seats are first-come, first served.

They'll be available on weekdays only.

The Michigan Appeals Court Wednesday struck down a law that requires some state workers to contribute toward their pension plan.      

In 2011, Michigan lawmakers passed a law that would require state workers hired before 1997 to pay four percent of their compensation into the pension system.

But the appeals panel says those changes are unconstitutional because only the state Civil Service Commission can change state employees' compensation.

googleimages

A Detroit-area doctor is facing a federal grand jury indictment charging him with health care fraud. 

mich.gov

Former Supreme Court Justice Diane Hathaway is expected to report to federal prison Tuesday. The prison sentence may not be lengthy, but the repercussions could last a lifetime.

morguefile

Michigan's fruit industry went from famine to feast in a year's time.

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