Stateside: Lake Erie blooms; Michigan dunes; Oakland County backrooms

Aug 19, 2019

Today on Stateside, after resigning from his position as mayor of Ferndale, Democrat Dave Coulter has been sworn in to replace the late L. Brooks Patterson as Oakland County Executive. Plus, how are researchers working to address the problem of annual cyanobacterial blooms on Lake Erie?

Listen to the full show above or find individual segments below. 

Oakland County’s winding path toward naming a new executive

  • The political chaos following the death of longtime Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson has concluded with the swearing in of Democrat Dave Coulter, who tendered his resignation as mayor of Ferndale in order to serve out the remainder of Patterson’s term. Detroit Free Press reporter Kathy Gray joined Stateside to break down the weeks-long political jockeying to replace Patterson.

Pew study finds state tax revenue from recreational marijuana is unpredictable

  • Will marijuana tax revenue become a cure for Michigan’s budget headaches? A newly released study splashes some cold water on that hope. Alex Zhang is a researcher at the Pew Charitable Trusts. She describes the challenges involved with predicting the marijuana market and what her study recommends states do with revenue collected from marijuana taxes. 

Ohio researchers working on solutions to combat harmful cyanobacterial blooms on Lake Erie

  • This year’s toxic cyanobacterial bloom on Lake Erie is shaping up to be one of the worst in recent years. Scientists say the  blooms are caused in part by climate change because of higher-than-average temperatures. The Harmful Algal Bloom Research Initiative 一 HABRI 一 is made up of more than 50 science teams including Ohio colleges and universities. Chris Winslow, director of the Ohio Sea Grant College Program at Ohio State University, talks about what researchers are doing to find solutions for this “new normal” in Lake Erie.

Free speech or a crime? Retired FBI agent recalls early Michigan case about violent online posts

  • Authorities say they foiled three potential mass shootings over the weekend after arresting three men in three states who'd publicly expressed their desire to carry out public acts of violence. All three cases involved clues from the suspects’ online communications: Facebook posts from one man, text messages from another, and a video posted to Instagram from the third. These cases echo a Michigan case from 1995 that became the first criminal prosecution of threats posted on the internet. Retired FBI agent Greg Stejskal talks about the gray area where freedom of speech ends and when it becomes a crime.

MSU study shows vast dune land in Michigan looks like surface of Mars 

  • Michigan's sand dunes, which have long been a draw for tourism, are a cornerstone of our state’s ecosystem. Michigan State University professor Alan Arbogast says that he and his team have discovered that Michigan may have twice as many sand dunes than previously thought. He breaks down the details of this discovery and what it means for shoreline conservation.

Non-profit trains citizen scientists to collect fish data from the Great Lakes

  • A new nonprofit is training everyday people to collect and identify fish in the Great Lakes. They think it could be a game-changer for research in the region, and even keep invasive species from spreading. Michigan Radio's Kaye LaFond brings us this story.

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