Stateside Staff

Wayne State University Press

From 2000 to 2010, Michigan saw a 39% increase in its Asian population. That happened even while the state’s overall population was shrinking.

Asian-Americans are the fastest-growing racial/ethnic group in Detroit’s Tri-County area: Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties.

So what does it mean to be an Asian-American in Michigan, and how did immigrants from so many different Asian countries come to Michigan? These are some of the questions explored in the new book Asian Americans in Michigan: Voices from the Midwest.

One dollar bills
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

When a struggling city is on its knees, every dollar is precious.

So the idea that millions in federal funds are being lost is appalling.

But a new report from the Government Accountability Office shows that's exactly what's happening in Detroit and Flint, as well as Camden, New Jersey and Stockton, California.

Liz Farmer is a public finance writer for Governing Magazine.

Today on Stateside:

  • What do voters think of Gov. Rick Snyder’s plan to overhaul public education in Detroit?
     
  • Chris Benson is getting ready to retire after serving almost 20 years as a tour guide at the state Capitol.
     
  • The poetry of Tarfia Faizullah gives a voice to hundreds of thousands of Bangladeshi women who were raped during the that country's Liberation War.
     
  • A new report from the Government Accountability Office shows federal grant money is being lost in Detroit and Flint, as well as Camden, New Jersey, and Stockton, California as those cities lose city employees after austerity cuts.
     
  • Gang members, like everyone it seems, are increasingly using social media. But what are they using it for? A new study sheds some light on this question.

Are gang members using social media to plan violence, to incite violence?
Scott Breale / Flickr

Gang members across the country aren’t just carrying guns. They’re also armed with Twitter and Facebook.

That’s the focus of a study whose title really says it all: "Internet Banging: New trends in social media, gang violence, masculinity and hip hop."

It’s co-authored by Desmond Patton, an assistant professor at the University of Michigan School of Social Work and the School of Information.

Desmond Patton joins us today to talk about gangs and social networking. 

user cedarbenddrive / Flickr

Our state’s Capitol has seen quite a bit of change over the past couple decades, and virtually no one has seen more of it than Chris Benson.

Benson is getting ready to retire after serving almost 20 years as a tour guide at the Capitol. During that time, Chris has seen the building restored, he’s educated thousands of guests about the Capitol’s history and even heard a ghost story or two.

Listen to Chris Benson talk about his time as a tour guide in our interview above.

Jamaal May

Tarfia Faizullah was born in Brooklyn, raised in Texas, and now makes her home in Detroit.

Her first book of poems called Seam, won the Crab Orchard Series in Poetry First Book Award.

The poems bring us the stories of the 200,000 to 400,000 Bangladeshi women who were raped during that country's 1971 Liberation War, a conflict that saw East Pakistan and India at war with West Pakistan. That war led to the birth of the Bangladeshi republic.

Fruehauf Trailer Historical Society

The name “Fruehauf” is an iconic one in American transportation history. 

It was 1914 when a Detroit blacksmith named August Fruehauf came up with a creative way to help lumber barons haul even more lumber and make even more money.

The result became the semi-trailer. Its descendants can be seen to this day, rumbling across the highways of the world.

Ruth Ann Fruehauf is August’s granddaughter.

On today's program:  

  • There are some 37,000 names in the Michigan Public Sex Offender Registry, but there are questions about whether the registry is doing what it is intended to do.
  • A discussion with Chris Skellenger of “Buckets of Rain.” Skellenger moved from a landscape company on the Leelanau Peninsula to urban farming near Detroit.
  • Viviana Pernot talks about her short film about the homeless in Ann Arbor and those who help them. The film is called “The M.I.S.S.I.O.N.”
  • There’s a new idea floating around the state Capitol about how to boost funding for roads. Some say legalizing and taxing marijuana would help.
  • The name “Fruehauf” is an iconic one in American transportation history. It was a Detroit-based blacksmith, August Fruehauf, who invented a semi-trailer to haul lumber.

Viviana Pernot

You might have heard of Camp Take Notice, the tent city in Ann Arbor that was forced to close nearly three years ago.

Viviana Pernot has made a short documentary film about that homeless community and the non-profit group that helps them.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

There are some 37,000 names listed in the Michigan Public Sex Offender Registry.

According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, Michigan has the fourth-highest per-capita number of people on its list.

But there are questions about Michigan's registry – whether it's really keeping us as safe as we like to think.

People with misdemeanor offenses are listed alongside rapists, pedophiles, and hard-core offenders.

A federal judge recently declared parts of Michigan's registry law to be too vague, even unconstitutional.

J.J. Prescott is a law professor at the University of Michigan. And he's a widely recognized authority on sex offender laws.

Prescott says the state's attempt to monitor these sex offenders may actually contribute to recidivism, as those on the public list are ostracized from society. 

"It's public shaming to the point where somebody might actually say, what's the difference? I'm living as a pariah, miserably, outside of prison," says Prescott.

Buckets of Rain / Facebook

Chris Skellenger likes to say he's gone from ornamental to survival horticulture. That's because he used to run a landscape company and nursery near his home in Empire on the Leelenau Peninsula, but these days he drives each week to Highland Park where he tends an urban farm that produces fresh food for people whose nearest food source might just be a gas station or convenience store.

Legally grown marijuana in Colorado.
Brett Levin / creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

As state lawmakers search for ways to come up with the money needed to fix Michigan’s battered and bumpy roads, one state representative tossed out this idea: Legalize and tax marijuana, and then put that new revenue to work.

State Rep. Brandon Dillon, D-Grand Rapids, joins us today to talk about this idea.

Grand River Edges Trail.
user deckheck / Rails to Trails Conservancy

When Mother Nature gives you a wonderful gift like the Grand River, you'd be mighty smart to make the most of it.

And Grand Rapids is getting ready to show some real love to the Grand River.

Much the way Detroit is working to improve its riverfront, Grand Rapids wants to make better use of its own river.

Ian Freimuth / Flickr.com

With a nod to Billy Joel, the Grand Rapids Art Museum is in a "New York State of Mind" these days.

That's thanks to a special exhibition running this summer.

"T.J. Wilcox: In The Air" is a multi-media celebration of the Big Apple's skyline by artist T.J. Wilcox. 

Gov. Rick Snyder

Michigan really is lucky to have a friend like Canada and its Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Canada will foot most of the $2 billion bill for building the newly named Gordie Howe International Bridge, connecting Detroit to Windsor.

Becky Shink

Our ongoing series "Poetically Speaking" continues. On occasion we will bring you interviews with poets and writers, or we will post a poem, like this one, for your enjoyment.

"This is a poem about the experience of being a parent and a child at the same time and about the envy we can have for our siblings-- the miraculous combination of chemicals that make them them and us... us," writes Stephanie Glazier. 

The Rialto Theatre in Grayling is celebrating its 100th anniversary
Jordan Stancil

Small-town movie theaters are in a fight for their lives.

Hollywood studios are phasing out 35-millimeter film in favor of going digital. This means theaters are feeling the pressure to spend thousands of dollars to upgrade their facilities, or be forced to close their doors.

One such theater is The Rialto, about to mark its 100th anniversary in Grayling. 

Jordan Stancil's great-grandfather founded the Rialto Theater in 1915.

The Rialto ran a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter to raise money to upgrade its systems, and Stancil tells us they raised over $100,000 with the support of current and former residents of Grayling.

According to columnist Nancy Kaffer, there are now 500 security cameras operated by private security companies in the downtown Detroit area.
user Tom Page / flickr


As Dan Gilbert keeps buying buildings in downtown Detroit – more than 70, now – we're seeing the prospect of new businesses, new tenants, and new people downtown.

Detroit Free Press columnist Nancy Kaffer wonders what this means in terms of private security and public space.

A new study from AT&T seeks to explain why we use our phones behind the wheel
user Jason Weaver / flickr


It’s pretty common knowledge that texting while driving is dangerous. But for some reason, many of us still do it.

A study released from AT&T tries to shed some light on just how distracted we are by our smartphones while driving.

On top of texting, the AT&T survey finds 27% of drivers between 16 and 65 admit to Facebooking when they drive, and 14% use Twitter, with a full 30% of those folks admitting they tweet "all the time" while driving.

State House bill 4540 would exempt information regarding energy infrastructure from Michigan's Freedom of Information Act.
user toffehoff / flickr

  

A bill just introduced in the State House would draw a veil over information about oil and gas pipelines, electrical lines and other key pieces of energy infrastructure.

Under House Bill 4540, backed by State Rep. Kurt Heise, R-Plymouth, that information would be exempt from the Michigan Freedom of Information Act, making it no longer available to the public.

Today on Stateside:

An artist, fabric sculptor and dancer, Nick Cave grew up in central Missouri. In 1989, he got a masters degree from the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills.
PD Rearick

 Nick Cave has come home to Cranbrook.

The artist, fabric sculptor, and dancer grew up in central Missouri.

In 1989, Cave got a master’s degree from the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills.

"Escape Room" games have become quite popular as a video game genre. Escape Michigan is the latest venue that allows you to play the game in real life.
user haru__q / flickr

West Michigan’s first “live escape room,” is opening next month in the town of Walker, near Grand Rapids.

Based on the popular video game genre, players are locked in a room where they have to solve puzzles and link clues to eventually escape.

Michelle and Chris Gerard

Michigan has a long and well-known history of car manufacturing, mining, logging, and agriculture.

But there's something else this state produces: writers. 

Anna Clark's new book explores the lives of ten of Michigan's most notable writers. Michigan Literary Luminaries: from Elmore Leonard to Robert Hayden is a collection of essays that are not just biographies.

Today on Stateside:

State lawmakers want to reform no-fault auto insurance ... and if they pass a bill, they want to make sure voters cannot challenge it. How? By attaching an appropriation! Former congressman Joe Schwarz talks about what's wrong and what's right about the proposal.

Plus ... bird flu has led to the culling of millions of chickens and turkeys in the Midwest. What's in store for Michigan's bird industry? Dr. James Averill tells us it's not a matter of if, but when this disease will impact Michigan.

Did you know? Whenever the governor leaves Michigan, he leaves his powers behind and someone else in charge. So why is Lansing reluctant to tell us that? Dennis Lennox is a  columnist for The Morning Sun. He recently wrote about what he call "Michigan's acting governor mystery."

In 1918, 30,000 U.S. military officers stood in the formation of a shield for a now-famous photograph to help improve public support for World War I. Historian Louis Kaplan explains why the photograph taken at Camp Custer is so important.

There's much attention being paid these days to the DIA's retrospective on Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. And that's got Chris Cook mulling over the Mexican concept of malinchismo. Chris is HOUR Detroit's Chief Wine and Restaurant Critic.

Former Congressman Joe Schwarz.
U.S. House of Representatives / Wikipedia

 

    

State lawmakers have hit the accelerator pedal in their effort to reform Michigan's no-fault insurance law. The law provides all victims of catastrophic crashes with a lifetime of unlimited medical benefits. 

The package of bills moved quickly through the state Senate and is now before the state House. 

The legislation would limit what hospitals could charge insurance companies. The overhaul would also cap what insurers can be charged for in-home care for people who have been severely injured in car accidents. 

Quick fix / flickr.com

It's a question that will attract more attention than it might have before Detroit's bankruptcy raised the spectre of selling off the Detroit Institute of Arts  collection to help pay down the city's crushing debt.

Fortunately, the DIA survived unscathed, thanks to $100 million raised by long-time donors.

Today on Stateside:

Democrats and some Republicans are criticizing the state Senate for voting today to repeal prevailing wage requirements. Michigan Public Radio’s Jake Neher reports.

The Porous Borders Festival celebrates the vibrant border between Detroit and Hamtramck. We speak with Hinterlands co-director Liza Bielby. 

Today on Stateside:

As high-flying ideas go, it was intriguing one: a business district stretching ten miles between Detroit Metro and Willow Run airports. Backers said it would create 64,000 jobs and attract investment. That was 13 years ago, and no district has materialized. Detroit Free Press Columnist Tom Walsh has been digging into what happened.

Hand-washing is a common hygienic practice that became popularized in the mid-19th century.
user Sarah Laval / Flickr

It’s easy to take for granted the leaps and bounds medical science has made in the last two centuries.

Rene Laennec invented the stethoscope in 1816. 1818 saw the first successful blood transfusion performed by James Blundell. In 1842 Crawford Long performed the first surgical operation using anesthesia.

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