Stateside Staff

Michigan school boards are struggling to fill seats.
wikimedia user motown31 / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

 

Michigan school boards are facing a dearth of candidates in the November election. Nearly 1,600 seats will open up in 540 districts across the state. Yet, in the 2014 elections, approximately 70 seats remained empty. Why are people so reluctant to serve on their school boards?

Laith Al-Saadi performing on The Voice.
screen grab / YouTube

 

In March, Laith Al-Saadi rocked American audiences on NBC’s The Voice with his audition.

And it didn’t stop there. As a member of Team Adam, the Michigan native continued to a fourth place finish.

Rashida Tlaid says Donald Trump's rhetoric has caused damage that will take years to address.
flickr user Gage Skidmore / http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

The Republican National Convention opens in Cleveland on Monday.

Michigan Radio’s Steve Carmody is in Cleveland now to keep track of what’s going on.

Carmody covered the Republican Convention four years ago too and said this year will be a bit different.

prison cells
Thomas Hawk / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

 You might remember the story in the news recently that told of the release of a young man who had been sentenced to life without parole.

Davontae Sanford was convicted and sentenced at age 14 for four murders. The courts recently found he was wrongfully convicted.

In 2012 the Supreme Court banned the use of mandatory life without parole sentences for juveniles. 

But that doesn't mean it's completely banned.

In 2008, the American Dialect Society voted the "recombobulation area" in the Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee as the most creative word of the year.
http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

Are there words in your vocabulary that make you wonder how they got there? We posed that question on social media and asked our listeners what strange words and phrases they would like to know the origin of.

Luckily for us, University of Michigan English Professor Anne Curzan was nearby to help. She studies linguistics and the history of the English language and is the host of That's What They Say.

Some of the submissions from our listeners include cattywampus, kitty corner, the whole nine yards and more. Some of our listeners have gone through the award-winning "recombobulation area" in Milwaukee

John Auchter / AUCHTOON.COM

At one time there were plenty of political cartoonists. Just about every newspaper had one, but with the decline of the newspaper industry, it seems the cartoonist was one of the first positions to get the ax when times got hard. In the heyday of newspapers, cartoonists would use their art to get to the heart of a political or social issue in a frame or two. Some would say a frame or two told more than a lengthy op-ed. Now, cartooning has largely been chased from the newspaper to the internet and is more rare. 

Stateside 7.15.2016

Jul 15, 2016

 

Today, we continue our Artisans of Michigan series with a visit to Thompson Art Glass in Brighton. And, we hear how progressive white people are realizing some of their own unconscious bias.

To find individual interviews, click here or see below:

Stateside 7.14.2016

Jul 14, 2016

Today, we talk with a man as he walks to the Republican National Convention. He's looking for the Midwestern political voice. And, we hear how animal waste from factory farms is contaminating Lake Erie.

To find individual interviews, click here or see below:

Courtesy of Michigan Tech Archieves

The history of Copper Country in the Upper Peninsula tends to focus on mining and the mostly European immigrants who worked those mines. 

That traditional history is missing something: the presence of African-Americans.

A cyanobacteria bloom on Lake Erie in 2013.
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

 

It's been two years since drinking water in Toledo was contaminated by cyanobacteria in Lake Erie.

Four hundred thousand Toledo-area residents couldn't drink the water for a few days.

 

That fired up Pam Taylor to start tracking how Lake Erie's been getting contaminated.

 

Drew Philp is walking from Detroit to the RNC in Cleveland, passing fields like this one near Monroe, Mich.
Courtesy of Drew Philp

Cleveland is just days away from hosting this year’s Republican National Convention. Delegates, candidates, and reporters are flying and driving from across the world cover the event.

However, Drew Philp chose to use his own two feet. He’s coming all the way from Detroit and documenting his journey for Belt magazine.

And why did he choose the RNC as his destination?

“It’s closer than Philadelphia,” Philp laughed. “But I’m also curious about Donald Trump.”

Stateside 7.13.2016

Jul 13, 2016

Today, we talk with a Vietnam vet from Ypsilanti who will receive the Medal of Honor on Monday. And, a Syrian refugee family shares their memories of home.

To find individual interviews, click here or see below:

The Michigan Legislature meets today, but don't hold your breath expecting a whole lot to happen.

Our It's Just Politics team of Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta joined us today to take a look at the attendance card for the state Legislature. 

Clark told us that the House is scheduled to meet 80 days while the Senate scheduled 83, for a total of 163 days this session. That's more than 40 days short of the average 205 days per session. 

Retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Charles Kettles
Jodie Westrick / Michigan Radio

Next Monday, the nation will say thank you to 86-year-old Charles Kettles.

President Obama will present the Vietnam veteran helicopter pilot with the Medal of Honor, the military’s highest award, for a courageous rescue mission in the heat of ferocious combat.

Davontae Sanford was wrongfully convicted of four murders at age 14. He was released from prison last month after spending nearly nine years behind bars.
Kate Wells / Michigan Radio

The case goes back to a grisly quadruple homicide in Detroit in 2007.

Police interrogated 14-year-old Davontae Sanford, who says he was coerced into giving a false confession.

Former Detroit police commander James Tolbert was one of the cops who questioned Sanford. He testified in court that Sanford was able to draw a crime scene sketch for police of where the murders took place.

But later, Tolbert admitted to police that he actually drew most of the sketch.

Still, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy announced late Tuesday there's insufficient evidence to charge Tolbert with perjury. Her office says even if Tolbert changed his statements about evidence, it’s really hard to actually prove perjury, because you have to prove that somebody intentionally lied under oath.

Prisoners of war held in Michigan’s camps were mostly German, but there were also soldiers of other nationalities, like these Italians captured by the Germans in Greece in 1943.
Wikimedia user Bild Bundesarchiv / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

There aren't many books that serve up history, suspense, crime and a love story, all beautifully tied together.

Wolf's Mouth manages to offer all that and more.

A new report from Global Detroit emphasizes the importance of keeping international student graduates for Michigan’s economy.
Flickr user University of Michigan's Ford School/Flickr

Michigan’s economy should stop wasting the brainpower it already has by retaining more international students, a new report says.

Steve Tobocman is the director of Global Detroit, a non-profit that studies what makes Michigan attractive to international populations. He told Stateside that their research fights a widespread belief.

Stateside 7.12.2016

Jul 12, 2016

Today, we learn about how educational opportunity can improve the lives of inmates. And, we look at the history of bathrooms in America.

To find individual interviews, click here or see below:

According to Terry Kogan, public "multi-user" restrooms didn't really exist in America until the 1870s.
flickr user Ted Eytan / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Deciding who should be allowed to use what bathroom has consumed a lot of attention across the country, and certainly here in Michigan.

With all the controversy about public restrooms and transgender people using the ones that match their gender identity, let's roll back the years to figure out just how sex-segregated bathrooms came to be in the first place.

Terry Kogan is a professor at the University of Utah's College of Law. He has spent the past decade considering the rights of transgender people, and the public restroom question in particular. 

More than 300 people came to Ypsilanti High School to participate in a meeting on police-community relations.
Daniel Rayzel / Michigan Radio

Ypsilanti residents are calling for action to improve police-community relations following related nationwide events over the past week.

prison cells
Thomas Hawk / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

There are 2.2 million people now incarcerated in American prisons. 

Each year, hundreds of thousands of those inmates are released.

One of the most important ways of keeping them from re-offending and winding up back in prison is education. 

Stateside 7.11.2016

Jul 11, 2016

Today, on our Next Idea series, we discuss public spaces and how, if used creatively, they could make more Detroiters feel like they belong in their own city. And, we talk about what to do if you're pulled over with a concealed weapon in Michigan.

To hear individual interviews, click here or see below:

Photo courtesy of John Sims

 

Multi-media artist John Sims is on a mission to re-work and re-frame Confederate symbols, like the Confederate flag and the song "Dixie."

Sims has recolored Confederate flags and used them in public performances and installations.

Now he is re-imagining "Dixie" in an array of musical styles.

 

Children
Credit Flickr user Herald Post/Flickr / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

 

Who are Michigan's homeless students? And how does being homeless affect their education?

These are crucial questions for the state, as education plays an important role in homeless students' ability to escape the chains of poverty and homelessness.

Joshua Cowen is an associate professor in the Department of Educational Administration at Michigan State University. He recently published a study examining these important questions. His study reveals exactly who Michigan's homeless students are and where they come from. It also reveals how homelessness affects a students performance in schools.

Attorney General Bill Schuette
Bill Schuette

 

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette faces complex legal hurdles in civil lawsuits against a water company and an engineering company, along with their parent companies.

 

The lawsuit claims that Veolia North America of Delaware and Lockwood, Andrews and Newnam of Texas failed to take proper steps in the Flint water crisis and created a public nuisance. The suit aims to collect money for damages.

 

But legal experts say there are a number of issues that could stand in the way of a potential win for the attorney general in trial or in a settlement.

a police squad car
Flickr user Scott Davidson/Flickr / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

The lawyer for a suburban Minnesota police officer who killed a black driver during a traffic stop last week says the officer was reacting to Philando Castile's gun, not his race. The attorney  did not elaborate on how Castile presented the weapon or what led up to the fatal traffic stop and shooting. The video Castile's fiance took of the aftermath of his shooting has Concealed Pistol License (CPL) holders asking themselves: What are the do's and don'ts if you are stopped by police?

Tensions have heightened between police departments and communities across the country.
Flickr user Matthew Sutherland / Flickr / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

 

It’s been a tough week for the nation. It saw numerous tragedies, such as the police shootings that killed Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, and the shootings in Dallas that killed five police officers.

These events have heightened unrest between police and their communities, and protests were seen across the country in places like Baton Rouge, Chicago and New York City.

Sgt. Terry Dixon, the public information officer for the Grand Rapids Police Department, joined us to talk about his department's response to last week's tragedies and its effort to bring diversity into law enforcement.

Stateside 7.8.2016

Jul 8, 2016

Today, we discuss racism, unconscious bias, and how many white people want to believe we live in a post-racial society when inequalities still exist. We also discuss the right to record police, and how that right could be "critical" to bringing reform.

To hear individual interviews, click here or see below:

Left: SUZANNA SHKRELI FOR CONGRESS/FACEBOOK Right: mikebishop.house.gov / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

This week the Democratic party chose a candidate for the 8th Congressional District. 

29-year-old Suzanna Shkreli is seeking to replace actor Melissa Gilbert, who has unofficially withdrawn for health reasons.

Shkreli has never held political office. She's an assistant prosecutor in Macomb County.

 A mural by Louis Delsarte at the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic site.
Flickr user yooperann/Flickr / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

This week, violence and race have hit us in a way many of us have never seen.

Violence and race, though, are not new. The Detroit Journalism Cooperative has been looking at the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. Some of the core issues then are some of the issues we're still struggling with today.

You've got to understand the history to really understand what's happened this week.

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