The members of PigPen Theater Co. get asked a certain question a lot: How did they come up with their name? 

They have a number of different stories about its origin, but Curtis Gillen says this one is true:

Seven freshman guys arrived at Carnegie Mellon School of Drama in 2007 and found out about a student-produced arts festival. Despite being short on time, the group decided to put a show together anyway.

Today Volkswagen’s top U.S. executive is facing the wrath of Congress.

The hearing before a congressional oversight panel is in response to VW’s admission that is has been cheating on U.S. diesel emissions tests for the past seven years.

Last year General Motors CEO Mary Barra was lambasted by a congressional panel over GM's ignition recall scandal, and the Detroit News’ Daniel Howes expects today will be no easier for VW U.S. chief Michael Horn.

This week, the 2nd Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in New York ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to write new rules for the ballast water in ships.

Four environmental groups sued the EPA over its current ballast water rule.

Invasive species can get into the Great Lakes in ballast water. Salties are ships that cross the ocean, and lakers are ships that travel only within the Great Lakes. In the decision, the judges criticize the EPA for exempting lakers from certain regulations. 

Aaron Selbig

It wasn’t that long ago when downtown Traverse City rolled up the sidewalks once it got dark. But now the place is booming pretty much year-round.

All that growth has spurred a debate about over what the city should look like 10 or 20 years from now.

One area that city planners are focusing on is West Front Street, where a construction project this summer created new bike lanes and crosswalks – and lots of new signage meant to slow traffic down.



The boundaries of legislative districts can sometimes look like jigsaw puzzles in Michigan. That's because politicians draw those lines. It happens in the Michigan legislature every ten years after the census.

Opponents say legislative redistricting leads to gerrymandering, where lines are drawn to favor one political party against another.

"The fox is guarding the henhouse in essence," Judy Karandjeff says, "where the elected officials are choosing their voters instead of voters choosing elected officials."

Karandjeff is president of the League of Women Voters of Michigan, a group which is hosting town halls across the state on redistricting and possible reforms.

She says almost every district in the state is clearly dominated by a political party.

The Next Idea

Education and wealth are inextricably linked. Not only does educational attainment affect earning potential and capacity to build wealth, but family wealth greatly impacts a student’s likelihood of completing postsecondary education.

Sadly, measures of family wealth and education attainment in the U.S. show a widening gap between the rich and the poor.

National Writers Series: An evening with Hampton Sides

Oct 5, 2015

On this program from the National Writers Series, Hampton Sides explains why he's drawn to war. Sides is the author of "Ghost Soldiers, which tells the story of how U.S. soldiers rescued POWs from a Japanese prison camp in World War II. His latest book is called "In the Kingdom of Ice." It recounts the polar voyage of the USS Jeannette and the crew's battle for survival.

A gesture to astonish the world

Oct 5, 2015

This week the constellation of the herdsman is setting, the hunter is rising, and the Moon will cascade down a stairway of morning planets like Cinderella come to the ball.

IPR asked listeners like you for program input, and as a result we've added new shows and rescheduled old favorites. IPR News Radio now includes more airings of TED Radio HourStudio 360 and Splendid Table on the weekends, and IPR Classical has added Show Tunes with Kate Botello, Global VillageRiverwalk Jazz and The New Jazz Archive

After covering the fall of the Taliban in Afghanistan for NPR, author Sarah Chayes decided to stay in the country and start a non-profit. The many types of corruption Chayes witnessed there firsthand, led her to write the book, Thieves of State: Why Corruption Threatens Global Security. She argues that while everyone around the world agrees corruption is bad, it’s a subject that usually get’s pushed to the back burner.

“We’re under-appreciating the degree to which a lot of the turmoil we’re seeing the world today is actually sparked by indignation at acute public corruption,” says Chayes. 



Classical Music & Culture

Surviving a dystopian present in "Scrapper," Matt Bell's new novel

Our conversation with Matt BellDetroit has collapsed into ruin, and a man named Kelly is earning a living as a scrapper.He picks through the thousands of abandoned buildings, stealing scrap metal and then selling it to salvage yards in Scrapper, the newest novel from Michigan author Matt Bell.The New York Times describes Scrapper as, “equal parts dystopian novel, psychological thriller and literary fiction.”Bell says he likes that description, but thinks of the novel also as a detective story.
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