Offbeat

Offbeat

Every week on What’s Working, we take a look at people and organizations that are changing lives in Michigan for the better.

Ken Lampar is the director of Macomb Literacy Partners, a program that helps adults learn to read and improve their literacy skills.

Nearly 70,000 adults in Macomb County are functionally illiterate, meaning they can’t perform tasks like filling out a job application or reading a perscription. Though literacy rates vary across the state, an estimated 8% of adults in Michigan lack basic reading skills.

Every Monday in our What’s Working series, we talk to people and organizations across the state that are changing lives for the better. This week, we speak with Sue Schooner.

Schooner never liked kids, but she started volunteering with a girls group in Ann Arbor a few years back, and the young women found a way into her life... and they never left. 

So, Schooner quit her job as an auto executive, and is now the executive director for “Girls Group,” a program that mentors and supports high school girls, giving them the opportunities they need to attend college.

“I think part of why the program is so successful is that we provide wraparound programming. So we have discussion groups every single Friday about parent communication, anger management, we have a very intensive college prep program which is basically available seven days a week,” Schooner says.

If I were a politician and had something embarrassing I knew I would have to reveal, I know exactly when I would do it.

I’d wait to see if the Detroit Tigers beat the New York Yankees tonight, and if they do, I’d immediately make my confession.

Why is that? Because almost no one would notice. Everything in life is a matter of timing, and we can handle only so much news at once. Here’s something baffling about that.

www.tour-de-troit.org

Thousands of bikers are expected on Detroit streets Saturday for the 10th annual “Tour de Troit.”

Most of them will take part in a 22-mile, police-escorted tour that explores a different part of Detroit’s historic landscape every year. This year, it will kick off in the shadow of the Michigan Central Station, the hulking former
train depot that’s sat empty for more than 20 years (there’s also a 62-mile loop for more adventurous bikers).

NASA

You've probably caught wind of the space junk hurtling toward the earth's atmosphere.

If not, you can catch up on the story here: Your Friday Forecast: Sunny, with a 1-in-21-Trillion Chance of Getting Hit by Orbital Debris.

The latest projections from NASA: debris from the six-ton "Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite" (UARS) that survives re-entry is less likely to land in the U.S.

From NASA:

As of 10:30 a.m. EDT on Sept. 23, 2011, the orbit of UARS was 100 miles by 105 miles (160 km by 170 km). Re-entry is expected late Friday, Sept. 23, or early Saturday, Sept. 24, Eastern Daylight Time. Solar activity is no longer the major factor in the satellite’s rate of descent. The satellite’s orientation or configuration apparently has changed, and that is now slowing its descent. There is a low probability any debris that survives re-entry will land in the United States, but the possibility cannot be discounted because of this changing rate of descent. It is still too early to predict the time and location of re-entry with any certainty, but predictions will become more refined in the next 12 to 18 hours.

If you're one of the lucky ones that stumbles upon newly fallen space junk, NASA wants to make sure you don't touch it... you might cut yourself.

@NASA just tweeted - "Nothing radioactive on . Main reason NOT to touch anything that you think could be debris: sharp metal cuts."

Kevin Ward / Flickr

Someone has stolen the bronze glasses off of the Ernie Harwell statue inside Comerica Park. Officials from the Detroit Tigers noticed the missing glasses last July.

Neal Rubin, columnist for the Detroit News, writes "if you wouldn't use a crowbar on Ernie Harwell's face, you shouldn't use one on his statue, either.":

Someone pried the glasses from his sculpture at Comerica Park, a theft both brazen and bronzen.

A new pair should be welded into place by Thursday, when the Detroit Tigers play Baltimore in the opener of a seven-game home stand, but please:

Can't we keep our hands and levers to ourselves?

Given his status as both an idol and an artwork, you'd think Harwell would be immune to vandalism.

Artist Omri Amrany says the new glasses will be attached "as strongly as possible."

Rubin writes that Amrany "once had to replace bronze broadcaster Harry Caray's stolen microphone in Chicago."

Governor Snyder wants us to get healthier. The Governor delivered a health address last week and part of his plan revolves around getting Michigan's kids healthier. During his speech, the Governor mentioned the "Safe Routes to Schools" initiative.

As part of our weekly "What's Working" series, we speak today with David Hornak, Principal of Horizon Elementary schools in Holt, Michigan. Hornak has enacted the "Safe Routes to Schools" program at his school.

Jim Lehrer is best known for hosting the nightly news program PBS NewsHour.

Lehrer has been with PBS since the early 1970s and helped develop the news program with Robert MacNeil in 1975.

But the man is also known as a bus enthusiast. Who knew?

He recently showed off his "bus crier" skills from his days as a ticket agent in the 1950s to ABC News:

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Good thing he's not a "news crier."

Every Monday morning, we take a look at groups around the state that are trying to improve things in Michigan. Today, we hear from Samantha Schiebold, a third year undergrad at the University of Michigan who is also the project manager of the Student Sustainability Initiative at U of M. The group works to increase awareness of ways students can protect the environment.

One of the Initiative’s biggest successes was hosting a zero waste U of M basketball game last year.

http://horsebackforhaiti.jimdo.com/

This is not your typical road trip. Brandy and Ashley Nelsey, sisters from West Branch, will be traveling across the country on horseback and raising money for the Haiti Water Project along the way. Jennifer White spoke with Brandy Nelsey about what inspired the trip.

“We knew that we loved our horses—that’s something we really enjoy doing and that’s a passion of ours—and we also love the lord greatly. So we thought, well, why not travel the country, see if we can meet other Christians, and see what other opportunities and people are out there. ”

Divers took to the Detroit River to try and bring up a long-submerged cannon Wednesday.

Detroit Police Underwater Recovery Team divers discovered the Revolutionary War-era cannon in July. It’s the fifth such cannon pulled out of the river since the 1980s.

Detroit Police say a British vessel capsized leaving Fort Detroit in 1796, losing five cannons.

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

 Many Michiganders will head to the beach or campgrounds to enjoy one last taste of summer during the Labor Day holiday weekend.   AAA predicts 1.2 million Michiganders will travel this weekend.  98 percent will be driving.   

Sergeant Jill Bennett is with the Michigan State Police.    She says police will be out in force this weekend. 

Five high school students from Saginaw were lucky enough to spend part of their summer looking for shipwrecks in Lake Huron. And, they found, not just one shipwreck... but two: the M.F. Merrick and the Etruria. Both ships are over 100 years old. The students found the ships through the program, "Project Shiphunt" along with their team leader Dr. James Delgado, a marine archeologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association.

We spoke with Dr. Delgado and high school student Cody Frost, one of the five students who found the shipwrecks, this morning.

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

With the price of gold soaring to near $1,900 an ounce this summer, you may have fantasized about striking it rich prospecting for gold.

Some people are doing more than fantasizing.  They are looking for gold in southern Michigan.  

You wouldn’t think to look at it, but this nondescript campground about 15 miles due south of Battle Creek is one of the centers for gold prospecting in southern Michigan.

Most gold prospectors here are using decidedly low-tech methods.

All this year, Michigan Radio has been spotlighting people and organizations that are trying to improve life in Michigan. In 2004, residents of the Averill Woods neighborhood in Lansing started an association. Their goal was, in part, to promote a positive quality of life, to help neighbors connect with each other, and to improve safety. We speak this morning with the President of the Averill Woods Neighborhood Association, Melissa Quon Huber.

J Rosenfeld / Creative Commons

The Naked Foot 5-K run is this Sunday. Runners are encouraged to wear no shoes or very minimal shoes.

Barefoot running has been catching on because of potential health benefits. Barefoot runners tend to land on the front of their feet, not their heels. The lower impact of the landing tends to minimize injuries. There other hazards to look out for though, like rocks or glass.

Kellogg Cereal Company is asking a non-profit archaeology group to reconsider its bid to trademark a toucan logo.

From the Associated Press:

Kellogg Co. is asking a group working to defend Mayan culture to reconsider its logo, saying consumers can confuse it with Toucan Sam, the mascot of its Froot Loops cereal.

An attorney for the world's largest cereal maker has sent a letter to the nonprofit Maya Archaeology Initiative saying Kellogg opposes the group's bid to trademark the logo. The attorney suggests a settlement that would limit the group's use of the image.

The Maya Archaeology Initiative, based in San Ramon, says there is little similarity. It says its logo is based upon a realistic toucan native to Mesoamerica, while Toucan Sam is a cartoon character with the coloring of Froot Loops.

The organization says that it hopes can resolve the matter with Kellogg, which is based in Battle Creek, Michigan.

So, what do you think? Does Kellogg have a legitimate gripe? Here's a little Toucan Sam to refresh your memory:

The Michigan Women’s Dinner Initiative is a unique effort to raise money for women in need.

This is how it works:  Women gather at someone’s home, bring a dish to pass, and a check for the amount of money they’d generally pay for a dinner at a restaurant. That money is then donated to a certain charity or group that helps women and children. The other upside, the women visit and enjoy the food they’ve made to share. As part of our "What's Working" series, we spoke with Cate McClure, who runs the program.

user Laughing Squid / Creative Commons

This fall voters in Kalamazoo could make going after marijuana users the "lowest priority" for law enforcement officials. The question will likely appear on the ballot this November.

If the proposed amendment to Kalamazoo’s city charter passes, public safety officials would treat people with an ounce of marijuana or less as their “lowest priority.” The change would only affect those 21 and older. It would still be illegal to drive under the influence or use marijuana in a public place.

 

The “Detroit Youth Energy Squad,” or D-YES, teaches high school students about energy conservation. The students then visit homes in Detroit and make the homes more energy efficient. As part of our What's Working series, we spoke with Justin Schott, founder of the group.

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