Stateside Staff

Claressa Shields is the first American woman to win an Olympic gold medal in boxing

One of the breakout stars of the 2012 summer Olympics in London was a teenage girl from Flint.

Claressa Shields made it to London to become the first American woman to win Olympic gold in boxing.

Shields, nicknamed “T-Rex,” is still going strong. She won the World Championship in 2014, and she recently won gold at the Pan American games in Toronto.

flickr user Kenny Louie /

The first day of autumn is less than a week away, but if you’re planning to take a trip up north to marvel at the fall colors, MLive and meteorologist Mark Torregrossa tells us you might want to wait.

He says rain and warm weather are keeping the trees lush and green.

Fiat Chryler CEO Sergio Marchionne, left, and UAW President Dennis Williams.

A tentative contract agreement has been reached by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and United Auto Workers, one that FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne describes as “transformational.”

Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes says this proposed deal sets a high bar.

Rep. Dan Kildee is part of a bipartisan group that is pushing to extend the Export-Import Bank's charter
Steve Carmody

“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”

Republicans opposed to the Iran nuclear deal are taking that old adage to heart.

Twice now Senate Republicans have tried to pass a resolution rejecting the deal, and twice they’ve failed, blocked by Senate Democrats who support President Obama’s key foreign policy initiative.

Led by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, they’ll try again today.

Donald Trump speaks at the 2015 CPAC in Maryland
flickr user Gage Skidmore /


The second Republican presidential debate happens tonight at the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California.

Former Texas Governor Rick Perry recently dropped out of the race, which still leaves 16 candidates being squeezed into a two-tier debate.

Who’s up for a cricket burger? Maybe a cricket muffin?

That might be a tough sell for the average Michigan consumer, but Anthony Hatinger and Theodore Kozerski are giving it a try.

They’re co-founders of Detroit Ento, Detroit’s first sustainable protein research and development firm. And they’re preaching the gospel of crickets for food, feed and pharmaceuticals.

Today on Stateside:

Bubonic plague has found its way to Michigan.

The so-called “Black Death” killed anywhere from 75 million up to 200 million people in Europe and the Middle East throughout the 14th century.

We’re talking between 30% and 60% of Europe’s total population. People who seemed healthy when they went to bed at night could be dead by morning.

That’s why news of Michigan’s first documented case of bubonic plague caught many by surprise.

SamPac / creative commons

By official economic measures, this country has emerged from the Great Recession.

But recovery is not being felt in many neighborhoods in large and mid-sized cities.

Since 2000, the number of people living in high-poverty ghettos, barrios, and slums has nearly doubled from 7.2 million to nearly 14 million people.

That's the highest number of Americans living in high-poverty neighborhoods ever recorded. 

State Senator Virgil Smith, D-Detroit.

It took 15 hours and plenty of drama last Friday before Todd Courser resigned and Cindy Gamrat was expelled from the state House.

Republican House leaders basically kept everyone at their seats and went through vote after vote before getting the two Tea Partiers out of the House.

Charlevoix Historical Society

Some people create with paint and brushes, others with musical notes or a camera.

Earl Young found his muse in nature and channeled his artistic vision using massive glacial boulders, limestone, and fieldstone.

The result is a collection of fascinating structures that Young built through the mid-20th century in Charlevoix. Many know them as “the mushroom houses.”

Today on Stateside:

Sticky note with "find job" written on it.
user Flazingo Photos / Flickr -

What will it take to get Michiganders into good jobs?

The Center for Michigan has spent the last year asking questions of more than 5,000 Michiganders for its "Getting to Work" public engagement campaign.

This is the sixth such public engagement campaign conducted by the non-profit and nonpartisan Center for Michigan.

The Michigan House of Representatives in Lansing
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

In a turn of events that surprised many, Rep. Todd Courser resigned his position on Friday, while Rep. Cindy Gamrat became the fourth state legislator in Michigan’s history to be expelled.

John Lidstrom was one of the veteran Lansing political observers watching that expulsion vote, and based on the editorial he wrote about the episode, it’s clear he did so with a sense of dismay.

Our hearts are in the right place when we use the word "innovation," but we may have ruined it for ourselves
flickr user Missy Schmidt /

The Next Idea

It’s not too hard for many of us to think of words that are just used so much that instead of summoning up a powerful image, they trigger a bored eye roll.

One such word is actually a very big part of The Next Idea: “innovation.”

When used correctly, “innovation” means so much. For companies and universities, entrepreneurs and inventors, it means everything.

But the word is now so overused it tends to get lost in the white noise of corporate buzzwords.

Courtesy of Maia Williams /

There's a comic convention happening this weekend in Detroit that will spotlight artists and writers of color, and women.

"MECCAcon: the Midwest Ethnic Convention for Comics and Arts" runs September 18-19 . The two-day event is the brainchild of organizer Maia "Crown" Williams.

"I feel like diversity is very important for our city to succeed and progress.... You can draw and create many black characters in mainstream comics ... but are you paying people of color to create them, to write them."

Quentin Kruger / Wikimedia Commons

Robert "Steve" Miller is back in town.

The former Chrysler exec known as "The Turnaround Kid" is running International Automotive Components. 

It's been nearly 10 years since Miller and the Delphi directors decided to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy - making Delphi an American company in name only. 

The reaction at the time was instantaneous and loud. 

Today on Stateside:

John U. Bacon

John U. Bacon joins us for this week’s sports roundup.

Wolverines moving forward

Bacon tells us that despite the 24-17 loss to the Utah Utes last week, the Wolverines played “far better football on both sides of the ball than I’ve seen in a long time.”

He tells us he didn’t anticipate a win for Michigan, but he did expect to see 60 minutes of honest, fundamental football, and it looks like that’s what we got.

The Winter 1988-89 issue of The Fifth Estate
reddit user Crispin777 /

1965 was a big year for many Americans.

We saw a 700% increase in the number of American troops in Vietnam.

The U.S. began bombing North Vietnam with Operation Rolling Thunder.

Former Vice President Richard Nixon rejected any talk of ending the Vietnam War, writing, “There can be no substitute for victory when the objective is the defeat of communist aggression."

The Friends of the Historic Masonic Temple /

Grab your wizard's hat and wand, Bay City is the place to be this weekend.

It's the first-ever Wizard Fest, A Harry Potter Fan Festival running this Friday through Sunday around Bay City.

Culture Lab Detroit

An annual design and urbanism symposium begins tonight in Detroit. 

The focus of Culture Lab Detroit is to look at the city's 23 square miles of vacant land and figure out how to use that land in ways that enrich the lives of long-time and new residents.

Synthetic drugs are designed to mimic conventional drugs while avoiding prosecution

The latest designer drugs are just a few mouse clicks away, easily ordered from Chinese websites.

Powerful synthetic drugs like bath salts and Flakka are making their way into the country.

Victor Fitz, president of the Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan, explains that designer drugs are created in response to the country’s stringent drug laws.

For decades, volunteers have been stepping up to battle the blight in Detroit
flickr user Charlie Wollborg /

Since Detroit emerged from its history-making bankruptcy, much of the city’s attention has been focused on blight.

The city is making efforts to reduce blight by knocking down or rehabilitating derelict buildings, and by finding creative uses for the growing amount of empty land in Detroit’s 140 square miles.

At last count, we’re up to 23.4 square miles of vacant land, more than the size of the entire island of Manhattan.

But for John George, the battle against blight began in 1988.

Today on Stateside:

Map showing the location of Waukesha, WI.
Screencap from Google Maps / Google

The city of Waukesha, Wisconsin has a contamination problem in its aquifer, and the federal government has ordered the city to find a new source of drinking water by 2018.

Waukesha is just a mile and a half outside the Lake Michigan watershed, so tapping Great Lakes water seems like the most obvious solution to the city’s problem.

Today on Stateside:

Efrain Zamudio in front of his backyard coop in Allen Park. The Mexican community in Metro Detroit might help carry on the tradition of pigeon racing.
Michael Jackman

That question might surprise those who didn't realize pigeons are "a thing" in the Metro Detroit area.

Immigrants from Belgium came to Detroit and brought their national passion of pigeon racing with them and it spread from there.

See this clip of an old pigeon race from the Detroit News:

Unlike traditional playgrounds like the one pictured, playscapes aim to incorporate more of a landscape-based design.
flickr user Takuma Kimura /

Instead of letting the adults decide how to overhaul a school playground, why not go to the consumers?

Why not ask the kids who will be using it?

That’s the idea behind the design and upcoming construction of a new playscape at Ann Arbor’s STEAM at Northside school, and the organizers think what they’ve learned can help other schools.


In our selfie-happy world where we can take a photo anytime of anything we want, it’s difficult to conceive of life in which photography is completely banned.

No photographs, ever – or face severe punishment.

From 1996 to 2001, that was life in Afghanistan under the Taliban.

After the Taliban fell from power, free press and photojournalism were born.