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Made in Michigan
8:45 am
Wed April 9, 2014

Carhartt got its start in Michigan, and stayed in Michigan

Carhartt was made in Michigan.
Credit Carhartt / Facebook

Carhartt got its start in southern Michigan when the company's founder, Hamilton Carhartt, set out to make the best pair of overalls he could for railroad workers.

The company is still family owned and remains in Michigan.

We spoke with the company's current CEO, Mark Valade. He's Hamilton Carhartt's great-grandson.

Listen to our interview with him above.

Stateside
8:14 am
Wed April 9, 2014

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow talks minimum wage and the gender pay gap

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow
Credit USDAgov / Flickr

Sen. Stabenow talks about the gender pay gap.

Raising the federal minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 an hour, and closing the pay gap between men and women; those are key parts of the 2014 midterm election campaign for Democrats.

Michigan has one of the biggest gender-based pay gaps in the nation. That's according to a new report by the National Partnership for Women and Families. 

The study says women who work full-time in Michigan earn 74 cents for every dollar men make. While some say the gap isn't that big, it's clear that women are often paid less than men.  We spoke with U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, who co-sponsored a bill that sought to address the gender pay gap. The U.S. Senate voted down that bill after our interview with Stabenow. Listen to the full interview above.

Politics & Government
6:16 pm
Tue April 8, 2014

Mullins throws hat into race for John Dingell's congressional seat

Raymond G. Mullins
Credit Courtesy Raymond G. Mullins

A long-time Washtenaw County attorney plans to run in the Democratic primary for Michigan's 12th Congressional District seat.

Raymond G. Mullins is challenging Debbie Dingell in the race to succeed her husband, U.S. Representative John Dingell.

Mullins says his biggest concerns are fighting poverty, income inequality, and improving public education at all levels.

Read more
Health
4:29 pm
Tue April 8, 2014

"Healthy Michigan" enrolls tens of thousands in first week

"Healthy Michigan" will cover nearly everyone, under the age of 65, with an income up to 133% of the federal poverty limit. That translates to individuals making about $16,000 and families of four making less than $33,000.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan’s expanded Medicaid program is off to a fast start.  

Tens of thousands of people have signed up for the medical coverage in the first week since the enrollment opened.

The Healthy Michigan program has received nearly 55,000 applications since April first; 32,000 Michiganders have already had their applications approved. Tens of thousands more have been moved into the expanded Medicaid program from a different state health assistance program.

Read more
Stateside
4:10 pm
Tue April 8, 2014

Unmarried women voters may be crucial in the upcoming fall elections

Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

As Michigan's August 5 primary and November election draw closer, there are some very tight races shaping up.

The Cook Political Report says four congressional Republicans are in tight races. Representatives Dan Benishek in the 1st, Tim Walberg in the 7th, Justin Amash in the 3rd and Kerry Bentivolio on the 11th districts are in very competitive races. Add to that the race to fill Democrat Carl Levin's Senate seat and the race for governor. All of these, according to Cook, are among the most competitive races in the country.

So who are the voters who could most influence the outcome of these races, depending upon whether they stay home or go to the polls?

For the answer we turned to Page Gardner, president of the non-profit and nonpartisan Voter Participation Center. She joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
3:50 pm
Tue April 8, 2014

Flint singer/songwriter Tunde Olaniran creates fresh new music

Tunde Olaniran and Cynthia Canty in the studio.
Credit Facebook

An interview with Flint artist Tunde Olaniran.

Don't make the mistake of thinking that fresh new music – rap, electronic and more – comes out of Detroit.

Listen to what's coming out of Flint.

Tunde Olaniran is a Flint artist: singer, songwriter, rapper, electropop, rock. Tunde is attracting lots of attention, including a glowing review in the New York Times for his new EP, Yung Archetype.

Tunde Olaniran joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
3:50 pm
Tue April 8, 2014

Who objected to Detroit's disclosure statement?

Yesterday was the deadline to file objections to the disclosure statement spelling out Detroit's plan to climb out of its bankruptcy hole.

And yes, objections poured in – long lists of objections to the disclosure statement.

Detroit News reporter Chad Livengood joined us today to tell us who's objecting, why, and what comes next.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
3:49 pm
Tue April 8, 2014

The fresh air of Sault Ste. Marie once made it a popular destination for allergy sufferers

The Soo Locks in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan.
Credit USACOE

We've been hearing from the experts that, thanks to the great winter and our friend the polar vortex, this is going to be quite a year for allergy sufferers.

Perhaps it might be time to revive The Ca-Choo Club.

The Ca-Choo Club was a very unique way to attract visitors to Sault Ste. Marie.

Beginning in 1928, it welcomed allergy sufferers who turned up to breathe that clean, cool, pollen-free air that swept in off Lake Superior.

Writer Deidre Stevens dug into the history of this quirky Ca-Choo Club for Michigan History magazine, and she joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Health
3:39 pm
Tue April 8, 2014

For some aging vets, PTSD triggered late in life

As many as 1 in 3 older vets may experience late-onset PTSD
John M. Cropper Flickr

There’s still so much we don’t understand about war vets and PTSD, or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. 

Why some experience it, but so many others don’t. 

Why one vet can have symptoms right away, while another can be fine for years.

Read more
Stateside
2:37 pm
Tue April 8, 2014

Former Republican state representative says he was wrong to oppose same-sex marriage

Chris Ward in a photo for a 2008 cover story in Dome Magazine.
Credit Dave Trumpie - trumpiephotography.com / Dome Magazine

Former Michigan State Rep. Chris Ward talks about why he regrets his vote on same-sex marriage.

It is never too late to offer a public "mea culpa" for taking a political action that you later believe was a serious mistake.

That's the idea behind a recent entry on the blog Republicus.

Former Republican State Rep. Chris Ward wrote the post declaring that he'd been on the "wrong side of history" when he opposed same-sex marriage during his time in Lansing.

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Business
2:20 pm
Tue April 8, 2014

A new law allows local investment in small business

Kyle DeWitt and Tim Schmidt, both 32, are trying to become the first people in Michigan to use a new crowdfunding law passed by Gov. Snyder in December. They want to open a brewery in Tecumseh.
Credit Megha Satyanarayana / Michigan Radio Newsroom

Kyle DeWitt has spent three years trying to open a brewery in Tecumseh. He's a veteran brewer, and he owns the building where he plans to brew his beer. But, he still needs money for equipment.

Despite his experience and a solid business plan, banks think of breweries as restaurants, he says. He’s a risky investment in the eyes of traditional lenders.

Read more
Environment & Science
12:37 pm
Tue April 8, 2014

Company considers drilling for oil west of Ann Arbor

A drilling rig in Appalachia.
Creative Commons photo by user Meridithw

Ben Freed over at The Ann Arbor News has more about the plans being developed by Traverse City-based West Bay Exploration Company. Freed reports the company has approached landowners in Scio Township looking to obtain their mineral rights.

West Bay says it would drill for oil using a "traditional" method. The company's vice president, Patrick Gibson, said it wouldn't use horizontal hydraulic fracturing, or fracking:

“We’re a conventional oil and gas exploration company, we do not utilize hydraulic fracturing,” Gibson said.

“What we’re looking for is geological formations that are already fractured so that we don’t have to do any fracturing ourselves, hydraulic or otherwise.”

Landowners are being advised to educate themselves before signing contracts offered by the company. MSU's extension office offers insights into oil and gas leasing on this page.

Opinion
10:34 am
Tue April 8, 2014

With Michigan members of Congress hitting the exit, replacements scramble for money

Jack Lessenberry talks about the challenges facing those who want to run for Congress.

Congressmen don’t stay on the job forever, though it sometimes seems like it.

This year will be the last for Sen. Carl Levin, D-Michigan, first elected in 1978, and Rep. John Dingell, D-Michigan, the all-time longevity champ, who has represented a Detroit-area district since 1955.

Their retirements, while momentous, weren’t very surprising. Indeed, Carl Levin announced that he wouldn’t run for re-election more than a year ago. Far more shocking was the sudden decision by two mid-Michigan Republican Congressmen to bow out.

Both Rep. Dave Camp, R-Michigan, and Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Michigan, had safe seats, a fair amount of seniority, and are youngish men by congressional standards. Yet within the last few days, both said they wouldn’t run for re-election.

That set off something of a mad scramble.

Read more
The Environment Report
8:50 am
Tue April 8, 2014

Michigan beekeepers breeding hardier "survivor bees"

Greg Griswold with some of his bee boxes in Beulah, Michigan in March.
Sara Hoover Interlochen Public Radio

Listen to today's Environment Report above.

It’s been a tough winter for honeybees. Bees already face several obstacles, including parasitic mites, habitat loss, and pesticides.

Those factors and others are believed to contribute to Colony Collapse Disorder, a phenomenon where bees disappear from the hive in large numbers. 

In the face of all these things, beekeepers in Michigan are trying to breed a hardier bee.

Read more
Politics & Government
5:56 pm
Mon April 7, 2014

Report: Unmarried women could be critical voting bloc this fall in Michigan

According to a new report, about 500,000 Michiganders who voted in 2012 could stay home on Election Day this year. More than half of them are unmarried women.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A new report suggests unmarried women may be a critical swing vote in Michigan’s elections this fall.

The Voter Participation Center works to get more unmarried women, people of color, and young people to vote. But those groups tend to show the biggest voting dropoff in off-year elections.

Those also happen to be the voters Democrats need  to win in this fall’s gubernatorial and congressional elections.

Read more
Politics & Government
5:53 pm
Mon April 7, 2014

Flint denied federal grant to pay for firefighters

This grant was intended to fund 39 positions in the Flint fire department. The city may be able to use money from a recently passed public safety millage to offset some of the lost grant funding.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The city of Flint will not be getting a major federal grant that would have paid to keep many city firefighters on the job.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has turned down Flint’s request for a nearly $8 million SAFER grant. The city has used two previous SAFER grants to pay dozens of firefighters.

Read more
Investigative
5:43 pm
Mon April 7, 2014

Clinton Township man remains in coma after severe beating

Steve Utash was attacked on Detroit's East Side.
Credit Peter Martorano / Flickr

A Clinton Township tree trimmer is still in a medically induced coma today. He was beaten by a mob on Detroit's east side after he stopped to help a child who had stepped into the path of his truck. 

Detroit Police say Steve Utash was not at fault, that he'd been obeying the speed limit. And after 10-year-old David Harris stepped out in front of his pickup truck, Utash did the right thing: He got out to help the boy. 

That's when he was attacked by the mob who beat him severely and robbed his truck. 

Detroit Free Press columnist Rochelle Riley joins us now to try to make sense of this seemingly senseless crime.

Listen to the full interview above.

Economy
5:42 pm
Mon April 7, 2014

Northern Michigan faces a labor shortage

The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island could face labor shortages.
Credit David Ball / creative commons

As we salute spring and bid a none-too-fond farewell to the snow and sub-zero temps, you may be making your plans to visit Northern Michigan. 

And that is where businesses like Mackinac Island's Grand Hotel, other resorts, golf courses, restaurants and marinas are facing the challenge of a labor shortage. 

Ken Winter wrote about the problem recently for Dome Magazine. He'll tell us why it's such a problem for Northern Michigan Hospitality businesses, like the Grand Hotel, to find enough workers.

Listen to the full interview above. 

Economy
5:41 pm
Mon April 7, 2014

The Arab American News examines small business ownership

Arab American restaurants and businesses in Dearborn, Michigan.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

As the city of Detroit seeks pathways back to economic health, small businesses are seen as a key. And there can be no conversation about small business owners in Detroit without involving the Arab-American community. 

Most of the grocery stores, convenience stores and gas stations in Detroit are owned by Arab-Americans.

And, historically, the relationship between these store owners and their largely African-American customers has been not without its tensions. 

Which is why a recent editorial in The Arab American News caught our eye, and we wanted to share its message with you. 

We're joined now by Osama Siblani, the publisher of The Arab American News.

Listen to the full interview above. 

Environment & Science
5:35 pm
Mon April 7, 2014

Michigan's maple syrup farming is sweet for the economy

A maple tree is tapped for syrup.
Credit mi-maplesyrup.com

The first farm crop to be harvested in Michigan is ready. 

Michigan ranks number five in maple syrup production each year, and according to the Michigan Maple Syrup Association, that sweet syrup helps pump nearly $2.5 million into Michigan's economy each year.

But there are plenty of maple trees in Michigan that are not being tapped. So we wondered, if we have all these trees, why aren't more people making maple syrup?

Michael Farrell's book is called The Sugar Makers Companion: An Integrated Approach to Producing Syrup from Maple, Birch, and Walnut Trees.

Farrell joins us today.

Listen to the full interview above. 

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