Issues & Ale

Issues and Ale is an event series from Michigan Radio designed to engage people in conversations about important issues facing Michigan... in an informal atmosphere.  The events are hosted by Michigan Radio reporters and feature experts on the topic. All events are free, and the public is invited to join in the discussion. You can find information on upcoming and past Issues & Ale events on the pages below.

We hold Issues & Ale events at venues all across our listening area. You can share your suggestions for future topics or locations by e-mailing us at marketing@michiganradio.org

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Issues & Ale
3:09 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

Join Michigan Radio for our next Issues & Ale: It’s Just Politics, Election Edition

Tuesday, Aug. 12, 6-7:30 p.m. (Rain date: Wednesday, Aug. 13)

Bill's Beer Garden
218 S. Ashley
Ann Arbor, Michigan

Thursday, Aug. 14, 6-7:30 p.m.
Downtown Market
Grand Rapids (SE Space)
435 Ionia Ave. SW
Grand Rapids, Michigan

The hosts of Michigan Radio's popular It's Just Politics series will take to the road for a pair of live Issues & Ale events.

Michigan Public Radio Network Capitol Bureau Chief Rick Pluta and Michigan Radio’s resident political junkie Zoe Clark will anchor this fast-paced spin around Michigan politics and the top issues in Lansing. We will review the results of Michigan’s August primary and look ahead to prospects for the November election. 

Stop by, have a drink, and join in the discussion. Free admission!

Issues & Ale
9:58 am
Wed July 16, 2014

Issues & Ale: Kids, Violence and Breaking the Cycle

Monday, July 28, 6:00 - 7:30pm Traffic Jam & Snug 511 West Canfield, Detroit, 48201

Monday, July 28, 6:00 - 7:30pm
Traffic Jam & Snug
511 West Canfield, Detroit, 48201

Many kids growing up in poverty face high levels of crime and violence. What impact does this have on their mental, emotional, and psychological development? Why is it so difficult to break the cycle of violence in communities and are there programs that really work?

Michigan Radio is partnering with the Detroit Free Press for this special Issues & Ale discussion, hosted by Michigan Radio's Jenn White.

Panelists will include:

- Erik Howard, founder of Detroit’s The Alley Project

- Jim Henry from Western Michigan University’s Children's Trauma Assessment Center

- Carl Taylor, a nationally prominent urban scholar  and sociology professor at Michigan State University.  

Stop by, have a drink, and join in the discussion. Free Admission.

Issues & Ale
10:05 am
Mon June 23, 2014

Join Michigan Radio for Issues & Ale discussion on Michigan’s drinking water

Credit Michigan Radio

What’s in the water you drink?

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Issues & Ale
10:15 am
Tue April 8, 2014

Join Michigan Radio for Issues & Ale: It's Just Politics at the Midtown Brewing Company

Issues & Ale: It's Just Politics Tues, May 6, 6:00pm Midtown Brewing Company

A capacity crowd filled Midtown Brewing Company in Lansing for this live (and lively) Issues & Ale event. Michigan Public Radio Network Capitol Bureau Chief Rick Pluta and Michigan Radio’s resident political junkie Zoe Clark were joined by political consultants Joe DiSano and Saul Anuzis for a fast paced spin around Michigan politics. Among the topics discussed were the Detroit bankruptcy, Michigan's crumbling roads, raising the minimum wage, and the prospects for the 2014 election. Listen to audio from the event above.

Issues & Ale: It's Just Politics
Tues, May 6, 6:00pm
Midtown Brewing Company
402 South Washington
Lansing, MI 48933

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Issues & Ale
11:50 am
Tue February 25, 2014

Join Michigan Radio for Issues & Ale: Closing the digital divide in education

(Listen to audio from this event above)

Issues & Ale: Closing the digital divide in education

Wed, March 12, 6:30 - 8:00pm
Free Admission

Founders Brewing Co.
(Centennial Room)
235 Grandville Avenue S.W.
Grand Rapids, MI 49503

There are increasing demands on schools to ensure that kids are digitally literate and tech-ready to compete in the modern information economy. But how do you ensure access to technology for all students? Dustin Dwyer from Michigan Radio's State of Opportunity project hosted this discussion of what can be done to close the digital divide in terms of access, equipment, and capabilities for low-income students. 

Panelists:

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Issues & Ale
11:46 am
Wed January 15, 2014

Issues & Ale: High Stakes Testing

Thursday, January 30, 6:30-8:00p.m.
Wolverine State Brewing Co.
2019 West Stadium Boulevard
Ann Arbor, MI 48103 

Michigan Radio's popular Issues & Ale series kicks off 2014 with a State of Opportunity discussion on school testing. High stakes tests, like the MEAP, can have a big impact on kids, teachers, and entire school districts. But are the stakes higher for some kids and schools than others? Do low income children and children of color have less of a chance of performing well on these tests? And do these tests really reflect whether a child is getting a good education?

Join Michigan Radio's Jennifer White and a panel of experts as we discuss the impact and effectiveness of standardized testing in Michigan's public schools. Take part in the discussion with your questions and comments. Panelists will include:

Armen Hratchian: Vice President for K-12 education at Excellent Schools Detroit.

Chastity Pratt: Michigan cities reporter for Bridge Magazine.

Michelle Richard: Senior Consultant at Public Sector Consultants specializing in issues affecting Michigan’s education system.

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Issues & Ale
5:00 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

Join Michigan Radio for Issues & Ale: It's Just Politics

Issues & Ale: It's Just Politics
Tues, Dec. 10, 7:00pm

Zoobie's Old Town Tavern,

611 E. Grand River, Lansing, MI 48906

The hosts of Michigan Radio's popular It's Just Politics headed to the state capital for this live Issues & Ale event. Michigan Public Radio Network Capitol Bureau Chief Rick Pluta and Michigan Radio’s resident political junkie Zoe Clark  anchored this fast paced spin around Michigan politics and a look at the top issues being discussed in Lansing. They were joined by Chad Livengood from the Detroit News Lansing Bureau.

Issues & Ale
10:25 am
Tue November 5, 2013

Issues & Ale: Health care & the Affordable Care Act

Issues & Ale: Health care & the Affordable Care Act
Tues, Nov. 19, 6:30-8:00 PM
Wolverine State Brewing Company
2019 W. Stadium, Ann Arbor, MI 48103
Free Admission

There has been a tremendous amount of debate and discussion over the politics of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), but what does the new law actually mean in terms of health care coverage and how has implementation been going in the first month of the program? We’ll try to get past the political rhetoric and discuss how the Affordable Care Act may actually affect you and others across the state.

Hosted by Jack Lessenberry

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Issues & Ale
11:28 am
Thu October 17, 2013

Issues & Ale: Health care and the Affordable Care Act

Issues and Ale from Tues, Oct. 29

Issues & Ale: Health care and the Affordable Care Act

Tues, Oct. 29, 6:30-8:00 PM
Rockford Brewing Company
12 E Bridge St, Rockford, MI 49341
Free Admission
Hosted by Lester Graham

There has been a tremendous amount of debate and discussion over the politics of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), but what does the new law actually mean in terms of health care coverage and how has implementation been going in the first month of the program? We’ll try to get past the political rhetoric and discuss how the Affordable Care Act may actually affect you and others across the state.

Panelists: Paul W. Brand, Executive Vice President - Alliance for Health

Don Hazaert, Director – Michigan Consumers for Healthcare

Jake Nehr, Capitol Reporter - Michigan Public Radio Network

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Environment & Science
12:58 pm
Mon September 30, 2013

Join in our discussion about the changing Great Lakes

The Great Lakes are changing. Warming air and water, shorter winters with less snow and ice and more extreme weather are impacting the lakes and the fish that live there. In addition, harmful algal blooms are creating dead zones that are bad news for fish, and impact recreational users as well.

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Issues & Ale
10:57 am
Fri August 30, 2013

Michigan Radio Issues & Ale: Michigan's Pollution Legacy highlights

Highlights from Issues & Ale: Michigan's Pollution Legacy

Thursday, Sept. 12, 6:00 - 7:30pm
Old Dog Tavern
402 E. Kalamazoo Ave.
Kalamazoo, MI 49007

In many places around the state, the past bubbles to the surface, or oozes underground. The cast offs of Michigan's industrial age are still with us. Cleaning up the pollution left behind by old paper mills, gas companies, and other industries can be a complex and expensive challenge. Where exactly is the pollution? Is it dangerous? Is it worth the cost of cleanup? And who will pay for it? Join us as we talk with experts about Michigan's pollution legacy.

Our panelists will include:

  • Anne Couture, Senior Policy Advisor with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, and recent Acting Chief of the DEQ’s Remediation and Redevelopment Division.
  • Charles Ide, PhD, Gwen Frostic Professor of Biological Sciences at Western Michigan University and the Director of Great Lakes Environmental and Molecular Sciences Center.
  • Lindsey Smith, Michigan Radio's West Michigan reporter based out of Grand Rapids. Smith has done in-depth reporting on Kalamazoo's legacy pollution, the Enbridge oil spill, the Palisades Nuclear Power Plant, and many other environmental stories.

Hosted by Michigan Radio reporter/producer Mark Brush.

Stop by, have a drink, and join in the discussion. Free Admission!

Issues & Ale is Sponsored by Consumers Mutual Insurance of Michigan

Issues & Ale
2:32 pm
Thu July 25, 2013

Join Michigan Radio for Issues & Ale: It's Just Politics

Issues & Ale: It's Just Politics
Tues, Aug. 27, 6:00pm
Bill's Beer Garden
218 S. Ashley, downtown Ann Arbor
Hosted by Michigan Radio Political Analyst Jack Lessenberry

The hosts of Michigan's Radio's popular It's Just Politics will take to the road for a pair of live Issues & Ale events. Michigan Public Radio Network Capitol Bureau Chief Rick Pluta and Michigan Radio’s resident political junkie Zoe Clark will help anchor this fast paced spin around Michigan politics and a look at the top issues being discussed in Lansing.

The Detroit bankruptcy, medicaid expansion, the governor's relationship with his fellow Republicans, and the prospects for election 2014....we'll talk about it and the gamesmanship behind it all. 

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Issues & Ale
11:12 am
Wed July 10, 2013

Join us for Issues & Ale: The role of men in the success of children

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Issues & Ale: The role of men in the success of children

Wed, July 24, 7:00pm
Corner Brewery
720 Norris St.
Ypsilanti, 48198

Join Michigan Radio’s Jenn White as she hosts this State of Opportunity discussion looking at the role men play in helping kids be successful. How important are male role models in helping children break the cycle of poverty? 
Panelists:

Phil Black, CEO and founder of The Manhood Project

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Politics & Government
9:52 am
Wed March 27, 2013

Commentary: The education dilemma

Lessenberry commentary for 3/27/13

Michigan Radio does an interesting occasional series called Issues and Ale, in which those who know something about a particular public policy get together with citizens in a relaxed setting to discuss things that really matter. Last night we held one on “The Future of Public Education” in an improv theatre in the city of Ferndale, which I thought was an excellent choice.

Ferndale is an older, working-class Detroit suburb which has been a distinct community since the 1920s. Times are not what were, and the city has shrunk over the years to about 20,000 people. Ferndale has become somewhat well-known over the last two decades for its welcoming of the gay and LGBT communities, who have done much to revitalize neighborhoods and the city’s downtown.

But Ferndale also has a dedicated group of parents very concerned with education, their kids’ futures, and want to make sure their children are getting what they need to succeed.

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Issues & Ale
9:24 am
Thu March 7, 2013

Issues & Ale: The Future of Public Education

(Left to right) Panelists John Bebow, Shawna Groulx and David Zeman with host Jack Lessenberry

Tuesday, March 26, 7:00-8:30 PM

Go Comedy! Improv Theater

261 E. Nine Mile Rd., Ferndale, MI 48220

Education reform is a hot topic, but exactly how to improve our public education system is subject to debate. Throughout 2012, The Center for Michigan conducted hundreds of community conversations across Michigan to get input from citizens about the state of K-12 education and how it can be improved.  At this Issues & Ale event, we discussed the findings from their report: “THE PUBLIC’S AGENDA FOR PUBLIC EDUCATION: How Michigan citizens want to improve student learning” and heard from experts on the subject of education reform. Dozens of educators and parents also voiced their concerns and questions on the subject.

Michigan Radio Political Analyst Jack Lessenberry hosted this discussion.

Panelists for the event:

John Bebow, President and CEO, Center for Michigan

Shawna Groulx, Assistant Principal, Durand High School; Teacher Fellow, Students First

David Zeman, Managing Director of Content and Communication, Education Trust Midwest

You can listen to audio from this event here.

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Issues & Ale
6:00 am
Wed January 16, 2013

Join us for Issues & Ale: “What is Preschool Worth?”

Issues & Ale: “What is Preschool Worth?”
Thurs., Jan. 31, 6:30-8 PM
ConnXtions Comedy Club, 2900 N East St., Lansing

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Issues & Ale
4:05 pm
Wed January 2, 2013

Issues & Ale: “What does Right-To-Work Mean for Michigan?”

dannybirchall/flickr

Issues & Ale: “What does Right-To-Work Mean for Michigan?”

Tues., Jan. 15, 6:30-8:00 PM
Corner Brewery, 720 Norris St.
Ypsilanti, 48198

In December, Michigan lawmakers passed controversial right-to-work legislation, which will take effect in April. What does the new right-to-work law mean for employment in the state of Michigan?

Join host Jack Lessenberry for a panel discussion about how right-to-work will actually impact Michigan’s economy and labor force.

Panelists will include:

  • Kristin Dziczek | Director, Labor & Industry Group, Center for Automotive Research
  • Vincent Vernuccio | Director of Labor Policy, The Mackinac Center for Public Policy
  • John J.H. "Joe" Schwarz | Former Michigan Congressman
  • Gretchen Driskell | State Representative for Michigan's 52nd District,

Free admission

Issues and Ale is an event series co-sponsored by Michigan Radio and the Center for Michigan designed to engage people in conversations about important issues facing Michigan... in an informal atmosphere. Stop by, have a drink, and join in the discussion with your questions and comments.

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Issues & Ale
3:13 pm
Thu October 18, 2012

Issues & Ale: Election Night Viewing Party

Listen to audio from our Election Night Viewing Party here.

Tuesday, November 6, 8:00 PM-11:00 PM
Buffalo Wild Wings 
205 S. State St. 
Ann Arbor, MI  48104

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Issues & Ale
12:38 pm
Mon October 1, 2012

Issues & Ale: Election "Truth Squad"

Issues & Ale: Election "Truth Squad"

Tues, Oct. 23, 6:30-8:00pm
Dr. Grins Comedy Club 
20 Monroe Avenue Northwest, Grand Rapids, 49503

As the November election draws closer, you'll be seeing and hearing more political ads that stretch the truth...or contain outright lies and distortions. Join Michigan Radio political analyst Jack Lessenberry, investigative reporter Lester Graham, and the Center for Michigan's Truth Squad for a look at the fact and fiction behind the political ads you're seeing. 

Free admission

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Issues & Ale
9:58 am
Wed August 22, 2012

Asian Carp in the Great Lakes

Issues & Ale: Asian Carp in the Great Lakes

Tues, Sept. 18, 6:00 – 7:30 p.m.

Kirby House
2 Washington Ave.
Grand Haven, MI 49417

How much of a threat do Asian carp pose for the Great Lakes and what effect could they have on recreation and the fishing industry? Is harvesting the fish a way to solve the problem? What is being done now and what are the future options to keep this invasive species in check?

Rebecca Williams from Michigan Radio’s Environment Report hosted this panel discussion at the Kirby House in downtown Grand Haven. Panelists included Dr. Carl Ruetz-Grand Valley State University, Tammy Newcomb-Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Denny Grinold-Old Grin Sport Fishing.

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