Stateside Staff

It’s been seven years since America hit the accelerator on corn-based ethanol fuels. Homegrown corn became the centerpiece of a push to find an alternative to foreign oil.

President Bush signed this expansion of the Renewable Fuel Standard in 2007, promising it would make us “stronger, cleaner and more secure.”

But, as is so often the case, something that offers great promise on one hand, takes its toll on the other hand. So the view of corn-based ethanol very much depends upon which side of the fence you’re standing on.

We've had many ideas and proposals floated for ways to rebuild Detroit to help it back from the depths of bankruptcy.

But there has been one group, it could be argued, that has been overlooked in these conversations: the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

And that is quite an oversight, considering that, as my next guest writes in Slate, "gays and lesbians are known to be drivers of gentrification.”

And as the CEO and president of the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation says about Detroit, "bring on more gentrification!"

Joining me is Ross Benes, journalist and researcher. His piece for Slate is titled "The Latest Plan to Save Detroit: Build a Gay Neighborhood.”

And we're joined by Curtis Lipscomb. He's the executive director of KICK in Detroit.

*Listen to the audio above.

Parents want to know how safe their child's school is. How many incidents of bullying have happened, for example? How many kids caught with drugs or alcohol?

Well, it's been more than a decade since the state of Michigan required the reporting of school safety information, but it appears that requirement is failing.

Bridge Magazine writer Ron French recently dug into the extent of the problem.

*Listen to the audio above.

  If you've logged onto Facebook, or checked your Instagram account, or maybe just following Twitter over the past 48 hours, you've no doubt seen the photos -- pictures of smart-phone screens showing the negative-digit temperatures, or the photo of a friend with a measuring stick in the snow to prove, yes, indeed, we got 17 inches.

Or, maybe you've read what all appear to be the same "status updates"telling you pretty much what you already know: It's cold out there!!

Just what is behind this need to share - over social media - what we're all experiencing? Cliff Lampe is an Assistant Professor at the School of Information at the University of Michigan.

*Listen to the audio above.

2014 is going to be a major year in Michigan politics. You can expect much of the spotlight to be fixed on the gubernatorial election with presumed candidates Rick Snyder for the Republicans and Mark Schauer for the Democrats.

But Crain's Detroit Business thinks there are other names worth watching in 2014. Writer Chris Gautz joined us to talk about the people to watch in state politics.

*Listen to the audio above.

It's been 13 years since the state of Michigan required schools to report safety information -- information like how many incidents of bullying there were, or how many students were caught with drugs or alcohol. But more than a decade later, it appears that requirement for information is failing.

On today's show, we dig into the extent of the problem, and what it means for teachers, students and parents.

And, then, if you've logged onto Facebook or maybe Instagram in the last two days, you've certainly seen them: pictures of the massive amounts of snow piled up or status updates complaining about what we all know -- how cold it is!

So why do we all feel the need to share the same weather information on social media?

We ask an expert later in the hour.

But first on the show, 2014 is going to be a major year in Michigan politics. You can expect much of the spotlight to be fixed on the gubernatorial election with presumed candidates Rick Snyder for the Republicans and Mark Schauer for the Democrats.

But Crain's Detroit Business thinks there are other names worth watching in 2014. Writer Chris Gautz joined us to talk about the people to watch in state politics.

There was an important vote today as members of Detroit's City Council chose a new leader.

Councilwoman Brenda Jones edged out previous Council president Saunteel Jenkins.

Michigan Radio's Sarah Cwiek explains what happened.

*Listen to audio above.

Michigan historian James Tobin has written a new book on Franklin Delano Roosevelt and how polio shaped the president he became. FDR was our 32nd president, and on his Inauguration Day, in the darkest days of the Great Depression, FDR sent out a timeless challenge to Americans.

*Listen to the audio above.

On today's show: An auto forecast. More electric cars? What about increased sales in a recovering economy? And how about the dreadful European market? Just what will 2014 hold for the industry that still powers our state?

Then later in the hour, Michigan author James Tobin joins us. We'll talk with him about his new book, "The Man He Became: How FDR Defied Polio to Win the Presidency."

But first on the show we talk with MLive meteorologist Mark Torregrossa, who also runs farmerweather.com.

This time the forecasters did not cry wolf. We got slammed by snow. And now that the snow has fallen, we’re looking at winds and that dangerous cold.

Torregrossa explains what's ahead and when we'll see something resembling a more "typical" Michigan winter.

Former Democratic State Rep. Pam Byrnes announced last year that she is running against Republican Congressman Tim Walberg. Walberg represents Michigan’s 7th District.

*Listen to our interview with Byrnes above.

Mark Palms and Kofi Ameyaw are two of the musicians behind the band A L'Afrique.

*Listen to our interview with them above.

Find out about the H-4 visa and why it’s troubling to many families coming to the U.S. 

*Listen to the interview above.

Members of the group American Studies Association have voted to boycott Israeli academic institutions. It's to protest  alleged Israeli human rights violations against Palestinians. To say this boycott is controversial is an understatement. We spoke with a member of the American Studies Association.

*Listen to our interview above.

The ACLU is suing the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on behalf of a Michigan woman. At the heart of the issue is whether women can get appropriate medical care at a Catholic hospital.

This is becoming more important because more secular hospitals are merging with Catholic-affiliated health care providers. By our count, of the 187 hospitals in Michigan, 26 of them are Catholic. That's 14%.

*Listen to our interview above.

Lester Graham fills in for Cyndy Canty on the first Stateside of the New Year. Cyndy will be back Monday. On today's show: Catholic hospitals, Israeli boycott, music from Ghana, and Pam Byrnes making a run for Congress. 

Today on Stateside, a former Nixon official talks about possibly forming a third political party.

And Michigan writer Natalie Burg talks about being au pair for a family in Sweden. 

Also, Kinetic Affect uses the power of poetry to help people unlock their voices.

That and more on today's Stateside.

*Listen to audio above.

On today's show, protecting the practice of breastfeeding. Michigan is one of only five states that doesn't legally protect the practice.

And solving a 50-year-old cold case in Battle Creek.

Also, it's the 75th anniversary of legendary folklorist Alan Lomax' trip to Michigan. That and more on today's Stateside.

Listen to the audio above.

(Editor's note: This story was first broadcast on September 3rd, 2013) 

The mystery of who killed Daisy Zick has been on the minds of police and residents of Battle Creek since January, 1963.  Though at least three people caught a glimpse of her killer, no one has ever been brought to justice for the crime.  

Writer Blaine Pardoe's latest book is called Murder in Battle Creek: The Mysterious Death of Daisy Zick.  He joined Cynthia Canty in the studio to talk about Daisy Zick, her unsolved murder, and the possibility that the killer may still be alive.  

Listen to the story above.

It seems hard to believe in 2013, but it's true -- Michigan is one of only five states without a law protecting breastfeeding moms, allowing them to breastfeed their babies in any public or private location.

But that might change soon.
 
The State Senate recently passed a bill that would protect breastfeeding Moms. The bill now goes to the State House for lawmakers to discuss in the new session, starting January 8. 
 
Joining me is a lawmaker who has been working on the bill, State Senator Rebekah Warren.

In less than two weeks, Detroit will have a new mayor.

Mike Duggan's term begins January first. Outgoing Mayor Dave Bing has been making his "farewell tour" around Detroit.

What is the Bing legacy? And what might we expect from his successor?

We turned to Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes for some perspective.

Listen above.

This is the week we say farewell to autumn and officially welcome winter. (Unofficially, we can all agree, winter has arrived early and seems to have settled right in for the duration.)

And one of the great pleasures of changing seasons here on Stateside is the chance to welcome back poet and writer Keith Taylor. Taylor coordinates the undergraduate creative writing program at the University of Michigan. But we like to think of him as our Friendly Stateside Reading Guide.

Listen to Keith’s book pics above.

On today's program, a major new study  finds attitudes about drinking, drugs and tobacco are changing among teens, and some of the results might surprise you. Then later in the hour, a new group is trying to make Michigan's Legislature go part-time. Forty-six other states have done it, should Michigan?

 
But first, it was October first when the healthcare.gov website opened for business.
 
The rocky launch of the public portal to the Affordable Care Act has consumed much of the nation's attention and news space.
 
The December 23 enrollment deadline is at hand. We wanted to see if the consumer experience with Healthcare.gov has improved - see what problems remain - and find out how many of us have been able to complete applications, and actually select a marketplace plan. 
 
Don Hazaert, the director of Michigan Consumers for Healthcare, joined us today. It's one of four navigator agencies in our state for the Affordable Care Act.

Should Michigan revert to the kind of legislature originally called for when Michigan voters drafted the first constitution in 1835?  A part-time legislature? 

Norm Kammeraad says absoluetly, yes.

He is the Chairman of The Committee to Restore Michigan’s Part-Time Legislature. They’re hoping to gather nearly 400,000 voter signatures between January and June in order to put the question on the November 2014 ballot.

Yesterday, we spoke with Michigan columnist Dennis Lennox. He is against a part-time Michigan Legislature. You can find that interview here

Listen to the full interview above.

It's December. That means the airwaves are filled with Holly Jolly Christmases, White Christmases, Jingle Bell Rock and that ever-present Little Drummer Boy.

So, in the interest of public service, we thought we'd present a way for you to hear some fresh holiday music, performed by Michigan artists. The CD is called "A Michigan Christmas of Hope."

Holy Cross Children's Services will receive every penny of money raised from the CD. It's one of the largest private providers of specialized schools and children's services in Michigan.

Devin Scillian is best known as the anchor on WDIV-TV in Detroit. But, he's also built quite a following as a singer-songwriter. And, joining Devin is Russ Russell of Holy Cross Children's Services. 

Listen to the full interview above.

Michigan's economy may be slogging its way up the hill towards recovery, but life is not getting as good as it should for children in our state.

That's the takeaway from the latest Kids Count report.

Here to tell us more is Jane Zehnder-Merrell. She's the project director for Kids Count in Michigan, part of the Michigan League for Public Policy.

Listen to the full interview above. 

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