Stateside Staff


6:10 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

Group wants you to "escape for good" from New Orleans to Detroit

Escape for Good promotional photo.
Credit Escape for Good.

Here's the challenge: Get yourself from New Orleans to Detroit. In 36 hours. No cash. No credit cards. Just your charm and ingenuity.

Oh, and one other thing: You'll be dressed up as your favorite hero.

It's the Escape for Good charity race, and if making your way from New Orleans to Detroit wearing your Batman suit or Forrest Gump beard, trucker hat and sneakers sounds like your thing, you can sign on now for the race that begins Friday.

Rocco Gardner is the creator of Escape for Good and he joined us today.

*Listen to the interview above.

6:09 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

10,000 acres in Michigan's UP up for sale

Areas in question for the land deal in Michigan's UP.

Picture this: You live in a corner of the Upper Peninsula that is full of natural beauty. But the population in your town is shrinking and aging, even to the point where it's hard to find police officers and firefighters because everyone's just getting older.

And there's little in the way of economic opportunity.

Now here comes a huge Canadian company that wants to buy 10,000 acres of state-managed forest land to build a massive limestone mining operation. There's the prospect of massive amounts of money and the hope of jobs.

And there's the fear of losing the natural beauty of your corner of the UP.

What to do?

That's the real-life dilemma happening in the Rexton area of the Upper Peninsula.

Keith Matheny is a writer with the Detroit Free Press and he's been following this story. Keith joined us today.

*Listen to the interview above.

Politics & Culture
6:07 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

Stateside for Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is considering the largest sale of state-managed forest land in its history to a British Columbia-based limestone mining company.

So who gets to decide if the Canadian company can buy 10,000 acres to set up a mine in the Upper Peninsula?

On today’s Stateside we looked at what the proposed limestone mining operation could mean for UP residents.

Then a rare, 80-year old American Agave plant at the Matthaei Botanical Gardens is nearly ready to bloom – for its first and only time.

First on the show, the first votes by state lawmakers on a $195 million cash infusion for Detroit happened today.

The newly formed House Committee on Detroit's Recovery and Michigan's Future approved an 11-bill package. The measures now go to the full state House.

Read more
Politics & Culture
4:51 pm
Tue May 20, 2014

Stateside for Tuesday, May 20, 2014

A State House committee is expected to vote today on Michigan's proposed contribution to the "grand bargain" – a plan to bolster Detroit's finances. 

Any romantic relationship between a teacher and a student is shocking to most people. Writer Kristina Riggle of Grand Rapids tackled this very thorny subject in her new novel. 

Electronic music fans from around the world are getting ready for the Movement Electronic Music Festival that hits downtown Detroit Memorial Day weekend. 

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3:00 pm
Tue May 20, 2014

A closer look at Movement, Detroit's electronic music festival

DJ Psycho in Grand Rapids.
Credit DJ Psycho / Facebook

Electronic music fans from around the world are getting ready for the Movement Electronic Music Festival that hits downtown Detroit on Memorial Day weekend.

This year's Movement Festival brings more than 100 artists on five outdoor stages at Hart Plaza.

Dezi Magby – aka DJ Psycho of Flint – has played a big part in making Michigan a major player in the world's electronic music scene. He got hooked on electronic music as a fifth-grader, and he's been making music and DJing since 1984.

Another name to watch for at this year's festival is DJ and producer Asher Perkins, who'll be making his first appearance at the Movement Festival.

Perkins and Magby talked to us about what sets Detroit electronic music apart.

Listen to the full interview above.

3:00 pm
Tue May 20, 2014

Michigan author tackles teacher-student sex scandal in new novel

Author Kristina Riggle.
Credit John H. Riggle / Kristina Riggle

It seems just about every week you can find a news report about a high school teacher being arrested and charged with having sex with a student.

You look at that teacher's mug shot and think to yourself — how does this happen?

Writer Kristina Riggle of Grand Rapids has tackled this very thorny scenario in her newest novel – her fifth. It's called "A Whole Golden World."

Listen to the full interview above.

3:00 pm
Tue May 20, 2014

Should businesses donate to help Detroit through bankruptcy?

Detroit's skyline.
Credit Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

A state House committee is expected to vote today on Michigan's proposed contribution to the "grand bargain."

That's the name of the agreement that softens the blow to city pensioners, while protecting city-owned treasures at the Detroit Institute of Arts.

The $816 million grand bargain draws money from local and national foundations, the state, and the DIA.

Detroit Free Press business columnist Tom Walsh believes it is time for another face at the grand bargain table: business.

In a recent column, Walsh said, "The business sector must ante up to get Detroit out of bankruptcy fast."

He joined us to explain to us why.

Listen to the full interview above. 

3:00 pm
Tue May 20, 2014

In its 2nd year, right to work impacts teacher's unions

Teacher's unions have felt the impact of Right To Work.
Credit user frank juarez / Flickr

Michigan is now into its second year of right to Work. 

The law took effect in March 2013, making Michigan the 24th state where workers don't have to join a union as a condition of employment.

Many unions have yet to feel the impact of right to work, because they were already under contracts, or were able to sign new agreements or extend their existing ones before the law went into effect.

But Michigan's two teacher unions have certainly felt the impact of right to work. 

Doug Pratt is the Director of Member and Political Engagement for the Michigan Education Association, and he joined us on Stateside. 

*Listen to the full interview above. 

Politics & Culture
5:30 pm
Mon May 19, 2014

Stateside for Monday, May 19, 2014

Today marks the 1,000th day that Amir Hekmati has been in an Iranian prison. U.S. Congressman Dan Kildee, D-Flint, joined us to discuss what is being done to free the Michigan Marine. 

And it's morel hunting season in Michigan. A top morel hunter and chef joined us on the program today.

Next, the BBC's Justin Webb went for a test drive in one of Google's driverless cars. 

Then, the Republican's minimum-wage bill cleared the state Senate last week, and could demolish Raise Michigan's petition drive that would set minimum wage even higher. 

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5:28 pm
Mon May 19, 2014

Should Michigan Democrats look for a new ally?

Credit Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Should the Democratic Party in Michigan be looking for a new ally– one that is traditionally seen as having closer ties with the GOP?

MLive columnist Rick Haglund thinks the answer is yes. He thinks that Democrats in Michigan would be wise to join forces with big business. 

And, Mark Brewer, former chair of the Michigan Democratic Party, agrees. 

They both joined us on Stateside. 

*Listen to the full interview above. 

5:26 pm
Mon May 19, 2014

Google predicts driverless cars will rule the road in a few years

One of Google's self-driving cars.
Credit user: mariordo / Wikimedia Commons

Not that long ago, things like robot vacuum cleaners or self-guided lawn mowers seemed like science fiction. Now, nobody bats an eye at a robot scooting around the living room. 

So how long will it be before we're getting around in cars that don't need drivers?

Just a few years, according to Google. 

The company has developed a prototype which is apparently now ready for its biggest test: the demands of the city. 

Justin Webb, who's with Stateside partner BBC, went for a test drive at Google headquarters, and joined us to describe the experience. 

Hit the jump to see what it looks like to be in a driverless car by watching Google's video. 

Read more
5:22 pm
Mon May 19, 2014

State bill could kill Raise Michigan's petition drive

Credit Light Brigade / Flickr

A bill to raise Michigan's minimum wage from $7.40 to $9.20 an hour by 2017 is now on its way to the state House. The bill would increase the minimum wage for tipped workers from $2.65 to $3.50 an hour. 

The bill cleared the Senate late last week by a vote of 24-14. It's an attempt by the Republicans to kill a petition drive that would raise the minimum wage even higher, to $10.10 an hour, even for tipped workers. 

That petition drive is being led by the group Raise Michigan. Danielle Atkinson joined us. 

*Listen to the full interview above. 

5:21 pm
Mon May 19, 2014

It's mushroom hunting season in Michigan

The hunt is on for delicious morel mushrooms.
Credit user ladydragonflycc / Flickr

It's the time of the year that many of you have been waiting for: mushroom hunting season. 

Mushroom lovers know that May not only brings flowers in Michigan, it also brings delicious morel mushrooms. And that means the hunt is on all over the state. 

Phil Tedeschi is the president of the Michigan Mushroom Hunters Club and will be leading most of the upcoming hunts. He joined us on Stateside.

*Listen to the full interview above. 

5:14 pm
Mon May 19, 2014

Detroit has a rich country & western music history

Casey Clark was a disk jockey at WJR radio Detroit during the mid-1950s.
Credit 1966 edition of Music City News / Facebook

When you think of music that's made in Detroit, you certainly think of Motown. There's R&B, gospel, jazz, rock, rap – and there is country.

The Motor City has a rich history of country & western and bluegrass musicians, along with clubs, showrooms, and radio stations that got that music out to an eager public.

Craig Maki tells their story in his new book, "Detroit Country Music: Mountaineers, Cowboys, and Rockabillies,” and he joined us today.

This segment was edited by Crissy Zamarron with Mercedes Mejia. 

*Listen to our interview above.

7:32 pm
Thu May 15, 2014

New study shows drivers don't trust connected vehicles

A few years ago, most of us would not know what the phrase "connected vehicles" meant. Today, the technology is being used in more vehicles, in hopes of cutting down on accidents and traffic jams. 

A new study from the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute finds that even as the public welcomes the prospect of safer driving, they are still worried about being hacked and preserving their privacy. 

We were joined by the researchers who conducted this study. 

*Listen to the full interview above. 

7:29 pm
Thu May 15, 2014

Tecumseh Brewing Company is MILE's first crowdfunding success

Tecumseh's downtown historic district.
Credit user: Notorious4Life / Wikipedia

There's no shortage of talk about issues that divide our state lawmakers, so let's focus on something that virtually every lawmaker agreed was good for Michigan: our intrastate investment crowdfunding law. 

It zipped through the state House and Senate with just one "no" vote and was signed into law late last year by Gov. Rick Snyder. All of that happened in just four months. 

It's called the Michigan Invests Locally Exemption (MILE). It's a way of providing capital to existing and start-up businesses. We talked about this new intrastate crowd funding law a couple of months ago here on Stateside. 

Today, we look the first success story from MILE – the first business to reach its crowd funding campaign goal. 

The Tecumseh Brewing Company used MILE to crowdfund its way to $175,000. 

Kyle Dewitt is the co-founder of the Tecumseh Brewing Company  and Chris Miller is the coordinator of the Downtown Development Authority and Economic Development in Adrian. They joined us on Stateside today.

*Listen to the full interview above. 

Politics & Government
7:24 pm
Thu May 15, 2014

Hearings continue for Detroit recovery plan

Credit user: {megan} / Flickr

The newly-formed state House committee on Detroit's recovery and Michigan's future continued its hearings today.

At stake is exactly what the state's role should be in helping Detroit out of bankruptcy, and whether the state will kick in $195 million to the "grand bargain" to shore up pensions and protect the city's art collection. 

Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes, joined us. 

*Listen to the full interview above. 

7:20 pm
Thu May 15, 2014

Rouge Rescue seeks volunteers for annual river cleanup

An aerial photo of the River Rouge.
Credit Library of Congress

If you ever want proof that individual actions can make a big difference in our environment, look no further than the Rouge Rescue – the yearly cleanup organized by the Friends of the Rouge River

Since 1986, the volunteers of Friends of the Rouge River have been working to protect and improve the river. Right now they're in the midst of the annual Rouge Rescue, and looking for willing helping hands. 

Cyndi Ross, the program manager of Friends of the Rouge River, joined us. 

*Listen to the full interview above. 

Politics & Culture
9:45 pm
Wed May 14, 2014

Stateside for Wednesday, May 14, 2014

A power company wants to bury low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste less than a mile away from Lake Huron in Kincardine, Ontario.

Now a scientist who once worked for the nuclear waste facility is speaking out. He says some of the materials that would be stored underground are hundreds of times more radioactive than what was told to governmental officials. What do these new findings mean for the Kincardine project and the Great Lakes?

Then vintage trailer fans from around the country are heading to Camp Dearborn this weekend for the Tin Can Tourists' Annual Gathering. We talk travel trailers with them later in the show.

But first, we check in on Congressman John Conyers. He turns 85 this Friday, and the ballot snafu is likely not the birthday gift that Congressman Conyers would have wished for.

He’ll be filing an appeal with the state after yesterday's announcement by Wayne County Clerk Cathy Garrett that he did not have enough valid signatures on his nominating petitions to be on the August primary ballot.

Garrett says only 592 of the necessary 1,000 signatures are valid. Many signatures were disqualified because the people collecting the signatures were not registered voters. According to law, that voids the signatures they collected.

If his appeal to the state fails, Conyers is talking about mounting a write-in campaign for the primary.

All of this has those who have watched John Conyers since he was first elected to Congress in 1964 thinking about his "epic journey" through the decades, and what an ending to a career this could be.

Michigan Radio's political commentator Jack Lessenberry joined us today to talk about this.

9:43 pm
Wed May 14, 2014

"Tin Can Tourists" hold 17th annual gathering in Michigan

A 1954 Spartan Royal Manor.
Credit Tin Can Tourists / Pinterest

They call themselves the Tin Can Tourists. They're folks who celebrate the travel trailer – the vintage travel trailers – the kind that grandma and grandpa might have used.

This weekend the Tin Can Tourists are holding their 17th annual gathering at Camp Dearborn in Milford.

Forrest Bone is the head of the Tin Can Tourists. And he told us today that his group actually dates back to 1919.

*Listen to our interview with above.