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Stateside Staff

The Toad / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The question of how to improve Michigan's $2.4 billion mental health care system has been on the front burner for the better part of a year.

The latest twist came when Michigan's 11 Medicaid health plans called on state policy makers to give them a greater say in controlling the system. But it was concern over this very action, of moving control of mental health services out of the public's hands and turning it over to for-profit insurance companies, that sparked the year-long dialogue in the first place.

The move blindsided those who were working on a proposal they thought everyone had agreed upon, including the health plans. Among them is Kevin Fischer, executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Michigan

The Feelgood Tap raises money for various charities and non-profits one craft beer at a time.
Steph Harding / MittenBrew

"Creating change one glass at a time."

That's the idea behind the Feelgood Tap. You sit down at a bar, restaurant or brewery, order a beer that's marked the "Feelgood special," and part of what you spend goes to a designated non-profit.

The state of Michigan hasn't had a poet laureate since 1959 when Edgar Guest (pictured in 1935) passed away.
Wikipedia / NBC Radio

Pop quiz: Who is the poet laureate of Michigan?
 

Sorry, but that's a trick question. The state hasn't had a state poet laureate since Edgar Guest died in 1959.

So, we're getting piecemeal poets laureates around the state – in the Upper Peninsula, Detroit and Grand Rapids, for instance. Now, add Lansing to that list.

For the first time, the poetry community in our Capitol city is searching for Lansing's own poet laureate.

Screen grab UWSSEC / YouTube

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! Nope – it’s a meteor, or a fireball, or space junk...

A bright, unidentified object flying over Lake Michigan last night caught onlookers in Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana and Michigan saying just that.

But what was it?

Stateside 2.3.2017

Feb 3, 2017

Because jobs are scarce in Detroit, an underground "gift economy" has emerged. Today on Stateside, we hear about that system and about a bill that would bring more transparency to state government. But, of course, there's a loophole. 

VINCENT DUFFY / MICHIGAN RADIO

Michigan is one of only a couple states that don't subject the governor and the legislature to open records laws.

Now, the Michigan legislature – Republicans and Democrats – are signing on to legislation that would increase the number of lawmakers subject to Freedom of Information Act requests. An 11-bill package known as the Legislative Open Records Act is part of that legislation. 

MATTHILEO / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

This week, Republicans and Democrats in Lansing seem to agree that it’s time to expand the state’s open record laws to cover the governor and the Legislature. Michigan is one of only a couple states that don’t already require all lawmakers to be subject to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.

Ken Sikkema, senior policy fellow at Public Sector Consultants and a former Republican legislative leader, along with Vicki Barnett, a former Democratic legislator, joined Stateside and said it might not be smooth sailing to the governor's desk. 

Courtesy of Christopher Phillips

What can we learn from the children around us? Do we really even listen to them?

Christopher Phillips, founder of Socrates Café, has been sharing what he’s heard and learned from our youngest citizens.

Phillips is author of The Philosophers' Club, Socrates Cafe: A Fresh Taste of Philosophy, and most recently The Philosophy of Childing: Unlocking Creativity, Curiosity, and Reason through the Wisdom of Our Youngest.  

Stateside 2.2.2017

Feb 2, 2017

Today we learn why one expert says without steady growth, pumping billions into infrastructure is just a "Ponzi scheme." And, we hear Rep. Mitchell from Michigan's 10th District explain why Great Lakes drinking water is "not an issue we can risk" with Canada's nuclear waste storage site.

Bruce Power / Ontario Power Generation

Ontario Power Generation (OPG) is determined it’s going to build an underground storage bunker for nuclear waste at the Bruce Nuclear Power Plant in Kincardine, Ontario.

That location is less than a mile from Lake Huron.

Michigan’s congressional delegation has objected to the project every step of the way. Now, with a New Year and a new administration in the White House, come fresh efforts.

What if the issue with our infrastructure isn't that we're not spending enough, but that we've already spent too much and spent it the wrong way?
Wikimedia Commons

Across our state and across our country, we're talking about infrastructure: How it's failing, what that means, and what it's going to cost to fix.

What if the issue with our infrastructure isn't that we're not spending enough, but that we've already spent too much and spent it the wrong way?

Courtesy of Sandra Stahl

The Next Idea

 

When Sandra Stahl works on civic engagement in Detroit, there’s one question she hears again and again.

“Where are all the young people?”

 

 

Michigan's Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) has wrongly accused tens of thousands of people of cheating on their unemployment claims.
Bytemarks / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Michigan's Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) has wrongly accused tens of thousands of people of cheating on their unemployment claims. Then it began garnishing wages, and tax returns, often without the wrongly-accused person even knowing what he or she supposedly did.

The UIA's director has apologized for the errors. But the mistakes, pinned on a computer system, have had thunderous repercussions in homes all over Michigan.

Michael Vadon / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

With a new president comes new challenges for America’s business leaders, Detroit automakers included.

In a recent column for The Detroit News, Daniel Howes wrote that President Trump “isn’t making things easy for CEOs.” Today, the Detroit News columnist joined Stateside to explain.

“Essentially he’s saying, ‘Look, we’re going to cut taxes and reform regulations, but I’m going to tell you how to run your business,’” Howes said.

Just look at the racial census makeup of school districts in Michigan. The numbers from the state Department of Education show districts in Michigan are deeply segregated.

In today’s State of Opportunity special Better Together: How School Diversity Makes a Difference, we look at schools, teachers and parents who are working to create, maintain or even boost diversity in the classroom.

Stateside 2.1.2017

Feb 1, 2017

Today on Stateside, we bring you "Better Together," a State of Opportunity special on how school diversity makes a difference.

WIKIPEDIA COMMONS

After a 12-11 vote in the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, the nomination of Betsy DeVos to be Secretary of the Department of Education goes to the full Senate for a final confirmation vote.

The close margin of the committee’s decision, and the extensive debate that took place before, during and after the vote, reflects the controversial nature of DeVos’s nomination.

Stateside 1.31.2017

Jan 31, 2017

Today's 12-11 vote by the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions means Betsy DeVos' nomination to be Secretary of the Department of Education moves to the full Senate. On the show today, we discuss the pros and cons of a DeVos confirmation. We also continue to hear reactions to President Trump's executive orders on immigrants and refugees.

Screenshot from the Pathways to Prison trailer

Tonight at 8 p.m., Detroit Public Television will debut a new documentary focused on the high rate of imprisonment in the U.S. and Michigan.

It's entitled Pathways to Prison.

Samaritas is the largest resettler of refugees in Michigan.
Courtesy of Samaritas

The White House continues to insist that the President's executive orders on immigrants and refugees will make America safer.

The West Michigan group Samaritas begs to differ.

Betsy DeVos testified at a hearing earlier this month.
Screenshot / C-SPAN

Betsy DeVos is facing stiff opposition from teacher's unions in her nomination fight to head up the US Departent of Education.  

Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow announced that she would not support DeVos nearly three weeks in advance of the vote by the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. (On Tuesday, the committee voted 12-11 along party lines on Tuesday to move DeVos’s nomination to the Senate floor.) And, in DeVos’ hometown of Holland, about a thousand people recently gathered to protest the nomination.

But DeVos also had some devoted supporters in her corner. 

Stateside 1.30.2017

Jan 30, 2017

Today on Stateside, we hear reactions to President Trump's executive order banning people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States. We speak with attorneys and someone who was held up at the border this weekend. We also hear statements on the issue from Michigan congressional leaders.

Lyse Messmer / Michigan Radio

President Trump today said he was right to ban people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States.

Courtesy of Farah Al-khersan

Across the country, immigration lawyers flocked to airports and border crossings this weekend to help travelers stranded by President Trump’s executive order.

Not all of them, however, were able to offer their services.

Farah Al-khersan, an immigration attorney of West Bloomfield, was blocked from re-entering the United States when she and her husband tried to cross back over from Sarnia Friday night.

Protesters and police inside Detroit Metro Airport.
Courtesy of Carey Swanson

President Trump continues to defend his immigration order that clamps a temporary ban on U.S. entry for travelers from seven majority-Muslim nations, and refugees from around the world. And he continues to insist it "is not a Muslim ban."

Despite the nationwide protests, the confusion and the mounting questions, Trump said "all is going well."

Lawyers who spent long hours trying to help travelers blindsided by the president's action beg to differ.

Jamil Khuja is one of those attorneys. He went to Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW) to help an Iranian green card holder who had been blocked from re-entering the country.

An illustration by Ann Arbor native Tom Pohrt found within the pages of The Bird-while by Keith Taylor.
Tom Pohrt, "The Bird-while" reprinted with permission of Wayne State University Press

He teaches young writers at the University of Michigan, and he practices what he teaches.

Throughout the years, Keith Taylor has published short stories, co-edited volumes of essays and fiction, and written powerful collections of poetry.

Taylor joined Stateside to talk about his newest book of poetry, The Bird-while

Stateside 1.27.2017

Jan 27, 2017

Fifty years ago today, a Grand Rapids astronaut died in the Apollo 1 disaster. On the show, we hear how that accident changed NASA forever. And, we take a trip to Ferndale, where one of the very first Michigan craft cocktail bars is tucked away on 9 Mile.

Courtesy of the Broad Art Museum

A project facilitated by Chicago-based artist Jan Tichy brought high school English students in Flint together with high school art students in Lansing to depict life in Flint without safe water.

The project culminates in an installation at the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University and a book filled with student work called Beyond Streaming. The installation invites visitors to open the nozzles of floor-to-ceiling copper pipes. Sounds and original poems recorded by the students will then stream out of the pipes.

Roger Chafee in May 1965 at a console in NASA’s Mission Operations Control Room in the Mission Control Center (MCC) in Houston during a Gemini simulation.
The Grand Rapids Public Museum and City Archives, Roger B. Chaffee Collection

Today marks 50 years since NASA faced one of the organization's biggest setbacks. On Jan. 27, 1967, a fire during a preflight test for Apollo 1 killed the three astronauts on board.

One of the crew members was Grand Rapids native Roger B. Chaffee.

Glen Swanson, a former NASA historian and current visiting instructor in the Department of Physics at Grand Valley State University, joined Stateside to look back at Chaffee's life and death, and how the Apollo 1 disaster changed NASA.

Courtesy of HandUp Detroit

Giving money to the homeless, especially on the street, seems to give rise to a whole range of emotions, from the joy of giving to plain suspicion at handing over money to a stranger. 

There are those who don’t want to give cash because they aren’t sure how it will be used. Others feel compelled to help a person in obvious need. Some cities have even gone so far as to ban panhandling altogether.

Now, an online giving platform called HandUp is taking a new approach. The San Francisco-based website recently launched an effort in Detroit that allows online donors to give money directly to homeless individuals and families in the metro area.

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