Mercedes Mejia produces interviews for All Things Considered, including the music segment Songs from Studio East. She also produces content for Stateside. Mercedes relocated to Michigan from New Mexico, where she earned her BA in Latin American Studies and Journalism. She began in public radio as a reporter at KUNM in Albuquerque. She brings extensive video production skills from her work at Univision and Edit House Production.
People in Dexter gathered on the streets this morning to assess the damage from Thursday's tornado, and to help clean up the mess.
DTE trucks lined Central Street in Dexter as crews worked on power lines. Nearby Keri Romine, co-owner of Dexter Mill, says two structures were destroyed on her property.
On Wilson Street, at the Huron Farms subdivision, cleanup crews like the Statewide Disaster Restoration Mobile Command Center were on site. Across the street, two cars had been crushed by a collapsed roof.
Homeowner Ricke Stauffer says he estimates the damage to his home at $20,000 to $30,000. Shingles and siding were ripped from his house, windows were blown out and the deck in his backyard was torn off.
Employees of Busch’s grocery store in Dexter were in the neighborhood giving away bottles of water.
The idea behind the event is to celebrate the diversity of music among different communities and faiths in southeast Michigan. Participants seek to bridge cultural, racial, and religious gaps between different churches, and develop friendships.
Jean Wilson is the co-founder of Gospelfest, and choir director at St. Paul United Church of Christ in Saline. She sat down with Michigan Radio’s Jennifer White to talk about the event’s 20-year history.
Wilson says the event offers a variety of music, from traditional black gospel to contemporary Christian, pop-rock, and more. And she says the event is about diversity and unity.
“Although we are so diverse in our different ways of worship, we are all headed in the same direction; we are all children of the same creator. Although we have so many differences, we do have that thing at the core of our very being that really says that we are all related and are one, and we get to celebrate it.”
On Saturday March 10, choirs from Ann Arbor and Detroit will come together for the 20th Annual Gospelfest at Bethlehem United Church of Christ in Ann Arbor.
The gospel choir of New Prospect Baptist Missionary Church in Detroit will also participate in this year's event. Here's a video of the choir during a Saturday morning practice.
A group seeking repeal of Michigan’s emergency manager law has submitted 226,000 petition signatures to place a referendum on the issue in November.
If 161,305 signatures are verified by a state elections panel the emergency manager law will be suspended until the vote comes up in November.
Michigan Radio’s Jennifer White spoke to 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 about the implications.
At the beginning of the year Governor Snyder appointed an emergency manager, Jack Martin, for Highland Park public schools. Shortly after that Martin was “de-activated” from the position. And now it’s unclear when he might be reinstated.
Democratic Senator Bert Johnson represents Michigan’s 2nd District, which includes Highland Park.
Michigan Radio’s Jack Lessenberry describes the history of Michigan’s primary as both fascinating and bizarre.
According to Lessenberry, Michigan held its first presidential primary in the early part of the 20th century. At that time people voted for Henry Ford in two separate primaries. To be exact, those primaries took place in 1916 and then in 1924, according to the Michigan Department of State Bureau of Elections.
Michigan is just a week away from its Presidential Primary. The GOP candidates are campaigning across the state in preparation for the February 28 event.
Michigan Radio’s Jennifer White spoke with the chair of the Michigan Republican Party, Robert Schostak.
Mitt Romney is from Michigan, so a lot people believe he will win in his home state, but Rick Santorum was leading in the polls over Romney. Schostak is not surprised Santorum is doing well in the state.
Governor Rick Snyder gave his endorsement to Mitt Romney today. The question is whether or not that endorsement will help Romney.
Michigan Radio’s Jennifer White spoke 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.
Here’s what Susan Demas had to say about the Snyder endorsement:
Michigan’s Presidential Primary is only two weeks away.
On February 28, Republicans and Democrats can go out and vote for their nominee for President. That’s because Michigan is what you’d call an “open state.” Once you get to the polls all you have to do is request either a Republican or Democrat ballot.
Every Monday, we're checking in with people who are trying to do what they think is needed to improve life for people in Michigan. This morning we speak with Sean Tracy. He’s a truck driver and World War II buff, and he’s working to show gratitude to the nation’s veterans—especially World War II vets. He builds models of the planes or ships the veterans served on while they were on active duty and gives them as gifts to the vets he finds.
Michigan natives Seth Bernard and May Erlewine have a new album inspired by their journey across Ethiopia.
Last year they were invited to join the project “Run Across Ethiopia," of the Michigan-based non-profit On the Ground. A group of eight eventually ran 240 miles across southern Ethiopia and raised over $200,000 to build schools in the coffee growing region of that country.
The album New Flower is based on that experience.
Michigan Radio's Jennifer White interviewed Seth & May. You can see them perform in Michigan Radio's Studio East.
Produced by Mercedes Mejia and Cade Sperlich. Our audio engineer is Bob Skon.
Theresa Flores is a social worker, and director of education and training for Gracehaven House, in Ohio. It's a long term faith based care and rehabilitation home for young girls who have been victimized by human trafficking.
Flores grew up in an upper-middle class catholic home. Many years ago she found herself in the same situation as some of the young women she now helps.
Flores says she moved around a lot. Her father had a good job, and her parents were very strict. They landed in Birmingham, Michigan.
Each Monday, as part of our "Seeking Change" series, we’re checking in with someone who’s trying to improve life for people in Michigan. I spoke this morning with Andy Sopher about a particularly difficult subject: sex trafficking of kids. Sopher is with Wedgewood Christian Services in Grand Rapids and is behind a new project aimed at curbing trafficking of youngsters.
Under the Federal Affordable Care Act, states are required to create a health care exchange. An online place where people can comparison shop for health insurance. It looks much like a Travelocity or Orbitz website, but for health insurance.
Many Republicans in the Michigan legislature want to hold off on creating this exchange until the Supreme Court rules whether the act is constitutional.
CORRECTION - An earlier version of this story stated that Right To Work legislation had already been introduced in the Michigan House. It has not. Representative Shirkey plans to introduce the legislation soon.
Right-to-work laws would prohibit workers from being required to join a union or pay union dues or fees as a condition of employment.
Republican Rep. Mike Shirkey plans to introduce right-to-work legislation in the House.
Gov. Rick Snyder gave his second state of the address this week.
To take a closer look at how Gov. Snyder and the legislature might move forward this election year is 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.