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
1:27 pm
Tue October 15, 2013

New Michigan treasurer has background in insurance industry

Kevin Clinton
Michigan.gov

Gov. Rick Snyder says Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) Director Kevin Clinton will succeed departing Treasurer Andy Dillon next month.

Kevin Clinton will play an important role in the state’s financial intervention in struggling cities and schools. He admits he’ll have a lot of catching up to do when it comes to Detroit’s historic bankruptcy filing.

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Environment & Science
1:55 pm
Mon October 14, 2013

PCB cleanup in Portage Creek in Kalamazoo finishing under budget, ahead of schedule

EPA workers have dredge and refilled sections of Portage Creek in downtown Kalamazoo that were contaminated by PCBs. Soon the water will be rerouted through the creek.
Paul Ruesch Environmental Protection Agency

For decades, paper mills dumped waste into the Kalamazoo River. Some of it had polychlorinated biphenyls; or PCBs. People can be exposed to PCBs by eating fish from the Kalamazoo River. PCBs can cause cancer, and other health problems.

Workers are wrapping up a project to remove toxic chemicals from Portage Creek near downtown Kalamazoo.

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Law
2:00 am
Sun October 13, 2013

Pilot program in Kent County hopes aims for better outcomes, savings in foster care system

Kent County is a part of a new pilot program for children in the foster care system.

Michigan has been working to overhaul its child welfare system for years, after it was sued over problems in the system.

“(That case) tells us that we don’t have a perfect system. So we have to continually improve,” Kent County Assistant Administrator Wayman Britt said.

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Business
5:10 pm
Thu October 10, 2013

Some Michigan farmers leaving crops to rot because of labor shortage

Golden Delicious apples lie on the ground beneath a tree in Sparta due to lack of skilled harvesters.
Michigan United

A couple dozen Michigan farmers gathered in Grand Rapids Thursday to again draw attention to a big labor shortage.

They’re calling on Congress to pass legislation that would allow guest workers to get jobs in the U-S without becoming citizens.

Don Coe is a managing partner of Black Star Farms. He grows grapes and cherries in Suttons Bay in Northwest Michigan.

“I think we could get (a guest worker program)  through except that there are ideologues with a post-9-11 mentality whose simple answer is always 'build a fence, throw them out,'” Coe said.

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Law
4:28 pm
Thu October 10, 2013

Panhandlers get $6,800 to settle free speech lawsuit with City of Grand Rapids

A federal appeals panel ruled Michigan's old law against panhandling unconstitutional in August 2013.
Brian D. Hawkins Creative Commons

Two men who successfully fought the state's panhandling law after being arrested in Grand Rapids in 2011 for panhandling will each get more than $6,000 as part of a $48,000 settlement with the city.

Judges on the 6th circuit court of appeals called the state law prohibiting panhandling unconstitutional, because it was overly broad and infringed on the right to free speech.

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Politics & Government
10:45 am
Tue October 8, 2013

New primary challenger to take on Rep. Justin Amash

Brian Ellis plans to challenge Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI, 3rd District) in 2014.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

Updated 12p.m.

This morning,  Grand Rapids businessman Brian Ellis told supporters he’s challenging Congressman Justin Amash (R-Grand Rapids) because Amash “has failed to advance a conservative agenda.”

“This race is about a district that expects and deserves to be represented by a true social and fiscal conservative” Ellis said.

It only took thirty seconds for Ellis to mention his rival.

“I’m standing here today because I have very different views from Justin Amash,” Ellis said.

It turns out Ellis and Amash have some similar views. They both are not fans of the new health care law, both think the federal government needs to get its spending under control, and they’re both pro-life.

But Ellis says Amash doesn’t vote like the principled conservative he claims to be.

“Well anybody can say, like Justin, that he’s conservative, but he has a voting record and it doesn’t line up,” Ellis explained to reporters after his announcement.

Ellis points to a few of times Amash voted “present.” One bill would’ve defunded Planned Parenthood and another would’ve backed the Keystone Pipeline. Ellis also pointed out that Amash voted against conservative budgets for the 2013 and 2014 fiscal years and against the Small Business Tax Cut Act.

Amash, as usual, defends his votes on these and other bills on his Facebook page.

Ellis says he’d act on his conservative principles and would be a better collaborator in Washington than Amash.

“I’ve had to build consensus through the years in my time on the school board. I worked very hard at that. And so we were able to move forward even when we have differences of opinion and I’m proud of that,” Ellis said.

Ellis owns an investment firm and served on the East Grand Rapids school board for fourteen years.

East Grand Rapids schools Superintendent Sara Shubel says she came out to support Ellis as a friend.

Shubel says Amash doesn’t seem to be able to get things done.

“I do not see (Amash) as a collaborator and I do see Brian and I’ve engaged with him for many years on multiple levels and he has the ability to compromise which is a very important skill that you’re going to have to have in this position,” Shubel said.

Shubel says Ellis is passionate about having quality public education for all students and understands what districts are struggling with.

Amash was not available to comment on this story.

 

Posted 10:45a.m.

An investment firm manager will challenge Congressman Justin Amash in the Republican primary next year.

Brian Ellis announced his candidacy Tuesday among supporters at a hotel in Grand Rapids.

In a written statement, Ellis said Amash has “turned back on conservative principles.”

“Congressman Justin Amash has turned his back on our conservative principles by voting against the Paul Ryan Budget that would cut spending by $5 trillion, and against a 20% tax cut for small businesses,” Brian Ellis said.

“Congressman Amash refused to vote in favor of the Keystone Pipeline and he even voted to allow our tax dollars to fund America’s largest abortion provider.”

Ellis is president and founder of the investment firm Brooktree Capital Management, and has served on the East Grand Rapids Board of Education.

In a piece Ellis wrote for MLive today, he expanded on why he supports the expansion of the Keystone XL pipeline.

Politics & Government
8:00 am
Tue October 8, 2013

Lower funding for emergency heating assistance forces policy changes

stephani.b Creative Commons

Michigan residents needing help with their heating bills are in for some changes this year.

Because of a new law, people seeking assistance will only have a seven-month window to apply, instead of year-round. That window opens November First.

Michigan Department of Human Services spokesman Dave Akerly says once that window opens, people will begin qualifying for help when they get a past-due notice, instead of having to wait until they face a heat shutoff.

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Arts & Culture
8:54 pm
Fri October 4, 2013

Quilt depicting Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore wins top prize at ArtPrize 2013

Ann Loveless from Frankfort, MI wins top prize, $200,000 for her landscape art quilt, Sleeping Bear Dune Lakeshore.
ArtPrize.org

Update 11:15 p.m.

A giant quilt depicting the Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore won the top prize in the Grand Rapids-based ArtPrize competition Friday night.

Ann Loveless, of Frankfort Michigan, made the quilt.

Past ArtPrize winners have included paintings, pencil drawings, and mosaics. This year’s is a super detailed quilt that looks like a photo of a fabulous sunset at the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. It’s 20 feet wide and 5 feet tall.

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Law
12:15 pm
Fri October 4, 2013

State Attorney General, prosecutor to update missing baby case

Michigan AG Bill Schuette, along with Mason County Prosecutor Paul Spaniola announce open murder charges against Sean Phillips in Ludington Friday afternoon.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

Update 12:45p.m.

The AG’s office announced one open murder charge against the father of missing “baby Kate” in Ludington Friday afternoon. The child went missing 27 months ago. Schuette wouldn’t say what kind of evidence investigators had collected that resulted in the charge.

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Agriculture
9:49 am
Tue October 1, 2013

Michigan apple growers scramble to harvest potential record-setting crop

Rob Steffens is a 4th generation apple farmer in Sparta, Michigan.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

Rob Steffens palms a Fuji apple nearly the size of a softball in the middle of his 280-acre apple orchard near Sparta in Kent County’s “fruit ridge.”

“This block here is really going to pick heavy this year,” Steffens says, smiling at a row of stubby trees. The branches are heavy with near ripe fruit.

“This is just gorgeous size fruit on here,” he said. “It’s going to be a real shame if we can’t get this crop harvested and in the barn.”

Steffens is just one of many apple growers scrambling to take care of what’s potentially the biggest crop in Michigan’s history.

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Environment & Science
1:20 pm
Mon September 30, 2013

Michigan lawmakers testify in Canada against proposed underground storage site for nuclear waste

The Bruce Nuclear Power Plant is directly across Lake Huron from the thumb region of Michigan.
Bruce Power Ontario Power Generation

Canadian officials are hearing testimony again this afternoon on a proposal to store low to medium level nuclear waste at an underground repository near Lake Huron.

You can watch the hearings live at this website.

Ontario Power Generation wants to build the repository near the town of Kincardine. The company already has a nuclear power plant located there. The Bruce Nuclear Generating Station is one of the biggest nuclear plants in the world.

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Offbeat
11:51 am
Mon September 30, 2013

GVSU officials say sculpture used in ‘wrecking ball’ parody videos will be reinstalled soon

Nicci Joyce
https://vine.co/v/h1H3leHbvKK Nicci Joyce

This week officials at Grand Valley State University will begin meeting to consider how to reinstall a sculpture that became the subject of several viral videos this month.

GVSU removed the steel pendulum a few weeks ago after several students posted videos online of friends trying to swing on the sculpture. The parodies of Miley Cyrus’ music video “Wrecking Ball” attracted national news media attention.

“It is somewhat of a fun story. It's college students being college students,” said Tim Thimmesch, associate vice president for facility services at GVSU.

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Energy
9:00 am
Fri September 27, 2013

U of M researchers to study how well materials hold up in nuclear reactors over time

Members of the Michigan Ion Beam Laboratory work on various projects in the research group's main facility in the Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering building on North Campus in Ann Arbor, MI on January 15, 2013.
Joseph Xu Michigan Engineering Communications & Marketing

Engineering researchers at the University of Michigan are trying to figure out how radiation damages the different materials used to make nuclear power plants.

There are roughly 100  nuclear power plants in the U.S., and most of them are getting old. Researchers want to figure out how long the reactors can hold up in such harsh environments over time.

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Education
4:35 am
Tue September 24, 2013

Students making gains under first-of-a-kind charter; school leaders set bigger goals

Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

On average, students under the state’s first fully privatized public school district are learning at a faster rate than under the old system. That’s according to data released Monday night by the charter company running the Muskegon Heights district.

Muskegon Heights schools’ emergency manager set up the charter system in the summer of 2012, when the existing district couldn’t afford to open. Highland Park Public Schools is under a similar arrangement.

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Politics & Government
3:32 pm
Thu September 19, 2013

Senator Levin introduces bill to close tax loopholes, hopes it’ll help close federal deficit

Senator Carl Levin
Derek DeVries Grand Rapids Community College

U.S. Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) introduced legislation Thursday he says will close a number of tax loopholes. Levin sees the bill as part of a larger plan to reduce the federal deficit.

Levin says his bill would provide about $220 billion more in tax revenue over ten years.

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Politics & Government
10:22 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

Michigan’s Department of Civil Rights celebrates 50 years

The Michigan Department of Civil Rights was created as part of the state constitution drafted in 1963. It’s charged with enforcing civil rights laws and preventing discrimination.

Leslee Fritz is the department’s interim director. She told a group in Grand Rapids Tuesday night the state has come a long way to ensure civil rights in the last five decades.

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Law
4:34 pm
Mon September 16, 2013

Police chiefs: spend more money now on early childhood programs & less later on prisons

Congressman Fred Upton talks about a report released Monday that shows investment in early childhood programs reduces costs in the long term.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

A group of police chiefs and district attorneys is asking Congress to invest $75 billion over the next ten years on early childhood programs with proven success. The group says the investment will more than pay for itself in terms of reducing crime and prison costs.

The group says it’ll save money on prison costs in the long run.

Kalamazoo County Sheriff Richard Fuller says the State of Michigan and the country is at a fork in the road; spend money now on early childhood development, or spend more money later in the corrections department.

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Environment & Science
4:23 pm
Thu September 12, 2013

WMU researchers discover potentially lucrative mineral deposit

William and Linda Harrison with Theodore Pagano, general manager of Michigan Potash Co. LLC (center).
WMU

Researchers at Western Michigan University have discovered a mineral deposit in northern Michigan they say could lead to a multi-billion dollar industry.

A company interested in mining for potassium chloride – also called potash -- approached researchers at Western’s Geological Repository for Research and Education, where they keep thousands of samples of the earth’s core from around the state.

William Harrison directs the repository.

“We collected some samples and sent them off for testing and it turned out that that rock was the highest quality potash anywhere known in the world. It was just a remarkable thing,” he says.

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The Environment Report
9:24 am
Thu September 12, 2013

To prepare for invasive Asian carp, DNR tests its carp-catching skills

DNR fishery technician Vince Balcer holds up one of the "common carp" they're catching, tagging and releasing for the drill.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

You can listen to today's Environment Report above.

This week, the Department of Natural Resources went through a big training drill that’s a first of its kind in Michigan. The drill is supposed to prepare the agency for what to do if the Asian carp makes its way into Michigan’s rivers.

A dozen boats stamped with the DNR logo line the shores of the St. Joseph River. Some of them are normal fishing boats.

But a few have these metal poles sticking out about three feet in front of the boat. At the end of each pole are these long pieces of metal cable that hang down in the water.

The DNR’s Todd Somers is the foreman of one of these homemade boats. He points out a 240-volt generator near the back of the boat. It can deliver up to 16 amps through the metal poles at the front of the boat; sending electric shocks through the cables into the river. That’ll stun any fish nearby.

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Government
5:01 pm
Fri September 6, 2013

Supporters: Parks millage would end era of “spit-shine and chewing gum” maintenance

Kids play on a merry-go-round during a campaign kickoff in support of the parks millage.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

A coalition in Grand Rapids wants voters to approve a dedicated millage for city parks in November.

The campaign to get people to vote for the millage kicked off in an abandoned wading pool at a city park. It’s not safe anymore and will be torn up this fall. There’s no money to replace it.

Jenn Gavin watches her three year old, Milo, playing on the other side of a chain-link fence around the empty pool. She says they walk to this park regularly.

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