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

Education
1:20 pm
Wed March 14, 2012

Supporters kick off campaign to pass GRCC millage in May

Kent County Commission Chair Sandi Frost Parrish endorses the GRCC millage at the kick off campaign Wednesday morning.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

People supporting a new tax millage for Grand Rapids Community College kicked off their campaign Wednesday. The millage would raise almost $100 million over 20 years pay to renovate almost every building on campus; including the main building constructed 90 years ago.

Students, employers, Democrats and even some Republicans gathered at the school’s Music Center Wednesday morning.

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Politics
5:19 pm
Tue March 13, 2012

Muskegon considers laws protecting gay or transgender people

Protestors gathered in Lansing January 18th 2012 to speak against a new state law banning most public entities from offering benefits to same sex partners.
Nancy Gallardo Until Love Is Equal

The City of Muskegon seems likely to pass local laws protecting gay and transgender people from discrimination in housing and employment.

The state and federal government do not offer this protection, but almost 20 Michigan cities do.

Roberta King lives in Muskegon. She was "pleasantly surprised" no one opposed the local law when she asked city commission to consider it this week.

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Environment
6:27 pm
Mon March 12, 2012

Saugatuck Twp considers new settlement with developer over dune land

Lawyers for Saugatuck Township have reached an agreement to resolve an expensive legal case with a private developer. The case is between the township and a billionaire who owns about 300 acres of property.

The land in dispute includes natural dunes on the Lake Michigan shore. The developer says the township has unfairly restrictive zoning laws for his property. The proposed settlement would reverse to the original zoning that’s less restrictive.

Under the plan, the developer would ask for a zoning variance from the zoning board of appeals. The township’s attorney Ron Bultje says the developer may ask for a variance “to essentially develop the property in the manner that was shown on the development plan last summer.” That plan included a marina and a hotel.

The township will hold a public hearing on the proposed agreement next week.

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Politics
5:41 pm
Mon March 12, 2012

Senator Levin has “tough questions” on proposed air guard cuts

Senator Carl Levin speaks with guests at the Holland-Zeeland Chamber luncheon Monday.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

Michigan’s 15 members of congress are questioning proposed cuts that affect the state’s air national guard bases. They sent letters to both the House and Senate Armed Services Committees Monday. The congressional delegation joined Governor Rick Snyder, who questioned Secretary of Defense Leon Penetta about the cuts (along with other governors) in a letter last week.

The cuts would eliminate more than 600 positions; although most are part-time jobs with the Michigan Air National Guard. The two bases affected are in Battle Creek and near Mt. Clemens.

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Education
12:36 pm
Sat March 10, 2012

New superintendent works to unite Grand Rapids schools’ community

Teresa Weatherall Neal addressed the community at Ottawa Hills High School auditorium Saturday morning.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

The interim superintendent of Grand Rapids Public Schools will get rid of some controversial initiatives put in place by the former district leader. The state’s third largest school district has been through a lot of turmoil over the last year.

Former Grand Rapids schools superintendent Bernard Taylor made academic improvements during his five years serving the district. But he was divisive at least and a pariah to some. He resigned abruptly in January. His replacement Teresa Weatherall Neal has worked for Grand Rapids schools for 35 years.

“I am truly, truly, one of you. This is my district and this is my city,” Neal said in her ‘state of our schools address’ Saturday.  

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crime
4:49 pm
Fri March 9, 2012

Michigan mandated inmate DNA tests leading police to suspects quicker than expected

A DNA self-collection kit.
Pelle Sten Creative Commons

new state law that mandates inmates give DNA samples is helping police solve dozens of cold cases.

Since the mid 90s, all inmates have had to give DNA samples when they exit prisons and jails in Michigan. They could volunteer the DNA before they were released, but they didn’t have to.

“Obviously when someone refuses to give a sample, something’s up,” Michigan State Police Captain Greg Michaud said.

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Education
1:30 am
Thu March 8, 2012

Parents question lawmakers on cyber and charter schools, funding changes

Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

Five state lawmakers took tough questions from parents in East Grand Rapids Wednesday night. The legislative committee of the schools' PTA hosted the lawmakers; four republicans and one democrat. Hot issues included a proposed bill on cyber schools and the governor’s proposed k-12 budget for next school year.

Cyber charter schools

Last year Michigan lifted the cap on how many charter schools public universities can run. Now, there’s a bill proposed that would allow more cyber charter schools to operate.

Many parents asked the lawmakers why cyber schools get the same amount of state money per child as brick and morter ones. State Representative Peter MacGregor (R-Rockford) said cyber schools shouldn’t get as much, saying the savings should be passed on to the taxpayers. Cyber charters can be run by national for-profit companies.

Tina Murua has two kids enrolled in East Grand Rapids schools. “I fear that they’ve couched the whole thing in terms of parental choice because…who can argue with that? It’s a brilliant strategy but it was a false choice,” Murua said. She worries companies are pushing states to allow more cyber schools just to make money.  

The state senate already approved the cyber charter school bill. It passed the State House Education Committee in late February.

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Education
3:24 pm
Tue March 6, 2012

Muskegon Heights schools' review team begins real work Wednesday

A state appointed team that will decide if the Muskegon Heights school district needs an emergency manager really gets to work Wednesday. It’s the first time the team has met in Muskegon.

The governor appointed the review team in January. But because of legal challenges in the Highland Park school district, the team’s work has been delayed until now.

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Environment
11:33 pm
Mon March 5, 2012

Saugatuck residents hope for resolution with developer in dunes case

Some people in Saugatuck Township are pushing township officials to review its zoning laws to resolve an expensive legal case with a private developer.

Chesapeake Energy CEO Aubrey McClendon owns more than 300 acres in the township, including coastal dune land along Lake Michigan. McClendon says Saugatuck Township officials adopted unfairly restrictive zoning laws for his property.

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Politics
1:22 pm
Mon March 5, 2012

Businessman, former Kent County official hopes to unseat Congressman Justin Amash

Steve Pestka was accompanied by (left to right) State Rep. Brandon Dillon, Former Congressman Mark Schauer, Pestka's wife Alicia, and State Rep. Roy Schmidt.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

There are now two democrats hoping to unseat first-term Congressman Justin Amash. The conservative republican faces a newly redrawn district in his reelection bid this year. 

Michigan lost a congressional district after the recent census. Newly redrawn maps cut the generally republican suburbs of Grand Rapids out of the third congressional district and added Battle Creek.

That could be a challenge for Amash. The freshman is a strong advocate of limited government and free markets. He’s one of only a few sitting federal officials supporting Congressman Ron Paul in the presidential election.

Democrat Steve Pestka thinks the new congressional map (and that it’s a presidential election) will help him defeat Amash in November. Pestka announced today in Grand Rapids he’s running for Congress. He’ll make another stop this afternoon in Battle Creek.

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Environment
5:08 pm
Fri March 2, 2012

Recycling jumps 80% in Grand Rapids with single-stream carts

My single stream recycle bin.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

Recycling is up 80-percent since the City of Grand Rapids instituted a new single-stream recycling program. With single-stream people can put all kinds of stuff - glass, plastic, cardboard and paper - into a single cart (no sorting needed). The city picks up the recyclable stuff at the curb for free.

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energy
6:33 pm
Thu March 1, 2012

Nuclear watchdog goes after operators of Palisades plant

NRC.gov

A nuclear watchdog group is asking the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to take stronger enforcement actions against the Palisades Nuclear Plant in South Haven.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission will increase scrutiny at the plant because of a downgrade in its safety performance rating.

But Thomas Saporito says that’s not good enough. “I think the conduct by the NRC is outrageous. I think the NRC misrepresented to the public that the plant is being operated safely. It most certainly is not operating safely,” Saporito said.

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Education
6:00 pm
Thu March 1, 2012

Collaboration calling on lawmakers for more education dollars

A statewide group launched a campaign Thursday demanding state lawmakers invest more money in public education.

Victoria Kovari is the lead organizer at the Michigan Organizing Collaborative. It’s a network of faith-based, community and labor leaders. Kovari says they want lawmakers to significantly reverse the trend of education cuts in Michigan over the past decade.

“This is a statewide problem. It affects rich and poor districts, city and suburban and rural districts all across the state. And it affects the lives of real people; young people and parents and teachers,” Kovari said.

The collaborative is asking people to sign an online petition to lawmakers. She hopes the request will make a difference as lawmakers craft the state budget over the next few months.

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energy
1:23 am
Thu March 1, 2012

Regulators work to reassure people near Palisades nuclear plant

Officials from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission answered questions about safety violations at the Palisades Nuclear Power Plant Wednesday night. About 150 people attended the meeting in person, while others listened in over the phone.

Officials with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission were trying to ease the community’s concerns after 5 unplanned shutdowns last year (4 we’re reactor shutdowns).

But like many residents who spoke out at the meeting, Maynard Kaufman said he won’t feel better unless the plant is shutdown. Kaufman lives on a farm just ten miles away from Palisades.

“I don’t know why we’d take chances with the wonderful agricultural area downwind from this plant in Van Buren and Kalamazoo Counties. It would be a shame to wreck that. And it could happen,” Kaufman warned.

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Arts/Culture
2:50 pm
Wed February 29, 2012

Grand Rapids Art Museum scores 3-year partnership with NY museum

Pamella DeVos and GRAM CEO Dana Friis-Hansen in front of part of the "Robert Rauschenburg: Synapsis Shuffle" exhibit on loan from the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. It opens to the public Friday.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

This week the Grand Rapids Art Museum opens a new exhibit on loan from the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. The “Robert Rauschenberg: Synapsis Shuffle” exhibit is part of a new 3-year partnership between the two museums. It opens to the public on Friday.

Pamella DeVos spends a lot of time in New York as a fashion designer. She is a board trustee at the Whitney Museum and helped make the partnership a reality.

“We’re not a huge city but we certainly have such an amazing art museum,” Devos said. DeVos is a GRAM Honorary Life Trustee. She says she’s had a passion for the GRAM since she was 25 years old. DeVos says she’s brought the director of the Whitney Museum to Grand Rapids many times.

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Auto/Economy
4:33 pm
Tue February 28, 2012

Kent County hotels bring in record revenue in 2011

The Amway Grand Plaza, JW Marriott, and the Courtyard by Marriott hotels sit along the Grand River in Grand Rapids.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

Grand Rapids-area hotels made record income last year. Hotel revenue in Kent County grew at a faster rate than the average for hotels in Michigan and the United States. That’s according a report released by the convention and visitors bureau – Experience Grand Rapids.

Experience Grand Rapids president Doug Small says the city attracted larger conventions and more leisure travelers this year. “It’s a combination of very creative marketing, collaboration, wonderful events that continue to dot our landscape,” Small said, noting ArtPrize and Laughfest as examples. “It’s all good; it’s the perfect storm.”

Small says the ‘Pure Michigan’ marketing campaign deserves some credit too. “We’re a big partner with them – we’ve always been since day one. They’ve helped drive a lot of our summer business,” Small said.

Kent County’s 70 hotels made a combined $114 million dollars last year, a 10-percent increase from the year before. In 2009 it was just $93 million. The hospitality industry employs 24,000 people in Kent County.

Environment
4:20 pm
Mon February 27, 2012

Court won't close shipping canal immediately to stop invasive carp

The distribution of the bighead carp in the U.S. Evidence of the fish have been found in Lake Erie, but no reproducing populations have been found there yet.
USGS

This post has been updated with more details and comments from AG's office. 

Shipping locks in Chicago-area waterways will not be closed while a lawsuit over how to keep Asian Carp out of the Great Lakes is pending. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled against the injunction Monday.

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energy
5:00 am
Mon February 27, 2012

Nuclear Regulatory Commission to answer questions about Palisades

NRC.gov

This Wednesday the Nuclear Regulatory Commission will hold a public meeting to discuss safety violations at the Palisades Nuclear Power Plant in South Haven.

The plant had five unplanned shutdowns last year. As a result, the NRC downgraded the plant’s safety performance rating. Now it’s one of only four plants in the country with such a bad safety rating.

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Politics
4:30 am
Mon February 27, 2012

Critics of Michigan’s emergency manager law to turn in signatures

This week people hoping to overturn Michigan's emergency manager law plan to turn in petition signatures to state officials. State appointed emergency managers have broad powers to run cities and school districts with major financial problems. 

Roughly 160,000 valid signatures are needed to put the emergency manager law on the November ballot. The group claims they’ve collected at least 200,000 signatures. If the state certifies them the law would be put on hold until the November election.

The school board in the Muskegon Heights school district requested an emergency manager.

Interim Superintendent Dave Sipka worries what would happen there if the law was suspended.

“If an emergency manager isn’t available to help out then you know there’s a strong possibility this district could go bankrupt," Sipka said. 

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

Election 2012
10:07 pm
Sun February 26, 2012

Thousands show up at Ron Paul campaign stops in Michigan

Ron Paul speaking at The Pinnacle Center in Hudsonville Sunday afternoon.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

Congressman Ron Paul is making stops in Detroit, Dearborn and Lansing Monday, a day before Michigan’s presidential primary. Paul attracted more than 1,000 people at two separate campaign stops in Mt. Pleasant and a Grand Rapids suburb over the weekend.

People wearing ‘Ron Paul revolution’ baseball caps and sweatshirts filled a banquet hall in Hudsonville to capacity Sunday. There Paul said the United States needs to end its involvement in foreign conflicts and privatize entitlement programs like Social Security. He also stressed the need for more civil freedom.

“We’ll never agree on how we want to use our freedoms. In a room like this there might be 50 different religious values and some with no religious values at all. But freedom answers the question because we don’t impose ourselves on other people. You do what you want,” Paul said.

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