July 4th

Stateside
4:48 pm
Wed July 3, 2013

The history of 4th of July celebrations

The Parade Company via theparade.org

An interview with author Bill Loomis.

With the 4th of July at hand, it's a good bet many of us have a backyard barbeque in our plans, maybe catching a fireworks show or doing one of your own in your backyard.

That got us thinking about the ways Michiganders have marked the big National Holiday over the centuries, and for that, we turn to our Official Stateside Historian.

Bill Loomis writes for the Detroit News and he's the author of "Detroit's Delectable Past: Two Centuries of Frog Legs, Pigeon Pie and Drugstore Whiskey." He joined us today in the studio.

Listen to the full interview above.

Politics & Culture
4:47 pm
Wed July 3, 2013

Stateside for Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013

It was dangerous! Explosions, injuries! No, not the war for Independence, but how we used to celebrate it. On today’s show, we went back a hundred years to see how Michiganders used to mark the 4th of July.

And, we spoke with Mardi Jo Link, author of the new book, "Bootstrapper: A Memoir. From Broke to Badass on a Northern Michigan Farm."

And, we looked into what’s behind the increase in backyard chicken farming here in Michigan.

Also, Andy Webb, owner of Captain Boom Fireworks in Otsego, joined us to talk about the new adjustment to the fireworks law.

And, we continued our week-long series of stories from immigrants about what America means to them. Today we talked to Koffi Itito. He fled the small West African nation of Togo in 2004. Now, he helps other refugees through his work at Freedom House in Detroit.

First on the show, to anyone who endured the dark days of the Great Recession with the near-death ordeals of General Motors and Chrysler, it seems nearly impossible to believe the "Help Wanted" sign is out at the car makers and their parts suppliers.

The Center for Automotive Research predicts the auto industry will add 35,000 jobs this year.  One auto supply executive calls it "an employee's market."

We wondered if this is a true hiring spree and if this can been seen as a return to the "glory days" of the car industry, or should we keep our collective guard up for fear of easily sliding back into the dark days of soft sales and layoffs?

David Cole, the Chairman Emeritus of the Center for Automotive Research, joined us today to discuss what’s behind these new jobs.

Stateside
4:40 pm
Wed July 3, 2013

Noise complaints led to prohibiting late-night fireworks in Michigan

Sarah Cwiek Michigan Radio

An interview with Andy Webb, owner of Captain Boom Fireworks in Otsego.

You don't have to look at the calendar to know the 4th of July is at hand. Just open your window and chances are you'll hear folks all over Michigan take advantage of the 2012 fireworks law, the one that allowed larger and louder fireworks to be sold and launched.

But the second year of the new state law may find things a little quieter. A raft of complaints prompted lawmakers to tweak the fireworks law, allowing local governments to ban overnight use of consumer grade fireworks on and around holidays.

Andy Webb, owner of Captain Boom Fireworks in Otsego, joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Investigative
11:39 am
Tue June 25, 2013

What does America mean to you? We want to know

Flickr/jnn1776

The Fourth of July is a time for family, fireworks, picnics, and pies.

But it is also a time when many reflect on what it means to be an American.

Here at Michigan Radio, we’re putting together some special stories for Fourth of July. We want to know, what does America mean to you?

We each have a deeply personal story about being an American. Perhaps you have a story about immigration or maybe you or a loved one has served time in the military. Others may appreciate a particular American freedom that is not universally a guaranteed right in other countries.

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Commentary
10:00 am
Wed July 4, 2012

Commentary: Fourth of July

When the Declaration of Independence was signed two hundred and thirty-six years ago, Michigan was a sparsely populated place which the French considered part of the province of Quebec.

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Politics & Government
1:01 am
Wed July 4, 2012

A great day for a parade (especially if you're a politician)

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D) Michigan plans to take part in two 4th of July parades today
Office of US Senator Debbie Stabenow

There are Fourth of July parades taking place all across Michigan today.

In addition to the numerous marching bands and Boy Scout troops, many parades will feature politicians.

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Commentary
9:00 am
Mon July 4, 2011

The Glorious Fourth

Benjamin Franklin (left), John Adams (center) and Thomas Jefferson (right), meet to review a draft of the Declaration of Independence in 1776.
Jean Leon Gerome Ferris - Oil on canvas Library of Congress

Michigan was part of the nation’s outback during the War of Independence. And most of the inhabitants probably liked that just fine. Battlefields are nice places to study, but from what I have seen, no place you’d want to be close to at the time.

Today, there will be speeches urging us to remember that we are all Americans. Some will scold those who are making our government’s present policies, or those who attack them.

Others will say that Americans should be united, just as they were in the days of George Washington and Valley Forge.

But what most people don’t realize is that a substantial minority of Americans at the time – possibly as high as 40 percent -- didn’t want independence. They were called loyalists, or Tories, and a fair number left for Great Britain or Canada, after the other side won the war. Naturally, that left the patriots with no one to bicker with except themselves, which they soon began to do.

President Washington wanted to avoid having political parties. That lasted about five minutes.

Which brings me to my favorite Fourth of July story, one with a moral we can perhaps learn from. It began on the day the Declaration of Independence was signed, and ended exactly 185 years ago today. Two of the founding fathers were, of course, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. They were good buddies on July 4, 1776, when they signed the declaration. Later, however, they each became leaders of the first two political parties.

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