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Stateside Staff

Samaritas is the largest resettler of refugees in Michigan.
Courtesy of Samaritas

The White House continues to insist that the President's executive orders on immigrants and refugees will make America safer.

The West Michigan group Samaritas begs to differ.

Betsy DeVos testified at a hearing earlier this month.
Screenshot / C-SPAN

Betsy DeVos is facing stiff opposition from teacher's unions in her nomination fight to head up the US Departent of Education.  

Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow announced that she would not support DeVos nearly three weeks in advance of the vote by the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. (On Tuesday, the committee voted 12-11 along party lines on Tuesday to move DeVos’s nomination to the Senate floor.) And, in DeVos’ hometown of Holland, about a thousand people recently gathered to protest the nomination.

But DeVos also had some devoted supporters in her corner. 

Stateside 1.30.2017

Jan 30, 2017

Today on Stateside, we hear reactions to President Trump's executive order banning people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States. We speak with attorneys and someone who was held up at the border this weekend. We also hear statements on the issue from Michigan congressional leaders.

Lyse Messmer / Michigan Radio

President Trump today said he was right to ban people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States.

Courtesy of Farah Al-khersan

Across the country, immigration lawyers flocked to airports and border crossings this weekend to help travelers stranded by President Trump’s executive order.

Not all of them, however, were able to offer their services.

Farah Al-khersan, an immigration attorney of West Bloomfield, was blocked from re-entering the United States when she and her husband tried to cross back over from Sarnia Friday night.

Protesters and police inside Detroit Metro Airport.
Courtesy of Carey Swanson

President Trump continues to defend his immigration order that clamps a temporary ban on U.S. entry for travelers from seven majority-Muslim nations, and refugees from around the world. And he continues to insist it "is not a Muslim ban."

Despite the nationwide protests, the confusion and the mounting questions, Trump said "all is going well."

Lawyers who spent long hours trying to help travelers blindsided by the president's action beg to differ.

Jamil Khuja is one of those attorneys. He went to Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW) to help an Iranian green card holder who had been blocked from re-entering the country.

An illustration by Ann Arbor native Tom Pohrt found within the pages of The Bird-while by Keith Taylor.
Tom Pohrt, "The Bird-while" reprinted with permission of Wayne State University Press

He teaches young writers at the University of Michigan, and he practices what he teaches.

Throughout the years, Keith Taylor has published short stories, co-edited volumes of essays and fiction, and written powerful collections of poetry.

Taylor joined Stateside to talk about his newest book of poetry, The Bird-while

Stateside 1.27.2017

Jan 27, 2017

Fifty years ago today, a Grand Rapids astronaut died in the Apollo 1 disaster. On the show, we hear how that accident changed NASA forever. And, we take a trip to Ferndale, where one of the very first Michigan craft cocktail bars is tucked away on 9 Mile.

Courtesy of the Broad Art Museum

A project facilitated by Chicago-based artist Jan Tichy brought high school English students in Flint together with high school art students in Lansing to depict life in Flint without safe water.

The project culminates in an installation at the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University and a book filled with student work called Beyond Streaming. The installation invites visitors to open the nozzles of floor-to-ceiling copper pipes. Sounds and original poems recorded by the students will then stream out of the pipes.

Roger Chafee in May 1965 at a console in NASA’s Mission Operations Control Room in the Mission Control Center (MCC) in Houston during a Gemini simulation.
The Grand Rapids Public Museum and City Archives, Roger B. Chaffee Collection

Today marks 50 years since NASA faced one of the organization's biggest setbacks. On Jan. 27, 1967, a fire during a preflight test for Apollo 1 killed the three astronauts on board.

One of the crew members was Grand Rapids native Roger B. Chaffee.

Glen Swanson, a former NASA historian and current visiting instructor in the Department of Physics at Grand Valley State University, joined Stateside to look back at Chaffee's life and death, and how the Apollo 1 disaster changed NASA.

Courtesy of HandUp Detroit

Giving money to the homeless, especially on the street, seems to give rise to a whole range of emotions, from the joy of giving to plain suspicion at handing over money to a stranger. 

There are those who don’t want to give cash because they aren’t sure how it will be used. Others feel compelled to help a person in obvious need. Some cities have even gone so far as to ban panhandling altogether.

Now, an online giving platform called HandUp is taking a new approach. The San Francisco-based website recently launched an effort in Detroit that allows online donors to give money directly to homeless individuals and families in the metro area.

President Donald Trump continues to claim, despite a lack of proof, that there was widespread voter fraud in the 2016 election. Trump won the election, but lost the popular vote by nearly three million.
Gage Skidmore / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

It's been a busy week in the world of politics. For instance: Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette was accused of posturing, and President Donald Trump continues to stir things up in Washington.

Ken Sikkema, senior policy fellow at Public Sector Consultants and a former Republican legislative leader, along with Vicki Barnett, a former Democratic legislator, joined Stateside to break it all down. 

Stateside 1.26.2017

Jan 26, 2017

His only opposition bowed out of the race last week. Today, we hear from Ron Weiser, expected chairman of Michigan's Republican Party. And, we learn why President Trump's EPA freeze is raising anxiety for Flint. 

U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Flint.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Every year, the EPA awards over $4 billion in grants and other means of assistance.

Within hours of President Trump taking the oath of office, an email went out to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officials ordering them to freeze all contract and grant awards, effective immediately.

That leaves many wondering how that could affect federal aid to Flint, especially as the U.S. Senate approved $170 million to address the lead in Flint’s drinking water last month.

Courtesy of Grand Valley State University

The Next Idea

Michigan's philanthropic organizations are facing a changing climate of giving.

Movement of money within the nation's wealthiest families, low wages for many of today's young people, political polarization and the erosion of government safety nets are just some of the many drivers impacting how people give and how charities organize themselves.

Today's contributor to The Next Idea has been watching many of those trends and others that affect charitable giving.

Courtesy of the Michigan History Center/Archives of Michigan

Happy birthday, Michigan!

On Jan. 26, 1837, 180 years ago today, Michigan became the 26th state to join the union.

Before that could happen, there was some housekeeping to do, namely: to settle the fight between Michigan and Ohio over a narrow strip of land known as the Toledo Strip. The conflict is otherwise known as the "Toledo War."

State Archivist Mark Harvey from the Michigan History Center joined Stateside to look back at how the state of Michigan got started.

Michigan Republican Party

His only opposition bowed out of the race last weekend. Now, University of Michigan Regent Ron Weiser is in line to succeed Ronna Romney McDaniel as chairman of Michigan's Republican Party.

McDaniel is the new head of the Republican National Committee.

Weiser was state party chair from 2009-11 and he joined Stateside to talk about the job, the state of the Republican Party and why it was "duty not desire" that drove him back to the chairman role.

Stateside 1.25.2017

Jan 25, 2017

We Live Here, a new documentary from State of Opportunity, airs today on Stateside. It investigates how massive schools closures in Detroit have affected students and neighborhoods.

Stateside 1.24.2017

Jan 24, 2017

President Trump met with the Big Three today. On the show, we learn why that meeting may be the start of a "golden opportunity" for the auto industry. And, we hear the little-known story of Belle Isle's first elephant.

Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

What happens to students and neighborhoods when a school closes?

That question was thrust into the spotlight with word late last week that Michigan's School Reform Office has put 38 low-performing schools on notice they could be shut down. Twenty-five of those schools are in Detroit.

Tomorrow, Michigan Radio’s State of Opportunity team will look at school closures in a new documentary called We Live Here.

Sheba the Elephant at the Belle Isle Zoo during the 1940s
1940s Detroit Zoo Guide - Asian Elephant Net website

"She is five tons of gray, ponderous beauty."

That's how Rex G. White of the Detroit News described the now-forgotten treasure of the Belle Isle Zoo: Sheba the Asian elephant.

She arrived in Detroit in 1923 and lived at the Belle Isle Zoo until she died on Jan. 2, 1959.

And it all began with a letter written by a schoolgirl.

U.S. Department of Justice

As the United States moves into the first week of the Trump presidency, there is some question as to whether the new president will follow through on his major campaign pledges. Some of his most controversial proposals involved the way his administration would relate to Muslim Americans, and Muslims hoping to come to the United States from abroad.

With regard to the latter, he called for an outright ban until, as he put it, “our country's representatives can figure out what is going on.” He also suggested during the campaign that he supported a registry or database of Muslims living in the United States.

So how are Muslim Americans preparing for life under the Trump administration?

Barbara McQuade, a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School, was appointed by President Obama as the U.S Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan in 2010.
Courtesy of the University of Michigan Law School

Barbara McQuade is the first woman to serve as U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan. She was appointed by former President Obama in 2010.

But a new administration means a new U.S. attorney.

There are so many questions to be answered: Who will President Donald Trump choose? What happens to ongoing federal investigations and lawsuits during a change in administrations?

From top to bottom: Charlie Day, GmanViz, EvinDC / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The CEOs of the Detroit Three automakers had breakfast with President Trump this morning. On the agenda today: creating jobs and reducing regulations.

It’s a “golden opportunity” for the auto industry, said Daniel Howes, Detroit News business columnist.

That’s even though Detroit automakers took a lot of heat from Trump throughout his campaign.

There are so many people, places and things in Michigan that are mispronounced, like Mackinac Island.
Josh Grenier / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Do you know the proper way to pronounce the community of Presque Isle and the county of Presque Isle? (Hint: they are different). Or how about the cities of Charlotte or Milan? How many non-Michiganders have you heard mispronounce Mackinac Island?

There's no shortage of Michigan towns, locations and personalities with, let's say, challenging pronunciations. If you're a Michigander, a visitor, or anything in between, there is now a definitive guide for these tricky words or names. 

The Michigan Braille and Talking Book Library now gives people audio and phonetic pronunciations for more than 2,200 places, people and things in or connected to Michigan.

flickr user Gage Skidmore / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

(Support trusted journalism like this in Michigan. Give what you can here.)

President Donald Trump’s inaugural speech stands out in history.

“I think it is the only inaugural address that I’m aware of that declared war on the establishment – both Republican and Democratic, and anything in between,” said Gleaves Whitney, director of the Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies at Grand Valley State University. “I mean, it just was saying, ‘A new sheriff is in town and we’re going to do things differently.’”

Stateside 1.23.2017

Jan 23, 2017

Thirty-eight underperforming Michigan schools are on the chopping block. Today, we learn how they got there and what's next. And, we situate Trump's inaugural address in history, discussing how similar, and very different, it was from those of past presidents.

Courtesy of Aaron Robertson

President Bill Clinton, astronomer Edwin Hubble, singer and actor Kris Kristofferson, ABC journalist and former White House spokesman George Stephanopoulos, Senator Cory Booker and former Senator and basketball Hall-of-Famer Bill Bradley.

That's just a shortlist of people who've won the Rhodes Scholarship, one of the most prestigious scholarships. 

Now, you can add Aaron Robertson to that list. 

Robertson was born in Detroit and currently calls Redford Township home. The Princeton undergrad is one of just 32 Americans awarded a 2017 Rhodes scholarship, and he joined Stateside to talk about it.

Courtesy of Lena Epstein

 

 

Lena Epstein, a resident of Bloomfield Hills and former co-chair of Trump's Michigan Campaign, had an "up-close and personal seat" for the historic inauguration of President Donald J. Trump.

She says she and her husband had tears in their eyes as they watched the peaceful exchange of power amidst the "very patriotic" and "supportive" crowd.

 

Trump’s address moved her, she says, especially when he mentioned Michigan, one of "the states that have felt forgotten for so long."

Tashmica Torok (left) was one of the many women from Michigan that made the trip to the Women's March on Washington.
Courtesy of Tashmica Torok

Washington D.C. officials say half a million people marched in the nation’s capitol on Saturday. Another one million people joined rallies around the country, according to estimates; plus big crowds around the world, from London to Berlin, Tokyo to Antarctica.

Tashmica Torok of Lansing was one of the Michiganders who made the trip to Washington. Torok is executive director of the Firecracker Foundation, a group that works with child survivors of sexual trauma, and she joined Stateside to talk about her experience and her motivation for going.

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