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Lindsey Smith

West Michigan Reporter/Producer

Lindsey Smith is Michigan Radio’s Investigative Reporter. She previously served as 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!

Michigan's Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) has wrongly accused tens of thousands of people of cheating on their unemployment claims.
Bytemarks / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Attorneys for a number of people who say the state of Michigan wrongfully garnished their wages or seized their tax refunds hope an appeals court will rule quickly in their case.

Karl Williams says he’s one of tens of thousands of people who were wrongly accused of fraud by the state’s automated system for unemployment insurance.

The Lansing resident says the state is still garnishing his wages. He’s been working a ton of overtime to make ends meet.

Kalamazoo River
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Federal environmental regulators want to remove the Otsego City Dam in Allegan County in an effort to clean up toxic chemicals left behind by the paper mill industry.

The newly proposed plan released late last week also includes excavating some of the contaminated Kalamazoo River banks, and rerouting the river channel past the most contaminated areas.

Flickr user Frank Juarez / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Just before the holiday weekend, Central Michigan University’s Board of Trustees made official what parents have known for a while now: Michigan Technical Academy is closing. The pre-k through 8th grade charter school in Detroit has been open for more than a decade.

The state had threatened to close the school in the spring, over persistently low performance on standardized tests.

Keeria Myles says her 8-year-old daughter, Sonja, had only been at the school one year, but loved it.

“She’s upset about it and she feels like it’s her fault,” Myles said.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Judith Pruitt’s water bill is $7,545.29.

That’s after the Flint retiree withdrew nearly $900 out of her savings account a few weeks ago to pay the city, or else her water would’ve been shut off, she said.

New data analyzed by Michigan Radio show Pruitt is not alone.

I am switching roles a bit at Michigan Radio. The change requires me to sell my lovely house in Grand Rapids to work out of Ann Arbor.

Groups brainstorming
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Elected leaders in Grand Rapids are trying to satisfy critics who say they’re not doing enough to change police policies and outcomes critics say are racially biased.

It's part of a larger effort launched after violence in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014.

Mike Maycroft, left, president of the Grand Rapids Police Command Officers Association; and Andy Bingel, president of the Grand Rapids Police Officers Association.
Lindsey Smith

A recent study commissioned by the city of Grand Rapids, which found that black drivers in the city are twice as likely to be pulled over as white motorists, is getting some criticism.

But Grand Rapids City Manager Greg Sundstrom says the new critique doesn’t change the fact that there’s a problem. Even if the notion is hard to swallow for police officers.

Bicylists
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

It’s been almost a year since one of the nation’s worst bicycling accidents. A pickup truck driver struck nine people riding just north of Kalamazoo on June 7. Five of the friends in the “chain gang” were killed.

Lead service line
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Ann Arbor is approaching a milestone of sorts. The city is replacing the last of its lead connections in the water system.

Ann Arbor city officials say they never allowed full lead service lines, the water pipes buried underground that connect homes to the water main.

Where are lead water pipes in Michigan? Here’s our best guess

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

You cannot tell if Michigan’s School Reform Officer Natasha Baker was prepared to recommend closing any of the 38 schools on the state’s lowest performing school’s list. That information was redacted from public documents released this week by the state, following a March 3 request filed by Michigan Radio under the Freedom of Information Act.

The Washington Writer's Academy in Kalamazoo
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Detroit and at least seven other Michigan school districts have reached an agreement with Michigan’s Department of Education to allow more than 35 schools to stay open for at least the next three years.

All the schools performed in the bottom 5% on standardized tests for at least three consecutive years.

The state’s School Reform Office, or SRO, caused an uproar in January when it sent letters directly to parents announcing the potential closures without first notifying local school officials.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Three years ago today, Flint switched the source of its drinking water, and triggered a public health crisis.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

A new study finds Grand Rapids Police are biased when it comes to pulling over drivers in the city.

A study released this week shows black drivers are twice as likely to be stopped. 

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

The Berrien County Prosecutor's office has filed two felony charges against former Benton Harbor Area Schools Superintendent Leonard Seawood.

Seawood worked at Benton Harbor Area Schools from the fall of 2011 until the spring of 2015, when he was put on a paid leave while the school board conducted an investigation.  Four months later, Seawood agreed to resign for an $80,000 payout.

Seawood was charged today with one count of embezzlement and one count of obtaining money by false pretenses.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

About 500 people showed up to a public hearing in Big Rapids hosted by Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality last night. Almost every one of them spoke against Nestle’s plan to pump 400 gallons of water a minute to sell under the company’s Ice Mountain bottled water brand. 

three moms at podium
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

The parents of five young, unarmed black boys that Grand Rapids police held at gunpoint last month want police officers involved in the incident to apologize to their sons.

Police ordered the 12 to 14-year-olds to the ground after getting a tip that someone in a group matching their description had a gun. Grand Rapids’ police chief has apologized but said officers were following protocol.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

A coalition of community groups is encouraging Grand Rapids residents to contact the city manager and police chief after a March 24th encounter between police and a group of five African American boys.

Mark Savage / Entergy

The Michigan Public Service Commission is trying to decide if closing the Palisades nuclear power plant in southwest Michigan will save customers money. MPSC must sign off on Consumers Energy Company’s plan to end its agreement with Entergy, the company that owns Palisades, early.  

The Michigan Public Service Commission will hold back-to-back meetings for the public on May 8th in Lawrence, Michigan.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

An ethics watchdog organization wants the Office of Congressional Ethics to investigate whether Congressman Justin Amash violated House rules during a twitter fight with a White House staffer. The group filed ethics related complaints against both Amash and White House Director of Social Media Dan Scavino.

Natural gas power plant in California
David Monniaux / Wikimedia Commons

Consumers Energy wants to buy a power plant fired by natural gas to help replace the energy produced by the Palisades nuclear plant.

Consumers hopes the state will approve an agreement it has with Entergy, which owns Palisades, to close the nuclear plant near South Haven in 2018. Michigan’s Public Service Commission has until August to make that call.

Consumers says it’ll save customers money by closing Palisades. But it has to figure out how to replace all that energy.

Consumers spokesman Brian Wheeler says natural gas could be a big part of the plan.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

People in Flint are still digesting the terms of this week’s legal settlement and what it’ll mean for them.

Tuesday, U.S. District Judge David Lawson signed off on the deal, under which the state and federal governments will set aside $97 million to pay for replacing 18,000 lead and galvanized service lines during the next three years.

Empty classroom.
Kevin Wong / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

In January, the state’s School Reform Office sent a warning letter directly to parents at 38 low-performing schools. The letter told parents their child’s school was at risk of closing by the end of June “due to academic failure for many years” and they would get an update by March.

The schools on this list scored in the bottom 5% on state standardized tests for three consecutive years.

Grand Rapids police officer directing traffic.
Flickr user lincolnblues / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

A group of law enforcement professionals is working on recommendations to the governor for improving trust between police and the communities they serve. You have through this weekend to give them your thoughts.

Governor Rick Snyder issued an executive order in October to have the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards produce the report. It will focus on three underlying themes: improving community engagement, training, and recruitment.

young kids playing with toys on floor
Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

The heads of most of the 38 schools facing closure for low academic performance are drafting agreements that would allow the schools to stay open and collaborate with the state.

The state offered the agreements as a sort of olive branch after major backlash to the closure announcements in late January.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

The U.S. EPA is making long term revisions to the 25-year-old Lead and Copper Rule. The new rules are expected to come out this year. A top EPA official says one of the biggest changes could be an expensive one.

Because of the water crisis in Flint, city officials now know there are more than 20,000 lead service lines, the water pipes connecting homes to a water main, still buried underground in Flint.

Because of Flint, we know that other cities are now at least trying to figure out how many lead service lines they have and where they’re located.

Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Blissat gives her 2017 State of the City address.
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Grand Rapids' mayor wants to make the city more welcoming to immigrants. Rosalynn Bliss announced a new initiative at her State of the City address Thursday night. She says the goal is to connect immigrants with services and provide information about schools and local government. 

“I want to make sure there is a safe place for them to come and learn about our community, our systems and how to get engaged,” Bliss said.

She expects to launch the initiative in the next month or two.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Congressman Bill Huizenga held a town hall meeting today north of Grand Rapids that last more than four hours, a bit longer than he anticipated.

“And that’s okay,” he said. “What I knew was going to happen was, after two hours or even three hours if I had said ‘OK, you know maybe we’ve had enough,’ there would be all these calls of, you know, ‘He shut it down early!'”

The Washington Writer's Academy in Kalamazoo
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Lawyers for Saginaw and Kalamazoo school districts say the state does not have the authority to close four of their low-performing schools.

The complaint was filed late Wednesday on behalf of the two school districts and more than a dozen parents. They argue the governor violated the state constitution when he signed an executive order in 2015 moving the School Reform Office into a department under his control, instead of the state superintendent and the education department.

The office is considering closing 38 schools.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Some Michigan members of Congress have been criticized lately for avoiding constituents. But two Republican congressmen from West Michigan are hosting in-person events over the next few days.

U.S. Rep. Bill Huizenga, R-2nd Dist., has his first in-person town hall of the year set for this Saturday at noon in Baldwin. The tiny town about an hour north of Grand Rapids was supposed to be a part of Huizenga’s annual snowmobile tour. There’s not enough snow this year, but he didn’t cancel the event.

MSU President Lou Anna Simon
File photo / MSU

Michigan State University President Lou Anna Simon says a pair of sexual assault investigations are not signs of larger issues within the athletic department. 

She says sexual assault will not be tolerated, but added it’s not unique to MSU.

“To make it an MSU problem in the reporting, from my perspective, and not a society problem that also happens to be at MSU, it does a disservice to the university,” Simon said.  

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