Mark Brush

Digital Media Director

Mark is Michigan Radio's Digital Media Director. He works to develop and maintain the station's overall digital strategy. As a senior producer/reporter from 2010 to 2016 he helped move the station toward publishing more online-first stories.  

From 2006 to 2010, as the unit's co-manager and senior producer, Mark helped transition the station's regional environmental news unit into an award-winning national news service known as The Environment Report.

Mark is a graduate of the University of Michigan ('00 MS in Environmental Policy and Planning & '91 BA in Political Science) and has been a "public radio junkie" since 1992. Much of Mark's storytelling philosophy was influenced through his close work with veteran CBC "réalisateur" David Candow.

Ways to Connect

Motown31 / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Students are saying their classrooms are overcrowded this year. WDIV reports of some advanced placement classes with 60 students in them. 

It's like a race to get up there, and if you don't have a seat, you're just standing there for the whole hour. It's just tough. It's hard to see the board because everybody is in the way and I can't really focus on my work.

Says Mumford High School senior Glen Miller.

Marijuana plants
Flickr user A7nubis / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The state's medical marijuana law is "inartfully drafted" according to Appellate Court Judge Peter O'Connell. O'Connell was quoted in a Detroit News article saying the law is so confusing that users "who proceed without due caution" could "lose both their property and their liberty."

A map of pipelines crisscrossing the United States

Congress held hearings today on the Enbridge oil spill in Michigan. Michigan Radio's Steve Carmody reports that one top official was conspicuously abset from the hearings. Cynthia Quarterman recused herself from the oil spill hearings, because she used to work for Enbridge Energy Partners.

A cricket in Tanzania
Philip / Creative Commons

Some of us have accidentally made a meal of a bug while riding a bike or going on a boat ride.

But there are some people who say by not eating bugs on purpose, we're ignoring an entire food group.

The Wall Street Journal has the latest on entomophagy, or bug eating.

I think it's what sushi was 20 or 30 years ago. Now it's time for bugs.

The Detroit Fire Department responds to a fire in 2010. Filmmakers embedded with the DFD for most of 2011.
Patricia Drury

Michigan Radio's Sarah Hulett reports that the Michigan Public Service Commission is "launching an investigation into
DTE Energy's role in the fires that swept through parts of Detroit last week."

Workers fixing Enbridge oil pipeline near Marshall, Michigan
USEPA Region 5

The last few weeks have not been good for pipeline companies.  Coming off a summer that included the mother of all oil spills you had...

School student in Japan reading a book outside
Mehan / Creative Commons

Governor Grahom recently aired the idea of an extended school year for Michigan students. She says U.S. students are at a disadvantage globally. So how often are kids in other countries in school?

pile of one  dollar bills
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

We collectively owe around $828 billion in revolving credit debt (that includes credit card debt), according to the latest numbers from the Federal Reserve.

Now, a column in the Detroit Free Press is reporting that for the first time ever, student loan debt has outstripped  revolving credit debt, coming in at $850 billion.

Closeup of fire
Marcus Obal / Creative Commons

"How do you start over from complete devastation?"

That quote came from Detroiter James Johnson in a Detroit Free Press article on the aftermath of the Detroit fires. Johnson and his wife lost their house after 85 fires swept through neighborhoods in Detroit's east side Tuesday night. 

Map of Michigan showing participation in the food stamp program per capita
Image from Food Stamp Program Map Machine / USDA/ERS

Nearly 1.9 million people in Michigan are getting some form of public assistance. That's a new record according to a report from the Michigan Public Radio Network's Rick Pluta.

Pluta talked with Sharon Parks of the Michigan League for Human Services.  Parks says the growing number of people applying for the cash assistance program concerns her most.

The Michigan House of Representatives in Lansing
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio file photo

The Great Recession has meant tough times for state governments. Michigan has been hit extra hard and leaders in the state have been fighting over a shrinking budget for several years.  These budget battles have led to brief government shutdowns in years past. But with the new fiscal year starting October 1st, leaders in the state seem to have resolved their differences.

Aerial photo of Talmadge Creek after Enbridge oil spill
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

It’s been more than a month since an estimated 800,000 gallons of crude oil spilled into the Kalamazoo River. Enbridge Energy Partners, the company responsible for the pipeline leak, says it has cleaned up about 700,000 gallons of that oil.

But there’s still a lot of work to be done. The EPA is just now starting to find out how much oil is at the bottom of the river.

Boat on Northport Bay, Lake Michigan
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

Michigan Radio listeners are having a conversation on Facebook about their favorite places to travel around Michigan.

Most are sharing. Some, like Trevor, are keeping their secrets, "If I told you I'd have to kill you."

Here's the list so far:

Cover of the report Executive Excess 2010: CEO Pay and the Great Recession

A report from the Institute for Policy Studies looked at CEO compensation from the 50 companies that layed off more workers during the recession. They found the CEOs at these companies are paid more, on average, than the average pay for the CEOs running to top 500 companies in the U.S. (S&P 500).

Sarah Anderson is the lead author of the report.  She says,

"CEOs are squeezing workers to boost short-term profits and fatten their own paychecks."  

help wanted sign
kandyjaxx/creative commons

The unemployment picture in Michigan is still bad. It stands at 13.1% now. The worst it's been since the early 1980's.

Now, a new report by the Michigan League for Human Services puts the long-term unemployment picture into perspective.  In 2000, people unemployed for more than 26 weeks, accounted for 6.5% of the total number of unemployed. Today, the long-term unemployed account for 40.8% of the unemployed.

The report says,

News roundup for today

Sep 2, 2010
Newspaper boxes along a street
Susan Lesch / Creative Commons

Illegal oil spill workers caught in Texas

Alton / Creative Commons

You're supposed to keep an open mind when sitting as a juror in a trial. If you can't, it's definitely not a good idea to broadcast your prejudices about a case on the web.

The Detroit Free Press reports that Hadley Jons, while sitting on a jury in a resisting arrest case "wrote on Facebook that it was 'gonna be fun to tell the defendant they're GUILTY.'"

Indiana Michigan football game
Creative Commons larrysphatpage

The Big Ten conference announced its plan to create two separate divisions in football.  The conference started with ten teams, went to eleven with the addition of Penn State in 1990, and will now have twelve teams with the addition of the University of Nebraska.  No name change, just some new matchups. 

Michigan Radio's Steve Carmody reports that...

Actress at the Michigan State Fair
Bob Vigiletti / Michigan Radio Picture Project

There's a new post on Michigan Radio's Picture Project site.  Bob Vigiletti has eighteen beautiful shots taken in the waning years of the Michigan State Fair.  The fair, proclaimed to be the country's oldest, was closed because of declining attendance and revenues in 2009. Vigiletti writes:

It is only through out thoughts and photographs that we preserve and cherish memories of the past.

Marijuana leaf
Hendrike / Creative Commons

An Oakland County Judge prohibited defendants charged with violating drug laws from smoking marijuana while on bond until their hearing in October. The defendants say they use medical marijuana legally under the state's medical marijuana law.  The Detroit News has a story about the ruling.  In it they described the scene outside the courtroom:

Ford's River Rouge Plant in Michigan
Rob Goodspeed / Creative Commons

The Mackinac Center for Public Policy posted a story about job growth in Michigan. James Hohman cited stats from the Bureau of Labor Statistics that showed Michigan posted 27,800 new jobs for July.  More than any other state in the country. Hohman writes:

Strike at EMU avoided

Aug 31, 2010

Rina Miller reports that "an agreement has been reached between Eastern Michigan University and its faculty just hours before a strike could have begun." 

In Miller's report, Howard Bunsis, with the EMU Chapter of the American Association of University Professors, says:

Working on the broken oil pipeline near Marshall, Michigan

The pipe has been repaired. It was tested yesterday. Now, as Steve Carmody reports, Enbridge Energy officials plan to ask regulators for permission to restart the pipeline that just five weeks ago gushed close to a million gallons of crude oil.

Carmody reports:

Eastern Michigan University (EMU) President, Susan Martin
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

(by Rina Miller)

The union representing Eastern Michigan University faculty may ask for a strike authorization if its contract demands are not met by midnight Tuesday.

EMU classes are scheduled to begin September 8, but union representatives say teachers may not be there if no contract agreement is reached.

EMU faculty are no strangers to walkouts: They went on strike in 2000, 2004 and 2006.

Howard Bunsis is with the union.

Bedbug on human skin
Piotr Naskrecki / CDC/Harvard University

(by Steve Carmody)

College students are moving into dorms and off campus apartments this week across Michigan. There is a concern the students may inadvertently add to a spreading bed bug problem. Detroit is among a host of U.S. cities that have seen a spike in bed bug infestations. Many colleges are closely watching incoming students to keep them from bringing in furniture that's infested with bed bugs.

Great blue heron covered in oil from the 2010 Enbridge oil spill near Marshall, Michigan.
Michigan's oil response Flickr page / State of Michigan

Michigan Radio's Steve Carmody reports "an oil pipeline that broke near Marshall last month is undergoing a critical pressure test today. Enbridge Energy is flooding the pipeline with water to see if it can withstand the pressure."

If it works, and government inspectors say it's o.k., the pipeline will be restarted.

Logos from candidates' websites


Air pollution around a highway in downtown Los Angeles
Ali Azimi / Creative Commons

Ozone way up in the atmosphere... good. Ozone near the ground... bad. 

SEMCOG (Southeast Michigan Council of Governments) says the air outside could be unhealthy today.  The group says "elements have been in place for a few days now – sunny skies, hot temperatures, and southerly winds. Admittedly this is beautiful weather, but the ongoing nature of these conditions is compromising our air quality and enabling ground-level ozone to remain high."

Volunteers at Sema Cafe in Ann Arbor, Michigan
Myra Klarman

(by Rebecca Williams with The Environment Report)

So what would you think about opening up your home to 120 people every week? Letting them come in with their shoes on, sit anywhere they wanted. Oh, and by the way, they’ll be expecting a full breakfast.

That’s what happens at Jeff McCabe and Lisa Gottlieb’s house in Ann Arbor. From 6:30 to 10am every Friday, their house is transformed. It’s kind of weird. You walk in and you know you’re in someone’s home, but it feels like you’re suddenly in a little diner.