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screen shot / ESPN.com

President Obama, known as the first basketball fan in the White House, filled out his brackets for the NCAA men's basketball tournament yesterday.

He picked Michigan State to win it all.

"It's been awhile since Izzo won one," he said.

From ESPN.com:

Ford Motor Co.

In the course of his 88 years, William Clay Ford, who died Sunday, captained Yale’s tennis team, earned an engineering degree and chaired Ford Motor Co.’s finance committee, which is enough for any lifetime.

But he will likely be remembered mainly as the owner of the Detroit Lions, during five woefully unsuccessful decades. Since he took over the franchise in 1964, the Lions have won exactly one playoff game, and remain the only NFL team to miss out on all 48 Super Bowls.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Gov. Rick Snyder honored Olympic ice dancing champions Meryl Davis and Charlie White at the state Capitol today.

The two University of Michigan students won gold medals at the recent Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

During the ceremony, Snyder noted many of the Olympic ice dancing pairs live and train in Michigan.

“I think it’s fair to say that Michigan is the ice dancing capitol of the world,” Snyder said, which drew applause from the audience.

user: mrmiscellanious / Wikimedia Commons

William Clay Ford's widow, Martha Ford, will take control of the Detroit Lions, a team her husband purchased 50 years ago. She will have controlling interest in the football team, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press reports. 

Ford, the last surviving grandchild of Henry Ford, passed away Sunday morning at the age of 88. 

NCAA

Once Tom Izzo got Michigan State’s basketball team rolling in the late ‘90s, the Spartans dominated the state for more than a decade.

Izzo’s teams have earned 16 straight NCAA invitations, seven Big Ten titles, five Final Fours, and one national title, in 2000. Along the way, Izzo took 18 of 21 against the Wolverines, who have had four different head coaches during his tenure.

But what a difference a few years make. Michigan basketball coach John Beilein has beaten the Spartans six of their last eight meetings, and returned the long-dormant program to its previous heights.

Jordan Valley Outfitters / Facebook

When I say "river rafting," you probably conjure up images of a beautiful warm day – maybe a packed picnic – but what about gliding down a Michigan river in the heart of winter?

Scott Harper and his wife have been taking people on winter rafting trips down the East Jordan River in Northern Michigan for the past 15 years.

They co-own Jordan Valley Outfitters in East Jordan.

*Listen to the interview above.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

If you like to hunt or fish in Michigan, heads up. There's a new fee system going into effect this coming Saturday, March 1.

It's the first significant hike in hunting and fishing fees in over 15 years.

Ed Golder of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources joined us today to tell us what's new and what the increase will go toward.

Listen to the full interview above.

Issue Media Group

Cities like Ann Arbor, Portland, and Seattle are known for promoting biking in their cities, but biking hasn't found much of a foothold in many traditional Rust Belt cities.

Some people are trying to change that. Issue Media Group has two pieces profiling those people.

In their publication Mid-Michigan Second Wave, writer Kelli Kavanaugh looks at this trend in Flint. Kavanaugh spoke with Flint native Andy Stamps who founded the Berston Bicycle Club Project. 

Mercedes Mejia/Michigan Radio

The 2014 Winter Olympics have entered the record books. The Olympic flame has been extinguished, and athletes and reporters are packing up and heading home from Sochi. 

NPPR's Sonari Glinton joins us from Sochi. 

Meanwhile in Michigan, Michael Lee speaks with Mercedes Mejia. Lee is a professional mime and physical acting coach. He's worked with 10 of the 24 figure skating ice dance teams at the Sochi Olympics this year, including Michigan natives Meryl Davis and Charlie White who are bringing home a gold medal. He also works with Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada.

Lee says he helps the skaters become performers by teaching them how to animate their bodies. He learned miming from the late Marcel Marceau, an acclaimed French mime.

Lee explains the physical acting techniques he shows the ice dancers. It's all about breath, body movement, and emotions. 

Listen to the full interviews above.

The sweater that will be worn by the U.S. team at the closing ceremony for the Winter Olympics in Sochi.
Stonehedge Fiber Mill

At the 2012 Summer Olympics, the U.S. team got a lot of criticism for wearing Olympic clothing made in China to the opening ceremonies. 

For the Winter Games, designer Ralph Lauren used American material. The yarn for the sweaters and hats that will be worn in the closing ceremonies at the Winter Olympics in Sochi was spun in East Jordan, Michigan.

Here's what the sweater and hats will look like:

 

user: jpowers65 / Flickr

Detroit Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg played one game as captain of Team Sweden at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, before having to be flown to New York City for a surgery on his back. The injury could keep him out of action for the season.

The Red Wings addressed the surgery in a press release today. 

DETROIT- Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg today underwent successful surgery on his back. The procedure was performed by Dr. Frank Cammisa at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City. 

U.S. Olympic Team / Facebook

Why in the world are the Winter Olympics in Sochi, one of Russia’s warmest places?  

Chalk it up to corruption – both the Russians’, which we’ve come to expect, and the International Olympic Committee’s – which we’ve also come to expect.

The IOC hasn’t just shown a willingness to be bought, but an insistence.

That’s how you get a Winter Olympic skating rink built in the shade of palm trees. The warm weather is funny, unless you spent your entire life training for these Olympics, and there’s no snow. Then it’s just heartbreaking.

user Luu / wikimedia commons

They reached the pinnacle yesterday: Michigan's Meryl Davis and Charlie White won the gold medal in ice dancing at the Winter Olympics in Sochi.

They became the first Americans to do so, and they did it even with all the pressure of being the favorites to win the competition.

The two came to our studios last year right before their gold medal performance in the World Championships.

Their conversation with Cynthia Canty gives good insight into their solid and steady nature, and how they managed to live up to, and even exceed, the expectations at the Olympics.

Some of the things they credited to their success:

  • A hard-work ethic, even as kids (they're on the ice five hours a day, five days a week)
  • Parents who encouraged them, but were not too pushy
  • An incredible coach, Marina Zoueva of Russia
  • And White doesn't call it "swagger," he just calls it "a lot of confidence." 

Take a listen below:

Ludwig Welnicki / en.wikipedia.org

One of the most compelling Michigan stories to emerge from the Sochi Winter Olympics has been in the ice dancing competition. Fifteen of the 24 teams train at three Metro Detroit facilities, including Arctic Edge in Canton.

Sunday's short program left two teams at the head of the pack: Canada's Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, and Charlie Davis and Meryl White for Team USA. Both pairs train at Arctic Edge, and both share the same coach.

Today, the two teams competed for gold, and...

<<< SPOILER  ALERT: DON'T CLICK THROUGH if you don't want to know what happened today in Sochi>>>

DNR

This weekend, state wildlife officials want people to go fish.

Today and tomorrow, people can fish in Michigan's lakes and streams without a license.

The Department of Natural Resources hopes the free fishing weekends will introduce newcomers, visitors and folks with rusty skills to one of Michigan's most popular sports.

The University of Michigan named a new president last month, and the football team landed another great class of recruits last week. But there’s another story that keeps eclipsing those two. Michigan Radio sports commentator John U. Bacon has details.

I’ve been reluctant to write about the Brendan Gibbons’ story, because so little is clear – from the incident that started this saga five years ago, to the various responses since.

One thing is clear: the athletic department continually fails to follow the advice legendary athletic director Don Canham,

“Never turn a one-day story into a two-day story.”

This story starts in 2009, when Wolverine kicker Brendan Gibbons had an encounter at a party with a female student. Ultimately, only two people know what happened, but we do know she contacted the Ann Arbor Police, then decided not to press charges.

user: Marissa Babin

Usually brothers and sisters bicker and get in fights, but for Ann Arbor siblings Maia and Alex Shibutani, synchronization and working together is key. The Shibutanis are ice dancers, heading to Sochi, Russia for the 2014 Winter Olympics. 

Both began skating when they were under the age of 10, and have worked for many years for bragging rights such as being three-time medalists in the U.S. Championships for ice dancing, and earning the bronze medal at the 2011 World Championships. 

U.S. Olympic Team / Facebook

It turns out that Michigan is really good on ice.

We've got 13 Olympic athletes going to Russia. Actually, they're probably already there since the opening ceremony is Friday.

The U.S. team is very serious as you can see.

Screenshot from Google Maps

When the Winter Olympics begins in three days, there will be snow on the ground in Sochi, Russia in part thanks to our next guest.

Joe VanderKelen, President of SMI Snowmakers in Midland, Michigan joined us today.

*Listen to the interview above.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Some scientists at Dow Chemical in Midland plan to spend some of their break time next month watching TV coverage of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. 

But they’ve got more than the usual rooting interest in one of the Games' more obscure sports.

In a nondescript laboratory deep inside the warren of buildings that make up the massive Dow Chemical complex in Midland, a large machine is shaking and rattling something that looks like a miniature sleigh.

New legislation attempts to reduce the number of sports-related concussions in kids.
YMCA of Western North Carolina / flickr

Super Bowl Sunday is days away, and when you think about the atmosphere at any given sports event – be it the Super Bowl, a Red Wings game, or even your child's grade-school team – chances are the atmosphere is one of fierce competition.

Think of the crowd and the chants. You know, "Beat 'em, beat 'em, let's deFEAT 'em." But my next guest is asking us to look at sports in another light – in a spiritual light.

Jeanne Hess has been the head coach of Kalamazoo College's Volleyball team for some 30 years, and is an associate chaplain. Her book is called, "Sportuality: Finding Joy in the Games."

Jeanne Hess joined us on Stateside today.

*Listen to the audio above.

He calls himself a "hockey rock star" – and he's earned the right to do just that.

Whether it was his 15 seasons as an NHL enforcer, the four Stanley Cups he won with the Red Wings, the legendary "Fight Night at the Joe" when he took down Claude Lemieux of the Avalanche, or his rock band "Grinder," Darren McCarty has played hard and lived hard, coping with family issues and addiction even as he skated to NHL stardom wearing  No 25.

He tells his story in an autobiography called "My Last Fight: The True Story of a Hockey Rock Star," written with the help of journalist Kevin Allen.

And, just like Darren on the ice, this book pulls no punches.

olympic.org/photos/sochi-2014

Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow is joining other members of Congress who are expressing concern about security at the Winter Olympic games next month in Russia.

There are concerns that the games face an unprecedented terrorist threat level.

Stabenow says Russian authorities have not shared enough of their security plans for the games.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Members of Congress, including one from Michigan, say they have serious concerns about Americans' safety at next month's Olympics in Russia, and they want Moscow to cooperate more on security.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has promised his country will do all it can to ensure a safe Olympics.

The State Department has advised Americans planning to go that they should keep vigilant about security because of potential terrorist threats, crime and uncertain medical care.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The Detroit Lions introduced the team's new head coach today.

Jim Caldwell comes to the Lions after being part of two Super Bowl-winning teams. He also led the Indianapolis Colts to the Super Bowl in 2010, only to lose to the New Orleans Saints.

Caldwell says he’s already talked with Lions players about winning a National Football League championship.

Tracy Brooks/Mission Wolf/USFWS

Michigan’s top wildlife officials were briefed today on last year’s controversial wolf hunt.

23 wolves were killed during the seven-week hunt. That’s well below the target of 43 wolves.

Adam Bump is the point man on wolves for the Department of Natural Resources. He delivered the briefing to the Michigan Natural Resources Commission.  Bump says the DNR will take the next several months to evaluate how to improve future hunts.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan State University officials have delayed a celebration for the school's Rose Bowl-winning football team because of a major snowstorm and polar temperatures in the forecast.

The Detroit Free Press reported Saturday that athletic director Mark Hollis said the celebration planned for Monday will be rescheduled to an undetermined date. Meanwhile, the East Lansing university will honor the team during Tuesday's home basketball game against Ohio State.

@flounderradio / Twitter

Update 3:15 p.m.

The co-founder of the West Michigan Whitecaps is confident the Fifth Third Ballpark will reopen in time for baseball in April. It appears the fire damaged about a dozen luxury box suites, part of the clubhouse, some storage area and probably the control room too. West Michigan Whitecaps co-founder Denny Baxter told reporters during a press conference he’s confident the ballpark will be available on opening day, although there’s a good chance it won’t be completely rebuilt by then. There were no reported injuries because of the fire.

Reported 12 p.m.

A fire was reported shortly after 11 a.m. today at the Fifth Third Ballpark, a few miles north of Grand Rapids in Plainfield Township.

The smoke was thick enough to be seen from Gerald R. Ford International Airport, and to be picked up by National Weather Service radar.

U.S. 131 runs right by the stadium, which can hold close to 10,000 people. The ballpark opened in 1994.

The stadium is home to the West Michigan Whitecaps baseball team, a Detroit Tigers’ Single A affiliate. The ballpark is also the venue for numerous concerts and events throughout the year, including the Michigan Brewers Guild’s annual Winter Beer Festival set for early next month.

Scott Graham, Executive Director of Michigan Brewers Guild issued this statement about the popular festival.

"The Michigan Brewers Guild is certainly concerned about our upcoming beer festival at the Fifth Third Ballpark but our first concern is for all of our friends at the West Michigan Whitecaps. Our thoughts and prayers are with the staff at the ballpark today and we will assess what it means to the Guild after the damage is under control and can be assessed. Because our event is held outside the ballpark in the parking lot we are hopeful that it will turn out well. We will do our best to keep fans of MI beer informed in coming days as we learn more."

Here are some images of the fire:

The ball park is in Comstock Park, Michigan. This from MLive.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

This week’s big National Hockey League game at the Big House in Ann Arbor drew a big crowd.

Federal officials announced today the game also drew a few crooks.

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations division says it usually sees an uptick in counterfeit sports merchandise during big events like the NHL’s Winter Classic.

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