Stateside

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The Old Testament story of Cain and Abel is one of the most compelling in the Bible. How could a man kill his brother?

The tragedy is at the heart of the stunning debut novel The Fishermen from Chigozie Obioma.

Obioma was born in Nigeria and earned his Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from the University of Michigan.

The Fishermen is a parable set in 1990s Nigeria.

Gemma Amor / flickr-http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Hey, America! The rest of the world is wondering: What's with the bland beer?

It's no secret that the American beer market is dominated by pale, mild beer.

Despite the rising number of craft brewers here in Michigan and across the country, our best-selling beer is, you guessed it, Bud Light! Coors Light and Miller Lite come in right behind it.

Economist Ranjit Dighe wanted to figure out why Americans like bland beer.

Today on Stateside:

  • A 3.3 magnitude earthquake shook things up near Battle Creek this morning. The quake was centered 13 miles southeast of Battle Creek and only a few miles from where a 4.2 magnitude quake happened May 2.
     
  • Reports disagree on the effectiveness of the “Pure Michigan” campaign as state lawmakers look for money to fix the roads. Michigan State University economics professor Charley Ballard helps us sort it out.
     
  • Just a few years ago, no one knew the word “selfie,” but now they’ve invaded social media. Michigan Radio’s Kimberly Springer takes a look at how selfies fit in to our social and cultural landscape.

 U.S. Army Surgeon General Lt. Gen. Patricia Horoho speaks on Capitol Hill for National Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Awareness Day June 27, 2012
user Army Medicine / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

As veterans return home after serving in the Middle East, the nation is becoming increasingly aware of post-traumatic stress injury.

PTSI affects millions of vets and significantly boosts the risk of depression, suicide, and drug- and alcohol-related deaths.

On top of that, for the veterans struggling with PTSI, it can lead to more run-ins with police.

Just a few years ago, we had never even heard the word "selfie".

These days, our social media feeds are filled with them. And that's sparked conversations and questions: Are they ridiculous? Are they little more than a deep dive into narcissism? Are they important ways to record our lives?

The "Pure Michigan" campaign highlights beautiful and memorable places and experiences in Michigan.
user PunkToad / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

State lawmakers are searching for money to fix the roads, and they’ve been eyeing the budget of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and its “Pure Michigan” campaign.

The MEDC’s funding was reduced by $15 million with the recently passed budget.

barbed wire fence
FLickr user H. Michael Karshis / Creative Commons https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode

How much does crime really cost? Millions of dollars per day and billions per year. The high cost has jail and prison administrators seeking ways to ease this burden on taxpayers.

One way to do that is charging the inmates fees.

In Michigan, inmates are required to pay for necessities. It's called "pay to stay." Backers say it teaches the prisoners a lesson and keeps them from making frivolous and wasteful requests. But what happens when a prisoner's small paycheck doesn't cover the expenses?

* The U.S. Supreme Court has spoken on gay marriage, but LGBT groups say their work is not done here in Michigan

* For our The Next Idea segment, one computer scientist tells us why new technologies designed to help fix society's problems often fall short. Read that piece here

* Now that the city of Detroit has put bankruptcy in the rear-view mirror, it is able to start tackling its deepest problems. One of those is finding solutions to homelessness.

* One West Michigan group tries to bridge the gap between evangelical Christians and science.

Annie Green Springs / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Now that the city of Detroit has put bankruptcy in the rear-view mirror, it is able to start tackling its deepest problems.

One of those is getting all of the agencies that help the homeless on the same page and working to help homeless people in the city’s neighborhoods as well as downtown.

flickr/jmarty / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The Next Idea

Silicon Valley churns out apps to “change the world,” but whose world are they really changing? How do we know if these new technologies are going to work in a city like Detroit, for example?

All across America, digital innovations have proliferated in the last four decades, but poverty rates haven’t budged, and inequality has skyrocketed.     

An exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History displays the science behind evolution.
Flickr user Dom Dada / Flickr - http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Can strict Christian belief co-exist with science and the scientific view of evolution?

A West Michigan-based group called Biologos believes the answer is "yes."

Deborah Haarsma, the president of Biologos, is an astrophysicist and former chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Calvin College.

Today on Stateside:

*A nonpartisan, non-profit group called the Citizens Alliance for Prisons and Public Spending is offering strategies for cutting the prison population by 10,000 inmates.

*Are leaders in Wayne doing what's needed to meet its financial crisis?

*Michigan writer Barbara Stark-Nemon talks about her debut novel Even in Darkness.

*The wage gap between men and women: how wide is it in Michigan?

user penywise / morgueFile

How wide is the wage gap between men and women in Michigan?

It’s a question that needs to be explored in a state where the 2010 U.S. Census found 284,000 families are headed by a female parent. 

And 28% of those households are living in poverty in Michigan. That’s almost 80,000 families.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

There's no denying that state spending and budgets are stretched tight, and it's forcing a fresh look at the soaring costs of our prisons.

What are we really getting for the $2 billion we spend per year on corrections? And how can we trim that corrections bill?

Mark Bennington / Mark Bennington Headshots

    

Anyone with even a passing knowledge of world history knows about the horrors that came out of the Nazi attempt to exterminate the Jews of Europe.

Some six million of Europe’s Jews – 63% of Europe’s Jewish population at the time – killed in the Holocaust.

Barbara Stark-Nemon’s debut novel, Even in Darkness, is the true story of her great-aunt Klare Kohler and her experiences living through the Holocaust.


Toxic hotspots, or "Areas of Concern" around Michigan's shoreline.
Great Lakes Commission

"Lake Erie is dead" and "the Cuyahoga River is on fire."

Those were actual headlines in the late 1960s spotlighting the deteriorating conditions of the Great Lakes in an age when rampant pollution was the norm.

Stories like these led to the passing of the Clean Water Act of 1972, which helped restore the Great Lakes.

Today on Stateside:

Michigan state representatives have introduced a package of bills attempting to cut same-sex marriage off at the pass. Wayne State University Law professor Robert Sedler talks to us about how the proposed legislation sits with the U.S. Constitution.

Charlie Davidson / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

It's easy to assume that all adolescent pregnancies are unplanned. But some teenagers do plan to become pregnant. Instead of worrying about birth control or abstinence, these teenagers actually try to conceive. And they have high hopes that a child will bring more love and meaning into their lives.  

Twenty-one-year-old Tawney Morris is trying to make the best of a hot day with her two-year-old son, Chaz. She sets up a slide and kiddie pool outside their apartment in Traverse City.

The Supreme Court is expected to hand down rulings on a number of cases regarding same-sex marriage this week.
user Ted Eytan / flickr

State Rep. Todd Courser, R-Lapeer, is attempting to head same-sex marriage off at the pass with a new package of bills that would take secular elected officials out of the marriage business altogether.

boats and people in Torch lake
Flickr user Jen van Kaam / Flickr

Michigan is known for the Great Lakes, but according to the Department of Natural Resources, there are over 11,000 inland lakes in the state.

In fact, the Michigan Historical Society says, no matter where you go in our state you’re within six miles of an inland lake.

But the question of who owns the rights to these inland lakes has been known to cause disputes.

Blue Ocean Faith is an all-inclusive Christian community in Ann Arbor
user Marlith / Flickr

Ken Wilson founded Vineyard Church in Ann Arbor and served on the national board of Vineyard USA for seven years.

Letters on a typewriter.
user Andreas. / Flickr - https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/legalcode

Have you noticed that some people are spelling their names using all lower-case letters?

We have.

And that got us wondering about why people choose to do this, and where all the capitalization rules came from.

Today on Stateside:

County clerks across Michigan are preparing for whatever way the U.S. Supreme Court rules on same-sex marriage. Former State Representative Barb Byrum, now the Ingham county clerk, is here to talk about the upcoming decision.

Why are some people choosing to spell their name with all lower-case letters? Professor of English at the University of Michigan Anne Curzan talks us through the history of capitalization.

The Michigan State House of Representatives in Lansing, Michigan
user CedarBendDrive / flickr

It’s hard to argue against the fact that informed citizens are the cornerstone of democracy.

That’s the idea behind the Open Meetings Act: keeping the business of public entities open, transparent, and accessible to the public.

Dave Trumpie / Courtesy photo

County clerks across the state are getting ready for however the U.S. Supreme Court might rule on legalizing same-sex marriage.

Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum says she’s keeping an e-mail list of gay and lesbian couples that want to get married, “…so when a decision in support of equality does come down, I can have direct communication with those parties that may be interested in obtaining a marriage license.”

Alan Newton / Parkhurst Brothers Publishers

This summer marks the 32nd season for the Stone Circle.

Poet Terry Wooten is known for having created this space for poetry, storytelling and music on a family farm near Elk Rapids.

"There's something in our DNA that you cannot sit around a fire and not want to hear stories," said Wooten.

Now, he has released a collection of his poems called The Stone Circle Poems covering many decades of his writing and showcasing his ability to make poetry accessible to everyone.

Flickr user Justin Leonard / Flickr

Water is one of Michigan's most abundant and precious resources, but the rules for governing its use aren't always clear.

Wayne State Law Professor and water law specialist Noah Hall joins us to discuss the rules surrounding the use of creeks and rivers. 

Today on Stateside:

* Lon Johnson, chair of the Michigan Democratic Party, is thinking about a job-change

* Consumers are turning to social media as a way to get a company’s attention rather than getting lost in a voice mail jungle when they call some 800-number

* Why it’s important for Michigan to develop its own story on The Next Idea

* There's a new competition show starting tonight on the History channel. Forged in Fire challenges contestants to make medieval weapons. One contestant hails from Detroit

Anders Adermark / Flickr http://ow.ly/OE5HR

Popping the cork on a bottle of Champagne can make an occasion extra-special.

The reputation of real Champagne comes largely from the industry standard that requires the Champagne to be very consistent from one year to the next – unlike ordinary red and white wines, which can be very different from year to year.

Making Champagne at the big houses of famous names comes down to two or three sets of taste buds in the heads of the wine team.

Forge Detroit / Facebook

A new competition show called Forged in Fire starts tonight on the cable channel History.

Contestants will be challenged to make swords and knives, including period-specific weapons like medieval broadswords or ancient throwing blades.

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