Stateside Staff

Miranda Bono is on track to open the very first "cat cafe" in Michigan.

"A cat cafe is basically a coffee shop and a cat rescue center in one place," says Bono.

Cat cafes originated in Asia and traveled to the United States, with the first opening in California last fall.

Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

Michigan's local food movement is growing and thriving. We're seeing more chefs who deeply care about what they buy and from whom.

Chefs like James Rigato of the Root, a locavore restaurant in White Lake Township.

Writer Michael Jackman of the Metro Times recently analyzed a meal prepared by Chef Rigato and traced nearly 100% of its ingredients to Michigan producers. His just-released story in the Metro Times is billed as "a grand tour of Michigan's local food movement."

The meal consisted of a Charcuterie platter with meat, cheese, fish and vegetables from the region.

Courtesy of the author

The power of forgiveness. The power of trust. The often-complicated, sometimes-thorny relationship between a mother and a daughter.

Those are some of the themes that Lansing's Lori Nelson Spielman explores in her latest novel Sweet Forgiveness.

Giant hogweed close-up
user Farbenfreude /

You could say, it's like something out of "Little Shop of Horrors": a nasty, giant plant that could lead to blistering, scars, even permanent blindness.  

It's called the giant hogweed, and they've found one near Battle Creek.

Logging camp near Cadillac, MI, ca. 1904
U.S. National Archives and Records Administration /

There’s a new living history park in Whitehall that’s giving visitors a unique way to discover the history of Michigan.

Michigan’s Heritage Park is part of the Lakeshore Museum Center in Muskegon.

Today on Stateside:

Watchdogs at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are keeping a wary eye on a safety issue with airbags: what happens when airbags age? Paul Eisenstein talks with us about the concerns.

It’s almost like something out of “Little Shop of Horrors,” a nasty, giant plant that could lead to blistering, scars, or even permanent blindness. It’s called giant hogweed, and one’s been found near Battle Creek. Gretchen Voyle sits down with us to talk about just what makes this plant so nasty.

By White House photo by Eric Draper via Wikimedia Commons

The legions of readers who love and cherish Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird” were stunned and then excited at the prospect of reading her long-lost manuscript, “Go Set a Watchman.”

The story centers on Scout as a grown woman: Jean Louise Finch. Once eager readers clamped their eyes on the story, the shockwaves hit.

The beloved character of Atticus had become a bigot.

“Go Set a Watchman” was not an extension of “To Kill a Mockingbird” after all.

Flickr user MoneyBlogNewz /

Let's say you're running a national company and that company has lost $26 billion between 2011 and 2014.

What should you do? Find cost efficiencies? Streamline? Merge? Cut spending?

deployed front airbags
Flickr user Mic /

There have been at least eight people killed in accidents related to defective airbags made by Takata. The potential number of vehicles affected by these Takata air bags has been boosted to more than 32 million, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

But the watchdogs at NHTSA are keeping a wary eye on another safety issue brewing with airbags. What happens when airbags age?

The average age of vehicles on the road is more than 11 years old, and according to auto journalist and publisher of Paul Eisenstein that's the oldest average age we've ever experienced.  

Flickr user Mike Mozart /

Your backyard may be full of potential wild edibles that you never considered.

Lisa Rose is an herbalist, urban farmer and a forager. Her mission is to get us to connect with the land we live in by using plants we can find in our surroundings.  And you can learn how to do this in her book Midwest Foraging: 115 Wild and Flavorful Edibles from Burdock to Wild Peach.

Many people think of foraging as something that has to be done in wilderness, but Rose says there is potential all around us, saying she wants to "bring that level of awareness that nature is right out our front door, it's not just exclusively at a nature center or at the farmer's market."

Today on Stateside:

A group of unions is launching a petition drive to raise the corporate income tax rate in Michigan, a proposal that flies in the face of Gov. Snyder’s tax overhaul of 2011. The It’s Just Politics team of Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta break the proposal down for us.

It’s happened to the best of us: you said something online that you now regret. Can you take it back, or will your unfortunate emails, tweets and posts somehow live forever? Kimberly Springer sits down with us to talk about what users can do to combat Internet rant remorse.

More options are becoming available to help users clean up their social media image
flickr user Jason Howie /

It's happened to the best of us: you shot off an email while you were hot under the collar, or you fired off an angry Facebook post or a tweet.

Then, remorse set in.

Is there anything you can do to take it back? Or will your unfortunate emails, tweets and posts somehow live forever?

According to Michigan Radio’s social media producer Kimberly Springer, it's complicated.

Library of Congress / Wikimedia Commons

Ninety two years ago this week, an American president died.

Warren G. Harding became the sixth chief executive to die on office. His death fueled rumors, including the bizarre claim that the First Lady had poisoned the President.

Harding was on 15,000 mile tour of the nation called “The Voyage of Understanding” when he passed.

Harding was in San Francisco and his wife was reading a complimentary newspaper article about him out loud.

Suddenly, “he shuddered and fell on his bed and, as they say, dropped dead,” says Dr. Howard Markel of the University of Michigan Medical School.

Flickr user A.Currell /

There's no way you can look back at the history of rock and roll, and rock journalism, without looking at CREEM.

The late Barry Kramer started distributing CREEM out of the trunk of his car in 1969. In its heyday, CREEM made its home in Birmingham in Oakland County.

Today on Stateside:

Michigan State University released its State of the State survey results today, and Director Charles Ballard joins us to discuss the results.

Living off the grid can be a lot of work, but one Michigan family has been doing it for years. Joe Trumpey tells us, “It’s really not about the sacrifice. It’s about paying attention.”

flickr user Sara Long /

Your dollar is worth more.

At least, it is in Canada.

Just four years ago the exchange rate meant it took more than one U.S. dollar to get a Canadian one, but now you can get a Canadian dollar for only 77 cents American.

Mercedes Meija

Living off the grid can be a lot of work, but Joe and Shelly Trumpey and their two daughters have managed it for years. Their home is near Grass Lake in Jackson County. Finished in 2009, the home relies on straw bale insulation, solar power year-round, wood burning in the winter and efficient construction to keep it running.

Flickr user Pictures of Money /

Candidates often publicize the amount of money they have raised by including it in press releases or newsletters. But with campaign financing often criticized for it's ability to sway candidates based on who is funding them, why would candidates willingly draw attention to how much they have received?

Joe DiSano of DiSano Strategies in Lansing says these numbers are targeted at potential donors and their opponents, not ordinary voters.

Sleeping Bear Dunes
flickr user Danielle Lynch /

Last year Sleeping Bear Dunes ranked 13th out of more than 100 national parks, lakeshores, and recreation areas for the number of search and rescue operations conducted there.

International Students’ Committee / Wikimedia Commons

Fiat Chrysler was recently fined a record $105 million dollars for multiple recall violations. This has complicated the goal of the company's CEO Sergio Marchionne to merge with another automaker.

Business columnist Daniel Howes with the Detroit News says Marchionne has "made no secret of the fact that he's most interested in doing a deal with General Motors."

John U. Bacon

Michigan Radio sports commentator John U. Bacon brings us this week's sports roundup:

Tigers approaching the trade deadline

The Tigers came out of this past weekend 11.5 games behind AL Central Division leaders the Kansas City Royals.

After the Red Sox, “beat the crap out of us,” as described by Tigers manager Brad Ausmus, there’s some question as to how things are going to play out approaching Friday’s trade deadline.

This photo gives you a sense for why the pig was called "Giggles."
Giggles the Pig for Flint Mayor / Facebook

Flint's mayoral race has been one to watch this year. An incorrect deadline given by the city clerk led to an almost completely write-in election that brought us the campaign of Giggles the pig.

The legislature eventually stepped in and there are now four candidates on the ballot. Next week Flint voters will finally get to go to the polls for the city's August 4 mayoral primary.

Flickr user Christopher Peplin /

The Legislature has been discussing eliminating the prevailing wage law. The law requires contractors hired by government entities to pay workers at union scale wages.

The law has been in Michigan for a few decades and Chris Fisher, president of the Associated Builders and Contractors of Michigan, believes its bad for Michigan.

Today on Stateside:

Flint’s mayoral race has been one to watch this year, and next week voters will finally get to go to the polls for the city’s August 4 mayoral primary. Michigan Radio’s Steve Carmody joins us to explain some of the chaos.

Detroit’s auto industry saw over 1.6 million light-vehicle sales in May, the most ever recorded for that month. But Detroit News’ Daniel Howes is worried that, “the wheels are starting to wobble,” for the industry.

Michiganders are feeling better about the economy, but lukewarm on other topics
morguefile user Penywise /

In Michigan we get a regular glimpse of what people in the state are thinking about the economy, how well they’re doing financially, what they think of the president, the governor, Congress, the state Legislature, and local government.

Michigan State University released its State of the State Survey today. Charles Ballard is the director of the survey.

Today on Stateside:

Rick Pluta and Zoe Clark sit down to talk about Donald Trump’s recent political moves, and the effect he could be having on the Republican presidential field.

Northern Michigan’s tourism industry is huge, but workers are having a hard time finding places to live. Leelanau County Commissioner Ty Wessel joins us to talk about the newly created affordable housing task force and its goals in the area.

Sleeping Bear Dunes, a popular tourist spot in Northern Michigan
flickr user Rodney Campbell /

Northern Michigan’s tourism industry is huge. Likely this summer alone you or someone you know has headed up that way at least once.

At first blush, that sounds as though all that tourism is nothing but great for the economy. It creates a lot of jobs at businesses like restaurants and hotels.

The primary election for Grand Rapids' new mayor will take place next Tuesday
All photos courtesy of candidate Facebook pages

Grand Rapids voters will be electing their first new mayor in more than 10 years, and the primary is a week from tomorrow.

Current Mayor George Heartwell is being term-limited out after serving in office for more than a decade.

Screenshot from

Venmo is a payment application with a social media aspect built-in. Users can easily transfer money to others who use the app, and anyone who is Facebook friends with them can see what the transaction is for.

But the app is attached to users’ bank account, debit card or credit card, and its safety has been continually questioned.

Two of Stateside's interns brought up the application's popularity at the daily production meeting, and host Zoe Clark was taken aback. Why would people want to see what others are doing with their money?

Today on Stateside:

Fiat Chrysler is rushing to assure customers that it does have a software fix to prevent hacking into the Jeep Cherokee and other vehicles, as demonstrated for Wired by two hackers. Paul Eisenstein joins us to talk about this development.