Stateside Staff


3:58 pm
Wed October 23, 2013

The Gay Christian Network's founder spreads his message to Michigan

Justin Lee

"Let's agree to disagree, and then find ways to be witnesses for Christ together."

That is the message of the Gay Christian Network, which calls itself the nation's "largest interdenominational LGBT Christian organization."

The founder of the Gay Christian Network is Justin Lee. He's in West Michigan this week, one of the most "religiously conservative" areas of the state. Last night he spoke at Calvin College and this Friday he will speak at the "Room For All" National Conference at Central Reformed Church in Grand Rapids.

Justin Lee joined us on Wednesday today.

Listen to the full interview above.

3:54 pm
Wed October 23, 2013

Is eating local good for the environment?

Eat more locally-grown, fresh fruits and vegetables
jamesjyu via flicker

There's much talk in Michigan---and across American---about the local food movement.

For many food activists, eating locally sourced foods isn't just a pleasure, it is a moral obligation. They maintain locally sourced food is better for the entire planet than shipping food thousands of miles across oceans, across continents.

Is eating local always worth it? What works and what doesn't?

Dr. Margot Finn is a lecturer at the University of Michigan. She specializes in food, popular culture, and class, and she joined us today in the studio.

Listen to the full interview above.

3:47 pm
Wed October 23, 2013

Is Michigan preparing schools for emergencies?

A classroom.
Jennifer Guerra Michigan Radio

When you send your child off to school every day, you entrust the safety of your child to those who run that school.

So, when a new report from the group Save the Children revealed that Michigan is among four states that do not require K-12 schools to have emergency plans for multiple hazards, we wanted to learn more.

Even more, the study found more than half the states and D.C. don’t require schools or day care centers to meet minimum standards to protect children during major emergencies.

Are Michigan schoolchildren adequately protected? What more can and should be done to keep them as safe as possible?

Listen to the full interview above. 

3:33 pm
Wed October 23, 2013

What can we expect from the Detroit bankruptcy trial?

Peter Martorano Flickr

Is Detroit really broke?

That’s the question before Federal Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes as Detroit’s bankruptcy eligibility trial began today. His ruling could open the door for the City of Detroit blowing up billions of dollars in debt and liabilities.

As has been the case ever since the bankruptcy filing on July 18th, this is all being closely watched from coast to coast. History is being written in Judge Rhodes' courtroom.

Daniel Howes, Detroit News Business Columnist, and the former Chief of Communications for the City of Detroit, Karen Dumas, joined us today to talk about what this trial means and what we might see.

Listen to the full interview above.

3:20 pm
Wed October 23, 2013

A preview of 'The Education Gap,' a State of Opportunity documentary

Republicans in the Michigan Senate have introduced seven bills aimed at reforming the education system in Michigan. Critics say the Republicans are trying to "destroy" public education in the state.
user alkruse24 Flickr

There is one thing that seems pretty clear about those of you who are Stateside listeners. Education matters to you! Whenever we talk about education, about our children, you are “all ears.”

Tomorrow at this time, you will not want to miss a powerful documentary produced by Jennifer Guerra for Michigan Radio's State of Opportunity project. It’s called “The Education Gap.”

Jen Guerra joined us today to give us a preview.

Listen to the full interview above.

Politics & Culture
4:24 pm
Tue October 22, 2013

Stateside for Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

The tragic school shooting in Sparks, Nevada that left two kids injured and two people dead yesterday has revived the debate over gun violence and school safety.

Today, we take a closer look at what it will take to make Michigan schools safer.

Then, with overnight temperatures in the 30s and predictions of snow this week, we ask if we are headed for an early Winter.

First on the show, we explore a water dilemma that is brewing next-door, in Wisconsin.

The city of Waukesha is asking for permission to tap into Lake Michigan for drinking water to the tune of 10.1 million gallons a day.

Read more
4:05 pm
Tue October 22, 2013

Talking with Detroiters

Skyline of Detroit.
Patricia Drury Flickr

As part of Michigan Radio’s State of Opportunity project, the station is partnering with the Detroit Free Press, The Center for Michigan, and WDET to host community conversations with Detroit residents.

The goal is to hear from Detroiters about what they see happening in their city, and what would make it a place where they can build a future.

Michigan Radio’s All Things Considered host Jenn White will be hosting one of the conversations this Thursday evening.

Listen to the full interview above.

Arts & Culture
3:59 pm
Tue October 22, 2013

What's the 'fat bias,' and do we see it in Michigan?

Melissa McCarthy on the cover of Elle.
Elle Magazine. Elle

An interview with Amanda Levitt.

There was a bit of a stir recently when Elle Magazine came out with its annual "Women in Hollywood” issue.

Four covers were shot with four different stars: Reese Witherspoon, Shailene Woodley, Penelope Cruz and Melissa McCarthy.

Witherspoon wore a fitted black dress, Woodley wore a swimsuit and Cruz recently gave birth to her second baby, so hers was a close-up face shot. Curvy, full-figured McCarthy was swathed and bundled up in a big coat.

That led to criticism that McCarthy was covered up because she's full-figured — though it should be noted that Melissa McCarthy herself said she was glad to be a part of the cover.

But it does raise the issue of society's attitudes toward overweight or obese people.

35% of the population of Michigan is considered to be overweight, so it’s an issue that affects many in our state.

Is there a bias towards fat people that would not be tolerated elsewhere?

Joining us is Amanda Levitt, a graduate student at Wayne State University. Levitt writes the blog Fat Body Politics.

Listen to the full interview above.

Environment & Science
3:57 pm
Tue October 22, 2013

How one city in Wisconsin may change how we protect the Great Lakes

Lake Michigan.
Jennifer Guerra Michigan Radio

An interview with Noah Hall, a Wayne State University law professor.

A water dilemma is brewing in Wisconsin.

The city of Waukesha (near Milwaukee) is asking for permission to tap into Lake Michigan for drinking water — to the tune of 10.1 million gallons per day.

Waukesha is in a real bind. The aquifer that has provided most of its drinking water for the last century has dropped so far, that the water left behind has unhealthy levels of radium and salt.

So the city of 70,000 is under a federal order to find a new source, and Lake Michigan is just 15 miles away.

But Waukesha has the bad luck to be a mile and a half outside the watershed boundary that encircles the five Great Lakes.

Read more
3:56 pm
Tue October 22, 2013

Brace yourself — it may be an early winter for Michigan

The South Haven lighthouse, covered in snow.
user Cseeman Flickr

An interview with meteorologist Mark Torregrossa.

As I grabbed my gloves and heavy coat this morning, I noted that the thermometer was 33. Just ten days ago, it was 79 degrees. That’s Michigan's weather for you — always keeping us on our toes.

With talk of snowflakes in Flint and friends in Northern Michigan grumbling on Facebook about predictions of snow on October 22, we wondered: Is Michigan facing an early winter?

Meteorologist Mark Torregrossa joins us to discuss what’s ahead for Michigan weather.

Listen to the full interview above.

4:02 pm
Mon October 21, 2013

The University of Michigan was selected for the 'Gershwin Initiative'

George Gershwin
Flickr user hto2008 Flickr

That's George Gershwin himself at the piano, playing his 1924 composition "Rhapsody in Blue."

As important as George Gershwin and his brother Ira are to the history of American music, there has never been a definitive edition of their joint body of work.

That is about to change.

The entire music world sat up and took great notice of the announcement that the Gershwin family and the University of Michigan have formed a partnership called "The Gershwin Initiative" that will ultimately bring Gershwin's music to students and audiences around the world.

Mark Clague is Associate Professor of Musicology at the U of M School of Music, Theatre and Dance, and he will be the editor-in-chief of the George and Ira Gershwin Critical Edition. He joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Politics & Culture
3:37 pm
Mon October 21, 2013

Stateside for Monday, October 21st, 2013

There's a labor shortage in West Michigan. Construction jobs are going unfilled. We look at what that means for the housing industry and the economy as a whole. 

And, after this weekend's loss to the Boston Red Sox, Tigers Manager Jim Leyland announced he's stepping down today.

We found out more about the man who led the Tigers to win the last three AL Central Division titles.

Also, George and Ira Gershwin are important figures in the history of American music, but there has never been a definitive edition of their joint body of work, but now the Gershwin family is teaming up with the University of Michigan to change that.

We spoke to the editor-in-chief of the George and Ira Gershwin Critical Edition to find out more.

First on the show, Bridge Magazine is taking a close look at the challenges Michigan faces as we try to improve our education system.

Read more
2:13 pm
Mon October 21, 2013

More about Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland

Tiger manager Jim Leyland brought the Detroit Tigers to the American League Championship Series for the last three years.

But Saturday night's elimination in Boston was the "final out" for Jim Leyland. Today he announced he is stepping down as manager.

John Keating, who covers the Tigers for Fox Sports Detroit, joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

2:11 pm
Mon October 21, 2013

Michigan is experiencing a construction labor shortage


In the depths of the Great Recession, here are words that we thought we might never hear again - "Help Wanted."

Construction jobs are going begging.

Five years ago, Michigan’s construction industry was fighting to stay alive.

Now it’s on the rebound, but home builders say they need more workers. And they’re not finding enough folks apparently willing to put in a hard day’s work on a construction site. The Grand Rapids Community College's residential construction program only drew five students.

What’s with the construction labor shortage?

John Bitely is the President and Owner of Sable Homes in Grand Rapids, and he joined us today along with Donald Grimes. Grimes is a senior research associate with the University of Michigan, specializing on economic forecasting and regional economic development in Michigan.

Listen to the full interview above.

1:30 pm
Mon October 21, 2013

How do Michigan students measure up compared to the rest of the nation?

O.k., o.k., we know this one is empty, but some high school students in the Detroit Public Schools say their classroom are far from empty.
User Motown31 Creative Commons

This fall, Bridge Magazine is taking a close look at the challenges Michigan faces as we try to improve our education system.

The starting point for all of this is where Michigan students stand as compared to students across America, and then how students in the U.S. compare to other nations.

American students rank 17th in reading, 23rd in science and 31st in Math, which puts us behind students in countries such as Poland and Slovenia.

As for Michigan, we're somewhere in the middle of the U.S. 'pack.' Education week ranked Michigan's K-12 education system 24th. And the National Assessment of Educational Progress exam found Michigan kids are 39th in 4th-grade math and 30th in 8th Grade reading.

This begs the question: how well are students in Michigan prepared for the good education that is needed to enter the middle class?

Bridge Magazine Senior Writer Ron French is seeking the answer in his series of special reports for Bridge Magazine. He joined us today to tell us more.

Listen to the full interview above.

4:00 pm
Thu October 17, 2013

How do Michigan Catholics view Pope Francis?

Pope Francis.
Christus Vincit Flickr

It has been seven months since the Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Jorge Mario Bergoglio was chosen as the new leader of the Roman Catholic Church.

He took the name Francis. And since then, the Argentinean pontiff has caught the world's attention, ruffling more than a few conservative feathers with his words on abortion and gay rights, attempts to reform the way the Vatican runs, and how the Catholic Church connects with the people.

We wondered how much impact Pope Francis is having on Catholics in Michigan, and how he’s seen by members of other religions.

We began the conversation with Dave Willey, the Rome correspondent for the BBC.

Then, we hear from Jesuit priest Father Karl Kiser, and Baptist minister Ural Hill.

Read more
3:45 pm
Thu October 17, 2013

The shutdown is over - but what happens next?

The U.S. Capitol.
U.S. Congress

 Audio FileAn interview with David Shepardson the Washington reporter for the Detroit News.Edit | Remove

Last night, the U.S. House approved a Senate-backed plan to reopen the federal government, bringing an end to the 16-day partial government shutdown. The U.S. government is once again open for business — at least until mid-January.

Last night's vote ended the shutdown through January 15, and raised the debt ceiling till February 7 (and perhaps a month longer).

But that vote divided Michigan's Republican members of Congress.

Joining us from Washington, D.C. is David Shepardson, the Washington reporter for the Detroit News. 

Listen to the full interview above.

3:43 pm
Thu October 17, 2013

How can we ensure good governance in Detroit?

Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.
AP file photo Associated Press

An interview with U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan Barbara L. McQuade.

Last week, as Federal Judge Nancy Edmunds sentenced former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick to 28 years in what became an historic case of corruption, she decried the lack of transparency and accountability that surrounded Kilpatrick’s administration.

“So much business was being done behind closed doors without anyone looking into it until the press got into it and opened the door to what was transpiring in City Hall,” Edmunds said in the courtroom.

The voters of Detroit handed their trust to Kwame Kilpatrick, and as a jury found, he turned that trust into a vehicle to feed his greed — using the office of Detroit’s mayor as his personal piggy bank.

Now that chapter is over, Detroiters are preparing to elect a new mayor. So, what better time for the first-ever Leadership Summit on Good Governance for Detroit?

The summit convener, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan Barbara L. McQuade, joined us in studio to discuss securing good governance in southeast Michigan.

To learn more about the conference, follow this link.

Listen to the full interview above. 

Environment & Science
3:38 pm
Thu October 17, 2013

This contest is giving Michigan drivers the chance to be highway planners

A highway.
user Joe Shlabotnik Flickr

An interview with Sarah Szurpicki.

So there you are, driving to and from work or school every day.

Chances are, there's probably a stretch of highway you drive that seems particularly soul-numbing and doesn't let you get any sense of place or community.

If you could design a highway, what would it look like? And could it improve, rather than just carve up your city?

That's the idea behind Highways for Habitats, a contest being run by the Michigan Municipal League's Let's Save Michigan Initiative.

Sarah Szurpicki is a project coordinator with the Let's Save Michigan Initiative, and she's been involved in many efforts to revitalize cities in the Great Lakes region. She joins us today to discuss the contest that would allow drivers to play transportation planner. 

Listen to full interview above. 

3:37 pm
Thu October 17, 2013

Keeping up with the Detroit bankruptcy trial

Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr.
Detroit Free Press video Detroit Free Press

An interview with the Detroit News columnist Daniel Howes.


Today, we’re checking in with Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes, discussing what’s going on with the Detroit bankruptcy trial.

According to Howes, two phrases for us to consider this week are “status quo” and “collateral damage.”

How has the status quo failed? And what collateral damage would happen if Judge Steven Rhodes approves the Chapter 9 petition?

Listen to the full interview above.