Stateside Staff

Stateside 9.16.2016

Sep 16, 2016

Today, we hear how private donations can influence public policy. And we learn there's a wide racial divide in Metro Detroit when it comes to how people view police.

Kalamazoo Mayor Bobby Hopewell says the opportunity is a "game-changer" when it comes to how the city approaches its future.
Michigan Municipal League / Flickr -

As soon as next week, the details of the Foundation for Excellence's $70 million gift will be presented to the Kalamazoo City Commission

The city manager and the mayor have been working with the donors to determine how it will work. 

Some city commissioners have been expressing reservations about the gift since it was announced this summer. Matt Milcarek​ is one of them.

wikimedia user Adbar /

When you hear about the Gates Foundation, the Mott Foundation, or any of the myriad other philanthropic organizations, how do you describe what they do?

Do they give money? Solve problems? Improve conditions?

Is there a downside to throwing money at problems or wielding influence with cash?

According to Craig Mauger, Meijer was one of several entities that donated to the Senate Republican Campaign Committee on the day a senate panel began considering whether to block local plastic bag regulation.
Wikimedia Commons /

The first line of a release from the Michigan Campaign Finance Network reads:

"The same day a Senate panel began considering whether to block local efforts to curb the use of plastic bags, the Senate Republican Campaign Committee reported receiving a $20,000 contribution from the political action committee of one of Michigan's largest retailers."

According to MCFN executive director Craig Mauger, that retailer is Meijer. 

flickr user Gage Skidmore/Flickr /

A new poll by Epic MRA on behalf of the Detroit Free Press and other news media outlets across the state shows that Donald Trump has cut into Hillary Clinton's lead in Michigan. 

Clinton still leads, but with 38% compared to Trump's 35%. 

Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party presidential candidate, is also gaining ground with 10%.

Black Lives Matter protesters Anthony Sammour, Shauna Jones, Michelle Bishop-Dawkins, Samona Dunn, and Jade Bishop in Ann Arbor.
Catherine Shaffer

The Detroit Journalism Cooperative commissioned a poll, asking people about race. It was conducted by Epic-MRA.

The sample was unique in that one-third of those surveyed lived in mostly black communities, one-third from communities which include different races, and one third from mostly white communities.

Detroit's downtown area, with multi-million dollar development, is thriving, while many of the city's neighborhoods and the schools continue to struggle.
Rich Evenhouse / Flickr -

Picture a tree. It has two branches. One bears green leaves. The other struggles to remain viable.

That tree is Detroit and those two branches represent the two very different narratives that we've seen play out this week.

Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes joined Stateside to talk about these two approaches to rebuilding the city of Detroit.


"Hearing voices" is known as an auditory hallucination. The Mental Health Foundation tells us that it may or may not be associated with a mental health problem.

It's the most common type of hallucination in people with disorders such as schizophrenia. 

There's a stigma that follows such hallucinations. If you speak openly about hearing voices, you're likely to be labeled, medicated, even hospitalized. 

But the Hearing Voices Network thinks it has another way to help people understand and learn to live with those voices. 

Stateside 9.15.2016

Sep 15, 2016

Today, we learn that hearing voices may, or may not, be associated with a mental health problem. And, we hear why it's crucial to give doctors more time to think about their patients' diagnoses. 

According to Chopra, diagnosis is a complicated process made only more difficult by time constraints.
Public Domain

The Next Idea

If ever there is a time you want your physicians to be on top of their game, it's when he or she is determining your diagnosis. 

Yet, doctors who are overworked and stressed do make mistakes. And the results can be fatal.

One famous case: actor John Ritter was diagnosed and treated for a heart attack. Turns out he actually had a tear in his aorta, which killed him.

Dr. Vineet Chopra is with the Patient Safety Enhancement Program, and he's researching ways to change the way physicians work to give them more time to think about their patients' diagnoses. 

Stateside 9.14.2016

Sep 14, 2016

Today, we discuss the "questionable" report of a Marine trainee's suicide. And, we hear how humans could soon leave the Holocene behind by pushing Earth into a new geological era. 

A new charter school in Whitmore Lake offers a "classical education" and a Hillsdale College connection
Brett Levin / Creative Commons

The State Board of Education voted today to adopt voluntary guidelines to help schools with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning students.

The guidance is intended to help schools create a safe and supportive learning environment for LGBTQ students.

The guidance was voted on after more than three hours of public comment where approximately 60 people were given three minutes to speak on the issue. Those who spoke included school principals, state legislators, students, and medical professionals.

Several parents of LGBTQ students spoke in favor of the guidance, including Joe Adcock. Adcock has a transgender son and said while his son’s school is very supportive, not all schools are.

“We’ve found a lot of schools don’t have this in place,” he said. “And they don’t allow the children to be themselves and it puts them at a great risk for drug abuse and suicide and just not being able to be who they really are.”

But others were not convinced that the guidance was necessary. Some say LGBQ students don't need additional protections. Others, like Sen. Patrick Colbeck, R-Canton, say adopting this guidance will harm non-LGBTQ kids.

“This isn’t going to reduce bullying,” Colbeck said. “This is going to increase bullying. In particular against people of faith that stand up for what they believe. I think there is going to be a significant increase in bullying against them.”

The guidance, which passed with six votes in favor and two against, addresses issues like bathrooms and locker rooms, student privacy, and parental involvement.  

Flickr user NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/Flickr /

You may remember from your school days that one of the ways geologists measure time is by epochs, which can be seen in changes in rock layers. These epochs tell us much about what was happening on the earth at that time.

Dawud Walid told us that in his work in the civil rights field, "we're always skeptical about government investigating ... actions of its own members."
flickr user DVIDSHUB /

This week, the Council on American-Islamic Relations called for the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department to launch an investigation in to Raheel Siddiqui's death. 

Siddiqui was a Pakistani-American Muslim who was 11 days into his basic training with the United States Marine Corps on Parris Island in South Carolina when he died. 

The Marines say the 20-year-old committed suicide by jumping 40 feet in a stairwell. Siddiqui's family says that's absolutely not the case. 

Raheel Siddiqui

The United States Marine Corps says a 20-year-old Taylor man committed suicide by jumping 40 feet in a stairwell. 

The family of Raheel Siddiqui says that's absolutely not the case.

Siddiqui was a Pakistani-American Muslim who was 11 days into his basic training on Parris Island in South Carolina when he died.

Ty Schmidt told us safety is a huge part of the Norte! experience. "We really take it serious. They signal, they stop at every stop sign, and their confidence builds, their independence builds," he said. "As they get older, these will be lifelong skills."
Courtest of Norte!

It used to be that getting to school meant hopping on your bike.

But when Ty Schmidt moved to Traverse City ten years ago, something stuck him: crowded bike racks outside schools had been replaced with long lines of cars at drop-off and pick-up.

That led Schmidt and his wife Johanna to launch an effort to get kids to ride their bikes - safely - to and from school. 

Stateside 9.13.2016

Sep 13, 2016

Today, we discuss the court ruling that upheld Michigan's emergency manager law. And, we learn what happens when parents disagree with schools over how best to teach kids with special needs.

United States Department of Education /

What happens when you're the parent of a child with special needs, and your view of how you want your child to be educated clashes with the school district's?

Whiting told us Parallel 45 likes to put on plays that most people have probably at least heard of, so there's a sense of familiarity, then "turn things on their heads and give a new perspective to some of these stories."
Parallel 45 Theatre and Melisa McKolay Photography /

Can the northwest lower peninsula of Michigan support a professional theater group that dares to really challenge its audience? Delivering theater "for the adventurous mind," not comfortable, touristy and familiar?

Turns out, the answer is yes.

A natural gas pipeline

Are people writing from beyond the grave to support a proposed natural gas line that would run from Ohio into Southeast Michigan and on into Ontario?

According to a story in today's Detroit Free Press, the answer is yes.

Hammer told us he was "very disappointed" but "not surprised" with the appeals court ruling.
flickr user swskeptic /

A federal appeals court has upheld Michigan's emergency manager law.

The Sixth Circuit United States Court of Appeals says the law does not violate voting rights, and it does not racially discriminate. 

The court's opinion says there is no fundamental right to vote for local officials. It also says the state has a legitimate interest in fixing financially struggling local governments. 

In light of Monday's ruling, where does Michigan go from here?

Stateside 9.12.2016

Sep 12, 2016

Today, we sit down with state House Speaker Kevin Cotter to explore some of the issues before the State House of Representatives. And, we learn how microlending can boost minority-owned business.

Crowds of "Pokémon GO" players gather for some late night monster hunting in this park in Vancouver.
flickr user Peter Kudlacz /

If you wandered past any landmarks or took a stroll through a public park this summer, you may have noticed a lot more foot traffic than usual. But instead of walking and talking together, these large groups of new guests basically just sit around and stare at their smartphones. 

Yes, "Pokémon GO" players are everywhere.

For many, the game has become a core part of day-to-day life. 

Alexander Weinstein's new book of short stories takes the idea to the extreme, exploring a future full of dangerously immersive virtual reality games. 

Michigan is ranked No. 4 in the nation after their 51-14 home win over Central Florida.
user Missy Caulk / Flickr -

It was a big weekend for Michigan sports headlined by the Detroit Lions' dramatic 39-35 season opening win over the Indianapolis Colts.

The post-Calvin Johnson era began with Lions kicker Matt Prater redeeming himself for an earlier missed extra point by hitting the game-winning field goal with four seconds left. 

A protest held by the Graduate Employees and Students Organization protest at Yale in 2005, calling for the return of collective bargaining rights that were taken away from graduate student employees the year before.
Public Domain

The National Labor Relations Board has done a complete about-face. 

The Board recently voted three to one that graduate students who work as teaching or research assistants at private universities are indeed employees, and they have a right to collective bargaining. 

That ruling overturns a 2004 Bush-era ruling that took those bargaining rights away. 

State House Speaker Kevin Cotter, R-Mount Pleasant
Michigan House Republicans

Summer vacation is now just a fond memory for students in Michigan's schools -- and our state lawmakers. 

We sat down today with state House Speaker Kevin Cotter, R-Mt. Pleasant, to explore some of the issues before the State House of Representatives. 

Stateside 9.9.2016

Sep 9, 2016

Today, we hear an expert explain why closing Michigan's lowest-performing schools likely wouldn't benefit students. And, our Artisans of Michigan series continues with the making of Windsor chairs.

A new policy will hopefully help supervisors track any racial profiling
Michigan State Police

Last year, Michigan tightened requirements for civil asset forfeiture.

That's the law that allows the government to seize property when someone is accused of a crime even if they're not convicted.

This started as part of the war against drugs. It's become a lucrative tool for cash-strapped police departments and prosecutors. 

Laws passed last year require more transparency, but do not abolish civil asset forfeiture. 

The Muslim Student Association at Michigan Tech University is trying to raise money to build a mosque in Houghton.
Muslim Student Association (Michigan Tech University)

Islamaphobia has been rampant in the dark corners of the internet for a long time. It rears its head in real life as well, and as close as Dearborn, where we've seen armed protestors stand outside mosques and libraries protesting "radical Islam" or simply voicing their anti-Muslim sentiment. 

But there's a small enclave of Muslims in the Upper Peninsula that says they've been welcomed, and feel safe there. 

Michael Hood and Laurie Carpenter, founders of the humanitarian aid group Crossing Water.
Stephanie Kenner / Crossing Water

This weekend the group Crossing Water is calling for volunteers to continue the work they've been doing for a long time now: going door to door helping Flint residents deal with the water contamination in the city.