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Stateside
4:38 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

Can Michigan reach 30% renewable energy sources by 2035?

warrenski Creative Commons

Our state is working to get its energy needs met by wind and other renewable sources.

Right now, state law mandates that electric providers must obtain 10% of their electricity sales from renewable resources by 2015.

We're on track to do that.

But a recent report turned in to Governor Snyder says we could boost that to 30% by 2035. And when compared to neighboring states, Michigan's Renewable Portfolio Standard, the RPS, is not as robust as it could be.

John Quackenbush is the Chairman of the State Public Service Commission who led the renewable energy study at the Governor's request, and James Clift is the director of the Michigan Environmental Council. They joined us today to discuss the issue.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
3:07 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

Ann Arbor filmmakers document a struggling high school basketball team

Assistant Coach Rudie Crain talks to the Medora team.
MedoraFilm

Cyndy Canty interviews filmmakers Davy Rothbart and Andrew Cohn.

It began with a New York Times feature story about a struggling boys' high school basketball team in a tiny town in southern Indiana.

The story of the 0-22 Medora Hornets so gripped a pair of Ann Arbor filmmakers that they picked up and moved to struggling, hardscrabble Medora, Indiana for a full year to follow the team as it fought for just one win.

In doing so, Davy Rothbart and Andrew Cohn discovered layers and layers of compelling stories, which they have packed into a powerful documentary.

"Medora," which premiered at the SXSW Film Festival, is now being screened all around Michigan.

There will be a live screening tomorrow night in Ann Arbor at the Michigan Theater. Additional screenings will be held in Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo (see listings here).

Davy Rothbart and Andrew Cohn joined us today (listen to the interview above).

Watch a trailer for the film below, and here's a link to their website.

MEDORA OFFICIAL TRAILER from beachside on Vimeo.

Politics & Culture
5:17 pm
Tue December 10, 2013

Stateside for Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

We saw them rise, then fall, then rise again -- small, independent bookstores are making a come-back in Michigan. We'll explore the renaissance on today's show.

And, then, the state is close to wrapping its plans to make programs more accessible to people with disabilities - that's in order to be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. We'll talk to the state's compliance director later in the hour.

But we start with the first woman to be placed in the top spot of a major automaker. She began her career at General Motors as an engineering co-op student in 1980. 33 years later, Mary Barra has made history by being named the next CEO of GM.

GM made the ground-breaking announcement today that CEO Dan Akerson has moved up his retirement to January 15th after discovering his wife is battling advanced stage cancer.

Michigan Radio’s auto reporter, Tracy Samilton, tells us more about Mary Barra and what this appointment means to America's auto industry.

Stateside
5:15 pm
Tue December 10, 2013

What does GM's first female CEO mean for the auto industry?

General Motors's next CEO, Mary Barra.
Carlos Osorio Associated Press

She began her career at General Motors as an engineering co-op student in 1980.

33 years later, Mary Barra has made history by being named the next CEO of GM — the first time a woman has been placed in the top spot of a major automaker.

GM made the groundbreaking announcement today that CEO Dan Akerson has moved up his retirement to January 15, after discovering his wife is battling advanced-stage cancer.

But who is Mary Barra, and what does this appointment mean to America's auto industry?

Listen to the full interview above. 

Stateside
5:14 pm
Tue December 10, 2013

After 150 years, Keystone State steamer discovered in the Lake Huron

Divers found the shipwreck submerged in Lake Huron.
user Brucegirl wikimedia commons

It's been a mystery that has haunted Lake Huron since the Civil War: What happened to the Keystone State?

The wooden steamer set out from Detroit, bound for Milwaukee, around November 9th, 1861.

She never made it — and no one knew the Keystone State had run into trouble until wreckage washed up on the shore near Lexington.

But thanks to David Trotter, the Keystone State has been found — in nearly 175 feet of water.

Listen to the full interview above. 

Stateside
1:31 pm
Tue December 10, 2013

Getting State offices and programs more accessible to people with disabilities

The State of Michigan is close to wrapping up a plan to make its programs more accessible to people with disabilities.

The goal is to get State offices, communications and web sites to be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

We wanted to get a better idea of what that really looks like, how much progress has been made and what it all means for people with disabilities.

Laura Hall is an Assistive Technology Coordinator for the Michigan Disability Rights Coalition, and Sharon Ellis is the State ADA Compliance Director. They both joined us today to discuss the issue.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
1:30 pm
Tue December 10, 2013

Independent bookstores are enjoying a renaissance

Inside Nicola's Books in Ann Arbor
Photo courtesy of Nicola's Books

Remember "You've Got Mail," The Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan romantic comedy?

Writer-director Norah Ephron says she wanted to make a point about little independent bookstores like Meg Ryan's "Shop Around the Corner" being crushed by the big-chain bookstores, Tom Hanks' "Fox Books."

That was 1998, and many small independent bookstores were indeed fighting for their lives in the face of the big-chain stores.

Now, in 2013, the book-selling landscape has changed. Borders books collapsed in 2011 and Barnes & Noble closed many of its stores.

There is Amazon with its talk of using drones to drop your order at your door in a few years. But guess what? Independent bookstores are enjoying something of a renaissance.

Deborah Leonard, director of the Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association, and Peter Makin, owners of Brilliant Books in Traverse City, joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Business
4:28 am
Tue December 10, 2013

Your first job can teach some harsh life lessons, especially for recent grads

For people at their first job out of college, it might be a slap in the face to learn that your appearance is often just as important as your abilities.
Haley Foydel LinkedIn

We spend a huge chunk of our lives in school. But the educational system and the real world are two different places.

In school, there are rules. Everyone has a chance to get an A, no matter what you look like. But that idea of fairness changes in the real world.

For people at their first job out of college, it might be a slap in the face to learn that your appearance is often just as important as your abilities.

Read more
Politics & Culture
4:53 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

Stateside for Monday, December 9th, 2013

The state House is expected to take up a controversial telecommunications bill. 

The measure would let AT&T end traditional landline phone service as long as there is Internet phone service that can take its place. But, in some rural areas in Michigan, Internet phone service can be spotty. On today's show, we took a look at what the legislation could mean for you.

Then, could private philanthropy save the art at the DIA?

And, how would Shakespeare’s play King Lear look like if it were set in Flint? One professor and her students found out.

Also, we spoke to meteorologist Mark Torregrossa about which parts of the state will be getting snow this week.

First on the show, what happens when a child is struggling to read at his or her grade level?

In too many cases, the student moves up a grade anyway and the struggle continues, resulting in high school graduates who are poor, ineffective readers. And that can impact that student's chances of going to college and then getting a job that provides a good level of pay over a lifetime.

There's a package of bills sponsored by Holland Republican Representative Amanda Price now working through the State that tries to tackle this problem. It's called the "read-or-flunk law."

In a nutshell, if third-grade kids aren't reading, hold them back.

Ron French reported on the pros and cons of these bills for Bridge Magazine, and he joined us today to discuss the issue.

Stateside
4:31 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

Phone companies may start phasing out traditional landline services

splorp Flickr

These days, more and more people are so attached to their cell phones that they've decided they don't need a landline at home.

The FCC tells us the number of landline customers in Michigan was around 7 million in 2000. By 2012, that number had dropped to about 3 million.

And, during that same 12-year stretch, the number of wireless phones more than doubled from nearly 4 million to more than 9 million.

A bill sponsored by Battle Creek Republican Senator Mike Nofs is working its way through the State Senate. It would allow phone companies to phase out traditional landline service beginning in 2017, letting phone companies discontinue the service to homes so long as some type of newer phone service is offered, such as voice-over Internet Protocol.

Many in Michigan might just shrug that off: They've already dropped their landlines. But others are deeply concerned.

Matt Resch, public affairs director for Michigan AT&T, and Melissa Seifert, the Associate State Director of the Michigan AARP, joined us today to talk about Senate Bill 636.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
4:24 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

What if Shakespeare's 'King Lear' took place in Flint?

A group photo of the class.
Mary Jo Kietzman

One of Shakespeare's great tragedies is King Lear, the story of an ancient British king who devises a "love test" in hopes of dividing his kingdom equally among his three daughters.

An English professor at the University of Michigan Flint has taken King Lear and, working with her students, set the scene in Flint and turned it into a staged reading called "Lear Reassembled." They'll be performing it December 10th and December 12th.

Mary Jo Kietzman joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
4:21 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

Former Wayne State professor donates $5 million to the DIA and Detroit retirees

DIA

There's been a new development in the unfolding story about Federal Judge Gerald Rosen and his bid to protect the DIA collection and the pensions of Detroit city retirees.

Judge Rosen is serving as the mediator in the Detroit bankruptcy case. We've heard how he is trying to craft together a plan wherein at least 10 national and local charitable foundations would chip in to create a $500 million fund, a fund that could be leveraged to not only protect the DIA treasures but to lessen the pain of retiree pension cuts.

Late last week, a former Wayne State Chemistry professor stepped forward with an offer.

Dr. A. Paul Schaap developed a molecule that created light through chemistry. His discovery proved very useful in a wide range of medical tests. He then founded the company Lumigen, and he made many millions as a biotech entrepreneur.

Over the years, Paul Schaap has given many millions back to Wayne State, to Hope College, to professors and researchers. Now, Paul Schaap is donating $5 million to help the DIA and the city retirees.

Dr. A. Paul Schaap joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
4:17 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

The 'read-or-flunk' law proposes holding back students not reading at grade level

What happens when a child is struggling to read at his or her grade level?

In too many cases, the student moves up a grade anyway and the struggle continues, resulting in high school graduates who are poor, ineffective readers. And that can impact that student's chances of going to college and then getting a job that provides a good level of pay over a lifetime.

There's a package of bills sponsored by Holland Republican Representative Amanda Price now working through the State that tries to tackle this problem. It's called the "read-or-flunk law."

In a nutshell, if third-grade kids aren't reading, hold them back.

Ron French reported on the pros and cons of these bills for Bridge Magazine, and he joined us today to discuss the issue.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
5:02 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

Looking at Michigan's 'shadow economy'

Andy Flickr

We turn now to what’s known as the “underground economy.”

When jobs are scarce, people will do whatever they can to put a meal on the table, pay the mortgage or the rent. Whether it's odd jobs, selling plasma, doing home repairs and getting paid under the table, people are doing it.

One economist gave a best-guess estimate of two trillion dollars worth of this underground activity in the nation last year -- that’s nearly eight percent of the Gross Domestic Product.

Reporter Lynn Moore wrote a piece about the shadow economy in Michigan and she joined us today.

*Listen to the audio above.

Politics & Culture
4:57 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

Stateside for Thursday, December 5th, 2013

Lots of attention is being paid to Detroit's bankruptcy, but it is not only Detroit that's facing big budget challenges.

Unfunded liabilities and retiree debt are adding up all across our state -- from Ann Arbor to Grand Rapids to Bloomfield Hills -- we'll find out more on today's show.

And, then, later in the hour -- Did you know Muskegon is home to America's tallest singing Christmas tree? It's a West Michigan holiday tradition, and we'll take you inside the show and introduce you to the people that make it possible.

First up, big auto news from around the globe today.

General Motors says it plans to largely withdraw its Chevrolet brand from Europe beginning in 2016.

The automaker says the decision was largely due to a challenging business model and the difficult economic situation in Europe.

Meanwhile, the Ford Mustang is celebrating its 50th birthday with a new design and plans to go global.

Russell Padmore joined us from London. He’s a business reporter for the BBC.

Stateside
4:49 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

Detroit is not the only city in Michigan facing enormous budget challenges

The financial woes Detroit is facing aren't isolated.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

All eyes are on Detroit this week, following Tuesday’s historic ruling on Detroit’s eligibility for bankruptcy. For those living outside the city, it's easy to separate themselves from Detroit's problems. 

But many experts say Detroit is not alone.

Detroit is not Michigan's only city that faces enormous budget challenges. Unfunded liabilities and retiree debt are adding up all across our state.

Ted Roelofs, a contributing writer to Bridge Magazine, recently wrote a piece that argues that other cities in Michigan will not be immune to rising legacy costs that, in part, did Detroit in.

Roelofs and John Pottow, a bankruptcy expert at the University of Michigan, talk with us about the future of other Michigan cities in the wake of Detroit’s bankruptcy.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
4:47 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

What's behind General Motors' decision to withdraw Chevy from Europe?

Chevy's models will be withdrawn from European markets.
Chevrolet

Today, General Motors announced plans to largely withdraw its Chevrolet brand from Europe beginning in 2016.

The automaker says the decision was largely due to a challenging business model and the difficult economic situation in Europe.

Meanwhile, the Ford Mustang is celebrating its 50th birthday with a new design — and plans to go global.

Russell Padmore, business reporter for the BBC, joins us from London to talk about the latest auto news.

Listen to full interview above. 

Stateside
4:47 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

Will the DIA survive Detroit's bankruptcy? A Detroit News columnist shares his thoughts

The Detroit Institute of Arts.
Flickr

What’s going to happen with the Detroit Institute of Arts?

 

That’s the question on the minds of many Michiganders after the city of Detroit was deemed eligible for Chapter 9 bankruptcy on Tuesday.

Daniel Howes, a business columnist with The Detroit News, talks with us about all things DIA – a recent appraisal of the institute’s collection, emergency manager Kevyn Orr’s interest in the museum, and a possible rescue plan cooked up by a federal judge.

Listen to full interview above. 

Politics & Culture
4:49 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

Stateside for Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

Can you imagine paying $7 for a gallon of milk? That reality isn't too far off if Congress can't get it together and pass a Farm Bill. We found out more about the so-called dairy cliff on today's show.

Then, scientists say Lake Superior is heating up faster than any other lake on Earth. We asked why.

And, Traverse City’s festivals are adding jobs and money to the local economy, some residents have had enough. Can a balance be reached?

First on the show, a move by the Michigan Lottery has caught retailers by surprise, a big surprise.

Earlier this year, the State Legislature said no to a budget request from the Michigan Lottery for money to launch online and smart phone lottery sales. Storeowners who sell lottery tickets thought that was the end of that.

Turns out, they were wrong.

Chris Gautz has been following this story for Crain's Detroit Business, and he joined us today.

Stateside
4:47 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

Without a new Farm Bill, dairy prices might soar

Milk prices could get up to $7 a gallon without a new Farm Bill.
jschumacher Morguefile

Farms are in the spotlight on Capitol Hill these days. Or, more to the point, the lack of a new Farm Bill.

The old Farm Bill expired October 1st.

A new Farm Bill is more than two years overdue. And so far, congressional leaders have not been inclined to consider passing yet another short-term extension.

Leaders of the House and Senate Agricultural Committees met today, trying to work out differences between their respective bills as they face a deadline of January 1st.

Without a new Farm Bill by that date, trips to the grocery store may bring on serious "sticker shock," especially when you push your cart along the dairy aisle.

Joining us once again to look at the Farm Bill and what might happen if Congress can't pass a new one was Ryan Findlay. He's with the National Legislative Council for the Michigan Farm Bureau. And he was joined by David Schweikhardt, professor in the Department of Agriculture, Food and Resource Economics at Michigan State University.

Listen to the full interview above.

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