Stateside Staff

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

Last week the U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx made the rounds through the news outlets, excitedly talking about new guidelines for autonomous cars.

But Foxx admitted there's a lot not covered in the guidelines because there's a lot the auto industry and the government have yet to figure out.

NPR’s Sonari Glinton joined us today to talk about the secretary’s comments, and the ongoing push toward autonomous vehicles.

Michigan State's 30-6 loss to Wisconsin was its fewest points scored since a 2012 home loss to Notre Dame.
Steven Depolo / Flickr -

It was a full weekend of sports across the state of Michigan, headlined by the Wolverines and the Spartans hosting games in their respective home stadiums. Michigan, which remains ranked No. 4 in the nation, flexed its muscles with a 49-10 blowout of Penn State. Meanwhile, in East Lansing, it was a battle between two Big Ten teams ranked in the top ten. However, Michigan State suffered a rare one-sided loss, 30-6, to the Wisconsin Badgers.

Flickr user Andy Rogers/Flickr /

When you think about water pollution, you might think about massive sewer overflows, factory pollution or agricultural runoff. But there’s another source of water pollution that might be in your backyard: septic systems that have failed.

They pollute lakes and streams around the state – and in fact, around the country.

Sean Hammond, deputy policy director for the Michigan Environmental Council, is calling for better rules for septic systems and inspections.

“We are the only state in the country to not have a statewide septic code,” Hammond said.

Stateside 9.23.2016

Sep 23, 2016

Today, in the next rendition of Songs from Studio East, we hear ancient Ethiopian music with a modern twist. And, we learn about headwraps, including why people wear them and what's behind the politics of dress.

Citizens at a public event last year expressed some concern about making Battle Creek a military target. But more were interested in the potential jobs the missile complex may deliver.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

All of the Michigan congressional delegation -- with the exception of Congressman Justin Amash -- signed a letter urging the Missile Defense Agency to locate interceptor missiles at Fort Custer near Battle Creek.

Amash said he didn’t sign the letter because it emphasized economic reasons rather than military ones. He basically said those decisions should be based on military necessity. Fort Custer is one of three final sites being considered. The other two are Camp Ravenna in Ohio and Fort Drum in New York.

These interceptor missiles are called the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system- GMD for short. They’re designed to intercept incoming nuclear missiles. However, the problem is that the GMD system is flawed. The L.A. Times reported during tests the interceptors failed to destroy their targets six out of eleven times. That’s a dismal record when the job is to intercept nuclear missiles from North Korea, or Russia, or another hostile country. Despite the failure rate, the manufacturer got a $2 billion bonus.

Courtesy of Zarinah El-Amin Naeem


This coming Sunday brings the fourth annual Headwrap Expo & Fashion Show in Dearborn.

It will feature head wraps from a wide array of cultural and spiritual perspectives.

Courtesy of Kevin Fitzgerald /

On Sunday, there will be more than 300 concerts being held across the United States as part of the event "Concert Across America to End Gun Violence." One of those concerts will be held in Ann Arbor. 

Kevin Fitzgerald is conducting roughly 40 Michigan-based musicians in the show. The goal is to raise awareness and continue a conversation about gun violence in hopes of ultimately finding solutions to what he calls a "major crisis" in our country. 

"We hear the statistics about the young men, but we don't hear the voices of the women who are trying to raise them and do the right thing," Katarina Grosska told us.
screengrab of Never Alone in Detroit

Being a single parent is a tough job. Being a single mother raising a son in one of the nation's most violent cities is really tough. 

Loyola High School in Detroit interviewed more than 100 women who have raised or are raising young men. Many of them said they felt very alone. 

Those interviews eventually took form as a video entitled Never Alone in Detroit. The project was produced by Loyola and funded by the Michigan Council for the Humanities.

Attorney General Bill Schuette
Bill Schuette


It's time for another political roundup with Ken Sikkema and Susan Demas​.

Attorney General Bill Schuette joined a lawsuit this week to try to block an overtime pay rule that came out of Washington.

It would require businesses to pay overtime to salary workers who earn less than $47,500 a year. That’s up from about $24,000.

According to Sikkema, “Any of these federal regulations that deal with pay, whether it’s minimum wage or whether it’s overtime pay, are going to be looked at skeptically by Republicans. [Schuette] is not the only one.”

Courtesy of Shirley Burke

The National Museum of African American History and Culture opens this weekend in Washington. One of the items on display is a violin that, until now, was in Michigan with Shirley Burke.

Stateside 9.22.2016

Sep 23, 2016

Today, we discuss what really happened at Kinross prison on September 10 -- was it a riot, a disturbance? And, we hear about a Detroit graffiti case and the blurred line between political speech and crime.

The former Hudson's site, prime real estate along Woodward in the heart of downtown Detroit, has been a city-owned underground parking garage since the Hudson's building was demolished in 1998.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

A state Senate committee gave its unanimous approval this week to a package of state tax incentives that could allow developers to capture state sales and income taxes to help pay for large development projects in Michigan.

This "brownfield legislation" is something that developers like Dan Gilbert are pushing hard for as the package goes to the full Senate for consideration. Brownfield sites are often abandoned industrial sites that would require a significant clean-up and a major financial investment. 

How would this legislation work? And since it appears to be a case of "picking winners and losers," is this something Gov. Rick Snyder will support? 

Antonio Cosme feels the city is trying to make an example of him, and fellow artist William Lucka
Courtesy of Raiz Up


When does graffiti cross the line from artistic political statement to crime?

That’s the question raised in the criminal charges leveled against Antonio Cosme. In November 2014, he allegedly spray painted “Free The Water,” with the image of a fist, on the side of a water tower in Highland Park.

A year and a half passed, and Cosme was charged with malicious destruction of property and trespassing. His pre-trial date is this Friday. He is currently raising money to support the court fees.

MDOC Spokesperson Chris Gautz told us that while it was “a very serious situation,” the events of September 10 at Kinross Correctional Facility don’t meet the definition of a “riot.”
flickr user Thomas Hawk /


On September 10, there was an uprising at Kinross Correctional Facility in the Upper Peninsula.

According to the Michigan Department of Corrections, it’s the most serious incident inside a Michigan prison anyone can recall since the 1981 riot at what was then called Southern Michigan Prison in Jackson.

For the next two Sundays, the Downtown Detroit Partnership is shutting down almost 4 miles of road and inviting pedestrians to wander the streets
flickr user Ken Lund /

The Next Idea

Two years ago, on a sunny September afternoon, there was a special celebration to mark the end of a long spell of construction on I-96 in western Wayne County.

Before opening the freeway to traffic, the Michigan Department of Transportation invited the public to come play on the nearly two-mile stretch of renovated road.

The turnout was big: the freeway filled with people walking, running, biking and rollerblading.

Stateside 9.21.2016

Sep 21, 2016

Today, amid national tension, we learn how one sheriff works to implement changes in training and community outreach. And, we hear how an ArtPrize installation unveils stories of human trafficking in Michigan.

The Bigfoot (not pictured) captured by the trail camera turned out to be a black bear.
flickr user Robert Emperley /

A recent photo from Michigan flew around the internet: a trail cam photo showing the rear end of a big, dark-furred "something or another."

See it below:

Some believed the big critter was a Bigfoot, until a second photo from the same trail cam showed it was in fact a bear.

But that is not deterring the quest to find and photograph a Bigfoot - or, if you will, Sasquatch.

Jan Worth-Nelson told us that high-quality writing and photography have always been staples of "East Village Magazine."
Courtesy of East Village Magazine

This year marks the 40th anniversary of East Village Magazine.

The nonprofit magazine has been bringing community news to people in Flint since 1976, a labor of love for its founder, the late Gary Custer.

East Village Magazine has hung in there to become one of the nation's oldest community media outlets. 

United States Department of Education /

As Michigan kids get settled into this new school year, there's one group that can use some extra support: children who are immigrants or refugees.

"Human trafficking has gone underground," Stephanie Sandberg said. "It's gone on to places where you can no longer see it, and so you have to find ways to recognize it in a new way."
Courtesy of Stephanie Sandberg

ArtPrize opens today in Grand Rapids. 

Among the 1,453 artist entries for this year's competition is a play being performed each evening by ADAPT. Theatre Company of Grand Rapids.

The play is Stories in Blue: A Pilgrimage to Heal Human Trafficking.

It's theater, it's an art piece, and it's a social justice campaign.

Sheriff Jerry Clayton is making changes that emphasize and strengthen the partnership between communities and their police forces.
flickr user Elsa Blaine /

The rise in police shootings of unarmed black people, and the sharp rise in ambush-style attacks on police officers, among other factors, have many law enforcement agencies taking a new look at the way they protect and serve their communities.

That's certainly the case with the Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office, where Sheriff Jerry Clayton is implementing "fundamental" changes in staff training and in talking with the community. 

Stateside 9.20.2016

Sep 20, 2016

Today, we hear how men can work to undo rape culture and combat sexual violence. And, we explore a possible future for our roads: ultra-high performance concrete.

Flickr user/Devon Buchanan /

It was a case that ignited the nation: Stanford swimmer Brock Turner was convicted of raping an unconscious woman behind an alley dumpster after a party.

Michele McDonald


Eileen Pollack's new novel, A Perfect Life, took a while to find a publisher.

The book features a postdoctoral research scientist on a quest to uncover a genetic test for the disease that cut short her mother's life. This medical mystery also features a love story between the protagonist, Jane Weiss, and a man who may also carry the disease, adding human drama to the scientific exploration.

Still, the complexities of this plot were sometimes lost on publishers. One even told Pollack that "men don’t read fiction written by women, and women’s book groups don’t want to read something with science in it!"

Cara AnnMarie and Jacléne Wilk in a scene from the film "Liberty's Secret"
Tripp Greene Press

Take a presidential campaign. Mix in a large serving of old-fashioned musicals, and top it off with two women realizing they are in love, and you've got the new film Liberty's Secret.

Andy Kirshner is the writer, composer, director, producer and he has a role in the film, which is having its premiere this Thursday at the Michigan Theatre in Ann Arbor. Kirshner is also an associate professor of both music and art & design at the University of Michigan.

The film, which the website describes as "the all-American lesbian movie-musical," tells the story of a struggling presidential campaign fronted by moderate Republican Kenny Weston, who recruits the charismatic Liberty Smith to be his running mate. This singing and dancing preacher's daughter is just what the campaign needs to get back into the race to the White House. That is, until she falls in love with one of the campaign's political consultants, who is a woman.

Stateside 9.19.2016

Sep 19, 2016

Today, we check in with Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha a year after she proved elevated lead levels in Flint kids correlated with the switch to Flint River water. And, Michigan Radio's sports commentator breaks down the Lions' home opener.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio



It has been a year now since Michigan and the world learned that the lead levels of children living in areas of Flint has doubled, even tripled.

It was September 2015 when pediatrician Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha braved the scorn of certain state employees to present her stunning research findings that proved that elevated lead levels in Flint children correlated to the the switch to Flint River water.


As we know by now, the dismissive state officials were wrong, and Hanna-Attisha was right.

A contemporary engraving depicting President Garfield leaning after being shot by Charles Guiteau. He is supported by Secretary of State James Blaine.
Public Domain

The next time you're at the doctor's office and you notice all the hand washing and sterile equipment, think of President James Garfield and count your blessings that it's 2016 and not 1881.

On this day in 1881, President Garfield died, completing what Dr. Howard Markel describes as "an agonizing march towards oblivion that began on July 2." 

The Detroit Lions lost a 15-3 fourth quarter lead before losing their home opener to the Tennessee Titans, 16-15.
meesh / Flickr -

It's not easy to be a Detroit Lions fan. Like many across the state of Michigan and beyond, Michigan Radio's sports commentator John U. Bacon has been through a lot (of losing).

As a result, it came as no surprise to Bacon that after the Lions won their season opener on the road against the Indianapolis Colts in dramatic fashion last week, they would return home and lay an egg. On Sunday, the Lions had a 15-3 lead over the Tennessee Titans going into the fourth quarter, but their defense allowed a pair of touchdown passes and lost the game 16-15.

According to the report, if Michigan lawmakers don't appropriate $7.5 million, the state could lose $20.5 million in matching federal funds for child care.
U.S. Army / Flickr -

Any parent can tell you that child care is one of the biggest challenges a family can face. A new report finds that Michigan can do better in helping families who need day care. A LOT better. 

Michigan's missed out on tens of millions of federal dollars that could help more parents and kids access quality child care. In fact, if state lawmakers don't commit another $7.5 million to child care by the end of this month, Michigan will lose $20.5 million in matching federal funds.