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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Stateside
5:24 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

What mixed-use zoning means for your city

A map of mixed use zoning in Ann Arbor.
Facebook

Zoning laws.

Those two words alone might not grab your interest.

But watch residents pour into city commission and council chambers when there is some proposed change to the zoning laws in their neighborhood.

Maybe it's deciding whether to allow big-footprint houses and extra-large garages. Maybe it's deciding whether to permit residential and commercial buildings to coexist or how many stories a building may be.

But what one person thinks is a great idea, such as allowing more shops or restaurants into an area, might be a horrible idea to that homeowner who wants to come home to a peaceful street.

Grand Rapids recently implemented a new zoning policy that allows more mixed uses. Director of the Grand Rapids Planning Department, Suzanne Schultz, and University of Michigan Urban Planning Professor Dr. Jonathan Levine joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
5:23 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

UAW tries to unionize VW workers at Tennessee plant

Pobrecito33 Flickr

It's Thursday – time for our weekly check-in with Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes. 

 He's picking through the rubble of the UAW's bid to unionize workers at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tenn. We know that VW workers said "no thanks" to the UAW by a vote of 712-626, but what are the deeper implications of that "no" vote? Daniel Howes joined us today. Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
5:23 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

World's largest indoor yoga session to take place at Ford Field this Saturday

Saturday's session will look like this, only bigger.
Flickr user Synergy by Jasmine Flickr

Picture this: thousands of people rolling out their yoga mats and getting into downward-facing dog, all in unison.

That's the vision behind the upcoming "Yoga Rocks Ford Field." It's happening this Saturday at the home of the Detroit Lions with the hope of getting 3,000 people to form the world's largest indoor yoga session.

Justin Jacobs is the president and founder of ComePlayDetroit, which is organizing Saturday's session, and he joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
5:15 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

How will Michigan help failing schools without the EAA?

User Motown31 Creative Commons

The state of Michigan is ending its exclusive contract with the Education Achievement Authority to oversee the worst-performing schools in the state.

State School Superintendent Mike Flangan sent a letter to the EAA saying the state will pull out of its exclusivity agreement with the Authority one year from now.

Martin Ackley is with the Michigan Department of Education. He says the state still intends to use the EAA to help turn around struggling schools.

“Now, this is in no way a statement or an indication of a lack of confidence in the EAA or its academic strategies. This is just an action that needed to be taken in order to provide flexibility and to provide options other than the EAA in which to place these most struggling schools.”

So, what are the other options that the State might use to help failing schools? And what's ahead for the controversial EAA?

Jake Neher, who covers Lansing for the Michigan Public Radio Network, joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Politics & Culture
5:08 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

Stateside for Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014

Just what do you want your city, your community, to look like? Crowded bustling streets? Quiet, residential homes only? Zoning laws determine these things, and although those two words don't sound altogether exciting, zoning laws are creating debate all over the state. We found out more on today's show.

Then, what was that noise outside today? Did you hear it? Sounded like thunder? Well, in this crazy Michigan weather, we're getting thundersnow. We found out about this winter novelty.

And, we spoke with the man who designed and painted the masks on the U.S. Olympic hockey teams. 

Also, we checked in with Daniel Howes on the UAW bid to unionize workers at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tenn.

And, head to Ford Field on Saturday if you want to be part of a world record. ComePlayDetroit is organizing the world's largest indoor yoga session at the home of the Detroit Lions.

First on the show, the state of Michigan is ending its exclusive contract with the Education Achievement Authority to oversee the worst-performing schools in the state.

Michigan School Superintendent Mike Flangan sent a letter to the EAA saying the state will pull out of its exclusivity agreement with the Authority one year from now.

Martin Ackley is with the Michigan Department of Education. He says the state still intends to use the EAA to help turn around struggling schools.

“Now, this is in no way a statement or an indication of a lack of confidence in the EAA or its academic strategies. This is just an action that needed to be taken in order to provide flexibility and to provide options other than the EAA in which to place these most-struggling schools.”

So, what are the other options the state might use to help failing schools? And what's ahead for the controversial EAA?

Jake Neher, who covers Lansing for the Michigan Public Radio Network, joined us today.

Made in Michigan
2:02 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

Artwork on U.S. Olympic hockey team masks designed and painted in Michigan

Ryan Miller's mask was painted by a Michigan artist.
Facebook

As the world watches the U.S. Olympic hockey teams in Sochi, they’re getting a good look at some real, made-in-Michigan artistry.

The masks worn by goaltenders Ryan Miller, Jimmy Howard, and Bianne McLaughlin were all painted by artist Ray Bishop at his shop in Grand Blanc.  

“I started painting masks mostly for young players,” said Bishop. “My first professional mask was for the Detroit Vipers.”

He worked his way up from there. This is not the first time Bishop's handiwork has been featured in the Olympics. He painted goalie masks in 2002, 2006, and 2010.

For this year's games, Miller’s mask features Uncle Sam holding the Sochi torch. Howard's has a stars-and-stripes pattern. Brianne’s mask sports the shield from the U.S. jerseys. 

“It really just gives you goose bumps ... to think how many people actually can see a piece of artwork that you’ve done," Bishop said. "I can say I’m pretty fortunate to have the opportunity to do it.”

You can listen to our conversation with Bishop below.

Listen to our interview with artist Ray Bishop.

Stateside
4:58 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

Mapping all of Detroit's properties, one parcel at a time

A screenshot of the map services provided by Why Don't We Own This.
Why Don't We Own This? Why Don't We Own This?

It's no secret that the city of Detroit and Wayne County have been hit hard by the double whammy of foreclosed and abandoned homes.

For owners of those homes — or those looking to buy as an investment — there's a resource available online: a website called Why Don't We Own This?

We wanted to find out more about the site, and what it means to owners, investors and the neighborhoods.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
4:56 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

A new era for Dodds Records, a Grand Rapids institution

A vinyl record.
Mike Perini Michigan Radio

Vinyl records. The sight and sound of an LP can unleash torrents of sentiment and memories for those who grew up dropping that needle onto a shiny record.

And if you've grown up only downloading your music digitally, you need to know that there’s nothing finer than wandering through the aisles of a record store – a record store like Dodds Records in Grand Rapids, which has served music lovers for some 30 years.

With a new owner who is committed to keeping the love of records alive, the future for the venerable Grand Rapids business is looking bright.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
4:56 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

Should school districts add minutes or days after snow days? And who gets to decide?

How should schools make up for this season's snow days?
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

An interview with Ted Roelofs.

With many Michigan schools racking up snow days, what's the best way to make up lost time? Adding minutes onto the school day? Or adding days at the end of the school year? Should local districts be allowed to decide for themselves or should Lansing make the decision for them?

Bridge Magazine contributing writer Ted Roelofs dug into these questions for his story in this week's Bridge.

Listen to the full interview above.

Politics & Culture
4:55 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

Stateside for Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014

What can be done to save our failing schools? Some believe teachers should be held accountable, but are we are giving them enough support?

Then, snow days aren’t so simple for Michigan schools. Some districts are already over the limit of six missed days that they can have before they must add days to make up for lost class time. And with a month left of winter, there’s still a chance for even more snow days. Later in the hour we ask, what's the best way to make up lost time?

First, like an unwelcome guest, this winter keeps hanging on, serving up record amounts of snow and bitterly cold temperatures.

And then there's a propane shortage.  So those in Michigan and throughout the Midwest who rely on propane for their heat have to worry about getting propane, and when they do, dealing with major price increases.

What's behind the shortage? And what does it mean for the 9 to 10 percent of Michigan homes that use propane for heat?

Judy Palnau of the Michigan Public Service Commission joined us today.

Stateside
4:55 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

A warm-up is on the way – but not for long

Roads covered in ice and snow.
LisaW123 Flickr

 Lots of us have made the rueful observation that it's pretty sad when we think of 28 degrees as warm weather.But that's what we've come to in this cold winter.

What caused this relative warm-up? And will the deep freeze come back?

Here to tell us more is MLive and farmerweather.com meteorologist Mark Torregrossa.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
4:55 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

Education researcher says we can't blame teachers for failing schools

A teacher in a classroom.
Sarah Hulett Michigan Radio

As Michigan moves into new, uncharted waters in terms of testing and evaluating those who hope to become teachers, there are many views on whether this testing and evaluation is fair, helpful, and an accurate measurement of how students, teachers, and schools are doing.

Mitch Robinson is an associate professor and chair of music education at Michigan State University. A former teacher, his research is now focused on education policy and the mentoring of new music teachers. 

He believes test scores like the beefed-up version of Michigan's teacher certification test aren't telling us anything substantial about students or learning.

Listen to the full interview above.

Environment & Science
4:54 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

What's behind Michigan's propane emergency?

A propane tank covered in snow.
sierrafoothillsreport.com

Last month, in the midst of the polar vortex, Gov. Rick Snyder declared an energy emergency in the state as propane supplies dropped.

The shortage continues as Michiganders who rely on propane  for their heat have to worry about getting propane – and when they do, dealing with major price increases.

What's behind the shortage? And what does it mean for the 9 to 10 percent of Michigan homes that use propane for heat?

Listen to the full interview above. 

Politics & Culture
4:50 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

Stateside for Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014

There are more than 70 virtual currencies in the marketplace.

You may have heard of the biggest players: Bitcoin, Ripples, and Litecoin, which are taking out the middleman and reinventing the meaning of money. The idea is gaining momentum among college students. Today, we heard how virtual money is opening doors for young Michigan entrepreneurs.

Then, school districts around the nation and right here in Michigan are talking about ways to accommodate transgender students. The ACLU of Michigan's LGBT Project (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) is already working on model policies.

And we spoke with some talented Michigan musicians about how their EP (extended play recording) reached No. 2 on the iTunes electronic charts with virtually no promotion.

Read more
Stateside
4:44 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

How are Michigan roads holding up this winter?

Can Michigan roads handle the additional damage from this winter?
Peter Ito flickr

As the winter of 2013-2014 drags on, we're really seeing what it's done to our roads.

Patching crews try in vain to keep up with a bumper crop of potholes. More and more of us are losing tires, blowing the suspension as we bang into one of those gaping potholes.

And keep in mind, Michigan's roads were crumbling before this winter.

With more winter to go, we wondered where our roads stand and what needs to happen in Lansing to do what it takes to repair and maintain the roads.

Michigan Department of Transportation Director Kirk Steudle knows all too well what this winter has done to the pavement, and he joined us today. 

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
4:37 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

Where are the best places to dine in Detroit?

Xochimilco Mexican restaurant.
Facebook

National leaders are recognizing Detroit’s food movement. Last week it was announced that the federal government is providing $150,000 to support local food cultivation in the Detroit area. The money will mostly go to farmers in the city to help fund infrastructure for growing crops.

Detroit has become a hub for urban farming, but the city is also home to a host of hidden and amazing restaurants. Let’s take a tour of those restaurants with writer Bill Loomis. He wrote the book, "Detroit Food: Coney Dogs to Farmers Markets." He joined us today to give us some recommendations.

Read more
Stateside
3:40 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

Michigan schools are working on becoming more accommodating to transgender students

LGBT rainbow flag flapping in the sun
user Marlith Flickr

How far should a school go to accommodate its transgender students? What federal or state laws and ordinances might impact policies for transgender students?

School districts around the nation are wrestling with these questions, even as parents and civil rights groups mount court challenges against districts whose policies are not supportive of transgender student rights.

The ACLU of Michigan's LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) Project is now crafting a comprehensive model policy for transgender students – a policy that could be adopted by local school districts. Jay Kaplan is a staff attorney who is part of this effort, and he joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
3:34 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

Bitcoin digital currency could be the way of the future, according to two Michigan students

A physical bitcoin.
Wikipedia

Bitcoin: Is it something that could alter centuries of banking and money practices? Or is it an unstable "funny money" fad?

Bitcoin is a digital currency or "cryptocurrency" not backed by any central bank.

But our next guests are banking on bitcoin.

Kinnard Hockenhull actually left the University of Michigan to set up his bitcoin business called BitBox.

And Daniel Bloch is a U of M junior in the College of Literature, Science and the Arts and Engineering. He's working with Hockenhull on BitBox and he's launched his own bitcoin-based nonprofit called Coingive that tries to give charities a helping hand with bitcoin. They joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
3:32 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

'The Drift' EP combines Michigan music talents, including Michelle Chamuel from The Voice

Michelle Chamuel fan page Facebook

An interview with producer Arjun Singh and rapper Isaac Castor.

His name is Arjun Singh. He's a 24-year -old student at the University of Michigan.

Singh has teamed up with former U of M student Michelle Chamuel to produce an extended-play recording called "The Drift."

And if that name and voice ring a bell, they should.  Chamuel came in second on season four of "The Voice."

With virtually no promotion, the EP hit No. 2 on the iTunes electronic charts.

Arjun Singh joined us today. And the title track of "The Drift" features more Michigan talent, including rapper Isaac Castor of Saline High School. He joined us today as well. 

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
4:14 pm
Mon February 17, 2014

Stateside for Monday, Feb. 17, 2014

Rona Romney McDaniel is building on her family's extensive political legacy. She is taking Terri Lynn Land's seat on the Republican National Committee. What does this mean for Michigan's profile? Michigan Public Radio Network Lansing Bureau Chief Rick Pluta joins us to discuss McDaniel's new position. 

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