WUOMFM

Josh Hakala

Stateside Online News Intern

Josh Hakala, a lifelong Michigander (East Lansing & Edwardsburg), comes to Michigan Radio after nearly two decades of working in a variety of fields within broadcasting and digital media. Most recently, he worked for Advance Digital where he managed newspaper websites from across the country, including MLive.com. While his resume is filled with sports broadcasting experience (Big Ten Network, 97.1FM The Ticket, 610AM WIP etc.), radio reporting (90.1FM WRTI) and odd jobs (Editor for the FIFA video game series for EA Sports), he brings a passion for news and storytelling to the Stateside staff.

Josh is also a proud graduate of Lansing Community College where he got his radio start as the sports director and on-air music host at WLNZ. He also got his BA from Temple University where he majored in Broadcasting, Telecommunications & Mass Media. While he loved his five years in Philadelphia, he returned to his home state of Michigan in 2008 where he is happy to find people don't sing the The Fresh Prince of Bel Air theme song whenever you tell them where you live (West Philadelphia).

When he is not at Michigan Radio, he runs TheCup.us, a media outlet that covers the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup, one of the oldest soccer tournaments in the world where amateur teams and the top professional teams all compete in a March Madness-style competition. He also does freelance play by play announcing for just about any sport (yes, even water polo) and has a massive music collection as he clings to his CDs and vinyl records. He currently lives in Ann Arbor with his wife (the midwife) and three kids, two of which figured out a way to be born on the same day.

Tommy and Raymond Highers served 26 years in prison for a crime they didn't commit.
Joe Linstroth / Michigan Radio

"It was an out-of-body experience."

That's how Raymond Highers described the moment when the judge sentenced him and his brother Tommy Highers to life without parole for a murder they didn't commit.

Konrad Montgomery
Joe Linstroth / Michigan Radio

When the police knocked on his door, it never crossed Konrad Montgomery's mind that they were there for him. 

The authorities were looking for a suspect in an armed robbery that took place on Detroit's east side, and a cell phone involved in the situation was traced back to Montgomery. The robbery occurred roughly 11 miles from where Montgomery claimed to be at the time of the incident. But since he was making money by selling used cell phones, he was caught up in the case. 

Montgomery was tried and convicted of armed robbery and attempted murder. He spent nearly three years in prison before he was exonerated. 

Julie Baumer
Joe Linstroth / Michigan Radio

"You can just imagine the hell." 

The hell that Julie Baumer describes is her life after being tried and convicted for a crime that she did not commit. She spent more than four years in prison after the courts found her guilty of child abuse involving her five-week-old nephew. When she was ultimately found to be innocent of the charges, she was set free.

Joe Louis Arena during its final season
Cynthia Canty / Michigan Radio

It is the end of multiple eras for sports fans in Michigan and specifically metro Detroit. Last night, the Detroit Red Wings played their final game at Joe Louis Arena, a place they have called home since 1979.

Tonight, the Detroit Pistons will play their last home game at the Palace of Auburn Hills, an arena where they've played since 1988.

Raheel Siddiqui, a Pakistani-American Muslim from Taylor, was 11 days into his basic training with the United States Marine Corps on Parris Island in South Carolina when he died.
Courtesy of the Siddiqui family

“The physical evidence in this case tells the story of torture, abuse and suffering.”

That's the assertion of the lawyer representing the family of Raheel Siddiqui, a 20-year-old from Taylor who died while attending boot camp in South Carolina in March of 2016. According to the Marines, Siddiqui committed suicide by jumping 40 feet down a stairwell. 

His family is disputing those findings and now, his drill sergeant at Parris Island is facing charges.

Kris Draper played 17 seasons and won four Stanley Cups with the Detroit Red Wings.
Dinur / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

It's been called "Brawl in Hockeytown." Some call it "Fight Night at the Joe."

On March 26, 1997, Darren McCarty of the Detroit Red Wings punched, then kept on punching, Claude Lemieux of the Colorado Avalanche.

The reason for that fight happened 301 days earlier in Game 6 of the 1996 Western Conference Finals when Lemieux hit Wings center Kris Draper from behind, sending Draper face-first into the bench and smashing his face (see video below). He suffered a broken orbital bone, a broken cheekbone, a broken nose, a broken jaw and a concussion. 

Danielle Atkinson is the mother of five children. Three of them were born at home.
Josh Hakala / Michigan Radio

A new law recently signed by Governor Rick Snyder means home birth midwives in Michigan will need to be licensed.

What does this mean for women who want to give birth at home in Michigan?

Western Michigan finished the season with a 13-1 record while earning its first conference championship since 1988.
GS Photo | Western Michigan Athletics

It has been a historic season for the Western Michigan football team.

After finishing with just one win after the 2013 season, the Broncos wrapped up the 2016 campaign with an undefeated regular season (13-0). The Mid-American Conference champions then earned a spot in the Cotton Bowl as the highest-ranked team outside of the "Power Five" conferences (ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, SEC, Pac-12).

The season ended on a sour note though, as the Broncos played Wisconsin tough, but ultimately fell to the Badgers, 24-16

Since the Lions lost to the Packers 31-24 on Sunday night, Green Bay will host a playoff game at Lambeau Field in front of their cheeseheaded fans.
Phil Roeder / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

It was a good news/bad news situation for the Detroit Lions on New Year's Day. The good news was before their regular season finale at Ford Field against the Packers, the New York Giants did Detroit a favor by beating the Washington Redskins. With the Giants win, that clinched a playoff spot for the Lions. 

The bad news is that the Lions let a halftime lead slip away and they lost to the Packers, 31-24. That defeat cost Detroit their first division title (and first home playoff game) since 1993. Their consolation prize? The No. 6 seed in the NFC playoffs and a Saturday night matchup in Seattle against the Seahawks, who haven't lost a home playoff game since 2004.

Did the sun set on the Lions' playoff hopes at MetLife Stadium on Sunday?
Gabriel Argudo Jr / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

There were plenty of missed opportunities, but in the end, the Detroit Lions fell short against the New York Giants on Sunday. They lost 17-6 and while they are still sitting in first place in the NFC North division with two games to play, they have a tough task ahead of them.

Watch highlights of the Lions at the Giants below:

As the No. 6 seed in the NFC playoffs, the Lions now have to win three straight games away from Ford Field to reach their first Super Bowl in team history.
meesh / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

The month of December is here and, believe it or not, the Lions are still in the hunt for a playoff spot. Some fans may be surprised by this, but what might be more surprising is the way that they've done it. 

Michigan's lame duck session ends on Thursday.
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The lame duck session for the Michigan Legislature is a time when politicians in Lansing often push through unpopular or controversial bills. Remember the right-to-work law in 2012

This year has been no different as there have been a number of proposals that have been floated through the lame duck session. However, in an unexpected turn, four big ones have been pulled back, which surprised many observers, including Susan Demas and Ken Sikkema who joined Stateside for their weekly political roundup.

Fans blew up the internet this weekend with their video and screenshot analysis of whether or not J.T. Barrett of Ohio State got the first down in the second overtime against Michigan. The referees ruled he did.
Twitter: @Bluekts_ @nlwolfe80 @TheGambler100

Aside from Western Michigan beating Toledo to finish the regular season undefeated, and Eastern Michigan clinching their first bowl game in nearly 20 years earlier in the week, it was a pretty rough week for most Michigan college football fans.

John U. Bacon joined Stateside for his weekly sports roundup and it was all about football.

On Thursday, the eyes of the nation were on the Detroit Lions coming back to win in the fourth quarter for the seventh time this season. When the dust settled, the Lions were all alone in first place in the NFC North with a one game lead over the Minnesota Vikings (and Detroit owns the tiebreaker over Minnesota after winning both games this year). 

Two days later, the eyes of the nation were fixed upon "The Game" between Michigan and Ohio State and it lived up to the hype.

Desmond Howard strikes the Heisman pose after he returned a punt for a touchdown against Ohio State in 1991. Could we have another memorable rivalry game this Saturday?
Brian Masck / desmondhoward.com

There are few rivalries in American sports bigger than Michigan against Ohio State. However, it has been 10 years since "the game" has been as big as this. Back in 2006, the two rivals played in what was called the "game of the century" when, for the first time, Michigan and Ohio State both entered the game undefeated. That day, No. 1-ranked Ohio State edged No. 2-ranked Michigan 42-39.

On Saturday, both teams will enter The Horseshoe (Ohio Stadium) with one loss each, with the Wolverines ranked No. 3 and the Buckeyes are No. 2. Could we see another "game of the century?" 

Claressa Shields from Flint celebrates a victory by decision in her professional boxing debut on November 19, 2016 in Las Vegas.
Screen grab from YouTube / HBOBoxing

(Watch a replay of the entire fight below)

After racking up a 77-1 record and becoming the first U.S. boxer to win two Olympic gold medals, Flint native Claressa Shields accomplished all she could as an amateur fighter. On Saturday night, Shields began her quest to conquer the professional boxing world with a win by unanimous decision in her debut. 

Powers North Central (red) and Battle Creek St. Philip battle in the 2015 8-man Football State Championship game. From 2009 to 2015, 44 schools in Michigan dropped 11-man football, while 8-man footballs schools went from 8 to 47.
Michigan High School Athletic Association

On Friday night, a football state championship will be on the line when Deckerville High School and Powers North Central square off. The game will be played in Greenville, which is just northeast of Grand Rapids, and for those in attendance it will seem like your average high school football game. Except that instead of 11 players on each side, there will only be eight.

Western Michigan finished the season with a 13-1 record while earning their first conference championship since 1988.
Joel Dinda / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

It was a stunning weekend at the top of the College Football Playoff Rankings as the teams ranked second, third and fourth (the top four qualify for the playoff) were all upset.

One of those teams was the University of Michigan who fell to Iowa on the road by the score of 14-13. The last time the teams ranked second, third and fourth all lost on the same day was in 1985.

Even the dinosaurs at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago were excited about the Cubs' first World Series win since 1908. This one is flying the "W" flag, which is customary after a Cubs victory.
Josh Hakala / Michigan Radio

If you heard the sound of cheering coming from the other side of Lake Michigan last Wednesday night, you were likely listening to (most of) the city of Chicago rejoicing. Late into the evening, the Chicago Cubs won the club's first World Series title in 108 years, in one of the most dramatic ways possible. It took 10 innings, but when the dust settled, the Cubs beat the Cleveland Indians 8-7 in the winner-take-all Game 7. Some have gone so far to call it the greatest game ever. (Watch the highlights below)

Michigan Radio's sports commentator John U. Bacon wrote about it recently and joined Stateside during his weekly sports roundup, calling it a"once in a lifetime" game.

Michigan is undefeated and ranked No. 2 in the country heading into next weekend's rivalry game in East Lansing against Michigan State.
Flickr user Anthony Gattine/Flickr / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

One thing that college football fans love about the sport is that you never really know what's going to happen from week to week. It's tough to predict, and there are a number of interesting stories happening across the Michigan sports landscape that very few people saw coming. 

Michigan Radio's sports commentator John U. Bacon admits that he knew Michigan would be good under Jim Harbaugh, but not this good this quickly. He knew Michigan State would have a down year (by their standards), but not bad enough to have their first five-game losing streak in 25 years. He knew Western Michigan would be good, but not good enough to be 8-0 and ranked in the Top 20 for the first time in school history.

Dr. Abdalmajid Katranji and Dana Mosa-Basha supported President Trump's ordered bombing of a Syrian Airbase
Gage Skidmore / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is putting members of his own party in Michigan in a tough spot. With slumping poll numbers, there are some concerns that he could have a negative impact on down-ballot races in the Great Lakes State.

With Trump at the top of the ticket, what is the state of the Michigan Republican Party? There's party infighting, concerns about possibly losing the state House in November, and some candidates simply refusing to endorse or even answer questions about their party's presidential nominee, Donald Trump. 

WWW.MICHIGANDEMS.COM/LON

Taking up more than 25,000 square miles, Michigan's 1st Congressional District is the biggest in the state. It makes up the entire Upper Peninsula and much of the upper part of the Lower Peninsula. It represents almost half of the state's total land area, but only represents roughly 700,000 people. 

The congressional race in Michigan's 1st has become a tight one as former Democratic Chairperson Lon Johnson is running against retired three-star U.S. Marine general Jack Bergman. Michigan Radio's Jack Lessenberry called it Michigan's hottest Congressional race.

Johnson brings a wealth of connections from his days as the party's chair, but will face an uphill climb in a district that historically leans Republican. 

tEdGuY49 / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

With thousands of tons of trash burned every day, Detroit has the largest urban incinerator in the country.

Now its long and controversial history has a new chapter. The Great Lakes Environmental Law Center has filed a letter serving notice that it intends to sue Detroit Renewable Power, the operator of the incinerator.

Nick Schroeck, the executive director of the Great Lakes Environmental Law Center, joined Stateside to talk about the lawsuit and why they are filing it.

Courtesy of Frank Boring

When you ask anyone about women’s professional baseball, the majority of people will make some reference to director Penny Marshall’s 1992 film A League of Their Own. The movie stars Tom Hanks, Geena Davis, and Madonna and tells the story of the real-life Rockford Peaches of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL). The league was created to provide sports fans with entertainment while the men – including many star major league baseball players -- were away fighting in World War II. 

High Point Solutions Stadium in Piscataway, N.J. was the site of one of Michigan's most lopsided wins in program history, 78-0 over Rutgers.
slgckgc / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

It was a big weekend for football around the Great Lakes State. The University of Michigan stole most of the headlines with an historic 78-0 road win over Rutgers. It was a dominant win in just about every phase of the game as the Wolverines "took the paddle" (as John U. Bacon likes to say) to the Scarlet Knights.

After a one-sided loss, there are always fans and sportswriters who like to criticize the head coach for running up the score. However, John U. Bacon said in his weekly segment on Stateside, it wasn't Jim Harbaugh being a bad sport.

Michigan Radio's Cynthia Canty (left) interviews Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) with Stateside Executive Producer Joe Linstroth in Ann Arbor on October 6, 2016.
Mitchell Rivard

Republicans and Democrats have made it clear that the state of Michigan is in play for the 2016 presidential election.

Another high-profile campaign visit to the state comes in the form of Vermont senator Bernie Sanders. He is making stops in four cities (Dearborn, Ann Arbor, East Lansing, Grand Rapids) stumping for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

Wayne State University Press

Many women can relate to the witching hour. In the middle of the night, you wake up and have trouble falling back to sleep because your mind is racing. Concerns about the upcoming day, anxiety about the mounting to-do list while, oftentimes, your partner sleeps soundly next to you. The Witching Hour is the title of the first story in a collection of “flash fiction” – not short stories – by Detroit-based writer Desiree Cooper, titled Know The Mother.

A brown marmorated stink bug is shown in Kalamazoo, Mich.
Michigan State University Department of Entomology

If you've seen a small shield-shaped brown insect slowing crawling on the walls inside your home, you might be housing one of Michigan's newest invaders: the brown marmorated stink bug.

This particular stink bug doesn't harm humans. They don't bite or spread disease, but they do eat plants and tree fruit. Since they first hitchiked to the United States about 20 years ago, but weren't seen in Michigan until 2010, they have become a pest to farmers and gardeners alike.  

Michigan State's 30-6 loss to Wisconsin was its fewest points scored since a 2012 home loss to Notre Dame.
Steven Depolo / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

It was a full weekend of sports across the state of Michigan, headlined by the Wolverines and the Spartans hosting games in their respective home stadiums. Michigan, which remains ranked No. 4 in the nation, flexed its muscles with a 49-10 blowout of Penn State. Meanwhile, in East Lansing, it was a battle between two Big Ten teams ranked in the top ten. However, Michigan State suffered a rare one-sided loss, 30-6, to the Wisconsin Badgers.

Flickr user Kevin Ward/Flickr / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The Detroit Pistons are under fire for a lack of diversity in the NBA franchise's spending.

The Detroit Association of Black Organizations Inc. is considering a boycott of the Pistons and the NBA. The group said the league does not support black businesses. In a sport that is dominated by black athletes, this seems to be a real disconnect.

Rev. Horace Sheffield III is the CEO of the Detroit Association of Black Organizations. He joined Stateside to talk about the effort, and what they would like to see from the Pistons. 

Athletes with Michigan connections have performed well at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro
Flickr user Kirilos/Flickr / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

The Summer Olympics in Rio are heading down the home stretch, and if you're an American, there's a lot to cheer about. 

One of the main headlines in the Summer Games has been the return of Michael Phelps. The swimming icon who spent time early in his career at the University of Michigan, finished this year's competition with five gold medals and a silver. With six more, he extended his all-time record of career medals to 28. In fact, Phelps has more gold medals, 23, than the next closest person has total medals (18).

Phelps won his six medals in Rio at the ripe old age (by Olympian standards) of 31. Most believe this will be his last Olympics, but will it be?

Pages