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The Next Idea

Michigan will never be the next Silicon Valley.

Michigan can't compete with the allure of the Coasts, or even Chicago, for the nation's best talent.

Michigan investors and politicians are too conservative to support true innovation.

Here's the "optimized" road trip.
Google Maps

According to Randy Olson, 2,098 miles and 43 stops is the perfect road trip around Michigan.

Olson – who’s about to graduate from Michigan State University with a doctorate in computer science – used his computer magic to create what he calls, “Pure Michigan Road Trip, Optimized.”

FLICKR USER DENNIS JARVIS / FLICKR

The Upper Peninsula is facing the end of an era. After 53 years, Finland Calling, the only Finnish-language program in the United States, is coming to an end.

Marking the retirement of host Carl Pellonpaa, the final show will be on March 29.

Today on Stateside:

  • Detroit News Business columnist Daniel Howes discusses a pay raise Detroit officials.
  • Michigan Radio sports commentator John U. Bacon talks about Michigan State’s chances in the March Madness tournament.
  • Comedian Loni Love describes her time growing up in the Brewster Projects in Detroit.
  • We take a look back a master musician, composer, writer and artist Yusef Lateef’s legacy.
  • Democratic State Representative Jeremy Moss tells us why a group of Democratic lawmakers has chosen now to introduce bills to repeal Michigan’s ban on same sex marriage.
  • Kristen Moore of the Michigan chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America discusses how to reduce gun violence against women in the state.
  • Chris Cook of Hour Detroit Magazine shares a trick he learned to get rid of the smell of cork taint in wine.

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Democratic lawmakers in Lansing are proposing a group of bills that would repeal Michigan's ban on same-sex marriage.

This legislation comes a little over a month before the Supreme Court will take up the Michigan case on the legality of same sex marriage.

State Rep. Jeremy Moss, D-Southfield, says they are introducing these bills now because Sunday marks the one-year anniversary of 300 same sex couples who were married in Michigan.

Daniel Weber / Flickr

Earlier this month, we spoke with gun instructor Rick Ector about the increase in the number of women in Michigan with concealed pistol licenses, or CPLs.

Kristen Moore of the Michigan Chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America wanted to continue the conversation by exploring the role that firearms play in violence against women.

user: U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class David Danals / Wikimedia Commons

The NCAA Men's Division One Basketball Championship or "March Madness" is officially underway.

Tomorrow, 7th seed Michigan State will face 10th seed Georgia for the chance to continue in the tournament.

On Sunday Michigan State lost in overtime to Wisconsin in the final game of the Big Ten Tournament.

Michigan Radio sports commentator John U. Bacon says that their loss stems from a larger problem.

Detroit City Council
Detroit City Council / Facebook

The Detroit bankruptcy is over, and now Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones and City Clerk Janice Winfrey want pay raises.

The request came just about the time city pensioners started feeling the cuts to their health care and pensions exacted by the Detroit bankruptcy.

FLICKR USER HEINRICH KLAFFS / FLICKR / Yusef Lateef visualized his music in his drawings, said Alhena Katsof, curator of "Yusef Lateef: Towards the Unknown."

Yusef Lateef – a master musician, composer, writer and artist – died in 2013. However, his history lives on in Detroit, the city where he came of age musically and otherwise. He went on to become one of the first artists to combine jazz with world music.

This Friday, an exhibition called Yusef Lateef: Towards the Unknown will open in the Trinosophes art space on Gratiot in Detroit. It will run through May 10. 

Rebecca Mazzei, co-owner of Trinosophes, thinks the exhibition will be important for all people to see – whether they’re familiar with Lateef’s work or not. She said the exhibit will speak to “why he was so important to the city and why the city was so important to him,” though she added that he also brought some “important cultural movements to the national scene as well.”

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Michigan Radio’s political junkie Zoe Clark and Michigan Public Radio Network’s Bureau Chief Rick Pluta – who together host “It’s Just Politics” – say Democrats are asking that state government be a bit more transparent. They’re talking Freedom of Information Act reforms.

Today on Stateside:

  • Rick Pluta of Michigan Public Radio Network and Zoe Clark of Michigan Radio talk about what's going on in Lansing.
  • Former residents of the Brewster-Douglass housing projects talk about what it was like growing up in the Detroit housing.

  • The Freep Film Festival's artistic director, Kathy Kieliszewski joins us to talk about the festival, which begins its four-day run tomorrow.

Ian Britton / Flickr

You might have seen reports about a small town, fewer than 300 people, with a force of 110 reserve police officers. How and why is this happening in Oakley, Michigan?

Oakley, Michigan, according to reporter Ryan Felton from Metro Times, is "a textbook definition of a small town.” 

A Minute with Mike: What's in a name?

Mar 18, 2015

Like most of you listening, I am proud of being from Michigan. Trips up north, long summer sunsets and the joy of boating across a lake are experiences many of us hold dear. 

But there's one thing about being from Michigan I find quite disconcerting: being called a Michigander.

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Local government officials believe they and their colleagues are pretty ethical. They seem to feel differently about state officials, however.

Those are some of the findings of the latest Michigan Public Policy Survey by the Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy at the University of Michigan.

FLICKR USER JOANNA BOURNE / FLICKR

Interested in Michigan craft beer? If so, you may have heard about a certain trademark dispute: the larger Bell’s Brewery filed a complaint against the fledgling Innovation Brewing. Bell’s believes Innovation’s name is too similar to Bell’s trademark, “Bottling innovation since 1985.”

Nationaal Archief (Dutch National Archives)

Today on Stateside, we’re getting the inside scoop from former residents of the Brewster-Douglass housing projects about what it was like growing up in the Detroit projects. 

Their answers are overwhelmingly positive.

Ruby Straughter lived in the Brewster-Douglass projects from 1957 to 1972. She remembers people in the projects taking good care of each other.

“If a family couldn’t pay rent, neighbors would throw a rent party and they’d give the money to whomever needed the rent paid.”

She says no one ever went hungry or made fun of anyone else for being poor. Straughter remembers parents were strict with their own kids, and looked out for other people’s children as well.

There was also lots and lots of singing in the Brewsters. People sang four-part harmonies on street corners, in the parks, on porches and in the stairwells, where the echo was best.

But why was music such a huge part of living there? 

Flickr user Betsy Weber / Flickr

Ticket scalping, or reselling concert or sports tickets for more than their face value, is illegal under state law. State Rep. Tim Kelly, R- Saginaw Twp., wants to change that.

He reintroduced a bill this month to lift the ban on scalping after a similar effort stalled last year when the legislation didn't pass the state Senate.

  Today on Stateside:

  • State Representative Brandon Dillon, D-Grand Rapids, explains the bill he introduced that would stop FOIA exemptions for the governor and legislators.
  • We look at why the Brewster-Douglass Housing Projects were built in the 1930s in Detroit.
  • Detroit News’ Bill Loomis explains the history of St. Patrick’s Day in Detroit.
  • This year a house on the outskirts of Austin’s South by Southwest Festival will feature creative design products and people from Michigan.
  •  State Representative Tim Kelly, R-Saginaw, tells us why he wants to lift the ban on ticket scalping.
  • Roosevelt elementary is starting to introduce project-based arts education to accompany their focus on science, technology, engineering and math. We discuss how this could be the future for all of Michigan.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Recently, industrial designer Jeff DeBoer wrote an essay for The Next Idea raising the idea of making Michigan "the design Mecca of the world."

And he believes the key to that is to make art as important as the science, technology, engineering and math classes currently occupying much of the nation's attention.

madonna on stage illuminated by spotlights
Flickr user M Prince Photography / Flickr

In a recent interview, Madonna called the people of her hometown Rochester Hills "basic, provincial-thinking people."

Mayor Bryan Barnett decided her statement went too far, so he crafted an open letter response that's now being shared all over the Internet.

Emil Lorch collection/Bentley Historical Library/University of Michigan

All this week on Stateside, we’re looking at the history of the Brewster-Douglass Housing Projects in Detroit. If you’ve ever wondered about why they were created or what it was like to live in them, we’d love to fill you in with our three-part series. Here's part one:

If you remember the projects, you might picture the six identical high-rises on the city’s near east side. Those were the Frederick-Douglass Towers, and they were built in the 1950s and finally destroyed in 2014.

Flickr user Lotus Carroll / Flickr

The South by Southwest conference taking place in Austin, Texas right now showcases some of the most creative, leading-edge thinkers, musicians, writers and artists.

Joe Voss with Creative Many Michigan, previously known as ArtServe Michigan, wants to make sure Michigan's creativity is on display there. The organization's mission is to develop creative people, places and an economy that will boost the state.

Michigan State Capitol Building
Nikopoley / Wikimedia Commons

In Michigan, the Governor’s Office and state legislators are not subject to Michigan’s Freedom of Information Act.

State Representative Brandon Dillon,  D-Grand Rapids, wants to change that.

Dillon says he believes that the Governor's Office and state legislators should be subject to the same laws as other elected officials, such as school board members, city commissioners, county commissioners and many more, who aren't protected under the exemption.

FLICKR USER 21INNOVATE / FLICKR

 In the spirit of the Irish on this St. Patrick’s Day, let’s peek back through their history in Detroit, where the Corktown neighborhood wears its Irish heritage proudly.

In an article for the Detroit News entitled, Irish helped form Detroit for centuries, Bill Loomis sifts through the several “waves” of Irish immigrants to Detroit, the first of which came in the early 1800s.

   Today on Stateside:

  • Assistant professor of sports management at the University of Michigan’s School of Kinesiology Dae Hee Kwack says you may have better odds with your March Madness bracket by making your picks with a coin flip.
  •   Writer Ilene Wolff talks about her story for the latest edition of DBusiness, in which she pays tribute to some venerable long-time Michigan businesses.
  • Action Baby Carriers are made in Michigan and Andrea Govender chats about their design, manufacturing process, and her goals for the company.
  • Detroit Free Press Lansing Bureau reporter Kathy Gray discusses the long list of bills and resolutions introduced thus far in March.
  • PJ Ryder from PJ’s Lager House in Detroit’s Corktown talks about the recent car thefts, the precautions he’s taken for his business, and suggestions he has for people parking in Detroit.

FLICKR USER FOXXYZ / FLICKR

Now that spring is in the air, many people around the state may be planning a visit to Detroit – maybe to watch the Wings (hopefully) in the playoffs, to catch a Tigers' game, or maybe to tour the DIA. 

As Detroit has emerged from the largest municipal bankruptcy in United States’ history, there's been a strong narrative of a new Detroit, attracting energetic entrepreneurs and business owners.

This includes a growing bar and restaurant district along Michigan Ave. in Corktown, just west of Downtown.

FLICKR THE D34N / FLICKR

The madness has begun: March Madness brackets are out. Lots of time and money go into those basketball pools, all a result of the national obsession with brackets.

It turns out, though, that you’ll have a better chance of having a successful March Madness bracket by flipping a coin.

Professor Dae Hee Kwak, an assistant professor of Sports Management at the University of Michigan’s School of Kinesiology, recently published a study in the Journal of Gambling Studies.

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It's been a busy month in Lansing.

Detroit Free Press Lansing Bureau reporter Kathy Gray has compiled a list of the bills and resolutions introduced so far in March.

“There were 113 bills introduced, and if history repeats itself, about 40 of those will become law,” Gray said. “And, you know, there’s some pretty controversial bills that have been introduced and some pretty mundane ones too."

Take House Bill 4279, for example.

FLICKR USER ACTION BABY CARRIERS / FLICKR

Just about anywhere you see young parents, there’s a good chance you will see Action Baby Carriers. In place of pushing a baby in a stroller, these carriers let you “wear” your baby or toddler, and these carriers are made in Detroit.

“We made a carrier that you buckle to your body, so that you can be hands free and still have your baby nice and close to you,” said Andrea Govender, who owns Action Baby Carriers with her husband.

While in an Action Baby Carrier, the baby faces inwards, toward the person wearing him or her.

Sarah Hulett/Michigan Radio

The Next Idea

You’ve heard the impassioned arguments about public transportation in Michigan. Let’s start with the rational. Our roads are among the worst in the nation. Our lawmakers have clearly demonstrated that they are not up to the task of maintaining our aging infrastructure. Michigan, a state known for producing automobiles, has become a place where it is increasingly difficult to drive one.

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