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

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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Environment & Science
5:28 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

Check out how the Grand River could look in Grand Rapids with river restoration plan

A rendering of what the river restoration project could look like.
Grand Rapids Whitewater

The preliminary plan to restore the rapids to a two-mile stretch of the Grand River is out. It’s the first real look Grand Rapids has gotten at the proposed project.

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Law
3:42 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

Kent County Commissioner faces multiple criminal sexual conduct charges

Kent county Commissioner Gary Rolls' booking photo at Kent County Jail from November 21, 2013.
File photo Kent County Sheriff

Kent County Commissioner Gary Rolls was booked today in the Kent County Jail.

He's been under investigation for several months after a 29-year-old Muskegon woman attempted to get a personal protection order against him back in September 2012.

In her request, the woman recounts multiple incidents of sexual abuse over decades. She says the first incident happened at his home in Rockford when she was 12. She says Rolls' son was a friend of hers.

Rolls had previously denied the allegations through his attorney.

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Business
7:12 pm
Wed November 20, 2013

‘We won!’ – Spartan Stores turned SpartanNash keeps HQ in Michigan

The new SpartanNash will continue to supply grocery stores like D&W Fresh Market.
Tory.me Creative Commons

You know Spartan Stores – Family Fair, D & W, VG’s – they’re known by different names.

This week the grocery store chain merged with Minneapolis-based grocery distributor Nash Finch. It’s a lot bigger than Spartan. It’s the largest food supplier to stores on military bases.

The new company, now known as SpartanNash, is worth more than $7 billion.

Birgit Klohs is President and CEO of The Right Place. The economic development group worked with the state to offer almost $2.75 million in grant money to keep the headquarters in Michigan.

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Environment & Science
4:52 pm
Wed November 20, 2013

Enbridge starts more dredging this week, hopes to finish most projects by December 31 deadline

The Kalamazoo River delta just north of Morrow Lake will take longer to clean up. Enbridge officials say clean up won't be done until 2014.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

This week an oil pipeline company began another project to dredge oil that remains from the 2010 Kalamazoo River spill.

Enbridge Energy spokesman Jason Manshum says the company is working near the mouth of Morrow Lake in Kalamazoo County. But they have to complete the work before ice starts to form.

“If we need to look at doing something there in 2014 we certainly will. But right now our focus is to try to get this done while we still have favorable weather conditions,” Manshum said.

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Politics & Government
10:30 am
Wed November 20, 2013

Should short term room rentals be allowed in Grand Rapids? Task force considers options

Grand Rapids will appoint a task force to take a deeper look at how it should regulate people who want to rent out rooms in their homes on popular websites like Airbnb. The websites allow people to rent out a guest room or just their couch for a night or two.

Technically it's illegal in Grand Rapids. The city commission was considering adopting regulations to allow them. But many people renting space said the city fees and taxes wouldn’t be worth the money.

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Politics & Government
2:57 pm
Tue November 19, 2013

Benton Harbor emergency manager asks state for loan; city commissioners reject the plan

Benton Harbor City Hall pictured in the summer of 2011.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

Elected leaders in Benton Harbor are rejecting the emergency manager’s plan to take on debt to pay down the city’s deficit.

Benton Harbor has been under state control for three years. It's cut its deficit by a third; from $3.4 million in 2010 to $1.2 million, according to the latest audit.

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Social issues
7:30 am
Mon November 18, 2013

Non-profit: 19 housing units available for every single homeless person in Kent County

Ashton stayed as Well House earlier this year. VandenBerg says he eventually re-united with the mother of his child and moved in with them.
Lisa Beth Anderson

A non-profit group in Grand Rapids is re-energizing its effort to get people who are homeless into permanent homes.

Well House has been around since the late 1970s. About a year ago, the non-profit emergency homeless shelter Well House was in danger of closing. That’s when its new executive director Tami VandenBerg pushed the group to switch gears and provide permanent homes instead.

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Business
1:00 pm
Sun November 17, 2013

Traverse City developer gets closer to building 100% ‘Pure Michigan’ wind farm

Heritage Sustainable Energy's Garden Wind Farm in the Upper Peninsula was completed in September 2012.
Heritage Sustainable Energy heritagewindenergy.com

When Heritage Sustainable Energy built its first wind farm in 2008, almost all the money was funneled to companies in Europe.

Compare that to the Big Turtle wind farm the company is building now. More than half the materials, turbine parts, engineering, and labor will come from Michigan. That means half of the roughly $40 million project will go to Michigan companies.

Rick Wilson is the company’s vice president of operations. He says they want to build a wind farm that’s "pure Michigan."

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Politics & Government
8:37 am
Tue November 12, 2013

Kalamazoo's early retirement offers save city roughly $7 million

Monday night's city commission meeting was more of a party with balloons, munchies and cake.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

The city government in Kalamazoo is working through the final stages of a major transition.

Kalamazoo is wrapping up an early retirement incentive it first offered city workers a couple years ago.

“I think we will be affected by this early retirement initiative for a long time to come,” Mayor Bobby Hopewell said.

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Politics & Government
9:10 am
Mon November 11, 2013

Kalamazoo group honors WWII veterans: ‘I’ve never had such a day in my life’

2nd Lieutenant Corey Boudiette stops to talk to WWII veteran and Marine Kenneth Wells in Washington D.C.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

Listen to the broadcast version of the story.

It’s almost five in the morning. It’s cold and still dark in Kalamazoo. It takes about 45 minutes to load 21 veterans, 15 wheelchairs and 22 helpers onto a charter bus.

A cheery, caffeinated voice comes over the bus’ loudspeaker, “Good morning everybody how are we doing?” Bobbi Bradley is president of “Talons Out” the new honor flight hub based in Kalamazoo. This is the group’s first mission. It had to raise $34,000 to pull it off.

The donations cover the cost of the day trip for all the veterans on board who are well into their 80s. Bradley says the trip isn’t something many of these vets can physically do on their own.

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Politics & Government
10:47 am
Mon November 4, 2013

Two lakeshore cities have rare opportunity to vote on whether to merge into one

Signs for and against the proposed merger are seen all over Saugatuck and Douglas.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

Voters in the neighboring Michigan cities of Saugatuck and Douglas have a big decision to make in tomorrow’s election. The tourist towns on the shores of Lake Michigan could become a single city.

If you live in Saugatuck or Douglas, there’s no way you can avoid the touchy conversation about consolidation. Campaign signs tell voters to “Save our towns” or “We’re better together.”

Even the kids on the playground have opinions.

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Politics & Government
7:38 am
Mon November 4, 2013

Benton Harbor leaders at odds over proposed income tax; voters decide Tuesday

The City of Benton Harbor has been under the control of a state-appointed emergency manager since March 2010.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

A southwest Michigan city under state control will decide whether to impose a new city income tax in Tuesday's election. An emergency manager has been running Benton Harbor since March 2010.

If the proposal passes, people who live or work in Benton Harbor will pay a small percentage of their income to the city government. More than 20 other Michigan cities have an income tax.

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Energy
2:01 pm
Sun October 27, 2013

Hearings this week to shape future of DTE’s proposed new nuclear reactor in Michigan

Fermi 2 sits near to Lake Erie in Monroe County.
James Yeo Creative Commons

This week, federal nuclear regulators will hold hearings related to DTE’s proposal to build another nuclear reactor in Monroe County. Plans submitted to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in 2008 call for a roughly 1,500 megawatt reactor.

DTE wants to build Fermi 3 near Fermi 2. Fermi 2 has been operating in Frenchtown Township for 25 years. Fermi 1 partially melted down in the 1960s and was permanently closed in the early 1970s.

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Law
4:51 pm
Thu October 24, 2013

Companies can't use religion as grounds to avoid contraception coverage

Plan B, also known as the 'morning after pill,' is a form of contraception.
IaIvanova Creative Commons

A federal appeals court ruled against a southeastern Michigan natural foods company that claims it should be exempt from the contraception provision in the federal health care law. The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals issued its opinion today.

The Affordable Care Act requires employers to provide workers with insurance that covers contraception.

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The Environment Report
9:43 am
Tue October 22, 2013

Endangered mussel delaying Grand River whitewater project

A freshly dead snuffbox mussel Dunn's crew found near Riverside Park in Grand Rapids.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

You can listen to today's Environment Report above.

North America has the most diverse population of freshwater mussels in the world. There are roughly 300 species. But almost 40 have gone extinct in recent history. The presence of one kind of endangered freshwater mussel is delaying projects to restore parts of the Grand River in West Michigan.

To find out more, I meet up with Heidi Dunn and her two-man crew at Riverside Park in Grand Rapids. They’re hunting for a beloved endangered animal - well, an endangered mussel – that Dunn loves.

“They’re not the charismatic megafauna. You know, like eagles and bears and other things like that. These are not warm cuddly fuzzies. They’re biological rocks,” Dunn said.

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Politics & Government
8:30 am
Fri October 18, 2013

If Benton Harbor voters approve income tax, manager would pay down pension liabilities

The City of Benton Harbor has been under the control of a state-appointed emergency manager since March 2010.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

Benton Harbor Emergency Manager Tony Saunders is breaking months of silence on a proposed city income tax. Saunders says he has some concerns about the proposal.

“I want to make sure we have a strong climate for business investment here. Also, you know this is one of the poorest cities in Michigan, so the last thing I want to see is our citizens being taxed once again when they’re already struggling to make ends meet,” Saunders said.

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Business
9:58 am
Thu October 17, 2013

Michigan apple growers changing orchards, adding technology to boost production

Apples rejected by the machine roll down a line. Many of these apples will be rescanned.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

In West Michigan, it’s apple harvest time. That may conjure up images of picturesque orchards and old-fashioned fun. But modern technologies are playing a bigger role in the business side of the apple harvest.

Right now it’s crunch time for growers like Rob Steffens. He’s got 280 acres of apple trees in Sparta; a part of West Michigan’s fertile “fruit ridge” northwest of Grand Rapids. 

Apple orchards are changing

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The Environment Report
9:00 am
Thu October 17, 2013

Michigan town looks forward to cleaning up mess left behind by chemical company

A granite marker was placed on the site of the former Vesicol Chemical Corp. plant site in St. Louis, Michigan warning people to stay away.
Mark Brush Michigan Radio

You can listen to today's Environment Report above.

Forty years ago a chemical mix-up led to one of Michigan’s worst environmental tragedies, and it’s not over yet.

The mix-up occurred in early 1973 at the former Michigan Chemical Corporation plant (which later became the Vesicol Chemical Corporation) in St. Louis, Mich. The company accidentally shipped flame-retardant chemicals to livestock farms around the state.

Farmers thought they were getting a feed supplement. Instead, they were dosing their animals with the toxic chemical PBB.

The problem wasn’t discovered for another year -- and the chemicals were passed up the food chain to humans.

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