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.


11:39 am
Mon April 1, 2013

Urping: It's just what babies do

kbohn216 MorgueFile

Babies spit up -- a lot. It often happens when they eat too quickly  or too much. It's normal, but it sure can scare parents.

A University of Michigan study says doctors should be careful about using labels to describe babies with upset stomachs.

Dr. Beth Tarini, an assistant professor of pediatrics at U-M, says when doctors use terms like gastroesophageal reflux disease -- or GERD -- the only thing most parents hear is "disease."

"It can transform the way the parent views the child's health. It can take a parent who has a healthy child, and have that parent start to believe that that child is actually sick," Tarini says."Parents come into the office, understandably distressed that their baby is spitting up."

Tarini says sometimes physicians, in trying to help the parents, will reach for anything they can do to help, which can lead to the overuse of antacids, like Zantac.

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Politics & Government
9:15 am
Sat March 30, 2013

Week in review

Michigan Radio's Rina Miller spoke with our Political Analyst about the big news stories this week.

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4:13 pm
Thu March 28, 2013

Health care tax credits available for 745,000 Michiganders next year

Nearly three-quarters of a million Michiganders will qualify for a federal tax subsidy to help pay for health care premiums in 2014.
Credit moderncog / MorgueFile

Beginning in October, people can sign up to get help paying for health coverage under of the Affordable Care Act.

In Michigan, some 745,000 people will qualify, according to Families USA, a national non-profit organization for health care consumers.

Executive director Ron Pollack says in Michigan, 91 percent of those who will qualify for the tax credit are working families.

"In Wayne County, we estimate it's over 147,000 people; in Oakland County it's about 72,000 people; in Macomb County it's over 59,000 and in Kent County it's almost 46,000," Pollack says.

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12:10 am
Thu March 28, 2013

Michigan doctors turn focus to pain management and quality of life

Credit University of Michigan Medical School

The University of Michigan Health System has begun training teams of palliative care specialists. The Adult Palliative Medicine Program puts more focus on helping patients manage the physical and emotional pain from chronic disease and dying. 

U-M Chief of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine Dr. Raymond Yung  is guiding the program. He says some patients think suffering is just the way it is -- that they're supposed to be tough. Some people may worry about addiction.

"This is not a reason for anyone to withhold pain medication that they need," Yung says. "In this patient population, actual issues with addiction is not a big problem at all."

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Politics & Government
12:36 pm
Sun March 24, 2013

Tanning beds would be off-limits for Michigan teens under proposed law

Melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer, can look like a mole, but is often darker or itchy, has asymmetrical margins, irregular borders and is usually multicolored.
Credit wikipedia

Michigan  already has a law requiring parental consent for minors to use tanning beds, but a new law would prohibit teens' use of the beds altogether.

West Bloomfield dermatologist Dr. Kay Watnick says indoor tanning can increase the risk for skin cancer -- including melanoma.

"It's a very serious kid of skin cancer," Watnick says. "It's most prominent in young Caucasian females."

Watnick says melanoma and other types of skin cancer have increased dramatically over the past three decades.

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Politics & Government
1:00 pm
Sat March 23, 2013

More Michigan police, fire, paramedic services likely to merge

Credit Schick / MorgueFile

More Michigan communities may consolidate their police and fire departments because of the unstable economy.

Cross-training police, fire and paramedics isn't a new idea. Some places have operated that way since the 1950s.

Jeremy Wilson is an assistant professor of criminal justice at Michigan State University.

He's also director of the Program on Police Consolidation and Shared Services at MSU. The program is funded by the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Community Oriented Policing Services.

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Politics & Government
9:00 am
Sat March 23, 2013

The week in review: Medicaid, health care exchange, right to work, more Detroit corruption

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Week in review interview

This “week in review” Rina Miller and Jack Lessenberry discuss a state house subcommittee’s rejection to expand Medicaid, how Michigan will be run under a federal health exchange, how universities are going under scrutiny for negotiating new, long term contracts before Michigan’s right to work law goes into effect, and how a city pension attorney in Detroit and a former trustee were indicted for bribery.

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11:04 am
Thu March 21, 2013

Founder of Michigan-based Hungry Howie's pizza chain dies at 72

Credit Facebook

The founder of a pizza company launched in Taylor 40 years ago has died. 

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4:18 pm
Wed March 20, 2013

Spring? What spring? Michigan's official groundhog issues apology for bad call

An embarrassed Woody, Michigan's official woodchuck, offers an apology for her way-off-the-mark prediction of an early spring.
Credit Howell Conference & Nature Center

Woody says she's sorry.

She got it wrong.

Woody lives at the Howell Conference & Nature Center and is Michigan's official groundhog. She predicted an early spring back on Groundhog Day. Spring arrived today -- with snow flurries and temperatures in the 20s.

Dick Grant is Woody's interpreter.

"It takes a big woodchuck to admit that she's wrong," says Woody's interpreter, Dick Grant. "And Woody came out today and said 'I'm sorry. I missed it. We all make mistakes.' And it looks like we have gone through six more weeks of winter."

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Politics & Government
9:29 am
Sat March 16, 2013

What happened this week? An Emergency Manager appointed, Kilpatrick guilty, and drug testing

Rina Miller and Jack Lessenberry give us a round up of the week's top news stories each Saturday.

This was quite a week for Detroit!

Governor Rick Snyder appointed Kevyn Orr as the Emergency Manager of the City of Detroit on Thursday. Lessenberry says Orr is well prepared for the formidable task he's facing. Orr is an attorney who specializes in bankruptcy. Lessenberry says "he seems to know it is a tough task, but he has a winning attitude and impressed people favorably in his first press conference."

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11:53 am
Sun March 10, 2013

Beating blight: Michigan lawmaker says cities need to get tough

Credit Flickr.com

A Michigan state senator says cities need tougher laws against owners of blighted properties.

A national report found nearly a quarter of all Detroit properties were blighted in 2011.

State Sen. Virgil Smith has proposed bills to hold the landowners accountable for razing or repairing their properties.

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11:31 am
Sun March 10, 2013

Hey, look what I made! No, really, look!

Credit University of Michigan Medical School

Let's say a researcher designs a product that could save someone's life. Without money and backing from the National Institutes of Health or the National Science Foundation, that invention probably won't go anywhere.

Medical innovators at the University of Michigan now have a better chance of getting their products to market with a $7.5 million joint venture with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

It's called the Michigan Translational Research & Commercialization for Life Sciences, and it's meant to help bridge what's known as "The Valley of Death."

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Politics & Government
9:36 am
Sat March 9, 2013

What happened this week? Carl Levin bows out, Detroit EM & same sex marriage challenge

Capitol Building, Lansing, MI
Matthileo Flickr

Each Saturday, Rina Miller and Jack Lessenberry look at some of the top regional news stories of the week.

Carl Levin won't run for re-election

We got a political bombshell this week when U.S. Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) said he won't run for re-election next year. But Lessenberry says this wasn't entirely unexpected. He expects a lot of people to run for Levin's seat including Congressman Gary Peters and Congressman Mike Rodgers.

Detroit prepares for an emergency manager

The Detroit City Council says "not so fast" when it comes to the governor’s appointment of an emergency manager. Mayor Bing says it's too late to resist the appointment. It's just going to happen. Lessenberry says the City Council may well appeal, but he doesn't expect the Governor to reverse his decision. "They are doing a pro-forma thing mainly for political consumption."

A challenge to Michigan's same-sex marriage ban

The discussion of same-sex marriage in Michigan was put on hold after it looked like a federal judge might make a ruling on Michigan’s constitutional amendment. Lessenberry says "no one can really fault U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman for doing this because the U.S. Supreme Court is going to rule on a case in California on a similar law."  He says that way Friedman can craft a ruling that isn't in conflict with the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling.

Jack Lessenberry is Michigan Radio’s political analyst. He joins us Saturday mornings to review the week’s top news stories.

2:43 pm
Fri March 8, 2013

Report: Michigan work-related injuries poorly documented

Credit U.S. National Archives and Records Administration / Wikimedia

Dr. Kenneth Rosenman says the current federal system for reporting work-related injuries is not working.

Rosenman is chief of  Michigan State University's Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. He says a joint report with the Michigan Department of Community Health found the number of amputations resulting from on-the-job injuries were more than 60 percent higher than the official estimate from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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5:05 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

Dead? In jail? No food assistance for you

Credit Alviman / MorgueFile

A state lawmaker wants to automatically discontinue food assistance benefits when people die or go to jail. 

Representative Tim Kelly says he's embarrassed about loopholes in Michigan's Bridge Card program.  

A bill approved by the House this week would order the Department of Human Services to conduct a monthly computer match against the Social Security Death Index database and incarceration records.

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Politics & Government
4:50 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

Hate groups on the rise in Michigan

The number of hate groups in Michigan has been growing since 2008.  

The Southern Poverty Law Center says Michigan is fifth in the nation in the number of these so-called hate groups. Spokesman Mark Potok says that includes Neo-Nazi and Ku Klux Klan groups.

The law center is also tracking the rapid growth of "patriot" groups, which used to be called militia.

Potok says Michigan has a large number of those.

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1:00 am
Mon March 4, 2013

Too many tests and treatments? Ask your doctor if they're really necessary

click MorgueFile

An organization of physicians says more isn't always better when it comes to medical tests.

A national campaign called "Choosing Wisely" looked at a list of common procedures that doctors and patients should question.

Dr. Jim Froehlich is director of Cardiovascular Medicine at the University of Michigan.

He says a stress test before a simple surgery is one example of an overused procedure.

"That's not always useful, especially if the planned procedure is of such low risk that if even if someone has some heart disease, it's unlikely to adversely affect them," Froehlich says.

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12:14 pm
Sun March 3, 2013

Lawmakers eye a smoother transition from community colleges to four-year institutions

Credit Darnok / MorgueFile

Michigan lawmakers are looking at ways to smooth the transfer process from the state's community colleges to universities.  

More than 40 percent of Michigan students attend a community college for at least one term, but sometimes their credits can't all be transferred to a four-year institution.

Chris Baldwin is with the Michigan Community College Association.

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5:01 am
Fri March 1, 2013

Students get a glimpse of a future in medicine

Credit Nicole Haley / Nicole Haley Photography

Detroit has plenty of smart, talented kids who could have a bright future in medicine. But the few who do go into the field often don’t stay in the city after they graduate.

According to the Michigan Department of Community Health, fewer than eight percent of Michigan’s doctors are black or Hispanic.

The University of Michigan School of Medicine hopes to spark a change with its “Doctors of Tomorrow” program. 

A group of ninth-graders from Detroit’s Cass Technical High School is gathered around a gurney at U of M’s Clinical Simulation Center.

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The Environment Report
9:35 am
Tue February 26, 2013

Ruby-throated hummingbirds arriving earlier

A ruby-throated hummingbird
katmystiry, Morguefile

You can listen to today's Environment Report above, or read the hummingbird story below. In the audio, the hummingbird story starts about a minute in.

Every spring, instinct tells the ruby-throated hummingbird to head from Mexico to northern states, including Michigan. But experts say it’s making that trip earlier than ever.  That early migration could be a sign of trouble for the tiny powerhouse of the avian world. 

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