WUOMFM

Rebecca Kruth

Weekend Host / Reporter

Rebecca Kruth is the host of Weekend Edition and a reporter at Michigan Radio. She first came to the station in 2014 and worked on Morning Edition. After earning degrees in English and American Studies from Michigan State University, Rebecca began her radio career as a newsroom intern at WKAR in East Lansing. She completed additional news internships at WBEZ Chicago and KAJX Aspen.  When she’s not on the airwaves, Rebecca enjoys hiking, Korean food and wandering the country with her husband James. She's also Bruce Springsteen's number one fan.

michigan.gov

Gov. Rick Snyder delivered his seventh State of the State address on Tuesday. This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about why the speech isn't considered to be one of Snyder's finest.

They also discuss the governor's push to save Medicaid expansion, Attorney General's Bill Schuette's stance on a Flint water crisis lawsuit, and education secretary nominee Besty DeVos' hearing on Capitol Hill.

When we talk about our relatives, there are plenty of gender-neutral terms to cover the bases.

We use "grandparents" to talk about both our grandmothers and grandfathers; "parents" takes care of mothers and fathers; "siblings" refers to both brothers and sisters; and a "cousin" can be either male or female.

But what about nieces and nephews? 

There's good news for aunts and uncles who crave a word to speak collectively about the kids they love to spoil.

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Boy in classroom with his hand raised
Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

The Michigan Legislature is back in session, and the bills are rolling in. This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and Michigan Radio senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry look at a bill that would phase out the state income tax, and another that would end daylight saving time in Michigan.

They also discuss Education Secretary nominee Betsy Devos' rescheduled confirmation hearing, Detroit's newly elected school board, and Gov. Rick Snyder's upcoming State of the State address.

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On this week's edition of That's What They Say, English professor Anne Curzan joined us from Austin, Texas, where she was attending the American Dialect Society's annual meeting.  

Each year, the ADS gathers to choose a word that best represents "the public discourse and preoccupations of the past year."

This year's candidates included "woke", "post-truth" and "normalize." But the ADS decided it couldn't pick just one word to represent 2016, so the winner ended up being a compound.

A burning, smelly compound.

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Juvenile first-time offenders whose mothers don't get involved in their legal proceedings are much more likely to commit another crime, according to a new study.

The study from Michigan State University looked at the cases of more than 300 male juvenile first-time offenders aged 13 to 17. Since juvenile offenders often don't have a present father in their lives, researchers chose to focus on offenders with female primary guardians.

Michigan's Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) has wrongly accused tens of thousands of people of cheating on their unemployment claims.
Bytemarks / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Thousands in Michigan were wrongfully accused of unemployment fraud through the state's automated claims system. Now, the director of the Unemployment Insurance Agency has been reassigned.

This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about the long road to get things back in order at the UIA. They also talk about Gov. Snyder's emergency declaration in Macomb County and U.S. attorney Patrick Miles Jr.'s decision to step down from his post in Michigan's Western District.


University of Michigan English professor Anne Curzan has been feeling a little self-conscious lately.

Curzan was recently talking with some of her students about how much research had been done on a particular topic, when one student raised her hand and asked about her pronunciation of a particular word.

Keep in mind, this was a linguistics class, and Curzan tends to instill in her students a super-sensitivity to the various quirks of our language.  

The student said she'd noticed that Curzan pronounces "research" with the emphasis on the second syllable. She said she only hears that pronunciation in academic settings. 


Prison bars
powelli / Creative Commons http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

A former Michigan prison guard is facing charges stemming from the death of an inmate at the Women's Huron Valley Correctional Facility in Pittsfield Township.

Janika Edmond committed suicide after she was left unsupervised in a shower at the prison last year.

The 25-year-old allegedly told guard Dianna Callahan that she was going to kill herself and asked to be placed in a protective restraint.

If you run with grammar sticklers, you know that saying "irregardless" under any circumstances not considered ironic is a great way to get yourself thrown into exile.

While it's true that grammar enthusiasts die a little each time someone utters this persistent double-negative, other words of a similar nature don't seem to draw quite as much ire as "irregardless." 

For example, what about "reiterate"?

Think about the last time you used that one. It was probably to let someone know that you were going to repeat something; e.g., "I like to reiterate that the final paper is due tomorrow."

Did anyone correct you when you said it? Did someone give you a slap on the hand with a ruler? Or even just a haughty look? Probably not.


The Michigan House of Representatives in Lansing
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio file photo

The lame duck session wrapped up in Lansing this week. In this Week in Review, Michigan Radio Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about bills that made it through the Legislature and one that didn't. They also discuss an important anniversary in the Flint water crisis.

An anniversary in Flint

CPR training
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Michigan students would be required to learn CPR before they graduate from high school under a bill that's on its way to Gov. Snyder's desk.

This week, the state House voted in favor of legislation that would require students that students receive CPR instruction at least once between 7th and 12th grade. It would be up to school districts to decide when and how to incorporate the training into their curriculum.  

Andrew Pennebaker / creative commons http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The state of Michigan is asking a judge to drop an order that requires water delivery in Flint for residents who don't have a filter.

In a court filing Tuesday, the state says tests show Flint water is in compliance with federal standards for lead. Separately, Virginia Tech expert Marc Edwards says his tests also show significant improvement.

Still, the state and Edwards both say residents should not drink unfiltered tap water.

One of the best things about studying the history of English is digging up words that, for the most part, have died out of the language but still pop up in funny places.

For example, let's take a look at "wer" and "wif", the Old English words for man and woman.

Etymologically, "wer" is related to "vir", which is Latin for man. "Vir" shows up in modern English in words like "virile" and "virility."

However, "wer" has pretty much vanished from modern English. Except for one word.


Rick Pluta / MPRN

The ballot recount in Michigan is over. This time, it’s for good.

This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and Michigan Radio senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry take a look at the short-lived recount and some of the problems it exposed at the polls, particularly in Detroit. They also look at a bill that would make it legal to hunt wolves in Michigan if the bill makes it through this year’s lame duck session in Lansing.


Despite the diligent tutelage of our Speak and Spells, there are plenty of spellings that continue to elude us.

However, while we sometimes complain about the vagaries of English spelling, would we actually change the spelling of any of the words?

University of Michigan English professor Anne Curzan recently put the question to her students, who decided they would change up “supersede.”

Obviously, since it’s already typed out here on the page, we can’t really ask you how you think “supersede” is spelled.

Be honest though, when you saw it, did it look strange to you?


Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

It looks like the ballot recount in Michigan will move forward, unless the courts decide to get involved. This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about the recount as well as a state bill that would tighten up voter ID laws and another that would ban plastic bag bans.


When to use “who” and when to use “whom” is one of those grammar conundrums that just won't die.

Once you learn the rule, it’s not too hard to distinguish between the two.

“Who” is the subject that does an action, while “whom”is the object that receives an action. For example, “who” speaks to “whom.”

Pretty simple, right?

Unfortunately, learning the rule doesn’t mean you’ll escape tricky cases.


If your job involves a cubicle, a computer and any sort of decor that's best described as motivational graphic art, there's a good chance you've had some experience with business jargon.

Maybe you've been asked to circle back around after a conference call or close the loop on an email discussion. Perhaps you've bypassed low-hanging fruit to focus on mission-critical action items.

Or, just maybe, you've implemented corporate best practices to leverage your company's core competencies in order to achieve synergy. 

Michigan flag.
wikimedia commons

This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about a loss to Trump’s transition team, newspaper cutbacks, a possible state flag makeover.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles / creative commons http://j.mp/1SPGCl0, cropped

The mayor of Warren is defending a social media post that caused some panic and confusion among residents this week.

In a Facebook post late Wednesday, Jim Fouts referenced a “major environmental scandal brewing in Macomb County” that “could be a mini version of what happened in Flint.”

Following the post, Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel says his office was flooded with calls about the safety of the area's drinking water.

Speaking at a press conference on Thursday, Hackel scolded Fouts for stirring up panic.

News boxes
Allan Foster / creative commons http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Earlier this week, the Detroit News sent buyout offers to its entire editorial staff. Now it appears Detroit’s other major newspaper is following suit.

Like the Detroit News, the Detroit Free Press is trying to meet its budget for the coming year.

Jon S / creative commons http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Employees at one of Detroit's two major newspapers have a very big decision to make.

The Detroit News has offered buy-outs to its entire editorial staff.

That includes reporters, photographers, columnists and anyone else who works in the newsroom, regardless of seniority.

If there aren't enough buyout volunteers and the paper can't meet its budget for the coming year, layoffs will probably be next.

Sunday evening is a great time to relax, binge-watch something on Netflix and come to terms with the fact that Monday is coming and there’s nothing you can do to stop it.

It’s also a great time to revisit the list of errands you promised yourself you’d run this weekend but couldn’t quite get to due to a particularly riveting season of "Scandal."

But now the dry-cleaning still needs to be picked up, there’s a stack of packages still waiting to go to the post office and the car is still in desperate need of an oil change. Pretty mundane stuff, right? No wonder you opted for Kerry Washington. 

A listener recently asked why it is that we “run” errands. We think that’s a good question, and it got us wondering about the word “errand” in general.


Cheyna Roth / MPRN

In this Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry discuss the results of Election 2016, now that the dust has had time to settle.


The semicolon isn’t the most common punctuation mark; however, it does manage to stir up some pretty some strong and divisive feelings.

Writers like Charles Dickens and Ben Johnson were both big fans of the mark; they felt it was nuanced and sophisticated.

However, plenty of other writers have thrown shade at the semi-colon.

The mark has been called “odious," “unnecessary," and “sissified." Kurt Vonnegut once said that all semicolons do is “show that you’ve been to college.” 


Sign directing voters to polling place
Steven Depolo / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0 cropped

After a grueling, seemingly endless campaign season, it looks like we might actually make it to the other side of Election Day 2016. This Week in Review, Jack Lessenberry and I round-up some races to watch in Michigan. We also discuss whether there's potential for trouble at the polls and the slew of presidential candidates and surrogates who visited the state this week.


Is there really any wrong way to eat cake? It's doubtful.

We’re happy to eat it covered in chocolate frosting, or layered with custard and berries, or even upside down with pineapple slices.

That’s why it’s a little confusing when someone tells us, “You can’t have your cake and eat it too.”

If you have cake, eating it seems like a reasonable expectation. Frankly, we’re troubled at the thought of letting a perfectly good piece of cake going to waste.


Jack Lessenberry
Michigan Radio

Update:  A federal judge's order that would have prevented Michigan from enforcing a state law to keep voters from taking photos of their ballot in the Nov. 8 election has been overturned. So for now, no ballot selfies on election day.

This Week in Review, Jack Lessenberry and I talk about the state's push to try and re-instate a ban on voters taking “selfies” with their ballots. We also discuss Gov. Rick Snyder's veto of legislation to overhaul Medicaid and the legacy of Tom Hayden in today's tumultuous political climate.


Silent letters are easily one of the more frustrating features of the English language. Just ask any elementary student.

These letters and their penchant for being seen and not heard have been making our lives difficult since we first started learning how to read.

Think about the first time you encountered the silent "k" while reading out loud. Who doesn't have at least one embarrassing story involving a "kuh-nife" or a "kuh-night"?

Lexical trappings aside, a young That's What They Say listener wanted to know the point of having silent letters in English in the first place. Great question.


Jack Lessenberry
Michigan Radio

The last presidential debate is over, and a light is starting to appear at the end of the election season tunnel. This Week in Review, Jack Lessenberry and I talk about whether we'll see much more campaign action in Michigan before voters cast their ballots. We also discuss the ousting of the state Republican Party's grassroots chair over her refusal to back Donald Trump, and a big step toward financial health in Wayne County.


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