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Stateside
4:00 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

Raymond Mullins speaks about his run for Congress

Ypsilanti attorney Raymond G. Mullins.
Credit www.attyraymullins.com / www.attyraymullins.com

Michigan's primary elections will be held on Aug. 5.

Congressman John Dingell is retiring, so the 12th Congressional District is an open seat. Yesterday we talked to Debbie Dingell, his wife, about her campaign.

Today we talked to her competition, Raymond G. Mullins, an Ypsilanti attorney.

*Listen to the full interview above

Stateside
4:00 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

GM recalls bring in revenue for dealerships

Credit GM

We’ve all heard about one recall after another from General Motors. But what does that mean for the dealer? Lester Graham stopped by Victory Chevrolet Buick in Milan and talked to salesperson Sean Johnson about the recalls.

“It’s a lot more business in the service end of it,” Johnson said. “Negative wise, I think people are kind of scared to buy a GM product.”

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Stateside
3:54 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

GM struggling to overhaul its corporate culture

General Motors has been in the news a lot, probably more than it wants to be. Daniel Howes, a business columnist at The Detroit News, wrote an article about the automaker's struggle to overhaul its culture in the wake of failed parts, recalls, government criticism, and more.

Howes described GM’s corporate culture in his article as “blame-shifting, lack of accountability, and a callous disregard for customers.”

He said changing the leadership and putting new people on the board of directors may be necessary, but is not enough to change the culture of the company.

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Stateside
3:52 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

How do you tank $9 billion? The Stroh family story

Credit Wikimedia Commons

The Stroh family was one of the richest in America. Now, their fortune is all but wiped out.

How did they lose $9 billion?

Forbes reporter Kerry Dolan spoke with family members to find out what led to the loss in her article: "How to Blow $9 Billion: The Fallen Stroh Family." 

Bernard Stroh emigrated from Germany to the United States with a beer recipe and started delivering beer with a wheelbarrow. By the 1980s, fourth-generation family member Peter Stroh was CEO of a major brewery.

Peter Stroh wanted to expand the company and bought the Joseph Schlitz Brewing Company of Milwaukee.

“It was like a minnow swallowing a whale,” Dolan said. “Stroh had one brewery in Detroit and Schlitz had six around the country.”

The business had a hard time competing with other companies such as Coors, Miller, and Anheuser-Busch.

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Stateside
3:50 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

Blue-green algae spreading in Lake Erie

Swirling blue-green algae
Credit Lake Improvement Association / Flickr

The western end of Lake Erie, especially near Toledo, is seeing a lot of algae this year. It’s been worse, but this year's algal bloom is larger than average.

And we’re seeing a kind of blue-green algae that can produce a toxin. It can make you sick if you swim in it. It can make pets sick. And it’s a problem for water purification plants and drinking water, too.

Don Scavia is the director of the Graham Sustainability Institute at the University of Michigan. He’s also an aquatic ecologist.

When Lake Erie was considered “dead” back in the 1960s and '70s, these algal blooms were a contributing factor.

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Stateside
3:44 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

Why our best and brightest candidates are not running

Credit Wikimedia Commons

Aug. 5 is primary election day in Michigan, and across all media channels, you can find criticism of who is on the ballot and who isn’t on the ballot. On Stateside today, Jack Lessenberry and Nolan Finley talked about why our best and brightest do not run.

Jack Lessenberry is Michigan Radio’s political analyst. Nolan Finley is editorial page editor at The Detroit News.

“We really aren’t sending the best and brightest to our capitols, whether it’s Lansing or Washington,” Finley said.

He added that when he talks to some of the people running for office, and even those who may ultimately win, there is a great deal of mediocrity among the candidates. Finley says the leadership pool is really shallow, and the promising leaders don’t have enough time to develop with short term limits.

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The Environment Report
12:41 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

Birding from the sky above southeast Michigan

Kensington Metropark from the sky
Dea Armstrong

Take a hot air balloon ride with ornithologist Dea Armstrong (story starts about a minute in).

Like most of us, Dea Armstrong has only seen birds from the ground. Today, she’s going to fly with them.

Armstrong is Ann Arbor’s city ornithologist, and watching birds from a hot air balloon is on her bucket list. I got a chance to tag along to find out what we’d see from the air.

“I’m so excited to see what it’ll be like to look from above and down. I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to recognize the birds, of course, but it’ll be just so different,” she says.

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Station news
10:57 am
Tue July 29, 2014

WVGR 104.1 signal will be off the air for a couple hours after midnight.

 Michigan Radio's WVGR 104.1 signal will be off the air for a couple hours after midnight.  Our engineers will be doing maintenance work.

The work will only affect Michigan Radio's West Michigan signal. We appreciate your patience during the work on 104.1 WVGR.

Opinion
10:47 am
Tue July 29, 2014

In race for governor, Schauer is the underdog, but Snyder won't have easy campaign

Mark Schauer will become the Democratic nominee for governor next week, after Michigan’s statewide primary.

That’s because he has no opposition. He will have all the opposition he can handle in November, however. He cheerfully concedes Governor Rick Snyder will outspend him by millions. Schauer is also attempting to buck history. The last time a Republican governor was defeated in this state was in 1948.

However, when I spent some time with Schauer last week, the former Battle Creek congressman seemed sincerely upbeat and optimistic. One poll shows the two candidates exactly tied.

Others have shown Snyder leading, but usually by no more than the three to four point margin of error. And there is something ominous for the governor in all these polls: None have shown Snyder with the support of fifty or more percent of the voters.

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Stateside
10:20 am
Tue July 29, 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.

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Education
9:49 am
Tue July 29, 2014

State superintendent meets with charter authorizers

State Supt. Mike Flanagan says he's prepared to use his authority to shut down charters that don't perform well.
Credit MichigansChildren / YouTube

There was a lengthy meeting today between the Michigan Superintendent of Public Instruction and some of the state’s largest charter school authorizers. Its purpose was to review the rules to ensure the independent academies are performing as promised.

The meeting went on for about three hours. It was closed to the public, and there were few details made public. Some of the state’s largest charter authorizers, including representatives of universities and community colleges, were invited.

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The Environment Report
8:50 am
Tue July 29, 2014

EPA holding public hearings on Clean Power Plan

Credit Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

For the first time ever, the Environmental Protection Agency is planning to require power plants to cut their carbon pollution. This week, the EPA is holding public hearings about the plan all around the country.

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy says the agency has already gotten more than 300,000 comments.

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Politics & Government
8:00 am
Tue July 29, 2014

GOP establishment backs challenger in the 3rd district, but voters don’t seem to care

Congressman Justin Amash walks in the Ionia County Free Fair parade in July 2014.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

The race to become the republican candidate for Michigan’s conservative 3rd congressional district is a flip of other races across the country. In this race, the tea party favorite is the incumbent, Congressman Justin Amash. So the primary has become a battle over who’s the true conservative and who can get things done in Washington.

Amash’s independent streak: love it or hate it

Congressman Justin Amash is more of a libertarian than your standard republican. He wants a smaller federal government. He’s buddies with Senators Ted Cruz and Rand Paul.

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Politics & Government
6:00 am
Tue July 29, 2014

Detroit has put water shutoffs on "pause"--but not across the board

The Detroit water department recently announced a temporary break in its campaign to cut service to delinquent customers—but some people are still being shut off.

Last week, water officials agreed to a 15-day “pause” in water shutoffs, which have ramped up since March as the department tries to collect millions in delinquent payments.

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Politics & Government
7:52 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

At the last minute, Detroit looks for community benefit guarantees with new bridge plan

A depiction of the planned New International Trade Crossing.

Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr got the City Council to delay a key vote that paves the way for a new bridge connecting Detroit and Windsor.

The Council was supposed to vote Monday on whether to transfer about 300 city-owned properties to the Michigan Land Bank for $1.4 million as part of the New International Trade Crossing project.

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Transportation
6:28 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

Many Michigan voters to decide whether to raise taxes to fix their community’s roads

Credit Chelsea Oakes / Creative Commons

Most state leaders agree that Michigan needs to fix its roads. But they’re still struggling with how to do that.

In the meantime, local governments are taking matters into their own hands.

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Stateside
4:38 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

Outside groups are spending more money on campaign ads

Credit 401(K) 2012 / Flickr

Lester chats with Rich Robinson and Todd Spangler.

A recent report shows that for every dollar spent by a Michigan candidate in campaign ads, outside groups have spent $3.50. Another way to look at it: of the $18 million spent on TV campaign ads in the first half of this year, outside groups contributed $14 million.

What are the consequences of outside money in Michigan political campaigns, and who are these groups?

To answer those questions, Rich Robinson and Todd Spangler joined Lester Graham on Stateside. Robinson is the executive director of the Michigan Campaign Finance Network.  Spangler is a correspondent with the Detroit Free Press.

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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
12:38 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

Nurses with advanced degrees could be given more independence

Credit Wikimedia Commons

Kathleen Potempa talks about Senate Bill 2.

Last year, the state Senate passed a bill allowing the certification of Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs), which will allow APRNS to practice independently from physicians, granting them the ability to write prescriptions and refer patients to specialists. Last November, the bill was referred to the House.

Kathleen Potempa, Dean of Nursing School at the University of Michigan, said the data shows in other states that have adopted similar policies, the quality of patient care remained high. She added that this could alleviate primary care shortages in Michigan.

Potempa joined Stateside today to talk about how Senate Bill 2 could change the role of nurses in Michigan.

*Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
12:35 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

Why aren't more university researchers engaging with the public?

Credit Brian Stepherd / Flickr

Lester Graham chats with Andy Hoffman about why some researchers shy away from engaging with the public and the media.

In the last two or three decades, public discussions seem to have shifted from looking to scholars, scientists, the researchers and experts at universities to help inform the debate to relying on politicians, spinmeisters and people with microphones determining what is sound science.

All those university professors have been busy publishing in journals which other researchers read. But rigorous published research doesn't always make it to the public at large, or if it does, it's distorted by news media, pundits, or just loudmouths who twist research to support their own beliefs.

Andrew Hoffman joined us to discuss this disturbing trend. He’s a professor at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. He teaches and researches business sustainability.

*Listen to the full interview above.

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