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Stateside
5:12 pm
Wed August 14, 2013

Michigan's tough sentencing guidelines may need to be reformed

The average Michigan inmate serves 4.3 years.
Flickr user Still Burning Creative Commons

An interview with Anne Yantuss and Russ Marlan.

It was 1998 when Michigan's lawmakers voted to approve tougher "lock 'em up policies."

Some may argue whether that made Michigan any safer, but one thing cannot be argued: Michigan leads the nation in average time served by inmates: 4.3 years. That's 48% higher than the national average of 2.9 years. That's according to a 2012 national study by the Pew Charitable Trusts.

And these tough sentencing guidelines are exacting a cost from the state's collective "wallet." Michigan's corrections budget currently exceeds $2 billion.

The state sentencing guidelines have not been reviewed for 15 years.

In response, the Michigan Law Review Commission has launched a bipartisan review to figure out just where Michigan stands when compared to the rest of the nation, and where reform might be needed.

Read more
Stateside
5:06 pm
Wed August 14, 2013

The Red Wings are getting a new arena, but is this what Detroit needs?

Olympia Stadium was the original home of the Red Wings.
Library of Congress wikimedia commons

An interview with Marvin Surkin, a specialist in comparative urban politics.

The irony was certainly not lost on many when just about the time the city of Detroit filed for bankruptcy protection Governor Snyder gave the green light to a new arena for the Detroit Red Wings, an arena to be located just immediately north of downtown.

Plans are calling for an 18,000 seat state of the art arena and accompanying entertainment district. It’ll be funded with a mix of $365.5 million in private investment and an estimated public investment of $284 million.

The Detroit Economic Growth Corporation is predicting the new Wings arena and mixed use district could create about 8,300 jobs and it predicts a statewide economic impact of $1.8 billion.

Marvin Surkin would like to challenge the statement that a new sports arena can energize a financially depleted city and boost its morale. He is a specialist in comparative urban politics and co-author of the book "Detroit: I Do Mind Dying." He joined us today from New York City.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
5:04 pm
Wed August 14, 2013

West Michigan women's softball team still has some of its original members 40 years later

Flickr user tinatruelove flickr

An interview with Lynn Schweibert and her daughter Leslie Reimink about their softball team.

What comes to mind when you think about women playing baseball?

You might think of Tom Hanks yelling “There’s no crying in baseball!” in the 1992 film "A League of their Own."

Well there is a women’s softball team in West Michigan that would be more than happy to show that they don’t cry and they can play. Some of them have been on the team together for more than 40 years.

Joining us now is Lynn Schweibert. She has been playing on the same team in West Michigan with three other women for the past four decades. Her daughter Leslie Reimink also plays on the team. They joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Politics & Culture
5:02 pm
Wed August 14, 2013

Stateside for Wednesday, August 14th, 2013

According to new data, prisoners in Michigan serve longer sentences than in any other state. That's on top of the fact that Michigan has not reviewed its sentencing guidelines for 15 years. On today’s show, we dug deeper into what's behind prison sentences.

And, as Detroit faces bankruptcy, a deal has been struck to build a new sports arena in the city's downtown. We found out if that's really what Detroit needs right now.

Also, there’s a softball team in West Michigan with some members that have been playing together for four decades. We spoke with two women from the team.

First on the show, where were you ten years ago when the power died?

That's what many of us in the Midwest are asking each other today.

It was ten years ago this day when the largest blackout in North America left 55 million people in 8 states and Canada in the dark.

The cost of the Blackout of 2003? Anywhere from $4-10 billion.

What changes have been made to the grid in that decade? Could a blackout like that happen again?

Maggie Koerth-Bakeris a science columnist for the New York Times Magazine, the science editor at BoingBoing.net, and the author of Before the Lights Go Out.

She joined us today Minneapolis.

Stateside
5:30 pm
Tue August 13, 2013

How should Michigan teachers be evaluated?

The Highland Park school district is almost out of cash. The state is working on a solution to keep kids in school.
user alkruse24 Flickr

An interview with Jake Neher.

There are several complicated questions surrounding teacher evaluations in Michigan. Should there be a state standard for evaluating teachers? What should that evaluation encompass? Should teacher pay be pegged to the evaluation, the pay for performance system?

The Michigan council for educator effectiveness spent nearly 2 years and $6 million on a pilot program in 13 districts, and they’ve now come out with a recommendation for a new statewide teacher evaluation tool.

Jake Neher is the Lansing reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He joined us in the studio today to discuss the issue.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
5:29 pm
Tue August 13, 2013

Grand Rapids man swims across Lake St. Clair pulling a ton of bricks

Jim Dreyer's Facebook page Facebook

An interview with Jim Dreyer about his swimming feats.

Forget those sharks we’re hearing about off of Cape Cod.

We’ve had a shark of our own swimming in the Great Lakes. And he just crossed Lake St. Clair, swimming 22 miles, all alone, while pulling two inflatable boats carrying a ton of bricks.

Jim Dreyer of Grand Rapids calls himself “The Shark.” And, when you look back over his extreme endurance feats, you’ll agree: he’s earned the right to call himself just about anything he pleases. Jim has set records swimming across all five of the Great Lakes, distance records, speed records. All of this from a guy who says he had to overcome a deep-seated fear of water.

Jim Dreyer joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
5:28 pm
Tue August 13, 2013

Ann Arbor band The Ragbirds is starting their fall tour with a baby on board

Lead vocalist Erin Zindle
Facebook

An interview with lead vocalist and Celtic fiddler Erin Zindle.

They're called "The Ragbirds," a five-piece folk-rock-fusion band out of Ann Arbor.

The band has quite an avid following. Fans who are looking forward to seeing the Ragbirds hit the road. But when that happens this fall, the Ragbirds will be packing more than guitars and fiddles and percussion. They're going to be packing diapers and all the myriad supplies that you need to travel with a baby.

Lead vocalist and Celtic fiddler Erin Zindle is due just about any moment now. She joined us today in the studio to talk about the "Brave New Baby" tour.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
5:25 pm
Tue August 13, 2013

Kevyn Orr plans to hire a group to manage federal grant money

Detroit's emergency manager, Kevyn Orr.
Detroit Free Press video Detroit Free Press

An interview with Detroit News Washington Bureau Chief David Shepardson.

Detroit's emergency manager Kevyn Orr is looking to hire a group to oversee Detroit's federal grant money.

This comes at the same time that federal officials are searching for ways to offer more aid to Detroit.

Orr went to Washington D.C. earlier this month to visit with Michigan Senator Carl Levin  and some economists to get ideas about which grants programs would be best for the city.

Detroit News Washington Bureau Chief David Shepardson reported on this in today's Detroit News, and he joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Politics & Culture
5:23 pm
Tue August 13, 2013

Stateside for Tuesday, August 13th, 2013

Today we took a closer look at recommendations for statewide standards for evaluating Michigan teachers. How should the job performance of teachers be evaluated?

And, we met a West Michigan man who swims across the Great Lakes and Lake St Clair, raising money for charity.

Also, we spoke with the lead vocalist of The Ragbirds, a band from Ann Arbor that is about to kick off their fall tour with a newborn baby.

First on the show, Detroit's emergency manager Kevyn Orr is looking to hire a group to oversee Detroit's federal grant money.

This comes at the same time that federal officials are searching for ways to offer more aid to Detroit.

Orr visited went to Washington D.C. earlier this month to meet with Michigan Senator Carl Levin and some economists to get ideas about which grants programs would be best for the city.

Detroit News Washington Bureau Chief David Shepardson reported on this in today's Detroit News, and he joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
4:46 pm
Tue August 13, 2013

Recommendations for state-wide teacher evaluations have been issued

user kconnors morgueFile

An interview with Jennifer Hammond and Robert Stephenson.

How should the job performance of Michigan teachers be evaluated? What should the standard be? Should there be a state-wide common standard used to evaluate teachers?

Those were some of the key questions tackled by the Michigan Council for Educator Effectiveness. The temporary body recently came out with its recommendations for a new statewide teacher evaluation tool.

The Council is recommending that by 2015-16, half of a teacher’s evaluation should be based on classroom practices and the other half on student growth as determined by scores on tests.

The panel also is recommending that a teacher be dismissed after two years of ineffective ratings.

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Stateside
5:39 pm
Mon August 12, 2013

One possible solution for Detroit: attract more immigrants

Steve Tobocman
globaldetroit.com

An interview with Steve Tobocman, the director of Global Detroit.

When you consider all of the possible "fixes" being discussed for struggling big cities like Detroit, there is an idea being offered up that has truly stood the test of time: attract more immigrants.

It's the way cities have been built all through American history. Open the doors to people who are hungry for new opportunities, for a new life, and watch them pour their energies into building new businesses, improving their homes and neighborhoods, attracting more new residents as family members follow from the Old Country.

But immigrants are not coming to Detroit, and that is something Steve Tobocman hopes to change.

He is the director of Global Detroit. So far, they've launched over a half dozen distinct initiatives to make Southeast Michigan---and Detroit---more welcoming to immigrants.

Steve Tobocman joined us today to talk about the program.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
5:37 pm
Mon August 12, 2013

Assessing the entrepreneurial climate of Michigan

Paul Iseley
gvsu.edu

An interview with Paul Iseley, chairman of the economics department at GVSU's Seidman College of Business.

What's the state of entrepreneurship in West Michigan?

That's the question tackled in a new report from Grand Valley State University's Seidman College of Business. It finds that in just four years, there's been a big change in the way people think about being entrepreneurs.

We wanted to take a closer look at that changing mindset and find out what it means not only for West Michigan, but for the state.

Paul Iseley is chairman of the economics department at Grand Valley State's Seidman College of Business. He joined us today from GVSU.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
5:37 pm
Mon August 12, 2013

Why do so many Michigan parents refuse to have their kids vaccinated?

Michigan now has the fourth highest rate in the U.S. of parents who do not get their children vaccinated.
user mconnors morgueFile

An interview with Oakland County pediatrician Dr. Martin Levinson.

Michigan now has the fourth highest rate in the nation of parents who do not have their children vaccinated for religious, medical and other reasons. Many simply don’t get all the immunization shots required.

Despite adamant statements from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the U.S. Centers of Disease Control that vaccines have no link to autism, an anti-vaccination movement is growing online, from parent to parent, and through activist celebrities, such as actress Jenny McCarthy.

August is National Immunization Awareness Month and physicians are mounting fresh efforts  to get more Michigan children fully vaccinated.

This vaccination push begins as the number of children falling ill with preventable diseases is on the rise.

We wanted to see how this story is being played out in the exam rooms of a busy pediatric practice, day-in and day out. Oakland County pediatrician Dr. Martin Levinson has been practicing medicine for 33 years. He joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Politics & Culture
5:35 pm
Mon August 12, 2013

Stateside for Monday, August 12th, 2013

Entrepreneurship is on the rise in West Michigan. We took a look at what this means for the Grand Rapids area and the rest of the state.

And, when you consider all of the possible "fixes" being discussed for struggling big cities like Detroit, there is an idea being offered up that has truly stood the test of time: attract more immigrants.

Also, we heard how a University of Michigan professor is using archeology to tell the story of undocumented immigrants crossing the border from Mexico into the U.S.

First on the show,  Michigan now has the fourth highest rate in the nation of parents who do not have their children vaccinated for religious, medical and other reasons. Many simply don’t get all the immunization shots required.

Despite adamant statements from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the U.S. Centers of Disease Control that vaccines have no link to autism, an anti-vaccination movement is growing online, from parent to parent, and through activist celebrities, such as actress Jenny McCarthy.

August is National Immunization Awareness Month and physicians are mounting fresh efforts  to get more Michigan children fully vaccinated.

This vaccination push begins as the number of children falling ill with preventable diseases is on the rise.

We wanted to see how this story is being played out in the exam rooms of a busy pediatric practice, day-in and day out. Oakland County pediatrician Dr. Martin Levinson has been practicing medicine for 33 years. He joined us today.

Stateside
5:21 pm
Mon August 12, 2013

The Undocumented Migration Project uses archeology to tell migrant's stories

Jason De León, director of the Undocumented Migrantion Project
lsa.umich.edu

An interview with Jason De León, the director of the Undocumented Migration Project.

It was the mid 1990's when the United States began an immigration enforcement strategy called Prevention Through Deterrence, or PTD.

It consisted of boosting security in unauthorized crossing areas surrounding major border cities with the idea that undocumented migrants would have to shift towards remote border regions where crossing conditions are much more difficult -- places like the Sonoran Desert in southern Arizona.

Two decades later, it's clear that PTD has failed to deter undocumented migrants.

The smuggling industry in northern Mexico has grown to serve the migrants, and here in the U.S., the movement to reform our broken immigration system is growing with bipartisan support.

But what of the life stories of these migrants?

That question has led Jason De León to apply his scientific training in anthropology and archeology to discovering the thousands of stories of these migrants.

De León is a professor of anthropology at the University of Michigan and he's the director of the Undocumented Migration Project.

Read more
Stateside
5:46 pm
Thu August 8, 2013

Michigan has its fair share of UFO sightings, but Ohio takes the cake

Flickr user © Stranger Flickr

An interview with Rudi Lindner, a professor of History and Astronomy at the University of Michigan.

If you are a baby-boomer who grew up in Michigan, chances are good you remember a particular point in time when you were out in your backyard, peering into the night sky, searching for UFOs.

For one week in March of 1966, Michigan was awash with reports of UFO sightings. Scores of people called police to report suspicious items in the sky. Ultimately, the Air Force dismissed these sightings as nothing more than "swamp gas," causing then-Congressman Gerald Ford to fire off an indignant statement, declaring that people deserved a better explanation than something as laughable as "swamp gas."

Rudi Lindner is a professor of History and Astronomy at the University of Michigan. He teaches a class called "Discovery of the Universe" that includes the history of UFOs.

Read more
Politics & Culture
5:33 pm
Thu August 8, 2013

Stateside for Thursday, August 8th, 2013

Very few people have experienced life on Antarctica, but a Michigan-born film director spent a year on the continent. On today's show: a conversation about his new film No Horizon Anymore: A Yearlong Journey to the South Pole.

And, we spoke to an astronomy professor from the University of Michigan about the history of UFOs in Michigan.

Also, is there a shortage of skilled workers in Michigan? Rick Haglund joined us to explain why there is no clear answer. 

First on the show, the primary election of 2013 is history. Now the focus shifts to the November general election.

For the two candidates who want to become Detroit's next mayor, it's time to take stock of the harsh realities facing the city and craft a clear campaign message that addresses those stark truths.

Stephen Henderson has been issuing that challenge from the pages of the Detroit Free Press throughout the campaign, and now that the two challengers have emerged from the primary, we wanted to get his thoughts.

Stephen Henderson, the Editorial Page Editor of the Detroit Free Press, joined us today.

Stateside
5:32 pm
Thu August 8, 2013

Michigan film director documents his year in Antarctica

Keith Reimink
Blogger

An interview with director Keith Reimink.

From growing up in Zeeland on Michigan's West Side to cooking for scientists at the South Pole, Keith Reimink has led a life that is, to say the least, fascinating.

Keith's job as a cook led him to spend a year at an Antarctic research center. He turned that experience into a documentary called "No Horizon Anymore."

Keith Reimink joined us today to talk about the experience.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
5:31 pm
Thu August 8, 2013

Are there enough skilled workers in Michigan?

Author Joel Kotkin says Michigan needs more mid-level workers, like welders, plumbers, machinists and office workers.
earl53 Morguefile

An interview with Rick Haglund.

Is there a shortage of skilled workers in Michigan?

Now that the recession is in our rearview mirror, are there enough tool-and-dye makers and machine operators and welders and the like to meet employer demands?

The answer is not a clear "yes" or "no" as Rick Haglund discovered in his piece for MLive.

It’s headlined “Why Employers Have Difficulty Filling Skilled Trades Jobs.”

Rick Haglund joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
4:42 pm
Thu August 8, 2013

Detroit's mayoral candidates need to face the city's harsh reality

Patricia Drury Flickr

An interview with Stephen Henderson, the editorial page editor of the Detroit Free Press.

The primary election of 2013 is history. Now the focus shifts to the November general election.

For the two candidates who want to become Detroit's next mayor, it's time to take stock of the harsh realities facing the city and craft a clear campaign message that addresses those stark truths.

Stephen Henderson has been issuing that challenge from the pages of the Detroit Free Press throughout the campaign, and now that the two challengers have emerged from the primary, we wanted to get his thoughts.

Stephen Henderson, the editorial page editor of the Detroit Free Press, joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

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