WUOMFM

Families & Community

Michigan Makers / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

The Next Idea

Over the past few years, makerspaces have become more understood – and popular.

Think shiny industrial warehouses with 3-D printers, laser engravers and metal-working tools. And – of course – think groups of people. As our most recent contributors to The Next Idea explained, makerspaces can become crucial focus points for entire communities.

New Years Eve is almost here – in preparation, Cheers! takes us to a tire shop for a tequila recipe. And, we talk with the Superintendent of Holland Public Schools, a district negatively impacted by school choice.

Stage for "The Drop" New Year's Eve celebration at Campus Martius in Detroit.
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Thousands of people are expected to be in downtown Detroit to watch the "D" drop on New Year's Eve this Saturday.

Jerrid Mooney co-founded The Drop: the Meridian Motor City NYE celebration seven years ago.

He said if the weather forecast holds, this year's event will be one of the warmest since the "D" drop began.

“We've had negative temperatures, snow storms, and it didn't affect the crowd then, it's certainly not going to affect it this weekend,” Mooney said.

We learn about "Kangaroo Care" today – a skin-to-skin bonding technique for mothers and their newborn babies. Then, an author describes his redemption story after 19 years in prison for murder.

In today's State of Opportunity special, we zoom in on neighborhood collaboration in three different communities. We explore the power neighbors have when working together to solve a problem.

Morgan Springer / Interlochen Public Radio

What’s the most important thing to consider when you’re choosing a neighborhood?

Michiganders are getting ready for the holidays

Dec 22, 2016
Lansing Capitol in December 2015.
user ellenm1 / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

We're days away from holidays like Christmas and Hanukkah.

And Michiganders are celebrating.

On Instagram, people are posting all the holiday things. Decorations, presents, baking, you name it.

We thought we'd give you a taste of what's being posted.

 

A photo posted by Liz Marie Blog (@lizmariegalvan) on

Dec 21, 2016 at 6:48pm PST

Have you ever faced holiday blues? Today, we hear how best to fight the phenomenon this season. We also take a look at where mental health care reform is going in the state. Plans don't include for-profit HMOs... for now.

Nom & Malc / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Type the words “holiday depression” into Google search and you will get nearly a million hits.

It's tough enough when you're feeling down, feeling completely out of step with everybody else. But it's even tougher now, during the holidays, with those messages of cheer, those "tidings of comfort and joy."

Dr. Farha Abbasi, a Michigan State University psychiatrist, joined Stateside today to talk about navigating the holiday season if you, or someone you care about, are struggling with depression.

My name is Alvin Thomas. I’m the pastor of The Nations Church in Utica, Michigan.

My parents, my mom and dad, were born in south India. I was born in New York City, so I feel American.

But, as my skin color will tell you, I’m Indian.

Our in-house linguist joins us to discuss various dictionaries' "words of the year"... many of which have political connections. We also learn how the new round of criminal indictments in connection with the Flint water crisis could test Michigan's emergency manager law.

Courtesy of Bill O. Smith

A children's book can be filled with wisdom and a message that resonates with readers of all ages.

That is certainly the case with Traverse City-based writer Bill O. Smith's new children's book Four a.m. December 25.

It is the story of a very special gift for a little girl.

Courtesy WZZM

It's going to be one special holiday season for this family.

According to Jaleesa Irizarry of WZZM, John and Julie Vandermolen now have three identical twins. Their names are Ivan, William and Harrison, and they were born in Grand Rapids. 

More from John via WZZM:

Today the whistleblowers that drew worldwide attention to Flint just about a year ago explain how their lives have changed. And, we learn why Michigan law makes it nearly impossible for electors to defect.

To find individual interviews, click here or see below:

Ann Millspaugh / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The Next Idea

Say you’ve lived in your neighborhood for ten years and suddenly it’s become the place to live.

Rents are rising, and you’re looking at having to move. What then?

Stay Midtown might have the answer. The program aims to help working people in Detroit’s up-and-coming Midtown area stay there.

Lee Anne Walters and Marc Edwards
Rick Pluta

 

In April 2014, the fateful decision was made to change Flint's drinking water source to the Flint River.

That led to what is known world-wide as the Flint water disaster.

But it took activist citizens like Lee Anne Walters working with Virginia Tech engineer Marc Edwards to rip apart layers of denial and stonewalling from state and Environmental Protection Agency officials. In 2001, Edwards proved that people in Washington D.C. were drinking lead-poisoned water after the city changed water treatment chemicals. So, when Walters and other worried Flint residents called, he answered. They joined us today, a year after the city officially declared a state of emergency.

(Left to right) William Washington, Lizzie Young and Vincent Washington.
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

Wayne County has more than 150 juvenile lifers, by far the most in the state. As of today, only one of them – and, in fact, the only person among the more than 360 juvenile lifers in the entire state of Michigan – has been given that second chance. 

On June 4, 1975, 17-year-old William Washington and his 26-year-old co-defendant, Kenneth Rucker, robbed a record store. After a scuffle with the store owner, Mr. Rucker took the victim into the back room and shot him to death. This incident led to Washington receiving a life without parole sentence for first degree murder, as well as a second life sentence for armed robbery, for his role as an aider and abettor.

On November 17th of this year – 41 years after he went to prison – William Washington became a free man.  

Washington and his mother Lizzie Young joined us in the studio.

People in Flint shared how things are going today for them. Visit myflintstory.tumblr.com to hear them.
Mark Brush

People in the city of Flint have been coping with a broken water system for a long time.

Outside the U.S. Supreme Court during oral arguments in the juvenile lifer cases in March 2012.
courtesy of Jennifer Bishop-Jenkins / http://www.teenkillers.org/

In his office in downtown Grand Rapids, Kent County prosecutor Bill Forsyth has stacks of boxes up against a long wall. They’re labeled and stuffed with transcripts, police reports, autopsy reports. 

“That’s about half of what I had when we started,” he said, motioning toward them. 

About a year ago, the U.S. Supreme Court said states had to review the cases of juvenile lifers who were sentenced before automatic life was declared unconstitutional. The court said automatically sentencing juveniles to life without parole was cruel and unusual punishment. 

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.

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. 

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.

Volunteers cleaned the aquarium's glass tile ceiling.
Courtesy of Belle Isle Aquarium

 

One of Detroit’s gems, the Belle Isle Aquarium, had been open since 1904 until the cash-starved city shut the place down in 2005 and shipped all 4,000 fish elsewhere.

But people who love the aquarium took action, and as a result a reclaimed Belle Isle Aquarium is free and open to everyone.

General manager Fred Huebener joined us today.

The Michigan Urban Farming Initiative's headquarters and community center in Detroit.
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

The Michigan Urban Farming Initiative, or Mufi, is debuting what it calls the country's first sustainable "agrihood" in Detroit.

Tyson Gersh, the president and co-founder of Mufi, said aside from fresh produce, the urban gardens have provided volunteer opportunities and brought local investment to the area.

Gersh said the community resource center will hold meetings, serve as the new headquarters for the initiative, and host educational programs and events.

 

Today we hear about a new kind of play place: one for people with autism and their families. And we learn about the evolution of camping. It seems Americans want to be close to nature… but not too close.

“It’s OK to look for that rustic experience, but maybe at the same time you’re not completely willing to leave those modern comforts behind," Hogue told us.
flickr user Terry Bone / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

 

Michigan outdoors and camping: the two are practically synonymous.

We’ve got something like 13,500 campsites in Michigan, more than any other state.

But how much are we really communing with nature when we camp when we hook up to electricity, boot up the wi-fi and set out our folding chairs under the awning?

Architect Martin Hogue has spent a lot of time exploring just what camping really means in 2016. His exhibit 925,000 Campsites: The Commodification of an American Experience is now running through the end of the year at Lawrence Technological University in Southfield.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

A Christian organization dedicated to helping the homeless served more than 2,000 people a free Thanksgiving dinner Thursday.

The group, Mel Trotter Ministries, got more volunteers than it could use.  Volunteer coordinator Paula Seales says a week ago, she had 756 volunteers signed up to help serve the free dinner in downtown Grand Rapids.  By Thursday, it was close to 900.  She had to put some people on a waiting list and turn some people away.

“My phone was just constantly ringing," says Seales.  "'Can I volunteer? I want to be a part of this. It’s so wonderful.”

Drawing of a Thanksgiving dinner on a table at the Mel Trotter Thanksgiving dinner.
Mel Trotter Ministry

Homeless, elderly and poor people in several cities in Michigan are being given a reason to be grateful on Thanksgiving.

The Detroit Rescue Mission is serving free food to homeless people and others in need at different locations in and around the city.

While the ministry has been around for 107 years, it has been doing Thanksgiving dinners for over 20 years.

Barbara Willis, the Chief Operating Officer for the Detroit Rescue Mission, said these dinners make a big difference to the homeless in the community.

The Salvation Army is a crucial resource for many people all year round. It provides housing assistance, food assistance, utility assistance and all kinds of other help to people in need.

And around the holidays, that effort ramps up with Christmas assistance.

 

We learn a recipe for a conflict-free Thanksgiving today. We also hear a reaction to Trump's nomination, Betsy DeVos, for U.S. education secretary.

Pages