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
7:19 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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Stateside
4:43 pm
Thu November 7, 2013

DuMouchelles art gallery and auction house

Stock photo.
kellinahandbasket Flickr

Let’s say you’ve been watching episodes of “Antiques Roadshow,” and now you’re inspired. So you want to find out what that old painting you bought at a garage sale for $5 bucks is really worth.

There’s a place in Detroit where you can do just that and get feedback from experts who are regulars on the TV show. Of course, if you’re in the mood to buy things, you’re also in luck.

Michigan Radio’s Kyle Norris tells us about DuMouchelles, an auction house in Detroit.  

Arts & Culture
4:31 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

Want history, architecture and beheadings? Try Detroit's haunted bike tour

Outside Wheelhouse Detroit.
Mercedes Meija Michigan Radio

Wheelhouse Detroit, a bike shop right next to the Renaissance Center, puts on all sorts of guided bike tours through the city — tours of churches, urban agriculture, and painted murals. But for those looking for something, well, a little more creepy, the shop also offers a haunted bike tour that takes brave riders through cemeteries, ghostly spots, and long-gone homes with a murderous past.

The ride takes you to the cozy, produce-filled confines of Eastern Market down to St. Aubin Street, which, as the tour guides will tell you, was once a hot spot for the Purple Gang, a gang of bootleggers and hijackers who ran booze from Canada to Detroit. The gang, which got its start when Michigan banned alcohol in 1917, remained active up until the early 1930s.

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Arts & Culture
2:53 pm
Thu October 10, 2013

Artists find inspiration in the land

Dave Fischer's "Metal and Wood Border" sculpture
Dave Fischer

A new art show is the product of an interesting collaboration between artists and land owners. It will be at the Matthaei Botanical Gardens in Ann Arbor from October 12th until November 10th.

It's sponsored by The Legacy Land Conservancy and it's also a fundraiser for the non-profit. The organizers were hoping to find a way to help people learn more about the protected land that the organization helps secure.

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Arts & Culture
9:13 am
Sun September 29, 2013

Electronic musician inspired by family & place

"If I couldn't make music, I would not be a happy person."
Shigeto/Facebook

Michigan has a history of some pretty sweet music. One surprising genre that is Pure Michigan is techno. The art form was invented by three young men from Belleville in the 1980s (specifically Kevin Saunderson, Derrick May, and Juan Atkins, aka the Belleville 3, and you can listen to some classic Detroit techno here).

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Arts & Culture
7:35 am
Fri September 27, 2013

Laughing matters at Arab-American comedy festival in Dearborn

A new festival will feature comedians from Arab-American and other minority backgrounds. 

The 1001 Laughs Dearborn Comedy Festival happens September 27 and 28 at the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn.

Amer Zahr is the festival's producer and he'll also be performing a few sets.

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Arts & Culture
7:40 pm
Sun September 15, 2013

Finding beauty & camaraderie in the woods, in the old-school ways

A sample of Jim Miller's bark baskets
Jim Miller

Jim Miller does not wish he was alive several hundred or even several thousand years ago. But he loves the old-school ways. And Miller teaches people, as he likes to say, "about the skills of our ancestors."

Miller teaches adults and children how to make fire by friction (which is not an easy thing to do); how to take the bark from a tree without killing it and create bark baskets. There's also the chance to learn primitive pottery, hide tanning, beaver trapping, and how to turn stone chips into arrows and spears.

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Economy
3:56 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

Manufacturing a commuter bike in Detroit

Commuter bike by Detroit Bikes
Detroit Bikes Facebook

There are a couple of relatively new companies making bikes in Detroit.

Shinola makes them (along with watches, leather goods, and journals). Detroit Bicycle Company makes 'em.

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Arts & Culture
10:29 am
Mon July 29, 2013

A Saginaw artist tries to make things better, and the town responds

Doug Coombe

An artist makes art and a city responds

The entire city of Saginaw is a canvas for 37-year-old artist Eric Schantz. But the reverse of that statement is also true. Schantz’s body is a canvas for this city that struggles with poverty, unemployment, and violence.

He’s got a giant tattoo with the words “Saginaw Proper” scrawled onto his muscular right forearm, in red lettering with blue embellishments.

“It reminds me every day to make something beautiful out of the pain this city has caused me. The red letters represent the blood that has been shed and reminds me of all the friends I have lost to this city’s violence. Or the suicides and overdoses that are a result of the depressed nature of our reality.”

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Environment & Science
1:34 pm
Sun July 21, 2013

More algae in Lake Erie

Satellite image of 2011 bloom (one of the most severe in decades).
Credit MERIS/NASA

A significant amount of blue-green algae is expected in the western basin of Lake Erie this summer. This year’s algal bloom will be about 1/5 as bad as what happened in 2011.

2011 was one of the worst years on record for the explosions of algae growth.

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