Stateside Staff

Michigan lawmakers appear to be on their way to handing you a much better chance of selling a ticket for a sports or entertainment event at whatever price you can get.

The state House has voted to repeal a 1931 law and allow people to resell tickets above face value. In other words, it voted to legalize ticket scalping.

Here to tell us more is Dave Eggert, Lansing correspondent for the Associated Press.

Wayne Baker

When you look at the gridlock in Washington, the Red Blue state stereotypes, divisive and alarming messages blasted out at us from advertising, websites, TV networks, many talk radio shows and columnists, it's easy to conclude that our nation is divided and bitter.

But what does science tell us about what is truly in the hearts and minds of Americans?

My next guest has applied the science, asked the questions, and come up with an answer that is as surprising as it is reassuring: We are much more united as a people than you might have thought.

Wayne Baker is an author and sociologist. He's on the senior faculty of the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan and he is with the U-of-M Institute for Social Research.

His newest book is called "United America: The Surprising Truth About American Values, American Identity and the 10 Beliefs That a Large Majority of Americans Hold Dear."

Wayne Baker joined us today.

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Today we looked at Flint Mayor Dayne Walling’s annual state of the city speech. He gave his speech yesterday and we got him on the phone today.

*Listen to the interview above.

Mary Keithan

As you drive along Michigan highways and roads, how much attention do you pay to barns? My next guest has discovered that those easy to overlook barns tell fascinating stories of the people and the communities that built them.

Mary Keithan took her first photograph of a barn in 1990 and that launched a nine-year push to photograph and tell the stories of barns all over Michigan.

Her photographs are now on exhibit at the Kalamazoo Valley Museum.

Mary Keithan  joined us today.

When you look at the gridlock in Washington D.C., the red-blue state stereotypes, and cable TV, it's easy to conclude that we are a very divided nation, but what happens when you actually use science to determine whether or not we are, indeed, divided?

We'll ask that question today, and the answer might surprise you.

Also on today's show, we'll speak with an artist who has traveled to every county in Michigan. He photographed the state's thousands of barns.

And we'll find out why ticket scalping might soon be legal in Michigan.

But first we look at Flint Mayor Dayne Walling’s annual state of the city speech. He gave his speech yesterday and we called him today.

John M. Cropper / Flickr

Let's continue our look at military veterans in Michigan. Yesterday on the show, we talked about the disconnect between saying that we want to help veterans and actually putting policy into place that does that.

Today, we turned our focus to mental health.

Data from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs estimates about 22 vets a day are committing suicide.

And it's estimated one in five veterans of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

There are dozens of programs the military has set up to help treat the mental illnesses and troubles vets are suffering.

But a panel of experts studied programs from the U.S. Department of Defense and came to a very unsettling conclusion: There is no evidence these programs actually work.

The report shows the programs were not created from evidence-based research, and do not have an evaluation process to see if they are effective or not.

Kenneth Warner chaired the research panel. He's also in the Department of Health Management and Policy in the School of Public Health at the University of Michigan.

*Listen to the interview above.

Ford Motor Company

What matters more to you: Being able to drive faster, or being able to walk or ride your bike without dodging a speeding car?

That's how the battle lines are forming over a package of bills soon to be introduced in the state Legislature. It would allow the state to give drivers more leeway to put the pedal to the metal.

Tim Fischer is with the Transportation for Michigan coalition and the Michigan Environmental Council and he joined us today.

*Listen to our interview above.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

There is no shortage of attention showered upon our veterans. A true bipartisan show of support happened during the State of the Union speech, when President Obama singled out wounded Army Ranger Cory Remsburg for a standing ovation.

We stand up to offer ovations, we wave flags, we cheer our vets, but what are we really offering them in terms of support?

When it comes to per-capita spending for veterans, Michigan is last in the nation.

What should we be doing for the 700,000 military veterans who call Michigan home?

Kristin Hass joined us today. She’s the American Culture Director of Graduate Studies at the University of Michigan. And she’s the author of "Sacrificing Soldiers: New War Memorials on the National Mall."

*Listen to our interview above.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honey_bee

This winter has been especially tough for the already-fragile population of Michigan honeybees.

Beekeepers are coping with a nearly decade-long decline in commercial honeybees and their wild cousins. It's called "colony collapse disorder".

Now comes the unrelenting cold of this record-setting winter, and beekeepers in Michigan and other states are reporting staggering losses that could endanger crop production all over the nation.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced it's spending $3 million on a new program to help honeybees. 

Let's find out why this is so crucial and what it means for Michigan's farmers and beekeepers.

Mike Hansen is the State Apiarist with Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Military veterans don't have it easy. We often say we want to help, but Michigan ranks last in the nation when it comes to per-capita spending on our veterans. On today's show: Why the disconnect between what we say about veterans and what we actually do?

And, then, it's not only us – you know, humans – are dealing with this crazy winter weather. This season has been especially bad for an already fragile population in our state. We'll check in on our honey bees and what their livelihood means for Michigan crops this spring and summer.

There are fewer Michigan school districts running into the red this year, and even more are projected to work their way out of budget deficits by the end of the school year.

But peel away the top layer and it's not all good news. MLive Capitol reporter Jonathon Oosting joined us to explain why.

Jordan Valley Outfitters / Facebook

When I say "river rafting," you probably conjure up images of a beautiful warm day – maybe a packed picnic – but what about gliding down a Michigan river in the heart of winter?

Scott Harper and his wife have been taking people on winter rafting trips down the East Jordan River in Northern Michigan for the past 15 years.

They co-own Jordan Valley Outfitters in East Jordan.

*Listen to the interview above.

Photo from the 2011 Capital Pride Parade in Washington, D.C.
user ep_jhu / Flickr

We are now into week two of the trial in federal court in Detroit centering on the challenge to Michigan's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.

Two Hazel Park nurses are challenging that ban, which was passed by Michigan voters in 2004. The women want to get married so they can adopt each other's children.

As picketers on both sides of the issue march outside the federal court building in downtown Detroit comes word of a new State of the State survey conducted by Michigan State University.

It finds a majority of Michigan residents support gay marriage.

MSU Economics Professor Charles Ballard joined us to talk about this survey. He directs the survey.

*Listen to the interview above.

Sharon Drummond / Flickr

There are fewer Michigan school districts running into the red this year, and even more are projected to work their way out of budget deficits by the end of the school year.

Politicians in Lansing say they're encouraged by the trend, but peel away the top layer and it's not all good news. MLive Capitol reporter Jonathon Oosting joined us to explain why.

*Listen to the interview above.

Mandy Warhol / Flickr

All right, you fans of West Michigan's Whitecaps, it's your chance to decide what treat will be added to the concession menu at Fifth Third Ballpark.

The annual online poll lets fans choose their favorite item from ideas submitted by fans. The team has pulled a top-10 list from hundreds of ideas.

Mickey Graham is with the West Michigan Whitecaps, and he joined us today to discuss some of the top choices. 

Listen to the full interview above.

Peter Martorano / Flickr

As Mayor Duggan does the heavy lifting to get Detroit actually up on its physical "feet," the other part of its rehab is, of course, the historic bankruptcy.

So many pieces, so many players.

Detroit News Business Columnist Daniel Howes has been keeping a close eye on all of it, and he joined us today for our weekly check-in.

Listen to the full interview above.

Mike Duggan

Detroit Mayor Michael Duggan delivered his first State of the City speech last night before a packed, invitation-only crowd. And his message was clear: We are going to change what it means to live in Detroit.

Even among those who have a "wait-and-see" attitude, the mayor's speech is being praised for what many believe is a refreshing attention to detail and the sense that a team is at work.

Detroit Free Press columnist Nancy Kaffer joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

You’ve heard it before, folks, time and time again. In today's economy, the more education one attains after high school, the better, right? But what if some students might be better served in other settings, academic or otherwise? Is it time for Michigan to develop some credible alternatives for high school grads? We’ll find out more on today’s show.

Then, we spoke to Daniel Howes about his reporting on Detroit's historic bankruptcy. 

And, Fifth Third Ballpark wants to expand its concessions menu. We took a look at some of the food options fans can vote for, including deep-fried lasagna and a bacon-and-chocolate taco.

Also, how can we keep young entrepreneurs fresh out of college in Michigan? The Michigan Collegiate Innovation Prize awards them for launching their start-ups in state.

And, a new fee system for hunting and fishing goes into effect soon, and it’s the first significant raise in over 15 years. We spoke with Ed Golder of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources about what’s behind this increase.

First on the show, Detroit Mayor Michael Duggan delivered his first State of the City speech last night before a packed, invitation-only crowd. And his message was clear: We are going to change what it means to live in Detroit.

Even among those who have a "wait-and-see" attitude, the mayor's speech is being praised for what many believe is a refreshing attention to detail and the sense that a team is at work.

Detroit Free Press columnist Nancy Kaffer joined us today.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

If you like to hunt or fish in Michigan, heads up. There's a new fee system going into effect this coming Saturday, March 1.

It's the first significant hike in hunting and fishing fees in over 15 years.

Ed Golder of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources joined us today to tell us what's new and what the increase will go toward.

Listen to the full interview above.

http://bec.umich.edu/

How do we keep our smart, energetic, bright college graduates from packing up and leaving Michigan?

One good way is by helping those with that entrepreneurial spirit to launch their start-ups in Michigan.

That's the idea behind a contest called the Michigan Collegiate Innovation Prize.

More than 81 teams from more than 16 colleges and universities around the state applied to be a part of the contest. At stake? More than $100,000 in prizes and intensive start-up training.

Amy Klinke with the U of M Center for Entrepreneurship in the College of Engineering is the contest director. Dr. Mark Keil is a pathology resident at the U of M Medical School, and he is a member of one of the winning teams. They both joined us today to discuss the experience.

Listen to the full interview above.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

This is the time of year when many high school juniors are taking their ACTs and scheduling campus tours. And high school seniors are looking in the mailbox for college acceptance letters and – hopefully –financial aid packages.

There are many in Michigan who believe that heading to college is the key to a successful life for these kids. There's plenty of evidence that young adults with that four-year degree will do better in terms of employment and wages than their peers with some college, or a two-year degree, or only a high school diploma.

But there is another side to the discussion – the one that raises the question: Is college truly the right choice for all high school grads? Are we overlooking the opportunities offered by skilled trades and other careers that do not require a degree?

Glenda Price is the former president of Marygrove College in Detroit and is now the president of the Detroit Public Schools Foundation. And Lou Glazer is the president of Michigan Future, Inc. They both joined us today to discuss the issue.

Listen to the full interview above.

Attracting skilled immigrants is good for the economy, right?

Gov. Snyder has proposed a plan to attract 50,000 highly skilled immigrants to the state. It's a plan that would require them to live and work in Detroit as a way to help boost the city’s economy, but some say we’re not doing enough for immigrants already here. On today's program: What can our state do to keep the immigrants who are here while attracting new immigrants?

Then, we all take shortcuts right? Just think about your walk to work, or to the store. Do you cut through a parking lot, or cut across an empty field? Well, there is so much vacant land in Detroit that is exactly what people are doing. So much so, that you can see their tracks from Google Earth. Later in the hour we’ll explore Detroit’s urban footpaths.

But first we talk about how the defense spending cuts will affect Michigan.

user foqus / Flickr

Earlier this week, U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel unveiled his latest budget proposal. And it is clear that as the drawdown in Iraq and Afghanistan continues, the Obama administration's priority is now reducing military size and spending.

Secretary Hagel declared that budget reductions cut “so deep, so quickly, that we cannot shrink the size of our military fast enough.”

For instance, the active-duty Army would shrink to its smallest level since just before the U.S. entered World War II. There would be base closings, troop cuts, trimmed salary increases, and the complete elimination of several Air Force aircraft fleets.

That includes the A-10, an aircraft that dates back to the Cold War.

The A-10, also known as "The Warthog," was designed to take out Soviet tanks.

Twenty-four of America's 300 Warthogs are at Selfridge Air National Guard Base near Mt Clemens in Macomb County. Eliminating that fleet would be a gut punch to Selfridge.

Here to explain is Detroit News Washington Bureau Chief David Shepardson.

Listen to the full interview above. 

  

Jesus Valdez is from Zacatecas, Mexico. He owns and operates a shoe repair store in Ann Arbor. His story is like so many others across the state. He knew his skill was valuable and saw an opportunity to make his dream of owning a business a reality.

Listen to our conversation with him below:


Andrew Jameson / Wikimedia Commons

One of Detroit’s many great challenges could also turn out to be a great opportunity to figure out how we might imagine big cities that are more liveable, more walkable, more sustainable.

One of the challenges in Detroit is what to do with large parcels of empty land that are abandoned and unpaved.

Joshua Newell sees those parcels as something that can hold the key to a better American city. He's an assistant professor at the University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources.

Listen to his ideas below:


Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

When Governor Snyder pushed through a repeal of the the personal property tax — aka the PPT — in late 2012, it was seen as a good step towards encouraging businesses to set up and expand in Michigan.

But local governments took it right on the chin. As the PPT phased out, many were in line to lose a significant source of revenue.

But there's good news for municipal officials worried about a great big hole in their budgets.

A package of bills has been introduced in the State Senate that would plug that hole, without having to revert to anything like the PPT, which Governor Snyder called "the second-dumbest tax" in Michigan.

And this package seems to have just about everyone on board, including both Democratic and Republican lawmakers.

Here to tell us more is Kathleen Gray from the Detroit Free Press, and MLive’s Jonathan Oosting.

Listen to the full interview above. 

Peter Martorano / Flickr

Rick Snyder has been one of the most enthusiastic governors in pressing Congress and the White House for immigration reform.

He recently proposed a plan to attract 50,000 highly skilled immigrants to Michigan, essentially "rolling out the red carpet" to attract immigrants to fill vacant technology, engineering, medical and health care jobs in Detroit.

His plan would require immigrants to live and work in bankrupt Detroit, using their skills in science, business or the arts to help power the city back to health.

But some believe the governor's plan overlooks the immigrants who are already here, people who might be able to use a little of that support. And what about immigrants who might not possess an engineering or science degree, but have energy and an entrepreneurial spirit – are they being slighted by the governor's plan?

Here to discuss the future of Michigan’s immigrant population is Steve Tobocman, director of Global Detroit, and Nikki Cicerani, president and CEO of Upwardly Global, a resource for skilled immigrants.

Listen to the full interview above.

One of the most painful and divisive times in Michigan's history were the five days in July 1967 known as "the Detroit riots,"  which left 43 people dead, nearly 1,200 hurt, more than 2,000 buildings destroyed and more than 7,200 people arrested.

One of the most infamous events of those five days came just after midnight on July 25, 1967. The riots were at their peak when Detroit police and National Guard troops swept into the Algiers Motel, searching for snipers.

Two hours later, police left the Algiers. They had found no snipers. But they left behind them the bodies of three black youths.

The Algiers Motel incident is the subject of a play by Detroit native Mercilee Jenkins: "Spirit of Detroit," a play about the '67  riot/rebellion."

It will soon be presented at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. Bob Smith of the Museum, and the director of the play, Kate Mendeloff, who is a theatre professor and director from the University of Michigan Residential College, joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

It's been five days since emergency manager Kevyn Orr released the bankruptcy reorganization blueprint, which maps out a way to wipe out billions in debt, spend over half a billion in tearing down abandoned buildings and invest one billion to improve city services.

Now that all stakeholders have had a chance to digest the blueprint, the battle lines are being drawn.

Detroit Free Press columnist Rochelle Riley joined us today to give us a look ahead.

Listen to the full interview above.

The face of farming in America, and here in Michigan, is changing.

More and more often, that farmer raising crops or tending to a dairy herd is a woman.

As women move from a supporting role to a starring role on Michigan farms, how is this changing agriculture?

Sue Raker is the owner and operator of Cloverland Apiary and Farm on Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula.

And Wynne Wright is a professor in community sustainability and sociology at Michigan State University. They both joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

psmag.com

Michigan's new state treasurer, Kevin Clinton,  is calling for Michigan residents to pay the state's 6% sales tax on Internet purchases.

Right now, online shoppers in the state don't have to pay the sales tax to companies that don't have actual stores in Michigan, like Amazon or Overstock.com.

There are currently bills in the state Legislature known as "Main Street Fairness" legislation that would change that.

So will you soon have to pay sales tax on your Amazon purchases? Chad Livengood, Lansing reporter for the Detroit News, joined us today to try and answer that question.

Listen to the full interview above.

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