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.

Today on Stateside:

The story stunned Detroit News readers: recordings indicated GOP State Rep. Todd Courser had a phony email sent out alleging he'd paid for gay sex behind a Lansing bar, all to provide what he called "a controlled burn" to direct attention away from an extra-marital affair with fellow State Rep. Cindy Gamrat. Detroit News Lansing reporter Chad Livengood brings us Courser’s response to the story.

Heading down to Meijer's?
flickr user Mike Kalasnik /

Here's a questions for you. Did your dad work at "Ford's?” Did your grandma shop at "Hudson's?” Do you make grocery runs at "Meijer's?”

Senator Debbie Stabenow
USDAgov / Creative Commons

Can American legislators help to convince the Canadian environmental minister to say no to a plan to store nuclear waste underground less than a mile from Lake Huron?

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow hopes so. She unveiled legislation today related to a nuclear waste storage site planned for Kincardine, Ontario.

Courser web site

It was the story that stunned Detroit News readers.

Recordings were published Friday that indicated State Rep. Todd Courser, R-Lapeer, had sent out a phony email last May alleging he paid for gay sex behind a Lansing bar. The email was meant to provide what he called a "controlled burn," to direct attention away from an extramarital affair with fellow State Rep. Cindy Gamrat, R-Plainwell.

Bytemarks / flickr


State officials say Michigan’s unemployment computer system is saving money, streamlining the unemployment process, and rooting out unemployment fraud. It's called the Michigan Integrated Data Automated System, or MiDAS, and it's been handling unemployment claims in Michigan since 2013.

User CedarBendDrive/Flickr

The Next Idea

As public frustration with government mounts in response to the road funding impasse, some members of the state legislature are now joining in on the calls for reform. 

Courtesy of Sakti3

The Next Idea

Ann Marie Sastry is a former University of Michigan professor, a material science researcher, and the founder of Sakti3 -- one of 30 companies invited to showcase its work at the first-ever White House Demo Day.

She's developing the next generation of low-cost batteries, a solid state solution that has generated results and hype.  A Fortune magazine article titled "Will this battery change everything?" offers a detailed look into what stands to happen if the company can achieve the "holy grail of power storage."

Today on Stateside:

Ann Marie Sastry is a former University of Michigan professor, a material science researcher, and the founder of Sakti3 — one of 30 companies invited to showcase its work at the first-ever White House Demo Day. She’s developing the next generation of low-cost batteries that could change everything.

Dan Austin’s recent piece for Detroit Free Press talks about new life at the home of the Detroit Stock Exchange. Austin joins us today to give us a lesson on the history of the DSE.

John U. Bacon

Michigan Radio sports commentator John U. Bacon joins us for this week’s sports roundup.

flickr user Joe Gratz /

By the end of September, survivors of sexual assault will have new rights.

The Sexual Assault Victim’s Access To Justice Act sets up an array of victims' rights in sexual assault cases.

The act requires police agencies to inform survivors about how they can get help and support, where the survivor can get free medical care and testing, and to do it all within 24 hours of the first contact with the survivor.

By Umdet (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Many from the region may not know it, but Detroit once was home to a thriving financial district with its very own Detroit Stock Exchange.

Founder of Dan Austin recently wrote about this part of the city's history for the Detroit Free Press.

Juan Beltran


Tunde Olaniran’s music has been reviewed and featured across the nation on NPR, the New York Times and Pitchfork Magazine. People are paying attention to his music coming out of Flint.


He’s not only a singer and songwriter, he’s a producer, designs his own costumes, and choreographs his own shows (accompanied by backup dancers). By day, Olaniran is an outreach manager for Planned Parenthood. This past year, he’s spent his free time creating a new album.

Today on Stateside:

Michigan's local food movement is thriving, and we're seeing more chefs who deeply care about what they buy and from whom. Metro Times writer Michael Jackman tells us about a meal prepared by Chef Rigato of The Root in White Lake Township, and how he traced nearly 100% of its ingredients to Michigan producers.

flickr user Steven Depolo /

In 1994, Michigan opened the door to schools of choice. It permitted school districts to welcome students from other districts.

Some two decades later, more than 80% of districts are now enrolling school-of-choice students.

Sterling State Park is the only Michigan state park on the shores of Lake Eerie
user Dwight Burdette /

Just about five years ago, Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources Parks and Recreation scrapped the long-time window sticker entry system in favor of an annual license plate pass.

Today, that “recreation passport” costs $11, and it grants you access to Michigan’s 98 state parks, recreation areas, and boat launches.

Miranda Bono is on track to open the very first "cat cafe" in Michigan.

"A cat cafe is basically a coffee shop and a cat rescue center in one place," says Bono.

Cat cafes originated in Asia and traveled to the United States, with the first opening in California last fall.

Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

Michigan's local food movement is growing and thriving. We're seeing more chefs who deeply care about what they buy and from whom.

Chefs like James Rigato of the Root, a locavore restaurant in White Lake Township.

Writer Michael Jackman of the Metro Times recently analyzed a meal prepared by Chef Rigato and traced nearly 100% of its ingredients to Michigan producers. His just-released story in the Metro Times is billed as "a grand tour of Michigan's local food movement."

The meal consisted of a Charcuterie platter with meat, cheese, fish and vegetables from the region.

Courtesy of the author

The power of forgiveness. The power of trust. The often-complicated, sometimes-thorny relationship between a mother and a daughter.

Those are some of the themes that Lansing's Lori Nelson Spielman explores in her latest novel Sweet Forgiveness.

Giant hogweed close-up
user Farbenfreude /

You could say, it's like something out of "Little Shop of Horrors": a nasty, giant plant that could lead to blistering, scars, even permanent blindness.  

It's called the giant hogweed, and they've found one near Battle Creek.

Logging camp near Cadillac, MI, ca. 1904
U.S. National Archives and Records Administration /

There’s a new living history park in Whitehall that’s giving visitors a unique way to discover the history of Michigan.

Michigan’s Heritage Park is part of the Lakeshore Museum Center in Muskegon.

Today on Stateside:

Watchdogs at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are keeping a wary eye on a safety issue with airbags: what happens when airbags age? Paul Eisenstein talks with us about the concerns.

It’s almost like something out of “Little Shop of Horrors,” a nasty, giant plant that could lead to blistering, scars, or even permanent blindness. It’s called giant hogweed, and one’s been found near Battle Creek. Gretchen Voyle sits down with us to talk about just what makes this plant so nasty.

By White House photo by Eric Draper via Wikimedia Commons

The legions of readers who love and cherish Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird” were stunned and then excited at the prospect of reading her long-lost manuscript, “Go Set a Watchman.”

The story centers on Scout as a grown woman: Jean Louise Finch. Once eager readers clamped their eyes on the story, the shockwaves hit.

The beloved character of Atticus had become a bigot.

“Go Set a Watchman” was not an extension of “To Kill a Mockingbird” after all.

Flickr user MoneyBlogNewz /

Let's say you're running a national company and that company has lost $26 billion between 2011 and 2014.

What should you do? Find cost efficiencies? Streamline? Merge? Cut spending?

deployed front airbags
Flickr user Mic /

There have been at least eight people killed in accidents related to defective airbags made by Takata. The potential number of vehicles affected by these Takata air bags has been boosted to more than 32 million, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

But the watchdogs at NHTSA are keeping a wary eye on another safety issue brewing with airbags. What happens when airbags age?

The average age of vehicles on the road is more than 11 years old, and according to auto journalist and publisher of Paul Eisenstein that's the oldest average age we've ever experienced.  

Flickr user Mike Mozart /

Your backyard may be full of potential wild edibles that you never considered.

Lisa Rose is an herbalist, urban farmer and a forager. Her mission is to get us to connect with the land we live in by using plants we can find in our surroundings.  And you can learn how to do this in her book Midwest Foraging: 115 Wild and Flavorful Edibles from Burdock to Wild Peach.

Many people think of foraging as something that has to be done in wilderness, but Rose says there is potential all around us, saying she wants to "bring that level of awareness that nature is right out our front door, it's not just exclusively at a nature center or at the farmer's market."

Today on Stateside:

A group of unions is launching a petition drive to raise the corporate income tax rate in Michigan, a proposal that flies in the face of Gov. Snyder’s tax overhaul of 2011. The It’s Just Politics team of Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta break the proposal down for us.

It’s happened to the best of us: you said something online that you now regret. Can you take it back, or will your unfortunate emails, tweets and posts somehow live forever? Kimberly Springer sits down with us to talk about what users can do to combat Internet rant remorse.

More options are becoming available to help users clean up their social media image
flickr user Jason Howie /

It's happened to the best of us: you shot off an email while you were hot under the collar, or you fired off an angry Facebook post or a tweet.

Then, remorse set in.

Is there anything you can do to take it back? Or will your unfortunate emails, tweets and posts somehow live forever?

According to Michigan Radio’s social media producer Kimberly Springer, it's complicated.

Courtesy of Detroit Soup

The Next Idea 

There was an article in the Detroit Free Press last month about a family’s efforts to raise money through a GoFundMe campaign. The goal was to fix up a decaying home so that their mentally disabled relative didn’t have to move into a nursing home. As the article pointed out, the family asked the public for help, “and much of the public reacted with outrage.”

This hurts my heart. As someone who’s been working for the last five-plus years on building a non-profit in Detroit, I have seen firsthand how reluctant – even afraid – we are to help people here.

Flickr user A.Currell /

There's no way you can look back at the history of rock and roll, and rock journalism, without looking at CREEM.

The late Barry Kramer started distributing CREEM out of the trunk of his car in 1969. In its heyday, CREEM made its home in Birmingham in Oakland County.

Jo Christian Oterhals/flickr /

Divorce is complicated. Even more so if there are children involved. But, for Carter Cortelyou there was another layer to his divorce that made it difficult for him to talk to about it, until now.  

In 2009, his wife came out to him — told him she is a lesbian. Since then, Cortelyou has gone through grief, isolation, financial challenges and re-entering the dating world unexpectedly.

“My first thought was there goes our 25th wedding anniversary (laughs), we were 24-years-married at the time and…there goes our 25th.”