Mark Brush


Mark is a senior reporter/producer at Michigan Radio where he's been working to develop the station's online news content since 2010.

From 2000 to 2006, he worked as the technical director and senior producer for Michigan Radio's regional environmental news service known as the Great Lakes Radio Consortium.

From 2006 to 2010, as the unit's co-manager and senior producer, Mark helped transition the GLRC into an award-winning national news service known as The Environment Report. The service was heard on more that 130 stations around the country including WBEZ in Chicago, WAMU in Washington D.C., KUOW in Seattle, and KWMU in St. Louis.

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 board certified public radio junkie" since 1992. He discovered public radio on his commutes to work in his trusty 1984 VW Rabbit. Much of Mark's storytelling philosophy was influenced through his close work with veteran CBC "réalisateur" David Candow.


Politics & Government
11:35 am
Fri September 27, 2013

Same-sex married couples filing joint federal return must file separately in Michigan

Rick Pluta

After the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the federal "Defense of Marriage Act" last July, the IRS announced that as of September 16th, gay couples with a state sanctioned marriage will be required to file their federal taxes as joint returns with their partner, or "married filing separately" - regardless of what state they live in now.

But in Michigan, those same couples will still be required to file separate returns, according to a document posted on the Michigan Department of Treasury's website.

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10:27 am
Fri September 27, 2013

Jim Leyland and Jim Schwartz display two ways to celebrate a win for Detroit

After a win, Jim Leyland moonwalks, while Jim Schwartz smashes his headset.
screengrabs FoxSports video

It's not exactly an apples to apples comparison.

The Detroit Tigers had just clinched a division title after a long season, and the Detroit Lions had simply won a game, but the two different ways the head coaches of Detroit's major sports teams celebrate a win does show something about their personalities.

Here's the "Jim Leyland moonwalk" making the rounds online (You can scroll to 1:25 to see the moonwalk, but his heartfelt 'thank you' to his players, staff, and fans is worth watching. - you can follow this link if the video doesn't load below):

And here's the "Jim Schwartz headset throw" going around the net (the Lions had just beaten the Washington Redskins - follow this link if the video doesn't load below):

Maybe it's just the difference between baseball and football.

H/T to Tony Brown.

Environment & Science
12:30 pm
Thu September 26, 2013

EPA chief will speak in Ann Arbor today

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy.
EPA YouTube

The new chief of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Gina McCarthy, will be speaking at a conference being held at the University of Michigan's Law School this evening.

It's part of a three-stop tour for the new EPA Administrator who has the tall task of leading the Obama Administration's efforts to control carbon emissions.

Here she is talking about their proposed efforts to curb emissions (can you tell she's from Boston?):

From an EPA press release:

...Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy will begin a three-day trip where she will speak to students, businesses and other stakeholders on EPA's recent carbon pollution standards proposal for new power plants, and President Obama’s Climate Action Plan to reduce carbon pollution.

The EPA has proposed carbon pollution standards for new power plants, and the agency is hoping to work with states to develop standards for existing power plants.

The EPA's authority to regulate carbon dioxide emissions was supported by a 2007 U.S. Supreme Court decision. The intense political pressure and complexity around power plant carbon dioxide regulations has slowed the process for putting power plant regulations in place. It's been more than six years since the Supreme Court ruling.

12:10 pm
Wed September 25, 2013

Photos of Detroit's RoboCop statue surface, and the Tweets that started it all

*Not the statue
snapsnot from

Philadelphia has Rocky, Minneapolis has Mary Tyler Moore -- and soon, Detroit will have RoboCop.

It's just a model of the statue, but you can get a sense for it.

Julie Hinds of the Detroit Free Press describes it this way:

Seeing the 10-feet-tall model for the RoboCop statue drives home the enormity of both the statue and the effort that is bringing the project to life.

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2:20 pm
Tue September 24, 2013

Inflated job-creation numbers come from state strategic fund

A123 Systems received state grant dollars to create jobs. The company later went bankrupt.
A123 Systems Inc. Facebook

Sometimes we all do it. We over-promise on what we can actually get done.

That is especially true for some people seeking money or investments. And it appears to be the case with some companies that received state money designed to create jobs in Michigan.

But some legislators in Michigan were left in the dark about that lack of performance, according to an audit by the Michigan Office of the Auditor General.

One of the goals of the Michigan Strategic Fund is to diversify the state's economy by giving out grants to companies, research groups, or start-ups. The goal is to support entities that can create jobs in the state. Job creation numbers can be part of the evaluation of a given grant's effectiveness.

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2:25 pm
Mon September 16, 2013

Tennis great coming to Michigan to celebrate new charter school

The Southwest Detroit Lighthouse Charter Academy

Retired sports stars sometimes like to make a social impact with their money. In the case of Andre Agassi, he's put some of his money into a fund that helps charter schools build new schools across the country.

Tomorrow, Agassi will be on hand to celebrate the opening of the Southwest Detroit Lighthouse Charter Academy. The K-5 school opened this year and is serving 300 students. The goal is to grow the school to 475 students through 12th grade.

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Politics & Government
12:42 pm
Mon September 16, 2013

Gov. Snyder signs Medicaid expansion into law

Medicaid expansion has become the latest battlefield over the Affordable Care Act ever since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states are not bound to follow through on that ACA provision.

Some Republicans in Michigan fought hard to keep the state from enacting Medicaid expansion. But they lost.

Republican Gov. Rick Snyder signed Medicaid expansion into law today - his office then sent this tweet:

So Michigan is colored blue in this map of states that have passed Medicaid expansion vs. those states that have not (red states):

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3:50 pm
Fri September 13, 2013

Michigan has cut spending on K-12 schools by 9% since 2008

That's according to a report released by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

It says per-student spending is $572 less than it was before the recession.

The Center looked at state school funding across the country, and found that most are funding their schools less.

The reduced levels reflect not only the lingering effects of the 2007-09 recession but also continued austerity in many states; indeed, despite some improvements in overall state revenues, schools in around a third of states are entering the new school year with less state funding than they had last year.

Michigan is listed as one of those states with less money for this school year compared to the year before.

How do the cuts in Michigan compare to spending in other states? Take a look:

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Politics & Government
11:20 am
Fri September 13, 2013

Detroit Mayor Bing feeling sidelined, has advice for next mayor

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing, Gov. Rick Snyder, and Detroit's emergency manager Kevyn Orr. Michigan Government

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing will finish his term at the end of the year, and according to Matt Helms of the Detroit Free Press, Bing is going out feeling frustrated.

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Politics & Government
12:14 pm
Wed September 11, 2013

Read the smuggled letter from Amir Hekmati

Amir Hekmati
Released by the family

Amir Hekmati is a former U.S. Marine who has been held in an Iranian prison since 2011.

He's accused of being an American spy. He was tried and sentenced to death in 2012, but a higher court overturned that sentence and he is now awaiting a retrial.

His Flint, Michigan family has been working on his release ever since he was detained.

Read more
Politics & Culture
4:17 pm
Tue September 10, 2013

Stateside for Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

A judge in Indiana has ruled that the state’s right-to-work law violate’s the Indiana constitution. On today’s show, we ask if the ruling could have implications for Michigan's new right-to-work law. 

We also spoke to a man trying to create a place of healing in the Michigan outdoors for U.U. veterans.

 But first on the show, it isn't every day when the President of the United States turns to you for advice, but Flint's Mayor Dane Walling is now in that relatively small group who can say exactly that. Mayor Walling was among 18 mayors who sat down in a White House meeting with President Obama. The topic: how to reduce violence among young people -- something Dane Walling is faced with every single day. That's because Flint is among the top U.S. cities of more than 50,000 people with the worst crime rates. Mayor Dane Walling joined us today.

Politics & Culture
3:37 pm
Tue September 10, 2013

Stateside for Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

A judge in Indiana has ruled that the state’s right-to-work law violate’s the Indiana constitution. On today’s show, we ask if the ruling could have implications for Michigan's new right-to-work law. We also spoke to a man trying to create a place of healing in the Michigan outdoors for U.U.

Read more
Arts & Culture
2:54 pm
Tue September 10, 2013

Detroit's hip hop scene moving on from the days of '8 Mile'

Flaco Shalom in Detroit's North End neighborhood.
Model D

Detroit's hip hop scene was made famous in Eminem's move "8 Mile."

You know the one -- where the white guy from the trailer park shows up the black rapper who went to Cranbrook High School?

It's a representation of the hip hop scene in Detroit in 1995.

Back then, The Shelter below St. Andrew's Hall was the spot where hip hop artists sought to make a name for themselves.

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Politics & Government
11:53 am
Mon September 9, 2013

What are 'social impact bonds,' and will they be good for Michigan?

A new financial tool for investing in social programs. Will it work?
Dave Dugdale Wikimedia Commons

These are the basic questions being raised after Governor Rick Snyder announced "an exciting opportunity to continue the reinvention of Michigan" in a press release this morning.

"Social impact bonds" are coming to Michigan.

The state was chosen through a national competition to receive help from the Harvard Kennedy School's "Social Impact Bond Technical Assistance Lab."

What are social impact bonds?

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Environment & Science
4:59 pm
Fri September 6, 2013

Study finds 32 different drugs in Lake Michigan

Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

We excrete these drugs or dump them down the drain, and they find their way into our water.

Pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) in rivers and lakes have been documented before, but this research finds levels in Lake Michigan that could have deleterious effects on the ecosystem.

Thirty-two different drugs were found - 14 of them were found at levels "of medium or high ecological risk."

The study was published in the journal Chemosphere:

The environmental risk of PPCPs in large lake systems, such as the Great Lakes, has been questioned due to high dilution; however, the concentrations found in this study, and their corresponding risk quotient, indicate a significant threat by PPCPs to the health of the Great Lakes, particularly near shore organisms.

Brian Bienkowski wrote about the study for Environmental Health News. Of the 14 chemicals found in concentrations of concern, Bienkowski writes triclosan has been studied the most. has proven acutely toxic to algae and can act as a hormone disruptor in fish.

“You’re not going to see fish die-offs [from pharmaceuticals] but subtle changes in how the fish eat and socialize that can have a big impact down the road,” said Kolpin, who did not participate in the study. “With behavior changes and endocrine disruption, reproduction and survival problems may not rear their ugly head for generations.”

The four most commonly found drugs were:

Read more
Arts & Culture
11:01 am
Thu September 5, 2013

See how a dance party in Detroit can help change a community

Kids breakdance at the 'Doing it in the Park' event.
Doug Coombe Michigan Radio Picture Project

There's nothing like a dance party to bring people together.

That was the goal of an event put on by the Detroit artist collective known as "Complex Movements."

Photographer Doug Coombe was there when the group put on its "Doing it in the Park" event to celebrate Detroit's Capitol Park neighborhood. He posted photos of the event and of the group on our Michigan Radio Picture Project website (you can see some of the photos above).

From the Picture Project site:

It only made sense for Complex Movements to celebrate the great historic neighborhood of Detroit’s Capitol Park while shedding some light on the massive dislocations being brought on by the rapid gentrification of downtown Detroit. The...“Doing It In the Park” event was equal parts dance party, art installation and community empowerment event. Just like pretty much everything Complex Movements does.

Complex Movements blends multi-media art forms with hip hop and community activism. "Doing it in the Park" is one way the group does this.

Here's another way. Take a look at how their vision plays out at one of their shows at the Detroit Science Center during the Kresge Foundation's Art X Detroit festival in 2011. The rapper is female artist Invincible, one of the group's members:

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2:48 pm
Wed September 4, 2013

Who is Stephen M. Ross, and what will this $200 million be used for?

Members of the UM marching band with Stephen M. Ross. The University of Michigan publicly thanked Stephen M. Ross for his $200 million gift today.

In the history of major gifts to the University of Michigan, the $200 million gift from alum Stephen M. Ross is the biggest in the University's history. 

In the annals of gift giving to higher education, it's not the biggest, but it is among the biggest.

Read more
10:55 am
Wed September 4, 2013

Michigan's "Fightin' Fifth" Rep. Dan Kildee on Colbert Report

Stephen Colbert 'vogueing' Michigan U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee.

In last night's Colbert Report on Comedy Central, Stephen Colbert featured an interview with U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee (MI-5th - D), in his segment "Better Know a District."

In the course of the segment, Colbert "vogue's" Kildee, 'does' some sugar beet sugar, and steals Kildee's wallet.

Have a look:

(If the video doesn't load for you - follow this link)

The Colbert Report
Get More: Colbert Report Full Episodes,Video Archive

Politics & Government
5:28 pm
Thu August 29, 2013

Detroit featured on MSNBC's 'Morning Joe' today

Screen grab from 'Morning Joe'

It's Thursday, our day to meet up with Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes. Today we spoke with him about how Detroit got the spotlight for the three hours of MSNBC's "Morning Joe" today. The show was broadcast live from the Ford Flat Rock Assembly Plant to highlight the fact that Ford is switching production of its Fusion from Mexico to Flat Rock - spending $550 million to tune-up the Flat Rock plant, and adding 1,400 jobs at the plant. 
Read more
Politics & Government
12:54 pm
Thu August 29, 2013

Detroit officials and creditors meeting today behind closed doors with new mediator

Detroit skyline in the distance.
user: jodelli Flickr

Chad Livengood of the Detroit News reports that a closed-door meeting will take place today between the city and bond insurers, pension funds, and Detroit's casinos.

Livengood reports a Portland-based bankruptcy judge, Elizabeth Perris, will be leading the mediation. She's worked on the Stockton, CA bankruptcy proceedings.

Here's what they'll be talking about according to Livengood:

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