Stateside

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Inside the Michigan Senate
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Legislation that would eliminate the straight-ticket voting option on Michigan ballots is headed to Gov. Rick Snyder’s desk.

Rick Pluta, co-host of It’s Just Politics and the Bureau Chief for the Michigan Public Radio Network, tells us that if signed, this legislation would have three effects:

Cobo Center Press Release

The Cobo Center has a new pair of big, electronic billboards. They’re part of Cobo’s $300 million renovation plan, and according to Daniel Howes, they’re wrapped up in an example of “stupid government writ large."

The magic of kayaking on freezing water

Dec 17, 2015
Tamar Charney

During the summer, cars with kayaks or canoes on top are a common site. But even in the winter – when you'd expect to see skis – you can sometimes spot a kayak on the roof rack. One of those kayak-toting cars of winter is mine.

There's nothing wrong with kayaking in the summer. I do it all the time, though some weekends it's hard to escape the hordes of drunk tubers on the river or the throngs of pontoon boats on the lake.

Winter kayaking is a whole different scene.

With modern, accurate maps, it's clear how Michigan came to be known as "the Mitten State"
Ryan Grimes

It’s not hard to see why Michigan is often referred to as “the Mitten State,” but it is a little more difficult to figure out when folks actually started calling it that.

Stateside production assistant Cass Adair tells us he became curious about Michigan’s nickname over a Thanksgiving trip to Tennessee.

Flickr/Penn State / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The Next Idea

It’s that time of year to reflect on what worked and what didn’t this past year here in the Great Lakes State, and to give due consideration to potential adjustments to improve our situation.  

Considering the essays and interviews of our guests here at The Next Idea, other credible news sources, and adding some of my own observations, I see three general areas for innovation to consider for review:

A Minute with Mike: Move the Holidays

Dec 16, 2015
Vic Reyes

Even if you're a devout atheist, the end of December can be quite stressful. There's a lot of expectations to fulfill in a limited amount of time.

 

Can a Detroit start-up curb gun violence?

Dec 16, 2015
After three years in development, the smart gun lock should be ready for distribution in early 2016, says Identilock inventor Omer Kiyani.
Courtesy of Identilock

The Next Idea

How do we keep guns out of the wrong hands?

No matter where you stand on the gun issue, we can all agree that’s an important issue to address.

It’s also the question driving the Identilock, a smart gun lock that uses fingerprint identification to make sure a gun can only be used by its owner.

Omer Kiyani is the founder and CEO of Sentinl, the Detroit-based company behind Identilock.

  • The water crisis in Flint has caused the city's children to be poisoned by lead. But don't think the lead problem is confined to Flint. In his latest story for Bridge Magazine, Mike Wilkinson tells us lead remains an "irreversible scourge" in many areas across Michigan.
  • Lindsey Smith join us to talk about her upcoming documentary on the Flint water crisis, airing tomorrow. 
  • Auto dealerships are pretty firmly entrenched in our business landscape.
Lauren Dukoff

Michigan native Garrett Borns is better known by his stage name, BORNS. He recently released his debut album, Dopamine.

Before wrapping up his U.S. tour, BORNS will be performing at The Shelter in Detroit on Wednesday. 

He explains the song Electric Love is his contemporary take on '60s and '70s glam rock. BORNS talks about the influence his favorite musicians had on him, like Michael Jackson and Prince.

  • If you do an Internet search for "Great Lakes permaculture" or "Midwest permaculture," you'll soon discover a thriving movement in Michigan. Nate Ayers sits down to explain permaculture design.
  • Michigan writer R.J. Fox joins us to talk about how an amusement park ride lead him to love in the Ukraine.
R.J. Fox reading from "Love and Vodka"
screenshot

One of life’s greatest gifts is its ability to surprise us.

How could R.J. Fox know that going on the E.T. ride in Hollywood would lead him to the woman he’d want to marry? And from there, in the name of love, on to her home country Ukraine?

That’s where Fox was surprised by scowling old babushka-wearing ladies, a farmer who nearly beat him up for trying to photograph his goat, future in-laws he hoped to impress, and vodka. Lots and lots of vodka.

Fox tells the story in his new memoir Love and Vodka: My Surreal Adventures in Ukraine.

Don Harrison/flickr / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The largest ski jump structure in the world is located, not in Bavaria, not in Switzerland, not even Scandinavia.

It's Ironwood's Copper Peak in the Upper Peninsula. At 469 feet, ski jumpers soar through the air at 65 miles per hour.

Copper Peak was built in 1970. The last ski flying competition happened there in 1994.

But, plans are afoot to renovate the ski jump for a September 2017 contest.

Downtown Detroit
flickr user Tim Wang / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Today marks the one-year anniversary of Detroit’s exit from bankruptcy.

Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes sees a city on the mend, but with some heavy lifting ahead.

“I’m very impressed with the execution of the government under Mike Duggan and the City Council,” Howes says. He adds that the demonstrated stability in the police department and the business community’s continued resolve to stand by its investment in Detroit bode well for the city.

  • Today marks the one-year anniversary of Detroit's exit from bankruptcy. Daniel Howes sees a city on the mend, but with some heavy lifting ahead.
thehavananote.com

In the decades since the Cuban Revolution of 1959, there has been wide gulf – literally and figuratively – between those who stayed in Cuba and those who left.

Ruth Behar was one of the latter. She is a professor of anthropology at the University of Michigan. As an academic and a researcher, she was able to go back and forth to Cuba when so many others could not.

Twenty years ago, Behar edited Bridges to Cuba/Puentes a Cuba. It’s seen as a landmark anthology of Cuban voices, including the works of artists, writers and scholars on the island and in the diaspora.

Alas, Detroiters, this is going to be our first Christmas without Northland Mall. And that raises a difficult question for the black community — where will we go to find a black Santa Claus?

Ever since I can remember, Northland was the sure-fire place where parents could take their kids to see a black Santa. My children grew up with two astounding life experiences that, for me, are the hallmark of the progress we have made as a race: They've never voted for a white president, and they've never sat upon the lap of a white Santa.

Crowdsourcing school guidance counseling

Dec 10, 2015
Flickr/Got Credit / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The Next Idea

When it comes to having a 21st-century workforce, Southeast Michigan is in the midst of a “perfect storm.”

During years of economic decline, Michigan struggled to keep its residents educated and trained for the modern workplace. Now that the economy is in recovery and new job openings are finally emerging, there are not enough qualified young people left to fill them.

  • Gov. Rick Snyder was hoping lawmakers would do something to fix Detroit’s schools. Instead, the governor, Detroit’s parents, and schoolkids will have to wait until next year.
Edda Photography

    

You've heard the saying, "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade." Well here's another take on that saying: "When life gives you stage-four lung cancer, open an improv comedy club that's also a brewery."

Tori Tomalia and her husband, Jason, are preparing to do just that: the Pointless Brewery & Theatre is about to open in Ann Arbor nearly two years after she was blindsided by the cancer diagnosis.

Congressman Dan Kildee speaks at the announcement of the USDA's Regional Conservation Partnership Program on Tuesday, May 27, 2014.
U.S. Department of Agriculture / flickr

    

Democratic U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee of Michigan tells Cynthia Canty about how he is working on a way for the federal government to help Flint following the lead water crisis of 2015. Kildee is trying to get Michigan and the federal government on the same page about a loan forgiveness program that could result in $22 million for fiscally strapped Flint.

Kildee also explains his vote on a new visa program and expounds on the dangers of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's statements about Muslims. 

Daymon J. Hartley / Facebook

Ron Scott’s lifetime of community activism in Detroit ended recently when he died at age 68.

His quest for peace and justice led him to found the Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality, but his activism goes all the way back to when he met Grace and James Boggs. He was 16 years old.

His friend and longtime Detroit activist Rich Feldman tells us that everything Scott did, from his early involvement in the Detroit chapter of the Black Panthers to DCAPB, came from a place of love for his home and the people who live there.

People were polled on a variety of topics.
users Automobile Italia, lyle, michigan municipal league, chrismetcalfTV, / Flickr - http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

As 2015 winds down, it seems like a good time to see what Michigan voters think about a variety of issues that made headlines over this year.

Michigan Radio and Public Sector Consultants explored voter opinions on topics ranging from drinking water safety to concealed pistols to making the Legislature more effective and lots more.

Here are the topline results from the topics we explored:

Water Safety

Let's stop with the Silicon Valley comparisons

Dec 9, 2015
Flickr/Scott Lewis / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The Next Idea

In Detroit and across Michigan (and just about anywhere else in the Western Hemisphere, for that matter), there is often talk about becoming the next Silicon Valley.  This comparison gets pretty tiresome. If innovation is about "new and different," why would we want to be something that already exists?

Detroit has its own set of unique challenges and opportunities, and we should strive to be something new, something different.

  • Enbridge has made promises to keep the aging Line 5 oil pipeline in the Straits of Mackinac maintained and said it's got an emergency response team in place, but there's a complicating factor no one can control: big, turbulent waves.
Enbridge Line 5 runs from Superior, Wisconsin to Sarnia, Ontario.
Enbridge

There are many Michiganders feeling uneasy about the idea of those 62-year-old twin oil pipelines running along the bottom of the Straits of Mackinac.

The aging Line 5 can carry 540,000 barrels of oil and natural gas liquids each day.

Enbridge has made promises to keep the pipeline maintained and said it’s got an emergency response team in place, but there’s a complicating factor that no one can control: big, turbulent waves.

flickr user Intel Free Press / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

If there’s a teen or 20-something in your life, chances are that you’ve seen plenty of “LOL” and “BFF” in your texting conversations.

It seems like text abbreviations are becoming an increasingly prevalent part of written correspondence. Are they making communication more efficient, or are they just making it harder to do so clearly?

  • In Detroit and across Michigan, there is often talk about becoming the next Silicon Valley. But Detroit has its own set of unique challenges and opportunity, and Razi Jafri is here to tell us we should strive to be something new and different.
John U. Bacon

Michigan Radio sports commentator John U. Bacon joins us to talk about the Spartans' ninth Big Ten Championship and the upcoming bowl season.

Spartans take Big Ten 

The Spartans emerged victorious on Saturday, winning their ninth Big Ten Championship and giving Iowa its first loss of the season.

The Hawkeyes stayed on top until MSU pulled out a nine-minute, 22-play, 82-yard scoring drive to secure the winning touchdown.

  • Windsor is preparing to take in between 200 and 600 Syrian refugees over the next few months. Mayor Drew Dilkens tells us about the city's preparations.
Windsor's financial district
wikimedia user Tkgd2007 / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The public debate about welcoming refugees from Syria isn’t just happening here in the States. Canada is planning to receive 25,000 Syrian refugees over the next three months.

This week, Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens joined with municipal leaders from all across Canada for a meeting in Ottawa to hear the newly elected Liberal Party of Canada's plans for resettling the refugees.

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