Lindsey Smith

West Michigan Reporter/Producer

Lindsey Smith is Michigan Radio's West Michigan Reporter. Lindsey has worked as a reporter at radio stations in both West and Southeast Michigan, and her work has been recognized by both the Michigan Association of Broadcasters and Michigan AP. She's a graduate of Eastern Michigan University and Specs Howard School of Media Arts.

Q&A

What has been your most memorable experience as a reporter?
Reporting from a hot air balloon was one of the scariest. Trying to bubble-wrap my recording equipment to come with me down a giant waterslide took the most preparation and ingenuity. Mostly I remember people; so many downtrodden, truthful, funny, inspiring, regular-everyday people. Nearly everyone I meet and talk to shapes how I view life in at least the slightest way.

What is your favorite program on Michigan Radio?
"Wait Wait, Don't Tell Me." It's hilarious. "On the Media" is a very, very close second.

What do you like best about working in public radio?
Mostly, I'm proud of what we do and the stories we produce.

What modern convenience would it be most difficult for you to live without?
The internet! What did anyone do without it! I mean, I remember life without it, but it's amazing how much I rely on it every day.

What is your favorite way to spend your free time?
It depends on the season. I love wakeboarding in the summer, hanging out on the beach, going on long walks with my dog Lola, grilling. In the winter I wish I could hibernate. I do enjoy snowboarding and movies and warm drinks indoors then.

What are people usually very surprised to learn about you?
If I told you, it wouldn't be a surprise!

Pages

Politics & Government
8:00 am
Tue July 29, 2014

GOP establishment backs challenger in the 3rd district, but voters don’t seem to care

Congressman Justin Amash walks in the Ionia County Free Fair parade in July 2014.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

The race to become the republican candidate for Michigan’s conservative 3rd congressional district is a flip of other races across the country. In this race, the tea party favorite is the incumbent, Congressman Justin Amash. So the primary has become a battle over who’s the true conservative and who can get things done in Washington.

Amash’s independent streak: love it or hate it

Congressman Justin Amash is more of a libertarian than your standard republican. He wants a smaller federal government. He’s buddies with Senators Ted Cruz and Rand Paul.

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Transportation
6:28 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

Many Michigan voters to decide whether to raise taxes to fix their community’s roads

Credit Chelsea Oakes / Creative Commons

Most state leaders agree that Michigan needs to fix its roads. But they’re still struggling with how to do that.

In the meantime, local governments are taking matters into their own hands.

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Education
6:08 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

State reverses decision to throw out southwest Michigan elementary’s MEAP scores

Credit Alberto G. / Creative Commons

Scores from this year’s standardized test at one southwest Michigan elementary school will count after all. The state is reversing its decision to throw out the test scores after the district appealed.

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Transportation
7:28 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

Ride share company Uber launches in more Michigan cities, but Uber at your own risk

East Lansing Mayor Nathan Triplett and Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero sign up to take an Uber ride for the company's launch in the Lansing area today.
Credit Courtesy photo / Uber

A technology company that allows people to turn their personal cars into taxi cabs is launching in four Michigan cities. But state officials say drivers are probably breaking the law.

Uber links people who want a ride to drivers who are available for a fixed price through a smart-phone app. The service is already available in Ann Arbor and Detroit. Now it’s launched in Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Lansing and Flint.

But it’s still very unclear if Uber drivers are following local and state regulations.

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Education
10:05 am
Wed July 23, 2014

What do you want to see in a standardized state test for Michigan students?

Credit Biologycorner / Creative Commons

Michigan students have been taking the same standardized test for decades. It’s known as the MEAP.

But this year the MEAP test will be completely re-done and students will take it in the spring instead of the fall. After next year, it’s not clear what test students will take.

The state was all set to switch over from the MEAP to a test called “Smarter Balanced.” But state lawmakers balked at the idea, because the test aligned to the controversial common core standards.

Lawmakers wanted the state to stick with the MEAP.

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Education
5:49 am
Wed July 16, 2014

Public can tell state review team what they think about Benton Harbor schools’ finances tonight

Benton Harbor High School
Credit Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

A state review team is hosting a public meeting today in Benton Harbor. The six-member team is trying to determine if Benton Harbor Area Schools is in financial stress.

The Benton Harbor school district has been running a deficit since 2006. It's cut costs, but at the same time, it also has low-performing schools that need to improve test scores to meet state and federal standards. Plus, it’s lost students every year.

It’s already closed buildings, privatized support services and gotten concessions in wages and benefits from teachers.

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Education
5:55 pm
Mon July 14, 2014

State superintendent invites charter authorizers, advocates to meet privately this month

Credit MichigansChildren / YouTube

Michigan’s schools superintendent wants to meet with charter school authorizers and advocacy groups this month as he figures out a way to hold them more accountable.

The vast majority of Michigan’s charter schools are set up by Central Michigan University, Grand Valley State University and Bay Mills Community College.

Earlier this month State Superintendent Mike Flanagan warned these and other entities, known as charter school authorizers, that he was not going to allow them to open new schools if their existing schools “do not measure up.”

Flanagan is concerned some charter authorizers aren’t being held accountable for the schools they run, academically or financially.

A state Department of Education spokesman said charter authorizers and other interested parties were invited to meet privately with Flanagan later this month to discuss his concerns.

Authorizers have come under scrutiny in the wake of a big investigative report the Detroit Free Press published earlier this month.

The report found some charter schools run by for-profit management companies aren’t transparent about how they spend taxpayer money.

Flanagan said the report and a meeting he had with charter advocates earlier this year have prompted him to make charter authorizers more accountable for the schools they set up.

Business
10:28 am
Fri July 11, 2014

Whirlpool looks to acquire controlling stake in Italian appliance maker for $1 billion

Credit Spotrebice Whirlpool / Creative Commons

Michigan-based Whirlpool has entered into an agreement to buy a controlling stake in an Italian appliance maker.

Whirlpool is expected to spend $1 billion to purchase more than two-thirds of the voting stock of Indesit, the company announced last night. The Italian based company employs 16,000 people. It sells appliances mostly in Western Europe under the name brands of Indesit, Hotpoint and Scholtès.

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Business
6:00 am
Mon June 30, 2014

Another proposed development, another controversy in Saugatuck duneland

Opponents of the development worry it'll compromise the larger ecosystem of the dunes in Saugatuck.
Credit Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Another proposed development in the coastal sand dunes along Lake Michigan is causing some controversy in Saugatuck. Opponents will ask state officials to reject a permit request at a hearing tonight.

They’d like to scale back a project that’ll turn a nearly century-old church campground into a private development for 12 beachfront homes.

Dave Barker is one of the developers. He says the homes would sit only on a small portion of the property, which includes 130 acres of duneland along Lake Michigan.

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Environment & Science
8:15 am
Fri June 27, 2014

Former Palisades workers claim retaliation for raising concerns

The Palisades nuclear power plant near South Haven.

Former workers at the Palisades nuclear plant are accusing management of lying to regulators about attempts to fix a work environment where managers put a chill on critical feedback from employees. 

Thursday night’s meeting to review Palisades' performance last year started out pretty typically.

Regulators noted a survey that found security officers fear retaliation if they raise certain concerns.

Company officials got a chance to respond. Otto Gustafson, Director of Regulatory and Performance Improvement at Palisades, said management is taking the concerns very seriously and outlined a plan to correct the problem. 

But then Chris Malich stepped to the microphone during the public comment portion of the meeting and called Gustafson and other officials out.

“I’ve seen it over and over,” Malich told regulators, “They’ve said things are going to change, things are going to change, and they stay the same.”

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Education
7:27 am
Thu June 26, 2014

Muskegon Heights schools has lots to do as charter company departs

Credit Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Mosaica Education, the charter company running Muskegon Heights schools, only has a few days left in its contract. But the district still has lots to do to get everything in place for the fall.

Last night the district hired its superintendent at a special board meeting. But it still has to finalize agreements with a staffing agency to hire all of its teachers and few other vendors by Monday.

This summer it has to finish building repairs, and rearrange all the grade levels because an elementary school building will close.

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Politics & Government
5:56 am
Wed June 25, 2014

Michigan puts prison food service company prisoners on notice: Get it together ... or else

Credit Kevin Rosseel / morguefile

Michigan’s Department of Corrections says problems with Aramark, the company that provides inmates their meals, have the potential to compromise safety and security in the state's prisons.

Food service was privatized at Michigan’s 31 prisons in December, saving roughly $16 million a year.

“Literally from a Saturday to a Sunday it transitioned to 360 contractor workers who, in many cases, had never been inside a correctional facility,” Michigan Department of Corrections spokesman Russ Marlan said. “So we expected some problems, we expected some issues.”

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Education
5:45 pm
Mon June 23, 2014

Review team to determine what district already knows: Benton Harbor schools in financial stress

Benton Harbor Area Schools Superintendent Leonard Seawood discusses the district's finances in front of the Emergency Loan Board in April 2014.
Credit Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Benton Harbor Area Schools has taken the next step in process that could result in an emergency manager.

Gov. Rick Snyder announced today his appointment of a six-member review team. The team has 60 days to determine if the district is in financial stress.

The district’s superintendent, Leonard Seawood, told state officials a few weeks ago it is. 

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Energy
5:00 am
Mon June 23, 2014

Two meetings this week to discuss Palisades nuclear plant’s performance last year

Credit Entergy Corporation

People will get two opportunities this week to hear how the Palisades nuclear plant is doing. Palisades was recently listed as one of the worst-performing plants in the country.

Regulators have raised the plant's official safety rating, but they say the safety culture among security staff still needs to improve.

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Politics & Government
5:46 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

Former Kent County commissioner to serve a year in jail for sex crimes against minor

Credit File photo / Kent County Sheriff

A former Kent County commissioner will spend a year in jail after pleading guilty to fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct charges.

Gary Rolls resigned his county commission seat earlier this year. He was accused of beginning a sexual relationship with a girl when she was nine. She's now in her late 20s.

Rolls said nothing before he was sentenced Thursday afternoon.  

In a statement, the victim told the judge Rolls used his position in power to threaten her.

“I saw him with police officers and important people in the news and I believed him,” she said.

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Transportation
3:38 pm
Wed June 18, 2014

Light rail project in Detroit wants more federal funds, or faces changes

A visual rendering of the proposed M-1 Rail Line through Detroit.
Credit m-1rail.com

Leaders of a light passenger rail line project being constructed in Detroit are looking for another $12 million from the federal government. If they don’t get it, the project may have to be scaled back or redesigned, or they may have to spend money that’s set aside for operating the line once it’s up and running.

The Detroit News uncovered the plea for more federal funds in a letter from a handful of Michigan congressmen and Senators Debbie Stabenow and Carl Levin.

Officials from Levin and Stabenow's offices forwarded Michigan Radio a copy of the letter, but declined requests for comment.

In it, elected leaders say without the $12 million grant "this important project will be delayed indefinitely, and we fear the resulting costs could make the project unaffordable."

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Education
3:28 pm
Tue June 17, 2014

Emergency manager says new arrangement at Muskegon Heights schools will be more economical

(right to left) Superintendent Alena Zachery-Ross, Parent Team president Kaja Thornton, High School principal Carla Turner-Laws and King Elementary Principal Stacey Pallett. All the principals hope to be re-hired by the staffing agency next year.
Credit Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Muskegon Heights schools’ emergency manager thinks a new setup to run the district next year will be more economical than hiring another charter company.

For the last two years, a for-profit company ran Muskegon Heights schools. But it ran into cash flow problems. The state had to give the district two cash advances this spring to pay staff and give it an emergency loan to keep schools open through the end of the school year.  

“We are in a survival mode,” Muskegon Heights schools emergency manager Gregory Weatherspoon said at a press conference Tuesday. “We will go for whatever will work and save us money and this was a cost savings to us,” he said.

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Education
8:03 am
Tue June 17, 2014

Muskegon Heights schools rejects for-profit charter bids in favor of (some) local control

Credit Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Updated: Emergency manager says new arrangement will be more economical than charter school company

Muskegon Heights schools will not hire another for-profit charter company to run the district. Instead, the district plans to hire its own superintendent, a staffing company and the intermediate school district in Muskegon County to run schools for the next three years.

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Law
4:00 pm
Sun June 15, 2014

Lawmakers make another attempt to regulate “large scale” dog breeders

Credit static416 / Creative Commons

A bill that’s working its way through the state House would make large-scale dog breeders register with the state. “Large scale” would be any breeder with 15 or more female dogs used for breeding puppies.

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Law
5:35 pm
Thu June 12, 2014

Same-sex couple from Grand Rapids sues to get state to recognize out-of-state marriage

Governor Rick Snyder's statement after a federal court overturns Michigan's ban on same sex marriage in March 2014.

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