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

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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Education
10:34 am
Mon June 9, 2014

State leaders question oversight role when charter companies run entire school districts

Credit MichigansChildren / YouTube

State Superintendent Mike Flanagan says the consequences of turning entire school districts over to for-profit charter school companies deserves more consideration from state lawmakers.

Flanagan told a state panel last week it’s not clear if the Muskegon Heights school district, or the for-profit charter company that ran it the last two years, will face any consequences for running up a deficit big enough to require an emergency loan worth $1.4 million and two cash advances to keep schools open through June. It’s unclear exactly what the deficit is for the 2013-2014 school year.

The Muskegon Heights school district is now looking for a new operator. That’s after the district and its emergency manager agreed to end its contract with Mosaica Education Inc. when the company couldn’t turn a profit.

“Now that (Mosaica) is leaving, they pretty much told us they’re not going to do (the district’s) deficit elimination plan. To follow up on that, we should wait for the new management company and deal with them,” Dan Hanrahan, Michigan Department of Education’s director of state aid and school finance, told the panel.

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Energy
7:57 am
Sat June 7, 2014

NRC chairwoman tours Michigan nuclear plants, downplays internal strife within agency

NRC Chairwoman Allison Macfarlane and Congressman Fred Upton briefed reporters after touring the Palisades and Cook nuclear plants Friday.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

The head of the nation’s nuclear regulatory agency toured two nuclear plants in southwest Michigan Friday.

NRC Chairwoman Allison Macfarlane wanted to see how the plants are doing in the wake of the disaster at a nuclear plant in Japan. Congressman Fred Upton joined Macfarlane for the visits to the Donald C. Cook Nuclear Plant and the Palisades Nuclear Power Plant, both of which are located in his district.

Nuclear regulators are requiring plants to upgrade equipment and emergency plans that take into account the meltdown of the Fukushima plant in 2011.

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Politics & Government
5:20 pm
Wed June 4, 2014

Someone give this guy a gold star: Congressman Amash marks 2,500 consecutive votes

Michigan Congressman Justin Amash.
Credit Facebook

Michigan Congressman Justin Amash never gets sick. His car never breaks down and he doesn't take off work for doctor's appointments.

OK, that’s probably an exaggeration.

Amash has represented Grand Rapids in Congress since 2010. He's never missed a single vote on the House floor. He's now cast 2,500 votes in a row. This appears to put Amash and Congressman Steve Womack from Arkansas in a tie for the prize of longest active voting streak of any sitting representative.

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The Environment Report
12:50 pm
Tue June 3, 2014

Michigan gets ready for EPA's proposed carbon rules

Credit Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Lindsey Smith updates us on reaction in Michigan to the proposed EPA rules.

On Monday morning, the Environmental Protection Agency released the federal government’s plan to cut carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. The agency's calling it the "Clean Power Plan."

The EPA says carbon dioxide emissions are the main driver of climate change. The agency is proposing a 30% reduction in CO2 from power plants by 2030. Here's what EPA says about the proposed regulations:

Climate change is not just a problem for the future. We are facing its impacts today:

Average temperatures have risen in most states since 1901, with seven of the top 10 warmest years on record occurring since 1998.  Climate and weather disasters in 2012 cost the American economy more than $100 billion. Nationwide, by 2030, the Clean Power Plan will help cut carbon pollution from the power sector by approximately 30 per cent from 2005 levels. It will also reduce pollutants that contribute to the soot and smog that make people sick by over 25 percent.

Policymakers at the state level and the state’s major power companies don’t seem surprised by the news. 

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Environment & Science
1:00 pm
Sun June 1, 2014

Workgroup starts crafting Michigan’s new energy policy this week

Michigan's renewable energy standard passed in 2008, which requires utilities to get 10% of their power from renewable sources like solar, expires in 2015.
Credit Ford Motor Company / Flickr

State law forces power companies to get 10% of their power from renewable sources, like wind and solar, by next year. It’s a target they’re expected to meet.

The state issued a report last year that shows companies could get as much at 30% by 2035. But there’s no law that requires that, yet. It’s something a workgroup will consider as it works this summer to update Michigan’s energy policy.

State Senator Mike Nofs (R-Battle Creek) will help lead the group.

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Environment & Science
5:28 pm
Fri May 30, 2014

Obama administration wants more money for Great Lakes Restoration Initiative

The initiative provided a big chunk of money to clean up legacy pollution from several areas in Michigan, including White Lake.
Credit ckay / Creative Commons

A popular program to improve the environment around the Great Lakes could be extended. A task force including 11 federal agencies and led by the Environmental Protection Agency released a draft of the updated plan Friday for public review.

Congress has already approved $1.6 billion on the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. An updated blueprint calls for another $275 million annually over the next five years. 

A big chunk of that money helped jump start efforts to clean up industrial pollution that happened decades ago. There are 14 of these so-called "toxic hot spots" in Michigan on a list of Areas of Concern. Cleanup efforts have been underway since the 1980s.

“They’ve been on the list for far too long. We need to give these harbor side and riverside communities some relief and get them cleaned up,” Cameron Davis said. He’s a senior advisor to the administrator at the Environmental Protection Agency.

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Economy
5:25 pm
Thu May 29, 2014

Michigan residents would pay $9 less per month for power under efficiency plan

Many older coal plants, like this one in Holland, Michigan have been shut down recently.
Credit Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Michigan residents would save around $9 a month by 2020 under a plan to improve energy efficiency. That’s according to analysis released today by the Natural Resources Defense Council.

The group’s plan comes out less than a week before federal regulators are expected to unveil a new plan to drastically cut carbon emissions, which scientists believe contribute to climate change.

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Arts & Culture
6:13 pm
Wed May 28, 2014

Catholic Church advises parishioners in Kalamazoo to avoid ordination of female priest

Only men can be ordained priests in the Catholic Church.
Ryan Basilio Creative Commons

Leaders of the Catholic Diocese of Kalamazoo are warning parishioners not to take part in an ordination ceremony this weekend, because the person being ordained is a woman.

In a weekly newsletter, Bishop Paul Bradley reminded parishioners who take part that they will be kicked out of the church. Those who witness what he called the “simulation” ceremony must confess before receiving sacraments of the church. The Diocese did not return requests for comment on this story.

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