Stateside

Politics & Culture
4:27 pm
Wed December 18, 2013

Stateside for Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

On today's program, a major new study  finds attitudes about drinking, drugs and tobacco are changing among teens, and some of the results might surprise you. Then later in the hour, a new group is trying to make Michigan's Legislature go part-time. Forty-six other states have done it, should Michigan?

 But first, it was October first when the healthcare.gov website opened for business. The rocky launch of the public portal to the Affordable Care Act has consumed much of the nation's attention and news space. The December 23 enrollment deadline is at hand. We wanted to see if the consumer experience with Healthcare.gov has improved - see what problems remain - and find out how many of us have been able to complete applications, and actually select a marketplace plan.  Don Hazaert, the director of Michigan Consumers for Healthcare, joined us today. It's one of four navigator agencies in our state for the Affordable Care Act.

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Stateside
3:54 pm
Wed December 18, 2013

One group believes switching to a part-time Legislature will be good for Michigan

Norm Kammeraad is the Chairman of the Committee to Restore Michigan’s Part-Time Legislature.
Screenshot parttimemi.com

Should Michigan revert to the kind of legislature originally called for when Michigan voters drafted the first constitution in 1835?  A part-time legislature? 

Norm Kammeraad says absoluetly, yes.

He is the Chairman of The Committee to Restore Michigan’s Part-Time Legislature. They’re hoping to gather nearly 400,000 voter signatures between January and June in order to put the question on the November 2014 ballot.

Yesterday, we spoke with Michigan columnist Dennis Lennox. He is against a part-time Michigan Legislature. You can find that interview here

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
3:35 pm
Wed December 18, 2013

Michigan musicians record Christmas CD to support children in need

It's December. That means the airwaves are filled with Holly Jolly Christmases, White Christmases, Jingle Bell Rock and that ever-present Little Drummer Boy.

So, in the interest of public service, we thought we'd present a way for you to hear some fresh holiday music, performed by Michigan artists. The CD is called "A Michigan Christmas of Hope."

Holy Cross Children's Services will receive every penny of money raised from the CD. It's one of the largest private providers of specialized schools and children's services in Michigan.

Devin Scillian is best known as the anchor on WDIV-TV in Detroit. But, he's also built quite a following as a singer-songwriter. And, joining Devin is Russ Russell of Holy Cross Children's Services. 

Listen to the full interview above.

Education
5:13 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

Why the quality of life for Michigan's children is stagnating

The quality of life for Michigan's children is not doing so great, according to the Kids Count report.
toshibatelecom toshibatelecom

Michigan's economy may be slogging its way up the hill towards recovery, but life is not getting as good as it should for children in our state.

That's the takeaway from the latest Kids Count report.

Here to tell us more is Jane Zehnder-Merrell. She's the project director for Kids Count in Michigan, part of the Michigan League for Public Policy.

Listen to the full interview above. 

Stateside
5:11 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

How one author cut $1,000 from his monthly budget... and made it work

Could you cut $1000 from your monthly budget?
wikimedia commons

For many of us, the word “budget” is not on our favorite words list.

But as so many of us across Michigan discovered during the Great Recession, things can get mighty scary when there's a crunch and we don't have much in the piggy bank.

Detroit News Personal Finance Editor Brian O'Connor writes the "Funny Money" column, offering financial advice to his readers. During the Great Recession, Brian and his family felt the pinch. So he decided to find out if his family could cut its monthly expenses by $1,000. He has turned his experiment  into a new book  “The One-Thousand Dollar Challenge: How One Family Slashed Its Budget Without Moving Under a Bridge or Living on Government Cheese."

Listen to the full interview above. 

Stateside
5:07 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

Republican strategist says switching to a part-time Legislature would not be good for Michigan

The State Capitol.
Matthileo Flickr

Starting next month, the Committee to Restore Michigan's Part-Time Legislature says they will be looking for your signatures. They've got six months to gather 400,000 voter signatures to get a big question on the November 2014 ballot: Should we amend Michigan's Constitution to switch our state to a part-time Legislature?

We'll be looking at both sides of this idea. Today we welcome a Republican strategist who believes this proposal is not in the best interest of Michigan.

Dennis Lennox is a columnist for The Morning Sun and a public affairs consultant.

Listen to the full interview above.

Politics & Culture
5:03 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

Stateside for Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

Should Michigan's Legislature go part-time?

Forty-six other states have done it. Now a new group is pushing for it here, but some argue a part-time Legislature could have disastrous results. On today's show, we talk about just how much time lawmakers should spend in Lansing. And then, just in time for the New Year, we'll get some money advice from the Detroit News' Personal Finance Editor Brian O'Connor. His new book is “The One-Thousand Dollar Challenge: How One Family Slashed Its Budget Without Moving Under a Bridge or Living on Government Cheese."

But first we check in on Michigan's kids. A new report out today says life is not getting as good as it should for children in Michigan, even as the state crawls out of the Great Recession.

Jane Zehnder-Merrell is the Project Director for Kids Count in Michigan. It's part of the Michigan League for Public Policy. She joined us to tell us more about the Kids Count report.

Arts & Culture
4:20 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

Stateside: Historic Christmas feasts, festivities

These hungry youngsters are partaking in a historic tradition
Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec

A conversation with Bill Loomis about Christmas feasts of yore.

(Editor's note: The piece originally aired on December 20, 2012) 

Holiday feasts have increased in both complexity and decadence since their 19th century beginnings.

Bill Loomis of the Detroit News spoke with Cyndy about some historic festive spreads.

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Politics & Culture
5:28 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

Stateside for Monday, December 16th, 2013

The Great recession and the accompanying housing meltdown changed the way many of us think about home-ownership. For decades, owning a home seemed to be part of the American Dream, but that dream has changed. On today’s show -- the rise of renters and what it means for the state’s housing market.Then, this month marks the 100 year anniversary of one of the most painful chapters in Michigan’s labor history. We explored the Copper Country Strike of 1913 later in the hour.

And, the U.S. birth rate is at a record low as more and more married couples choose to remain child free. We spoke with the director of the Childless by Choice Project about what goes behind this choice and what are the future consequences.

First on the show, Back in 2010, the State Board of Education approved the Common Core State Standards for Michigan — a set of math and English goals for K-12 students.

School districts across the state have spent the past three years integrating the standards into their curriculums. At the same time, we've heard a lot of political debate about Common Core, mostly about the involvement of the federal government in our classrooms.

But in October of this year, state lawmakers OK'd funding for Common Core, and now it is becoming a reality in Michigan classrooms.

We wanted to find out: What does this mean — day-in, day-out — for Michigan's students?

What does a school year under Common Core really look like?

Joining us is Naomi Norman, the executive director of Achievement Initiatives at Washtenaw Intermediate School District and Livingston Educational Service Agency.

Stateside
5:10 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

Is it better to buy or rent a house in Michigan?

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

If you're a baby boomer, chances are you grew up with your parents pounding one basic truth of life into your head, and that truth was that you are always better off owning your own home rather than renting.

Well, the Great Recession and its housing meltdown certainly gave us some new thoughts on renting versus buying.

An Oakland County developer remarked that of late, he's seen more baby boomers deciding to skip home ownership and go with renting.

We wondered how things are looking in Michigan, the housing market and renting versus buying.

Daren Blomquist, Vice President of RealtyTrac, joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
5:09 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

Remembering one of the biggest tragedies in Michigan 100 years later

The town of Calumet.

An interview with historian Steve Lehto.

This month marks the 100 year anniversary of one of the saddest chapters in Michigan history. It’s called The Italian Hall Disaster, a terrible tragedy that happened on Christmas Eve, 1913, in the Upper Peninsula town of Calumet. Someone yelled "Fire!" in a packed hall and the resulting stampede killed 73--60 of them children.

It happened during the Copper Country Strike, one of the most painful chapters in Michigan's labor history.

The Copper Country Strike of 1913 and the Italian Hall Disaster is the subject of new documentary called “Red Metal,” soon to air on PBS. It is drawn from a book about the disaster called Death’s Door, written by Steve Lehto. He’s a historian with ties to the Copper Country that go back to that bitter time.

Steve Lehto joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
5:07 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

The U.S. birth rate is at a record low as more couples choose to remain child-free

Laura Scott, director of the Childless by Choice Project.
Facebook

It seems the Great Recession--the lingering economic worries, the slow-poke recovery--all of that seems to have made people more hesitant than ever to take "the baby plunge."

U.S. births are at a record low. Last year saw 63 births per 1000 women. Put that into context. Around a century ago, that figure was 127 births per 1000 women.

So we are at the lowest birth rate since the government started tracking America's fertility.

And our next guest is not surprised.

Laura Scott is a life coach, she's the author of "Two Is Enough: A Couple's Guide to Living Childless By Choice." And she's the director of the "Childless by Choice Project."

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Stateside
1:46 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

How are 'Common Core' standards playing out in Michigan classrooms today?

A classroom.
Jennifer Guerra Michigan Radio

An interview with Naomi Norman.

Back in 2010, the State Board of Education approved the Common Core State Standards for Michigan — a set of math and English goals for K-12 students.

School districts across the state have spent the past three years integrating the standards into their curricula. At the same time, we've heard a lot of political debate about Common Core, mostly about the involvement of the federal government in our classrooms.

But in October of this year, state lawmakers OK'd funding for Common Core, and now it is becoming a reality in Michigan classrooms.

We wanted to find out: What does this mean — day-in, day-out — for Michigan's students?

What does a school year under Common Core really look like?

Joining us is Naomi Norman, the executive director of Achievement Initiatives at Washtenaw Intermediate School District and Livingston Educational Service Agency.

Listen to the full interview above.

Read more
Stateside
4:34 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

Talking about the restrictions on abortion coverage passed by Michigan lawmakers

Michigan Capitol Building, Lansing, Michigan
Thetoad Flickr

The Michigan House and Senate have approved a controversial law that will require consumers to buy separate policies for abortion coverage.

The question was put to the Legislature by a petition drive pushed by Right To Life, which was launched after Governor Snyder vetoed a similar measure last year. He vetoed that measure because there were no exceptions for cases of rape or incest.

But, because this 2013 version is a voter-initiated law, the Governor does not have veto-power this time around.

We caught up with Rick Pluta, Lansing Bureau Chief for the Michigan Public Radio Network , to talk about this bill.

Politics & Culture
4:33 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

Stateside for Thursday, December 12th, 2013

The state Legislature has been busy in its last week of session for the year - from increasing limits on campaign contributions, to issues regarding medical marijuana.

On today's show, we'll get an update from Lansing. Both the state House and Senate passed a voter-initiated law requiring consumers to buy separate policies for abortion coverage. What will this mean for you?

Later in the show, we’ll talk drones. Estimates show there could be some 175,000 unmanned aerial vehicles in U.S. airspace by 2025.

We'll speak to a Michigan entrepreneur who's trying to develop drones for commercial market, later in the hour.

But first, we check in with Detroit News Business Columnist Daniel Howes. On his mind this week is a "re-tooling" of Michigan's auto industry.

Stateside
4:30 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

Michigan students begin drone start-up

One of the robots built by SkySpecs
Electrical Engineering and Computer Science University of Michigan

Jeffrey P. Bezos, the CEO of Amazon, recently turned a few heads with his announcement that within a few years he expects deliveries to your home courtesy of unmanned aerial vehicles — also known as drones.

It’s been predicted that by 2025, there could be 175,000 of these UAVs in United States airspace — ranging from teeny, tiny nano-sized UAVs to a full-sized, pilotless airplane hauling cargo for UPS.

Development of these drones are popping up everywhere, including right here in Michigan. SkySpecs, a start-up coming out of the University of Michigan, is developing new ways to use UAVs — creating drones that can inspect everything from bridges to wind turbines and make sure these structures are safe.

We talked to Danny Ellis, the CEO of SkySpecs.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
4:05 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

How will Michigan's housing market fare in 2014?

Will it be a buyers or sellers year for Michigan's housing market?
Katy Batdorff

One of the common traditions as we end one year and begin another is taking stock — reviewing where we've been and figuring out where we want to go in the New Year.

A good place to focus that review would be finances, and the prospects for the housing market.

A consumer credit forecast was released today that can give us a look into where Michigan’s market may be headed in 2014.

Listen to the full interview above.

Politics & Culture
4:56 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

Stateside for Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

Renewable resources, such as wind and solar, are likely to supply 10% of Michigan electricity by 2015, as state law mandates. On today’s program, we looked at a recent report that says we could be doing more, boosting the number to 30% by 2035.

Then, the losing streak of Medora, Indiana's high school basketball team compelled two Michigan filmmakers to move there, and to tell the story of this small industrial town and the people who live there.

And, federal Judge Stephen Rhodes gave Detroit the go-ahead to slash its public pension and healthcare benefits. What will this mean for Detroit retirees?

First on the show, it was one year ago this day that the State Legislature and Governor Rick Snyder passed a set of bills into law that made some very contentious history in our State.

On December 11th, 2012, Michigan became the nation's 24th right-to-work state.

The laws took effect in March, making it illegal to force workers to pay union dues as a condition of employment.

One year later, has right-to-work changed Michigan?

We were joined for this discussion by Michigan State University economist Charley Ballard, and, from the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, Wendy Block.

Economy
4:40 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

What would cutting pensions mean for future Detroit retirees?

user: jodelli Flickr

Federal Judge Stephen Rhodes gave Detroit the go-ahead to make cuts to public pension and healthcare benefits.

Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr maintains that Detroit's pension funds are unfunded by $8 billion. That's a big chunk of the city's $18 billion in overall debts and long-term liabilities. 

So what will happen to future pensions?

Cynthia Canty spoke with Alicia Munnell about the possibility of cutting pensions for future city retirees. Munnell is the director of the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College.  

Read more
Stateside
4:40 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

It's been one year, has right-to-work changed Michigan?

Supporters of making Michigan a "right to work" state expect legislation will be introduced in January. Critics call such laws "right to work for less."
dannybirchall flickr

It was one year ago this day that the State Legislature and Governor Rick Snyder passed a set of bills into law that made some very contentious history in our State.

On December 11th, 2012, Michigan became the nation's 24th right-to-work state.

The laws took effect in March, making it illegal to force workers to pay union dues or union fees as a condition of employment.

One year later, has right-to-work changed Michigan?

We were joined for this discussion by Michigan State University economist Charley Ballard, and, from the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, Wendy Block.

Listen to the full interview above.

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