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Stateside Staff

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Now that the GOP has gotten its tax reform plan passed, leaders like House Speaker Paul Ryan are saying the next item on the agenda is reining in government spending.

Perhaps the work of Michigan State University economist Mark Skidmore, his team of graduate students, and a former government official, will give them a place to start.

Skidmore and his team dug into government websites and reports, and they may have found unauthorized spending in the Department of Defense (DOD), and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to the tune of $21 trillion from 1998-2015.

PFAS chemicals have contaminated water across Michigan. Today on Stateside, we learn what that means for public health and clean up. And, in honor of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, we visit Terra Prime Light Armory in Ann Arbor, where athletes spar with lightsabers.

A rusty barrel in the woods
Bryce Huffman

On Monday, environmental activist Erin Brockovich spoke at a west Michigan town hall.

She was there in support of a class-action lawsuit filed against three companies – 3M, Wolverine Worldwide, and Waste Management.

The suit accuses them of dumping toxic waste and polluting the groundwater in several areas of Kent County with a family of chemicals known as PFAS, which stands for per-and-polyfluoroalkyl substances.

Mixtape: Colin Stetson, Stef Chura, and Royce da 5’9”

Dec 19, 2017
Courtesy of artists

Today on Stateside, we take an end-of-the-year listen to music from Detroit-area artists. Our guides, as always, are Paul Young, publisher of Detroit Music Magazine, and Khalid Bhatti, the magazine's executive editor. 

Listen to the full conversation above, or read highlights below.

Colin Stetson, “All This I Do for Glory” from All This I Do for Glory

Disruption Books, 2017

When it comes to protecting the environment, our existing laws have failed us.

So says environmental activist Maya van Rossum. In her new book, The Green Amendment, she says existing laws don't ban pollution or development.

She writes, "Industries are perfectly able to pollute the air and water not in spite of, but because of, the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act – they simply need the right permits to do so."

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The U.S. House and Senate have cobbled together their $1.46 trillion tax overhaul. 

Now they're trying to convince the public this plan is going to help them. Polls have found that fewer than 35% of Americans approve of the overhaul.

Charley Ballard, a Michigan State University economics professor, joined Stateside today to share an economist's take on the tax bill.

Today on Stateside, an economist explains why "the average family doesn't really get a whole lot" from the $1.46 trillion tax overhaul. And, the mastermind behind Jumanji gives his take on the updated film version. We also learn why it's not hard for foster kids to just disappear, and what a Traverse City author is doing to try to change that. Finally, we learn why it's important to recruit black, male teachers.

Courtesy of Shenandoah Chefalo

There are nearly 13,000 children in foster care in Michigan, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. Across the country, there are around 400,000 kids in foster care on any given day.

But what we don’t know for sure is how many children have been “lost” in foster care.

Courtesy of Dr. Curtis L. Lewis

The Next Idea 

The teaching profession in America remains largely white and female. That means young African American males can go through school without ever seeing a teacher who looks like them.

Not only can this mean a lack of black role models, but it also means teaching doesn’t get held up as a profession that’s desirable for black men to pursue.

picture from the new film Jumanji welcome to the jungle
Courtesy Sony Pictures

Hollywood is coming to Michigan. The Michigan premiere of the new film Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle happens on Tuesday, Dec. 19 in Grand Rapids and Ann Arbor.

The film stars Dwayne Johnson, Karen Gillan, Jack Black and many more names. It was inspired by the work of Chris Van Allsburg, the renowned writer and illustrator of children's books. He's won two Caldecott Medals for his illustrations for The Polar Express and Jumanji, which was published in 1981.

Van Allsburg grew up in Grand Rapids, and he joined Stateside today to talk about the original Jumanji and this new take on the story.

wallet with Michigan license
Sabrina Io'Ana C. / Flickr - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCl0

 

 

Last night a federal judge issued a preliminary injunction barring the Michigan Secretary of State’s office from suspending the driver’s licenses of people unable to pay their traffic tickets and associated charges.

Today on Stateside, an alleged victim of Larry Nassar says MSU president Lou Anna Simon's apology was "heartless and empty." We also discuss what it means to be neighbors again for black and Jewish communities in Detroit. And, we review the good, the bad, and the ugly that came out of Lansing in 2017.

fence
Jobs for Felons Hub / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCl0

Research at the University of Michigan indicates a key driver of the high incarceration rates is someone on parole being returned to prison — not for an additional crime, but for a technical violation of parole.

Jeffrey Morenoff, a research professor and director of the Population Studies Center at the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research, joined Stateside to talk about his new research.

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Last year the Jewish News, a Detroit Journalism Cooperative partner, published a piece about Jews being part of Detroit’s white flight.

But rather than fighting or hassling black residents moving into Jewish neighborhoods, Jews just left. Still, some of the Jewish-owned businesses stayed behind, serving the new residents.

Pastor Aramis Hinds of Breakers Covenant Church International and Rabbi Ariana Silverman of the Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue joined Stateside today to discuss how the relationship between Jews and African Americans evolved during that period of history. They also discussed how it continues to evolve today.

Courtesy of Emma Weinstein

On Sunday, there will be a staged reading of a new play called Come My Beloved. It's described as being about race, intimacy, and Detroit.

The play chronicles a Friday night in the lives of three black and Jewish couples at different points in time.

The playwright and director is Emma Weinstein, and she joined Stateside today.

Kate Wells / Michigan Radio

Today the Michigan State University Board of Trustees gave President Lou Anna Simon a raise. She donated that $150,000 to a scholarship fund.

Top leaders at Michigan State University, including Simon, also offered apologies to women who say they were sexually assaulted by Larry Nassar, the former MSU sports doctor. They also created a $10 million fund to pay for counseling and other services.

Jessica Smith is one of the 125 women and girls who say Nassar sexually assaulted them. She was at the MSU Board of Trustees meeting earlier today, and joined us on Stateside afterward.

A lot could happen in the coming days. Congress is poised to deal with several major issues, including the Republicans' tax overhaul and funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program. U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow joined Stateside today to discuss those issues, and more. Also on the show today, EMU officials defend the university's contract to boost online degrees, saying professors' concerns are unwarranted.

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There is growing concern on the campus of Eastern Michigan University (EMU) about the school's future.

Tomorrow, EMU's two faculty unions are planning a protest over the university's decision to sign a contract with a for-profit company called Academic Partnerships (AP). The goal of the arrangement, administrators say, is to better market EMU's online degree programs and recruit more students.

Prince Albert memorial
Paul Hudson / Flickr - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCl0

 

156 years ago this day, a husband died.

His grieving wife wore black from that day until her own death 40 years later.

That is the story of Britain's Queen Victoria and her husband, the Prince Consort Albert.

Senator Debbie Stabenow
USDAgov / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The clock is ticking down to when the U.S. Congress is scheduled to leave for its holiday break.

But a lot could happen within this next week, especially with Congress poised to deal with several major issues, including the Republicans’ tax overhaul and funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow sat down with Stateside to discuss those issues and more.

Detroit's Renaissance Center
Michigan Municipal League / Flickr - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCl0

 

 

 

Just weeks after being linked with a federal grand jury probe into auto industry corruption, a retired UAW vice president has resigned his seat on the board of General Motors.

Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes co-reported this story with his colleague Robert Snell. Howes joined Stateside today to share his updates.

Women don't just face sexual assault at work. Today on Stateside, we hear how it happens at home too. And, we talk to a Detroit designer working to bring more black women into architecture and urban planning. (Right now, only .3% of architects are black women.) We also hear why two teachers left Michigan to work in another state.

Genesee Community Health Center mobile care
Genesee Community Health Center

Since 1965, community health centers have provided care for low-income and uninsured Americans.

And now, that vital care for 26 million people in more than 10,000 locations is threatened by the failure of Congress to renew its funding, which expired September 30.

If the fund is not renewed, community health centers could lose out on $3.6 billion, and one policy brief from the National Association of Community Health Centers estimates between 76,000-161,000 private jobs could be lost nationwide.

classroom
Woodley Wonder Works / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Last year, a survey of more than 11,000 Michigan teachers revealed that a lot of teachers are unhappy with some aspects of their job. Michigan's two biggest teachers’ unions conducted the survey.

Stateside talked to two schoolteachers in California who used to live and teach in Michigan. We asked them to reflect on some of the challenges they faced when they were educators in this state.

Jeff Bohl, principal of Lakeview High School in Battle Creek, joined Stateside to respond to some of their comments, and to give us more insight as to why so many teachers are frustrated.

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104 years ago this month, some 400 miners and their families were at a Christmas Eve celebration in Calumet in the Upper Peninsula. 73 men, women and children would not live to see Christmas Day.

We know this tragedy as the Italian Hall Disaster and the 1913 Massacre, born out of the depths of a long and bitter miners' strike.

Tiffany Brown with two other women
Courtesy of Tiffany Brown

There’s so much renovation and new development happening in Detroit. But how many of the people designing these spaces are the people who will end up using them?

That’s the question that drives Tiffany Brown.

She is an architectural designer who won a 2017 Knight Arts Challenge grant for her idea to bring more black girls and women into the field of architecture and urban planning. Her winning project is called 400 Forward.

Christopher / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

The #MeToo movement has launched us into a national discussion about sexual harassment, especially harassment and assault committed by men in the workplace.

Shervin Assari, an assistant professor of psychiatry and public health at the University of Michigan, believes we should also be talking about another aspect of sexual assault that happens at home, behind closed doors: forced sex in intimate relationships.

Today on Stateside, we discuss why the heat on MSU has gone from "zero to 100." We also talk to subjects of the new documentary on Flint that looks for "inspiration in the wake of desperation." And, we answer this MI Curious question: Why do so many international Olympic figure skaters train in Michigan?

Courtesy of Yuka Sato

Today's MI Curious question is especially timely with given that the South Korea winter Olympics are right around the corner.

Why do so many international Olympic figure skaters train in Metro Detroit?

The question came from listener Dan Major of Clinton Township. To find the answer, Stateside went to the Detroit Skating Club in Bloomfield Hills. 

https://www.michiganstateuniversityonline.com/about/michigan-state/

It’s been a rough several days for Michigan State University and its president, Lou Anna K. Simon.

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