Stateside Staff

Hammer told us he was "very disappointed" but "not surprised" with the appeals court ruling.
flickr user swskeptic / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

A federal appeals court has upheld Michigan's emergency manager law.

The Sixth Circuit United States Court of Appeals says the law does not violate voting rights, and it does not racially discriminate. 

The court's opinion says there is no fundamental right to vote for local officials. It also says the state has a legitimate interest in fixing financially struggling local governments. 

In light of Monday's ruling, where does Michigan go from here?

Stateside 9.12.2016

Sep 12, 2016

Today, we sit down with state House Speaker Kevin Cotter to explore some of the issues before the State House of Representatives. And, we learn how microlending can boost minority-owned business.

Crowds of "Pokémon GO" players gather for some late night monster hunting in this park in Vancouver.
flickr user Peter Kudlacz / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

If you wandered past any landmarks or took a stroll through a public park this summer, you may have noticed a lot more foot traffic than usual. But instead of walking and talking together, these large groups of new guests basically just sit around and stare at their smartphones. 

Yes, "Pokémon GO" players are everywhere.

For many, the game has become a core part of day-to-day life. 

Alexander Weinstein's new book of short stories takes the idea to the extreme, exploring a future full of dangerously immersive virtual reality games. 

Michigan is ranked No. 4 in the nation after their 51-14 home win over Central Florida.
user Missy Caulk / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

It was a big weekend for Michigan sports headlined by the Detroit Lions' dramatic 39-35 season opening win over the Indianapolis Colts.

The post-Calvin Johnson era began with Lions kicker Matt Prater redeeming himself for an earlier missed extra point by hitting the game-winning field goal with four seconds left. 

A protest held by the Graduate Employees and Students Organization protest at Yale in 2005, calling for the return of collective bargaining rights that were taken away from graduate student employees the year before.
Public Domain

The National Labor Relations Board has done a complete about-face. 

The Board recently voted three to one that graduate students who work as teaching or research assistants at private universities are indeed employees, and they have a right to collective bargaining. 

That ruling overturns a 2004 Bush-era ruling that took those bargaining rights away. 

State House Speaker Kevin Cotter, R-Mount Pleasant
Michigan House Republicans

Summer vacation is now just a fond memory for students in Michigan's schools -- and our state lawmakers. 

We sat down today with state House Speaker Kevin Cotter, R-Mt. Pleasant, to explore some of the issues before the State House of Representatives. 

Stateside 9.9.2016

Sep 9, 2016

Today, we hear an expert explain why closing Michigan's lowest-performing schools likely wouldn't benefit students. And, our Artisans of Michigan series continues with the making of Windsor chairs.

"The government is able to take people's property even though they might actually not have done anything wrong," Jarrett Skorup told us.
MI State Police

Last year, Michigan tightened requirements for civil asset forfeiture.

That's the law that allows the government to seize property when someone is accused of a crime even if they're not convicted.

This started as part of the war against drugs. It's become a lucrative tool for cash-strapped police departments and prosecutors. 

Laws passed last year require more transparency, but do not abolish civil asset forfeiture. 

The Muslim Student Association at Michigan Tech University is trying to raise money to build a mosque in Houghton.
Muslim Student Association (Michigan Tech University)

Islamaphobia has been rampant in the dark corners of the internet for a long time. It rears its head in real life as well, and as close as Dearborn, where we've seen armed protestors stand outside mosques and libraries protesting "radical Islam" or simply voicing their anti-Muslim sentiment. 

But there's a small enclave of Muslims in the Upper Peninsula that says they've been welcomed, and feel safe there. 

Michael Hood and Laurie Carpenter, founders of the humanitarian aid group Crossing Water.
Stephanie Kenner / Crossing Water

This weekend the group Crossing Water is calling for volunteers to continue the work they've been doing for a long time now: going door to door helping Flint residents deal with the water contamination in the city. 

An empty classrom with light shinging in from the windows.
Kevin Wong / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

This week, the Snyder administration’s School Reform Office suggested that it could eventually close schools where students have low rankings on state tests.

Schools that rank in the bottom 5% -- with some exceptions -- would be closed under this plan, which would shutter more than 100 schools from across the state.

In an opinion piece this week in the Lansing State Journal, John P. Smith III criticized the state’s plans.

Smith is a professor of educational psychology at Michigan State University and he joined Stateside to talk about why he thinks the closing of the schools, and the methodology that led to that decision is flawed.

Students rally in Lansing
Fflickr user swskeptic/Flickr / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The Michigan Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence held a so-called "die in" Wednesday at the Capitol in Lansing, calling on the Legislature to craft stronger gun laws. 

Ken Sikkema and Susan Demas joined us to talk about the demonstration, and how much of an effect protests like this really have on the way our lawmakers think.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Lately, there have been a lot of allegations of funny business within American politics. 

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has repeatedly said that the elections could be rigged. And there have been a lot of concerns that the Russians hacked the Democratic Party's emails. 

The next logical question for many people is, if both those things are true, what's to keep the election results from being hacked?

Stateside 9.8.2016

Sep 8, 2016

Today, we hear how saving your stem cells could help you in old age. And, we learn about an Algonac teacher's plan to move into a Habitat for Humanity home.

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Retired Brigadier General Michael McDaniel was appointed to lead the effort to get lead water pipes out of Flint. 

That was back in February. 

Here we are, seven months later, and McDaniel has yet to be paid one thin dime for his work.

Courtesy of Huberty Massey / www.hubertmasseymurals.com

One of the world's most famous examples of frescoes is the Diego Rivera work at the Detroit Institute of Arts. They’re called the Detroit Industry murals.

In that same tradition, artist Hubert Massey is preparing to paint a large mural, 30 feet by 30 feet, in the fresco style for Detroit's Cobo Center.

Michigan’s Treasury Department deserves blame for its role in the Flint water crisis, according to a new report.
Flickr user Ian Freimuth / Flickr / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

With the white-hot glare of worldwide publicity fixed on Flint, one might think the city would avoid doing anything to draw more attention. 

Like, for example, failing to pay the man heading the push to replace those lead pipes. 

Retired Brigadier General Michael McDaniel was appointed to lead the effort to rid the city of its lead pipes back in February. Seven months later, he hasn't seen a penny. 

Mark Katakowski explained that as we age, the number, function and "therapeutic potential" of our bodies' stem cells diminshes.
flickr user Tareq Salahuddin / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The Next Idea

Could the ancient search for the Fountain of Youth lead to Ann Arbor?

That's where a company called Forever Labs is working to solve the universal problem of getting old. 

Its solution: store your stem cells when you're a young adult so you can use them as you age.

Flickr user EL Gringo/Flickr / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

You decide to become a teacher because you want to help, to see your students grow and learn. 

But take a deep dive into teacher pay and you'll discover that teachers are taking a beating on that front.

A new study from the nonprofit Economic Policy Institute shows that in 2015, the weekly wages of public school teachers in this country were 17% lower than comparable college-educated professionals.

And who's hurt the most? Male teachers and veteran teachers. 

Photo of Koegel Meats.
user Erica Firment / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Why mess with success?

That seems to be the philosophy of a venerable Flint company as it marks its 100th anniversary this year.

Koegel Meats still makes its products the same way it always has, with the same ingredients as it did on the first day. Koegel’s has also stuck with Flint, its original home base, through good times and bad.

Stateside 9.7.2016

Sep 7, 2016

Today, we hear what's to come for the eight state employees charged with crimes in the Flint water crisis. And, we learn that labels didn't stop one family from achieving full inclusion for their son with a developmental disability.

"Black people don't necessarily need choice, they need power," Perry told us. "The reason why black communities' schools are not doing well is because black communities are not doing well."
Flickr user Bart Everson/Flickr / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Proponents of publicly funded, privately run charter schools hail them as the way to keep public schools and public school teachers "on their toes" by creating competition. 

Here in Michigan we have roughly 145,000 students in more than 300 charter schools, according to Education Trust Midwest.

And a report that group released earlier this year showed that charter school enrollment in the 2014-2015 school year consisted of disproportionately minority and low-income students. 

Ron Fournier at the Word of Mouth Marketing Association Research Symposium in 2006.
flickr user Josh Hallett / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

It's taken more than 30 years, but Ron Fournier has finally found his way home to Detroit. 

After a career that took him to Hot Springs, where he covered a young Arkansas governor named Bill Clinton; to Washington, where he built a national political reporting career at the Associated Press, the National Journal and The Atlantic; Fournier is back in the Motor City. 

This is day one of his new job as associate publisher of Crain's Detroit Business

Courtesy of Olivia Johnson

College expenses are rising. There’s no doubt about that.

Trying to pay for tuition, books, a place to live and more can stretch a budget to its breaking point.

Olivia Johnson, a criminal justice student at Ferris State University, knows that struggle, and she’s seen it on campus.

That’s why she started the Student Emergency Food Pantry for Ferris students this year.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

There was a probable cause hearing today for the eight defendants charged by Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette in the Flint water disaster. What does that mean, and how does today's hearing fit into the legal process?

Wayne State University law professor Peter Henning joined Stateside to provide some answers.

For starters, what is a probable cause conference?

Janice Fialka, left, with her husband Rich, son Micah and daughter Emma in Syracuse.
Courtesy of Janice Fialka

How do you express your feelings when a team of experts sits you down to tell you your child is developmentally disabled?

When Janice Fialkaof Huntington Woods came home reeling from such a case conference about her five-year-old son Micah, she sat down and tried to put her feelings into words.

The result was a poem she calls Advice to Professionals who must "conference cases."

"I want my son back," she writes. "I want him back now. Then I'll get on with my life."

And that she did. Fialka and her family - husband Rich, daughter Emma and son Micah - launched themselves on a mission to prove that labels and IQ tests are not true measures of someone's ability to be valuable to the world, to contribute, to learn. 

Stateside 9.6.2016

Sep 6, 2016

Today, we take a look at opioid addiction in Michigan. And, we celebrate the Upper Peninsula with the "official unofficial ambassador" of the U.P.

Kristy Kopec told us that though she didn't know it at the time, but "it was all over with" the first time she took opiates.
flickr user frankileon / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Michigan has a fierce fight on its hands. A fight to keep people out of the clutches of opioid and heroin addiction. 

A vial of prescription drugs
Flickr user SHARYN MORROW / FLICKR / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

“I remember looking at some of the early federal reports involving opioid pain killers and overdose deaths and they had increased so rapidly, when I was looking at the data I was convinced someone had put a decimal point in the wrong place,” Dr. Andrew Kolodny said.

Kolodny is a senior scientist at Brandeis University and executive director of Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing. He spent time working in addiction medicine in New York City during the early 2000s.

“The sharp increase was very real and what we would ultimately come to recognize is that we were at the beginning of a new, very severe epidemic,” Kolodny said.

Andrew Colom and Davide Alade
Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

When we talk about investment in Detroit, the likes of Dan Gilbert or Christopher Ilitch come to mind. Certainly Gilbert has led the way in buying downtown buildings, reshaping the look of downtown Detroit. 

But today, we're going to look at investment in Detroit's neighborhoods.

Andrew Colom and David Alade both gave up jobs to move to Detroit and launch an investment company called Century Partners

Their idea was to invest in Detroit's neighborhoods, and to close the wealth disparity gap by helping people invest in the rehabilitation of their neighborhoods. 

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