Stateside Staff

Gas prices are nudging down and big pickup and SUV sales are up.

In fact, sales of those vehicles haven't been this strong since before the Great Recession. What does that mean for the future of the auto industry? And what happens when we see a spike in gas prices again.

And, colleges and universities try to attract global attention and international students, but one Michigan professor says there are consequences to looking abroad like losing a sense of place.

But first, 24 boxes crammed with 315,477 petition signatures.

That's what it might take to effect a major change in the way insurance covers abortion in Michigan.

Pro-life activists have turned in those signatures in their effort to force insurance companies and health plans to offer abortion coverage only if a customer buys a separate rider, and a woman would have to buy that rider before knowing whether she needs an abortion.

She would not be allowed to buy that coverage after getting pregnant, even in the case of rape or incest.

Kathleen Gray from the Detroit Free Press joined us to talk about this “legislative initiative.”

Driverless cars might just be a futurist's dream-no longer. The University of Michigan has announced its plans to bring a fleet of networked, driverless cars to Ann Arbor by the year 2021. We have the details on today's show.

And the temperatures are falling and parts of Michigan have snow on the ground. We asked if winter has already arrived.

Also, the Farm Bill passed last January took an important subsidy away from organic farmers. What does the loss of this subsidy mean to organic farmers in Michigan? And does a farm have to go through the trouble and expense of getting certified to be organic?

First on the show, it's been less than a week since voters in three very different Michigan cities all approved ballot initiatives allowing small amounts of marijuana for personal use on private property.

And that has pro-marijuana advocates hoping those votes will boost pressure on state lawmakers to legalize or decriminalize pot.

Michigan Public Radio Network's Lansing correspondent Jake Neher joined us today to give an overview of what efforts are underway.

Peter Blanchard / Flickr

Imagine driving through Ann Arbor, glancing over at the car next to you only to realize that the driver does not have his or her hands on the steering wheel, yet the car is moving along in traffic just fine.

That could happen in just a few short years.

The University of Michigan has announced plans to bring a fleet of networked, driverless cars to Ann Arbor by 2021.

Here to talk about what that would look like in the streets of Ann Arbor and what that might mean to drivers everywhere is the director of the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute. Peter Sweatman joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

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Time for a little "Told ya so!" from MLive Meteorologist Mark Torregrossa. Back on Halloween, he predicted a very early dose of lake-effect snow and  temps that feel more like Christmas than mid-November.

And, looking at the weather around the state for this November 11th, it does seem that he called it.

Meteorologist Mark Torregrossa joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Farm in rural Michigan
user acrylicartist / MorgueFile.com

One of the pressing issues before Congress is the need to pass a new Farm Bill.

A Farm Bill extension was passed last January to give Congress more time to get the final bill passed.

And within that extension was an unhappy surprise for many organic farmers: it no longer contained an annual federal subsidy that helped certified organic farmers cover the cost of getting their operations inspected. That is a key step in being certified organic.

What does the loss of this subsidy mean to organic farmers in Michigan? And does a farm have to go through the trouble and expense of getting certified to be organic?

Lee Arboreal owns the Eaters' Guild Farm in Bangor, a farm that is certified organic, and he's on the board of the Michigan Organic Food and Farm Alliance.

Tomm Becker owns Sunseed Farm, just out of Ann Arbor. His farm is not certified, but uses organic practices.

And Vicki Morrone is an Organic Farming Specialist at the Center for Regional Food Systems at Michigan State University.

The three of them joined us today to discuss the issue.

Listen to the full interview above.

user paigefiller / Flickr

It's been less than a week since voters in three very different Michigan cities all approved ballot initiatives allowing small amounts of marijuana for personal use on private property.

And that has pro-marijuana advocates hoping those votes will boost pressure on state lawmakers to legalize or decriminalize pot.

Michigan Public Radio Network's Lansing correspondent Jake Neher joined us today to give an overview of what efforts are underway.

Listen to the full interview above.

State environmental regulators have rolled out proposed new rules to cover fracking for natural gas.

What the new rules could mean for the future of fracking in Michigan.

Then, we travel to a high-end auction house -- not in London or New York, but right here in Michigan.

First we checked in with Detroit News Business Columnist Daniel Howes.

The big question after Mike Duggan was elected as Detroit's next Mayor was how will he and Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr work together? Will it be a more constructive relationship than the one between Orr and Mayor Dave Bing?

Brian Turner / Flickr

The Michigan state House approved a package of bills that could lead to more mental health courts around the state. Now the omnibus bill is being sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

But how exactly do these courts work? Which defendants would be allowed to be a part of a mental health court — and which would not?

One champion of the mental health courts is Judge Milton Mack, the chief probate judge in Wayne County. He explains what’s driven him to take on this cause, and what sort of human toll he’s seen from the bench.

Listen to the full interview above.

kellinahandbasket / Flickr

Let’s say you’ve been watching episodes of “Antiques Roadshow,” and now you’re inspired. So you want to find out what that old painting you bought at a garage sale for $5 bucks is really worth.

There’s a place in Detroit where you can do just that and get feedback from experts who are regulars on the TV show. Of course, if you’re in the mood to buy things, you’re also in luck.

Michigan Radio’s Kyle Norris tells us about DuMouchelles, an auction house in Detroit.  

Eusko Jaurlaritza / Flickr

Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality proposed a list of new rules for hydraulic fracturing in the state — commonly known as fracking.

Fracking is a process where developers pump high-pressure streams of water and chemicals into a well to clear a path to hard-to-reach deposits of natural gas.

So just what are these proposed new rules? And what could they mean to the future of fracking in Michigan?

James Clift is the policy director of the Michigan Environmental Council. He joins us to discuss the new regulations.

Listen to the full interview above. 

Imagine this - a Detroit rock band from the 1980's disappears from the music scene, until a producer in England rediscovers them and helps them put out a new album.

Well, that’s what happened to our next guests. They call themselves Art in America. The band name for three siblings from Michigan, Chris, Dan and Shishonee Flynn. After nearly 30 years they are out with a new album called The Hentschel Sessions.

Listen to the full interview above.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

On Tuesday, Mike Duggan won his campaign for mayor of Detroit, beating out Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon 55% to 45%.

Now, the big question after Duggan’s victory: How will the new mayor and Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr work together? Will their relationship be more constructive than that of Orr and Mayor Dave Bing?

Daniel Howes, a business columnist with the Detroit News, talks to us about the new relationship between Duggan and Orr.

Listen to the full interview above.

On today's show, we took a look at key election results from around the state, from marijuana to gay rights. How did you vote?  And what's the take away from Election 2013?

Then, we spoke with Michigan singer-songwriter Stewart Franke as he takes us inside his battle with leukemia.

And, we talked Michigan beer. A new film looks at the craft beer scene in our state.

First on the show, it has been quite a journey for a candidate who got booted off the primary ballot, was going to fold his tent and walk away, then was urged to mount a write-in campaign, swept the primary and today, is the new Mayor-Elect of Detroit.

Mike Duggan has become Detroit's first white mayor in 40 years, beating Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon.

Michigan Radio's Sarah Cwiek has covered the Duggan campaign and was at the victory party last night. She joined us today.

There's an intriguing movie premiere happening Thursday night at the Fillmore Theatre on Woodward in downtown Detroit.

"The Michigan Beer Film" will be screened along with samples of some of the Michigan brews featured in the film.

We're always happy to talk about Michigan beer here on Stateside, so we welcomed the producer and director of "The Michigan Beer Film", Kevin Romeo. He joined us today from Kalamazoo. 

Listen to the full interview about.

Lars Plougmann / Creative Commons

Former medical center chief Mike Duggan will be the next mayor of financially troubled Detroit, beating Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon 55% to 45%. Duggan will be Detroit's first white mayor since Coleman Young was elected in 1973 as the city's first black mayor.

So, we heard from Mike Duggan and results from around the state, we looked today for some perspective on what these results mean for Michigan.

Jack Lessenberry - Michigan Radio's Political Analyst - joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

We turn now to the West Side of the state.

That's where Michigan Radio's Lindsey Smith has been following a ballot proposal calling for the merger of Saugatuck and Douglas, two smaller cities just south of Holland.

Lindsey Smith joined us today to talk about what the voters said.

Listen to the full interview above.

Marijuana plant.
USFWS

Marijuana was on the ballot on Lansing, Jackson and Ferndale, and voters in all three cities said "yes" to decriminalizing pot.

Michigan Radio’s Steve Carmody joined us today to talk about the impact of this vote.

Listen to the full interview above.

Mike Duggan

It has been quite a journey for a candidate who got booted off the primary ballot, was going to fold his tent and walk away, then was urged to mount a write-in campaign, swept the primary and today, is the new Mayor-Elect of Detroit.

Mike Duggan has become Detroit's first white mayor in 40 years, beating Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon.

Michigan Radio's Sarah Cwiek has covered the Duggan campaign and was at the victory party last night. She joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

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Whenever you talk about the key players in Michigan's music scene, one of the names that inevitably comes up is that of Stewart Francke.

Born in Saginaw, he's made his home, raised his family and built his music career in Metro Detroit.

Writer and critic Jim McFarlin calls Stewart Francke "Detroit's workingman's troubadour," a title he's earned and maintained over decades of making his music.

But today we are going to hear about another journey Stewart Francke has been on, a journey into the world of cancer. A journey that began when he was diagnosed with leukemia that forced Stew and his family and circle of friends to join together to wage a ferocious battle.

He's now telling the story of his cancer battle in his e-book from Untreed Reads. The title says it all, "What Don't Kill Me Just Makes Me Strong."

Stewart Francke joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

dailyinvention / Creative Commons

Yes, you heard that right.

See, last year was a true "annus horribilis" for apple crops - with that cold, wet spring and hot summer drought.

That led to a terrible apple harvest.

This year has brought an abundant supply, but that good news presents new challenges for Michigan growers.

Like how to store all that fruit before it goes to sale.

So, there's this technique: "lulling apples to sleep." 

*Listen to to the audio above.

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