Offbeat

Offbeat
11:16 am
Mon July 2, 2012

Revitalizing Detroit? Consider zombies

A rendering of Z World Detroit, a proposed zombie-themed game zone where players would run for their lives in one of the city's abandoned neighborhoods
http://www.indiegogo.com/zworlddetroit

People have come up with a lot of ideas about how to repurpose the large swaths of vacant land and abandoned buildings in Detroit, but turning them over to the undead is probably a first.

No, the zombie apocalypse isn't finally upon us, at least as far as we here at Michigan Radio know. The "zombies" in this case would be "professionals" there to chase paying customers as they flee through derelict neighborhoods and crumbling warehouses.

The zombie-themed "game zone" is the brainchild of Clawson's Marc Siwak who told Detroit's WWJ-AM that he envisions a structured game where an initial group of professional zombies catches participants and assimilates them, while the remaining "living" players try to avoid the growing horde.

Siwak is currently trying to raise funding through online crowd-sourcing.  WWJ reports that while he has failed to secure any sort of permission from the city, he thinks Z World Detroit would fit in well alongside urban farms and other projects aimed at transforming blighted areas.

From Siwak's website:

“There are formal proposals to essentially abandon some of Detroit’s neighborhoods. That’s not a solution.  Collectively we must be more creative than that. Let’s do something fun and unique that will revitalize an area while creating some jobs for Detroiters.”

Siwak told WWJ-AM that he's already received resumes from brain-hungry potential employees.

-John Klein Wilson, Michigan Radio Newsroom

Offbeat
3:55 pm
Fri June 29, 2012

Facebook responses: Top three foods for life

Bacon was the most popular food mentioned in the responses.
user Jonathunder Wikimedia Commons

In a recent Michigan Radio Facebook post, we asked followers:

If you could only eat three basic foods for the rest of your life, what would they be?

Responses filled up our wall, ranging from the responsible:

Alison- Kale, eggs, and nuts...if I had to chose one I would say almonds

...to the indulgent:

Kyle- Pizza, Donuts, and McDonalds

...to the bizarre:

Paul- Bacon, wrapped in ham, wrapped in bacon

Bacon, it turns out, was the most popular food item with 13 votes.

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Station News
10:18 am
Thu June 21, 2012

Michigan Radio listener survey

Michigan Radio would like your participation in a brief survey we're conducting about public radio and local programming. 

As always, your responses will be kept completely confidential, and we will not share your personal information with anyone. We'll only use the information you provide to enhance our service.

To participate in the survey, please click here.

We appreciate your time and your participation in this survey.

Offbeat
2:41 pm
Wed June 20, 2012

Ten signs it's summertime in Michigan

A summertime view from Marquette Park on Mackinac Island
user Notorious4Life Wikimedia Commons

Detroit Free Press columnist Ron Dzwonkowski offers 10 ways we can tell another Michigan summer is upon us.

Here's the list:

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Offbeat
2:23 pm
Wed June 13, 2012

Do you unplug on vacation?

Traveling by horse and buggy is one way to unplug.
Pete Markham Wikimedia Commons

Michigan State University researchers found that vacationers are increasingly staying connected to the office and social media with cell phones, laptops and tablets while away.

From MSU News:

The study showed that people using smart phones have tripled. The study also revealed that wireless use was higher on vacation (40 percent) than at home (25 percent). Also telling, were figures that show that people used the Web more to plan vacations (80 percent) than for work (70 percent).

Yesterday, we posted this question to the Michigan Radio Facebook community:

“When you go on vacation, do you stay connected to work?”

Responses show the wide range of readers' feelings towards technology-filled vacations.

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Offbeat
11:58 am
Mon June 11, 2012

Love turns to hate: Chili Pepper sings "The Victors" in Columbus

This little blurb appeared in USA Today... today.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers played a concert in Columbus, Ohio on June 4.

Drummer Chad Smith lingered on stage as the crowd was heaping praise on Smith.

Then they weren't. Take a look:

Commentary
10:00 am
Fri June 8, 2012

Commentary: Happy Warrior

How many people do you know who really love politics? I don’t necessarily mean those politically active or intense about the issues. I know lots of people like that, conservative and liberal. But I don’t sense that many of them are having a good time.

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Lessons from Isle Royale
2:46 pm
Wed June 6, 2012

Messages from Shelter #10 on Isle Royale

A message from a visitor in shelter #10 on Isle Royale.
Mark Brush Michigan Radio

When you camp on Isle Royale, you don't necessarily have to sleep in tents.

You can sleep in a "camping shelter," which is basically an elevated, screened-in, wooden structure.

It can protect you from the elements and the bugs.

And based on our experience, it seems people have had some time on their hands waiting out storms in these shelters.

Park visitors have left messages on the walls - something we humans love to do - even long before we had Facebook walls to write on.

We were expecting profane, but we found inspiring, humorous, artistic, and messages describing their experiences while on Isle Royale. (O.k., there was a little profanity here and there. It is graffiti, after all.)

To see the messages, take a look at the slideshow above.

Some of our favorites:

  • "45 miles 8 days all w/diabetes! 2010"
  • A diagram showing you where to "BANG HEAD." It was surprisingly accurate. I hit my head on that low beam 5 or 6 times.
  • "Flight over for 3 - $625.00 - Gear and food - $300.00 - Spending my 50th birthday hiking with my daughter and son - priceless (50 miles) - JMR 8/2007"
  • "...My girlfriend says everything is my fault (it is)..."
  • "...Lots of rain, no bugs, probably going to have tapeworm. LIVING THE DREAM!"
  • "we came, we saw, we got eaten by giant, rabid, mutant squirrels! Help..."

Write on our walls! Tell us about your camping experiences around Michigan. The good. The bad. The unforgettable.

Criminal Justice
1:26 pm
Mon May 21, 2012

New online database tracks US exonerations since 1989

user FatMandy flickr

The University of Michigan Law School and the Center for Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University School of Law recently launched an online database containing an updated list of exonerations in the United States since 1989. The goal of the project is to prevent wrongful convictions or improve the process of identifying and correcting them should they occur.

So far, the National Registry of Exoneration lists more than 890 wrongfully convicted individuals.

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Seeking Change
11:21 am
Mon May 21, 2012

Improving Detroit, $5 at a time

Ifmuth Flickr

On Mondays Christina Shockley speaks with someone who is trying to change their community for the better. This morning, as part of our Seeking Change series, Shockley spoke to Amy Kaherl. Kanerl is with Detroit SOUP, a group that gathers money to support small projects that benefit the city of Detroit.

Offbeat
4:05 pm
Tue May 15, 2012

Windsor man, accused of jewel theft, blocks police investigation

user jurvetson flickr

When you think of a jewel heist, you probably imagine a cat-like thief dressed in all black slinking around a bank vault or dark mansion with a set of lock picks. On the trail is a clever police detective who needs quick wits to make the bust.

But a recent caper in Windsor is proving to be a bit more irregular.

According to CBC News, Windsor police have a man in custody after he allegedly not only stole a diamond from a jewelry store, but swallowed it in a effort to dispose of the evidence. Now they're playing the waiting game.

A clerk at the jewelry store became suspicious when the man fumbled the $20,000 stone, the CBC reports, and the jeweler determined that it had been switched with a fake. They managed to stall the suspect until police arrived.

More from the CBC:

Sgt. Brett Corey said the man is being kept in a special cell, without a toilet.

"We are monitoring his bowel movements, if you will. Our forensic identification people are the lucky ones who have to go through the waste to obtain the diamond once it passes," Corey said.

But things aren't coming out exactly as planned.

The suspected thief was arrested last Thursday, but as of this morning, he was still holding back the evidence police need to clinch their case.

Here's the report from the CBC:

-John Klein Wilson, Michigan Radio Newsroom

Seeking Change
7:32 am
Mon May 14, 2012

Trying to end bullying, one text at a time

Tray Flickr

Last week in our Seeking Change series we heard about the kindness journal, an effort to get kids to write about being kind. One of the effects was fewer incidents of bullying among the kids who took part.Today we’re going to talk about cyber bullying. Paul McMullen is a father and he’s come up with a smartphone app, called Parenting Pride, to help combat cyber bullying among kids. It records text messages, but also aims to respect a teen’s desire for privacy. Michigan Radio's Christina Shockley spoke with McMullen about how he hopes to decrease bullying.

This story was informed by the Public Insight Network.

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Seeking Change
10:18 am
Wed May 9, 2012

Michigan children open up in kindness journals

Every Monday Christina Shockley talks with someone who’s trying to make change in their community, and find out why they’re doing it.

In January, each elementary school student in Muskegon County received a journal. In that journal, they wrote about their daily acts of kindness. Bill Page came up with the idea.  He’s a children’s book author and former superintendent. Page spoke with Christina Shockley as part of our, "Seeking Change" series.

Offbeat
4:19 pm
Tue May 8, 2012

Michigan teen from Ishpeming makes prom dress out of Starburst wrappers

Ishpeming teen Diane McNease's Starburst prom dress.
WLUC-TV YouTube

I remember making little chains out of Starburst wrappers when I was a kid, but building an entire garment with them?

That's what Diane McNease of Ishpeming High School has done.

WLUC-TV produced a short piece on McNease and her dress. Here it is (I like the host's reaction to the lead of the story):

McNease definitely has some artistic flair. She said she strung wrappers in the dress below the corset to "give the illusion that the dress is, kind of like, falling apart."

She said friends donated around 18,000 wrappers for the corset, matching hair bands, and purse. It took her around 5 months to make.

More evidence that young kids today are far from slackers. We stopped after stringing 10 Starburst wrappers together.

Offbeat
9:09 am
Fri May 4, 2012

"Stemfest 2012" t-shirts hot selling item for Holland's Tulip Time

There are some tulip blooms left at Window on the Waterfront Park in Holland.
Andrea Smith

Organizers of Holland’s Tulip Time festival are having a little fun with the fact the usual draw - million of blooming tulips - will be missing this year.

In Holland, you hear some worries about it almost every year. But this year it was especially bad.

“The weather’s been so warm. When tulips were blooming on St. Patrick’s Day we all looked at each other and said 'we’ll have nothing by the festival.”

Luckily there are some tulip blooms left; about 30-percent Auwerda estimates.

 “The locals have always called it a stemfest when there’s not a lot of tulips. And so we thought, let’s just do a little tongue in check and have a little fun with it.”

They made official “Stemfest 2012” t-shirts and buttons. Demand was so high for the original 300 stemfest t-shirts, they had to stop taking online orders shortly after they hit the shelves Thursday. 

Auwerda says they’ve reordered the shirts. They're expected to restock Tuesday, but she can't promise they'll have enough to sell online. (I read other businesses are selling unofficial versions.) 

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Offbeat
12:49 pm
Thu May 3, 2012

When journalism ethics involve the whole family...

Scorpians and Centaurs Flickr

Being married to someone in the news business isn’t easy. Our spouses deal with our long hours and travel, our preoccupation with news when we’re at home, unexpected interruptions on holidays and weekends, and our refusal to accept those free family tickets offered by the nearby theme park.

Lots of families have to deal with long hours and work that follows you home, but that theme park ticket example separates journalists from many other professions. We have an ethics code to follow.

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Offbeat
5:12 pm
Tue May 1, 2012

Bee Sting's identity revealed, shunned by peer, others raising cash

Bee Sting talking to Lansing 6 News.
YouTube

Last week, the identity of "real-life superhero Bee Sting" was revealed at an arraignment.

Now we know that "Bee Sting" is actually Adam Besso of Sterling Heights. 

Besso was arrested after pulling a shotgun on a motorcyclist in a trailer park in Burton, Michigan.

Besso approached the man saying the man's motorcycle was too loud. A struggle ensued and Besso's shotgun discharged. Thankfully, no one was injured.

MLive spoke with Tom Carter, the man who was approached by Besso. Carter told MLive he was surprised when the masked man confronted him in the trailer park:

"I couldn't hear him, so I started to approach him and that's when the gun came out," said Carter, 38, about the incident with Bee Sting.
"As soon as I saw the gun I was thinking I didn't want my kids to get shot."

The use of a gun has not only offended law enforcement, it offended another real-life superhero.

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Offbeat
2:13 pm
Fri April 27, 2012

Queen to enjoy "Great Lakes sea lamprey pie" at Diamond Jubilee

Old BBC newsreel of a Gloucester lamprey pie. The crust is not to be eaten.
BBC

According to the BBC, a sea-lamprey pie made for the monarchs in England by chefs in the city of Gloucester was a Christmas tradition that dated back to the Middle Ages.

The custom stalled in the 19th century, but has been revived of late for special occasions.

This year, Gloucester chefs plan to cook up a lamprey pie for Queen Elizabeth II for her Diamond Jubilee in June - marking 60 years of her reign.

And this time around, the lampreys in the pie will come from the Great Lakes.

The Detroit Free Press reports the Great Lakes Fishery Commission's Marc Gaden will gladly make an official delivery of the lampreys while vacationing in England this May.

Here, the lampreys are an invasive species that continue to threaten the sport fishing industry. But that's not the case in England:

Although lamprey used to be abundant in the Severn River near Gloucester, the creatures are now endangered and protected.

"It would be like us making a pie out of piping plover," an endangered shorebird in Michigan, Gaden said.

Gaden already has shipped 2 pounds of slimy Lake Huron lamprey, frozen, to Gloucester, but he is vacationing in England and will put on a tie and officially present the fish to the mayor May 4.

The Free Press reports chefs will consult an old recipe for the occasion:

One traditional 15th-Century recipe calls for the creature to be cooked in a sauce of wine, vinegar, cinnamon and its own blood, then baked in a tall crust...

[Marc]Gaden said he doesn't plan to eat any.

The BBC and the Free Press both report that no one can predict whether the Queen will partake in a piece of lamprey pie, or simply quietly admire it.

The BBC has a video about the Gloucester tradition of lamprey pie baking.

For more on how the sea lamprey snuck into the Lakes, check out "The Earliest Invader," a piece David Sommerstein did for the Environment Report's Ten Threats to the Great Lakes series.

Offbeat
10:39 am
Fri April 27, 2012

Michigan superhero "Bee Sting" arrested, other Michigan superheroes named

BeeSting's identity will be revealed at an arraignment expected this afternoon.
screen grab michiganprotectors.weebly.com/members.html

Another Michigan superhero has drawn the attention of local police.

Just as Petoskey Batman is wrapping up his probation, Bee Sting turns up in Burton, Michigan with a little shotgun mishap.

Read more
Offbeat
12:46 pm
Tue April 24, 2012

Great Lakes inspired shoe, Nike's "Petoskey Stone" Dunk Low

A shoe design inspired by the Petoskey stone.
Nike

Nike worked with the Grand Rapids-based skateboarding shop Premier to create the shoe style.

The Petoskey stone inspired shoes will go on sale at Premier on April 28 with a price of $104.

Here's more, appropriately, from the Petoskey News:

To pay tribute to the store's Great Lakes roots, the leather of the blue and gray shoe is embossed with Petoskey stones and will feature a tote bag with a Petoskey stone print.

"We decided to do something a little more in-depth than the state colors or theme colors. We wanted to take different elements from the landscape and nature side of the state," said Premier co-owner Eric Blanding. "The Petoskey stone had a different print on it that we've always thought would look cool on a shoe."

Premier has worked on several other store-exclusive shoes in the past. Blanding said from design to the rack the entire shoe creation process can take up to a year and a half.

You can see more images of the shoe here at "Kicks on Fire."

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