Stateside Staff

How is the Republican Party faring in its quest for votes in Detroit?

It was last December when the GOP brought in U.S. Sen. Rand Paul to christen its new voter engagement office in Detroit.

Bridge Magazine writer Nancy Derringer recently visited the office to check in on things. Derringer says selling the Republican Party in Detroit, a city with enormous African-American majorities, is a more daunting task than you might think. And even the party itself says it's a long-term effort.

Detroit-based freelance writer Aaron Foley says the African-American community tends to get turned off easily by even the word "Republican."

"A lot of people still vote Democrat even though where they worship and where a lot of their faith is more of a Republican thing," says Foley.

Derringer says the GOP's message to Detroit voters is to emphasize the similarities they share with them. 

"You have to admit that we have a lot in common. You are for faith and families, we are for faith and families; you want good schools, we want good schools; you want to feel safe in homes, that's what we are all about," says Derringer.

* Listen to our conversation with Aaron Foley and Nancy Derringer above.

Helping fight Ebola in Monrovia
User: USAID / Flickr

  

The nurse who treated patients in West Africa and was held in quarantine over the weekend is set to return home to Maine. That's as controversy continues to swirl around quarantine policies announced by the governors of New Jersey and New York.

Dr. Howard Markel is with the University of Michigan School of Medicine, and he directs the Center for the History of Medicine.

Morgue File

 

The candidates for governor agree something needs to be done about Michigan's crumbling roads.

In our recent conversation with MSU economist Charlie Ballard, he reminded us that we're going to pay for road repairs one way or another. Maybe higher taxes or, in Ballard's case, paying now, with blown tires and bent rims.

But, is there some kind of silver lining to the crummy roads? Maybe for local repair shops?

Rick Kilbourn owns 4th Street Auto Care in Royal Oak. He's been in business since the 1970's.

Oli Haukur / Flickr

 

How far would you go to try to make some money?

If you're Annie Edson Taylor of Bay City, you decide to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel!

113 years ago this month, on her 63rd birthday, Annie Edson Taylor became the first recorded person to go over the Falls and live to tell the tale.

Sherman Zavitz is the official historian for the city of Niagara Falls, Ontario.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

West Michigan has the most racially uneven housing market recovery in the nation.

That's the conclusion of a national study by the Urban Institute, which examined 100 million mortgages from 2001 to 2013.

Alliance for Retired Americans / Flickr

Seniors could play an important role in the upcoming election, as Michiganders age 50 and older are expected to represent well over half of the voters who show up to the polls next week. That’s pretty typical of a non-presidential election. But as Michigan Public Radio’s Jake Neher reports, seniors and retirees are playing an especially important role in this year’s election.

Michigan Municipal League / Flickr

Election Day is one week from tomorrow.

Radio and television sales executives are going to be sorry to see the campaign ads come to an end, because Michigan campaign ad spending is among the highest in the nation.

The Michigan Campaign Finance Network projects spending for the governor's race will top $30 million, with much of that money coming from outside Michigan. MLive's Capitol reporter Jonathon Oosting has been doing his best to follow the money trail.

In a general breakdown of where outside spending is coming from, Oosting says that for Snyder, it’s coming from big business figures including David Koch and the founder of 5 Hour Energy, Manoj Bhargava. For Mark Schauer, it’s coming from the UAW and other labor groups. Oosting notes it’s difficult to see exactly how much money is being spent and by whom. Part of the reason is issue ads, which don’t directly endorse a candidate and don’t have to report their spending. An interesting note Oosting makes is that former New York City Mayor Bloomberg has money behind both pro- and anti-Snyder ads. While Oosting notes that Bloomberg clearly supports Governor Snyder, he has donated money to the Democratic Governors Association, which spends nationally but has been running anti-Snyder ads in the state of Michigan.

The Detroit Institute of Arts
Flickr

The DIA was left with egg on its face when news broke of double digit pay increases and $50,000 bonuses doled out to each of its top two executives in 2012, just as the DIA got voters in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb Counties to say "yes" to a special millage to keep its doors open.

Two years ago, Graham Beal, whose compensation is over half a million dollars a year, got a 13% raise. Annmarie Erickson, the DIA's Chief Operating Officer, got a 36% raise.

Now it seems the firestorm of protest has pushed the DIA to re-think this whole "raise and bonus thing."

 

Today on Stateside:

  • John U. Bacon broke down what's at stake for the Michigan-Michigan State football game this weekend.
  • The latest circulation figures indicate newspapers' decline. Industry experts Bill Thomas and Jack Lessenberry talked about why that's the case and how it can hurt democracy.
  • Facing criticisms of the recent pay raises, the DIA has to re-think its compensation strategy.
  • The founder of a Michigan-based charity uncovered the lesser-told side of the breast-cancer story: the financial hardship patients often endure as they go through treatment.

* Listen to the full show above.

T. Voekler

 

The latest circulation figures for the Detroit News and Detroit Free Press are out. Where once the Detroit News and Free Press boasted sales of over 600,000 copies a day, the Free Press now has fewer than 200,000 subscribers and the News fewer than 100,000.

Universty of Michigan QB Devin Gardner sacked by Michigan State defensive end Shilique Calhoun during the 2013 MSU-UM football game.
User: Michigan State Spartans / facebook

 

 

The spotlight this week is on one of the deepest college rivalries in sports: Michigan vs. Michigan State.

The Wolverines will travel to Spartan Stadium this Saturday.

Michigan Radio's sports commentator John U. Bacon says the game means "survival" for Michigan. "Michigan has lost 6 out of the last 7 to the 'little brother' -- by the way, calling them little brother gets a bit old when they keep kicking your butt."

But, as Bacon explains, Spartans are just as hungry for this game as the Wolverines. The rivalry is so personal that people from outside the state sometimes don't get it. Plus, if they win this weekend, Spartans will have a real shot for the Big Ten title, a Rose Bowl berth, and even the national title.

User: williami5 / Flickr

Each October, the nation blooms with pink: It's Breast Cancer Awareness Month. 

The big push is often about awareness, as in "don't forget to get your mammogram" and in raising money for breast cancer research.

But there's a lesser-told side of the breast-cancer story: the financial hardships so many patients endure as they go through treatment.

Molly MacDonald of Oakland County knows this all too well through her own breast cancer experience.

That's why she founded The Pink Fund, a nation-wide organization offering financial aid to breast cancer patients. 

Steve Carmody

Midterm elections tend not to draw out many Democrat voters, so as Election Day draws closer, the Democratic Party is pulling out all the stops to encourage voters to turn out. 

Democratic Congressman Dan Kildee of Michigan’s 5th District, hosted Bill Clinton in Flint today. Kildee joined us on Stateside to talk about the importance of midterm elections.  

“Many people mistakenly believe that we choose the course the country will take once every four years when we elect a president. Here in Michigan, we make those decisions in the midterms,” Kildee says, including decisions about congressional seats and who sits in the governor’s chair.  

Top Democrats who've visited Michigan include Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama, and Bill Clinton. Kildee says President Obama may visit the state within the next week.  

Matt Radick / Flickr

  It’s been nearly two years since a lame-duck Legislature made Michigan the 24th right-to-work state. In response, 12,000 furious protesters flocked to the state Capitol, vowing Republicans would pay dearly at the next elections.

Nolan Finley, editorial page editor of the Detroit News, and Michigan Radio political analyst Jack Lessenberry joined Stateside to talk about the impact of right-to-work on the upcoming elections.

Krazy Jim's Blimpy Burger

We’ve seen the images of the ferocious drought in the West. In Michigan, that drought has affected beef prices, which have skyrocketed upwards of 34%, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. 

 

Rick Magner, who owns Ann Arbor’s iconic Blimpy Burger, says he's seen beef prices rise 40 cents in the last month. Magner says he had to raise the price of a burger from $2.44 two years ago to the current $3.49.

Magner says so far customers haven’t really complained about the increased price of burgers, and he isn’t worried about raising prices again, saying, “eventually it’ll level out.” 

Car dealership.
GM

 

Gov. Rick Snyder has signed a law that mandates all sales of Michigan vehicles to go through franchised dealers. It's seen as a direct shot at Tesla Motors, which wants to sell its electric cars directly to consumers. 

The governor's move is welcomed by mainline automakers and dealerships. Snyder says Michigan law already prohibited automakers from selling directly to consumers.

Michigan Radio's auto reporter, Tracy Samilton, explains that dealerships could argue that the current franchising system benefits the consumers because it creates tougher competition.

 

User: Valerie Everett / Flickr

 

Newspaper endorsements are one of America's time-honored election traditions.

But as the winds of change blow through newsrooms across the nation, that tradition is changing.  

Anna Clark wrote about this for the Columbia Journalism Review. She says some major newspapers have stopped making endorsements since the trend started around 2009.

According to Clark, some newspapers are concerned about the risk endorsements may pose to their credibility. Others cited doubts about whether endorsements actually affect election results. 

Scott Henderson / Flickr

UPDATE: This story was updated at 2:35 pm on 10/21/2014.  

Ever wonder where the term "honeymoon" came from? Back in the 5th century, newlyweds would drink mead for the first cycle of the moon after their marriage because it was believed to be an aphrodisiac.

Michigan has its own growing mead scene. Brad Dahlhofer, owner of B. Nektar Meadery in Ferndale, is one of the pioneer mead makers in the state.

Detroit Regional Chamber / Flickr

Michigan has seen a torrent of political ads in the Senate race between Gary Peters and Terri Lynn Land – more than 45,000, according to Center for Public Integrity.

Michigan has the third-highest spending of any state in a Senate race. Who's paying for these ads? Todd Spangler is the Washington reporter for the Detroit Free Press.

A small glimpse into the world of the Beatles And Beans Coffee Emporium
User: Espresso Express Coffee House presents 'Beatles And Beans Coffee Emporium' / facebook

Most of us are pretty familiar with the sounds of a coffee shop, from the clink of cups and spoons, to the hiss of the steam wand on the espresso machine, and to voices in conversation.

At one coffee shop in downtown Bay City, you'll hear music of the Beatles. Apart from that, Brad Wilderman and his wife Peggy have turned their coffee shop, Beatles and Beans Coffee Emporium, into a shrine to the Fab Four. 

"As soon as you walk in, it literally opens a time portal to 1964, when the greatest music explosion of all took place. You'll never believe from the outside in what you're about to encounter," says Brad Wilderman. 

East Grand Traverse Bay
User: Bryan Casteel / Flickr

One of Michigan's greatest natural treasures and most popular tourist destinations is Grand Traverse Bay.

So the appearance of a large plume of what looked like chocolate milk in East Grand Traverse Bay last month set off alarm bells.

It didn't take long to realize the murky plume in the East Bay came from clay-filled silt, which was seeping into the East Bay from a major construction site in Acme Township.

Now the state Department of Environmental Quality says the runoff from the Grand Traverse Town Center site violates various state and federal permits.

And those who love Grand Traverse Bay are deeply concerned.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

ISIS, Ebola, tensions between Russia and the Ukraine, economic slowdowns in China, Europe, Latin America, and elsewhere – the profusion of gloomy headlines added up to a grim day on Wall Street yesterday, as the Dow plunged more than 450 points. 

It was the heaviest day of trading in more than three years. 

The stomach-churning day on Wall Street came exactly as General Motors announced some shiny, happy news: GM sold more cars and trucks worldwide in the third quarter than anytime since 1980.

Daniel Howes says the GM's record sales are largely powered by the relatively positive markets in North America and China. But in a lot of other parts of the world, the sales stink for GM as well as its competitors. 

Michigan Athletic Director, David Brandon.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The University of Michigan Board of Regents is meeting today at 3 p.m. in Flint.

It's a safe bet that one of the big issues on their agenda is the future of Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon.

Michigan Radio sports commentator John U. Bacon says it's "90% clear where this is going to be headed."

Brandon and U-M Coach Brady Hoke came under fire when sophomore quarterback Shane Morris was allowed to play after he was injured in last month's game against Minnesota.

Morris was later diagnosed with a concussion. 

Bacon says the regents will have influence over a decision on Brandon, but it's U of M President Mark Schlissel who will have the final say. 

Schlissel turned up at football practice a week ago; Bacon says that rarely happens. It shows the issue is on the president's radar, and Schlissel is known for his emphasis on student experience – including the experience of student athletes.

Sue Day / Flickr

Parenting a mentally ill child can be one of life's greatest challenges.

When you keep asking questions, keep searching for mental health care that can help your child, you may not get the right answers.

Michigan Radio's Sarah Alvarez is the Public Insight journalist for the State of Opportunity project.

Ian Freimuth / Flickr

If you grew up in Michigan, your history books showed you images of slavery: black men and women picking cotton in the South.

Michigan, we learned, was a very important part of the Underground Railroad, helping African-Americans across the border to freedom in Canada.

But what we weren’t taught was this: Slavery helped build Detroit.

Some of the best-known names used for roads, counties, cities and schools around Southeast Michigan belong to old families who owned slaves.

Bill McGraw dug into "Detroit's Big Bad Secret" for Deadline Detroit.

papierdreams / Flickr

Election Day is just under a month away.

But Michigan Radio political commentator Jack Lessenberry has already voted – at his kitchen table, with an absentee ballot.

Michigan Municipal League / Flickr

Grand Rapids has just wrapped up another successful ArtPrize and Detroit pulled off Dlectricity.

Those examples and more have people involved in the arts in Ann Arbor looking around the state and then asking questions about the state of creativity in Ann Arbor.

Omari Rush is curator of public programs for the Ann Arbor Art Center. He's served as an adviser for many arts organizations, including the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs.

Michigan Municipal League / Flickr

We are hearing it a lot this election cycle: Gov. Rick Snyder says he's created 300,000 private-sector jobs. His Democratic opponent, Mark Schauer, promises he will create more and better-paying jobs if he's elected.

But cutting through the campaign promises, what role does a governor really have in creating and keeping jobs for Michigan?

Michigan Radio's Lester Graham asks that question in his latest report for Michigan Watch, and Donald Grimes is with the University of Michigan’s Institute for Research on Labor, Employment and the Economy.

Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

Michigan testing scores are treading water. Ron French and Chastity Pratt Dawsey of Bridge Magazine traveled across the country to study states that are getting education right. They say they discovered what it will take to pull Michigan's schools out of the mire of middling-to-poor student achievement.

Stopping in both red and blue states –  Massachusetts, Tennessee, Florida, and Minnesota – French and Pratt worked to avoided bias. 

While Massachusetts is widely known as the gold standard in education, the reporters found that Minnesota, a mid-western state comparable to Michigan, ranks No. 1 in math scores and in the top 10 in every other category.

Ten years ago, Florida and Tennessee scored lower than Michigan. In the last decade, both have ascended in the ranks and surpassed Michigan.

Today on Stateside:

  • We learned from reporters who profiled four states that exceed Michigan in student achievement and performance.
  • Auto sales in China are slowing down. Who's winning and who's losing?
  • Even as much of the world goes gaga for the latest smartphone, there are people who happily stay with their old flip phone. What happens in our brains when we're always checking email and social media?
  • We found out why Michigan gas prices are falling.  
  • The world's very first floating ZIP code is right here in Michigan.
  • And Detroit Free Press travel writer Ellen Creager told us about the booming business of ziplines and adventure parks in Michigan.

* Listen to the full show above.

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