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 will focus on topics and events that matter to people all across the state.

Today on Stateside:

·         We are about two and a half months away from the November general election, but we have yet to see any debates between candidates for Governor and U.S.. Senate. Why?

·         We took a look a Michigan’s role in the Civil War through the eyes of a local re-enactor.

·         Food holds a special meaning for many cultures and ethnicities. And in the Jewish culture, good food is celebrated. But more and more Jewish women are struggling with dieting and eating disorders.

·         There's been a lot of talk about the current bankruptcy filing. But will Detroit actually be capable of paying its bills post-bankruptcy?

·         Pinkerton security and risk management, founded in 1850 by Allan Pinkerton, is moving its headquarters to Ann Arbor, Michigan.

*Listen to the full show above. 

Wikimedia Commons

Michigan embraced the Union cause before the first shot at Fort Sumpter was ever fired. And Michigan soldiers and sailors were involved in virtually all of the campaigns and battles of the Civil War.

A new book looks at the ways Michiganders were a part of the Civil War through photographs of some of the 10,000 Civil War re-enactors in Michigan.

It's called "American Civil War Years: The Michigan Experience (The Reenactors' Telling)."

“We really wanted to pay tribute to these people who are out there in 100-degree weather in wool,” said iMichigan Productions’ Donna Ullrich, the editor of the book.

Detroit skyline.
user JSFauxtaugraphy / Flickr

Bridge Magazine writer Mike Wilkinson recently wrote a piece that explored the dollars-and-cents of Detroit, post-bankruptcy and beyond.

It's titled “Can Detroit Pay Its Bills Post-Bankruptcy?”

Wilkinson said though Detroit has been cash strapped for a while in terms of debt, it does generate a lot of money. It has the highest income tax and property tax in the state. It is the only city in the state allowed to levy a utility tax. And it has an averaged $179 million in casino taxes.

“It’s raising more money than Cincinnati, Chicago, Kansas City, Orlando, in terms of per person,” Wilkinson said.

Assuming that Kevyn Orr’s Plan of Adjustment is approved by Judge Rhodes, will this revenue be enough to pay the bills? Wilkinson wrote in his piece, “Revenues alone do not a budget make.”

And Eric Scorsone, an MSU professor and expert on city finances, said in order to answer that question, we must ask what will Detroit spend the money on?

“The truth is it would be very easy to overspend again as Detroit has in most of its history, and that’s going to be the real challenge for the political leadership of Detroit.” Scorsone said.

CALI - Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction / Flickr

We're about two and a half months away from the November general election and two big statewide races – the race for Governor and U.S. Senate.

We're seeing plenty of advertisements in the campaigns, but no debates between the candidates.

Jack Lessenberry, Michigan Radio’s political commentator, said the reason for this is that front runners of the elections don’t want to give their opponents a shot to upstage them.

Lessenberry said Governor Snyder doesn’t want a debate for this very reason, as it would give his opponent, Democrat Mark Schauer, a chance to win the public over.

However the same is not said for the Senate candidates. Republican Terri Lynn Land is falling behind Democrat Gary Peters in polls. Normally Land would want the debate and Peters would not, but in this case, it's the opposite.

Lessenberry said he expects at least one debate in the governor's race, but it is unclear whether there will be one for the Senate race.

*Listen to the full interview with Jack Lessenberry above. 

Today on Stateside:

·         Green Infrastructures could be the answer to preparing for severe weather like the massive rainfall in Metro Detroit last week.

·         An MSU study shows that adolescents who have a healthy fear of crime are less likely to become a victim.

·         Our insatiable need for energy could be colliding with our desire to preserve Michigan's natural beauty. Case in point: some 97-hundred acres of Hartwick Pines State Park near Grayling could be included in a DNR auction October 29th for a lease of mineral rights.

·         A story from Failure Lab Detroit.

·         Controversy has hit the small town of Barry Township over its police force. Specifically, the nearly three dozen unpaid, reserve police reserve officers. The non-certified officers carrying guns, ride in patrol cars and, according to some, use too much force.

·         Michigan's Grape and Wine Industry Council recognized eight Michigan wines as "best in class" at their recent awards ceremony.

*Listen to the full show above. 

Failure:Lab / failure-lab.com

A story of failure.

Diana Seiger shares her story of failure. She was attacked while bringing her groceries home. She says her failure was not allowing the parents of her attacker to get closure.

Watch her story here:

To learn more about Failure Lab and hear more stories visit failure-lab.com.

*Listen to the full story above. 

Andrew McFarlane / Flickr

Our need for energy could be colliding with our desire to preserve Michigan’s natural beauty.

Case in point: around 9,700 acres of Hartwick Pines State Park near Grayling could be included in an MDNR auction October 29 for a lease of mineral rights.

Ron French reported on this story for Bridge Magazine. He said it’s not unusual for the state to lease ground underneath state parks.

Twice a year the Michigan Department of Natural Resources holds an auction where they lease oil and gas rights to anyone who wants to explore. Companies or individuals can nominate any state property for exploration for oil and gas. One Michigan oil company nominated Hartwick Pines.

Hartwick Pines State Park holds a 49 acre parcel that is the largest, and possibly the last, virgin forest of white pines in the Lower Peninsula.

“These are pine that are up to 400 years old, they’re up to 12 feet in circumference, they are up to 165 feet tall, this is what Michigan looked like before logging,” French said.

French points out that a lease is not a right to drill on the property.

“What are the chances of something going on near Hartwick Pines? They are small, but they are greater than they would be if this lease hadn’t occurred,” French said.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan's Grape and Wine Industry Council recognized eight Michigan wines as "best in class" at their recent awards ceremony.

Linda Jones, executive director of the Council, filled us in on the winners.

Among the winners are three Rieslings, a sparkling wine, a dry red that also won last year, a semi- dry red wine, one fruit, and one rosé

The judges were looking for wines that were true to the character of the grape produced in this region.

Here's a list of Michigan's eight "Best in Class" winners:

  • Sparkling: Aurora Cellars 2011 Brut
  • Dry White: Blustone Vineyards 2013 Riesling
  • Dry Red: Peninsula Cellars 2012 Cabernet Franc
  • Semi-dry White: Gill's Pier Vineyard & Winery 2013 Semi-Dry Riesling
  • Semi-dry Red: Lawton Ridge Winery 2012 AZO Red
  • Dessert: Black Star Farms 2012 Arcturos Winter Harvest Riesling
  • Fruit: 45 North Vineyard & Winery Peach Cremant
  • Rosé: Chateau de Leelanau 2013 Cabernet Franc Rosé

You can find the full list of winners here.

*Listen to the full interview above.

Wikipedia

Are you afraid of crime? Are your children afraid of crime?

If the answer is yes, Chris Melde says that’s not a bad thing. In fact, your fear could be what keeps you out of harm’s way.

Melde is an associate professor of criminal justice at Michigan State University. His study of fear has been published in the journal Justice Quarterly.

Melde says fear of danger is a natural instinct to remain vigilant in the face of potential danger.

“If adolescents have a healthy fear of crime, it’s really an indication that they are likely to take precautionary behaviors,” Melde said.

These kids would avoid situations like parties with drugs and alcohol, hanging out where there is no adult supervision, or hanging out with delinquent peers -- all of which are known risk factors for violent victimization and violent offending.

He said in his piece that there is a "victim offender overlap." The population most at risk for being violently victimized are people who are likely to victimize other people.

Melde said that when talking about fear of crime, it is not merely a comparison of people who are fearful and people who are not fearful.

“We are really talking about a kind of continuum of people’s anxieties about being victimized,” Melde said. “People with a really low level of fear are actually more likely to put themselves in harm’s way and have a higher rate of victimization.”

*Listen to the full interview with Chris Melde above. 

Wikimedia Commons

We can't prevent an extreme weather event like the deluge that flooded some streets in Metro Detroit last week. However, we can prepare for them. But how?

Crain’s Detroit Business Lansing reporter Chris Gautz did some research, and found that green infrastructure could be the answer. By using sustainable methods, he says we could keep water from getting to storm drains.

Some examples:

·         Pervious concrete - allows water to drain through the concrete into the ground

·         Gray water recycling systems -  water can be reused in sprinkler systems.

·         Green roofs or rain gardens - the water is used instead of going down the drain

Guatz wrote in his article that the inherent weakness in our current storm system is the amount of concrete covering the ground.

When parking lots were developed, the idea was to get the water off the parking lot as fast as possible. So they're designed to force the water into the drains.

“Go look out at a big parking lot and think when it rains, that rain can’t go into that concrete,” Gautz said. “It’s got to go somewhere, and it’s going into your basements.”

Gautz quoted a 2001 report from SEMCOG that found between $14 billion and $26 billion would be needed by 2030 to maintain and improve the sewer infrastructure.

Gautz said that now is the time to implement new strategies for future weather events.

“You know these pipes are getting older and the system is getting older, and you keep putting that much pressure on it and eventually something could break,” Gautz said.

*Listen to the full interview with Chris Gautz above. 

Mandi Wright / Detroit Free Press

Controversy over police force has hit not only Ferguson, Missouri but a small town in West Michigan as well.

Some residents in Barry Township, Michigan are getting angry over the build-up of its police force.

Specifically, the nearly three dozen unpaid, reserve police officers from outside the community.

These non-certified officers are carrying guns, riding in patrol cars and, according to some, using way too much force.

Lori Brasier of Detroit Free Press has been covering this controversy.

“These officers were stopping people for having things dangling off their rear view mirrors, they were stopping a lot of high school kids just to stop them,” says Brasier.

The department also has two Humvees and two armored personnel carriers received free of charge from the U.S. Department of Defense for a township with only four full-time officers. 

"People are paying attention. They are going to realize these things are unnecessary and aren’t going to keep us safe,” says Brasier.

* Listen to the full story on above.

Here's a video from the Free Press:

screen shot / Ann Arbor Chronicle

 The Ann Arbor Chronicle news website will end regular publication on September 2, the Chronicle's six-year anniversary.

Mary Morgan is co-founder of the Ann Arbor Chronicle, along with her husband, Dave Askins.

Morgan said the decision was not a financial one. Askins wrote in the column that announced the news that they could keep the Chronicle going if they were willing to put in the amount of effort it took. That question became the deciding factor.

“Do we want to be doing this five years, ten years from now, and the answer was no,” Morgan said.

The Ann Arbor Chronicle featured many stories on local government. The site had about 50,000 visitors each month. Visit the site here

*Listen to the full interview with Mary Morgan above. 

user:yooperann / Flickr

Early bursts of autumn color have been seen across Michigan. Are the leaves trying to tell us something?

MLive and farmerweather.com meteorologist Mark Torregrossa said what we are really seeing is the stress in trees. Torregrossa spoke with some experts about it. Though dryness can cause early autumn colors, experts say the wetness we’ve experienced can cause stress in trees.

“Basically, what I’m hearing from the tree experts is that the early color we are seeing is the stress caused from a drought a couple of years ago, the heavy flooding we’ve had, and maybe even the cold snowy winters,” Torregrossa said.

Torregrossa said, as he looks at weather patterns, he is seeing an early autumn and winter.

He added that the progression of El Nino will have a big implication for what's to come for our winter, but we still have to wait about a month or two.

*Listen to the full story above. 

  Today on Stateside:

·         The next few weeks are expected to see volatile prices in gas in Michigan, according to one analyst. Why?

·         Drive from Detroit to Sault Ste. Marie on  I-75 and you might be surprised by what you'll see. Some of the most underrated attractions can be found, and a big smiley face ranked as #1.

·         Early bursts of autumn color have been seen across Michigan. Are the leaves trying to tell us something?

Troy B Thompson / Flickr

If you live in Michigan, chances are pretty good you've found yourself driving I-75 at one time or another.

But how about this: drive I-75 from Detroit to Sault Ste. Marie and stop at all the underrated sights your readers tell you about?

That's what Detroit Free Press Travel writer Ellen Creager did as "The Michigan Traveler."

Creager drove north on I-75 stopping at places readers suggested. Each attraction was within five miles of the freeway. The trip took four days.

The readers then voted on the most underrated sight on I-75.

The winner was the West Branch Smiley Face. It's a water tower in West Branch, beyond the Tanger Outlets, and it can be seen from the freeway.

The runner-ups on the list were the Straits State Park bridge overlook in St. Ignace, and the Castle Rock lookout point in St. Ignace.

View the full story in the Detroit Free Press here.

*Listen to the full story above. 

Ian Freimuth / Flickr

Recent years have seen a number of corporate heavyweights do their part to revitalize Detroit. One of many examples: Henry Ford II powered the Renaissance Center from blueprints to skyscrapers towering over the Riverfront.

But there are two names that stand well above all the others: the names of Ilitch and Gilbert.

Detroit Free Press Business writer John Gallagher explored the impact of Mike Ilitch and his family and of Dan Gilbert in a recent front-page story entitled "One downtown, two empires: Mike Ilitch and Dan Gilbert reshape Detroit."

Dan Gilbert owns several dozen buildings in the greater downtown area, including some skyscrapers. The Ilitch family plan to redevelop the entire Arena District.

“The downtown has become ‘Gilbertville’ and the area just north of downtown is on its way to becoming ‘Ilitchville,’” said Gallagher.

“I have not seen any other two major corporate leaders accumulate as large a percentage of land as have Dan Gilbert and the Ilitch Organization,” said John Mogk, a law professor at Wayne State University. He teaches a course on Property, Energy, Land Use and Urban Development.

Steven Depolo / Flickr

When we think about poverty, we tend to picture cities.

But a recent series in Bridge Magazine brought attention to poverty in rural communities in Michigan. The poverty rate in rural areas is higher than the rate in urban areas.

The articles were written by Pat Shellenbarger for Bridge Magazine.

Shellenbarger joins Stateside today, along with Jane Zehnder-Merrell, the Kids Count project director of the Michigan League for Public Policy.

“Of the 13 counties in Michigan with poverty rates above 20%, 11 of those are rural counties,” said Shellenbarger.

Shellenbarger wrote that poverty is not exclusive to poor rural counties, such as Lake County. Poor people live in wealthy rural counties as well, like Livingston, and the poverty rate for children has increased.

Today on Stateside:

  • The monster thunderstorm in Metro Detroit focused our attention back on infrastructure, and the flood might have prompted a state Senate workgroup to take another crack at road funding.
  • Native American culture has been struggling to survive for more than a century. For a Potawatomi tribe in the Upper Peninsula, tribal culture almost vanished around the 1940s. Michigan Radio’s Emily Fox reported from the Hannahville reservation about efforts to bring tribal culture back.
  • We revisited the history of one of America’s most iconic institutions: the drive-in theater, born in the Depression.
  • A new foundation called Walk The Beat says music can bring communities together. They are hosting events this weekend in Grand Haven, Spring Lake and Ferrysburg.
  • A United Kingdom survey reports that when it comes to denying climate changes,  the United States leads the world. Why is the U.S. the world leader in climate denial? Two university professors told us their answer.

*Listen to the full show above.

The flooding event in Detroit fits the global warming pattern, according to reports such as National Climate Assessment.
Michigan Emergency Management & Homeland Security / Flickr

Climate scientists have issued a steady drumbeat of warnings and data pointing to profound changes that have already begun because of climate change.

Yet a survey from the United Kingdom finds that when it comes to climate denial, the United States leads the world. Only 54% of Americans agree that human activity is largely causing the climate change we're currently seeing.

Why is the U.S. the world leader in climate denial? And how can scientists and policymakers convert the "deniers?"

A flooded freeway in Royal Oak, Michigan
User: BGilbow / Flickr

Monday’s monster thunderstorm in Metro Detroit was the second-heaviest single day of rainfall since Michigan started keeping records.

The rainstorm didn't just close freeways and roads and flood basements, it focused attention back on the often-overlooked problems with our transportation infrastructure.

Jeff Cranson is director of communications for the Michigan Department of Transportation.

“It is a good thing now that people realized that we’ve got a number of depressed freeways in Detroit,” says Cranson.

Music artists who are "walking the beat."
Walk The Beat / facebook

Using music to bring communities together and to help children discover music – that's the idea behind a new foundation called Walk The Beat.

There's a big event coming up Saturday in Grand Haven, Spring Lake, and Ferrysburg to help launch the foundation.

Musician and songwriter David Palmer is the founder of the Walk The Beat Foundation.

He says the goal of the foundation is to get kids involved with music, which leads to its slogan: "Teaching the Rhythm of Life."

On August 16 from noon to 5 p.m., each one of the three cities will have open houses featuring local musicians and businesses. Visitors are welcome to go from location to location and experience different types of music.

*Listen to the interview with David Palmer above.

The Capri Drive-In in Coldwater, Michigan is still operating in 2014.
User: All Things Michigan / Flickr

Whether you were a little kid jumping into your pajamas before Mom and Dad loaded up the station wagon, or a teenager looking for a little "privacy" on a date, the drive-in theater could be a pretty magical place.

The very first drive-in opened in New Jersey in 1933. But it sure didn't take long for Michiganders to catch on to drive-ins. They opened up in virtually every corner of the state.

Harry Skrdla channeled his happy boyhood memories of going to the drive-in to come up with a book for the Images of America series. It's called Michigan's Drive-in Theaters.

Today on Stateside:

  • When you think about big cities, Detroit for example, you probably don't first think of trees or green infrastructure. Today we heard lessons from Milwaukee in building a strong urban forest.
  • It’s that time: the season for political campaigning and ceaseless robocalls. We talked to Aaron Foss whose company is busy finding ways to fight off political robocalls.
  • A Detroit-bred author joined us and talked about his crime story Motor City Burning set in the 1967 Detroit riot.
  • Cherries! Sweet corn! Lavender? Yes. Lavender! It's blooming up North. We got a smell as we were joined by the owner of the largest commercial lavender farm in Michigan.
  • Michigan Radio’s Kyle Norris brought us the story of how a Michigan teen discovered his passion for sculpting. Check out his work at the Michigan Radio Picture Project.

*Listen to the full show above.

Lavender being grown in Michigan.
User: Deb Nystrom / Flickr

When we think of "typical" Michigan-grown crops, it's easy to think cherries, blueberries, or corn.

But there's one corner of Michigan that is perfect for growing this: lavender.

Linda Longworth owns Lavender Hill Farms in Boyne City. It's the biggest commercial lavender farm in Michigan.

Longworth says they have about 13,000 lavender plants on her farm, and they are now right in the middle of the harvest season.

Longworth also works with local craftsmen and outside companies, so that her lavender can be turned into various products such as soap, lavender shortbread cookies, lavender vodka and beer.

*Listen to the interview with Longworth above.

Bill Morris and his book Motor City Burning
User: Meet Bill Morris / facebook

1967 and 1968. Those were some mighty vivid years in Detroit's history.

In 1967, racial tensions boiled over that hot July night on 12th Street.

But the following year saw baseball fans, black and white, coming together at the corner of Michigan and Trumbull, rooting the Tigers on to that World Series win over the Cardinals.

That's the setting for the new novel Motor City Burning. Author Bill Morris blends the riot and the World Series into a murder mystery.

Morris says living through those eventful years as a teenage boy in Detroit inspired him to write the novel.

“I thought if I can find a way to weave these two summers together and tell that story, I’ll have a good book. That’s what I tried to do through the eyes of a young black man up from Alabama,” says Morris.

*Listen to our conversation with Bill Morris above.

A woman protesting robocalls
User: JMacPherson / Flickr

'Tis the season – for political campaigning and ceaseless robocalls.

Now that the August primaries are over, we're getting a breather. But it won't be long before the campaigns start cranking out those robocalls for the November general election.

Those political robocalls are exempt from the do-not-call rules, those that are supposed to protect us from marketing and sales calls.

Aaron Foss is the CEO of a company with a name that says it all: NOMOROBO. Foss is busy finding ways to fight off robocalls.

Foss says beginning this political season, NOMOROBO will try a new approach to block all political robocalls, unless consumers “opt-in” to accept these robocalls.

“We try to strike the balance between politicians being perfectly legal to make the calls, and everybody being in their perfect right to not accept the calls,” says Foss.

*Listen to the interview with Aaron Foss above.

Tree planting demonstration led by the Greening of Detroit
User: The Greening of Detroit / facebook

When you bring up your mental image of big post-industrial American cities like Detroit, do you think of blight, decaying buildings, or empty lots?

You probably don’t think of trees or green infrastructure.

Dean Hay wants to change that. He is the Director of Green Infrastructure at Greening of Detroit. This group has planted more than 81,000 trees in Detroit, Hamtramck and Highland Park since it began in 1989.

Hay says with the tremendous challenges Detroit is facing, it is still important to put energy and resources into planting trees.

“Trees are community builders. They help us have safe streets and reduce crime. The shades they produce reduce summer temperatures in these areas. Wherever there’s a large canopy area, the value of those houses increase,” says Hay.

Perhaps we can learn lessons from Milwaukee in building a strong green infrastructure. Joe Wilson is the executive director at Greening Milwaukee, a city which was recently named as one of the 10 Best Urban Forests in America.

"We see trees as a part of our infrastructure. We see it as important and vital as our sewer system, as important and as vital as our utility system," says Wilson.

*Listen to our conversation with Dean Hay and Joe Wilson above.

User: kshawphoto / Flickr

As Detroit slid into poverty and eventual bankruptcy, one of the oft-repeated complaints was that Detroiters didn't have a place to shop for fresh, wholesome food. It says they had to turn to "party stores" with an emphasis on snack foods, beer and soft drinks.

But Auday Arabo says that “food desert” is a myth. He's the president and CEO of Associated Food and Petroleum Dealers, which represents more than 4,000 stores in Michigan, Ohio and nearby states.

To find out where the stores are, Arabo says they actually put all the data together and made a map.

"Once we showed people what the stores looked like on the inside, it really changed a lot of hearts and minds," says Arabo.

Arabo says instead of “food desert,” it’s more of a “food access” issue, because lack of public transportation and crime are the two major challenges in Detroit.

However, Arabo says the grocers in Detroit have always been there, especially independent stores, even though they don’t market as much as the big chains do.

* Listen to the story above.

Michigan Photography

When you think of a team of student athletes, the phrase "game face" comes to mind. When they face their opponents, they don’t blink. They are there to win.

Now, imagine being a part of that "suck-it-up" culture as the young athletes struggle with mental illness, with depression. 

Will Heininger knows how it felt like. As he played for the University of Michigan as a lineman, he was battling with severe depression.

Heininger says it was incredibly difficult dealing with the hopeless feelings, but he didn’t know what depression was at the time, because it wasn’t talked about when he was growing up.

“At first, I really tried to do the athlete thing: 'I'm tougher than this I'm gonna beat it, and just grind it out' ...and, of course, that made it way, way worse," says Heininger.

Today on Stateside:

  • The thunderstorms and flooding that slammed Metro Detroit. We asked meteorologist Mark Torregrossa and Michigan Radio’s Sarah Cwiek how it got so bad so quickly.
  • Is it true Detroit residents city have no options for fresh foods and groceries? We discussed why that myth prevails and what resident grocers are doing to stop it.
  • Copper mining has played a huge part in Michigan's history. We talked with author Bill Carter about his new book, "Boom, Bust, Boom: A Story About Copper, the Metal That Runs the World."
  • When college athletes face depression, what can teams and colleges do to help? We talked to a former Wolverine football player about how he turned his battle with depression into a way to help other student athletes.
  • Finally, did you know the tri-color traffic light was the brainchild of a Detroit police officer?

*Listen to full show above.

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