Stateside

Politics & Government
1:06 pm
Fri May 17, 2013

Update on Flint native imprisoned in Iran: sister meets with Swiss ambassador

Courtesy: Free Amir Freeamir.org

Although Amir Hekmati remains in police custody in Tehran, the most recent updates on the case provide some hope.

Since Michigan Radio’s Stateside report this past Wednesday, Amir Hekmati's sister, Sarah, met with the Swiss ambassador to Tehran. The United States has not had diplomatic relations with Iran since 1980.

According to a MLive report by Blake Thorne, Sarah Hekmati said on Thursday that the Swiss ambassador indicated that Iranian officials may revisit Hekmati’s case. Sarah elaborated:

"She felt like the fact that he went from a death sentence to now an open-ended case was good news."

At the meeting, Sarah gave the ambassador letters and books that she hopes can be delivered to her brother.

Two years ago, Amir Hekmati was accused of spying for the CIA on a visit to Iran to see his grandmother.

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Stateside
5:40 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

'Gilda's Big Night Out' to raise money for cancer support groups

Gilda Radner in the first cast of SNL
user: anyjazz65 Flickr

Gilda's Club is an organization that consists of groups across the country which provide laughter and support to cancer patients.

The organization is named after Gilda Radner. She was one of the brightest faces in comedy. The University of Michigan alum was in the original cast of Saturday Night Live. She passed away from ovarian cancer in 1989. 

One of her close friends and partner in comedy, Allen Zweibel, spoke with Michigan Radio's Cynthia Canty about Radner.

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Stateside
5:38 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

The Living Room: Memories from a high school dance

Looking good on prom night.
Aaron Alexander Flickr

In May's segment of The Living Room, Allison Downey tells the story of a high school dance she went to that ended a little differently than she expected. 

The Living Room is a monthly series produced by Zak Rosen and Allison Downey. 

In today's segment, we hear Allison's song 'All that Matters.'

It was produced & engineered by Michael Crittenden at Mackinaw Harvest Studios in Grand Rapids

John Austin: Electric bass

Rod Capps: Lead guitar

Brian Morril: Percussion

Annie Capps: Harmony vocals

Allison: Lead vocals and rhythm guitar

To hear the story, click the link above.

Politics & Culture
5:35 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

Stateside for Thursday, May 16th, 2013

Democrats in the state House have introduced a range of measures addressing women's health in Michigan. We talked to a state Representative about why she thinks it is time government gets involved in female health.

And, a fight over American Indian-themed school mascots could result in a $3 million budget cut for the Michigan Department of Civil Rights.

And, the Community Chorus of Detroit has been working hard on its mission to build and strengthen ties is Southeastern Michigan through song.

Also, the former bomber plant in Willow Run could become the new home of the Yankee Air Museum.

And, as prom-season is upon us, Michigan singer/songwriter Allison Downey of The Living Room brought us her memory of the big dance, a prom night that didn't quite go to plan.

First on today’s show, a subject that most of us would just as soon not spend much time thinking about but it is crucial to our health and well-being: septic fields.

Writer Jeff Alexander took a closer look at failed septic fields and the ways they're polluting our precious water, and his reporting is in the current issue of Bridge Magazine.

Jeff joined us from Grand Haven to discuss the issue.

Stateside
5:33 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

10 percent of Michigan's septic fields stink: 130,000 of them failed

Septic systems in Michigan don't adhere to uniform standards
user: Soil Science Flickr

An interview with Jeff Alexander.

You're about to read something you might not want to spend much time thinking about, but that doesn't mean it's not important. 

That subject is septic fields. Of the 1.3 million wastewater treatment systems in Michigan, nearly 10 percent have failed. That's about 130,000 systems. 

With thousands of failing septic systems throughout the state, what's that doing to our water?

Michigan is the only state in the Union that doesn't have uniform standards governing how on-site sewage treatment systems should be designed, built, installed and maintained. 

Jeff Alexander recently examined the state of Michigan's septic fields in an article featured in Bridge Magazine

Michigan Radio's Cynthia Canty spoke with Alexander about what scientists at Michigan State are finding.

For those unsavory details and more, click the audio link above.  

Stateside
5:30 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

National Women's Health Week gives focus to Michigan Legislature

Marcia Hovey-Wright spoke about about women's health bills and proposals
electmarcia.com

An interview with Democratic Representative Marcia Hovey.

This is National Women's Health week. Democrats have unveiled a package of bills and resolutions to address a wide range of women's health issues.

The three resolutions and four bills include proposals that would explain and offer emergency contraception to rape victims, offer age-appropriate sex education in public schools, and require doctors to give women detailed information on their breast density, which is important in mammography results.

Michigan Radio's Cynthia Canty spoke with Marcia Hovey-Wright,  a Democratic Representative for the 92nd District in Muskegon County.

To hear the full audio, click the link above. 

Stateside
3:09 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

Willow Run Bomber Plant could be a new home for the Yankee Air Museum

The Wilow Run Factory was built in five months, and at the height of production during WWII, it was producing one B-24 bomber every hour.
U.S. Army Signal Corps

An interview with Dennis Norton and Ray Hunter from the Yankee Air Museum.

When you think about what it took for the United States and our Allies to win World War II, it wasn't just up to the troops fighting in Europe and the Pacific, the war was waged on the home front as well.

And a big chunk of real estate in Ypsilanti was one of the most important spots in the nation for that war effort: the Willow Run Bomber Plant.

It was built by the Ford Motor Company to turn out B-24 Liberator bombers.

At the peak of its war effort, Willow Run turned out one Liberator bomber every 59 minutes. And 42,000 workers kept those bombers coming, earning the plant its nickname of "The Arsenal of Democracy."

Willow Run was also where Rose Will Monroe hired on to work as a riveter. She appeared in a film aimed at getting women out of the home and into the plants to help the war effort, and that led to the iconic “Rosie the Riveter” image and hit song.

These days, the future of Willow Run is cloudy.

It had been a GM plant, but Willow Run was discarded by GM during its bankruptcy woes in 2009.

Now, the Yankee Air Museum is hoping to buy a good-sized piece of the historic plant for a new home, thus saving the plant from the wrecker's ball and helping grow the museum.

Dennis Norton, founder of the Yankee Air Museum, and Ray Hunter, the current Chair of the Museum as well as a pilot and former Air Force colonel, joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
3:04 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

Delivering choral music to Metro Detroit

The Community Chorus of Detroit
Facebook

An interview with The Community Chorus of Detroit’s Executive Director and Board President, Diane Linn and the Artistic Director and Conductor, Dr. Edward Maki-Schramm.

Building and strengthening ties all throughout Southeastern Michigan one song at a time - that's the mission of the Community Chorus of Detroit.

It has only been on the scene since 2010, but in that comparatively short time the chorus has attracted singers from over 35 zip codes. They converge on Detroit to bring choral music to audiences in that area.

The Community Chorus of Detroit’s Executive Director and Board President, Diane Linn and the Artistic Director and Conductor, Dr. Edward Maki-Schramm joined us in the studio.

Follow the link below to listen to two samples of their music.

http://www.communitychorusofdetroit.com/audio-video

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
5:18 pm
Wed May 15, 2013

'Folktales and Lore' hail from all corners of the Great Lakes

Campfires are a great place to tell Michigan ghost stories
user: joshua_schnable Flickr

An interview with author Sheryl James.

When you dive into the treasure trove of stories from our state, you'll find a rich collection from many traditions: Native American, French, English, Finnish, and more. 

The folktales, legends, and lore of Michigan can now be found in one book: Michigan Legends: Folktales and Lore from the Great Lakes State by Sheryl James. 

James's book includes tales about  haunted Fort Wayne, Paul Bunyan, and the Western Reserve Ghost, to name a few.

To hear more about the stories, click the link above.

Stateside
5:12 pm
Wed May 15, 2013

Fatal plane crash survivors appear in 'Sole Survivor'

Documentary features survivors of fatal plane crashes
Andrey Belenko Flickr

An interview with director Ky Dickens.

If you lived in Michigan in the summer of 1987, you might remember one news story that was set apart from the others. 

It was the evening of August 16 when Northwest flight 255 took off from Detroit Metro Airport, headed to Phoenix. Moments after the plane took off, the MD-80 tilted slightly -- enough for the left wing to clip a light pole, shear the top off of a rental car building, and crash where Middlebelt meets I-94. 

154 people aboard the plane and two on the ground were killed. But there was one survivor: four-year-old Cecilia Cichan. 

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Politics & Culture
4:56 pm
Wed May 15, 2013

Stateside for Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

Budget officials in Lansing met today to take a look at the state's finances.

On today's show, we have an update on the state's proverbial bank account and what it means for you.

And, then, if you were living in Michigan in the summer of 1987 - you probably haven't forgotten the story.

The crash of Northwest Flight 255, after taking off from Detroit Metro Airport, killing two people on the ground and everyone on-board that flight but a four-year old girl.

Now, a new film takes a look at that little girl 25 years later. We spoke with the director of that film.

First on today's show, we talked with a family member of Amir Hekmati. It’s been nearly two years since the young Iranian-American man from Flint was arrested by authorities in Teheran.

Amir Hekmati had traveled to Iran to visit his grandmother. He was seized and thrown into prison accused of being a spy for the CIA.

He was sentenced to death, although an appellate court later overturned that sentence because there wasn't enough evidence.

But that hasn't resulted in freedom for Amir Hekmati, and his family continues to work tirelessly to press his cause with the State Department and elsewhere.

Amir's sister, Sarah Hekmati, joined us from Washington D.C. today.

Stateside
4:04 pm
Wed May 15, 2013

Farmer's markets may soon offer a new attraction: wine tasting

Vineyard in Leelanau County
user farlane flickr

An interview with Dan McCole, an assistant professor of tourism at Michigan State University.

If you like to frequent farmer's markets, you may soon have something new to explore amidst the stands of fresh produce, baked goods, jams and jellies, flowers and plants.

A bill moving through Lansing would allow wine tasting at farmer's markets.

What's this mean for Michigan wineries? Who gets to offer their wines for tastings at farmer's markets? And what's it mean for consumers?

Dan McCole, an assistant professor of tourism at Michigan State University, joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
3:38 pm
Wed May 15, 2013

Estimating the state of Michigan's proverbial bank account

Talking money at the State Capitol in Lansing.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

An interview with Chris Gautz.

Chris Gautz, the Capitol Correspondent for Crains Detroit Business, spent hours this morning at the Capitol where the state’s Revenue Estimating Conference took place.

That's where lawmakers, budget officials, and economists come together to make their best educated guess about the future of the state’s economy, and check-in, basically, on the state’s finances.

Political observers, and "political nerds" (like our Executive Producer Zoe Clark), love these meetings.

For others, however, it’s hard to get super excited about hours of numbers, finances, and "economist-speak."

Chris Gautz joined us today in the studio.

Listen to the full interview above.

Politics & Government
2:03 pm
Wed May 15, 2013

After 20 months of no contact, Flint native imprisoned in Iran communicates with family

Amir Hekmati has been in Iranian prison for two years.
Courtesy: Free Amir Freeamir.org

626 days and counting. That’s how long a young Iranian-American man from Flint has been in police custody in Tehran.

Two years ago, Amir Hekmati traveled to Iran to visit his grandmother. Iranian officials accused Hekmati of spying for the CIA, seizing the ex-Marine and throwing him into prison.

In January 2012, Hekmati was sentenced to death for his alleged conspiring with the U.S. government.

Later, the Iranian Supreme Court overturned his sentence, but Hekmati is still waiting in prison for a retrial — with no apparent end in sight.

But Hekmati’s family, based in Michigan, hasn’t stopped fighting for Amir’s release.

Since his arrest in 2011, Amir’s family has posted pictures in Times Square, hosted art exhibitions in Detroit, and urged state officials in Washington to move on the case.

“We’re not getting a lot of movement from Iran,” Amir’s sister Sarah Hekmati told us on Stateside. “But we’re trying to raise awareness of the situation.”

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Stateside
4:58 pm
Tue May 14, 2013

What's next for Detroit Mayor Dave Bing?

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing.
Kate Davidson Michigan Radio

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing announced this afternoon that he will not run for re-election. 

But before he made the announcement, he spent nearly 20 minutes outlining his previous successes. 

He concluded his speech with the mention of exploring "other options, including the office of Wayne County Exec."

Michigan Radio's Cynthia Canty spoke with Nancy Kaffer, an editorial writer for the Detroit Free Press.

To hear Kaffer's thoughts, click the link above.

Stateside
4:57 pm
Tue May 14, 2013

Disturbing statistics about infant mortality reflect Michigan's health disparities

Infant mortality for children of black mothers is high
user: sbat65 Flickr

Too many babies are dying in Michigan. 

That’s not speculation – that’s based on some disturbing statistics. And even now, in 2013, those statistics say that a baby’s chance of living past his or her first birthday can largely depend on the color of the baby’s skin. 

In Michigan, the infant mortality rate has been persistently higher than the national average.

More specifically, a baby born to a black mother is almost three times more likely to die before its first birthday than a baby born to a white mother. 

Michigan Radio's Dustin Dwyer reported in August about Michigan's infant mortality disparity for State of Opportunity:

Using a three-year moving average for Michigan’s mortality rate for African-American babies, we would be behind every advanced nation, tucked between countries like Malaysia and Syria. 

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Stateside
4:56 pm
Tue May 14, 2013

Can American politics learn something from religion?

Jim Wallis on religion as a solution to the nation's political divide
Howard Books

An interview with Jim Wallis.

One of the most frustrating aspects of living in American in 2013 is the way we seem to have lost a sense of being on the same team. 

Instead of thinking of ourselves as Americans or Michiganders, it's all too often Democrats or Republicans, Christian, or Muslim. 

This deep sense of division leads to gridlock in Congress and in Lansing. 

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Stateside
4:54 pm
Tue May 14, 2013

The latest on the leak at Palisades Nuclear Power Plant

Palisades Nuclear Power Plant is on Lake Michigan south of South Haven.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

An update on the Palisades Nuclear Power Plant.

In West Michigan, crews are continuing to try and figure out what caused the release of slightly radioactive water from the Palisades Nuclear Power Plant in southwest Michigan.

The plant was shut down a little over a week ago because of the leak, and crews say they have discovered a new crack in a water tank that's been leaking on and off for at least two years.

Michigan Radio's West Michigan reporter Lindsey Smith joined us today to talk about

Listen to the full interview above.

Politics & Culture
4:52 pm
Tue May 14, 2013

Stateside for Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Stateside for Tuesday, May 14, 2013.

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing announced he will not run for re-election. What does this means for the city moving forward while currently under emergency management?

And we took a look at what's behind Michigan's high infant mortality rate.

And author, theologian, preacher, and social activist Jim Wallis joined us to talk about his book and The Common Good for America.

But first in the show, we got an update on the Palisades Nuclear Power Plant, where crews are trying to figure out what caused the release of slightly radioactive water.

The plant was shut down a little over a week ago because of the leak, and crews say they have discovered a new crack in a water tank that has been leaking on and off for at least two years. Michigan Radio reporter Lindsey Smith discussed the issue with us.

Politics & Government
5:27 pm
Mon May 13, 2013

Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr discusses financial report

Detroit's Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr
State of Michigan

After 45 days in office, a report from Detroit’s Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr was released this morning, taking an in-depth look at the city’s financial situation.

What’s clear from the 41-page report — Detroit is broke and its finances are in worse shape than previously thought. The city has almost $9.5 billion bonds and other debt, almost $6 billion in unfunded retiree health care, and will end its budget year with a shortfall of more than $160 million.

What do these numbers really mean for the city? And why is there such a disparity between what we’ve heard from city leaders and the report?

Detroit’s Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr joined us in the studio today, to answer these questions and more.

Listen to the full interview above.

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