Stateside Staff

  • A federal lawsuit accuses Michigan State University of mishandling sexual assault complaints.
  • Detroit Free Press Capitol Hill reporter Todd Spangler talks about Gov.
Image courtesy the University of Michigan Bentley Historical Library

He became known to the world as “Dr. Death.” His first so-called “medicide” happened in the Detroit area in 1990.

From that point, Michigan pathologist Dr. Jack Kevorkian became the best-known face of the right-to-die movement. He assisted in the suicides of over 100 terminally ill people between 1990 and 1998.

He died in 2011 at age 83.

Now, Kevorkian’s papers are open to the public at the University of Michigan’s Bentley Historical Library.

user Joe Shlabotnik/Flickr / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Automakers spend a lot of time and money touting the safety features of their vehicles, all of which have dramatically improved safety for drivers and passengers.

But despite greater and more advanced safety measures, the National Safety Council tells us America is on track to have its highest traffic death toll since 2007, when over 41,000 people died on our country’s roads.

Kate Wells / Michigan Radio

When Gov. Rick Synder's office released a statement asking the Department of Homeland Security to review the vetting process for Syrian refugees seeking asylum in the United States after the terrorist attacks in Paris, the reaction was swift.

Soon dozens of governors declared their opposition or support of settling Syrian refugees in their respective states. 

However, Detroit Free Press Capitol Hill reporter Todd Spangler tells Stateside host Cynthia Canty that state governors have no legal say when it comes to accepting refugees. 

Screen grab

Material that repairs itself after being shot? Sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie, but what practical applications could this have?

Researchers at the University of Michigan have teamed up with NASA to develop a material that solidifies once it's exposed to the atmosphere and could help make space travel safer. 

  • Earlier this year Gov. Rick Snyder made an appointment to the three-person Michigan Public Service Commission, the group that approves or rejects utility rate requests. His decision to appoint a former power company lobbyist raised more than a few eyebrows.
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

To many of us, a trip to the grocery store is simply a matter of finding the time in our schedule to jump in the car and drive a few miles.

But that grocery trip presents big challenges to many of the people who live in Flint, where supermarkets are shutting down left and right.

The city lost two Kroger stores and a Meijer within eight months.

And with about half of the city’s residents living below the poverty line, many can’t afford to get a car to drive to the suburbs for fresh, healthy food.

A meteor during the peak of the 2009 Leonid Meteor Shower. The photograph shows the meteor, afterglow, and wake as distinct components.
user Navicore / Wikimedia Commons

Astronomy enthusiasts are gearing up for a viewing of the Leonid meteor shower, set to peak between midnight and dawn tomorrow.

Headlands International Dark Sky Park near Mackinaw City is welcoming a host of stargazers for one of the biggest meteor showers of the year. Mary Stewart Adams, program director at the Headlands International Dark Sky Park, spoke with Stateside about the Leonids.

The shower is produced when a comet coming through our planetary system breaks into pieces as it approaches the sun, Adams says. The Earth orbits through the comet debris, giving the appearance of falling stars.

Consumers Energy / Flickr/user

With a contentious road funding deal finally done, state legislators have some big issues to tackle when they come back from vacation, such as modifying Michigan's energy laws.  

Anne Curzan
University of Michigan

Have you noticed that there are two pronunciations for the articles “a” (“uh and “ay”) and “the” (thuh and thee)?

Do you pronounce the word “often” with or without the “t”?

In this Stateside interview we explore pronunciation issues with Anne Curzan, University of Michigan English professor and co-host of That's What They Say along with Rina Miller here on Michigan Radio.

The Vatican Observatory
Vatican Observatory / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Michigan native Brother Guy Consolmagno is one of 12 Vatican astronomers. He oversees the Vatican’s meteorite collection and was recently appointed as the director of the Vatican Observatory by Pope Francis.

A year ago, he became the first clergyman to win the Carl Sagan Medal, one of planetary science’s most distinguished honors. It’s given to the scientist who makes science accessible and understandable to the public.

  • In the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks, Gov. Snyder puts his effort to get permission for Syrian refugees to re-settle in Michigan on hold. 
  • Rick Pluta, Lansing bureau chief for the Michigan Public Radio Network, spoke to Gov. Snyder about his decision this morning.

A recent poll finds 90% of us want to have end of life discussions of our doctors, but only 17% have actually done so
University of Michigan Medical School

No matter what your circumstances in life, there is one great and final equalizer: Every single one of us will die.

Yet it is often difficult for patients, their families and their physicians to accept the approaching end of life and to shift focus of care from curing and treating to comfort.

A coffee leaf infected with Hemileia vastatrix, or coffee rust
wikimedia user Smartse / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

For many of us, the day doesn’t really start until we polish off that steaming cup of coffee.

But a fungus called "coffee rust” is putting that luxury in jeopardy. It’s attacking coffee plants across Mexico and Central America, and in recent years has caused more than $1 billion in crop losses and cost thousands of workers their jobs.

Two University of Michigan professors have been studying coffee in Mexico for nearly 20 years. They want to understand just how this fungus spreads and how best to shut it down.

A Flint resident holds a jug of tainted Flint water.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

There is a lot of controversy surrounding Michigan’s use of emergency managers. The Flint water fiasco, the decline of the Detroit Public School system – that all happened under the watch of state-appointed emergency managers.

While much has been said and written about Detroit getting through bankruptcy quickly, there are a lot of long-lasting effects of the city’s time under an emergency manager, including, but certainly not limited to, Belle Isle Park being turned over to state management, which some Detroit residents find frustrating.

  • Michigan's Department of Environmental Quality is asking the city of Flint for information that would show where the city's lead service lines are. Federal regulations require those homes to be sampled to determine the health of the water system, but Flint doesn't know where those houses are. Lindsey Smith gives us an update.

There were around 3,600 fires in Detroit this past year
flickr user Sam Beebe / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The news site Motor City Muckraker took it upon itself to track every fire in the city of Detroit for a year.

When you take on a project like that, you begin to see and hear about the problems faced by one of the most overworked fire departments in the nation.

Steve Neavling runs Motor City Muckraker. He tells us the Detroit Fire Department was “a bureaucracy that was literally in shambles.”

Kevin Rosseel / morguefile

The federal government recently released more than 6,000 inmates from custody. It's the first wave of what will be some 4,600 people whose sentences for drug offenses were eased by the United States Sentencing Commission. 

Eighty-three of those federal prisoners were in Michigan when they were sentenced.

flickr user neetalparekh / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The Next Idea

Mark “Puck” Mykleby is a retired Marine colonel who worked from 2009 to 2011 as an assistant to former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Michael Mullen.

Mullen wanted a grand strategy for the nation. Not a military strategy, but something to encourage the kind of innovation and leadership he felt has been slipping away in the United States.

Mykleby left the Pentagon a little frustrated with Washington and figured he really needed to take the idea to the private sector.

The Art Gallery of Knoxville/flickr / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Emerging artists in Michigan may wonder: "How do I get the attention of an art critic? How do I get someone to write about my work if I haven't gotten to the point where I can mount a show?"

Lori Waxman, art critic for The Chicago Tribune, understands the challenges for artists trying to get honest feedback of their work.

In a rare event, Waxman will review any artist's work, no matter the skill level.

Protesters in Flint.
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will be watching over the state of Michigan's shoulder to make sure our drinking water is safe.

The EPA will audit the state's drinking water safety program after the state Department of Environmental Quality admitted it failed to use the correct protocols when it approved the switch to the Flint River as the primary source of drinking water for Flint.

That mistake led to dangerously high lead levels in that city's drinking water.

Flint's Democratic Congressman Dan Kildee joined us today to discuss the EPA’s audit.

  • The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will be watching over the State of Michigan's shoulder to make sure our drinking water is safe. Flint's Democratic Congressman Dan Kildee joined us today to talk about the EPA's audit.
  • Nearly five decades after fighting as an infantryman in Vietnam, Tim Keenan of Traverse City realized it was time to go back to Vietnam.
American flag.
Corey Seeman/Flickr / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

"Service Above Self, Honoring Our Veterans" happens tonight at Hill Auditorium in Ann Arbor.

A select number of veterans from Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, Korea, and World War II will be on stage to tell their stories.

The storytelling night kicks off a push to raise $8 million to build a Fisher House.

Neal Steeno

When soldiers are sent into war, they often leave a chunk of their hearts and souls on the battlefield.

They may make it home, but part of them remains tied to that far-off battleground.

Tim Keenan of Traverse City lived with that hole in his heart and soul for more than 40 years. He was a 20-year-old infantryman in the fall of 1967 when he was dropped into the frontline fighting in Vietnam at Dak To.

Today on Stateside:

  • Over the past few days, thousands of federal inmates were released from prison due to a change in the way the federal government sentences drug criminals. Brandon Sample gives us a closer look at the largest one-time release of federal prisoners.
     

  • The Rovi Media Collection is the largest media collection in the country: CDs, DVDs, and video games. All entertainment, and now all in the care of Michigan State University.

     

 The Edmund Fitzgerald in 1971.
user Greenmars / wikimedia commons

What would it be like to have a long, useful live, but only be remembered by the way you die?

Such is the case with the Edmund Fitzgerald, which sank in a Lake Superior storm 40 years ago today.

But there’s a new documentary that focuses on the life of the Edmund Fitzgerald and what the ship did in her time on the Great Lakes.

The film is called A Good Ship and Crew Well Seasoned, and it’s produced by the Great Lakes Historical Society.

Lloydpictures.com

It was 2008 when Michigan launched a generous tax-credit program to lure Hollywood filmmakers here. At the time it was so popular, only one legislator voted against it. And Hollywood came: big stars, big productions could be seen shooting throughout the state.

Susan Ellis, USDA APHIS PPQ / Bugwood.org

It's called a swede midge.

A tiny insect that has the power to cause some big problems for farmers. And now this pest has turned up on several organic farms in Sanilac County.

Zsofia Szendrei is a Michigan State University associate professor who specializes in arthropod farm pests.

She joined us today to talk about the scope of the midge population and what's at stake for Michigan's vegetables. 

A prison block
flickr user Thomas Hawk / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Over the past few days, thousands of federal inmates were released from prison due to a change in the way the federal government sentences drug criminals.

It adds up to the largest one-time release of federal prisoners.

Brandon Sample is the executive director of Prisology, a national nonprofit movement dedicated to reform of the criminal justice system.

Today on Stateside: 

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