Stateside Staff

A Flint resident holds a jug of tainted Flint water.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

It was late September 2015 when the lid blew off of the Flint water disaster.

At the time, much of the attention and credit went to Virginia Tech water scientist Marc Edwards and to Flint pediatrician Dr Mona Hanna-Attisha.

Edwards had been issuing a steady flood of warnings based on his tests of water from Flint homes while Dr. Hanna-Attisha's study of blood lead levels in Flint's children finally convinced state officials that a public health catastrophe had occurred.

But there's another player in all of this and his analysis of Dr. Hanna-Attisha's medical findings destroyed the state's contention that Flint's water problem was being overblown.

According to Pete Bigelow, the Willow Run facility could be open for its first phase of testing as soon as the end of 2017.
Ford Motor Company

The Next Idea

Start talking about Willow Run and chances are pretty good that images of Rosie The Riveters building B-24 bombers in World War II come to mind.

But there are big plans being cooked up to transform the old factory grounds near Ypsilanti into a highly advanced proving ground for autonomous and connected vehicles.

Pete Bigelow spells it all out in his story for Car and Driver.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Indiana Governor Mike Pence brings the campaign spotlight to Macomb County tonight. He'll be speaking at the Lincoln Day dinner in Shelby Township. Organizers say it’s the largest crowd in recent memory for the Lincoln Day dinner, and it’s proof that Macomb County is still fertile ground for the GOP message.

Today, we hear that while concussions are very serious, there's a lot of misinformation and media hype out there. And, we learn that nearly a third of Michigan lawmakers are tied to secret corporate cash.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio


This week two stories were released about secretive funds benefiting Michigan legislators and the Republican and Democratic parties.

The stories were a joint investigation of MLive and the Michigan Campaign Finance Network.

The concern about concussions in sports like football is at an all-time high, but the authors of "Back In the Game: Why Concussion Doesn’t Have to End Your Athletic Career" say the media hype may be overblown.
John Martinez Pavliga / Flickr -

The issue of contact sports and concussions has been all over the news in recent years.

There’s enough concern that a growing number of parents are deciding against letting their kids play rough sports because of the fear that concussions will lead to permanent neurological damage. It’s a complete swing away from the attitudes of the past when coaches would tell players "just walk it off."

There’s a new book which suggests that, yes, concussions are very serious, but there’s a lot of misinformation about them, and also a lot of media hype. The book is called: Back In the Game: Why Concussion Doesn’t Have to End Your Athletic Career.

"For Republicans who have not distanced themselves from Trump, it may be too late," Demas told us.
flickr user Gage Skidmore /


It's the political roundup with Ken Sikkema and Susan Demas.

A new Detroit News and WDIV poll shows Republican candidate Donald Trump slipping and Democrat Hillary Clinton gaining in Michigan. Her lead has widened by nearly 12 percentage points.

This week Governor Snyder called the presidential election a “huge mess” and said Trump’s comments about women were “revolting and disgusting.”

While Republicans like Snyder - who never endorsed Trump - are speaking out, other Republicans have been defending Trump’s statements as merely “locker room talk.”

It’s hardly the first Trump-centric story we’ve seen throughout this election cycle, but according to Demas, this one is “kryptonite.”

Today, we hear how Michigan schools are doing in their effort to curb bullying. And, we meet Garrison Keillor's hand-picked Prairie Home Companion successor.

Carleton Gholz, founder and Executive Director of the Detroit Sound Conservancy.
Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio


There’s no arguing that Detroit has a rich and diverse musical heritage.

There’s also no arguing that Detroit has had its challenges in preserving its history and heritage.

That’s why the Detroit Sound Conservancy came to be.

Its mission is to support Detroit’s musical heritage through advocacy, conservation, and education.

This Saturday the DSC is holding its 3rd Annual Music Conference, free and open to the public.

October is National Bullying Prevention Month, so it’s a good time to take a look at how well Michigan schools are doing in their efforts to curb bullying.
M. Kukhlman /


His name was Matt Epling. His eighth-grade classmates voted him as having the best smile, the best personality and the most likely to become an actor.

On his last day of eighth grade, Matt was attacked by upperclassmen who took it upon themselves to give him a “welcome to high school” hazing.

40 days later, Matt Epling committed suicide. That was in 2002.

Since then his parents Kevin and Tammy Epling have worked tirelessly to end bullying, and to make school safe for kids.

Devin Pedde


A new season, a new host for A Prairie Home Companion.

After 42 years, Garrison Keillor has retired. He chose his first successor, who will bring us his very first show this Saturday night, live from The Fitzgerald Theatre in St. Paul, Minnesota.

He’s a mandolin virtuoso, he’s won many Grammys, and he leads the Punch Brothers.

The "Flint Sprint" will tackle 20 different projects in the city over the next 60 days.
Wikimedia user Flintmichigan /

The Detroit bankruptcy brought government, foundations and business together, working to get through that historic crisis. Today marks the public launch of an effort to do the same for Flint.

Detroit News Business Columnist Daniel Howes joined Stateside to talk about his latest column about the "Flint Sprint." This project brings a number of businesses -- both big and small -- to tackle 20 different projects over the next 60 days. 

Today, we discuss a new book that demystifies breast reconstruction and provides answers to women with breast cancer. And, we hear about a problem Traverse City is wrestling with – a lack of affordable housing.

Some 100,000 women diagnosed this year with breast cancer will undergo mastectomy and breast reconstruction.
Rhoda Baer, National Cancer Institute / Public Domain


October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Each and every year, more than 230,000 American women will hear the words, “You have breast cancer.”

Of those, some 100,000 will undergo mastectomy and breast reconstruction.

When your world’s been turned upside down by a breast cancer diagnosis, it can be hard to grasp what options are there for you.

Pat Anstett’s new book provides answers, presented through the stories of women who have been handed that breast cancer diagnosis and then followed many different paths in treatment and reconstruction.

The plaintiffs say older, poor and impoverished people in Flint aren't getting enough water
Flickr user Daniel Orth /

When the Flint water disaster exploded, the state began sending emergency supplies to the city: millions and millions of dollars worth of bottled water, filters and cartridges.

Detroit Free Press reporter Paul Egan's front-page story this week suggests the state overpaid for those supplies, to the tune of hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars. Egan found that instead of using a formal bidding process, the State went directly to Georgia-based Home Depot to buy the supplies. And it failed to seriously seek bids from  Michigan companies.

"Anything that you would want, from shopping, to health care, to buying a car, you name it, we have it all right here. But yet, we have an incredible small town feel, and that's a very special thing," Brenda Quick told us.
flickr user zenmasterdod /


What happens to a picturesque city when its charms draw more and more people who want to live or work there, and when the push for new housing threatens the very thing that made that city so special?

Traverse City is wrestling with these questions right now, including the lack of affordable housing.

Transmission electron microscopy image of Legionella pneumophilia, responsible for over 90% of Legionnares' disease cases.
CDC Public Health Library /


The federal government offered help with Flint’s Legionella outbreak, and the state of Michigan turned the offer down.

That’s what MLive reporter Ron Fonger has learned from Environmental Protection Agency documents released through the Freedom of Information Act.

Today, foreign affairs analyst Robin Wright explains what our next president needs to know about the Middle East. And, we hear Kitchen, After Rumi's Guest House, a poem that touches on what it means to be American.

sign that says "Flint Vehicle City"
Michigan Municipal League/flickr /

Amid the torrent of headlines about Flint's water calamity, it's far too easy to lose track of the long history of that city.

There are powerful and poignant lessons to be learned in the way rich, vibrant neighborhoods were taken apart and plowed under in the name of "development.”

Communities like the old St. John Street neighborhood.

Charles Winfrey grew up in the St. John Street community. Today he is the executive director of The New McCree Theatre. He joined us on Stateside

Listen to the full interview below.

Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II
Public Domain


Broadway musicals have covered a dizzying array of subjects. It may be hard to believe, but that list includes the life and trials of a young physician.

On this evening, 69 years ago, the medical musical "Allegro" opened on Broadway.

Although it’s long been forgotten, University of Michigan medical historian Dr. Howard Markel believes the lessons taught by "Allegro" are worth remembering today.

Today, we hear how Donald Trump's sinking popularity puts down-ballot GOP candidates at risk. And, as part of NPR's "A Nation Engaged" project, we hear a poem titled "Apology to My Father" from a University of Michigan sophomore. 

Ken Sikkema says if Donald Trump loses the presidential election there will be some who will say he lost the election himself, but others will say he lost the election because Republicans didn't support him.
Gage Skidmore / Flickr -


The aftermath of last night’s presidential debate has left the Republican Party in all-out crisis mode.

An NBC-Wall Street Journal poll following the release of the tape of Donald Trump making lewd comments about women shows Hillary Clinton’s lead over Trump is now in the double digits.

House Speaker Paul Ryan today held a conference call with House Republicans. He said he can’t and won’t defend Trump, and that House Republicans should do what’s best for them in the remaining weeks of the election.

But, he will not rescind his endorsement of Trump.

What does this all mean for Republicans on the down-ballot in Michigan?

Satellite image of algal bloom in Lake Erie taken in 2015.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration


Two years after Toledo’s water supply was shut down by so-called blue-green algae, people are still worried about the safety of the city’s drinking water.

Toxins called microcystins are sometimes produced by certain freshwater cyanobacteria blooms. Those blooms are more likely under certain conditions, and every summer Toledo is on the watch for an increase.

Stateside 10.7.16

Oct 7, 2016

Today, we discuss why even Michigan's wealthier cities are not happy with the state taking a bigger chunk of the Michigan sales tax. And, we hear an argument for why researchers need to start speaking directly to the public instead of being filtered by spin doctors.

To find individual interviews, click here or see below:


The Michigan State Capitol building in Lansing was built in 1879, and later restored in 1992. Now, in 2016, its caretakers say there are some real problems with the guts of the building.

"It's a stewardship issue that has to be met by the current group of lawmakers, as for any group of lawmakers," said Ken Sikkema, senior policy fellow at Public Sector Consultants who also served as a Republican legislative leader.

grand rapids mayor rosalynn bliss
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio


Local governments around the state have been trying to figure out how to keep things going on a tighter budget. They’re not bringing in as much money as they have during better economic times of the past.

That's partly because the state has been cutting back on how much sales tax revenue it shares with cities and towns. And a lot of local leaders want to change that.

Courtesy of Ran Ortner Studio

As the Grand Rapids Artprize competition continues to grow and evolve, Stateside’s Lester Graham sat down with the very first winner of the competition, painter Ran Ortner.

Jason James/flickr /

In his article for The Conversation, University of Michigan Professor Andrew Hoffman discusses why academics and scientists are losing relevance in the eyes of the public and how they can - and must - reverse this trend. Hoffman is the Holcim Professor of Sustainable Enterprise at U of M.

Today, we speak with U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders in Ann Arbor about the 2016 presidential election. And we hear from an Americana duo about their new album, which tackles the Kalamazoo shooting and other tough subjects.

man at whiteboard


It was born in the throes of Detroit’s bankruptcy: the idea to take the aging, debt-ridden Detroit Water and Sewerage Department and transform it into a regional entity.

The Great Lakes Water Authority seems to be stoking a true spirit of cooperation in Southeast Michigan and performing the way its designers hoped it would.

Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes joined us today to talk about why it’s so important that the regional water authority succeeds and how it’s helping Detroit’s debt problems.