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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.

Thomas Hawk / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

 


Earlier this year, the United States Supreme Court handed down a directive saying that all prisoners sentenced to life without parole for crimes committed as minors, the so-called “juvenile lifers,” should get the chance to have their sentences reconsidered.

The Court, in Miller v. Alabama in 2012 and in Montgomery v. Louisiana in 2016, said that the sentence of life without parole should be reserved only for the “rarest” of cases in which the juvenile is found to be “irreparably corrupt” or “permanently incorrigible.”

Some 360 Michigan inmates fall into this category. But so far, Michigan prosecutors have filed motions to uphold life without parole sentences in nearly 60 percent of these cases.

(This story is part of our series Michigan's Juvenile Lifers: Who Gets a Second Chance?)

Sixty percent certainly seems to be more than the “rarest” standard set forth by the Supreme Court, critics argue.

Deborah LaBelle is Ann Arbor attorney leading the ACLU of Michigan's Juvenile Life Without Parole initiative. She says Michigan prosecutors are ignoring the Supreme Court.

A bioretention garden on Evergreen Avenue in Detroit's Warrendale neighborhood.
Dave Brenner

The Next Idea

My work in ecological design leads me to think about how the billions of dollars that governments must invest to replace and repair infrastructure can achieve more for American cities. Over the past several years I’ve focused my work on Detroit. Many cities, including Detroit, have some pipes more than a century old moving wastewater, stormwater, or drinking water underground. A handful of cities with industrial legacies, like Detroit, also have thousands of abandoned structures awaiting demolition. When a road is rebuilt, new pipes are laid, or when a building is demolished, I see the possibility of achieving many different, complementary benefits for residents and the environment at the same time.

As the No. 6 seed in the NFC playoffs, the Lions now have to win three straight games away from Ford Field to reach their first Super Bowl in team history.
meesh / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

The month of December is here and, believe it or not, the Lions are still in the hunt for a playoff spot. Some fans may be surprised by this, but what might be more surprising is the way that they've done it. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

There are 363 Michigan inmates in state prisons closely watching how the state of Michigan and local prosecutors implement two U.S. Supreme Court rulings.

The decisions struck down mandatory life sentences for juveniles. The lifers were convicted of murder and sentenced in the late 1980s and 1990s under a get-tough approach to juvenile crime.

The laws were a response to a wave of violent crime that swept the state and the country.

Michigan's lame duck session ends on Thursday.
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The lame duck session for the Michigan Legislature is a time when politicians in Lansing often push through unpopular or controversial bills. Remember the right-to-work law in 2012

This year has been no different as there have been a number of proposals that have been floated through the lame duck session. However, in an unexpected turn, four big ones have been pulled back, which surprised many observers, including Susan Demas and Ken Sikkema who joined Stateside for their weekly political roundup.

snow covered graveyard
Sarah Courbet / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

A recent court case in London has been raising the profile of the cryonics industry in general. But it has brought special attention to the Clinton-township based Cryonics Institute. At dispute in the court case were the rights of a terminally-ill 14-year-old British girl who wanted to have her body frozen upon death.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

We live in a throw-away society. Things are made cheaply and when we’re finished with them, we toss them out. That goes for furniture too. People put couches out on the curb. In college towns such as Ann Arbor, at the end of the academic year, there are lots of couches at the curb. 

We used to re-upholster furniture. In fact, some people still do. And in this installment in our series, “Artisans of Michigan” we visit an upholsterer.

In new new book, Heather Ann Thompson looks at the Attica prison uprising of 1971. and what it can tell us about today's prisons.
flickr user Jayu / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

 

The book Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and its Legacy has been getting lots of attention by the national media and is a National Book Award finalist.

The author is University of Michigan Professor of History Heather Ann Thompson.

She joined us today to talk about the 1971 prison uprising in New York and what we can learn from it today.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

At one time, Detroit’s black families had one of the highest home ownership rates in the nation. Now that rate is among the lowest. Every year in Detroit, thousands of people lose their homes to tax foreclosures. In many cases, it is unnecessary. The city is accused of illegal taxes and denying tax exemptions homeowners deserved.

When I got to Darryl and Alisa Beavers' house, I was greeted by Jackson, their small dog. They’ve been living in a three-bedroom, two bath, 1,600 square foot home on Detroit’s east side. There are a lot of nice houses in this neighborhood.

Donald Trump doesn't take the oath of office for 49 days but he's already used Twitter to send some crystal clear messages to business and unions.
Gage Skidmore / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

It was Theodore Roosevelt who declared the Presidency was a "bully pulpit." Our incoming 45th President clearly agrees.

Donald Trump doesn't take the oath of office for 49 days, but he's already used his favorite tool, Twitter, to send some crystal clear messages to businesses and unions.

Joe Brusky / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

On Nov. 30, Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein requested a recount of votes in Michigan. That request was the beginning of a frantic week of legal battles as county clerks rallied staff and resources to undertake the recount.

But now the statewide recount appears to be over after the ruling that came from Federal Judge Mark Goldsmith last night. He lifted the restraining order that triggered Monday’s start to the recount. The Board of State Canvassers then canceled its meeting earlier today.

Though the recount effort seems to have reached its limit, Stein said not yet.

Is this the end of marriage, capitalism, and God?

Dec 8, 2016
FLICKR USER JIM BAUER/FLICKR / HTTPS://FLIC.KR/P/91DHSU

The Next Idea

 

The next big thing isn’t a clever gadget or miracle drug, it’s a way of life -- not a breakthrough invention but a social innovation.

 

Rising numbers of young people are now deciding to do everything their parents didn’t. They’re eschewing cultural and economic conventions to challenge what we take to be civil society.

 

They aren’t marrying.

 

They’ve become the refuseniks of our competitive corporate culture.

 

And many of them have opted out of organized religion altogether.

Kristy Kopec told us that though she didn't know it at the time, but "it was all over with" the first time she took opiates.
flickr user frankileon / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Michigan has a fierce fight on its hands. A fight to keep people out of the clutches of opioid and heroin addiction. 

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services offers some stunning numbers that show how badly this fight is going. 

In 1999 there were 99 heroin or opioid overdose deaths. In 2014, that number climbed to 1,001. 

That's 10 times as many deaths in just 15 years.

Peter Kudlacz / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

If you wandered past any landmarks or took a stroll through a public park this summer, you may have noticed a lot more foot traffic than usual. But instead of walking and talking together, these large groups of new guests basically just sit around and stare at their smartphones. 

Yes, "Pokémon GO" players are everywhere.

For many, the game has become a core part of day-to-day life. 

Alexander Weinstein's new book of short stories takes the idea to the extreme, exploring a future full of dangerously immersive virtual reality games. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The legal battles over the statewide recount of Michigan's presidential election results have been raging.

At the same time, another story is clearly emerging: Precincts that cannot be recounted because of Michigan's recount law, which dates back to 1954.

The film includes scenes of ordinary Americans going about their daily lives and emphasizes the impact of war here at home.
screengrab / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

“Today is the day that will live in infamy,” in the words of President Franklin Roosevelt.

This is the 75th anniversary of Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor – the attack that propelled the United States into World War II.

The next year, some Hollywood heavyweights produced a propaganda film called Fellow Americans designed to boost support for the war.

It was narrated by Jimmy Stewart, the first movie star to enter military service. At the time of this film he was a 2nd lieutenant in the Army Air Corps.

Jan Worth-Nelson told us that high-quality writing and photography have always been staples of "East Village Magazine."
Courtesy of East Village Magazine

This year marks the 40th anniversary of East Village Magazine.

The nonprofit magazine has been bringing community news to people in Flint since 1976, a labor of love for its founder, the late Gary Custer.

East Village Magazine has hung in there to become one of the nation's oldest community media outlets. 

Flickr user Andre Charland/Flickr / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Get to work, grab a cup of coffee, turn on the computer … and sit down to start the business of the day.

And there you stay: sitting and sitting and sitting. Sound familiar?

For those of us with desk jobs, that’s pretty much the drill.

But more and more medical researchers warn us that all that sitting is wreaking havoc on our bodies. Dr. James Levine of the Mayo Clinic has even declared that “sitting is the new smoking.”

Andrew Colom and Davide Alade
Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

When we talk about investment in Detroit, the likes of Dan Gilbert or Christopher Ilitch come to mind. Certainly Gilbert has led the way in buying downtown buildings, reshaping the look of downtown Detroit. 

But today, we're going to look at investment in Detroit's neighborhoods.

Andrew Colom and David Alade both gave up jobs to move to Detroit and launch an investment company called Century Partners

Their idea was to invest in Detroit's neighborhoods, and to close the wealth disparity gap by helping people invest in the rehabilitation of their neighborhoods. 

A lead service line removed from a Flint home. Lead service lines were useful because the metal is flexible and can bend - making installation easier.
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

It has been well over a year since the world learned that Flint was in the throes of an environmental disaster.

In the early months of this year, the Flint water crisis brought a steady stream of political leaders promising aid and vowing this would never happen again: President Obama, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, President-elect Trump.

So here we are, at year's end, and Flint hasn't seen a penny of that promised federal aid to help replace its damaged lead water pipes. And now there's a new curve ball that could threaten that federal funding.

Courtesy of Lester Monts

Michigan boasts an exceptionally rich mix of folk, ethnic and immigrant music, and it goes back centuries.

Music professor Lester Monts wanted to capture that rich tapestry, so he spearheaded the Michigan Musical Heritage Project.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The vote recount continues in Michigan, even as State Attorney General Bill Schuette and the campaign of president-elect Trump keep pushing forth with challenges to that recount.

Recounting began Monday in Oakland and Ingham Counties. Wayne County began today.

And there's a growing awareness of technical problems, coupled with possible human error, adding up to precincts that cannot be recounted under Michigan law.

Chris O'Droski and Caitlin Darfler told us that many people struggling with addiction simply don't know there are alternative to Alchoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous
flickr user Chris Yarzab / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

When it comes to finding a pathway to helping an addict to recovery, most people and most courts think of Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous.

The popular view is that AA and NA are the only ways for someone to get clean and sober, and stay that way.

But there are other options, organizations like SMART Recovery, LifeRing Secular Recovery and the Buddhist Recovery Network

For some, these alternatives can do what AA and NA could not.

"Black people don't necessarily need choice, they need power," Perry told us. "The reason why black communities' schools are not doing well is because black communities are not doing well."
Flickr user Bart Everson/Flickr / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Proponents of publicly funded, privately run charter schools hail them as the way to keep public schools and public school teachers "on their toes" by creating competition. 

Here in Michigan we have roughly 145,000 students in more than 300 charter schools, according to Education Trust Midwest.

And a report that group released earlier this year showed that charter school enrollment in the 2014-2015 school year consisted of disproportionately minority and low-income students. 

Ballots waiting to be recounted in Ingham County.
Rick Pluta / Michigan Radio

It's been quite the legal whirlwind of lawsuits and early-morning judicial ruling, but the Michigan recount began today.

Local clerks are working furiously to meet the order to hand-count more than 4.8 million votes cast by Michiganders in the presidential election.

The first recounts are happening in Oakland and Ingham counties.

This posthumous portrait of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was painted by Barbara Krafft in 1819.
Public Domain / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

 

The Magic Flute is one of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s most famous works.

There’s a good chance you know the piece, but what you might not know is that Mozart finished and premiered the opera in the very final months of his life.

Mozart died 225 years ago today. He was only 35.

The cause of Mozart’s death is a medical question that has endured as long as his music.

According to McClelland, nasality is the hallmark of Midwestern speech.
Public Domain / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

One of the core elements of  your identity is your accent. 

But we here in the Midwest have a tendency to believe we don't have an accent. 

Writer Edward McClelland proves otherwise in his new book How to Speak Midwestern

McClelland sat down with us today to talk about what makes the Midwestern accent so distinct.

Courtesy of Erika Brown-Binion

The Next Idea

Learning a new language and making new friends in a foreign land are just a few of the hardships faced by refugee children. They also encounter cultural differences that affect their ability to adapt; they worry about friends and families back in their home country; and they struggle with the uncertainty of acceptance in a foreign land.

Matthileo / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

There isn't much we in America can agree on these days.

However, some might say we are pretty well united on one thing: Most of us think the Citizens United ruling stinks and needs to go.

Report shows declining road conditions in Michigan.
Michigan Infrastructure Commission

During his January 2016 State of the State address, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder apologized to the people of Flint for the water crisis in that city, saying "government failed you."

During that speech, he called for the creation of an independent commission to examine Michigan's infrastructure needs. He later signed an executive order creating the commission.

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