Stateside

Stateside
12:01 pm
Wed July 2, 2014

Where do auto museums flourish? Surprisingly, not in Michigan

All F1 Car story in Automobiles Museum of Turin
Credit Wikimedia Commons

There are many different auto museums – some dedicated to displaying cars with unique engineering and designs, and others dedicated to displaying the automobile’s impact on society.

Michigan's auto museums have had little success. Flint’s "Autoworld" theme park closed two years after opening, and the Walter P. Chrysler Museum closed its doors recently.

Europe has had a different experience.

Autostadt, which means “auto city” in German, is in Wolfsburg, Germany. It averages about two million visitors per year. BMW and Porsche also have notable museums in Germany.

Why do auto museums in Europe succeed, while those in the auto capital of the world have not?

“Europeans seem to have such a deep bond with their vehicles,” says Paul Eisenstein, publisher of  The Detroit Bureau. “They are seemingly more interested in the mechanicals and what have you. They have a tendency to be drawn to automotive exhibits, museums, parks, and everything at a much greater rate than Americans are.”

*Listen to our interview with Eisenstein at 3 p.m. today. We'll post the audio for that interview here around 4:30 p.m. 

Stateside
11:49 am
Wed July 2, 2014

"Autoworld" opened its doors in Flint 30 years ago

1913 Studebaker Type 35 Model AA, Autoworld Brussels
Credit Wikimedia Commons

30 years ago, "Autoworld" opened its doors on July 4, 1984 in Flint, Michigan.

It was an indoor theme park and museum dedicated to preserving and spreading automotive achievements.  

Bill Shea, editor and reporter for Crain’s Detroit Business, said that the attraction wasn’t that popular and visitors were confused about what Autoworld was.

Was it supposed to be a museum or a theme park?

This led people to ask why a group of people invested $80 million into the endeavor.

Organizers hoped Autoworld would revitalize the inner city of Flint, develop Michigan’s tourism industry, and preserve the automotive history in the city.

But, in 1987, the attraction closed its doors permanently. Here's a video of them imploding the building from ABC News:

*You can hear our interview with Bill Shea today at 3 p.m. We'll add the interview to this post at 4:30 p.m.

Stateside
5:14 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

Schools ordered to return to the MEAP test; teachers feel unprepared and disrespected

Credit Wikimedia Commons

When Gov. Rick Snyder signed Michigan's school aid budget last week, that act officially threw a big curve ball to teachers.

The budget included a provision ordering the Michigan Department of Education to produce and administer a MEAP test in the next school year, not the Smarter Balanced Assessment test they'd been planning to use –the test based on the Common Core standards that the state has been using.

If this all sounds confusing, try being a teacher in Michigan.

MLive’s Brian Smith has been talking with teachers about how they feel about the MEAP being back on.

“A lot of these teachers that I talked to are really just frustrated by the fact that now they just have a couple of months to prepare for a test they still haven’t seen,” Smith says.

He says the problem is that the MEAP hasn’t really been under active development, making sure the test is aligned with the state's content standards and the Common Core. So the test will have to be restructured.

Smith says in his report that all of the back-and-forth on the state's assessment test has left teachers feeling disrespected.

“They feel like their voices are not being heard in this conversation,” Smith says. “They’re not being included in the talk about how we are testing our kids and when we are testing our kids, and what that test is going to look like.”

*Listen to the full story above. 

Stateside
5:14 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

The polar vortex is over, but the "mosquito vortex" is here

A female mosquito.
Credit Wikipedia

We wrestled with the polar vortex all winter long. Now it looks like we could be wrestling with a mosquito vortex all summer long.

Ned Walker is a professor of entomology, microbiology, and molecular genetics at Michigan State University.

Walker anticipates a bad mosquito season this summer. Right now in lower Michigan, for a variety of ecological factors, we have three varieties of mosquitoes flying around at the same time.

The first species is the spring mosquito, a consequence of the polar vortex. They live in woodland pools that were formed by melted snow and spring rains.

“Our mosquitos are cold-hardy; they are used to the northern conditions,” Walker says.

The second species is the flood plain mosquito, which hatches after heavy rainfall in the spring.

The third is the summer flood water mosquito. Their larvae live in places that stay wet from a half-inch of rain or more after seven to 10 days.

Walker says there are about 60 different types of mosquitos in Michigan. 

*Listen to full interview above.

Stateside
5:04 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

Since 1959, more than 100 people have been killed by lightning strikes

Credit Wikimedia Commons

MLive and farmerweather.com meteorologist Mark Torregrossa’s report on lightning shows that Michigan is one of the most dangerous areas in America during a storm, ranking 13th in lightning fatalities by state.

More than 100 people in Michigan have been killed by lightning since 1959.

Torregrossa says the reason for the high number is that storms often occur when Michiganders are outdoors.

“It’s boating. It’s fishing. It’s camping. And then it’s playing outdoor sports,” Torregrossa says.

The sports that have most lightning fatalities are soccer and golf.

Torregrossa says if you hear thunder or see lightning, you should be inside.

“Lightning can travel quite a distance from a storm,” Torregrossa says. “In fact, 90% of all lightning injuries and deaths happen outside of the thunderstorm.”

So the moments before and after storms are dangerous times as well.

Torregrossa adds that counting the time between lightning and thunder is very accurate.

“About every five seconds, the lightning is about a mile to maybe two miles away,” Torregrossa says.

And that, he says, is too close for you to be outside.

*Listen to full interview above.

Stateside
4:54 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

Stateside for Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Today on Stateside:

  • A conversation with Detroit Police Chief James Craig about the struggles and successes of his first year.
  • Gov. Rick Snyder signed Michigan's school aid budget last week that included a provision ordering the Michigan Department of Education to produce and administer a MEAP test in the next school year – not the Smarter Balanced Assessment test they'd been planning to use.
  • Michigan is one of the more dangerous states in the country when it comes to lightning strikes.
  • A mosquito invasion is coming to Michigan this summer. One species came about as a result of the polar vortex.

*Listen to the full show above.

Stateside
12:29 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

After one year on the job, Detroit Police Chief James Craig said the department is turning around

Credit Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

It has been exactly one year since James Craig returned to his hometown as Detroit’s 42nd police chief. He was hired by Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr.

“The city was not the city I had left,” Chief Craig said.

Chief Craig came back to a city facing bankruptcy - a city with soaring crime rates, response times of 58 minutes, police precincts that were not open to citizens after 4 p.m., and uniformed officers who were demoralized and spread thin working 12 hour shifts.

Read more
Stateside
6:45 pm
Mon June 30, 2014

Stateside for Monday, June 30, 2014

  Today on Stateside:

  • A new report says state disinvestment in roads, schools and other infrastructure has put Michigan's future at risk.
  • University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman has spent the past 12 years at the helm of  one of the most influential universities in the country: During her tenure the university faced a number of challenges, including financial cuts from the state and a challenge to its use of affirmative action in admissions.
  • The Woodward Dream Cruise says it's the largest one-day celebration of classic cars in the world. But many residents who live near Woodward Avenue, especially in the Oakland County city of Royal Oak, complain about screeching tires, revving engines, and the unmistakable roar of glass-pack mufflers.
  • Attorney Kenneth Feinberg will run the General Motors Ignition Compensation Fund. Who's eligible for compensation? When and how do they file a claim? And how much money are we talking about?
  • There are people in Michigan getting a dose of arsenic every time they drink the water coming from their taps. And some of them have arsenic levels well above the federal standards. Michigan Radio's "The Environment Report" is presenting a five-part series this week called "Michigan's Silent Poison," in partnership with The Center for Public Integrity and the public radio show, "Reveal."

*Listen to the full show above. 

Stateside
5:16 pm
Mon June 30, 2014

Interview: High levels of arsenic could be in your well water

Arsenic is a deadly poison, and there are people in Michigan getting arsenic at levels high above federal standards every time they drink the water coming from their taps.

Michigan Radio's "The Environment Report" is presenting a five-part series this week called "Michigan's Silent Poison," in partnership with The Center for Public Integrity and the public radio show "Reveal."

The Environment Report’s Rebecca Williams spoke on Stateside today, along with David Heath from the Center for Public Integrity.

“No organ system goes untouched by arsenic,” Williams said.

Extremely high doses of arsenic can kill you. Smaller doses have been linked to lung, bladder, skin, prostate, and liver cancers. You can also get arsenic poisoning with symptoms such as nausea, headaches, gastrointestinal pains, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Arsenic can be found in rice, apple juice, beer and wine, and drinking water. The levels are exceptionally high in private wells at people's homes, mostly in the thumb region of Michigan.

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Politics & Culture
3:15 pm
Mon June 30, 2014

Stateside for Tuesday, June 17, 2014

 Here is what was covered on Stateside today:

·         State lawmakers are back home after failing to raise money needed to fix Michigan’s crumbling roads. Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville said the failure was “not a big deal, really.”

·         Cow manure may become the source for clean water.

·         Poet and writer Keith Taylor shares his picks for summer reading.

·         A Los Angeles company called Celebrity Black Card hopes to attract A-list celebs to Northeast Michigan. So they're setting up an eco-friendly lodge west of Alpena from eco-friendly materials that come from Michigan companies.

·         General Motors is recalling another 3.2 million cars because of ignition-switch problems. What does that mean for consumer confidence and GM sales?

·         More than a half-million kids in Michigan who could be eating for free or at a reduced price won’t be fed this summer, even though the school lunch program does make food available through the summer.

·         What song saved your life? Jason Towler, a special-education teacher, shares his.

*Listen to full show above. 

Education
10:26 am
Mon June 30, 2014

U of M president says university fought for financial aid amid 75% tuition increase over her tenure

University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman wraps up her 12-year tenure on July 13, 2014.

She spoke on Stateside with Cynthia Canty today. Listen to our interview with her here:

Coleman oversaw a time of growth at the university – spearheading a capital campaign that resulted in the most money ever raised by a public university.

U of M also saw a building boom on Coleman's watch.

But there was another kind of boom during Coleman's tenure. Undergraduate tuition went up more than 75%.

Coleman says the university has worked hard to keep tuition affordable in spite of spiraling tuition rates.

"And what we've done here at the University of Michigan is to work extremely hard to raise money for financial aid and to make it available."

*Correction: A previous version of this story said that today was Coleman's last day as president. Her final day is July 13. We regret the error.

Stateside
4:55 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

Stateside for Thursday, June 26, 2014

Today on Stateside:

  • The United Nations has issued a statement calling Detroit’s mass water shutoff campaign a likely human rights violation. On today’s Stateside we talked with one of those groups appealing to the United Nations.
  • Some folks in Northern Michigan are getting tired of all the tourists and festivals taking over their towns. They say they just want some peace and quiet. But others argue the economic boom to small communities is just too good to pass up.
  • Producer and U of M student Arjun Singh talks about teaming up with local talent to make electronic pop with wide appeal on his new EP "The Drift."
  • We continue our weeklong look at how Detroit is doing under bankruptcy and Mayor Duggan's first  six months in office. Today we focused on the city's efforts to turn the streetlights back on.
  • As Ford CEO Alan Mulally steps down, Detroit News columnist Daniel Howes joined us today to talk about what Mullaly has built and how he created big shoes for his successor to fill.

*Listen to full show above.

Stateside
4:52 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

Can Mayor Duggan make Detroit streets look brighter?

Credit Flickr user Molly Des Jardin

All week long, the Detroit Journalism Cooperative is examining how Detroit is doing under bankruptcy and the leadership of Mayor Mike Duggan.

We've looked at the mayor himself. We've also looked at blight, transportation, and the bus system.

Now we turn to a challenge that seemed to have caught the collective attention of writers and reporters around the world as they talk about Detroit's bankruptcy: the streetlights.

The fact that almost half the streetlights in Detroit didn't work became a sort of symbol of how "broken" the city had become.

Let's find out if things are looking brighter in the neighborhoods and streets of Detroit.

We were joined by Lester Graham of Michigan Watch.

*Listen to full interview above.

Stateside
4:50 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

Traverse City fights "festival fatigue"

The National Cherry Festival runs from July 5th through July 12th. Set up begins this weekend in Traverse City.
Credit User: Michigan Municipal League / flickr

Sometimes too much of a good thing is, well, too much.

That seems to be what some residents and city commissioners in Traverse City are thinking about the upcoming National Cherry Festival, and the many other festivals that draw visitors to Traverse City through the year.

In short, some of the locals are starting to push back. It’s been dubbed “festival fatigue.” Some residents complain in particular about the Cherry Festival in a downtown park called the “Open Space” that runs along Grand Traverse Bay. They grumble about noise, trash, and crowds.

Read more
Stateside
4:48 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

Welfare rights group backs UN criticism over Detroit water shutoffs

Credit User: Firesmile / flickr

The United Nations says recent water shutoffs at the homes of poor Detroiters are a violation of international human rights.

That came after a letter was sent this week to the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

The letter came from a coalition of welfare rights groups. They accuse Detroit's water department of putting poor people at risk with mass shutoffs.

Back in March, the city began to shut off water service to more than 150,000 delinquent customers who collectively owed more than $118 million.

One of the groups appealing to the United Nations is the Blue Planet Project, based in Ottawa, Ontario. We were joined today by its founder Maude Barlow.

Read more
Stateside
4:30 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

"The Drift" EP combines Michigan music talents, including Michelle Chamuel from The Voice

Michelle Chamuel fan page Facebook

An interview with producer Arjun Singh and rapper Isaac Castor.

His name is Arjun Singh. He's a 24-year-old student at the University of Michigan.

Singh has teamed up with former U of M student Michelle Chamuel to produce an extended-play recording called "The Drift."

And if that name and voice ring a bell, they should.  Chamuel came in second on season four of "The Voice."

With virtually no promotion, the EP hit No. 2 on the iTunes electronic charts.

And the title track of "The Drift" features more Michigan talent, including rapper Isaac Castor of Saline High School. Castor and Arjun Singh joined us today.

 Listen to the full interview above.
 * This segment originally aired on February 18, 2014.

Stateside
12:02 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

Ford CEO Mulally leaves behind big shoes for successor to fill

Outgoing Ford CEO Alan Mulally.
Credit Ford Motor Company

Alan Mulally will hand over his Ford CEO job to Mark Fields next Tuesday. 

Fields has been with Ford since 1989 and the chief operating officer since 2012.

Mulally came to Ford as an auto outsider and many questioned his ability to turn the struggling company around.

Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes was one of the doubters. Howes is now happy to say he was wrong. And Mulally has created big shoes for Fields to fill

Read more
Stateside
6:26 pm
Wed June 25, 2014

Are you a Yooper looking for love? Find your lumberjack here

Credit Wikimedia Commons

The Pew Research Center tells us that 1 in 10​ Americans has turned to online dating sites.

Some are very general, such as eHarmony or Match.com.

And some get very specific, such as JDate for Jewish singles, or farmersonly.com for ... well, you get the picture.

Bugsy Sailor, a born-and-bred Yooper, realized that finding love in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is challenging.

So he founded yoopersingles.com.

It started off as an April Fool’s joke. But on the first day, nearly 1,000 people had signed up. Sailor realized that this might be something to look into.

“Yoopers are a unique breed,” Sailor said. “We have a culture that is one of its own and it’s a remote area. It’s different meeting people here than I would say in the city.”

Sailor said one of the main challenges is finding someone with the same interests. A Yooper would have to find someone who can handle the mosquito bites and the cold winters.

“If you find love in Florida, it’s kind of difficult to convince them to move to the UP,” Sailor said.

Subscribers list their interests. Some are simple, like kayaking, hiking, or basketball. Sailor said home brewing is big in the UP.  

“Interestingly enough, a large number of users have selected bear wrestling as a potential interest,” Sailor said.

Another question: “How do you like your pasty? With ketchup, gravy or naked?”

*Listen to interview above.

Stateside
6:16 pm
Wed June 25, 2014

Could there be a practical rail line linking Michigan's 3 major cities?

Map of the three potential routes between Holland and Detroit to be considered in the upcoming feasibility study.
Credit Michigan Environmental Council

In the never-ending quest to improve transportation in Michigan, how do you get from Detroit to Grand Rapids – the two largest metropolitan areas in the state – with the state Capitol parked right in the middle?

The only answer you get is the highway.

There is no rail line connecting Grand Rapids, Lansing and Detroit.

That has caught the attention of the Michigan Department of Transportion, which will study the viability of a passenger rail line linking those three major Michigan cities.

Dan Somerville is with the Michigan Environmental Council.

He said the study will look at the market demand, destination patterns, population densities, and current traffic patterns in the highway corridor.

Existing train tracks haven’t had been used for passenger trains since 1971, but are used for freight traffic. They could be upgraded for passenger trains, which would be much easier than buying new land for tracks.

Somerville said train transportation could also be environmentally friendly.

“We do need folks to continue to communicate to their elected officials that investments in transportation infrastructure is important,” Somerville said.

The study will take place over the next nine to twelve months.  

*Listen to full interview above. 

Stateside
5:51 pm
Wed June 25, 2014

As Baby Boomers age, how are cities preparing for them?

Credit PublicDomainPictures / pixabay.com

As we watch Baby Boomers swell the ranks of America’s senior citizens, how are cities and towns preparing for them?

How will Boomers reshape cities and what can cities do to look ahead and plan for what seniors will need?

Bradley Winick is the founder of the Planning/Aging consulting firm and adjunct professor of urban planning at the University of Illinois in Chicago.

Winick said that while many of the issues that Baby Boomers are facing are the same as issues for previous seniors, one major difference is economic circumstance.

For Baby Boomers, the recession challenged the assumption of flexibility.

“I think a lot of folks felt that they had this fabulous financial nest egg, which was largely in their home,” Winick said.

However, when the economy changes and the lending climate changes, your home is only worth how much someone is willing to pay you for it.

“I think the impact of that manifests itself in a number of ways in respects to how our communities will look in the future,” Winick said.

Winick added that when a city is planning for an older population, it’s important to make sure the city makes the community livable for all ages but also takes a close look at the availability and accessibility of pharmacies, grocery stores and transportation.

*Listen to full interview above. 

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