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.


4:29 pm
Fri August 23, 2013

Prison food services to be privatized

Credit www.ci.glendale.ca.us

Michigan will soon privatize its prison food services. The change is supposed to save the state at least $10 million a year.

Philadelphia-based Aramark Corporation won a three-year state contract to provide meals to Michigan's 43,000 inmates at a cost of $64 million a year.

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4:03 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

ACLU loses appeal in FBI racial, ethnic profiling case

Credit arabamericannews.com

The Detroit chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union has lost a round in its fight with the FBI over racial and ethnic mapping. 

The ACLU sued the FBI after the bureau refused to release details about how it uses demographic information in its investigations.

But a federal appeals court says the FBI is allowed to withhold some information so that criminals and terrorists don't know what the bureau is looking into.

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Politics & Government
9:00 am
Sat August 17, 2013

The week in review: right-to-work, transportation funding, and the Wayne County jail

Pothole in a road. Wikimedia Commons

Week-in-review for 8/16/2013

  This week in review, Rina Miller and Jack Lessenberry discuss how right-to-work affects state employees, legislation for road improvements, and the half-finished Wayne County jail project.

State appeals court and unions clash on Right-to-work

A Michigan appeals court says the right-to-work law also applies to state employees.  The unions are saying that it does not. 

Jack Lessenberry says the disagreement “could mean an appeal to the state Supreme Court but that’s not likely to be favorable to the unions.”

Funding delayed for Michigan roads

A proposal to improve Michigan’s roads is unlikely to be on the November ballot.  Lawmakers disagree on the best way to raise money for transportation and will likely delay the bill until May. 

Lessenberry says “originally the Governor wanted to raise money to fix the roads by a combination of gasoline taxes and registration fees on cars.  Republicans in the legislature didn’t want to do that.  Instead, what they want to do is a sales tax increase.”

Future of Wayne County jail debated

Construction has stopped on the Wayne County jail project after managers already spent $120 million.  Governor Snyder is suggesting an alternative to finishing the building.

Lessenberry says “they’re not going to build it and what the Governor would like to do and what Wayne County executive Robert Ficano is now talking about is taking over the state’s old Scott Prison, renovating that, and putting county prisoners in there.”

3:41 pm
Fri August 16, 2013

Flint schools to modify search policy

Credit safezone.in

The Flint School District is changing its student search policy.

Flint students will still have to walk through metal detectors when school begins next month.

But the American Civil Liberties Union objected to the district's plan to allow students and their backpacks or purses to be searched without cause.

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5:14 pm
Thu August 15, 2013

Shh... Amtrak adds 'quiet' cars on Detroit-Chicago route

wikimedia commons

Travelers who ride the Amtrak train between Detroit and Chicago will have a new choice beginning Monday. They can enjoy some peace in newly designated "quiet cars."

"People say, 'Look, I want to travel, but I want to get away from all the sounds of people with phones ringing and chatting,'" says Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari. "They just want to chill out. So the quiet car will be our chill-out car.'

Magliari says tickets to ride in the quiet car won't be any more expensive, but the seats are first-come, first served.

They'll be available on weekdays only.

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4:33 pm
Wed August 14, 2013

Appeals court rejects law requiring 4% pension contribution for some state workers

The Michigan Appeals Court Wednesday struck down a law that requires some state workers to contribute toward their pension plan.      

In 2011, Michigan lawmakers passed a law that would require state workers hired before 1997 to pay four percent of their compensation into the pension system.

But the appeals panel says those changes are unconstitutional because only the state Civil Service Commission can change state employees' compensation.

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4:25 pm
Wed August 14, 2013

Michigan doctor faces federal indictment for unneeded cancer treatments

Credit googleimages

A Detroit-area doctor is facing a federal grand jury indictment charging him with health care fraud. 

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5:00 am
Mon August 12, 2013

Labor shortage hits state's growers

Credit morguefile

Michigan's fruit industry went from famine to feast in a year's time.

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5:00 am
Mon August 12, 2013

Ex-justice Hathaway to begin prison term

Credit mich.gov

Former Supreme Court Justice Diane Hathaway is expected to report to federal prison Tuesday. The prison sentence may not be lengthy, but the repercussions could last a lifetime.

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2:00 pm
Sun August 11, 2013

Tax-foreclosed properties go on state auction block

Credit googleimages.com

More than 700 properties will be auctioned by the state of Michigan Tuesday and Wednesday. 

The state holds auctions of tax-foreclosed properties twice a year. The parcels this time are in 12 counties in Michigan's upper and lower peninsulas.

"They can be residential, commercial, some will have abandoned structures, some may not have structures at all," says Terry Stanton, a spokesman for the state Department of Treasury.

Stanton says the properties come with no guarantees, so it really is a case of buyer beware.

He says potential buyers can get basic information on the Treasury's web site or by checking with the county treasurer's office in which the property is located.

Minimum bids range from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars.

Information: www.michigan.gov/propertyforeclosures

Politics & Government
9:00 am
Sat August 10, 2013

The week in review: Mike Duggan's write-in campaign, the DIA collection and sentencing reform

user aMichiganMom Flickr

Week in review for 8/10/13

This "week in review," Rina Miller and Jack Lessenberry discuss the Detroit primary results, the future of the DIA collection, and prison sentencing reform in Michigan.

Mike Duggan sweeps the primary vote

Mike Duggan's write-in campaign ended this week with surprising success. 85 percent of voters who wrote in his name spelled it correctly resulting in a huge lead for the Detroit mayoral contender.

Jack Lessenberry says, "It'll remain to be seen what happens in November.  One thing we know is that a lot more people will vote."

DIA collection appraised by Christie's Auction House

The Detroit Institute of Arts collection has been put at risk by Detroit's bankruptcy. The city invited Christie's Auction House to appraise the collection, perhaps simply to take inventory of its assets.

Lessenberry thinks that people are panicked about the possible sale of the art.  He says "the Attorney General thinks it's not constitutional, although if a federal bankruptcy judge says it is, federal law trumps state law."

Michigan considers parole and sentencing reform

Conservative lawmakers are considering overhauling prison sentences.  State Representative Joe Haveman is leading the cause, citing that harsher sentences are not keeping us any safer.

Lessenberry says, "Michigan locks up more people, locks them up for longer, and it costs us more.  It costs $34,000 per prisoner and we have 44,000 prisoners."

Politics & Government
4:24 pm
Fri August 9, 2013

Ann Arbor Council urges Michigan to repeal 'stand-your-ground' law

Credit grzessiek / MorgueFile

The Ann Arbor City Council is sending a message to the Michigan Legislature about the state's self-defense law.

In 2006, Michigan passed a law similar to Florida's so-called "Stand-Your-Ground" law, which got international attention after the fatal shooting of a black teenager there.

Ann Arbor Councilwoman Sabra Briere is among those who want Michigan's law revised and voted in favor of a resolution being sent to Lansing.

Briere says she's not opposed to gun ownership, but wants clearer rules about when guns can be used for self-defense.

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Environment & Science
2:00 pm
Sun August 4, 2013

DNR plans to eliminate mute swans

Credit wikimedia.org

An invasive type of wild swan is on a state agency's hit list. 

Michigan bird experts say the state's mute swan population tripled in the last decade to more than 15,000.

The mute swans tend to crowd out other birds, including the endangered trumpeter swan.

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Politics & Government
9:00 am
Sat August 3, 2013

Week in review: Medicaid expansion, UAW, Senate race, and Duggan v. Dugeon

The Detroit mayoral race could be a Florida-recount situation.
Mike Dugeon's Facebook Page Facebook

Here's a brief review of what's been happening in the news this week:

Let's talk Medicaid expansion. What happened in Lansing?

The state Senate finally got together and the  government operations committee sent the Medicaid bill and they also sent two hastily drawn up last minute substitutes that are tea party measures, that would cost the state more. 

How are UAW negotiations going?

The state passed right-to-work last December but there's the question of whether it applies to state employees, which is pending before the state Supreme Court. 

What are the developments in the 2014 U.S. Senate race?

Sort of unexpectedly, long time Republican representative Dave Camp is talking about getting into the 2014 race for the U.S. senate. This is for the seat Carl Levin is vacating after 36 years. Now, former Secretary of State Terry Lynn Land has been up until now the only Republican candidate but she's vowing that if Mr. Camp gets in she'll give him a spirited fight. 

A look at the Detroit mayoral race: Duggan v. Dugeon

If it's close at all, it could be weeks before we find out who's facing who. It could be a Florida-recount-style mess. 

To listen to the full discussion, click the link above.

Politics & Government
4:48 pm
Thu August 1, 2013

State school chief: Consolidate services

Michigan Superintendent of Public Instruction Mike Flanagan thinks the state's schools would benefit from centralizing some functions, including transportation and food services.

Flanagan spoke to a joint meeting of the House Appropriations School Aid and Education subcommittees Wednesday.

He said some large districts, including Wayne County,  have many separate transportation systems.

Flanagan's proposal would also consolidate functions such as staff training, which he says would save millions of dollars.

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Politics & Government
4:34 pm
Wed July 31, 2013

The Duggan vs. Dugeon challenge: How to interpret write-in intentions

Detroit mayor write-in candidate Mike Dugeon
Mike Dugeon's Facebook Page Facebook

The state has decided what to do in the case of look-alike write-in names in the Aug. 6 race for Detroit mayor. 
Mike Duggan is running. So is Mike Dugeon.

The names sound the same, but are obviously spelled differently.

Duggan is the former chief of the Detroit Medical Center who launched a write-in campaign after a filing deadline issue forced him off the ballot.

Dugeon is a barber with no political experience.

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2:20 pm
Wed July 31, 2013

Willow Run Bomber Plant campaign gets more time

A young woman dressed in dark-blue coveralls, her hair tied up with a red-and-white polka-dot bandana, waved to passersby and distributed small postcards during rush hour at a busy Ann Arbor intersection.

Alison Beatty, a political science student at the University of Michigan, got plenty of attention in her Rosie the Riveter costume.

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5:00 am
Mon July 15, 2013

Swine virus spreads to U.S., including Michigan

Credit xandert / MorgueFile

Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus -- or PED -- is fairly common in Europe and China, but until April of this year had not been detected in the U.S.

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Environment & Science
5:00 am
Mon July 15, 2013

Wait ... something just touched you?

Credit dnr.wi.gov

If you like to swim in Michigan's inland lakes, you've probably encountered some weeds that give you the willies. Some of those weeds are worse than others and have become more than just a nuisance.

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That's What They Say
8:19 am
Sun July 14, 2013

Nautical expressions in everyday speech

When you give someone "leeway" or tell someone to "pipe down," you may not realize you're using the language of sailors.

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 talk about all that sailing has given to the English language.

The more obvious ones for example are: “taking the wind out someone’s sails, being dead in the water, rocking the boat.”

But, did you know the term “to bail something out” is actually a nautical expression?

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