Stateside Staff

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April 15th, the looming tax deadline, is approaching.

While it can be complicated for anyone to figure out what we owe Lansing and Uncle Sam, there’s a particular group facing extra complications: same-sex couples in Michigan. These couples can file a joint form for their federal taxes, but the state of Michigan considers them single.

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It's Just Politics with Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta

Political news continues to surface even though lawmakers at the state Capitol have begun their two week spring break.

On Friday, an investigative report, by the Associated Press, about a controversial pardon made by Governor Rick Snyder came out.

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There's wide agreement among education experts that teacher quality is the most important school-based factor in how students do in school.

Today on Stateside:

  • Detroit News Business columnist Daniel Howes discusses this week's UAW conference and the union's plans to close the two-tier wage gap.
  • Michigan Radio sports commentator John U. Bacon tells us about Michigan State’s spot in the Sweet 16.
Ford STEM Lab

The focus will be on how to increase diversity in tech jobs as a hundred Detroit middle schoolers gather this weekend for a two-day hackathon. It's put on by Ford STEAM Lab, which is part of the Ford Motor Company Fund in conjunction with partners like California-based #YesWeCode and the Level Playing Field Institute.

The hackathon will allow young people to work with technology professionals to pitch ideas for their own mobile app and build a prototype in 48 hours.

Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

Detroit Public Schools is $53 million behind in pension payments with no end in sight for the financial free-fall.

According to Chad Livengood of The Detroit News, the district is predicting a deficit of $166 million.

"The biggest driver to the DPS deficit is legacy costs and past debt," Livengood says.

Tom Izzo talking to a referee
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On Friday night Michigan State faces Oklahoma in the Sweet 16 portion of the NCAA March Madness. It's Michigan State's seventh Sweet 16 in eight seasons.

GM had an event-filled year. The company announced more shifts at assembly plants, like at this one - the Wentzville Assembly plant in Missouri. It also dealt with the fallout from the ignition switch recall.
GM

UAW members gathered in Detroit this week to let local delegates air their views about what the union should demand in contract talks with U.S. automakers later this year.

The discussion has centered on the two-tier pay system that's been in place for the last eight years.

Detroit native Steffanie Christi’an is a musician and writer. She has collaborated with some of the top producers in New York City, including Big Proof of D12 and Emanuel (Eman) Kiriakou.

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No swearing in front of women or children, and don’t you dare sell dyed chicks or bunnies!

Those are just a couple of the extremely old laws still on the book in Michigan.

There’s an effort underway now in Lansing to scrub some of these outdated laws away – an effort to shrink the size of the state’s criminal code.

Today on Stateside:

  • Rick Pluta, Michigan Radio Network’s Lansing Bureau Chief, chats about Michigan’s “no dueling” law and the effort in Lansing to rid Michigan of archaic laws.
  • Hour Detroit magazine’s chief wine and restaurant critic, Chris Cook, discusses “Sex,” one of Michigan’s sparkling wines with an interesting history behind its name.

Michigan State University

This week will bring a gathering of doctors, psychologists, social workers and religious leaders to Dearborn for the 7th Annual Muslim Mental Health Conference.

It's the only conference of its kind in the nation, if not in the world.

Dr. Farha Abbasi is an assistant professor of psychiatry at Michigan State University and a practicing Muslim. She founded this conference in 2008.

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Entrepreneurs can pop up out of anywhere.

Take Kellyann Wargo of Ann Arbor.

While she was a student at the University of Michigan, her entrepreneur’s eye saw a business opportunity in the “Walk of Shame” so many students take on the “morning after the night before.”

She started charging five bucks to drive people home. That idea eventually turned into the Walk of Shame Shuttle, her business.

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There’s a delicious backstory to how the Michigan sparkling wine, “Sex,” sold under the M. Lawrence brand, got its head-turning name.

It happened during the 1980s, Hour Detroit magazine’s chief wine and restaurant critic Chris Cook said, when Larry Mawby, owner of the Mawby winery was “fretting around for names for certain things.”

In that day, the trick was getting names and images for wine labels approved by the somewhat “prudish” Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms.

“At that time, they were being very picky about certain things,” Cook said.

Overdrive Interactive

Senior technology writer for Slate, Will Oremus, has a hard time “getting” Snapchat. He says the app makes him feel old, and recently wrote an article about his struggle.

Oremus is 32 years old.

Snapchat is one of the fastest-growing social apps in the world. So this raises the question: Are newer apps trying to keep older users out of the loop?

Kimberly Springer, Michigan Radio’s social media producer, doesn’t think so.

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Patricia Majher's book Great Girls in Michigan History profiles 20 girls in Michigan who accomplished great feats before the age of 20.

Majher says while the girls were from all over the state with different areas of expertise, they all shared some personality traits. She describes them as precocious, self-driven, and not allowing obstacles to stand in their way.

The book includes stories of Betty Ford's dedication to dance at a young age. Ford founded her own dance studio in Grand Rapids at the age of 15, where she taught little girls and their mothers too.  Her career eventually led her to dance at Carnegie Hall.

Kate Wells / Michigan Radio

The United Auto Workers is taking a big step this week to prepare for upcoming contract talks with automakers. Hundreds of delegates from more than 800 locals are meeting with top union leaders at Cobo Center for the UAW Special Convention on Collective Bargaining.

Scanning electron micrograph of Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria, which cause TB.
NIAID / NIH

On this day 133 years ago, a young German physician stood up before the members of the Physiological Society of Berlin and announced he had found the cause of tuberculosis.

It is hard to overstate the importance of that day, and what Dr. Robert Koch did for the understanding of infectious diseases.

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The Detroit Public Library turns 150 years old this week and will be celebrating Wednesday with an event that includes architectural tours of the historic main branch. The 1921 building is an architectural wonder, and is the fourth-largest library in the nation, with more than 7 million books.

Today on Stateside:

  • Delegates for the United Auto Workers are meeting at Cobo Center this week and their focus is on how to close the wage gap in the industry.
  • The Rotary Club of Iron Mountain-Kingsford is in charge of a fundraiser that is centered on guessing when a 1998 Saturn will sink into a frozen lake.
  • Department of Natural Resources wildfire specialist Dan Laux joins us to discuss how to prevent wildfires as the season for fires begins.
  • A new film 1971 tells the story of the eight courageous citizens who broke into FBI offices to reveal incriminating evidence of the Bureau’s illegal actions. Director Johanna Hamilton, along with Michigan native Bonnie Raines and her husband John Raines, who took part in the break in, discuss the film.
  • The Detroit Public Library celebrates 150 years of serving the public this week, and we take a look at how the beautiful main library building came to be.
  • Medical historian Dr. Howard Markel tells us the story of the discovery of what causes tuberculosis.
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The new film 1971 tells the story of the eight members who made up the self-titled Citizens' Commission to Investigate the FBI. The group stole more than 1,000 classified documents from the FBI in order to expose some of the government agency's unconstitutional and illegal actions.

The film marks the first time these eight citizens are telling their story. Among them is West Michigan native Bonnie Raines and her husband John Raines.

a helicopter flies over a wildfire
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As April approaches, the chance for wildfires increases. Most Michigan wildfires occur in April, May or June with few a few minor fires happening throughout the rest of summer and into fall.

Wildfire prevention specialist with the Department of Natural Resources Dan Laux says this spring is already shaping up to be warmer and drier than those in the past. The snow melting so early may mean wildfire season could come sooner, but with the ground remaining damp for a while, Laux isn't too concerned.

The ice is still thick in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. When do you think this Saturn will sink to the bottom?
Rotary Club of Iron Mountain–Kingsford

The Rotary Club of Iron Mountain-Kingsford decided to reach back into history and bring back an old fundraising technique. Instead of the usual pancake breakfast or rose sale, this time around they’re having a contest that asks people to guess how fast a 1998 Saturn will sink into Chapin Pit.

Mercedes Mejia

The 12th annual World Ice Fishing Championship kicks off in Kuopio, Finland this week.

Michigan native Myron Gilbert is there, representing the USA. Gilbert is part of the USA Ice Team. The team won the World Championship in Wisconsin back in 2010. Now it’s in Finland to reclaim that title.

Today on Stateside:

  • Charlie Moret, president of Invest Michigan, talks about his “fresh view” on the Michigan startup community in The Next Idea.
  • Randy Olson, a computer science doctoral candidate from Michigan State University, joins us to describe his “Pure Michigan Road Trip, Optimized.”

  • Finland Calling, the nation’s only Finnish-language program in the United States, is coming to an end, and host Carl Pellonpaa is here to talk.

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Five years ago today, President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law. It’s the law widely known as “Obamacare.”

The University of Michigan’s Center for Healthcare Research & Transformation decided to see what Obamacare has meant for Michigan and the results of their survey are out today.

If Marianne Udow-Phillips, director of the Center for Healthcare Research and Transformation, had to grade the ACA, it would earn “certainly no lower than a B.”

Here's the "optimized" road trip.
Google Maps

According to Randy Olson, 2,098 miles and 43 stops is the perfect road trip around Michigan.

Olson – who’s about to graduate from Michigan State University with a doctorate in computer science – used his computer magic to create what he calls, “Pure Michigan Road Trip, Optimized.”

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The Upper Peninsula is facing the end of an era. After 53 years, Finland Calling, the only Finnish-language program in the United States, is coming to an end.

Marking the retirement of host Carl Pellonpaa, the final show will be on March 29.

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Since it was launched in 2013, the anonymous application Yik Yak has spread across college campuses. Messages are sorted by geographic location and only posts within a mile and a half radius appear.

So it's perfect for saying what you want, about whom you want without anyone knowing it's you, and that is posing problems and challenges for schools around the country.

Today on Stateside:

  • Detroit News Business columnist Daniel Howes discusses a pay raise Detroit officials.
  • Michigan Radio sports commentator John U. Bacon talks about Michigan State’s chances in the March Madness tournament.
  • Comedian Loni Love describes her time growing up in the Brewster Projects in Detroit.
  • We take a look back a master musician, composer, writer and artist Yusef Lateef’s legacy.
  • Democratic State Representative Jeremy Moss tells us why a group of Democratic lawmakers has chosen now to introduce bills to repeal Michigan’s ban on same sex marriage.
  • Kristen Moore of the Michigan chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America discusses how to reduce gun violence against women in the state.
  • Chris Cook of Hour Detroit Magazine shares a trick he learned to get rid of the smell of cork taint in wine.

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