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.


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!

One of Benton Harbor’s old emergency managers is expected to head to federal court next month.

Tony Saunders was Benton Harbor’s emergency manager from January 2013 until he declared the financial emergency over, in March 2014.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Parents and students in Highland Park will get a chance to hear what options they have for next year now that the high school is closing.

A couple weeks ago, the state-appointed emergency manager of Highland Parks schools announced the district would be a K-8 district only. He says there are just too few students to make it feasible.

This is what a $2,000 FOIA request looks like.
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

In order for parents to make the best decisions for their children, they need to know what’s going on. So do taxpayers and voters.

In my years of writing about school districts all over the state, I’ve learned everyone wants to brag about the successes. No one is in a hurry to admit when things aren’t working for students.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

A federal judge has ruled against a man who was demonstrating his right to openly carry a gun in a Grand Rapids neighborhood.

One Sunday morning last year, Johann Deffert decided to exercise his free speech rights. He put on some camouflage pants, put his tactical pistol in its holster, and started walking around a neighborhood.

Someone called 9-1-1.

Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

The Leona Group has agreed to run the Highland Park school district for less money, and shorten its contract. The revised contract runs only through the end of next school year, one year short of the original five-year deal.

A state-appointed emergency manager decided last week Highland Park couldn’t afford to offer high school next year. Still, the charter school company that’s operated the Highland Park school district for the last three years says it’s committed to the community.

Courtesy photo / Dutch Royal House

The king and queen of the Netherlands are planning a visit to Grand Rapids this week.

Back in the 19th century, many Dutch immigrants took off for West Michigan looking for work and religious freedom. There’s still a huge population of Dutch immigrants and their descendants living in Holland, Grand Rapids, Muskegon and Kalamazoo.

Adventure George / flickr

Federal regulators plan to mix more renewable fuel into gasoline over the next few years, but it’s a whole lot less than Congress wanted.

In 2007, Congress passed a law to increase biofuels. It was part of an effort to lower greenhouse gas emission and dependence on foreign oil and boost the renewable fuel industry. The law set mandates for how much renewable fuel is produced and mixed into gasoline.

User Motown31 / Creative Commons

Highland Park schools can’t afford to offer high school next year, only grades K-8.

There are about 160 kids at Highland Park High school now. That’s only a third of the number of students there three years ago. That’s when district finances got so bad an emergency manager was appointed.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

A program that’ll offer students in Grand Rapids free college is getting a big boost. A group of 400 donors has raised more than $33 million in one year.

Sixth-graders who commit to come to school regularly and get good grades can go to college for free. The scholarships target middle schoolers who funnel into a low-performing Grand Rapids high school.

Benton Harbor High School
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Despite some state intervention this school year, Benton Harbor schools is still struggling. This spring has been rough for the district.

Benton Harbor schools has more than a $15 million deficit. The district signed a consent agreement with the state last fall to avoid an emergency manger.

Runar Pedersen Holkestad / Creative Commons

The federal government will help Michigan come up with a policy over the summer to help traumatized children.

Michigan, California and Massachusetts will get help from the Department of Justice. Each state will develop a comprehensive plan to identify, screen and treat children exposed to violence.

Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce / Courtesy photo

Muskegon is marking the unofficial start of summer with a rebranding campaign. Leaders in Muskegon are trying to improve the lakeshore community’s not-so-great image.

“It’s changed a lot, I would say, in the last 15 years,” said Cindy Larsen, president of the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce.

Michigan State Police

The right-leaning Mackinac Center hosted a forum Wednesday featuring the ACLU and Democratic state representative Jeff Irwin.

“Maybe it’s a little strange to have someone like myself appear at a Mackinac Center event,” Irwin told the crowd gathered, “but I think it actually just speaks to the power of this argument.”

Enivronmental Protection Agency

The Environmental Protection Agency is hosting a meeting in Kalamazoo tonight to get feedback on its proposed plan to clean up a 22-mile section of the Kalamazoo River.

For decades, paper mills dumped waste into the Kalamazoo River. Some of it had polychlorinated biphenyls; or PCBs.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Meijer is suing an Indian drug manufacturer it claims cost the Michigan-based retailer tens of millions of dollars. The exact figure won’t be known for some time.

Ranbaxy is already in trouble with the U.S. government for lying to the FDA, among other things. The FDA has banned the company from producing and selling drugs for the U.S. market.

(courtesy of KQED)

A new pilot program in Grand Rapids will try to raise student achievement at high-poverty schools.

Education Trust-Midwest announced Monday it's launching a program to provide greater support and coaching to teachers. Education Trust-Midwest is a nonpartisan education research organization based in Royal Oak.

Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

On Wednesday a state senate panel will review a bill that would cut off welfare benefits to families whose children skip school repeatedly.

About 29,000 families get cash assistance in Michigan now. Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services has been cutting off families with kids who don’t show up for school.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

U.S. Senator Rand Paul says Republicans need to be as passionate about the entire bill of rights as they are about people’s right to own a gun.

Sarah Perks, of Caledonia, was among a couple hundred people who stood to listen to Paul’s 20-minute speech. The Republican presidential hopeful talked about people’s right to a fair trial and privacy at an event in Grand Rapids Monday.

Bureau of Land Management

Attorney General Bill Schuette announced Friday afternoon the state agreed to settle its case against Chesapeake Energy. The allegations stem from an auction for drilling leases on state land.

In May 2010, one auction brought in $178 million, an incredibly huge record.

John Eisenschenk / Creative Commons

A new effort led by the private sector in Grand Rapids will try to cut water, energy use and transportation emissions in half over the next 15 years.

More than a dozen businesses, including Spectrum Health, Consumers Energy, Rockford Construction and SMG, which manages DeVos Place and Van Andel Arena, have agreed to the general concept. A new committee will draft details of the plan this year.

user Tyrone Warner / Flickr

A federal judge in Grand Rapids will not order the state of Michigan to immediately recognize the marriage of a gay couple from East Grand Rapids.

Brian Morgan and Bruce Merrucci got married in New York in 2013. A year ago they filed to jointly own their home. The Kent County clerk refused to change the deed because Michigan doesn’t recognize same-sex marriages.

USDA / Creative Commons

The U.S. Coast Guard is denying a request to allow barge traffic from entering the deep water port in Muskegon. It says it’s not safe enough and there are not enough potential economic benefits.

The flat-bottomed boats are already allowed to go to ports in Indiana and Milwaukee.

cincy Project / Creative Commons

Saginaw city council is targeting landlords for their tenants’ bad behavior. Proponents say the new local law adopted Monday night will improve neighborhoods.

Under the change, landlords would pay a fine if they don’t work to evict tenants with multiple complaints. The complaints could range from noise violations to alleged illegal activity. The ordinance says the tenant doesn’t need to be convicted of a crime to be considered a “quality of life” violation.

Courtesy of House Democrats

A former state lawmaker is running to become the mayor of Michigan’s second-largest city.

If you pay attention to Grand Rapids politics at all, you’ve probably heard of Robert Dean. He served on the Grand Rapids school board in the 1990s, and then the city commission for years.

jordanmrcai / Creative Commons

The EPA says it cannot forgive loans the city of Flint took out 15 years ago to improve its water system. The federal agency responded this week in a letter to U.S. Congressman Dan Kildee, D-Michigan, who made the inquiry last month.

Kildee says he’s disappointed, but still hopeful they can figure something out.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The state ranks schools on a top-to-bottom list each year. Those in the lowest five percent are considered “priority” schools. There were almost 260 priority schools until now, when the state superintendent removed 27 of them from the list. He said the schools had implemented improvement plans successfully since the schools were placed on the list in 2010.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Lithium-ion battery maker LG Chem is planning on doubling the size of its workforce in Holland this year. The plant makes batteries for the Chevy Volt and Cadillac ELR.

LG Chem is expanding to make batteries for a new customer. But a company spokesman won't say who the new customer is.

U.S. Department of Education / Creative Commons

Officials at Michigan’s Department of Education say schools are ready for the new standardized test. The eight-week window to take it opens today.

The new test measures kids’ understanding of core subjects. But unlike the old test, the new one is online.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Officials in Grand Rapids joined a nationwide effort today to rally support for long term federal funding for transportation infrastructure.

Current funding for things like new busses expires at the end of May.

Jack Amick / Creative Commons

A group of former inmates at the Kent County Jail is suing the sheriff in federal court.

The case also blames the food service company Aramark for what inmates called a “mass poisoning.”

The case stems from one meal served at the jail three years ago. About 250 inmates suffered diarrhea, cramps, and other ailments after eating some chicken tacos that went bad; 16 of those former inmates are suing the county and Aramark in federal court.