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Politics & Culture
4:51 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

Stateside for Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A state-appointed review team found the small city of Hamtramck is once again in a state of financial emergency. Will the city succumb to state control again?

And nearby in Detroit, one prominent observer has growing doubts about the effectiveness of the city's emergency manager.

And, a new film documentary explores the different ways Michigan families have transformed deep loss into opportunities to grow.

Also, Tom Ivacko joined us to discuss how local leaders would like citizen to get involved with government.

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Stateside
4:49 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

The latest on the 2013 Mackinac Policy Conference

The Mackinac Policy Conference wraps up today.
Lester Graham Michigan Radio

An interview with Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta.

Michigan's business and political power-makers have gathered today on Mackinac Island.

Today is the opening day of the Detroit Regional Chamber's big annual policy conference.

There will be plenty of speeches and panel discussions about the economy, education, health care and a wide range of other policy issues?

And just as importantly, the Conference is a chance for politicians to network, to schmooze, and to drum up support and donations.

Michigan Radio's "It's Just Politics" team of Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta are on Mackinac to track all of this. They joined us today to talk about it.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
4:48 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

New documentary shows how Michigan families cope with loss

Filmmaker Judith Burdick
transforminglossdocumentary.com

An interview with Judith Burdick and Elizabeth Guz.

Suffering loss and going through grief is a part of the human experience. There's not one of us who will skate through life without having to cope with losing someone close to us.

But sometimes that loss is sudden and horrifying. How can someone possibly climb back out of that pit of grief?

That's the question addressed in a new documentary called "Transforming Loss." In it, we meet six Michigan families who have managed to triumph, transform, and grow, despite indescribable heartbreak. And they have lessons for each of us.

The filmmaker and licensed psychotherapist Judith Burdick joined us in the studio.

Also in the studio was Elizabeth Guz, one of the people who shared her story of loss and transformation, a story that began when her teenage son committed suicide. Today she volunteers for the Heinz Prechter Bipolar Research Project at the University of Michigan Depression Center.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
4:45 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

What Snyder doesn't know, according to the Mayor of Hamtramck

Mayor Karen Majewski of the City of Hamtramck
LinkedIn

An interview with Mayor Karen Majewski.

The number of school districts and cities in Michigan that are in a state of financial emergency are rising.


Now, as many of them are handing over control to a state-appointed manager, it's important to ask: how effective is state oversight?


The City of Hamtramck is in a state of financial emergency six years after it emerged from state oversight.


An independent review team reported that Hamtramck isn't able to make its monthly pension payments and that the city's general fund deficit is expected to reach $3.3 million by the end of June. A structural operating deficit has existed in the city's  general fund throughout the city's last three fiscal years. 


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Stateside
4:43 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

Where do Kevyn Orr's loyalties lie?

Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr
Sarah Cwiek Michigan Radio

An interview with Karen Dumas.

Over these past couple of months, have Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr's loyalties been more with the city he's running? Or with the state who hired him?

Detroiter Karen Dumas was the chief of communications for the City of Detroit.

These days, she heads up her own PR/Communications firm, Images & Ideas, and she has been watching what's been happening at City Hall.

Her recent column in Bridge Magazine shows that when it comes to Emergency Manager Orr, Karen Dumas has growing doubts.

She joined us today in the studio.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
3:16 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

Citizen involvement in local government is good, but not too much

Tom Ivacko
Twitter

An interview with Tom Ivacko from the Center for Local, State and Urban Policy at the University of Michigan.

How deeply should citizens be involved in governing our counties, cities, townships or villages?

Put another way, how deeply do our local leaders want us to be involved?

That's the question the Center for Local, State and Urban Policy at the University of Michigan put to more than 1,300 local government officials from all over Michigan.

You can read more about this survey here.

Tom Ivacko from the Center joined us today with the verdict.

Listen to the full interview above.

Politics & Culture
4:41 pm
Tue May 28, 2013

Stateside for Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

There are many ideas and strategies being talked about for how to keep young people in Michigan. On today's show:  we spoke with one young writer who says it's simply not enough.

And we heard about how refugees, having survived physical and psychological traumas in their home countries, are getting mental health services here in Michigan.

Also, Rick Pluta gave us an update on ex-Justice Diane Hathaway, who was sentenced for fraud in federal court today in Ann Arbor.

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Stateside
4:39 pm
Tue May 28, 2013

What's in store for the Michigan Republican Party in Election 2014

Bobby Schostak
migop.org

An interview with Chairman Bobby Schostak.

Focus is starting to turn to Election 2014 in Michigan.

Former Democratic Congressman Mark Schauer filed paperwork this morning to run against Governor Rick Snyder in 2014, assuming that the Governor does, in fact, decide to run for a second term.

And Democratic Congressman Gary Peters announced earlier this month that he’ll run for the U.S. Senate seat open in 2014 because of Carl Levin’s retirement. 

So, it appears that the Democrats are beginning to get their ducks in a row, but what about Republicans?

Bobby Schostak, Chairman of the Michigan Republican Party, joined us today in the studio.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
4:38 pm
Tue May 28, 2013

Diane Hathaway sentenced to one year and a day in prison

Former Michigan Supreme Court Justice Diana Hathaway and her lawyer Steve Fishman leaving the federal courthouse in Ann Arbor after sentencing.
Mark Brush Michigan Radio

An interview with Rick Pluta about Diane Hathaway.

Former Michigan Supreme Court Justice Diane Hathaway was sentenced for bank fraud in federal court today in Ann Arbor.

Hathaway was forced to resign in January, halfway through her eight-year term on the state Supreme Court.

She resigned before pleading guilty to a scheme to cheat a bank by hiding assets including a vacation home in Florida.

That helped her qualify as a distressed homeowner, so she could then sell a lakefront home in Grosse Pointe Park as a short-sale.

Rick Pluta, Lansing Bureau Chief for the Michigan Public Radio Network, has been covering this story for us, and he joined us today in the studio.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
4:37 pm
Tue May 28, 2013

How to keep young talent in Michigan

Natalie Burg
Twitter

An interview with writer Natalie Burg.

One of leading topics of statewide conversation is how to keep young professionals and college grads in Michigan.

Lately on Stateside, we've heard talk of "placemaking," ways to make cities more attractive to young people.

That's one of many ideas being tossed around in the quest to prevent "Brain Drain."

Writer Natalie Burg recently published a guest column in Bridge Magazine. At the age of 31, she is writing from the perspective of those young people we're trying to keep in Michigan. And she thinks some of these strategies aren’t going to do the trick.

Natalie joined us today to discuss the issue.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
4:33 pm
Tue May 28, 2013

Sewing circles provide opportunities for women refugees

Could Michigan's garment industry be the next big thing for the state?
user gracey morgueFile

Twelve years ago, St. Vincent's Catholic Charities in Lansing started a job training program for women refugees, but organizers soon realized these women needed something other than job training. 

"If you don't speak English, if you don't have a destination to go to, you can end up being incredibly isolated," said Jillian Olsen.

Jillian shows up once a week to help lead a sewing circle, teaching refugee women how to sew.

Sewing is important for a couple of reasons. It's a skill the women learn as part of the job training program, but it's also a way for the women to socialize and share common experiences.

Austin Davis spoke with some of the volunteers in this program. This piece was produced by Austin Davis and Kyle Norris.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
2:25 pm
Tue May 28, 2013

Improving refugee mental health in Michigan

The ACCESS Rehabilitiation Center
accesscommunity.org

Last year, some 8,100 refugees and asylum seekers fled their home countries and came to Michigan hoping to start a new life.

Many of these people might have wanted to stay at home, but war and organized violence made it impossible, and the United States opened its doors to them.

The World Health Organization estimates a full 50 percent of these refugees are suffering from mental illness.

The doctors and therapists who work with these refugees believe that number is too low.

What is life like for these wartime refugees and asylum seekers in Michigan? And what's being done to ease their transition into their new life and help treat these people as they suffer from psychiatric disabilities?

Hussam Abdulkhalleq is the program supervisor at the ACCESS Psychosocial Rehabilitation Center in Dearborn, the largest Arab-American human services non-profit in the nation.

He joined us today in the studio.

Listen to the full interview above.

Politics & Culture
6:04 pm
Thu May 23, 2013

Stateside for Thursday, May 23rd, 2013

All this week, we've been digging into the causes, and perhaps solutions, to the financial troubles facing our schools. As Michigan Radio has been reporting, some 50 public school districts across our state are facing deep deficits. And, for the first time in Ann Arbor history, the school district may have to lay off 50 teachers.

Today we focused on teacher salaries. Just what should determine teacher pay in Michigan?

And, Daniel Howes talked with us about the business community in Detroit.

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Stateside
5:15 pm
Thu May 23, 2013

Preventative agricultural technology: a farmer's best friend

This was taken at the Allendale Farmers Market summer 2008. The Allendale Farmer's market is open for business Tuesdays and Fridays from 11 am - 4 pm. This is only during the summer which is from about the 2nd week of June to the last Friday in October.
user tami.vroma Flickr

An interview with Don Armock of River Ridge Produce.

All over Michigan farmers are keeping fingers tightly crossed and their eyes fixed on the weather forecast. 

Most Michigan farmers are struggling to recover from 2012, the worst growing season in our state in more than 50 years. That combination of extremely warm weather in March, followed by a hard freeze in April, and then a hot summer full of drought crushed farmers, especially fruit farmers.

It's something that hits all of us, because agriculture is the second biggest industry in Michigan. Agriculture pumps 37 billion dollars into the state's economy, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Preventative agricultural technology is giving farmers some creative weapons in their battle to save their crops from Mother Nature. 

Don Armock of River Ridge Produce is one of these farmers. He joined us in the studio to talk about the 2013 growing season.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
5:14 pm
Thu May 23, 2013

Fighting to save an Irish Hills landmark

The Irish Hills Observation Towers
Facebook

An interview with Donna Boglarsky, the president of the Irish Hills Historical Society.

If you grew up in southeast or southcentral Michigan any time from the 1920s right through the 20th century and into the early part of this century, chances are you and your family visited or at least passed through the Irish Hills.

Driving along US-12, it's impossible to miss the major landmarks of the Irish Hills, the twin observation towers. Generations of Michigan families have climbed these towers to get a good look at the surrounding countryside.

But the clock is ticking on those landmark towers.

Donna Boglarsky, the president of the Irish Hills Historical Society and former owner of the towers, joined us in the studio.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
5:13 pm
Thu May 23, 2013

Is teacher merit pay what's best for Michigan?

Jennifer Guerra Michigan Radio

An interview with professor Jennifer Rice King and Superintendent Scott Moore

As the 2012-2013 school year winds down, one of the issues occupying the attention of state lawmakers is teacher pay. In essence: what should determine teacher salaries in Michigan?

A state House panel has approved a plan to tie teachers' pay to student performance. But, as Michigan Public Radio's Jake Neher told us, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle say they're worried the bill would strip away local control.

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Stateside
4:39 pm
Thu May 23, 2013

Detroit businesses give back to the community

General Motors claims "top automaker" crown.
user paul (dex) Flickr

An interview with Daniel Howes.

It’s Thursday, which means it’s time for our weekly conversation with Daniel Howes, the Business Columnist at the Detroit News.

This week, he focused on the business community in Detroit, where companies like General Motors are trying to give back through programs like the GM Student Corps. From Howe's column:

By itself, the pilot program unveiled in the Wintergarden of GM’s Renaissance Center, isn’t front-page news in a city bursting with the good, the bad and the financially ugly on a weekly basis. What GM Student Corps signifies, however, is another example of a key player in the business community seeing a communal need and moving to fill it, quickly.

He joined us today to discuss the business in Detroit as well as the health of the auto industry.

Listen to the full interview above.

Politics & Culture
4:45 pm
Wed May 22, 2013

Stateside for Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

There's a three story pile of black petroleum coke big enough to cover an entire city block piling up in Southwest Detroit. It's a by-product of oil sands drilling from Alberta, Canada.

On today's show: we asked why is this high-sulfur, high-carbon waste piling up along the Detroit River?

And, the Board of State Canvassers met today in Lansing. We got an update on ballot initiatives that you could be voting on.

Read more
Stateside
4:43 pm
Wed May 22, 2013

Where poverty lives in Michigan

Poverty has doubled in Livingston County over the last five years
SamPac creative commons

An interview with Scott Allard, an associate professor at the University of Chicago and a research affiliate of the National Poverty Center at the University of Michigan.

When one thinks of poverty in America, or in Michigan, what image comes to mind? Where are poor people living?

Chances are, an image of an inner-city neighborhood flashes in your mind.

Well, that would be wrong.

The Brookings Institute this week released its study called "Confronting Suburban Poverty in America."

Bottom line: poverty is moving into the suburbs.

Both here in Michigan and across the country, the suburbs are home to the largest and fastest-growing poor population in the country.

Scott Allard is an associate professor at the University of Chicago and a research affiliate of the National Poverty Center at the University of Michigan.

He joined us in the studio to talk about what this study means in terms of how we think about poverty in our state.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
4:40 pm
Wed May 22, 2013

Fitting a liberal arts education into our future

Dean Terrence McDonald
umich.edu

An interview with Dean Terrence McDonald.

Here's a question that colleges and universities across the country are grappling with: how does "liberal arts" fit into our futures?

We hear more and more talk about stem courses and careers: science, technology, engineering and math.

There's lots of talk about the fact that the U.S. needs people with these degrees to compete in a global economy.

So what will it take for liberal arts programs to matter to students who want to graduate with degrees that will secure a job that pays?

Those are some of the questions being tackled this week at a major conversation involving more than 50 deans at large research universities around the country coming to the University of Michigan for an unprecedented national conversation.

The focus -"The Liberal Arts and Sciences in the Research University Today: Histories, Challenges, Futures."

The Dean of the College of Literature, Science and the Arts at the University of Michigan, Dean Terrence McDonald was kind enough to join us in the studio.

Listen to the full interview above.

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