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Stateside
4:54 pm
Tue April 23, 2013

Michigan soprano makes it to the Metropolitan Opera House

www.caitlinlynchsoprano.com

There’s not a parent around who hasn’t had a child write that classic school essay “What I want to be When I Grow Up.”

It might be wise to pay close attention to the goal that child sets for himself or herself.

When she was ten years old, Caitlin Lynch of Bloomfield Hills announced that her goal was to become a professional singer.

She came from a family of talented musicians, her first solo was in first grade at Holy Name School in Birmingham singing, “My Favorite Things” from the Sound of Music at the school talent show.

She sang her way through Marian High School in Bloomfield Hills then on to the University of Michigan.
 
Last month,  Caitlin Lynch made her debut at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York in Francesca di Rimini.
 
Soprano Caitlin Lynch joined us today and told us about her professional singing debut.

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Stateside
4:54 pm
Tue April 23, 2013

Protecting the Great Lakes

NOAA

The future of the Great Lakes, their management, and their usage were among key topics in a forum held recently at MSU's Institute for Public Policy and Social Research.

The forum focused on the key question of how we should manage these huge bodies of fresh water in order to guarantee their availability for future generations.

This is happening while the Obama Administration is asking for $300 million for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

Jennifer Read is Deputy Director of the University of Michigan Water Center and Jon Allen is Director of the Michigan Office of the Great Lakes.

Both were in attendance at the forum, and they give us an overview of  what was discussed.

You can listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
2:13 pm
Tue April 23, 2013

Michigan high school curriculum could be changing - for better or worse?

Curriculum requirements could change for Michigan high schools
Jennifer Guerra Michigan Radio

Education is front and center these days in Michigan.

Governor Snyder spoke today to a summit of education leaders, calling for businesses to get more closely involved with public education.

Snyder believes many students might be being pushed toward getting a four-year college degree when vocation education – technical career training or community college – might make just as much sense for them.

In the state House and Senate, there is movement towards changing Michigan’s high school graduation requirements.

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Stateside
5:31 pm
Mon April 22, 2013

What does Dan Gilbert's Detroit plan mean for its people?

Dan Gilbert... man with deep pockets.
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Dan Gilbert.

The founder of Quicken Loans.

A man with deep pockets.

Taking advantage of what he calls Detroit's "Skyscraper Sale."

He owns three million square feet of downtown commercial space.

His stated goal is to breathe new life into downtown Detroit.

The Sunday New York Times business section calls him the "Motor City Missionary."

So what does Dan Gilbert's "Opportunity Detroit" plan mean for the city and its people?

We asked George Galster - professor of urban studies and planning at Wayne State University - author of "Driving Detroit" - and Toni Griffin - founder of Urban Planning and Design for the American City - director of the Technical Planning Team for the Detroit Future City Plan - and professor of architecture at the City College of New York.

They've got credibility. We asked them questions.

You can listen to the full interview above.

Politics & Culture
5:21 pm
Mon April 22, 2013

Stateside for Monday, April 22nd, 2013

On today's show: the future of education in Michigan.

Governor Snyder has said he believes too much emphasis is  put on four-year degrees in our state.

Today, we take a look at the requirements to graduate high school in Michigan.

And billionaire and founder of Quicken Loans Dan Gilbert has a vision for reviving downtown Detroit, but what does Gilbert's "Opportunity Detroit" plan really mean for the city and its residents?

And it's been a challenging few days in terms of rain and flooding through much of Michigan.

In the Lansing area, the Red Cedar River has caused flooding on Michigan State University's campus, leaving some athletic fields waterlogged. This weekend the Lansing Marathon had to be rerouted along the Lansing river trail because of high water levels.
 
Residents in the Saginaw area are also seeing flooding from the Saginaw River. Over the weekend, officials opened a middle school in  Saginaw Township as a shelter due to flooding in the area. And flooding closed some area roads, and people were encouraged to avoid crossing roadways covered by water.
 
Meanwhile, water levels have lowered in the Midland area, which had been hit by flooding of the Tittabawassee River.

And Grand Rapids is still coping with the aftermath of flooding that hit downtown hotels, stores and businesses. We spoke with Michigan Radio's west Michigan reporter Lindsey Smith.

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Stateside
6:33 pm
Thu April 18, 2013

The glory days of streaking in the 1970s

Aristotle streaking behind David Niven.

Every college has its traditions.

Some of them become popular nationally. That's what happened in March of 1974 on college campuses around the country.

What were college students doing? Streaking.

If you were in college or remember the spring of 1974, you'll remember that naked explosion on campus. 

The streaking phenomenon at first was not widespread nor was it well known. The first news reports of these events had to define streaking.  The earliest events happened on Florida's campus.

In February and in early March, news networks began reporting the story. It began to catch the attention of the New York Times and that's when streaking was in full swing.

Jim Tobin, a writer and historian, described the buildup of the campus phenomenon at the University of Michigan.

"The wildfire effect that happened in the first week of March was the week that Michigan students were on their spring break, so no one was in Ann Arbor, but all of the students were hearing about it and dying to get back in Ann Arbor to take part," said Tobin. "That Monday after spring break, there were announcements that there would be a couple of events that would take place."

Tobin describes that past streaks were more of a solo thing and that Michigan students wanted to introduce the idea of mass streaks.

By the Tuesday after Spring Break, and after announcements in the Michigan Daily, groups gathered  at lunch and in the evening to streak. The groups had about 70 students Tobin explains, "The real crowd was the 1,000 of students who came to watch the streakers," he said.

With previous streaks being smaller and more spontaneous, Ann Arbor became home to the first mass streak.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
6:32 pm
Thu April 18, 2013

Welfare drug testing bill moves forward in the State House

The Lansing Capitol
Lester Graham Michigan Radio

Some controversial legislation is moving forward in the State House.

Under a bill approved yesterday by a State House panel - the Families, Children and Seniors Committee - Michigan would begin suspicion-based drug-testing of people who receive welfare benefits.

The legislation would allow the state to take away the benefits from people who test positive for drugs.

Under the measure, the drug testing program would go through a one-year trial period before being made permanent.

Republican Representative Jeff Farrington introduced the legislation. He says the government should not pay for people’s drug habits.

“People are tired of applicants getting welfare payments when they’re used for illegal drug use," said Farrington. "We want to make sure that they get on the right track, they receive their treatment going forward, and they get on the right path to success.”

Supporters also say people would have to pay for the drug test only if they test positive.

Critics of the plan say it demonizes the poor and unfairly hurts children of addicts.

Former social worker and Democratic Representative Marcia Hover-Wright says the bill is flawed.

“I don’t think there’s enough understanding on the other side of people with addictions and what’s their course... I’ve worked a lot with people with substance abuse problems, and to have the whole family suffer because the adult has a substance abuse problem, I find really problematic," said Hover-Wright.

Under the most recent version of the bill, people who test positive for the first time could enroll in an addiction treatment program and still receive their benefits during that time.

Only people who test positive would have to pay for the cost of the tests. That means the program could cost the state more money for testing and screening than originally anticipated.

On the other hand, it potentially could save the state some money on welfare benefits.

Democrats unsuccessfully tried to add several amendments to the bill. Among other things, they would have exempted medical marijuana patients and seniors from the penalties.

Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit) last year proposed state lawmakers should have to undergo testing and screening for substance abuse if welfare recipients are required to do so.

Her idea did not advance in the Legislature.

Jake Neher, reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network was at the hearings. He gave us an update on the newest version of this legislation and just how this would work for folks who collect welfare benefits from the state.

Listen to the full interview above.

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Stateside
6:32 pm
Thu April 18, 2013

Following the money for Michigan Reps on Capitol Hill

Capitol Hill, Washington D.C.
whitehouse.gov

Keeping an eye on the money in politics, Michigan’s U.S. Representatives have filed their first quarter contributions to the Federal Election Commission this week.

According to the Michigan Campaign Finance Network, Michigan’s 14 Reps have raised a total of $2,170,989 dollars.

First, just looking over some of these numbers, with two particular Representatives in mind. Representative Gary Peters, Democrat from Southeast Michigan and Representative Mike Rogers,  Republican from mid-Michigan.

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Politics & Culture
6:32 pm
Thu April 18, 2013

Stateside for Thursday, April 18th, 2013

Whether we like it or not, money sure seems to be the life-blood of politics.

On today's show, as first quarter campaign contributions have been filed to the Federal Election Commission, we'll check in on the "war-chests" of Michigan's Congressional delegation. And, we'll take a look back to the early 70's when streaking was an act of protest on college campuses. There were efforts to trivialize streaking - efforts to make it seem like just a "college" fad - but, in fact, there were much bigger motivations behind the craze.

But first, we began the hour in Lansing, where some controversial legislation is moving forward in the State House. Under a bill approved yesterday by a state House panel –the Families, Children and Seniors Committee---Michigan would begin suspicion-based drug-testing of people who receive welfare benefits. The legislation would allow the state to take away the benefits from people who test positive for drugs.

Under the measure, the drug testing program would go through a one-year trial period before being made permanent.

Jake Neher, reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network, was at the hearings. He gave us an update on this newest version of this legislation.

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Stateside
6:30 pm
Thu April 18, 2013

The Detroit Symphony Orchestra revival through community outreach

The Detroit Symphony Orchestra rehearses on stage
Jennifer Guerra Michigan Radio

The Great Recession presented a challenge to virtually every business and organization in Michigan.

During that time, it was either change the way you've always done things, or risk being swallowed up by the crumbling economy.

The Detroit Three automakers rose to the challenge and today, they're alive and thriving. And so did one of the state's cultural jewels: The Detroit Symphony Orchestra.

We recently spoke with DSO executive Vice President Paul Hogle and with Maestro Slatkin and it's clear that the mood is upbeat and optimistic at Orchestra Hall.

It was only two years when the Orchestra was amidst a very bitter musicians' strike ended. Since then good vibrations have been felt amongst the rank & file.

The DSO has been using various kinds of community outreach and increasing it's web presence.

It has been getting the brand out there all around the area and the world without spending a lot of money. It is setting an example that many other arts organizations and non-profits from around the state can learn from.

Daniel Howes made the DSO the centerpiece of his column today in the Detroit News. We spoke with him  to hear about the successes of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.

Listen to the full interview above.

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Stateside
5:31 pm
Wed April 17, 2013

History can teach us a lot: What Detroit can learn from Atlanta

Andrew Young was Mayor of Atlanta for two terms in the 1980s
Sodexo USA/ Flickr

In the early 1980s, the city of Atlanta was known as the murder capitol of America. It's economy was flailing, much of the city was dangerous - the city needed help.

Sound familiar? 

The national image of Atlanta sounds alarmingly similar to how many Americans view the city of Detroit.

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Stateside
5:30 pm
Wed April 17, 2013

Creating just working conditions for restaurant workers

COLORS Detroit Facebook

'Colors-Detroit' is strengthening the city from the grassroots by providing job opportunities for the community’s unemployed residents.

Colors is not just any restaurant. It’s a restaurant with a strong mission to create fair and just working conditions for restaurant workers.

Colors is a project of the Restaurant Opportunities Center of Michigan, which is part of a nationwide movement to create fair and just working conditions for restaurant workers.

ROC-Michigan's research indicates that workers of color tend to be concentrated in the lowest-paying jobs in the restaurant industry and they are the ones most likely to have their rights violated.

Chef Phil Jones is head chef and general manager of Colors, which is located in the Paradise Valley area of downtown Detroit. You might know it as Harmonie Park  right near the Detroit Opera House.

Listen to the full interview above.

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Stateside
5:30 pm
Wed April 17, 2013

Where will the money come from to fix Michigan's roads?

Governor Snyder has been trying to get support from lawmakers to fix Michigan roads
Michael Gil Flickr

Governor Snyder says he wants more than a billion dollars just this year to pay for road and bridge repairs.

Our state has seriously bad roads that lawmakers in Lansing appear to agree on.

How to pay for road repairs is a whole other story.

We’ve talked a lot on Stateside about the different options to raise the money for these repairs.

Many Republicans appear unwilling to vote for any increase in taxes.  Amidst facing a possible primary challenge, would Republicans consider voting for any possible legislation?

There have also been concerns that this funding increase would mean local governments and schools would lose upwards of $850 million in funding.

For months, Governor Snyder has been trying to get support from lawmakers, but we haven’t seen a whole lot of progress on how to increase funding.

Recently, a state House committee has begun hearings on a road funding strategy.

Chris Gautz is the capitol correspondent for Crain's Detroit Business. He sat down with us on Stateside to give us the details of the new proposal and how exactly it would work.

Listen to the full interview above.

Politics & Culture
5:22 pm
Wed April 17, 2013

Stateside for Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

On today's show: we continue our look at road-funding Michigan.

There's a new proposal out this week in the state House that would shift the way we pay for road and bridge repairs, but can it really pass with both Democratic and Republican support?

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Stateside
5:08 pm
Wed April 17, 2013

Governer Snyder's take on Immigration reform

Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

The so-called gang of eight have released their immigration reform proposal.

The formal introduction of the bipartisan bill  known as the “Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013” was filed last night at 2 a.m.

The 844 piece of legislation would enact sweeping changes to the nation’s immigration laws.

President Obama says the bill is a compromise that doesn’t give everyone everything they want, but he’s urging the Senate to move forward with it.

So we took a look at the man who likes to call himself the nation’s most pro-immigration Governor - Gov. Rick Snyder.

Rick Pluta Lansing Bureau Chief for the Michigan Public Radio Network was with the Governor this afternoon and tells us what he had to say about the introduction of this bill.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
5:07 pm
Wed April 17, 2013

'Already Dead Tapes' brings cassettes back to life

Cassette tapes were popular in the 70's and 80's
Wikipedia

As the old saying goes, "everything old is new again."

Case in point, the cassette tape.

Those of us who were music consumers in the 70's and 80's remember those cassettes rattling around in your glove compartment.

They were so much smaller than those clunky eight-track tapes and no skipping or gunk on the needles like your vinyl records.

Many people went through the cassette era  making their own mixes, working from a dual-tape unit and sharing them with friends, family and significant others.

Then came the CD, into prominence in the mid to late 80s. It was great to be able to jump right to the spot you wanted -no more fast forward and rewind.

Soon after the CD, the mp3 became popular and that is when the cassette tape became, for all intents and purposes, extinct.

But recently, the cassette tape is being revived and a Michigan-based recording label called 'Already Dead Tapes' is right out in front of this revival.

The label is run from Kalamazoo by Sean Hartman along with his Chicago-based partner Joshua Tabbia.

Sean and Joshua have said they don't think of Already Dead Tapes as a business because it's a "passion project."

Here is a video of Already Dead Tapes via the Chicago AV Club:

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Arts & Culture
5:13 pm
Tue April 16, 2013

Sitting down with Red Tail Ring

Red Tail Ring in the studios at Michigan Radio
Mercedes Mejia Michigan Radio

We’ve all heard the term “comfort food”. Well how about some “comfort music”?
 
Red Tail Ring  is a duo from Kalamazoo serving up American roots music that harkens back to gentler days, and it’s music that soothes and wraps around you like a shawl.
 
Red Tail Ring is Michael Beauchamp and Laurel Premo and they join us here in the studio.

Listen to the full interview above.

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Politics & Culture
5:13 pm
Tue April 16, 2013

Stateside for Tuesday, April 16th, 2013

There are more than 37,000 homeless students in Michigan. That's up 66 percent in the last four years. On today's show, we ask why is homelessness among students on the rise even as the state economy heads towards recovery.

Later in the hour, we're joined in the studio by Red-Tail-Ring - a Kalamazoo duo serving up American roots music.

We first look at the subject of sick-leave and requiring employers to provide sick-days to their workers.

Lawmakers in Lansing are moving to block local cities and towns from passing any laws requiring businesses to offer sick leave to their workers.

Such laws have been passed in Seattle, San Francisco and several other major cities. The entire state of Connecticut, and New York City are expected to soon pass a sick leave ordinance.

Backers of these "paid sick leave" ordinances say they're designed to protect people in lower-paying jobs - the workers who stand to lose their jobs if they try to call in sick.

Republican Representative Earl Poleski of Jackson is sponsoring one of the bills that would block local governments from putting paid sick leave ordinances into place.

He joined us to talk about his bill.

Arts & Culture
5:12 pm
Tue April 16, 2013

The power of the handwritten letter

The shelves at Open Books. The Chicago nonprofit is working to improve literacy rates in the city.
Open Books

In an era when we dash off a quick email or text message or a tweet, and often just as quickly deleted, the magic of a letter is something that has sadly been eclipsed.

The letter: the construction of thoughts, put down on paper, sometimes typed, sometimes hand-written, with a signature that is distinct and personal. It's something that lives on through the years. You just don't get that with a 140-character tweet.

Today we have a story that proves that letters can pack incredible power long after they have been written, long after the writers have left this earth.

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Politics & Government
5:12 pm
Tue April 16, 2013

Blocking cities from adopting paid sick leave ordinances

Chicken noodle soup and medication.
Robert Couse-Baker Creative Commons

Lawmakers in Lansing are moving to block local cities and towns from passing any laws requiring businesses to offer sick leave to their workers.

Such laws have been passed in Seattle, San Francisco and several other major cities. The entire state of Connecticut, and New York City are expected to soon pass a sick leave ordinance.

Backers of these "paid sick leave" ordinances say they're designed to protect people in lower-paying jobs - the workers who stand to lose their jobs if they try to call in sick.

Republican Representative Earl Poleski of Jackson is sponsoring one of the bills that would block local governments from putting paid sick leave ordinances into place.

He joined us to talk about his bill.

Listen to the full interview above.

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