Stateside with Cynthia Canty

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

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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.

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Stateside
6:10 pm
Thu January 23, 2014

What does SNAP funding cut mean for people in Michigan?

Terri Stangl
Twitter

Even as more Americans than ever before rely on food stamps, the Farm Bill just passed by the Senate would cut the funding to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by more than $4 billion over the next 10 years. The House version of the bill includes $20 billion in cuts.

Nationwide, more than 47 million people receive federal food assistance, and 1.7 million in Michigan. So, we wondered what these possible cuts mean to them.

Terri Stangl is the executive director of the Center for Civil Justice in Flint, and she joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
6:05 pm
Thu January 23, 2014

Michigan's unemployment rate is falling, but is that indicative of the economy overall?

Michigan State University Professor of Economics, Charles Ballard. Ballard says, "if you compare apples to apples, most state employees are not highly compensated compared to their private sector counterparts."
MSU

Michigan's unemployment rate dropped to 8.4% last month. That December number brings the state's 2013 average jobless rate to 8.7%.   

That's down from 8.9% the year before.

And that means Michigan's annual jobless rate has gone done now for three years in a row.

But are these numbers a good indication of how Michigan's overall economy is fairing?

Charles Ballard, professor of economics at Michigan State University, joined us today to help answer that question.

Listen to the full interview above.

Politics & Culture
5:02 pm
Thu January 23, 2014

Stateside for Thursday, Jan. 23, 2014

Gov. Rick Snyder has proposed committing up to $350 million of state money to guarantee city of Detroit pension benefits and to keep Detroit Institute of Arts' art off the auction block. On today's show, we spoke to Daniel Howes about what this cash infusion would mean. 

And, the recently passed farm bill is cutting Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) funding by more than $4 billion over the next 10 years. We looked into how this cut will affect people in Michigan who rely on food assistance.

Also, we heard Andy Soper's  story of failure from Failure:Lab Grand Rapids.

First on the show, Michigan's unemployment rate dropped to 8.4% last month. That December number brings the state's 2013 average jobless rate to 8.7%.   

That's down from 8.9% the year before.

And that means Michigan's annual jobless rate has gone down now for three years in a row.

But are these numbers a good indication of how Michigan's overall economy is faring?

Ballard joined us today to help us answer that question.

Stateside
2:15 pm
Thu January 23, 2014

What's your biggest failure? Andy Soper shares his on Failure:Lab

Andy Soper in the promotional video for his Failure:Lab story.
YouTube

Andy Soper from Failure:Lab Grand Rapids.

Failure:Lab is a new event that's been happening in Michigan and is spreading outside the state.

It's a program designed to get us thinking about the meaning of failure, to realize that failure happens to everyone and perhaps to inspire us to take intelligent risks.

From their website:

Each storyteller shares a personal failure in under nine minutes. The storyteller doesn’t share a lesson, blame-shift, or talk about where they are now.

Today on Stateside we hear from Andy Soper. He works with the Manasseh Project, developing programs to address the commercial sexual exploitation of minors.

After graduating from Bowling Green State University and without a job, he decided to join the Army – an experience that did not end well.

This is the story that Soper shared at Failure:Lab Grand Rapids on May 23, 2013 at Wealthy Theatre:

Stateside
4:51 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

Group of doctors gets together to try to stop gun violence

Daniel Weber Flickr

"Children deserve to feel safe wherever they live, play and learn."

Those words came from the president of the American Academy of Pediatrics just a few days after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School and they sum up the feelings of some physicians from coast to coast.

There's a new group in Michigan trying to bring attention to gun violence. The group is made up of doctors.

Stateside's Cynthia Canty recently spoke with Dr. Jerry Walden, a family practice physician who was named "Family Physician of the Year" by the Michigan Academy of Family Practice.

Dr. Andy Zweifler, an internist and an emeritus professor of internal medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School is also a member of the group Physicians for the Prevention of Gun Violence.

They joined us today.

*Listen to the interview above.

Stateside
4:37 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

Giving DIY satellites a push in space

A rendering of the Cubesat Ambipolar Thruster being developed by U of M researchers
PEPL University of Michigan

Technology has opened the doors in recent years for do-it-yourselfers to complete scientific projects without help from universities or government agencies. But space exploration is one field that has remained largely out of reach for amateur scientists who don’t have NASA-sized budgets.

One way space enthusiasts have found to get more involved in the last few years is by building little satellites themselves, called cubesats.

Basically just metal boxes about the size of a loaf of bread, cubesats are popular in the DIY space community because they can be built cheaply with off-the-shelf parts and can be stuffed with cameras and all sorts of other instruments depending on the builders’ interests.

They’re usually put together by groups of amateurs or classes who pay to have their cubesat catch a ride on bigger rocket missions and once they’re dropped off, they stay in orbit and transmit pictures or other data back down to Earth.

Now, researchers at the University of Michigan say they are working to expand the scientific capabilities of cubesats by giving them a push in new directions, literally.

They want to take the plasma propulsion systems that power big spacecraft, like communication satellites, and shrink them down so that amateurs can send their cubesats into new orbits or even off into the solar system.

*Listen to the full story above

Stateside
4:35 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

Lawmakers in Lansing debate how best to evaluate teachers

The chamber of Michigan's House of Representatives.
Lester Graham Michigan Radio

Lawmakers are in the midst of a debate over how teachers in Michigan should be evaluated.

Hearings were held today at the Capitol and the Michigan Public Radio Network's Jake Neher was there. He joined us today.

*Listen to the audio above.

Stateside
4:28 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

How will Michigan's new abortion law work?

In December, State Sen. Gretchen Whitmer gave a speech about her own experience with rape during the debate over the abortion rider bill.
http://whitmer.senatedems.com/

On the 41st anniversary of Roe v. Wade – the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark ruling that legalized abortion nationwide – women's reproductive rights remain in the political spotlight.

Let's turn our attention to that subject here in Michigan. It was mid-December when state lawmakers approved a controversial law requiring consumers to buy separate policies for abortion coverage.

This means a person has to buy a rider before knowing they need an abortion; they would not be able to buy a rider after getting pregnant. And the law does not include exceptions for rape or incest.

The law goes into effect in March, and there’s confusion over just how this is supposed to work.

Marianne Udow Phillips is director of The Center for Healthcare Research & Transformation at the University of Michigan. She talks to us today and explains what the new law means.

Listen to the full interview above.

Politics & Culture
4:26 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

Stateside for Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014

On the 41st anniversary of Roe v Wade, women's reproductive rights are in the spotlight here in Michigan. Insurance providers and consumers are trying to understand Michigan's new, controversial law requiring separate policies for abortion coverage.

 On today's show we'll get a better of understanding of how the new law is supposed to work. And we'll travel to space! OK, maybe that's overselling it, but we will meet a group of researchers who want to make it easier for do-it-yourself space exploration. First, we go to Lansing where lawmakers are in the midst of a debate over how teachers in Michigan should be evaluated. Hearings were held today at the Capitol and the Michigan Public Radio Network's Jake Neher was there. He joined us today.

Stateside
4:26 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

One Michigan family's journey with autism

user blwphotography Flickr

What can a parent do to reach an autistic child, to forge some path through the barrier of autism spectrum disorder – a path that might somehow lead to greater understanding of that child’s mind, heart and soul?

An interview with Bruce Mills, professor of English at Kalamazoo College.

That challenge is facing more and more families in America.

In 2000, the Centers for Disease Control found that one in 150 school-age children had been identified with Autism Spectrum Disorder. By 2008, that figure was one in 88 – an increase of 78%.

Consider more recent figures from a different government agency: the National Center for Health Statistics estimates that today, one out of every 50 school-age kids has the condition.

The experts tell us these higher numbers may not be so much a matter of more kids having ASD, but rather that health officials are getting better at counting those who do.

But behind all the statistics are the day-to-day stories of families coping with the often crushing challenge of Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Read more
Politics & Culture
4:28 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

Stateside for Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014

Embattled Republican National Committeeman Dave Agema is hitting back at critics of his anti-gay and anti-Muslim web postings, saying he stands on the same issues he always has, "God, family and country."

In a Facebook post, the ex-state-Representative says people are feeding half-truths to the news media within the GOP and stirring up divisiveness.

He says he's wrongly being blamed for posting other people's comments and says it's an unfortunate and uncivil tactic to tarnish his reputation.

Rick Pluta, Lansing bureau chief for the Michigan Public Radio Network and co-host of It's Just Politics, joined us today.

Lawmakers in Lansing have begun holding hearings on which standardized tests Michigan students will begin taking next spring. Goodbye Michigan Educational Assessment Program (MEAP), hello Smarter Balanced Assessment.

Opponents say it takes away local control, while those who favor it say it better predicts a student's comprehension. We found out more about this computer-based testing on today's show.

Then, we continued on the subject of schools and asked: Are zero-tolerance policies actually keeping kids out of trouble? A new study says not so much.

And, Michigan’s University Research Corridor is making huge contributions to the state economy. We spoke with Lou Anna Simon, president of Michigan State University, to learn more.

Finally, a new documentary explores Michigan’s history with the abolitionist movement and the Underground Railroad.  

Stateside
4:17 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

Zero tolerance school discipline policies may be doing more harm than good

Detroit Public Schools is offering 45 schools to charter companies.
Sarah Hulett Michigan Radio

It's been a year and a half since state education leaders called for reforms to Michigan's "zero tolerance" discipline policies. Critics say too many students are still being booted out of school because of zero-tolerance measures and the result is the kids who are getting in trouble and being expelled are the ones who most need help. And they point to the statistics: A disproportionate number of the students who are punished are minorities.

Bridge Magazine contributing writer Ted Roelofs wrote a piece in a recent issue titled "Zero tolerance school reforms hit resistance in Michigan.” He joined us today along with Annie Salsich, director of the Center on Youth Justice at the Vera Institute, to explore zero-tolerance policies and what can be done to promote a safe and productive school environment.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
4:12 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

Dave Agema claims he was wrongly blamed for anti-gay and anti-Muslim comments

Embattled Republican National Committeeman Dave Agema is hitting back at critics of his anti-gay and anti-Muslim Web postings, saying he stands on the same issues he always has: "God, family and country."

In a Facebook post, the former state representative says people are feeding half-truths to the news media within the GOP and stirring up divisiveness.

He says he's wrongly being blamed for posting other people's comments and says it's an unfortunate and uncivil tactic to tarnish his reputation.

Rick Pluta, Lansing bureau chief for the Michigan Public Radio Network and co-host of "It's Just Politics"  joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
4:07 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

Michigan's University Research Corridor contributes greatly to state economy

Lou Anna Simon
president.msu.edu

Let's turn to Michigan's three largest universities for a moment. The University of Michigan, Michigan State University and Wayne State University make up the University Research Corridor and a new report out today shows the corridor contributing more than $16 billion to the state's economy.

Lou Anna Simon is president of Michigan State University and she joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
4:03 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

Is the Smarter Balanced Assessment a suitable replacement for the MEAP?

Michigan students may have more rigorous performance expectations on MEAP and other standardized tests.
Alberto G. / Creative Commons

Lawmakers in Lansing have begun holding hearings on which standardized tests Michigan students will take next spring.

The state has already decided to replace the Michigan Educational Assessment Program (MEAP) tests and educational officials have endorsed the Smarter Balanced Assessment.

In the coming months, you’ll likely be hearing a lot about the politics of the Smarter Balanced Assessment. Some lawmakers say the test takes away control from local curriculum because it’s being developed by a national consortium.

Public Sector Consultant’s Michelle Richard joined us today to discuss the new test.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
4:00 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

New documentary covers the history of the Underground Railroad in Michigan

A still from Madman or Martyr.
Facebook

It's commonly accepted that the American Civil War began with the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter in South Carolina on April 12, 1861.

But some make a case for the start of the Civil War being the October 1859 raid on Harpers Ferry by abolitionist John Brown. It was his failed attempt to spark an armed slave revolt and it ended with John Brown being hanged for treason in December 1859.

The story of John Brown, the abolitionist movement and the Underground Railroad in Detroit is the subject of a new documentary called "Madman or Martyr."

The documentary will premiere on Jan. 31 at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit.

Filmmaker and actor Luke Jaden produced "Madman or Martyr." Jaden is from Clarkston in Oakland County and he is 17 years old.

Carol Mull is a founding member of the Michigan Freedom Trail Commission, an author and scholar of Underground Railroad history in Michigan.

They both joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
9:15 pm
Mon January 20, 2014

How the $1 trillion federal budget deal might help Michigan

The Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, or "Super Committee," failed to come up with a compromise to reduce the deficit. Michigan members of the Super Committee spoke about the experience.
U.S. Congress congress.gov

What a difference three months makes.

After the knock-down, drag-out budget debacle that shut the government down in October, here we are in January. And, perhaps goaded by the furious reaction of most Americans to last fall’s budget showdown, last week saw both chambers of Congress quietly and meekly passing a $1 trillion federal budget deal.

Detroit Free Press Washington reporter Todd Spangler joined us today to talk about this deal.

Politics & Culture
5:08 pm
Mon January 20, 2014

Stateside for Monday, Jan. 20, 2014

Gov. Rick Snyder delivered his fourth State of the State address last week.

He touted a recovering economy and improving job growth, but Democrats were none too pleased with the Governor's speech.

On today's show we'll dive into what Snyder said, take a look at new, proposed initiatives and find out what they mean for you.

And then, from Motown to Madonna and Eminem to Kid Rock: The Detroit area was, and continues to be, a musical powerhouse. Now one economic report is actually trying to figure out just how much all that's worth – monetarily speaking.

But first on today's show: What a difference three months makes.

After the knock-down, drag-out budget debacle that shut the government down in October, here we are in January. And perhaps goaded by the furious reaction of most Americans to last fall’s budget showdown, last week saw both chambers of Congress quietly and meekly passing a $1 trillion federal budget deal.

Detroit Free Press Washington reporter Todd Spangler joined us to talk about the deal.

Politics & Government
5:07 pm
Mon January 20, 2014

Taking a closer look at Gov. Snyder's State of the State address

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder delivering the 2011 State of the State address

Governor Snyder delivered his fourth State of the State address Thursday night. The Republican Governor called Michigan the "comeback" state and talked up the economy, saying Michigan has come a long way from the dark days of the Great Recession. Not surprisingly though, Democrats didn't quite agree - highlighting cuts to education spending and the state's Earned Income Tax Credit. Chad Livengood took a close look at Snyder's speech with us today.
Stateside
5:05 pm
Mon January 20, 2014

The economic impact of Michigan's music scene

Hitsville, U.S.A.
user dig downtown detroit Flickr

From Motown to Madonna, techno to gospel, jazz and blues, from Eminem to Kid Rock to Aretha, and much more, the Detroit area has been, and continues to be, a music powerhouse.

In fact, at least 38 Grammy Award winners and nominees from the past five years have a Detroit connection.

A recent study from the Anderson Economic Group takes a deep dive into the business of the Detroit-area music scene.

Alex Rosaen, the principal author of the study for the Anderson Economic Group, joined us today.

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