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Stateside

Monday through Friday @ 3:00 p.m. & 10 p.m.

Conversations about what matters in Michigan.

Stateside 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 focuses on topics and events that matter to people all across the state. Stateside is hosted by Cynthia Canty (Mon-Thu) and Lester Graham (Fri). 

To find audio for the full show you can subscribe to our podcast or go here.

two workers picking apples in an orchard
Courtesy of Great Lakes Agricultural Labor Services


   

Michigan fruit growers are nearing a crucial time of the year: harvest season. But those farmers are struggling to find enough labor to fill their needs.

People are no longer turning up at the farm looking for work, said Rob Steffens, owner of Steffens Orchard in Sparta, just north of Grand Rapids. Steffens needs more than 40 workers each year for his 280-acre orchard. He’s on track to have enough this year, but he says some workers have told him they aren’t returning.

stack of dollar bills
tom_bullock / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCLO

Battle Creek mom Lori Truex didn't have the money to pay her daughter's Michigan State University tuition.

But she didn't let that stop her. Truex decided to stand on the side of a street asking for donations. Seventy nine days later, she was able to end her panhandling campaign, which she called "One Mom, One Year."

44 percent of Michigan 3rd graders tested proficient in English and Language Arts. The scores for African-American, latino and low-income students were even worse.
Motown31 / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The 2017 scores for the M-STEP — the standardized test that most students in Michigan take — have been released.

It’s a mixed bag of results, with some promising signs of growth and other areas that clearly need work. M-STEP (the Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress) replaced the old MEAP test in 2015. The test is administered online, and it's designed to measure students' knowledge in math, science, social studies, and English language arts.

Mental health administrators Nicole Lawson, Christina Nicholas, and Jillian Trumbell demonstrate at the Michigan Capitol
Rick Pluta / MPRN

More than 300 thousand people in Michigan depend on public mental health care, and the state is wrestling with the question of who should oversee and administer those services.

Michigan is debating whether mental health funding will be taken away from community mental health groups and transferred instead to private insurers in Michigan’s Medicaid Health plans.

portrait pictures of dr. kendrick and dr. Eldering
Courtesy of the Michigan History Center / Archives of Michigan

Parents and students are getting ready for school to start next week. That can mean last-minute shopping trips for supplies and clothes, and perhaps a doctor’s appointment to get those vaccines up to date before the school year starts.

Back in the 1930s, pertussis, better known as whooping cough, caused 6,000 deaths a year in the United States. Ninety-five percent of the people who died were children ages five and under.

It was three women in Michigan who helped change those grim statistics.

Mike MacKenzie / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCLO

Not that long ago, most of us had never hear the oxymoron, "fake news."

But now, following the presidential campaign and election, it's hard to go a day without hearing those words. What is real and what is fake has become a critical issue for our country.

That's why the University of Michigan Library has joined with the College of Literature, Science and the Arts to create a new class on fake news. It's a one-credit course called "Fake News, Lies and Propaganda: How to Sort Fact from Fiction."

a stone wall
Mike Locke / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCLO

Every study abroad program offers a chance at discovery. You get to explore a different country and its unique cultural traditions, history, and cuisine.

A group of students from Washtenaw Community College (WCC) took that discovery to a whole new level when they uncovered priceless Roman artifacts during an archaeological dig at an ancient Roman fort in England.

man reading newspaper with fake news written on it
Mike MacKenzie / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCLO

A conservative news website is busy pumping out stories on political candidates. The stories quickly take off on social media as people share them with friends and family.

But a closer look at the website, called Conservative Intel LLC of Grand Rapids, reveals it isn't a news operation at all.

Amer Zhar in front of brick wall
Stateside Staff / Michigan Radio

Dearborn likes to boast that is has the highest proportion of Arab Americans in the country. But according to the U.S. Census, about 89 percent of the city’s approximately 100,000 people are white.

That’s because according to the United States’ government, Arab Americans are white.

“It’s a real mis-identifier [sic], you know,” said Michigan-based comedian and writer Amer Zahr “It’s one thing to not be identified. It’s worse to be misidentified because we’re not white in any way that ‘white’ means.”

Reverend Joan Ross recording in her studio
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Detroit’s North End neighborhood is changing.

It's in a part of the city that's adjacent to the residential and retail boom that's drawn so much attention to Detroit in recent years. As that development moves outward from downtown, things are starting to look a little different around here. 

Joan Ross is a reverend and community organizer who works in the neighborhood. And like a lot of people who've worked or lived in the city for a while, she's thinking about what those changes mean.

CRAIG STANLEY / NBC NEWS

As white supremacists marched in Charlottesville, some carried shields and a flag with a slightly modified Red Wings logo. Evidence suggests they were members a Michigan-based group called the Detroit Right Wings.

To explore the history of right wing extremism in Michigan, Stateside spoke with JoEllen Vinyard, a professor of history at Eastern Michigan University and the author of Right in Michigan's Grassroots: From the KKK to the Michigan Militia.

Adriana Flores next to E2 box
Courtesy of Adriana Flores

The Next Idea

Give a book, take a book. You've probably seen or heard of those tiny, roadside libraries with that mantra. They're usually small wooden structures, like a dog house on stilts, filled with books that are free to anyone in the community.

Our latest contributor to The Next Idea has taken that concept and turned it into a special way to provide basic necessities to folks in need. It’s a box called E²: Empathy and Equity. Instead of books, the box holds free hygiene products.

Wayne State University Press, 2016

The poems in Zilka Joseph’s second book, Sharp Blue Search of Flame, sear with poignant images and brilliant diction. Whether she’s reinventing myths from Jewish and Hindu Indian culture or commenting on the contemporary American scene, this poet speaks with the authority of lived wisdom. The range of experiences she captures spans from physical pain to erotic joy. Though troubling, even terrifying at times, this world we inhabit still holds great beauty, Joseph insists.

football players facing off
John W. Iwanski / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCLO

Just in time for college football's kickoff, Michigan Radio sports commentator John U. Bacon returns to Stateside today to give us his first predictions of the season.

To start, the big game happening this Saturday in Arlington, Texas will pit the Michigan Wolverines (ranked 11th) against the Florida Gators (ranked 16th).

Bacon said the tea leaves tell him to expect a “wild, gun-slinging, crazy game.”

NOAA

More than 60 Red Cross volunteers from Michigan were deployed to disaster areas as of Sunday night to help manage shelters, serve food, and assess damage from Hurricane Harvey.

REAL ID driver's license
Michigan Secretary of State

Michigan is set today to start issuing driver's licenses that residents eventually will need to board domestic flights if they don't have passports or other accepted documents.

New ID standards were created after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Starting in October 2020, compliant driver's licenses or state IDs will be needed to fly or to visit federal buildings, nuclear plants and military bases unless other acceptable documents are provided.

Aaron Foley is the city of Detroit's chief storyteller – and yes, that is a position in city government. He's also the author of How to Live in Detroit Without Being a Jackass

His latest work gathers neighborhood stories from writers who live or have lived all around the city. It's titled The Detroit Neighborhood Guidebook, and Foley is the editor.

Detroit houses
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

It used to be property taxes skyrocketed when home values went up. Sometimes tax bills increased by double digit percentages in a single year.

Voters fixed that with the passage of Proposal A in 1994. The constitutional amendment capped how much property taxes could go up in a year at five percent or the rate of inflation, whichever is less.

Three soccer balls sitting on a field, photographed through the net.
Mila Araujo @Milaspage / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCLO

Dan Gilbert and Tom Gores want to build a soccer stadium in downtown Detroit and then become owners of a Major League Soccer (MLS) Team. Gilbert is founder and chairman of Quicken Loans and owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers, and Tom Gores owns the Detroit Pistons with his private equity firm.

Gilbert wants to build this new soccer stadium on the unfinished Wayne County jail site, which stopped construction due to cost overruns. He wants the stadium so badly that he’s offering to build a new $500 million criminal justice complex for the county somewhere else.

The question is, why?

According to Samuel Brinton of the American Nuclear Society, there are more than 75,000 metric tons of nuclear waste in storage all over the country.
daveynin / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The nuclear power industry has a problem. It has no way to dispose of spent nuclear fuel rods, which are high-level nuclear waste.

Since 1987, the plan was a facility in Nevada known as Yucca Mountain. The Obama administration basically put that project on hold. 

Now the Trump administration indicates Yucca Mountain is back on the agenda. In the president’s proposed budget, $120 million is set aside for restarting the approval process. And, earlier this month, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission voted two to one to begin "information gathering activities" related to the proposed nuclear waste depository site.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

We've been thinking about the kind of people you might like to meet. We talk with a lot of authors, musicians, politicians and policy wonks. But, what about artisans? They're the people who use their hands and hearts to build things that we use.

The next stop in our “Artisans of Michigan” series is Zimnicki Guitars in Allen Park, Michigan.

adwriter / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCLO

Change is in the wind at Chrysler headquarters in Auburn Hills.

Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes joined Stateside today to explain what's behind Great Wall Motors' interest in buying Fiat Chrysler.

Kid Rock / YouTube

There seems to be growing public doubt about political polls ever since Donald Trump unexpectedly won the presidency, when many polls had him trailing Hillary Clinton.

Harry Enten, a senior political writer at FiveThirtyEight, recently looked at a poll released by Delphi Analytica that showed, in a hypothetical U.S. Senate race, sitting Senator Debbie Stabenow trailing Michigan native Kid Rock, although Rock hasn’t officially announced his candidacy.

Joybox Express

Take one 385-pound piano, and strap it onto a tricycle. Add a piano player and then hit the road from Flint to Mackinaw City.

Plop that piano on a barge, tie it to your ankles, and then swim all the way to Mackinac Island. 

That's the gist of the memorable fundraiser Sprint for Flint that's taking place this weekend.

Hannah Johnson, of Spera Foods, making granola and flour out of tiger nuts and the Incubator Kitchen at the Grand Rapids Downtown Market
Grand Rapids Downtown Market

The Next Idea

The Incubator Kitchen at the Grand Rapids Downtown Market is helping people with an idea for a food product or business turn their dreams into reality without risking their life savings.

The Incubator Kitchen is a full-sized commercial kitchen where hopeful food entrepreneurs can get help with business planning and the licensing required to legally produce their products and sell to the public.

The "Diag" on the University of Michigan's main campus in Ann Arbor.
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The University of Michigan is nearing a milestone. Michigan's oldest public university celebrates its bicentennial this weekend.

August 26th, 1817 was the day Lewis Cass, then governor of the Michigan territory, and the so-called judges of the territory, decided to establish an educational system headed up by the “University of Michigania,” a full 20 years before Michigan became a state.

Courtesy of Molly and Dion Stepanski / Facebook

The state’s numbers say the food and agriculture industry brings more than $101 billion into the state’s economy every year.

But Molly Stepanski of Presque Isle Farm said there’s a “huge transition” happening right now in the agriculture industry.

As older farmers begin to age out of the profession, Molly said tens of thousands of acres are “getting ready to transition hands.”

Azeezah Ford will be moving to Honor, MIchigan in Benzie County to start farming  at Wild Things Farm
Courtesy of Azeezah Ford

In Stateside’s series of conversations with young farmers in Michigan, some of the farmers we've talked to are working on their families' farms, carrying on a tradition that has spanned generations.

Azeezah Ford is a young farmer taking a different path. Ford grew up in Detroit, and early next year she'll begin full-time farm work in Benzie County in northern Michigan.

Kalamazoo Mayor Bobby Hopewell
Kalamazoo Public Library

The city of Kalamazoo just picked up a $500 million windfall.

This week, Kalamazoo city commissioners approved a public-private partnership called the Kalamazoo Foundation for Excellence. It’s a partnership between the city and two local philanthropist-businessmen: William Parfet and William Johnston.

Kalamazoo Mayor Bobby Hopewell said he saw the public-private partnership as the best way forward for his city, which had been staring down financial problems.

COURTESY OF THE SHADY LADIES LITERARY SOCIETY / Facebook

An engrossing book, delicious food, and sparkling conversation. Put all that together in Detroit and you've got the Shady Ladies Literary Society.

Group founder and Detroit-based writer Amy Haimerl, author of Detroit Hustle, and Ashley Shelby, whose novel South Pole Station will be featured at the society's upcoming meeting, joined Stateside on Wednesday.

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