Kyle Norris

Reporter/Producer

Kyle Norris got her start in radio as a Michigan Radio intern. Her features have appeared on The Environment Report, All Things Considered, Weekend Edition, Marketplace, The Splendid Table, World Vision Report, Justice Talking, and The Health Show.

In 2008, she won a Division A (News Staff of 5 or more) first place award from Public Radio News Directors Incorporated for best investigative journalism.

Norris is endlessly fascinated with people and their struggles. She's also fascinated with the figurative beating of the human heart. She loves public radio because it gives her the chance to explore all of those things.

In her downtime she enjoys soccer, yoga, and coffee. Her website is at kylenorris.wordpress.com.

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Arts & Culture
7:15 am
Thu August 21, 2014

3 things struggling historical groups can do to attract more people

Guests at a Romanian wedding reception in Detroit in 1936.
Credit Metro Detroit Ethnic Communities Collection/Walter P. Reuther Library

There’s a joke that historical organizations are stuck in the past when it comes to how they do things. You know, like they don’t have a grasp on using social media, and their museums and events are outdated and uninspiring.

And that joke might extend to the people who run historical organizations – many of whom are senior citizens and have often run their group in the same way for a long time.

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Families & Community
4:55 pm
Wed August 20, 2014

This one thing meant the world to a runaway teen

Veronica Riddle ran away from home as a teenager. She wants people to know that spending time and talking with troubled youth can be a big deal. Here's why.

Arts & Culture
1:21 pm
Wed August 13, 2014

An arts class helped this teen discover his passion for sculpting

The young artist says music is key to his artistic process, especially jazz and soul.
Credit Doug Coombe

Eighteen-year-old sculptor Austen Brantley makes some pretty impressive art. But don't take our word for it, check out these photos of Austen's work, at the Michigan Radio Picture Project.

Professionals in the art world agree. "It's just amazing to see the amount of talent that he has at 18 years old. He’s right up there with some of his peers that are in their 30s and 40s," says Garnette Archer, owner of Jo’s Gallery in Detroit.

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Arts & Culture
7:05 am
Thu July 24, 2014

Re-thinking creativity's role in education

One analyst says we need to think about manufacturing and creativity as two things that go hand in hand.
Credit Flickr user Wystan/creative commons

It’s probably pretty stressful being a high school principal, for all kinds of reasons.

But Eric Alburtus, principal of Portage Central High School, spends a big chunk of his time worrying about the arts. He’s specifically worried about the kind of human beings our schools are producing, when kids must fulfill heavy requirements in math and science, yet they barely have a chance to study music, choir, theater, or the visual arts.

(For a more complete look at the state’s requirements, click here.)

What's at stake if kids in Michigan don't study the arts?

Alburtus says arts classes give kids a chance to discover new worlds and different ways of thinking and creating.

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Arts & Culture
5:18 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

If your job is emotionally intense, songs can save you

Credit Courtesy of Megha Satyanarayana

This week, you may have heard me on the radio asking people a question.

What song saved your life? It's not something people are asked very often, but I've found that it gets some pretty intense responses

So, here's the last piece in the series. Megha Satyanarayana is a reporter with State of Opportunity. 

Even though today is the "official" last day in the series, I want to hear from you. Do you have a song that saved your life? Tell us the story! Call and let us know at 248-962-3806. And you can also use the #songsavedme on Twitter.

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Stateside
12:25 pm
Wed June 18, 2014

A pop song helps battle depression

When Disa Grove heard one of Katy Perry's songs, she found new motivation.
Credit Katy Perry / Facebook

All this week I'm doing a special series about music. 

Why? Read this.

I'm asking people a pretty personal question: What’s the song that saved your life?

So far, people have told us why R. Kelly, Bryan Adams (he sang "Summer of '69") and Billy Joel are so important to them. 

Disa Grove's song helped her see herself in a new way. Grove grew up near Los Angeles and moved to Michigan last fall.

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Arts & Culture
12:34 pm
Mon June 16, 2014

What's the song that saved your life?

Bryan Adams's Summer of '69 is catchy and powerful.
Credit Bryan Adams Official / Facebook

There's a reason I've been asking this question.

I do a lot of reporting where I interview artists and people in the arts communities about why the arts matter.

I believe there is great value in these kinds of stories. But I realized I wasn’t talking nearly enough with non-artists about how and why the arts have mattered to them. I felt that if I couldn’t highlight why the arts mattered on an everyday level to everyday people, then I wasn’t serving our listeners very well.

Then I remembered a quote. 

“We all have a song that saved our lives in junior high,” someone great once said. (It may have been said by a famous person or by one of my friends – I really don’t remember, so apologies to the person I should credit.)

When I heard that quote I immediately knew my song. It was “Just Like Heaven” by The Cure in seventh grade at Holland Woods Middle School in Port Huron, Michigan. The sound of squeaky shoes in hallways came instantly flooding back and so did memories of my crushes at the time. I remembered my fierce love for my friends, and snapshots of what worried me. That's to say, a lot came back, by simply remembering one song.

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The Environment Report
1:45 pm
Thu June 12, 2014

Big increase in the number of fatal drownings in the Great Lakes

One way to prevent fatal drownings is to know what drowning looks like. Pay attention to these five signs.
GLSRP.org

Swimmers and boaters in Michigan need to be more careful on the water.

"We're at 23 fatal drownings on the five Great Lakes so far this year. It's about 50% up from last year at this time," says Bob Pratt, the director of education at The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project. He says many recent deaths have been boaters who were swimming or they ran into trouble while boating on the lakes. 

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Arts & Culture
1:12 pm
Thu May 8, 2014

Student learns that music is joy, from Ypsilanti teacher

Crystal Harding dances with a few of her students

What stories should we tell about the arts?

That's a question we sometimes ask on our Facebook page. Jason Towler suggested we profile Ypsilanti music teacher Crystal Harding and he had a good reason to suggest her.

Harding was Towler's music teacher back in 1988, when Towler was a first-grader at Erickson Elementary School.  Harding is all about having a good time through music, singing, and dancing. Here she is in action:

Harding made a big impression on the shy young man, and that's what this story is about.

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Arts & Culture
7:19 am
Mon April 7, 2014

This is what it sounds like when a neighborhood church closes

Saint Henry's window
Kyle Norris/Michigan Radio

St. Henry’s in Lincoln Park held its first Mass on June 3, 1923 and its last Mass on March 2, 2014.

At the end of the church’s final Mass, parish members took the most important objects and walked them out the door.

The holy oils were carried by five members of the Olive family. Jackie and Bill Balmes carried out the marriage registry (they’ve been married for 65 years). Four men, including Jim Bomia and his two grandsons, lifted the crucifix off the wall (it weighed several hundred pounds), and walked it down the aisle and out the door.

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Arts & Culture
7:00 am
Mon March 31, 2014

How diversity can help Michigan arts organizations

Gabriela Frank
Credit sphinxmusic.org

Gabriela Frank is probably not what comes to mind when you think of a contemporary classical music composer.  For starters, she considers herself a hippie.

“I was born in the 1970s in Berkeley, California, during the Vietnam protests," says Frank. "My dad was a nice Jewish boy from the Bronx who married a Peruvian woman from the coast. I’m also a woman and I have a hearing loss, so technically I’m disabled as well.”

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Arts & Culture
8:47 am
Sat March 15, 2014

Children's opera performed in concentration camp coming to Detroit

The Michigan Opera Theatre Children’s Chorus will perform Brundibar this weekend at the Detroit Opera House. The children's opera was originally performed in a concentration camp during the Holocaust. 

In the 1940s, European Jews were sent to Theresienstadt in the Czech Republic. It was a transit camp where Jews were sent before being moved to other concentration camps, including Auschwitz.

The Nazis also used Theresienstadt in their propaganda efforts.

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Health
6:16 am
Mon January 6, 2014

Slow enrollment for Obamacare in rural counties

How it all works

People in rural areas trying to enroll for health insurance as part of the new Affordable Care Act can face special challenges. Registration must happen online, and many people in Michigan’s rural counties do not have a home computer or access to the Internet. 

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Health
1:17 pm
Wed December 25, 2013

Native American organization struggling but hopeful

Shoshana Beth Phillips & friends
Credit http://uofmhealthblogs.org

A new organization in Ypsilanti that promotes cancer awareness for Native Americans is struggling to stay afloat.

Shoshana Beth Phillips is executive director of Heritage of Healing. It incorporates native traditions and activities into its services, and supports families with a parent dealing with cancer. (Phillips is originally from the Omaha Nation of Nebraska and was diagnosed with bone marrow cancer seven years ago.) 

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The Environment Report
8:06 am
Thu December 19, 2013

Ypsilanti family finds happiness in living off the land

Julia, Amelie, Eliah & Jason Gold.
Credit Kyle Norris/Michigan Radio

Meet the Gold family. They're modern day homesteaders. 

Their goal is to live as self-sufficiently as possible on their three-acre farm in Ypsilanti. (They often say they use yesterday's knowledge combined with today's technology.)

Two years ago they started the Michigan Folk School. The school promotes traditional folk arts and the preservation of forest and farmland.

To find out why the family started the school, and why they became homesteaders in the first place, listen to this week's Environment Report, right here.

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Environment Report
7:58 am
Tue December 17, 2013

Why are Great Lakes birds dying from botulism?

The common loon
Credit Steve Maslowski/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Imagine walking down a picturesque beach along Lake Michigan, and stumbling upon the carcasses of dead birds. That’s a very real and unpleasant problem along Lakes Michigan, Huron, Ontario and Erie. (It’s not as big of an issue in Lake Superior because of the lake’s colder water temperatures.)

Loons and other deep-diving birds are suffering from a disease called avian botulism. It’s form of food poisoning that kills wild birds in the Great Lakes ecosystem.

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Environment & Science
8:12 pm
Sun November 24, 2013

Go on an "owl prowl"

How cute is this barred owl?
Credit Michigan DNR website

The Department of Natural Resources is putting on a series of guided night time walks in different state parks and recreation areas, with the goal of trying to spot owls.

They're called "owl prowls." (Just try and say that five times, fast.)

Events are scheduled in Livingston, Wayne, Oakland, Clinton, Lenawee, Jackson and Bay Counties. You can find more information here at the DNR's website.

The events are free and the organizers suggest that you pre-register.

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Environment & Science
9:05 pm
Sun November 17, 2013

National Museum of the Great Lakes opens spring 2014

The new National Museum of the Great Lakes and the Col. James M. Schoomaker Museum Ship in Toledo, Ohio.
Credit Facebook

Organizers are still raising money for what's expected to be an almost $13 million project and they're in the process of putting the final touches on all the exhibits at the museum.

Once the The National Museum of the Great Lakes in Toledo, Ohio opens you'll be able to learn about how booze was transported across the waterways from Canada into the United States during Prohibition.  Along with lots of other cool things about the Great Lakes.

Here's what the museum says on its website:

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The Environment Report
9:00 am
Thu November 14, 2013

Michigan Tech builds phone apps to connect researchers with citizen scientists

An example of the beach app

There’s a new project out of Michigan Technological University in Houghton that involves phone apps.

The idea is to use apps to share information with professional researchers.

So far the team of professors and students have made four web apps.

  1. They help people measure beach safety,
  2. air pollution,
  3. community ethnography,
  4. and mushroom locations.

Alex Mayer is a Professor of Environmental & Geological Engineering at Michigan Technological University and he’s the project’s director.

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The Environment Report
8:30 am
Tue November 12, 2013

More bike lanes in Michigan mean more cyclists

You'll be seeing more of these signs in Michigan
Credit MDOT

More communities in Michigan are embracing bike lanes.

Grand Rapids plans to add 40 more miles of bike lanes in the next few years. Detroit has an aggressive approach to implementing them and they're popping up in places like Adrian and South Haven, not to mention the biking hot spots of Traverse City and Marquette.

Josh DeBruyn is the bike and pedestrian coordinator for MDOT. Part of his job is to deal with the applications that towns send him when they apply for grants to help install bike lanes.

DeBruyn says he gets double to triple the amount of applicants that he can actually fulfill for these kinds of grants.

He also says he hears from plenty of people and organizations about what he calls "motor vehicle angst" - or drivers who are frustrated and sometimes aggressive with cyclists.

You can listen to my interview with him here:

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