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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

Lindsey Scullen / Michigan Radio

Monday night’s Issues & Ale event plunged back in time to the days surrounding the 1967 rebellion – the historic conflict between citizens and police that led to 43 deaths and thousands of buildings destroyed during five summer days in Detroit.

Tues, Aug. 8, 6:00-7:30 PM
Bill’s Beer Garden
218 S Ashley St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104
- Free Admission –
Host: Rebecca Williams: Reporter/Host – The Environment Report

This past June, President Trump fulfilled a campaign promise when he announced that the United States would withdraw from the 2015 Paris climate accord, and end the implementation of carbon reduction targets set under the Obama administration. What are the implications of this decision on climate policy in the United States? And can local governments and the private sector fill in the void left by the federal government?

Mon, July 17, 2017; 6:30-8:00 PM
Northern Lights Lounge
660 W. Baltimore St
Detroit, MI 48202

Free Admission

Host: Lester Graham

This July marks the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Detroit uprising, a civil disturbance that turned into one of the deadliest and most destructive riots in the history of the United States. The uprising resulted in dozens of deaths, thousands arrested, and National Guard and U.S. Army units deployed to patrol the streets of Detroit.

Lindsey Scullen / Michigan Radio

Michigan Radio’s It’s Just Politics team took over a tent at the Ann Arbor Summer Festival last night for an Issues & Ale event.

Co-hosts Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta joined panelists Chris Kolb, president of the Michigan Environmental Council, and Colleen Pero, chief of staff for the Michigan Republican Party, to talk about the latest political news in our state.

In the heat of the afternoon, Pluta began the discussion with a summary of the big news that came out yesterday in relation to the Flint water crisis:

Lindsey Scullen / Michigan Radio

President Donald Trump has now been in office for more than 120 days.

To assess how Trump’s presidency has gone so far, Jack Lessenberry, Michigan Radio’s senior political analyst, hosted Issues & Ale-President Trump: A Michigan Report Card.

Ann Arbor Summer Festival
Top of the Park – Annex Tent
Wed, June 14, 5:30-7:00 pm

2017 has already been an eventful year in politics, with the start of the Trump presidency, a single party controlled yet divided Congress, and lots of action in the state legislature. Join Michigan Radio’s “It’s Just Politics” team of Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta and other political pundits for this special Issues & Ale event under the Annex Tent at the Ann Arbor Summer Festival as we discuss what it all means for Michigan. 

Issues & Ale–President Trump: A Michigan Report Card
Monday, May 22 - 6:30-8:00 PM
Celebration Cinema North

2121 Celebration Drive NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49525

Host: Jack Lessenberry

The first several months of Donald Trump’s presidency have passed, and it’s been eventful so far. Join Michigan Radio’s senior political analyst Jack Lessenberry and a panel of political experts as we take a look at the Trump administration’s plans and actions so far, and the impact they may have on Michigan.

Planned panelists include:

- TJ Bucholz, Democratic strategist and President & CEO of Vanguard Public Affairs

- Scott Hagerstrom, Michigan state director for Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign

- Cheyna Roth, Capitol reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network

- Gleaves Whitney, presidential historian and director of the Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies at Grand Valley State University

Lindsey Scullen / Michigan Radio

The Environment Report's Rebecca Williams kicked off Tuesday night’s Issues & Ale event at Bell’s Brewery in Kalamazoo with this question:

Where do you get your drinking water?

Laura Nawrocik / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Michigan Radio's Issues & Ale series will stop at Bell's Brewery on Tuesday, April 25 from 6:30-8 p.m. to talk about the challenges facing Michigan's drinking water. 

From water diversion and pollution to our aging infrastructure system, the Environment Report's Rebecca Williams will lead a panel of experts through a conversation about some of the biggest threats.

We want to make sure that conversation answers your biggest questions. So what do you want to know about drinking water in Michigan? 

ABC Microbrewery / Instagram

State of Opportunity took Michigan Radio’s Issues & Ale stage for the final time last night at Ypsilanti’s ABC Microbrewery.

The project wraps up at the end of April after five years of stories about the barriers to success low-income kids and their families face in Michigan.

Issues & Ale: Protecting Our Drinking Water
Tues, April 25, 6:30-8:00 PM
Bell’s Brewery

355 E. Kalamazoo Ave, Kalamazoo, MI 49007
- Free Admission –
Host: Rebecca Williams: Reporter/Host – The Environment Report

Michigan is fortunate to have an abundance of freshwater, both above and below the ground. But there are threats to this huge water supply including pollution, water diversion and an aging infrastructure system. Join Rebecca Williams of The Environment Report as she hosts this panel discussion on the challenges facing Michigan’s fresh water supply.

Issues & Ale: Moving the Needle on Poverty – A State of Opportunity Re-cap
Tues, April 11, 6:30-8:00 PM
Arbor Brewing Company Microbrewery

720 Norris Street, Ypsilanti, MI 48198
- Free Admission –

Host: Michigan Radio Senior Editor Sarah Hulett

Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

The possessive “s” could be in danger.

At least, that’s what linguist Anne Curzan says. 

Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

“In flux.”

“Dynamic.”

“Amazing.”

“Blurry.”

That’s how Monday night’s Issues & Ale panelists described journalism in today’s ecosystem.

Issues & Ale: That’s What They Say
Mon, Feb 20, 7:00-8:30 PM
Pretzel Bell – Captain’s Room
226 S. Main St,
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Does it drive you crazy when someone uses "literally" to mean "figuratively," or "impact" as a verb, or "they" as a singular pronoun? And how did "YOLO", "bracketology," and "ginormous" become actual words?  

Issues & Ale: The State of Journalism
Mon, Feb. 13, 6:30-8:00 PM
HopCat, 4265 Woodward Ave,
Detroit, MI 48201
Free Admission

Host: Zoe Clark
Panelists: Rick Pluta: Michigan Public Radio Network
Chad Livengood: Crain’s Detroit Business
Chastity Pratt Dawsey: Bridge Magazine
Lee Wilkins: Department of Communication, Wayne State University  

America’s news media landscape has changed dramatically over the past several years. Newspaper circulation continues to decline and many newsrooms of all types are cutting reporting staff. 

Lindsey Scullen / Michigan Radio

One of the most divisive elections in our country’s history is now in the rear-view mirror.

At Monday night’s Issues & Ale Pundit Summit, we debriefed and began to look forward into the new political climate established on Nov. 8.

Issues & Ale: Pundit Summit
Monday, Nov 21, 6:30 - 8:00 pm
Lansing Brewing Company
518 E. Shiawasee
Lansing, MI 48912
Register here

Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

With a week to go before election night, discussing politics over drinks seemed a good idea Tuesday night.

That’s when Michigan Radio held its final Issues & Ale election preview event before the fateful Nov. 8.

The event took place at HopCat in Detroit and Michigan Radio’s senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry hosted.

Panelists were Brandon Dillon, chair of the Michigan Democratic Party, Aaron Foley, editor of BLAC Detroit Magazine, Republican consultant Stu Sandler and Zoe Clark, co-host of Michigan Radio’s It’s Just Politics.

While conversation moved through various topics, all of which related to the ballot Michigan voters will see next Tuesday, one idea continued to take the forefront: the polarization this election has caused between people in this country.

Lindsey Scullen / Michigan Radio

On Monday night, Michigan Radio’s It’s Just Politics team hit the road again for the second Issues & Ale election preview event of the season.

Issues & Ale: Election Night Viewing Party
Tues, Nov. 8, 8:00-11:00 PM
Fraser’s Pub
2045 Packard Street,
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

- Free Admission –

Political junkies, unite! Join Michigan Radio and the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy for a night of fun and politics at our Election Night Viewing Party. 

Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

We kicked off our first Issues & Ale event of the election season Monday night at the Beer Grotto in Lansing.

Courtesy of UICA, Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University

Few things are as polarizing in American society as the debate between gun control advocates and gun rights activists.

These arguments often play out in national and state legislatures, with many gun control advocates feeling the National Rifle Association has undue influence over politicians.

Michigan Radio’s Vincent Duffy hosted a panel discussion on the role that guns play in politics and elections at our latest Issues & Ale event.

Lindsey Scullen/Michigan Radio

One Well Brewing in Kalamazoo opened its doors Tuesday night for Michigan Radio’s latest rendition of Issues & Ale, our community conversation event series.

For the second time this summer, Michigan Radio and the Center for Michigan met up with listeners to discuss why trust in government is eroding in our state – and how that trust might be restored.

Photo credit: www.terryforohio.com

Issues & Ale: The role of guns in politics
Tue, July 12, 6:30-8:00 PM

Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts
2 Fulton St W.,
Grand Rapids, MI 49503

- Free Admission -

  Few things are as polarizing in American society as the debate between gun control and gun rights activists. These arguments often play out in national and state legislatures, with many gun control advocates feeling the National Rifle Association has undue influence over politicians. Join Michigan Radio’s Vincent Duffy as he hosts this panel discussion on the role that guns play in politics and elections.

Jodi Westrick/Michigan Radio

On Tuesday, we sipped Brewery Becker’s “historic” ales and lagers while discussing a similarly historic topic: public trust in state government.

The Flint water crisis, gerrymandering, term limits, campaign money and more were on the minds of audience members and panelists at our Issues & Ale event.

Steve Chrypinski/Michigan Radio

Issues & Ale visited Bill’s Beer Garden in Ann Arbor last night to discuss the Gelman Sciences 1,4 dioxane plume of toxic pollution making its way through the city’s groundwater.

Host Lester Graham led a panel of experts through the discussion. Together they answered residents’ questions and discussed ways to reduce risks associated with the contamination.

MLive reporter Ryan Stanton, who covers this issue, was one of the panelists. Stanton said the Department of Environmental Quality has been working to revise Michigan’s standard for dioxane in recent years.

Tuesday, June 28, 6:30 - 8:00 pm
One Well Brewing

4213 Portage St., Kalamazoo, MI 49001
Host: Zoe Clark
Register for this event here
 

 

 The State of the State Survey reveals trust in state government is low in Michigan. The Flint water crisis, cities run by emergency managers, gerrymandered political districts and election campaigns influenced by “dark” money… these things and more have contributed to eroding trust in our elected officials. 

SCIO RESIDENTS FOR SAFE WATER

Thursday, June 2, 6:30-8:00 PM (*Event originally scheduled for June 1 has been postponed)
Bill's Beer Garden

218 S. Ashley
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Free Admission

The industrial solvent 1,4-dioxane started polluting the soil and groundwater near Gelman Science’s Scio Township facility, west of Ann Arbor, more than forty years ago. That dioxane plume has been spreading in the groundwater under the city and may pose a threat to the Huron River, Ann Arbor’s main drinking water supply.

Drawing of a pothole forming.
Paula Friedrich / Michigan Radio

With pints in our hands, we talked about Michigan’s crumbling infrastructure Tuesday night at our Issues & Ale event.

Host Jack Lessenberry spoke with experts from around Michigan. Together, they tried to find the source of the state’s infrastructure problems.

Expert Mike Nystrom represents the Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association. The group represents the companies that are trying to rebuild the state’s bridges, sewers, roads and waterlines.

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