Stateside Staff

Paul Hitzelberger / United Photo Works

Yesterday was the deadline to file objections to the disclosure statement spelling out Detroit's plan to climb out of its bankruptcy hole.

And yes, objections poured in – long lists of objections to the disclosure statement.

Detroit News reporter Chad Livengood joined us today to tell us who's objecting, why, and what comes next.

Listen to the full interview above.

The Soo Locks in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan.
USACOE

We've been hearing from the experts that, thanks to the great winter and our friend the polar vortex, this is going to be quite a year for allergy sufferers.

Perhaps it might be time to revive The Ca-Choo Club.

The Ca-Choo Club was a very unique way to attract visitors to Sault Ste. Marie.

Beginning in 1928, it welcomed allergy sufferers who turned up to breathe that clean, cool, pollen-free air that swept in off Lake Superior.

Writer Deidre Stevens dug into the history of this quirky Ca-Choo Club for Michigan History magazine, and she joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Chris Ward in a photo for a 2008 cover story in Dome Magazine.
Dave Trumpie - trumpiephotography.com / Dome Magazine

It is never too late to offer a public "mea culpa" for taking a political action that you later believe was a serious mistake.

That's the idea behind a recent entry on the blog Republicus.

Former Republican State Rep. Chris Ward wrote the post declaring that he'd been on the "wrong side of history" when he opposed same-sex marriage during his time in Lansing.

House Republicans have come up with an annual $500 million solution to fixing Michigan's horrible damaged roads. Kathleen Gray of the Detroit Free Press joins us to discuss the proposition. 

A Clinton Township man was senselessly beaten and robbed on Detroit's east side after stopping to help a 10-year-old boy who stepped into oncoming traffic. Steve Utash is now in a medically induced coma. Rochelle Riley of the Detroit Free Press joins us to try and understand this crime. 

A neighborhood church in Metro Detroit has closed its doors about 91 years. St. Henry's parish numbers have fallen so low that the church is closing. Stateside's Kyle Norris grew up attending the church, and she joins us today to share her story.

Peter Martorano / Flickr

A Clinton Township tree trimmer is still in a medically induced coma today. He was beaten by a mob on Detroit's east side after he stopped to help a child who had stepped into the path of his truck. 

Detroit Police say Steve Utash was not at fault, that he'd been obeying the speed limit. And after 10-year-old David Harris stepped out in front of his pickup truck, Utash did the right thing: He got out to help the boy. 

That's when he was attacked by the mob who beat him severely and robbed his truck. 

Detroit Free Press columnist Rochelle Riley joins us now to try to make sense of this seemingly senseless crime.

Listen to the full interview above.

David Ball / creative commons

As we salute spring and bid a none-too-fond farewell to the snow and sub-zero temps, you may be making your plans to visit Northern Michigan. 

And that is where businesses like Mackinac Island's Grand Hotel, other resorts, golf courses, restaurants and marinas are facing the challenge of a labor shortage. 

Ken Winter wrote about the problem recently for Dome Magazine. He'll tell us why it's such a problem for Northern Michigan Hospitality businesses, like the Grand Hotel, to find enough workers.

Listen to the full interview above. 

Wikimedia Commons

As the city of Detroit seeks pathways back to economic health, small businesses are seen as a key. And there can be no conversation about small business owners in Detroit without involving the Arab-American community. 

Most of the grocery stores, convenience stores and gas stations in Detroit are owned by Arab-Americans.

And, historically, the relationship between these store owners and their largely African-American customers has been not without its tensions. 

Which is why a recent editorial in The Arab American News caught our eye, and we wanted to share its message with you. 

We're joined now by Osama Siblani, the publisher of The Arab American News.

Listen to the full interview above. 

mi-maplesyrup.com

The first farm crop to be harvested in Michigan is ready. 

Michigan ranks number five in maple syrup production each year, and according to the Michigan Maple Syrup Association, that sweet syrup helps pump nearly $2.5 million into Michigan's economy each year.

But there are plenty of maple trees in Michigan that are not being tapped. So we wondered, if we have all these trees, why aren't more people making maple syrup?

Michael Farrell's book is called The Sugar Makers Companion: An Integrated Approach to Producing Syrup from Maple, Birch, and Walnut Trees.

Farrell joins us today.

Listen to the full interview above. 

Pothole in a road.
Wikimedia Commons

As the snow and ice have melted, Michigan has come up with a bumper crop of potholes and crumbling roads – roads that were already badly in need of repair. And that has turned everyone's attention to fixing the roads and how to pay for it. 

State House Republicans are proposing an annual $500 million solution. 

Here to tell us more about that is Kathleen Gray of the Detroit Free Press Lansing Bureau.

Listen to the full interview above. 

It's no surprise that shipping conditions on the Great Lakes are miserable, even though spring has officially sprung and the shipping season officially opened March 25.

No commercial traffic has yet made it to the Soo Locks and ice is still four feet thick in some places, particularly in Lake Superior. On today’s show, we speak with a member of the U.S. Coast Guard about what's being done about this.

Then, what happened as World War II brought women and minorities into Detroit's assembly plants?

And, the Detroit bankruptcy is starting to affect the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department. Water prices could go up, impacting consumers far outside the city. Daniel Howes joined us for our weekly check-in to tell us more.

Also, Phil Cavanagh became the third candidate to enter the race to replace Robert Ficano as Wayne County Executive.

First on the show, Michigan's economy may be pulling itself up and out of the Great Recession.

But our schools are still mired in an "education recession" and all of our children are paying the price.

That's the finding of the newest State of Michigan Education Report from The Education Trust-Midwest.

It's an eye-opening exercise to see how our state's schools and student performance compares to two states that are powering ahead in the national assessment: Massachusetts and Tennessee.

What lessons can Michigan learn from those two states?

The co-author of the new education report, Amber Arellano of The Education Trust-Midwest, joined us today.

NOAA

The Detroit Tigers weren't the only ones to hold an Opening Day.

The Great Lakes shipping season officially opened March 25.

And, unlike Opening Day at Comerica Park, this one is much less well attended.

No surprise: The near-total ice coverage on the Great Lakes has led to a very slow start to the shipping season and a whole lot of ice-cutting for the U.S. Coast Guard.

Mark Gill is the director of vessel traffic services for the U.S. Coast Guard in Sault Ste. Marie, and he joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The spotlight of the Detroit bankruptcy struggle is widening. From the DIA to the retirees and now to water.

As the clock ticks, emergency manager Kevyn Orr has fired the latest salvo in the increasingly testy talks with county representatives over the future of the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department.

Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes joined us today to discuss the issue.

Listen to the full interview above.

Phil Cavanagh
Facebook

He's been a county commissioner. He's currently in his second term as the state representative for Redford Township – the 10th House district.

Now Phil Cavanagh wants to become the next Wayne County Executive.

Cavanagh became the third candidate to enter the race to replace Robert Ficano as county executive. He joined us today to discuss what compelled him to make this move.

Listen to the full interview above.

Arsenal of Democracy book cover.
http://wsupress.wayne.edu/

There is no question that Detroit and the automobile industry played a major role in the Allied victory over Germany and Japan in World War II. We’ve often heard southeast Michigan described as the “Arsenal of Democracy.”

But not so well known is the struggle it took to turn the auto industry toward war production, particularly as women and African-American workers stepped up to take their places on the assembly lines.

Charles Hyde, professor emeritus of history at Wayne State University, joined us today. His new book is Arsenal of Democracy: The American Automobile Industry in World War II.

Listen to the full interview above.

user alkruse24 / Flickr

Michigan's economy may be pulling itself up and out of the Great Recession.

But our schools are still mired in an "education recession" and all of our children are paying the price.

That's the finding of the newest state of Michigan education report from The Education Trust-Midwest.

It's an eye-opening exercise to see how our state's schools and student performance compare to two states that are powering ahead in the national assessment: Massachusetts and Tennessee.

What lessons can Michigan learn from those two states?

The co-author of the new education report, Amber Arellano of The Education Trust-Midwest, joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Today President Obama visited the University of Michigan to push the Fair Minimum Wage Act. When our show aired, the president was talking to students and invited guests about the bill that would gradually raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 by 2016.

Senate Democrats are planning votes on a bill, but Republicans are working to block it.

Michigan's minimum wage is $7.40 an hour, though groups are working to gather petition signatures to boost.

Later in the hour we got a live report from the president's campus visit, find out what he said, and whether Michigan might see more presidential visits  in the near future.

But first, we heard from Paul Saginaw. He's the co-founder of Zingerman's Delicatessen in Ann Arbor.

He has been pushing to increase the minimum wage and he is already committed to paying Zingerman's workers above the minimum wage.

General Motors

It was day two on Capitol Hill for General Motors CEO Mary Barra.

Today, it was the Senate's turn to grill Barra about GM's failure to act on ignition-switch failures. The failures have been linked to 13 deaths and prompted a recall of 2.6 million cars.

Here's what Barra said on Capitol Hill:

"When we have answers, we will be fully transparent with you, with our regulators, and with our customers. While I can't turn back the clock, we acted without hesitation. We told the world we had a problem that needed to be fixed. We did so because whatever mistakes were made in the past, we will not shirk our responsibility. Today's GM will do the right thing."

Cynthia Canty spoke with David Shepardson and Michelle Krebs. Shepardson is the Detroit News Capitol reporter, and Krebs is a veteran auto analyst. 

To listen to the full interview, click the link above. 

Amber Leigh / Flickr

To those of us who have seen those decaying buildings along I-375 near downtown Detroit, it’s pretty difficult to realize that the Brewster-Douglass Projects were once seen as a shining example of public housing.

First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt turned up on Sept. 7, 1935 for the groundbreaking. And when Brewster homes opened in 1938, they became the America’s first public-housing project built for African-Americans.

Brewster-Douglass went on to become home to names like Diana Ross, Mary Wilson, Florence Ballard, Smokey Robinson and Lily Tomlin.

The projects helped launch many blacks into the middle class.

Now the last phase of demolition is under way. No one will miss the crime-ridden, decaying housing project that sat empty since 2008. And now the question is: What should be done with the site?

We welcome June Manning Thomas. She’s an urban planner with the University of Michigan College of Architecture and Urban Planning. We also talk to her colleague, urban designer Roy Strickland.

Listen to the full interview above.

Melanie Kruvelis / Michigan Radio

President Barack Obama was in Ann Arbor today, pushing the Fair Minimum Wage Act.

That’s the bill that would gradually raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 by 2016. Senate Democrats are planning votes on a bill, but Republicans are working to block it.

Back here in Michigan, the minimum wage is $7.40 an hour – though groups are working to gather petition signatures to boost the state's minimum wage.

But can a state that is still recovering from a terrible recession weather a 36% hike in the minimum wage?

Paul Saginaw is co-founder of Zingerman's Delicatessen in Ann Arbor. He has been pushing to increase the minimum wage and he is already committed to paying Zingerman's workers above the minimum wage.

We talk to Saginaw about the president's push for raising the minimum wage.

Listen to the full interview above.

Today is the day. After months and months of debate, Healthy Michigan is here. That's the official name for the state's newly expanded Medicaid program. Today, on Stateside: Who is eligible for the new coverage and why are other states looking to Michigan for lessons learned?

Then, it made news: the merger between financially struggling Albion High School and its neighbor, Marshall. Now, more than halfway through the school year, we checked in on how the students are faring.

And, a new report is breaking new ground in the study of inequality among our children, and the findings for Michigan children are troubling.

First on the show, another hugely surprising retirement from Congress. Republican Congressman Dave Camp, who represents Michigan's 4th district, announced that he will not run again for re-election. Camp has served in Congress for 24 years and has been chair of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee.

Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta, co-hosts of Michigan Radio's It's Just Politics, joined us today to talk about what’s next for Camp and what this means for Michigan in Congress.

Ann Arbor Public Schools

A newly released report is breaking new ground in the study of inequality among our children.

The report is from the Annie E. Casey Foundation for Kids Count. It's titled "Race for Results: building a path to opportunity for all children."

For the first time, it creates an index that looks at conditions for children by race.

Our next guest believes it contains troubling findings for Michigan children and the need for a major call to action.

Jane Zehnder-Merrell is project director of Kids Count in Michigan with the Michigan League for Public Policy, and she joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Congressman Dave Camp with John Boehner.
user republicanconference / Flickr

Another hugely surprising retirement from Congress: Republican Congressman Dave Camp, who represents Michigan's 4th district, announced that he will not run again for re-election. Camp has served in Congress for 24 years and has been chair of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee.

Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta, co-hosts of Michigan Radio's It's Just Politics, joined us today to talk about what’s next for Camp and what this means for Michigan in Congress.

Listen to the full interview above.

Jonathan Oosting
Twitter

The Affordable Care Act shop door now has a "closed" sign on it, for the most part.

The open enrollment deadline passed at midnight.

Attention in Michigan now swings over to Healthy Michigan.

That's the official name for Michigan's expanded Medicaid program. It allows the state to bring more low-income residents into the Medicaid fold using funding available through the Affordable Care Act.

And Michigan's Medicaid expansion is something other states are watching because of a couple of important new twists to the program.

MLive Capitol reporter Jonathan Oosting joins us now.

Marshall High School
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

There are 545 local school districts in Michigan and 56 Intermediate School Districts, or ISDs.

Around 50 of those districts were in the red at the end of the last school year.

And that leads to talk of consolidations, of mergers; streamlining, becoming more efficient and joining forces.

But as policymakers, educators and parents debate the merits of consolidation, what about those who will feel what that is like, day in and day out – the students and their teachers?

That’s the question Bridge Magazine writer Ron French explores in his series of reports for Bridge called 13 Miles to Marshall.

When struggling Albion High School closed at the end of the last school year, it meant more than 150 Albion high schoolers had to be bused to nearby Marshall High School. It made sense in business terms for both districts. But what kinds of challenges did this consolidation present? And were those challenges met and overcome?

Ron French joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

pixabay.com

We often talk about the U.S. as being the land of opportunity. This is the country where you can fulfill your dreams; that is certainly the view of America from many other countries. But is that view justified? 

Here in Michigan, one in four kids lives in poverty. And are girls in Michigan really seen as equals to boys?

We may say, of course they are. But does that belief holdup to close scrutiny?

The BBC's Ros Atkins wanted to find out if there is anyplace in the world that girls and women are treated the same as boys and men.

He has produced a special hour-long documentary tracing the lives of four girls in four countries. It's called "All That Stands in the Way". 

We get Atkins' perspective on this, and we bring in Dustin Dwyer from Michigan Radio's State of Opportunity project to look at how we talk about the American dream as this big grand idea – which may not work out that way in reality.

Listen to the full interview above. 

When it comes to road repair, this winter has left Michigan in a state of despair. Where will the money come from to fill in the potholes and crater lakes that pepper our roads? Is it possible that the argument of funding will follow Democratic and Republican roads? Chris Gautz from Crain's Detroit joins us. 

We are joined today by a special guest from the BBC, Ros Atkins. Ros just produced an hour-long documentary that traces the lives of four girls in four countries to examine if there is anywhere in the world that truly treats women as equal to men. 

Is graffiti art, or vandalism? Nancy Derringer explored these questions in a recent article for Bridge Magazine that examines graffiti in places like Detroit, Pontiac and Flint. 

Listen to the full show above.

user: memories_by_mike / Flickr

When you drive through cities like Detroit, Pontiac, and Flint, graffiti can be found in unexpected and expected places.

The constant debate over graffiti is whether it should be seen as a nuisance, or as art. Does it signal signs of cultural revival? Is it that black and white?

Nancy Derringer explored those questions in a recent article for Bridge Magazine.

Listen to the full interview above.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

It's no overstatement to say that property tax revenues are really the lifeblood of local government.

So what do local leaders think about the tax exempt properties within their borders – the ones that take up municipal services, but are exempt from paying taxes? Examples of these properties are religious institutions and schools.

The Center for Local, State and Urban Policy at the Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan made that the central question of its latest Michigan Public Policy Survey. Program manager Tom Ivacko joined us to discuss the survey.

*Listen to the audio above.

Pothole in a road.
Wikimedia Commons

State lawmakers like to say, "There are no Republican roads or Democratic roads" when speaking about Michigan's battered roads and bridges – battered to the point that Republican Gov. Rick Snyder wants more than $1 billion a year in additional road funding.

Chris Gautz, Capitol correspondent for Crain's Detroit Business, has been digging into that statement, and is wondering if it's true, particularly when it comes to the funding of road repairs. 

Listen to the full interview above. 

Kevin Ward / Flickr

On opening day, the late Ernie Harwell - the voice of the Tigers for 42 years - would recite the poem Song of the Turtle. It signaled spring and a renewed life and opportunities. For Tiger fans, it just wasn't opening day without hearing Ernie Harwell speak those words of that poem.

In memory of the late sportscaster, here's Michigan writer Terry Wooten reading his poem Old Ernie Harwell:

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