Stateside Staff

Barring a successful appeal, Michigan voters will be able to use a straight-ticket voting option on November's ballot.
MICHAEL DORAUSCH / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Election day is drawing near. It’s less than 90 days away.

And still the battle continues over straight-ticket voting - that's where you can check off just one box at the top of the ballot to vote for every candidate in the party of your choice.

State Attorney General Bill Schuette has filed an emergency motion with a federal appeals court. He’s asking the appeals court to overrule lower court rulings that blocked the new GOP-led law that eliminates straight-ticket voting in Michigan.

Dr. Daniel Maixner says depictions of electro-convulsive therapy (ECT), like this one in the TV show "Homeland," have harmed the public's perceptions of the treatment. Dr. Maixner calls ECT a "miracle."
Image from the program "Homeland" / Showtime

In the latest edition of Stateside's series Minding Michigan, which explores mental health issues in our state, we take a closer look at electro-convulsive therapy (ECT). 

ECT is largely known as "electroshock therapy," but many in the field consider that to be an outdated term. ECT is a mental health treatment that can be effective for some patients with certain disorders. However, largely because of the way its been portrayed in film or television, ECT is wrapped in stigma and misconception. The University of Michigan Department of Psychiatry has just opened a new mental health unit that expands its ability to offer electro-convulsive therapy to patients.

Flickr user justgrimes/Flickr / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

If you find yourself dissatisfied with choices offered by the two mainstream political parties, you’ve got a new choice.

The Working Class Party got itself onto the Michigan ballot after more than 50,000 people signed petitions. That’s more than the 31,566 signatures required by election law.

Mary Anne Hering of the Working Class Party joined Stateside to talk about the party’s platform, and introduce the candidates we’ll see on the ballot this November.

Stateside 8.19.2016

Aug 19, 2016

Today, we hear how slightly tighter air quality regulations could save lives in Detroit and elsewhere. And, a human rights activist reflects on a federal judge's ruling against a transgender funeral director in Michigan.

A report says as many as 15 people sent complaints to the Attorney General Bill Schuette's office more than a year before an investigation into the water crisis was launched.
Bill Schuette / Facebook.com

The Michigan Information and Research Service (MIRS) reported this week that Flint residents contacted Attorney General Bill Schuette’s office long before he launched an investigation into what became known as the Flint Water Crisis.

Democrats have accused the Republican of ignoring those complaints, and only beginning an investigation after news media coverage became so prominent.

Ken Sikkema and Susan Demas join Stateside for their weekly political roundup to talk about the issue.

The Draken Harald Hårfagre as it passed Detroit on July 13.
Mark McClelland

If you're in Detroit this weekend, don't worry, your eyes are not deceiving you. Yes, that's a Viking ship at the Detroit Yacht Club.

The Draken Harald Hårfagre has been visiting North America after it sailed from Norway to Iceland, Greenland, and then through the St. Lawrence Seaway to the Great Lakes.

Flickr user Rich Renomeron/Flickr / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

A person who wanted to transition from a male to female identity has lost a lawsuit against her former employer.

RG & GR Harris Funeral Home fired Aimee Stephens for planning to dress as a female at work.

The owner said he believes gender is an immutable, God-given gift.

Attorneys for Stephens say the ruling will make it nearly impossible to enforce any civil rights law, if an employer can say the law is against its religious beliefs.

Attorneys for the funeral home say the ruling is a victory for religious liberty, and a check on government intrusion.

Emily Dievendorf, president of the Lansing Association for Human Rights, joined Stateside today and said this ruling could lead to “pretty far-reaching implications” for both transgender people and others in the workplace.

Tourists helping villagers set up a community hall in Cambodia
flickr user Thomas Wanhoff / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The Next Idea

Would you be willing to take a vacation that's centered around helping others?

Perhaps through a church or school group. Maybe it's teaching English. Maybe it's building a school in a struggling country like, say, Haiti. 

It's called "voluntourism."

The intentions are good, but the results might not be as helpful as the voluntourists are hoping for.

Stateside 8.18.2016

Aug 18, 2016

Today we learn about Michigan's new auto industry partnership with Ontario. And, we talk about how well-intentioned "voluntourists" often miss the point.

In the 20 years since AmeriCorps started, more than 28,000 Michigan volunteers have contributed over 41 million hours of service.
flickr user Steven Depolo / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

For more than 20 years, volunteers with AmeriCorps have served in nonprofits, schools, public agencies, and community- and faith-based groups across the country.

The Corporation for National and Community Service is the federal agency that administers AmeriCorps. 

And it turns out Michigan is one of the top states for AmeriCorps volunteers. 

National Director of AmeriCorps Bill Basl spoke with us today about the program and the more than 28,000 Michiganders who have contributed over 41 million hours of service. 

Courtesy of American Girl

This weekend, American Girl unveils its newest doll. Her name is Melody Ellison., and she’s from 1960's Detroit.

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

Ford announced this week it's joining forces with four tech companies and doubling its staff in Silicon Valley. 

Their goal is to put a fully self-driving - that means no steering wheel and no gas or brake pedals - on the road by 2021.

In his Detroit News column todayDaniel Howes  wrote that Ford's move is a sign that, "your father's auto industry is gone and it's not coming back."

Detroit skyline as viewed from Windsor, Ontario
flickr user Michael Stout / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The ties between Michigan and Ontario just got stronger. 

Governor Rick Snyder and Ontario Premier Kathleen Winne recently signed an agreement to set up an alliance between the auto industries of Michigan and Ontario. 

Ontario Minister of Economic Growth and Alliance Brad Duguid joined us today to talk about the two regions' strengths and weaknesses in the auto industry, and why, given the choice, Ontario and Michigan chose to work together rather than compete with each other. 

Flickr user Gage Skidmore / Flickr / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Donald Trump is coming back to Michigan – his second visit in as many weeks. It’s a sign that Michigan matters to the Republican presidential candidate.

He will speak at a rally on Friday afternoon at the Summit Sports and Ice Complex in Eaton County’s Dimondale.

Bruce Barlond, chair of the Eaton County Republican Party, said he was surprised to hear Trump would be visiting his county.

“But I really think it’s a great choice on his part, because Eaton County is a great county,” Barlond said. “It’s very easy to get to from Grand Rapids, Detroit area – it’s really in a great, great position.”

Stateside 8.17.2016

Aug 17, 2016

Today, we talk about Ford's push for mass producing fully autonomous vehicles by 2021. And, we learn how to prevent sitting from bringing down your health.

Flickr user Andre Charland/Flickr / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Get to work, grab a cup of coffee, turn on the computer … and sit down to start the business of the day.

And there you stay: sitting and sitting and sitting. Sound familiar?

For those of us with desk jobs, that’s pretty much the drill.

But more and more medical researchers warn us that all that sitting is wreaking havoc on our bodies. Dr. James Levine of the Mayo Clinic has even declared that “sitting is the new smoking.”

A visit to the Automobile Laundry in 1913 would have run you $1.50, Stone told us. That's equivalent to $36.46 today.
Public Domain

So here you are, the first on your block to buy Henry Ford's Model T. 

But roads are often dirt-covered, getting your newfangled automobile all grubby. And maybe you don't feel like hauling out buckets of water to wash it. 

If you lived in Detroit in 1914, you had a solution: take your care to the Automobile Laundry, the very first automated car wash in the country. 

NBC's coverage of the Rio Olympics has drawn criticism from many viewers.
Flickr user Gareth Simpson / Flickr / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

 

NBC has drawn plenty of criticism for its coverage of the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Count veteran sports journalist Joanne Gerstner among the critics.

“It honestly drives me crazy,” Gerstner said about NBC’s Rio Olympics coverage.

“I literally have not run into anyone who said, ‘Wow, I love NBC’s coverage primetime,’” Gerstner said. “Everyone is like, ‘what is this?’”

Flickr user alamosbasement/Flickr / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Michigan’s School Reform Office has warned failing schools that they could be shut down by next June – more than 100 of them.

Erin Einhorn, editor at Chalkbeat Detroit, published an article breaking down the effects of closing schools with poor testing results, including more than 40 in Detroit.

Using recent state exam scores as their metric, the office will inform each school by the end of 2016 if their doors will close.

Ford Autonomous Test Vehicle
flickr user Steve Jurvetson / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

A century ago, Henry Ford changed the auto industry with the moving assembly line. 

Now Ford Motor Company has set an ambitious goal of developing a fully autonomous vehicle for mass production by 2021.

That's autonomous as in self-driving, with no steering wheel and no gas or brake pedals. 

To make that happen, Ford has announced it's joining forces with four tech companies and plans to double its staff in Silicon Valley. 

Stateside 8.16.2016

Aug 16, 2016

Today, we hear how Detroit's Heidelberg Project plans to evolve after 30 years of bringing art to the city's east side. And we discuss how religious liberty is running into hate and fear in Sterling Heights.

Flickr user Dane Hillard/Flickr / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

They asked for permission to build a mosque in the city of Sterling Heights. After weeks of debate, the city denied their request.

Now, the leaders of the proposed American Islamic Community Center are suing the City of Sterling Heights, accusing the city of bias against Muslims and seeking damages. 

Flickr user Keturah Stickann/Flickr / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

 

Are women worse drivers than men? Michigan auto insurance companies appear to think so.

In most states, there’s not much of a difference between auto insurance rates for men and women. But in Michigan, there’s a difference of about 4.03% between them, with men paying $2,087 and women paying $2,175.

Flickr user George Makris/Flickr / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

There have been plenty of Americans winning gold at the Rio Olympics.

And each gold medal win by a Yank means you'll hear the Star Spangled Banner during the medal ceremony.

Some have noticed that there's something about the version of the anthem being used in Rio that's just a little bit ... off.

But what is it?

Flickr user Jobs For Felons Hub/Flickr / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

When you think of "prison inmates," what's the first thing that comes to mind?

For many, it might be the face of someone convicted for a high-profile, brutal crime.

For others, it may be the image of some vague, homogenous mass of "bad" people who are best locked away. 

Judy Patterson Wenzel begs to differ.

The Michigan Supreme Court has seen a sudden rise in unanimous decisions during the 2015-2016 term.
Flickr user Joe Gratz / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

The old spiritual “Kumbaya” is a song of congregation and harmony. And it’s for this reason that the Michigan Supreme Court has earned the tag “The Kumbaya Court” from court-watchers due to an increase in the number of cases decided unanimously.

Through the 2015-2016 term, 81% of arguments held before the court have been unanimous decisions. In the previous two terms, only a little more than 50% of cases were decided unanimously.

 

Why the sudden rise in unanimous decisions?

Courtesy of The Heidelberg Project

Detroit’s Heidelberg Project will undergo a transformation after 30 years of bringing art to the city’s East Side.

Founder Tyree Guyton is calling the new project “Heidelberg 3.0.”

Today marks the beginning of MDOT's $1.3 billion project to reconstruct I-75.
Flickr user Bill Lund / Flickr / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

 

The Michigan Department of Transportation began its reconstruction of I-75 in Oakland County today. The plan is estimated to take until 2030 and an estimated $1.3 billion.

 

Rob Morosi from the Michigan Department of Transportation and Nick Schroeck, director of the Transnational Environmental Law Clinic, joined us today to discuss the plan.

Peter Williams

The "N-word" probably gets you thinking about the racial epithet that's been used for centuries like a club against black people. Renowned painter Peter Williams has turned that version upside-down and inside-out.

He's created an African-American superhero: N-Word.

Rebecca Gray

The Next Idea

In an era when it seems much of the country is in a face-off over race, from Black Lives Matter to All Lives Matter, how do we talk about race or even change attitudes about race?

The latest contributor to The Next Idea is Rebecca Gray from Michigan United who is trying a new idea in Downriver Wayne County. It's a new race canvass effort. White people talking to white people about race. The strategy is intended to get white voters thinking about race and racism in a good old-fashioned door-to-door approach.

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