Stateside Staff


9:34 am
Thu July 31, 2014

Mackinac Island was site of a major battle 200 years ago

Fort Mackinac during the War of 1812
Credit User: PhilFree / Wikimedia Commons

The War of 1812 is famous for the Star Spangled Banner, Admiral Perry’s "We have met the enemy and they are ours.” But, really, not a lot of people know much about that war. Michigan and the Great Lakes were key battle sites between the fledgling United States and the British. The River Raisin near Monroe, Michigan was site of a major battle.

And August 4th marks the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Mackinac Island.

Craig Wilson is the Museum Historian for the Mackinac State Historic Parks. He joined us to talk about why Mackinac was an important strategic site worth fighting for during the war.

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9:25 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

Stateside for Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Today on Stateside:

  • Michigan's primary elections are on Tuesday, and one of the things you’ll be looking at is Proposal 1. We sorted out what Prop 1 is all about, before you hit the voting booth.
  • New NPR president Jarl Mohn was here. We talked with him about what's next for the network.
  • Next Monday marks the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Mackinac Island. We heard how Mackinac State Historic Parks are planning to bring the battle back to life.
  • Today, business is booming for Michigan's auto industry. But what happens if there's another downturn? Are the automakers really better prepared to weather it? A new report offered some answers.
  • Two of the biggest teams in professional soccer are going to be playing at the Big House at the University of Michigan. Manchester United and Real Madrid will be playing on Aug. 2 in Ann Arbor. 

* Listen to the full show above.

9:24 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

What's your biggest failure behind success? Charlie Wollborg shares his on Failure: Lab

Charlie Wollborg
Credit User: beckyjohns7 / Flickr


Failure:Lab is a program that showcases personal stories of failure. It's been happening in Michigan and is spreading outside the state.

The events are designed to share stories we normally keep hidden, connect us with others and give us a chance to learn from the mistakes of others.

On this stage, Charlie Wollborg shared some of his struggles behind the success he's had.

His bio from the website: 

Charlie Wollborg is a Marketing Strategist and Creative Director at Curve Detroit. He’s a speaker, innovator, and one of the main instigators behind TEDx Detroit. He is an educator and grower of brands and businesses.

This is the story that Wollborg shared at Failure:Lab Detroit on November 21, 2013 at the Detroit Opera House.

9:22 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

Real Madrid takes on Manchester United in the Big House this weekend

Real Madrid and Manchester United playing in a Corazon Classic Match back in 2012.
Credit User: Never House / Flickr

This year, we’ve heard more about soccer than ever in the U.S. More than 26 million people in the U.S. watched the World Cup in Brazil. And we are just about to get hit with more soccer here in Michigan.

Two of the biggest teams in professional soccer are going to be playing at the football stadium at the University of Michigan. Manchester United and Real Madrid will be playing on Aug. 2 in Ann Arbor.

Andy Markovits joined us today. He teaches political science at the University of Michigan and has written widely about soccer.

Markovits believes this game will set an attendance record for a soccer match in the U.S.

“I’m expecting a packed stadium.”

Despite the fact that the two teams are playing for commercial reasons, Markovits said the event would give the University of Michigan “a global forum that is second to none.”

“These two different cultures, different languages meeting in one ground… I'm ecstatic to see it in my lifetime,” Markovits said.

* Listen to the interview with Andy Markovits above.

9:19 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

A conversation with new NPR president Jarl Mohn

Jarl Mohn (left) and Lester Graham in studio at Michigan Radio
Credit Zoe Clark / Michigan Radio

NPR’s new president Jarl Mohn visited Michigan Radio this week. He joined us on the show.

Before NPR, Mohn managed MTV, VH1, E! Entertainment Television and several other media outlets.

Mohn said public radio had done a great job building an audience, but he is hoping to turn that into a solid business model.

Mohn worked as a radio disc jockey during the first 19 years of his career. He said his previous work with a public radio station rekindled his love for radio.

“This is the only thing on the planet that I would have gone back to work for,” Mohn said.

* Listen to our conversation with Jarl Mohn above.

9:16 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

Auto business is booming, but report warns of next industry downfall

Auto sales are booming, but don't expect this to be a continuous growth period.
Credit Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

When the economy in Michigan is hurting, you always hear politicians talking about diversifying the economy.

But when the auto industry is doing better and the economy in Michigan is riding along with it, that talk seems to disappear.

Well, not this time. Rick Haglund recently wrote about a report that indicates the auto industry might be hitting the brakes.

Haglund joined us today. He’s a freelance journalist and contributor to Bridge Magazine, MLive and others. Michigan Radio's auto reporter, Tracy Samilton, also joined us on the show.

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11:54 am
Wed July 30, 2014

Understanding Michigan's Proposal 1

The Michigan primary election is on Aug. 5, and one of the things you’ll be looking at is Proposal 1. It asks voters to approve a tax policy change, but the proposal is very confusing.

To help us clear this up a little, Bob Schneider joined us today. Schneider is with the Citizens Research Council of Michigan. The organization is a nonpartisan non-profit group that objectively analyzes policy issues like Proposal 1.

*Listen to the full interview above.

9:04 am
Wed July 30, 2014

Detroit's brightly lit history

Motor City lights
Credit Jason Mrachina / Flickr

Technology is changing rapidly, but the changes that we see today – in phones, cars, and computer software – are not as life-changing as electricity. We went from water wheel power and candles to electric motors and light bulbs in no time at all.

In a recent article in Model D, Amy Elliott Bragg wrote that “by the late 1880s, Detroit was widely considered one of the best-lighted cities in the world.” Now, about 40% of the city’s streetlights are broken and many of the rest are old and dim.

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4:03 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

Stateside for Tuesday, July 29, 2014

  Today on Stateside:

·         August 5th is primary election day in Michigan. Jack Lessenberry and Nolan Finley joined Stateside to talk about criticism, not just about who is on the ballot, but who is not on the ballot. And about the mediocrity of some of those on the ballot.

·         Detroit has a bright history. Today we talked about the city’s lighting revolution.

·         How do you lose $9 billion? Ask the Stroh family about their failed beer brewery.

·         Algal blooms in Lake Erie are dangerous and spreading fast.

·          GM's corporate culture is in need of a makeover.

·         We’ve heard all about how GM is handling recalls, but how do the recalls affect the dealers?

·         August 5th is the primary election, so we talked to Raymond G. Mullins about his campaign for the 12th congressional district.

*Listen to the full show above. Lester Graham will be hosting for Cynthia Canty this week. 

4:00 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

Raymond Mullins speaks about his run for Congress

Ypsilanti attorney Raymond G. Mullins.
Credit /

Michigan's primary elections will be held on Aug. 5.

Congressman John Dingell is retiring, so the 12th Congressional District is an open seat. Yesterday we talked to Debbie Dingell, his wife, about her campaign.

Today we talked to her competition, Raymond G. Mullins, an Ypsilanti attorney.

*Listen to the full interview above

4:00 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

GM recalls bring in revenue for dealerships

Credit GM

We’ve all heard about one recall after another from General Motors. But what does that mean for the dealer? Lester Graham stopped by Victory Chevrolet Buick in Milan and talked to salesperson Sean Johnson about the recalls.

“It’s a lot more business in the service end of it,” Johnson said. “Negative wise, I think people are kind of scared to buy a GM product.”

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3:54 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

GM struggling to overhaul its corporate culture

General Motors has been in the news a lot, probably more than it wants to be. Daniel Howes, a business columnist at The Detroit News, wrote an article about the automaker's struggle to overhaul its culture in the wake of failed parts, recalls, government criticism, and more.

Howes described GM’s corporate culture in his article as “blame-shifting, lack of accountability, and a callous disregard for customers.”

He said changing the leadership and putting new people on the board of directors may be necessary, but is not enough to change the culture of the company.

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3:52 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

How do you tank $9 billion? The Stroh family story

Credit Wikimedia Commons

The Stroh family was one of the richest in America. Now, their fortune is all but wiped out.

How did they lose $9 billion?

Forbes reporter Kerry Dolan spoke with family members to find out what led to the loss in her article: "How to Blow $9 Billion: The Fallen Stroh Family." 

Bernard Stroh emigrated from Germany to the United States with a beer recipe and started delivering beer with a wheelbarrow. By the 1980s, fourth-generation family member Peter Stroh was CEO of a major brewery.

Peter Stroh wanted to expand the company and bought the Joseph Schlitz Brewing Company of Milwaukee.

“It was like a minnow swallowing a whale,” Dolan said. “Stroh had one brewery in Detroit and Schlitz had six around the country.”

The business had a hard time competing with other companies such as Coors, Miller, and Anheuser-Busch.

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3:50 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

Cyanobacteria spreading in Lake Erie

Swirling cyanobacteria
Credit Lake Improvement Association / Flickr

The western end of Lake Erie, especially near Toledo, is seeing a lot of cyanobacteria this year. It’s been worse, but this year's cyanobacteria bloom is larger than average.

And we’re seeing a kind of cyanobacteria (sometimes referred to as blue-green algae) that can produce a toxin. It can make you sick if you swim in it. It can make pets sick. And it’s a problem for water purification plants and drinking water, too.

Don Scavia is the director of the Graham Sustainability Institute at the University of Michigan. He’s also an aquatic ecologist.

When Lake Erie was considered “dead” back in the 1960s and '70s, these cyanobacteria blooms were a contributing factor.

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3:44 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

Why our best and brightest candidates are not running

Credit Wikimedia Commons

Aug. 5 is primary election day in Michigan, and across all media channels, you can find criticism of who is on the ballot and who isn’t on the ballot. On Stateside today, Jack Lessenberry and Nolan Finley talked about why our best and brightest do not run.

Jack Lessenberry is Michigan Radio’s political analyst. Nolan Finley is editorial page editor at The Detroit News.

“We really aren’t sending the best and brightest to our capitols, whether it’s Lansing or Washington,” Finley said.

He added that when he talks to some of the people running for office, and even those who may ultimately win, there is a great deal of mediocrity among the candidates. Finley says the leadership pool is really shallow, and the promising leaders don’t have enough time to develop with short term limits.

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4:43 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

Stateside for Monday, July 28, 2014

Stateside for Monday, July 28, 2014.

Today on Stateside:

·         For every dollar a Michigan candidate spends in campaign ads, outside groups have spent $3.50. Why should we care?

·         Academic research is being misused, and academics' words have been twisted in the media and by politicians. Andrew Hoffman joined Stateside to discuss this disturbing trend.

·         Sweet corn is coming in later in the season, due to the cold spring. 

·         With John Dingell retiring, his wife Debbie Dingell is running in the Democratic primary to take his place.

·         A bill to certify Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (ARPN) would allow nurses to work more independently from physicians, and could allow them to write prescriptions and refer patients to specialists.

*Listen to the full show above. Lester Graham is sitting in for Cynthia Canty this week. 

4:38 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

Outside groups are spending more money on campaign ads

Credit 401(K) 2012 / Flickr

Lester chats with Rich Robinson and Todd Spangler.

A recent report shows that for every dollar spent by a Michigan candidate in campaign ads, outside groups have spent $3.50. Another way to look at it: of the $18 million spent on TV campaign ads in the first half of this year, outside groups contributed $14 million.

What are the consequences of outside money in Michigan political campaigns, and who are these groups?

To answer those questions, Rich Robinson and Todd Spangler joined Lester Graham on Stateside. Robinson is the executive director of the Michigan Campaign Finance Network.  Spangler is a correspondent with the Detroit Free Press.

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4:35 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

Corn crops are coming in late

Credit user: The Marmot / Flickr

Todd Hulett talks about the long wait for sweet corn.

This summer, many of us are still waiting for Michigan sweet corn. Tom Hulett is known as the "Corn Man" in the Port Huron area. He said people had problems planting their sweet corn due to the cold spring, and that's delayed this year's harvest.

Hulett says we should start seeing more sweet corn in the markets two to three weeks later than normal.

*Listen to the full interview above. 

12:38 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

Nurses with advanced degrees could be given more independence

Credit Wikimedia Commons

Kathleen Potempa talks about Senate Bill 2.

Last year, the state Senate passed a bill allowing the certification of Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs), which will allow APRNS to practice independently from physicians, granting them the ability to write prescriptions and refer patients to specialists. Last November, the bill was referred to the House.

Kathleen Potempa, Dean of Nursing School at the University of Michigan, said the data shows in other states that have adopted similar policies, the quality of patient care remained high. She added that this could alleviate primary care shortages in Michigan.

Potempa joined Stateside today to talk about how Senate Bill 2 could change the role of nurses in Michigan.

*Listen to the full interview above.

12:35 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

Why aren't more university researchers engaging with the public?

Credit Brian Stepherd / Flickr

Lester Graham chats with Andy Hoffman about why some researchers shy away from engaging with the public and the media.

In the last two or three decades, public discussions seem to have shifted from looking to scholars, scientists, the researchers and experts at universities to help inform the debate to relying on politicians, spinmeisters and people with microphones determining what is sound science.

All those university professors have been busy publishing in journals which other researchers read. But rigorous published research doesn't always make it to the public at large, or if it does, it's distorted by news media, pundits, or just loudmouths who twist research to support their own beliefs.

Andrew Hoffman joined us to discuss this disturbing trend. He’s a professor at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. He teaches and researches business sustainability.

*Listen to the full interview above.