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5:34 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

How can commercial drones boost the economy?

Credit Wikimedia Commons

The word “drone” holds some negative connotations. However, some believe that commercial drones could help boost the economy. Aaron Cook, director of aviation at Northwestern Michigan College, is one of those people. He joined us today on Stateside.

Cook says when people understand what drones are, what they are not, and what they can do, they will realize the many business opportunities and safety opportunities these drones can provide. They could possibly improve the quality of life and increase productivity.

So what is a drone?

It’s basically a flying robot. It is an aircraft that does not need a human on board, but is controlled by people on the ground using GPS communication technology.

Cook emphasized that drones are not armed, specifically ones flying over U.S. soil, and are not intended to be used to invade citizens' privacy.

They are only meant for commercial use. BP was just approved by the Federal Aviation Administration to use drones in Alaska to monitor pipelines, roads, and equipment. Cook said drones can be used for similar options here in Michigan.

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Stateside
4:47 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

Proposal would overturn law requiring Michigan women to buy abortion coverage

Credit Sean Marshall / flickr

It was during the lame-duck session late last year when the state Legislature passed a law blocking insurers from paying for abortions as part of general coverage in company health care plans.

Under the law, women would have to buy extra coverage for an abortion, even in cases of rape or when the woman's life is in danger.

The law was passed without a public hearing on the basis of petitions that had been circulated by Right To Life of Michigan. It took effect in March.

Now two lawmakers are trying to get that law overturned. Sen. Gretchen Whitmer, D-East Lansing, will introduce the measure in the Senate while Rep. Sarah Roberts, D-St. Clair Shores, will do so in the House.

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Stateside
4:32 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

Mary Barra appears before House subcommittee on ignition-switch debacle

Credit General Motors

General Motors CEO Mary Barra appeared this week before a House subcommittee that is investigating the automaker's ignition-switch debacle.

Barra didn't sugarcoat the fact that GM bungled this terribly. She freely admitted their engineers knew about the switch problems 12 years ago, but didn't connect that to the airbag malfunction linked to at least 13 deaths.

And Barra had a litany of changes she's instituted in response, including firing 15 high-level employees.

Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes says this has to go deeper.

“Members of Congress, to put it gently, (are) skeptical that a company like this with the track record that it’s had, particularly in the last five years, would be able to do that,” Howes said.

Howes says with exception of the president of GM, those at the top of the company are longtime General Motors people.

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Stateside
4:14 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

Stateside for Thursday, June 19, 2014

On Stateside today: 

  • An update with Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes on the GM ignition-switch debacle.
  • Two Democratic representatives try to overturn a law that makes women buy extra coverage for an abortion. 
  • The last day of Stateside's music series, Songs Save Lives.
  • Mary Erlewine’s seventh studio album was released today by Earthwork Music.
  • There are those who see a wealth of ways drones could help us and boost the economy. And they see Michigan as being a key player in the future of drones. But what are the regulations for commercial drones?
  • Did you know that Jiffy Mix is made in Michigan?

*Listen to full story above. 

Stateside
3:09 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

Michigan artist May Erlewine's 7th album "Where We Are" released today

Credit Steven Davy / flickr

Michigan singer and songwriter May Erlewine’s seventh full-length album “Where We Are” was released today on Earthwork Music.

May tells Stateside that writing the album was a bit of a challenge, as life threw her many curve balls.

May and her husband, Seth Bernard, lost two close friends and a grandmother, and then discovered they were pregnant with now four-month-old Iris Betsy, 

“The album is sort of a time capsule of that experience and that time,” May says. “I just sort of sat down with the feelings each day and just let it flow through."

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Made in Michigan
2:57 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

Found in kitchens nationwide, Jiffy Mix is made in Michigan

Credit Andrew Filer / flickr

When you think of Jiffy Mix, you may think biscuits and corn muffins. But did you know they are also Michigan made?

Howdy Holmes is the president and CEO of Jiffy Mix. His grandmother is the one who started it all.

When Howdy’s father and uncle, Howard and Dudley, were young, they had a friend who was being raised by a single parent. The young boys invited their friend over for lunch, and he arrived with a bag lunch made by his dad. Howard and Dudley’s mother was concerned about what the father had made for his son.

“She opened the bag and right on top was a biscuit, which she said looked more like a white hockey puck,” Howdy said.

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Stateside
7:22 am
Thu June 19, 2014

U.N. panel: No one will be unaffected by climate change

A screenshot from a map of climate-change impacts in the Great Lakes region.
Credit Great Lakes Adaptation Assessment for Cities / University of Michigan

*Want to see how climate change will impact the economy of the Great Lakes region? Check out this interactive map from the Great Lakes Adaptation Assessment for Cities at the University of Michigan.

The most recent report on the world’s climate from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change shows that no one will be untouched by the effects of climate change. Henry Pollack is one of the contributors to the IPCC report.

Pollack said the most important message from this report is that climate change is real. Humans are the principal factor, the consequences are not pretty, and the window for fixing the issue is getting smaller and smaller.

The report is a compilation of reports from experts all over the world.  

Pollack says climate change will affect everyone in different ways depending on where they live. In Michigan we can expect to see lower water levels in the Great Lakes. Earlier growing seasons may eventually occur, which could be problematic if there were an unexpected freeze. The two principle crops in Michigan, corn and soybeans, would also be very vulnerable to high temperatures.

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Auto
7:08 am
Thu June 19, 2014

Europe's car sales on the rise again

Credit user: harry_nl / flickr

The word from Europe is new car sales were up in May.

It's the ninth straight monthly increase, which is good news for the U.S. carmakers who've been watching their bottom lines suffer through the European sales slump.

There were 1.1 million new cars registered in the European Union, an increase of 4.3%.

Increased auto sales include:

·         7.7% in the United Kingdom

·         5.2% in Germany

·         17 % in Spain

Stateside’s partner, BBC Business reporter Russell Padmore, says the big reason for the uptick in sales is an "aging car fleet.” During the debt crisis, Europeans held off from buying new cars to save money. Now they can’t hold off any longer. 

*Listen to full interview above. 

Stateside
9:31 pm
Wed June 18, 2014

A million Iraqi Christians have fled their home country; some found new homes in Michigan

Credit AP Photo

Headlines and images emerging from Iraq have put a spotlight on warfare between Sunni and Shiite sects of Islam.

But these are uneasy times for Christian Iraqis – or Chaldeans.

Since 2003, about a million Iraqi Christians have fled their home country since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq and the fall of Saddam Hussein caused other groups to see the Chaldeans as U.S. allies.

Many of those Chaldeans have found new homes in Michigan.

*Listen to full interview above. 

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Auto
9:13 pm
Wed June 18, 2014

GM chief Mary Barra back on Capitol Hill

Credit Dave Pinter / flickr

General Motors CEO Mary Barra was back on Capitol Hill today.

She was there to offer more testimony on the growing ignition switch recall problem which has been linked to 13 deaths and the recall of some six million GM vehicles.

Mary Barra was not alone. She came with independent investigator Anton Valukas and his 300-page report.

Detroit News Washington Bureau Chief David Shepardson says Valukas was able to answer questions about the report while Barra could focus on what GM was going to do in the future.

“Overall, the questioning was a lot gentler than last time, because the committees didn’t express frustration with Mary that she was not able to answer so many different questions,” Shepardson said.

“There are really no questions they could answer with the exception of the why.”

*Listen to full interview above.

Weather
9:06 pm
Wed June 18, 2014

What kind of summer weather can we expect?

Credit Piccolo Namek / Creative Commons

Summer will officially arrive Saturday.  

MLive and Farmerweather.com meteorologist Mark Torregrossa says the coming summer looks really nice, despite the thunder and rain we've been seeing.

Torregrossa says there is a hot dome of air creating a stationary front over Michigan, which is bringing in the storm system that spawned tornados in Nebraska, and he says the storms could continue over  the weekend.

He also says El Nino may have an effect on our summer.

El Nino is when a large part of the Pacific over South America and Australia begins to warm up more than normal – which could help the second half of our summer stay cooler and lead to a warmer and drier winter.

Torregrossa predicts overall precipitation this summer will likely be normal.

*Listen to full interview above. 

Stateside
6:43 pm
Wed June 18, 2014

Stateside for Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Today on Stateside: 

  • Mary Barra was back on Capitol Hill with independent investigator Anton Valukas and a 300-page report. 
  • European car sales are on the rise after a six-year slump.
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Stateside
5:52 pm
Tue June 17, 2014

Failure to fix Michigan roads is "not that big a deal, really," says Richardville

Credit Peter Ito / flickr

The state Senate failed to pass a road repair plan.

Drivers who vote have been clear that they want these roads fixed, yet Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, R-Monroe, says the failure was "not that big a deal, really."

Chris Gautz, the Lansing reporter for Crain's Detroit Business, explained what Richardville was trying to say.

Gautz said Richardville was trying to point out that the money budgeted for road funding would be in next year’s budget, and that money wouldn't start being generated until January.

“All of the big, monumental changes they were trying to make in the state’s transportation funding system were long-term fixes, and weren’t going to fill a pothole on your street this summer,” Gautz said.

*Listen to the  full interview above. 

Stateside
5:47 pm
Tue June 17, 2014

Cow manure could become a source of clean water

Credit Wikimedia Commons

Did you know one cow can produce 10,000 gallons of manure each year?

Now do the math: A large farm with a thousand cows means about 10 million gallons of manure every year.

Now, thanks to research from Michigan State University, that cow poo could become the source of, believe it or not, clean water.

Steve Safferman is an associate professor of biosystems and agricultural engineering at Michigan State University.

Safferman says 90  to 95% of cow manure is water.

There is a multi-step process used to retrieve the water. First the manure goes through pretreatment, then filtration, air stripping, and reverse osmosis.

Research shows that from 100 gallons of cow manure, 50 gallons of water can be retrieved.

The water is just like fresh water that comes out of the faucet. This water even has higher quality of drinking for the cows than well water.

Within a year of commercializing, there has been a lot of interest from farmers who are interested in the water-extraction system.  

Safferman said the system could be very useful for farmers who may have to sell their livestock because there is not enough water. It could also cut their water use potentially in half. 

*Listen to full interview above.

Stateside
5:41 pm
Tue June 17, 2014

GM recalls another 3.4 million cars

Credit user paul (dex) / Flickr

The recall notices just keep coming.

The ignition-switch crisis took a big new turn Monday as General Motors recalled 3.4 million cars.
That's on top of the 2.6 million small cars already called back for ignition switches that can slip out of the "run" position if the key is carrying extra weight and is somehow jarred. That could cause the engine to stall and kill power steering, power brakes, and air bags.

The problem has been linked to at least 13 deaths and over 40 crashes. However, GM sales have not been greatly affected.

This latest recall comes as CEO Mary Barra prepares for what will undoubtedly be a rough session tomorrow on Capitol Hill before the House Energy and Commerce's Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee.

*Listen to full interview above.

Stateside
7:44 pm
Mon June 16, 2014

Stateside for Monday, June 16, 2014

Here's what we talked about on Stateside today:

  • State lawmakers say "yes" to the MEAP and "no" to the Smarter Balanced Assessment tests in Michigan school. What happens for students next year?
  • Just the way students end their school year with a report card, so should our elected representatives be measured in how effectively they tackled issues important to Michigan. Detroit Free Press Lansing Bureau reporter Kathy Gray breaks it all down for us in terms of pass, fail, or incomplete.
  • Stateside’s Emily Fox reports from the Upper Peninsula to see if the region has what it takes to develop a new wine region in the state.
  • With soccer, there's a lot of credence put into national identities and how teams play. But our guest Andy Markovits challenges us to think differently.
  • Stateside’s Kyle Norris talks about stories she heard when she asked this question, “Do you have a song that saved your life?”
  • Also, a Michigan traveler describes her 1,000-mile Great Lakes island adventure.

*Listen to full show above. 

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Stateside
7:38 pm
Mon June 16, 2014

Sharing the songs that saved your life

You get a taste of a bigger story as people mention the songs that saved their lives, such as this one – Summer of '69 by Bryan Adams.
Credit User: Klaus Hiltscher / flickr

Today we’re starting a new series about music. We’re calling it "What’s the Song That Saved Your Life?"

Stateside’s Kyle Norris asked a lot of people that question. She found that sometimes they have an immediate answer. And other people really have to think about it.  Kyle talked with folks at a bowling alley in Wayne, Michigan, and shares their responses.

*Listen to full interview above.

All this week we’re going to hear from people who say one song saved their life. And we want to hear from you. Do you have a song that saved your life? Tell us the story! Call us and let us know at 248-962-3806. And you can also use #song-saved-me on twitter. Stateside's Kyle Norris produced our series, and she may even use your story on the air.

Stateside
7:33 pm
Mon June 16, 2014

Great Lakes lover and her thousand-mile adventures

Loreen at Manitou Passage (Lake Michigan) with the Manitou Islands visible offshore
Credit User: Loreen Niewenhuis / Facebook: Loreen Niewenhuis Fan Page

After hiking some 2,000 miles around the Great Lakes, Loreen Niewenhuis is headed to the islands of the Great Lakes for another thousand-mile adventure of hiking, boating, kayaking, and bicycling.

First, she hiked completely around Lake Michigan, her "1,000 Mile Walk on the Beach." Then she decided to hike the shorelines of all five Great Lakes, another 1,000-mile adventure.

She has turned both of those into books.

Now she is working on her third journey: A 1,000-mile Great Lakes Island adventure. This month, she'll be visiting Isle Royale to help out with wolf and moose research.

Niewenhuis joined Stateside today to talk about the environmental issue she observed on her island journeys and recount her amazing experiences, including searching for moose bones on Isle Royale and hiking Pictured Rocks on Lake Superior.

*Listen to the full interview with Loreen above.

Stateside
7:25 pm
Mon June 16, 2014

Michigan lawmakers stall plan to replace MEAP with new exams

Credit Alberto G. / Creative Commons

One of the many decisions made by state lawmakers during their budget actions last week was to keep the MEAP in place for another year.

The more than 40-year-old MEAP exam stays put even though Michigan adopted the Common Core State Standards in 2010. And the state's education department has been working for the past three years to bring in the new testing that is aligned to the Common Core. That new test is called the Smarter Balanced Assessment.

The state lawmakers' recent decision could mean that educators and students have to hit the reverse button and go back to MEAP. But State Superintendent Mike Flanagan said in April that the MEAP was simply “not an option."

Brian Smith has been reporting on the Common Core and Smarter Balanced vs. MEAP tussle. He said that as the issue moved forward, the Department of Education started to talk to testing vendors and see what could possibly be done.

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Stateside
7:08 pm
Mon June 16, 2014

National traits do not explain soccer styles

Playing styles of these soccer players from Brazil and Croatia might not reflect their national characteristics.
Credit User: Diário do Nordeste / flickr

Last Thursday afternoon, the 2014 World Cup began as Brazil and Croatia ran out onto the pitch in Brazil. And with that, fans of Association Football (aka “soccer” here in the USA) plunged into a month of the High Holy Days: World Cup action.

Many fans of “the beautiful game” get downright nationalistic as they cheer on their favorite team, whether it be England, Italy, Brazil, Germany, Ivory Coast ... and of course, the U.S., which opens its World Cup bid this evening at 6 against Ghana.

With soccer, there's a lot of credence put into national identities and how teams play. But, if you think the playing style of your favorite team somehow reflects some deep cultural trait of that country, Stateside guest Andy Markovits says think again.

Markovits is a University of Michigan political scientist and lifelong soccer fan. He joined us today to talk about how generalizations of national characteristics can be superficial and dangerous. 

*Listen to the conversation above. 

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