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We must do more than say "thank you" for veterans in Michigan

Jul 6, 2015
Flickr/wiguardpics /

The Next Idea             

I can’t recall a time when I was thanked for my military service and didn’t wonder just what exactly that person meant. Were they thankful that I took the defense of the nation in hand? Did they think that I stood watch on some specified border between insurgents and our coalition forces? Perhaps it was simply good American manners that they show appreciation for those who serve.

John M. Cropper / Flickr

A new poll from Michigan Radio and Public Sector Consultants asks voters in Michigan about their perception of veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The survey of 600 Michigan voters found that a strong majority support the military as an employment option, despite the fact that most do not have family currently serving in Iraq or Afghanistan.

DarkRoomIllusion / flickr

The Cuban Chamber of Commerce has chosen Troy, Michigan, as its third location and national headquarters.

Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Dana McAllister says the choice was a natural fit because of affinities between Detroit and Havana, a significant presence of Cuban-Americans in Michigan, and support from the Oakland County government and city of Troy.

Today on Stateside:

  • Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes takes a look at the booming popularity of paddling in Michigan.
  • It’s been four years since fireworks laws were loosened in Michigan, allowing the purchase of aerial fireworks. Jonathon Oosting tells us about what prompted that decision and what changes could be coming around the bend.
Morel mushrooms spring from the ground in Michigan.
State of Michigan

This next story is about a late-night call from a dealer and a sketchy interaction near the Leelanau Peninsula. 

Hour Detroit’s restaurant critic and wine writer Chris Cook tells us about an exhilarating experience he recently had that landed him with a stash of morels.

One night last month my wife and I ventured out from our rented Leelanau Peninsula cottage to a gathering spot where we heard the fried chicken reigns supreme.

Courtesy of Phil Stagg

You’ve heard of storm chasers and tornado chasers.

Phil Stagg is a waterfall chaser.

He runs a business in Cadillac, but his real passion lies in taking photographs of Michigan.

He’s especially interested in the hundreds of waterfalls in the Upper Peninsula.

user adam j.w.c. / wikimedia commons

In 2011, state lawmakers loosened Michigan fireworks laws to allow the sale of just about any consumer-grade fireworks approved by the federal government.

Instead of being legally limited to low-impact ground fireworks like sparklers and poppers, consumers can now buy high-powered and aerial fireworks.

This was a big week for the Detroit Red Wings. The team signed defenseman Mike Green and veteran center Brad Richards.

Michigan Radio sports commentator John U. Bacon says that while the Red Wings have a top line of players, people often don't realize that in hockey third- and fourth-string players can be just as important. And the Wings need more than a few key players.

But securing top talent says a lot about how the Wings are perceived by NHL fans and players.

Bacon says it shows how strong the organization is when it can recruit top players even when Detroit doesn't have the best reputation in the country. 

Flickr user Joey Lax-Salinas /

"Poets at the Grand Hotel" is a chance for Mackinac Island visitors to take time out from soaking up the sights, riding bikes, and eating fudge to explore poetry.

Every Wednesday morning in July and August, poet Jim Lenfestey presides over a weekly poetry gathering in the Audubon Room at The Grand Hotel.

This is the 10th year of the series and it's being marked by Lenfestey's latest book, Seeking The Cave.

Today on Stateside:

The state Senate could vote later today on a new plan to fund the state's roads. Jack Neher talks to us about the roads bills and the upcoming decision from the Capitol.

The Michigan Department of National Resources is keeping a close eye on the spruce budworm. It’s one of the most destructive native insects in northern spruce and fir forests, and it looks like it’s back. Bob Heyd is with us to talk budworms.

A Women's Business Social held in 2012 by No More Nylons, an organization that teaches women how to be successful entrepreneurs.
Jodie Womack /

Women are getting tired of waiting for corporate America to give them the pay and opportunities they need.

So they’re taking matters into their own hands.

The Eastern Spruce Budworm is one of the most destructive native insects in Eastern United States and Canada.
Jerald E. Dewey, USDA Forest Service /

The State Department of Natural Resources is keeping an eye out for one of the most destructive insects in our northern spruce and fir trees.

After nearly 30 years on hiatus, it looks like the spruce budworm is once again rearing its head.

Flickr user Clinton Steeds /

Small but mighty. That's the Rotary Charities of Traverse City.

They've taken profits from oil and gas wells and put that money right back into improving Traverse City in many ways. It's a perfect example of a non-profit making a powerful impact on its community.

The Rotary Charities are connected to the local Traverse City Rotary Club and value the organization's culture of "service above self."

Courtesy of the author

The Old Testament story of Cain and Abel is one of the most compelling in the Bible. How could a man kill his brother?

The tragedy is at the heart of the stunning debut novel The Fishermen from Chigozie Obioma.

Obioma was born in Nigeria and earned his Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from the University of Michigan.

The Fishermen is a parable set in 1990s Nigeria.

Gemma Amor / flickr-

Hey, America! The rest of the world is wondering: What's with the bland beer?

It's no secret that the American beer market is dominated by pale, mild beer.

Despite the rising number of craft brewers here in Michigan and across the country, our best-selling beer is, you guessed it, Bud Light! Coors Light and Miller Lite come in right behind it.

Economist Ranjit Dighe wanted to figure out why Americans like bland beer.

Today on Stateside:

  • A 3.3 magnitude earthquake shook things up near Battle Creek this morning. The quake was centered 13 miles southeast of Battle Creek and only a few miles from where a 4.2 magnitude quake happened May 2.
  • Reports disagree on the effectiveness of the “Pure Michigan” campaign as state lawmakers look for money to fix the roads. Michigan State University economics professor Charley Ballard helps us sort it out.
  • Just a few years ago, no one knew the word “selfie,” but now they’ve invaded social media. Michigan Radio’s Kimberly Springer takes a look at how selfies fit in to our social and cultural landscape.

 U.S. Army Surgeon General Lt. Gen. Patricia Horoho speaks on Capitol Hill for National Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Awareness Day June 27, 2012
user Army Medicine /

As veterans return home after serving in the Middle East, the nation is becoming increasingly aware of post-traumatic stress injury.

PTSI affects millions of vets and significantly boosts the risk of depression, suicide, and drug- and alcohol-related deaths.

On top of that, for the veterans struggling with PTSI, it can lead to more run-ins with police.

Just a few years ago, we had never even heard the word "selfie".

These days, our social media feeds are filled with them. And that's sparked conversations and questions: Are they ridiculous? Are they little more than a deep dive into narcissism? Are they important ways to record our lives?

The "Pure Michigan" campaign highlights beautiful and memorable places and experiences in Michigan.
user PunkToad /

State lawmakers are searching for money to fix the roads, and they’ve been eyeing the budget of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and its “Pure Michigan” campaign.

The MEDC’s funding was reduced by $15 million with the recently passed budget.

barbed wire fence
FLickr user H. Michael Karshis / Creative Commons

How much does crime really cost? Millions of dollars per day and billions per year. The high cost has jail and prison administrators seeking ways to ease this burden on taxpayers.

One way to do that is charging the inmates fees.

In Michigan, inmates are required to pay for necessities. It's called "pay to stay." Backers say it teaches the prisoners a lesson and keeps them from making frivolous and wasteful requests. But what happens when a prisoner's small paycheck doesn't cover the expenses?

* The U.S. Supreme Court has spoken on gay marriage, but LGBT groups say their work is not done here in Michigan

* For our The Next Idea segment, one computer scientist tells us why new technologies designed to help fix society's problems often fall short. Read that piece here

* Now that the city of Detroit has put bankruptcy in the rear-view mirror, it is able to start tackling its deepest problems. One of those is finding solutions to homelessness.

* One West Michigan group tries to bridge the gap between evangelical Christians and science.

Annie Green Springs /

Now that the city of Detroit has put bankruptcy in the rear-view mirror, it is able to start tackling its deepest problems.

One of those is getting all of the agencies that help the homeless on the same page and working to help homeless people in the city’s neighborhoods as well as downtown.

flickr/jmarty /

The Next Idea

Silicon Valley churns out apps to “change the world,” but whose world are they really changing? How do we know if these new technologies are going to work in a city like Detroit, for example?

All across America, digital innovations have proliferated in the last four decades, but poverty rates haven’t budged, and inequality has skyrocketed.     

An exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History displays the science behind evolution.
Flickr user Dom Dada / Flickr -

Can strict Christian belief co-exist with science and the scientific view of evolution?

A West Michigan-based group called Biologos believes the answer is "yes."

Deborah Haarsma, the president of Biologos, is an astrophysicist and former chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Calvin College.

Today on Stateside:

*A nonpartisan, non-profit group called the Citizens Alliance for Prisons and Public Spending is offering strategies for cutting the prison population by 10,000 inmates.

*Are leaders in Wayne doing what's needed to meet its financial crisis?

*Michigan writer Barbara Stark-Nemon talks about her debut novel Even in Darkness.

*The wage gap between men and women: how wide is it in Michigan?

user penywise / morgueFile

How wide is the wage gap between men and women in Michigan?

It’s a question that needs to be explored in a state where the 2010 U.S. Census found 284,000 families are headed by a female parent. 

And 28% of those households are living in poverty in Michigan. That’s almost 80,000 families.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

There's no denying that state spending and budgets are stretched tight, and it's forcing a fresh look at the soaring costs of our prisons.

What are we really getting for the $2 billion we spend per year on corrections? And how can we trim that corrections bill?

Mark Bennington / Mark Bennington Headshots


Anyone with even a passing knowledge of world history knows about the horrors that came out of the Nazi attempt to exterminate the Jews of Europe.

Some six million of Europe’s Jews – 63% of Europe’s Jewish population at the time – killed in the Holocaust.

Barbara Stark-Nemon’s debut novel, Even in Darkness, is the true story of her great-aunt Klare Kohler and her experiences living through the Holocaust.

Toxic hotspots, or "Areas of Concern" around Michigan's shoreline.
Great Lakes Commission

"Lake Erie is dead" and "the Cuyahoga River is on fire."

Those were actual headlines in the late 1960s spotlighting the deteriorating conditions of the Great Lakes in an age when rampant pollution was the norm.

Stories like these led to the passing of the Clean Water Act of 1972, which helped restore the Great Lakes.

Today on Stateside:

Michigan state representatives have introduced a package of bills attempting to cut same-sex marriage off at the pass. Wayne State University Law professor Robert Sedler talks to us about how the proposed legislation sits with the U.S. Constitution.