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.

Representatives Gary Glenn and Jeff Irwin
Rick Pluta, Michigan Public Radio Network

A bipartisan package of bills is being considered by the Michigan Legislature that would subsidize homes, businesses, and churches that generate their own electricity using solar power or other methods of home-grown generation.

The big power-generating companies aren’t happy. They say other ratepayers would end up paying for part of the cost of that renewable energy production.

Representatives Gary Glenn, R-Midland, and Jeff Irwin, D-Ann Arbor, are two of the co-sponsors of the package along with Scott Dianda, D-Calumet, and Ed McBroom, R-Vulcan.

Flickr/Joe Gratz /

The Next Idea

Traffic tickets and low-level misdemeanors aren’t supposed to ruin lives and cost taxpayers millions.

For most of these offenses, paying a fine or arguing a case before a judge should be a fairly straightforward, low-hassle matter.

Yet there are plenty of reasons why these minor violations end up as major problems.

Today on Stateside: 

Replica of the Epiphone Texan played by Paul McCartney. McCartney played a right-handed Texan modified for left-handed play.
Wikimedia user CasinoKat /

The Beatles’ Yesterday is widely considered one of the most iconic songs of all time.

On the track, you can hear Paul McCartney playing his famed Epiphone Texan.

For nearly four decades, the Epiphone has sported a Red Wings decal, all thanks to Mike Kudzia of Clinton Township.

Kudzia tells us he was just swinging by Olympia Stadium the night of the Wings concert in 1976 to pick up a paycheck when his coworkers invited him to stay for the rest of the show.

“It was a great show, I was really enjoying it,” he says. And then he was struck with an idea.

A small sample of the thick, bacteria-ridden algae spreading across Lake Erie
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

Half a million Toledo residents lost their drinking water in the summer of 2014 thanks to thick carpets of bacteria-laden algae on Lake Erie.

It hammered home a warning that scientists have been trying to sell for years: Lake Erie is in serious trouble.

Andy Stuart, president of the Toledo Rotary Club, wants to make sure no one forgets. The club is hosting a Lake Erie crisis conference this weekend.

Courtesy of Flint Eastwood

Flint Eastwood has a new EP out this week. It’s called Small Victories.

The music was recorded at Assemble Sound, a repurposed church in Detroit.

Bandleader Jax Anderson says the studio played a huge factor in determining the sound of this new collection of songs.

On Assemble Sound

Rogerio Fernandes

Coloring books are more popular than ever. Adults are encouraged to use them as stress relievers and an easy outlet for creativity.

Kathryn Curtis, a University of Michigan School of Public Policy graduate, is hoping to use coloring books to raise awareness of the problem of water security in Brazil and the U.S.

After spending a year in Brazil and seeing firsthand how the drought has affected farmers there, she decided to create a "plantable" coloring book that she hopes will get people talking about the negative effects of drought.

First interurban cars on the Detroit, Almont and Northern Railroad. Almont, Michigan, July 1, 1914
flickr user Wystan /

Construction of the M-1 streetcar line continues along Woodward Avenue in Detroit running from downtown to Grand Boulevard in Midtown.

The new streetcars won’t be up and running until sometime in 2017.

Today on Stateside:

Fiat Chrysler

Fiat Chrysler Automotive's UAW members vote this week on whether to ratify the second contract put before them. The first tentative contract agreement went down to resounding defeat, forcing the union and FCA to try again.

Much of the opposition to the first deal was fired up on social media. At the same time, the union was widely viewed as having stumbled badly on its social media presence defending the deal.

They're not letting that happen this time.

Brent Snavely of the Detroit Free Press joined Stateside to talk about the negotiations. 

“John W. Hoag, Daguerrean Artist, Lansing, Mich., Dec. 14th, 1849.” This daguerreotype self-portrait with sign-board indicates the sitter’s profession. Likely the earliest known portrait of a Michigan photographer.
William L. Clements Library

There are many ways to revisit the stories of our past. Textbooks, journals and diaries, audio recordings and photographs – they all tell tales that might otherwise slip into the white noise of history.

David Tinder has been collection early Michigan photographs for all types for roughly 40 years now.

His collection of some 100,000 vintage images will be preserved at the University of Michigan Clements Library.

Tinder tells us he was always a collector of many things, but started gathering photos in 1964 when he bought a book on stereoviews.

Are the arts a luxury or an economic necessity?

Oct 19, 2015
Melanie Goulish

The Next Idea

Most of us have a sense that the arts contribute to a community’s economic well-being. Measuring that feeling in real economic terms, however, is quite difficult.

We know that arts and culture enhance where we live, but when it comes to determining where to invest money for our state’s future, it’s not clear how the arts really add up.

Today on Stateside: 

The Orbit logo
Rob St. Mary

Last December, journalist and Macomb County native Rob St. Mary had just gotten enough funding to publish an anthology saluting the work of three independent music arts magazines from the last days of a pre-Internet Michigan.

Re-Entry: The Orbit Magazine Anthology has arrived, packing in two decades’ worth of Detroit’s alternative publishing history.

Michigan drivers have become all too familiar with the dreaded pothole.
flickr user Michael Gil /

Gov. Rick Snyder’s mantra of “relentless, positive action” hit a great big pothole this week.

Negotiations over that elusive road funding plan hit what the governor calls “an impasse” when Democrats would not agree to an across-the-board income tax cut.

The Detroit News’ Daniel Howes makes the point in his column today that our state representatives can sit in session all night long to get rid of a couple of philandering tea partiers, but can't come up with an answer for voters all over Michigan screaming for a roads fix.

The Paul Bunyan trophy is up for grabs this weekend. Will it stay at MSU?
user megstersdad / Wikimedia Commons -

So, there’s some game happening this weekend.

No. 7 Michigan State is facing No. 12 Michigan, and Michigan is favored to win this game.

“For the first time in many, many years, the nation will be watching this game,” says Michigan Radio sports commentator John U. Bacon.

Bacon says no one saw this type of game coming earlier this year, when Michigan wasn’t expected to do much.

MW Cranson / Facebook

Organizers of Save the Willow Run Bomber Plant will attempt to break the current Guinness World Record for gathering the most Rosie the Riveters on Oct. 24.

“Michigan is where the original Rosie the Riveter came from and we have to keep that Guinness record here in Michigan,” said Congresswoman Debbie Dingell, co-chair of the organizing committee.

Last year, 776 Rosies gathered at Willow Run and that set a Guinness record, but the record was lost to Rockin' Rosies of Richmond with 1,084 Rosies in California in August 2015.

Flickr/Tri Mode /

The Next Idea

Michigan makes things, millions of things. And not only do we manufacture them, we invent and design them. For a century, Michigan has led the form and function of furniture, appliances, medical devices, automobiles, aerospace, and agricultural products.

Today on Stateside:

Courtney of Dispute Resolution Center

There are bipartisan bills in the Michigan Legislature aimed at changing the way juveniles are sentenced in court. According to the bill sponsors there are about 600 17-year-olds in Michigan corrections system – almost 350 of those are "juvenile lifers."

What if young people could learn effective, peaceful ways of resolving conflicts – ways to settle a dispute without resorting to violence?

Jon Vander Pol /

Exported from Michigan is a documentary film that explores the way Michiganders are employing resilience, creativity, toughness, and innovation to pull our state back from the depths of the Great Recession.

Earlier this year the film won the 2015 Audience Choice Award for Best Feature Length Documentary at the International Beverly Hills Film Festival.

John Vander Pol wrote, produced, and directed the film.

The Ambassador Bridge's owner wants to turn an old neighborhood at the foot of the bridge into a secondary truck inspection plaza.
flickr user Alan Levine /

There has been plenty of legal wrangling over Ambassador Bridge owner Matty Moroun’s desire to block the new Gordie Howe Bridge and build a second bridge right next to the Ambassador.

Across the Detroit River, the city of Windsor has taken its complaint with Moroun all the way up to Canada’s Supreme Court.

MDEQ Director Dan Wyant talks with the media last Thursday (Oct. 8) when the state announced its support for a move back to Detroit water.
State of Michigan / LiveStream

State and local officials have done an about-face when it comes to Flint's water crisis.

For months, residents and even experts who raised concerns about the water's safety were dismissed.

That's until mounting evidence – especially about high lead levels in kids – made the critics impossible to ignore.

Today on Stateside:

Courtesy Siena Heights University

A Roman Catholic nun living in Adrian has been teaching literature to male prisoners at Gus Harrison Correctional Facility for nearly 30 years.

"They were engaged. They were passionate. They had read the book. They wanted to talk about it," said Sr. Pat Schnapp, associate professor of English at Siena Heights University. "And my teacherly heart just took off and I was hooked from that point on. I thought, 'I always want to do this in my life.'"

* Republicans might be doing their best to break up with Dave Agema, but Dave Agema is making sure everyone knows he is now about to break up with Republicans.

* With a major recall in effect due to the emissions cheating scandal, Volkswagen owners want to know where things went wrong and what comes next. Jennifer White has some thoughts set to a Boyz II Men song.

* Sister Pat Schnapp is Roman Catholic nun, and a professor of English at Siena Heights University. For nearly three decades, Sister Pat has been teaching African American Literature to male prisoners.

Even the view from my panoramic sunroof isn't helping.
Bruce Berrien / Flickr -

I found my Jetta Sportswagen TDI in 2013.

I bought the car after extensive research, and it was exactly what I needed -- roomy but sporty, solid construction, room in the back for my dogs, excellent safety ratings, and the sweet, sweet gas-mileage-and-carbon-footprint cherry on top of that automotive sundae.

I was seduced. I "spreche die Deutsch."

The last couple of years I have raved to friends and family about my Jetta -- how I can drive to Chicago and back on one tank of gas. I loved how impressed my friends were by the panoramic sunroof.

Even my parents liked this car.

Today on Stateside:

VW showed off their Gold TDI Clean Diesel at the 2010 Washington Auto Show. The company has since admitted to evading emissions standards for the last seven years.
wikimedia user Mariordo /

Today Volkswagen’s top U.S. executive is facing the wrath of Congress.

The hearing before a congressional oversight panel is in response to VW’s admission that is has been cheating on U.S. diesel emissions tests for the past seven years.

Last year General Motors CEO Mary Barra was lambasted by a congressional panel over GM's ignition recall scandal, and the Detroit News’ Daniel Howes expects today will be no easier for VW U.S. chief Michael Horn.

The officers of the Mystic Order of Veiled Prophet of the Enchanted Realm, 1890 including the founder, Leroy Fairchild on the right seated.
Public Domain

Does wearing exotic uniforms, wielding sabers, riding camels, or driving tiny cars sound like a good time to you? Then you might have been right at home in one of the scores of social clubs that sprang up around America hundreds of years ago.

The Freemasons, the Odd Fellows, the Loyal Order of the Moose, the Daughters of Rebekah and the Order of the Eastern Star – men and women flocked to these clubs, especially in Detroit.

Bill Loomis took a look at these groups in his piece, Hanging at the club: the golden age of fraternal societies.