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 will focus on topics and events that matter to people all across the state.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

One of the criticisms frequently aimed at Congress is that "gridlock" where decisions come slowly, if at all, as both sides draw their respective lines in the sand, and there's just not much compromising.

That is not the case with state legislatures across the country where, thanks to one-party control in 37 states, we're seeing action and lots of it.

Stateline is an independent, non-partisan news service of the Pew Charitable Trusts. This week it released its annual review of state legislatures, giving us a look at the major budget and policy developments at all 50 state capitols.

Scott Greenberger, an editor for Stateline, joined us today in the studio.

Listen to the full interview above.

Close your eyes for a moment and think about what America looked like, say, in 1962, the furniture, the architecture, the cars. We explore the huge role Michigan had in mid-20th century design.

And, before National Fudge Day--yes there is such a thing--we take a trip to Mackinac Island, which has a pretty legitimate claim as the modern day Capital of Fudge.

And, we interviewed an entrepreneur from Waterford who has developed a unique way for women to show appreciation for the men in their lives.

Also, we took a look at the recent Pew research report.

First on the show, we turned to Detroit News Columnist Daniel Howes for our weekly Thursday check-in.

The theme for today's conversation seems to be: the Day of Reckoning is at hand for Detroit.

Andrew Jameson / Wikimedia commons

One of the cities that has been in the headlines of late is Hamtramck. The 2.1 square mile city within the city of Detroit is facing a financial emergency and the prospect of once again being under the control of a state-appointed emergency manager.

But facing tough times is nothing new to this tiny but tough enclave. And, starting from its beginning as a home for Polish immigrants, Hamtramck continues to be one of the most diverse communities in the entire state.

We wanted to find out more about the unique history of Hamtramck, and so we turned to someone who was born in Hamtramck.

Greg Kowalski’s family roots in the city go back to when his grandfather first arrived, and he's the chairman of the Hamtramck Historical Commission. He joined us today to discuss Hamtramck’s unique past.

Listen to the full interview above.

Wikipedia

Ask any baby boomer who grew up watching science fiction movies after school or The Jetsons on the Saturday morning cartoons: strapping on a jet pack and zipping through the sky seemed like a done deal.

So why are we in 2013 still waiting to fly like a bird? We got astronauts on the moon. We've got an orbiting space station. Where are the jet packs?

That's the question Steve Lehto asks in his new book "The Great American Jet Pack: The Quest for the Ultimate Individual Lift Device" published by the Chicago Review Press.

engin.umich.edu

Engineering and technology touch our lives every minute of every day. As we move into this 21st Century, technology is progressing at rates that are faster than most anyone could have imagined.

But as engineers design this new technology, what's happening at the intersection of "technology" and "ethics?” And what's the price we pay when engineers overlook that "moral compass?"

These are questions Dr. Cynthia Finelli is focused on as she helps train the engineers of the future.

Dr. Cynthia Finelli is the director of the Center for Research on Learning and Teaching in Engineering and she's a research associate professor at the University of Michigan.

And she's part of a team called E3, which stands for "Exploring Ethical Decision-Making in Engineering," a group of engineering teachers from many colleges and universities. These teachers study engineering ethics.

Dr. Cynthia Finelli joined us in the studio.

Listen to the full interview above.

Auto sales are booming, but don't expect this to be a continuous growth period.
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

When you look at much of popular media these days, it often feels as though the advertisers of America are eyeing that young audience. If you're over 55, you could certainly be forgiven for getting the idea that advertisers and agencies don't much care what you want to buy.

Well, a new study by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute proves that, at least when it comes to buying cars, it's those often overlooked, sometimes-invisible over 55's who are doing much of the buying.

The study found the 55-to-64 year old baby-boomers are 15 times more likely to buy a new car or truck than the 18-to-24 year olds.

John Wolkonowicz, an independent auto analyst, joined us from Boston today to talk more about why baby boomers seem to hold the key to success for automakers.

Listen to the full interview above.

On today's show, we found out why baby boomers seem to be key for the auto industry.

And, the author of the new book, "The Great American Jet Pack: The Quest for the Ultimate Individual Lift Device" joined us to take a look at the history of individual flight.

Also, we took a look into the ethics of technology and engineering with the help of Dr. Cynthia Finelli.

First on the show, one of the cities that has been in the headlines of late is Hamtramck.

Governor Snyder has declared that the 2.1 square mile city within Detroit is under a financial emergency and could come under the control of a state-appointed emergency manager.

But facing tough financial times is nothing new for Hamtramck. And, starting from its beginning as a home for Polish immigrants, the city continues to be one of the most diverse communities in the state.

We wanted to find out more about the unique history of Hamtramck, so we turn to someone who was born in Hamtramck. His family’s roots in the city go back to when his grandfather first arrived.

Greg Kowalski is chairman of the Hamtramck Historical Commission and he joined us today in the studio.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

That huge pile of petroleum coke lying alongside the Detroit River is triggering a growing sense of alarm. 

You may recall, we spoke with New York Times journalist Ian Austen about the origins of this mountain of "pet coke" that's growing in Southwest Detroit. It's a byproduct of tar sands oil refining used in energy production. When mixed with coal, it can be used as a low-cost fuel.

The piles are being brought in by trucks from the Marathon Petroleum Refinery in southwest Detroit, and the pet coke is being stored by a company called Detroit Bulk Storage for the owner of the pet coke: Koch Carbon.

U.S. Congressmen John Conyers and Gary Peters and others have been voicing concern about the health and environmental risks of storing these piles of pet coke. We wanted to take a closer look at these concerns.

Nick Schroeck is a professor of law at Wayne State University in Detroit and the executive director of the Great Lakes Environmental Law Center, and he joined us today to discuss the issue.

Listen to the full interview above.

evolvethebike.com

As we talked about before on Stateside, there's more to the increased interest in cycling than a great hobby or way to keep fit or compete.

In addition to impacting the look of communities and the infrastructure of the state, there is also a business payoff in all of this.

Michigan is seeing a rise in cycling-related businesses.

One of those is AutoBike, located in Troy, in Oakland County. The founder and CEO of AutoBike is former General Motors engineer Sean Simpson. Sean joined us in the studio today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Jeff Wattrick / Deadline Detroit

The city of Detroit is “technically insolvent” and suffers from an “addiction to debt.” That’s according to Detroit's Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr, who described the city’s situation at his first public meeting last night.

About 350 people were on-hand at the start of the meeting, about 250 made it into the meeting but about 100 were left out because of over-crowding.

Detroit Free Press Columnist Rochelle Riley covered the meeting, and she joined us today in the studio.

Listen to the full interview above.

Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr held his first public meeting yesterday evening. We found out what Orr had to say and what city residents thought about his message.

And, after months and months of hearing about record-low water levels in the Great Lakes, new predictions now show levels could climb some 2 feet over the summer. We spoke with Al Steinman, the Director of the Annis Water Resources Institute at Grand Valley State University to get the details.

Also, the CEO of AutoBike, Inc. joined us today to talk about how bicycle businesses have benefited from the growing interest in cycling.

First on the show, that huge pile of petroleum coke lying alongside the Detroit River is triggering a growing sense of alarm. 

You may recall, we spoke with New York Times journalist Ian Austen here on Stateside about the origins of this mountain of "pet coke" that's growing in Southwest Detroit. It's a byproduct of tar sands oil refining used in energy production. When mixed with coal, it can be used as a low-cost fuel.

The piles are being brought-in by trucks  from the Marathon Petroleum Refinery in southwest Detroit, and the pet coke is being stored by a company called Detroit Bulk Storage for the OWNER of the pet coke: Koch Carbon.

US Congressmen John Conyers and Gary Peters and others have been voicing concern about the health and environmental risks of storing these piles of pet coke.

Nick Shroke is a professor of law at Wayne State University in Detroit and the executive director of the Great Lakes Environmental Law Center, and he joined us today to discuss the issue.

NASA Goddard Photo and Video / Flickr

There are new reports that expect Lake Michigan and Lake Huron to climb nearly two feet this summer.

One comes from the Army Corps of Engineers, which projects lake levels to rise by 20 inches. 

Al Steinman is the Director of the Annis Water Resources Institute at Grand Valley State University. 

Steinman attributed much of the rising water levels to significant rain this spring. 

"We've risen eight inches since April."

flickr user Detroit1701 / flickr.com

Michigan will get $100 million from the federal government to tear down thousands of vacant houses and clean up struggling neighborhoods.

The money will be used in Detroit, Flint, Grand Rapids, Pontiac and Saginaw.

Democratic Congressman Dan Kildee represents Flint and he’s been pushing hard for this funding. He joined us today to discuss exactly how this money would be used.

Listen to the full interview above.

user kconnors / morgueFile

Whether it’s commuters who are sick of rising gas prices, the hipsters moving into urban areas, or empty-nester baby boomers seeking fitness, the bicycle is growing in popularity. Cycling tripled nationwide from 1990 to 2009, and that growing popularity is reflected here in Michigan.

But it's not just riding for fun or fitness. Cycling can impact the way our communities look, and impact policy and infrastructure at the state and local level, as well.

John Lindenmayer, the advocacy and policy director for the League of Michigan Bicyclists, joined us in the studio. 

Listen to the full interview above.

theharmonyhill.com

It was 2007 when then-Governor Jennifer Granholm launched Michigan's film incentive program.  It led to a burst of big-league movie makers coming here, making films like Ides of March, Real Steel, Red Dawn and OZ-The Great and Powerful. And that led to a growing group of Michigan workers building careers in the film industry, from casting to grips, assistant directing, extras, actors and more.

But Governor Rick Snyder made good on his promise to cap those film incentives, believing they were not a good investment of state dollars. And as many of the movie-makers pulled up stakes, the Michigan workers were forced to either follow them out of state or build new careers here.

Johannah Scarlet, Ray Moran and Aaron Mohr chose to search for a new opportunity and stay in Michigan. They have now switched gears from making movies to hosting live music events in the tiny village of Farwell in Clare County. Their new music venue is called Harmony Hill, and coming up this Saturday there will be a big outdoor music festival called "Oh Hill Yeah," featuring Michigan bands such as Frontier Ruckus.

dreamactivist.org

It is extremely rare to have someone actually seek out a situation that would end with an arrest and a trip to jail.

But Claudia Munoz did exactly that. She got herself seized as an undocumented immigrant at the Ambassador Bridge in order to see first-hand what things are like at the immigration detention center in Calhoun County near Battle Creek.

Claudia is part of the National Immigrant Youth Alliance, an activist group based in Washington. Their mission is to highlight immigration cases and pressure authorities to take a fresh look at their detention and deportation practices.

Claudia Munoz joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

It's not often that people actively seek out a situation that ends up putting them in jail, but on today's show, we spoke with one woman who did exactly that in order to put a spotlight on undocumented immigrants.

And, communities all across the state are spending money to become more bike-friendly. We found out why they think this will help reverse Michigan's brain-drain.

Also, three Michigan filmmakers switched gears from movies to music, and this weekend they are hosting a big outdoor music festival in Clare County.  

First on the show, Michigan will get $100 million from the federal government to tear down thousands of vacant houses and clean up struggling neighborhoods.

The money will be used in Detroit, Flint, Grand Rapids, Pontiac and Saginaw.

Democratic Congressman Dan Kildee has been pushing hard for this funding. He joined us today from Flint.

Facebook

Brooms up! This weekend in Genesee County there will be a big exhibition match of quidditch. Yes, that's the sport played by the witches and wizards of the Harry Potter novels.

Since true witches and wizards are in fairly short supply around these parts, this will be Muggle Quidditch, “muggle” being the name applied to all of us non-magical types.

College players from the University of Michigan, Michigan State, Eastern, Miami of Ohio and more will be playing the game at the Deer Run Soccer Complex in Linden Township.

Krystina Packard, a former quidditch player with Michigan State, joined us in the studio to tell us how a game that was created in the imaginative mind of author J.K. Rowling has become a surprisingly serious sport for these muggles.

Listen to the full interview above.

user Tqycolumbia / Wikimedia Commons

A piece of history is being written in the United States Congress.

Tomorrow is the day that John Dingell becomes the longest-serving member of Congress ever, surpassing the late Robert Byrd of West Virginia.

He began representing the people of southeast Michigan on December 13, 1955. And 57-and-a-half years later, he is still there.

He joined us today to talk about his experiences.

Listen to the full interview above.

LinkedIn

When Jimmy Rhoades was 26-years-old, his father was diagnosed with cancer. Rhoades was told he would have between six months and a year left with his dad. He went home, and really got to know his father.

"I found out more about his biography in the last six months of his life than in the previous 26 years," Rhoades said.

With the loss of another family member after his father passed away, Rhoades realized the therapeutic value in having your story heard. 

Facebook

It’s time to "Brush Up Your Shakespeare" as the Cole Porter song goes. And, while you're brushing up on your Shakespeare, you can get in touch with Mother Nature.

It's pretty common to find outdoor summer productions of Shakespeare. But for 13 years Shakespeare in the Arb has been staging the bard's plays outdoors in a different way.

Shakespeare in the Arb is kicking off its 13th season with "Much Ado About Nothing." It's presented by the University of Michigan Matthei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum, and the U of M Residential College.

Katherine Mendeloff, a lecturer in the Drama Department of the Residential College, joined us in the studio today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Detroit Institute of Arts
Maia C/Flickr

It's Thursday, which means it’s time for our weekly check-in with Detroit News Business Columnist Daniel Howes.

This week, it seems the topic is the fact that the proverbial "Day of Reckoning" is at hand when it comes to the City of Detroit. Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr is trying to work out settlements with the city's creditors, and the treasures at the Detroit Institute of Arts could be at risk.

He joined us in the studio today to discuss the issue.

Listen to the full interview above.

He's worked with 11 presidents, taken several thousand votes, and tomorrow, Michigan Congressman John Dingell becomes the longest serving member of Congress ever. We spoke with Dingell about his 57 years in D.C.

And, Shakespeare in the Arb is starting its 13th season with “Much Ado About Nothing.” Katherine Mendeloff, a lecturer in the Drama Department of the Residential College, spoke with us about the upcoming performances.

And, this weekend, Harry Potter fans are gathering in Michigan to watch college quidditch teams compete. Former player Krystina Packard joined us in the studio.

Also, a new project launched in Ann Arbor is working to bring together high school students and senior citizens to make history come alive. We spoke with the project’s co-founder and one of the participating teachers about how this has impacted students.

First on the show, it's time for our weekly check-in with Detroit News Business Columnist Daniel Howes.

This week, it seems the topic is the fact that the proverbial "Day of Reckoning" is at hand when it comes to the City of Detroit. Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr is trying to work out settlements with the city's creditors, and the treasures at the Detroit Institute of Arts could be at risk.

He joined us in the studio today to discuss the issue.

Terri Lynn Land
Michigan Republican Party / Facebook

Election 2014 is coming up, and the U.S. Senate seat will be open as Democratic Senator Carl Levin retires.

Michigan Congressman Gary Peters announced last month that he will run for the Democratic nomination, but there appeared to be some hesitation on the part of Republicans.

That is, until this week, when former Michigan Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land announced she will run as a Republican in the race.

Terri Lynn Land joined us in the studio today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Michael Gil / Flickr

It seems there is at least one thing we can agree on in our state: the need to fix our roads, potholes, crumbling bridges, and decades-old infrastructure. But we can’t seem to agree on how to pay for it.

As we’ve talked about before on Stateside, Gov. Snyder says he wants more than a billion dollars just this year to fix the state’s roads and bridges. The Governor floated the idea of an increase in the gas tax and drivers paying more vehicle registration fees. Neither of those proposals, however, has gained traction in Lansing.

Now the state budget becomes almost complete with only some $350 million in road funding.

All of this leads to the question: Why is it so hard to find a way to fix our roads?

Craig Thiel is a Senior Consultant at Anderson Economic Group here in Michigan. He recently wrote a piece in Bridge Magazine entitled “Will there ever be a good time to fund road repairs?”

Thiel joined us in the studio today to discuss the issue.

Listen to the full interview above.

jamesjyu / via flicker

When we think about food grown in Michigan, many people might assume that Michiganders are the ones who are consuming it.

It turns out we aren't the only ones eating our state's crops.

Michigan is number 17 among other states in agricultural product exportation, but that could increase in the next ten years. 

Jamie Zmitko-Somers is with the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Daily Dot

When you hear the phrase "social media" and think of what that phrase represents--Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Tumblr and more--it seems strange to think that not even a decade ago, many of us had never even heard of "social media."

And with so many choices, you can find the social media site that truly reflects your interests and goals for social media networking.

And if you can't find one, you can come up with your own social media site. That is what native Ann Arborites Steve Clausnitzer and Mark Katakowski did with their new site called Hubski.

The two co-founders joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

There's a growing push in Michigan to start exporting more food like soy beans, cherries, and blueberries internationally. We took a look at the consequences for farmers, consumers and the state economy if more Michigan-grown food leaves the state.

And, former Michigan Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land has thrown her hat into the 2014 Senate race, a seat open because of Carl Levin's retirement. We talked to Land about why she wants to be the Republican nominee.

Also, two native Ann Arborites have created a brand new social media website called Hubski. The two co-founders joined us today to tell us all about it.

First on the show, it seems there is at least one thing that we can agree on in our state: the need to fix our roads, potholes, crumbling bridges, and decades-old infrastructure.

What we can’t seem to agree on is how to pay for the fixes.

As we’ve talked about before on Stateside, Governor Snyder says he wants more than a billion dollars just this year to fix the state’s roads and bridges.

The Governor floated the idea of an increase in the gas tax and drivers paying more vehicle registration fees. Neither of those proposals however, has gained traction in Lansing.

Now, the state budget becomes close to complete with only some $350 million in road funding.

So, all of this leads to the question: why is it so hard to find a way to fix our roads?

Craig Thiel is a Senior Consultant at Anderson Economic Group here in Michigan and he recently wrote a piece in Bridge Magazine titled, “Will there ever be a good time to fund road repairs?”

Craig joined us in the studio today.

LinkedIn

In August 2012, a 26-year-old Detroiter named Everett Dwayne Avery made gay slurs and attacked Justin Alesna in line at a gas station. 

Avery was sentenced to 18 months in prison after he plead guilty to violating the Federal Hate Crimes Protection Act.

Equality Michigan is a group that is part of the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP) that works to end violence against and within the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and HIV-affected communities.

The group recently released a report on anti-LGBTQ and HIV-affected hate violence.

user futureatlas.com / Flickr

As gas prices kept marching ever-upward, one thing we could always say here in Michigan was "well, at least we're not as bad as some places."

As anyone who's gassed up this week has sadly realized, that is no longer the case.

Michigan's average gas price is now the second highest in the country. Only Hawaii tops our pump prices.

AAA finds we're paying an average of $4.10 a gallon. That's up 23 cents from a week ago, and 47 cents more than the same time last year. And this comes as the national average slips a penny to $3.62 a gallon.

So what happened?

Patrick DeHaan, Senior Petroleum Analyst with GasBuddy.com, joined us today in the studio to tell us.

Listen to the full interview above.

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