David Cassleman

Morning Edition Host, Reporter

David Cassleman is a reporter and Morning Edition host for IPR News Radio. He got his start in public radio at WDET in Detroit, and joined Interlochen Public Radio in June 2014. He’s a graduate of the University of Michigan.

David Cassleman

Armed with an eight-track recorder and an eighty dollar microphone, Matt Jones travels around Michigan, recording local musicians.

So far, he’s recorded about 100 artists from all over the state. 

“Everybody I’ve recorded has been completely worth it," Jones says. "So how could I possibly stop?"

Gerrymandering is a term you hear a lot about every ten years or so, when state legislatures across the country start to redraw legislative districts after the census. It happens when districts are drawn in a way that favors one political party against another.

In Michigan, Republicans have controlled the redistricting process during the past two censuses, and Democrats have accused them of gerrymandering. Now some Democrats are pushing to change how redistricting is done, which they say would make it less political.

The "JunkYard Music Box" was made out of a rusty water tank, old car parts, leftover granite, two I-beams, and an antique meat grinder.
Tom Kaufmann

What most of us would see as useless junk, Tom Kaufmann sees potential for making instruments. 

“I love junk,” Kaufmann says, laughing. 

From a giant 25-foot tall music box made out of a rusty water tank, to glockenspiels created out of hand tools, he has spent much of his life making music out of unexpected materials.

Baldwin Community Schools

In schools throughout Michigan, students aren't the only ones who get grades. Teachers get a report card, too, and the way that teachers are evaluated could be changing in Michigan.

A bill passed the state Senate this past spring that would reform how evaluations are done, giving local school districts more power to decide how they want to grade teachers. The bill would also reduce the importance of standardized testing to teacher evaluations.

Jake Neher, Capitol bureau reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network, explains the bill:

"Beaches" the musical runs through August 16 at the Drury Lane Theatre near Chicago.
Brett Beiner

"Beaches" just opened as a new musical in a pre-Broadway tryout in the Chicago area. The musical is similar to the 1988 film starring Bette Midler and Barbara Hershey.

 

Director Brian Nash is an Interlochen alum. He says it feels like you’re looking at the same story as the film, but focusing on different days of the girls lives. 

Harlan Coben

Novelist Harlan Coben has thrilled readers for 25 years and sold more than 50 million books, including mysteries, crime novels and books for young adults. Earlier this year, he published The Stranger, a book that one New York Times reviewer says "takes a happy suburban family and destroys it."

Coben will be in Traverse City for an event with the National Writers Series on Thursday, and IPR caught up with him earlier this week.

As he tells IPR's David Cassleman, Coben didn't initially set out to become a writer. But he says it was his love for stories that eventually moved him to become a novelist:


Peter Payette

Michigan residents have a new potential roads fix to consider, after the state Senate passed a series of bills last week. State lawmakers have been debating how to pay for fixing Michigan's crumbling roads for years. The initial plan, Proposal 1, was voted down by voters last May.

The Senate plan promises to raise $1.5 billion using a combination of tax increases and budget cuts. But as the Michigan Public Radio Network's Rick Pluta explains, the bills are controversial for both Republicans and Democrats.

“Weird Al” Yankovic has been making people laugh for more than 30 years.

On Sunday, he’s stopping by Traverse City with his “Mandatory Fun” Tour.

Hear how he came up with the idea for his song Foil, which parodies the pop song Royals by Lorde.

Levi Meeuwenberg and his fiancé Brenda Baran, of Realeyes Homestead in Traverse City.
Christopher Chemsak

In 2006, Levi Meeuwenberg left Michigan to perform and tour with Madonna as a parkour artist. 

Yes, the Madonna.

Michigan Democratic Party

The race for northern Michigan's congressional seat is starting to take shape. In March, Rep. Dan Benishek said he would run for a fourth term, despite his pledge of support for term limits in 2010.

Now, Lon Johnson – the chair of the Michigan Democratic Party – says he might run, too.

"A number of people have asked me to consider running for Congress," Lon Johnson told Rick Pluta, Capitol bureau chief for the Michigan Public Radio Network last week.

"I'm considering it."

Linda Stephan

 

Yana Dee is not your typical seamstress.

She doesn’t use pins. She doesn’t use an iron very often, and she doesn’t use patterns in the traditional sense. She now has a store located in Traverse City’s high-rent downtown. Hear how she makes women’s clothing by combining retro ways with modern trends. 

When you think about rattlesnakes, you might picture Arizona. Or Texas. Somewhere out in the desert. But one snake’s rattle doesn’t come from the deserts of the Southwest. It’s from the pine forests of Michigan.

In fact, Michigan is a stronghold for the eastern massasauga rattlesnake.

Brett Levin / Flickr

In the last presidential election, voters in Colorado and Washington both said 'yes' to legalizing recreational marijuana. Those were the first two states to do so in the United States. Now, three groups in Michigan are trying to do the same in the 2016 presidential election.  Two of those groups have already started collecting signatures to put the issue on the ballot. 

Jake Neher, Capitol bureau reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network, says support for legalizing marijuana has been growing over the years and many see the 'writing on the wall' for approval in the 2016 election.


Aaron Selbig

 This week on the Green Room: Shakespeare’s ‘As You Like It’ gets a folk music makeover. Courtney Kaiser-Sandler, instructor of the singer-songwriter program here at Interlochen Arts Academy, talks about creating the play’s original score.

Plus, street art becomes fine art. A skateboard art exhibit opens at the Dennos Museum in Traverse City.

 

 

 

 

Paul Maritinez/Flickr

State lawmakers passed a budget of $13.9 billion for schools last week. The headlines say funding per student is going up across the state between $70 and $140. But Rick Pluta, the Capitol bureau chief for the Michigan Public Radio Network, says the story is more complicated when you get beyond the headlines.


Daniel Wanschura

Charlevoix boasts some unique houses. Often referred to as mushroom, Gnome, or Hobbit houses, the homes attract hundreds of tourists during the summer months. A new documentary film, The Wizard of Boulder Park, celebrates the architectural legacy of Earl Young, the man who built them. With limited architectural training, Young designed the homes to integrate with the natural landscape. 

Nicole Farrell

If you listen to Interlochen Public Radio in the morning regularly, you won't need an introduction to Bob Moler. He has been teaching listeners about the sun, the moon and the stars on IPR for 40 years. This week Bob started his 41st year Ephemeris, a daily one-minute diary of the night sky.

Here Bob Moler remembers some of the most exciting objects to pass through the sky in the past 40 years:


Prison fence.
WFIU Public Radio/Flickr

There's a new plan to reopen the so-called 'punk prison' near Baldwin, and to bring 300 high-security inmates from Vermont to northern Michigan. The prison used to house juvenile offenders, until it was closed in the mid-2000s.

Supporters of the move say it would lead to 300 new jobs in Lake County, but opponents say it's a dangerous idea.

Aaron Selbig

Musician Rachel Brooke has been compared to Loretta Lynn, Emmylou Harris and Neko Case. She spends most of her time on the road these days traveling the country, but she loves to be writing songs at her home is near Grayling. We catch up with her during one of her recent hometown gigs.

Plus, artist Rufus Snoddy has collaborated with his daughter, Maya James, on an exhibition at Twisted Fish Art Gallery. James is a spoken-word artist. The exhibit, called Hybrid runs through June 28.

Traverse City Whiskey Company

Small distillers in northern Michigan would get a big tax break under a bill introduced in the U.S. Senate last week by Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI).

He visited Traverse City Whiskey Company on Tuesday to promote the legislation, which would lower the federal excise tax on liquor from $13.50 per gallon to $2.70.

Traverse City's Joshua Davis has advanced to the final round of NBC's singing contest 'The Voice.' Now it's up to his supporters to get out the vote to try to bring him a victory.

Plus, 'The King and I' is once again selling out on Broadway, nearly 65 years after its debut. But you don't have to go all the way to New York City to see the musical – it's on stage in northern Michigan at Interlochen Center for the Arts.

If you're worried about the oil pipeline that runs under the Straits of Mackinac, you may have a tough time finding detailed information about it. Much of the oversight is handled by the federal government, and the records are often kept secret.

A bill that's in the state house right now would go even further to exempt oil and gas pipelines from Freedom of Information Act requests.

Tom Carr

Pete Farmer isn’t opposed to playing with other musicians, but it can be a pain to coordinate. Sometimes he just wants to play by himself – and that’s why he created a drum contraption that turns anyone into a one-man or one-woman-band.

Plus, author Stuart Dybek is a genius – at least according to the MacArthur Foundation which gave him one of its so-called 'genius grants' a few years back. We hear from him in advance of an appearance in northern Michigan next week.


svadilfari/Flickr

Last week Governor Rick Snyder rolled out a plan to turn around the state's largest school district – Detroit Public Schools – which is deep in debt and has been under state oversight for years.

The governor wants a fresh start for Detroit students by creating a new district for them, and he's suggesting diverting money from all the other students in the state to pay for the spinoff.

Michigan Public Radio's Rick Pluta breaks down the plan:

Leland Public School isn't afraid of breaking necks or slitting throats, they're performing Sondheim’s dark, Victorian musical Sweeney Todd. Hear why they didn't shy away from the Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Plus, who said vinyl is dead? Hear why it’s making a comeback. Also in this episode, we hear from Joshua Davis as he tells us about one of his favorite green rooms.


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