newsmaker interviews

Newsmaker Interview
9:33 am
Wed July 31, 2013

Director of the DIA says 'too soon to panic'

Graham Beal is Director, President and CEO of the Detroit Institute of Arts.

Interview aired on Tuesday, July 30th, 2013.

Detroit’s bankruptcy filing has triggered waves of speculation about what the future holds for the city. In recent months questions have circled around the Detroit Institute of Arts. The debate is whether the institution's art collection could be used to help Detroit balance its budget. But a recent opinion piece in the New York Times written by Director of the DIA, Graham Beal, cautioned against speculation about the museum’s future. 

Here's a quote from the article:

I call upon  journalists to resist the temptation to jump to disaster scenarios or to make the D.I.A.’s singular and highly complicated situation part of a broader story about the structural challenges faced by museums in general.

Listen to the full interview above.

Newsmaker Interview
4:53 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

Cockrel: 'Bankruptcy likely scenario for quite a while'

Sheila Cockrel is a former member of the Detroit City Council.
Detroit Regional Chamber

Now that the City of Detroit has filed for bankruptcy, everyone is speculating as to how the city got to this point. 

As a former member of the Detroit City Council, Sheila Cockrel says, "The tendency on the part of some people who don't live in the city, who are not African American, who live in the region, or live in the rest of the country, want to point to a deficiency in leadership. That is absolutely incorrect."

Cockrel, who is currently a faculty member in the Honors College at Wayne State University, tells her students that poor leadership is partly to blame, but she says there are a number of other factors: disinvestment, de-industrialization and the migration of capital out of Detroit which has caused a severe reduction in revenue.

"When you take a tax base out, you don't have a viable financial basis to provide services," she says.

Cockrel served on the Detroit City Council for 16 years and says bankruptcy has been the most likely scenario for quite a while.

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Newsmaker Interview
5:28 pm
Tue July 16, 2013

Common Core standards up for debate

State Rep. Amanda Price (R) Park Township

State lawmakers have formed a special bipartisan subcommittee to debate the merits of the Common Core Standards Initiative.  

Last month, the State Legislature blocked the state from implementing the school standards. Lawmakers said they needed more time to review Common Core before letting it take full effect in Michigan. The subcommittee met for the first time today in Lansing. 

Republican State Rep. Amanda Price from Park Township is the vice-chair of the subcommittee and she spoke with All Things Considered Host, Jennifer White. 

Newsmaker
8:04 pm
Tue July 9, 2013

Senate hesitates to vote on expanding Michigan Medicaid

Governor Rick Snyder has called on the Legislature to pass a Medicaid expansion in Michigan in accordance with the Affordable Care Act. Although the House passed the expansion, the Michigan Senate went on summer recess without voting on the bill. However, now a Senate Work Group will begin meeting over the summer months to consider the legislation.

Medicaid expansion has had the support of both the medical and business communities. Now former GOP House Speaker Rick Johnson is lending his voice in support of the call for Medicaid expansion. He discusses his reasons for supporting the proposed expansion, and the Senate’s hesitation on coming to a vote.

Former Speaker Johnson says that despite resistance to the Affordable Care Act from the Republican Caucus, the bill has been discussed for far too long to not be considered for a vote in the Senate.

“It’s been out here now six months, it’s been reviewed, it’s been kicked back and forth. We’re at a point where it’s time to make a choice. Let’s at least take the vote. Up or down, let’s take the vote,” Johnson explained.

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Newsmaker Interview
5:05 pm
Tue July 2, 2013

What does the sequester mean for the Great Lakes?

House Representative Sander Levin represents Michigan's 12th Congressional District.
levin.house.gov

We talk with Democratic U.S. Representative Sander Levin about the effects of automatic federal budget cuts on the Great Lakes region. Today, Levin met with members of the League of Conservation Voters and Clean Water Action in Clinton Township. 

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Newsmaker Interviews
5:50 pm
Tue June 4, 2013

Global Detroit: Immigrants create jobs, contrary to popular belief

On Thursday, June 6th, Global Detroit is hosting the Global Great Lakes Network Convening in Detroit. Jennifer White speaks today with Steve Tobocman, director of Global Detroit about how the organization works to strengthen the economy of southeast Michigan through projects that connect immigrants to the global economy.

The Great Lakes Network Convening in Detroit will bring together leaders from similar organizations across the Rust Belt to share best practices, and collaborate on how to once again make the Midwest an economic powerhouse.

“The most important thing is that we create a welcoming environment; letting the world’s talent, investment, and trade know that Michigan and its cities are open for business,” says Tobocman.

“We want to compete, and we want the world’s most talented employees and entrepreneurs.”

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Newsmaker Interviews
9:51 am
Wed May 8, 2013

Mayor Dayne Walling on financial future of Flint

Flint Mayor Dayne Walling
Facebook

Originally aired Tuesday, May 7th 2013.

Flint’s Emergency Manager, Ed Kurtz, says he will resign come June 30th, which may put Flint a step closer to returning to local control. Flint Mayor Dayne Walling talks with Jennifer White about the financial future of Flint.

Flint’s city council recently passed a resolution asking Governor Rick Snyder to remove the city’s emergency manager and appoint a transition advisory team.

“There are a number of requirements in the law that would have to be met by the appointed manager before a transition board could be put in place, such as the adoption of a two-year budget. So, city council leadership and I have been calling on for those steps to get done as soon as possible. The city of Flint does face financial challenges, let’s get addressed as soon as possible so we can move on,” says Mayor Walling.

When asked how financially healthy Flint is right now, Walling says:

“It’s marginally stable. But our position is that it’s going to take some long-term planning, some serious community partnerships to get the city to where it’s more sustainable going forward. And that work cannot be done effectively by an appointed manager.”

Listen to the full interview above.

Newsmaker Interview
4:21 pm
Thu April 25, 2013

Does Michigan need a law that allows the refusal of health care on moral basis?

John Moolenaar State Senator - 36th District

Interview originally aired on 4/23/2013

Senate Bill 136 would allow health care providers, facilities and insurance providers to deny service based on religious, moral or ethical objections. State Senator John Moolenar, a Republican representing Michigan’s 36th District is the bill’s sponsor. He spoke with Jennifer White earlier this week.

Listen to full interview above.

Newsmaker Interview
10:21 am
Wed April 17, 2013

Rep. Dan Kildee calls for federal aid to tear down abandoned homes

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Originally aired on April 16th, 2013.

Democratic U.S. Representative Dan Kildee is one of the newest members of congress. Kildee’s first piece of legislation is a proposal  to free up more than $1 billion in federal aid to help cities such as Detroit and Flint tear down thousands of abandoned homes. He hopes this plan will serve to stabilize neighborhoods. Congressman Kildee represents Michigan’s 5th congressional district. 

Listen to the full interview above.

Newsmaker Interviews
5:30 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

Why do many kids repeat kindergarten?

Administrators said keeping bus transportation, art and music, and avoiding making athletics pay-to-play programs were some of their top priorities to save from cuts.

One in every nine kids in Michigan public schools repeated kindergarten, according to Michigan Department of Education data for the year 2010-11. That means the state pays an additional $7,000 per child every year, ultimately costing taxpayers $93 million.

Ron French, senior writer with Bridge Magazine has been investigating this story and found that the likelihood of a child repeating kindergarten was most closely linked, not to race or family income, but geography. In the article, he also writes about “planned retention," meaning parents actually plan to have a child do two years of kindergarten instead of one. 

Newsmaker Interviews
4:42 pm
Tue March 12, 2013

Advocates say juvenile prisoners are at risk

user FatMandy flickr

Michigan is one of 25 states that allow convicted teens, under the age of 18, to be imprisoned with adults.

Attorney Deborah LaBelle is a juvenile justice advocate with the ACLU. She estimates nearly 200,000 children have been abused in adult prisons. LaBelle recently returned from Washington, D.C. where the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights conducted a hearing on this issue with representatives from the U.S. State Department. The hearing focused on the physical, sexual, and psychological abuse experienced by children when housed with adults in prisons.

"In addition to the physical and psychological harm that's going on, putting children in the adult facilitates also results in them losing the very two things that makes them children: education and contact with their family and parents," LaBelle said in this interview with Jennifer White.

You can listen to the full interview above.

Newsmaker Interviews
1:26 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

Budget director John Nixon on impact of sequester on Michigan

Michigan Budget Director John Nixon

Originally aired on March 5th, 2013.

With President Obama and Congress failing to come to a budget deal, automatic spending cuts have gone into effect. There have been dire warnings about the impact of those cuts though the effects won’t be felt immediately. But Michigan gets over half its budget from the federal government which means the state will have to face the impact of the cuts if impasse isn't resolved soon. We speak with Budget Director John Nixon.

Newsmaker Interviews
4:50 pm
Tue February 19, 2013

State begins to issue limited-term driver's licenses

Courtesy: 1michigan.org

Michigan begins to make driver's licenses available today to undocumented immigrants who were brought to this country as children. The new rules apply to people who qualify under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

Under these new rules other people will also be able to take advantage of these limited-term licenses, including international students and workers. Listen to the full interview with Gisgie Gendreau, Communications Director for the Michigan Department of State.

Newmaker Interview
6:09 pm
Wed January 30, 2013

Rep. Theresa Abed voices concerns of her constituents

Democratic Representative Theresa Abed of Michigan's 71st District.

The Michigan House of Representatives welcomed 28 new members after the recent November elections, 19 of which are Democrats. Representative Theresa Abed of Michigan's 71st District, which includes Grand Ledge, is one such Democratic Representative.

Based on her lengthy experience working in Michigan schools, Rep. Abed says that her jump into the political arena was a direct result of her concerns regarding how current legislation is impacting people in her community.

"My whole life I've been an advocate...I've worked in our schools for almost 30 years, and I've always been someone who's involved in the community...Through this process, I've seen that more and more of what's impacting people right now is the legislation that's being enacted," she told Michigan Radio's Jenn White.

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Newsmaker Interviews
5:15 pm
Tue January 15, 2013

Green confidence at the North American International Auto Show

2014 Cadillac ELR, "Cadillac's luxurious take on the Chevy Volt," says Bernard Swiecki with the Center for Automotive Research.
Cars.com

Listen to the full interview with Michigan Radio's Jennifer White and Bernard Swiecki of CAR.

With the Detroit International Auto Show only just beginning, GM and Chrysler are already receiving good news.

This year's North American Car of the Year award went to the Cadillac ATS, while Truck of the Year was awarded to the Dodge Ram 1500.

According to Bernard Swiecki with the Center for Automotive Research, these awards are more significant in their effects on confidence, rather than their impact on sales.

"Interestingly, both of these vehicles are built in Michigan, so there's a very real local connection there as well. This is kind of an endorsement that both of these critical vehicles were done right by the engineering teams. "

Swiecki mentions that confidence is shown not only in the vehicles, but in the atmosphere of this year's Detroit Auto Show, and is a clear departure from the austerity of the post-bailout shows of the past.

"In the 2009 and 2010 shows, there was almost an atmosphere of allaying the fears that 'We're not going to be here next year', and that's really not the case anymore, and it hasn't been for the last two or three years. Now it's more about a confident approach, showing future products with every certainty that 1) the companies are viable and 2) the products themselves are world-class," he said.

These American vehicles are world-class, and green, according to Swiecki, who claims that green-technology continues to be a pronounced trend in new American vehicles, such as Cadillac's luxurious take on the Chevy Volt. Green technology is even moving across vehicle platforms this year to trucks with Ford's Atlas Pickup concept, which will eventually become the next generation Ford F-150.

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Newsmaker Interviews
5:51 pm
Wed December 19, 2012

Extension of federal unemployment benefits not yet determined

Bytemarks flickr

Originally aired on Tuesday, December 18.

Negotiations to prevent the nation from going over the fiscal cliff seem to be slowly progressing. Also under discussion is whether to continue the extension of federal unemployment benefits. An extension would be good news for the thousands of Michiganders currently receiving unemployment benefits. Without an extension, those benefits could end for those Michiganders at the end of the month. Michigan Radio's Jennifer White talked with Steve Gray. He's the director of the Ann Arbor office of the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Project. It's a non-profit law firm that provides free unemployment insurance advocacy and assistance to Michigan workers.

Newsmaker Interviews
4:43 pm
Tue December 11, 2012

Michigan Nurses Association against 'right-to-work'

Nurses at the Michigan State Capitol Monday afternoon.
NBCnews.com MNA Facebook page

With Michigan poised to become the country’s 24th so-called "right-to-work" state, thousands of protestors have flooded the State Capital today to demonstrate against the legislation. Michigan Radio's Jennifer White talks with Katie Oppenheim, a registered nurse, and president of the University of Michigan Nurses Union. Oppenheim is also affiliated with the Michigan Nurses Association.

Newsmaker Interview
5:13 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

Kelsey's Law, ban cell phone use for teens who drive

Listen to the full interview above.

Michigan Radio's Jennifer White talks with Bonnie Raffaele, mother of Kelsey Raffaele, a teenage girl who died in a car crash on January 24, 2010 while using a cell phone. Bonnie has been advocating for the passage of Senate Bill 756. The bill, also known as Kelsey’s Law, would prohibit novice teen drivers from talking on the cell phone while driving. The bill, passed by the Senate earlier this year, will be discussed tomorrow in a House Transportation Committee Hearing.

Newsmaker Interviews
3:00 pm
Wed November 28, 2012

A conversation with Rep. Fred Durhal on his candidacy for Detroit mayor

More candidates are entering the Detroit mayoral race. State Representative Fred Durhal Jr. announced his plans to run this week.

In the best of times, running a city the size of Detroit is incredibly challenging. The city will face some considerable challenges for some time to come. So we asked Rep. Durhal Jr. why he wants the job.

Others possible candidates for Detroit mayor include State Rep. Lisa Howze, Detroit Medical Center CEO Mike Duggan and Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon. Current Mayor Dave Bing has not yet announced whether he plans to run for reelection.

Newsmaker Interview
3:14 pm
Tue November 13, 2012

A conversation with Senator Gretchen Whitmer

Gretchen Whitmer, Senate Democratic Leader delivers the Democratic response to the State of the State speech
Michigan Senate Democrats

Listen to the full interview.

The Michigan legislature enters the lame duck session this week. Republicans held onto a majority in the State House, so they’ll be setting the legislative agenda, but Democrats will be watching closely.  Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer talks with Jennifer White. Public Act 4, the emergency manager law, was overturned by Michigan voters last week, could a new version of the law emerge? Plus, a discussion on right to work. And, what could the repeal of the personal property tax on businesses mean for local municipalities?

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