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Stateside Staff

Charlie Auringer

In 1969, the blues threw a party in Ann Arbor.

James Partridge, founder of the Ann Arbor Blues Society, calls that party “the first blues festival ever.”

Enough people came that it happened again, and again, and became the Ann Arbor Blues Festival, later re-christened the Ann Arbor Blues & Jazz Festival. Its last hurrah came in 2006.

But this year, musicians will breathe new life into that festival, as they work to reignite the energy that pulsed through the crowds so many years ago.

SEMCH44 / YOUTUBE

Thirty years ago today, a flight outbound from Detroit Metro Airport on its way to Phoenix never reached its destination. 

Stateside 8.16.2017

Aug 16, 2017

It's been 30 years since Flight 255 crashed in Romulus. Today on Stateside, two reporters say that day is still impossible to forget. And, we hear why one researcher says the safety of birth control pills is not "sufficiently well established."

Tyler Scott / Michigan Radio

We're driving around Michigan a little faster this summer. It's the result of a package of bills signed earlier this year by Governor Snyder.

Speed limits are increasing to 65 miles an hour on 900 miles of non-freeways around the state. And on 600 miles of freeways, the speed limit goes up to 75.

slab of butter frying in a pan.
George Brett / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

In the mid-20th century, there was a smuggling ring running between western Upper Peninsula and people in Wisconsin. It didn’t involve whisky, or gun-running, but rather a substitute for butter.

Rachel Clarke with the Michigan History Center says there was demand in Wisconsin for margarine, which was illegal in the badger state, but was still for sale in stores in Michigan.

UCI UC Irvine / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCLO

In 1960, the first oral contraceptive was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as contraception.

That drug, Enovid, changed the course of history for women.

Yet Beverly Strassmann, a professor of anthropology and a researcher at the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research, has a challenge for the drug companies that make hormonal birth control: don’t rest on your laurels.

Her research indicates it might be past time for pharmaceutical companies to tweak the formulation of the pill.

Stateside 8.15.2017

Aug 15, 2017

Today, we talk about what Justin Dawson's case reveals about the way our courts handle defendants who are mentally ill or developmentally disabled. And the state is refunding nearly $21 million to tens of thousands of people it wrongly accused of unemployment fraud. One advocate calls that a drop in the bucket.

Courtesy of the Dawson family

On yesterday's Stateside, we heard about a young Flint man named Justin Dawson.

Tony Dawson is Justin's grandmother.

"He's 28 years old, but I would say mentally probably about seven or eight years old," she said. "He's always been a good boy. He did graduate from special ed classes – just way behind, way behind mentally."

chris atto / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCLO

Looking for new music from the Detroit area that's perfect for the dog days of summer?

Khalid Bhatti​, executive editor of Detroit Music Magazine, has your back. So does Paul Young, the magazine's founder and publisher.

NOAA, Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary

Most people have heard of a bird or wildlife sanctuary, but fewer are familiar with sanctuaries for shipwrecks.

The Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary is one of only 14 national marine sanctuaries in the entire country operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and it’s situated in the northwest corner of Lake Huron, just off the shores of Alpena.

Michigan Municipal League / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCLO

After wrongly accusing tens of thousands of people in Michigan of cheating on their unemployment benefits, the state is refunding $21 million to those Michiganders.

Attorney Jennifer Lord said that number is just “a drop in the bucket” of what the state has taken from those people, while Director of the Talent Investment Agency Wanda Stokes said the agency would do better in communicating with citizens and handling unemployment claims.

Amidst all of this, Zach Gorchow of Gongwer News Service has noted a conspicuous silence from one very important voice: Governor Rick Snyder.

Michigan's Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) has wrongly accused tens of thousands of people of cheating on their unemployment claims.
Bytemarks / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The state has admitted it made a whopping mistake when it accused tens of thousands of Michiganders of cheating on their unemployment benefits.

The Unemployment Insurance Agency reviewed 62,784 cases where people were accused of fraud and hit with penalties.

In some 44,000 of those cases, that accusation was completely false – no fraud took place.

Stateside 8.14.2017

Aug 14, 2017

Today on Stateside, we learn why white supremacists carried the Red Wings logo in Charlottesville, and about the ideology they ascribe to. And, we hear a Flint man's story of being jailed for nearly a year before getting psychiatric help. 

Courtesy of the Dawson family

What happens to someone when they're found mentally incompetent to stand trial in Michigan? One Flint man's story offers some clues.

Justin Lee Dawson is severely developmentally disabled. Though Dawson is 28 years old, his family says he has the IQ of a six-year-old child.

Courtesy of Barbara Schmid

He’s been writing and singing about Michigan for a good many years, and on Tuesday night, Michigan will say thank you to Jay Stielstra.

Michigan Senator Rebekah Warren will present Stielstra with a state of Michigan legislative tribute for his contributions in conserving Michigan’s natural resources. She’ll do this during a show called “A Michigan Tribute to Jay Stielstra” at The Ark in Ann Arbor, where an all-star group of Michigan singers, musicians and actors will perform in his honor.

Emmanuel Smith / MrEintheD.com

The Next Idea

If you’re old enough, you might remember Schoolhouse Rock, a series of musical films that helped kids learn.

Emmanuel Smith is “Mr. E in the D,” and he’s updating that concept by using hip-hop to teach kids math.

Stateside 8.11.2017

Aug 11, 2017

Today on Stateside, we hear from the two sides at odds over development plans for the Saugatuck Dunes. And we learn how the legacy of discriminatory housing policies in Michigan continues to shape metro areas today.

Mapping Inequality: Redlining in New Deal America / Creative Commons

The legacy of discrimination against people of color and discrimination against certain religions is powerfully present in Michigan cities to this day.

A new data investigation from Bridge Magazine's Mike Wilkinson analyzed a series of housing maps produced by the Home Owners Loan Corporation and later used by the Federal Housing Administration. Wilkinson examined maps of nine cities across the state.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

 


A stretch of sand dunes along Lake Michigan might be under development soon, and a lot of people are concerned about that. They want to protect the natural state of the Saugatuck Dunes.

David Swan is the president of the Saugatuck Dunes Coastal Alliance. He’s worked with a coalition of locals who want to see the dunes protected. Swan said he’s not against the idea of economic development around Saugatuck, but it should be balanced with preservation of environmentally sensitive areas.

Paul Scott

A merchant freighter ran aground downstream from the Soo Locks of the St. Mary's River on Wednesday, Aug. 9 around 11:40 p.m.

Lieutenant Junior Grade Sean Murphy of the United States Coast Guard, Sector Sault Ste. Marie, joined Stateside today to explain the situation as it stands now.

Stateside 8.10.2017

Aug 10, 2017

Today on Stateside, a health expert says it's unacceptable for the state to be behind on asbestos inspections. And we hear why one group offers black women a safe place to grieve, away from the pressure to always be strong. We also learn why Michigan needs more foster parents, and which waterfall in Michigan is the tallest.

Shri Thanedar says Michigan should spend more resources investing in programs to benefit its residents. He's a candidate for the Democratic nomination to be Michigan's next governor.
Lester Graham

Next year, Michigan will choose a new governor. Several people have announced their candidacies, including Ann Arbor resident and entrepreneur Shri Thanedar.

Thanedar is running as a Democrat. He’s wealthy and has never held political office. He has criticized Governor Rick Snyder, by saying government shouldn’t be run with a spreadsheet mentality. If elected, Thanedar says he would improve the quality of life for average people in Michigan.

Kyle Rokos / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCLO

Jim Curtis lives in Ahmeek, a village in Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula. That's right near the Douglass Houghton Falls.

Curtis said he's always wondered how the height of those falls compares to other waterfalls in Michigan. So he submitted this question to our MI Curious project:

"What is the tallest waterfall in Michigan, and how is that figured out?"

MICHAEL COGHLAN / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCLO

Asbestos popped up a few times in the news this week.

The Detroit Free Press published an investigative piece about how the quick pace of demolitions of abandoned homes and buildings in Detroit might be endangering residents.

The city says that’s demonstrably false.

Then yesterday, Michigan’s Auditor General found the state’s asbestos remediation program needs more inspectors and more money. As Michigan Radio reported, the program is falling behind in its reports and follow-up visits.

Shereen Allen-Youngblood is a community outreach specialist at The Children’s Center in Wayne County. She helps recruit foster parents and says Wayne County needs thousands more foster parents
Lester Graham

Michigan has a shortage. There are thousands of children who need foster families, but far fewer families willing to help.

Shereen Allen-Youngblood is a community outreach specialist at The Children’s Center in Wayne County. She recruits foster parents, and says many people who consider becoming foster parents think they may not be qualified, when that isn’t the case in reality.

african american woman leaning against door frame
Javier Sánchez Salcedo / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCLO

The Next Idea

We live in a world of stereotypes, as disappointing as that can be sometimes.

Here’s one of them: black women never take any guff from anyone and they are always strong.

No one is always strong. Bad things happen in life, and we all experience tragedies. So when an African-American woman is struggling with loss, struggling with grief, where can she turn?

Stateside 8.9.2017

Aug 9, 2017

Are classroom troublemakers a disruption or a warning sign? We discuss that question today on Stateside. We also hear about the time NASA gave Michigan a piece of the moon and it wound up in the governor's garage. And, we break down a recent case of "river rage" on the St. Clair River.

USFWSmidwest / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCLO

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources doesn’t have enough people out in the field to keep an eye on everything in nature, so it relies on hunters, hikers, anglers, and activists to report things that are out of the ordinary.

But there was a problem with the department’s method of getting that information: red tape. The DNR had 15 different observation forms.

But now, there's an app for that.

A mock-up of the proposed downtown development project by Gibbs Planning Group
Bob Gibbs / Gibbs Planning Group

If you live in a city or town that dates back to before World War Two, you've got a "Main Street," you've got parks, and you can walk around town to restaurants and stores.

Cities that sprouted up after the war? Not so much.

Those are largely made up of shopping strips, office buildings, plenty of subdivisions — and you definitely need a car. There's no "downtown" that's the center of the community.

plaque with michigan flag
Courtesy of the Michigan History Center

The federal government may have orchestrated the United State's history-making voyage to the moon in 1969, but the states weren't left out entirely. The crew of Apollo 11 took all 50 state flags along for the ride, and then returned each flag to its owner with an added gift: a moon rock.

Michigan’s moon rock was given to Governor William Milliken, and it sat in his garage for years afterward. Then, in the late 1980s, Milliken's family delivered it to the Michigan History Center, where it's now on exhibit. 

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