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Politics & Culture
4:55 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

Stateside for Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014

What can be done to save our failing schools? Some believe teachers should be held accountable, but are we are giving them enough support?

Then, snow days aren’t so simple for Michigan schools. Some districts are already over the limit of six missed days that they can have before they must add days to make up for lost class time. And with a month left of winter, there’s still a chance for even more snow days. Later in the hour we ask, what's the best way to make up lost time?

First, like an unwelcome guest, this winter keeps hanging on, serving up record amounts of snow and bitterly cold temperatures.

And then there's a propane shortage.  So those in Michigan and throughout the Midwest who rely on propane for their heat have to worry about getting propane, and when they do, dealing with major price increases.

What's behind the shortage? And what does it mean for the 9 to 10 percent of Michigan homes that use propane for heat?

Judy Palnau of the Michigan Public Service Commission joined us today.

Stateside
4:55 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

A warm-up is on the way – but not for long

Roads covered in ice and snow.
LisaW123 Flickr

 Lots of us have made the rueful observation that it's pretty sad when we think of 28 degrees as warm weather.But that's what we've come to in this cold winter.

What caused this relative warm-up? And will the deep freeze come back?

Here to tell us more is MLive and farmerweather.com meteorologist Mark Torregrossa.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
4:55 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

Education researcher says we can't blame teachers for failing schools

A teacher in a classroom.
Sarah Hulett Michigan Radio

As Michigan moves into new, uncharted waters in terms of testing and evaluating those who hope to become teachers, there are many views on whether this testing and evaluation is fair, helpful, and an accurate measurement of how students, teachers, and schools are doing.

Mitch Robinson is an associate professor and chair of music education at Michigan State University. A former teacher, his research is now focused on education policy and the mentoring of new music teachers. 

He believes test scores like the beefed-up version of Michigan's teacher certification test aren't telling us anything substantial about students or learning.

Listen to the full interview above.

Environment & Science
4:54 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

What's behind Michigan's propane emergency?

A propane tank covered in snow.
sierrafoothillsreport.com

Last month, in the midst of the polar vortex, Gov. Rick Snyder declared an energy emergency in the state as propane supplies dropped.

The shortage continues as Michiganders who rely on propane  for their heat have to worry about getting propane – and when they do, dealing with major price increases.

What's behind the shortage? And what does it mean for the 9 to 10 percent of Michigan homes that use propane for heat?

Listen to the full interview above. 

Politics & Culture
4:50 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

Stateside for Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014

There are more than 70 virtual currencies in the marketplace.

You may have heard of the biggest players: Bitcoin, Ripples, and Litecoin, which are taking out the middleman and reinventing the meaning of money. The idea is gaining momentum among college students. Today, we heard how virtual money is opening doors for young Michigan entrepreneurs.

Then, school districts around the nation and right here in Michigan are talking about ways to accommodate transgender students. The ACLU of Michigan's LGBT Project (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) is already working on model policies.

And we spoke with some talented Michigan musicians about how their EP (extended play recording) reached No. 2 on the iTunes electronic charts with virtually no promotion.

Read more
Stateside
4:44 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

How are Michigan roads holding up this winter?

Can Michigan roads handle the additional damage from this winter?
Peter Ito flickr

As the winter of 2013-2014 drags on, we're really seeing what it's done to our roads.

Patching crews try in vain to keep up with a bumper crop of potholes. More and more of us are losing tires, blowing the suspension as we bang into one of those gaping potholes.

And keep in mind, Michigan's roads were crumbling before this winter.

With more winter to go, we wondered where our roads stand and what needs to happen in Lansing to do what it takes to repair and maintain the roads.

Michigan Department of Transportation Director Kirk Steudle knows all too well what this winter has done to the pavement, and he joined us today. 

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
4:37 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

Where are the best places to dine in Detroit?

Xochimilco Mexican restaurant.
Facebook

National leaders are recognizing Detroit’s food movement. Last week it was announced that the federal government is providing $150,000 to support local food cultivation in the Detroit area. The money will mostly go to farmers in the city to help fund infrastructure for growing crops.

Detroit has become a hub for urban farming, but the city is also home to a host of hidden and amazing restaurants. Let’s take a tour of those restaurants with writer Bill Loomis. He wrote the book, "Detroit Food: Coney Dogs to Farmers Markets." He joined us today to give us some recommendations.

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Stateside
3:40 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

Michigan schools are working on becoming more accommodating to transgender students

LGBT rainbow flag flapping in the sun
user Marlith Flickr

How far should a school go to accommodate its transgender students? What federal or state laws and ordinances might impact policies for transgender students?

School districts around the nation are wrestling with these questions, even as parents and civil rights groups mount court challenges against districts whose policies are not supportive of transgender student rights.

The ACLU of Michigan's LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) Project is now crafting a comprehensive model policy for transgender students – a policy that could be adopted by local school districts. Jay Kaplan is a staff attorney who is part of this effort, and he joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
3:34 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

Bitcoin digital currency could be the way of the future, according to two Michigan students

A physical bitcoin.
Wikipedia

Bitcoin: Is it something that could alter centuries of banking and money practices? Or is it an unstable "funny money" fad?

Bitcoin is a digital currency or "cryptocurrency" not backed by any central bank.

But our next guests are banking on bitcoin.

Kinnard Hockenhull actually left the University of Michigan to set up his bitcoin business called BitBox.

And Daniel Bloch is a U of M junior in the College of Literature, Science and the Arts and Engineering. He's working with Hockenhull on BitBox and he's launched his own bitcoin-based nonprofit called Coingive that tries to give charities a helping hand with bitcoin. They joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
4:14 pm
Mon February 17, 2014

Stateside for Monday, Feb. 17, 2014

Rona Romney McDaniel is building on her family's extensive political legacy. She is taking Terri Lynn Land's seat on the Republican National Committee. What does this mean for Michigan's profile? Michigan Public Radio Network Lansing Bureau Chief Rick Pluta joins us to discuss McDaniel's new position. 

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Environment & Science
4:11 pm
Mon February 17, 2014

Solar power in the not-so-sunny UP

Can solar power be used the Upper Peninsula?
Ford Motor Company Flickr

When we think solar power and solar panels, what comes to mind? 

The sun, of course. So what are the prospects for solar power in areas that tend to be cloudy, snowy, and cold? Places with short days and long nights? Places like Michigan's Upper Peninsula?

Upper Peninsula Second Wave writer Sam Eggleston joins us from Marquette to discuss what might happen when solar power meets the UP.

Listen to the full interview above. 

Stateside
3:45 pm
Mon February 17, 2014

Has Michigan stopped the hemorrhage of folks packing up and moving out?

corriganmoving.com

A recently released migration study from United Van Lines finds that people aren't leaving Michigan in droves anymore.

For the past 37 years, United Van Lines has tracked who's moving where among the 50 states  to see which states are in demand, which are stable and which are the ones people want to leave.

And for the first time in 16 years, this migration study contains good news for Michigan.

We spoke with Corrigan Moving Systems agent Dave Corrigan.

Listen to the full interview above.

Sports
2:12 pm
Mon February 17, 2014

Michigan figure skaters set world record at Sochi

Meryl Davis and Charlie White - World Champions 2013
Ludwig Welnicki en.wikipedia.org

One of the most compelling Michigan stories to emerge from the Sochi Winter Olympics has been in the ice dancing competition. Fifteen of the 24 teams train at three Metro Detroit facilities, including Arctic Edge in Canton.

Sunday's short program left two teams at the head of the pack: Canada's Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, and Charlie Davis and Meryl White for Team USA. Both pairs train at Arctic Edge, and both share the same coach.

Today, the two teams competed for gold, and...

<<< SPOILER  ALERT: DON'T CLICK THROUGH if you don't want to know what happened today in Sochi>>>

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Politics & Culture
4:53 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

Stateside for Thursday, Feb.13, 2014

When it comes to support for emergency care services, the U.S. just barely squeaked by with a passing grade, at least according to a new state-by-state report card put out by the American College of Emergency Physicians.

And how did Michigan measure up, you might ask? Well, it turns out we're failing in access to emergency health care. We heard some recommendations about ways to move forward.

Then, we met a woman who’s trying to help people come together to have some uncomfortable, but enlightening, conversations about race, class and more.

And, we spoke with Daniel Howes about Tom Lewand, Detroit’s job czar.

Also, “Saturday Night Live” just hired its first black female cast member in five years. Will this bring more attention to other black comedians?

And, a Michigan historian gave us a closer look at how Michigan milkweed helped us in World War II.

Also, the Michigan Human Society has a new way to find homes for their animals: social media.

First on the show, how do you best measure the progress of students in Michigan's classrooms and, by extension, the effectiveness of their teachers?

It's one of the thorniest challenges being debated in Michigan education.

For years, the Michigan Education Assessment Program (MEAP) and the Michigan Merit Examination (MME) have been the assessment tools. Now, with the move to the Common Core Standards, it's out with the MEAP and MME and in with the what?

Districts around Michigan are gearing up for an online adaptive assessment test in the spring of 2015.

The Michigan Department of Education says the state has only one option for testing students on the Common Core State Standards for the next three years.

And that option is the Smarter Balanced Assessment – the SBA.

But state lawmakers haven't made that official.

We wondered how districts  are preparing for the SBA or whatever test they're told to administer next year.

William Heath is the superintendent of the Morrice Area Schools and principal at Morrice Junior and Senior High School located in Shiawassee County. He joined us today.

Stateside
4:53 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

According to a new report, Michigan is failing in access to emergency care

Is a health care emergency coming in 2014?
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

How are we doing as a state and as a nation, when it comes to our emergency rooms and access to emergency health care?

According to a report card recently released by the American College of Emergency Physicians, not very well. Michigan received a grade of "D" in access to emergency care.

Why are we failing in access to this life-or-death care in Michigan?

Dr. Michael Nauss is a senior emergency room physician at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. And he's a board member of the Michigan College of Emergency Physicians. He joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
4:53 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

Deep Dive Detroit helps start conversations about social justice

Lester Graham Michigan Radio

What discussions and conversations should we be having around Michigan that we are veering away from?

What's the price we're paying for not opening up and talking about hot-button issues like racism, poverty, food justice, LGBT rights, and so much more?

That's what our next guest asked herself, and that led her to co-found Deep Dive Detroit. Its mission is to "create a safe place for uncomfortable conversations between disparate groups."

Co-founder Lauren Hood joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
4:53 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

Michigan Humane Society uses social media to place animals in homes

Jennifer Waters Creative Commons

This is worth taking a look at as Facebook marks its 10th birthday. Social media is being used by the Michigan Humane Society to find homes for its orphaned animals.

Kelly Stork is the social media specialist for the Michigan Humane Society, and she joined us today to tell us more about it.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
4:53 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

Black female comedians are receiving more attention

Satori Shakoor
Twitter

A new face recently joined the cast of "Saturday Night Live" and made plenty of headlines when she did.

Comic Sasheer Zamata became the first black female cast member of SNL in five years, since the departure of Maya Rudolph. She was discovered through a talent search that focused strictly on black female comedians.

What does this extra attention mean for other black women who want to make us laugh?

One of those women is Detroiter Satori Shakoor, actor, writer, comedian and creator of "The Secret Society of Twisted Storytellers." She joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
4:52 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

Michigan milkweed played a key role in WWII

Milkweed
Flickr user keithcarver Flickr

Think about World War II and the ways Michigan helped the war effort: The Arsenal of Democracy, Rosie the Riveter, heavy bombers rolling off the assembly line at Willow Run.

And milkweed.

Yes, the common weed found in the northwest Lower Peninsula went to war.

Gerry Wykes is a historian and freelance author/illustrator who recently wrote about milkweed for Mlive and Michigan History Magazine. He joined us today to explain how this weed helped in the war effort.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
4:52 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

Detroit's jobs czar Tom Lewand claims to have the 'best job in America'

Peter Martorano Flickr

It’s time for our Thursday check-in with Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes.

His focus today was on someone who says he's got "the best job in America." Tom Lewand is the man in the Mike Duggan administration whose mission is to find jobs for Detroiters.

Daniel Howes joined us today to tell us more about this job.

Listen to the full interview above.

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