Stateside Staff

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The U.S. Supreme Court is set to hear arguments on the legality of same-sex marriage later this month, and a group of young conservatives is pushing to change the Republican Party platform on gay marriage.

Today on Stateside:

  • Members of the group Young Conservatives for Freedom to Marry discuss how they want to change the party platform.
  • Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes talks to us about how Michigan can keep itself competitive in the wake of the tax credits owed to automakers.

It's National Poetry Month and in our month-long series "Poetically Speaking" we are delving into the form's presence in Michigan.

Here in the Midwest, Ann Arbor-based literary journal "Midwestern Gothic" is one of the best places for poets to publish their works.

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Lawmakers are still discussing how to manage the $9.4 billion in tax credits Michigan owes automakers.

The incentives started under Gov. John Engler and were mainly used during Gov. Jennifer Granholm's era. Their purpose was to keep automakers in Detroit, and Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes says this plan was largely successful.

"The problem is the bills are becoming due and you've got folks in the Legislature who are arguing about what they're going to do about it," Howes says.

There's no way around paying them, and Howes says, "The debate now is what do they do going forward and what does that do to Michigan's competitiveness."

red wings warming up before a game
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The Detroit Red Wings face off against the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight in Game One of the Eastern Conference First Round series. This is the 24th straight season the Wings have made it to the playoffs.

Today on Stateside:

  • Detroit Free Press writer John Gallagher discusses the hotel boom happening in downtown Detroit.
  • The chair Abraham Lincoln was assassinated in 150 years ago this week will be on display outside its normal exhibit for audiences to get a closer view at the Henry Ford tomorrow, and admission is free all day.
AK Press

Octavia's Brood, A science fiction anthology being launched this week in Detroit uses, the genre as a form of social activism.

The anthology's title is a nod to Octavia Butler, one of the first black female sci-fi writers to gain recognition, including a prestigious MacArthur Foundation fellowship.

Butler published 12 novels and a collection of short stories, many of which feature young, black female protagonists who constantly adapt to new conditions.

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This is International Dark Sky Week, a good time to remember that Michigan is home to an International Dark Sky Park, one of only 16 in the nation. And we've got three Dark Sky Preserves.

Headlands International Dark Sky Park is located along the shore of Lake Michigan near Mackinaw City. The park is easy to find, located just a few miles off of I-75.

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Crowdfunding. The word itself wasn't even known less than a decade ago. But crowdfunding has become a powerful way to raise money.

EquityNet tells us that more than $20 billion in funding transactions will happen around the world this year. That is a 100% increase from $10 billion last year.

worn red rocking chair
Flickr user jodelli / Flickr

Abraham Lincoln was assassinated 150 years ago this week. The chair Lincoln was sitting in that fateful night at Ford's Theatre is now one of the most visited artifacts on display at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn.

And this week, you'll be able to get a better-than-usual look at the historic red chair.

The seat is usually on display in an airtight case, but for one day only, tomorrow (April 15), the chair will be on a pedestal in open air so that audiences can have a better view. The museum will be free for all guests all day so that everyone has a chance to have this rare, up-close experience.

the two abandoned hotels
Flickr user Ian Freimuth / Flickr

There's a hotel boom happening in downtown Detroit. Once-abandoned buildings are now gleaming new hotels, or will be soon. But will these plans give Detroit too many hotel rooms or not enough? And there have been lengthy discussions over the two hotels near the new Red Wings arena site just north of downtown.

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150 years ago this night, the 16th President of the United States decided that an evening at the theater was just what he needed.

As we all know, Abraham Lincoln’s night at Ford’s Theatre in Washington ended with a bullet fired by assassin John Wilkes Booth. The bullet lodged in his brain, right behind his left ear.

Today on Stateside:

  • Elizabeth Campbell with the Human Trafficking Clinic at the University of Michigan Law School and Judge Charles Pope of Ypsilanti’s 14B District Court join us to discuss the Human Trafficking Court in Washtenaw County, the first of its kind in Michigan.
  • Barbara Rylko-Bauer discusses her new book, A Polish Doctor in the Nazi Campus, which is about her mother, Dr. Jadwiga Lenartowicz Rylko, a former Nazi prisoner who later worked as a nurse’s aide at Henry Ford Hospital.

Kenna Lehmann

Think about the sound of a wolf howling or a dog’s howl – maybe even the giggle of a spotted hyena.

These animals cry out for a reason.

Kenna Lehmann, a zoology graduate student at Michigan State University, is currently studying these hyena sounds in Kenya, at the Masai Mara National Reserve. She’s studying how hyenas, being social hunters, find and catch their prey by way of communicating with each other.

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The Human Trafficking Specialty Court in Washtenaw County is the first of its kind in Michigan.

For Elizabeth Campbell from the Human Trafficking Clinic at the University of Michigan Law School, who helped develop this specialty court, the goal is “to change the way that the criminal legal system responds to human trafficking in a few different ways.”

Dr. Jadwiga Lenartowicz Rylko was a Nazi prisoner for 15 months. She endured a women's prison, three concentration camps, four slave labor camps and a death march.

She and her fellow prisoners were liberated by the U.S. 87th Infantry Division 70 years ago this week.

After the war, she came to Michigan with her husband and daughter, seeking a new life.

She found that new life, but her Polish medical credentials had been lost in the war and she was never able to practice medicine in America. Instead, she worked as a nurse's aide at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.

Today on Stateside:

  • U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Michigan, discusses the bill she is sponsoring that would allow people to refinance their student loans.
  • This week marks the 50th anniversary of the Palm Sunday tornado outbreak that killed 53 Michigan residents. We look back at the tragedy and how tornado warnings have improved.
Flickr user Firas / Flickr

On yesterday's Stateside, we met the co-founders of Rocket Fiber, the ultra-high-speed Internet service coming to downtown Detroit later this year and to Midtown Detroit next year.

The prospect of fiber optic cable delivering an Internet that's at least 100 times faster than what most of us are used to is mighty appealing.

Flickr user Corey Seeman / Flickr

"You've got a long way to go," is what Stephen Ross, native Detroiter, University of Michigan benefactor, and one of the country's most influential developers, told Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes about Detroit's transformation in a rare interview.

Howes took Ross on a driving tour of the city and says Ross wasn't overly enthusiastic about the improvements that have already been made.

Sofia Gonzalez / flickr

A group of parents and supporters is hoping to shed light on the disappearance of 43 students in Mexico.

They're called Caravana 43 and they are visiting 43 cities in the U.S., including Lansing and Ann Arbor.  

The Mexican students vanished last September from Iguala in the state of Guerrero, Mexico.

Wikimedia Commons / Wikimedia Commons

This weekend marks the 50th anniversary of one of the most devastating weather events in Michigan history: the Palm Sunday tornado outbreak.

It happened with virtually no warning on April 11, 1965. Killer tornadoes smashed through the Midwest over a 12-hour span, killing 271. Michigan was one of the hardest-hit states with 53 deaths.

Struggling to repay student loans is something that unites many of us. Across the country, almost 40 million people are trying to repay $1.3 trillion in student loan debt.

Here in Michigan, 1.5 million people are trying to erase more than $39 billion in debt.

Earlier today, U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Michigan, was on the campus of the University of Michigan, where she hosted a roundtable on college affordability.

Dingell is one of the sponsors of a bill in the House called the "Bank on Students Emergency Loan Reinforcement Act."

Today on Stateside:

  • Detroit Free Press Washington reporter Todd Spangler talks about the $478 billion federal highway bill, which faces uncertain reception in Congress, and how it would benefit state highway and bridge work.
  • Patrick DeHaan from GasBuddy.com discusses why the forecasted gas prices for this summer  are so low.

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The robin became the official bird of Michigan 84 years ago today, and that decision stirred up a lasting controversy. 

Dan Austin of the Detroit Free Press and HistoricDetroit.org, said the process to elect the robin as the state bird was a democratic one.

The Michigan Audubon Society held a contest in 1929 and almost 200,000 Michiganders voted. The final runners in the election? The robin and the chickadee.

In the end, though, the robin came out on top and became out state bird officially in 1931.

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Dial-up. That’s how we used to get online. Today, however, that’s part of pre-history. Is it fathomable that our existing Internet access could soon be as outdated as those old dial-up modems?

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In the pantheon of great American designers, the name Eames is one of the best-known. Charles Eames and his wife Ray made their creative mark in modern architecture, furniture, graphic design, industrial design, fine art, textile design and film.

The Henry Ford Museum has acquired a permanent Eames exhibition, called “Mathematica.” It was first seen over 50 years ago, at the 1964 World’s Fair in New York City.

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Good news, drivers. Look out for a summer of road trips that will be cheaper than they've been for the past six years.

Right now, national gas prices average around $2.40 per gallon while Michigan gas prices average around $2.37 per gallon. And gas prices for the summer – a time when drivers take to the roads a bit more than in the winter – are projected to stay at about those same levels.

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The struggle to figure out a way to pay for road and bridge repairs isn't just a Michigan story.

It's happening on the federal level as well.

The Obama administration is sending a six-year, $478 billion highway bill to Congress, where it faces a dubious reception.

poetryfoundation.org/bio/ken-mikolowski

It’s National Poetry Month and in its honor, we are exploring the work and styles of Michigan poets.

Ken Mikolowski, a poet and poetry professor at the University of Michigan, has just released his fifth book, ThatThat. It’s a book that reveals this poet’s mastery of the short poem – no poem within the book is longer than three short lines.

“Haiku is much too long for me,” Mikolowski said.

  Today on Stateside:

  • Detroit News reporter Chad Livengood discusses how to fund distressed schools.
  • Hour Detroit’s chief restaurant and wine critic Chris Cook tells us about the future of self-service technology in restaurants.

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