WUOMFM

Jennifer Guerra

Reporter/Producer

Jennifer is a reporter with Michigan Radio's State of Opportunity project. She previously covered arts and culture for the station, and worked as a producer for WFUV in the Bronx.

Her stories and documentaries have won numerous regional and national awards, and her work has aired on Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Marketplace and Studio 360.

Jennifer graduated from the University of Michigan and received her master's in broadcast journalism from Fordham University in New York. When not working on a story, you can find Jen practicing her tap steps and hanging out with her husband and their two hilarious kids.

Ways to Connect

Khaled Mattawa
Amanda Abel / Courtesy of U.S. Artists

A Michigan poet is $50,000 richer, thanks to the arts advocacy organization United States Artists.

Libyan-born poet Khaled Mattawa was one of 50 artists around the country to receive a U.S. Artists award this year. More than 300 artists were nominated for the award.

Aretha Franklin
KtKatrina / creative commons

Several Detroit media outlets are reporting that soul legend Aretha Franklin has pancreatic cancer. Michigan Radio contacted Franklin's publicist for confirmation, but has yet to hear back.

The National Enquirer was the first to report the Queen of Soul's illness. Fox2 Detroit followed with a similar story:

"A relative of Aretha Franklin tells reporter Al Allen that the icon has cancer.  Another relative says the family is very concerned. At this time Franklin's family says she is doing "OK", but they are asking for the continued prayers and thoughts from the community."

Aretha Franklin underwent surgery in Detroit last Thursday. Neither she nor her publicist would say what kind of surgery Franklin was going in for or the nature of the illness.

Woman crafting
Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

This week's Artpod episode has a little something for everyone. Today's podcast features local holiday art fairs, ideas for inexpensive gifts (homemade marshmallows anyone?), and a musical rendition of how to make eggnog.

Robert Bobb
Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

Update: 5:13 pm:

Emergency financial manager Robert Bobb and his team have already put in place several classroom reforms. Some of the reforms include two hours of math and reading instruction every day for elementary students, requiring all 7th graders to take pre-Algebra, and conducting "quarterly assessments" of students' skills.

Robert Bobb with a student
Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

Update: 5:15 pm:

Anthony Adams, president of the Detroit Board of Education, spoke with Michigan Radio about Judge Baxter's ruling. Adams says the ruling "isn't a victory per se":

"The only victory that we’ll have in the city of Detroit is when every child can read, can write, can learn to the best of their abilities, and we as adults have to sit at the table and make sure that we work together in a cooperative fashion."

Students at computers
User: Extra Ketchup / creative commons

Michigan State University students received more than 700 complaints of illegal downloading since September. That’s up from the nearly 200 complaints MSU received this time last year.

Here's how it works:

If a group like the recording industry or a movie studio thinks someone is downloading files illegally, they contact the Internet Service Provider (ISP) and issue what’s called a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) complaint.

Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

Want to open up a charter school? A new report says Michigan has one of the nation’s friendliest laws when it comes to allowing charter schools to open.

The Center for Education Reform, a charter advocacy group in Washington, DC, says Michigan has the 5th best charter school law in the country.

Church
OZinOH / creative commons

Americans exaggerate how often they go to church, according to a new University of Michigan study. The findings brining into question just how much of an outlier America is when it comes to religion.

The study finds that 40% of Americans say they attend church regularly, but only 25% actually do.

Musicians perform
Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

The Detroit Symphony Orchestra has issued yet another round of concert cancellations at Orchestra Hall since the musicians went on strike Oct. 4

All orchestral concerts are now cancelled through Dec. 11th.

Haden McKay, a cellist with the DSO, says the musicians are "very disappointed to hear about more weeks being lost for the concert goers in Detroit."

Salvation Army
elstudio / creative commons

Over the next couple of weeks, chances are you’ll find lots of letters in your mailbox asking for charitable donations. That's because nonprofits across Michigan are doing their annual end-of-year holiday push for financial donations.

Kyle Caldwell is with the Michigan Nonprofit Association. He likes to call the holiday season the “giving season.”

Thanskgiving parade float
Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

Detroit held its 48th annual America’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Thousands of people lined up along Woodward Avenue to celebrate. 

People came from Detroit, the suburbs, Muskegon, I even talked to somebody from Marquette, MI. All of them came in for the parade. For a lot of them it’s a family tradition. They’re here for the clowns, the floats, and the marching bands.

Lisa Greleski and her son, Adam, has been coming here for the last 3 years.

DSO musicians
Jennifer Guerra / Michigain Radio

The Michigan House could vote on a bill next week that would allow voters to approve a millage for the Detroit Institute of Arts. A state representative from metro Detroit looked into whether the struggling Detroit Symphony Orchestra could be added to the bill.

Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

Families across the country are celebrating the addition of new family members as part of National Adoption Day on Nov. 23.

Nearly 30 Michigan counties are holding Adoption Day events.

Person playing Wii
Petezin / creative commons

Pixofactor Entertainment in Royal Oak, MI will get a 40% tax incentive to develop a Nintendo Wii game about golfer Ben Hogan. It's the first video game company in the state to take advantage of the state's generous tax incentives.

No Smoking sign
capl@washjeff.edu / Creative Commons

At first glance, there's not much new about another hospital in Michigan going "smoke free" - more than 90% of Michigan hospitals can already claim that status. Here's how the Michigan Health and Hospital Association defines "smoke free":

Musicians perform
Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

The striking Detroit Symphony Orchestra musicians will play three holiday concerts outside of Orchestra Hall. The musicians have been on strike since Oct. 4, and since then have played several concerts in metro Detroit to raise awareness and money for the strike.

DSO management has cancelled concerts at Orchestra Hall through Nov. 28.

Chevy Volt
photo by Jurvetson (flickr)

Motor Trend Magazine has named General Motor’s Chevrolet Volt the 2011 Car of the Year.

On its website, the magazine’s editor in chief said the Volt has “some of the most advanced engineering ever seen on an American production car.”

State capitol building
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Around 4,800 state workers accepted early retirement incentive packages and will leave their jobs by December. It will likely be Governor elect Rick Snyder’s job to figure out how to fill those vacancies when he heads to Lansing in January.

Infested hemlock
Photo courtesy of USDA Forest Service

The invasive hemlock woolly adelgid has found its way into Park Township near Holland, Michigan. Ken Rauscher with the Michigan Department of Agriculture says they are currently surveying the area to see how widespread the infestation is.

Kids-TALK sign
Photo courtesy of the Guidance Center

Wayne County will soon be home to a new Children's Advocacy Center for victims of abuse and neglect. Right now, the county is one of the few in Michigan that doesn't have a center like this.

You can find a list of the Child Advocacy Center's in the state here.

Wayne County does not have one, central place children can go to get help if they've suffered abuse or neglect.

Musicians perform
Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

The Detroit Symphony Orchestra musicians have been on strike for a full month. Concerts have been canceled through this weekend. But now comes word that both sides have agreed to enter informal talks to try to end the work stoppage.

Here's the latest proposal that was on the table to deal with a $9 million budget gap:

Musicians proposed a temporary 22 percent pay cut.

art studio
Photo courtesy of Dani Davis

Americans for the Arts, a national advocacy group, says Michigan's governor elect is a champion of the arts.

In Republican Rick Snyder's plan to reinvent Michigan, he talks about "restoring funding for the arts." State funding is currently around $2.5 million, down from $26 million in 2001.

Update 11:50pm: In his victory speech Governor-elect Rick Snyder says he'll apply business principals to resolve Michigan's economic troubles, including tax cuts and smarter regulation:

Update 10:39pm: Virg Bernero talks to crowd at party

Update 10:09pm: Virg Bernero has conceded defeat. He's giving a speech now.

Update 9:30: Detroit Mayor Dave Bing says crowd needs to show Virg Bernero the "love and respect" he deserves when he comes down to make his speech.

Virg Bernero takes the stage
Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

Update 11:46pm: Virg Bernero took the stage at the MGM Grand in Detroit at around 10pm to give his concession speech.

Bernero congratulated his supporters, saying they fought hard and he was proud of the campaign. Bernero said even though he lost the race, he'll still continue to fight for a strong middle class, and that even though the campaign ends tonight..."the fight for a Michigan of opportunity  for everyone goes on."

Bernero also promised to work with Republican Rick Snyder as long as Snyder governs as a moderate:

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing
Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing just made an appearance at the MGM Grand in Detroit, where Democratic supporters are waiting for tonight's election results.

Bing told the crowd he didn't want anybody "to jump to conclusions." He added that he's been upstairs with Democratic candidate for governor Virg Bernero for the last hour or so, and he says Bernero "is very upbeat."

Bing says Bernero will come down to talk to supporters in the next 45 minutes or so.

people in voting booths
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Alex Halderman - the University of Michigan professor who successfully hacked into a test version of the Washington, D.C.'s computer voting system - says Michigan voters should not be worried that their votes will be tampered with on Tuesday's election. 

Haldermn says most of Michigan’s polling places use optical scanners: voters fill out paper ballots that get scanned into a computer.

Composers gather
Makepeace Tsao / Tsao Family

Musicians, composers and academics from around the country will be in Ann Arbor this week to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the ONCE festivals.

Five composers from Ann Arbor - Robert Ashley, Gordon Mumma, George Cacioppo, Roger Reynolds, and Donald Scavarda - created the ONCE festival because they wanted their music to be heard and they wanted to push the boundaries of contemporary music.

Dancers
Amelia Falk / Wellspring/Cori Terry & Dancers

35 arts organizations in west Michigan have been picked to be part of a new two-year training program run by the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.

The goal of the program is to teach arts leaders how to fundraise better and attract new board members, among other things.

Musicians performing
Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

There’s a big fight going on at Orchestra Hall. The Detroit Symphony Orchestra musicians have been on strike for nearly a month, and they say management's proposed cuts are unreasonable. Haden McKay, a DSO cellist, calls it "the most extreme attack that’s ever been made on an orchestra in the United States."

The DSO is one of the top ten orchestras in the country, but it's saddled with a multi-million budget deficit. Both sides agree that cuts need to be made, but that's about all they agree on. Here's where things stand:

Crafting a career out of woven rugs (slideshow)

Oct 20, 2010
Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

Cross Village in northern Michigan is like a lot of small, rural towns in the state, where money is tight and jobs are scarce. And when winter comes around and all the tourists are gone, the outlook is even bleaker. So a group of women started up a cottage industry of rug making to help locals sustain themselves through the lean months.

23-year old Jasmine Petrie wears her hair in pigtails and has tattoos on her back and arms; she looks more like a rock star than a rug weaver.

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