All photography and graphic design by Dave Brenner / SNRE

Bearded woodsmen are everywhere.

The Associated Press calls the look "lumberjack chic."

Outside magazine dubbed it lumbersexual (think: opposite of metrosexual). It's loosely defined as someone who looks like a lumberjack but hasn't chopped down an actual tree.

Where did the iconic Detroit "D" come from?

Apr 16, 2015
Have you noticed the different Old English D's?
Paige Pfleger / Michigan Radio

The Old English "D" has become emblematic of the city of Detroit — it can be seen tattooed on forearms or stuck on the bumpers of cars, and of course, all over Comerica Park. The baseball team popularized the D, but where did it really come from, and why has the entire city rallied behind it?

That’s what Michael Hesser wanted to know.

Michiganders are being encouraged next week to gaze into the night sky.

International Dark Sky week kicks off on Monday.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Sunday is the deadline to submit ideas for what to do with the old Pontiac Silverdome.

The Silverdome’s owner is holding an online competition to determine what can be done to redevelop the 127 acre property.

Porta potties in a lovely setting.
E. Dronkert / Flickr

Researchers have set up two Porta potties by a bus stop on the University of Michigan's central campus today. They're hoping to gather enough urine to research whether disinfected human urine can be safely recycled to fertilize food crops.

In a press release, the University of Michigan said they're working with four other institutions in this "first of its kind" research project.

Why recycle pee? Good question.

The ice is still thick in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. When do you think this Saturn will sink to the bottom?
Rotary Club of Iron Mountain–Kingsford

The Rotary Club of Iron Mountain-Kingsford decided to reach back into history and bring back an old fundraising technique. Instead of the usual pancake breakfast or rose sale, this time around they’re having a contest that asks people to guess how fast a 1998 Saturn will sink into Chapin Pit.

A Minute with Mike: What's in a name?

Mar 18, 2015

Like most of you listening, I am proud of being from Michigan. Trips up north, long summer sunsets and the joy of boating across a lake are experiences many of us hold dear. 

But there's one thing about being from Michigan I find quite disconcerting: being called a Michigander.

madonna on stage illuminated by spotlights
Flickr user M Prince Photography / Flickr

In a recent interview, Madonna called the people of her hometown Rochester Hills "basic, provincial-thinking people."

Mayor Bryan Barnett decided her statement went too far, so he crafted an open letter response that's now being shared all over the Internet.

Courtesy photo / Ben Schultz

It appears old man winter is finally loosening his grip on Michigan. (Dare I type that sentence?)

With temperatures close to the 50s over the weekend, some folks may have busted out the grill. I dug around my shed and got my bike out.

My office in Grand Rapids is only about a mile and a half away from my house. But it costs $14 a day to park there. It makes sense most days to commute on my bike.

But I don't bike to work in the winter. I’m just not that hardcore. The black ice, the wind chill, it’s daunting. I already hate driving in the snow. I can’t imagine riding my bike in it. I just can’t.

But people do it. Maybe you’ve seen them around your town? They’ve got those weird fat tire bikes and full face masks with icicle mustaches. They’re crazy, right?

Flickr user Fernando Revilla / Flickr

Tomorrow, for the second consecutive month, will be a Friday the 13th.

Professor Phillips Stevens of the University of Buffalo, whose research includes topics such as cultural anthropology and religion, says this fear could have religious roots.


The Mackinac Bridge is the longest suspension bridge in the Western Hemisphere, and the fifth-longest suspension bridge in the world. While crossing the Mackinac Bridge in itself is breathtaking, sometimes it’s hard not to wonder what it’s like way up there on top of the bridge's highest cables.

shelf of wine bottles
Flickr user Geoffrey Fairchild / Flickr

About 10 years ago, when the occupationally snooty world of wine was introduced to the radical idea of putting screw caps on bottles of fine wine, the reaction in some quarters was utter horror.

Until then, the only wines with screw caps to be found anywhere were hip pocket-sized bottles of reinforced wines called Night Train and White Lightening.

In 2004, a study found more than half of American consumers and 60% of British wine drinkers the idea of screw caps on their fine wine.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Don Schneider loved movies. He really loved movies.

For a half century, he collected movie memorabilia.  Seriously collected.

After Schneider died last Fall at the age of 91, his friends got together to catalogue his collection.    Three months later, they are still at it.

Earl Lloyd became the first black player in the NBA on October 31, 1950. He broke the NBA color barrier three years after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball.

The Associated Press reports that Lloyd died Thursday at age 86.

Lloyd made his 1950 NBA debut with the Washington Capitols, just before fellow black players Sweetwater Clifton and Chuck Cooper played their first games.

You can watch clips of that game in this video produced by the Golden State Warriors:

Steve Carmody

Hell is for sale, and a Detroit-based artists group called Damned wants to buy it.

"When Hell came up for sale on Friday the 13th, it seemed an interesting switch to focus maybe on creating a natural, larger, world class performance art center," said Anthony DVS, the head producer of Damned who prefers to go by his pseudonym.


A Michigan native is vying for a one-way ticket to a very unusual destination. 

Laura Smith-Velazquez is one of 100 finalists from across the globe trying to be a part of a mission to begin colonizing Mars. 

Andrew Krietz of MLive reports:

#TBThursday: Telling you to wash your hands never gets old

Feb 12, 2015

Last week, during comments at the Bipartisan Policy Center, Republican Senator Thomas Tillis of North Carolina suggested that it was government gone overboard to regulate food service workers' hand washing. 

Jewelry For A Cause

Jewelry buyers from around the country can help get illegal weapons off the streets of Detroit.

A company called Jewelry For A Cause has recently launched the Detroit Caliber Collection. The 13-item collection joins similar collections for Newark, San Francisco and Hartford.


Punxatawney Phil isn't the only groundhog prognosticator!

Michigan's got an official groundhog. Her name is Woody, and she lives at the Howell Conference and Nature Center. But for this year's Groundhog Day, they had to send in a "pinch hitter:" a groundhog named Murray!

user: Alden Jewell / Flickr

With the North American International Auto Show under way in Detroit, we thought we'd dig up some archival photos of what the auto show used to look like for throw back Thursday. Click on the photo above to see more images of past Detroit Auto Shows. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Foodies, hackers and people with skills each have a place on a new list of banned words.

For 40 years, the folks at Lake Superior State University have compiled a list of words that should be banned for “Mis-use, Over-use and General Uselessness.” 

There are more than 800 words on the list which is drawn from suggestions sent to LSSU. 

A variety of new words and phrases have made the list this year:

Aaron Cooley Themm

GEORGETOWN TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) - Officials in western Michigan's Ottawa County are expected to discuss the removal of a sign bearing the Bible's Psalm 19:1 verse from a public park. reports that parks and recreation staff were told to take down the sign which had been in Hager Park since the late 1960s or early 1970s after a Georgetown Township resident complained it promoted a particular religious view using public resources.

The issue has been added to the Jan. 13 Ottawa County commissioners' work session meeting.

Salvation Army

MUSKEGON, Mich. (AP) - All that glitters isn't gold, and the Salvation Army says it discovered that two metal bars dropped in a donation bucket in Muskegon weren't genuine.

Salvation Army spokesman Roger Snider announced Wednesday morning that the one-ounce bars turned up in a  kettle Tuesday evening and had an estimated value of about $2,370.

  But he says a further check showed that the bars were replicas and not solid gold.

Pat Ibbotson/"Eloise: Poorhouse, Farm, Asylum and Hospital 1839-1984"

We recently stumbled across some cool, old photographs of life at one of the most well-known psychiatric hospitals in Michigan: Eloise.

Celebrating the holidays was an important part of life for the people who lived and worked at Eloise, which was located a few miles outside Detroit in Wayne County. 

These Michigan Radio 2014 stories gave you "the feels"

Dec 19, 2014

Here are the stories from the Michigan Radio website with the most traffic from Jan. 1, 2014 to Dec. 15, 2014, according to our data. 

Your most-read stories ran the gamut from news to politics to sports to Stateside with Cynthia Canty interviews with scientists and artists. 

One thing we’ll miss after Rep. John Dingell retires at the end of this year will be his “jingles.”

Dingell releases these jingles each year for the holidays. The longest serving member in U.S. Congress  kills it on Twitter. And today he announced - via Twitter, of course - that his annual jingle is ready:

"You Will Do Better In Toledo"

Dec 14, 2014
Toledo, Ohio
OZinOH / Flickr

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) - The city of Toledo is reaching back 100 years for its new slogan. New signs with the words "You Will Do Better In Toledo" will be going up all over town to welcome drivers into the city. 

Hands Typing
Flickr user Sascha Pohflepp / Flickr

Online comment sections are not always the most welcoming place, but apart from incendiary remarks, they still provide an important outlet for people to share their thoughts.

Cliff Lampe, associate professor at the School of Information at the University of Michigan has studied community engagement for a number of large online companies and shares his insights as to how to improve online discourse.

A screenshot of the owl from the YouTube video.
Steve Spitzer / screenshot YouTube

A Chicago photographer and birder saw something swimming in Lake Michigan, and it was not a hardy winter athlete taking an Arctic plunge.

The photographer, Steve Spitzer, captured on video a great horned owl doing a vigorous breast stroke in the water off of Loyola Park Beach in Chicago's Rogers Park neighborhood. 

Jim Hammer / Flickr

When does a news assignment become a classic story? Here's one we like to trot out to set the tone for Thanksgiving.

The sound of Narragansett turkeys gobbling and barking for Rebecca Williams' microphone are legendary around the Michigan Radio studios. 

Their turkey timing is perfect.

As the farmer describes the turkeys for Rebecca, they speak up at his disconcerting words. Have a listen: