Stateside Staff

President Obama addresses Congress for his 2015 State of the Union address.
White House

For political junkies, Tuesday night was a double feature. First Gov. Snyder’s State of the State address followed by President Obama’s State of the Union address.

We got some reaction from Michigan's members of Congress.

First up, Democratic Congressman Dan Kildee  – listen below.

Next, we spoke with Republican Congressman Mike Bishop – listen below.

car lights during winter rush hour
Flickr user jpstanley / Flickr

On January 9 in eastern Kalamazoo County, 193 vehicles crashed on both sides of I-94. A truck driver was killed and 22 others were sent to the hospital.

Michigan State Police are still investigating the chain-reaction crashes. But the Michigan Department of Transportation blamed driver behavior and speed for the pileup.

Lynette Smith

Many birds leave Michigan for warmer weather. But what birds stay here and tough it out with us in the frigid weather?

Macklin Smith, a University of Michigan professor emeritus of English and a veteran bird watcher, tells us which birds we can expect to hear during the colder months.

It's Just Politics Logo
It's Just Politics with Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta

Governor Snyder delivers his fifth State of the State address tonight and co-hosts of It's Just Politics,  Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta, are in Lansing preparing to cover the speech. They gave us a preview of what might be addressed tonight.

Rick Snyder wants the U.S., not Canada, to pay for the Ambassador Bridge's customs plaza.
Michigan.gov

President Obama prepares to deliver the State of the Union speech tonight and Governor Snyder will also be delivering his State of the State address. In their time in office both leaders have gone through their ups and downs of approval ratings, but where do they fall now?

Michigan State economics Professor Charles Ballard keeps track of how both men fare in Michigan and says for the first time in the surveys they've conducted since Governor Snyder took office his approval ratings are higher than President Obama's in Michigan.

  Today on Stateside:

A sunset in Havana.
José Eduardo Deboni / Flickr

The United States took a major step toward establishing relations with Cuba after a deep freeze that has lasted over half a century.

A congressional delegation met yesterday with Cuban officials in Havana. Among the delegation was Michigan's senior senator, Debbie Stabenow, D-MI.

Creating4Change

Michigan filmmaker Sophia Kruz is exploring the ways art empowers women all around the world. She is hard at work shooting what will be a full-length film called Creating4Change along with raising the money to make it.

Today on Stateside:

  • A new chapter for U.S. and Cuba relations
  • Green vehicles in this time of falling gas prices.
  • The American Dialect Society has chosen its word of the year for 2014: #BlackLivesMatter
  • How much do Americans support the EPA's Clean Power Plan? A new CLOSUP survey offers some answers.
  • Our next installment of The Next Idea.

On this Martin Luther King Day, let's consider the 2014 Word of the Year from the American Dialect Society.

Other groups around the world offer up their Word of the Year choices. This one comes from the nation's top grammarians, language enthusiasts and linguists, including our guest today, Sonja Laneheart.

Laneheart is a professor of linguistics at the University of Texas-San Antonio. She did her masters and PhD at the University of Michigan.

Photo by d.boyd, Flickr

There's plenty of discussion about climate change and greenhouse gas emissions, but are we ready to actually do something substantive about reducing those emissions?

Based on a national public opinion survey by CLOSUP, the Center for Local, State and Urban Policy at the University of Michigan’s Ford School of Public Policy, the answer appears to be, "yes."

Automotive Rhythms / Flickr

The North American International Auto Show is in full swing in Detroit.

Writer Paul Eisenstein, publisher of TheDetroitBureau.com, serves up an in-depth look at the state of alternative fuel vehicles for the January issue of Hour Detroit Magazine.

Eisenstein has covered all the news conferences and "big vehicle reveals" at the NAIAS. Amidst the luxury cars and the muscle cars like that new 650-horsepower Corvette automakers are still thinking "green" with alternative fuel options.

Ruth Behar in Cuba on the beach.
Ruth Behar

President Obama’s decision last month to overhaul our policy towards Cuba has pushed our Caribbean neighbor to the forefront of our attention.

Ruth Behar is a professor of anthropology at the University of Michigan and the daughter of Cuban exiles. She was born in Cuba and her family left in the 1960s. Behar has recently published pieces in the Washington Post and Huffington Post about what President Obama's decision means to her and her family, and what to expect when traveling to the country.

Former BWL GM, Peter Lark.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Lansing Board of Water & Light fired its general manager yesterday. The commission voted five-to-three to terminate J. Peter Lark's contract. Lark took a barrage of criticism because of BWL's response to a huge ice storm just before Christmas 2013.

Alden Jewell / Flickr

Got milk? Well, back in the day, milk trucks drove door-to-door delivering the all important staple to your home.

Twin Pines, Sealtest, Borden’s, Washtenaw Dairy and Guernsey Farm are just a few of the companies that sent hardy little delivery trucks out every day, serving up home delivery of milk, cream, eggs and cheese.

Today on Stateside:

  • The Lansing Board of Water & Light fired its general manager yesterday.
  • Students with a passion for working on social issues try their hand at turning their ideas into action - a look at the innovative program OptiMIze.
  • Writer George Bulanda tells us about the history of milk trucks in Detroit.
  • U.S. Rep Debbie Dingell joins us to discuss her opposition to a pending gun bill in the Michigan Legislature.
  • Detroit News Business Columnist Daniel Howes shares his thoughts on the auto show going on now in Detroit.
  • A group of UofM engineers is hoping to reduce the impact of one of the leading causes of flight delays: bad weather.
Airliner.
Andrey Belenko / Flickr

You know how it can go: flight delays - angry customers - long line - baggage that goes astray.

A group of University of Michigan engineers is busy crunching a lot of numbers in the hopes of reducing the impact of one of the leading causes of flight delays: bad weather.

Amy Cohn is an associate professor in industrial and operations engineering at Michigan. She has a special interest in airline industry operations and she joined us today.

Listen to our conversation with Cohn above.

Atlantic Council / Flickr

Governor Snyder is facing increasing pressure to veto legislation that would let some people who have personal protection orders against them carry a concealed weapon.

Democratic Congresswoman Debbie Dingell has written a letter to Snyder urging him not to sign it.

Dingell joined us today from Washington D.C.

Western Michigan University's Main Campus
user TheKuLeR / Wikimedia Commons

The odds are stacked against the more than 20,000 young people who age out of foster care each year. Nearly half drop out of high school, and those who make it to college rarely graduate.

Maddy Day, the director of outreach and training at the Center for Fostering Success at Western Michigan University, and Chris Harris, director of the Seita Scholars Program at Western, joined us to discuss how their programs are helping young people get into and graduate from college.

Urban Meyer
MGoBlog on Flickr / Flickr

Ohio State University beat Oregon 42-20 in the inaugural College Football Playoff National Championship.

Michigan Radio commentator John U. Bacon joined us to discuss the game.

User Motown31 / Creative Commons

Governor Snyder has chosen Darnell Earley, Flint's current emergency manager, to replace Jack Martin as Detroit Public School's emergency manager.

Chastity Pratt Dawsey, who covers education issues for Bridge Magazine, talked to us about what this means for DPS.

  Today on Stateside:

cover of novel
Lev Raphael

Peace and quiet is in short supply for Nick Hoffman, the composition professor at the fictional "State University of Michigan," in the town of Michiganapolis. A mind-blowing encounter with the local police starts the action in the latest book from writer Lev Raphael.

Raphael has now written 25 books in many different genres. His latest, Assault with a Deadly Lie, is the eighth installment of his Nick Hoffman Mysteries.

Lev Raphael also teaches creative writing, popular literature and Jewish-American literature at Michigan State University.

A display shelf in the Moist Towelette Museum in East Lansing
John French

Let’s talk about unusual collections. There are museums for Mustard. Wax. Even toilet seats.

Prisons are overfilling with an increasingly aging population.
User kIM DARam / flickr.com

Getting tough on crime. For many, that means putting criminals behind bars, lengthy sentences, and tough parole guidelines.

Today marks the first day of media preview action at the North American International Auto Show. Already, some big winners have been named. Ford won Truck of the Year award for its F-150, while the Volkswagen Golf was crowned the North American Car of the Year.

Ohio state football player
Flickr user yuan2003 / Flickr

Is it ever appropriate for a Michigan or Michigan State fan to cheer for Ohio State?

Ohio State is the underdog in next Monday's College Football Playoff National Championship game against Oregon.

grosse point lighthouse
Flickr user Teemu008 / flickr

West Michigan historian Larry B. Massie's book Blue Water, Red Metal & Green Gold: The Color of Michigan's Past includes 27 colorful human interest stories from Michigan's past, ranging from the 1800s to the 1950s

It is the 12th in his series Voyages into Michigan's Past, and his 21st book.

Warren Evans on Instagram

With the start of the New Year, Warren Evans became the new county executive of Wayne County, and with it he's inheriting a daunting pile of problems.

Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes recently published the article "Fiscal fight fraught for Wayne County's Evans." He joined us to discuss what Evans has inherited from his predecessor, Robert Ficano, and what he can do to improve the county's financial situation.

Traverse city vineyard
Flickr user Rachel Kramer / Flickr

The Traverse City area is emerging as Michigan's new "foodie empire." Chris Cook, chief wine and restaurant critic for Hour Detroit Magazine, tells us just which area restaurants are worth a visit.

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