WUOMFM

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!

Lee Anne Walters with her son Garrett outside of her home in Flint.
Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

One of the women who helped uncover the Flint water crisis says members of the U.S. Navy are retaliating against her husband. You can catch up on her family's back story here.

Lead service line
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Congress returns to D.C. this week to begin a three-week-long lame duck session.

Congressman Dan Kildee says funding for Flint is at the top of his list of things to get done before the end of the year.

“We’ve really been working on this for almost the entire year to get Congress to take action, and until we get it done it continues to be my number one priority,” Kildee said.

The funding could help pay to replace thousands of lead service lines damaged because of the water crisis.

Medical Marijuana
Dank Depot / Creative Commons http://tinyurl.com/oall5zn

Lawyers for Spectrum Health are asking a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit by a patient who alleges the company told her employer she was a medical marijuana patient.

In court documents, Lisa Richlich’s lawyer alleges her Spectrum Health doctor was negligent and invaded his client’s privacy when the doctor sent medical information to Richlich’s employer.

Richlich was to have neck surgery in the spring of 2015. She asked her doctor to send information to her employer, auto-supplier Gentex, about the surgery so that she could get time off under the Family Medical Leave Act.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

A Christian organization dedicated to helping the homeless served more than 2,000 people a free Thanksgiving dinner Thursday.

The group, Mel Trotter Ministries, got more volunteers than it could use.  Volunteer coordinator Paula Seales says a week ago, she had 756 volunteers signed up to help serve the free dinner in downtown Grand Rapids.  By Thursday, it was close to 900.  She had to put some people on a waiting list and turn some people away.

“My phone was just constantly ringing," says Seales.  "'Can I volunteer? I want to be a part of this. It’s so wonderful.”

A report shows areas surrounding the decommissioned Wurtsmith Air Force Base are contaminated and have caused severe health issues for some area residents.
Mike Fritcher / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Congressman Dan Kildee wants the Air Force to do more to help Oscoda residents whose groundwater is contaminated by perfluorinated chemicals, or PFCs. The Wurtsmith Air Force Base used firefighting foams containing PFCs on its property in Oscoda for decades. The base is now closed.

Kildee sent a letter to the Air Force this week, outlining a long list of concerns.

Betsy DeVos.
BetsyDeVos.com

President-elect Donald Trump has selected longtime school choice advocate Betsy DeVos to head the U.S. Department of Education. (Presidential cabinet picks are subject to Senate confirmation. See who Trump has picked for his cabinet so far with WaPo's cabinet tracker.)

Trump’s stance on education policy has, thus far, been difficult to discern. His pick of DeVos indicates how his administration likely sees education policy going forward.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

A biodigester could be temporarily shut down if the operators can’t figure out how to stop foul smells from wafting over the city of Lowell. This week the Lowell city council voted to instruct its attorney to send a letter to operators to shut down the biodigester until the smell is gone.

The biodigester converts beer waste, salad dressing and manure into methane gas that powers a turbine and generates electricity.

Greg Northrup, a managing partner of the digester, acknowledges smell is still an issue, but he says it should be resolved in the next few days.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

A team of eight community partners, including Grand Rapids Public Schools, health providers, and artistic groups are working together on a big project in Grand Rapids’ Roosevelt Park neighborhood.

The group of organizations, along with help from the Roosevelt Park Neighborhood Association, are taking five acres of blighted properties and transforming them into new mixed-income homes and apartments, a public high school, and a community center.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

New test results show lead levels in Kalamazoo’s water system have dropped.

The federal limit for lead in water is 15 parts per billion. Last time the city tested, in 2014, Kalamazoo’s lead level was 13 parts per billion. Now it's down to 4 ppb.

13 ppb was close enough to worry Shannan Deater, Kalamazoo’s Environmental Services Programs Manager. She says some of the higher lead results in 2014 weren’t really a good, representative sample. 

agilitynut.com / File photo

A group of people met in Albion last night in an attempt to unify the community after someone vandalized several buildings downtown.

Courtesy Photo

For the first time in 28 years a majority of Michigan voters chose a Republican president.

Although low voter turnout in big, democratic strongholds like Flint and Detroit played a role, exit polling shows rural voters turned out in record numbers to flip Michigan for Trump.

With the first female presidential candidate on the ballot this election, it was widely expected women would turnout in large numbers for Hillary Clinton. Most did. But exit polls still show 42% of women backed Trump. White, non-college educated women voted for Trump 2 to 1.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

A loud, dissatisfied crowd streamed through the streets in Grand Rapids Thursday night, peacefully protesting the election of Donald Trump as president. At least a thousand people participated.

After the march, people chanted at a square downtown – declaring "Trump is not my president" and "Love trumps hate."

15 year old Brian Dominguez marched with his mom Laura and little sister Daphne.

Dominquez and his family are from Michigan, but he says they’re proud of their Mexican heritage.

Voting in Michigan.
Paulette Parker / Michigan Radio

Voters in Kent County approved two separate measures to support a zoo, museum and improved services for an emergency dispatch.

A millage increase will help pay to repair and improve exhibits at the Grand Rapids Public Museum. It’ll also help pay to care for animals at John Ball Zoo. Backers estimate it’ll raise a little over $9 million a year. WOOD-TV reports the additional .44 mills will cost the owner of a $170,000 home $37.40 more per year through 2025.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Grand Rapids officials say the city's drinking water is still well within federal standards for the presence of lead. Such testing is getting increased attention amid Flint's crisis with lead-tainted water.

The city posted the results on its website Friday after they were certified by state regulators; information that typically waits until the Consumer Confidence Report is mailed out.

110TH AIRLIFT WING/Tech. Sgt. David Eichaker / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Defense is a $9 billion industry in Michigan that employs more than 100,000 people.

State officials want to grow the defense industry, and now they have a plan to do it.

Sean Carlson directs the Michigan Defense Center, an arm of the state’s economic development agency. He says it can be difficult for small- and medium-sized companies to win government contracts in the defense industry.

DWSD

Detroit found more lead in drinking water samples this summer than it has in recent years, and there’s a few reasons to account for the uptick.  

Unofficial results posted this month by the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department show Detroit’s water is safe to drink by federal standards.

Muskegon Heights High School
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

The financial emergency in Muskegon Heights schools is over. That’s according to Governor Rick Snyder and the emergency manager who’s leaving the district.

Ann Storberg works for Michigan’s treasury department and will serve on a Muskegon Heights schools’ Receivership Transition Advisory Board.

She says Highland Park schools is now the only entity under emergency management.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump claims there will be “large-scale voter fraud” this election. But election officials say they’re confident that will not be the case in Michigan. 

“We want to assure everyone, regardless of their political ideology or their partisan affiliation that their voice will be heard on election day and their voice will be counted,” said Fred Woodhams, a spokesman for Michigan’s Secretary of State.

Woodhams says this isn’t the first election he’s fielded these concerns, and guesses it won’t be the last.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan’s congressional Democrats sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice today asking for a review of a legal provision. The provision seemed to prevent the city of Flint from suing the state of Michigan without the state’s approval.

But it appears the state is prepared to strike that provision anyway. If it does, that could allow Flint to sue the state over the water crisis.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Kalamazoo City Commissioners voted Monday night in support of a public-private partnership they hope will stabilize the budget, lower property taxes and fund “aspirational projects” as early as next year.

The donation comes from two local businessmen and philanthropists. Both have ties to the Kalamazoo-based medical device manufacturing giant Stryker Corporation. One is heir to the Upjohn Company.

They’re offering the major donation to help stabilize Kalamazoo’s budget. The city was considering an income tax to help close a deficit.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

U.S. EPA announced Friday it will consolidate and cap one-and-a-half-million cubic yards of old industrial waste in Kalamazoo. It’s been dubbed a compromise plan after residents and city leaders urged the EPA to choose a plan that would remove the waste entirely from the Allied Site.

“I’m reluctant to use terms like compromise because protectiveness is something the EPA can’t compromise on,” EPA Remedial Project Manager Michael Berkoff said.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

The hunt is on for lead pipes in Detroit.

Flint officials still don’t know where all the city’s lead service lines are. That’s because the building records were in horrible shape.

State law specifically says people without photo IDs, can sign an affidavit - and still vote
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

There are 7,495,216 people registered to vote in Michigan in the 2016 presidential elections. That’s more than 40,000 more than were registered in the last presidential election, according the Secretary of State’s Office. There are more voters registered now than in 2008, the previous record.

The deadline to register to vote in the November election was last week.

Some of the biggest registration surges came from counties with a large college-age population; Washtenaw, Ingham, Isabella, Marquette, and Kalamazoo counties.

Courtesy Photo / Hoekstra True Value Hardware

People are flocking to a family owned hardware store that’s become a staple in Kalamazoo.

Hoekstra’s True Value Hardware is closing after nearly 150 years in business.

Co-owner Phil Ippel says he’s looking forward to more golfing, traveling and volunteering in the community. He’s even got a river cruise booked for next year.

“It’ll be a few months here, some hard work to get it down where we can do that,” he chuckled.  

people at sculpture exhibit
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

A collection of carved wooden dogs received the most votes in this year’s ArtPrize. James Mellick, a craftsman from Ohio, takes home $200,000 for Wounded Warrior Dogs.

According to the artists’ statement, Mellick hopes the installation at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel raises awareness of wounded veterans.

grand rapids school administrators at podium
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Leaders of Grand Rapids Public Schools say they’ve gained 160 students this school year, finally reversing a downward trend that’s lasted more than a decade.

The district has lost more than 3,000 students in 10 years. This is the first time since the fall of 2003 that the district gained students over the previous year.

Mike and Keri Webber
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Today marks one year since health officials in Genesee County warned people living in Flint to stop drinking their tap water.

The water is improving, but Flint’s water is still not safe to drink without a filter. But there are stories of hope on this not-so-pleasant anniversary.

The Michigan Union on the U of M's campus.
Andrew Horne / Wikimedia Commons

The University of Michigan removed several racist flyers posted on campus today.

One flier explained “Why White Women Shouldn’t Date Black Men.” Others told white people to stop “apologizing” and “living in fear” and “be white.”

Filling a sample bottle.
Courtesy photo / Virginia Tech

This week, a state lawmaker from Flint says he’ll introduce legislation that would make Michigan’s regulations on lead in drinking water some of the strictest in the U.S.

Governor Rick Snyder first rolled out the proposal in April in reaction to the Flint water crisis. He said federal rules on the amount of lead allowed in drinking water were “dumb and dangerous” because they’re not based on protecting public health.

A road sign says "Share the road" for bicycle safety.
user Richard Drdul / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

This week, a Senate legislative committee will consider bills that supporters say will make Michigan roads safer for bicyclists.

The package would require drivers to give riders a 5-foot-wide passing zone.

“It is kind of scary to have two tons of fast moving vehicle pass you,” Paul Selden says, “and the closer they pass, the more scary it is.”

Selden directs public safety for the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club. He says requiring a five-foot passing zone won’t prevent every crash, but he believes clarity about the rules will save lives.

Pages