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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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Snyder attributes Benton Harbor's success, in part, to the new emergency manager law he signed after voters repealed a former version.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.

Stateside
4:48 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Amtrak is offering free rides to writers

wikimedia commons

There's quite an excited buzz happening among the ranks of writers.

Amtrak is putting together a "writers' residency" program – free, or-nearly free – train rides to writers.

You write while you're chugging along the tracks, send out a few tweets about your travels and let Amtrak interview you for their blog at the end of your trip.

Today, we found out how this came about, how it might work, and who might be eligible.

Our "resident expert" in all things Amtrak, Adie Tomer of the Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program, joined us today.

– Listen to the audio above.

Politics & Culture
4:46 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Stateside for Thursday, March 6, 2014

What can Detroit learn from the city’s efforts to rebuild strategically post-Katrina?

Also on today’s show, we spoke with Daniel Howes who looked at what the Affordable Care Act has meant for one small Michigan business-owner.

But first on the show, we talked about “juvenile lifers” in Michigan.

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 Rick Pluta, Michigan Public Radio Network Lansing Bureau Chief ,was in the courtroom. We checked in with Rick.

Stateside
4:34 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Mom shares the story of her failure – trying to 'do it all'

Ellie Rogers.
Failure:Lab YouTube

It was Bill Gates who declared,"It's fine to celebrate success, but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure."

And it's good to realize that we all fail at times. It's just that most of us try to cover that up, or, at the very least, we don't broadcast our failures.

But that’s not how it works at Failure:Lab.

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

You can see our past Failure:Lab posts here.

Today, we hear about Ellie Rogers’ failure.

She works for leading furniture maker Herman Miller. She has an eight-year-old daughter, Campbell, and has found personal struggles to be overwhelming at times.

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

Check it out below, or at this link.

Stateside
4:12 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

Not everyone is happy about the profit sharing at the Big 3 auto companies

automotiveauto.info

We've all heard the familiar idiom "every cloud has a silver lining."

But when it comes to the healthy profits being earned by the Detroit automakers and the profit-sharing checks that will be going to autoworkers, my next guest points out, the converse is true: "Every silver lining has a cloud."

Detroit Free Press Business columnist Tom Walsh joined us today.

Politics & Culture
4:12 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

Stateside for Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The sales of electric vehicles are growing at a steady pace, and now EVs are selling at a faster rate than hybrids.

Electric car-charging stations are popping up across the country's highways and in the cities. Is it a fad, a trend, or a major shift for the car industry? We'll explore that on today's show.

Also, more than half of Detroit’s students are now enrolled in charter schools – and those traditional schools are struggling to keep their doors open. With so many charter schools in Detroit, how do we know the smarter choice?  

But first on the show, when it comes to funding for higher education, it's hard to believe that in 2000, all but three of the 50 states contributed more per college student than each student paid.

That came to a screeching halt in Michigan, starting with deep cuts to higher education funding by the Granholm administration. The cuts picked up steam as the economy worsened.

Today, Michigan is among the many states to shift the burden of paying for a college education onto students. We now rank 40th in per-student higher education spending.

Brian Smith joined us today. He wrote about this for MLive.

Stateside
4:12 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

With so many charter schools in Detroit, how do we know the smarter choice?

Cup with pencils
user jdurham morguefile

It's no secret that Detroit schools have been failing their students for a long time.

In 2009 Detroit's public schools racked up the worst scores in the history of the National Assessment of Educational Progress test, and the scores haven't really improved since then.

Charter schools were launched to offer Detroit parents a choice. But my next guest believes the unregulated environment for charter schools has wound up hurting the kids who most need help and a sound education.

Robin Lake is director of the Center on Reinventing Public Education at the University of Washington in Seattle.  She recently visited Detroit and came away with some unsettling views of the condition of Detroit's charter schools.

Stateside
4:12 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

What it means to our safety every time we climb into a vehicle

Dummy in a Hyundai Tucson before a crash test
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crash_test_dummy

Think for a moment about what you see when you're behind the wheel of your car.

Everything from the padding on the dashboard to the thickness of the windshield is designed to help keep you alive in the event of a crash. That  knowledge comes from experiments and crash tests conducted on crash test dummies. Whether we like to think about it or not, the crash tests often are conducted on human cadavers.

Because engineers and designers need to know exactly what it takes to injure every major organ and bone in our bodies and try to design vehicles to protect us from those forces.

The first place to ever conduct cadaver testing was Wayne State University in Detroit.  Its Bioengineering Center has studied impact biomechanics since 1939.

We wanted to learn more about this research and what it means to our safety every time we climb into a vehicle.

We're joined by Albert King, who is a distinguished professor in biomedical engineering at Wayne State.

Stateside
4:12 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

How would Laura Ingalls Wilder describe this year’s winter?

Weather forecasters say Michigan will likely get hit by big winter storm late Tuesday
Sami Flickr

How would Laura Ingalls Wilder describe the winter of 1880-81, when blizzard after blizzard pounded the settlement town of DeSmet, in what was then Dakota Territory?

National Weather Service meteorologist and climatologist Barbara Mayes Boustead joins us today to put that long, difficult winter into perspective. 

Stateside
4:12 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

What will it mean for the Great Lakes once spring finally gets here and that ice melts?

Michigan was clobbered by snow and ice storms in January and February.
Mark Brush Michigan Radio

As our long, cold, snowy winter has dragged on, one result can be seen with stunning clarity from outer space. Satellite photos prove that the Great Lakes are nearly totally covered with ice, and we're close to setting a record for the most ice cover in 34 years.

We wondered if we might break that record, and we wondered what this will mean for the Great Lakes once spring finally gets here and that ice melts.

Alan Steinman, director of the Annis Water Resources Institute at Grand Valley State University joined us today.

Stateside
4:11 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

Michigan among many states to shift burden of college expense to students

Education Trust-Midwest

In 2000, all but three of the 50 states contributed more per student than each student paid for their college education. That came to a screeching halt in Michigan, starting with deep cuts to higher education funding by the Granholm administration and picking up steam as the economy worsened.

Today, Michigan is among the many states to shift the burden of paying for that college education onto students.

We now rank 40th in per-student higher education spending. Michigan's per-student spending works out to just over $4,600 per student, compared to the nearly $9,900 per-student cost to enrollees.

MLive's Brian Smith wrote about this, and joined us today.

Stateside
6:23 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

Why ticket scalping may soon be legal in Michigan

Michigan lawmakers appear to be on their way to handing you a much better chance of selling a ticket for a sports or entertainment event at whatever price you can get.

The state House has voted to repeal a 1931 law and allow people to resell tickets above face value. In other words, it voted to legalize ticket scalping.

Here to tell us more is Dave Eggert, Lansing correspondent for the Associated Press.

Politics & Government
6:18 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

Would you say that America is united? Or is our nation splintered and fragmented?

Wayne Baker

When you look at the gridlock in Washington, the Red Blue state stereotypes, divisive and alarming messages blasted out at us from advertising, websites, TV networks, many talk radio shows and columnists, it's easy to conclude that our nation is divided and bitter.

But what does science tell us about what is truly in the hearts and minds of Americans?

My next guest has applied the science, asked the questions, and come up with an answer that is as surprising as it is reassuring: We are much more united as a people than you might have thought.

Wayne Baker is an author and sociologist. He's on the senior faculty of the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan and he is with the U-of-M Institute for Social Research.

His newest book is called "United America: The Surprising Truth About American Values, American Identity and the 10 Beliefs That a Large Majority of Americans Hold Dear."

Wayne Baker joined us today.

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