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

kconnors / MorgueFile

Some immigrants who qualify for a federal deportation deferral still can't get a Michigan driver's license or ID card. 

mensatic / MorgueFile

Michigan's public school employees may have to work longer before they can retire. They're living longer,  
and that's hitting the bottom line of retirement programs.

Mark Guastella is Executive Director of the Michigan Association of Retired School Personnel. Hesays the current retirement age is 60, but that will have to change.

User: David Defoe / flickr

Every Saturday Michigan Radio's Rina Miller talks with political analyst Jack Lessenberry about the week's top regional news stories. This week they talk about Proposal 5 which would require a two-thirds majority vote of the Legislature in order to raise taxes and the cost of campaigning in the state.

anitapeppers / MorgueFile

One Michigan community has said "no" to homeless and poor people who want to sell a nonprofit newspaper on the street.

Groundcover News asked Ypsilanti Township for permission to sell its paper near fast-food restaurants and other businesses. But the township's trustees worried about safety and whether businesses would object.

southernfried / MorgueFile

Four Michigan people are suing the state to change the process used to put someone on Michigan's Central Registry of Child Abuse and Neglect. 

The suit claims the registry is an unconstitutional and unfair blacklist of people accused by investigators of harming a child.

Attorney Elizabeth Warner represents the plaintiffs. She says some people are on the list for reporting abuse or neglect, or were victims of domestic violence. Warner says others were never notified that they were put on the list, and have never had a hearing.

Ken Mayer / flickr

The Muskegon Correctional Facility has reopened and will employ 240 people.

That is freeing up space for inmates in other parts of the state.

Michigan began closing prisons in 2007 as part of budget cuts. The Muskegon Correctional Facility was shut down in 2009.

Now the 1,300 bed, medium-security facility is open again and the state has begun transferring inmates from other places—mostly from the Ryan Correction Facility in Detroit.

Russ Marlan is a Department of Corrections spokesman.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Every Saturday Rina Miller talks with Michigan Radio's political analyst Jack Lessenberry about some of the biggest stories in the week's news. Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson was ordered to be in federal court this week, even though she asked someone else to speak on her behalf. Also, controversy surrounding Speaker of the House Jase Bolger (R) brings up the question of whether Democrats can be competitive for the Speaker of the House’s seat in November. Plus, a Detroit scandal involving Detroit Police Chief Ralph Godbee creates head ache for Mayor Dave Bing.

earl53 / MorgueFile

A new version of Michigan's job search Website launched this week crashed almost immediately.

The site mitalent.org was designed to match people looking for jobs with job providers. It's meant to be the new and improved version of the state's old site, known as the Michigan Talent Bank.

Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget spokesman Kurt Weiss says a lot of people tried to log on to the new site on Monday.

clarita / MorgueFile

Update at 4:30 p.m.

The Michigan Department of Community Health says six cases of fungal meningitis have now been confirmed in Michigan, and the number of cases nationwide have increased to 49. Five people have died from the disease.

Spokeswoman Angela Minicuci says it has not yet been determined from which health care clinics the patients contracted the meningitis.

Minicuci says fungal meningitis cannot be transmitted from person-to-person.


Michigan Radio

A report commissioned by the owners of the Ambassador Bridge says Gov. Rick  Snyder has not given voters enough information about the economic impact of a proposed new span over the Detroit River. 

The analysis by a Grand Rapids consulting firm says plans for the new bridge are not economically feasible.

"A CEO in the private sector making a multi-billion-dollar investment with concerns about the bottom line in shareholder return would put this proposal under a lot more scrutiny than it appears the governor has," says Patrick O'Keefe, CEO of O'Keefe and Associates.

mensatic / MorgueFile

The state house has approved a bill that would let Michigan businesses get a liquor license more quickly. The review process often takes months, and in some cases, years.

The proposed law would allow a conditional liquor license while a review is under way.


A bill in the state House would let doctors prescribe medication to the partner of a patient who's been diagnosed with a sexually transmitted disease -- without examining the partner.

User: David Defoe / flickr

Every Saturday Rina Miller talks with Michigan Radio's political analyst Jack Lessenberry about some of the biggest stories in the week's news.

mconnors / MorgueFile

Scientists who are helping to build the a nuclear research facility at Michigan State University are the focus of a study that looks at teamwork. 

The construction of the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams -- or F-RIB -- will take thousands of people.

The National Science Foundation kicked in about a million dollars for a study to see how well the teams communicate and work with other teams.

MSU Professor John Hollenbeck is one of the leaders of the study.

He says they'll use electronic badges with GPS to monitor interactions.

alvimann / MorgueFile

Two Southeast Michigan hospitals say beginning next year, job applicants who use tobacco of any kind will not be hired.  

Henry Ford and Beaumont health systems say the tobacco ban will include cigarettes, pipes, cigars, smokeless tobacco and electronic cigarettes.

Jay Holden is a Beaumont spokesman.

He says the policy will protect patients and personnel.

southernfried / MorgueFile

Organized gangs that steal from retail stores in Michigan are not only driving up prices, they're putting the public at risk. 

taliesin / MorgueFile

A Michigan judge has ruled a case against the Boy Scouts of America can go ahead.

In 2009, an assistant Scoutmaster with the Chief Okemos Council, which serves Ingham, Eaton and Clinton counties, was accused of molesting two Scouts.  

Roger Young was charged with criminal sexual assault and possession of child pornography. He committed suicide later that year.

Ingham County

Calhoun County residents who are coping with deteriorating roads won't be able to blame the Road Commission anymore.

The state legislature passed a law in the spring that allows County Commissions to disband their Road Commissions.

Ingham County did so right away, and now Calhoun County has followed suit.

Art Kale chairs the Calhoun County Board of Commissioners.  He said the board took the action because of what it saw as financial mismanagement by the Road Commission.

Kale said the change had bipartisan support.

"When I hit a pothole, I don't look to see if it's a red pothole or a blue pothole. All I know is that this was the biggest issue our citizens were complaining about," said Kale.

Kale said the Road Commission's managing director will stay on at least through the end of his year-long contract and that no employee changes are planned.

He also said the Teamsters, which represents Road Commission workers, were in favor of dissolving the commission.

David Defoe / flickr

Every Saturday Rina Miller talks with Michigan Radio's political analyst Jack Lessenberry about some of the biggest stories in the week's news. This week they talk about Michigan Farm Bureau endorsing Democrat Debbie Stabenaw for the US Senate race, the Kwame Kilpatrick trail and the slew of art story headlines seen this week.

Heroin abuse in Michigan is on the rise. Felix Sharpe of Michigan's Bureau of Substance Abuse and Addiction Services says that 680 people died from heroin overdoses in Michigan last year.
United Nations Photo

Heroin abuse is increasing in Michigan and so is the number of fatal overdoses.

Felix Sharpe of Michigan's Bureau of Substance Abuse and Addiction Services says that 680 people died from heroin overdoses in Michigan last year.

Many abusers of prescription painkillers have moved to heroin because of its price. Drugs like Oxycontin sell for up to $40 dollars a pill on the street, while heroin sells for about $10.

Sharpe says that many of the victims are young people whose first contact with opiates came through painkillers prescribed to parents and grandparents. He says parents need to lock up prescriptions or dispose of them if they're no longer being used.

According to The Michigan Department of Community Health Bureau of Substance Abuse and Addiction Services' 2011 annual report,  the number of people receiving treatment for heroin abuse in the state jumped from 7,857 in 2001 to 10,924 last year.

Rina Miller talks with Michigan Radio's political analyst Jack Lessenberry this week about the ballot proposals that were approved, the results of the special primary in Michigan's 11th congressional district and what happens now, and the medical marijuana debate in the Grand Rapids suburb of Wyoming.

alvimann / MorgueFile

The Grosse Pointe Public School System will impose penalties of up to $13,000  for parents who violate the district's residency requirements.

Prospective students will have to verify home ownership or provide monthly proof of rental, as well as parental or guardianship verification and other documentation.

Rep. Thaddeus McCotter / U.S. House of Representatives

Some voters in southeast Michigan have more than November's general election to think about.

Tomorrow, is is primary day in Michigan's 11th District.

That's when voters in parts of Wayne and Oakland counties will choose a temporary replacement for Republican U.S. Representative Thaddeus McCotter.

He quit in July after it was discovered that petition signatures were forged or copied in at least two of his campaigns.

Five Republicans are vying for the seat. They'll face a Democrat, a Libertarian and a U.S. Taxpayers Party Candidate in the November 6th general election.

The taxpayer tab for the special election will be at least $650,000.

Low voter turnout is predicted.

Four of McCotter's former staff  members have been charged in the petition scandal.

McCotter has not been charged.

Several media outlets are reporting the crash of a small plane near Brighton Airport in Livingston County. 

From The Detroit Free Press:

Frank Juarez / Flickr

Detroit Public Schools announced Friday that employees will get a bonus in December if the district meets its budget goal, which looks likely. 

Logan Chadde / Michigan Radio

Some Livingston County residents who live near a pipeline project say they don't understand why off-duty sheriff's deputies have been hired to provide security.

Enbridge Energy says its contractor hired the Livingston County Sheriff's Department to ensure public safety while the pipeline is replaced.

A few weeks ago, a resident said Enbridge clear-cut trees on her property without permission.  A judge has ordered work to stop until a property rights issue can be sorted out.

A pipeline that supplies much of Michigan's natural gas could be shut down ... and converted to carry crude oil. That's sparked a number of concerns from business and government.

Natural gas is plentiful and cheap right now.

That's why a Texas company filed a request with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission -- or FERC --  in July to shut down 770 miles of transmission lines across several states. It would either abandon them ... or eventually use the pipes to carry crude oil.

And that could affect how much a lot of people in Michigan will pay to heat their homes and businesses.

The pipeline owned by Trunkline Gas Company crosses into Branch County from Indiana. That's where Consumers Energy connects to it ... and distributes the natural gas to 45 counties in the Lower Peninsula.

Dan Bishop is a Consumers Energy spokesman. He says Consumers depends on Trunkline for 60 percent of the gas it supplies to 1.7 million customers in Michigan.

alvimann / MorgueFile

Residents of some Lansing neighborhoods say they worry that police surveillance cameras may be invading their privacy. 

The cameras were first installed in 2008  and are in now 13 locations.

Randy Watkins is a member of a Lansing group called the Coalition Against Monitoring and Surveillance.

He says an American Civil Liberties Union report bears out the group's concerns. He also claims the cameras target mainly African American neighborhoods.

www.fortmalden.ca /

The United States and Canada haven't always been on good terms. Two hundred years ago, we were at war. Now there's a collaboration to explain the war  and honor those who died.

And what better way to learn about history  than to retrace its steps? That’s what organizers of a War of 1812-themed driving tour suggest.

The tour includes parts of Michigan, Ohio and southern Ontario.

Nancy Darga is director of Motor Cities National Heritage area.

The Capitol was vandalized early Thursday morning
user mattileo / flickr

In the Week in Review, Thaddeus McCotter's abrupt resignation last month means there needs to be a special election to fill his spot.

Also, Michigan's a popular place with presidential and vice-presidential candidates this week.

And, ballot petition mania continues, but can the average voter keep up. Michigan Radio's Rina Miller speaks with political analyst Jack Lessenberry.