WUOMFM

Josh Hakala

Former 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.

John Beilein (left) and Tom Izzo (right) are in danger of both missing out on the NCAA tournament
MGoBlog / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

If you’re a fan of college basketball, there’s nothing better than March Madness, the massive 68-team single-elimination tournament that determines the national champion. It begins on Wednesday and captivates the sports world for the next three weeks. And thanks to millions of dollars being poured into office pools each year, it captivates a lot more than just sports fans who are filling out their brackets in an attempt to predict the winners.

However, if you’re a fan of daytime TV or productivity in an office environment, then this might not be your favorite time of year.

Shaka Senghor sits down with Cynthia Canty on Stateside
Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

There are roughly 42,000 men and women serving time in prison in the state of Michigan. They all have stories of how they got there, ranging from poor choices and a bad upbringing to just being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Shaka Senghor, a leading criminal justice reform activist, is now telling his story. He is currently a mentor to youth, and a leader in helping victims and violent offenders heal through the power of the arts. But he didn’t start out that way.

The AlphaGo computer beating a human champion in the game of Go likely won't lead to this. Or will it?
User: Insomnia Cured Here / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

For decades, science fiction movies and books have predicted that someday machines will develop artificial intelligence (A.I.) and take over the world. While it’s not exactly the plot of a prequel in the Terminator movie franchise, world champion Lee Sedol was defeated by a computer in a game of Go this week. This marked a milestone for the development of A.I.

Donald Trump in Warren and Bernie Sanders in Traverse City.
Photos by Jake Neher from MPRN (left), Todd Church from Flickr / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The official vote totals are still not quite finalized, but it was a shocking – some are saying historic – night for the Democrats in the Michigan Primary. Donald Trump continued to hold serve on the Republican side, winning the Great Lakes State by a comfortable margin, but it was Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ win over Hillary Clinton that dominated the headlines on Wednesday morning.

Gary Peters
User: Gary Peters / Facebook

U.S. Senator Gary Peters (D) has two big projects on his plate in an effort to strengthen protections for the Great Lakes and provide funding for the city of Flint in the wake of the water crisis.

The U.S. Senate recently gave unanimous approval to a funding bill that includes important protections for the Great Lakes. The bill re-authorizes the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), which is the federal agency that oversees pipelines.

Benjamin Hall

Back in the mid-1800s, a slave by the name of Frank Demas purchased his freedom from a Kentucky slave owner. Demas later settled in Michigan and 170 years later, the document that set him free has survived -- thanks to his family. His family has passed the document, called a manumission, down from generation to generation and now, the great-great-great grandson of Frank Demas has donated it to the Archives of Michigan.

The manumission, as well as some of his Demas’ wife’s belongings, are now on display at the Michigan Historical Center in Lansing.   

Presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, left, and Bernie Sanders, right.
berniesanders.com/hillaryclinton.com

The race to the White House has finally come to Michigan. With the Republican debate in Detroit last week, Democrats arrived in Flint on Sunday with Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders holding a debate at the Whiting auditorium.

Flint Congressman Dan Kildee  joined Stateside to share his thoughts on the debate between the two Democratic front-runners.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

This isn’t your grandparents’, or even your parents’ Republican Party. Some might even argue this may not be the Republican Party of four years ago.
 
You may love it, or you may hate it, but there’s few that would debate that there’s never been a Republican primary race like this. Insults and rancor have largely overpowered debates on policy and governing. The headlines, more often than not, have focused on the fighting and the verbal zingers between the candidates rather than who would make a better Commander in Chief.

Lindsey Smith and her daughter Layla
Adam Schingeck

For the last year, Lindsey Smith has been at the forefront of Michigan Radio’s in-depth reporting of the Flint water crisis. Now, the issue of lead contamination in the environment has dropped right on her doorstep.

flickr user Bart / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

"I’m past freaked out."

An Ann Arbor father said that to Ryan Stanton of the Ann Arbor News/MLive Media Group after finding out that his wife and three kids have been drinking and using water contaminated by 1,4 dioxane.

A dioxane plume that is slowly working its way toward the Huron River in Ann Arbor has already reached some private wells on the west side of the city. 

Quinn Dombrowski / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Michigan’s booming brewery industry just added a fresh, new ingredient to the growing business of beer making: a cooperative model.

Jim Jones is a board member and director of High Five Cooperative Brewery in Grand Rapids. He joined Stateside to talk about this new approach to making beer as a co-op.

Oklahoma Dept of Corrections

James Francis Rapp, a former Roman Catholic priest, recently pleaded no contest to charges that he had sexual contact with students while he was a wrestling coach and a teacher at Lumen Christi High School in Jackson.
 

Rapp faces up to 20 years in prison. The trouble is, he’s already in prison.

Chef James Rigato
Joe Vaughn

Anyone in the restaurant business or any regular viewer of Top Chef can tell you that it doesn’t get much bigger than winning a James Beard Foundation Award. College football has the Heisman Trophy, Hollywood has the Oscars, but for chefs, just getting a nomination for a James Beard Award can make a career.

Muskegon Heights High School (file photo)
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

The scene was set for the varsity basketball team from Muskegon Heights Public School Academy to host their final game of the season. They were scheduled to play Shelby High School in their home finale but the echoes of a Feb. 9 shooting at the school caused their opponents to cancel.

Without an opponent, the Tigers had to find a team to play and found Kalamazoo Lakeside Academy, a school that recently dealt with a mass shooting within their own city less than two weeks ago.

The Michigan state capitol building
Thetoad / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

In a national study, the state of Michigan finished dead last in the country when it comes to state government transparency and ethics. In categories like political financing, public access to information, lobbying disclosure and ethics enforcement agencies, Michigan’s grade was an “F” from The Center for Public Integrity and the group Global Integrity.

Craig Mauger, the executive director of the Michigan Campaign Finance Network joined Stateside to review some of the political spending numbers from 2015.

House Foreclosure
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The city of Detroit’s struggles with recession and bankruptcy have left the local housing market in shambles. For those in and around the Motor City who are renting and want to take the next step and buy a home, there are a number of obstacles in their way. Even if an individual has good credit and a reliable job, many banks are reluctant to lend money in what is viewed as an unstable market.

The Detroit Home Mortgage Initiative aims to change that.

Janelle Monae performs at the #JusticeforFlint event at The Whiting.
screen grab from YouTube live event

With Hollywood celebrating the Academy Awards in Los Angeles on Sunday night, a number of big-name celebrities were in Flint for a benefit concert to support the people who are struggling with the city's water crisis.

Grand Ledge native Calum Ramm at the first leg of the World Marathon Challenge in Antarctica.
Calum Ramm

If someone told you that a man completed seven marathons in seven days, you would probably be impressed. Likely amazed.

If somehow that wasn’t enough to drop your jaw, how about if those seven marathons were run on seven different continents?

That’s what Marine Capt. Calum Ramm, a Lansing native, did as one of the 15 runners who took part in the World Marathon Challenge.

Before you break out the calculator, here are the numbers:

Jevona Watson, founder of the coffee shop Detroit Sip
Shawn Lee / Motor City Match

Starting a business on your own brings plenty of challenges, but it takes a special kind of courage and vision – and a little bit of help – to set up shop in a struggling neighborhood. Jevona Watson is opening a coffee shop, Detroit Sip, in Northwest Detroit, near the campus of the University of Detroit-Mercy, and has received a helping hand from the Motor City Match program.

Jos Campau Historic District in Hamtramck, Michigan.
Andrew Jameson / Wikimedia Commons

Depending on your viewpoint, a pair of bills being proposed by the Michigan House and Senate are either a threat to historic districts in Michigan, or a property rights issue for individuals and developers.

House Bill 5232 and Senate Bill 720 would end any historic districts already in Michigan after ten years. Residents and the preservation community would have to apply all over again to win the designation of historic district. And the bills would set a much higher bar for preservationists to jump over.

User: West Midlands Police / Wikimedia Commons

The August 2014 shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri triggered long nights of civil unrest. Subsequent police shootings across Michigan and around the nation fueled the Black Lives Matter movement, as well as ratcheting up tensions between police departments and the citizens they are supposed to protect.

Calvin Johnson of the Detroit Lions
Mike Morbeck / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

As spring approaches here in Michigan, we near one of the most exciting times of year for a sports fan in the Great Lakes state.

Right now, the Red Wings and Pistons are heading down the stretch of the regular season, fighting for playoff spots, while the Lions are making big offseason moves. On the hardwood, the NCAA tournament is just around the corner as Michigan State and Michigan are hoping to be a part of “March Madness” next month. Not to mention pitchers and catchers have reported for spring training as the Tigers get ready for another season.

Lt. Gov. Brian Calley
Michigan House Republicans

For months, the Michigan governor’s office has been under fire for its handling of the Flint water crisis. Who made what decision when, and who knew what and when did they know it? Those questions are being investigated, but in the mean time there have been plenty of calls for the recall of Gov. Rick Snyder and Lt. Gov. Brian Calley (how likely it is to succeed is up for debate).

The Flint River
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

In one of the worst outbreaks of Legionnaires’ disease in U.S. history, the city of Flint suffered nine deaths as a result. A Flint official reported the problem to the Centers for Disease Control, but the CDC was unable to move forward with an investigation. The reason? The state of Michigan declined the federal agency's assistance.

The official who reported the outbreak was Jim Henry, the Genesee County environmental health supervisor. He joined Stateside to explain what happened and how, he says, those nine deaths could have been prevented.

Ewashtenaw.org: http://bit.ly/1XCy6qr / Washtenaw County

For the last 30 years, a plume of a colorless, odorless toxic chemical has been steadily creeping toward one of the main water supplies in the city of Ann Arbor.

Ann Arbor resident Michael Hood from Crossing Water
Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

One positive aspect of the Flint water crisis has been the thousands of people from across Michigan, and around the country, who have stepped forward to help – whether donating to various charities or stepping up to help first-hand.

"Songs for the Union"
University of Michigan Library Edison Sheet Music Collection

Music that hasn’t been played, or even heard, in centuries could be coming to a concert hall near you in the coming years. This is thanks to a rare sheet music collection donated to the University of Michigan that includes tens of thousands of pieces that date as far back as 1790.

Kristen Castellana, a music librarian at the University of Michigan Library, is helping lead the charge on a massive project to catalog and digitize about 115,000 sheets of music. The sheet music collection belonged to Thomas Edison and was donated by the Edison Phonograph Company.

Bill Proctor (right) with Walter Swift, who spent 26 years in prison for a crime he didn't commit.
Bill Proctor

Bill Proctor retired after he spent 33 years as a well-known Detroit television reporter.

But rather than focus on his golf game, he's using his skills as an investigative reporter and a former law enforcement officer to help criminal cases where he believes the person has been wrongly convicted.

To accomplish that, he launched the organization Proving Innocence. As he sees it, the organization helps overturn some of the wrongs done by our criminal justice system.   

Keyworth Stadium, the future home of Detroit City FC
Jon DeBoer/DCFC

Eighty years ago, Franklin Delano Roosevelt paid a visit to the city of Hamtramck, an enclave within the city of Detroit. There, the 32nd president cut the ribbon on a new sports stadium, one of the many construction projects being carried out across the country to help the United States dig out of the Great Depression.

Eight decades later, the Detroit City Football Club (DCFC), a minor league soccer team with one of the biggest followings in the country, is looking to turn Keyworth Stadium into its new home.

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