Stateside for Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

May 21, 2013

It took an intense campaign in Michigan in 2008 to get voters to approve proposal 2, allowing embryonic stem-cell research.

On today's show we talk to a neurologist leading the nation’s first clinical trial of stem cell injections in patients with the deadly degenerative disease ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

And, there is no shortage of articles, quotes, and news stories telling us what politicians, business titans and other leaders think of Michigan and its future.

But what about what tomorrow’s leaders think?

That’s the idea behind the “Reinventing Michigan” website launched by students at Central Michigan University. Professor Micki Maynard and CMU junior Austin Stowe joined us in the studio.

And, Mark Serra, the founder of Mitten Stretcher, joined us to talk about how his new social network is connecting Michiganders from all over the world.

Also, we talked with Rachael Pierotti, a graduate student in sociology at the University of Michigan, about her study of the global attitudes surrounding domestic violence.

But first on the show, we continued our look at the financial challenges facing Michigan.

The litany of school districts in serious money trouble is long and growing longer: Buena Vista, Benton Harbor, Detroit, Pontiac, Albion. Now we heard that Hazel Park schools are broke, according to the Superintendent, who blames an "unexpected drop" in student enrollment.

Some 50 public school districts across our state are facing deep deficits. Buena Vista of course closed down for two weeks while scrambling to find enough money to keep things running. Other districts have applied layoffs and program cuts.

Desperate times call for desperate measures. And some say Michigan has too many school districts--550--and that consolidating some of these districts is a prudent choice.

Last year, the state encouraged Ypsilanti and nearby Willow Run schools to consolidate. After tough decisions, the consolidation will happen July 1.

Scott Menzel is the superintendent of the Washtenaw Intermediate School District and, come July 1, he will also be the superintendent of the new unified district: Ypsilanti Community Schools.

He joined us today in the studio to discuss the issue.