Stateside

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  Today on Stateside:

- Can shrinking the width of a street make things better or worse for drivers and residents? SEMCOG’s Carmine Palombo explains the pros and cons of a so-called “road diet.” 

- What does it take to move poor kids up and out of poverty? A Harvard researcher says moving can help.

Valyrian Steel / facebook.com

It is, hands down, the most popular show in HBO history: Game of Thrones, with its dragons, power-hungry families, Iron Throne, and lots and lots of swords!

And for the many who want their own replica of Jon Snow's sword, Longclaw, or Ice, the sword of Ser Eddard Stark, they turn to Chris Beasley.

His East Lansing company, Valyrian Steel, is the licensed official vendor of replica Game of Thrones weaponry and armor.

Map showing the "Predicted Income Rank at Age 26 for Children with Parents at 25th Percentile."
Harvard University and NBER

How do we break the cycle of poverty? What can we, as a state and a nation, do to help poor children escape poverty and move up and out?

Jamie Fogel is a pre-doctoral fellow with Harvard’s department of economics and a researcher on the Quality of Opportunity project that takes a close look at the effect of poverty and geography.

Courtesy of mitalent.org

The Next Idea

When the housing crisis hit in the mid-2000s, millions lost their jobs. Licensed home builder and Saginaw resident Jeff Little was one of them. 

Today on Stateside:

David Ball / creative commons

Every year business minds from around the world come together at the Mackinac Policy Conference to help shape the economic future of Detroit and the state of Michigan.

Hosts of Michigan Radio’s It’s Just Politics, Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta, were there to tell us more.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan made news when he dropped that he will not run for governor in 2018.

Courtesy of NASA

The Next Idea

You can see Michigan from space. It’s the mitten surrounded by all that blue with the bunny jumping over it.

In fact, almost half of the Great Lakes State is comprised of water. Michigan has more shoreline than any other state in the union, with the exception of Alaska, which is seven times larger.

Wayne State University Press

From 2000 to 2010, Michigan saw a 39% increase in its Asian population. That happened even while the state’s overall population was shrinking.

Asian-Americans are the fastest-growing racial/ethnic group in Detroit’s Tri-County area: Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties.

So what does it mean to be an Asian-American in Michigan, and how did immigrants from so many different Asian countries come to Michigan? These are some of the questions explored in the new book Asian Americans in Michigan: Voices from the Midwest.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

When a struggling city is on its knees, every dollar is precious.

So the idea that millions in federal funds are being lost is appalling.

But a new report from the Government Accountability Office shows that's exactly what's happening in Detroit and Flint, as well as Camden, New Jersey and Stockton, California.

Liz Farmer is a public finance writer for Governing Magazine.

Today on Stateside:

  • What do voters think of Gov. Rick Snyder’s plan to overhaul public education in Detroit?
     
  • Chris Benson is getting ready to retire after serving almost 20 years as a tour guide at the state Capitol.
     
  • The poetry of Tarfia Faizullah gives a voice to hundreds of thousands of Bangladeshi women who were raped during the that country's Liberation War.
     
  • A new report from the Government Accountability Office shows federal grant money is being lost in Detroit and Flint, as well as Camden, New Jersey, and Stockton, California as those cities lose city employees after austerity cuts.
     
  • Gang members, like everyone it seems, are increasingly using social media. But what are they using it for? A new study sheds some light on this question.

Are gang members using social media to plan violence, to incite violence?
Scott Breale / Flickr

Gang members across the country aren’t just carrying guns. They’re also armed with Twitter and Facebook.

That’s the focus of a study whose title really says it all: "Internet Banging: New trends in social media, gang violence, masculinity and hip hop."

It’s co-authored by Desmond Patton, an assistant professor at the University of Michigan School of Social Work and the School of Information.

Desmond Patton joins us today to talk about gangs and social networking. 

user cedarbenddrive / Flickr

Our state’s Capitol has seen quite a bit of change over the past couple decades, and virtually no one has seen more of it than Chris Benson.

Benson is getting ready to retire after serving almost 20 years as a tour guide at the Capitol. During that time, Chris has seen the building restored, he’s educated thousands of guests about the Capitol’s history and even heard a ghost story or two.

Listen to Chris Benson talk about his time as a tour guide in our interview above.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Voters believe providing education for Detroit students is the state's duty, but don't think Governor Snyder's recent proposal is the way to do it, according a recent poll conducted by Public Sector Consultants and Michigan Radio.

Of the 600 likely voters polled, 82% agreed the state has an obligation to provide a quality education to all kids in Detroit, but answers varied when it came down to how to fund that education. 

Jamaal May

Tarfia Faizullah was born in Brooklyn, raised in Texas, and now makes her home in Detroit.

Her first book of poems called Seam, won the Crab Orchard Series in Poetry First Book Award.

The poems bring us the stories of the 200,000 to 400,000 Bangladeshi women who were raped during that country's 1971 Liberation War, a conflict that saw East Pakistan and India at war with West Pakistan. That war led to the birth of the Bangladeshi republic.

Fruehauf Trailer Historical Society

The name “Fruehauf” is an iconic one in American transportation history. 

It was 1914 when a Detroit blacksmith named August Fruehauf came up with a creative way to help lumber barons haul even more lumber and make even more money.

The result became the semi-trailer. Its descendants can be seen to this day, rumbling across the highways of the world.

Ruth Ann Fruehauf is August’s granddaughter.

On today's program:  

  • There are some 37,000 names in the Michigan Public Sex Offender Registry, but there are questions about whether the registry is doing what it is intended to do.
  • A discussion with Chris Skellenger of “Buckets of Rain.” Skellenger moved from a landscape company on the Leelanau Peninsula to urban farming near Detroit.
  • Viviana Pernot talks about her short film about the homeless in Ann Arbor and those who help them. The film is called “The M.I.S.S.I.O.N.”
  • There’s a new idea floating around the state Capitol about how to boost funding for roads. Some say legalizing and taxing marijuana would help.
  • The name “Fruehauf” is an iconic one in American transportation history. It was a Detroit-based blacksmith, August Fruehauf, who invented a semi-trailer to haul lumber.

Viviana Pernot

You might have heard of Camp Take Notice, the tent city in Ann Arbor that was forced to close nearly three years ago.

Viviana Pernot has made a short documentary film about that homeless community and the non-profit group that helps them.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

There are some 37,000 names listed in the Michigan Public Sex Offender Registry.

According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, Michigan has the fourth-highest per-capita number of people on its list.

But there are questions about Michigan's registry – whether it's really keeping us as safe as we like to think.

People with misdemeanor offenses are listed alongside rapists, pedophiles, and hard-core offenders.

A federal judge recently declared parts of Michigan's registry law to be too vague, even unconstitutional.

J.J. Prescott is a law professor at the University of Michigan. And he's a widely recognized authority on sex offender laws.

Prescott says the state's attempt to monitor these sex offenders may actually contribute to recidivism, as those on the public list are ostracized from society. 

"It's public shaming to the point where somebody might actually say, what's the difference? I'm living as a pariah, miserably, outside of prison," says Prescott.

Buckets of Rain / Facebook

Chris Skellenger likes to say he's gone from ornamental to survival horticulture. That's because he used to run a landscape company and nursery near his home in Empire on the Leelenau Peninsula, but these days he drives each week to Highland Park where he tends an urban farm that produces fresh food for people whose nearest food source might just be a gas station or convenience store.

Legally grown marijuana in Colorado.
Brett Levin / creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

As state lawmakers search for ways to come up with the money needed to fix Michigan’s battered and bumpy roads, one state representative tossed out this idea: Legalize and tax marijuana, and then put that new revenue to work.

State Rep. Brandon Dillon, D-Grand Rapids, joins us today to talk about this idea.

Live from the Grand Rapids Art Museum.
Larry Jonas / Michigan Radio

Stateside with Cynthia Canty went on the road for a live show from the Grand Rapids Art Museum.

The show aired on May 21, 2015 and featured the following guests:

Becky Shink

Our ongoing series "Poetically Speaking" continues. On occasion we will bring you interviews with poets and writers, or we will post a poem, like this one, for your enjoyment.

"This is a poem about the experience of being a parent and a child at the same time and about the envy we can have for our siblings-- the miraculous combination of chemicals that make them them and us... us," writes Stephanie Glazier. 

The Rialto Theatre in Grayling is celebrating its 100th anniversary
Jordan Stancil

Small-town movie theaters are in a fight for their lives.

Hollywood studios are phasing out 35-millimeter film in favor of going digital. This means theaters are feeling the pressure to spend thousands of dollars to upgrade their facilities, or be forced to close their doors.

One such theater is The Rialto, about to mark its 100th anniversary in Grayling. 

Jordan Stancil's great-grandfather founded the Rialto Theater in 1915.

The Rialto ran a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter to raise money to upgrade its systems, and Stancil tells us they raised over $100,000 with the support of current and former residents of Grayling.

According to columnist Nancy Kaffer, there are now 500 security cameras operated by private security companies in the downtown Detroit area.
user Tom Page / flickr


As Dan Gilbert keeps buying buildings in downtown Detroit – more than 70, now – we're seeing the prospect of new businesses, new tenants, and new people downtown.

Detroit Free Press columnist Nancy Kaffer wonders what this means in terms of private security and public space.

A new study from AT&T seeks to explain why we use our phones behind the wheel
user Jason Weaver / flickr


It’s pretty common knowledge that texting while driving is dangerous. But for some reason, many of us still do it.

A study released from AT&T tries to shed some light on just how distracted we are by our smartphones while driving.

On top of texting, the AT&T survey finds 27% of drivers between 16 and 65 admit to Facebooking when they drive, and 14% use Twitter, with a full 30% of those folks admitting they tweet "all the time" while driving.

State House bill 4540 would exempt information regarding energy infrastructure from Michigan's Freedom of Information Act.
user toffehoff / flickr

  

A bill just introduced in the State House would draw a veil over information about oil and gas pipelines, electrical lines and other key pieces of energy infrastructure.

Under House Bill 4540, backed by State Rep. Kurt Heise, R-Plymouth, that information would be exempt from the Michigan Freedom of Information Act, making it no longer available to the public.

Today on Stateside:

An artist, fabric sculptor and dancer, Nick Cave grew up in central Missouri. In 1989, he got a masters degree from the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills.
PD Rearick

 Nick Cave has come home to Cranbrook.

The artist, fabric sculptor, and dancer grew up in central Missouri.

In 1989, Cave got a master’s degree from the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills.

"Escape Room" games have become quite popular as a video game genre. Escape Michigan is the latest venue that allows you to play the game in real life.
user haru__q / flickr

West Michigan’s first “live escape room,” is opening next month in the town of Walker, near Grand Rapids.

Based on the popular video game genre, players are locked in a room where they have to solve puzzles and link clues to eventually escape.

Michelle and Chris Gerard

Michigan has a long and well-known history of car manufacturing, mining, logging, and agriculture.

But there's something else this state produces: writers. 

Anna Clark's new book explores the lives of ten of Michigan's most notable writers. Michigan Literary Luminaries: from Elmore Leonard to Robert Hayden is a collection of essays that are not just biographies.

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