Local

Series & Documentaries
11:15 am
Mon June 4, 2012

The Michigan Radio Picture Project

2009 The Michigan Radio Picture Project
The Michigan Radio’s Picture Project is a forum for photographs that address Michigan people, places, events, and issues. We envision a broad mixture of photo essays that expand on stories featured on Michigan Radio as well as historical photographs, fine art photography, pictures from various archives and collections, and more -– all Michigan related. 

Series & Documentaries
10:56 am
Mon June 4, 2012

Remaking Michigan

2009 Remaking Michigan
Morning Edition's Steve Inskeep was in Detroit the week of April 20-24, 2009, to take a look at the economic crisis that has hit the state. Throughout the week, NPR featured stories on Morning Edition about how we're adapting to the economic change. Michigan Radio aired a special one hour program called "Remaking Michigan" about how the state is trying to re-set itself economically. 

Environment & Science
10:46 am
Mon June 4, 2012

Beavers return to Belle Isle

Belle Isle Park
Patricia Drury/flickr

After years of rumors, it’s official - beavers are back on Belle Isle.

It’s been about 100 years since the animals left the 985-acre island on the Detroit River, driven away by trappings and human development. In recent years, any time someone thought they spotted a beaver in the area, park officials always deemed the animal a muskrat or raccoon caught in a case of mistaken identity.

That is, until last week when a park visitor snapped a cell phone photo of a beaver swimming in the Blue Heron Lagoon.

John Hartig of the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge told The Detroit News that the Belle Isle beavers may have come from a family of beavers spotted at the nearby Conners Creek Power Plant four years ago.

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Series & Documentaries
10:34 am
Mon June 4, 2012

Up North in a Down Economy

2009 Up North in a Down Economy
In the series "Up North in a Down Economy," Michigan Radio will look at how the recession is affecting small towns in northern Michigan. 

Series & Documentaries
10:30 am
Mon June 4, 2012

Finding Our Bootstraps: Americans Deal with Recession

2008 Finding Our Bootstraps: Americans Deal with Recession
Since late 2007 America has been in an economic crisis. From a story about a family living on a beach, to a former GM employee looking to downsize his life, to a teenager weighing options for after high school, this one hour newscast compatible documentary explores how people are finding the strength and situations that get them through economic hard times by presenting personal stories and intimate portraits alongside contextual interviews and reports. 

Series & Documentaries
10:27 am
Mon June 4, 2012

Northern Arts

2008 Northern Arts

We spend a lot of time exploring the world of arts and culture from Detroit to Grand Rapids and everywhere in between. But what about up north? In our series "Northern Arts", Michigan Radio's arts reporter Jennifer Guerra takes a trip up north to spend some time around the campfire with a group of northern Michigan musicians visit to the deep woods of Mancelona for a lesson in the fine art of letter press and more. 

Series & Documentaries
10:24 am
Mon June 4, 2012

Foreclosing on the American Dream

Series & Documentaries
10:19 am
Mon June 4, 2012

Ashes to Hope: Overcoming the Detroit Riots

2008 Ashes to Hope: Overcoming the Detroit Riots

In the summer of 1967 chaos broke out in the streets of Detroit. After five days of violence 43 were dead, thousands were injured and over 4000 people had been arrested. Forty years later – Michigan Radio takes an in-depth look at the deadliest riot of the 1960s. Why did the riots begin? What fueled them? And, have we ever really recovered?

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Commentary
10:19 am
Mon June 4, 2012

Commentary: Two States of Michigan

I heard some interesting ideas about our economic future on Mackinac Island last week at the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce's annual conference of the state's movers and shakers. 

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Education
10:15 am
Mon June 4, 2012

Grading Michigan Schools

In 2008 Michigan Radio's "Grading Michigan Schools" is a multi-part series that takes an in-depth look at education in Michigan. We hear why one college student feels let down by the public school system in the state. We find out about "unschooling," an education philosophy that abandons textbooks and a curriculum. We also look at how the public school system is serving at-risk students through education for the very young and early intervention for kids with special education needs.

"Grading Michigan Schools" won a 2008 Clarion Award from Women in Communications.

Environment & Science
9:00 am
Mon June 4, 2012

What's so special about Isle Royale?

The Isle Royale Queen IV docked at Rock Harbor on Isle Royale.
Mark Brush Michigan Radio

For some, the magic of Isle Royale doesn't necessarily reside in the boat trip to the island.

Two days before Rebecca Williams and I left on our reporting trip, a friend and I were having lunch together.

"You're not riding on the 'Barf Barge' are you?!"

"The boat from Copper Harbor?"

"Yeah, I took that trip. We were on Isle Royale for a week. The first half of the week, all we could talk about was the boat trip over. And the second half of the week, all we could talk about was the boat trip back!"

On her trip, as the ship pulled out of Copper Harbor, the captain came on the loudspeaker.

"O.k., folks," the captain started. "We have the forecast for our crossing. And I just want to say... we're all in this together. We can get through this."

The snack bar was not open on that crossing.

But the snack bar was open for our trip.

The seas got a little rough (I saw a few eight footers roll by). And a trip to the restroom wasn't a straight walk to the door. You had to ping-pong yourself from table, to wall, to other passenger (excuse me), to the door.

Emergency cups and plastic grocery bags were deployed by some, but their "green-around-the-gills" condition didn't spread throughout the cabin.

The owners of the Isle Royale Line from Copper Harbor tell me the round-bottomed "Barf Barge" was retired in 2004. Their new boat, the Isle Royale Queen IV, rolls a lot less in heavy seas, and the new boat cut an hour off the trip.

What once took around four hours, now takes around three.

To get a sense of the crossing, I mounted a time lapse camera near the bridge. So here's the 54 mile crossing in less than two minutes.

Cell phones don't work on the island. Senses that can be overwhelmed by a connected, electric lifestyle are freed to look up, and take in the wind, waves, rock, and soil.

What makes the Isle Royale so special? We asked the Isle Royale Line's retired Captain Donald Kilpela that question:

Kilpela first made the trip to Isle Royale in 1945. And he and his family have been running the ferry service in Copper Harbor since 1971. His sons Ben and Don Jr. now run the boat. The family has been crossing Lake Superior to Isle Royale every summer since they started the business.

Two other people who know the island well have spent a good part of their lives here.

Rolf Peterson has been studying the interactions of wolves and moose on Isle Royale for more than 40 years. He and his wife Candy spend around eight months of each year on the island, and they raised their two kids on Isle Royale while living in the tiny Bangsund Cabin.

Isle Royale became a National Park in 1940, and was designated as a wilderness area in 1976. Humans are not in control here. It's an ideal laboratory for Peterson and the other researchers studying wolves and moose here.

Much of what scientists around the globe know about wolves and their behavior comes from Michigan's Isle Royale. The research project here is the longest running continuous study of any predator-prey system in the world.

All this week, we'll bring you stories about this research and about the people who make it happen - online and on-air.

You can find all the stories we produce on our series page Lessons from Isle Royale's Wolves and Moose.

Isle Royale is the least visited National Park, but as Captain Kilpela pointed out, it's the most re-visited one.

Many of you have had your own personal experiences with the island. We invite you to share your experiences about Isle Royale in the comment section below. In six words or less - tell us - what's so special about Isle Royale?

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Health
8:55 am
Mon June 4, 2012

Medicaid policymakers are committed to preserving health care safety net

State Medicaid policymakers should not try to block patient access to emergency rooms in the name of cost savings.  That's according to Doctor Brad Uren. He's president-elect of the Michigan College of Emergency Physicians.

He's responding to a recent controversial rule in Washington State that would deny payment to emergency rooms for certain Medicaid patients.  Some of these patients may have alarming symptoms but are later diagnosed with non-urgent conditions.  After political push-back, the state held off on these so called "retrospective denials."

Doctor Uren thinks Medicaid policymakers in the state are committed to protecting the health care safety net.  He thinks it's unlikely these denials will occur in Michigan.

"Fortunately in the State of Michigan, we've enjoyed a good working relationship with the Michigan Department of Community Health and Medicaid, and I believe that everyone at the administration level is really working to protect the safety net.  They understand the facts, and that is that emergency care is not often administered to people that don't require emergency care."

National data suggest that 8-percent of emergency room patients don't have urgent conditions.  It's thought that some of these patients may report not having regular access to primary doctors.

- Nishant Sekaran, Michigan Radio Newsroom

News Roundup
8:49 am
Mon June 4, 2012

In this morning's news...

Brother O'Mara Flickr

Federal investment in Detroit light rail? Ray LaHood in Detroit today

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood will be in Detroit today to meet with a group of business leaders and government officials. The topic of discussion will be the on-again, off-again light rail system in Detroit.

More from MPRN's Rick Pluta:

The M-1 project on the main thoroughfare of Woodward Avenue could eventually connect with a regional system.

Governor Rick Snyder plans to attend. He says light rail is part of a strategy to make Michigan’s largest city as attractive to entrepreneurs and young people as Chicago or Boston...

Businesspeople and government officials hope for more federal financial support for the project, which would operate for several years before reaching the break-even point.

Detroit's top lawyer says consent agreement with the state is not legal

Detroit's consent agreement with the state of Michigan is facing a legal challenge by Krystal Crittendon. More from the Detroit News:

The city's top attorney, Krystal A. Crittendon, could single-handedly derail the historic consent agreement between the city and state if she can convince a judge to endorse her opinion that the document is illegal.

Michigan Radio's Sarah Cwiek reports Crittendon doesn't have the full support of Mayor Dave Bing and some city council members:

Mayor Dave Bing initially made conflicting statements about a legal challenge. He publicly opposed it, but then admitted he supported the “concept” of the letter.

But now Bing says litigation would be a distraction.

Officials with the state have called the challenge nonsense. They plan to move forward with the agreement.

Venus and the Sun come together for a once-in-a-lifetime show

Tonight, the planet Venus can be seen crossing in front of the sun. It's known as the "transit of Venus" and it only happens once around every one hundred years.

Michigan Radio's Lindsey Smith says she "stumbled across the transit while gulping down an awesome new beer at one of my favorite spots in Benton Harbor, The Livery Microbrewery."

People in Michigan will be able to see the transit of Venus for a roughly three hour window beginning at 6 o’clock and lasting until the sun sets.

The transit won’t happen again until the year 2117, so it’s a pretty big deal to professional and amateur astronomers alike.

“Oh yeah, we’re having a full out party,” said Richard Bell, President of the Kalamazoo Astronomical Society.

Transportation
7:37 am
Mon June 4, 2012

Federal, state and local leaders meet today to discuss light rail in Detroit

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood will visit Detroit today. He’ll meet with a wide-ranging group of government officials and business leaders on the future of light rail transit in the city. The M-1 project on the main thoroughfare of Woodward Avenue could eventually connect with a regional system.

Governor Rick Snyder plans to attend. He says light rail is part of a strategy to make Michigan’s largest city as attractive to entrepreneurs and young people as Chicago or Boston.

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Politics
8:20 pm
Sun June 3, 2012

City of Detroit lawyer challenges consent agreement; state vows to "move forward"

Detroit’s top lawyer is going to court to challenge the city’s consent agreement with the state. But she doesn’t have the full support of Mayor Dave Bing, or some Detroit City Council members.

Corporation counsel Krystal Crittendon wrote a letter to state officials weeks ago.

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Science
7:37 pm
Sun June 3, 2012

"Once in a lifetime" transit of Venus viewing parties near you

The transit of Venus comes in pairs. This is a photo of the last transit of Venus in 2004. The next one isn't until the year 2117.
John Cudworth Creative Commons
  • Nicolle Zellner is a Physics Professor at Albion College. She shared great stories about early scientists who first saw the transit of Venus.

Star gazers in Michigan are preparing for a rare occasion Tuesday night when the path of the planet Venus can be seen crossing the sun.

The event is known as the transit of Venus and it only happens, in pairs, every hundred years or so. The next transit of Venus isn’t for another 100 years.

I stumbled across the transit while gulping down an awesome new beer at one of my favorite spots in Benton Harbor, The Livery Microbrewery.

I chose a Venusian Ale for the ingredients. I’m a sucker for “Michigan made” so the blend of “Michigan Red Wheat malts meet all Northern Michigan hops and 60# of Dark Michigan Honey” was right down my alley. Then co-owner Leslie Pickell told me all about the beer made especially for their transit of Venus viewing party – complete with an awesome art show inspired by the transit AND a keg-time-capsule for the people alive during the next transit. 

Once I started looking around, I discovered dozens of viewing parties across the state. Here's a short list:

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Politics
7:32 pm
Sat June 2, 2012

McCotter drops plans for a write-in campaign to hang on to Michigan congressional seat

Rep. Thaddeus McCotter, (R) Michigan

Michigan Congressman Thaddeus McCotter has decided to drop plans for a write-in campaign for the November ballot.

The decision effectively ends the southeast Michigan congressman’s tenure in Washington after five terms.

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Environment & Science
6:32 pm
Sat June 2, 2012

Progress reported in U.P. wildfires

NEWBERRY, Mich. (AP) - The Michigan Department of Natural Resources says it's making good progress battling an Upper Peninsula wildfire as some people return to their homes.

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Crime
6:29 pm
Sat June 2, 2012

Michigan Supreme Court clears way for Detroit vote on marijuana

(Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

The Michigan Supreme Court has cleared the way for Detroiters to vote on whether their city will be the first in the state to legalize marijuana.

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Politics
9:41 pm
Fri June 1, 2012

Is Michigan the "comeback state?" It depends who you ask.

A sign in a Sterling Heights convenience store. The city had to cut police and firefighters for the first time this year.
Sarah Cwiek Michigan Radio

Governor Snyder has been busy touting Michigan as America’s “comeback state"--most recently at last week's Mackinac Island Policy Conference.

Unemployment is dropping as the US auto industry is booming again. And the state has a budget surplus for the first time in many years.

But many of Michigan’s local leaders say they’re not seeing any comeback.

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