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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4:57 pm
Mon March 18, 2013

Let's take a roadtrip to Mars

Curiosity on Mars
NASA wiki commons

What would it take to get humans to Mars?

For the last seven months, NASA's rover 'Curiosity' has crawled all over the planet's dusty red Gale Crater.

As it explores, the rover has sent back all sorts of information to Earth for further investigation.

Most recently, a report of a rock sample collected by Curiosity shows that, yes, ancient Mars could have supported living microbes.

But let's go one step further. What would it take for human beings to get to Mars?

Ben Longmier is an Assistant Professor of Aerospace Engineering at the University of Michigan College of Engineering and researches electric propulsion, spacecraft design and basic plasma physics.

Michigan Radio's Cynthia Canty spoke with Longmier about the challenges and possibilities of getting humans on Mars.

Click the link above to hear the full interview.

4:57 pm
Mon March 18, 2013

Is the Kalamazoo Promise worth keeping?

The Kalamazoo Promise has an impact inside and outside of the classroom
courtesy: Mott High School

Students who attend a public Kalamazoo high school for their entire high school career and live in the district during those four years have the opportunity to attend a Michigan college or University for free.

This, of course, is old news.

The Kalamazoo Promise was announced in November 2005 and has since proven to be one of the most groundbreaking educational programs in the state.

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3:39 pm
Mon March 18, 2013

Art from behind bars

A PCAP workshop Washtenaw Prisoner Reentry.

On March 19, the 18th Annual Exhibition of Art by Michigan prisoners will open at the Duderstadt Center on the North Campus of the University of Michigan.

The exhibition is a extension of the Prison Creative Arts Project spearheaded by University of Michigan Professor Buzz Alexander and is the largest exhibition of prisoner art in the country, containing some 300 works by over 200 artists.

Founded in 1990, PCAP "facilitates the opportunity to create original works of art in correctional facilities, urban high schools, and communities across the state of Michigan."

The project is affiliated with the Department of English Language and Literature, Alexander's department.

"When we come in (to prisons) we are in awe and we bring respect to the artists," Alexander said. "This year there are 428 works of art in the show that prisoners have been preparing for all year."

Alexander noted that the exhibition is a way for the artists to gain visibility. One artist talked with a PCAP facilitator about how it's a bridge that connects her to the outside world.

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5:27 pm
Thu March 14, 2013

Reaction to Detroit's new emergency manager

Sarah Cwiek reported from Detroit

Today's biggest headline comes from Detroit as Governor Rick Snyder appointed the city's emergency manager. 

Earlier, Michigan Radio closely followed the day's events with updates leading up to Snyder's announcement.

At 2 p.m., the announcement was made. Michigan Radio's Zoe Clark and Tracy Samilton spoke with Cynthia Canty live as history was made.

Cyndy also spoke with Tom Barrow. Barrow twice ran for Mayor of Detroit in the 1980s against Coleman Young, and in 2009 against Dave Bing.

He has been a leading opponent of the appointment of an emergency manager for the City of Detroit.

He joined us from Detroit.

Listen to the full interview above. 

5:27 pm
Thu March 14, 2013

A St. Patrick's Day story with Allison Downey and Yvonne Healy

Yvonne Healy

St. Patrick's day is Sunday. It seems fitting to bring you a dash of Irish culture.

Yvonne Healy is a Michigan-based Irish-American storyteller.

Born in Ireland, she brings "rollicking kids’ tales, weird Celtic legends, outrageous family lore, or thought-provoking adult fare."

Her stories have helped her win awards as a raconteur, and she is currently the #1 traditional Irish story teller in the U.S.

You can listen to her story above. It was developed by Allison Downey and produced by Allison Downey & Zak Rosen. Special thanks to Peggy Watson, Bob Skon, and Kyle Norris for their production help.

And here's a tune "Ireland for You" written by Allison Downey and performed live in Michigan Radio's Studio East: 

(Annie Capps - harmony vocals, Rod Capps - lead guitar, John Austin - electric bass, Allison Downey - lead vocals and guitar, Engineered by the fabulous Bob Skon)

And here is a video of Yvonne Healy telling one of her stories:

The Bird: Multicultural Folklore from Yvonne Healy on Vimeo.

5:26 pm
Thu March 14, 2013

Is municipal bankruptcy Detroit's next step?

State of Michigan screen grab

We talked throughout today's Stateside about what an emergency manager might do when they first come to Detroit.

Daniel Howes, business columnist at the Detroit News, joined us as he does most weeks.

In his column today, he wrote about bankruptcy being Detroit's next step.

That's even after the appointment of an emergency manager.

Howes broke down for us how a municipal bankruptcy for a big city differs from a business or personal bankruptcy and what a bankruptcy would mean for the city of Detroit.

Kevin Orr, Detroit's new emergency manager, said today he hopes he doesn't have to use the 'cudgel' of bankruptcy. He instead hopes to get consent in a financial turnaround.

Listen to the full interview above.

5:26 pm
Thu March 14, 2013

Fixing Detroit's financial issues: A current emergency manager gives his perspective

Lou Schimmel, Pontiac's emergency financial manager.
Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

What is an actual emergency manager's take on Detroit's financial troubles.

Lou Schimmel has been the appointed emergency manager for Pontiac since March of 2009.

We had Schimmel speak with us on Stateside to get his view of what needs to be done to fix the city's broken finances and his suggestions for fixing Detroit.

Listen to the full interview above.

5:25 pm
Thu March 14, 2013

An expert's take on Michigan's emergency manager laws

Detroit Mayor Bing
Kate Davidson Michigan Radio

Press conferences and news updates have given us minute-by-minute coverage of Kevyn Orr's appointment as Detroit emergency manager by Michigan Governor Rick Snyder today. 

Orr's repeated assurance that he will "look at the data" before moving forward may be part of his approach, but what does that mean?

Municipal finances and emergency manager laws are being used frequently by Orr, Snyder and Bing.

To outline and define these terms and their implications, Michigan Radio's Cynthia Canty spoke with Michigan State University professor of Economics Eric Scoresone.

Scoresone is an expert in the state's emergency manager laws as well as municipal finances within the state of Michigan.

Listen to the full interview above.

5:20 pm
Thu March 14, 2013

Stateside for Thursday, March 14, 2013

Today marks a historic decision.

Governor Rick Snyder announced the appointment of an emergency manager for the city of Detroit.

On today's show, we looked at the many things that will change in the city once it's under state control.

We also talked with the emergency manager of Pontiac to get his view of what needs to be done in the state's largest city.

We also spoke with Columnist Daniel Howes who says don't take bankruptcy out of the equation.

But first, we were joined  with Michigan Radio's Zoe Clark and Tracy Samilton to talk about this afternoon's announcement in Detroit. They told us a little bit more about what the Governor had to say.

Politics & Culture
8:13 pm
Wed March 13, 2013

Stateside for Wednesday, March 13, 2013

2012 was a pretty terrible year for Michigan farmers.

On today's show, we'll take a look at what 2013 has in store, and what it means for the state's economy.

And, a few days before Saint Patrick's Day, we meet a Michigan musician who is immersed in both Irish music and Techno music.

But first, ever since last month when the world was stunned by Pope Benedict the 16's resignation, and today's announcement of a new Pope, religion has been on the minds of many, and that includes  Jack Lessenberry, Michigan Radio's Political Analyst.

We spoke with Jack about the religious views of Michigan's legislators.

5:33 pm
Wed March 13, 2013

Will 2013 be a better year for Michigan farmers?

Lower numbers of migrant workers may return to Michigan
Craig Camp flickr

Last year disaster struck Michigan farms throughout the state.

Early heat waves, low rainfall and a scorching summer resulted in non-existent crops and many worried farmers wondering what 2013 would bring.

Now, the Michigan agriculture industry may also face a shortage of migrant workers.  

If the crops come back this year, why wouldn't the labor return as well?

Michigan Radio's Cynthia Canty spoke with Craig Anderson, who manages the Agricultural Labor and Safety Services program for the Michigan Farm Bureau.

He was joined by David Smeltzer, the owner of Per Clin Orchards in Bear Lake.

Listen to the full interview above.

5:32 pm
Wed March 13, 2013

Michigan's fight against cyberattacks

Cyberattacks are on the rise
user jdurham morgueFile

The Chinese military has been recently accused as the source of many cyberattacks on American corporations and government agencies. 

A week ago, the White House firmly stated that the Chinese government adhere to "acceptable norms of behavior in cyberspace" and halt the widespread theft of data from American computer networks.

South Carolina and Utah are two known states that have been hacked. How were they attacked?

Within Michigan, businesses and the state have participated in a joint effort to protect and prepare for cyberattacks, a model other states are looking to as an example.

But that doesn't mean Michigan's cyber security isn't running into problems. We are weathering some 187,000 cyberattacks every day. 

What are the consequences  if Michigan's response plan fails?

Michigan Radio's Cynthia Canty spoke with writer Chris Gautz from Lansing.

Listen to the whole story by clicking the link above. 

5:30 pm
Wed March 13, 2013

Religion and Michigan legislators

Cardinals voted to elect a successor to Pope Benedict the 16th today.

Jorge Mario Bergoglio, 76, became the first non-European pontiff in more than 1,000 years.

Religion has been on many minds lately, that includes Michigan Radio’s Political Analyst Jack Lessenberry.

He recently wrote about religion and Michigan’s lawmakers.

Bill Ballenger, publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, recently did a survey of how many members of the legislature are members of each religious denomination.

Listen to the full interview above.

3:08 pm
Wed March 13, 2013

Asher Perkins goes from Celtic music to techno

Asher Perkins

St Patrick's Day is coming up this Sunday.

For many people, whether Irish or not, the holiday brings a chance to hear musicians playing  toe-tapping jigs, reels, hornpipes and other Old Celtic tunes at clubs and pubs all over Michigan.

One of those musicians is 22-year-old Asher Perkins of Oakland County.

At age 22, Asher has been playing button accordion and concertina largely as part of his family's acclaimed Celtic music band, Finvarra's Wren.

Making music like this  has been a part of Asher's life for the past 17 years.

Here's an example of an Irish reel by Finvarra Wren:

Even as he has carved out a national reputation in traditional Irish music, Asher Perkins has been making a name for himself in a totally different area.

With his  EP "Hammers on Trees" and a project called "Evasion", Asher Perkins is branching out from his Irish musical background into the realm of techno music.

Here's a sample of some of Perkins' techno work:

Asher Perkins joined us today at Stateside to tell us about his music with Finvarra's Wren and his move into the electronic music scene.

Asher Perkins, his family's band Finvarra's Wren plays a regular schedule of dates, you can visit their website up at  as well as a link to his techno music at

5:06 pm
Tue March 12, 2013

Detroit City Council appeals state's 'financial emergency' finding

Chief Deputy Treasurer Mary McDowell heard the arguments from the city and the state.
SnyderLive LiveStream

Some Detroit City Council officials have formally appealed the determination that their city is in a financial emergency.

That designation is part of the ramp up to a take-over by an emergency financial manager.

City Council representatives argued their case to Chief Deputy Treasurer Mary McDowell.

Rick Pluta, Lansing Bureau Chief for the Michigan Public Radio Network, was at the hearing today.

Listen to the full interview above.

4:59 pm
Tue March 12, 2013

What tax changes mean for Michigan's working class

Governor Snyder
Photo courtesy of the Snyder administration

When Governor Snyder and Michigan legislature cut part of the Earned Income Tax, they argued that it was just a move that piggy-backed on the federal Earned Income Tax Credit. 

Michigan lawmakers cut the 20 percent rate of the federal credit to 6 percent of federal credit.

This meant that many poor, working-class families saw an increase in their taxes in addition to tax increases they felt from other legislative changes.

The state's advocates for the poor have called upon the legislature to restore the Earned Income Tax Credit to Michigan in order to ease the financial stress felt by poor families.

Michigan Radio's Lester Graham spoke with Gilda Jacobs, the President and CEO of the Michigan League for Public Policy. 

Listen to the audio above to hear the story.

4:56 pm
Tue March 12, 2013

Father and son go on a road trip and bring us a guide to 'Yooper Bars'

Map of bars in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

Anybody who lives in Michigan would not be shocked to hear that there is a lot of good beer, and a lot of good bars to support it.

The problem is finding where exactly are all of the good bars and drinks.

That mystery has been left to word of mouth, hearsay, and luck - until now.

Recently a father-son duo have helped in providing a solution to that problem by doing the kind of research that many dream about. 

On a month long road trip they searched every corner of the Upper Peninsula to find exactly where good bars,  good drinks, and good times can be found. 

The results of their bar hopping excursion were thoroughly documented in a travel guide, entitled Yooper Bars.

In their guide, they break down the history, flavor and atmosphere of over 100 bars that help make the Upper Peninsula unique.

The guide is packed full of facts, bar savvy and humor, such as each bar's specialty drink, food, staff,  celebrity sightings, and favorite jokes.

We had an opportunity to sit down father and researcher emeritus, Randy Kluck as well as his son, author and entrepreneur, Kevin Kluck. 

The two give us the details on memorable food, drink, stories, and tell us about what it takes to visit 110 out of the 300 bars that are located in the Upper Peninsula.

Listen to the full interview above.

Politics & Culture
4:47 pm
Tue March 12, 2013

Stateside for Tuesday, March 12, 2013

It's back.

Legislation to change the state's auto no-fault insurance keeps popping back up at the Capitol.

On today's show, we take a look at why it keeps coming back and what the changes would mean for you.

And, we head Up North for a tour of some of the Upper Peninsula's best-known bars.

But we start the show with the city of Detroit.

Some Detroit City Council officials have formally appealed the determination that their city is in a financial emergency. That designation is part of the ramp up to a take-over by an emergency financial manager.

City Council representatives argued their case to Chief Deputy Treasurer Mary MacDowell.
Rick Pluta, Lansing Bureau Chief for the Michigan Public Radio Network, was at the hearing today and we asked him if the appeal will change the Governor's mind about appointing an emergency manager.

4:44 pm
Tue March 12, 2013

What's behind the high costs of Michigan auto insurance rates?

Toby Oxborrow Flickr

Depending on where you live in the state, your auto insurance rates could be outrageously high.

During the last session of the Michigan Legislature, there was an attempt to change the state’s auto no-fault insurance with claims that it would lower rates.

This is something the auto insurance agencies keep lobbying for, and Governor Rick Snyder said in his State of the State address we need to keep costs down.

But there’s little evidence that your insurance rates would go down that much, or at all, by these limits.

That’s because the real reason auto insurance is so high in some areas is theft, fraud, and uninsured motorists.

The part of no-fault that guarantees someone severely hurt will get the reasonable care they need is just a fraction of the cost, and some would argue the best bargain in the nation.

Joining me now is a lawyer who, we should point out, fights the insurance companies over claims on a regular basis.

Steven Gursten is with the law firm Michigan Auto Law.

Most of us find auto insurance coverage a little confusing at best, so we started off by explaining what catastrophic coverage is, and what the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association is.

Listen to the full interview above.

4:40 pm
Tue March 12, 2013

Setting aside land in Michigan for biodiversity? Casperson says 'check with us first'

The Manistee River flowing through the Huron-Manistee National Forest.

The following is a summary of a previously recorded interview. To hear the complete segment, click the audio above.

The State Department of Natural Resources has been in the planning process of this idea to create what it calls Biodiversity Stewardship Areas.

These areas would include both state and private land.

All the stakeholders were on board in the early planning process - hunting groups, environmentalists - most everyone - until someone became alarmed because the plan could have potentially stopped human access to some areas.

Well, if you even hint that hunters or timber companies can’t have access, you’ve got a problem.

State Senator Tom Casperson (R- Escanaba) has introduced a bill that would prohibit the Michigan Department of Natural Resources from setting aside an area of land specifically for the purpose of maintaining biological diversity.

In part it reads:


According to Casperson, the MDNR should request approval for each proposal from the State Legislature.

“It’s not that they can’t do it, but it needs oversight,” Casperson said in an interview with Michigan Radio’s Lester Graham.

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