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

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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Education
4:34 pm
Tue April 10, 2012

Governor Snyder: financial emergency exists at Muskegon Heights Public Schools

Governor Rick Snyder has determined a financial emergency exists in the Muskegon Heights school district. The next step is for the governor to appoint an emergency manager to the district.

“Ensuring a quality education for students in Muskegon Heights is our top priority,” Snyder said in a written release issued Tuesday afternoon.

“The appointment of an Emergency Manager is the logical next step  in restoring financial stability to the troubled district, and in fact, is a step that has been requested by members of the Muskegon Heights Board of Education,” Synder said. Unlike any other city or school district, the school board in Muskegon Heights asked for a state takeover back in December.

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Politics
2:54 pm
Tue April 10, 2012

Who's behind the group Citizens for Fiscal Responsibility?

Bob LaBrant
The Sterling Group

The former longtime head of the Michigan Chamber of Commerce’s political action group is now raising money for the group challenging the petition to repeal the state’s emergency manager law.

For 34 years Bob LaBrant raised money for the Michigan chamber’s political action committee. Last month he retired; about the same time the ballot committee known as Citizens for Fiscal Responsibility was formed by LaBrant, Michigan Bankers Association Vice President of Government Relations John Llewellyn, and Larry Meyer; former CEO of the Michigan Retailers Association who's now retired.  

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agriculture
6:30 am
Tue April 10, 2012

Michigan asparagus farmers need workers to harvest early crop

Michigan asparagus
Lake Express Creative Commons

Michigan’s asparagus season has started early because of the warmer than usual weather this spring. But farmers are worried they don’t have enough workers to harvest the crop.

“Being a former migrant worker I can tell you that in the past Michigan has had a wealth of workers coming to Michigan. It was destination state,” Belen Ledezma said. She’s the Director of Migrant, Immigrant and Seasonal Worker Services for the Michigan’s Workforce Development Agency. 

Ledezma says the huge crop diversity in Michigan means migrant workers have a variety of jobs to choose from throughout the year. But this year farmers are struggling to find enough workers to harvest. “I think we’re starting to recognize that the same labor pool that we’re used to is no longer coming to Michigan,” Ledezma said.

Ledezma says the state is trying to help farmers recruit local workers to harvest asparagus. Her agency will host a job fair in southwest Michigan on Thursday in hopes of filling more than 220 immediate openings on asparagus farms.

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energy
2:03 pm
Mon April 9, 2012

Palisades offline...this time for planned shutdown to refuel

Workers were already preparing for the planned outage in late March. More than 1,000 extra workers are on site for the shutdown.
Mark Savage Entergy Nuclear Operations

Workers have shut down the Palisades Nuclear Power Plant in South Haven to refuel.

Palisades had five unplanned shutdowns in 2011. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission downgraded the plant’s safety rating because of a series of problems – including one “significant” issue when the plant’s control room lost half its indicators. The power plant now has one of the worst safety ratings in the country.

There are more inspectors on site because of the planned outage, but they will not be addressing last year’s safety problems at this time.

“(The NRC) can only conduct those inspections after the company tells us 'we have done the work that we need to do to fix the issues that we have,” said NRC spokeswoman Viktoria Mytling.

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government
4:00 pm
Sun April 8, 2012

Three West Michigan communities consider merging into one

Travis Randolph is part of the group petitioning the state to allow a vote to merge three West Michigan communities.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

This week there will be an important hearing for those hoping to merge three West Michigan communities. A group of citizens is asking the state to allow the cities of Saugatuck, Douglas and Saugatuck Township to merge into one city. 

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energy
3:56 pm
Thu April 5, 2012

Michigan scientists support federal rules limiting mercury emissions

The James De Young coal is operated by the City of Holland's Board of Public Works.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

More than a hundred scientists from Michigan are supporting a federal standard that would limit the amount of mercury coal plants could emit.

The State of Michigan already has set some limits. But a major portion of the mercury that ends up in Michigan comes from coal plants in other states.

There are some U.S. Senators trying to stop federal regulators from implementing the rules. They say the regulations will hurt the economy.

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health
1:59 pm
Wed April 4, 2012

Grim but blunt anti-smoking ads showing early signs of success

A new national ad campaign to get people to quit smoking is already showing dramatic results in Michigan.

The Center for Disease Control launched the ads two weeks ago. They feature former smokers who’ve had heart attacks, strokes or parts of their bodies amputated because of tobacco use.

Angela Minicuci is with the Michigan Department of Community Health. She says the number of calls coming into the Michigan Tobacco Quitline (1-800-QUIT-NOW (784-8669) has skyrocketed.

“We’ve had a 200-percent increase in the two weeks since the campaign has launched and that’s not something that we’ve ever seen before,” Minicuci said. She said the early results are similar across the country.

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energy
4:10 pm
Tue April 3, 2012

Buoy that could determine viability of offshore wind farm to head back out to Lake Michigan

The wind buoy sits on a pier in Muskegon before it first launched back in October 2011.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

Wednesday state regulators and researchers will head about 35 miles west of Muskegon, near the Michigan-Wisconsin border in Lake Michigan. There they’ll survey the bottom of Lake Michigan to make sure there are no historic artifacts in the way when a floating research platform drops anchor there (likely) later this week.

Arn Boezaart heads the Michigan Alternative and Renewable Energy Center. Last year the center operated the buoy only 4 miles offshore. This year it’ll collect first of its kind data that’ll likely determine whether an offshore wind farm is viable in the middle of Lake Michigan.

Boezaart says there was a lot more interest in offshore wind data when the project began two-and-a-half years ago.

“The times have changed, the political winds have changed. So we’re just minding our business and going forward with the research work that we’re charged to do," Boeazart said. “We’ll let other people figure out how the public policy questions and politics of this play out.”

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Education
4:33 pm
Mon April 2, 2012

Team recommends governor appoint emergency manager for Muskegon Heights schools

Muskegon Heights High School. The Muskegon Heights school board is asking for an emergency manager appointment.
Muskegon Heights School Board

A review team is recommending Governor Rick Snyder appoint an emergency manager to run the Muskegon Heights Public School district.

Unlike any other city or school district, the school board in Muskegon Heights voted for a state takeover.

Muskegon Heights Schools has run a deficit for at least six years in a row.

The review team found:

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tourism
1:34 pm
Mon April 2, 2012

Blossoms ahead of schedule for Holland’s Tulip Time Festival

It wasn't hard to spot tulips blooming in Grand Rapids. Holland has slightly cooler tempuratures, but not by much.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

Many of the more than six million tulips planted in Holland are beginning to bloom already…five weeks before the city’s Tulip Time Festival.

“There’s some that are in full bloom right now, especially if it’s close to concrete or a building where they get a lot of sun,” Tulip Time Festival’s executive director Gwen Auwerda said. “But many of the parks have not seen blossoms; they’re budded but no blossoms.” (You can keep tabs on progress of the tulips blooming here.)

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emergency manager
7:21 pm
Fri March 30, 2012

End of Benton Harbor's financial emergency murky at best

City Commissioner Marcus Muhammad outlines his problems with Benton Harbor's emergency manager for a state treasury official Thursday.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

In December Benton Harbor’s emergency manager said the city’s finances we’re looking good enough that he could probably leave sometime this year. But now, he’s not so sure.

The City of Benton Harbor was, for practical purposes, bankrupt. In 2010 former governor Jennifer Granholm appointed an emergency financial manger to clean up the books and prevent damage to state’s credit.

Thursday night, Michigan Deputy Treasurer Roger Fraser visited the city. State Treasurer Andy Dillion was supposed to be at the town hall meeting. But he’s in Detroit, trying to help the city avoid an emergency manager like Benton Harbor has.

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Education
1:29 pm
Thu March 29, 2012

Students to rally in Lansing for higher education money

Students from Michigan’s 15 public universities are meeting in Lansing today to personally lobby lawmakers for more money for higher education.

Jay Gage is a junior at Lake Superior State University in Sault Ste. Marie. He’s also the president of the Student Association of Michigan.

“I think it’s a lot more powerful a message than your average lobbyist that’s here day in and day out. To have students from every university come and say you know this is a priority,” Gage said.

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Politics
4:24 pm
Tue March 27, 2012

Snyder will talk about Detroit finances at a town hall Wednesday

Governor Snyder speaks to a gathering of city managers in Benton Harbor, shortly after he signed expanded powers for emergency managers. Benton Harbor residents protested his appearance outside the meeting.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder will take part in a town hall meeting in Detroit Wednesday morning to discuss the city’s finances. Snyder says he’s trying to be transparent about the situation.

“A lot of it is getting out to talk to people and making sure that we all get the same facts, because Detroit’s in terrible financial distress in some ways. And there needs to be a long term solution because we all want Detroit to succeed,” Snyder said.

He’s expected to go over the facts at the town hall meeting. He’ll also field questions and probably some criticism from the audience.

The meeting comes as state and city leaders are trying to finalize a deal to resolve major cash flow problems. A state review team has determined Detroit is in “severe financial stress”. The city’s deficit is nearly $200 million.

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tourism
12:30 am
Tue March 27, 2012

'Pure Michigan' campaign brings $1 billion to businesses

(I'm partial to the Grand Rapids video... but there's lots more here.)

A new report shows the Pure Michigan campaign drove a record one billion dollars into the state’s economy last spring and summer. That’s almost twice as much as the spring and summer of 2010 (it was $605 million then).

“This is the biggest result ever for the campaign,” said George Zimmermann, director of the state’s tourism group, Travel Michigan. “The results just every year are a little better, little better; now this year is a pretty big jump,” George Zimmermann said.

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Politics
9:48 pm
Mon March 26, 2012

Detroit review team affirms financial emergency, but still no clear path forward

The state review team investigating Detroit’s finances met for what was supposed to be the last time Monday.

They reaffirmed that Detroit is in “severe financial stress” during a raucous meeting that veered into chaos at times.

Protesters, angry at what many call an unconstitutional hostile takeover of the city, mostly shouted over team members as they tried to deliberate.

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West Michigan
6:00 am
Mon March 26, 2012

"Office in pocket" doesn't scare this office furniture company

Ipads and other tablet and smartphone devices make it possible for people to work almost anywhere.
Greg Flinchbaugh Creative Commons

Steelcase, the world’s largest office furniture maker is celebrating 100 years in business. But sales of the metal filing cabinets Steelcase is named for are declining; same with traditional cubicles and other large pieces of office furniture. Steelcase is changing its identity.

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energy
9:54 am
Thu March 22, 2012

Some living near Palisades Nuclear Plant worry about safety violations

Barbara Geilser and Maynard Kauffman stand in front of the solar panel next to their home, 11 miles away from Palisades.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

This year federal regulators will keep a close eye on the Palisades Nuclear Power Plant. The plant had three safety violations last year; that makes it one of only four nuclear plants in the nation with such a bad safety rating.

About 700 people work at Palisades every day. It’s one of (if not) the largest employers in Van Buren County. The plant is the county’s largest taxpayer. Those tax dollars go to a number of public schools, libraries, a hospital and local governments.

People who live by the plant near South Haven (Covert Township) are still trying to figure out what the safety violations mean to them.  It’s making others, like Barbara Geisler and her husband Maynard Kauffman, uncomfortable.

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