Stateside

Economy
4:52 pm
Mon March 10, 2014

Benton Harbor's financial emergency ends

Benton Harbor's financial emergency is over, according to Governor Rick Snyder.
Google Maps

Gov. Rick Snyder says Benton Harbor's financial emergency is over.

It's been four years since the state appointed an emergency manager to run the city's finances. 

Snyder attributes Benton Harbor's success, in part, to the new emergency manager law he signed after voters repealed a former version. The law gives managers broad powers to fix the finances of the cities and school districts. 

Snyder also gives Benton Harbor's most recent emergency manager credit for building trust in the community.

Listen to the audio above.  

Arts & Culture
4:45 pm
Mon March 10, 2014

The Living Room: Identity and acceptance in West Michigan's LGBT community

Rachel Gleason

Everybody’s got a story.  Some are very extraordinary stories.  It might be a good for somebody to look into theirs, because a story is the shortest distance between two people.

The Living Room is our ongoing storytelling series, curated by Allison Downey.

This story is the first in our series about identity and acceptance in West Michigan’s LGBT community.

Rachel Gleason spent much of youth at her church; worshipping, studying, singing, babysitting.

The church was her life.

But that began to change when Rachel started to understand who she really was.

*Listen to Rachel’s story above.

Allison Downey curates stories for our ongoing series The Living Room. This story was produced by Zak Rosen. Support was provided by a Kalamazoo Community Foundation grant from the Fetzer Institute Fund.

Stateside
4:45 pm
Mon March 10, 2014

An update on where we are with emergency road funding

Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

As we gingerly pick our way through Michigan's pothole-ridden and crumbling roads, state lawmakers are hashing out just how much money to spend on fixing the state's roads and highways.

Chris Gautz, the Capitol correspondent for Crain's Detroit Business, gave us an update.

*Listen to our interview above.

Education
2:08 pm
Mon March 10, 2014

Proposed changes to special education in Michigan worry parents

Alterations to special education rules could drastically change school life for special ed students.
user frank juarez Flickr

Stateside interview with Marcie Lipsitt, founder of the Michigan Alliance for Special Education.

Proposed changes to special education rules in Michigan are causing alarm and concern for some parents.

You can read about the proposed changes here.

Marcie Lipsitt is the founder of the Michigan Alliance for Special Education, a grassroots organization that advocates for special education students. 

The proposed rule revisions would be "catastrophic," according to Lipsitt.

*You can listen to her thoughts above.

Stateside
4:53 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

The lessons Detroit can learn from the rebuilding in New Orleans

New Orleans
Ron Reiring Flickr

When Hurricane Katrina slammed into New Orleans on August 29, 2005, we here in Michigan – along with the rest of America – watched in horror and shock. The scenes from New Orleans were practically beyond comprehension.

It's been eight and a half years since Katrina. New Orleans is still rebuilding and still recovering.

And, in the process, lessons have been learned that might benefit Detroit as it struggles back from bankruptcy and years of shrinking resources and population.

Writer Campbell Robertson's recent piece in the New York Times, A Lesson for Detroit in Efforts to Aid a New Orleans Devastated By Katrina, gives Detroiters and decision-makers much food for thought.

Robertson joined us today.

*Listen to the audio above.

Stateside
4:52 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Small business owner is sick over the Affordable Care Act

Jeff Emerson, president of American Gear & Engineering Inc., in 2010 at a press conference with then-Gov. Jennifer Granholm.
YouTube screenshot

There is little question that the Affordable Care Act is a game-changer for Americans who had jobs where no insurance was available from their employer, or who had pre-existing conditions, or whose incomes did not qualify them for Medicaid, or who could not afford to buy health coverage.

But as the health care picture brightens for these Americans, there are others who are, frankly, sick of the ACA and the upheaval it has brought to their lives.

Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes took a look at what the ACA has meant for a typical small Michigan business.

Howes joined us today and we asked him to tell us about American Gear & Engineering. It’s the company he profiled in today's column of the Detroit News.

Stateside
4:48 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Amtrak is offering free rides to writers

wikimedia commons

There's quite an excited buzz happening among the ranks of writers.

Amtrak is putting together a "writers' residency" program – free, or-nearly free – train rides to writers.

You write while you're chugging along the tracks, send out a few tweets about your travels and let Amtrak interview you for their blog at the end of your trip.

Today, we found out how this came about, how it might work, and who might be eligible.

Our "resident expert" in all things Amtrak, Adie Tomer of the Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program, joined us today.

– Listen to the audio above.

Politics & Culture
4:46 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Stateside for Thursday, March 6, 2014

What can Detroit learn from the city’s efforts to rebuild strategically post-Katrina?

Also on today’s show, we spoke with Daniel Howes who looked at what the Affordable Care Act has meant for one small Michigan business-owner.

But first on the show, we talked about “juvenile lifers” in Michigan.

Life without parole used to be the automatic sentence for juveniles who were tried as adults and convicted of first-degree murder.

That was until 2012, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that automatic life without parole for juveniles was unconstitutional.

But a question remains: What happens to the more than 350 juvenile lifers here in Michigan who were sent to prison before the decision?

The Michigan Supreme Court heard arguments on that question today, and Rick Pluta, Michigan Public Radio Network Lansing Bureau Chief ,was in the courtroom. We checked in with Rick.

Stateside
4:34 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Mom shares the story of her failure – trying to 'do it all'

Ellie Rogers.
Failure:Lab YouTube

It was Bill Gates who declared,"It's fine to celebrate success, but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure."

And it's good to realize that we all fail at times. It's just that most of us try to cover that up, or, at the very least, we don't broadcast our failures.

But that’s not how it works at Failure:Lab.

It’s a program designed to get us thinking about the meaning of failure – to realize that failure happens to everyone and to inspire us to take intelligent risks.

You can see our past Failure:Lab posts here.

Today, we hear about Ellie Rogers’ failure.

She works for leading furniture maker Herman Miller. She has an eight-year-old daughter, Campbell, and has found personal struggles to be overwhelming at times.

This is the story that Ellie shared at Failure:Lab Grand Rapids on May 23, 2013 at Wealthy Theatre.

Check it out below, or at this link.

Politics & Culture
4:12 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

Stateside for Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The sales of electric vehicles are growing at a steady pace, and now EVs are selling at a faster rate than hybrids.

Electric car-charging stations are popping up across the country's highways and in the cities. Is it a fad, a trend, or a major shift for the car industry? We'll explore that on today's show.

Also, more than half of Detroit’s students are now enrolled in charter schools – and those traditional schools are struggling to keep their doors open. With so many charter schools in Detroit, how do we know the smarter choice?  

But first on the show, when it comes to funding for higher education, it's hard to believe that in 2000, all but three of the 50 states contributed more per college student than each student paid.

That came to a screeching halt in Michigan, starting with deep cuts to higher education funding by the Granholm administration. The cuts picked up steam as the economy worsened.

Today, Michigan is among the many states to shift the burden of paying for a college education onto students. We now rank 40th in per-student higher education spending.

Brian Smith joined us today. He wrote about this for MLive.

Stateside
4:12 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

With so many charter schools in Detroit, how do we know the smarter choice?

Cup with pencils
user jdurham morguefile

It's no secret that Detroit schools have been failing their students for a long time.

In 2009 Detroit's public schools racked up the worst scores in the history of the National Assessment of Educational Progress test, and the scores haven't really improved since then.

Charter schools were launched to offer Detroit parents a choice. But my next guest believes the unregulated environment for charter schools has wound up hurting the kids who most need help and a sound education.

Robin Lake is director of the Center on Reinventing Public Education at the University of Washington in Seattle.  She recently visited Detroit and came away with some unsettling views of the condition of Detroit's charter schools.

Stateside
4:12 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

What will it mean for the Great Lakes once spring finally gets here and that ice melts?

Michigan was clobbered by snow and ice storms in January and February.
Mark Brush Michigan Radio

As our long, cold, snowy winter has dragged on, one result can be seen with stunning clarity from outer space. Satellite photos prove that the Great Lakes are nearly totally covered with ice, and we're close to setting a record for the most ice cover in 34 years.

We wondered if we might break that record, and we wondered what this will mean for the Great Lakes once spring finally gets here and that ice melts.

Alan Steinman, director of the Annis Water Resources Institute at Grand Valley State University joined us today.

Stateside
6:23 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

Why ticket scalping may soon be legal in Michigan

Michigan lawmakers appear to be on their way to handing you a much better chance of selling a ticket for a sports or entertainment event at whatever price you can get.

The state House has voted to repeal a 1931 law and allow people to resell tickets above face value. In other words, it voted to legalize ticket scalping.

Here to tell us more is Dave Eggert, Lansing correspondent for the Associated Press.

Stateside
6:13 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

Flint mayor Dayne Walling talks 'state of the city'

Dayne Walling.
Facebook

  

Today we looked at Flint Mayor Dayne Walling’s annual state of the city speech. He gave his speech yesterday and we got him on the phone today.

*Listen to the interview above.

Politics & Culture
5:59 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

Stateside for Tuesday, March 4, 2014

When you look at the gridlock in Washington D.C., the red-blue state stereotypes, and cable TV, it's easy to conclude that we are a very divided nation, but what happens when you actually use science to determine whether or not we are, indeed, divided?

We'll ask that question today, and the answer might surprise you.

Also on today's show, we'll speak with an artist who has traveled to every county in Michigan. He photographed the state's thousands of barns.

And we'll find out why ticket scalping might soon be legal in Michigan.

But first we look at Flint Mayor Dayne Walling’s annual state of the city speech. He gave his speech yesterday and we called him today.

Stateside
5:38 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

Experts say programs for veterans' mental health aren't working

John M. Cropper Flickr

Let's continue our look at military veterans in Michigan. Yesterday on the show, we talked about the disconnect between saying that we want to help veterans and actually putting policy into place that does that.

Today, we turned our focus to mental health.

Data from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs estimates about 22 vets a day are committing suicide.

And it's estimated one in five veterans of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

There are dozens of programs the military has set up to help treat the mental illnesses and troubles vets are suffering.

But a panel of experts studied programs from the U.S. Department of Defense and came to a very unsettling conclusion: There is no evidence these programs actually work.

The report shows the programs were not created from evidence-based research, and do not have an evaluation process to see if they are effective or not.

Kenneth Warner chaired the research panel. He's also in the Department of Health Management and Policy in the School of Public Health at the University of Michigan.

*Listen to the interview above.

Stateside
5:27 pm
Mon March 3, 2014

Michigan legislators pondering speed limit increase

A Ford C-Max in a neighborhood.
Ford Motor Company

What matters more to you: Being able to drive faster, or being able to walk or ride your bike without dodging a speeding car?

That's how the battle lines are forming over a package of bills soon to be introduced in the state Legislature. It would allow the state to give drivers more leeway to put the pedal to the metal.

Tim Fischer is with the Transportation for Michigan coalition and the Michigan Environmental Council and he joined us today.

*Listen to our interview above.

Stateside
5:20 pm
Mon March 3, 2014

Michigan is last when it comes to per-capita spending for veterans

Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

There is no shortage of attention showered upon our veterans. A true bipartisan show of support happened during the State of the Union speech, when President Obama singled out wounded Army Ranger Cory Remsburg for a standing ovation.

We stand up to offer ovations, we wave flags, we cheer our vets, but what are we really offering them in terms of support?

When it comes to per-capita spending for veterans, Michigan is last in the nation.

What should we be doing for the 700,000 military veterans who call Michigan home?

Kristin Hass joined us today. She’s the American Culture Director of Graduate Studies at the University of Michigan. And she’s the author of "Sacrificing Soldiers: New War Memorials on the National Mall."

*Listen to our interview above.

Stateside
5:16 pm
Mon March 3, 2014

Help is on the way for Michigan's fragile honeybee population

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honey_bee

This winter has been especially tough for the already-fragile population of Michigan honeybees.

Beekeepers are coping with a nearly decade-long decline in commercial honeybees and their wild cousins. It's called "colony collapse disorder".

Now comes the unrelenting cold of this record-setting winter, and beekeepers in Michigan and other states are reporting staggering losses that could endanger crop production all over the nation.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced it's spending $3 million on a new program to help honeybees. 

Let's find out why this is so crucial and what it means for Michigan's farmers and beekeepers.

Mike Hansen is the State Apiarist with Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Politics & Culture
5:12 pm
Mon March 3, 2014

Stateside for Monday, March 3, 2014

Military veterans don't have it easy. We often say we want to help, but Michigan ranks last in the nation when it comes to per-capita spending on our veterans. On today's show: Why the disconnect between what we say about veterans and what we actually do?

And, then, it's not only us – you know, humans – are dealing with this crazy winter weather. This season has been especially bad for an already fragile population in our state. We'll check in on our honey bees and what their livelihood means for Michigan crops this spring and summer.

There are fewer Michigan school districts running into the red this year, and even more are projected to work their way out of budget deficits by the end of the school year.

But peel away the top layer and it's not all good news. MLive Capitol reporter Jonathon Oosting joined us to explain why.

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