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.

Ways To Connect

State officials say participants and spectators at an endurance event last weekend at Michigan International Speedway were exposed to Norovirus.

The Michigan Department of Community health says the outbreak at the "Tough Mudder" contest has been confirmed.

A spokeswoman says more than 200 reports of gastrointestinal symptoms were reported since July 1.

She says in most people, the illness lasts for one to two days and includes nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal cramps.

kamuelaboy / MorgueFile

Every year there are news stories about the dangers of swimming, yet people drop their guard and accidents happen.

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Lots of people are fussy about their lawns: no weeds, no bugs allowed.

But the chemicals used to maintain a perfect lawn can make some people sick.

Michigan has a registry for people whose doctors say they shouldn't be exposed to pesticides. The registry requires lawn-care companies to notify those people before applying pesticides close to where they live.

The Michigan House of Representatives.
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

This week in review, Rina Miller and Jack Lessenberry discuss the highlights of the Michigan’s budget, whether Michigan’s Medicaid program will be getting an expansion, and whether the Detroit Institute of Arts will be forced to sell some of its collection in order to pay off the city’s debts.

Michigan’s budget

The state budget is on time for the third year in a row, but it is not finished.

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Remember how your mother told you to "sit up straight?"

Well, she wasn't picking on you. She was right.

Medical experts say poor posture can be hazardous to your health -- and to business.

Two-thirds of people who work at desk jobs suffer from neck, shoulder and back pain, says Lisa DeStefano, who chairs Michigan State University's Department of Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine.

That pain leads to about $3 billion loss in worker productivity every day, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

"We need to line our head and trunk up over our pelvis," DeStefano advises. "It will help decrease the amount of strain on our neck and shoulder muscles."

Rina Miller / Michigan Radio

There’s a new kind of healing happening at a Michigan hospital. The prescription includes seeds, soil, sun, and water.  

It’s a hot, humid day, but there’s a nice breeze blowing through a hoop house at St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor Hospital. That’s a greenhouse that can be used almost all year long.

It’s like walking into an oasis.

There’s a waterfall that flows into a small pond where a few koi live. 

The smell of rich, earthy compost fills the air. There are wooden planters that can be raised and lowered and another planter that turns like a Ferris wheel.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

On Saturdays, Michigan Radio's Rina Miller checks in with our political analyst, Jack Lessenberry.  

This week, Lessenberry attended the Mackinac Policy Conference.

He says one of the takeaways this year is that the business community is happy with the state's direction.

"[They are] encouraged by the direction in which Michigan is going. They're very happy in general with Governor Synder, but there's a lot of concern about education," Lessenberry said.

Education was discussed more this year than in past years.  

Mark Schauer's run

robinsandersforgovernor.com

An Ann Arbor man says he plans to run for governor as an Independent Progressive. 

Robin Sanders is a Michigan corrections officer who served in Vietnam and in Desert Storm. He has also worked as a union lobbyist.

Sanders believes Michigan could shore up its budget by keeping business in the state.

"I've seen the tendency of government to outsource in the form of third-party contracts that actually sends billions of dollars out of our state to other states and other countries, for that matter," Sanders says.

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A new study at the University of Michigan is looking at why hormone-based treatments stop working for some men with advanced prostate cancer.

About 50 percent of men with prostate cancer have what's called a gene fusion that may cause some treatments to stop working, says Dr.Maha Hussain, a U-M professor of medicine and urology who is a co-leader for the prostate cancer program.

"We found out that potentially the fusions, if they occur in a patient, may likely be more responsive to newer forms of hormone treatment."

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The University of Michigan Health System and St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor are working together to improve care for patients age 70 or older.

The Acute Care for Elders (ACE) unit is housed on the tenth floor of St. Joe's East Tower.

It's one of the few in the country that will follow a model of care intended to help older patients recover from illness or injury.

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You've probably seen those funny signs in backyard pools that say, "We don't swim in your toilet, so please don't pee in our pool."

Well, it's not a joke.

Martha Stanbury is with the Michigan Department of Community Health. She says if pools aren't properly maintained, they can make you sick.

University of Michigan

An Ohio baby is likely alive today because of the collaborative ingenuity of two University of Michigan doctors and their teams.

Kaiba Gionfriddo has a condition called tracheobronchomalacia – a blockage of the airway to the lungs. The condition affects about 1 in 2,200 babies born in the U.S. Many grow out of it by the time they’re two or three years old. Sometimes the disorder is misdiagnosed as asthma.

Kaiba stopped breathing every day, and his parents, April and Bryan Gionfriddo, were told their child would probably not survive.

drummerboy / MorgueFile

A groceries-for-guns exchange is set for Saturday in Detroit. People who turn in an unloaded gun will get a $50 grocery gift card.

Gerald Acker is a partner in the Southfield law firm Goodman Acker, which is sponsoring the event. He says they want to do something about gun violence.

Du Boix / MorgueFile

When Michigan relaxed its fireworks laws last year, some people took things too far. Now lawmakers may make some changes. 

The idea of the original law was to give municipalities more flexibility in the sale and use of fireworks.

It was also meant to bring fireworks sales revenue to Michigan.

taliesin / MorgueFile

Some Michigan veterans who have been classified as 100 percent disabled because of an injury could have their property taxes eliminated under a measure proposed in the State Senate (SB104).

State Sen. Glenn Anderson, D-Westland, says the vets would be restricted to 200 percent of the poverty rate to qualify.

"Theoretically, the very highest compensation someone might be receiving could be in the $40,000 to $45,000 range," Anderson says. "But they're going to have additional expenses if they're 100 percent disabled."

City of Flint

When Flint's emergency manager put the city's Santa Claus display up for auction, some local residents decided that was going too far. 

Melodee Mabbitt says her hometown doesn't need more bad news, so she and her husband bid $150 for the jolly old elf, his sleigh and four reindeer that sit atop Flint's city hall during the holidays.

The comma problem

May 12, 2013

The comma may be a very small  punctuation mark, but people often have very strong feelings about how it should, and should not be used.

On this edition of "That's What They Say," host Rina Miller and University of Michigan Professor Anne Curzan discuss the Oxford comma, semicolons and breaking rules.

Listen to the full segment above.

www.schoolbussafety.net

This week in review, Rina Miller and Jack Lessenberry discuss a bill to expand Medicaid, how school districts will no longer collect union dues from teachers, and the financial trouble with Buena Vista and Pontiac schools.

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Military veterans who have a background in engineering or manufacturing can brush up on their skills with free training from a Detroit-area software company.

Siemens Product Lifestyle Management in Livonia is one of 22 locations across the country offering the classes.

Joshuasheam / wikimedia commons

A trio of Democratic lawmakers says the state needs to revamp its gun laws. 
 
A law proposed by Rep. Andy Schor, D-Lansing, would expand gun-free zones to include libraries and disallow open carrying of firearms in public buildings.

Another measure introduced by Rep. Vicki Barnett, D-Farmington Hills, would strengthen mental health services by requiring parity with other medical services.

Centers for Disease Control

You know the old joke, "Doctor, it hurts when I do this?" and the doctor says, "Well, don't do that?"

That's not the case when it comes to arthritis and physical activity.

About two million Michiganders suffer from arthritis. According to state health officials, a sedentary lifestyle can make arthritis worse -- and make you more vulnerable to depression.

"People with arthritis pain do worry about whether those activities will exacerbate pain, and that can be a demotivator for them certainly in getting started," says Annemarie Hodges, who's a public health consultant in the arthritis program at the Michigan Department of Community Health.

www.schoolbussafety.net

Teachers in the soon-to-be-merged Ypsilanti and Willow Run school district have learned whether they'll be returning to the classroom. 

Both districts were in financial trouble, with a combined deficit of about $13 million.

Superintendent Scott Menzel says more than 250 current teachers applied for jobs in the consolidated district.

He says 171 teachers will have jobs  this fall; many of them are seasoned instructors.

Kelly Klump / Michigan State University

Let's say you're a rat and someone gives you the option of eating vanilla frosting instead of boring old rat food.
 
If you're a female rat, you're probably going to eat that frosting -- six times likely more than males.

It's no secret that eating disorders are more prevalent among women than men, but new research from Michigan State University finds that might be caused by biology -- not just emotions or social pressure.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

This "week in review," Rina Miller and Jack Lessenberry discuss the U.S. Senate race, allowing health coverage for live-in partners and the retirement of the emergency manager for Detroit Public Schools.

kimberlysgift.org

The state House Education Committee this week heard testimony from parents whose children died in school after suffering cardiac arrest.

Among those parents was Randy Gillary. His 15-year-old daughter, Kimberly, collapsed during a high school water polo game in 2000. 

Gillary says although CPR was begun immediately, it was too late. Kimberly was removed from life support two days later.

"We basically lost her on the pool deck," Gillary says.

David Yarnell / wikipedia.org

A popular Detroit art installation was destroyed by fire this morning.

The Obstruction of Justice House was part of the Heidelberg Project on Detroit's east side. It was created by artist Tyree Guyton. He used discarded items and paint to transform two city blocks into an eclectic and sometimes controversial art exhibit.  

Guyton's wife, Jenenne Whitfield, describes,"You turn down the street, and there's this explosion of color: The trees, the sidewalks, the vacant lots. All had been turned into a giant landscape, a work of art that is literally known around the world."

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If you're between 35 and 64-years-old, you're considered middle aged. You're probably working, have children, and possibly elderly parents that you help care for, as well. This is also the time when many chronic health conditions appear.

Toss in some tough economic times lately, and it adds up to a lot of stress.

That may be why Michigan has seen a bigger spike in middle-aged suicides than almost any other state.

Last-wish ID cards?

May 2, 2013
misenategop.com

A Michigan lawmaker says a person's end-of-life wishes should be accessible during an emergency.

You may have what's called a "living will" that determines what kind of care -- if any -- you want if you have, say, a heart attack. But if you don't have that document with you, emergency responders are going to try to bring you back to life.

A Michigan State University professor says most teachers aren't ready to implement new science standards planned by the state.

The Michigan Department of Education says a plan called "Next Generation Science Standards" will provide more depth to students.

MSU education professor Suzanne Wilson disagrees.

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The state is encouraging Michigan health plans to provide genetic counseling and testing for some types of breast cancer. 

Breast and ovarian cancer can run in families. Sometimes it's caused by an underlying genetic change passed from parent to child.

Jenna McLosky, who's the cancer genomics education coordinator for the Michigan Department of Community Health, says women who have a family history of breast cancer should consider tests for a change in the BRCA 1 or BRCA 2 genes.

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