Stateside with Cynthia Canty

Monday through Thursday @ 3:00 p.m. & 10 p.m.

Conversations about what matters in Michigan.

Stateside with Cynthia Canty covers a wide range of Michigan news and policy issues — as well as culture and lifestyle stories. In keeping with Michigan Radio’s broad coverage across southern Michigan, Stateside with Cynthia Canty focuses on topics and events that matter to people all across the state.

The Tricycle Collective is working to help keep families in their homes through the tax foreclosure crisis in Detroit.
Michele Oberholtzer

Wayne County is currently in the midst of the largest municipal property auction in United States history.

Some 30,000 properties are on the auction block, and around 85% of the properties facing foreclosure are in Detroit.

Michele Oberholtzer watched the 2014 Wayne County Tax Foreclosure and saw that many of those properties sold to investors and speculators were occupied homes.


Clean-water activists hope new information about high lead levels in kids could revive a lawsuit against the city of Flint.

The attorney for a Flint group says she'll amend the complaint to force the city back to Detroit's water system.

João André O. Dias/flickr /

You go to a fancy restaurant and order a bottle of red wine. The tuxedoed waiter calls over the sommelier who takes the order, brings the bottle, opens and pours it.

Then, you notice there’s a lot more fuss being made at a nearby table. With great ceremony, the sommelier is decanting the wine, and pouring the entire bottle into a glass carafe on the side table.

So, you think, what’s the matter with my wine? Chopped liver?

Today on Stateside:

  • Volkswagen cheated and lied to its customers by tricking the EPA. Heads are already rolling, but Daniel Howes says this isn’t even the end of the beginning.
  • Migrant, immigrant and seasonal workers have been the backbone of West Michigan’s agriculture industry for decades, and now efforts are being made to collect and celebrate the Hispanic community’s oral histories.
flickr user Texas Military Forces /

The city of Holland in West Michigan has certainly made its Dutch heritage known. If the name alone isn’t enough for you, the city has held an annual Tulip Time Festival, celebrating all things Dutch for the last 86 years.

But there’s a sizeable Hispanic community in Holland. The latest census numbers indicate Hispanics make up 23% of the city’s population.

Courtesy of Backyard Brains

The Next Idea

All it takes is one new innovation or successful company to change the economic fortunes of an entire city or region.

More often though, it’s the cumulative effect of many new innovations and successful companies that create lasting economic change.

Regardless if it’s one or 1000, new tech companies have an arduous path to success. Yet because of their potentially huge payoffs, competition to host them and their talented workforce is fierce.

Mercedes Mejia

The barbershop has long been a place for conversations about life, politics and neighborhood gossip.

Now, there’s a group in Detroit using that forum to get kids to think about college. The effort is dubbed the Barbershop Chats, and it's gaining recognition for the way it engages young African American boys and men.

Michigan Legislature
Michigan Municipal League

If you want to have sex with someone, it can't be presumed your potential partner shares your desire just because you're dating.

It can't be presumed based on someone's drunken actions.

It can't be presumed because that someone didn't say no.


Today on Stateside:

Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

Our state used to boast a pretty strong education system, but just about any measurement given these days suggests that’s no longer true.

Case in point: the National Assessment of Educational Progress, the nation’s report card, finds Michigan is in the bottom third of all states in fourth grade reading, fourth grade math and eighth grade math.

Representation of a chart that shows how Michigan is one of only six states with negative improvement for early literacy since 2003.
See full charts here -

The state's new schools superintendent Brian Whiston started a series of discussions seeking ideas to make Michigan a “Top 10” education state within 10 years.

Just about every measurement shows that all groups of Michigan students – black, white, poor, rich – are losing ground academically compared to their peers in other states.

Schwallier's Country Basket /

Honeycrisp harvest is underway in Michigan.

The many fans of Honeycrisp apples will be happy to learn that all signs point to a fine crop this year.

But that good news presents new challenges for Michigan growers.

Catie Laffoon

Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr made it big back in 2011 when they covered the song, “We Almost Lost Detroit.”

They went on to play big music festivals with Lollapalooza and Bonnaroo.

The duo is out with a new album and have changed their name to simply, "JR JR".

John U. Bacon

John U. Bacon joins us again for this week’s sports roundup.

Tigers lose to Royals

According to Bacon, the Tigers' story hasn’t changed.

“There’s nothing to see here, people,” he says, explaining that the team showed their hand at the end of the trade deadline some weeks ago.

This week marks the 45th anniversary of Dr. Alice Hamilton’s death.

Hamilton was a leading expert in the field of occupational health and a pioneer in toxicology. She lived to the age of 101.

Claressa Shields is the first American woman to win an Olympic gold medal in boxing

One of the breakout stars of the 2012 summer Olympics in London was a teenage girl from Flint.

Claressa Shields made it to London to become the first American woman to win Olympic gold in boxing.

Shields, nicknamed “T-Rex,” is still going strong. She won the World Championship in 2014, and she recently won gold at the Pan American games in Toronto.

flickr user Kenny Louie /

The first day of autumn is less than a week away, but if you’re planning to take a trip up north to marvel at the fall colors, MLive and meteorologist Mark Torregrossa tells us you might want to wait.

He says rain and warm weather are keeping the trees lush and green.

Fiat Chryler CEO Sergio Marchionne, left, and UAW President Dennis Williams.

A tentative contract agreement has been reached by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and United Auto Workers, one that FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne describes as “transformational.”

Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes says this proposed deal sets a high bar.

U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee is fighting for the American prisoners' release from Iran, but thinks tying it to the nuclear deal sets a dangerous precedent.
Steve Carmody

“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”

Republicans opposed to the Iran nuclear deal are taking that old adage to heart.

Twice now Senate Republicans have tried to pass a resolution rejecting the deal, and twice they’ve failed, blocked by Senate Democrats who support President Obama’s key foreign policy initiative.

Led by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, they’ll try again today.

Here's a concept: Have voters actually inform our politicians

Sep 17, 2015
Graphic: Jack Van Allsburg, Calvin College Center for Social Research

The Next Idea

Let’s face it:  The unsettling truth is that too many of us aren’t really sure whether democracy works anymore.

We are marinating in a bitter rhetorical sauce of claims that “Lansing is broken;” we’re stewing up resentment over every stove in town. Too many of us think people are sheep, politicians are wolves, and that sheep transform into wolves the moment they hold public office.

Donald Trump speaks at the 2015 CPAC in Maryland
flickr user Gage Skidmore /


The second Republican presidential debate happens tonight at the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California.

Former Texas Governor Rick Perry recently dropped out of the race, which still leaves 16 candidates being squeezed into a two-tier debate.

Who’s up for a cricket burger? Maybe a cricket muffin?

That might be a tough sell for the average Michigan consumer, but Anthony Hatinger and Theodore Kozerski are giving it a try.

They’re co-founders of Detroit Ento, Detroit’s first sustainable protein research and development firm. And they’re preaching the gospel of crickets for food, feed and pharmaceuticals.

Today on Stateside:

Bubonic plague has found its way to Michigan.

The so-called “Black Death” killed anywhere from 75 million up to 200 million people in Europe and the Middle East throughout the 14th century.

We’re talking between 30% and 60% of Europe’s total population. People who seemed healthy when they went to bed at night could be dead by morning.

That’s why news of Michigan’s first documented case of bubonic plague caught many by surprise.

SamPac / creative commons

By official economic measures, this country has emerged from the Great Recession.

But recovery is not being felt in many neighborhoods in large and mid-sized cities.

Since 2000, the number of people living in high-poverty ghettos, barrios, and slums has nearly doubled from 7.2 million to nearly 14 million people.

That's the highest number of Americans living in high-poverty neighborhoods ever recorded. 

Charlevoix Historical Society

Some people create with paint and brushes, others with musical notes or a camera.

Earl Young found his muse in nature and channeled his artistic vision using massive glacial boulders, limestone, and fieldstone.

The result is a collection of fascinating structures that Young built through the mid-20th century in Charlevoix. Many know them as “the mushroom houses.”

Today on Stateside:

Sticky note with "find job" written on it.
user Flazingo Photos / Flickr -

What will it take to get Michiganders into good jobs?

The Center for Michigan has spent the last year asking questions of more than 5,000 Michiganders for its "Getting to Work" public engagement campaign.

This is the sixth such public engagement campaign conducted by the non-profit and nonpartisan Center for Michigan.

The Michigan House of Representatives
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

In a turn of events that surprised many, Rep. Todd Courser resigned his position on Friday, while Rep. Cindy Gamrat became the fourth state legislator in Michigan’s history to be expelled.

John Lidstrom was one of the veteran Lansing political observers watching that expulsion vote, and based on the editorial he wrote about the episode, it’s clear he did so with a sense of dismay.

Our hearts are in the right place when we use the word "innovation," but we may have ruined it for ourselves
flickr user Missy Schmidt /

The Next Idea

It’s not too hard for many of us to think of words that are just used so much that instead of summoning up a powerful image, they trigger a bored eye roll.

One such word is actually a very big part of The Next Idea: “innovation.”

When used correctly, “innovation” means so much. For companies and universities, entrepreneurs and inventors, it means everything.

But the word is now so overused it tends to get lost in the white noise of corporate buzzwords.