Stateside Staff

  • Newly released documents show officials were worried about Legionnaires' disease and Flint River water as far back as October 2014. Yet the news wasn't made public until last week. MLive and Flint Journal reporter Ron Fonger explains.
  • All over the state, drivers are enjoying low gas prices, with oil prices at a 12-year low.
John Keogh/flickr / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

We commonly use the pronouns “he” and “she” to refer to someone, but what if that person doesn’t identify as male or female?

The Washington Post recently gave a green light to using “they” as a singular pronoun.

The gender-neutral title “Mx,” pronounced “mix,” is making its way into dictionaries.

The issue of generic pronouns may be fresh in our minds, but according Anne Curzan, University of Michigan English professor, it’s one that’s been on the table for a while.

Researchers at Virginia Tech received samples of Flint water (both clear and discolored) from residents. Dr. Edwards and his team there were among the first to call attention to lead contamination in Flint's water.
Flint Water Study / Facebook

The Flint water crisis has taken a new turn, with Governor Snyder's announcement that there's been an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease in Flint.

Genesee County had 87 cases of Legionnaires', with ten deaths between June 2014 and November 2015. Prior years only saw between six and 10 cases.

The outbreak started soon after the city switched to water from the Flint River, and ended after it went back to Detroit water.

  • Rick Pluta, Michigan Radio's Lansing bureau chief, joins us to talk about the first pieces of legislation being introduced in Lansing today to try and fix the broken Detroit Public School system.
  • Daniel Howes, Detroit News business columnist, joins us to talk about the North American International Auto Show.
Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

Today marks the 141st birthday of a Nobel prize-winner who is well-known to baby-boomers, but perhaps less well-known to later generations.

Dr. Albert Schweitzer was a physician, philosopher, theologian, organist and humanitarian. He was German and French and is known for his charitable work including opening a hospital in Africa.

Yet, his legacy is not without controversy.

Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha helped bring attention to the elevated blood lead levels in the children in Flint.
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

There's a new initiative being launched to help the victims of the decision to switch water sources in Flint.

Those victims are the children.

The number of Flint children with elevated levels of lead in their blood has doubled since the water switch was made nearly two years ago.

Now we learn that Hurley Children's Hospital in Flint is joining with Michigan State University to help these children.

  • We have reaction to President Obama’s final State of the Union speech from Republican U.S. Rep. Candice Miller, and we get the Democratic view from Senator Debbie Dingell.
  • An adoptive parent reflects on struggles raising her interracial family. Mary Koral tells her family's story in her memoir The Year The Trees Didn't Die.
  • Dr.
Photo courtesy of www.whitehouse.gov

Following President Obama's final State of the Union address, Stateside reached out to some of Michigan's congressional delegation for analysis.

U.S. Rep. Candice Miller, R-Harrison Twp., tells Stateside host Cynthia Canty that the speech was a little heavy on rhetoric. But Miller says she agrees with the president regarding formalizing military force against ISIS. "The Congress is shirking its responsibility by not debating the issue," Miller says.

When prospective parents consider the possibility of adopting a child, they think about what advantages they might offer a child: a loving, stable home with economic and education advantages that the child might not otherwise have.

But as the years go on and that child grows up, there can be pitfalls and problems that no one can foresee.

And, if the child is of a different race and ethnic background than the adoptive parents, the pitfalls can be especially challenging.

  • Should you be lucky enough to nab the winning Powerball ticket, you would also surrender your privacy. Republican State Rep. Ray Franz wants to fix that.
Sarah Welch, executive chef at Republic Tavern in Detroit
Sarah Welch

A recent Washington Post story declares that “one of the country’s poorest cities is suddenly becoming a food mecca.”

It highlights the growing scene of young chefs and restaurateurs setting up shop in Detroit.

Sarah Welch is one of them. She’s the executive chef at Republic Tavern, located in the restored castle-like Grand Army of the Republic building in Detroit.

Congressman Dan Kildee, D-Flint, has been fighting for the release of Amir Hekmati and other Americans held prisoner by the Iranian government since 2013
Steve Carmody

At last year’s State of the Union address, Flint Congressman Dan Kildee’s guest seat was unoccupied. It was left empty for Marine veteran Amir Hekmati of Flint, who has been held in an Iranian prison since August 29, 2011.

At tonight’s State of the Union speech, Kildee will once again use that guest seat to focus attention on Hekmati and the other Americans imprisoned in Iran. This time, Hekmati’s sister Sarah will fill the seat.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

  

The Powerball jackpot has hit a record $1.5 billion for Wednesday night's drawing.

Should you beat the astronomical odds and actually win that eye-watering jackpot, you would also surrender your privacy.

And that's something State Rep. Ray Franz, R-Onekama, wants to fix.

He's introduced a bill that would allow it to be your choice whether the world knows you’ve won the lottery. 

  • Meanwhile, those thriving gay communities in Saugatuck and Douglas are surrounded by what is arguably the most religiously conservative area of the state.
Southwest Michigan Volunteer Militia members training in 2010
Pete Tombers

A self-styled armed militia continues to occupy a wildlife refuge building in Oregon. The FBI says it is hoping for a peaceful end to the occupation.

The story out of Oregon got us wondering about Michigan’s history of militias, and whether what’s happened in the Beaver State could happen here as well.

  • We look at Michigan's history of militias. Could what's happened in Oregon happen in Michigan? Amy Cooter, faculty member in Vanderbilt University's Sociology Department did field work with the Michigan Militia as part of her dissertation research. She joins us to talk about Michigan's militia scene.
  • Pure Michigan is undertaking a new campaign: to sell itself and what it's done with the taxpayer dollars that pay for all of those Pure Michigan commercials. Lindsay VanHulle of Bridge and Crain's Detroit Business updates us on the Pure Michigan campaign.

Kurt Nagl

Imagine driving through a war zone in Iraq to report on the latest offensive against ISIS. As you nervously head toward the frontlines, you turn the car's radio dial and suddenly hear an Eminem song. That's exactly what happened to reporter Kurt Nagl. 

In his latest article for Bridge Magazine, Nagl tells the story of Michigander Noor Matti. Born in Iraq, Matti's family fled the country while he was still a child and made metro Detroit their home.

Courtesy of Erin Wilson

West Michigan, you're getting a chance to see unique performance art in the form of music, movement, choreography, film happening Jan. 8-17 at the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts in Grand Rapids.

A Gallery Exhibition of New Works in Screendance is a collection of three short films along with dance photography and video all presented by ArtPeers and Dance in the Annex.

The short film “Pull Me Back” features actor Joshua Burge (The Revenant) and tackles the theme of addiction.

farming equiptment
Helen Hanley / creative commons

It’s called a "discussion meet," and the Farm Bureau’s been doing it for decades. It's a way to bring young farmers together to talk about the challenges they face. And it's also a competition.

While the farmers are talking, they’re competing for a place at the state-level discussion meet, and then a shot at representing Michigan in the national competition.

Courtesy of Lynne Settles

When Ypsilanti High School art teacher Lynne Settles first arrived in town, she was unaware of the city's history. After a walking tour with a local historian, Settles was amazed by Ypsilanti's rich yet little-known African-American heritage.

"I was totally blown away and shocked by how much history was here," Settles tells Stateside host Cynthia Canty.

That experience ultimately led her to organize students to work together to create murals to celebrate Ypsilanti's African-American history. 

  • Our "It's Just Politics" team joins us to talk about straight-ticket voting, the state of emergency in Flint over the water crisis, and a death threat tweeted at Gov. Rick Snyder by the singer Cher.
  • A number of high-end luxury carmakers are taking a pass on this year’s North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Michelle Krebs, senior analyst at Autotrader joins us to tell us why.
  • Michigan's teen birth rate dropped 60% between 1991 and 2013, beating out the national decline of 57%.
Larry and Priscilla Massie

Historians Larry and Priscilla Massie have opened Massie's Michigan Books (by appointment only) at their Allegan home.  

“For the last 35 years I’ve stuck away any book about Michigan that I came across with the intention of opening a book shop,” said author Larry Massie, who has written numerous books about Michigan. 

Massie built an addition on his home for the new store that houses about 5,000 books from fiction and poetry to railroading and shipwrecks.

  • Paul Eisenstein joins us from Las Vegas to talk about what GM and Ford are showing off at this year's Consumer Electronics Show.
     
  • The DIA is offering us a chance to see work by some of the most important modern African-American artists in an exhibit called "30 Americans." 
Ryan Grimes

Linda Gregerson’s poems explore a wealth of themes from parenting to social inequality, the environment, illness, and so much more.

She has won a wide array of honors, from Guggenheim Fellowship to finalist for a National Book Award. She is Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and a professor at the University of Michigan.

And now, she’s out with her first collected volume: Prodigal: New and Selected Poems, 1976-2014. The collection includes 10 new poems and 50 poems pulled from some 40 years of writing.

The Rust Belt is home to the Inland North accent
wikimedia user Uwe Dedering / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

We Michiganders tend to think of ourselves as having no accent, instead speaking with a perfect, neutral broadcast voice. But according to Ted McClelland, that’s not the case.

In his piece for BELT Magazine, McClelland argues that we in the Midwest speak a strain of English that’s shaking up millennia-old conventions.

ford, dash board, car
antefixus21/flickr / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The march of technology continues, bringing us closer to the day when owning your own car may be less important than on-demand transportation services.  And closer to the day when we expect our cars to be super-connected to just about everything.

Automakers are laying the groundwork for this new era, as seen in some  announcements this week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

For years, some Detroiters have raised animals that are usually associated with rural farms: chickens, goats, rabbits, and more.

Although it is technically illegal to keep livestock, residents of Detroit have been able to do so because of bureaucratic dysfunction. 

Now there is an effort, led in part by Detroit Councilman James Tate, to come up with a clear ordinance regarding what is and is not allowed within the city limits. 

Mitch Albom signing autographs in Taipei in 2010
Wikimedia user Shack / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The latest novel from Mitch Albom is a magical walk through much of the 20th century’s best music.

The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto tells the story of a Spanish orphan who becomes the greatest guitar player anyone has heard. Through his life, he encounters some of the biggest names in 20th century music and changes lives with his musical talent.

Albom first made his mark here in Michigan as a sports columnist for The Detroit Free Press, a role he continues 30 years later.

  • Debt payments for Detroit Public Schools are already the highest of any school district in the state, but things are going to get even more dire next month. Chad Livengood takes a look at the year ahead for DPS.
     
  • Mitch Albom joins us to discuss his latest book, The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto.
flickr user Motown31 / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Public schools in Detroit are looking at a rough year ahead.

Debt payments for Detroit Public Schools are already the highest of any school district in the state, but things are going to get even more dire next month.

Chad Livengood of The Detroit News' Lansing Bureau tells us that DPS will owe $26 million every month through 2016 to pay back this year’s operating debts, as well as debts carried over from previous years.

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