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Stateside
4:29 pm
Thu March 28, 2013

An anti-gay Facebook post that led to a request for resignation

Committeeman Agema is in the spotlight due to anti-gay slurs on Facebook

Yesterday, a Republican National Committeeman, and former Michigan lawmaker, posted an article chock full of anti-gay slurs on Facebook. 

Dave Agema, the Committeeman who posted the article with a byline of "Frank Joseph, MD," has been asked to resign by 21 Republican precinct delegates and young Republican leaders. 

His response?

"Absolutely not."

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Stateside
4:41 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

Group hopes to stop a wolf hunt in Michigan

Canis lupis.

There is proof that saving Michigan wolves is indeed an issue that Michiganders feel passionate about.

A proposed wolf hunt in Michigan could soon be put on hold, even though the Legislature approved a wolf-hunting bill during the lame duck session last December.

That's because today the group Keep Michigan Wolves Protected delivered more than 250,000 petition signatures to the Secretary of State's office.

The petition calls for Public Act 520, the law that designates the wolf as a potential game species, to be postponed until a voter referendum in November 2014.

It was put together by a coalition of conservation, animal welfare groups, and Native American tribes who joined forces.

It wasn't that long ago that the western Great Lakes wolf population was protected by the federal Endangered Species Act.

State wildlife experts believe there are now around 700 gray wolves in our state. Some farming and hunting groups say the population is large enough for a state-regulated hunt. They argue it's needed to manage the wolf population.

Opponents of a hunt have rallied, insisting the wolf population is still too small, and a hunt is cruel.

Jill Fritz is the director of Keep Michigan Wolves Protected.

She gives us  perspective on the decision by lawmakers last December to designate the wolf as a potential game species in the state and answers the question "is it really time to control the wolf population in Michigan?"

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
4:40 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

Writer creates 'documentary play' based on stories from a shuttered GM plant

playwright Austin Bunn
actorstheatregrandrapids.wordpress.com

It's a familiar Michigan story. In 2008, General Motors decided to shutter a stamping plant in Wyoming - just outside Grand Rapids.

But to Austin Bunn, a new professor of writing at Grand Valley State University, the close of the plant wasn't the end of a story, but a beginning.

For the next four years, Bunn interviewed the workers at the plant about the experience of job loss, displacement and their lives after the close.

From these transcripts he created a documentary play, RUST. It was originally produced at the Actors' Theatre of Grand Rapids.

What you're about to hear is adaptation of the play for radio using local actors.

RUST was co-produced by Austin Bunn and Zak Rosen. Interviews conducted by Austin Bunn and Working Group Theatre. Featured actors include Tracey Walker, Rena Dam, Chris Nye, Wayne Swezey, GF Korreck, Paul Arnold, Fred Stella, and Laurence Drozd.

You can learn more about the Actors' Theatre of Grand Rapids and Austin Bunn's work by visiting their websites.

Listen to the full audio above.

Stateside
4:39 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

Protecting senior citizens from being abused

Macomb County Prosecutor, Eric Smith
macombcountymi.gov

It should be that every senior citizen in Michigan is safe and secure with no threat of abuse.

But that is not the case.

Elder abuse is real, whether that abuse is physical, emotional or even financial. It is one of the most underreported crimes in our state and across the country.

One guess is that 100,000 seniors in Michigan will be victimized by someone looking to take advantage of them.

This morning, Cynthia Canty was given the privilege to emcee the unveiling of a new campaign called "No Excuse for Elder Abuse".

She introduced a panel of high-ranking judges and prosecutors representing seven counties in Southeast Michigan.

Each of the judges and prosecutors at the event this morning have agreed to serve as the "champion" for the No Excuse for Elder Abuse campaign in his or her county.

Among those members was Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith.

Smith joined us on Stateside today, to give us his experiences on elder abuse and to give us a breakdown on the patterns of what is happening, who is taking advantage of Michigan's senior citizens and what he hopes the campaign will achieve. 

There will be Public Service Announcements hitting the airwaves promoting the confidential hotline for reporting abuse. That number is 855-444-3911.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
4:39 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

What is palliative care and why should we talk about it?

Dr. Neshant Sekaran reports on palliative care
UofMHealth.org

How much do you know about palliative care?

If your answer is, 'not a lot,' you're not alone.

Though palliative care can serve an important role in a patient's life, it doesn't get much attention. 

Let's start off with a definition from Dr. Sekaran. 

Dr. Nishant Sekaran is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of Michigan, and is the author of reports about the growing palliative care industry in Michigan that Michigan Radio is airing this week. 

"When I talk to my patients, we are going to be very aggressive about focusing on your quality of life," said Sekaran. "That doesn't mean that you can't also be aggressive with pursuing medical therapy that is consistent with your goals and wishes about your care. Palliative care is really about clarifying what the patient's goals of care are while focusing on the physical and psycho-social  aspects of illness."

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Politics & Culture
4:39 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

Stateside for Wednesday, March 27th, 2013

On today's show - petition-gathers appear to have turned in enough signatures to put a referendum on wolf-hunting in Michigan on a statewide ballot. We spoke to the Director of the Keep Michigan Wolves Protected campaign.

And, it was a familiar story back in 2008 - auto jobs being lost by the hundreds. We talked with a writer who followed the stories of one shuttered GM plant.

And we talk with Dr. Nishant Sekeran about the importance of palliative care in medicine.

But first, it should be that every senior citizen in Michigan is safe and secure, with no threat of abuse. But that is not the case in Michigan. Elder abuse is real. We talk with Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith about elder abuse and what can be done about it.

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Stateside
7:27 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

Celebrating 80 years of Diego Rivera's 'Detroit Industry Murals'

Detroit Industry, North Wall by Diego Rivera
Wikipedia.org

It was 80 years ago this week that the Detroit Institute of Arts debuted the series of frescoes by Diego Rivera titled "The Detroit Industry Murals."

The 27 panels depict workers and industry in Detroit and Michigan's innovative technology. The murals, and Diego Rivera are renowned around the world.

80 years ago was a stormy time in Detroit history. It was a troubled time for workers, and the country was in the depths of the Depression.

A demonstration by unemployed workers led to five protesters being shot to death by Dearborn Police and Ford security guards - "The Ford Massacre" occurred on March 7th, 1932.

The unveiling of the murals at the DIA sparked a huge controversy. The Detroit News called for the walls of the court to be whitewashed.

The DIA weathered the storm and eventually "Detroit Industry" not only became "accepted," but hailed around the world as a masterpiece.

Unions and labor are in the headlines today, especially with Michigan becoming a right-to-work state this Thursday.

What would Diego Rivera say about the current state of labor and industry in Michigan right now?

Graham Beale is the President of the Detroit Institute of Arts.

Graham takes us back to the very beginning, when Diego Rivera was brought to Detroit to create these murals. He talks about the uproar that occurred after the unveiling of the murals and what they mean to us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
7:15 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

TSA to relax security standards starting April 25th

A list of items that the TSA will allow starting April 25th
www.tsa.gov

The TSA will be relaxing its security standards, at least a little.

Starting April 25th, you will be able to carry onboard pocketknives with blades less than 2.36-inches long and no wider than a half-inch.

Souvenir baseball bats, golf clubs, billiard cues, lacrosse and hockey sticks will also be allowed.

The TSA's announcement was greeted by howls of protest from flight attendants, federal air marshals, some pilot unions, aviation insurers, even airline CEOs.

Critics say in the hands of the wrong passengers, the knives can be used to harm flight attendants and other passengers.

The TSA insists it’s unlikely in these days of hardened cockpit doors and other preventive measures that the small folding knives could be used by terrorists to take over a plane and that allowing the little knives onboard frees up TSA screeners to look for non-metallic bombs.

There's a hitch.

Here in Michigan, pocket knives are not allowed in Michigan airports.

So at the end of next month, Uncle Sam gives the green light to small pocket knives. The question is, will Lansing or the TSA  have the final say on the rules.

We spoke with Aviation attorney Pete Tolley. He gave us a breakdown on the Michigan law that was passed after 9/11, and answers the question, "is there a way states can defer TSA rules when it comes to defining their individual list of forbidden items?"

Stateside
4:36 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

Michigan illustrator makes it to the comic book 'big leagues'

Ryan Stegman whipped up this sketch for us in Studio East in six minutes.

Listen up, doodlers.

If your kids love drawing, here's a testament to the power of practice.

Ryan Stegman grew up in Troy, and has recently been commissioned to draw the first three parts of the  Superior Spiderman Series, from Marvel Comics.

As a kid, Ryan fell in love with comic books, and set a goal of being a Spiderman comic book illustrator.

Cynthia Canty spoke with Stegman about his love for comic books, and how he made it to the big leagues.

Listen to the full report here.

Stateside
4:28 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

The effort to derail 'Biodiversity Stewardship Areas' in Michigan

Manistee National Forest in Michigan.
USFS

Should the Michigan Department of Natural Resources have the power to set aside an area of land specifically to maintain biological diversity?

It means protecting the variety of plants and animals living in that area.

The question has fueled passage of Senate Bill 78 in the State Senate. It awaits action in the State House.

The bill would prohibit  the Michigan DNR from setting aside land specifically for maintaining biodiversity.

The MDNR would have to ask permission each time it wanted to set aside land.

Senate Bill 78 is sponsored by Senator Tom Casperson (R-Escanaba).

He thinks the MDNR should have to request approval from the Legislature each time it wants to set aside land.

Two weeks ago, Stateside spoke with Senator Casperson about the bill.

"Biodiverity can mean different things to different parts of the land. We think there should be oversight. It seems like it's dependent on who's in charge that gets to do that. And we have a concern with that, especially when you look at what they already have. A lot of the argument against this was designed to sound like, if they don't have this specific ability that they're done. They can't do anything to protect biodiversity. I don't believe that to be true. Not with 22 tools in the toolbox to do that."

The MDNR had been planning to create "Biodiversity Stewardship Areas" on both state and private land.

These areas would assist in encouraging biodiversity.

It seemed that most everyone was on board - environmentalists, hunting groups - and then things got derailed with the new bill.

Today, we got a chance to speak with  Marv Roberson, a forest ecologist with the Sierra Club.

He gives us insight on what Biodiversity Stewardship Areas could do for Michigan and how Senate Bill 78 will have an impact on our state.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
4:18 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

How much will Michigan feel the sequester?

'The Sequester' cometh, but what will we feel?
whitehouse.gov

How much will Michigan residents actually feel the effects of the sequester?

Well, we're still waiting to find out. 

The lack of clarity concerning the real amount of jobs being furloughed and cuts to departments and agencies is largely due to a continuing resolution that President Obama will sign this week.

The resolution will fund the government for the next six months in order to get the country through the next fiscal year. 

Todd Spangler covers the nation's Capitol for the Detroit Free Press and joined us from Washington  D.C.

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Politics & Culture
4:01 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

Stateside for Tuesday, March 26, 2013

It's been 80 years since the Detroit Industry murals debuted at the Detroit Institute of Arts.

On today's show, we'll take a look at the controversy surrounding those famous works by Diego Rivera

Just what would the artist think about labor and industry in present-day Michigan?

Also, the TSA will allow small knives onboard flights, and we'll have more on the biodiversity bill in front of the Michigan Legislature.

We also met up with Ryan Stegman. From his basement studio in Grand Blanc, Stegman is drawing Spiderman. He's been commissioned to draw the firs three issues of the brand-new "Superior Spider Man" series.

But first up on today's show, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette this morning called for a grand jury investigation into contaminated steroids linked to hundreds of cases of illness and 14 deaths in Michigan.

The request was filed today with the state Court of Appeals.

If the court says yes to the investigation, the judge who would lead it and the grand jurors would be drawn from Macomb, Genesee, Livingston, and Grand Traverse counties. Those are the counties where the clinics that administered the contaminated steroid injections are located.

It’s a somewhat unusual step to ask for a grand jury investigation.

Stateside
4:55 pm
Mon March 25, 2013

University of Michigan affirmative action case at the Supreme Court

SCOTUS will hear two affirmative action cases
user dbking Flickr

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court granted cert to another affirmative action case, agreeing to hear a case involving the University of Michigan's effort to ban consideration of race in college admissions.

The case has been added to the list the Court will begin hearing in their next session which will begin in October.

The justices are already considering a challenge to a University of Texas program that takes account of race, among other factors.

Michigan Public Radio Network's Rick Pluta joined Michigan Radio's Cynthia Canty to explain what this means for both cases.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
4:53 pm
Mon March 25, 2013

LGBT discrimination is bigger than you think

Employers can legally discriminate against members of the LGBT community in Michigan
antiochla.edu Antioch University

The oral arguments for two gay marriage cases will be heard in the U.S. Supreme Court this week.

The court will focus on the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and California's Prop 8 case.

Though they are both cases related to same-sex marriage, each case is different.

There are all sorts of infographics that have been created to accompany commentary on shifting support for gay marriage on a national scale, but what's going on in the Michigan LGBT community?

Michigan Radio's Lester Graham spoke with Cynthia Canty on today's Stateside about the lack of legal protection for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community in Michigan and what these cases could mean for them.

Graham is working on a series of reports looking at the legal rights of the LGBT community.

You can listen to Graham's first report here.

And you can listen to our conversation with him above.

Stateside
4:49 pm
Mon March 25, 2013

Kevyn Orr, reporting for duty

Kevyn Orr started work as EFM in Detroit today
State of Michigan

Kevyn Orr referred to his new job as Detroit's emergency manager as an olympic-sized task.

Starting today at 7:30 a.m., he reported for duty at the Coleman A. Young Municipal Building for his first day on the job.

So, how'd he do?

Cynthia Canty spoke with Michigan Radio's Sarah Cwiek who has been following the emergency manager appointment for Detroit.

Listen to the full audio above.

Stateside
4:46 pm
Mon March 25, 2013

Lindsay Lou and the Flatbellys serve up Michigan bluegrass

Lindsey Lou and the Flatbellys.
Lindsay Lou and the Flatbellys

When you think of good bluegrass music and good bluegrass musicians, you might think of folks coming from the mountain hollows of West Virginia or Kentucky.

That is where bluegrass began - taking the music brought by Irish, Scottish and English settlers - maybe mixing in some elements of African-American music - and producing a wonderful American music.
 
But today we met some pretty incredible  musicians who can serve up some great bluegrass and lots of other styles of music.

They come from all corners of the Great Lakes State.

This is Bluegrass Michigan-style as served up by Lindsay Lou and the Flatbellys.

Husband and wife Lindsay Lou and Joshua Rilko joined us in the studio today. Lindsay Lou is a singer/songwriter and Joshua plays mandolin and sings.
 

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Stateside
4:44 pm
Mon March 25, 2013

Lon Johnson talks about what's in store for Michigan Democrats

Michigan Democratic Party Chair, Lon Johnson.
Facebook

One month ago, Mark Brewer lost his job.

In February, the longtime leader of the Michigan Democratic Party withdrew from the race for party chair at the Democratic Party's convention in Detroit.

Lon Johnson replaced Brewer as the elected chairman.

Johnson is from southeast Michigan and recently lost a race for a state House seat in 2012.

He's worked on Congressman Dingell's campaign. He currently lives in Kalkaska.

For Johnson supporters, he represents a new era of ideas and a fresh energy that the state's Democratic party needed.

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Stateside
4:38 pm
Mon March 25, 2013

A letter from boot camp in 1953 turns up in 2013

Flickr user uzvards

There is a magic to the act of putting pen to paper and writing down one's thoughts and wishes.

Writing a letter.

You can save that letter. And no matter when you open the letter, there you are - right in the moment with the emotions of that moment - connecting with the person to whom you were writing.

That magic certainly touched a Niles man recently.

Bob Rodgers.

The postmaster of New Carlisle Indiana knocked on Bob's door, and handed the 79-year-old man a very special letter.

It was a letter Rodgers had written on June 13, 1953 to his wife Jean. He was at Fort Campbell, Kentucky in basic training with the Army's  503rd Airborne Infantry.
60
Bob Rodgers joined us now from Niles, Michigan.

You can listen to the interview above.

Politics & Culture
4:18 pm
Mon March 25, 2013

Stateside for Monday, March 25th, 2013

Kevyn Orr, the emergency manager of Detroit, began his first day on the job this morning. There were some protests at City Hall. We found out the latest from Detroit today.

And we spoke with the new Chair of the Michigan Democratic Party. We asked Lon Johnson just what Democrats need to do to win the Governor's office in 2014.

Lester Graham of Michigan Watch joined us today to talk about his series on the LGBT community in Michigan.

Also, the U.S. Supreme Court said today it will broaden its examination of affirmative action by adding a case about Michigan. Specifically, the state's effort to ban consideration of race in college admissions. The justices are already considering a challenge to a University of Texas program that takes into account race among other factors.

And finally, we spoke with Lindsey Lou and Joshua Rilko husband and wife team in the bluegrass band Lindsey Lou and the Flatbellys.

Stateside
4:39 pm
Thu March 21, 2013

Immigration law can tear apart 'mixed' families

Garcia's husband was told he committed a crime when he tried to apply for citizenship
nancybechtol Morguefile

There are eight to 10 million undocumented immigrants in the United States, all of whom are central to the heated immigration debate in Washington D.C. 

More specifically, there are undocumented immigrants who are part of a mixed family - in which one family member is undocumented while the rest of the family are American citizens. 

"It's a horrible tragedy and a national shame, but looking on the bright side, [mixed families] have reframed the debates and things are finally looking like something might happen on immigration reform in Washington," said David Koelsch.

Koelsch is an immigration lawyer and a professor at the University of Detroit Mercy Law School.

"You can talk about the eight to 11 million [undocumented immigrants], but all of those people have loved ones and employers...it has a much broader effect in our society and economy beyond just those people," he said.

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