Offbeat

Offbeat

OfficialTDShow / Youtube

Yesterday, The Daily Show’s John Oliver did a short feature on Detroit and the city’s bankruptcy. 

In a bit entitled "Chapter 9 Mile," Oliver takes a humorous look at the slow emergency response in the city and his lack of surprise that the Emergency Manager, Kevyn Orr (a bankruptcy lawyer) declares bankruptcy.

But jabs at the media make for the greatest laughs. Oliver points out the abundance of bad puns about the bankruptcy and the amount of reporting on Detroit that actually takes place in Chicago.

user: whitneyinchicago / Flickr

We know the question everyone has been asking about the impending arrival of a new member of the British royal family. 

No, of course it's not, will it be a girl or a boy. We are, after all, public radio consumers. What we really want to know is: What will the economic impact of the royal birth be on the U.K. economy?

Julia Field

The skeletal remains of the rusting Packard plant in Detroit might soon have a new owner.

Built in 1911 by the legendary architect Albert Kahn, the factory produced luxurious automobiles throughout the early 1900s. It has since fallen into ruin, becoming a mecca for urban explorers and metal scrappers.

http://hopesmilesuganda.com/

It wasn't so long ago that Ryan Shinska was quarterbacking his high school football team in Richmond in Macomb County.

Then it was off to Ann Arbor to the University of Michigan. Three years ago, he graduated from U of M's dental school.

And today, Dr. Ryan Shinska is a man with a self-declared mission: to end dental pain and bring good dental health to the people of Uganda.

Ryan will move to Uganda on July 25th to open a dental clinic there. His journey from U of M student to opening a clinic to serve the poor in one of the world's poorest countries is worth exploring and sharing.

Dr. Ryan Shinska joined us today in the studio.

Listen to the full interview above.

Want to know more about what the masses think of your region? A Google search could reveal predominant stereotypes of your area.

If you're not already familiar with it, Google’s autocomplete function makes search suggestions as you type in a search term.

http://www.theballoonsculptor.com/

Tim Thurmond has a big title to reclaim.

He calls himself Michigan's Balloon Sculptor. In 2004, he took the world record for, take a deep breath, most balloons blown up by one person's mouth and sculpted into individual animals in a 24-hour time frame. The total was 6,176 balloons.

However, this past February, a man in Texas blew away the record Thurmond created by 55 balloons.

But not for long.

Robert Voit

A new cell phone tower was erected near a busy intersection in Portage, Michigan, but passersby probably won't recognize it. 

That's because the 150-foot tower has been disguised as a pine tree. The pole has brown "bark" and covered with fake bark, and the antennae have been concealed to look like pine branches. 

http://www.letsmove.gov/

If you have ever visited the White House, you know it's an exciting memory you always treasure.

But how many of us can say we not only visited the White House, we were invited to have lunch with the First Lady of the United States?

Jacob Hirsch of Bloomfield Hills is 8 years old. Tomorrow, Jacob will be a guest at a Kid's "State Dinner" hosted by none other than First Lady Michelle Obama. It's actually a healthy lunch, part of the First Lady's "Let's Move" initiative.

Jacob won his invitation by submitting a healthy recipe in a big national competition. And out of more than 13 hundred entries, Jacob's "Picky Eater Pita Pizza Pocket" was one of 54 winners.

Jacob Hirsch joined us today in the studio.

Listen to the full interview above.

Paddleboarding Across Lake Michigan / Facebook

Three college students crossed Lake Michigan by way of a paddle board on Monday.

The three paddlers were Ginny Melby, Trent Masselink and Craig Masselink. They reached the shores of Muskegon after embarking barely 24 hours before on their 80-mile journey.

They raised money for an organization called Restore International. The group fights for boys who are child soldiers and girls who are forced into prostitution in Uganda.

You can find out more on their Facebook page.

Bernt Rostad / Flickr

This 4th of July weekend, there’s a good chance that you or one of your (adult) family members or friends looks forward to sipping a nice cold brew while watching fireworks or enjoying a barbeque.

If you’re in Michigan, you have the opportunity to buy from one of the many microbreweries operating across the state.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - State records show Michigan State University's license plate is the No. 1 specialty plate in Michigan.

The Lansing State Journal reports Friday that a half-million of the MSU plates have been sold since it debuted in 2000.

That puts the East Lansing school squarely ahead of its rival to the southeast.

The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor's license plate has drawn about 362,000 patrons. That puts it in third place behind a patriotic plate that debuted after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

Flickr

Cynthia Canty's good friend Susan and her husband are about to move from a townhouse in an Oakland County suburb to a small cottage on about an acre in another Oakland County town. One of her top priorities is to start keeping chickens in her new backyard.

Seems she is not alone. Backyard chicken-raising is on the rise across the state and across the country.

There are now ordinances allowing people to also keep chickens in Ann Arbor, Flint, Detroit, Lansing, Grand Rapids, Traverse City and many other Michigan communities.

Taylor Reid is the founder of beginningfarmers.org and he's a PhD candidate in Community, Food and Agriculture at Michigan State University. He joined us today to talk about why urban chicken raising is on the rise and what the concerns are about this practice.

Listen to the full interview above.

The city of Traverse City

They shut it down when they discovered the problem, but still... it makes for a not-so-fun splash park.

Brian McGillivary and Michael Walton from the Traverse City Record-Eagle have more on how the new splash pad in Clinch Park happened to rain "water contaminated with human waste on a half-dozen children":

Library of Congress

Last month, Jerry Eliason, Kraig Smith and Ken Merryman discovered the Henry B. Smith, a freighter that sank in a storm in November of 1913. There were no survivors. The wreck was found 30 miles north of Marquette.

According to a story by the Duluth News Tribune, the photos and video that the group brought back in May didn't include any shots of the ship's name, so they couldn't confirm that it was the Smith:

In addition to footage of the ship's name -- the group also caught a glimpse of the name on the Smith's bow -- the return trip revealed more details of how the ship is sitting on the lake bottom.

It's like a "V," Eliason said -- broken in the middle with the largely intact bow and stern sections rising up from the lake bed amid a spilled cargo of iron ore. 

Getting that video footage was challenging because of a still-standing mast and guide wires on the bow section, which did snag the camera for a while last week before the group was able to work it free. 

Steve Snodgrass / Flickr

Making the world better, one piece of pie at a time.

That is the mission behind a project called Pie It Forward. Sarah Fertig says she is "on a mission to change the world with the power of pie.”

Sarah and her boyfriend Chris Kovac left their homes in Brighton, packed up their 1999 Silverado named Gracie, and, along with their Border Collie co-pilot Shalosh, the pair have been crisscrossing the nation, baking pies and handing out free slices.

Sarah Fertig joined us today to talk about their mission and just how one betters the world with pie.

Listen to the full interview above.

ABC News

LA graffiti artist David Choe passed through Detroit on Sunday and hid money in different parts of the city.

On Sunday he posted on his Facebook page that he "made it into Canada tonight but hid 10,000$ in mostly 1's and a few hundos all over Detroit today."

Why did he do it? Answer: "just becuz - why not?"

Around 7 p.m. he started dropping clues on  Twitter.

From the "Meet the Dumpers" website. This week's featured company.
meetthedumpers.com

Illegal dumping is a massive problem in Detroit. Just drive around for several minutes and you’re likely to see household and industrial trash illegally dumped on street corners and along service roads.

A group in the northwest Detroit neighborhood of Brightmoor hopes to curtail illegal dumping by publicly shaming companies and individuals caught dumping.

Dana Moos / Flickr

On June 23, you can see a moon that's looks bigger than it usually does. It's called a supermoon, and they occur between four and six times every year. 

Basically, it happens when the moon comes closer to Earth than it normally does.

Flickr

In 2013, if you want to let the world know you're someplace having a good time, you might whip out your smartphone and tweet it or post a check-in or status update on Facebook.

97 years ago, you might write a message, roll it up, tuck it in a bottle and toss it into the St. Clair River.

That's what a couple of young Detroiters did when they were having fun one summer's day at Tashmoo. That was a very popular amusement part on Harsen's Island on the northern end of Lake St. Clair.

And why do we know about this message in a bottle? Because Dave Leander found the bottle as he was diving in the St. Clair River.

John Gonzalez, David Kutzko, and Fritz Klug spent 6 days sampling 33 hamburgers to find the best of the best in Michigan. They revealed the winner this morning: Laura's Little Burger Joint in Decatur. A noteworthy finalist was Krazy Jim's Blimpy Burger in Ann Arbor. Blimpy Burger, which took 10th place, will be closing at the end of August. Many locals hope that they will find a new location for sometime soon.

University of Michigan / Facebook

There were four baby peregrine falcons nesting on the roof of University Hospital at the end of April. The University Record reports this is the third year in a row that two falcons nested on the hospital roof.

A contest was held to name the babies. Today, the people running the University of Michigan's Facebook page announced the winning names:

  • Maize,
  • Blue,
  • Woodson,
  • and Howard.

The images of the cute falcon babies got us wondering, 'what can be cuter than these things?'

LinkedIn

As Father's Day is just around the corner, are you thinking about what to get that special man in your life?

Well, ask virtually any wife and chances are she'll tell you that when the man of the house steps outside his designated "manly chores" and does something that would be considered to be in her domain, that man wants praise and plenty of it.

There's something to this: a Pew Research Center survey finds, of the predictors for a successful marriage, sharing household chores is Number Three on the list, just behind faithfulness and a happy sexual relationship.

All of this inspired a Waterford man to put on his "entrepreneur's hat" and come up with a new business: Man Medals, a witty but pointed way for her to dish out praise to him, and for him to take a bow for helping out.

Jim O'Brien is the founder of the Man Medals, and he joined us today in the studio.

Listen to the full interview above.

rawmustard / Flickr

This coming Sunday isn’t just Father's Day -- it is also National Fudge Day.

By most accounts, the first batch of fudge was concocted in Baltimore in the 1880s. By the turn of the century, fudge-making arrived on Mackinac Island in northern Michigan, which today has a legitimate claim as the modern day fudge capital.

Tourists pile off ferries and onto Mackinac Island by the thousands every day during the summer. For many, one of the first stops when they arrive or the last stop before they board a ferry back home, is one of the island’s 15 or so fudge shops. 

Island-wide, the favorite is plain, unadulterated chocolate fudge.

Tim McFarlane / Flickr

This morning, Rebecca Williams reported on the MSU research that found we are still falling down on the job when it comes to washing our hands.

I say "still" because these kinds of studies have been done in the past.

Emily Fox

BOYNE CITY, Mich. (AP) - Two men who became spouses at a Michigan Indian reservation in a state that bans same-sex marriages have been invited to the White House.

MLive.com reports that Tim LaCroix and Gene Barfield will be guests of President Barack Obama on Thursday at a reception honoring LGBT Pride Month. LGBT stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender.

The men were married in March by the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, of which LaCroix is a member.  Same-sex marriage is prohibited in Michigan, but federally recognized Native American tribes are self-governing and aren't bound by state law.

Barfield and LaCroix say they were shocked to receive the invitation and canceled a scheduled trip to California.

The longtime partners live in Boyne City.

http://www.wnem.com/

School’s out and summer means sun tans, barbeques, beach days, and…searching for Christmas Trees?

The hunt for the state holiday tree has begun. Michigan needs a 65-foot-tall evergreen that can sparkle on the lawn of the Capitol building in November.

“Everyone laughs that the process starts in June,” said Kurt Weiss with Michigan’s Department of Technology, Management and Budget, “But that’s when the process starts.”

C.S. Mott Children's Hosptial / Facebook

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No, it’s the window washing crew!

Earlier this year, we posted on an unusual window washing trend. At children hospitals across the nation it appears that independent window washing companies and contractors have been donning super hero costumes to spread a little cheer.

This past Monday, superheroes visited the University of Michigan’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Update 5/29/13: This story has been corrected to reflect Wright’s rank as Specialist, not Sergeant. Wright misrepresented his rank during the formal event.  

Memorial Day was particularly special for an injured Iraqi war veteran from Allegan.

Hundreds huddled close at Oakwood Cemetery Monday morning. Some wept as Amy Wright finally pinned a Purple Heart on her husband’s uniform. He kneeled so his 7-year old daughter Torin could pin on the other one.

Detroit Mower Gang / Facebook

These days, services in Detroit are bare-bones—and a lot of the work that does get done is done by volunteers.

The Detroit Mower Gang is just one of the many groups tackling that work.

The group mowed grass, trimmed brush and picked up trash at parks throughout the city during their “Motown Mowdown,” a 24-hour mowing binge that also involved an overnight camp out in one park.

This is from their event announcement on Facebook:

flickr/cseeman

The Irish Hills Towers are a familiar landmark along US-12 in southern Michigan.

But the nearly 90-year-old towers face a potential demolition order … unless years of decline and disrepair can be addressed.

Donna Boglarsky owned the towers for many years.  Now she’s working the save the rundown landmark.

“I know I’ve had a few people who’ve said “Have you gotten an estimate on how much the demolition will cost?’,” says Boglarsky, “That’s not even an option to look at, because that’s not in our vision at all.”

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