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

Politics & Government
6:00 am
Mon January 6, 2014

Benton Harbor’s emergency manager will try again to borrow more money from Michigan

Main Street in Benton Harbor after the march.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

Benton Harbor’s emergency manager says he’ll ask the state for a roughly $2 million loan, again. But he’s got some more convincing to do.

Benton Harbor has been under state control for more than three years. It's cut its budget deficit by a third.

With the loan, Emergency Manager Tony Saunders says the city’s deficit would be wiped out.  That would be the first step to ending Benton Harbor’s financial emergency. That’s would be the first step to proving Benton Harbor isn’t in a financial emergency anymore.

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Sports
12:38 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

Firefighters work to put out fire at Fifth Third Ballpark north of Grand Rapids

Smoke billows out of Fifth Third Ballpark north of Grand Rapids.
@flounderradio Twitter

Update 3:15 p.m.

The co-founder of the West Michigan Whitecaps is confident the Fifth Third Ballpark will reopen in time for baseball in April. It appears the fire damaged about a dozen luxury box suites, part of the clubhouse, some storage area and probably the control room too. West Michigan Whitecaps co-founder Denny Baxter told reporters during a press conference he’s confident the ballpark will be available on opening day, although there’s a good chance it won’t be completely rebuilt by then. There were no reported injuries because of the fire.

Reported 12 p.m.

A fire was reported shortly after 11 a.m. today at the Fifth Third Ballpark, a few miles north of Grand Rapids in Plainfield Township.

The smoke was thick enough to be seen from Gerald R. Ford International Airport, and to be picked up by National Weather Service radar.

U.S. 131 runs right by the stadium, which can hold close to 10,000 people. The ballpark opened in 1994.

The stadium is home to the West Michigan Whitecaps baseball team, a Detroit Tigers’ Single A affiliate. The ballpark is also the venue for numerous concerts and events throughout the year, including the Michigan Brewers Guild’s annual Winter Beer Festival set for early next month.

Scott Graham, Executive Director of Michigan Brewers Guild issued this statement about the popular festival.

"The Michigan Brewers Guild is certainly concerned about our upcoming beer festival at the Fifth Third Ballpark but our first concern is for all of our friends at the West Michigan Whitecaps. Our thoughts and prayers are with the staff at the ballpark today and we will assess what it means to the Guild after the damage is under control and can be assessed. Because our event is held outside the ballpark in the parking lot we are hopeful that it will turn out well. We will do our best to keep fans of MI beer informed in coming days as we learn more."

Here are some images of the fire:

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Politics & Government
4:40 pm
Thu January 2, 2014

Head of Lansing public utility says he's sorry, but he won't resign

Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero (left) and BWL General Manager J. Peter Lark at a press conference December 22nd.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

The head of Lansing’s public utility says he won’t resign in the wake of a major ice storm that left hundreds of thousands of people in the dark over the holidays. J. Peter Lark, the general manager of Lansing Board of Water and Light issued this statement Thursday.

As has been reported by some media outlets, I with my wife, traveled to New York to visit my son last week.

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Politics & Government
12:46 pm
Wed January 1, 2014

Lansing public utility says it has restored power to entire service area, with a few exceptions

Lines down in Lansing earlier this month after an ice storm hits.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

Lansing’s public utility says it has restored power to its entire service area. But on the utility’s facebook and twitter feeds, there are more than a dozen people claiming they still don’t have power.

A week and a half after a massive ice storm wiped out power to almost half Lansing’s customers, the public utility claims it has finally restored power to all but some single customers and possibly pockets of streets.

Culture
6:27 pm
Fri December 27, 2013

Lack of power, freezing temperatures taking a toll on many Michigan families

Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

There are still an estimated 29,300 customers without power in Michigan today (Saturday) after a major ice storm last weekend. The lack of power and freezing temperatures are beginning to take their toll on many families.

Sara Scott, her husband and their three-year-old son have been staying at her in-laws since Monday. She says her husband is worried that the pipes are going to freeze or that someone’s going to break into their home in Lansing. Plus, she’s two months pregnant.

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Law
4:20 pm
Thu December 26, 2013

Truant students could lose their driver's licenses under bill in state House

Students who repeatedly skip school could lose a shot at a driver's license under a new bill.
AdeptDrivers Creative Commons

A state lawmaker says the threat of losing driving privileges would be a good way to discourage kids from skipping school.

Families who receive state aid can lose their benefits if their child repeatedly skips school. It’s a policy some legislators want to codify in law.

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Politics & Government
3:36 pm
Tue December 24, 2013

Michigan says record number of animal shelters get grants from check-off program

'Maggie' pictured at Harbor Humane Society in 2011.
Jennifer Waters Creative Commons

More people are contributing to the Michigan animal welfare fund. That means the state was able to give more money to more animal shelters this year than before.

You can check the donation box when you file your state income taxes. This year $184,772 in grant money went to 22 shelters across the state. Fifty-six shelters applied for grants. Those applications totaled close to $480,000 in requests.

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Health
4:53 pm
Mon December 23, 2013

Another Michigan medical center faces federal lawsuits over alleged racial discrimination

Work is underway on Mary Free Bed's new expansion project in Grand Rapids. It's expected to be complete next fall.
John Eisenschenk Creative Commons

Earlier this year, Flint’s Hurley Medical Center faced national media scrutiny when an African-American nurse was told not to care for a baby at a patient’s request. The case was settled outside of court.

Julie Gafkay represented that nurse and says she was not alone.

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Business
8:41 pm
Sun December 22, 2013

Michigan-based Whirlpool moves manufacturing jobs from Mexico to Ohio

Spotrebice Whirlpool Creative Commons

Whirlpool is a giant in the appliance world with annual sales around $18 billion.

The Benton Harbor based company says it’s moving production of its commercial front-load washing machines from Mexico to a plant in northwest Ohio this spring. All of Whirlpool’s residential washing machines are already built there. At nearly two and a half million square feet, Whirlpool claims the plant is the biggest washing machine plant in the world.

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Politics & Government
11:58 am
Thu December 12, 2013

Kent County Commissioner resigns to focus on proving 'absolute and complete innocence'

Gary Rolls' booking photo
File photo Kent County Sheriff

Gary Rolls resigned from the Kent County Commission today. In a brief written statement to the board, Rolls thanked his constituents for allowing him to serve.

“I will use this time to prepare for trial to prove my absolute and complete innocence,” Rolls’ letter said. The resignation takes effect January 1st, 2014.

“We accepted the resignation of Commissioner Rolls this morning,” said Dan Koorndyk, Chairman of the Board of Commissioners. “We appreciate that he recognizes it is better for the Board of Commissioners to select a new member who can represent District 4 without distraction.”

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Environment & Science
5:14 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

U.S. Senators want more info on Enbridge pipeline running through Straits of Mackinac

Enbridge Line 5 under the Straits of Mackinac.
NWF screenshot from YouTube video

Three U.S. senators want a federal agency to check on the safety of an oil pipeline that runs beneath Great Lakes waters.

The 60-year-old pipeline passes beneath the Straits of Mackinac, where Lakes Huron and Michigan meet. It was the first pipeline Enbridge built through Michigan.

Environmentalists protested the pipeline expansion earlier this year. They sent divers down to check out the condition of the pipeline firsthand.

Democrats Dick Durbin of Illinois and Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow of Michigan want the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration to provide details of the agency’s safety tests on the line. PHMSA is a division of the Department of Transportation.

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The Environment Report
8:30 am
Tue December 10, 2013

Big changes are coming to wetland regulations in Michigan

Wetlands in the fall near Paradise, Michigan.
Nathan Sharkey Creative Commons

Michigan has lost millions of acres of wetlands over the last century. But the state’s still got roughly five million acres left. 

“Wetlands are really, really important to clean water. They’ve been called nature’s nurseries and nature’s kidneys,” said Grenetta Thomassey, who heads Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council in Petoskey.

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Environment & Science
11:46 am
Thu December 5, 2013

Federal regulators say PCB cleanup in Kalamazoo River gaining momentum

Portage Creek in November 2013 after EPA dredged and refilled sections that were contaminated by PCBs.
Paul Ruesch Environmental Protection Agency

People in Kalamazoo won’t have to wait much longer for a federal decision about what to do with an old landfill site that's full of toxic material.

The Allied site is where a paper mill dumped waste for decades. The pile is laced with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). They can cause cancer and other health effects, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

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Environment & Science
3:14 pm
Mon December 2, 2013

Federal regulators won’t grant Enbridge more time to dredge oil from Kalamazoo River

Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

The Environmental Protection Agency will not extend the December 31 deadline it gave Enbridge Energy to finish dredging oil from portions of the Kalamazoo River.  In March the EPA ordered Enbridge to remove up to 18,000 gallons of submerged oil by the end of the year.

The oil is left over from the 2010 pipeline rupture. More than 800,000 gallons of crude oil leaked from the Enbridge pipeline. The spill affected almost 40 miles of the Kalamazoo River.

Enbridge says it cannot meet the deadline, but could complete the work by October of 2014. This month the company asked the EPA to extend that deadline.

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Agriculture
7:00 am
Mon December 2, 2013

Michigan farmers talk broadband access, road funding and other topics at annual meet up

Then Governor-elect Rick Snyder at the Michigan Farm Bureau in Grand Rapids back in 2010
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

The big, yearly meet up of Michigan farmers is this week in Grand Rapids. The annual Michigan Farm Bureau meeting helps cement policy stances important to agriculture.

There’s dozens of issues up for discussion. Some, like immigration reform and road funding aren’t new issues.

In fact, the poor condition of Michigan’s road was the issue that brought the MFB to fruition back in 1919.

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Economy
10:24 am
Fri November 29, 2013

Low housing inventory in many Michigan markets – good for sellers, frustrating for buyers

OK it sold, but for how much?
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

If you’re having a hard time finding a home to buy right now, you are not alone.  The supply of houses for sale in many markets across the state are hitting near all-time lows.

Interest rates remain low, but there are not enough homes available to meet the demand.

“In most recent history I can’t recall ever being in a market like this,” said Terry Westbrook, president of the Grand Rapids Association of Realtors.  He’s been selling homes in Grand Rapids for 40 years.

The supply of homes in Grand Rapids hasn’t been this small in a decade.

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Environment & Science
4:31 pm
Wed November 27, 2013

Non-profit buys an island in Lake Michigan – ‘a wild, beautiful spot’ for migrating birds

St. Martin Island is part of a chain of islands that connects Michigan's Garden Peninsula to Wisconsin's Dorr Peninsula.
Mark Godfrey The Nature Conservancy

The Nature Conservancy has purchased an uninhabited island in northern Lake Michigan that provides a crucial stopover spot for migratory birds.

St. Martin Island is part of a chain that runs between Wisconsin's Door Peninsula and Michigan's Garden Peninsula.

Millions of sparrows, warblers and other birds stop on the chain to take a break and feed before continuing their migration. According to a release issued by the group today:

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Offbeat
10:00 am
Wed November 27, 2013

It’s the biggest bar night of the year – wouldn’t you love to move back to Michigan?

At Founder's Brewing Company in Grand Rapids.
Matthew Kanable Creative Commons

Tonight is the biggest bar night of the year, with many people visiting family and friends back home in Michigan. It’s a crowd employers in West Michigan are trying to reach. So they’re getting creative with their tactics.

Cindy Brown is executive director of Hello West Michigan. It’s a group made up of more than 40 businesses is trying to lure professionals back to the state.

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Energy
6:00 am
Mon November 25, 2013

Holland needs air permit for new natural gas plant

The new natural gas plant will replace the DeYoung coal plant in Holland.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

The City of Holland wants to get an air permit so it can build a new natural gas-fired power plant.

People have until Wednesday to tell the state’s Department of Environmental Quality what they think of the plans.

The roughly $200 million dollar power plant would help replace the city’s 70 year old DeYoung coal plant.

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Law
2:26 pm
Fri November 22, 2013

State rejects “WAR SUX” license plate, Ann Arbor man sues

Personalized license plates on the wall of Bell's Brewery in Kalamazoo.
anthonylibrarian Creative Commons

Another Michigan man who was denied a personalized license plate the state says could be considered “offensive to good taste and decency” is suing on free speech grounds.

The American Civil Liberties Union is already suing the Secretary of State over a similar case in federal court in Grand Rapids.

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