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

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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Environment
4:28 pm
Fri September 6, 2013

E coli has cleared from Rockford water system, residents advised to take precautions

Public drinking fountains in schools and churches had to be shut off earlier this week.
Darwin Bell Creative Commons

The E coli bacteria that was discovered earlier this week in Rockford’s municipal water system has cleared out. People living in the Grand Rapids suburb will need to do some things around their house to make sure their families are safe.

People were told to boil their water and sponge bathe their kids earlier this week to avoid the nasty illness E coli exposure can cause. Six schools closed over safety concerns. Some restaurants closed voluntarily.

Lisa LaPlante is with the Kent County Health Department.

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Environment
12:31 pm
Thu September 5, 2013

Six schools in Rockford will remain closed Friday over E. coli contamination concerns

Scanning electron micrograph of Escherichia coli, grown in culture and adhered to a cover slip.
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Creative Commons

Around 2,500 students in the Rockford Public Schools district are home today because of E. coli bacteria in the city’s water system. Complications over the holiday weekend led to elevated levels of the bacteria that could be a risk to human health. A boil water advisory is in effect until further notice.

Rockford schools superintendent Mike Shibler says six schools on the Rockford water system will have to be closed tomorrow too for the safety of the students who attend.

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The Environment Report
9:16 am
Thu September 5, 2013

A good summer for raising baby sturgeon in northern Michigan

Small sturgeon raised at the Black River streamside rearing facility near Onaway are loaded into a truck at a release party last week.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

You can listen to today's Environment Report above.

It’s been a fantastic summer for one lake sturgeon hatchery in Michigan.

Many lake sturgeon populations in the Great Lakes were wiped out decades ago. Demand for their eggs for caviar led to overfishing. Plus, dams built to power industry blocked sturgeon spawning grounds upstream.

Last spring, we told you about new efforts to restore a sub-species of sturgeon in the Kalamazoo River. This is the time of year when these little hatchery-raised fish are supposed to get released.

Unfortunately, things didn’t go very well for the new hatchery in the Kalamazoo River. Of the couple thousand eggs they had, only 52 survived. They were released into the river earlier this summer without much fanfare.

But I found another hatchery for lake sturgeon in Michigan that had an awesome year. This one is way up near Onaway, at the tip of the Lower Peninsula. They had a big release party last week.

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Environment
5:30 pm
Wed September 4, 2013

Kent County health officials tell Rockford residents to boil water, sponge bathe kids

Rockford residents are advised to boil tap water before using it.
jordanmrcai Creative Commons

Update 9/5/13: Rockford Public Schools have closed six schools today because of the water advisory. Superintendent Mike Shibler wrote in a letter to parents he made that decision based on the recommendation of the Kent County Health Department. Schools could be closed tomorrow too if the problem with the water system isn't resolved.

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Politics & Government
5:21 pm
Wed September 4, 2013

Study shows African-Americans more likely to be pulled over, searched in Kalamazoo

The study looked at traffic stops performed by the Kalamazoo Public Safety Department.
Inventorchris Creative Commons

African-American drivers are more than twice as likely to get pulled over than Caucasian drivers in the City of Kalamazoo. That’s according to a study the city released this week.

The study only looked at how the department deals with traffic stops. The data covers stops between March 2012 and February 2013.

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Economy
11:02 am
Sun September 1, 2013

New 'Downtown Market' opens tomorrow in Grand Rapids

Celebrating the opening of the market.
Bryan Frank Photography

Vendors are preparing for a flood of people as the new Downtown Market opens up tomorrow in Grand Rapids.

Community leaders hope the giant new indoor market will become a year-round regional attraction.

The smell of fresh apple pie from the hot pink Sweetie-licious bakery is the first thing you notice inside the new Downtown Market. It’s one of Linda Hunt’s national award-winning pies made with Michigan apples.

Hunt’s small bakery in DeWitt makes more than homemade pies. They make “snickerdoodles” or “whoopee-pies,” and cupcakes among other things.

“Pretty much everything here is awesome,” Hunt said.

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Law
11:08 am
Sat August 31, 2013

New online toolkit for those involved in child abuse cases

A division of the Michigan Supreme Court designed the toolkit.
Michiganradio.org

Judges, attorneys and families involved in child abuse and neglect cases can now get information about the legal process in a single place online.

A division of the Michigan Supreme Court designed the new online toolkit.

Marcia McBrien is a court spokeswoman.

“They’re complex cases, they’re very difficult,” she said. “They’re very fact intensive. So judges and attorneys who are handling these cases really need to be well educated and to know what they’re doing.”

McBrien says a lot of judges and attorneys who never used to handle child abuse cases are now.

That’s because of a couple of factors.

The market for lawyers has become more competitive and courts have been consolidating.

The hope is that the online toolkit will help children get placed in the right homes more quickly.

The state investigated more than 90,000 complaints of child abuse or neglect in 2012. 

Economy
1:32 pm
Fri August 30, 2013

'Ditch Chicago - Come back to live in Michigan'

One of West Michigan's bragging points (image from the campaign).
Hello West Michigan

That’s the message of a new advertising campaign running through the holiday season.

A group of West Michigan employers is behind the effort. More than forty business members make up the group called “Hello West Michigan.”

Its goal is to attract professionals to Grand Rapids, Holland, Muskegon, Battle Creek, and Kalamazoo.

The group’s executive director Cindy Brown says they know there are a lot of people outside of the area that want to come home.

“They just don’t really know how,” she said. "We have a lot of great things that are happening. We’re very humble, pretty quiet."

Brown says the ad campaign in Chicago will show people how and why they should consider moving back to Michigan.

Billboards will brag about better beaches, better beer, shorter commutes to work, even rent without ramen noodles.

“What they found from just talking to people that were relocating back to the area; everyone has a reason,” Brown said.

The $50,000 ad campaign will run through the holiday season.

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Business
6:00 pm
Thu August 29, 2013

Michigan congressman from across the state, political aisle meet for “Startup America Day”

Congressmen Bill Huizenga, Gary Peters and Justin Amash listen to entrepreneurs at Start Garden in Grand Rapids Thursday afternoon.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

Three Michigan congressmen met with entrepreneurs in Grand Rapids for “Startup America Day” Thursday. It’s a chance for entrepreneurs to tell lawmakers how they can better support startup companies.

Congressman Gary Peters (D-Detroit) co-chairs the House Caucus on Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

“We’ve got to make sure that we’re creating an environment that entrepreneurs with a good idea have an opportunity to take that idea, capitalize on it and run as long and as hard as they can with it,” Peters said.

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Environment & Science
3:01 pm
Tue August 27, 2013

Enbridge gets state permit to dredge in Morrow Lake, now to find a suitable location

Dredging work needs to be done between mile posts (MP) 36 and 39 as tagged on this MDEQ map.
Michigan Department of Environmental Quality

This week Enbridge Energy got a permit that will allow the company to dredge some of the oil that remains from the Kalamazoo River oil spill. But the company still needs to find the right location to do the work.

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Environment & Science
10:57 am
Tue August 27, 2013

Public asks state to reject development plans, consider buying dune land in Saugatuck

A number of people cited concerns about impacts to the unique ecosystems on the property. This is the property just south of McClendon's.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

Many people are asking the state to consider paying millions of dollars for a few hundred acres of land in Saugatuck. The land is sandwiched between Saugatuck State Park and a nearly 200-acre nature preserve.

Community leaders tried to buy the property a few years ago. They were outbid by a wealthy businessman. After a years-long legal battle over development rights, the property was listed for sale this month.

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Arts & Culture
1:26 pm
Fri August 23, 2013

State's largest contemporary art center merges with Ferris State University

A visitor to the UICA checks out an exhibit at the new building in Grand Rapids.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

The Urban Institute of Contemporary Arts in Grand Rapids has faced significant financial problems, especially after investing roughly $13 million dollars to move into a new, bigger building in 2011. Operating costs went up and it hasn’t attracted the surge of new donors the UICA has hoped for.

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Environment & Science
1:50 am
Fri August 23, 2013

Comstock Township denies Enbridge special zoning to dredge oil from Kalamazoo River

Enbridge workers surveying the Kalamazoo River in May 2013.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

It now appears even less likely Enbridge Energy will meet a federal deadline to dredge oil from the bottom of the Kalamazoo River. The cleanup is related to the company’s 2010 pipeline spill.

Enbridge wanted special permission from Comstock Township to build a dredge pad, a place to process the waste and truck it to a nearby landfill.

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Education
6:02 pm
Tue August 20, 2013

State data shows turnaround at consistently low performing high school in Grand Rapids

Union High School students get ready to head back to school at park parties organized by the district.
Union Red Hawks facebook page GRPS

The Grand Rapids Public School District is making strides in turning around some of its lowest performing schools. That’s according to new data released by the state Tuesday.

Ron Gorman is the Executive Director of High Schools and Alternative Education at GRPS. He works with all of Grand Rapids high schools, many of which have problems meeting state standards.

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Culture
5:20 pm
Mon August 19, 2013

Nearly century-old community agency in Kalamazoo fights to stay open

A community agency that serves thousands of low-income residents in Kalamazoo is in danger of closing.

The Douglass Community Association formed almost a hundred years ago to serve African American soldiers returning from World War I.

Interim Director Sherry Thomas-Cloud says now they provide literacy programs, a recovery center, free summer meals for kids and much more. She worries what would happen if people no longer have a central location for so many services.

“At best the services would be piecemealed and at worse you’re looking at an underserved population that would go from being underserved to not having any services at all,” Thomas-Cloud said.

“Plus, the pride, the sustainability of this agency for 90-some years… it’s just been an icon in the community and it would leave a gap that I think would be felt for many years,” Thomas-Cloud said.

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Politics & Government
9:54 am
Fri August 2, 2013

Will Detroit’s bankruptcy affect your hometown?

Will Detroit's bankruptcy affect cities like Grand Rapids?
Steven Depolo Creative Commons

Listen to the on-air version of this story. An extended version is below.

It’s a question many in local governments across the state have been asking themselves lately.

There are a couple ways Detroit’s bankruptcy could have a bad influence on other local governments.

The simple way: not so good national media attention

The simplest way is all that bad press the nation’s biggest municipal bankruptcy will bring. But Detroit’s finances have been screwed up for decades. That’s not news. Economists that track indicators in West Michigan say it won’t help, but they do not expect this to be a big factor.

The more important way Detroit’s bankruptcy could affect small governments is much more complicated.

The complicated way: “unprecedented” threats to municipal bonds

First, you’ve got to understand these bonds are really important to local governments.

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Economy
6:21 pm
Thu August 1, 2013

LG Chem finally begins production of lithium-ion batteries in Holland

LG Chem's Holland plant
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

A lithium-ion battery maker says it’s finally begun production at its plant in West Michigan.

President Obama’s stimulus package invested some $2 billion in advanced battery plants. Back in the summer of 2010, Mr. Obama came to Holland for the ground breaking ceremony for the new LG Chem plant. It was to eventually make lithium ion batteries for the Chevy Volt.

The plant cost roughly $300 million to build. Federal stimulus money paid for half that cost.

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Environment & Science
5:55 pm
Mon July 29, 2013

Strong demand for wolf hunting licenses in Michigan delays sale date

Wolf management units in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Sixteen wolves are targeted in area A, 19 wolves in area B, and 8 wolves in area C.
State of Michigan

Update 7/30/13 9:25a.m.

The DNR announced this morning it will delay wolf hunting license sales until September 28th. The licenses were to go on sale this Saturday, August 3rd.  Licenses will be sold on a first come, first serve basis.

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