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

tax code
1:36 pm
Mon April 30, 2012

Stabenow wants to stop businesses from writing off moving expenses overseas

Senator Debbie Stabenow unveiled the "Bring Jobs Home Act" at Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids Monday morning. GVSU student senate president Jack Iott is to her right.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow will introduce a bill next week to prevent companies from getting tax write-offs for moving overseas.

Currently businesses can write off moving expenses on their taxes if they’re moving within or out of the country.  But no such break exists for businesses moving into the U.S.

“That makes absolutely no sense,” Stabenow said at a press conference Monday at Grand Valley State University.

Read more
Culture
10:14 pm
Thu April 26, 2012

Bringing neighborhoods together to keep young people in Michigan

"Generation X and Y for Michigan" founder Johannah Jelks (right) brainstroms with others on ways to improve neighborhoods in Grand Rapids.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

A community organizer in Grand Rapids is trying to improve neighborhoods to keep young people from moving out of the state.

“Neighborhoods are sellable. Young people have a hard time right now staying in Michigan because they feel that there’s not the same cultural aspects or the opportunities for growth like in bigger cities,” Johannah Jelks said.

24-year-old Jelks started the grassroots group “Generation X & Y for MI” a few years ago as her peers were moving out of Michigan. “But actually if you look on a micro-scale neighborhoods have been attracting young talent at a rapid rate,” Jelks said.

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Business
1:59 pm
Thu April 26, 2012

"Start Garden" to use $15 million to grow ideas into businesses

Entreprenuer Rick DeVos explains how Start Garden works at a press conference Thursday.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

A Grand Rapids entrepreneur is launching a $15 million venture capital fund to turn people’s ideas into successful businesses.

The DeVos family is backing the fund, called Start Garden. Richard DeVos started Amway, now the world’s largest direct selling company.

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Politics
4:12 pm
Wed April 25, 2012

Governor Snyder talks business climate, jobs, transport, and more at online town hall

Snyder discussed DDOT busses during his townhall meeting online Wednesday.
Sarah Hulett Michigan Radio

Governor Rick Snyder discussed all kinds of issues during an online townhall meeting today. People participated in the town hall online and remotely from Traverse City, Grand Rapids and Detroit.

“My question is what can be done about the horrible transportation situation in the City of Detroit?” Shelia Foreman asked Snyder from Wayne State University’s TechTown. “I have had relatives lose their jobs because they cannot get to them. Do you have a solution for that?”

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Arts
6:23 pm
Tue April 24, 2012

Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts facing financial problems

Art displayed at the repopening of the UICA back in July 2011.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

The head of Michigan’s largest contemporary arts center has stepped down as part of a plan to stabilize the museum’s finances. The Urban Institute of Contemporary Arts in Grand Rapids is also cutting its hours.

The UICA’s board of directors voted on the restructuring plan this week to try to stabilize what they call a “declining financial situation”. But the board will not discuss details of the budget or the restructuring plan publicly.

Board President Kathryn Chaplow says the board has reached out to a small group of “major donors” to help with some immediate funding.

“It’s very rare for people to go through something like this. But with the way people step up its just overwhelming and its humbling. The UICA isn’t going anywhere,” Chaplow said.

The UICA’s executive director Jeff Meeuwsen has agreed to step down as part of the plan. He will stay on as a temporary consultant for up to 90 days. 

Chaplow says she hopes the cut in hours will be temporary. And she says the board will be seeking a new director.

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Arts
6:00 am
Mon April 23, 2012

Calling all artists! ArtPrize registration begins today

Nathan Sawaya's Yellow! was one of my favorite unusual modern ArtPrize entries in 2011. It's made of yellow legos.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

Artists can start registering today to compete in ArtPrize this fall.

The winner of the yearly art competition is decided by the voting public who visit the event in September in downtown Grand Rapids.

More than a half a million dollars in prize money is at stake. The entry fee is just fifty bucks.

For the first time this year there’ll be $200,000 in prizes for juried awards in addition to those awarded by the popular vote.

ArtPrize spokesman Brian Burch says juried awards are what professional artists are used to. 

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energy
8:09 pm
Sun April 22, 2012

PHOTOS: Tour the Palisades Nuclear Power Plant

The nuclear reactor is inside the containment building. The building is made of a half-inch thick steel with 3-and-a-half feet thick steel reinforced concrete wrapped around. It’s made to withstand earthquakes, tornadoes, and an airplane crash.
Mark Savage Entergy

The Palisades Nuclear Power Plant, located on the shores of Lake Michigan, now has one of the worst safety ratings in the country. That’s after the plant had five unplanned shutdowns last year.

This year federal regulators are keeping an even closer eye on the plant. It’s tucked in between tall sand dunes at the southern edge of Van Buren State Park in Covert Township.

Palisades "extremely important" to area economy

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Around the Nation
5:11 pm
Sun April 22, 2012

A Return To 'Safety First' For Michigan Nuclear Plant

It's been quiet at the Palisades nuclear power plant after five unexpected shutdowns in 2011.
Mark Savage Entergy

Originally published on Sun April 22, 2012 10:23 pm

The Palisades nuclear power plant in Michigan had five unplanned shutdowns last year. It's one of the area's biggest employers, and its safety record is one of the worst in the country. Now it's trying to prove to federal regulators that it can meet their standards.

On the shores of Lake Michigan, the Palisades Power Plant is tucked in between tall sand dunes in Covert Township, Mich., at the southern edge of Van Buren State Park.

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energy
9:45 pm
Fri April 20, 2012

Floating wind farm in the Great Lakes?

An underwater simulation of a PellaStar offshore wind turbine.
The Glosten Associates

One major investor could make all the difference for a group hoping to test a prototype of a floating offshore wind farm in the Great Lakes. The group needs about $3 million to apply for a federal matching grant to support testing the floating wind farm concept.

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Politics
4:57 pm
Thu April 19, 2012

Lawsuit alleges ICE agents illegally detained, assaulted Grand Rapids residents

The ACLU and the Michigan Immigrants Rights Center have filed a federal lawsuit against the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Luis Valdez and his mother Telma Valdez. Telma was born in Guatemala but is a legal, permanent U.S. resident. Her son Luis is a U.S. citizen.

The lawsuit alleges ICE agents illegally detained the two in February of last year when Valdez and his mother pulled up to a relative’s home in Grand Rapids for a visit. He says U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers approached them with their guns drawn.

It’s alleged the agents illegally detained and interrogated the two; even after they produced proof they are legal U.S. residents.  

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Education
10:34 am
Thu April 19, 2012

Muskegon Heights schools 3rd district with emergency manager

Governor Rick Snyder has appointed Donald Weatherspoon to run the Muskegon Heights school district. The appointment is effective Monday, April 23rd. A link to the governor's press release is here.

Dr. Weatherspoon has spent the past 27 years working in the education community, both as a professor at Michigan State University and as a government executive, and currently serves on the Michigan Liquor Control Commission.

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Auto/Economy
2:00 pm
Wed April 18, 2012

Former GM plant rebranded to attract new global company

The former GM plant is located near US-131 and 36th street in Wyoming. This is a picture from November 2010, before the plant was demolished.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

A former General Motors plant in a Grand Rapids suburb is getting new life and a new identity.

The 2 million square foot stamping plant in Wyoming, Michigan was the first manufacturing plant sold after GM’s bailout. The more than 75 year old plant is almost completely demolished now. The plant was once the city of Wyoming’s largest taxpayer and employer.

Now it’s been rebranded as “Site 36”. (It’s located on 36th street in Wyoming.)

“We cannot go to a customer, a company, a site consultant and say ‘well we’ve got a former General Motors site.’ Okay? That brings with it a certain image,” said Birgit Klohs, President and CEO of The Right Place. It’s an economic development group based in Grand Rapids that’s helping market the site to international companies.  

Klohs says rebranding the site is important for the people who live here too. “We’re done grieving. We need to come up with the next strategy and rebranding to us was a key issue for us in saying it’s time for the 21st century,” Klohs said.

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Environment
8:09 pm
Tue April 17, 2012

Part of Kalamazoo River opens Wednesday, first time since oil spill

People had a chance to ask representatives from at least a dozen government agencies and other groups about the oil spill. The meeting was Tuesday night at Marshall High School.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

Calhoun County Health officials will open up a three mile section of the Kalamazoo River near Marshall Wednesday at 8 a.m. It’s the first time the river has opened to the public since a major oil spill July 26th, 2010. 

It’s just a tiny portion of the 37 total miles of the river that have been closed since the underground Enbridge pipeline ruptured. Crews have recovered more than a million gallons of oil from the river. 

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Education
11:36 am
Tue April 17, 2012

Muskegon Heights schools likely to get emergency manager

Muskegon Heights High School
Muskegon Heights School Board

Today is the deadline for the Muskegon Heights school board to ask the governor for a hearing on his impending appointment of an emergency manager to the district. It appears unlikely the school board will request the hearing.

Last December the Muskegon Heights school board laid off its superintendent and asked the state for an emergency manager. Four months later, Governor Rick Snyder agreed a financial emergency does exist and the school board has no real plan to fix it.

Unless the school board requests a hearing today, the next step is for Snyder to appoint the manager. That could happen as soon as this week.

Muskegon Heights schools would become the third school district run by an emergency manger in Michigan. Four cities are run by emergency managers as well. The City of Detroit is working under the terms of a consent agreement instead of an emergency manager.

Politics
11:23 pm
Mon April 16, 2012

Senate candidates release fundraising numbers for first quarter of 2012

Several GOP candidates debated in Zeeland, Michigan in January 2012.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

Republican frontrunner, former Congressman Pete Hoekstra, reports on his facebook page he raised $700,000 in the first quarter of this year for his campaign against incumbent U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow.  The Stabenow campaign claims in an email she raised twice as much, “more than $1.5 million”.

Inside Michigan Politics Editor Bill Ballenger says whoever wins the primary is going to need a lot more money.

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Politics
4:58 pm
Mon April 16, 2012

Former Governor Engler: No kicking the can

Former Governor John Engler (right) greets Governor Rick Snyder during his inauguration in 2011. Engler credit Snyder with improving Michigan tax code for businesses.
Joe Ross Creative Commons

Former Michigan Governor John Engler says politicians in Washington need to make important decisions now, despite the general election coming in November.

Engler is now President of Business Roundtable, a national association of CEOs.

He says politicians have a lot of tough decisions to make to keep the U.S. competitive globally. That includes decisions on energy and education; but most importantly, he says, decisions about the tax code and the federal deficit. Engler says those decisions need to made as quickly as possible.

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Politics
5:30 pm
Sun April 15, 2012

“Puppy protection act” may have prevented Allegan cruelty case

Last week Allegan County officials took more than 350 small breed dogs (more litters of puppies have arrived since) from a two bedroom home in Cheshire Township, about 30 miles northwest of Kalamazoo.

More than 300 of the animals have ended up in shelters across the state to help the over burdened shelter in Allegan County, and to get the dogs through the adoption process quicker. 

The owners were breeding the small dogs for sale. This report came from the Associated Press.

The sheriff's department said Cheri and George Burke, both 64, were arraigned Wednesday (April 11th, 2012) at the Allegan County jail on felony animal cruelty charges following an investigation by animal control officers and sheriff's officials. According to authorities, some of the dogs were covered in feces and fleas, and some had eye problems.

Some hope the cruelty case will help get the public to push lawmakers behind a bi-partisan effort to license large scale commercial breeders. It’s called the “puppy protection act”.

“Something like this bill would give us the authority to make sure it doesn’t get to this point,” said Dr. Steve Halstead, the Michigan Department of Agriculture's State Veterinarian. 

The proposed state bill would’ve given his office authority to inspect the dog’s conditions before getting a state license. “It’s working with the proprietors to make sure that the animals never suffer,” Halstead said.

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tourism
2:01 pm
Fri April 13, 2012

Job applicants, volunteers, prepare for Senior PGA in Benton Harbor

Harbor Shores is a Jack Nicklaus designed gold course in Benton Harbor.
Chicago Golf Report Creative Commons

More than 300 people turned out to a job fair this week to get a temporary job when the Senior PGA tour comes to Benton Harbor next month.

Herb Caldwell is Vice President of the Consortium for Community Development. It’s a non-profit group focused on solving chronic poverty in northern Berrien County.

“We’re really surprised and really happy with the excitement and the eagerness of the folks in our area who want to get out an support the Senior PGA golf tournament,” Caldwell said. The job fair was Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday this week. 

PGA is a first for Benton Harbor

The Senior PGA tour will be at the new Harbor Shores golf course.

There’s been controversy over the golf course for two reasons; it was partially built on sand dunes near Lake Michigan, and elected city leaders agreed to lease portions of the beachfront park while the city was facing severe financial problems. The course has prompted a number of lawsuits, but most have been settled in favor of the golf course.

Benton Harbor's city government is now run by an emergency manager. The elected, but powerless, city commission voted earlier this month to withdraw its support of the Senior PGA coming to their city. 

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religion
3:44 pm
Thu April 12, 2012

Diocese of Grand Rapids reveals strategic plan affecting 11 counties

The Diocese of Grand Rapids includes nearly 100 churches spread over 11 counties in West Michigan.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Grand Rapids has released plans to merge and close some of its churches. The diocese includes 99 churches in 11 West Michigan counties.

“Every Parish is in one way or the other affected," said Bishop Walter Hurley. He approved the restructuring plan that's been three years in the making. It’s supposed to help the diocese face future challenges, like changing populations, a growing Hispanic community, and fewer clergy.

“Right now we’re not at a crisis point but what we do need to know as we look to the future, now what happens if we don’t have a pastor assigned to this Parrish or this Parrish," Hurley said. 

Hurley says a few churches in more rural areas up north have already closed. Another handful will close as priests retire. Others will merge together. Hurley says the plan is a living document and subject to change. The Diocese of Grand Rapids isn’t the only one grappling with fewer priests.

There's no set timeline for when many changes will take place, but they're expected over several years.

You can find the full approved "Our Faith, Our Future" plan here. 

agriculture
6:58 pm
Wed April 11, 2012

MSU report shows agriculture contributed $91.4 billion to Michigan economy

Apples from an orchard in Ottawa County.
dailyinvention Creative Commons

A new Michigan State University study shows Michigan’s agriculture industry has grown dramatically throughout the recession.

Agriculture contributed a little more than $91.4 billion to Michigan’s economy in 2010. The economic impact of farming, food processing and the supply chain is twice as much as it was in 2004.

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