Offbeat

Offbeat

Stateside: Author Kevin Hofmann on growing up as a biracial child

Jan 21, 2013
http://www.kevinhofmann.com/

The following is a summary of a previously recorded interview. To hear the complete segment, click the audio above.

One very clear aspect of President Barack Obama's story is that he grew up biracial in America.

His mother was from Kansas. His father was Kenyan.

Author Kevin Hofmann grew up in a similar environment.  

He was born in 1967 to a white mother and a black father, just two and a half weeks after the Detroit riots.

He lived in foster care before being adopted by a white family, where he became the fourth of their three children.

Hofmann’s memoir is entitled "Growing Up Black in White."

On “Stateside” today he recalled his adoption experience.

“They had approached the adoption agency and said we want to adopt. They only qualified at that time for what was called ‘hard-to-place’ kids. Back in 1967 and in some places today, biracial children are considered hard-to-place.  So that’s how I came to them. My dad was an associate pastor at a large Lutheran church in Dearborn. Much to our dismay, the church was very vocal about disapproving of having this biracial child in their congregation."

Stateside: Military spouses march in today's inaugural parade

Jan 21, 2013
Military Spouses of Michigan / Facebook

The following is a summary of a previously recorded interview. To hear the complete segment, click the audio above.

Among the groups that represented Michigan in today's inaugural parade was the Military Spouses of Michigan.

Jocelyn Benson, who also serves as dean of Wayne State University's Law School, is the president of the group.

The group is about a year old and provides support for spouses of service members throughout the state.

Benson spoke with Cyndy from the parade.

"It's so exciting because we honor our veterans but too often our military families are on the sidelines. To be able to recognize their sacrifices today is incredible," said Benson.

Every child marching with the group seemed to have enjoyed the experience, she noted.

"Instead of feeling isolated, we're able to provide that camaraderie for each other," said Benson.

There are two ways you can podcast "Stateside with Cynthia Canty"

HeatherHeatherHeather / Creative Commons

There have been nine murders in the last thirty days in Grand Rapids. That’s almost as many as the state’s second largest city sees during an average year. But the community is working on a game plan to fight the violence.

Friday morning about a thousand people gathered at Messiah Missionary Baptist Church. They prayed and they made plans for many smaller meetings over the next 60 days.

TAYLOR, Mich. (AP) - Fights in a line of several thousand people seeking applications to get on a waiting list for housing vouchers in a Detroit area community forced police to cancel the event.

The Taylor Housing Commission says Saturday in a release that upward of 4,000 people arrived ahead of the 9 a.m. start to get Section 8 voucher applications.

Some people began lining up Friday evening at the Taylor Human Services Building, southwest of Detroit.

The Detroit Free Press reports that four people were arrested for disorderly conduct.

Hand grenades found at Salvation Army

Jan 10, 2013

If you dropped off three hand grenades at the Shelby Township Salvation Army last week, the police would like a word.

On Monday, a store employee stumbled upon the grenades in a donation box. She called the police, who then evacuated nearby businesses as a precaution.

HPZ1442 / YouTube

Scott Ziegler has a more interesting job than the rest of us, and he knows it.

The Highland Park firefighter recently posted a montage of footage that he took using a camera mounted to his helmet. 

The YouTube video, "2012 a year on my lid"  has become an Internet sensation with nearly 1,000,000 views.

It highlights some of the more harrowing moments of fighting fire in the Detroit area.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Lake Superior State University in Sault Ste Marie is out with its annual year-end list of words and phrases that should be banned for overuse.

As you may expect, words and phrases popular with politicians top this year’s banned list, with one getting a lot of use right now leading them all:  Fiscal Cliff. 

Banned Words list co-creator John Shibley says the phrase used to describe the combination of looming federal tax increases and spending cuts was overused by the news media.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Most Michigan children believe Santa Claus brings them presents for Christmas. 

But children in Charlotte KNOW local firefighters are handling the delivery.  Starting about five o'clock, fire engines will start rolling down local streets, delivering presents.  

The Christmas Kiddies program has been providing needy children with presents in Eaton County for more than a hundred years.   This year, more than 400 children will be receiving Christmas presents.

Tyger Fullerton is the deputy fire chief.   He’s the third generation of his family to be part of the program

Stateside: Two firefighters' impressions of "BURN"

Dec 19, 2012
detroitfirefilm.org

It’s possible to leave “BURN” feeling as if you’ve just combated the inferno of multiple house fires.

The documentary- which utilizes actual footage of Detroit firefighters- is strikingly realistic, unlike previous films of its kind.

Firefighter Chris Palm and Sergeant Tony Angelucey shared their accounts of entering burning buildings.

Though an experienced firefighter, Angelucey was pleased with the shift of perspective the film afforded him.

“It was shocking to see what we do. We’re always doing it, so we don’t usually get to sit back and watch it unravel,” he said.


  


Michigan Radio will be welcoming Garrison Keillor and "A Prairie Home Companion" back to Ann Arbor's Hill Auditorium on June 1, 2013. Tickets for this special performance will go on sale to the general public in April. However, you can be among the first to get tickets to this special show...without even having to wait in line.


A very limited number of seats are available now for a new pledge of $750 to Michigan Radio. This package includes two Gold Circle seats to the live show and a post-show reception with the cast.

Stateside: Sailing on a ship of pleasure

Dec 18, 2012
holger.ellgaard

Early 20th-century steam ships traveling from Chicago to South Haven carried some promiscuous passengers.

Historian Larry Massie wrote a November article entitled “Floating Gomorra" for Encore Magazine, in which he investigated these ships and the people who frequented them.

In his article, Massie said that South Haven, a Mecca for Chicago tourists, placed a ban on alcohol.

This ban, said Massie, carried no authority on board the steam ships.

Bigfoot visits Michigan

Dec 17, 2012
AnimalPlanetTV / YouTube

You may not have seen it in the latest Pure Michigan ad, but the state would be a great place for any Bigfoot looking to relocate.

So says, Cliff Barackman a researcher for the reality television show “Finding Bigfoot.”

Pinball Wizards descend on Howell

Dec 14, 2012
Courtesy: Shark Club website

This weekend, Pinball Wizards, "wannabes" and recreational players will descend on Howell’s Shark Club for the Snowball Open Pinball Tournament.

Organizers expect Amateurs and Professionals from as far away as Italy and all across the country.  Competitors will compete on about 40 pinball machines and eventually over $8,000 in prizes will be awarded on Sunday.

Blimpy Burger searching for new location after U of M buys building

Dec 7, 2012
Blimpy Burger / blimpyburger.com

The passage of right-to-work legislation in the state House and Senate may have Lansing in turmoil, but residents of Ann Arbor learned yesterday of  a more immediate concern.

Krazy Jim's Blimpy Burger, a staple for U of M students and townies alike, is looking for a new home.

AnnArbor.com has more:

Owner Rich Magner said a deal between the University of Michigan and the property’s owner, Patricia Shafer, means he will have to close Blimpy Burger in summer 2013. He wants to find a new location for the restaurant.

Shafer is the widow of Blimpy Burger's original founder, Jim Shafer.

“I don’t know what the plans are,” Magner said. “But basically, in a nutshell, we will be able to operate in this location into summer 2013 and we will be trying to put a deal together and look for a new location.”

Magner said the University made Shafer an offer "she couldn't refuse."

Stateside: Kalamazoo's Little Free Library

Dec 6, 2012

Today we spoke with Hannah-Lane Davies about her ambitious book-share project.

Kalamazoo's "Little Free Library" functions as a way to share books throughout the city.

Listen to our interview with Davies above.

Fake wedding prank disrupts U of M biology class

Dec 3, 2012
412nathan (screenshot) / youtube

It used to be that a good college prank just meant finding a way to get a horse into Dean Wormer's office.

These days, media-savvy college students are putting together elaborately organized, digitally recorded productions, ready-made for YouTube.

Animal House it is not, but a group of students from the University of Michigan deserves credit for the fake wedding they put on in the middle of a biology lecture.

Here is the video:

Powerball / YouTube

Millions are awaking to the reality that they are indeed... not millionaires.

But there were a few lucky winners, including two in Michigan.

From the Associated Press:

The Michigan Lottery says two Powerball tickets worth $1 million each were sold in the state as people sought the game's big jackpot.

The Lottery says the tickets matching five numbers drawn Wednesday night but not the Powerball were sold at a liquor store in the Grand Rapids suburb of Kentwood and a CVS pharmacy in the Detroit suburb of Dearborn.

The numbers drawn Wednesday night are: 5, 16, 22, 23, 29 and Powerball of 6. Powerball officials said early Thursday that tickets sold in Arizona and Missouri matched all six numbers to win the $579.9 million jackpot.

And for the big winners... there were two. One from Arizona, and one from Missouri. They'll have to split the $579.9 million jackpot.

From the NBC News blog:

The frenzy now surrounds the identities of the lucky winners.

Arizona lottery officials said early Thursday they would announce where that state's ticket was sold during a news conference later in the day. It wasn't immediately clear when Missouri would announce where its ticket was sold.

Watch the numbers roll in from last night's drawing here:

DETROIT (AP) - Chilly winds and snow flurries are greeting thousands of Michigan travelers as they head home after spending the Thanksgiving holiday with family and friends.

The long Thanksgiving weekend saw temperatures push into the 60s in places, but Michigan got a preview of winter on Sunday, with midday readings in 20s and 30s and swirling snow in places.

AAA Michigan has estimated that about 1.3 million state residents were planning to travel 50 miles or more during this year's Thanksgiving period, an increase of 7 percent over 2011.

Many buses are fully booked Sunday on the Megabus discount travel system that serves Detroit, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids and East Lansing, and flights are packed at Detroit Metropolitan Airport.

A new University of Michigan survey finds most parents want stronger online protections for children under 13.

The poll shows two-thirds of parents say a federal law that protects children's privacy online should be expanded to include handheld devices.

“The hope is that this update of the federal rules can be combined with continuing or maybe even enhanced parent vigilance around what their kids are seeing and where their kids are going on the internet,” says Matt Davis, the director of the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health.

DETROIT (AP) - Floating paper lanterns will be launched in Detroit's former Chinatown as part of a community-based event.

The Saturday evening event near Wayne State University is dubbed "Illuminating Chinatown." The lanterns made by local artists, designers and university students are set to be launched in a block without working street lights.

Paper lanterns were first used as signaling balloons and now are used in festivals to signify good luck and new beginnings. Organizers say they also intend for them to signal change coming from the hands of the community.

Larry D. Moore / Wikimedia Commons

And I forgot to mention Devil Dogs, Donettes, and Sno Balls.

Hostess Brands announced this morning that they're going out of business and laying off around 18,500 employees.

Hostess higher-ups said a strike by bakery workers was a big part of the decision for the shutdown, and that they don’t have the “financial resources to weather an extended nationwide strike.”

Union leaders called the announced shutdown a Bain-style decision – “a microcosm of what’s wrong with America.”

In the meantime, Ho-Ho production is winding down. From the NYTimes:

The last batches rolled off Hostess production lines early Friday morning, according to Tom Becker, a company spokesman, and no new products will be made for the time being.

The Times points out that Twinkies might not be a thing of the past, as Hostess Brands will likely be auctioned off to others.

Michigan utilities sent hundreds of linemen to the East Coast last week to help restore electricity to areas hard hit by Hurricane Sandy.

Now Consumers Energy is sending two dozen workers to help restore natural gas service to parts of Long Island, New York.

Roger Morgenstern is a Consumers Energy spokesman.    He says restoring natural gas service presents a very different challenge than getting the lights back on after a storm.

Laserbrain

Imagine going to your pharmacy to fill a keg of hard cider.

Such was reality in 19th century Detroit.

Stateside’s Cyndy Canty spoke with Bill Loomis, writer for the Detroit News, about the city’s history of dedicated drinking.

“You could get liquor almost anywhere. Pharmacies sold liquor. You would bring in your container and they would fill it up and charge you,” said Loomis.

ROSEVILLE, Mich. (AP) - Authorities say someone's trying to scam residents of a Detroit suburb into believing that missing Teamsters boss Jimmy Hoffa could be buried on their property.

Roseville police are warning city residents about a letter that purports to be from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. The letter says a recent dig at a Roseville home for Hoffa was a ruse to keep the media away from the real site.

The letter's author implies the true Hoffa dig site is at the recipient's home.

Several residents received a copy of the fake letter as a lure to get them outside while thieves go inside their homes.

Roseville police investigated a claim last month that Hoffa was buried in a backyard, but testing on soil samples showed no traces of human decomposition.

Mark Williams, a.k.a. Petoskey Batman, was recently arrested and charged with a felony for obstructing a police investigation.

7&4 News got Williams' side of the story:

A photo of 'Petoskey Batman' on the Michigan Protectors website.
Michigan Protectors

When I posted last April that 'Petoskey Batman' was 'hanging it up,' I was quickly corrected:

Your information is false. The Petoskey Batman is selling off the suit, but he is FAR from hanging it up. He has constructed a new suit, and plans to go back on patrol in a few weeks.

Now we hear news that sure enough, Mark Wayne Williams was at it again.

The Petoskey News reports Williams was arrested last Saturday night for interfering with a police investigation.

Sgt. Jeff Gorno told the News the incident happened in Bear Creek Township:

Troopers were responding to the scene of a personal injury accident in which the driver had left the scene.

“When we arrived, (Williams) was at the scene in his Batman outfit. He wouldn’t clear the scene and we had a canine out there and he kept screwing up the scent,” Gorno said. “He said he wanted to help us look for the driver.”

“We didn’t want the dog to track Batman instead of the accident scene and he was getting in the way of officers who had a job to do.”

Williams’ Batman costume and gear were confiscated. Gorno said he was not carrying any dangerous weapons.

Williams posted bond and was released from the Emmet County Jail.

Williams faces felony changes for "resisting and obstructing police in an investigation."

He was arrested last year after he was spotted on a rooftop in downtown Petoskey. He was ordered not to don his costume while on six months of probation.

'Petoskey Batman' is listed as one of the members of the 'real-life-superhero' group "The Michigan Protectors."

No word on the whereabouts of the bat cave yet:

Jimmy Hoffa with Bernard Spindel in 1957.
Roger Higgins / wiki commons

The search for Jimmy Hoffa has hit a dead end--again. The AP has the story:

Tests on soil samples gathered last week from a backyard in suburban Detroit showed no traces that Hoffa — or anyone else — was buried there, Roseville police announced Tuesday.

Jimmy Hoffa on WESW-TV's Morning Exchange program sometime between 1971 and 1975.
WEWS-TV / YouTube

Police are digging under a driveway in Roseville, Michigan this morning to see if they can come up with evidence of a body.

Ground penetrating radar indicated an "anomaly" under the driveway earlier in the week.

There's wide speculation the body could be former Teamsters union boss Jimmy Hoffa, but that appears to be a long-shot. From CNN:

Police Chief James Berlin told CNN on Thursday that while the tipster's information seems credible, he's not convinced the body is Hoffa's because of the timeline. He spoke with the tipster on August 22 and says he believes the person did see a burial.

Police will send soil samples from the dirt under the driveway to MSU for analysis.

The samples will be sent to a forensic anthropologist and tested for human decomposition. Results aren't expected before next week.

In the meantime, one homeowner tells the Associated Press that the search for Hoffa has turned her neighborhood into a "circus."

Szpunar tells The Associated Press Friday that the Roseville home she's lived in for 24 years has been turned into a "three-ring circus" by onlookers and media members who gawk and take photos.

Szpunar told the AP she just wants to be left alone.

The 37-year-old search for Teamsters boss Jimmy Hoffa moves to a driveway in Roseville, Mich., on Friday.

"Police will be taking soil core samples," the Detroit Free Press reports, after receiving what they say is a "credible" tip that around the time of Hoffa's 1975 disappearance someone was buried under what's now a driveway in a Roseville residential neighborhood.

Inside the Piper Cherokee Six. Their website reads "Plenty of room for your romantic encounter."
Courtesy milehightc.com

Not surprisingly, there are online, how-to instructions for joining the 'mile high club,' but to join might set off a security alert.

That's where someone like Traverse City pilot Scott Conaway steps in.

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