Stateside

Stateside
7:08 pm
Mon June 16, 2014

National traits do not explain soccer styles

Playing styles of these soccer players from Brazil and Croatia might not reflect their national characteristics.
Credit User: Diário do Nordeste / flickr

Last Thursday afternoon, the 2014 World Cup began as Brazil and Croatia ran out onto the pitch in Brazil. And with that, fans of Association Football (aka “soccer” here in the USA) plunged into a month of the High Holy Days: World Cup action.

Many fans of “the beautiful game” get downright nationalistic as they cheer on their favorite team, whether it be England, Italy, Brazil, Germany, Ivory Coast ... and of course, the U.S., which opens its World Cup bid this evening at 6 against Ghana.

With soccer, there's a lot of credence put into national identities and how teams play. But, if you think the playing style of your favorite team somehow reflects some deep cultural trait of that country, Stateside guest Andy Markovits says think again.

Markovits is a University of Michigan political scientist and lifelong soccer fan. He joined us today to talk about how generalizations of national characteristics can be superficial and dangerous. 

*Listen to the conversation above. 

Environment & Science
9:01 am
Mon June 16, 2014

The U.P. could soon have a wine country thanks to a new grape

Northern Sun winery in the Upper Peninsula runs on cold-hardy grapes.
Credit Emily Fox / Michigan Radio

We've all heard of Cabernet, Merlot and Chardonnay. Those wines have been around for centuries.

But what about Frontenac, Marquette and La Crescent? Those grapes have only been around for a decade or two and they can withstand harsh winters, and thrive.

I went to the Upper Peninsula to see if it has what it takes to develop a new wine region in the state.

Click here to listen to the story

Read more
Stateside
4:30 pm
Thu June 12, 2014

How important is it for teens to have summer jobs?

Credit pixabay.com

As school ends and summer gets underway, the challenge in many Michigan households is teens trying to find a summer job.

The unemployment rate for teens is expected to hit 26.5% this summer, somewhat better than last year's level.

It certainly matters to parents who aren't thrilled about a 17-year-old sitting around all summer playing X-Box. But how much does it matter to Michigan's economy and to the teens?

Charles Ballard is an economist with Michigan State University.

Ballard says teen unemployment has always been higher than adult unemployment, which isn’t surprising, when teens have the least experience and skills.

One thing to remember is that the unemployment rate is the rate of people who are actively seeking work. A lot of teens may have an unpaid internship, studying abroad, participate in athletics, or are in summer school and are not considered unemployed.

Ballard said that the statistics are not always entirely reliable, as they don’t accurately measure those who are earning money in other ways, such as babysitting or yard work.

The state figuring showed about 170,000 teenagers from ages 16-19 will be working, leaving almost 64,000 actively looking teenagers unemployed.

One of the problems that may be keeping teenagers out of the workforce is adults who are taking jobs from teens due to the recession.

Ballard said another reason more teenagers are not working is also because of the different options available for earning money. It does not mean that all those who are considered unemployed are not just twiddling their thumbs.

However, not having a job in your teenage years may have negative effects for some, such as those who dropped out of school and did not work. They would have a harder time finding employment as adults.

Ballard said that he would like to see Michigan try to improve the educational outcome by having a longer school year. Though it may limit the time students have to work in the summer, it will provide them with a better education and skills which they need in order to get some of these jobs.

Ballard added that he will keep making the case for longer school years.

“When we look at all the other developed countries in the world, they have a longer school year than the U.S. And in an awful lot of cases they have much better educational outcomes,” Ballard said. 

*Listen to full interview above. 

-Bre'Anna Tinsley, Michigan Radio Newsroom. 

Stateside
3:54 pm
Thu June 12, 2014

A study looks into the future of high-speed rail in the United States

Credit Wikimedia Commons

The United States has lagged way behind other nations in high-speed rail – which includes trains with top speeds of up to 180 miles an hour. What would it take for us to catch up?

Those are some of the questions being tackled in a study digging into Americans' thoughts on high-speed rail. Wayne State University, in partnership with the University of Michigan and Drexel University, has launched this two-and-a-half-year study.

The study looks into the future of transportation and how high-speed rail in the United States will fit into that future.

The study focuses on how people feel about high-speed rail and how they envision the future of transportation.

Allen Batteau is the leader of the study. He is a cultural anthropologist and associate professor of anthropology at Wayne State University.

Batteau’s hope for the study is to move the discussion of high-speed rail away from "how much will it cost" to forming a vision of how high-speed rail can help bring us together.

Susan Zielinski is the head of the Sustainable Mobility & Accessibility Research & Transformation (SMART) at the University of Michigan.

Zielinski says transportation is evolving into many different options and it is important to look into those options as our society evolves with it. 

*Listen to full interview above.

– Bre'Anna Tinsley, Michigan Radio Newsroom

Stateside
3:18 pm
Thu June 12, 2014

Stateside for Thursday, June 12, 2014

Here's what we talked about on Stateside today:

· Attempts in the state Senate to come up with more than a billion dollars a year to fix roads fell apart last night, after lawmakers spent 15 hours in session. They only have one more day before summer campaigning.

· One couple’s attempts to live off the grid were almost foiled after local officials said their living arrangements were against the public health code.

· Two Michigan destinations made the top 10 , but there are plenty of other spots that are underappreciated.

· A study looks into the future of high-speed rail in the United States and the future of transportation. 

· The unemployment rates of teens for the summer hit 26.5%. How much does this matter to Michigan’s economy and the teenagers?

*Listen to full show above. 

Stateside
3:03 pm
Thu June 12, 2014

The best places for vacation in Michigan aren't on the "top 10" lists

Credit Brendon Connelly / Flickr

Michigan destinations are working their way into these lists: Saugatuck was voted No. 1 Summer Weekend Escape in America in a recent USA Today reader poll. And a somewhat obscure Upper Peninsula drive got on a top 10 "Best U.S. Road Trips" list.

Ellen Creager, a Detroit Free Press Travel writer, says the big reason for the publicity is the Pure Michigan campaign. However, don’t limit yourself to “Cool Places to Visit” lists when choosing your next Michigan vacation spot.

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Stateside
1:47 pm
Thu June 12, 2014

Dennis Williams is UAW's new president

Credit 36th Constitutional Convention

Dennis Williams is the new president of the United Auto Workers Union, and members appear to be very optimistic about the leadership.

Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes told Stateside that the union views Williams as somebody who can be an innovative bargainer and bring a new perspective.

Howes in his column today said that Dennis Williams has his work cut out for him to correct the mistakes of his predecessor, Bob King. 

Williams is the first UAW president who never headed one of union’s main three departments: Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler. He is also the first who has never worked in an auto plant.

*Listen to full interview above. 

Stateside
12:57 pm
Thu June 12, 2014

15 hours later, lawmakers still don't have a plan for road funding

Credit Michigan Municipal League / Flickr

After 15 hours in session, the state Senate failed to come up with a plan for more than a billion dollars a year to fix roads.

Today is the last day to come up with a solution before lawmakers leave town to start summer campaigning.

President and CEO of the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, Rich Studley, said the Chamber is pushing for lawmakers to come up with almost $1.6 billion in road funding.

Studley said the governor put forward a plan to invest $1.2 billion, and the state House has approved a plan to reallocate $450 million into road funding.

A statewide public poll showed that motorists are strongly in favor of fixing the roads and are willing to pay for it.

Studley said there is no good reason for the Legislature to recess for the summer.

“Our message is stay in session and do your job,” Studley said. “While Michigan lawmakers have been talking about this issue, virtually every other state in the country has tackled this problem.”

Studley added that for every year the state doesn’t take action, the state loses almost $100 million in value with deteriorating roads and bridges.  

“Michigan’s motorists now in effect pay an inaction tax of over $300 a year in unnecessary road repairs,” Studley said.

*Listen to the full interview above.

– Bre’Anna Tinsley, Michigan Radio Newsroom.

Stateside
6:35 pm
Wed June 11, 2014

Detroit Public Schools misses out on $4 million in Head Start funds

Credit Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

When you are a school district where more than 80% of your students live in poverty, every penny that helps those students is critical.

And that's why there has been a collective gasp of disbelief, even anger, with the news that Detroit Public Schools has lost $4 million in Head Start funding.

The reason DPS lost the money is because they missed the application deadline.

A school spokesperson blamed a technical problem in uploading the application.

Detroit Free Press columnist Rochelle Riley joined us on our show.

*Listen to our conversation with Rochelle above.

Stateside
6:32 pm
Wed June 11, 2014

Why were Detroit smokers in the 1970s so loyal to Kool cigarettes?

Credit User: Goodiez / flickr

 

Why is it that one product will resonate with a group of consumers, while a similar one just can't quite catch on?

It's the sort of dilemma you can imagine Don Draper and Peggy Olson trying to figure out in an episode of "Mad Men."

Turns out, it was a dilemma for a major tobacco company: trying to figure out why Detroit smokers were so loyal to the competition – in this case, Kool cigarettes in the 1970s.

Steve Neavling is an investigative journalist who looked into this bit of tobacco history for Motor City Muckraker.

*Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
6:28 pm
Wed June 11, 2014

Tips for your next successful garage sale

Credit User: Ryan Ruppe / flickr

​If you get the sense that your house is becoming increasingly crammed with "stuff", it might be time to declutter.

And that could mean a garage sale.

If you do it right, a garage sale can be a total win-win: You get rid of stuff you really don't need anymore. And you get money!

Writer Micki Maynard not only trolls her way through garage and estate sales around the country, she holds garage sales at her Ann Arbor home two or three times a year.

She joined us today with some tips for a successful sale.

Read more
Stateside
6:22 pm
Wed June 11, 2014

Stateside for Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Here's what we covered on today's Stateside:

  • An internal Veterans Affairs audit reveals more than 120,000 veterans are waiting too long for care at the VA. Here in Michigan, 3 VA facilities have been selected for a closer look. For today’s show, we asked our guests what might be happening at those facilities.
  • Since 2011, more than $65 million in state money has been awarded to businesses all around Michigan, all on the signatures of just two individuals. Chris Gautz from Crain's Detroit Business joined us today to discuss the MEDC.
  • Tobacco giant Phillip Morris faced some tough competition from Kool cigarettes in the 1970s. An investigative journalist told us what he found out, and why the brand was overwhelmingly popular with African Americans, especially in Detroit.
  • Also, scenes that might appear in a disaster movie are happening along the Great Lakes. Huge, freak waves have raced ashore and pulled people out into the lake, leaving drowned victims in their wake.
  • Detroit Public Schools blew a deadline and missed out on $4 million in Head Start funding. We asked our guests what can be done now.
  • Grand Valley State University is asking if higher education is becoming too politicized. They will hold a three-day summit to explore this issue.
  • And we'll get tips from a garage sale veteran: how to get the best results and the most money out of your garage sale.

Stateside
6:16 pm
Wed June 11, 2014

Three Michigan VA facilities flagged in audit of long wait times and scheduling practices

Credit User: Don Harder / flickr

The controversy over long wait times and improper scheduling practices at Veterans Affairs hospitals and clinics has cost the job of VA Secretary Eric Shinseki.

It led to an internal VA audit of its health care facilities.

And that has caused the VA to flag three facilities in Michigan for a closer look.

For this conversation, we asked what might be happening at those facilities, and what this means to veterans in Michigan.

We're joined by Detroit Free Press Washington reporter Todd Spangler and Dr. Joe Schwartz, physician and former Republican Congressman from West Michigan. Dr. Schwartz is now a visiting lecturer at the Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan.

*Listen to the full interview above.

Offbeat
6:14 pm
Tue June 10, 2014

Detroit Public Schools system is auctioning off jets

Credit Wikimedia Commons

If owning a jet is something you've always dreamed of, the Detroit Public School system is auctioning off a couple of them.

An online auction being held today by Biddergy.com gives you the chance to bid on a T-39A North American Sabreliner mid-sized business jet. The U.S. Air Force had donated the plane to the school's aeropsace program. Biddergy says it's in fairly rough shape, which is why the starting bid was $500. 

There's also a 1969 American AA –minus its wings. Starting bid is just $50.

Another auction on June 19 will include vintage items from aircraft engines to propellers and more, dating all the way back to World War II.

Biddergy is helping the DPS sell off stuff it just doesn't need anymore. So far, the auctions have brought more than $370,000 to the district.

Stateside
6:02 pm
Tue June 10, 2014

More Kalamazoo students get a chance to take part in the Promise

Credit Kalamazoo Public Schools

The Kalamazoo Promise, an anonymous benefactor, is providing four-year-scholarships to almost all of the students who graduate from Kalamazoo Public Schools.

One student from Kalamazoo Central High School, Jay Valikodath, said the Promise changed his and his classmates’ lives, because they'll be able to start their careers after college debt free.  

Bob Jorth, the director of the Kalamazoo Promise, says they have covered 43 state-supported community colleges and universities in Michigan. They are partnering with the Michigan Colleges Alliance, which will add 15 private colleges and universities in Michigan.

The Promise will cover tuition at colleges with the same average tuition rate as the University of Michigan’s College of Literature Arts and Sciences. Anything beyond that will be covered by the institution.

The promise has paid more than $54 million in tuition for 3,286 students, not including this current school year.

A total of 679 of those students earned associates, bachelors, or some form of post-secondary education degree. That’s a little more than 20% of those who have received grants.

“The biggest challenge is completion,” Jorth said. “The No. 1 factor in getting kids through college is making sure they are ready to start college.”

Jorth added that the main goal is to get as many students as possible pursue a post-secondary education.

*Listen to full interview above. 

-Bre'Anna Tinsley, Michigan Radio Newsroom. 

Stateside
5:50 pm
Tue June 10, 2014

Heroin addiction and overdose deaths on the rise in Michigan

Credit United Nations Photo

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that heroin use in the U.S. jumped 79% from 2007 through 2012. And heroin overdose deaths rose 45% between 2006 and 2010.

Police and public health officials say Michigan is on the same track, with heroin addiction and overdose deaths on the rise.

Special Agent Rich Isaacson is with the Detroit division of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency. Isaacson says the increase in heroin use and overdose deaths is directly related to the rapid increase in the misuse of opiate drugs, such as OxyContin and Vicodin. Isaacson says these prescriptions can get very expensive, which can result in addicts turning to heroin, which is also an opiate drug, for a much cheaper price.

Isaacson says prevention and education are very important to reduce the addiction and overdose rates. He adds that strict oversight on how the drugs are obtained and educating doctors about addiction could help as well.

*Listen to the full interview above. 

Stateside
5:37 pm
Tue June 10, 2014

No goats allowed! Detroit shuts down a farm's efforts to rid Brightmoor of blight

Credit user Nemodus photos / Flickr

A herd of goats has been evicted from weedy lots on Detroit's west side.

The animals were brought into the blight-ridden Brightmoor neighborhoods late last week to eat the overgrown weeds and grass.

But the city of Detroit swooped in straight away to shut down the goat farm, called Idyll Farms Detroit, noting that current zoning laws don't allow goats within the city limits.

Overgrown weeds and trash on Westbrook Street, between Acacia Avenue and Kendall Street, made the block nearly impossible to pass through. The Brightmoor community partnered with Idyll Farms to clear it.

On Memorial Day weekend, the community loaded up five 30-yard Dumpsters with trash. Eighteen male goats were brought in Thursday afternoon to be used as lawn mowers, so volunteers can pick up the trash.

Around noon the next day, Detroit Animal Control showed up to enforce an ordinance against farm animals within the city limits.

Leonard Pollara is a consultant with Idyll Farms Detroit. He said that Idyll Farms was aware that an ordinance existed, but they were asked by the Brightmoor community not to engage with city hall, and said the city would not enforce the animal control ordinance.

Pollara said that Idyll Farms was fully prepared to remove the goats at any time if the city required them to do so.

Pollara added that Detroit has not yet perfected an ordinance that would allow for farm animals within agriculture zones.  However, Idyll Farms has experience in operating farms and managing agriculture systems.

“We are very interested in offering our resources and expertise to the city,” Pollara said.

Pollara added that they are not interested in backing away and want to remain in a partnership with the Brightmoor community.

*Listen to full interview above. 

–Bre'Anna Tinsley, Michigan Radio Newsroom

Stateside
5:31 pm
Tue June 10, 2014

Some big issues are still unsettled for Michigan's budget

Credit Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The budget clock is ticking in Lansing.

Only three days remain for lawmakers to wrap up work on the state budget for the upcoming fiscal year, and get it done before their self-imposed deadline of early June before their summer break.

Some big issues have been tackled, but there are big ones still unsettled.

Jonathan Oosting, the Capitol reporter for MLive, and Kathy Gray, the Lansing reporter for the Detroit Free Press, spoke to us today.

*You can listen to our conversation above.

There are a few things to expect from this new budget:

  • Road funding may receive about $400 million.
  • The higher-education budget could increase significantly.
  • An increase in revenue-sharing payments to cities, counties, villages, and townships.
  • A new helicopter for Michigan State police, and a new post in Marshall.
  • Film incentives will likely stay at $50 million.
  • The School Aid Fund could increase.
  • Community colleges could receive a 3% bump.

–Bre'Anna Tinsley, Michigan Radio Newsroom

Stateside
5:27 pm
Tue June 10, 2014

An international trail around the Great Lakes is in the making

Credit NASA Goddard Space Flight Center / Flick

Imagine an international trail around the Great Lakes. Biking. Hiking. Paddling.

7,000 miles, stretching through eight states and the provinces of Ontario and Quebec.

That goal was the focus of the recent Great Lakes Coastal Trail Conference.

Dave Lemberg is an associate professor of geography at Western Michigan University and he's with the Lake Michigan Water Trail Association.

Lemberg said the trail is not just for hiking, it also includes sea kayaking, biking, and motoring. The trail will add to the Great Lakes Circle tours, which goes around all the lakes.

The goal is to connect the shoreline cities, resort beach towns, state parks and other areas around the Great Lakes.  

*Listen to full interview above. 

Stateside
5:23 pm
Tue June 10, 2014

Stateside for Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Heroin use in Michigan is on the rise. That's as many addicts shift from more expensive and harder-to-get prescription drugs to heroin, a cheaper alternative.

Then, big news from the Kalamazoo Promise. The program that offers free college to almost all the city's high schoolers is expanding to include more than a dozen private colleges and universities. We asked what this could mean for future Kalamazoo graduates.

Also, no goats allowed in Detroit. A herd of goats has been evicted from weedy lots that the city of Detroit owns.

But first...

Hear that? That ticking? That's the budget clock in Lansing.

State lawmakers want to get out of the Capitol to start campaigning in their districts, and that means there are only three session days left to wrap up work on the state budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

Some big issues have been tackled, but there are big ones still up in the air.

*Listen to full show above. 

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