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

user aMichiganMom / Flickr

This "week in review," Rina Miller and Jack Lessenberry discuss the Detroit primary results, the future of the DIA collection, and prison sentencing reform in Michigan.

Mike Duggan sweeps the primary vote

Mike Duggan's write-in campaign ended this week with surprising success. 85 percent of voters who wrote in his name spelled it correctly resulting in a huge lead for the Detroit mayoral contender.

Jack Lessenberry says, "It'll remain to be seen what happens in November.  One thing we know is that a lot more people will vote."

DIA collection appraised by Christie's Auction House

The Detroit Institute of Arts collection has been put at risk by Detroit's bankruptcy. The city invited Christie's Auction House to appraise the collection, perhaps simply to take inventory of its assets.

Lessenberry thinks that people are panicked about the possible sale of the art.  He says "the Attorney General thinks it's not constitutional, although if a federal bankruptcy judge says it is, federal law trumps state law."

Michigan considers parole and sentencing reform

Conservative lawmakers are considering overhauling prison sentences.  State Representative Joe Haveman is leading the cause, citing that harsher sentences are not keeping us any safer.

Lessenberry says, "Michigan locks up more people, locks them up for longer, and it costs us more.  It costs $34,000 per prisoner and we have 44,000 prisoners."

grzessiek / MorgueFile

The Ann Arbor City Council is sending a message to the Michigan Legislature about the state's self-defense law.

In 2006, Michigan passed a law similar to Florida's so-called "Stand-Your-Ground" law, which got international attention after the fatal shooting of a black teenager there.

Ann Arbor Councilwoman Sabra Briere is among those who want Michigan's law revised and voted in favor of a resolution being sent to Lansing.

Briere says she's not opposed to gun ownership, but wants clearer rules about when guns can be used for self-defense.

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An invasive type of wild swan is on a state agency's hit list. 

Michigan bird experts say the state's mute swan population tripled in the last decade to more than 15,000.

The mute swans tend to crowd out other birds, including the endangered trumpeter swan.

Mike Dugeon's Facebook Page / Facebook

Here's a brief review of what's been happening in the news this week:

Let's talk Medicaid expansion. What happened in Lansing?

The state Senate finally got together and the  government operations committee sent the Medicaid bill and they also sent two hastily drawn up last minute substitutes that are tea party measures, that would cost the state more. 

How are UAW negotiations going?

The state passed right-to-work last December but there's the question of whether it applies to state employees, which is pending before the state Supreme Court. 

What are the developments in the 2014 U.S. Senate race?

Sort of unexpectedly, long time Republican representative Dave Camp is talking about getting into the 2014 race for the U.S. senate. This is for the seat Carl Levin is vacating after 36 years. Now, former Secretary of State Terry Lynn Land has been up until now the only Republican candidate but she's vowing that if Mr. Camp gets in she'll give him a spirited fight. 

A look at the Detroit mayoral race: Duggan v. Dugeon

If it's close at all, it could be weeks before we find out who's facing who. It could be a Florida-recount-style mess. 

To listen to the full discussion, click the link above.

Michigan Superintendent of Public Instruction Mike Flanagan thinks the state's schools would benefit from centralizing some functions, including transportation and food services.

Flanagan spoke to a joint meeting of the House Appropriations School Aid and Education subcommittees Wednesday.

He said some large districts, including Wayne County,  have many separate transportation systems.

Flanagan's proposal would also consolidate functions such as staff training, which he says would save millions of dollars.

Mike Dugeon's Facebook Page / Facebook

The state has decided what to do in the case of look-alike write-in names in the Aug. 6 race for Detroit mayor. 
 
Mike Duggan is running. So is Mike Dugeon.

The names sound the same, but are obviously spelled differently.

Duggan is the former chief of the Detroit Medical Center who launched a write-in campaign after a filing deadline issue forced him off the ballot.

Dugeon is a barber with no political experience.

A young woman dressed in dark-blue coveralls, her hair tied up with a red-and-white polka-dot bandana, waved to passersby and distributed small postcards during rush hour at a busy Ann Arbor intersection.

Alison Beatty, a political science student at the University of Michigan, got plenty of attention in her Rosie the Riveter costume.

xandert / MorgueFile

Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus -- or PED -- is fairly common in Europe and China, but until April of this year had not been detected in the U.S.

dnr.wi.gov

If you like to swim in Michigan's inland lakes, you've probably encountered some weeds that give you the willies. Some of those weeds are worse than others and have become more than just a nuisance.

When you give someone "leeway" or tell someone to "pipe down," you may not realize you're using the language of sailors.

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 talk about all that sailing has given to the English language.

The more obvious ones for example are: “taking the wind out someone’s sails, being dead in the water, rocking the boat.”

But, did you know the term “to bail something out” is actually a nautical expression?

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Each week, Michigan Radio's political analyst Jack Lessenberry, and weekend host Rina Miller look back on the big news events in Michigan. You can listen to their discussion above. Below is a short summary.

Lawsuit over Taylor School District contract tossed out

Melodi2 / MorgueFile

People older than 50 may be struggling less with depression than they used to -- with some exceptions. 

A study by the University of Michigan finds that fewer older adults reported symptoms of depression between 1998 and 2008 than in the previous ten years.

Wajahat Ali / The Islam Awareness Blog

The Transportation Security Administration has issued a bulletin to help air travelers understand Muslim practices they might observe,  especially as the Islamic holy month of Ramadan begins on Tuesday.

Ramadan is a holy month for Muslims, who observe the event with a variety of traditions.

The bulletin says Muslims abstain from food, water, smoking or vices of any kind during Ramadan.

It also says passengers  may be seen reading, listening to or orally reciting the Holy Qur'an at airports and on airplanes.

A study of young assault victims in Michigan finds many are at high risk for gun possession and aggression.

The University of Michigan Injury Center conducted a survey of young people treated for assault injuries at an emergency department in Flint.

Gun violence kills more teens and young adults than anything except auto accidents, according to the report.

State officials say participants and spectators at an endurance event last weekend at Michigan International Speedway were exposed to Norovirus.

The Michigan Department of Community health says the outbreak at the "Tough Mudder" contest has been confirmed.

A spokeswoman says more than 200 reports of gastrointestinal symptoms were reported since July 1.

She says in most people, the illness lasts for one to two days and includes nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal cramps.

kamuelaboy / MorgueFile

Every year there are news stories about the dangers of swimming, yet people drop their guard and accidents happen.

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Lots of people are fussy about their lawns: no weeds, no bugs allowed.

But the chemicals used to maintain a perfect lawn can make some people sick.

Michigan has a registry for people whose doctors say they shouldn't be exposed to pesticides. The registry requires lawn-care companies to notify those people before applying pesticides close to where they live.

The Michigan House of Representatives.
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

This week in review, Rina Miller and Jack Lessenberry discuss the highlights of the Michigan’s budget, whether Michigan’s Medicaid program will be getting an expansion, and whether the Detroit Institute of Arts will be forced to sell some of its collection in order to pay off the city’s debts.

Michigan’s budget

The state budget is on time for the third year in a row, but it is not finished.

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Remember how your mother told you to "sit up straight?"

Well, she wasn't picking on you. She was right.

Medical experts say poor posture can be hazardous to your health -- and to business.

Two-thirds of people who work at desk jobs suffer from neck, shoulder and back pain, says Lisa DeStefano, who chairs Michigan State University's Department of Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine.

That pain leads to about $3 billion loss in worker productivity every day, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

"We need to line our head and trunk up over our pelvis," DeStefano advises. "It will help decrease the amount of strain on our neck and shoulder muscles."

Rina Miller / Michigan Radio

There’s a new kind of healing happening at a Michigan hospital. The prescription includes seeds, soil, sun, and water.  

It’s a hot, humid day, but there’s a nice breeze blowing through a hoop house at St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor Hospital. That’s a greenhouse that can be used almost all year long.

It’s like walking into an oasis.

There’s a waterfall that flows into a small pond where a few koi live. 

The smell of rich, earthy compost fills the air. There are wooden planters that can be raised and lowered and another planter that turns like a Ferris wheel.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

On Saturdays, Michigan Radio's Rina Miller checks in with our political analyst, Jack Lessenberry.  

This week, Lessenberry attended the Mackinac Policy Conference.

He says one of the takeaways this year is that the business community is happy with the state's direction.

"[They are] encouraged by the direction in which Michigan is going. They're very happy in general with Governor Synder, but there's a lot of concern about education," Lessenberry said.

Education was discussed more this year than in past years.  

Mark Schauer's run

robinsandersforgovernor.com

An Ann Arbor man says he plans to run for governor as an Independent Progressive. 

Robin Sanders is a Michigan corrections officer who served in Vietnam and in Desert Storm. He has also worked as a union lobbyist.

Sanders believes Michigan could shore up its budget by keeping business in the state.

"I've seen the tendency of government to outsource in the form of third-party contracts that actually sends billions of dollars out of our state to other states and other countries, for that matter," Sanders says.

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A new study at the University of Michigan is looking at why hormone-based treatments stop working for some men with advanced prostate cancer.

About 50 percent of men with prostate cancer have what's called a gene fusion that may cause some treatments to stop working, says Dr.Maha Hussain, a U-M professor of medicine and urology who is a co-leader for the prostate cancer program.

"We found out that potentially the fusions, if they occur in a patient, may likely be more responsive to newer forms of hormone treatment."

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The University of Michigan Health System and St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor are working together to improve care for patients age 70 or older.

The Acute Care for Elders (ACE) unit is housed on the tenth floor of St. Joe's East Tower.

It's one of the few in the country that will follow a model of care intended to help older patients recover from illness or injury.

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You've probably seen those funny signs in backyard pools that say, "We don't swim in your toilet, so please don't pee in our pool."

Well, it's not a joke.

Martha Stanbury is with the Michigan Department of Community Health. She says if pools aren't properly maintained, they can make you sick.

University of Michigan

An Ohio baby is likely alive today because of the collaborative ingenuity of two University of Michigan doctors and their teams.

Kaiba Gionfriddo has a condition called tracheobronchomalacia – a blockage of the airway to the lungs. The condition affects about 1 in 2,200 babies born in the U.S. Many grow out of it by the time they’re two or three years old. Sometimes the disorder is misdiagnosed as asthma.

Kaiba stopped breathing every day, and his parents, April and Bryan Gionfriddo, were told their child would probably not survive.

drummerboy / MorgueFile

A groceries-for-guns exchange is set for Saturday in Detroit. People who turn in an unloaded gun will get a $50 grocery gift card.

Gerald Acker is a partner in the Southfield law firm Goodman Acker, which is sponsoring the event. He says they want to do something about gun violence.

Du Boix / MorgueFile

When Michigan relaxed its fireworks laws last year, some people took things too far. Now lawmakers may make some changes. 

The idea of the original law was to give municipalities more flexibility in the sale and use of fireworks.

It was also meant to bring fireworks sales revenue to Michigan.

taliesin / MorgueFile

Some Michigan veterans who have been classified as 100 percent disabled because of an injury could have their property taxes eliminated under a measure proposed in the State Senate (SB104).

State Sen. Glenn Anderson, D-Westland, says the vets would be restricted to 200 percent of the poverty rate to qualify.

"Theoretically, the very highest compensation someone might be receiving could be in the $40,000 to $45,000 range," Anderson says. "But they're going to have additional expenses if they're 100 percent disabled."

City of Flint

When Flint's emergency manager put the city's Santa Claus display up for auction, some local residents decided that was going too far. 

Melodee Mabbitt says her hometown doesn't need more bad news, so she and her husband bid $150 for the jolly old elf, his sleigh and four reindeer that sit atop Flint's city hall during the holidays.

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