Rina Miller

Weekend Edition host

Rina Miller got her start in radio on accident when she was sent to WCAR in Detroit as a temp employee. Since then, she has gained many years of experience in print and broadcast journalism, including work as a producer and program host at Radio Netherlands and as a reporter for ABC Radio News in New York. She enjoys working in public radio because the listeners are "interested, involved, and informed."

Outside the studio, Rina enjoys watching movies from the 1930s and '40s and absolutely hates karaoke. She has a deep love for animals and urges people to spay or neuter their pets, adopt from shelters and rescues, and purchase only from reputable, responsible breeders.

Q&A

What three people, alive or dead, would you like to have lunch with? Why?
Dorothy Parker, because her one-liners were the best.
Kurt Vonnegut, because he was the first writer who made me laugh out loud.
Bella Abzug, because she put her courage where her mouth was.
And if there could be a No. 4? George Clooney. You know why.

How did you get involved in radio?
By accident. I was sent to WCAR in Detroit as a temp employee, and loved the environment.

What is your favorite way to spend your free time?
Watching 1930s and '40s movies, especially those with Joan Crawford, Bette Davis or Rita Hayworth.

What has been your most memorable experience as a reporter/host/etc.?
Covering the crash of a cargo jet into a high-rise apartment complex in Amsterdam in 1992. The story was more complex than the obvious; many victims were illegal immigrants whose families were reluctant to come forward because they feared deportation. There were many substories that arose from this tragedy.

What one song do you think best summarizes your taste in music?
Leonard Cohen's Famous Blue Raincoat, sung by Jennifer Warnes.

What is your favorite program on Michigan Radio? Why?
Fresh Air. Terry has an amazing range of guests, so the show's never predictable or stale.

What is one ability or talent you really wish you possessed?
To sing like Etta James.

What do you like best about working in public radio?
The listeners. They're interested, involved and informed.

Is there anyone in the broadcasting industry you find to be particularly admirable or inspiring? Who?
Jon Stewart. He's fearless without being cruel.

If you could interview any contemporary newsmaker, who would it be?
Vladimir Putin

Is there a T.V. show you never miss? If so, which one?
Mad Men

What would your perfect meal consist of?
An Indonesian rice table

What modern convenience would it be most difficult for you to live without?
The Internet

What are people usually very surprised to learn about you?
That I despise karaoke.

What else would you like people to know about you?
That I have a deep love for animals. I urge people to spay or neuter their pets, adopt from shelters and rescues, or purchase only from reputable, responsible breeders.

Pages

News Roundup
7:09 am
Thu October 13, 2011

In this morning's news ...

Morning News Roundup, Thursday, Oct. 13, 2011
User: Brother O'Mara Flickr

V.P. Biden gets visit from "Occupy" protesters in Grand Rapids

People inspired by the “Occupy Wall Street” protests in New York showed up at a Democratic fundraiser hosted by Vice President Joe Biden Wednesday evening. Biden made stops in Flint and Grand Rapids to promote President Obama’s American Jobs Act before switching to campaign mode. Michigan Radio's Lindsey Smith reports at least 50 protesters marched on the sidewalk outside the $500 per dinner private event. The event raised money for the 2012 presidential election.

Proposed U.S.-Canada bridge still a contentious issue

A proposal to build a second bridge between Detroit and Canada appears to be the cause of a fierce divide among Republicans in the state Senate. The chairman of the committee handling the proposal does not seem to have enough support among Republican colleagues to vote on the issue. State Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville said if that’s the case he will most likely take on the issue in a committee he chairs and move it along quickly.

"We would still take a hard look at it and take some open testimony, but we’re not going to rehash everything that’s been done for the last nine months,”  Richardville said.

Secretary of State calls for no-reason absentee voting

Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson said Michigan should allow anyone to vote by absentee ballot without having to give a reason why they cannot make it to a polling place on Election Day. It’s one of several election proposals she outlined.

They also include cleaning voter rolls of dead people, those who have moved, and non-citizens.  Johnson said people should be allowed to cast absentee ballots without giving a reason why they cannot show up at a polling place on Election Day.

Economy
2:52 pm
Wed October 12, 2011

Prison chief: Inmates should learn building skills, work in community projects

Michigan Department of Corrections Director Dan Heyns.

There’s not a lot of industry inside Michigan’s prisons right now. Most of the jobs involve making prison or guard uniforms.

Dan Heyns says he wants to change that.

The new head of the Michigan Department of Corrections says prisoners should be learning job skills they can use when they’re released.

Heyns has formed a woring group of the state’s 33 prison wardens to look at some options for inmates. Learning the construction trade is one of them.

Another option is for prisons to partner with communities, cleaning up parks, for example.

“There are an awful lot of projects in communities – because they’re so cash-strapped – that wouldn’t get done if not for access to a reasonably cheap labor force," Heyns says.

He says the community projects would give taxpayers something in return for the $2 billion dollar annual state corrections budget.

Heyns also says construction skills would be useful for inmates to learn. He suggested former prisoners could build Department of Natural Resources huts or migrant housing units.

Auto
11:40 am
Wed October 12, 2011

GM aims new electric mini-car at millennial, urban market

The all-electric Chevy Spark will be available in California in 2013; the gasoline version will arrive in summer 2012.
Chevrolet.com

General Motors is adding another electric car to its lineup.

The Chevy Spark will be marketed as the perfect city car,  which translates to "small."

There will be a gas version of the Spark, and GM said in what it called a “surprise announcement" today it will make an all-electric version, too.

Read more
Science/Medicine
5:00 am
Mon October 10, 2011

Creative problem solving: Henry Ford Health System looks to students for innovation

henryford.com

The next great medical invention might not come from a scientist or a doctor, but from a design student.

The Henry Ford Health System Innovation Institute is working with students from Detroit’s College for Creative Studies and with Wayne State University engineering students.

Dr. Scott Dulchavsky, Henry Ford’s chairman of surgery, says students often see things in ways people who work in the medical profession don’t.

Read more
Politics
11:08 am
Fri October 7, 2011

Gov. Snyder challenged to live on food stamps for a week

Gov. Rick Snyder
michiganradio.org

A Michigan lawmaker is challenging Gov. Snyder to experience firsthand how poor people live.

Rashida Tlaib, a Democrat from Detroit, says the governor should try living on food stamps for one week.

Former Gov. Jennifer Granholm did it in 2008, and lived on $5.87 worth of food per day, per person.

Tlaib  hasn't heard from Gov. Snyder, but she thinks he'll respond.

"I actually think Gov. Snyder might take on the challenge," Tlaib says.

Tlaib’s challenge comes after the state put a 48-month lifetime limit on cash assistance benefits.

Politics
2:28 pm
Thu October 6, 2011

Changes to Michigan's workers' compensation rules considered

Lawmakers are considering changes to Michigan's workers' compensation program.
dreamstime.org

Michigan’s workers’ compensation laws are under review in Lansing.

Some business groups told the House Commerce Committee that changes are needed in the workers’ compensation program because of medical advances.

They used examples of shorter recovery times for knee and hip replacements.

Democratic State Rep. Vicki Barnett says there could also be a requirement for some people to take other work while they’re healing.

Read more
Politics
12:22 pm
Thu October 6, 2011

Free speech restrictions lifted at Genesee County Parks

Genesee County Parks removed a permit requirement for political activities after the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan sued.
Mott.org

Genesee County officials have changed a rule that restricted political activities in its parks.

A ranger in Genesee County’s Linden Park told members of a group circulating petitions to recall Governor Snyder that they’d have to get a permit first.

So they did, but then they were told they’d have to stand in a nine-square-foot space while asking for signatures.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan filed a federal lawsuit against the county.

Read more
Economy
4:39 pm
Wed October 5, 2011

New job search site looks at personalities, not just skills

Michigan, Indiana and Ohio lost 57,000 assembly jobs during the recent recession. A job search site hosted by Indiana University includes a personality test to help workers determine other types of work for which they may be suited.
American Panel

Michigan’s unemployed have a new online resource that looks at their personalities as well as their job skills.

A tool long used in evaluating white-collar workers is now being used for people who worked in manufacturing.

Tim Slaper is with the Indiana Business Research Center, which is part of Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business.

The school developed a Web site to help displaced workers look at new options. It includes a personality profile to find out if they like working with other people or prefer solitary jobs, and how they handle conflict.

Read more
Courts
4:13 pm
Wed October 5, 2011

Court will hear case of mentally ill woman jailed for failure to pay child support

The Michigan Supreme Court will hear the case of a woman who spent 43 days in jail for nonpayment of child support, despite the fact she had been declared totally disabled by the Social Security Administration because of her mental illness.
Michiganradio.org

The Michigan Supreme Court Thursday will hear the case of a mentally ill woman who was sent to jail because she could not pay her child support.

Selesa Likine  is divorced, has children, and worked as a realtor.

Likine suffers from schizoaffective disorder. She was hospitalized several times, lost her job, and was declared totally disabled by the Social Security Administration.

But the jury wasn’t allowed to hear about that, so Likine spent 43 days in Oakland County Jail after she was convicted of failure to pay child support.

Read more
Economy
3:10 pm
Fri September 30, 2011

Flint rally to give voice to the poor, offer skill shares

Michigan's four-year lifetime limit on welfare cash assistance begins Saturday, Oct. 1.
Publicbroadcasting.net

About 41,000 Michiganders will be affected by the loss of cash-assistance benefits starting Saturday, including 1,500 Genesee County families.

Nayyirah Shariff is with Community Action Brigade in Flint,  a nonprofit group created to help people on public assistance.

The group is holding a rally from noon until 2 p.m. Saturday at Flint City Hall.

Shariff says the event will provide an open microphone for people to explain what the loss of benefits will mean to them – or someone they know.

Shariff says it’s also an opportunity to trade knowledge and expertise.

Read more
Politics
2:24 pm
Fri September 30, 2011

Partisan-weary voters get new, online option

Americans Elect has been certified to be on the Michigan ballot for the 2012 presidential election. The online group says it's nonpartisan and will let voters decide the platform and issues.
americanselect.org

A new political party has been certified to be on the Michigan ballot for the 2012 presidential election. It says it doesn’t have a candidate, platform or issues.

Americans Elect says voters are ready for a new type of politics – one that doesn’t involve Republicans or Democrats.

The nonprofit organization will hold a non-partisan nominating convention for the presidency – online.

Americans Elect CEO Elliott Ackerman says any registered voter can be a delegate.

Read more
Business
6:49 pm
Thu September 29, 2011

New airport director gets $200,000 severance deal from prior county post

Turkia Mullin became the director of Detroit Metro Airport in August 2011, leaving her post as Wayne County economic development director. She received a $200,000 severance package in the switch from one county position to another.
Californiaaviation.org

A Wayne County Commissioner says he was unaware of a six-figure severance deal given to the new head of Detroit Metro Airport.

Turkia Mullin left her $200,000-a-year job as Wayne County’s economic developer so she could run the airport for $250,000 annually.

She also got a $200,000 severance check.

Bernard Parker is a Wayne County Commissioner who’s also a member of the airport authority.

Parker says Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano chose Mullin. Parker says he didn’t know about the severance deal.

Read more
Economy
2:23 pm
Thu September 29, 2011

Activists: Stop delaying fair farm rules

Activists are calling for the implementation of rules that allow small and medium-size farmers to compete more fairly with large and corporate farms.
jschumacher Morguefile

Activists are pressuring U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow to implement new rules to support small and medium-sized farms.

A group called Food and Water Watch says corporate farming dominates America’s food system.

Spokeswoman Lynn Kaucheck says the 2008 Farm Bill has rules designed to level the playing field, but they haven’t taken effect yet.

They want Sen. Stabenow, who chairs the Senate Agriculture Committee, to do something about it

Read more
Environment
11:39 am
Thu September 29, 2011

NRC inspectors back at Palisades after 2nd shutdown in 2 months

Palisades Nuclear Power Plant in South Haven.
nrc.org

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission is conducting a second special inspection within two months at Palisades Nuclear Power Plant in South Haven.

NRC inspectors were at the 40-year-old Palisades plant in August after a water pump part failed, leading to a plant shutdown.

The team is back in South Haven, after workers performing maintenance on an electrical panel caused the plant to shut down again on Sunday.

“Did it involve maintenance issues, human performance issues, design concerns? What happened? Why did the plant trip after that electrical arc?"

Those are some of the the questions the inspectors will ask, according to NRC spokeswoman Victoria Midlyng.

The inspection could take up to two weeks.

Palisades spokesman Mark Savage says the plant and its owner, Entergy, are conducting their own investigations. He says employees and the public were never in danger.

Investigative
2:57 pm
Wed September 28, 2011

ICE sweep nets 58 arrests in Michigan

A week-long sweep by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement resulted in the arrest of 58 in illegal aliens with prior criminal convictions.
nancybechtol Morguefile

More than 2,900 convicted criminals in the U.S. illegally were arrested in a week-long sweep.

All of the men arrested in Michigan were  from countries including Mexico, Iraq, Serbia, Poland and India.

Khaalid Walls is with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcemen, known as “ICE.”

He says the seven-day operation was the largest of its kind and had help from state and local law enforcement.

Read more
Education
2:51 pm
Wed September 28, 2011

Ex-principal accused of union fund embezzlement

A former Highland Park school official is accused of embezzling thousands of dollars from his union.

Samuel Craig was assistant principal at Highland Park Community High School. He was also treasurer of the union representing the district’s administrators.

Joy Yearout is with state attorney general Bill Schuette’s office.

She says Craig is accused of stealing more than $36,000 from the union.

Read more
Politics
2:56 pm
Fri September 23, 2011

Scott gets support against recall from Michigan Chamber of Commerce

Rep. Paul Scott, R-Grand Blanc
Michigan Radio

State Representative Paul Scott is getting help in his recall fight from the Michigan Chamber of Commerce.

Scott is a two-term Grand Blanc Republican who chairs the House Education Committee.

A group backed by the state’s largest teachers’ union wants to remove him from office because he supported cuts to schools and a law that makes it easier to fire teachers.  

Now Scott has a powerful ally.

Jim Holcomb is an attorney with the nearly 8,000-member Michigan Chamber of Commerce.

Read more
Science/Medicine
12:39 pm
Fri September 23, 2011

Is it OK to use stored newborn blood samples for research?

ameestauffer Morguefile

Michigan State University wants the public’s opinion about whether blood samples taken from newborns should be used in other research.

Every newborn baby in Michigan has spot of blood taken from its heel. The blood is screened for genetic or metabolic diseases.

The state has samples stored in its bio-bank dating back to 1984.

Ann Mongoven is an assistant professor in MSU’s Center for Ethics and the Humanities in the Life Sciences.

She says the proposal raises ethical questions.

Read more
Economy
2:49 pm
Thu September 22, 2011

Too many brain surgeons, not enough machinists?

Author Joel Kotkin says Michigan needs more mid-level workers, like welders, plumbers, machinists and office workers.
earl53 Morguefile

An expert in economic trends says Michigan needs more people with mid-level skills, not advanced degrees. 

Author Joel Kotkin says too many people in Michigan go to four-year colleges and come out with a lot of debt and no marketable skills.

He says that’s created another problem:

"Even in Michigan, with all the unemployment that you’ve had, skilled workers are in short supply, in manufacturing, in medicine, these sort of what we might call middle-skilled jobs, jobs that might take a certificate, maybe a couple years in community college,” Kotkin says.

Read more
Education
1:29 pm
Thu September 22, 2011

Teachers could deduct up to $2,000 in classroom supplies under proposed law

Michigan teachers would be able to deduct up to $2,000 for classroom supplies under a bill proposed in the state House.
moare Morguefile

A Michigan lawmaker says teachers should be able to claim some of their out-of-pocket costs for classroom supplies on their state tax returns.

Rep. Jeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor) says teachers aren’t getting the respect they deserve – or the financial support.

Irwin has introduced a bill that would let them claim a tax credit of up to $2,000 for items they buy for their classrooms.

It would include everything from books, computers, and art supplies – even prizes and awards for their students.

Read more

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