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Stateside
6:59 pm
Thu August 21, 2014

What's on tap? The Detroit Drunken Historical Society

Detroit Drunken Historical Society's recent meet-up explored the Belle Isle history
Credit User: UpNorth Memories - Donald (Don) Harrison / Flickr

Some organizations these days are having a hard time getting new people involved. Classical music groups have been struggling to appeal to new fans. And plenty of arts and culture groups have a tough time attracting members.

It turns out, historical societies are also having a tough time. And that’s something that Michigan Radio’s Kyle Norris has been looking into.

Norris says the problem is that these societies tend to be older, and getting new blood is not going so well in general.

But that’s not an issue for Amy Elliott Bragg, a co-organizer for the Detroit Drunken Historical Society.

It's a meet-up group that hosts monthly activities at local bars in Detroit for people to come out and learn about history. Bragg says there's no commitment, the gatherings are easy to attend, and all are welcome.

“We have found that there are people who might not be immersed in the library in their historic text all night, but they enjoy history, they are interested in it. They want to weigh in,” says Bragg.

* Listen to the interview with Amy Elliott Bragg above.

Stateside
5:34 pm
Thu August 21, 2014

What to look for at Michigan's nominating conventions this weekend

Credit User: Andrew Ferguson / Flickr

It's a big weekend for Michigan's Democrats and Republicans: Both parties hold their state conventions – the Democrats in Lansing, the Republicans in Novi.

Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta, the co-hosts of Michigan Radio’s It's Just Politics, gave us a preview of the conventions.

For this weekend, Clark says she’ll be watching for a Tea Party effort to pry Brian Calley out as lieutenant governor.

"Tea Partiers and very conservative Republicans, looking at the Snyder Administration and saying, 'you know what? You may say you're conservative, but you are not conservative enough,'" says Clark.

As for the Democratic convention, there’s not quite as much drama expected in Lansing. However, Clark notes that it’ll be interesting to look at the Democratic nominees' races for attorney general and secretary of state.

* Listen to the interview with Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta above.

* Be sure to tune in tomorrow morning at 9 when Rick Pluta will host a special call-in show with Gary Peters, Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate. 

 

Stateside
5:27 pm
Thu August 21, 2014

Stateside for Thursday, August 21, 2014

Today on Stateside:

  • State Democrats and Republicans will convene this weekend. What could be the highlights?
  • Northland in Oakland County is one of the very first shopping centers in America. It also represents the changing fortune of malls.
  • We talked with the Michigan country vet who's become an unlikely reality TV star. Dr. Jan Pol shared how he’s practicing veterinary medicine with a camera crew in tow.
  • A new anti-scrapping law was supposed to make it harder for scrap metal thieves. But one Detroit lawmakers says “not so much."
  • Historical societies are having a tough time. Michigan Radio's Kyle Norris has been looking into that.

* Listen to the full show above.

Stateside
5:24 pm
Thu August 21, 2014

Detroit lawmaker raises issues on Michigan's new anti-scrapping law

Credit User: Pete + Lynne / Flickr

It looks like Michigan's new anti-scrapping law is not doing what it was supposed to.

The new law was supposed to make it tougher to sell stolen scrap metal. It put limits on cash payments. It also created paper trails, to make it easier for police to track down illegal scrappers.

Democratic State Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Detroit, pushed for years to toughen Michigan's scrap metal laws. She says there are a number of loopholes around the new cash exchange.

“The new law allows for commercial accounts, for example, mechanics, a company that does air conditioning repairs. If you are a commercial account, you do not have to comply with the 'no cash exchange for $25 or more.'”

Tlaib says some scrap metal dealers are taking advantage of the loophole. The representative believes that there should not be a cash threshold at all.

“We’ve learned that other states and cities saw a 70% reduction (in illegal scrapping) when you completely got rid of cash exchange,” says Tlaib.

* Listen to the interview with Rashida Tlaib above.

Stateside
5:20 pm
Thu August 21, 2014

The rise and fall of Michigan's Northland Mall

Northland Mall in the early years
Credit User: Michelle Welter‎ / facebook

“If you want to talk about the shopping mall, there are two things you have to talk about: the car and Detroit."

That’s NPR business reporter Sonari Glinton, who’s looking into the history of malls for a series with youth radio.

In his series, Glinton used Northland Center in Southfield as "exhibit A" of the rise and fall of the American mall.

Northland was one of the first shopping malls in the region. Glinton says its opening represented the moment of change for Detroit.

“1954, when this mall was opened, was the peak of receipts in downtown Detroit. It's as if they built this mall and said, OK, we're moving to the suburbs."

The glory days of Northland were the 1950s and '60s. And for decades, malls in general have been an icon of American life.

Today, the mall is threatened by the Internet and changing consumer expectations.

But that doesn’t mean the malls are necessarily dying. As Glinton explains, “They are going through a transition, and we are going to see the difference in the years to come.” 

* Listen to the interview with Sonari Glinton above.

Stateside
12:21 pm
Thu August 21, 2014

TV's star veterinarian talks about life, Michigan, and why never turn your back on an Angus cow

Hold your horses, because new episodes of The Incredible Dr. Pol begin this Saturday on National Geographic Wild.
Credit User: The Incredible Dr. Pol / facebook

One of TV's most endearing and unlikely reality show stars is Dr. Jan Pol.

He's a veterinarian with a country practice in mid-Michigan, near Mount Pleasant.

He is also the star of the National Geographic Wild series The Incredible Dr. Pol. The show begins its fifth season Saturday.

Pol is telling his story in a new autobiography Never Turn Your Back on an Angus Cow: My Life as a Country Vet.

He says he learned the lesson to never turn your back on an Angus cow the hard way when he was growing up on a dairy farm in the Netherlands.

“You don’t turn your back. You cannot outrun the cow. You cannot outrun the horse. You cannot outrun almost every animal on the planet.”

Pol opened his veterinarian practice in 1981. In his more than three decades of practicing in Michigan, he has seen big changes in farming in the state.

“When we started here, there were two or three family farms every mile. Those have disappeared. Farms got bigger, but it doesn’t mean cows got better care,” says Pol.

* Listen to our conversation with Dr. Jan Pol above.

Stateside
4:51 pm
Wed August 20, 2014

Stateside for Monday, August 20, 2014

Today on Stateside:

·         We are about two and a half months away from the November general election, but we have yet to see any debates between candidates for Governor and U.S.. Senate. Why?

·         We took a look a Michigan’s role in the Civil War through the eyes of a local re-enactor.

·         Food holds a special meaning for many cultures and ethnicities. And in the Jewish culture, good food is celebrated. But more and more Jewish women are struggling with dieting and eating disorders.

·         There's been a lot of talk about the current bankruptcy filing. But will Detroit actually be capable of paying its bills post-bankruptcy?

·         The Pinkerton security firm, founded in 1850 by Allan Pinkerton, is moving its headquarters to Ann Arbor, Michigan.

*Listen to the full show above. 

Stateside
4:45 pm
Wed August 20, 2014

New book explores Civil War re-enactments in Michigan

American Civil War re-enactment
Credit Wikimedia Commons

Michigan embraced the Union cause before the first shot at Fort Sumpter was ever fired. And Michigan soldiers and sailors were involved in virtually all of the campaigns and battles of the Civil War.

A new book looks at the ways Michiganders were a part of the Civil War through photographs of some of the 10,000 Civil War re-enactors in Michigan.

It's called "American Civil War Years: The Michigan Experience (The Reenactors' Telling)."

“We really wanted to pay tribute to these people who are out there in 100-degree weather in wool,” said iMichigan Productions’ Donna Ullrich, the editor of the book.

Read more
Stateside
4:44 pm
Wed August 20, 2014

Will Detroit be able to pay its bills after bankruptcy?

Credit JSFauxtaugraphy/Flickr

Bridge Magazine writer Mike Wilkinson recently wrote a piece that explored the dollars-and-cents of Detroit, post-bankruptcy and beyond.

It's titled “Can Detroit Pay Its Bills Post-Bankruptcy?”

Wilkinson said though Detroit has been cash strapped for a while in terms of debt, it does generate a lot of money. It has the highest income tax and property tax in the state. It is the only city in the state allowed to levy a utility tax. And it has an averaged $179 million in casino taxes.

“It’s raising more money than Cincinnati, Chicago, Kansas City, Orlando, in terms of per person,” Wilkinson said.

Assuming that Kevyn Orr’s Plan of Adjustment is approved by Judge Rhodes, will this revenue be enough to pay the bills? Wilkinson wrote in his piece, “Revenues alone do not a budget make.”

And Eric Scorsone, an MSU professor and expert on city finances, said in order to answer that question, we must ask what will Detroit spend the money on?

“The truth is it would be very easy to overspend again as Detroit has in most of its history, and that’s going to be the real challenge for the political leadership of Detroit.” Scorsone said.

Read more
Stateside
4:43 pm
Wed August 20, 2014

Will we see candidate debates this fall?

Credit CALI - Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction / Flickr

We're about two and a half months away from the November general election and two big statewide races – the race for Governor and U.S. Senate.

We're seeing plenty of advertisements in the campaigns, but no debates between the candidates.

Jack Lessenberry, Michigan Radio’s political commentator, said the reason for this is that front runners of the elections don’t want to give their opponents a shot to upstage them.

Lessenberry said Governor Snyder doesn’t want a debate for this very reason, as it would give his opponent, Democrat Mark Schauer, a chance to win the public over.

However the same is not said for the Senate candidates. Republican Terri Lynn Land is falling behind Democrat Gary Peters in polls. Normally Land would want the debate and Peters would not, but in this case, it's the opposite.

Lessenberry said he expects at least one debate in the governor's race, but it is unclear whether there will be one for the Senate race.

*Listen to the full interview with Jack Lessenberry above. 

Stateside
12:22 pm
Wed August 20, 2014

Pinkerton Security is moving its headquarters to Ann Arbor

Allan Pinkerton, the founder of Pinkerton Security, circa 1861.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

The Pinkerton security firm is one of the legendary brand names in American history. It was founded by Allan Pinkerton in 1850.

Pinkerton protected President Lincoln – even discovered a plot to assassinate him in 1861. Sadly, Pinkerton's men were not with Lincoln on that fateful night at Ford's Theatre.

Pinkerton men tracked down Butch Cassidy and the Hole-In-The-Wall Gang and pursued Jesse James. Pinkerton agents were also a part of the historic Battle of the Overpass at the Ford River Rouge Plant in 1937.

Now, the 164-year-old security company is moving its global headquarters from New Jersey to Ann Arbor, Michigan.

The Midwest is home for Pinkerton.

Jack Zahran, the president of the company, said that was a deciding factor for the move. Another factor was access to employees with high technological skills, as the company is focusing more on online security.

“We’re not on horseback anymore, and so we are protecting things in a digital space now,” Zahran said.

*Listen to the full interview with Jack Zahran above.

Stateside
5:29 pm
Tue August 19, 2014

Stateside for Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Today on Stateside:

·         Green Infrastructures could be the answer to preparing for severe weather like the massive rainfall in Metro Detroit last week.

·         An MSU study shows that adolescents who have a healthy fear of crime are less likely to become a victim.

·         Our insatiable need for energy could be colliding with our desire to preserve Michigan's natural beauty. Case in point: some 97-hundred acres of Hartwick Pines State Park near Grayling could be included in a DNR auction October 29th for a lease of mineral rights.

·         A story from Failure Lab Detroit.

·         Controversy has hit the small town of Barry Township over its police force. Specifically, the nearly three dozen unpaid, reserve police reserve officers. The non-certified officers carrying guns, ride in patrol cars and, according to some, use too much force.

·         Michigan's Grape and Wine Industry Council recognized eight Michigan wines as "best in class" at their recent awards ceremony.

*Listen to the full show above. 

Offbeat
5:26 pm
Tue August 19, 2014

Diana Sieger wishes she gave the parents of her attacker some closure

Credit Failure:Lab / failure-lab.com

Diana Seiger shares her story of failure.

A story of failure.

Diana Seiger shares her story of failure. She was attacked while bringing her groceries home. She says her failure was not allowing the parents of her attacker to get closure.

Watch her story here:

To learn more about Failure Lab and hear more stories visit failure-lab.com.

*Listen to the full story above. 

Stateside
5:03 pm
Tue August 19, 2014

Land under Hartwick Pines State Park could be leased for oil and gas exploration

Hartwick Pines.
Andrew McFarlane Flickr

Our need for energy could be colliding with our desire to preserve Michigan’s natural beauty.

Case in point: around 9,700 acres of Hartwick Pines State Park near Grayling could be included in an MDNR auction October 29 for a lease of mineral rights.

Ron French reported on this story for Bridge Magazine. He said it’s not unusual for the state to lease ground underneath state parks.

Twice a year the Michigan Department of Natural Resources holds an auction where they lease oil and gas rights to anyone who wants to explore. Companies or individuals can nominate any state property for exploration for oil and gas. One Michigan oil company nominated Hartwick Pines.

Hartwick Pines State Park holds a 49 acre parcel that is the largest, and possibly the last, virgin forest of white pines in the Lower Peninsula.

“These are pine that are up to 400 years old, they’re up to 12 feet in circumference, they are up to 165 feet tall, this is what Michigan looked like before logging,” French said.

French points out that a lease is not a right to drill on the property.

“What are the chances of something going on near Hartwick Pines? They are small, but they are greater than they would be if this lease hadn’t occurred,” French said.

Read more
Stateside
4:46 pm
Tue August 19, 2014

A list of Michigan's 'Best in Class' wines

Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan's Grape and Wine Industry Council recognized eight Michigan wines as "best in class" at their recent awards ceremony.

Linda Jones, executive director of the Council, filled us in on the winners.

Among the winners are three Rieslings, a sparkling wine, a dry red that also won last year, a semi- dry red wine, one fruit, and one rosé

The judges were looking for wines that were true to the character of the grape produced in this region.

Here's a list of Michigan's eight "Best in Class" winners:

  • Sparkling: Aurora Cellars 2011 Brut
  • Dry White: Blustone Vineyards 2013 Riesling
  • Dry Red: Peninsula Cellars 2012 Cabernet Franc
  • Semi-dry White: Gill's Pier Vineyard & Winery 2013 Semi-Dry Riesling
  • Semi-dry Red: Lawton Ridge Winery 2012 AZO Red
  • Dessert: Black Star Farms 2012 Arcturos Winter Harvest Riesling
  • Fruit: 45 North Vineyard & Winery Peach Cremant
  • Rosé: Chateau de Leelanau 2013 Cabernet Franc Rosé

You can find the full list of winners here.

*Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
4:38 pm
Tue August 19, 2014

Your fear of crime could be protecting you

Credit Wikipedia

Are you afraid of crime? Are your children afraid of crime?

If the answer is yes, Chris Melde says that’s not a bad thing. In fact, your fear could be what keeps you out of harm’s way.

Melde is an associate professor of criminal justice at Michigan State University. His study of fear has been published in the journal Justice Quarterly.

Melde says fear of danger is a natural instinct to remain vigilant in the face of potential danger.

“If adolescents have a healthy fear of crime, it’s really an indication that they are likely to take precautionary behaviors,” Melde said.

These kids would avoid situations like parties with drugs and alcohol, hanging out where there is no adult supervision, or hanging out with delinquent peers -- all of which are known risk factors for violent victimization and violent offending.

He said in his piece that there is a "victim offender overlap." The population most at risk for being violently victimized are people who are likely to victimize other people.

Melde said that when talking about fear of crime, it is not merely a comparison of people who are fearful and people who are not fearful.

“We are really talking about a kind of continuum of people’s anxieties about being victimized,” Melde said. “People with a really low level of fear are actually more likely to put themselves in harm’s way and have a higher rate of victimization.”

*Listen to the full interview with Chris Melde above. 

Stateside
4:30 pm
Tue August 19, 2014

How Detroit can prepare for the next extreme rain event

Credit Wikimedia Commons

We can't prevent an extreme weather event like the deluge that flooded some streets in Metro Detroit last week. However, we can prepare for them. But how?

Crain’s Detroit Business Lansing reporter Chris Gautz did some research, and found that green infrastructure could be the answer. By using sustainable methods, he says we could keep water from getting to storm drains.

Some examples:

·         Pervious concrete - allows water to drain through the concrete into the ground

·         Gray water recycling systems -  water can be reused in sprinkler systems.

·         Green roofs or rain gardens - the water is used instead of going down the drain

Guatz wrote in his article that the inherent weakness in our current storm system is the amount of concrete covering the ground.

When parking lots were developed, the idea was to get the water off the parking lot as fast as possible. So they're designed to force the water into the drains.

“Go look out at a big parking lot and think when it rains, that rain can’t go into that concrete,” Gautz said. “It’s got to go somewhere, and it’s going into your basements.”

Gautz quoted a 2001 report from SEMCOG that found between $14 billion and $26 billion would be needed by 2030 to maintain and improve the sewer infrastructure.

Gautz said that now is the time to implement new strategies for future weather events.

“You know these pipes are getting older and the system is getting older, and you keep putting that much pressure on it and eventually something could break,” Gautz said.

*Listen to the full interview with Chris Gautz above. 

Stateside
12:24 pm
Tue August 19, 2014

Some question aggressive police tactics in West Michigan

Jack Nadwornik, owner of Tujax Tavern in Delton, was arrested by Barry Township police May 10 and charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. He suffered a broken hand and bloody elbows.
Mandi Wright Detroit Free Press

Controversy over police force has hit not only Ferguson, Missouri but a small town in West Michigan as well.

Some residents in Barry Township, Michigan are getting angry over the build-up of its police force.

Specifically, the nearly three dozen unpaid, reserve police officers from outside the community.

These non-certified officers are carrying guns, riding in patrol cars and, according to some, using way too much force.

Lori Brasier of Detroit Free Press has been covering this controversy.

“These officers were stopping people for having things dangling off their rear view mirrors, they were stopping a lot of high school kids just to stop them,” says Brasier.

The department also has two Humvees and two armored personnel carriers received free of charge from the U.S. Department of Defense for a township with only four full-time officers. 

"People are paying attention. They are going to realize these things are unnecessary and aren’t going to keep us safe,” says Brasier.

* Listen to the full story on above.

Here's a video from the Free Press:

Stateside
4:34 pm
Mon August 18, 2014

The Ann Arbor Chronicle news site will shut down next month

The Ann Arbor Chronicle website.
screen shot Ann Arbor Chronicle

 The Ann Arbor Chronicle news website will end regular publication on September 2, the Chronicle's six-year anniversary.

Mary Morgan is co-founder of the Ann Arbor Chronicle, along with her husband, Dave Askins.

Morgan said the decision was not a financial one. Askins wrote in the column that announced the news that they could keep the Chronicle going if they were willing to put in the amount of effort it took. That question became the deciding factor.

“Do we want to be doing this five years, ten years from now, and the answer was no,” Morgan said.

The Ann Arbor Chronicle featured many stories on local government. The site had about 50,000 visitors each month. Visit the site here

*Listen to the full interview with Mary Morgan above. 

Stateside
4:33 pm
Mon August 18, 2014

Early fall colors might suggest an early autumn in Michigan

Credit user:yooperann / Flickr

Early bursts of autumn color have been seen across Michigan. Are the leaves trying to tell us something?

MLive and farmerweather.com meteorologist Mark Torregrossa said what we are really seeing is the stress in trees. Torregrossa spoke with some experts about it. Though dryness can cause early autumn colors, experts say the wetness we’ve experienced can cause stress in trees.

“Basically, what I’m hearing from the tree experts is that the early color we are seeing is the stress caused from a drought a couple of years ago, the heavy flooding we’ve had, and maybe even the cold snowy winters,” Torregrossa said.

Torregrossa said, as he looks at weather patterns, he is seeing an early autumn and winter.

He added that the progression of El Nino will have a big implication for what's to come for our winter, but we still have to wait about a month or two.

*Listen to the full story above. 

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