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Stateside Staff

M-1 Rail streetcar design
M-1 Rail

The QLINE is a new streetcar system that will run along a 3.3 mile stretch of Woodward Avenue in Detroit. The line debuts this Friday.

Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes wrote this week about the QLINE and what it means for the city’s reinvention.

Although some in the city have criticized the project, Howes said critics should give the project a chance.

Rich Girard / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

A former federal prosecutor is calling for an independent special counsel to investigate any ties between Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia, now the President Trump has fired the director of the FBI.

Stateside 5.10.2017

May 10, 2017

Today, we hear Senators Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow react to President Donald Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey. And, ever wonder where elevator Muzak comes from? That answer today.

A photo of a beach
mike_miley / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

 

The U.S. Geological Survey reports since the turn of the last century, water levels of Lake Michigan have increased in a series of even higher peaks. One was in 1964. An expensive house in St. Joseph was taken by the lake.

There was damage up and down Michigan’s coast. Another high lake water moment spanned from 1985 to 1987, and again there was a lot of damage to homes, beachfront property and industry.

Courtesy of the Michigan History Center

Major General George Owen Squier. The name may not be familiar, but his work in the fields of aeronautics and radio communications rivaled that of better-known contemporaries like Alexander Bell and the Wright Brothers.

Squier, a native of Dryden, Michigan, was the first military officer to fly, in a plane piloted by Orville Wright. Today, his hometown hopes to build a statue in his honor.

Mural painted on a wall
wilansky / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

 

In Detroit, there are all kinds of artists and art projects happening organically. But, the City of Detroit doesn’t really have a vehicle to encourage or develop an arts culture.

James Comey, former director of the FBI
Brookings Institution / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters joined Stateside today to react to President Donald Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey.

Stateside 5.9.2017

May 9, 2017

Today, we tour Michigan's oldest prison with the historian who lives there. We also discuss the mental strain of a cancer diagnosis and a ranking of Michigan's most conservative lawmakers.

The University of Michigan's Comprehensive Cancer Center
cancer.med.umich.edu

The phrase "you have cancer" might be one of the most terrifying collections of words a person can hear in their lifetime.

Many readers have heard that phrase spoken to them, or  have had a close friend or relative experience it. The level of anxiety and other psychological issues that accompany a cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming for many people.

To help combat that, there is now a subspecialty of oncology. It’s called psycho-oncology.

Judy Gail Krasnow standing outside Jackson prison
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

In the first half of the 1800s, the city of Jackson fought hard for the right to build the state's first prison. The horrific conditions that developed at the prison from its gritty early days are well documented by Judy Gail Krasnow in her book Jacktown: History and Hard Times at Michigan's First State Prison.
 

Krasnow gave Stateside's Lester Graham a tour of the prison. She explained how it got started and what it's like today. 

An apple orchard.
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

The past few days have seen unseasonable cold across much of Michigan, with temperatures falling below freezing in many parts of the state. A late freeze like this one threatens Michigan’s fruit crop at a crucial time in its annual cycle.

An American flag, an elephant and a donkey.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

In Michigan, the news report Inside Michigan Politics ranks the most conservative and the most liberal members of the state legislators. Among conservatives, ranking among the most conservative lawmakers is “branding.” It’s going to be on campaign literature.

For the second year, there's another ranking for most conservative legislators in Michigan. It's put out by the national group American Conservative Union.

A photograph of the Michigan Capitol building
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio file photo

Congressman Dan Kildee, who many expected to run for governor, said he won't enter the race. He’s going to run for another term in Congress instead.

That leaves former senate minority leader Gretchen Whitmer and former Detroit health director Abdul El-Sayed as candidates on the Democratic side.

Stateside 5.8.2017

May 8, 2017

Today on Stateside, we hear from the MSU professor who was abruptly dismissed from the EPA's science review board. And, in addition to lawyers, should poor criminal defendants have a right to taxpayer-funded experts?

Image of bronze bull statue on Wall Street
Sam Valadi / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Congress is debating whether to get rid of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. The act was passed after the Great Recession, in order to tackle problems like banks that were too big to fail, financial groups dealing in sketchy products, and predatory lending. 

Now, Republicans want to do away with Dodd-Frank. 

Wall Street street signs
nakashi / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

One of President Donald Trump’s top goals is to repeal the Dodd-Frank financial regulations. He calls Dodd-Frank a “disaster.” Trump says many friends of his who have nice businesses can’t get loans because of Dodd-Frank.

There's no dispute about the fact that Dodd-Frank requires better lending standards after all the bad loans that pushed the nation toward the recession. But, banks are lending. The Federal Reserve finds commercial and industrial bank loans are at a record high.

Judge's gavel
Joe Gratz / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

 


Last week, Michigan Radio’s Rick Pluta reported on the state Supreme Court agreeing to hear arguments about whether indigent defendants have the right to their own court-appointed experts. In this case, the defendant wanted a DNA expert. 

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg
Anthony Quintano / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The Next Idea

Facebook’s 32-year-old billionaire founder, Mark Zuckerberg, has been touring the country. He made stops in Michigan recently. He toured Ford’s Rouge plant and even tried his hand at putting parts on an F-150 pickup truck. Turns out time on the assembly line is hard work. He also privately met with Muslim students at the University of Michigan-Dearborn.

The old Hudson's Deparment Store site in Detroit
girl-in-the-d / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

 

Republicans and Democrats in Lansing support a big incentive package that big developers in the state want. 

These incentives not only include money for cleaning up polluted “brownfield” sites, but also income tax kickbacks from the workers who build the development, and from the tax revenue of the development.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency sign
TexasGOPVote / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

The Trump administration has dismissed some of the scientists who performed scientific reviews for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Robert Richardson, an ecological economist at Michigan State University, was one of the 18 members of the Board of Scientific Counselors from across the country. On Friday, he was notified that he was being dismissed.

Stateside 5.5.2017

May 5, 2017

Today on Stateside, we hear some Michiganders could face financial stress and reduced access to care under the new health care bill. And, we learn about the last-second role Michigan played in ratifying the 27th Amendment... 200 years later.

ROBERT HUFFSTUTTER / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

As it turns out, Michigan played a significant role in the history of the 27th Amendment. Michigan put it over the top in 1992.

A photograph of the Michigan Capitol building
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio file photo

Voters still love the idea of term limits. The idea of “throw the rascals out” after a few terms is supposed to end career politicians and instead give us citizen legislators who are more connected to the people back home.

A new book explains 13 years of research into how term limits have worked in Michigan. Its title is Implementing Term Limits: The Case of the Michigan Legislature. It was written by the husband and wife team of Marjorie Sarbaugh-Thompson and Lyke Thompson.

Courtesy of the Archdiocese of Detroit

 

Pope Francis has elevated a Michigan priest another step closer to sainthood.

The pope announced that Father Solanus Casey, a member of the Capuchin Franciscan Order of St. Joseph in Detroit and one of the co-founders of the city’s Capuchin Soup Kitchen, has been elevated from Venerable to Blessed by the Roman Catholic Church.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

 


A Facebook post from Representative Andy Schor​, D-Lansing, caught some attention this week. He accused the Republican Speaker Pro-Tempore Lee Chatfield of violating the rules of the House and the state’s Constitution.

people in voting booths
Paulette Parker / Michigan Radio

Democrats in Lansing are seeking what they call a “Voting Bill of Rights.” That means no-reason absentee voting, early in-person voting, voter registration as late as 15 days before an election, and other things making it easier for people to vote.

Republicans have, in the past, offered bills for stricter voter identification laws.

Surgeons operating on patient in operating room
Phalinn Ooi / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

On Thursday, the U.S. House approved a new health care policy designed by Republicans representatives to replace Obamacare. Each one of Michigan’s Republican representatives voted in favor of the replacement bill, while no Democrats (in Michigan or any other state) gave the bill their support.

Michigan Republicans were likewise united in the condemnation of Obamacare – also known as the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Representative Tim Walberg, for instance, said, “Obamacare is on the brink of collapse and has failed to live up to its many promises.”

Representative John Moolenar called the ACA, “the collapsing health care law.”

Not everyone agrees with those assessments.

According to Eric Lupher, cities, towns and villages pooling resources could help make services more affordable.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Next Idea

A survey of local government leaders across Michigan finds they are not happy with state government.

The latest Michigan Public Policy Survey conducted by the University of Michigan heard from officials in more than 1,300 cities, counties, townships and villages.

According to Nell Duke, developing literacy in children goes beyond just reading to them.
ThomasLife / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

It's well documented that literacy and reading are essential keys to success in life.

So what are some good ways parents can teach their children to make reading a central part of their lives?

Stateside 5.4.2017

May 4, 2017

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a new health care insurance plan this afternoon. Today on Stateside, Rep. Upton discusses the amendment he introduced to help offset costs of covering pre-existing conditions. And, we hear how "smiley face," "dancing girl" and "poop" emojis could help keep your data safe.

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