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!

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.

Grand River Edges Trail.
user deckheck / Rails to Trails Conservancy

In Michigan, at least one in five jobs is tied to water. That’s according to a new report released today.

Transportation, ports, and shipping contribute more than 65,000 jobs and $3 billion to the economy each year.

The Michigan Blue Economy report was put together by the Annis Water Resources Institute at Grand Valley State University and the Michigan Economic Center at Prima Civitas.

SpecialKRB / flickr

More than 2,800 students log online to attend Michigan Virtual Charter Academy. The state’s largest virtual school is also one of its worst performing districts. Yet every single teacher was rated “highly effective” for the last two years, according to data recently released by the state.

David Wild / Creative Commons

Four horse stables are under quarantine because of a herpes virus outbreak. There are three confirmed cases at two stables; one in Livingston County and one in Saginaw. The virus popped up last month at an event in Barry County.

Two of the three horses displayed neurological symptoms, though the strain of virus is a respiratory one. One of those horses was euthanized.

Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

Today, we reported about how much teacher evaluations vary from district to district. It makes comparing teachers across the state pretty much impossible.

But here’s a breakdown of where districts report the best and worst teachers are.

Andrew Taylor / Creative Commons

We know we want to attract and keep the best teachers in Michigan, but how do we know who the best teachers are?

School leaders across the state started measuring how teachers stack up in 2011. But the teacher effectiveness ratings, as they’re called, can be pretty useless.

user redjar / Flickr

Transportation Security Administration officers rallied at Detroit Metro Airport on Wednesday afternoon, demanding more armed personnel at airports across the country.

Alan Jackimowicz is American Federation of Government Employees Council 100 Executive Vice President. He represents 46,000 TSA screeners in the U.S. He suggests Congress cut spending overseas to pay for improved domestic airport security.

Daniel Lobo / Creative Commons

Nearly 100 workers at seven Michigan hotels will share $50,000 in back pay. The consent judgment was announced today.

Housekeepers and maintenance workers at the hotels in Grand Rapids and Monroe were paid less than minimum wage in some cases, didn’t get overtime pay, or were not paid fully for work they did before and after their shifts ended.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

The state is offering a million dollars to help clean up the site where Michigan State University is going to build its biomedical research center.

The site is near Grand Rapids’ “medical mile”; where The Grand Rapids Press was housed for decades.

Juan Alvarez / Creative Commons

Police in Michigan are using an easy way to check whether a motor vehicle is properly insured.

Michigan State Police and other agencies can tell whether most vehicles are insured by running a license plate number through an in-car computer.

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

Student enrollment at Muskegon Heights has been declining since the 2009-10 school year.

Five years ago, student enrollment at Muskegon Heights schools was double what it is now. But for the first time since 2009, student enrollment was stable this year. Technically, enrollment was up 5 students.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Michigan is nearly out of money to lend school districts in case of financial emergencies.

The state treasury department had up to $50 million total to lend school districts facing financial emergencies. That amount was supposed to last through 2018. But that apparently it isn’t going to be enough.

Morel mushrooms spring from the ground in Michigan.
State of Michigan

If you want to find wild mushrooms and eat them yourself, fine. But if you want to sell them, state and federal law requires a certification.  But until now, Michigan didn’t offer a way to become certified.

“If you talk to the folks up north, they never had a problem, nobody really bothered with it until a couple of years ago,” said Chris Wright. He helped design the curriculum and the new state test to get that mushroom expert designation.

A couple musicians who sued the city of Saugatuck over its entertainment policy will return to play this summer.

Today a federal judge okayed a settlement between Saugatuck and two musicians who want to play music for tips on city sidewalks. The policy at issue required buskers to get a permit, and it was only allowed in parks, not sidewalks. As part of the settlement, the city won’t enforce the rule.

Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

Michigan charter school authorizers are trying to come up with independent ways to evaluate themselves.

Authorizers help create charter schools and are supposed to hold them accountable. They’ve been under a lot of scrutiny lately.

MichigansChildren / YouTube

State Superintendent Mike Flanagan says seven charter school authorizers in Michigan are no longer at risk of suspension. Charter school authorizers help create charter schools and are supposed to hold them accountable.

But last summer Flangan warned 11 charter authorizers they were at risk of being prevented from opening new schools until they did a better job holding their existing schools accountable.

Michigan Lt. Gov. Brian Calley wears the "Google Trekker."
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Today, Google released into the world more than 40 images of iconic places in Michigan.

Google is known for capturing 360-degree street view images with their camera. For these latest images, the camera was strapped onto a backpack and taken to places cars can't go.

Here's a video produced by Google that shows the "Google Trekker" in action in Michigan:

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Today President Obama again called on the Iranian government to release a Marine veteran from Flint.

Amir Hekmati was arrested in 2011 and sentenced to death for spying. Iranian authorities overturned that sentence and imprisoned him for 10 years. The U.S. denies he's a spy. Hekmati was visiting relatives in Iran at the time of his arrest.

Courtesy photo / Ben Schultz

It appears old man winter is finally loosening his grip on Michigan. (Dare I type that sentence?)

With temperatures close to the 50s over the weekend, some folks may have busted out the grill. I dug around my shed and got my bike out.

My office in Grand Rapids is only about a mile and a half away from my house. But it costs $14 a day to park there. It makes sense most days to commute on my bike.

But I don't bike to work in the winter. I’m just not that hardcore. The black ice, the wind chill, it’s daunting. I already hate driving in the snow. I can’t imagine riding my bike in it. I just can’t.

But people do it. Maybe you’ve seen them around your town? They’ve got those weird fat tire bikes and full face masks with icicle mustaches. They’re crazy, right?

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Our MI Curious project is a news experiment where you submit the questions - your questions are put up for a vote - and we investigate the winning question.

Holland resident Josh Bishop submitted this question; “I love supporting my local economy, but does "buy local" really have a big impact?”

moppet65535 / Creative Commons

The coalition pushing state lawmakers to give all workers paid sick days is growing. Groups backing bills introduced in Lansing last month held press conferences in Detroit, Flint and Kalamazoo Monday.

Danielle Atkinson, who directs Mothering Justice, an advocacy group for working moms, was in Grand Rapids. If passed, she says the bills would help more than workers.

“99% of restaurant employees don’t have access to one paid sick day and what that really translates into is restaurant workers going to work sick and getting everyone else sick and it becomes a public health issue,” Atkinson said.

police officer directing traffic
Flickr user lincolnblues / Flickr

An African-American man is suing the city of Grand Rapids over a police practice his attorney says unfairly targets minorities.

A city attorney wouldn’t comment on the specific case, but says the policy follows the law.

Jack Amick / Creative Commons

A handful of former inmates at the Kent County jail are suing the sheriff and food service provider Aramark.

The case stems from a food-borne illness. One afternoon, in April 2012, at least a couple hundred inmates at the Kent County Jail got really sick. The culprit? Bad chicken tacos.

Court documents say they suffered pain, cramps, diarrhea and “long-term adverse health consequences” that’s weren’t detailed.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

People living near a Superfund site in Kalamazoo seem to like the compromise cleanup plan posed by the city. About a hundred people came to the first public meeting Thursday night to learn more about the plan and to provide feedback.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

People heading to the library to pick up paper copies of federal tax forms are disappointed to find many of them aren’t there this year.

The IRS is saving money by sending libraries only the most common forms on paper. You can find tax forms online and e-file or print them at the library. But the instruction book is more than 100 pages long.

Ian Contreras / Creative Commons

This school year, the federal government outlawed the sale of certain snack foods in schools. The idea behind the new guidelines was to improve kids’ health.

But it’s hurt many student organizations that use bake sales to raise money for clubs, athletics and field trips.

Snacks sold to students during the school day can’t have too much fat, sugar or salt. No more than 200 calories in total.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan’s second largest city will welcome backyard chickens beginning this spring.

In the summer of 2010, Grand Rapids city commissioners narrowly rejected urban chickens. But the issue never died and really picked up steam last fall.

Three commissioners who voted against chickens five years ago changed their minds this time around.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

On Tuesday, elected leaders in Grand Rapids could vote to allow people to keep chickens in their backyards.

“I’m excited,” Amy Bowditch said of the proposal. “People kind of chuckle ‘oh chickens, everybody wants to turn the city into the country’ and a lot of people think it’s absurd. But we, for myself and my family, we think it’s really important that we stay connected to our food,” she said.

Chris Potter / StockMonkeys.com

The former CEO of a pharmacy in the Grand Rapids area has pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit healthcare fraud. The conspiracy involves dozens of employees.

Workers at Kentwood Pharmacy allegedly collected unused prescription drugs from about 800 nursing homes and homes for adult foster care. The drugs were unused for a variety of reasons, including when a patient died. Workers then repackaged the drugs, sometimes in their homes, and sold them again.

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