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
4:25 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

Giving a voice to prisoners: Michigan's Prison Creative Arts Project

The cover of the sixth annual Michigan Review of Prisoner Creative Writing.
PCAP University of Michigan

Just because you've been found guilty of a crime and sentenced to prison, doesn't mean you no longer have a voice, an opinion, something to say.

And that's why each year the Prison Creative Arts Project puts out the call to prisoners all around Michigan: Send us your poetry, your essays, your short stories.

PCAP goes through each submission and selects work to go into its annual Michigan Review of Prisoner Creative Writing.  They're about to release their sixth volume. This one is called "The Sky Is On Fire, After All."

Philip Christman edits the Review, and he's an English Department instructor at the University of Michigan. He joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above. 

Stateside
4:24 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

How one Michigan church is changing its views on gay marriage

A gay pride flag.
antiochla.edu Antioch University

There can be little doubt that we are living at a time when our attitudes as a society are undergoing a tremendous shift in what we think of individuals who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender.

Recently, we spoke on this show with Michigan State University professor Charley Ballard, who directs the state of the state surveys. The most recent MSU survey found, for instance, that 54% of Michiganders support gay marriage, with 36% opposing it.

Just four years ago, gay marriage was opposed by 51% and favored by 48% of those surveyed.

That is the view from social science. But what about the view from the pulpit?

Ken Wilson is pastor of Vineyard Church of Ann Arbor. The evangelical minister has spent years wrestling with this question:  Where do we – as a Christian faith community – draw the line on the gay marriage issue?

His journey to rethinking his beliefs about where LBGT people fit into what he calls “the company of Jesus” is spelled out in his new book “A Letter to my Congregation:  An evangelical pastor's path to embracing people who are gay, lesbian and transgender into the company of Jesus.”

Listen to the full interview above. 

Stateside
4:23 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

Explaining the DIA's 'grand bargain' – and what it means for the museum

The Detroit Institute of Arts.
user aMichiganMom Flickr

An interview with Mark Stryker.

Ninety-five years ago, the Detroit Institute of Arts was in deep, deep financial trouble.

It kept the doors open by turning over the building and its art to the thriving city of Detroit in exchange for annual funding.

And now it stands, poised to flip that arrangement upside down, hoping to cut Detroit's ownership of the DIA in order to protect its treasures from hungry creditors.

There's quite a long and complicated history between the DIA and the city.

And yet, despite nearly a century tied together, the reaction of Detroiters to the proposed spin-off of the DIA is pretty muted – certainly much different than the reaction when the state took over operations of Belle Isle.

Detroit Free Press writer Mark Stryker explored this in his piece for last Sunday's paper.

Listen to the full interview above.

Politics & Culture
4:32 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

Stateside for Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Detroit automakers are moving into their fifth year of recovery after the disastrous bottoming-out of 2009 when General Motors and Chrysler filed for bankruptcy. Half a decade later, however, sales are brisk and auto loans are available. But is the future that bright? On today's show: Are there warning signs of another auto downturn? And, if so, what needs to happen to stop it?

Then, what will our rivers and roads look like once spring hits and the snow melts? We spoke with meteorologist Jim Maczko to find out.

Lake Erie is full of algae blooms and dead zones, and a new report is asking us to take action. What can be done to improve the health of this lake?

Also, how about adding smell to food advertising? 

First on the show, are Michigan veterans getting what they deserve in terms of benefits and support?

The Veterans' Administration says when it comes to per-capita spending on veterans, Michigan checks in at an average of just over $3,400 per vet. The national average is over $4,800. That places Michigan last in the nation.

What is the state doing about this and to make sure that veterans get all the benefits to which they're entitled?

The director of Michigan's Veterans Affairs Agency, Jeff Barnes, joined us today.

Stateside
4:30 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

Scratch-and-sniff ads help sell perfume, but could they sell food, too?

Aradhna Krishna
Wikipedia

We know that scent unlocks a wide range of emotions and memories. A whiff of Chanel No. 5 can take you right back to when you were a little kid, watching your mom get dressed up to go out.

Or smelling Paco Rabanne might remind you of your first boyfriend.

Advertisers of perfume and other personal-care products have been tapping into this for a long time; think of the scratch-and-sniff-spots on perfume ads in magazines.

A University of Michigan marketing professor decided to see if the same holds true for food.

Aradhna Krishna is an expert in sensory marketing, and she joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
3:58 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

What does the future look like for Detroit automakers?

General Motors headquarters.
user paul (dex) Flickr

The Detroit automakers are moving into their fifth year of recovery from the disastrous bottoming-out of 2009, when GM and Chrysler had to file for bankruptcy and Ford had to mortgage itself to the hilt to avoid the same fate.

Sales are brisk, auto loans are available and the future is bright, or is it?

Are there warning signs of another auto downturn? And if so, can the state of Michigan protect itself from getting hit as hard as it did in the last collapse?

Bridge Magazine writer Rick Haglund wrote about this in a recent piece for Bridge, and he joined us today along with Kristen Dziczek from the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor. 

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
3:58 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

What can be done about algae blooms and dead zones in Lake Erie?

Algae in Lake Erie.
Mark Brush Michigan Radio

If you lived in Michigan in the 1960s and '70s, you will remember: Lake Erie was on the "critical list." It was once declared dead.

But it got back on the road to health and recovery until the mid-1990s.

That's when the lake started showing signs of distress, with large algae blooms and dead zones showing up again.

Now comes a report from an international agency that keeps a close eye on the health of the Great Lakes, and it is a clarion call to action. Among the agencies contributing to the report is the Graham Sustainability Institute at the University of Michigan.

Don Scavia, director of the Graham Sustainability Institute, joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
3:57 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

Will this Michigan spring bring water, water everywhere?

Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

We've all kept rather busy this winter tracking the seemingly never-ending snowfall. And, with nobody's friend – the polar vortex – hanging around all winter, nothing has melted. So there's a sizeable snow pack just waiting for the spring melt.

What are forecasters predicting in terms of river and road flooding this spring?

Jim Maczko is a meteorologist with the National Weather Service based in Grand Rapids. He joined us today to give us an idea of what to look out for as temperatures warm up.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
1:26 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

Michigan ranks last in the nation for per-capita spending on veterans

John M. Cropper Flickr

Listen to what the director of Michigan's Veterans Affairs Agency has to say about Michigan being last.

Are Michigan veterans getting what they deserve in terms of benefits and support?

The Veterans Administration says when it comes to per-capita spending on veterans, Michigan checks in at an average of just over $3,400 per vet. The national average is over $4,800. That places Michigan last in the nation.

What is the state doing about this? And what are they doing to make sure that veterans get all the benefits to which they're entitled?

The director of Michigan's Veterans Affairs Agency, Jeff Barnes, joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
5:46 pm
Mon March 10, 2014

CMU class teaches religion by examining 'The Walking Dead'

Central Michigan University

An interview with CMU student Carl Huber.

A college class that involves poring over ancient biblical texts might not inspire much excitement.

But a college class that teaches some of the same lessons using zombies? Ah, that's going to grab 'em!

That's the idea behind a religion class at Central Michigan University that has, indeed, grabbed a lot of attention. It's called "From Revelation to 'The Walking Dead,'" and it’s taught by religion professor Kelly Jean Murphy.

CMU student Carl Huber is a junior who is double-majoring in Comparative Religion and Sociology, and he joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
4:54 pm
Mon March 10, 2014

The latest on the international bridge to Canada

http://buildthedricnow.com/

President Obama recently submitted his budget proposal for fiscal year 2014-2015, and you could almost hear the sighs of exasperation on both sides of the Detroit River.

That's because missing from the nearly $4 trillion budget was the $250 million needed to get construction started on that new bridge across the Detroit River – specifically, the U.S. customs plaza for the New International Trade Crossing bridge to Windsor.

Canada is footing most of the cost of building the bridge, so that missing $250 million is the only piece of the project that the U.S. would kick in.

And it wasn't in Obama’s budget plan.

Windsor Star reporter Dave Battagello joined us to give us the latest on this story.

*Listen to our interview above.

Politics & Culture
4:54 pm
Mon March 10, 2014

Stateside for Monday, March 10, 2014

Today on Stateside, Benton Harbor's financial emergency is over, according to Gov. Rick Snyder. An emergency manager was appointed four years ago; he and his successor have been successful in rehabilitating the city's finances. 

The challenge to Michigan's ban on same-sex marriage is coming to an end in federal court. Oakland County Clerk Lisa Brown joined us today to discuss the issue. 

Proposed changes to special education rules are causing alarm and concern for parents. Marcie Lipsitt, founder of Michigan Alliance for Special Education, joined us today to talk about the potentially devastating effects of the rule changes. 

Law
4:53 pm
Mon March 10, 2014

Same-sex marriage case comes to a close

The family at the center of the same-sex marriage trial.
DeBoer Rowse Adoption Legal Fund

A challenge to Michigan's ban on same-sex marriage is coming to an end in federal court. Arguments have ended and we are waiting for a ruling from U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman within the next two weeks. 

The case involves a lesbian couple from Oakland County and their adopted children. The women want legal joint custody of each other's children for purposes of inheritance, benefits and guardianship, should one of them die.

But state law does not allow gay marriage. Michigan passed a constitutional amendment in 2004 banning same-sex marriage. 

Oakland County Clerk Lisa Brown wants to issue marriage licenses to gay couples, and she joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above. 

Economy
4:52 pm
Mon March 10, 2014

Benton Harbor's financial emergency ends

Benton Harbor's financial emergency is over, according to Governor Rick Snyder.
Google Maps

Gov. Rick Snyder says Benton Harbor's financial emergency is over.

It's been four years since the state appointed an emergency manager to run the city's finances. 

Snyder attributes Benton Harbor's success, in part, to the new emergency manager law he signed after voters repealed a former version. The law gives managers broad powers to fix the finances of the cities and school districts. 

Snyder also gives Benton Harbor's most recent emergency manager credit for building trust in the community.

Listen to the audio above.  

Arts & Culture
4:45 pm
Mon March 10, 2014

The Living Room: Identity and acceptance in West Michigan's LGBT community

Rachel Gleason

Everybody’s got a story.  Some are very extraordinary stories.  It might be a good for somebody to look into theirs, because a story is the shortest distance between two people.

The Living Room is our ongoing storytelling series, curated by Allison Downey.

This story is the first in our series about identity and acceptance in West Michigan’s LGBT community.

Rachel Gleason spent much of youth at her church; worshipping, studying, singing, babysitting.

The church was her life.

But that began to change when Rachel started to understand who she really was.

*Listen to Rachel’s story above.

Allison Downey curates stories for our ongoing series The Living Room. This story was produced by Zak Rosen. Support was provided by a Kalamazoo Community Foundation grant from the Fetzer Institute Fund.

Stateside
4:45 pm
Mon March 10, 2014

An update on where we are with emergency road funding

Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

As we gingerly pick our way through Michigan's pothole-ridden and crumbling roads, state lawmakers are hashing out just how much money to spend on fixing the state's roads and highways.

Chris Gautz, the Capitol correspondent for Crain's Detroit Business, gave us an update.

*Listen to our interview above.

Education
2:08 pm
Mon March 10, 2014

Proposed changes to special education in Michigan worry parents

Alterations to special education rules could drastically change school life for special ed students.
user frank juarez Flickr

Stateside interview with Marcie Lipsitt, founder of the Michigan Alliance for Special Education.

Proposed changes to special education rules in Michigan are causing alarm and concern for some parents.

You can read about the proposed changes here.

Marcie Lipsitt is the founder of the Michigan Alliance for Special Education, a grassroots organization that advocates for special education students. 

The proposed rule revisions would be "catastrophic," according to Lipsitt.

*You can listen to her thoughts above.

Stateside
4:53 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

The lessons Detroit can learn from the rebuilding in New Orleans

New Orleans
Ron Reiring Flickr

When Hurricane Katrina slammed into New Orleans on August 29, 2005, we here in Michigan – along with the rest of America – watched in horror and shock. The scenes from New Orleans were practically beyond comprehension.

It's been eight and a half years since Katrina. New Orleans is still rebuilding and still recovering.

And, in the process, lessons have been learned that might benefit Detroit as it struggles back from bankruptcy and years of shrinking resources and population.

Writer Campbell Robertson's recent piece in the New York Times, A Lesson for Detroit in Efforts to Aid a New Orleans Devastated By Katrina, gives Detroiters and decision-makers much food for thought.

Robertson joined us today.

*Listen to the audio above.

Stateside
4:52 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Small business owner is sick over the Affordable Care Act

Jeff Emerson, president of American Gear & Engineering Inc., in 2010 at a press conference with then-Gov. Jennifer Granholm.
YouTube screenshot

There is little question that the Affordable Care Act is a game-changer for Americans who had jobs where no insurance was available from their employer, or who had pre-existing conditions, or whose incomes did not qualify them for Medicaid, or who could not afford to buy health coverage.

But as the health care picture brightens for these Americans, there are others who are, frankly, sick of the ACA and the upheaval it has brought to their lives.

Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes took a look at what the ACA has meant for a typical small Michigan business.

Howes joined us today and we asked him to tell us about American Gear & Engineering. It’s the company he profiled in today's column of the Detroit News.

Stateside
4:50 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Changes may come for more than 350 juvenile lifers here in Michigan

Inmates in Michigan's county jails could be housed in smaller cells under a bill passed by the Michigan house this week.
rollingroscoe Morguefile

Life without parole used to be the automatic sentence for juveniles who were tried as adults and convicted of first-degree murder. That was until 2012, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that automatic life without parole for juveniles was unconstitutional.
 
But a question remains: What happens to the more than 350 juvenile lifers here in Michigan who were sent to prison before the decision?

The Michigan Supreme Court heard arguments on that question today, and our Lansing Bureau Chief of the Michigan Public Radio Network, Rick Pluta, was in the courtroom.

*Listen to our interview above.

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