Offbeat

Stateside
12:15 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

Grand Marais is home to the Pickle Barrel House Museum

The Pickle Barrel House in 2008
Credit Wikimedia Commons

Michigan boasts a fine array of museums. It seems there's something for everybody: 

  • The Henry Ford in Dearborn
  • The Gerald R Ford Museum in Grand Rapids
  • The Sloan Museum in Flint
  • The Great Lakes Children's Museum in Traverse City

And how about "The Pickle Barrel House Museum" in Grand Marais?

Pat Munger, president of the Grand Marais Historical Society, said the museum was originally built for William Donahey, a cartoonist and author of children’s books from 1914 to 1972.

His cartoons were about people who were about two inches tall and lived in the woods around Grand Marais.

For a promotional campaign for Monarch Food’s Pickles, Donahey drew a tiny family that lived in a pickle. The pickles were put in little pickle barrels.

One of the owners of Monarch Foods, named Mr. Murdock, was friends with Donahey and built him a pickle barrel house as a surprise to Donahey’s wife.

That house now serves as a museum.

*Listen to the full interview with Pat Munger on Stateside at 3:00 pm. Audio for this story will be added by 4:30 pm. 

Stateside
5:09 pm
Tue August 26, 2014

Challenge accepted: Cross Lake Michigan on a paddle board

Credit user: The.Rohit / Flickr

If you've spent any time in Michigan, chances are strong that you've enjoyed the beauty of the Lake Michigan.

We've talked to scuba divers, snorkelers, even surfers who love Lake Michigan. Well, how about this: crossing Lake Michigan on stand-up paddleboards.

That's what Andrew Pritchard and four of his friends are planning to do.

Pritchard said the idea started about a year ago. He and his friends decided it would be a fun challenge a great way to raise money. They hope to raise $10,000 for the Alliance for the Great Lakes.

The trip would be 58 miles, starting in Algoma, Wisconsin and paddling straight east to Frankfort, Michigan 24 hours later.

They will have a support boat with them, equipment with communication and emergency gear. They will keep food and refreshments on their boards so that they won’t have to step foot on the boat.

Go to here to find out how to support Andrew and the guys in their stand-up paddleboard trek across Lake Michigan.

*Listen to the full interview with Andrew Pritchard above. 

Stateside
5:08 pm
Tue August 26, 2014

How fur trapping has changed over time in Michigan

Fur pelts.
Credit Ari Moore / Flickr

You could say Michigan was built on fur pelts.

Native tribes were trapping animals for fur long before the French founded Detroit in order to control the rich fur trade in the Old Northwest.

We wondered what trapping is like in Michigan today.

Roy Dahlgren is the man to ask.

He's the District 3 President of the Upper Peninsula Trappers Association.

Dahlgren said trapping was at its peak before Michigan was a state, and that Mackinac Island was built to protect the fur trade.

Dahlgren said fur trapping has become a hobby where you can make a little money on the side. There are still some who rely on it as a good source of income.

In addition to supporting today's trappers, Dalhgren’s organization also works to get children involved in trapping.

*Listen to the full interview above. 

Offbeat
1:00 pm
Tue August 26, 2014

Take it from this "Trustafarian," these judgy maps are meant to make us laugh

This map of metro Detroit is all wrong.
judgmentalmaps.com

Want to know where the "Millionaires who like country music" and the "Intensely Boring" live in southeast Michigan? You can find them on this handy "judgmental map."

The wholly inaccurate, satirical map takes a jab at just about everybody in the region. 

It's the latest in a series of "judgmental maps" of major metropolitan regions across the U.S.

Read more
Stateside
12:22 pm
Wed August 20, 2014

Pinkerton is moving its headquarters to Ann Arbor

Allan Pinkerton, the founder of Pinkerton, circa 1861.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

The Pinkerton security firm is one of the legendary brand names in American history. It was founded by Allan Pinkerton in 1850.

Pinkerton protected President Lincoln – even discovered a plot to assassinate him in 1861. Sadly, Pinkerton's men were not with Lincoln on that fateful night at Ford's Theatre.

Pinkerton men tracked down Butch Cassidy and the Hole-In-The-Wall Gang and pursued Jesse James. Pinkerton agents were also a part of the historic Battle of the Overpass at the Ford River Rouge Plant in 1937.

Now, the 164-year-old security and risk management company is moving its global headquarters from New Jersey to Ann Arbor, Michigan.

The Midwest is home for Pinkerton.

Jack Zahran, the president of the company, said that was a deciding factor for the move. Another factor was access to employees with high technological skills, as the company is focusing more on online security.

“We’re not on horseback anymore, and so we are protecting things in a digital space now,” Zahran said.

*Listen to the full interview with Jack Zahran above.

Offbeat
5:26 pm
Tue August 19, 2014

Diana Sieger wishes she gave the parents of her attacker some closure

Credit Failure:Lab / failure-lab.com

Diana Seiger shares her story of failure.

A story of failure.

Diana Seiger shares her story of failure. She was attacked while bringing her groceries home. She says her failure was not allowing the parents of her attacker to get closure.

Watch her story here:

To learn more about Failure Lab and hear more stories visit failure-lab.com.

*Listen to the full story above. 

Stateside
4:46 pm
Tue August 19, 2014

A list of Michigan's 'Best in Class' wines

Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan's Grape and Wine Industry Council recognized eight Michigan wines as "best in class" at their recent awards ceremony.

Linda Jones, executive director of the Council, filled us in on the winners.

Among the winners are three Rieslings, a sparkling wine, a dry red that also won last year, a semi- dry red wine, one fruit, and one rosé

The judges were looking for wines that were true to the character of the grape produced in this region.

Here's a list of Michigan's eight "Best in Class" winners:

  • Sparkling: Aurora Cellars 2011 Brut
  • Dry White: Blustone Vineyards 2013 Riesling
  • Dry Red: Peninsula Cellars 2012 Cabernet Franc
  • Semi-dry White: Gill's Pier Vineyard & Winery 2013 Semi-Dry Riesling
  • Semi-dry Red: Lawton Ridge Winery 2012 AZO Red
  • Dessert: Black Star Farms 2012 Arcturos Winter Harvest Riesling
  • Fruit: 45 North Vineyard & Winery Peach Cremant
  • Rosé: Chateau de Leelanau 2013 Cabernet Franc Rosé

You can find the full list of winners here.

*Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
4:34 pm
Mon August 18, 2014

The Ann Arbor Chronicle news site will shut down next month

The Ann Arbor Chronicle website.
screen shot Ann Arbor Chronicle

 The Ann Arbor Chronicle news website will end regular publication on September 2, the Chronicle's six-year anniversary.

Mary Morgan is co-founder of the Ann Arbor Chronicle, along with her husband, Dave Askins.

Morgan said the decision was not a financial one. Askins wrote in the column that announced the news that they could keep the Chronicle going if they were willing to put in the amount of effort it took. That question became the deciding factor.

“Do we want to be doing this five years, ten years from now, and the answer was no,” Morgan said.

The Ann Arbor Chronicle featured many stories on local government. The site had about 50,000 visitors each month. Visit the site here

*Listen to the full interview with Mary Morgan above. 

Stateside
10:42 am
Mon August 11, 2014

Innovators are all around us; maybe you're one of them

Credit Missy Schmidt / Flickr

Cass Community Services in Detroit has come up with a design that repurposes old tires and turns them into sandals and mud mats.

The city gets rid of some of the illegally dumped tires and folks who need a job can get one. They've got 80 people working on the mats and sandals and plan to add another 20.

That led us to wonder: Where does innovation come from and can you teach it?

Richard Price is the Stanley Seashore Collegiate Professor of Psychology and Organizational Studies at the University of Michigan. He taught a class called “The Psychology of Innovation: Creating a New Enterprise.”

Read more
Offbeat
5:35 pm
Sun August 10, 2014

Michigan Women's Commission surveys female veterans on needed services

Credit Flickr/jnn1776

Michigan's female veterans can now take a survey to help policymakers develop services that will better fit their needs.

The Michigan Women's Commission is conducting the survey.

Susy Avery is the executive director of the commission. She says the main goal of the survey is identify service gaps, and fix them.

"I think awareness is critical," Avery said. "So many times when you're hearing a lot of stories about veterans, women are kind of left out of it because they just don't realize that there are so many of them."

Read more
Stateside
5:35 pm
Thu August 7, 2014

What's the origin of the "Michigan left?"

Credit User: formulanone / Flickr

This summer, we launched our new M I Curious project. Reporters at Michigan Radio are trying to find answers to your questions.

A few weeks ago, Michigan Radio's Sarah Cwiek looked into why so many people from the Middle East immigrated to Dearborn, and we're in the midst of answering our latest winner's question about the status of the aged Enbridge oil pipeline that runs through the Straits of Mackinac.

But in the meantime, we wanted to give some love to one of the M I Curious runners up. Nick Ochal wanted to know about the origins of the infamous "Michigan Left" turn, the bane of many Michiganders’ early driving experience along with parallel parking.

For the answer, we turned to Joseph Hummer. He's with the College of Engineering at Wayne State University. 

* Listen to the full story above.

A new round of voting ends this weekend. Let us know what you want to find out about or submit a question of your own for our M I Curious project. 

Stateside
4:13 pm
Wed August 6, 2014

You can thank an MSU professor for your favorite blueberry varieties

Credit Wikimedia Commons

“The great thing about blueberries is you can pick them, you can freeze them, you know, without a whole lot of preparation, and just pour them on stuff,” says James Hancock, professor of Horticulture at Michigan State University.

If you haven’t guessed, Hancock has a passion for blueberries. In fact, he has spent the last 30 years cultivating the berry.

The blueberry industry in Michigan has been commercially growing berries since the 1900s. In 2011, the Michigan blueberry industry spanned 18,000 acres and yielded 72 million pounds of fruit valued at more than $118 million.

Hancock has developed three of the most widely planted blueberry varieties throughout his three decades at MSU. He breeds high bush blueberries: the Aurora, the Draper, and the Liberty blueberry.

Hancock said his blueberries are not genetically modified. Some are grown as far away as Chile and South Korea.

*Listen to the full story above. 

Stateside
12:26 pm
Tue August 5, 2014

The North Channel: The Great Lakes' best kept secret

The Benjamin Islands in the North Channel are a favorite spot to anchor for a night.
Emily Fox

  You don’t hear much about Lake Huron. It’s home to what is known as the North Channel. It's filled with hundreds of islands. It's like the Caribbean, but instead of sand and palm trees, you have rock and pine trees. So why does Lake Huron often get ignored when we talk about the Great Lakes the surround our state?

Roy Eaton joined us on Stateside to answer that very question. He's the weatherman and newscaster for the North Channel. His broadcast, Cruisers’ Net, airs every morning at 9 in the summer on VHF radio.

The North Channel is located at the northern side of Manitoulin Island, the largest freshwater island in the world.

Eaton has sailed all the Great Lakes, Bermuda, Antigua, the Virgin Islands and the Florida Keys.  Yet he says Lake Huron’s North Channel is his favorite. The geography is what draws the eye and what lands the North Channel the top ratings of best places to boat in international boating magazines like Cruising World and Sailing.

Read more
Stateside
6:04 pm
Mon August 4, 2014

Celebrity chef Mario Batali's delicious days in Northern Michigan

Credit Mario Batali / facebook

You know the name: Mario Batali – celebrity chef, restaurateur, infamous orange-Crocs-wearer. But what you might not know is that Batali is slightly obsessed with Northern Michigan – Leelanau Peninsula to be exact.

It seems Batali came across Northern Michigan just like a lot of people did. He married a woman and went on vacation back to a place she knew.

“Initially, I was like, well, I don’t know – a lake seemed small … then I got here. First of all, I didn’t realize we were on an “ocean.” Second of all, the water is as blue as the Caribbean. The sand here is as soft as the most amazing places in Hawaii I’ve ever been,” Batali recalled.

"There's a delicious culture of cherries, and there's magnificent understanding of grapes ... Gastronomically, it is very easy to fall in love with this place, because almost everything is delicious."

* Listen to our conversation with Mario Batali above.

Stateside
9:04 am
Wed July 30, 2014

Detroit's brightly lit history

Motor City lights
Credit Jason Mrachina / Flickr

Technology is changing rapidly, but the changes that we see today – in phones, cars, and computer software – are not as life-changing as electricity. We went from water wheel power and candles to electric motors and light bulbs in no time at all.

In a recent article in Model D, Amy Elliott Bragg wrote that “by the late 1880s, Detroit was widely considered one of the best-lighted cities in the world.” Now, about 40% of the city’s streetlights are broken and many of the rest are old and dim.

Read more
Stateside
4:35 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

Corn crops are coming in late

Credit user: The Marmot / Flickr

Todd Hulett talks about the long wait for sweet corn.

This summer, many of us are still waiting for Michigan sweet corn. Tom Hulett is known as the "Corn Man" in the Port Huron area. He said people had problems planting their sweet corn due to the cold spring, and that's delayed this year's harvest.

Hulett says we should start seeing more sweet corn in the markets two to three weeks later than normal.

*Listen to the full interview above. 

Stateside
11:24 am
Wed July 23, 2014

President of GVSU looks back on the clean-up of the Exxon Valdez oil spill

Exxon Valdez Oil Spill
Credit ARLIS Reference / Flickr

We've just marked the 25th anniversary of one of the most catastrophic man-made environmental disasters, the Exxon Valdez oil spill.

It was just after midnight on March 24, 1989 when the Exxon Valdez struck a reef in Prince William Sound. 11 million gallons of crude oil gushed into the pristine waters.

The clean-up effort was staggering. Among those called to help was U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Commander Thomas Haas. He was a chemist and an expert in hazmat cleanup. Twenty-five years later, that Lt. Commander is the president of Grand Valley State University.

“We had to figure out what clean meant,” Haas said.

Read more
Stateside
12:16 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

Retired FBI agent appears in PBS' new documentary "Who Killed Jimmy Hoffa?"

Credit WEWS-TV / YouTube

Thirty-nine years ago this month, Jimmy Hoffa was last seen having lunch at a restaurant in Bloomfield Township in Oakland County.

Retired FBI agent, Greg Stejskal, will appear in the new PBS documentary “Who Killed Jimmy Hoffa?”

He joined us today on Stateside to revisit the mystery of the Jimmy Hoffa disappearance.

Stejskal was a new agent with the FBI in Detroit in the summer of 1975 when Hoffa disappeared. The investigation into his disappearance was declared a Bureau "Special," which meant most of the agents in the Detroit office became involved.

One of Stejskal’s duties was to conduct neighborhood interviews around the Machus Red Fox restaurant, the last place where Hoffa was seen.

Read more
Offbeat
5:37 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

This Michigan-bred musician did zero out of 29 celebrity impressions. I was punked.

Credit screen grab from Rob Cantor on YouTube, Microsoft Paint by Dustin Dwyer

I should have known. 

Two weeks ago, I was making a rare visit to our Ann Arbor office (I live in Grand Rapids), and I stumbled across a video I thought would be great for our website. The video featured a singer named Rob Cantor as he performed – or at least claimed to perform – 29 celebrity impressions in one song. And they were good impressions, crazy good. 

Read more
Offbeat
8:31 am
Fri July 4, 2014

The search begins for Michigan's official Christmas tree

It may only be July, but Michigan has already begun its search for this year's official Christmas tree.

People can nominate their picks for trees that could fit the bill.

Usually 10 to 15 trees are nominated, and the one that's chosen must be easy to access.

But the process isn't a quick one.

The search begins in the summer to allow enough time to prepare, choose, harvest, and transport the tree to the Capitol.

Lauren Leeds is a spokeswoman for the state. She says cutting down these trees often also helps the surrounding area.

Read more

Pages