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Stateside
5:00 pm
Mon July 29, 2013

New book gives behind-the-scenes look at big automakers

Bob Lutz has worked as an automotive executive for GM, Ford, Chrysler, and BMW.
Wikipedia

An interview with auto executive and author Bob Lutz.

While Detroit embarks on the beginning days of its bankruptcy, the city’s Big Three automakers are reemerging from their own financial crises. It was four years ago that GM and Chrysler filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

And as this month marks the 150th year after Henry Ford’s birth, we take a look at what it takes to run a big auto company, and the future of Michigan’s automakers.

Bob Lutz has held top positions at GM, Ford, Chrysler, and BMW. His most recent position was that of Vice Chairman of GM from 2001 to 2010.

His newest book gives us a behind-the-scenes look at the bosses Bob Lutz has worked for, some of the most legendary names in auto history. It's called Icons and Idiots, out from Portfolio/Penguin.

Bob Lutz joined us today to talk about his book.  

Listen to the full interview above.

Politics & Culture
4:57 pm
Mon July 29, 2013

Stateside for Monday, July 29th, 2013

Today we focused our attention on what it takes to run an auto company, and the future of Michigan’s automakers.

And, we met a real life "Rosie the Riveter." She helped turn out bombers at the Willow Run Bomber Plant nearly 70 years ago.

And, we a got a preview of this year's Traverse City Film Festival, which kicks off this week.

Also, we took a look at what invasive plant species are threatening the Great Lakes and what can be done to stop them.

And, more and more people are doing their shopping on their smart phones. We spoke with a man from Ann Arbor who created an app to help with mobile shopping.

Also, John Fierst with the Clarke Historical Library at Central Michigan University joined us to discuss Michigan In Letters, an online collection of letters that give insight to Michigan’s past.

First on the show, it's been just over a week since Detroit became the largest city in American history to file for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 9.

Until now, that unwanted distinction belonged to Stockton, California. 

Earlier this year, Bridge Magazine writer Ron French wrote an article about his visit to bankrupt Stockton and Vallejo, a California town that has emerged from bankruptcy.

As Ron puts it, if Stockton is an example of a city just being diagnosed with fiscal "cancer," Vallejo is a community that has finished chemotherapy. And so far nobody seems particularly thrilled with the results.

Ron French joined us today. 

Stateside
9:42 pm
Wed July 24, 2013

New MSU study looks into the effects of dioxins on human health

Imerman Park sits on the flood plain of the Tittabawassee River. Signs along the trail warn walkers about dioxin contamination in some of the park's soil.
Photo by Shawn Allee

An interview with Norbert Kaminski, director of Michigan State University's Center for Integrative Toxicology.

Dioxins are environmental pollutants that are known to be toxic to many animal species, and since dioxins work their way up the food chain, there needs to be a clearer understanding of their effects on humans.

That's why we wanted you to know about a more than $14 million study being launched at Michigan State University. Researchers hope to get a better idea of how dioxins affect human health and they hope to figure out new ways of removing them from the environment.

Norbert Kaminski directs Michigan State University's Center for Integrative Toxicology and he is the lead researcher in this major study. He joined us today from the campus in East Lansing.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
9:18 pm
Wed July 24, 2013

How is crime hindering the comeback of Detroit?

An interview with Carl Taylor, Professor of Sociology at Michigan State University, and Jeff Hadden, the former deputy editorial page director for the Detroit News.

With the historic Detroit bankruptcy filing, there has been much talk about money, about taxes, about shrinking revenue and rising legacy costs.

But two of our guests on Stateside today strongly believe all of those "dollar-based" conversations overlook one of the biggest reasons people leave Detroit and why people don't want to live in Detroit. And that is crime.

According to Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr's report to the city's creditors, Detroit's violent crime rate is five times the national average. And it takes Detroit police an average of 58 minutes to respond to a call, where the national average is 11 minutes.

Those harsh realities are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

How will these chronic, stubbornly high levels of crime affect Detroit's recovery and what can be done going forward to make Detroit a safer place to live and work?

Carl Taylor, Professor of Sociology at Michigan State University, and Jeff Hadden, the former deputy editorial page director for the Detroit News, joined us today.

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Politics & Culture
9:12 pm
Wed July 24, 2013

Stateside for Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

This week marks three years since an Enbridge Energy pipeline ruptured near Marshall, Michigan. More than a million gallons of tar sands oil have been cleaned up from Talmadge Creek and the Kalamazoo River, but the cleanup isn't over yet. We got an update on the cleanup efforts and what still needs to be done.

And, we heard from Michigan storyteller Allison Downey. She brought us the voices of the workers at a recent summer carnival. And, a new study at Michigan State University is investigating how dioxins affect human health. The lead researcher for this study joined us today. Also, bankruptcy isn't the only issue Detroit is facing. We took a look at how crime is plaguing the city. First on the show, eventually Detroit’s bankruptcy filing will be over. Eventually, Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr will no longer be in charge of Detroit’s finances. When those things happen, Detroit will go back to being run by its city government… by a mayor, and a city council. 

Daniel Howes, columnist at The Detroit News, focused on this future in his column yesterday in the News. He joined us today to discuss whether Detroit can shed its bad governance habits in light of the bankruptcy.

Stateside
5:45 pm
Wed July 24, 2013

Three years after the Enbridge oil spill, cleanup continues

The Kalamazoo River in Southwest Michigan
Photo courtesy of the Environmental Protection Agency

An interview with Michigan Radio's Lindsey Smith.

This week marks three years since an Enbridge Energy pipeline ruptured near Marshall, Michigan. More than one million gallons of tar sands oil have been cleaned up from Talmadge Creek and the Kalamazoo River.

The cleanup has already cost Enbridge almost a billion dollars and they still have lots of work ahead of them.

Michigan Radio's Lindsey Smith has been following the story, and she joined us today from Muskegon.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
5:42 pm
Wed July 24, 2013

What will Detroit look like after the bankruptcy?

Detroit skyline seen from Windsor, Ontario, across the Detroit River.
Bernt Rostad creative commons

An interview with Daniel Howes.

Eventually, Detroit’s bankruptcy filing will be over. Eventually, Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr will no longer be in charge of Detroit’s finances.

When those things happen, Detroit will go back to being run by its city government, by a mayor, and a city council.

Daniel Howes, columnist at The Detroit News, focused on this future in his column yesterday in the News. He joined us today to discuss whether Detroit can shed its bad governance habits in light of the bankruptcy.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
3:23 pm
Wed July 24, 2013

The Living Room: Running away with the carnival

David Chase Heston Sanders
Allison Downey Michigan Radio

In July's segment of The Living Room, Allison Downey investigated the lure of American carnivals.

She interviewed several workers about their experiences living and traveling with the carnival. Some of them were born into the carnival life, some of them turned to the carnival as a means of escape, but all of them are there because it's what they love.

The Living Room on Michigan Radio is produced by Allison Downey and Zak Rosen.

The song at the end of the story,"Take Me to the Fair" was written by Ann Arbor's own Annie Capps and performed by Annie & Rod Capps with Jason Dennie.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
5:19 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

Aerospace engineer turns to Kickstarter to raise money to help put man on Mars

The thruster research Benjamin Longmier is conducting could one day launch an astronaut to Mars.
J. Gabás Esteban Flickr

An interview with Benjamin Longmier, an assistant professor of aerospace engineering at the University of Michigan.

There was once a time when Uncle Sam and NASA opened the wallet to fund space travel and space research.

That was then. This is now.

These days, space scientists have to get much more creative in raising those research dollars.

Case in point: Benjamin Longmier, who's an assistant professor of aerospace engineering at the University of Michigan. His special area is propulsion, as he seeks to build the kind of thruster that will push a spacecraft out of Earth's orbit and send that space craft to other planets.

We spoke to Benjamin Longmier about his research a few months ago, and now he's moving to the "creative fundraising" stage of things.

Benjamin Longmier joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
5:15 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

The Great Start Readiness Program is seeing a huge expansion, but is it enough?

Jennifer Guerra Michigan Radio

An interview with Mina Hong, a Senior Policy Associate of Michigan's Children, and Scott Menzel, the superintendent of the Washtenaw Intermediate School District.

State lawmakers recently approved a huge expansion of the Great Start Readiness Program. That's the state's preschool program for 4-year olds at risk of being under-prepared for kindergarten.

More money for preschoolers was one of the main initiatives in Governor Snyder's State of the State speech last January. And the Legislature was listening, because that $65 million increase represents a 60% expansion of the Great Start Readiness Program.

We wanted to talk about what this expansion means to preschoolers all over Michigan and what more needs to be done.

Mina Hong is a Senior Policy Associate of Michigan's Children, and Scott Menzel is the superintendent of the Washtenaw Intermediate School District, and he also chairs the Michigan Association of Intermediate School Administrators' Early Childhood Committee.

Hong and Menzel joined us today to discuss the issue.

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Politics & Culture
5:06 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

Stateside for Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013

Lawmakers in Lansing recently approved a $65 million increase in the state's Great Start Readiness Program. That's Michigan's preschool program for 4-year olds at risk of being under-prepared for kindergarten. But, many childhood advocates say that's not enough. We took a look into whether more needs to be done.

We also heard about space exploration 21st century style. We spoke to a Michigan scientist who is using Kickstarter to make his research a reality.

Also, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes will preside over the largest municipal bankruptcy in American history. We spoke with Brent Snavely of the Detroit Free Press about what we can expect from the judge.

First on the show, the Chapter 9 bankruptcy filing by the city of Detroit has some wondering if Detroit is not an isolated incident. Could other financially struggling cities be on the same path?

To help us answer this question, we turned to Michigan Democratic Congressman Dan Kildee. Kildee represents Flint and Saginaw.

Stateside
5:00 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

Could Flint and Saginaw face the same fate as Detroit?

Congressman Dan Kildee
Photo courtesy of the Office of Congressman Dan Kildee

An interview with Michigan Democratic Congressman Dan Kildee.

The Chapter 9 bankruptcy filing by the city of Detroit has some wondering if Detroit is not an isolated incident. Could other financially struggling cities be on the same path?

Yesterday on Stateside we spoke with Eric Scorsone, economist at Michigan State University:

Certainly other cities in Michigan absolutely face these same cost pressures, whether it’s Flint or Lansing or Saginaw. They absolutely face these same problems. And, again, they’re better off relative to Detroit than today. But, they’re still facing these problems and they need to make sure they’re proactive in managing to prevent anything like this.

With that in mind, we turned to Michigan Democratic Congressman Dan Kildee. Kildee represents two of the cities Scorsone mentioned: Flint and Saginaw.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
4:53 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

What can we expect from Judge Steven Rhodes?

Patrick Gibson Flickr

An interview with Detroit Free Press reporter Brent Snavely.

As Detroit moves into the process of Chapter 9 bankruptcy, one of the most powerful people in the city, arguably the most powerful person in the city, has become the judge to whom the case was assigned.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes will preside over the largest municipal bankruptcy in American history, so many eyes from around the country will be trained on him.

We wanted to learn more about Judge Rhodes and for that, we turned to Detroit Free Press reporter Brent Snavely.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
5:54 pm
Mon July 22, 2013

Assessing the health of Michigan's rivers and inland waters

The Manistee River flowing through the Huron-Manistee National Forest.
USFS

An interview with Laura Rubin, executive director of the Huron River Watershed Council of Southeast Michigan.

It's been nearly a year since we launched Stateside, and we've put a lot of focus and attention on issues regarding our Great Lakes.

Today, we shifted our attention to another essential part of Michigan's water wonderland: our rivers and inland waters. How healthy are they? And what do we need to do as a state to preserve and protect them?

Laura Rubin, executive director of the Huron River Watershed Council of Southeast Michigan, joined us today.

Read more
Politics & Culture
5:50 pm
Mon July 22, 2013

Stateside for Monday, July 22nd, 2013

On this Monday, July 22, four days after Detroit made history by filing for Chapter 9 bankruptcy, we spent the first half of the show breaking things down and figuring out where things stand in the nation's largest municipal bankruptcy ever.

And, we looked at what needs to be done to preserve and protect Michigan's rivers and lakes.

But, back to Detroit and what we know right now. A judge in Lansing will take a week to sort through arguments on whether the state Constitution protects Detroit’s pension funds from losses if the city goes bankrupt.

Ingham County Circuit Judge Rosemary Aquilina says she will decide next Monday whether Detroit's bankruptcy filing violates the state Constitution, and its protections for pension benefits.

Assuming the Chapter 9 bankruptcy goes forward, Detroit will have to figure out how to reduce billions of dollars of debt. Creditors, of course, will push for the most money they can get, which means they're eyeing some of the city's most valuable and treasured assets.

Stateside
5:38 pm
Mon July 22, 2013

Why do so many people love to hate Detroit?

Peter Martorano Flickr

An interview with Michigan Radio’s political analyst Jack Lessenberry and Todd Spangler from the Detroit Free Press Washington bureau.

In the days before and after Detroit filed for bankruptcy, you didn’t have to look too far to read and hear comments about Detroit that range from dumb to mean-spirited to outright vicious.

One has to wonder: Just why did actor Jon Hamm of AMC’s Mad Men have to take a shot at the city of Detroit while hosting the ESPY awards last week, talking about San Francisco beating Detroit in the World Series?

Why did a co-worker flying back to Detroit from an out-of-town visit hear the guys in the row behind her discussing the Detroit bankruptcy to be summed up by one man declaring, “I wish we could just dump Detroit into the lake. We’d all be so much better off.”

A Detroit Free Press reader commented “Way To Go Mo Town!!! We Knew You Could Do It!!! Now, Everybody Gets Nothing!!!”

And the Twittersphere has been mighty busy mocking the Motor City. Just check out #newdetroitcitymottos.

We wanted to go deeper into these attitudes. Would things like this be said, say, if it was Chicago or Atlanta having to file for bankruptcy? How far back does this scorn for Detroit reach? How much of this attitude permeates the halls of Congress?

We were joined today by Michigan Radio’s political analyst Jack Lessenberry and Todd Spangler from the Detroit Free Press Washington bureau.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
5:33 pm
Mon July 22, 2013

Navigating the 'uncharted territory' of Detroit's bankruptcy

Eric Scorsone, MSU Extension specialist and economist.
Michigan State University

An interview with Eric Scorsone, economist with Michigan State University.

No matter who is commenting or offering expert opinion on the Detroit bankruptcy, everyone seems to agree on the fact that this is "uncharted territory." And that's about all they can agree on.

Take the speed of the bankruptcy: you can find experts who predict a slow, tortuous process. And just as easily, you'll find predictions that Kevyn Orr will move this bankruptcy faster than anyone expects.

And, did Kevyn Orr and Governor Snyder have any other options to help Detroit back to financial stability?

And what does this all mean for other cities in Michigan and the state's economy?

So many questions, so many opinions. That's why we were very glad to welcome into the studio Eric Scorsone, economist with Michigan State University and an expert on the ins and outs of government finances.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
5:41 pm
Wed July 17, 2013

European car sales are dropping and that's bad news for Ford, GM, and Chrysler

GM sells the Opel Corsa GSi in Europe. General Motors CEO Daniel Akerson says the company's European car business is not for sale.
GM Europe Flickr

An interview with Russell Padmore and Michele Krebs.

The latest word on new car sales in Europe is not anything that's bringing cheer at GM, Ford and Chrysler headquarters.

New car sales in Europe have just suffered their worst June in 17 years, and the six-month number is the worst in 20 years.

Reporter Russell Padmore from the BBC in London joined us today to give us a look at what's behind this protracted free fall in European car sales.

And what do these European car sales numbers mean to folks at the Ren Cen in Detroit, Glass House in Dearborn, or the Tech Center in Auburn Hills? In other words, how are the poor sales in Europe affecting GM, Ford and Chrysler?

For that we turned to auto analyst Michele Krebs who’s with Edmunds.com.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
5:35 pm
Wed July 17, 2013

Michigan's craft beer industry is growing, calling for stricter water control measures

Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

An interview with Scott Graham and Jason Spaulding.

Michigan loves its beer.

That's just about the only conclusion you can make about the news that Michigan is number five in the nation in the number of breweries and eighth in craft beer output.

Scott Graham is the executive director of the Michigan Brewers Guild, and he joined us today to talk about the industry’s growth.

And, we also spoke with a Michigan brewer who is calling for tougher clean water standards.

A dispute is bubbling and brewing between environmentalists and business groups over whether to expand wetlands and waterway protections, long-delayed updates of the federal Clean Water Act.

The environmentalists hope these updates will give the EPA more muscle with which to protect our waters.

Many Michigan business groups take the position that this would be costly and would not pack much benefit.

Joining the side of the environmentalists are 20 craft beer brewers, including seven from Michigan. They've written to President Obama to argue that pure clean water is essential to making good beer.

Among the Michigan brewers pushing for stricter water control measures is Jason Spaulding, owner of Brewery Vivant in Grand Rapids. He joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
5:28 pm
Wed July 17, 2013

Photography exhibit shows connections between Detroit and the ancient city of Petra

Petra was established in 312 BC.
Chris Yunker Flickr

An interview with photographer Susan Webb.

To study archeology means to study the activity of humans in the past.

What can we learn from studying the buildings, the artifacts, the cultural landscapes of past civilizations? And how far back in the past do you go? Many centuries ago? Or just a few decades?

Based on a special exhibition that’s in its final few days at the Kelsey Museum of Archeology, perhaps the answer is both.

Photographer Susan Webb’s exhibit “Red Rock and Rust Belt” shows the connections between two cities that are separated by thousands of miles and many centuries: the ancient site of Petra established around 312 B.C. in what is now Jordan -- and Detroit, especially the Detroit of the industrial 20th century.

What can we learn by studying these two cities in side-by-side photographs?

Susan Webb, who has basically had a camera in her hand since her Dad gave her a Kodak Brownie when she was just eight, joined us today to talk about her exhibit.

Listen to the full interview above.

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