Stateside Staff

Courtesy of Cascade Engineering

For people who get out of prison, the chances of getting a job are often slim to none.

There are programs to help ex-offenders find work and transition back into society, but funding a company willing to hire former inmates proves a challenge.

Recently, though, some companies have been not just hiring, but recruiting ex-offenders.

Stateside 6.15.2016

Jun 15, 2016

Today, a veteran Detroit teacher tells us what she expects from the so-called bailout by the state and how they've survived. And, we meet a man who converted to Amish and his friend who wrote a book about it.

Canola's low pour point and high oil content make it an ideal candidate for biodiesel. One kilogram of canola seeds, center, produces the amount of oil in the flask on the left.
Oregon State University / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

From ethanol made with corn to diesel fuel made from soy beans, the agriculture industry loves biofuels.

The Environmental Protection Agency is also pushing biofuels. They're seen as cleaner burning, and burning the fuels creates less of the greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change than do fossil fuels such as oil. 

All good, right?

Well, it turns out those claims might be hyped a bit.

The Michigan Department of Transportation's plans for construction on I-75 have hit a funding snag.
Flickr user dmitri_66 / Flickr / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

 

The Michigan Department of Transportation plans to widen Interstate 75 through Oakland County — but there’s a snag in the funding. A provision in a 1951 law requires cities or villages with a minimum of 25,000 residents, such as Troy, to pay a part for any highway construction within the state. But some residents whose communities fall under the provision don’t want to pay.

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On the Fourth of July in 1939, Lou Gehrig said farewell to fans at Yankee Stadium because he had contracted a fatal disease. He added, “I might have been given a bad break, but I’ve got an awful lot to live for.”

Gehrig was diagnosed with ALS, more commonly known as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease.”

Regular Stateside contributor Dr. Howard Markel said there are some questions as to whether Gehrig received the proper diagnosis. If it wasn't ALS, then what could have killed the Yankee legend? 

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Stateside 6.14.2016

Jun 14, 2016

Today, we learn about the history and importance of gay nightclubs. And, we look at the Escanaba police department's new approach to drug addiction.

Under the ANGEL Program, Escanaba law enforcement invites drug addicts to come to the police station voluntarily to receive help overcoming their addiction.
flickr user frankileon / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Some cities have been looking at a program that takes a different approach to people with addictions who sometimes have run-ins with the law.

In Michigan, Escanaba is trying the new approach. It's called the ANGEL Program.

Escanaba City Manager Jim O'Toole​ joined us to talk about it.

A snapping turtle
Jessica Kosiara

A recent study published in Environmental Monitoring and Assessments finds turtles are getting doses of heavy metals such as lead and copper.

Matt Cooper is one of the co-authors of this study. He’s a research scientist at Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin.

Beowulf Sheehan

 

What would’ve happened if Lee Harvey Oswald missed and John F Kennedy lived?

That’s the premise of David Means' first novel, “Hystopia.” Means is a fiction writer born and raised in Kalamazoo.

 

Set in and around Michigan, the novel re-imagines the state during the Vietnam War era. Traumatized veterans run amok throughout the state. The novel explores the nature of memory, trauma and history.

 

Means joined us to talk about his new book and his relationship to his home state.

According to Tim Retzloff, the history of gay clubs and bars goes all the way back to the early 18th century.
flickr user Charlie Nguyen / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

When society marginalizes who you are, there’s an impulse to gather with people who are more accepting.

That’s why LGBTQ people gathered at the night club Pulse in Orlando, Florida. It was also Latin night. Members of two marginalized groups went there to have fun, be safe.

That night, 49 people were killed and more than 50 others wounded in a hateful attack.

Flickr user phxwebguy/Flickr / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Detroit Public Schools could soon be debt-free as a result of last week’s bailout package approved by Michigan senators. But how did the district get into $617 million in debt in the first place? A new study suggests that Michigan state laws are to blame for crippling districts like DPS.

flickr user krytofr / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

By now, you've probably heard about Sunday's mass shooting in Orlando at a gay nightclub called Pulse. 

It's the largest mass shooting in United States history.

Stateside 6.13.2016

Jun 13, 2016

Today, we learn how hate crimes affect all of us, not just those targeted. And, we sit down for a chat with vocalist and guitarist Laith Al-Saadi.

Laith Al-Saadi performing Ed Sheeran's "Make It Rain" on "The Voice"
screengrab

One night early in March, the rest of America discovered what audiences here in Michigan have known for years:  Laith Al-Saadi​ is a musical powerhouse.

That blind audition on NBC's The Voice had stars Blake Shelton and Adam Levine raving about Al-Saadi's voice.

And, as a member of Team Adam, Al-Saadi went on to finish fourth.

C. Patrick Labadie Collection

 

As the country fell into the Great Depression, the SS Senator sunk to the bottom of Lake Michigan.

Late last year, researchers used a remote-controlled submersible to confirm what had been identified as the SS Senator, which rests 15 miles off the Wisconsin shore. The ship sank in 1929 just a few days after the stock market collapse. Its cargo of 268 Nash automobiles from 1929 and 1930 is the largest known collection of its kind in the world.

 

Something is missing from Grand Traverse County’s 2016 budget: its Animal Control Department. The county shut down the entire department, and the responsibility for animal control was shifted to the Sheriff’s Department, which lacks the same resources and training the Animal Control Department had. Moreover, the Sheriff’s Department will only handle serious animal issues, such as animal neglect, abuse, and barking dog complaints.

 

What does this mean for Grand Traverse County residents and animals?

 

Republicans and Democrats in Lansing have very different views of the budget that was unveiled.
Thetoad / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

The big news coming out of Lansing this week was the passing of a nearly $55 billion state budget, which included a $617 million in funding for the Detroit Public Schools. 

Some Republicans are praising the budget and the DPS bailout, and others like the House Education Chair State Rep. Amanda Price called it a "great day for the kids in Detroit."

The Croswell Opera House in Adrian, Michigan turns 150 years old.
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The state of Michigan’s oldest opera house, the Croswell Opera House in Adrian, is 150 years old.

Jere Righter, Artistic Director for the Croswell, joined Stateside to talk about the history and the future of the venue that has seen countless performers, speakers, plays and events over the last century and a half.

Righter says the venue was once used for animal shows, poultry sales, lectures and plays put on by the community. It was also a place for big, national shows and speakers to perform.

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The City of Detroit is trying to help people who have criminal records clear up those past mistakes in order to get a job.

Melvin Hollowell is Corporation Counsel for the City of Detroit and he joins Stateside to talk about Project Clean Slate. The program seeks to help Detroit residents expunge their records so they can get back into the workforce.

Listen to the full interview above. 

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Melvin Hollowell is Corporation Counsel for the City of Detroit

Keith Wunderlich

Detroit is celebrating Vernors 150th anniversary this week. That celebration winds up tomorrow, when the city will try to set a world record for most pop drinkers at a time.

Keith Wunderlich, curator of Vernors collectibles, joined us on Stateside today to talk about the iconic company, which started with Ginger Ale.

Courtesy of Barry Neal

It’s that time of year again. Long lines are starting to form outside of all those favorite ice cream shops.

But one line might be longer than the others this weekend – half a mile long, that is.

Thousands of people are expected in Ludington Saturday. The town will try to set a Guinness World Record for longest ice cream dessert, using ice cream from Ludington’s House of Flavors.

Stateside 6.10.2016

Jun 10, 2016

 

On Stateside today, we hear about a couple of world record attempts happening this weekend. We also talk with the family of a young organ donor and the man who received his heart.

To find individual interviews, click here or see below:  

In the lower right hand corner of Evan Kimball’s driver’s license was the word “DONOR” next to a red heart.

That meant he elected to be an organ donor when he was registering for his license at 16 years old.

Last October, at 18 years old, Evan was killed in a car crash.

Lydia and Ward Kimball are Evan’s parents. As the doctors recovered their son’s organs, the two worked on what’s called directed donation – they selected the patients to whom Evan would give a second chance.

FLICKR USER FREEDOM TO MARRY https://flic.kr/p/6toGYr

This coming Sunday, June 12 is Loving Day.

It marks the 49th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in the case of Loving v. Virginia. The landmark decision struck down the criminality of interracial marriage in this country.

They'll be celebrating Loving Day this Sunday in Grand Rapids with a full day of film, music and theater from the Ebony Road Players, a Grand Rapids theater company.

Stateside 6.9.2016

Jun 9, 2016

Today on Stateside, we talk with three state lawmakers about Wednesday night's narrow passage of a $617 million dollar package for Detroit Public Schools.

FLICKR USER RICHARD DRDUL https://flic.kr/p/gErZu

 

The biking community of Kalamazoo turned out last evening for a five mile silent ride, honoring the cyclists hit by an alleged drunk driver. Five people were killed and four were injured.

 

“The ride was part of what will be…a gradual healing process,” said Paul Selden, director of road safety for the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club.

Courtesy of Michigan House Republicans

The Michigan Senate approved a $617 million bailout for Detroit Public Schools Wednesday night, and lawmakers are sharing their thoughts. State Rep. Amanda Price believes that the package’s approval will bring a “brighter future” for the kids of Detroit.

Senator David Knezek of Dearborn Heights says the legislature missed a huge opportunity to help struggling Detroit schools.
Courtesy of Sen. Knezek

State lawmakers passed a $617 million dollar package for Detroit Public Schools on Wednesday night.

Democratic Senator David Knezek of District Five, which includes part of Detroit, joined us on Stateside to discuss the package.

It’s a big step backwards for DPS, he said.

“The package that we passed last night sets up Detroit Public Schools for failure,” Knezek said. “It sets up the children for failure.”

FLICKR USER FLORIAN BUGIEL https://flic.kr/p/mvyj4a

Human trafficking is a growing problem in our state. Reported cases of human trafficking in Michigan were up 16% in 2015 from the year before.

And that's only counting the reported cases. Many more go unreported.

Flickr user Leonard Witzel/Flickr / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

It’s been four years since the repeal of a Michigan law that required motorcycle riders to wear helmets – an effort that was led by American Bikers Aiming Toward Education (ABATE) of Michigan.

Vince Consiglio is the president of ABATE of Michigan and has averaged 25,000 miles a year on his motorcycle since 1974. He believes wearing a helmet should be a choice made by motorcyclists.

“If you are riding at 50 miles an hour and you hit [a car] head-on,” Consiglio said on Stateside. “There’s no helmet that can protect you.”

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