father

You could say Mary Vick Spaulding has spent her entire life in the death industry.

Her father, Harold, was a funeral director in Mount Clemens and he began teaching her the trade when she was in first grade. Back then they would spend time together in the embalming room as he began showing her the ropes. Spaulding says death has been something that’s been normal to her for her entire life.

Spaulding became a licensed funeral director 38 years ago, and for 25 years she worked alongside her father. He died in 2001 and these days she manages the family business, the Harold W. Vick Funeral Home.

I asked her to share what she knows about life and death that the rest of us might not know. Here’s what she said:

Anatomy is beautiful.

There are 2,5000 dams in Michigan and more than 90% are going to hit or exceed their design life by 2020. On today's show: How concerned should we be about our aging dams, and is there the money and political will to fix them? Then, the state's chief medical doctor explains why this year's flu season seems to be a particularly rough one.  And, one man from Ann Arbor is working to earn respect for dads all over America with the Dad 2.0 Summit. Also, the Detroit Zoo is not just a tourist attraction, it's a leader in animal conservation and preservation. 

First on the show, the data and numbers crunchers have been working away, trying to peer into the future to figure out what lies ahead for Michigan over the next 10 years in terms of jobs and pay.

The verdict: Michigan's economic axis is tilting west. Rick Haglund's recent story for Bridge Magazine is headlined: "Future job growth favors West Michigan." 

And Don Grimes is with the Institute for Research on Labor, Employment and the Economy at the University of Michigan.

They join us today to discuss the issue.

Flickr user dadblunders / Flickr

How about some respect for dads, everyone?

How about we stop with the marketing and entertainment cliches portraying Dad as a big ol' doofus who can't boil a pot of water or change a nasty diaper? And we start recognizing that men play a very active role in the home life and they are not the opposite side of the coin to the "supermommy."

This has been the mission of our next guest. Doug French been one of the nation's leading "daddy bloggers" ever since launching his blog "Laid Off Dad" over 10 years ago. And in July 2010, he created another blog, When the Flames Go Up, blogging with his ex-wife about co-parenting after divorce.

He's also the co-founder of the upcoming Dad 2.0 Summit, which aims to raise the profile of America's dads in the eyes of companies and marketers.

He does all of this as he practices the fine art of being a dad.

Doug French joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Dustin Dwyer

Today at 3pm on Michigan Radio, our State of Opportunity team presents its latest documentary.

Dustin Dwyer takes a look at men in our society. It’s a story in six parts.

It features the voices of men and young men from River Rouge High School, a church in Grand Rapids, and a martial arts gym in Lansing.

It even takes us to the Davis Primate Center in California, where we learn about a species of ape where the females – not the males – are dominant.

Flickr user Timothy J

The Michigan Legislature has approved bills that would give biological fathers some rights to their children, even if the mothers were married to other men at the time of birth.

Michigan law now presumes that a woman's husband is the father of her children, making him responsible for their support and denying parental rights to the biological father.

New University of Michigan research finds more women are having more children by more than one father. The U of M study shows 28% of women with two or more children had those children by more than one man. Among African-American women that number goes up to 59%.

Cassandra Dorius is a demographer at the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research.

“I think it’s just that families are changing. That families have been changing for a long time and that this is just one more indication that they are new and different today."

Dorius says families with multiple fathers face higher stress levels, as children and parents try to balance emotional and financial pressures. 

She says the growing remarriage trend , as well as single parenthood, is increasing ‘Multiple Partner Fertility’ in the U.S.