Mercedes Mejia is a Senior Producer at Michigan Radio. Her stories and interests center on the intersection of culture, immigration, food, arts and music. Her interviews and features can be heard on Stateside. Mercedes relocated to Michigan from New Mexico, where she earned her BA in Journalism and Latin American Studies. She began in public radio as a reporter at KUNM in Albuquerque. She also brings extensive video production skills from her work at Univision and Edit House Production.
The duo Red Tail Ring goes back to traditional old-time music--because that’s what they love.
Michiganders Michael Beauchamp and Laurel Premo’s interpretation of Appalachian and folk songs come from their “strong connection to the outdoors and the natural world.”
Laurel is from the Upper Peninsula and Michael from the Kalamazoo area. The music they play is what you might call “backwoods music.”
“We’re modern people reaching back to older songs and traditions; we’re interpreters and explorers of older culture. Learning from the past is an essential aspect in art, and for us it’s been formative. It’s important to show how older words and melodies can be honored, not compromised, in reinterpretation, and that the world has been doing this since the beginning of time.”
This year they released two albums - the first - Middlewest Chant, is a collection of original songs.
The second album - Mountain Shout - is a compilation of traditional songs.
Red Tail Ring performed in Studio East, here at Michigan Radio, and we were all enthralled by the vibration of the fiddle and banjo--and the eerie harmonies that Laurel and Michael create together.
With the legislature set to go on winter break next week, there's a flurry of activity at the state capitol.
In this week's political roundup we look at the state senate bill, which makes major changes to worker’s compensation, the bill to restrict public employers from offering live in and same sex partner benefits, and news about the emergency manager law.
Every year the Michigan Humanities Council invites Michiganders to participate in a statewide initiative, the Great Michigan Read. This year’s selection, Arc of Justice: A Saga of Race, Civil Rights, and Murder in the Jazz Age, explores a crucial moment in the northern Civil Rights movement—the events leading to the trial of African American physician Ossian Sweet and his family.
On September 9th, 1925 Dr. Sweet and his wife Gladys moved into their new home, crossing the color line into an all-white neighborhood on the east side of Detroit.
Two days later, a crowd of whites gathered in the street to drive the family away. Dr. Sweet and 10 others chose to stay, armed and barricaded inside the house, to defend against the mob. Tensions reached their limit and someone fired into the crowd. Two whites were shot and killed, and the 11 people inside the Sweet home were charged with first degree murder.
Michigan Radio’s Jennifer White spoke with Kevin Boyle, author of Arc of Justice.
Thanksgiving will be celebrated across the country tomorrow. Many of us will spend the day with friends and family, but it’s not always time spent peacefully and harmoniously, especially when our plans for the holiday are challenged.
Michigan based writer, Wade Rouse has been bringing us stories about the holidays throughout the year. Today, he reflects on Thanksgiving traditions and how important it can be to be open to change.
Wade Rouse lives in Michigan and is the author of "It's All Relative: Two Families, Three Dogs, 34 Holidays and 50 Boxes of Wine.”
Detroit’s financial troubles have been in the news quite a bit recently with Mayor Dave Bing announcing a plan to lay off 1000 city workers and the looming possibility of the state assigning an emergency manager to take over the city’s finances. Michigan Radio's Political Analyst Jack Lessenberry took a look back at Detroit's history of financial problems.
What does Republican Paul Scott's recall mean for Michigan politics and around the nation?
Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and senior policy fellow at Public Sector Consultants, and Susan Demas, political analyst for Michigan Information and Research Service joined Michigan Radio's Jennifer White to talk about the aftermath.
The Michigan Education Association put a lot of money behind the recall effort, but the margin for the vote was very slim.
“If you look at the money spent the pro-Scott forces like the Michigan Republican Party and the state chamber of commerce actually out spent the MEA 2 to 1,” said Demas.
According to Sikkema, Michigan is not alone when it comes to voter's discontent with Republican lawmakers.
He said, “Ohio you saw a rejection of the collective bargaining reform championed by Governor Kasich. Arizona the state senator who introduced the very controversial immigration bill was recalled. So, there’s a larger national context here where there’s a real question whether Republicans are over reaching. ”
A vote on a bill to build a new Detroit to Windor bridge crossing has failed in the Senate Economic Development Committee. That means the bill won’t be presented to the full Senate. Here to look at the politics surrounding the bridge and what options the Snyder administration has now are Ken Sikkema former Senate Majority Leader and Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants and Susan Demas, political analyst for Michigan Information and Research Service.
The City of Benton Harbor says the beach season at Jean Klock Park was a success this year.
But some residents are upset that 22 acres of park land is now used by Harbor Shores Golf Course (see slideshow above to get a sense of how it looks).
The City of Benton Harbor says the golf course has created jobs and provides revenue for the city, but some people argue it’s not enough.
Julie Wiess is with Protect Jean Klock Park.
“It’s gone through with very little scrutiny actually, of the numbers that have been presented as far as job creation, as far as the amount of development or revenue that will be generated from this development and it’s all pie in the sky and no one has really taken a sharp pencil and figured whether this is realistic," said Wiess.
Tomorrow at 1:30 p.m., a group of Benton Harbor residents will argue in federal appeals court that the golf course developers should not have been given permits they received to build on park land.
Harbor Shores Development is already operating the championship golf course; the opponents say the environmental permits allowing the development were not fair.
Third quarter fundraising results are being reported by those in the race for Michigan’s U.S. Senate seat. Here to to look at why the money matters are Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants and Susan Demas, political analyst for Michigan Information and Research Service.
We also talk about Governor Rick Snyder's comments about his decision to run for a second term.
The Cuban hip-hop group Obsesion is in Ann Arbor this week.
Alexey Rodriguez Mola and Magia Lopez Cabrera mix African and Cuban rhythms with hip-hop and world beats. They will perform on Thursday, October 6 at the Michigan League Underground.
Here’s a song titled Tu con tu ballet from their current album “El Disco Negro de Obsesion."
Rapper Magia Lopez says her Afro-Cuban culture is what inspires her.
“The hip-hop culture is very much rooted in the 'barrios,' and in Cuba the majority of people are black, although we have mixed races, so we talk a lot about race issues, what we see and our reality as Afro-Cubans," says Lopez.
This week we are talking about the politics of language. In the third part of our series we examine how internet technology is being used to disseminate those political catch phrases and messages we all hear and quickly repeat.
Cliff Lampe is assistant professor in the School of Information at the University of Michigan. He says politicians are using social media to their advantage.
The autumnal equinox happened today at 5:05 a.m. ET. It marks the beginning of autumn in the northern hemisphere and spring in the southern hemisphere.
It’s the time of year when temperatures start to drop and the days start to get shorter.
Every year there are two equinoxes, one in March that marks the beginning of spring and one in September that marks the beginning of fall.
National Geographic explains:
The autumnal equinox and vernal equinox are also the only days of the year when a person standing on the Equator can see the sun passing directly overhead. On the Northern Hemisphere's autumnal equinox, a person at the North Pole would see the sun skimming across the horizon, signaling the start of six months of darkness. On the same day, a person at the South Pole would also see the sun skim the horizon, beginning six months of uninterrupted daylight.
Today we continue our series on political language. In part one we spoke to a linguist about the power of language and the effect it has on our view of world. In part two, we’re going to look more closely at the political strategy behind language use. Michigan Radio's Jennifer White talks with Craig Ruff, senior policy fellow at Public Sector Consultants. Don't forget to check out the extended audio below.
Language is being used more strategically in politics than it has been in the past. Ruff says:
The Republican Senate Majority Leader, Randy Richardville, says he favors a right-to-work law that would only apply to teachers and other unionized workers in education. Here to explain the political implications of such a law are former Senate Majority Leader and senior policy fellow at Public Sector Consultants, Ken Sikkema, and political analyst for Michigan Information and Research Service, Susan Demas.
Political rhetoric can be confusing and combative. We hear lots of political phrases that we quickly find absorbed into our everyday conversations. But what influence do these powerful words and phrases have on us? Over the next few days we’ll be taking a look at the politics of language. In part one of our series Michigan Radio's Jennifer White talks with Dr. Sarah Thomason, Chair of the Department of Linguistics at the University of Michigan.
Gov. Rick Snyder outlined his plan for making Michigan a healthier state. The plan includes the utilization of technology to help track health statistics and to guide people into making healthier choices.
Michigan Radio's Jennifer White talks with Victor Strecher, Professor at the University of Michigan’s Center for Communications Health Research. Strecher has been working with Gov. Snyder on developing the new health initiative and talks about health issues in Michigan and changes residents can make to improve their health and well-being.
Gov. Rick Snyder presented a health address on Wednesday that outlines his plan to improve the health of Michigan residents. Here to take a look at the politics behind the plan are Susan Demas, political analyst for Michigan Information and Research Service, and Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and senior policy fellow at Public Sector Consultants. How are Democrats and Republicans reacting to the governor's plan?
The Michigan Supreme Court will decide whether a new pension tax law is legal. The revenue from that tax is, “an essential part of keeping Michigan’s budget balanced," according to Governor Snyder. Every week we explore what's happening in state politics. Today we talk with Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and senior policy fellow at Public Sector Consultants and Susan Demas, political analyst for Michigan Information and Research Service.
This Friday many of us head into a three day weekend that marks the unofficial end of summer. We might mark Labor Day with a family picnic, one last summer visit to the beach, or maybe with a mad scramble to get that last bit of school preparation done. But what is Labor Day really for? Joining us to take a look is Michigan Radio’s Political Analyst, Jack Lessenberry.
The legislature recently approved a bill that would impose a stricter four-year lifetime limit on welfare cash assistance. The new limits could affect 12,000 families in Michigan. Governor Snyder has yet to sign the bill into law.
In this week's political roundup we talk about the bill with Debbie Dingell, a Democratic Political Analyst and member of the Democratic National Committee and Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and Senior Policy Fellow for Public Sector Consultants.