Stateside

Transportation
4:04 pm
Wed December 19, 2012

Stateside: Mass transit a possible option for the state

A light rail system proposed in Detroit.
screen grab from YouTube video

Adie Tomer spoke with Stateside about the possibility of mass transit in Michigan.

Michigan’s  Regional Transit Authority will attempt to redesign travel throughout the state.

Adie Tomer, a Senior Research Associate at the Brookings Institution, says implementing a mass transit system in Detroit is entirely possible. Tomer says the state has put spending highway infrastructure ahead of spending on mass transit.

"One of the consequences of building out so many highways… is an underinvestment relative to those highway miles for public transit. In many ways, this left Detroit as one of the few cities without a major mass transit system," said Tomer.

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Politics & Government
5:11 pm
Tue December 18, 2012

Stateside for Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Stateside for Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Grand Rapids School Board last night gave unanimous approval to a major restructuring plan. Superintendent Teresa Weatherall Neal spoke with Cyndy about the future of Grand Rapids schools.

Saul Anuzis, the former Chairman of the Michigan Republican Party and Debbie Dingell, a Democratic National Committeewoman, shared their thoughts on Michigan's 2013 political agenda.

Early 20th century steam ships traveling from Chicago to South Haven carried some promiscuous passengers. Historian Larry Massie wrote a November article entitled “Floating Gomorra" for Encore Magazine, in which he investigates these ships and the people who frequented them.

Kyle Norris aired the first installment of her investigation of Detroit's homeless population. Listen to our podcast to hear Norris experience.

Education
5:07 pm
Tue December 18, 2012

Stateside: Grand Rapids restructures its districts to save money, improve education

The Grand Rapids School Board approved a district restructuring plan
Mercedes Mejia Michigan Radio

On Monday, The Grand Rapids School Board unanimously approved a district restructuring plan. Recommended by Superintendent Teresa Weatherall Neal, the plan aims to both improve student achievement and save money.

The “Transformation Plan” attempts to reinvent the school district by closing ten buildings, reopening one elementary and reforming other programs. The plan will save more than $22.4 million over five years, with at least half being re-invested in replicating and expanding effective school programs.

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Politics & Government
4:21 pm
Tue December 18, 2012

Stateside: Lame duck concludes, 2013 comes into focus

After the frenzy, all is quiet inside the Michigan House of Representatives.
Lester Graham Michigan Radio

Lansing’s lame duck session has ended, allowing politicians to focus on their 2013 agendas.

To better understand what both parties will discuss, we heard from Saul Anuzis and Debbie Dingell.

Anuzis is the former Chairman of the Michigan Republican Party and Dingell is a Democratic National Committeewoman.

Dingell expressed concern over the speed with which right-to-work legislation passed.

“People in Michigan were stunned by many of the bills that passed so quickly without discussion,” said Dingell.

“The lame duck session every two years is something where a lot of bills move very quickly. I don’t think anybody was surprised…” said Anuzis.

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Offbeat
4:06 pm
Tue December 18, 2012

Stateside: Sailing on a ship of pleasure

Similar steam ships sailed equipped with alcohol and swing music in the early 20th century
holger.ellgaard

Early 20th-century steam ships traveling from Chicago to South Haven carried some promiscuous passengers.

Historian Larry Massie wrote a November article entitled “Floating Gomorra" for Encore Magazine, in which he investigated these ships and the people who frequented them.

In his article, Massie said that South Haven, a Mecca for Chicago tourists, placed a ban on alcohol.

This ban, said Massie, carried no authority on board the steam ships.

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Investigative
3:56 pm
Tue December 18, 2012

Stateside: Med team brings "street medicine" to Detroit's homeless

Street Medicine is a mobile medical clinic that services Detroit
streetmedicine.org

Several Wayne State University students started Street Medicine Detroit in May.

They’d heard about a similar program in Pittsburg and they were inspired. They partnered with a Detroit non-profit called Neighborhood Service Organization and together they created a mobile medical clinic.

Philip Ramsey is a community outreach specialist with NSO. (Rumor has it that if you’re trying to locate a specific homeless person, and you give Ramsey the vaguest of details, he can go out and find that person who might be living in a tent next to highway.)

It’s Ramsey’s job to drive the med team around the streets and back-alleys of Detroit and to help them locate homeless people who are in need of medical services.

So once a week, the van rumbles down Michigan Avenue past prostitutes on the corners and a young man pushing a baby stroller.  Ramsey helps the team find people who are lying down on the ground or sitting on the curb. He says additional clues that someone may be homeless are people with dirty clothes and uncombed hair, or people who are openly drinking.

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Politics & Government
5:31 pm
Mon December 17, 2012

Stateside for Monday, December 17, 2012

Stateside for Monday, December 17, 2012

Governor Rick Snyder must decide whether to approve or veto legislation that would allow concealed pistols in churches, day care centers and public schools. Michigan Public Radio Bureau Chief Rick Pluta spoke with Cyndy about the legislation.

Writer Micki Maynard sees parallels between New Orleans and Detroit- both cities share similar stories of revitalization and growth. Hear what Maynard said Detroit could learn from New Orleans.

Throughout the week we will be airing a series of stories Michigan Radio's Kyle Norris compiled on homelessness in Detroit. Today was Norris' introduction to the piece, as she discussed the various things that compelled her to write the story.

How would consumers in America function without paper currency? Miles Kimball, Professor of Economics at the University of Michigan, advocates the switch from paper to electronic currency. Hear Kimball's interview in today's podcast.

Economy
4:11 pm
Mon December 17, 2012

Stateside: Stories shared between two recovering cities

New Orleans
sassycrafter Flickr

New Orleans and Detroit share a common story of recovery.

After Hurricane Katrina's devastation, New Orleans resembled Detroit post-economic crisis.

Writer Micki Maynard spoke with Cyndy about similarities she has seen between the two cities.

“Many people think that what happened in Detroit is the equivalent of an economic storm,” said Maynard.

Maynard has witnessed an influx of people moving from other cities to both New Orleans and Detroit, bringing with them fresh ideas of growth and innovation.

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Politics & Government
3:59 pm
Mon December 17, 2012

Stateside: Reconsidering Michigan's proposed gun legislation

Governor Synder's decision to pass or veto the recent gun bill will affect schools and churches
flickr

Governor Snyder is considering a bill that would allow concealed pistols in churches, public schools and daycares.

Michigan Public Radio Lansing Bureau Chief Rick Pluta outlined the various aspects of the legislation.

“One of the trade-offs in this legislation would be that schools would no longer be open-carry areas. But they would be someplace where you could carry a concealed pistol if you took more classes," said Pluta.

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Investigative
2:40 pm
Mon December 17, 2012

Stateside: Investigating Detroit's homeless population

Money awarded to help homeless veterans.
user anonymonous Flickr

Airing this week will be a series of stories Michigan Radio’s Kyle Norris compiled on Detroit’s homeless population.

To introduce the series,  Norris spoke with Meghan Takashima of the Corporation for Supportive Housing.

They spoke about some of the misconceptions people have about those without a home.

Norris began by noting her inspiration for the stories.

“Something is drawing me to these stories…when I’m with homeless people I have to be real, I have to be a human first and a reporter second,” said Norris.

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Economy
12:36 pm
Mon December 17, 2012

Stateside: Moving to an electronic currency

Miles Kimball says a switch to electronic currency would benefit the economy
sushi ina flickr

How would consumers in America function without paper currency?

Miles Kimball, Professor of Economics at the University of Michigan, advocates the switch from paper to electronic currency.

“The thing you want to do is make it so we can stimulate the economy with monetary policy. A lot of people don’t realize that the reason we’ve had such a long recession is because the Federal Reserve was not able to lower the interest rate because of the way our system uses money. If you tried to make the interest rate negative, which would be what is needed to stimulate the economy, then people would just keep money under the mattress. Because of that, the Federal Reserve is not able to lower the interest rate low enough to get the economy moving.”

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Politics & Government
5:27 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

Stateside for Thursday, December 13, 2012

Stateside for Thursday, December 12, 2012

Today we investigated Michigan's busy lame duck session. Michigan Radio's Jack Lessenberry and Bill Ballenger of "Inside Michigan Politics" spoke about some of the legislation and its long-term effects.

One of the reform policies is that of Blue Cross Blue Shield. Peter Luke of Bridge Magazine spoke with Cyndy about Blue Cross' future and its policy changes.

Michigan had a significant role in the Underground Railroad. Today we spoke with Dr. Roy Finkenbine about some brave Michiganians who worked to free slaves.

Representative Dan Benishek claims that cuts to our country's defense budget would not sacrifice our safety. Listen to our podcast to hear his reasons.

Economy
3:38 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

Stateside: Where Michigan stands in the fiscal cliff

Does this resemble the 'cliff' we are fast approaching?
wikimedia commons

Stateside talks fiscal cliff

With the approaching "fiscal cliff" comes the concern of protecting Michigan’s businesses.  

We spoke today with Susan Tompor of the Detroit Free Press about the fiscal cliff.

Tompor noted that many companies are not laying off their workers.

“Back in November we had Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford Jr. state that it was vitally important that they work on this bipartisan agreement for the economy. When you’re selling big-ticket items, it’s a key issue. Will consumers need to cut back if we got over the fiscal cliff? Right now, according to Mark Zandi [Chief Economist, Moody’s Analytics], he doesn’t see that companies are cutting back. The reason is that it would be costly to lay off workers now to prepare for what might be a temporary problem. Instead Zandi said that, overall, businesses are more likely to cut back on investing in heavy equipment as a stop-gap measure,” said Tompor.

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Politics & Government
3:36 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

Stateside: An unusually active lame duck session

Bill Ballenger and Jack Lessenberry provided an assessment of this year's lame duck session
Lester Graham Michigan Radio

There is an abundance of political action in this year’s lame duck session.

Bill Ballenger of “Inside Michigan Politics” and Michigan Radio’s Jack Lessenberry spoke with Cyndy about the recent legislature coming out of the Capitol.

According to Lessenberry there were several reasons for right-to-work being passed.

“The legislature will be marginally more Democratic next time. Some of the people who were voting are people who aren’t coming back. It was a campaign year and some of the stuff that might have gotten done earlier didn’t get done,” said Lessenberry.

“Legislators have been working on a lot of these bills for a year and a half,” said Ballenger.

Ballenger noted the role of partisan politics in the lame duck session.

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Health
3:17 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

Changes could make Blue Cross Blue Shield a nonprofit mutual

Peter Luke of Bridge Magazine addressed various reforms to Blue Cross Blue Shield
echealthinsurance.com

The measure to make Blue Cross Blue Shield a nonprofit mutual is under way.

Peter Luke of Bridge Magazine spoke with Cyndy about health care changes in Michigan.

According to Luke, the reform would put Blue Cross into the hands of policy holders.

“They [Blue Cross Blue Shield] have 70 percent of the market share and in some forms of business, critical to this legislation, they have almost 100 percent. Most of their role is in administrative capacity. For 70 years they’ve been a benevolent trust established by the State of Michigan to be the insurer of last-resort and that was codified in 1980. What this law does is turn them into a nonprofit mutual so they’re no longer owned by the people of Michigan but by the policy holders.”

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Politics & Government
5:46 pm
Wed December 12, 2012

Stateside: As conflicts persist within Detroit City Council, economic strife looms

Krystal Crittendon continues to pose challenges to Detroit City Council

The debate over appointing a Detroit emergency financial manger continues amidst aggravated communication between Mayor Bing and Detroit Corporation Counsel Krystal Crittendon.

Detroit Free Press editorial writer Nancy Kaffer provided Stateside with an update on Detroit City Council.

“The City of Detroit needed to draw $30 million dollars- and to get the draw the Council had to pass five key contracts. All five passed, so they will get the money that will stop payless paydays for now,” said Kaffer.

Kaffer expressed concern over the relationship between the mayor and Crittendon.

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Economy
5:41 pm
Wed December 12, 2012

Stateside: Addressing Michigan's income disparity

Charley Ballard called for policy changes that allow for economic growth
Michigan State University

The gap between the Middle and Upper class in Michigan has widened.

Michigan State University’s Charley Ballard spoke with Cyndy about income disparity in both the state and country.

“There is a lot of emphasis about the level of income, but I am talking about the gap between those at the top, the middle and bottom in terms of how much their household income is. A big story is that the gap has widened. Michigan is typical in that the gap between the gap and top and the middle has gone way up, but the gap between the middle and the bottom has not,” said Ballard.

The disparities in income are largely a result of varying degrees of education among Michigan workers.

“Those at the top tend to be college-educated. Those at the bottom tend to not be,” said Ballard.

According to Ballard, Michigan’s statistics are average when compared nationally.

“In a lot of ways we’re a middle-of-the-pack state. If you take that ratio of the household income for the person at the 90th percentile, upper-middle class, and compare that with the household income with someone at the tenth percentile, that ratio increased by more than 20% in Michigan.”

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Politics & Government
5:36 pm
Wed December 12, 2012

Stateside for Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Stateside for Wednesday, December 12, 2012.

Tim Bos, a union member for 17 years, is now a vocal proponent of right-to-work.

Bos spoke with Cyndy about what he feels are the positive impacts the legislation will have on Michigan.

Detroit Free Press' Nancy Kaffer provided us with an update on Detroit City Council and why Krystal Crittendon poses a challenge.

Michigan State's Charley Ballard addressed income disparity in Michigan. He claims there is a widening gap between our state's middle and upper class.

Bob Bury, Executive Director of the Detroit Historical Society, spoke with Cyndy about the renovated Detroit Historical Museum.

Finally, University of Michigan professor Daniel Kruger explained why he thinks cell phone use is contagious. Listen to our podcast to find out why.

Politics & Government
5:28 pm
Wed December 12, 2012

Stateside: Tim Bos sees benefits in right-to-work legislation

Tim Bos described the benefits of right-to-work
Matthileo Flickr

Right to work supporter and union member Tim Bos.

Tim Bos- a union member for 17 years- is now a vocal proponent of right-to-work.

Bos spoke with Cyndy about what he feels are the positive impacts the legislation will have on Michigan.

“I was very pleased to see what happened. When I got involved in this...this was just a dream," said Bos.

"We didn’t know if we would ever see it happen, but it was something we felt very strongly about. It didn’t have anything to do with being against unions, we love unions."

Bos described why he felt unions have an important role in protecting workers from bad-acting companies.

"We cherish that. We want to make sure that always stays healthy and available. On the other hand, we think that it has been very detrimental to the union cause and to workers in general by being forced to financially support... a third party that is allowed to siphon off part of your earnings just in order for you to have the ability to continue working,” said Bos.

Canty pointed out that workers can vote to decertify the union if they don't like.

Bos agreed, but said workers feel immense pressure not to do so.

"This whole thing is about power and money," said Bos.

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Health
5:17 pm
Wed December 12, 2012

Stateside: Peeking at cell phones is contagious

For some young adults, conversations outside of text messages are perfunctory
Alton Creative Commons

Stateside talks cell phones.

Conversations for some have become a scramble between maintaining eye contact and checking one’s phone.

University of Michigan professor Daniel Kruger explained the relationship between cell phone usage and one’s attention span.

“It seems like a feedback loop and it happens quite frequently. We think it’s related to social attention- imagine you have attention as a limited resource and you’re dividing it between those people in your real space and those people in your virtual networks,” said Kruger.

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