Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

2014 may be a ‘robust’ year for Michigan’s tourism industry.

Stock markets and consumer confidence are high, housing markets are improving and unemployment is down. Michigan State University researchers say these are all factors that play a role in determining if people will take a vacation.

The MSU researchers presented their annual tourism forecast at an industry conference in Traverse City this morning.

They’re predicting a 4.5% increase in hotel receipts this year compared with 2013, which was a strong year for Michigan tourism.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A big-ticket construction project on the Michigan State University campus is in President Barack Obama's proposed budget.

The Facility for Rare Isotope Beams, or F-Rib for short, may turn MSU into a destination for advanced nuclear science research. But its $730 million price tag has raised questions about whether it will get the funding it needs to get built.

The president’s fiscal year 2015 budget calls for investing $90 million in the project.

Mark Burnham is the vice president of government affairs at MSU.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The late December ice storm that knocked out power to more than half a million Michigan utility customers also damaged many of the state’s trees.

A preliminary study being released today takes a look at that damage.

Professor Frank Telewski was busy Monday, crunching numbers for his presentation today to a conference of state arborists.

Rick Pluta / MPRN

About 500 people packed a Michigan State University campus hall Friday to witness President Barack Obama sign the new federal farm bill.

The event capped years of negotiations and some tough compromises with Congress on the complex legislation. President Obama said he’s always glad to return to Michigan to cheer the auto industry recovery. Now, he says, it’s time to do the same for agriculture and rural America.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

President Obama called the farm bill "a jobs bill” before he signed it into law today in East Lansing.

The president says the nearly $1 trillion package of farm subsidies and food assistance spending will benefit rural communities in Michigan and around the country that have struggled in recent years.

White House

President Obama travels to Michigan today where he will sign the nation’s new farm bill into law.

The new law will change the way the federal government aids the nation’s farmers.

The president is signing the nearly $1 trillion farm bill into law on the campus of Michigan State University in East Lansing.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

President Obama will sign the nearly $1 trillion federal farm bill into law when he visits Michigan State University on Friday.

The U.S. Senate passed the farm bill today, ending years of wrangling in Washington over the legislation that provides federal aid to farmers and the nation’s poor.

The sweeping $100-billion-a-year measure won Senate approval Tuesday on a 68-32 vote after House passage last week. The bulk of its cost is for the food stamp program, which aids 1 in 7 Americans.


The Seattle Seahawks trounced the Denver Broncos in Sunday’s Super Bowl.

But a group of Michigan State University advertising and public relations professors says the real winners were a dog and horse. 

Companies paid about $4 million for each 30-second spot during the big game in hopes of reaching 100 million viewers. 

For 17 years, MSU professors have been picking the big game’s best TV ads. Last night, their pick for the best commercial was a Budweiser ad featuring a puppy and Clydesdale horse that develop a special relationship.

user: Dru Bloomfield / Flickr

MSU conducted a study that links productivity to smart phone usage.

Russell Johnson is an assistant professor at Michigan State and conducted the study in collaboration with the University of Florida and the University of Washington.

The study found two big correlations.

First, that the amount of sleep you get is directly related to how much time you spend on your cell phone at night.

If you spend a lot of time on your phone, you'll get less sleep. 

The second big thing has to do with productivity.

Johnson and the other two researchers found that it's harder for people to be focused and engaged at work if they spent a lot of time on their smart phones the night before.

(courtesy of the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams)

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) - A massive physics research project at Michigan State University is expected to break ground this spring.

The Lansing State Journal reports that there is $55 million allocated for the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams in the federal budget. Plans call for more than $160 million in construction costs alone over the next four years.

The U.S. Department of Energy last year estimated the cost of FRIB at $730 million. The aim is for completion between 2020 and 2022.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan State University soon will pay out the bulk of $7 million in negotiated health care reimbursements to thousands of union workers.

School spokesman Jason Cody says the payments of more than $1,000 each will show up Friday in paychecks for employees paid every other week, and Jan. 31 for those paid monthly.

The Lansing State Journal reports the employees include roughly 5,800 mid-level managers, police officers, cafeteria workers and others represented by eight unions.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan State University officials have delayed a celebration for the school's Rose Bowl-winning football team because of a major snowstorm and polar temperatures in the forecast.

The Detroit Free Press reported Saturday that athletic director Mark Hollis said the celebration planned for Monday will be rescheduled to an undetermined date. Meanwhile, the East Lansing university will honor the team during Tuesday's home basketball game against Ohio State.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

There are many Michigan State University students and alumni celebrating the New Year in Pasadena.

They’re there to see the Spartans play in this year’s Rose Bowl game.

The Rose Bowl is nicknamed “The granddaddy of them all” because it is the oldest of the college football bowl games.

The last time the Spartans represented the Big Ten in the Rose Bowl was 1988. MSU earned its first trip back to Pasadena on New Year’s Day with a 12 and one season, finishing with a win over Ohio State in the Big Ten championship game.

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Thousands of Michigan State students have celebrated the football team's Big Ten title with large, rowdy bonfires.

East Lansing police arrested multiple people Saturday night near River and Cedar streets, which is a traditional spot for MSU students to party after major sports victories. No. 10 MSU defeated No. 2 Ohio State 34-24 late Saturday, earning its first Rose Bowl appearance in a quarter-century.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Michigan State shook up the BCS title chase again Saturday night.

The No. 10 Spartans regained the lead on Connor Cook's 9-yard touchdown pass to Josiah Price with 11:41 left and upset No. 2 Ohio State 34-24 to take the Big Ten title and put Auburn back in the national title hunt.

Ohio State (12-1) had the nation's longest active winning streak end at 24 as coach Urban Meyer suffered his first loss since taking over in Columbus.

It was a game that almost defied logic.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Governor Rick Snyder may be facing a tough re-election battle next year. A new poll shows the governor’s approval rating is holding in the mid-30s.

Michigan State University’s "State of the State" survey polled Michiganders earlier this fall. The pollsters found only about 36% of Michiganders approved of the job Snyder is doing in office. That’s actually an improvement.  Last spring, after the Right to Work battle, Snyder’s approval rating dropped below 30% in the survey.

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) - More than 114,000 people visited the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum in East Lansing in its first year.

The Lansing State Journal reports that the museum recently held a celebration to thank donors, leaders of Michigan State University, where the museum is located, and staff members.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

A new Michigan State University study suggests a Catholic school education might not be better than a public schools education.

Todd Elder is an MSU economist. He says it's true that test scores for Catholic school students are better than for public school students. But Elder says that gap is wider in Kindergarten than it is in the eighth grade.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The federal government shutdown is threatening a project at Michigan State University that could be critical to the future of agriculture in the U.S.

It’s one of many university research projects affected by the shutdown.

flickr user FatMandy /

Isabella County jail inmates are spending more time outside their cells these days.

The American Civil Liberties Union sued Isabella County after receiving complaints that inmates were not allowed exercise time outside their cells.

Daniel Manville is the director the Michigan State University law school's Civil Rights Clinic. He says jail officials were willing to reach an out-of-court settlement. Manville says many county jails in Michigan are in a similar position because of inmate overcrowding and budget cuts.

“It’s my understanding that there's a few other jails that are under litigation,” says Manville. “We’ve even started talking to a couple jails about making changes, and they are willing to sit down even before we file a lawsuit and we may even be able to resolve it without a lawsuit.”

As part of the Isabella County jail settlement, inmates will have access to an exercise room for an hour a day five days a week.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

LOS ANGELES (AP) - For years Eli Broad has said he wants to make his vast, collection of contemporary art accessible to the largest number of people possible.

What better way to do that, the billionaire philanthropist said Tuesday, than to make admission free to the $140 million museum he's building in downtown Los Angeles.

When it opens next year, Broad said during a hard-hat tour of the half-completed building, people will be able to walk in and view works by Andy Warhol, Ed Ruscha and scores of others without paying a cent.

One of this week’s more sensational stories involved a Michigan State University professor who was removed from teaching after delivering an inflammatory rant to a large lecture classroom, remarks somebody videotaped.

When the video surfaced, Republicans went ballistic. Many demanded that William Penn, a tenured professor of creative writing, be fired. Michigan State officials didn’t do that, and probably couldn’t. Originally, the whole point of tenure was to prevent someone from being fired for unpopular opinions.

However, State did yank Penn out of the classroom. He will continue to be paid, and presumably expected to continue his research and committee work, but someone else will teach his courses. The question is, how should we feel about this?

User: Brother O'Mara / flickr

PTSD and insomnia patients urge medial marijuana panel to allow use

"A state advisory board heard overwhelming testimony in favor of approving medical marijuana for patients suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and insomnia. The board is considering ailments not already included under Michigan’s voter-approved medical marijuana law," Jake Neher reports.

MSU pulls professor from classroom for anti-Republican rant

"A Michigan State University professor has been pulled from the classroom, after a conservative group posted a video online that showed him delivering an anti-Republican rant during a class," Steve Carmody reports.

Auction house comes to the DIA again

Detroit newspapers are reporting that Christie's Auction House visited the Detroit Institute of Art for the second time yesterday to appraise the museum's collection. Detroit's financial situation has raised concerns about whether the Detroit Institute of Arts' collection might be at risk of sale. However Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr has said he has "no plans to use art to relieve  the liquidity crisis that the city is in now."

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

A Michigan State University professor has been pulled from the classroom, after a conservative group posted a video online that showed William Penn delivering an anti-Republican rant during a class.

Here's that video:

Penn teaches creative writing at MSU, or at least he did until this week.

A student posted the video. Penn is seen during a classroom lecture repeatedly making derogatory remarks against Republicans.

In the video, Penn can be heard calling Republicans “racist” and saying they “raped this country.”  The video has drawn the ire of conservatives.

Michigan State University released a statement saying Penn met with university officials and “acknowledged that some of his comments were inappropriate, disrespectful and offensive and may have negatively affected the learning environment.”

The statement goes on to say Penn’s teaching duties have been “reassigned.”

A new Michigan State University study finds adolescent victims of dating violence pay a price later in life.

About one in three people between the ages of 14 and 20 say they've been of victims of dating violence.

The MSU research shows dating violence tended to limit women’s education

As a consequence, the women earned less money and saw less growth in their income.

MSU researcher Adrienne Adams says the study’s findings show the need for early intervention.

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Get out the laundry carts: students are returning to college dorms.

More than 7,000 freshmen at Michigan State University begin moving in Sunday while other students check in Monday. Classes start Wednesday in East Lansing.

In Marquette, classes start Monday at Northern Michigan University. Wayne State University in Detroit is welcoming freshmen on Saturday, with sophomore, juniors and seniors following on Sunday.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Michigan State University’s dairy farm is helping the university cut down on its electricity bill. It may also someday help small Michigan farms meet their energy needs.

South of the East Lansing campus, MSU maintains about 180 dairy cows. The cows produce more than milk of course. Now, university researchers have something to do with all that waste.

University officials this week cut the ribbon on an anaerobic digester. The digester takes organic waste and creates methane. The methane can be used to create electricity or meet other energy needs.

Shirley Collins/American Folklife Center/Library of Congress

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The Great Lakes Folk Festival in East Lansing on Sunday will be the first stop of a traveling exhibit celebrating the 75th anniversary of a song collecting tour through the Upper Midwest.

The Lansing State Journal reports that it commemorates a trip that began in Detroit on Aug. 1, 1938, by 23-year-old Alan Lomax. He carried a recorder and movie camera to gather folk music. Lomax was in charge of the Library of Congress's Archive of American Folk-Song.

Michigan State University is hosting the quadrennial World Dwarf Games.

The Olympics-style athletic event is drawing more than 400 athletes from 17 countries.

Mike Cekanor is with the Dwarf Athletic Association of America. He says the games are a great showcase for dwarf athletes.

“I think in a lot of ways at times are athletes are overlooked,” says Cekanor, “But at the same time, I think when folks really get to know and appreciate what our athletes are capable of that they are very well respected.”

Photo by Shawn Allee

Dioxins are environmental pollutants that are known to be toxic to many animal species, and since dioxins work their way up the food chain, there needs to be a clearer understanding of their effects on humans.

That's why we wanted you to know about a more than $14 million study being launched at Michigan State University. Researchers hope to get a better idea of how dioxins affect human health and they hope to figure out new ways of removing them from the environment.

Norbert Kaminski directs Michigan State University's Center for Integrative Toxicology and he is the lead researcher in this major study. He joined us today from the campus in East Lansing.

Listen to the full interview above.