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 Vatican Observatory
Vatican Observatory /

Michigan native Brother Guy Consolmagno is one of 12 Vatican astronomers. He oversees the Vatican’s meteorite collection and was recently appointed as the director of the Vatican Observatory by Pope Francis.

A year ago, he became the first clergyman to win the Carl Sagan Medal, one of planetary science’s most distinguished honors. It’s given to the scientist who makes science accessible and understandable to the public.

  • In the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks, Gov. Snyder puts his effort to get permission for Syrian refugees to re-settle in Michigan on hold. 
  • Rick Pluta, Lansing bureau chief for the Michigan Public Radio Network, spoke to Gov. Snyder about his decision this morning.

A recent poll finds 90% of us want to have end of life discussions of our doctors, but only 17% have actually done so
University of Michigan Medical School

No matter what your circumstances in life, there is one great and final equalizer: Every single one of us will die.

Yet it is often difficult for patients, their families and their physicians to accept the approaching end of life and to shift focus of care from curing and treating to comfort.

A coffee leaf infected with Hemileia vastatrix, or coffee rust
wikimedia user Smartse /

For many of us, the day doesn’t really start until we polish off that steaming cup of coffee.

But a fungus called "coffee rust” is putting that luxury in jeopardy. It’s attacking coffee plants across Mexico and Central America, and in recent years has caused more than $1 billion in crop losses and cost thousands of workers their jobs.

Two University of Michigan professors have been studying coffee in Mexico for nearly 20 years. They want to understand just how this fungus spreads and how best to shut it down.

Flickr /

The Next Idea

The 21st century software industry owes a lot to a certain 18th century inventor.

Open source innovation is a phrase we tend to associate with post-millennial creativity, but it’s actually a 300-year-old idea. Benjamin Franklin famously did not patent his lighting rod, his bifocals, his stove, and many other of his inventions because he thought that these ideas were simply too important not to share.

This is the same mindset behind today’s open source movement: unrestricted access to designs, products, and ideas to be used by an unlimited number of people in a variety of sectors for diverse purposes.

A Flint resident holds a jug of tainted Flint water.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

There is a lot of controversy surrounding Michigan’s use of emergency managers. The Flint water fiasco, the decline of the Detroit Public School system – that all happened under the watch of state-appointed emergency managers.

While much has been said and written about Detroit getting through bankruptcy quickly, there are a lot of long-lasting effects of the city’s time under an emergency manager, including, but certainly not limited to, Belle Isle Park being turned over to state management, which some Detroit residents find frustrating.

  • Michigan's Department of Environmental Quality is asking the city of Flint for information that would show where the city's lead service lines are. Federal regulations require those homes to be sampled to determine the health of the water system, but Flint doesn't know where those houses are. Lindsey Smith gives us an update.

There were around 3,600 fires in Detroit this past year
flickr user Sam Beebe /

The news site Motor City Muckraker took it upon itself to track every fire in the city of Detroit for a year.

When you take on a project like that, you begin to see and hear about the problems faced by one of the most overworked fire departments in the nation.

Steve Neavling runs Motor City Muckraker. He tells us the Detroit Fire Department was “a bureaucracy that was literally in shambles.”

flickr user neetalparekh /

The Next Idea

Mark “Puck” Mykleby is a retired Marine colonel who worked from 2009 to 2011 as an assistant to former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Michael Mullen.

Mullen wanted a grand strategy for the nation. Not a military strategy, but something to encourage the kind of innovation and leadership he felt has been slipping away in the United States.

Mykleby left the Pentagon a little frustrated with Washington and figured he really needed to take the idea to the private sector.

The Art Gallery of Knoxville/flickr /

Emerging artists in Michigan may wonder: "How do I get the attention of an art critic? How do I get someone to write about my work if I haven't gotten to the point where I can mount a show?"

Lori Waxman, art critic for The Chicago Tribune, understands the challenges for artists trying to get honest feedback of their work.

In a rare event, Waxman will review any artist's work, no matter the skill level.

  • The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will be watching over the State of Michigan's shoulder to make sure our drinking water is safe. Flint's Democratic Congressman Dan Kildee joined us today to talk about the EPA's audit.
  • Nearly five decades after fighting as an infantryman in Vietnam, Tim Keenan of Traverse City realized it was time to go back to Vietnam.
American flag.
Corey Seeman/Flickr /

"Service Above Self, Honoring Our Veterans" happens tonight at Hill Auditorium in Ann Arbor.

A select number of veterans from Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, Korea, and World War II will be on stage to tell their stories.

The storytelling night kicks off a push to raise $8 million to build a Fisher House.

Neal Steeno

When soldiers are sent into war, they often leave a chunk of their hearts and souls on the battlefield.

They may make it home, but part of them remains tied to that far-off battleground.

Tim Keenan of Traverse City lived with that hole in his heart and soul for more than 40 years. He was a 20-year-old infantryman in the fall of 1967 when he was dropped into the frontline fighting in Vietnam at Dak To.

Bennett / Ashlee Kristin Photography


The Grand Rapids based band Bennett is releasing their second EP Friday called A Moment’s Time.



Today on Stateside:

  • Over the past few days, thousands of federal inmates were released from prison due to a change in the way the federal government sentences drug criminals. Brandon Sample gives us a closer look at the largest one-time release of federal prisoners.

  • The Rovi Media Collection is the largest media collection in the country: CDs, DVDs, and video games. All entertainment, and now all in the care of Michigan State University.


 The Edmund Fitzgerald in 1971.
user Greenmars / wikimedia commons

What would it be like to have a long, useful live, but only be remembered by the way you die?

Such is the case with the Edmund Fitzgerald, which sank in a Lake Superior storm 40 years ago today.

But there’s a new documentary that focuses on the life of the Edmund Fitzgerald and what the ship did in her time on the Great Lakes.

The film is called A Good Ship and Crew Well Seasoned, and it’s produced by the Great Lakes Historical Society.

It was 2008 when Michigan launched a generous tax-credit program to lure Hollywood filmmakers here. At the time it was so popular, only one legislator voted against it. And Hollywood came: big stars, big productions could be seen shooting throughout the state.

Susan Ellis, USDA APHIS PPQ /

It's called a swede midge.

A tiny insect that has the power to cause some big problems for farmers. And now this pest has turned up on several organic farms in Sanilac County.

Zsofia Szendrei is a Michigan State University associate professor who specializes in arthropod farm pests.

She joined us today to talk about the scope of the midge population and what's at stake for Michigan's vegetables. 

flickr user Thomas Hawk /

Over the past few days, thousands of federal inmates were released from prison due to a change in the way the federal government sentences drug criminals.

It adds up to the largest one-time release of federal prisoners.

Brandon Sample is the executive director of Prisology, a national nonprofit movement dedicated to reform of the criminal justice system.

Today on Stateside: 

Funeral homes in the area make sure the veterans get a burial at the Great Lakes National Cemetery
flickr user abarndweller /

It's impossible to know just how many homeless veterans are on America's streets.

The federal government estimates that there are nearly 50,000 vets who are homeless on any given night.

The National Coalition on Homeless Veterans tells us they've served in every conflict from World War II right up to Iraq and Afghanistan, although nearly half of homeless veterans served in Vietnam.

The reasons they are homeless are many: lack of affordable housing, inability to make a livable income, post-traumatic stress disorder and substance abuse.

Ribbon cutting ceremony for the new Elijah J. McCoy Patent and Trademark Office in Detroit in 2012
flickr user Senator Stabenow /

The Next Idea

Innovation means new ideas, and new ideas mean investments, all of which need to be protected.

That’s where the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office comes in.

Three years ago, they opened their first office outside of Washington D.C., and chose to put it in Detroit.

What does that mean for Michigan inventors, entrepreneurs, startups and researchers?

flickr user Jim Sorbie /

The Next Idea

As The Next Idea continues to explore innovation in Michigan, it’s clear that amidst the new technology and new breakthroughs, some concepts stand the test of time.

One such concept was summed up by Ralph Waldo Emerson:

"If a man has good corn or wood, or boards, or pigs, to sell, or can make better chairs or knives, crucibles or church organs, than anybody else, you will find a broad hard-beaten road to his house, though it be in the woods."

That was the key to the success of Michigan inventor, businessman and innovator Webster Marble.

Today on Stateside:

Daniel Howes /

All week long, Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes is accompanying more than 20 Michigan CEOs as they examine the thriving economy of Israel, looking for lessons that can be applied to Michigan.

This week, Michigan Republicans marked the second anniversary of their outreach office in Detroit.

The concept of selling the GOP in solidly Democratic Detroit, and opening an outreach office there, came at a time when more Republicans on the national level called for the party to be more inclusive, to reach out to African-American and Hispanic voters.

Currently, there are no African-American Republicans serving in the state Legislature, in Michigan's congressional delegation, or as directors of the state departments in Michigan or in major stateside offices.

MSU's Eli and Edyth Broad Art Museum viewed from Grand River Ave
Wikimedia user Dj1997 /

Michigan State University’s Eli and Edyth Broad Art Museum is hard to miss.

The steel structure looks like some kind of strange spaceship among the traditional ivory-covered brick buildings around it.

November 10 marks the museum’s third birthday.

In his story for Lansing City Pulse, Larry Cosentino spells out the reasons the Broad is at a crucial time in its young history.

food, leftovers
Kathleen Franklin/flickr /

The Great Depression really marked the golden age of leftovers.

They were meant to be slipped into a pot pie, suspended in a jello ring, buried in a casserole or a meatloaf.

There's a lot to be learned from studying Americans' relationships with leftovers.

Today on Stateside:

Michigan roads
user nirbhao / Flickr


A late-night deal to fund road repair, construction and other transportation issues barely passed the Michigan House on Tuesday. After years of stalled debate, deals gone nowhere and a voter-rejected referendum, Governor Snyder is now reviewing a bill that partly solves the road funding question in Michigan.

Michigan Public Radio Network reporter Jake Neher explains the ins and outs of the bill in the interview above.