Michigan Radio Newsroom

News and Production Staff

Michigan Radio offers internships in its newsroom and production departments. Check our employment page for current openings.

Newsroom

Julia Field

Julia recently graduated from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and Urban Studies. Having spent the last two summers interning for a Detroit nonprofit and a NGO in India, she decided to dabble in online news journalism. As a university student, she was involved in the student organization, Human Rights Through Education and the Detroit Partnership.  Although she was raised in rural West Michigan, much of her time at the university was spent either in Detroit or studying it. She is interested in urban planning and policy, community redevelopment, and public health issues. After her internship this summer, she leaves for the Dominican Republic as a Peace Corps volunteer.

Rebecca Guerriero

Rebecca Guerriero is a senior at the University of Michigan studying in the Program in the Environment (Environmental Science). She is a Graham Sustainability Scholar and focuses her studies on water resource management and sustainable city growth and development. Rebecca is from Northville, Michigan and loves everything “Pure Michigan” – it is her dream to visit every Great Lakes lighthouse. Rebecca is writing her Senior Honors Thesis on sustainable golf course design and management. She works at NOAA’s Great Lakes Integrated Sciences and Assessments Center as a research assistant and webmaster and as a summer orientation Peer Academic Advisor for the Honors Program. She enjoys coffee, camping, traveling, the Italian language, the West Wing, and a good stack of books. Her perfect idea of happiness is playing pond hockey with the 1980 Olympic Team. After graduation, Rebecca plans to trek across Canada and watch the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy in one sitting for the first time.

Lindsay Hall

Lindsay Hall is a senior studying Political Science and Psychology at the University of Michigan. She was born in Cape Town, South Africa and moved with her family to Ann Arbor when at five years old. Last winter term Lindsay was fortunate enough to return to South Africa to study at the University of Cape Town and pursue interests in early childhood education and development as a mentor at a local primary school. She is excited for the opportunity to join the Michigan Radio team this semester and experience what it is like to work within the field of communications.

Alana Holland

Alana Holland is finishing  double major degrees in Broadcasting and Journalism from Grand Valley State University before she takes over the reporting world. Even though she's from the small-town Gaylord, Michigan, she has a heart for big cities and loves travel. In her college, Alana is an anchor and reporter for the student-run TV news station, GV Today, was Layout and Design Editor for the newspaper, the Lanthorn, and has interned for Wood TV-8 and Thunder 94.5 radio. Alana spent a summer studying theater in London, her first taste at travel and learning about culture firsthand. Her goal is to work in international journalism, hoping to eventually become the next Christiane Amanpour. She is a self admitted coffee addict, fashion fanatic, vegetarian, photographer, and lover of all things British. In the next ten years she hopes to ride Asian elephants in India, publish a book, attend a New York Fashion Week, hike Machu Picchu, and learn cook. Ultimately though, she enjoys hearing and telling people's stories, and hopes to have what she does with her work improve other people’s lives.

Sarah Kerson

Sarah is an Ann Arbor native and a graduate of Community High School, where she was an editor of its online student newspaper. She spent her freshman year of college at the University of Vermont studying the social sciences and worked as an investigative reporter for UVM's student newspaper. Sarah also enjoys writing poetry, and was a finalist in the 2012 Ann Arbor Youth Poetry Slam. She is excited to expand her journalism and media experience to public radio.

Melanie Kruvelis

Melanie is a rising senior at the University of Michigan, studying Political Science. A Michigan native, Melanie serves as the Editorial Page Editor at The Michigan Daily, managing a staff of more than 40 columnists, bloggers and editorial board members during the school year. Last winter, Melanie spent five months in Madrid, taking classes at a local university and traveling as much as humanly possible on the weekends. She enjoys all things 90s, ukuleles, and the oxford comma.

Lucy Perkins

Lucy is from Suttons Bay, Michigan and is a senior at the University of Michigan, studying English and Communications. She has worked as an Arts writer for The Michigan Daily, as a writing workshop facilitator for the Prison Creative Arts Project, and as an editorial intern at Traverse Magazine. Last year, Lucy spent five months in Buenos Aires, Argentina taking classes and squeezing in weekend travels whenever possible. While in Buenos Aires, she interned for an English newspaper, The Argentina Independent. Lucy is interested in print and radio, and wants to tell real stories, especially about people who may not otherwise have a voice. She enjoys reading, eating barbecue pizza, and playing with puppies.

Dr. Nishant Sekaran

Nishant has been a Clinical Lecturer at the University of Michigan Medical School, and is a staff physician at the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System. He has an M.D. degree from Vanderbilt University, and an M.Science in Health Related Research from the University of Michigan. Among his peer reviewed publications are “Hot unstable angina—is it worse than subacute unstable angina?” You can schedule an office visit with Dr. Sekaran to get the answer to that question. 

Chris Zollars

Chris is your basic born again journalist.  He reawakened his enthusiasm for radio news after years in the corporate sector writing and producing video and interactive marketing and training projects.  He holds a Masters in Journalism from the University of Illinois and a Bachelor of Science in Mass Communications from Southern Illinois University.  Chris started his journalism travels at his town’s daily paper as a teenager and during his undergrad also worked at SIU-Edwardsville’s NPR affiliate (WSIE-FM).   Chris then served five years as a commissioned officer in the US Coast Guard and was Managing Editor/Internal Relations Manager during the first Gulf War.  While in graduate school, he worked in the newsroom at WDWS-AM/WHMS-FM in Champaign, Illinois, and at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications specializing in science/technology stories.  He and his wife live up near Fenton with their 2 dogs, 2 birds, and 7 horses.

State of Opportunity

Kimberly Springer

Kimberly is excited to be back in public radio after several years spent teaching at the university and researching level in the US and abroad in London. She is currently a student in UM's School of Information Master of Science program specializing in social computing and archives/records management. Kimberly’s goal is to work in social media and/or digital archives and curation. To that end, she spends most of her spare time "curating" her Spotify collection, waiting for Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead to come back, and planning for zombie apocalypse. Ask her: she has a plan.

Stateside

Austin Davis

Austin Davis is a sophomore at the University of Michigan pursuing a degree in German Language and Communications Studies. He grew up not too far away from Ann Arbor in Rochester Hills, Michigan where his family still resides.  Although he is unsure of his future career path, he hopes to do work in global reporting/journalism and multi-media production. Although this is Austin’s first time working in a radio station, he has previous experience writing for an online publication and working on local political campaigns. He has thoroughly enjoyed his time here at Michigan Radio, and is excited for the further prospects of this internship.

Operations

Chrissy Zamaron

Crissy is the Operations Intern at Michigan Radio and a senior at U of M earning her BA in both English Language and Literature and Spanish Language and Culture. She has a passion for the art of storytelling and is a genuine NPR fanatic. After graduating this May, she hopes to stay in the public radio family by gaining a position at any one of her favorite NPR shows. Outside of her internship, Crissy loves Latin dancing, singing and endless hours of television crime dramas.

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Environment & Science
1:46 pm
Wed July 25, 2012

USDA responds to spreading drought with more help for farmers

Michigan Corn Quality
USDA USDA

Today, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack declared four additional Michigan counties natural disaster areas due to continuing dry conditions.

Branch, Cass, Hillsdale, and St. Joseph counties have all joined the list.

This brings the number of counties experiencing drought up to 38 in Michigan, and 1,234 nationally, as counted during the 2012 crop year.

Read more
morning news roundup
7:21 am
Wed July 25, 2012

In this morning's Michigan news headlines. . .

Morning news roundup, Wednesday, July 25, 2012
User: Brother O'Mara Flickr

Emergency manager law

The state Supreme Court hears arguments Wednesday on a challenge to the referendum on Michigan’s emergency manager law. MPRN's Rick Pluta reports the challenge was filed by business groups that support the emergency manager law.

It says the size of the type used on part of the petition to put the question on the ballot is too small. The referendum campaign says the printer measured the font using the industry standard and it is correct. The campaign also says, regardless, small technical errors should not stop voters from deciding the question after more than 200,000 people signed petitions to put it on the ballot.

Groups opposed to the emergency manager law are planning to bus in protesters to demonstrate outside the Michigan Hall of Justice, where the Supreme Court meets. There are seven Michigan cities and school districts that are being run by state-appointed emergency managers.

Energy emergency in parts of the U.P.

Governor Rick Snyder has signed an executive order declaring an energy emergency in parts of the Upper Peninsula. He says a pipeline rupture in Wisconsin has affected the supply of gasoline and diesel fuel to the western and central U.P.

MPRN's Rick Pluta reports that West Shore Pipeline typically carries three million gallons a day between Chicago and Green Bay, which is used to supply much of the western half of the U.P.

Governor Snyder’s order will allow truckers to drive longer hours to get to fuel supplies in Milwaukee and Madison. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has also lifted restrictions because to allow truck drivers to work longer hours. The pipeline resumed moving fuel – although at reduced pressure -- this past weekend, but gas and diesel remain in short supply in some parts of the U-P. That has caused a spike in the price of fuel. Governor Snyder’s emergency order remains in effect for two weeks, unless he rescinds it sooner than that," Rick Pluta reports. 

Michigan casinos

Opponents of an amendment to allow eight new casinos in Michigan say the proposal violates the state constitution. So they’re going to court in an effort to keep the question off the November ballot. The Protect MI Vote coalition is made up of business groups and the owners of casinos in Detroit and on tribal land. The coalition’s attorneys say the question is both an amendment to the state constitution and a re-write of the state’s casino gaming law. Protect MI Vote says a ballot question cannot be both.

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Sports
2:10 pm
Tue July 24, 2012

Former Wolverine sues NFL, others over head injuries

user Malinaccier Wikimedia Commons

A former National Football League player from Michigan filed a lawsuit yesterday against the league and four others for failing to warn him of football-related head injuries, reports the Associated Press.

Derrick Walker lives in West Bloomfield, and he began his football career playing for the University of Michigan Wolverines where he served as co-captain in the '80s.  Since then, the plaintiff went on to play tight end professionally for the San Diego Chargers, the Kansas City Chiefs and the Oakland Raiders. 

Over that time period, Walker's lawsuit says he was concussed multiple times which led to memory loss, difficulty concentrating, headaches and difficulty sleeping.  Now he's seeking at least $500,000 in damages, reports the Detroit Free Press.

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Environment & Science
9:00 am
Tue July 24, 2012

Enbridge and the Kalamazoo River: Two years after the spill

Enbridge building in Edmonton, Alberta.
user Kyle1278 Wikimedia Commons

It's been two years since a busted pipeline spilled more than 800,000 gallons of oil into the Kalamazoo River.

Michigan Radio's  Zoe Clark sat down with reporter Steve Carmody who has covered the spill since July 2010 and spoke about the efforts to clean up with river and how its faring two years on.

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news roundup
7:45 am
Tue July 24, 2012

In this morning's Michigan news headlines. . .

User: Brother O'Mara Flickr

Special primary approved

The $650,000 special primary to replace Congressman Thaddeus McCotter will go ahead. The 11th District Republican chair says he spent the weekend trying without success to get four of the five GOP candidates to drop out. That would have allowed the state to cancel the special primary and save taxpayers that money. Instead, a state elections board finalized the Sept.5 special primary ballot, which also has one Democrat on it.

Two years after Kalamazoo oil spill

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Arts & Culture
2:32 pm
Mon July 23, 2012

Feds, state kick in $44M to finish Detroit riverfront project

Marc Pasco Detroit RiverFront Conservancy

Efforts to complete a recreational development project along Detroit's east riverfront are getting a $44 million boost from the federal government and the state, reports the Associated Press.

The east riverfront spans 3.5 miles from Joe Louis Arena to Gabriel Richard Park.

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Economy
2:15 pm
Mon July 23, 2012

Another Gilbert company will likely relocate from Detroit suburb to downtown

Dan Gilbert
Quickenloans.com

Another Dan Gilbert company will probably move into downtown Detroit, bringing 1,500 more employees from the suburbs into the city.

Gilbert's Title Source provides title insurance, property valuations and settlement services.

The Detroit Free Press reports the company scheduled a news conference for Wednesday morning to announce the move to the Gilbert-owned First National Building in Downtown Detroit.

Title Source is moving locations from the Detroit Suburb of Troy. About 500 of the company's employees will move in immediately, with the remaining 1,000 moving in over the next six months, reports the Freep.

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Arts & Culture
9:14 am
Sun July 22, 2012

Going 'grammando'

This week on That’s What They Say, we find out whether it’s okay to go "grammando" during a casual conversation. Grammando is a new word used to describe people who correct other people’s grammar, and Anne Curzan, a professor of English at the University of Michigan who specializes in linguistics, kind of loves it.

Curzan, who first came across the word back in March, said that in the online age, fussy bloggers sometimes use grammar as a way to discredit one another.

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Politics & Government
4:55 pm
Fri July 20, 2012

Six candidates filed to finish out McCotter's term today

Republican Kerry Bentivolio, a veteran and former teacher from Milford, will run to replace Rep. McCotter.
Kerry Bentivolio http://bentivolioforcongress.com

Democrat Dave Curson, and Republicans Kerry Bentivolio, Kenneth Crider, Steve King, Carolyn Kavanagh and Nancy Cassis all say they have filed enough valid signatures to run in the special election to fill the remainder of U.S. Rep. Thaddeus McCotter's congressional seat, according to the the Detroit News.

The deadline for filing signatures was 4 p.m. today.

After McCotter abruptly resigned from his seat in Detroit’s 11th Congressional district, he left a gap between his absence and the end of his term in early January. 

In order to fill the gap, Gov. Rick Snyder's office called for a special question to appear on the November ballot, in which 11th District voters will decide on a candidate to finish out the remaining six weeks of McCotter's term.

On the same ballot, these constituents will vote again for whom they want to serve the following term beginning January 3, 2013.  The deadline for candidates to file for that election has already passed.

A primary for the special election could be held on September 5, if more than one candidate from either party file enough signatures.

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Health
2:14 pm
Fri July 20, 2012

New app designed for early skin cancer detection

Tony Buser, flickr Flickr

Every year, two million people in the United States get diagnosed with skin cancer, and 50,000 of them have melanoma.

Early detection is important for successful treatment, but regularly seeing a dermatologist to monitor skin health can be expensive and inconvenient.

Enter UMSkinCheck. The University of Michigan Medical School debuted the free app earlier this month. Dr. Michael Sabel, an associate professor of surgery at U of M, was the primary physician involved in the project.

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Transportation
12:05 pm
Fri July 20, 2012

A second bomb threat in week-long slew did not shut down Ambassador Bridge traffic

The Ambassador Bridge
user Mikerussel Wikimedia Commons

Detroit police say they received another bomb threat on the Ambassador Bridge on Wednesday evening. This time, authorities kept the busy international crossing open while they investigated the call.

Police said the call came about 5:15 p.m, and the site was "officially cleared" for safety at 7 p.m.

This latest bomb threat is the second called on the bridge this week, and it marks the third recent bomb threat on transportation links between the United States and Canada.

On July 12, someone called in a similar threat on the Detroit-Windsor tunnel. 

The previous two calls resulted in several-hour shutdowns of the Ambassador Bridge and Detroit-Windsor tunnel, which allowed police to search the area.  No bombs were found during either search.

After receiving the latest threat to the Ambassador Bridge on Wednesday, Sgt. Eren Stephens says, police let traffic continue, reports the AP.

A statement from police says "preliminary Intelligence" indicates that Wednesday's caller "may have made hoax bomb threats in the past."

Authorities let Comerica Park remain open Tuesday despite another bomb threat during a Detroit Tigers game.

The Detroit News also reported that a bomb squad responded to a report of a suspicious package found at Cobo Center last Monday.

Although the bomb-related threats occurred over a short time period, it remains unclear if the calls are made by the same people or person, reported the Wall Street Journal:

Andrew Arena, the former head of the Detroit FBI office who now is executive director of the Detroit Crime Commission, said bomb-threat hoaxes often come in bunches. "Is it one person or a copycat? A lot of times somebody does this and then copycat people jump on board," he said. "It's certainly a stress on law enforcement and everybody who has to respond to this stuff."

-Elaine Ezekiel, Michigan Radio Newsroom

Auto
4:40 pm
Thu July 19, 2012

Ford recalls 2013 Escapes with 1.6-liter engines

2013 Ford Escape
user Explorationofspace Wikimedia Commons

Ford Motor Company issued a media release today, alerting owners of a safety recall on 2013 Escapes with 1.6-liter engines. The release says the model has faulty fuel lines that could leak and cause a fire.

The car maker advises that its affected customers stop driving the cars immediately in order to allow dealerships to pick them up to remedy the problem, which will take about an hour, according to the statement.

More from the advisory:

Read more
Environment
12:26 pm
Thu July 19, 2012

Diesel fuel spills into Lake Huron after tug and barge sink

The oil spill site is reported to be two miles off the coast of Lakeport.
Google Maps

Friday, July 20, 9:06 a.m.

The U.S. Coast Guard released a statement this morning declaring that the diesel fuel tanks onboard the sunken dredge, the Arthur J, have been secured and that no more diesel fuel is spilling into Lake Huron:

All the fuel valves and vents on the Arthur J have been plugged. 

The Arthur J has ten vents to its fuel tank and responders where able to plug four of them early Thursday afternoon, but six remained open until responders were able to plug them late Thursday night.

The impact to the shoreline has been minimal; however there is visible sheening along the shores of Lakeport, but there has been no report of a thick product wash ashore. However, there is still a strong diesel odor in the air, so residents and visitors of the lower Lake Huron area are encouraged to avoid areas where there is an odor in the air.

Thursday, July 19, 12:26 p.m.

Mlive.com reports that if storms do not let up, all 1,500 gallons of diesel fuel will get into Lake Huron.

The Michigan Department of Enviromental Quality is monitoring the situation from the periphery, and spokesman Brad Wurfel said ongoing storms may limit the effectiveness of the containment boom.

"We're hoping to recover all we can," he said. "But it's anticipated that if the storms do not let up, it's best to plan on the idea that all 1,500 gallons will get into the lake."

The weather, the weight of the fuel, wind direction and underwater currents make it difficult to predict where the fuel may head. Some local beaches may see a sheen, Wurfel said, but the "environmental impact is not expected to be catastrophic."

"The upside is, it's a big lake. A lot of this will dissipate."

St. Clair County officials have closed all public beaches on Lake Huron as a precautionary measure, according to health education and planning director Jennifer Michalul.

A local hazmat team and fire crew are aiding the Coast Guard, which has established 100-yard safety zone around the periphery of the oil sheen.

Read more
Politics & Government
12:10 pm
Thu July 19, 2012

Detroit's 'Summer 2012 Demolition Plan' receives bank settlement funds

An abandoned home in Detroit
Kate Davidson Michigan Radio

The city of Detroit will receive $10 million of a statewide $25 million fund to counter blight in Michigan.

Last month, Detroit Mayor Dave Bing pledged to demolish 10,000 vacant buildings in the city by December 2013, the end of his four-year term.

The state funding comes during the mayor's "Summer 2012 Demolition Plan," during which he plans to raze 1,500 buildings by this September.

Some of those buildings went down today. In a media advisory this morning, the Mayor's Office said,

Four apartment buildings and another dangerous structure will be razed simultaneously Thursday morning in the Detroit Works Project Demonstration Area #3.

The demolition funds come from the state's $97 million share of a national settlement with banks over faulty foreclosure processes.  Yesterday, the Michigan house and senate voted on how to divvy up the money across state projects.

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Environment & Science
11:09 am
Thu July 19, 2012

Coping with a historically low crop in the Cherry Capital

Ben LaCross manages 750 acres of cherry trees on the Leelanau Peninsula. This year some of his trees were bare of fruit when they would normally hold 50-100 pounds of cherries each.
Emily Fox Michigan Radio

The great loss of cherries

Earlier this month, most of the counties in Michigan were designated disaster areas for agriculture. Michigan is the largest producer of tart cherries in the nation, and this year, the state lost 90 percent of its crop.

Ben LaCross is one of the many farmers who is trying to cope in what is known to be the Cherry Capital of the world. He manages 750 acres of cherries in Leelanau County, just outside Traverse City.

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Economy
3:20 pm
Wed July 18, 2012

Michigan unemployment rate ticked up for the second month in a row

Mark Brush Michigan Radio

Unemployment in Michigan rose one-tenth of a percentage point in June to 8.6 percent, when seasonally adjusted.

The Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget (DTMB) issued a press release today that said the state's labor force, for the first month this year, did not increase, and the number of unemployed people grew by 7,000.

The good news is that this year's unemployment rate is 2 percent lower than last year's June rate, and four tenths of a percent lower than the rate at the beginning of this year.

From the press release:

“The state labor market displayed little change in June, and has been relatively stable through the first half of 2012,” said Rick Waclawek, director of the Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives.  “Job gains in Michigan were modest during the second quarter, which was similar to national trends.”

Check out the graph above showing DTMB's data on the labor force and the unemployment rate over the past decade.

-Elaine Ezekiel, Michigan Radio Newsroom

Health
12:12 pm
Wed July 18, 2012

U of M tops ranking of best hospitals in Michigan

The University of Michigan Health System.
UM

U.S. News & World Report has identified 34 high-performing hospitals in Michigan out of more than 175 hospitals statewide. The rankings were released earlier this week.

Regional rankings around the country are based on how hospitals compare nationally in 16 medical specialties.

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Politics & Government
12:05 pm
Wed July 18, 2012

Bing cuts Detroit city worker pay, benefits despite City Council's disapproval

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing
Mayor Dave Bing Facebook.com

Today, Detroit Mayor Dave Bing decided to go ahead and impose new contract terms that will cut wages by 10 percent and drastically change their work rules for many of Detroit's city union workers.

This decision comes after the Detroit City Council voted down the proposed plan yesterday, 5-4.

Read more
Transportation
5:35 pm
Tue July 17, 2012

Gov. Snyder: Ambassador Bridge bomb threat exposes need for new crossing

The Ambassador Bridge
user Patr1ck Wikimedia Commons

Gov. Rick Snyder says last night's bomb-threat that closed the Ambassador bridge for hours provides another reason to build a second bridge.

Last week, when a similar bomb-threat closed down the Detroit-Windsor tunnel, Michigan Radio's Lester Graham had his mind 1.5 miles down river, on the Ambassador Bridge. 

Read more
Offbeat
5:34 pm
Tue July 17, 2012

Facebook followers share 'up north' highlights

Lake Michigan Sunset
User acrylicartist MorgueFile.com

Earlier today, Michigan Radio’s Kyle Norris posted a story about Michiganders’ love of traveling north of their hometowns for an in-state getaway.  On our facebook page, we asked fans to join the conversation:

“Ok, let's hear your favorite thing about going ‘up north.’”

Followers posted comments detailing the perks of their favorite spots up north.

Several answered that the drive north is the best part of the experience.

Gary: Crossing the tension line (or "ecotone") between southern and northern forests. The pines and sand sneak in so slowly you barely notice, until they seem suddenly to dominate.

Cathrin: Not only do the trees change, but the landscape begins to rise and fall in drastic contrast to the flat plains of the center of the mitten. So beautiful!

Dani: crossing the bridge to the u.p ...being so close to 3 of the great lakes the beautiful scenery the falls the fudge in mackinaw smoked fish in st ignance and most of all being away from the big city

Read more

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