Stateside

Monday-Thursday, 3pm on IPR News
  • Hosted by Cynthia Canty

Stateside with Cynthia Canty covers a wide range of Michigan news and policy issues — as well as culture and lifestyle stories. The show is a production of our partner Michigan Radio. It focuses on topics and events that matter to people all across the state.

Last Friday, President Trump was asked about the future of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA). It’s the program that allows undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children to remain in the country. They're widely known as "DREAMers."

"We love the DREAMers," President Trump said. "We love everybody."

College campuses are filling up with students again, which means all the associated stress is returning to campuses too.

 

Each month, Stateside checks in with John Sinkevics, the editor and publisher of Local Spins, a site that covers West Michigan’s music scene. Sinkevics discusses new artists, their backstories and what makes their music great.

 


One of the promises President Donald Trump built his campaign on, and a promise he continues to repeat, is bringing jobs back to the United States.

But many employers say it’s workers they need. All across Michigan, businesses are constantly struggling to fill openings.

That pressure is particularly acute on Mackinac Island and Mackinaw City. Many popular hotels and restaurants there rely heavily on foreign workers who enter the country on H-2B visas.


   

Michigan fruit growers are nearing a crucial time of the year: harvest season. But those farmers are struggling to find enough labor to fill their needs.

People are no longer turning up at the farm looking for work, said Rob Steffens, owner of Steffens Orchard in Sparta, just north of Grand Rapids. Steffens needs more than 40 workers each year for his 280-acre orchard. He’s on track to have enough this year, but he says some workers have told him they aren’t returning.

Battle Creek mom Lori Truex didn't have the money to pay her daughter's Michigan State University tuition.

But she didn't let that stop her. Truex decided to stand on the side of a street asking for donations. Seventy nine days later, she was able to end her panhandling campaign, which she called "One Mom, One Year."

The 2017 scores for the M-STEP — the standardized test that most students in Michigan take — have been released.

It’s a mixed bag of results, with some promising signs of growth and other areas that clearly need work. M-STEP (the Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress) replaced the old MEAP test in 2015. The test is administered online, and it's designed to measure students' knowledge in math, science, social studies, and English language arts.

More than 300 thousand people in Michigan depend on public mental health care, and the state is wrestling with the question of who should oversee and administer those services.

Michigan is debating whether mental health funding will be taken away from community mental health groups and transferred instead to private insurers in Michigan’s Medicaid Health plans.

There seems to be growing public doubt about political polls ever since Donald Trump unexpectedly won the presidency, when many polls had him trailing Hillary Clinton.

Harry Enten, a senior political writer at FiveThirtyEight, recently looked at a poll released by Delphi Analytica that showed, in a hypothetical U.S. Senate race, sitting Senator Debbie Stabenow trailing Michigan native Kid Rock, although Rock hasn’t officially announced his candidacy.

Take one 385-pound piano, and strap it onto a tricycle. Add a piano player and then hit the road from Flint to Mackinaw City.

Plop that piano on a barge, tie it to your ankles, and then swim all the way to Mackinac Island. 

That's the gist of the memorable fundraiser Sprint for Flint that's taking place this weekend.

The state’s numbers say the food and agriculture industry brings more than $101 billion into the state’s economy every year.

But Molly Stepanski of Presque Isle Farm said there’s a “huge transition” happening right now in the agriculture industry.

As older farmers begin to age out of the profession, Molly said tens of thousands of acres are “getting ready to transition hands.”

In Stateside’s series of conversations with young farmers in Michigan, some of the farmers we've talked to are working on their families' farms, carrying on a tradition that has spanned generations.

Azeezah Ford is a young farmer taking a different path. Ford grew up in Detroit, and early next year she'll begin full-time farm work in Benzie County in northern Michigan.

The city of Kalamazoo just picked up a $500 million windfall.

This week, Kalamazoo city commissioners approved a public-private partnership called the Kalamazoo Foundation for Excellence. It’s a partnership between the city and two local philanthropist-businessmen: William Parfet and William Johnston.

Kalamazoo Mayor Bobby Hopewell said he saw the public-private partnership as the best way forward for his city, which had been staring down financial problems.

An engrossing book, delicious food, and sparkling conversation. Put all that together in Detroit and you've got the Shady Ladies Literary Society.

Group founder and Detroit-based writer Amy Haimerl, author of Detroit Hustle, and Ashley Shelby, whose novel South Pole Station will be featured at the society's upcoming meeting, joined Stateside on Wednesday.

It’s been a pretty rotten year for the farmers who grow timothy hay, a Michigan crop that's not very familiar to most.

Timothy hay is an important feed for horses, cattle and small animals, like pet bunnies and guinea pigs, among others.

Some of the best timothy hay comes from the eastern Upper Peninsula, but farmers there are enduring a season that will go into the record books for all the wrong reasons.

It’s an ancient way of life under 21st century economic pressures.

According to the state’s numbers, the food and agriculture industry pumps $101 billion into Michigan’s economy each year. It employs some 923,000 people. That’s nearly a quarter of Michigan’s workforce.

So, what does the next generation of farmers think about the future of agriculture in our state?

He was a welcome presence on ESPN and ABC for decades. During his 30 years at ESPN, John Saunders lived every sports fan’s dream job.

But even as this one-time Western Michigan University hockey player rose to become one of the country’s most popular sportscasters, he secretly battled depression – and endured personal traumas that are hard to believe.

The Next Idea

Is there a “state of mind” that aids innovation and creativity?

Think for a moment about the last time you were totally immersed in a hobby, music, or sport. Things just seemed to flow, time became imperceptible, and everything seemed almost effortless. Might you have experienced this when writing? Running or gardening? Creating poetry, music, or dancing? Or even tinkering?

Are such times rare or non-existent in your life? These experiences of “flow” are rocket fuel for innovation and creativity—and you can have more of them.

Thirty years ago today, a flight outbound from Detroit Metro Airport on its way to Phoenix never reached its destination. 

We're driving around Michigan a little faster this summer. It's the result of a package of bills signed earlier this year by Governor Snyder.

Speed limits are increasing to 65 miles an hour on 900 miles of non-freeways around the state. And on 600 miles of freeways, the speed limit goes up to 75.

In the mid-20th century, there was a smuggling ring running between western Upper Peninsula and people in Wisconsin. It didn’t involve whisky, or gun-running, but rather a substitute for butter.

Rachel Clarke with the Michigan History Center says there was demand in Wisconsin for margarine, which was illegal in the badger state, but was still for sale in Michigan stores.

In 1960, the first oral contraceptive was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as contraception.

That drug, Enovid, changed the course of history for women.

Yet Beverly Strassmann, a professor of anthropology and a researcher at the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research, has a challenge for the drug companies that make hormonal birth control: don’t rest on your laurels.

Her research indicates it might be past time for pharmaceutical companies to tweak the formulation of the pill.

The state has admitted it made a whopping mistake when it accused tens of thousands of Michiganders of cheating on their unemployment benefits.

The Unemployment Insurance Agency reviewed 62,784 cases where people were accused of fraud and hit with penalties.

In some 44,000 of those cases, that accusation was completely false – no fraud took place.

After wrongly accusing tens of thousands of people in Michigan of cheating on their unemployment benefits, the state is refunding $21 million to those Michiganders.

Attorney Jennifer Lord said that number is just “a drop in the bucket” of what the state has taken from those people, while Director of the Talent Investment Agency Wanda Stokes said the agency would do better in communicating with citizens and handling unemployment claims.

Amidst all of this, Zach Gorchow of Gongwer News Service has noted a conspicuous silence from one very important voice: Governor Rick Snyder.

Most people have heard of a bird or wildlife sanctuary, but fewer are familiar with sanctuaries for shipwrecks.

The Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary is one of only 14 national marine sanctuaries in the entire country operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and it’s situated in the northwest corner of Lake Huron, just off the shores of Alpena.

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