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.


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.

Ways To Connect

Detroit Skyline
Dave Linabury / Flickr

This Week in Review Rina Miller and Jack Lessenberry discuss next week's elections, the Detroit bankruptcy eligibility trial and the accusation by a Senator from Oklahoma that Isle Royale is wasting money and is not worthy of preservation.


Nineteen occupations in Michigan may no longer be regulated under a recommendation from the state's Office of Regulatory Reinvention, which is part of the state's Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA).

In the health field, the occupations include respiratory therapists, dieticians and nutritionists, acupuncturists, ocularists (someone who makes and fits prosthetic eyes) and speech pathologists.


Researchers at Michigan State University say video-based teaching could help teens with autism learn social skills so they can live more independently.

Earlier studies have shown that many people with autism pay closer attention when they're getting information from innovative technology.

sideshowmom / MorgueFile

More police agencies are using license plate readers while they're out on patrol, and that has some people worried about privacy.

The state House Criminal Justice Committee is discussing a bill that would limit the use of license plate readers  and require a purge of data after 48 hours.

The readers are usually mounted on patrol cars and automatically scan vehicle license plates. The scans are then cross-referenced for outstanding warrants or stolen vehicles, and in some cities, even unpaid parking tickets.


Michigan drivers who hit a pedestrian, bicyclist or person in a wheelchair could face years in prison -- even if the victim is not seriously injured.

According to a state police report,  178 pedestrians and bicyclists were killed in Michigan in 2012; almost 4,400 were hurt in traffic accidents.

State Rep. Ed McBroom, who represents three Upper Peninsula counties, says his proposal would expand the state's existing law to cover what's called "vulnerable roadway users."

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

In This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rina Miller and political analyst Jack Lessenberry discuss bills in Lansing to penalize poor people who use drugs, a delay in the decision over gay marriage, and the sentencing of Bernard Kilpatrick.

Bob Jagendorf / Flickr

This week in review, Rina Miller and Jack Lessenberry discuss Governor Snyder's testimony regarding the Detroit bankruptcy filing, the governor's NERD fund, and the sentencing of former Detroit mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick.

The interview can be heard below

mensatic / MorgueFile

Accident victims and their families would be shielded from opportunistic lawyers under a bill approved by the Michigan House Wednesday.

Representative Joe Graves says the law would require a 30-day waiting period before a victim could be solicited for services.

Graves  says informants who work at hospitals or ambulance companies sometimes tip off personal injury attorneys.

"You go direct to the person and try to get them to sign on the dotted line, before they're ready -- you pressure them -- this backs it off a little bit," Graves says.

Xandert / MorgueFile

Juveniles who've been in trouble with the law may be able to keep that information secret under a bill passed by the Michigan Senate today.

The bill would prohibit public and media access to juvenile criminal records.

Lisa McGraw is a spokeswoman for the Michigan Press Association, which opposes the bill.

dee37 / MorgueFile

Squirrels: They're cute, they're clever and they're diabolical.

Okay,  they're not evil, but they are responsible for about two-thirds of substation outages caused by animals.   When you consider more than a third of all substation outages are animal-related, squirrels are indeed on the most-unwanted list.

The substations are premium real estate for squirrels and raccoons, which are attracted to the warmth and vibration from electrical equipment.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Each week, I review the news with political analyst Jack Lessenberry.

This week we discuss how the government shutdown will affect Michigan, new endorsements in the Detroit mayor's race, and the state agreement to fund Belle Isle.

mconnors / MorgueFile

What's 232 pages long and took more than two years to write? It's a proposal to overhaul Michigan's public health code.

Michigan's public health code regulates everything from medical facilities to disease control to taxes.  It was created in 1978 and hasn't changed much since.

State Sen. Jim Marleau, R-Lake Orion, says one proposal calls for a team approach to medicine in Michigan,  so MDs and osteopaths, physician assistants and nurses are all on the same patient care page.

Marleau says that's a big change.

derrhama / MorgueFile

A bill in the Michigan Senate would put tighter restrictions on large-scale dog breeders.

The legislation is aimed at preventing puppy mills in which breeders keep dogs in cages, producing litter after litter.

State Sen. Steven Bieda, D-Warren, says large-scale breeders aren't currently regulated by any state entity.

He says the bill would require the breeders to register with the Department of Agriculture.

southernfried / MorgueFile

Even the most organized people sometimes slip up -- such as when you forget to put a copy of your  proof of insurance in your car.

If you get stopped in Michigan without that paperwork,  your license could be suspended, the plate could be canceled and you might have to pay a fine.

State Sen. Mike Green, R-Mayville, says we're in a new era. He says drivers should be able to show proof of insurance electronically on their smart phone or tablet.

vicky53 / MorgueFile

State Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Detroit, says this may be the year that thieves who strip homes, businesses and public places of valuable metals hit roadblocks when they try to sell the materials.

Tlaib has been working for more than three years to enact tougher regulations  for scrap-metal dealers who buy copper wire, aluminum, and other metals. This year she's getting bipartisan support in her efforts.

"We're second in the nation in scrap metal theft," Tlaib says. "That's not a great place to be, especially when we all  have been impacted in some way by illegal scrapping."

nasirkhan / MorgueFile

Beginning next April, all babies born in Michigan will be screened for Critical Congenital Heart Disease -- or CCHD.

The Michigan Department of Community Health says Michigan will join 31 other states that include pulse oximetry screening to their newborn screening tests.

The painless test measures the amount of oxygen in a newborn's blood.

MDCH spokeswoman Angela Minicuci says congenital heart disease is one of the most common birth defects and impacts about nine out of every 1,000 newborns.

David Defoe / flickr

Each week, I review the news with political analyst Jack Lessenberry.

Today we discussed Common Core education standards, new details about some practices that led to Detroit's financial crisis, and legislation to refuse adoptions based on religious reasons.

user Tyrone Warner / Flickr

A new study finds young, gay black men in Michigan are often victims of physical, social and emotional abuse.

The Michigan State University study finds that abuse started early for many of these young men. About 70 percent of 180 black gay or bisexual men reported they were assaulted when they were 12 or younger.

"There are high rates of these kinds of exposures to traumas, and it is associated with things like having a substance abuse problem, depression, things like that," says MSU Professor of Ecological Community Psychology Robin Lin Miller.

stuartjessop / morguefile

Michigan health officials want to do a better job of educating parents about the dangers of co-sleeping with their babies. 

User: David Defoe / flickr

This week in review, Rina Miller and Jack Lessenberry discuss Michigan's rising unemployment rate, the possible regulation of the state's drug compounding center, and a plan at the state Capitol called "Pot for Potholes."


A free-market think-tank in Michigan is taking the city of Westland to court. 

The Mackinac Center for Public Policy says Westland charges way too much for documents requested under the Freedom of Information Act.

Spokesman Patrick Wright says the center wanted information about a municipal golf course.

That's when they were told Westland charges a $5 fee to start the process. It can get expensive quickly after that, Wright says.

Rina Miller / Michigan Radio

What was meant to stir a football rivalry in Michigan last Saturday has turned into a good deed. 

A skywriter left this message over the East Lansing sky last weekend: "Go Blue."

Those are fightin' words in Michigan State University territory.

The aerial taunt by University of Michigan supporters did not amuse most Spartan fans, but one managed to turn the jab into a  constructive form of revenge.

It seems like if you, or your clothes, or your hair can be disheveled, it should be possible for them to be sheveled.

On this week’s edition of That’s What They Say, host Rina Miller and Professor of English at the University of Michigan Anne Curzan discuss negative words without a positive counterpart.

Curzan explains, “The word gruntled, which was back-formed from the word disgruntled - people assumed if you could be disgruntled you could be gruntled -  goes back to 1938. The word wieldy has also been around for quite a long time. Consulate meaning something like comforted, existed in the 15th century through the 19th century it’s now obsolete. So, it’s not that some of the words have never existed, but they are certainly not common compared with their negative counterparts. And then a word like sheveled doesn’t seem to have ever existed.”

This week in review, Rina Miller and Jack Lessenberry discuss the Medicaid expansion and Kerry Bentivolio's primary challenger.

University of Michigan

Things got very busy in the delivery room at Von Voigtlander Women's Hospital at the University of Michigan this week.

Quintuplets were born to Jessica and Robert Hicks of Fenton Thursday.

Mom, the three boys and two girls are all doing well.

Mark Schauer

A Democratic challenger for governor wants to change the rules for Michigan's for-profit charter schools.

Mark Schauer says Gov. Rick Snyder's education policies are undermining traditional public schools.

The former state representative and senator says charter schools need better financial and performance oversight.  Schauer sees the growth in the number of for-profit  and cyberschools as a misuse of taxpayer money.

"It's become the Wild West out there, and these for-profit schools see children with dollar signs in the middle of their foreheads," Schauer says.


A Chelsea business known nationally for its blue-and-white boxes of affordable baking mixes is also known for rising to economic challenges. 

For eight generations, the Holmes family has operated  Chelsea Milling Company. It began making Jiffy Mix during the Depression and has weathered all the economic ups and downs since.

Howdy Holmes (yes, the former race car driver)  is the current president and CEO.

Grand Rapids Public Schools

When Grand Rapids Public Schools students head back to class after the Labor Day holiday, many of them will be wearing uniforms for the first time.

The school board approved a plan last year to phase-in district-wide school uniform requirements.

It’s odd when you stop to think about it that everyone who graduates from college is a bachelor of something.

On this week’s edition of “That’s What They Say,” host Rina Miller and Professor of English at the University of Michigan Anne Curzan discuss opaque abbreviations, and often forgotten acronyms.

“The B in BA stands for bachelor, and it’s the same word we use to refer to an unmarried man,” says Curzan.

“The word [bachelor] goes back to the 13th century in English. It used to refer to a knight, a young man, and could refer to a young man who had achieved the lowest rank of something. From there it’s come to mean someone who has achieved the lowest rank from university, the lowest degree.”

Of course back then those would have been all men, but now we have lots of women who are Bachelors of Arts, or Bachelors of Science.

Then there’s the abbreviations i.e. and e.g. that many people mix up. The latter, exempli gratia (e.g.) means “for example.” And, id est (i.e.) means “that is” as in "that is to say." Thanks to us you will never mix those two up again. 

Let’s turn now to acronyms once learned and quickly forgotten. LASER is the acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation.  And, RADAR stands for Radio Detection and Ranging.

Finally, here’s an acronym you will want to talk about this week with friends, and that's SNAFU, which stands for Situation Normal All F’d Up.  

Thanks for joining us for another enlightening edition of “That’s What They Say.”

Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

 This week, Rina Miller and Jack Lessenberry discuss the Detroit Public Schools student quota, Washtenaw County’s identification card plan that includes undocumented immigrants, and the continuing campaigns of Detroit mayoral candidates Benny Napoleon and Mike Duggan.

Detroit Public Schools trying to meet enrollment goal

The Detroit Public School district is depending on enrolling 5,000 more students for the 2013-2014 school year.  If the district doesn’t meet its goal, they will lose millions of dollars in funding from the per-pupil-allowance from the state.  Jack Lessenberry says that Detroit used to enroll almost 200,000 students thirteen years ago.  They now only enroll 46,000.  Lessenberry says “they’ve been going door-to-door trying various gimmicks, of course those are sort of dubious too, to get kids to come back.  But it’s all about how many bodies they have in seats on Count Day.”