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Politics & Culture
4:58 pm
Wed March 26, 2014

Stateside for Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The number of adults who smoke cigarettes is the lowest it's been in decades: 19% in 2010, compared to more than double that in 1965.

But now there are e-cigarettes, and it seems the use of these battery-powered nicotine inhalers is growing faster than science can keep up.

We explore the health risks of so-called "vaping" and what the state is doing to keep e-cigs out of the hands of children.

But first on today’s show, from elation to a state of limbo.

That's the status of same-sex couples in Michigan who had hoped to marry following last Friday's ruling from federal judge Bernard Friedman, a ruling that struck down Michigan's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.

More than 300 couples rushed to speak their vows on Saturday before the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a stay of Judge Friedman's ruling until appeals proceedings conclude.

And now we have heard from Governor Rick Snyder about those couples. He said the state will not recognize those marriages.

MLive writer Jonathon Oosting joined us today.

Offbeat
4:49 pm
Wed March 26, 2014

Marquette's walkability is a model for Michigan

Marquette, Michigan
mainfr4me Flickr

How do you guide your city or town into the future, without losing those elements from the past that make it special, livable, with a true sense of place?

That's a challenge many towns in Michigan face. Many small towns have lost their unique look, buried by a profusion of generic shopping strips, lots of gas stations, drug stores and fast food restaurants. And then there are the wide freeways and highways that carve a city up.

The city of Marquette is an example of how a city can redefine itself, yet make itself something special, livable and walkable. And what they're doing in Marquette can be a model for towns and cities all over Michigan. 

We are joined today by Dennis Stachewicz, the director of planning and community development for Marquette. 

Listen to the full interview above. 

Stateside
4:45 pm
Wed March 26, 2014

How Michigan is trying to keep e-cigarettes out of minors' hands

An e-cig.
Lindsay Fox Flickr

You may have seen someone firing one up in a restaurant – where you thought smoking was banned. Maybe a friend or relative uses them. Or maybe you have tried to kick a cigarette habit by using one: an electronic cigarette.

These are the battery-powered inhalers that are loaded with a replaceable or refillable cartridge of liquid “juice” that can contain nicotine, solvents and flavors.  Puffing on an e-cig is called “vaping.” And there’s little doubt vaping is here to stay.

Sales of e-cigs have grown from around $500 million in 2012 to around $1.5 billion last year. 

Right now, there’s no regulation on e-cigs, beyond the FDA telling e-cig makers they may not market their products as a way to quit smoking.  And there’s nothing to keep the e-cigs from being sold to minors.

That has ignited debate in Lansing.

Associated Press reporter Emma Fidel has been looking into the state’s efforts to keep e-cigs out of the hands of kids under age 18.

Listen to the full interview above.

Made In Michigan
2:34 pm
Wed March 26, 2014

How a Michigan company unintentionally invented the cubicle

Love it or leave it, the cubicle has its roots in Michigan.
Mark Sebastian Flickr

An interview with Mark Schurman of Herman Miller.

The American office used to be rows of desks in a huge room with zero privacy.

All that changed when a Michigan-based company unintentionally invented the cubicle.

What led to the redesign of American offices?

We talk to Mark Schurman , of Herman Miller, to talk about how Michigan shaped the way offices across America look today.

Listen to full interview above.

Stateside
2:32 pm
Wed March 26, 2014

How a resistance fighter in Czechoslovakia became one of Michigan's most prominent engineers

Charles Novacek as a child.
"Border Crossings: Coming of Age in the Czech Resistance"

An interview with Sandra Novacek.

The next time you're in downtown Detroit, and you walk by the Cobo Center or the People Mover, or in Ypsilanti and you see Washtenaw Community College, or Providence Hospital in Southfield or many other buildings around Southeast Michigan — stop for a moment and remember this name: Charles Novacek.

He was born in what was then Czechoslovakia, and grew up through his country's occupation by the Nazis and then the Communists. He began training as a resistance fighter as a boy of 11, and continued the fight as he grew up. He endured prison and torture before escaping to a refugee camp and, ultimately, to a new life in Michigan.

Charles Novacek became a noted engineer in Michigan, working on many projects in the state that still stand today. And before he died in 2007, he wrote a memoir entitled "Border Crossings: Coming of Age in the Czech Resistance".

The book has now been published by Charles Novacek's wife, Sandra. We talk with Sandra about her husband's journey. 

For more information on the book, visit www.charlesnovacekbooks.com.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
2:29 pm
Wed March 26, 2014

An update on Lake Michigan oil spill

The cleanup on Lake Michigan.
Screenshot from The Chicago Tribune The Chicago Tribune

An interview with Michael Hawthorne, a reporter with The Chicago Tribune.

An oil spill from a BP refinery in Whiting, Ind., this week has raised new worries about the stepped-up processing of Canadian tar sands – and threats to Lake Michigan.

Considering that seven million people in Chicagoland depend on Lake Michigan for drinking water, even a little spill might be cause for concern.

Exactly what was spilled? How far did it spread? And has BP contained the leak?

We're joined now by Michael Hawthorne, a reporter with The Chicago Tribune.

Listen to the full interview above.

Politics & Culture
4:23 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

Stateside for Tuesday, March 25, 2014

A Balanced Budget Amendment making the federal government not spend more than it takes in: It sounds pretty good. Get rid of those trillions and trillions of dollars of national debt. But one economist says that's not necessarily a great plan.

Then, it feels like we hear about recalls everyday, from food, to cars, to toys. They make news, but are consumers facing so-called recall fatigue? Are there just so many recalls that we've started to tune them out?

And, you don't have to hunt too far to find critics of our schools, of the way our children are learning, what they're learning and the achievement gap within our classrooms. But are we placing too much pressure on teachers when we expect them to fix these problems?

Also, it’s official. Merriam-Webster now recognizes “Yooper” as a word.

First on the show, for years there’s been talk that Michigan needs to put more money into its roads.

Gov. Snyder has said he wants at least $1.2 billion annually for road maintenance and repair.

A new report says the state needs closer to $2 billion a year.

But negotiations at the state Capitol stalled – until the last few weeks.

Earlier this month, some $200 million was OK’d in a supplemental budget. It looks like another deal could be in the works.

Now word on the street is that this is not some grand bargain. Instead, there are reports that the amount would be closer to $300-400 million. It’s a start, but why now?

Jack Lessenberry is Michigan Radio’s political analyst, and he joined us today.

Stateside
3:45 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

How much will it cost to fix the state of our roads?

What will it take to fix these roads?
Peter Ito flickr

An interview with Jack Lessenberry.

For years there’s been talk that Michigan needs to put more money into its roads.

Gov. Snyder has said he wants at least $1.2 billion annually for road maintenance and repair.

A new report says the state needs closer to $2 billion a year.

But negotiations at the state Capitol stalled – until the last few weeks.

Earlier this month, some $200 million was OK’d in a supplemental budget. It looks like another deal could be in the works.

Now word on the street is that this is not some grand bargain. Instead, there are reports that the amount would be closer to $300-400 million. It’s a start, but why now?

Jack Lessenberry is Michigan Radio’s political analyst, and he joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
3:45 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

Should teachers be held accountable for the achievement gap?

Sarah Hulett Michigan Radio

An interview with Natalie Davis, Alistair Bomphray, and Martha Curren-Preis, three teachers earning their PhDs in education.

You don't have to hunt too far to find critics of our schools, of the way our children are learning, what they're learning and the achievement gap within our classrooms.

There are countless ways, countless statistics that try to measure the problems. Here's just one, centered on the achievement gap. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, on 2007 standardized math exams, white fourth-graders performed better than black fourth-graders in all 46 states where results are available.

And we hear a steady drumbeat of criticism that students here in the U.S. are lagging behind their peers in other countries. When you look at standardized tests, American students rank 17th in reading, 23rd in science and 31st in math, which puts them behind students in Poland and Slovenia.

How much pressure should we put on individual teachers to fix these problems?

Natalie Davis, Alistair Bomphray, and Martha Curren-Preis are teachers who are all earning their Ph.D.s in education at the University of Michigan. They joined us today to discuss the issue.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
3:45 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

'Yooper' recognized as an official word by Merriam-Webster's Dictionary

Flickr user herzogbr Flickr

An interview with English professor Anne Curzan.

Welcome, dear "Yooper." And we’re not talking specifically to those of you who live in the Upper Peninsula. We’re talking about the actual word "Yooper." It’s official, according to the 2014 edition of Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary.

Anne Curzan is an English professor at the University of Michigan, and she joins us every Sunday on Michigan Radio for "That's What They Say."  Anne joined us today to discuss the specifics of this new official word. 

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
3:45 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

Will a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution cure our national debt?

An interview with Charles Ballard, an economist with Michigan State University

Michigan could soon join about 20 states that are formally calling for a national convention to draft a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Michigan itself has a balanced budget requirement, but not so for the federal government.

This idea of a balanced budget amendment has really taken off in the past few years as the nation’s debt has increased.

Charles Ballad is an economist with Michigan State University, and he joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
3:45 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

Are U.S. consumers facing recall fatigue?

GM's Headquarters in Detroit
John F. Martin Creative Commons

An interview with Sonari Glinton, who covers the auto industry for NPR.

General Motors has been in the headlines recently over its recall of more than 1.5 million vehicles due to ignition switch problems that are being blamed for some 13 deaths.

Toyota is also in the news after having agreed to pay more than $1 billion to settle with the Justice Department over a delayed recall of millions of its vehicles.

But are U.S. consumers facing recall fatigue?

Sonari Glinton covers the auto industry for NPR, and he joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
5:30 pm
Mon March 24, 2014

Gender inequality in the college party scene

Red solo cups are the most popular attendees at college parties.
user: arvindgrover Flickr

When you think of inequality in higher education, things like tuition, price of textbooks and food probably come up.

But what about inequality when it comes to the party scene in college?

A new five-year study found that if a young woman chooses the so-called "party path" rather than rigorous studying, and if she's from a working class or low-income family, the party path might not lead to a great college experience, or a promising career. 

The research was done by sociologists Elizabeth Armstrong of the University of Michigan and Laura Hamilton of the University of California.

They've turned this research into a book, Paying for the Party: How College Maintains Inequality

Politics & Culture
5:26 pm
Mon March 24, 2014

Stateside for Monday, March 24, 2014

After a dizzying three days, what's next for the historic same-sex marriage case in Michigan, and what is the legal status of all those gay couples who lined up to get married on Saturday?

Some in the Michigan Legislature want to expand the number of troubled schools that can fall under Michigan's Educational Achievement Authority. Is it too soon to expand the EAA? We spoke with Kathy Gray of the Detroit Free Press. 

Also, a new book compiled from research by two female sociologists investigates what happens to college women when they put partying above studying. The researchers joined us today to talk about what they found.

And we discuss the possibility of year-round schools in Michigan.

Stateside
5:23 pm
Mon March 24, 2014

Lawmakers poised to expand Education Achievement Authority in Michigan

Michigan Capitol Building, Lansing, Michigan
Thetoad Flickr

The state House has approved a measure to expand the controversial Education Achievement Authority. The EAA is the agency that is supposed to turn around some of the state’s most struggling school districts.

A final version of the bill could be voted on as early as this week by the state Senate and sent to Gov. Snyder for his signature.

The legislation passed the House last week by just one more vote than was needed.

Critics of the EAA, mostly Democrats, say student test results don’t support putting more schools into the authority.

Supporters, mainly Republican, say the legislation allows for more tools to be used to turn around failing schools.

Kathy Gray has been covering the EAA for the Detroit Free Press, and she joined us today.

Listen to the interview above.

Stateside
4:53 pm
Mon March 24, 2014

Would year-round schools work in Michigan?

Lockers in a Flint school.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

Some at-risk schools in Michigan could soon get more state funding if they agree to go year-round.

In his budget address in February, Gov. Snyder called for a state pilot program to encourage year-round schooling. School districts could get money to add air conditioning and other upgrades to old buildings so they could operate during the summer.

Supporters of the measure say students lose a lot of what they learn during the school year after long summer breaks.

State Rep. Andy Schor, D-Lansing, is sponsoring year-round education legislation. He says teachers have to reeducate students in September and October.

“You could have 30 and even up to 60 of the 180 days of kids relearning what they should already know,” said Schor.

But do these measures actually work?

Harris Cooper is professor and the chair of the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at Duke University. He joined us today to share his thoughts.

Listen to the interview above.

Politics & Culture
5:21 pm
Thu March 20, 2014

Stateside for Thursday, March 20th, 2014

The Justice Department is investigating General Motors for delaying a recall of more than a million and a half cars. On today's show: how is this recall affecting GM's reputation?

And, a new Michigan law will now allow you to literally BYOB, bring you own bottle of wine to a restaurant.

Also, starting a business can be hard, but what about starting a business with a mission to help end homelessness? That's exactly what the Empowerment Plan aims to do. 

First on the show, Rick Pluta, Captiol Bureau Chief for the Michigan Public Radio Network and co-host of It's Just Politics, joined us to talk about how Lansing plans to spend surplus money.

Stateside
5:19 pm
Thu March 20, 2014

New law allows you to bring your own wine to Michigan restaurants

Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

A new Michigan law will now allow you to literally BYOB, bring your own bottle of wine to a restaurant. Chris is the Chief Restaurant Critic and Wine Writer at Hour Magazine, and he joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
4:41 pm
Thu March 20, 2014

Rick Pluta talks about money and March Madness

It costs a lot of money to go to college.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

An interview with Rick Pluta.

There is almost a billion dollars worth of state surplus. Should the state spend it or give it back to taxpayers? Should we get a rebate, or should that money be put towards fixing roads and helping schools? And what about the Detroit bankruptcy? 

Also, March Madness is upon us. President Obama chose Michigan State to win the NCAA basketball championship. But who did Governor Snyder pick?

Rick Pluta, Captiol Bureau Chief for the Michigan Public Radio Network and co-host of It's Just Politics, joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
4:25 pm
Thu March 20, 2014

Daniel Howes on the General Motors recall crisis

General Motors headquarters.
user paul (dex) Flickr

An interview with Daniel Howes, business columnist at the Detroit News.

It was announced yesterday that Toyota has agreed to pay $1.2 billion to settle with the U.S. Justice Department over a delayed recall of millions of vehicles.

The Justice Department is also investigating General Motors for delaying a recall of more than 1.5 million cars. The cars have defective ignition switches that can turn the car off at high speeds.

There's also news that GM executives are being summoned to D.C. to face Congressional inquiries.

Daniel Howes, business columnist at the Detroit News, joined us today to discuss the issue.

Listen to the full interview above.

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