Stateside

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What might the lame-duck legislative session hold for Michigan schools?

This is the time lawmakers often make a big push to pass pet bills and there are several in play right now that could mean big changes for students and teachers.

Chastity Pratt Dawsey, reporter for Bridge Magazine, and Michelle Richard, senior consultant for Public Sector Consultants, joined us today.

You can listen to our conversation with them below:


Heather Merritt / etsy

Lots of people daydream about ditching their jobs and doing something they truly love.

Heather Merritt is someone who did just that.

Merritt’s workday used to happen inside of a jail. She worked as a substance abuse therapist helping inmates with their addictions. These days her “work” happens at thrift stores, at artisans markets and inside her art studio.

But the leap from therapist to artist happened accidentally. Kind of. Michigan Radio’s Kyle Norris has this profile:


One organization in Michigan is working to raise awareness about homelessness in the state.
Ed Yourdan / flickr.com

Cold weather is here and that means an extra-challenging time for the homeless.

Melissa Golpe is with Covenant House Michigan. It's an organization that helps thousands of homeless kids in the Detroit area.

This Thursday night, they've invited business leaders to spend one night on the streets to raise money and feel what it's like to have no place to go as the temperature drops.

Golpe joined us today with 22-year old Steven Brown - a resident at Covenant House. 

Listen to our conversation with them below:

Meg / Flickr

Think about the days when you had no Internet. No Food Network. No Epicurious. None of those websites where you can find any recipe in an instant.

In those pre-Internet days, food-lovers and cooks would find themselves turning to Gourmet.

The magazine was launched in 1941 and it folded in 2009.

The University of Michigan has a new exhibit on the magazine and, among other things, it features one issue from each of Gourmet's 69 years of publication.

Janice Longone joined us today. She's the adjunct curator of culinary history at the University of Michigan and the donor of an enormous collection of cookbooks, magazines, menus and more.

Listen to our conversation with Longone below:

Today on Stateside:

  • The legal team for April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse filed their appeal today with the US Supreme Court.  They want the court to rule that Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. Rick Pluta, Lansing Bureau Chief for the Michigan Public Radio Network is here. 

  • Michigan Radio's newest project is The Next Big Idea. Here with us today are Joe Linstroth and Jeff DeGraff, who discuss what innovation means to them and what they're looking for.

Local government meeting room in Lansing.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan’s latest Public Policy Survey, CLOSUP, takes a look the trend that has taken place toward local governments in Michigan privatizing services. 65% of Michigan’s local government are now contracting out work. Tom Ivacko from the Center for Local, State and Urban Policy tells us whether more privatization will occur in the future and if local leaders are satisfied with the work done through outsourcing.

Listen to our conversation with Tom Ivacko below: 

River
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Stefan Tucker made a head-turning discovery when doing research for his senior undergrad thesis in the St. Mary’s River. Instead of finding the sturgeon he was looking for he found wild Atlantic salmon. Previously, the species was believed not to be reproducing in the upper Great Lakes. Tucker explained to us just what this discovery means and what questions it has now raised about the salmon’s presence in the Great Lakes.

Historic Belle Isle
Flickr user Don Harrison

Bill Loomis, author of a Detroit News piece "Detroit Before Motors: The Horse Age," talked to us about the 12,000 horses that crowded the streets of Detroit in the late 1800s.

Loomis tells us about the logistics of using horses to get around in the city and horse racing in Detroit.

You can listen to our conversation with Loomis below:


Detroit skyline.
user JSFauxtaugraphy / Flickr

Detroit's historic and unprecedented bankruptcy came together last Friday for approval from Judge Steven Rhodes.

The Detroit News recently provided in-depth coverage from business columnist Daniel Howes and reporters Chad Livengood and David Shepardson.

We talked to Howes about how the case was completed in 15 months, about the key players, and about what must be done to avoid repeating mistakes.

You can listen to our conversation with Daniel Howes below:  

University of Michigan football game
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

Michigan Radio sports commentator John U. Bacon joined us in the studio today to analyze what happened in Michigan sports this week.

You can listen to our conversation with him below:


Jack Salvati and Cynthia shake hands
Cassandra Salvati

A very special mayor has just been sworn into office. Eight-year-old Jack Salvati of Milford is now the Mayor of Amphibiville at the Detroit Zoo. Salvati earned the prestigious position after applying with a written essay. He talked to us about his favorite amphibians and what he plans to do in his two year term.

Listen to our conversation with Salvati below:


Today on Stateside:

  • A discussion about Detroit’s historic bankruptcy case.
  • What happens when business executives come to work for City Hall?
  • Michigan Radio’s sports commentator John U Bacon stops by to talk Lions, Spartans, and Wolverines.
  • We meet the eight-year old Mayor of Amphibiville.
  • Detroit before cars was all about the horse. We take a look back.
  • And more on the surprising find that Atlantic salmon are reproducing naturally in the upper Great Lakes.

*Listen to our show above.

Today on Stateside

World Resources Institute

Are cash-starved state legislatures taxing the energy industry as much as they could? 

Barry Rabe is director of the University of Michigan's Center for Local, State and Urban Policy. He's one of the co-authors of a new report that tracks how states are taxing thousands of new oil and gas wells.

Rabe says so-called severance taxes arose from the question, ‘What happens when you take a non-renewable natural resource and remove it for some kind of use?’

He says it's an issue some states are facing for the first time, including North Dakota, which is booming because of oil. Rabe notes that 65% of North Dakota’s budget will come from energy taxes.

Michael Gil / Flickr

"If you want a job done right, do it yourself!"

That old adage seems to be behind the appearance of dedicated road millages on a number of ballots last week around the state. Eric Lupher is president of the Citizens Research Council of Michigan.

Lupher says many local communities have decided that if money isn’t coming from higher government, it will have to come from local taxpayers.

Bonnie Westbrook / Flickr

The Urban Relocation Project after World War II created one of the largest movements of Indians in American history. The idea was to lure Native Americans to big cities, where jobs were supposedly plentiful.  

A new project will collect the stories of the urban Native American experience in West Michigan. It's called Gi-gikinomaage-min, which translates to "We Are All Teachers." 

Belinda Bardwell is with the Grand Valley State University Native American Advisory Board and a member of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians. Levi Rickert is also a member of the GVSU Native American Advisory Board. They joined us on Stateside today.

Bardwell and Rickert say project has some urgency because Native American communities are quickly losing elders, and it's important to preserve their stories and knowledge so younger generations can learn from their past.

Rickert says his grandparents moved to Grand Rapids for better opportunities, and in his family’s case, the move was positive. His sister graduated from the University of Michigan and became the first Native American dentist in the country. This is in contrast to his grandfather, who Rickert says had a fourth-grade education.

Bardwell says her mother experienced racism while growing up in Petoskey, and moved to Detroit before finally moving to Grand Rapids, where Bardwell was raised.

The public is invited to attend a campus dialogue on Wed., Nov. 19 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at GVSU's Allendale Campus. You can get details on the events calendar here

*Hear the full interview above.

pixabay.com/en/users/Jordy-106920/ / pixabay.com

When you think of catching some good improv comedy, your first thought might be Chicago's famed Second City where John Belushi and Bill Murray graced the stage.

But there's a thriving improv comedy scene in the Detroit area.

PJ Jacokes, co-founder of Go Comedy Improv Theatre of Ferndale, and Margaret Edwartowski, executive director of Arts at the Y and a board member of Planet Ant in Hamtramck, explain why Detroit is poised to be the next big thing in comedy.

You can listen to our conversation with PJ Jacokes and Margaret Edwartowski below:


The Capital Dome in Lansing, Michigan.
Joe Dearman / Flickr

Unpaid interns in Michigan are not protected from sexual harassment in the workplace. 

Michigan State University student Matt Marks wants to change that. He's a senior in the university's James Madison College, and the head of a group called Michigan Equal Protections for Interns Coalition, or Mi-EPIC. 

He joined us on Stateside to talk about his inspiration for getting involved, and the stories of the interns behind the movement. 

Listen to the full interview above.

Today on Stateside: 

  • Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta from It's Just Politics talk about what might be on the agenda for the lame duck legislative session. 
  • A Michigan State senior is heading a group to get protections for unpaid interns.
  • Frontier Ruckus has made its mark nationally and internationally in the re-emergent folk rock world. The Michigan band has a new album out today.
  • When you think of good improv comedy, your first thought might be Chicago's Second City. But there's a thriving improv comedy scene in the Detroit area, too. 
  • Shopping for a new car, truck or SUV? Then you've seen that sticker on the window telling you the car's MPG rating. Many consumers give great consideration to a vehicle's fuel efficiency when making a choice. But did you know the EPA does its MPG testing in a lab in Ann Arbor?
  • Tom Walsh from the Detroit Free Press explores the fall of the auto industry in Michigan since the 1960's. 
It's Just Politics Logo
It's Just Politics with Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta

State lawmakers will be back in Lansing tomorrow, beginning their lame-duck legislative session.

Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta from It's Just Politics join us on Stateside to discuss their list of lame-duck issues.

Here are five issues they believe might come up:

1. Roads: Governor Snyder wants more money to fix the roads, but the Legislature has not been able to agree. 

2. Adding protections for gay or lesbian individuals to the state's Elliot-Larsen Civil Rights Act: Debates over inclusion of transgendered individuals or religious faith opt-outs may complicate the decision making process. 

3. Education: Education issues like teacher evaluations, third grade reading standards, and changes to how Detroit school board members are designated are all on the docket for the lame-duck legislative session.

4. No-fault auto insurance: Republicans have been trying to end unlimited medical coverage for accident victims, according to Rick Pluta.

5. Allocation of electoral college votes: Michigan is a winner-take-all system, meaning that whichever candidate for president gets the most votes, they win all of the state's 16 electoral college votes. There is a push by some Republicans to have the votes be allocated by congressional districts instead.

*You can listen to the full segment above. 

Tailpipe Exhaust
Flickr user JT

Americans care more about fuel economy than ever before, but did you know that the EPA does their MPG testing at their laboratory in Ann Arbor?

The EPA's Office of Transportation and Air Quality is located on Plymouth Road and employs 450 workers. It was created in 1970  for its close distance to the "Big Three." 

But cars aren't the only vehicle subject to MPG testing. From weed whackers to ocean vessels, anything with a motor must meet the EPA's standards.

With so many vehicles being released the lab doesn't have time to check all of them individually. Instead, the dealers themselves test their own vehicles and are subject to audits to make sure their own results can be matched when tested in the Ann Arbor lab.

Chris Grundler, director of the EPA's Office of Transportation and Air Quality, understands their work's importance.

The office is in charge of setting the standards along with enforcing them. Their testing is done not only to protect the environment, but to make sure consumers receive the quality advertised to them when investing in a new vehicle.

You can listen to our conversation with Grundler below.


Frontier Ruckus Portrait
Sean Cook

Michigan's own Frontier Ruckus have made their mark in the re-emergent folk-rock world that has allowed them to tour nationally and internationally.

Today the band releases its newest album - Sitcom Afterlife.

Emily Fox talked to band members Zach Nichols and Matthew Milia about some of their favorite moments of their musical career. Recent highlights include playing festivals such as Lollapalooza and Bonnaroo, along with touring Europe six times. 

Frontier Ruckus' sound has changed over the years. Their earlier albums had an intimate, raw, acoustic sound. Their latest album sounds more produced and throws in some electronic instrumentation. Their roots still show though, often with lyrics and references that invoke nostalgic imagery of growing up in Michigan.

*Listen to our conversation with Frontier Ruckus above.

Dan4th Nicholas / Flickr

Look around the crowd at any Red Wings game. You’ll see plenty of fans wearing the #24 jersey, even though it’s been more than five years since Hall of Famer  Chris Chelios skated for the Wings.

Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock calls him “the greatest American player of all time.”

Now we learn what his storied career was like from Number 24 himself: Chris Chelios’ memoir is titled "Made In America." Listen to Chelios discuss his memoir below. 


Andrea_44 / Flickr

Emails just released in a court case reveal General Motors ordered a half-million replacement ignition switches, nearly two months before reporting the defective switch problem to the government. The defect has been identified as a factor in 32 deaths.

Jeff Bennett broke this story for the Wall Street Journal.


Wil C. Fry / Flickr

You can't walk across a street in Michigan without stepping on a manhole cover branded "East Jordan Iron Works."


Today on Stateside:

  •         Emails from an order for 500,000 ignition switches by General Motors from December 18th have been released. Jeff Bennett broke the story for the Wall Street Journal and talks to us about the importance of these emails in a pending legal case.
  •           In Ann Arbor, kids caught spray-painting serve their community service time by cleaning up graffiti under the Juvenile Graffiti Removal Project. Listen to Sgt. Thomas Hickey of the Ann Arbor Police Department discuss his creative idea.
  •          Called “the greatest American player of all time” by Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock, Chris Chelios has certainly left his mark on the city of Detroit and the Red Wings franchise. Listen to him discuss his new memoir, Made in America.
  •          While high-profile chemical spills and bacterial blooms have raised concerns about the safety of drinking water in the United States, it’s not the only pollutant reaching the water supply. Listen to chemist Andrea Sella report for the BBC on how the medicines we take are ending up in our environment.
  •          Rebecca Klaper, professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s School of Freshwater Sciences has been studying the presence of pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) within the Great Lakes. Listen to Dr. Klaper discuss the presence of PPCPs in the Great Lakes.
  •           East Jordan Iron Works has a 131-year history in the state of Michigan. You can’t walk across a street in Michigan without stepping on a manhole cover branded with their name. Listen to VP Thomas Teske discuss the history of the company.
  •          In the fight against blight in Flint, Gordon Young had a goal of raising $10,000 to tear down a single decaying home on Parkbelt Drive in Flint. After contributions from over 150 donors, Young has exceeded his goal by more than $1,000.
It's Just Politics Logo
It's Just Politics with Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta

Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta of our It's Just Politics team gave us a list of five things to watch just before the election. Now we look at results and break down just what happened on election day.

1. How well did Snyder do in Detroit? Governor Snyder did better in Detroit than he did four years ago. He did not seem to pay a political price in the city for the Detroit takeover and bankruptcy. However, it's hard to know if this is an endorsement of Snyder or simply a result of the falloff in Democratic voting.

Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

Take a book. Leave a book.

This is the simple idea behind the Little Free Library movement.

It was launched in 2009 in Madison, Wisconsin. In just a few short years, the movement spread to the point where today there are thousands and thousands of Little Free Libraries all over the world.

Now the Little Free Library movement is taking root in Detroit.

Michigan Athletic Director Dave Brandon
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

As virtually anyone who follows college sports knows by now, Dave Brandon is now the former Athletic Director at the University of Michigan.

Retired Steelcase executive Jim Hackett is the interim AD as the University searches for Brandon's permanent replacement.

When it comes to hires like these, the phrase "Michigan Man"comes up again and again.

Dave Brandon played for Bo. He seemed to fit the template of a "Michigan Man."

Michigan Radio's sports commentator John U. Bacon gives us his insight into what that phrase means.

You can hear our conversation with Bacon below:


Charles & Adrienne Esseltine / Flickr / Flickr

The City of Detroit and Wayne County are making concerted efforts to tackle two big problems: the lack of money, and blight.

They’re zeroing in on abandoned houses and homes where owners have fallen behind on their taxes - pay up or face foreclosure.

The foreclosed houses are being offered to those who will fix them up, keep them up, and pay taxes.

What does all of this mean for the people who've been living in those houses? Writer Rose Hackman looked into that question. Her story, "One Fifth of Detroit's Population Could Lose Their Homes," is in The Atlantic.

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