Mark Brush

Reporter/Producer

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.

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Arts & Culture
2:00 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

Detroit Institute of Arts praises initial work by federal bankruptcy mediators

Flickr

Leaders at the Detroit Institute of Arts praised the efforts of federal mediators today saying they're working toward a solution that protect's the museum's collection while giving relief to the city of Detroit.

The collection has been seen as a potential source of revenue by some creditors who are poised to lose a lot of money in the Detroit bankruptcy.

More from the DIA's press release:

At a meeting with the mediators on Tuesday, the DIA expressed enthusiastic support for the work that has been done to date, and pledged to help refine and implement the plan in the weeks ahead. The plan engages national and local foundations among other funding sources to create a mechanism for providing cash for the City, while ensuring the present and future safety of the DIA collection. Details of the plan are still in process, as meetings with the foundation community and others continue. The DIA has begun to mobilize its considerable public support to help implement a fundraising strategy that will satisfy the City’s needs, while ensuring the well-being of the museum for the residents of Detroit, southeast Michigan and beyond.

Offbeat
3:08 pm
Tue December 10, 2013

Stunt skiiers drop in on the ruins of Detroit

Clip from Poor Boyz Productions YouTube

These skiiers stopped in from out of town to "Ski Detroit."

Yes, it's another in a string of "check out how bleak Detroit is" videos. But their tricks are definitely worth watching. There's some pretty creative stuff going on here. (Lyrics in some of the soundtrack are NSFW.)

(H/T Sarah H.) 

Politics & Government
2:15 pm
Tue December 10, 2013

Facebook digs deeper into the adoption of equal sign profile pictures

You likely saw it unfold on Facebook earlier this year.

In late March, Facebook users began changing their profile pics to show their support for gay marriage.

Facebook tracked analyzed those changes and found that 2.77 million users in the United States made the switch - and the users who made the switch were more likely to live along the coasts or in the Great Lakes region.

Read more
Auto
9:49 am
Tue December 10, 2013

GM's Dan Akerson will step down, company names first woman as CEO

Mary Barra, 51, will become the first CEO in the global automotive industry.
GM

Dan Akerson, chairman and CEO of General Motors, will step down on January 15, 2014. Akerson moved up the date of his departure by several months after his wife was diagnosed with an advanced stage of cancer.

Akerson's successor will be Mary Barra. She's the executive vice president, Global Product Development, Purchasing and Supply Chain.

The 51-year-old Barra will become the company's first female CEO, and will be the first female CEO in the global automotive industry.

Barra was the daughter of a Pontiac die maker, according to Bloomberg:

Barra, 51, whose career started on a factory floor as an intern more than 30 years ago, has been in charge of product development and quality of all GM cars and trucks for 22 months, fostering collaboration and wringing costs out of the supply chain.

In its press release, GM said Barra was a leader in the company's turnaround:

...revitalizing GM’s product development process resulting in the launch of critically acclaimed new products while delivering record product quality ratings and higher customer satisfaction.

“With an amazing portfolio of cars and trucks and the strongest financial performance in our recent history, this is an exciting time at today’s GM,” said Barra. “I’m honored to lead the best team in the business and to keep our momentum at full speed.”

GM announced other executive staff changes as well. Dan Ammann, 41 and GM CFO, will become company president and will manage the company's regional operations around the world. He'll remain as CFO of GM as well. A new CFO will be named at a later date.

And Mark Reuss, 50, will move into the position being vacated by Barra.

2:40 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

NPR's Don Gonyea wears his 'Detroit-ness' on his sleeve

Lead in text: 
Sandra Svoboda of Deadline Detroit profiles one of our favorite NPR people! Gonyea worked out of WDET in Detroit prior to becoming an NPR correspondent. He remembers his work in Detroit fondly "It's where I had great, great years working as a journalist, it's where I learned how to be a journalist. The stories Detroit handed me to cover were just a never-ending stream of really great and rich stories."
WASHINGTON - His voice is familiar to Michigan public radio audiences who listened to his reports about the auto industry, labor unions, politics, Jack Kevorkian and other major news events during the 1980s and 1990s. Then, for nearly a decade beginning when George W.
Arts & Culture
2:21 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

Only 3 house installations remain after latest Heidelberg Project fire

The Clock House burned last night.
The Heidelberg Project via Facebook

What was built over several decades, is coming down in less than a year.

Last night, the fifth house in the world-renowned art installation on Detroit's east side was burned.

The Heidelberg Project's Clock House burned last night around 11 p.m., according to the Detroit News:

The suspicious fire tore through the Clock House, near Elba Place and Ellery, about 10:50 p.m. Sunday, according to Battalion Chief Edward Voss. Smoke rolled through the neighborhood, blanketing it like fog. Fire crews arrived within five to seven minutes, but it wasn’t enough time to save the art display, said Voss.

It's the fifth house to be destroyed by arson in the last two months.

Heidelberg supporters wonder if the remaining three houses will be standing at the end of the year.

The three remaining houses, according to the News, are the Dot House, the Numbers House, and the Teddy Bear House.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has offered a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction, and the agency is assisting the Detroit Fire Department in investigating the fires.

The News reports that police have not made specific plans to increase patrols in the Heidelberg area.

Heidelberg organizers have raised nearly $39,000 toward a goal of $50,000 to increase lighting and private patrols in the two-block area.

Michigan Radio's Emily Fox spoke with Guyton after the third house, the Penny House, was burned. Guyton told Fox the fires have inspired him to make more art:

“No matter what happens, the arson fires, the demolitions, that magic in here keeps telling me, do it, do it, don’t stop. Oh, it gives me energy, I’m saying turn it up. I’m like, that’s the best you got?,” Guyton says.

Guyton began the Heidelberg Project in 1986 to call attention to the extreme blight in Detroit's neighborhoods. Anyone who has information about the fires is asked to call the arson unit at the Detroit Fire Department (313-596-2940), or the ATF at 888-ATF-FIRE.

Politics & Government
12:23 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

Watch part of Nelson Mandela's speech at Tiger Stadium in Detroit

Nelson Mandela wearing Pistons gear given to him by some of the players at the time.
@downwithdetroit Twitter

Four months after Nelson Mandela was released from prison in 1990 he came to Detroit.

Why Detroit?

Here's what the Rev. Jesse Jackson had to say, according to the Detroit Free Press.

“It’s the home of Joe Louis, and Nelson Mandela has always admired Joe Louis. ... He’s also always wanted to see Rosa Parks, and she is here. And the real base of the struggle is the labor unions.”

So thousands packed into Tiger Stadium to see him on June 28, 1990.

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Arts & Culture
5:26 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

Detroit music legend Derrick May says bankruptcy is just a new angle to an old story

May at the 'Free Your Mind' festival in 2009.
Rene Passet Flickr

There was another plot turn in the long story of Detroit's struggles yesterday.

A federal bankruptcy judge looked at all the evidence and declared, yep, the city of Detroit is indeed insolvent.

It's new, for sure, but for many who have lived and worked in Detroit, it's just more of the same.

Derrick May is one the founding fathers of techno music. Detroit was the birthplace of the genre, and May has achieved a lot of success traveling around the world playing shows. (Listen to his breakout hit here.)

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Offbeat
12:54 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

Former Detroit broadcaster was inspiration for 'Ron Burgundy'

The man who inspired a character.

You might remember Mort Crim from way back when. He was a senior editor and anchor for the evening news at Detroit's WDIV-TV from 1978 to 1997.

If you don't remember him from that era, you might know him as the Majic Window Guy.

Here are some clips featuring Crim while he anchored at WDIV:

It turns out, Crim was the inspiration for Will Ferrell's Ron Burgundy character.

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Politics & Government
3:31 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Judge rules Detroit is eligible for bankruptcy, city can protect itself under Chapter 9

John Meiu Detroit Legal News Publishing LLC

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes ruled this morning that the city of Detroit is allowed to protect itself from its creditors under Chapter 9 municipal bankruptcy protection. In his ruling, Rhodes said pensions can be treated like any other debt and are subject to potential cuts. We've been following the news as it unfolds today.

Update 3:31 p.m.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette issued a statement today saying he supported the bankruptcy ruling, but was "deeply disappointed" with Rhodes' ruling that pensions are eligible for cuts.

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2:24 pm
Wed November 27, 2013

10,000 turkeys used to walk from Vermont to Boston

Lead in text: 
Forget the great cattle drives in the Old West. I want to know more about the "great turkey drives" in the Old East. (This is one more for the "Thanksgiving story files.")
  • Source: Vpr
  • | Via: NPR Local Stories Project
Today, the term farm-to-table signifies the epitome of local food. But nearly 200 years ago, it meant something entirely different when Thanksgiving
Environment & Science
11:52 am
Wed November 27, 2013

This is what it sounds like to be attacked by a turkey

Not the turkey of interest, but a close facsimilie.
wikimedia commons

Back in 2007, I was doing a story on CAFOs in Wood County, Ohio.

I was waiting for my interviewee to return home when I spotted a gang of turkeys appear at the edge of the woods.

I had some time to kill, so I channeled my inner Marlin Perkins, got out my "shotgun" microphone, and attempted to record some wild nature sounds. (A "shotgun" microphone does not shoot anything, it's simply a long microphone that collects sound from far away.)

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The Environment Report
10:44 am
Tue November 26, 2013

This is what it sounds like inside Michigan's largest wind farm

Kent Humm says he agreed to put a wind turbine on his land because of the environmental benefits.
Mark Brush Michigan Radio

The Gratiot County Wind Farm has 133 wind turbines scattered over more than 30,000 acres. It's the largest wind farm in Michigan. Each 1.6 megawatt wind turbine can generate enough power for 350 homes.

And this is what it sounds like when you stand directly beneath a wind turbine that stretches more than 450 feet into the sky with the wind blowing between 10 to 15 mph.

(Listen below - You can hear the turbine slow down - I think it's neat, but I'm a nerd.)

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Auto
12:32 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

The most popular car in Michigan is the Ford Fusion

Andrew Duthie Wikimedia

That's according to Business Insider. Alex Davies and Mike Nudelman produced a map for the magazine showing top car choices in each state using data from Kelley Blue Book.

KBB looked at data going back to the beginning of this year.

Michigan was unique in it's "top car" choice. Most everywhere else, the Ford F-Series of trucks were the most popular. Here are some other states that broke the Ford truck trend.

But Americans elsewhere have different tastes: Florida and Maryland went for the Toyota Camry. Hawaii liked the Toyota Tacoma. Oklahoma bucked the geographic trend — the most popular car there is the Nissan Altima sedan.

Detroit Bankruptcy
12:03 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

Judge expected to rule on Detroit bankruptcy soon, how could it go?

It's anyone's guess as to when the ruling will come, but most seem to think the bankruptcy will be approved in some form.

If it's not, at least one expert seems to think bad things could happen. From Crain's Detroit Business:

"If the bankruptcy is disallowed, frankly, expect all hell to break loose," said Anthony Sabino, a lawyer who teaches business law at St. John's University in New York. "Detroit will be at the mercy of its creditors in individual lawsuits spread amongst federal and state courts. That chaos alone could doom the city."

Hell breaking loose? Doomed?

Well, a bomb wouldn't drop, but the downward financial spiral would certainly continue as creditors that haven't been paid would sue for the money they're owed.

Read more
The Environment Report
1:17 pm
Tue November 19, 2013

The clock is ticking for a decision on Isle Royale's wolves

Isle Royale National Park Superindendent Phyllis Green talks with people at a public meeting in Chelsea, Michigan about the wolves on Isle Royale.
Mark Brush Michigan Radio

Wolves are doing fine in many parts of the Upper Midwest, so much so that people are hunting them now.

But a protected population of wolves on Isle Royale National Park in Lake Superior has plummeted.

Read more
Environment & Science
7:34 am
Mon November 18, 2013

Storms cut power to more than 450,000 in Michigan

Map of DTE Power outages in Michigan.
DTE

Storms swept across Michigan yesterday. First there were tornado watches, then a tornado warning in Newaygo County. Once the watches ended, high winds swept across the state knocking over trees and powerlines.

As of this morning, more than 450,000 homes and business are without power, according to the Associated Press:

Wind gusts were measured at 70 mph in Battle Creek and 77 mph at a buoy in Lake Michigan near South Haven. The National Weather Service reports one person was injured Sunday afternoon in Clare County by a falling tree...

DTE Energy Co. reports 245,000 customers without power, including 70,000 each in Wayne and Oakland counties. CMS Energy Corp.'s Consumers Energy unit reports more than 213,900 customers without service.

Go here for more info on DTE power outages. And here for more on Consumers Energy outages.

Tornado watches expired without any confirmed as of Monday morning, but a possible brief tornado was reported in Newaygo County. The National Weather Service will be in Newaygo County today investigating.

Meteorologist Evan Webb in Grand Rapids says a crew will be in that area Monday. He says another will be looking at an area between Kalamazoo and Lansing where storm damage was reported. Heavy rains also flooded some roadways in the state.

WWTV/WWUP-TV is reporting a partial shutdown of the Mackinac Bridge this morning.

Law
4:44 pm
Fri November 15, 2013

Listen to reaction from Renisha McBride's family after murder charges filed

Renisha McBride's parents, Walter Simmons and Monica McBride speak at a press conference today.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

The parents of Renisha McBride spoke to the media today after Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy announced that her office would charge the man responsible for McBride's death with second degree murder.

Theodore Wafer, a 54-year-old from Deaborn Heights, was arraigned in court today. His attorney said Wafer's gun went off accidentally.

Walter Simmons and Monica McBride say they are happy that Wafer was charged.

Listen to their reaction below: 

 

Law
2:17 pm
Fri November 15, 2013

What we know and what we don't know about the Renisha McBride case

Family photo

A 19-year-old woman was shot in the face and killed while standing on the front porch of 54-year-old homeowner in Dearborn Heights, an inner-ring suburb of Detroit.

The 19-year-old, Renisha McBride, was black.

The homeowner, Theodore Paul Wafer, is white.

There have been 40 other murders in Detroit since October 1, but this is the one in the spotlight. In a city plagued by so many racial complexities, this story resonates with people.

Here's what we know

Read more
Breaking
11:17 am
Fri November 15, 2013

Man who shot Renisha McBride charged with murder in the second degree

Family photo

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy announced today that the man who shot 19-year-old Renisha McBride on his front porch in the early morning hours of November 2nd will be charged with murder in the second degree, manslaughter, and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.

Second degree murder is non-premeditated murder. It can carry a sentence in Michigan of up to life in prison.

The man has been identified as Theodore Paul Wafer, a 54-year-old from Dearborn Heights.

McBride's family says she was seeking assistance after a car accident. A toxicology report showed McBride was intoxicated at the time. The homeowner said his gun discharged accidentally. 

Here is the 911 dispatch call that came in after the shooting:

We will have more on this story later. McBride's family is expected to hold a press conference at 3 p.m. today.

*This post has been updated.

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