Stateside

Stateside
5:22 pm
Tue August 20, 2013

A closer look at Amish communities in America

Is this what you picture when you think of the Amish?
Beechwood Photography Flickr

An interview with Gertrude Enders Huntington and Steve Nolt.

When you think of "The Amish," what comes to mind?

Horses? Buggies? Long dresses and bonnets? Long beards? No electricity?

Well, yes, there is all of that. But there is so much more to the Amish in America, and here in Michigan, where the Amish population numbers around 11,000.

We wanted to find out more about the Amish, especially what the rest of us might learn from them. Consider this: how does a one-room Amish schoolhouse going only to eighth grade, with only a battery-powered clock in the way of "technology," how do these schools turn out highly successful entrepreneurs whose firms gross annual sales in the million-dollar range?

Gertrude Enders Huntington is a retired professor from the University of Michigan. She is the co-author of "Amish Children: Education in the Family, School, and Community."

Steve Nolt is a professor of history at Goshen College in Indiana and co-author of "The Amish," the companion book to the American Experience documentary on PBS.

They both joined us today to take a closer look at the Amish community.

Read more
Stateside
4:49 pm
Tue August 20, 2013

Kevyn Orr requests formal appraisal of the DIA's collection

Flickr

An interview with Detroit Free Press staff writer Mark Stryker.

The eyes of the art world are trained on Woodward Avenue in Detroit, on the Detroit Institute of Arts.

Christie's Auction House is formally appraising the city-owned works at the DIA at the request of emergency manager Kevyn Orr.

The very hint of the idea that pieces in the DIA collection could be sold off to satisfy Detroit's creditors has had the impact of a tsunami in the art world.

The DIA says the collection doesn't belong to the city, it belongs to the public, and thus, is protected by a public trust. These are all questions federal judge Steven Rhodes will eventually decide.

So now, with this appraisal, there's this for the art world and art patrons to consider: when Christie's delivers its report to Orr, it will be the first time the public gets an idea of the market value of thousands of pieces of art at a world-class museum.

Detroit Free Press staff writer Mark Stryker recently wrote an article about the appraisals, and he joined us today to talk about what this means for the DIA, the city of Detroit, and for the art world.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
4:47 pm
Tue August 20, 2013

Pontiac emergency manager Lou Schimmel is out of office

An interview with Pontiac's former emergency manager Lou Schimmel.

After nearly five years, the city of Pontiac's financial emergency is officially resolved.

Emergency manager Lou Schimmel resigned yesterday, but the state will still have a heavy hand in the city's finances.

A "transition advisory board" appointed by Governor Snyder will have to approve all major budget decisions.

Lou Schimmel was appointed to that board. He joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
5:37 pm
Mon August 19, 2013

Governor Snyder's NERD fund is seeing a sharp decrease in contributions

michigan.gov

An interview with Jonathan Oosting, a reporter for MLive.com.

Donations to Governor Snyder’s civic fund decreased last year by a lot. The 501(c)4 known as The New Energy to Reinvent and Diversity Fund – or “NERD Fund” for short – received $1.3 million in 2011, but in 2012 , the number was $368,000.

Jonathan Oosting is with MLive.com. He reports, “the NERD fund earns tax-exempt status by purporting to 'promote charitable causes including lessening the financial burdens of government in the state of Michigan.'”

Oosting joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
5:34 pm
Mon August 19, 2013

Why the Detroit Public School bond offering is worth a look to investors

O.k., o.k., we know this one is empty, but some high school students in the Detroit Public Schools say their classroom are far from empty.
User Motown31 Creative Commons

An interview with Josh Gonze of Thornberg Investment Management.

So, investors, who's willing to bite? Who is willing to buy bonds from a troubled school district being run by an emergency manager located in a city run by an emergency manager, a city that just made history with its bankruptcy filing?

It's easy to understand why investors may run the other way from the Detroit Public Schools' bond offering.

But Josh Gonze says "not so fast!" He is a municipal bond portfolio manager who thinks the Detroit Public Schools bond offering tomorrow has something to offer an investor.

Josh Gonze is with Thornberg Investment Management based in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
5:31 pm
Mon August 19, 2013

'Canoeing Michigan Rivers' gets an update

The case involved a potential discharge into the AuSable River. The Michigan Supreme Court has limited the ability to sue the state over environmental permits.
wikimedia commons

An interview with author Jerry Dennis.

When you talk about the outdoor offerings of Pure Michigan, you just cannot overlook her rivers.

For every person who can’t wait to get to the lake, put in the boat and go sailing or water skiing, there’s someone else who can’t wait to get to the river and put that paddle into the water. Some of Cynthia Canty’s best memories of Michigan summers were the days she spent canoeing along the Manistee River, thanks to the little cottage her family had right along the river’s banks, not too far from Kalkaska.

The “bible” for Michigan paddlers is, without a doubt, the book “Canoeing Michigan Rivers” by Jerry Dennis and Craig Date. It was first published in 1986. 

Now they’ve released the updated edition of “Canoeing Michigan Rivers.”

Jerry Dennis joined us today from Traverse City.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
5:28 pm
Mon August 19, 2013

Crain's Detroit releases list of Michigan's 100 most innovative companies

user penywise morgueFile

An interview with Chad Holcom, a reporter for Crain's Detroit.

There's been a lot of talk in the years after the Great Recession about revitalizing Michigan - trying to get away from the 20th century economic model - trying to move the state, its residents, and its jobs - to the 21st century and beyond. And it's fair to say that many would agree that "innovation" is a vital part of moving the state's economy forward.

Crain's Detroit business has released a list of the 100 most innovative companies in Michigan. They're calling it the Michigan Innovative Index.

Read more
Politics & Culture
5:25 pm
Mon August 19, 2013

Stateside for Monday, August 19th, 2013

"Innovation" - it's what many say Michigan needs to become a player in the global economy. On today's show, we took a look at the most-innovative companies in our state. What are they doing differently in a post-Great-Recession economy?

And, we traveled to Muskegon - a community that continues to be plagued by gun violence. Dustin Dwyer of Michigan Radio's State of Opportunity project reported on a gun battle that happened last month.

And, the Detroit Public Schools bond offering is tomorrow. Why should investors be interested?

Also, the guide to canoeing Michigan’s rivers just got an update. We spoke with one of the authors about the new edition.

First on the show, donations to Governor Snyder’s civic fund decreased last year by a lot. The 501 c-4 known as The New Energy to Reinvent and Diversity Fund – or “NERD Fund” for short – received $1.3 million in 2011, but in 2012 , the number was $368,000.

As Jonathan Oosting, a reporter for MLive.com, reports, “the NERD fund earns tax-exempt status by purporting to promote charitable causes including lessening the financial burdens of government in the state of Michigan.”

Jonathan Oosting joined us today.

Stateside
5:10 pm
Thu August 15, 2013

Time is running out for the federal Farm Bill

A farm in rural Michigan
user acrylicartist MorgueFile.com

An interview with Ryan Findlay and David Schweikhardt.

2013 has become the year America focuses on its farms.

That's because the federal Farm Bill expires at the end of September and the House and Senate are trying to get a new bill passed.

But getting that done has become one of the great legislative challenges of the year.

The House and Senate have each passed their versions and the differences between the two are big.

For one thing, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program has been stripped right out of the House version, while the Senate version calls for cutting about $4 billion from nutrition assistance.

And, what are the differences in the two Farm Bills that really hit home for the farmers of Michigan?

Read more
Stateside
5:05 pm
Thu August 15, 2013

Kevyn Orr apologizes for calling Detroit 'dumb, lazy, happy and rich'

mich.gov Michigan Government

An interview with Daniel Howes.

There's been an apology from Detroit's Emergency Manager for those now-infamous comments made in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. That's where Kevyn Orr described Detroit in these words: "For a long time the city was dumb, lazy, happy and rich."

Speaking to WXYZ-TV reporters, Orr offered up a mea culpa:

"In my wildest dreams I never would have thought that would have been interpreted as an insult. I also perhaps was not as in tune as I should have been to the fact that I said that a week before an election. Not a particularly smart thing to do. I was being dumb in that sense." 

What effect will those words and the apology have on Orr's ability to work with Detroit leaders and citizens? And was there a point to what he was trying to say to the Wall Street Journal?

Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
5:02 pm
Thu August 15, 2013

Dearborn puts limits on what a garage can be

Flickr user carywaynepeterson Flickr

An interview with Jeff Karoub of the Associated Press.

There's been a new development in the debate over garages in Dearborn.

You may recall some residents in Dearborn have been using their garages as gathering spaces, some equipped with sliding glass doors, couches, refrigerators, water pipes, and TVs. This has been especially popular with Dearborn's large Arab community.

This week, the Dearborn Planning Commission approved changes in rules governing the way Dearbornites may use their garages, and there are those in the Arab community who feel these rule changes are a direct slap at them.

Jeff Karoub has been covering this debate for the Associated Press and he joined us today from Detroit.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
5:02 pm
Thu August 15, 2013

Latest Michigan Public Policy Survey shows 54% think the state's headed in the right direction

Tom Ivacko
Twitter

An interview with Tom Ivacko of the Ford School's Center for Local, State and Urban Policy.

When it comes to "performance reviews" for politicians, the Big One is the one they face at the ballot box.

For Governor Rick Snyder and state lawmakers, that performance review comes up in November 2014.

But in the interim, the latest Michigan Public Policy Survey gives us all something to chew on. This one looks at how local officials view the job Governor Snyder and the State Legislature are doing.

The survey is done by the team at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan.

Tom Ivacko is with the Ford School's Center for Local, State and Urban Policy. He joined us today to discuss the results.

Listen to the full interview above.

Politics & Culture
5:00 pm
Thu August 15, 2013

Stateside for Thursday, August 15th, 2013

Billions and billions of federal dollars, hundreds of different policies, all rest in the U.S. Farm Bill. With very little bipartisanship in Washington these days, it's not too surprising that it's taken so long for Congress to make a deal on the legislation. But, time is running out. Why can’t the 2013 Farm Bill just get done and what does it means for the Michigan and U.S. economies?

And, we took a temperature-check. Just how do local officials think the state Legislature is doing?

Also, the Dearborn Planning Commission approved changes in rules governing the way residents may use their garages, but some people in the Arab community feel the changes are a direct slap at them.

First on the show, there's been an apology from Detroit's emergency manager for those now-infamous comments made in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. That's where Kevyn Orr described Detroit in these words: "For a long time the city was dumb, lazy, happy and rich."

Orr offered up a mea culpa in an interview with WXYZ-TV.

What effect will those words and the apology have on Orr's ability to work with Detroit leaders and citizens?

Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes joined us today.

Stateside
5:13 pm
Wed August 14, 2013

What happened in the 2003 blackout and could it happen again?

Maggie Koerth-Baker
Twitter

An interview with Maggie Koerth-Baker, a science columnist for the New York Times Magazine, the science editor at BoingBoing.net, and the author of "Before the Lights Go Out."

Where were you ten years ago when the power died?

That's what many of us in the Midwest are asking each other today.

It was ten years ago this day when the largest blackout in North America left 55 million people in 8 states and Canada in the dark.

The cost of the Blackout of 2003? Anywhere from $4-10 billion.

What changes have been made to the grid in that decade? Could a blackout like that happen again?

Maggie Koerth-Baker is a science columnist for the New York Times Magazine, the science editor at BoingBoing.net, and the author of "Before the Lights Go Out."

She joined us today from Minneapolis. 

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
5:12 pm
Wed August 14, 2013

Michigan's tough sentencing guidelines may need to be reformed

The average Michigan inmate serves 4.3 years.
Flickr user Still Burning Creative Commons

An interview with Anne Yantuss and Russ Marlan.

It was 1998 when Michigan's lawmakers voted to approve tougher "lock 'em up policies."

Some may argue whether that made Michigan any safer, but one thing cannot be argued: Michigan leads the nation in average time served by inmates: 4.3 years. That's 48% higher than the national average of 2.9 years. That's according to a 2012 national study by the Pew Charitable Trusts.

And these tough sentencing guidelines are exacting a cost from the state's collective "wallet." Michigan's corrections budget currently exceeds $2 billion.

The state sentencing guidelines have not been reviewed for 15 years.

In response, the Michigan Law Review Commission has launched a bipartisan review to figure out just where Michigan stands when compared to the rest of the nation, and where reform might be needed.

Read more
Stateside
5:06 pm
Wed August 14, 2013

The Red Wings are getting a new arena, but is this what Detroit needs?

Olympia Stadium was the original home of the Red Wings.
Library of Congress wikimedia commons

An interview with Marvin Surkin, a specialist in comparative urban politics.

The irony was certainly not lost on many when just about the time the city of Detroit filed for bankruptcy protection Governor Snyder gave the green light to a new arena for the Detroit Red Wings, an arena to be located just immediately north of downtown.

Plans are calling for an 18,000 seat state of the art arena and accompanying entertainment district. It’ll be funded with a mix of $365.5 million in private investment and an estimated public investment of $284 million.

The Detroit Economic Growth Corporation is predicting the new Wings arena and mixed use district could create about 8,300 jobs and it predicts a statewide economic impact of $1.8 billion.

Marvin Surkin would like to challenge the statement that a new sports arena can energize a financially depleted city and boost its morale. He is a specialist in comparative urban politics and co-author of the book "Detroit: I Do Mind Dying." He joined us today from New York City.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
5:04 pm
Wed August 14, 2013

West Michigan women's softball team still has some of its original members 40 years later

Flickr user tinatruelove flickr

An interview with Lynn Schweibert and her daughter Leslie Reimink about their softball team.

What comes to mind when you think about women playing baseball?

You might think of Tom Hanks yelling “There’s no crying in baseball!” in the 1992 film "A League of their Own."

Well there is a women’s softball team in West Michigan that would be more than happy to show that they don’t cry and they can play. Some of them have been on the team together for more than 40 years.

Joining us now is Lynn Schweibert. She has been playing on the same team in West Michigan with three other women for the past four decades. Her daughter Leslie Reimink also plays on the team. They joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Politics & Culture
5:02 pm
Wed August 14, 2013

Stateside for Wednesday, August 14th, 2013

According to new data, prisoners in Michigan serve longer sentences than in any other state. That's on top of the fact that Michigan has not reviewed its sentencing guidelines for 15 years. On today’s show, we dug deeper into what's behind prison sentences.

And, as Detroit faces bankruptcy, a deal has been struck to build a new sports arena in the city's downtown. We found out if that's really what Detroit needs right now.

Also, there’s a softball team in West Michigan with some members that have been playing together for four decades. We spoke with two women from the team.

First on the show, where were you ten years ago when the power died?

That's what many of us in the Midwest are asking each other today.

It was ten years ago this day when the largest blackout in North America left 55 million people in 8 states and Canada in the dark.

The cost of the Blackout of 2003? Anywhere from $4-10 billion.

What changes have been made to the grid in that decade? Could a blackout like that happen again?

Maggie Koerth-Bakeris a science columnist for the New York Times Magazine, the science editor at BoingBoing.net, and the author of Before the Lights Go Out.

She joined us today Minneapolis.

Stateside
5:30 pm
Tue August 13, 2013

How should Michigan teachers be evaluated?

The Highland Park school district is almost out of cash. The state is working on a solution to keep kids in school.
user alkruse24 Flickr

An interview with Jake Neher.

There are several complicated questions surrounding teacher evaluations in Michigan. Should there be a state standard for evaluating teachers? What should that evaluation encompass? Should teacher pay be pegged to the evaluation, the pay for performance system?

The Michigan council for educator effectiveness spent nearly 2 years and $6 million on a pilot program in 13 districts, and they’ve now come out with a recommendation for a new statewide teacher evaluation tool.

Jake Neher is the Lansing reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He joined us in the studio today to discuss the issue.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
5:29 pm
Tue August 13, 2013

Grand Rapids man swims across Lake St. Clair pulling a ton of bricks

Jim Dreyer's Facebook page Facebook

An interview with Jim Dreyer about his swimming feats.

Forget those sharks we’re hearing about off of Cape Cod.

We’ve had a shark of our own swimming in the Great Lakes. And he just crossed Lake St. Clair, swimming 22 miles, all alone, while pulling two inflatable boats carrying a ton of bricks.

Jim Dreyer of Grand Rapids calls himself “The Shark.” And, when you look back over his extreme endurance feats, you’ll agree: he’s earned the right to call himself just about anything he pleases. Jim has set records swimming across all five of the Great Lakes, distance records, speed records. All of this from a guy who says he had to overcome a deep-seated fear of water.

Jim Dreyer joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

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