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Ryan Grimes

Stateside Online News Intern

Ryan is an online news intern for Stateside. An Ypsilanti native, Ryan received a Music Production/Engineering certificate from Washtenaw Community College and is currently studying at Eastern Michigan University, pursuing degrees in Electronic Media and Film as well as Electrical Engineering Technology. For as long as he can remember, Ryan has loved public radio. Ryan is a big fan of podcasts, movies, longboarding, playing the drums, video games and spicy foods.

"If the prosecutors were picking one person and saying, this is the rare one, that would be very different. But they're picking 250 people and saying, they're all rare, without exercising the discretion," Labelle said.
flickr user Thomas Hawk / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Earlier this year, the United States Supreme Court handed down a directive saying that all prisoners sentenced to life without parole for crimes committed as minors, so-called “juvenile lifers,” should get the chance to have their sentences reconsidered.

(Left to right) William Washington, Lizzie Young and Vincent Washington.
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

Wayne County has more than 150 juvenile lifers, by far the most in the state. As of today, only one of them – and, in fact, the only person among the more than 360 juvenile lifers in the entire state of Michigan – has been given that second chance. 

On June 4, 1975, 17-year-old William Washington and his 26-year-old co-defendant, Kenneth Rucker, robbed a record store. After a scuffle with the store owner, Mr. Rucker took the victim into the back room and shot him to death. This incident led to Washington receiving a life without parole sentence for first degree murder, as well as a second life sentence for armed robbery, for his role as an aider and abettor.

On November 17th of this year – 41 years after he went to prison – William Washington became a free man.  

Washington and his mother Lizzie Young joined us in the studio.

flickr user Joe Gratz / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

 

The 2012 Supreme Court decision in Miller v. Alabama held that mandatory sentences of life without parole for juveniles were unconstitutional.

The court’s 2016 decision in Montgomery v. Louisiana said the Miller decision was retroactive, meaning that everyone sentenced to life without parole as a juvenile is entitled to have their sentences reconsidered.

Thomas Hawk / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

 


Earlier this year, the United States Supreme Court handed down a directive saying that all prisoners sentenced to life without parole for crimes committed as minors, the so-called “juvenile lifers,” should get the chance to have their sentences reconsidered.

The Court, in Miller v. Alabama in 2012 and in Montgomery v. Louisiana in 2016, said that the sentence of life without parole should be reserved only for the “rarest” of cases in which the juvenile is found to be “irreparably corrupt” or “permanently incorrigible.”

Some 360 Michigan inmates fall into this category. But so far, Michigan prosecutors have filed motions to uphold life without parole sentences in nearly 60 percent of these cases.

(This story is part of our series Michigan's Juvenile Lifers: Who Gets a Second Chance?)

Sixty percent certainly seems to be more than the “rarest” standard set forth by the Supreme Court, critics argue.

Deborah LaBelle is Ann Arbor attorney leading the ACLU of Michigan's Juvenile Life Without Parole initiative. She says Michigan prosecutors are ignoring the Supreme Court.

This posthumous portrait of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was painted by Barbara Krafft in 1819.
Public Domain / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

 

The Magic Flute is one of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s most famous works.

There’s a good chance you know the piece, but what you might not know is that Mozart finished and premiered the opera in the very final months of his life.

Mozart died 225 years ago today. He was only 35.

The cause of Mozart’s death is a medical question that has endured as long as his music.

Courtesy of Amer Zahr

 

The election of Donald Trump worries a lot of people.

Some women, immigrants, and Muslims are wondering if Trump’s presidency will be anything like his campaign rallies, and what that might mean for their lives.

Joshua Johnson
Stephen Voss / NPR

 

After a 37-year run, Diane Rehm is retiring.

She’d served notice to her legions of loyal listeners that she would see out the election and then step away from The Diane Rehm Show.

Much as Garrison Keillor hand-picked his successor Chris Theil for A Prairie Home Companion, Rehm personally selected her own: radio journalist Joshua Johnson.

Johnson sat down with us today to talk about how he plans to follow in Rehm’s shoes and what he plans to do with his new show, 1A.

“It’s OK to look for that rustic experience, but maybe at the same time you’re not completely willing to leave those modern comforts behind," Hogue told us.
flickr user Terry Bone / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

 

Michigan outdoors and camping: the two are practically synonymous.

We’ve got something like 13,500 campsites in Michigan, more than any other state.

But how much are we really communing with nature when we camp when we hook up to electricity, boot up the wi-fi and set out our folding chairs under the awning?

Architect Martin Hogue has spent a lot of time exploring just what camping really means in 2016. His exhibit 925,000 Campsites: The Commodification of an American Experience is now running through the end of the year at Lawrence Technological University in Southfield.

A peek into the LEGO castle
Courtesy of Play-Place for Autistic Children's Facebook page

The Next Idea

“Inclusion. Acceptance. Support.”

That’s the mission of Play-Place for Autistic Children.

It’s a 25,000 square foot facility in Sterling Heights in Macomb County, and there’s no place like it elsewhere in the country.

Play-Place is a nonprofit that gives kids who are on the autism spectrum a safe, fun, comfortable place to hang out and play with others.

For parents and caregivers, it’s a place to find “me-too” conversations with someone who is also going through the challenges presented by autism.

Gerdes likened finding DeeDee and objects like it to looking for a really small needle in a very, very large haystack.
flickr user Eurpoean Southern Observatory / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

 


We're learning a lot about our tiny corner of the cosmos these days. That's thanks to improving technology and the increasing number of probes we're sending into the solar system.

But as much as we learned so far, there’s still a lot about space that we don't know.

Recently, researchers have been trying to track down a theoretical Planet Nine. (That's the title formerly held by Pluto. Sorry, Pluto.)

University of Michigan astronomers recently came across a planetary surprise that might get us closer to that discovery. And it turns out Pluto might have a friend out there after all.

“The biggest fear is that we would go backwards into fear rather than forward into hope. That we’d go backwards into polarization, not forward into unity. We’ve made an awful lot of progress in the last 50 years, and that progress is now threatened.”
Laura Weber / MPRN

 

A week ago, we woke up to the news that Donald Trump is our president-elect.

Since that day, we’ve seen a flood of reported hate incidents across the country.

Animal bones found in the Saints Rest privy.
Courtesy of Autumn Byers

Archeology is not just about digging into prehistory, coming up with arrowheads, pottery shards and mastodon bones.

It can also give us a window into the not-too-distant past.

Say, the campus of Michigan State University in the mid-1800s.

That’s what Autumn Beyer is doing in her work with the MSU Campus Archeology Program. She’s studying what students and professors ate in the early days at Michigan State and how they got that food.

Laurel Premo and Anna Gustavsson
Courtesy of Premo & Gustavsson

 

Take fiddle and banjo tunes of the United States and mix them with the music and dance tunes of Sweden, and there you have Premo & Gustavsson.

Our Songs from Studio East series explores music that combines both contemporary and traditional music from around the world. Premo & Gustavsson fit that bill perfectly.

Courtesy of Saladin Ahmed

 

The election of Donald Trump as president is a concern for a number of people. Trump has singled out Muslims as people he wants to stop from immigrating to the United States.

A Detroit native, Saladin Ahmed is an Arab American science fiction and fantasy writer. In the past, his family has been target by Islamophobic bigots, including the burning of a community center that helped Arab immigrants. His family founded that center.

Ahmed joined us today.

Voting sign.
flickr user justgrimes / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

 

Election Day is almost here at last, but there are still a lot of questions to be answered.

There’s been a lot of talk about poll challengers and poll watchers, and that’s an issue for the folks who are doing all the work on polling day.

Chris Thomas, director of elections at Michigan's Secretary of State, sat down with us today to talk through some of the questions we still have as November 8 approaches.

Valenstein hopes the project will help those in need of social services connect with agencies that are better suited to help them.
flickr user Rosser321 / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The Next Idea

Take funding from the Affordable Care Act, add a $70 million state innovation model grant to the state Department of Health and Human Services, and you’re about to see an ambitious new project that can change health care delivery in Michigan.

It’s called Michigan’s Blueprint for Health Innovation.

Savannah Halleaux

 

The United States Department of Agriculture is reaching out in a special way to women and minority farmers and growers in Michigan.

What’s behind this focus on “non-traditional” growers? And why is the USDA making its Michigan announcement in Flint?

USDA Farm Service Agency administrator Val Dolcini joined us today to talk about the USDA's push to reach out to these "non-traditional" producers, and some of the challenges facing today’s farmers and ranchers.

Courtesy of Sue Nichols

 

Jack Liu of Michigan State University has spent some two decades studying pandas and people in a remote corner of China. His work has yielded powerful lessons in sustainability.

Liu is a human-environment scientist and a sustainability scholar at MSU, where he directs the Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability.

He joined us today to talk about his panda research and what it means for people outside of the remote Wolong Nature Reserve.

Ann Curzan explained that things like punctuation and emojis are used to make up for the lack of conversational context in texting.
Public Domain / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

 

Texting has become a dominant means of communication in today’s interconnected world.

Some reports suggest that large swaths of Americans prefer it to talking on their phone.

If you count yourself among the 97% of Americans who send at least one text every day, it might be time to take another look at your texting etiquette. According to University of Michigan English professor Anne Curzan, there’s a chance you’re doing it all wrong.

A Kurdish boy from the Syrian town of Kobani holds onto a fence that surrounds a refugee camp in Turkey.
User Jordi Bernabeu Farrús / Flickr / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Robin Wright began her journalism career as a student at the University of Michigan, where she was the first female sports editor in the history of the Michigan Daily.

She has gone on to become a widely known and honored foreign affairs analyst, journalist and author. Her books include Rock the Casbah: Rage and Rebellion Across the Islamic World, Dreams and Shadows: The Future of the Middle East, Sacred Rage: The Wrath of Militant Islam and The Last Great Revolution: Turmoil and Transformation in Iran.

This coming Thursday, Wright returns to Ann Arbor to give the Margaret Waterman Alumnae Lecture. She joined us today.

flickr user Ken Lund / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The Next Idea

Driverless cars are on the horizon. That much is clear.

We’ve heard from businesses, engineers and politicians about how autonomous vehicles could change day-to-day life for all of us.

How might driverless cars affect the lives of people with disabilities?

Jerry Linenger with ham radio equipment in the Russian Mir Space Station Base Block module.
NASA

Imagine you’re 14 years old, camping in Ontario with your family.

It’s July 20, 1969, and you’re watching on a small TV as Neil Armstrong becomes the first man to set foot on the moon.

You decide: I want to go to space.

And so you grow up to become an astronaut. You go into space on the shuttles Discovery and Atlantis. You spend five months on the Russian space station Mir.

You ultimately rack up 143 days and 52 minutes in space, over 2,177 orbits of the earth, and you fly 54.5 million miles through space.

And after all that, you come home to Michigan to settle down in Suttons Bay.

That’s just a brief look at what retired Navy Captain and astronaut Jerry Linenger has done.

Wikimedia user Gyre / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

A new study finds reducing air pollution by just a little more would save about 9,000 lives each year in the United States.

Detroit is one of the cities the study finds could benefit the most from slightly tighter air pollution regulations. 

Wikimedia user Infrogmation / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Time for a little wordplay.

We asked you to send us phrases or terms that you find a little strange so we could have University of Michigan English Professor Anne Curzan try to track down where they started.

flickr user Gage Skidmore/Flickr / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton made stops in Michigan this week to give their big economic speeches. 

Ken Sikkema and Susan Demas joined us today to talk about those speeches and how they might impact the presidential race.

Flickr user mLu.fotos / Flickr / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Time to plan your Perseid party!

The annual meteor show we enjoy each August is expected to be extra special this year.

Hydraulic fracturing rig
flickr user Eusko Jaurlaritza / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

In the last decade the term "fracking" has become part of the national lexicon.

Now, it's the focus of a new anthology that pulls together the work of almost 50 writers. It's called Fracture: Essays, Poems, and Stories on Fracking in America.

 Howard Hertz told us Detroit should lean into its musical legacy the way cities like Nashville and Austin do.
flickr user tomovox / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The Next Idea

Take a moment to think of all the music that's been born and bred in Detroit.

From Motown to techno, rock to hip hop and jazz, and all parts in-between, Detroit artists have made an impression around the world.

Yet, the city's done next to nothing to capitalize on its city's musical heritage. 

Our latest contributor to The Next Idea is leading an effort to change that, by getting Detroit to brand itself as a "music city" and build a downtown museum celebrating Southeast Michigan's rich musical heritage.

According to the poll, Governor Snyder's approval rating has fallen to 39.7%.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A new poll from The Detroit News and WDIV-TV gives us a look at how Michigan voters are feeling one week into general election campaign season. 

Chad Livengood of The Detroit News joined us today to talk about the findings. 

Here's how 600 likely general election voters said they would vote come November:

  • 41.0%   Hillary Clinton (Democrat)
  • 31.6%   Donald Trump (Republican)
  • 7.5%     Gary Johnson (Libertarian)
  • 3.4%     Jill Stein (Green)

Insurance companies in Michigan are asking for, on average, 17.2% higher rates for individual plans next year.
flickr user 401(K) 2012 / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The insurance companies offering health plans on Michigan's public exchange have a collective eye fixed on January 1, 2017.

That's when they hope they'll be able to start charging, on average, 17.2% more for individual health insurance plans.

Marianne Udow-Phillips joined us today to talk about what's behind these hefty rate increase requests.

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