Stateside

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Today on Stateside:

  • Detroit Free Press Washington reporter Todd Spangler talks about the $478 billion federal highway bill, which faces uncertain reception in Congress, and how it would benefit state highway and bridge work.
  • Patrick DeHaan from GasBuddy.com discusses why the forecasted gas prices for this summer  are so low.

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The robin became the official bird of Michigan 84 years ago today, and that decision stirred up a lasting controversy. 

Dan Austin of the Detroit Free Press and HistoricDetroit.org, said the process to elect the robin as the state bird was a democratic one.

The Michigan Audubon Society held a contest in 1929 and almost 200,000 Michiganders voted. The final runners in the election? The robin and the chickadee.

In the end, though, the robin came out on top and became out state bird officially in 1931.

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Dial-up. That’s how we used to get online. Today, however, that’s part of pre-history. Is it fathomable that our existing Internet access could soon be as outdated as those old dial-up modems?

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In the pantheon of great American designers, the name Eames is one of the best-known. Charles Eames and his wife Ray made their creative mark in modern architecture, furniture, graphic design, industrial design, fine art, textile design and film.

The Henry Ford Museum has acquired a permanent Eames exhibition, called “Mathematica.” It was first seen over 50 years ago, at the 1964 World’s Fair in New York City.

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Good news, drivers. Look out for a summer of road trips that will be cheaper than they've been for the past six years.

Right now, national gas prices average around $2.40 per gallon while Michigan gas prices average around $2.37 per gallon. And gas prices for the summer – a time when drivers take to the roads a bit more than in the winter – are projected to stay at about those same levels.

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The struggle to figure out a way to pay for road and bridge repairs isn't just a Michigan story.

It's happening on the federal level as well.

The Obama administration is sending a six-year, $478 billion highway bill to Congress, where it faces a dubious reception.

poetryfoundation.org/bio/ken-mikolowski

It’s National Poetry Month and in its honor, we are exploring the work and styles of Michigan poets.

Ken Mikolowski, a poet and poetry professor at the University of Michigan, has just released his fifth book, ThatThat. It’s a book that reveals this poet’s mastery of the short poem – no poem within the book is longer than three short lines.

“Haiku is much too long for me,” Mikolowski said.

Stateside celebrates National Poetry Month with a special month-long series on poetry in Michigan.

We'll be talking with Michigan poets about their new work, about poetry in the 21st century and about why poetry continues to inspire.

  Today on Stateside:

  • Detroit News reporter Chad Livengood discusses how to fund distressed schools.
  • Hour Detroit’s chief restaurant and wine critic Chris Cook tells us about the future of self-service technology in restaurants.
John-Morgan / creative commons

Road repair isn't the only issue at stake when we head to the polls next month to decide the fate of Proposal 1. The Earned Income Tax Credit is part of that proposal. The program is designed to help the working poor, but was scaled back in Michigan in 2011.

State lawmakers have approved boosting the EITC if voters approve the road funding ballot proposal that would raise the sales tax from six percent to seven percent. Nearly 800,000 low-to-moderate income families in Michigan could see this targeted tax relief expanded if the proposal passes.

Flickr user Mike Gifford / Flickr

One of the realities of spring in Michigan is dicey weather, and May marks the beginning of tornado season in the state. But there's a way for authorities to let us know if severe weather threatens.

It's right there on your smartphone: Wireless Emergency Alerts, or WEA.

This service came about through an agreement between cell phone providers who voluntarily signed up for this service, the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security, and a few other federal agencies.

outside of hitsville usa and motown museum building
Flickr user Ted Eytan / Flickr

Many of Motown's greatest hits were written at a little house on West Grand Boulevard in Detroit, the house known as Hitsville USA.

ipad using point of sale application
Flickr user Nicolas Nova / Flickr

Technology invades the restaurant dining experience. No, not diners posting photos of their food to Facebook or Instagram, but restaurants in Michigan are replacing their old-school paper menus with iPads.

Chief wine and restaurant critic for Hour Detroit Magazine Chris Cook says, "I haven't seen too many around Southeast Michigan, but I think it's going to become a growing trend."

User Motown31 / Creative Commons

Fifty-six Michigan school districts and charter schools started this school year in deficit. The Coalition for the Future of Detroit Schoolchildren, made up of community leaders in Detroit, is asking the state to assume $350 million in school debt. State lawmakers are being asked for $725,000 dollars to cover unpaid debts of the former Buena Vista school district, the one they dissolved two years ago.

Today on Stateside:

Michigan Legislature
Matthileo / Flickr

The official merger of the state Department of Community Health with the Department of Human Services will happen this Friday.

  The new entity will be called the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and will house 14,000 employees.

Joe Louis was the guest of honor at the "Champions Day" celebration of 1936.
Boston Public Library / flickr.com

Seventy-nine years ago this month, Detroit sports teams and athletes celebrated a winning streak that's never been replicated since.

That year, Detroit athletes earned titles that kept piling up: the Tigers won their first World Series, the Lions won their first national championship, the Red Wings took home their first Stanley Cup. Not to mention Joe Louis and a myriad of others that came out victorious. 

Matthew Mitchell / MSU Athletic Communications

The impossible run sputtered to a halt Saturday night as Michigan State fell to Duke.

Disappointment and pride intermingled that night amongst players and fans – disappointment at the loss and pride at having fought their way to the Final Four.

The Spartans started Saturday’s game with promise. They led Duke 14-6 within the first four minutes. Then, however, the streak ended.

1968 was a very tense and pivotal year in Detroit's history. The city was putting itself back together again after the riots in July of '67.

That was the year 38-year-old priest Thomas Gumbleton became a Catholic bishop, and set about working to unite black and white parishes in the Detroit Archdiocese.

Today, after a lifetime of fighting for peace, justice and equality, Bishop Thomas Gumbleton is 85. And his life is now a film. American Prophet written, produced and directed by his parishioner Jasmine Rivera.

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It's Just Politics with Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta

Governor Rick Snyder said today that he would veto a Michigan Religious Freedom Restoration Act if it's sent to his desk by the Legislature. The Religious Freedom Restoration Act is the measure in Indiana that has been stirring controversy.

Snyder says he would not sign a Michigan RFRA unless it is coupled with legislation adding sexual orientation and gender identity protections to the state's civil rights law.

Today on Stateside:

Flickr user william stuben / Flickr

Dan Gilbert has added One Detroit Center to his impressive portfolio of downtown Detroit properties, making it more than 70 downtown properties that Gilbert and his partners now own.

The purchase has caused Ally Financial with its 1,300 employees to move to One Detroit Center instead of Southfield. This announcement was accompanied by Ally's CEO conceding that the downtown location will be more expensive than the suburbs.

man repairs front of wwii bomber
Flickr user England / Flickr

There's a lot of talk about supporting our military veterans as they come home and transition back to civilian life. The Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency is standing by to help vets in a variety of ways, from employment to benefits and resources to transition assistance.

MGoBlog on Flickr / Flickr

There hasn't been a whole lot for Wolverine fans to cheer about lately.

But, amidst all the buzz about Michigan State University and the Final Four, Michigan Radio sports commentator John U. Bacon says there's something for the Maize and Blue to be excited for.

"The spring game this year for the first time since 2000 is going to be an actual game," says Bacon.

www.wcccd.edu

Being a father is both rewarding and challenging.  

But, being a black father can have its own challenges. That's what Curtis Ivery believes. 

Ivery, chancellor of the Wayne County Community College District, discusses the father’s role in a book he co-authored with his son Marcus Ivery, called Black Fatherhood: Reclaiming Our Legacy.

The book discusses the disintegration of the African-American family and the alarm it generates.

We will pay for our lack of respect for teachers

Apr 2, 2015
Courtesy of TeachingWorks

The Next Idea

Teaching matters. We know that it can make the difference between a child learning to read by third grade, being confident in math, and developing the mindset necessary for success. Yet skillful teaching is not commonplace, and it’s hurting our society. Three reasons stand out:

Today on Stateside:

  • John Austin, president of the State Board of Education, joins us to discuss how teachers in Michigan should be evaluated.
  •  Michigan Radio’s Mark Brush and MI Curious question-asker Jeff Salisbury talk about the number of Michigan lawmakers with kids enrolled in traditional public schools.

FLICKR USER HELL_EMMAPEAL / FLICKR

Many years ago, I was having lunch at the old London Chop House in Detroit. I was there with a very erudite Frenchman from one of the great wine families.

The host asked the entire table to name the best wine we had ever had. After some awkward answers and evasions, our French guest simply raised a finger and announced “I have one.”

It seems that his parents, wanting him to have a truly international education, sent him off to Harvard Business School in the 1950s.

He arrived here shy, with English as his second language, and felt very out of place.

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Few things are more addictive and entrancing than watching chain reactions and domino builds.

This summer in Wayne, the country’s most famous chain-reaction artists and domino builders will build one of the largest chain reactions in American history.

One of the nation’s premier domino and chain reaction artists is Lily Hevesh, or “Hevesh5,” as she’s known to fans. Another is Steve Price, or “Sprice,” as he’s known.

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Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow is announcing legislation aimed to support those with Alzheimer’s disease. It’s known as the “HOPE for Alzheimer’s Act.”

“This is a very important piece of what needs to be done, because it focuses on encouraging doctors to diagnose early and to do caregiver planning,” Stabenow said.

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