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Stateside
4:36 pm
Mon July 14, 2014

The mayor of Jackson, Michigan shares his thoughts on the prison museum

Credit Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

What’s one of the first things that comes to mind when you think of the city of Jackson?

For many, the answer might well be "The Prison."

We even call it “Jackson Prison”, although its official name is the State Prison of Southern Michigan.

Recently on Stateside we told you about the opening of a new museum right at the prison: the Cell Block 7 Prison Museum gives you a chance to explore a prison block with five-floors and 515 cells. 

It hasn’t housed prisoners for seven years, but you will get a real feel for life inside, and for the history of the Southern Michigan Prison.

We wondered how this all strikes the people of Jackson.

Is playing host to a huge prison something they shun or own?

The Mayor of Jackson, Jason Smith, joined Stateside to answer the question.

*Listen to full interview above. 

Stateside
4:35 pm
Mon July 14, 2014

One group in Detroit is providing water to those in need

Credit Andrew Pennebaker / Flickr

Detroit's water crisis is making world-wide headlines.

First came shut-off notices. Then water was turned off to nearly 15,000 customers in April through June, many of them low-income or seniors – or both.

The Detroit Water Brigade is one of the groups helping those who've lost water. The group has distributed over 300 cases of water in the past few weeks to Detroiters.

Deemeko Williams is the Chief Coordinator at Detroit Water Brigade.

“We provide lots of love, empathy, compassion, and we let people know that this is not their fault, but this now has become their fight,” Williams said.  

Donations are coming from their website detroitwaterbrigade.org, an Amazon wedding registry in the group's name set up to provide bottled water and supplies and resources hubs.

Williams said the best way to resolve the issue is to have the water board host a community meeting and let the thousands of residents who are suffering come and set up a payment plan.

Williams suggested that the meeting be help in Cobo Hall’s Grand River Ballroom from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. for five days.

“We have 700,000 people that still live here in the City of Detroit, and the majority of them are falling through hard economic circumstances,” Williams said. “We call for an end to the shut off immediately!”

Williams says places like Comerica Park, Ford Field and Eastern Market are behind on their bills, yet still have running water.

“Joe Louis Arena owes $80,000. The V.A. hospital owes $131,000, and they are trying to run the buck on low-income and seniors to pay their bill and it’s unfair. It’s unjust,” Williams said.

To read more about Detroit water shutoffs click here

*Listen to full interview above. 

*If you’d like to find out more about the water shutoffs in Detroit, check the links below. You can also call 1-844-42-WATER if you live in Detroit and you’re water has been shut off.

-Bre'Anna Tinsley, Michigan Radio Newsroom. 

Stateside
1:30 pm
Mon July 14, 2014

Detroit's minor league soccer team has a huge following, and they know a lot of chants

Going into battle
Melanie Kruvelis

The World Cup is over. And even if you weren't rooting for Germany or Argentina, the game was really something to watch. (Germany won, for all the non-sports fans out there.)

In addition to the game itself, the fans are just as fun to watch.

They paint flags on their faces, and scream, and cry a lot. 

Those fans exist outside of Brazil, too. There's an intense support section for the Detroit City Football Club. The minor league soccer team is called Le Rouge, and is in its third season.

Before the game, a lot of fans and supporters go to a bar and rally the troops.

Then the "Northern Guard" march to the stadium. There are smoke bombs, drums, gas masks, megaphones, and a lot of rouge and gold. 

Throughout the entire game, there's chanting -- some of which could never air on public radio.

According to Alex Wright, one of the DCFC co-owners, about 2/3 of the team play for their college team during the school year. The home games at Cass Tech High School began selling out this season, and Friday's game sold out by record numbers. 

Wright said that he and the other co-owners wanted to create the team because they're committed to the city. Wright doesn't believe that soccer is going to save Detroit, but it's just a reason to feel good about what's going on in the city. 

DCFC's season is over now, but fans like "Big Vytau" plan to come back next year -- and probably for a few years after that.

*Listen to the full interview above

Stateside
11:14 am
Mon July 14, 2014

This Michigan woman was a conductor on the Underground Railroad

Laura Smith Haviland in about 1879.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

When you think of the Underground Railroad, one name you may not recognize is Laura Smith Haviland.

She helped many slaves escape from the South to freedom, and she was from Michigan.

Michigan was a crucial stop on the Underground Railroad.

Before and during the Civil War, many Michiganders helped slaves escape to freedom in Canada by crossing the border in Port Huron or Detroit.

In 1832, Laura Haviland co-founded the Logan Female Anti-Slavery Society and the Raisin Institute, which became a safe space for African American fugitives of slavery and attracted black settlers in Michigan.

In the 1840s and 1850s, Haviland traveled between Michigan, Ohio, and Canada assisting slaves in escapes, teaching African American students, and making public anti-slavery speeches.

Southern slave owners had a $3,000 reward for her capture.

Tiya Miles is chair of the Department of African-American Studies at the University of Michigan and will be a keynote speaker at the National Underground Railroad Conference being held in Detroit this week.

“Laura Haviland was an incredible woman, and she is someone who faced daunting challenges that you and I - I don’t think, could ever imagine,” Miles said.

Miles said that women were not expected to be independent and involved in political issues at this time. There was a lot of criticism of her from her fellow abolitionists. She was seen as someone who outright rejected the conservative gender roles.

The National Parks Service is hosting its annual conference on the Underground Railroad in Detroit from July 16 to July 20. The theme is "Women and the Underground Railroad."

*Listen to the full interview above

Stateside
6:29 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

Governor's race: where it stands now

How accurate are current polls that show Snyder and Schauer neck and neck?
Credit Facebook

Tomorr0w morning at 9:00 a.m. on Michigan Radio, it's your chance to ask questions of Mark Schauer, the Democrat who wants to be your next governor.

Rick Pluta and Zoe Clark, co-hosts of Michigan Radio’s It’s Just Politics joined Stateside today to talk about where this race for governor stands right now.

Pluta discussed what issues Mark Schauer and Governor Snyder are focused now.  He said the governor is focusing on the state's economic recovery and the fact that overall trend is improving. Schauer will likely focus on topics such as charter schools, and policies surrounding abortion coverage. 

Clark added that the issue with the Schauer campaign is the lack of excitement to get out the vote among Democrats. Also, Pluta pointed out that Schauer still needed to work on public identification.

Check out our Facebook page for details on the number to call in tomorrow morning.

* Listen to the interview above.

Stateside
6:26 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

Stateside for Thursday, July 10, 2014

  Today on Stateside:

·         In just three years, the number of Michigan cities and school districts run by state-appointed emergency managers has ballooned, from six to 17. We took a close look at Michigan emergency manager law.

·         Mark Schauer is the Democrat who wants to be your next governor. Rick Pluta and Zoe Clark, the co-hosts of Michigan Radio’s It’s Just Politics were here on Stateside to tell us more.

·         A new appraisal of the Detroit Institute of Arts collection has found the works could be worth between $2.7 billion and $4.6 billion! That's a big difference from the $866 million value that Christie's put on the collection last fall. Detroit News’ Daniel Howes explained what the implication is.

·         How Northern Michigan water is an inspiration for writers.

·         The latest "report card" on jobs in America points to a country continuing to recover from the Great Recession. We had a labor economist from University of Michigan to tell us what he saw in the June labor report.

·         We wrap up our week-long review of the new $53 billion state budget. Today: the money for "law and order."

*Listen to full show above.

Stateside
6:25 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

DIA collection valued up to $4.6 billion as voting approaches home stretch

Credit Flickr

A new appraisal of the Detroit Institute of Arts' collection has found the works could be worth between $2.7 billion and $4.6 billion dollars. That's a big difference from the $867 million value that Christie's put on the collection last fall.

Detroit News Business columnist Daniel Howes joined us to tell us what he saw in the evaluations.

Howes clarified that the $867 million valuation by Christie’s only looked at 5% of the DIA’s collection, whereas the new appraisal evaluated its entire collection. He also pointed out the caveat attached to the big $4.6 billion number: “If you try to sell big chunks of the collection at the same time, you likely press the prices dramatically.”

Read more
Stateside
6:22 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

What June’s job report means for Michigan

Credit Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

The latest "report card" on jobs in America points to a country continuing to recover from the Great Recession.

The national unemployment rate fell to 6.1%, the lowest level since September 2008. What does the June jobs report tell us about Michigan? Where have we made gains and where are we still hurting?

University of Michigan labor economist Don Grimes joined us to review the June employment numbers. 

Stateside
5:58 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

Michigan state budget increased from last year to maintain law and order

A state police budget bill was approved for adding another helicopter.
Credit not_Aaron / flickr

Today we wind up our week-long review of the new $53 billion state budget with a look at the money for "law and order."

Detroit Free Press Lansing reporter Kathy Gray was with us today.

Gray said that the new budget would have some more money to fight crime than last year. According to Gray, here are some of the things that the "law and order" money will fund:

Read more
Stateside
2:31 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

Michigan authors reflect on lives near water through writing

Credit krossbow / flickr

No matter the season, if you live in Michigan, water isn't far away.

The Great Lakes. One of Michigan's 11,000 inland lakes. A river, like the Manistee or Au Sable.

Traverse Magazine invited five Northern Michigan women writers to share their thoughts on water. Two of those writers join us today on Stateside from Interlochen Public Radio.

Anne-Marie Oomen grew up on a farm near Lake Michigan. She says that besides understanding from the very beginning the reliance of agriculture on water, she felt related to water in a spiritual way.

Fleda Brown recalls fond memories of summer times spent near Michigan lakes as a child. “Driving up from Arkansas … and getting closer and closer to the lake and the woods, the first glimpse of water I saw through the trees was like miracle,” she said.

* Listen to full interview above.

Stateside
2:31 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

A deep dive into Michigan’s emergency manager law

Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr's term is expected to be over this fall. So what next?
Credit State of Michigan

Three years ago, only a half-dozen cities and school districts in Michigan were being run by state-appointed emergency managers.

Today, 17 are in some phase of receivership.

That proves not only cities and schools in Michigan are facing tough times, but that Governor Snyder is making vigorous use of Public Act 436, the state's emergency manager law.

Bridge magazine writer Chastity Pratt Dawsey examines the effectiveness of the law and how it measures up to similar laws in other states in a report for the magazine's latest issue. She joined us today.

We also had Lou Schimmel on the show. He's served as emergency financial manager or emergency manager for Ecorse, Hamtramck and Pontiac. Right now he's on the transition advisory board for Pontiac. Our two guests explores a number of questions:

First off, why does the appointment of an emergency manager result in such emotional responses from residents?

Read more
Stateside
4:09 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

Stateside for Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Today on Stateside:

·         Everybody's sore subject: roads and transportation. Continuing our week-long look at the new state budget: more than $53 billion, affecting every aspect of life in Michigan.

·         Snorkeling in Michigan? Nancy Washburne’s book: Snorkeling Guide to Michigan Inland Lakes.

·         Is Michigan ready to turn 'A New Leaf' on pot?

·          The Michigan Department of Community Health provides insight on arsenic issues. 

·         We're going to be answering your questions about Michigan in our new project M I Curious. It's a series of stories looking into all of the things you've always wondered about our state. The first question in our series: Why is there such a large Arab American community in southeast Michigan?

*Listen to full show above.

Stateside
3:54 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

M I Curious: Why is there a large Arab population in Southeast Michigan?

Credit Wikimedia Commons

The M I Curious project is headed up by Michigan Radio’s Mark Brush.

“This is our chance to kind of pull back the curtain on news production and actually go out into the public and find out what the public is curious about,” Brush said.

We are inviting you into the editorial process of developing, producing and airing a story.

You can go to micurious.michiganradio.org and post your question for us.

Three questions will be chosen for a vote by listeners each month. If your question is selected, you can participate in producing the story with us.

This month’s question comes from Jeff Duncan. His question:

What brought people of Arabic/ Middle Eastern decent to Michigan?

Michigan Radio’s Sarah Cwiek investigated and answered that question.

Cwiek said southeast Michigan has drawn so many Arabs because of two reasons. One the auto industry, specifically Henry Ford.

“There is apparently a legend that in the local Yemenite community that Henry Ford once met a Yemenite sailor and told him about these jobs in an auto factory that paid $5 a day,” Cwiek said.

The sailor passed on the word to others in Yemen and around the Arab world.

Cwiek said that though the first immigrants from the Arab world came in the nineteenth century, the explosion of Arab culture really started in the twentieth century.

Read more
Stateside
3:51 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

The Michigan Department of Community Health chimes in on the state's arsenic issue

Credit Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

Michigan Radio's "The Environment Report" has just wrapped up a week-long series called Michigan's Silent Poison.

Reporter Rebecca Williams worked in partnership with the Center for Public Integrity and the public radio show Reveal to explore the problem of arsenic in well water.

Williams said Michigan has a serious problem with arsenic in private wells that can lead to major health issues.

Public water supplies have federal limits to regulate arsenic levels in water, however, private wells are not regulated.

The Thumb region in Michigan has the largest problem with high arsenic levels in private wells. Levels are as high as 20 times more than the federal accepted limit for arsenic in public water.

During the series Michigan’s Silent Poison, Williams made efforts to talk with someone from the Michigan Department of Community Health, but no one was made available. After the series aired, the Department said they would make someone available to speak.

Jennifer Gray is a toxicologist with the Michigan Department of Community Health. She answered some of the questions on Stateside today.

*Listen to full interview above. 

Stateside
1:23 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

Michigan will receive $115 million to fix roads

Credit Michigan Municipal League / Flickr

Michigan will receive is $115 million in special state funding this year for 124 specific road projects in certain districts.  This includes 38 projects in the metro Detroit region.

Crain’s Business Reporter Chris Gautz said most of the money will go to districts that are represented by Republicans, and about $41 million went to some districts represented by Democrats.

“For somebody in another part of the state that isn’t getting any money -- maybe if they are represented completely by Democrats -- they’re not going to see anything and they are wondering why their roads aren’t as important,” Gautz said.

Click here for a full list of the projects.

Guatz said there will also be about $1.5 million dollars for the Secretary of State’s office to help combat insurance fraud. 

*Listen to full interview above. 

Stateside
1:11 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

A new book takes a closer look at marijuana prohibiton

Credit anewleafbook.tumblr.com

 

Investigative journalists Alyson Martin and Nushin Rashidian present a book that explores the new landscape of cannabis in the United States in a book called A New Leaf: The End of Cannabis Prohibition.

Voters in 22 states, including Michigan, have said yes to medical marijuana laws. In November 2012, voters in Colorado and Washington legalized recreational use of marijuana.

Public opinion continues to shift toward policies that favor legalizing cannabis.

Yet, 49.5% of federal government drug-related arrests involve the sale, manufacture, or possession of cannabis.

In their book, Martin and Rashidian interviewed patients, growers, entrepreneurs, politicians, activists, and regulators in nearly every state with a medical cannabis law.

They analyze how recent milestones toward legalization will affect the war on drugs both domestically and internationally. The book is a unique account of how legalization is manifesting itself in the lives of millions.

Read more
Stateside
4:32 pm
Tue July 8, 2014

Stateside for Tuesday, July 8, 2014

  Today on Stateside:

·         Budget update: Everyone who writes a tuition payment check has one question: Is tuition going up?

·         Why were 30 million pounds of tart cherries left to rot on the ground, much of those from Michigan? And why are we eating Polish and Canadian cherries in our pies?

·        A West Michigan mom shares her son’s life with cerebral palsy in her memoir He Plays A Harp.

·         A new board game called Mackinac Island Treasure Hunt.

·         What can elected officials do to appeal to millennial voters?

·         The Cell Block 7 Prison Museum opens in Jackson.

*Listen to full show above. 

Stateside
4:32 pm
Tue July 8, 2014

College tuition is expected to rise in Michigan

Credit Wikimedia Commons

Everyone who writes a tuition payment check has one question: Is tuition going up?

Jake Neher, Lansing reporter for Michigan Public Radio Network said that tuition is going up all over the state.

There is a limit to the increase at 3.2%, otherwise institutions will lose state aid.

“Most major universities, other than U of M and MSU, are going right up to that cap in this year’s tuition increases,” Neher said.

Neher said budget leaders and the Legislature may not be too happy about the increase, given that the governor just signed the largest increase in state aid for higher education in years.

The new budget increases higher education spending by about 5.9%.

Neher added that Michigan State University is using a two-tier tuition increase. Tuition for juniors and seniors will go up more than freshmen and sophomores. Neher said that MSU did this because it costs more money to educate seniors.

Funding for the Michigan Tuition Grant Program will also increase 5.9%. This affects students who are in financial need who want to go to private colleges. 

*Listen to full interview above. 

Stateside
4:21 pm
Tue July 8, 2014

A new board game that explores Mackinac Island

Credit Wikimedia Commons

The board game is actually five games in one.

There is a new board game called “Mackinac Island Treasure Hunt.” It was created to get people thinking more about Michigan's natural beauty and historical treasures.

Jim Muratski, co- creator with Barbara Overdier, said they came up with the idea when they were in the woods thinking to themselves, “what’s a good way to have other people see what’s happening out here?”

“I think people are used to just visiting the downtown part of Mackinac Island and not really getting out into the state park area, which we find pretty fascinating,” Muratski said.

The board game is actually five games in one. There is a card game, a nature hike board game, a cooperative scavenger hunt game, a memory game, and a treasure hunt game.

More information on the board game is available here

*Listen to full interview above. 

Stateside
4:19 pm
Tue July 8, 2014

The Cell Block 7 Prison Museum catalogs the prison's history

Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

It's been known for decades as the world's largest walled prison - the State Prison of Southern Michigan in Jackson.

Now some of the very colorful stories from that prison and from Jackson are told in the new Cell Block 7 Prison Museum. It's a joint venture of the Ella Sharp Museum and the Michigan Department of Corrections.

The museum is renting part of cell block seven, which still houses inmates.

MLive’s Leanne Smith said the museum covers the history of the prison, the inmates, wardens, and guards since 1838.

“It is an actual cell block,” Smith said. “You walk in and there is no doubt as to where you are.”

*Listen to full interview above. 

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