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!

Update 9:45 p.m.

Michigan State Police now say there were 193 vehicles in total involved in the pile up.

Police say there were 76 semi-trucks involved in the accident. Some caught fire, including one hauling 44,000 pounds of hazardous materials and another with a load of fireworks.

Several hours after the crash, crews were still putting out flare ups.

One of the truck drivers died. The 57-year old was from Quebec. At least 20 people were injured, including two firemen and a wrecker driver.

Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Regulators believe some workers at the Palisades Nuclear Plant got higher doses of radiation during a special project than the company says.

According to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, workers got a radiation dose of up to 2,800 millirem (mrem) during the month long project. 

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

West Michigan Congressman Justin Amash was part of a small wave of Republicans who voted against John Boehner for speaker of the House today. Boehner’s leadership position wasn’t really in question, but the defection was the largest in recent history.

Amash and Boehner have a history that’s been tense at times.

This is the second time Amash has voted against Boehner for House speaker. The first time was a couple of years ago, shortly after Beohner kicked Amash off the budget committee.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

A civil lawsuit filed in November against Grand Rapids Public Schools claims administrators failed to protect five teenage students from sexual assault. Now, the district is disputing those claims. It’s asking a federal judge to dismiss the case.  

Jamila Williams, a former math teacher at Grand Rapids University Prep Academy, was convicted of four counts of criminal sexual conduct for having sex with underage boys. She’s now in prison.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

More than a dozen security officers are suing Entergy, the company that owns the Palisades Nuclear Plant.

Eighteen current and former security supervisors filed the federal lawsuit in Grand Rapids in late December, after a jury in Vermont found Entergy guilty in a similar case.

User: West Midlands Police / Wikimedia Commons

Kalamazoo Public Safety Chief Jeff Hadley says he’d like all of his officers to wear body cameras by 2016.

Hadley has some concerns about citizens’ privacy and the costs, but he thinks the cameras will be worth it.

Nuclear Regulatory Commission

A former security officer at the Palisades Nuclear Plant was not discriminated against for raising safety concerns. That’s the result of a special investigation released this week.

The security officer claimed her supervisors retaliated against her for raising a number of safety concerns at the plant near South Haven.

It’s a common complaint among security officers at the nuclear plant. So common the Nuclear Regulatory Commission spent a great deal of time last year investigating whether the “chilled work environment” has improved.

moppet65535 / Creative Commons

There’s been a spike in the number of people going to the emergency room with flu like symptoms in Kent County.

Brian Hartl is an epidemiologist with the Kent County Health Department.

He says nearly 17% of people coming into the emergency room in the last week reported symptoms of flu-like illness.

Light Brigading / Creative Commons

Chris Wahmhoff spent hours inside a pipeline under construction in June 2013. He was part of a protest against the construction of a new pipeline across Michigan. While the other protestors eventually left, Wahmhoff spent several hours inside the pipeline, shutting down work for the day.

The Enbridge line was constructed to replace the one that burst near Marshall in 2010, spilling more than a million gallons of oil into the Kalamazoo River. The new pipe is now operating.

He could’ve gotten up to two years in jail for trespassing and resisting police.

Archimedo / Wikimedia commons

With snowfall in much of Michigan in November, ski areas got an early start to the season.

“When it’s cold and snowy people go into the retail stores and buy things. So the retail sales were up early this year and our ski areas were able to open early. So yes it was a real, real good start,” said Mickey MacWilliams, executive director of the Michigan Snowsports Industries Association.

She says there are a little more than 100 days, on average, that Michigan ski areas are open each winter. 

Michigan ski areas have been investing to make improvements on the slopes.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

A group of volunteers has been welcoming veterans and active military servicemen and women home for the holidays at the Grand Rapids airport.

Volunteers with “Operation Handshake” come almost daily around the holidays. They line up with signs and flags. Those they can identify as soldiers get a warm welcome, a Christmas card and a salute.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Voters will decide in May whether to raise taxes for roads and education.

Keith Allard chairs the Grand Rapids Taxpayer Association, a group formed to oppose a city income tax extension in Grand Rapids. It passed last May.

Now he’s opposing a proposed increase in the Michigan sales tax that residents will vote on in May.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

The city of Kalamazoo wants federal regulators to consider a new option for an old landfill that's full of toxic material. The Allied Site served as a dumping ground for the paper mill industry for decades. No mills have operated on the site since the early 1980s.

MDCH

The Kalamazoo Psychiatric Hospital has a new director.

Jill Krause directed a division of a mental health organization in Kent County and has over 20 years of experience in the field.

This week, we’ve told you about efforts to clean up the old Velsicol Chemical plant. There’s a threat to the local drinking water supply after the first attempt to clean up the plant failed. Birds still die from DDT, decades after the plant stopped producing it.

But we haven't told you who's paying to fix it.


A musician who was jailed last summer for refusing to stop playing his guitar on a sidewalk is suing the city of Saugatuck in federal court.

The city says the sidewalks are too packed in the summer to allow unrestricted entertainment. Musicians can play in city parks without permits.

Mark Brush

 

About 10 years ago, a weird chemical started showing up in the drinking water in St. Louis, Michigan.

It was a byproduct of DDT. The insecticide is now banned in the U.S., but DDT was manufactured in St. Louis for 20 years.

Now, the city is working to get a new source of drinking water. 

Official photo / House Democrats

Officials in Kalamazoo County will begin counting nearly 82,000 ballots by hand Monday morning.

Democrat Sean McCann lost his bid for state Senate by 59 votes – less than one-tenth of one percentage point.

Besides it being a tight race, McCann also heard of several problems on Election Day, like ballot tabulator machines getting jammed.

McCann will pay for the recount. It’ll take at least a couple days to complete.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

The American Civil Liberties Union is bringing a class-action lawsuit against Muskegon County on behalf of current and former female inmates at the jail.

ACLU attorney Miriam Auckerman alleges women at the jail are forced to shower and use the toilet in front of male guards. 

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

People in Michigan are protesting the death of Eric Garner. It's the second time protesters have come out in two weeks. Previous rallies took place after a grand jury decided not to charge a police officer in the shooting death of Michael Brown in Missouri.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Staff at the Palisades Nuclear Plant will highlight the work done to update the plant, during a public open house in South Haven tonight.

Spokeswoman Lindsay Rose says they’ll talk about a big project to replace almost all the control rod drives that have been problematic over the past decade.

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:World_Aids_Day_Ribbon.png

Health officials across the state are urging people to get tested for HIV. Monday is World AIDS Day.

There are an estimated 21,300 people living with HIV in the state, according to Michigan’s Department of Community Health. The number of diagnoses outpaces deaths associated with the virus, so the number of people living with HIV is up.  

MDCH reports an average of 809 new cases were diagnosed each year from 2008 to 2012.

Almost two-thirds of those living with the virus live in metro Detroit. The impact on black males is the greatest.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Monday is the deadline to give federal regulators feedback on a plan to cut carbon emissions in the United States by 30% by 2030. The Environmental Protection Agency says more than 1.6 million comments have been filed so far.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

A former Kent County commissioner was sentenced to a year in jail this week.  Michael Wawee Junior pleaded no contest earlier this fall to a felony embezzlement charge.

Wawee is accused of overcharging families for the engraving of grave markers while working as a salesman for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Grand Rapids.

The Republican from the Grand Rapids suburb of Walker was arrested earlier in February. He resigned later that month.

Wawee will also have to pay more than $200,000 in restitution. He’ll be on probation for three years.

drtel / Creative Commons

Plans for a new school in West Michigan for students in kindergarten through college are moving forward. The school will focus on science, math, technology, arts and engineering.

There was some controversy when news of the school first came out this spring.

Jerry Zandstra represents the non-profit group that’s buying the massive pyramid-shaped building from furniture-maker Steelcase.

Courtesy photo / Holland BPW

Federal regulators are proposing new rules to cut carbon dioxide emissions, and it looks like one community in west Michigan has a decent head start.

In case you missed it over the summer, the Environmental Protection Agency is proposing cutting carbon emissions by 30% by 2030.

Power plants are the biggest producers of carbon emissions in the U.S.

Here in Michigan, coal powers half of all homes and businesses. So utilities are probably going to have to stop burning so much coal in order to meet the requirements, assuming they are approved.

The City of Holland owns a coal plant. The James De Young plant is 75 years old.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

ArtPrize, the big art competition in Grand Rapids, announced Thursday it’ll debut in Dallas in 2016.

But the real news isn’t Dallas so much. It’s that there’s talk of even more competitions in cities across the country. And it means that ArtPrize in Grand Rapids will make money from licensing the brand to those cities.

In ArtPrize, the public votes for the winner. Juried prizes are awarded too. Those juried prizes have been getting bigger each year. Winners get cash. More than $500,000 was awarded to the winners this fall.

Official photo / House Democrats

A state Representative from Kalamazoo says he wants the votes from November’s election recounted.

Democrat Sean McCann ran against Republican State Rep. Margaret O’Brien for the state Senate. He lost by 59 votes. That’s less than one-tenth-of-one-percent of the total votes cast.

“We really want to make sure that everyone’s vote counted. We heard of some people with problems at precincts – some tabulators jamming,” McCann said.

“When I ran for student body president at Western Michigan University the race was pretty close, too, but not by this close of a margin,” he added. McCann won that race.

McCann will have to fork over at least $1,000 to pay to recount the 80,000 plus votes.

“We don’t necessarily know whether or not the outcome will change. You know it only takes one vote in the end to win,” he said.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Three of the five school districts that face more scrutiny from Michigan’s Department of Treasury have reduced their general fund deficits last school year. That’s according to independent audits recently filed to the state. But some still face serious, ongoing problems. Here’s a breakdown of how the districts ended the 2013-14 school year.

Biologycorner / Creative Commons

State education officials have updated standardized testing for public school students across Michigan. Details of the Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress were announced Thursday.

The new tests, known as M-STEP, replace the 44-year-old Michigan Educational Assessment Program.

Last spring the state was set to switch over from the MEAP to a test called "Smarter Balanced.” But lawmakers balked at the idea, because the test aligned with the controversial Common Core standards.

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