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.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Democratic Congressman Dan Kildee, representing the 5th district on the state's east side, talks with us about what President Barack Obama said – and didn't say – in his State of the Union address.

Listen to the full interview above.

Thousands and thousands of buildings are set to be demolished in Detroit. Many argue this is needed in order to revive neighborhoods and the city.

 But, what about historic structures? Places with deep-rooted meaning in Detroit? On today's show, we ask if there is room to preserve history. And then we sit down with The Appleseed Collective, the Michigan-based folk-group has a new album out, and we'll get a live performance in Studio East.  But first on the show, we talk State of the Union. After President Obama’s State of the Union address, we got some reactions from Michigan's members of Congress. Democratic Congressman Dan Kildee weighed in on today's show, as did Republican Congressman Bill Huzeinga.

Failure-Lab / YouTube

Jessica Care Moore is an internationally renowned poet, publisher, activist, playwright, and frankly a flat-out rock star.

She is a five-time "Showtime at the Apollo" winner and has been featured on the album "Nastradamus" as well as Def Poetry Jam.

This is the story that Jessica shared at Failure:Lab Detroit on Nov. 21, 2013, at the Detroit Opera House.

user cme / wikimedia commons

Are Americans driving less?

Some interesting statistics from the University of Michigan's Transportation Research Institute finds that from coast to coast, more of us are making do without a car or truck.

So, what's changing in the way younger Americans look at cars?

We're joined by Bridge Magazine writer Rick Haglund, who recently explored these questions in a piece titled "As Detroit auto show revs, America cools to car culture."

And we're joined by writer Micki Maynard, founder and editor in chief of Curbing Cars, a website that chronicles changing attitudes towards transportation. She's also a former Detroit bureau chief for The New York Times.

*Listen to the audio above.

New legislation attempts to reduce the number of sports-related concussions in kids.
YMCA of Western North Carolina / flickr

Super Bowl Sunday is days away, and when you think about the atmosphere at any given sports event – be it the Super Bowl, a Red Wings game, or even your child's grade-school team – chances are the atmosphere is one of fierce competition.

Think of the crowd and the chants. You know, "Beat 'em, beat 'em, let's deFEAT 'em." But my next guest is asking us to look at sports in another light – in a spiritual light.

Jeanne Hess has been the head coach of Kalamazoo College's Volleyball team for some 30 years, and is an associate chaplain. Her book is called, "Sportuality: Finding Joy in the Games."

Jeanne Hess joined us on Stateside today.

*Listen to the audio above.

m-1rail.com

Anyone who has spent time in Chicago, New York or Washington knows the value of a good public transportation system – something that has been woefully lacking in southeast Michigan.

But there are hopeful signs: the M-1 rail along Woodward in Detroit, talk of an Ann Arbor-Detroit commuter line and planned improvements on the Pontiac-Chicago Amtrak line.

Couple this with the fact that, according to the University of Michigan's Transportation Research Institute, 26% of households in Detroit do not have a car.

That leads to the question: What would better public transit options mean to Detroit – a city so deeply-rooted in the car culture?

Richard Murphy is the programs director of the Michigan Suburbs Alliance. He just finished his term on Southeast Michigan's Regional Transit Authority Board. We spoke with him today.

*Listen to the audio above.

Detroit skyline.
user JSFauxtaugraphy / Flickr

What important questions are we, in the media, not asking about Detroit?

 What impacts of the Detroit bankruptcy have flown under the radar? What about questions about life post-bankruptcy – like just how can Detroit rebuild its neighborhoods and create more high-paying jobs? And what does all of that mean for Michigan as a whole? Well, Michigan Radio is partnering with other media organizations in the state to try and find the answers to those questions. And so welcome to the new "Detroit Journalism Cooperative." Lester Graham will be digging into the coverage for Michigan Radio and he joined us today.

KidsCount

A new report finds the state's poorest children have failed to make up any ground in their reading skills in the past decade.

According to the the latest Kids Count report, 81% of low-income 4th-graders in Michigan are not reading proficiently.

Michigan is among six states that have seen no improvement in that rate since 2003.

Jane Zehnder-Merrell is the project director for Kids Count Michigan and she joined us today.

Hundreds of thousands of people packed Cobo Center in Detroit over the past two weeks for the North American International Auto Show. There were lots of hot cars and new models, but what about actual transportation in the city itself?

On today's show, we'll ask what would better public transportation mean for Detroit – a place so deeply rooted in car culture.

And then, you've no doubt heard that the Super Bowl happens. We'll talk to the Kalamazoo author of "Sportuality." She's pushing for a bit more spirituality in everyday sports.

But first on the show, we talk about a new report that found the state's poorest children have failed to make up any ground in their reading skills in the past decade.

According to the the latest Kids Count report, 81% of low income 4th-graders in Michigan are not reading proficiently.

Michigan is among six states that have seen no improvement in that rate since 2003.

Jane Zehnder-Merrell is the project director for Kids Count Michigan and she joined us today.

*Listen to the audio above.

ahans / Flickr

Domestic violence is something that reaches every corner of American life.

The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence tells us that 85% of the people who suffer violence at the hands of an intimate partner are women.

One in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. That’s 1.3 million women each and every year. And most of these women have mobile phones, computers, facebook pages, or some kind of an online presence.

The presence of these information communication technologies presents ever-growing challenges to a survivor trying to stay well away from an abusive partner.

Just how do these technologies influence interpersonal violence?

Jill Dimond is a computer science graduate from the University of Michigan. After she earned her PhD at Georgia Tech, she focused her efforts on what she calls "Human Centered Computing."

That includes forming a worker-owner technology cooperative called Sassafras Tech Collective helping social justice groups, non-profits, artists and others with web and app design and development.

For more information on online safety for survivors of domestic abuse, go to the National Network to End Domestic Violence.

*Listen to the audio above.

http://buildthedricnow.com/

  

Remember all the political wrangling over the "New International Trade Crossing"? After that feverish campaign in the fall of 2012, where Ambassador Bridge owner Matty Maroun failed to convince Michigan voters to give him a monopoly of the Detroit River crossing between Detroit and Canada, and after Canada agreed that it would indeed pay the lion's share of the $2.1 billion it'll cost to complete the bridge – after all of that – why has there been no more movement toward getting the new bridge built? Michigan Radio's political commentator Jack Lessenberry explains what's up. *Listen to the audio above.

State and national GOP chairs have now called on Republican National Committeeman Dave Agema to resign his position.

Agema stirred controversy after making anti-gay and anti-Muslim comments.

Late Friday, Agema issued a statement acknowledging “errors in judgment,” but says he won’t resign.

This has many people asking what Agema’s comments mean for Republicans – particularly for Muslim or gay members of the Republican Party.

Joining us now is Joe Sylvester, chair of the Michigan Log Cabin Republicans. Log Cabin Republicans are people who work within the party to push for equal rights for gays and lesbians.

White House / YouTube

President Obama will deliver his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress tomorrow night. It's the President's chance to throw down the gauntlet and outline his agenda for the year ahead.

 What shall we watch for here in Michigan? What shall we expect? We turn to Detroit Free Press Washington reporter Todd Spangler.

President Obama is set to deliver his sixth State of the Union address tomorrow evening. From the auto industry to the Great Lakes, just what should you be listening for?

And there was a lot of talk about a new bridge between Detroit and Canada, but has the momentum slowed down? We'll ask Michigan Radio's political commentator Jack Lessenberry about the holdup on the New International Trade Crossing.

And the state and national GOP chairs have now called on Republican National Committeeman Dave Agema to resign his position.

Agema stirred controversy after making anti-gay and anti-Muslim comments.

Late Friday, Agema issued a statement acknowledging “errors in judgment,” but says he won’t resign.

This has many people asking what Agema’s comments mean for Republicans, particularly for Muslim or gay members of the Republican Party.

Joining us now is Joe Sylvester, chair of the Michigan Log Cabin Republicans. Log Cabin Republicans are people who work within the party to push for equal rights for gays and lesbians.

He calls himself a "hockey rock star" – and he's earned the right to do just that.

Whether it was his 15 seasons as an NHL enforcer, the four Stanley Cups he won with the Red Wings, the legendary "Fight Night at the Joe" when he took down Claude Lemieux of the Avalanche, or his rock band "Grinder," Darren McCarty has played hard and lived hard, coping with family issues and addiction even as he skated to NHL stardom wearing  No 25.

He tells his story in an autobiography called "My Last Fight: The True Story of a Hockey Rock Star," written with the help of journalist Kevin Allen.

And, just like Darren on the ice, this book pulls no punches.

No Smoking sign
user capl@washjeff.edu / creative commons

State Rep. Tom McMillin, R-Rochester Hills, wants to loosen Michigan's smoking ban. Since 2010, Michigan has had a ban on smoking in restaurants, bars, and public venues.

House Bill 5159 would give these businesses the green light to allow smoking on patios and other outdoor areas.

Detroit Free Press columnist Brian Dickerson has some strong thoughts about this proposal from Rep. McMillin.

user aMichiganMom / Flickr

Big news out of Lansing yesterday: 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.

Big news, but not altogether surprising.

Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes has been writing about this possible cash infusion for weeks now. He joined us today to discuss the issue.

Listen to the full interview above.

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.

A survey conducted by Michigan State University's Charles Ballard shows an improved approval rating for Governor Snyder.
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.

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.

YouTube

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:

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.

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

The Michigan 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.

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.

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.

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?

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.

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.  

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.

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.

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