Stateside

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Vishavjit Singh as Sikh Captain America in New York City
Fiona Aboud

Since 1941, Captain America has been a symbol of American identity, and it continues to be for Vishavjit Singh.

Singh has traveled the country dressed as Captain America, but he's put a Sikh spin on the iconic character: his Captain sports a turban and a long beard.

Featured in Salon and various media around the country, Singh’s Captain has taken the online world by storm.

  • A former Wayne County assistant prosecutor has been picked to investigate Flint's drinking water crisis and determine if civil or even criminal charges should be filed. Michigan Radio’s Steve Carmody reports.
Flickr/roel1943 / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The Next Idea

Business, political and media elites are increasingly advising kids not to pursue four-year degrees. The conventional wisdom is that unless you get a four-year degree in a STEM field, you are likely to end up underemployed and unable to pay off crushing student loans. Far better, according to this logic, to get a two-year degree or occupational certificate in a skilled trade.

flickr user Joe Gratz / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The Court of Claims is all over the news lately, with Detroit Public Schools’ attempt to establish a temporary restraining order to block teacher sick-outs and the class action lawsuits in Flint due to the water crisis.

But what is the Court of Claims?

This week on Stateside, we're talking election feelings.

NPR's National Political Correspondent Mara Liasson gave us this look into why voters have such strong emotions this year, on everything from terrorism, to jobs, to elitism.  

Now we want to hear from you:

How are you feeling about this year's election? 

  • A new study finds there are many challenges to Detroit residents accessing job opportunities. Jeannine La Prad joins us to discuss the results.
Detroit's unemployment rate continues to overshadow statewide rates, study finds
flickr user Bytemarks / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

A new study finds there are many challenges to Detroit residents accessing job opportunities.

The report, Detroit’s Untapped Talent: Jobs and On-Ramps Needed, was commissioned by JP Morgan Chase and Company and was compiled by Corporation for a Skilled Workforce.

Jeannine La Prad helped prepare the report.

  • Chia Morgan is a social worker, parent, and a lifelong Flint resident. Morgan attended Gov.
Ovi Gherman/flickr / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Wayne State University has received a $7.5 million gift from Detroit philanthropist Gretchen Valade to transform the university’s programming, teaching and scholarship in jazz performance and education.

Chris Collins, director of Jazz Studies at Wayne State, says Valade’s support is so much more than just financial.

wikimedia commons

With national attention, the story of the Flint water crisis has impacted many outside of the state.

Including Cher.

On Saturday, the artist announced she is donating 181,000 bottles of water to the city after calling Flint Mayor Karen Weaver to ask how she could help. The water started rolling into the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan today.

Kate Wells/Michigan Radio

For weeks, Detroit teachers have been using rolling sickouts to help focus attention on the crushing challenges they face in the classroom, from dilapidated, dirty conditions to huge class sizes.

Today the sickout tactic ballooned to new heights: 88 out of the 100 Detroit public schools had to close. 

Courtesy of Chia Morgan

 

Chia Morgan is a social worker, parent, leader in the nonprofit Well of Hope Ministries, and a lifelong Flint resident. Morgan attended Gov. Rick Snyder’s State of the State address last night, and she did not hear what she wanted to hear.

"I wanted to hear that [Gov. Snyder] secured funding to make this a fixable problem," she says. "I was hoping to hear that, as well as a heartfelt apology from him. And I was also hoping to hear that he would give some of his own resources to assist us. Not state money, or campaign money, but directly from Snyder and his family."

Solitary confinement is a means of punishment used to varying degrees in prisons across the country
flickr user Still Burning / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Imagine that you’re in prison, and you mess up. Maybe you lose your temper and lash out at a corrections officer, or you use your fists to resolve a conflict with your cellmate.

That can land you in “administrative segregation,” also known as solitary confinement.

Too many Americans have languished in solitary, not knowing when they’ll get out and not being allowed privileges like calls from home. And when they do get out, they’re often worse off than they were before they went into solitary, full of anger and seeking retribution.

Agate Publishing

Whether you're a 65-year-old senior VP whose job has been eliminated or a 22-year-old with a freshly minted degree, trying to land a job is scary stuff.

Michigan native Matt Durfee has recruited for some of the biggest companies in the nation, and he has lost his job and had to navigate his way to a new position – not once, but several times.

Congressman Kildee and Amir Hekmati.
Rep. Dan Kildee's office.

A nearly four-and-a-half year nightmare has ended for the Hekmati family of Flint.

Marine veteran Amir Hekmati was reunited today with his sisters and brother-in-law at the U.S. Army hospital in Landstuhl, Germany.

That's where he and two other Americans were taken after being released from an Iranian prison over the weekend.

Hekmati had been a prisoner of Iran since August of 2011.

U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Flint, was there with the Hekmati family. He has been working for Hekmati's release ever since he was elected to Congress in 2013.

  • Newly released documents show officials were worried about Legionnaires' disease and Flint River water as far back as October 2014. Yet the news wasn't made public until last week. MLive and Flint Journal reporter Ron Fonger explains.
  • All over the state, drivers are enjoying low gas prices, with oil prices at a 12-year low.
John Keogh/flickr / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

We commonly use the pronouns “he” and “she” to refer to someone, but what if that person doesn’t identify as male or female?

The Washington Post recently gave a green light to using “they” as a singular pronoun.

The gender-neutral title “Mx,” pronounced “mix,” is making its way into dictionaries.

The issue of generic pronouns may be fresh in our minds, but according Anne Curzan, University of Michigan English professor, it’s one that’s been on the table for a while.

The Next Idea

When most people think of university researchers, they think of scientists. They imagine people wearing white coats and plastic goggles, conducting experiments in a lab or making observations in the field, often working with a team of colleagues and students. Eventually, the results of that research might go into producing new computer technologies, performing life-saving medical treatments, or passing informed environmental policy.

Russell Schindler is working to make Traverse City a new nexus for technology
wikimedia user Iulia Ascanius / Public Domain

The Next Idea

Most anyone would agree that Traverse City is one of Michigan’s crown jewels. It’s a beautiful location and a great place to live, visit and retire.

But one thing Traverse City has lacked is a strong central point for the area’s tech industry.

Russell Schindler is a Traverse City geologist and entrepreneur. He basically got sick and tired of driving nearly four hours to Ann Arbor for tech meet-ups, so he started a new group, called TC New Tech.

Researchers at Virginia Tech received samples of Flint water (both clear and discolored) from residents. Dr. Edwards and his team there were among the first to call attention to lead contamination in Flint's water.
Flint Water Study / Facebook

The Flint water crisis has taken a new turn, with Governor Snyder's announcement that there's been an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease in Flint.

Genesee County had 87 cases of Legionnaires', with ten deaths between June 2014 and November 2015. Prior years only saw between six and 10 cases.

The outbreak started soon after the city switched to water from the Flint River, and ended after it went back to Detroit water.

  • Rick Pluta, Michigan Radio's Lansing bureau chief, joins us to talk about the first pieces of legislation being introduced in Lansing today to try and fix the broken Detroit Public School system.
  • Daniel Howes, Detroit News business columnist, joins us to talk about the North American International Auto Show.
Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

Today marks the 141st birthday of a Nobel prize-winner who is well-known to baby-boomers, but perhaps less well-known to later generations.

Dr. Albert Schweitzer was a physician, philosopher, theologian, organist and humanitarian. He was German and French and is known for his charitable work including opening a hospital in Africa.

Yet, his legacy is not without controversy.

Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha helped bring attention to the elevated blood lead levels in the children in Flint.
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

There's a new initiative being launched to help the victims of the decision to switch water sources in Flint.

Those victims are the children.

The number of Flint children with elevated levels of lead in their blood has doubled since the water switch was made nearly two years ago.

Now we learn that Hurley Children's Hospital in Flint is joining with Michigan State University to help these children.

  • We have reaction to President Obama’s final State of the Union speech from Republican U.S. Rep. Candice Miller, and we get the Democratic view from Senator Debbie Dingell.
  • An adoptive parent reflects on struggles raising her interracial family. Mary Koral tells her family's story in her memoir The Year The Trees Didn't Die.
  • Dr.

When prospective parents consider the possibility of adopting a child, they think about what advantages they might offer a child: a loving, stable home with economic and education advantages that the child might not otherwise have.

But as the years go on and that child grows up, there can be pitfalls and problems that no one can foresee.

And, if the child is of a different race and ethnic background than the adoptive parents, the pitfalls can be especially challenging.

Sarah Welch, executive chef at Republic Tavern in Detroit
Sarah Welch

A recent Washington Post story declares that “one of the country’s poorest cities is suddenly becoming a food mecca.”

It highlights the growing scene of young chefs and restaurateurs setting up shop in Detroit.

Sarah Welch is one of them. She’s the executive chef at Republic Tavern, located in the restored castle-like Grand Army of the Republic building in Detroit.

Congressman Dan Kildee, D-Flint, has been fighting for the release of Amir Hekmati and other Americans held prisoner by the Iranian government since 2013
Steve Carmody

At last year’s State of the Union address, Flint Congressman Dan Kildee’s guest seat was unoccupied. It was left empty for Marine veteran Amir Hekmati of Flint, who has been held in an Iranian prison since August 29, 2011.

At tonight’s State of the Union speech, Kildee will once again use that guest seat to focus attention on Hekmati and the other Americans imprisoned in Iran. This time, Hekmati’s sister Sarah will fill the seat.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

  

The Powerball jackpot has hit a record $1.5 billion for Wednesday night's drawing.

Should you beat the astronomical odds and actually win that eye-watering jackpot, you would also surrender your privacy.

And that's something State Rep. Ray Franz, R-Onekama, wants to fix.

He's introduced a bill that would allow it to be your choice whether the world knows you’ve won the lottery. 

  • Meanwhile, those thriving gay communities in Saugatuck and Douglas are surrounded by what is arguably the most religiously conservative area of the state.

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