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.

Lawmakers in Lansing have begun holding hearings on which standardized tests Michigan students will take next spring.

The state has already decided to replace the Michigan Educational Assessment Program (MEAP) tests and educational officials have endorsed the Smarter Balanced Assessment.

In the coming months, you’ll likely be hearing a lot about the politics of the Smarter Balanced Assessment. Some lawmakers say the test takes away control from local curriculum because it’s being developed by a national consortium.

Public Sector Consultant’s Michelle Richard joined us today to discuss the new test.

Listen to the full interview above.

It's been a year and a half since state education leaders called for reforms to Michigan's "zero tolerance" discipline policies. Critics say too many students are still being booted out of school because of zero-tolerance measures and the result is the kids who are getting in trouble and being expelled are the ones who most need help. And they point to the statistics: A disproportionate number of the students who are punished are minorities.

Bridge Magazine contributing writer Ted Roelofs wrote a piece in a recent issue titled "Zero tolerance school reforms hit resistance in Michigan.” He joined us today along with Annie Salsich, director of the Center on Youth Justice at the Vera Institute, to explore zero-tolerance policies and what can be done to promote a safe and productive school environment.

Listen to the full interview above.

It's commonly accepted that the American Civil War began with the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter in South Carolina on April 12, 1861.

But some make a case for the start of the Civil War being the October 1859 raid on Harpers Ferry by abolitionist John Brown. It was his failed attempt to spark an armed slave revolt and it ended with John Brown being hanged for treason in December 1859.

The story of John Brown, the abolitionist movement and the Underground Railroad in Detroit is the subject of a new documentary called "Madman or Martyr."

The documentary will premiere on Jan. 31 at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit.

Filmmaker and actor Luke Jaden produced "Madman or Martyr." Jaden is from Clarkston in Oakland County and he is 17 years old.

Carol Mull is a founding member of the Michigan Freedom Trail Commission, an author and scholar of Underground Railroad history in Michigan.

They both joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

You know this guy, right?

The beloved Gumby was created by animator Art Clokey. His son Joe Clokey joined us on Stateside today to describe how Michigan inspired his dad to come up with Gumby.

Listen to our interview with him here:

Gov. Rick Snyder delivers his fourth State of the State address tomorrow night. Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta, co-hosts of Michigan Radio’s It’s Just Politics, talk about what we can expect to hear in the governor’s address.

Listen to the full interview above. 

It's been a little over two weeks since the Affordable Care Act officially kicked in.

How many people have been able to enroll? How many are getting financial assistance to help pay for their plan? And what deadlines do we need to be aware of?

Joining us once more is Don Hazaert, director of Michigan Consumers for Healthcare, one of Michigan's four navigator agencies for the ACA.

Listen to full interview above. 

Why do we care so much about famous people? What they wear, what they eat, how they live?

Well, there is an old house in Ann Arbor where renowned playwright Arthur Miller lived while he was a student at University of Michigan and there are those who are intensely interested in preserving that house.

The house is right next to the U of M's Institute for Social Research. The university's expanding the Institute and wants that old house out of the way. And if they can't get someone to buy it, it will probably be demolished.

This story got us thinking about just why we tend to care so much about celebrity homes and just what is behind our seemingly bottomless fascination with celebrities.

We're joined today by Daniel Kruger. He's a professor and a researcher at the University of Michigan and he's done research into that fascination we have for famous people.

It was 1883 when the Detroit Zoo first opened its doors at Michigan Avenue and Trumbull Street, across from what would become Tiger Stadium.

By 1928, the zoo had moved its current home at 10 Mile Road and Woodward Avenue. It's the No. 1 paid tourist attraction in Michigan, drawing more than 1.1 million visitors every year.

The zoo's mission has evolved  since those early days, shifting from animal care to animal welfare. It's a leader in animal conservation and welfare.

Detroit Zoo Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer Ron Kagan  gives us a closer look at the ways the zoo has become such a leader in protecting and preserving animal species.

Listen to the full interview above.

How about some respect for dads, everyone?

How about we stop with the marketing and entertainment cliches portraying Dad as a big ol' doofus who can't boil a pot of water or change a nasty diaper? And we start recognizing that men play a very active role in the home life and they are not the opposite side of the coin to the "supermommy."

This has been the mission of our next guest. Doug French been one of the nation's leading "daddy bloggers" ever since launching his blog "Laid Off Dad" over 10 years ago. And in July 2010, he created another blog, When the Flames Go Up, blogging with his ex-wife about co-parenting after divorce.

He's also the co-founder of the upcoming Dad 2.0 Summit, which aims to raise the profile of America's dads in the eyes of companies and marketers.

He does all of this as he practices the fine art of being a dad.

Doug French joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

The data and numbers crunchers have been working away, trying to peer into the future to figure out what lies ahead for Michigan over the next 10 years in terms of jobs and pay.

And the verdict: Michigan's economic axis is tilting west.

Rick Haglund's recent story for Bridge Magazine is headlined: "Future job growth favors West Michigan."

And Don Grimes is with the Institute for Research on Labor, Employment and the Economy at the University of Michigan.

They both joined us today to discuss the issue.

Listen to the full interview above.

It's starting to make its presence felt in empty chairs at the workplace and sad little Facebook status updates saying, "I'm sick."

Flu season is upon us.

Federal officials report 35 states are now experiencing widespread influenza activity with young and middle-aged adults being hit hardest this year rather than the usual pattern of seniors or children.

Dr. Matthew Davis, chief medical executive for the Michigan Department of  Community Health and a professor at the University of Michigan, joined us today to give us an idea of what the flu season looks like in Michigan.

Listen to the full interview above.

There are nearly 2,600 dams in Michigan, and more than 90% are going to hit or exceed their design life by 2020.

That's according to the American Society of Civil Engineers, which gave Michigan a grade of "D" on the condition of its dams.

Keith Metheny looked into the issue of Michigan's aging dams in a recent piece in the Detroit Free Press, where he is the environmental reporter. He joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Gov. Snyder delivers his State of the State address a week from today. He'll likely talk about new policy initiatives and proposals and issues concerning everything from transportation and infrastructure to education. Lisa Wozniak, however, will be listening intently to what the Governor has to say about one specific topic: the environment.

Lisa Wozniak is the Executive Director of the Michigan League for Conservation Voters, and she joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

After 40 years of decline, Detroit has become a haven of so called ruin porn, with people flocking from all over the country and the world to photograph the city’s many decaying buildings.

Once winter was in full swing, a video went viral on social media. And it’s an epic, not to mention adventurous example of ruin porn.

Stateside’s Emily Fox has more.

Listen to the full audio above.

Watch "Tracing Skylines":


In China, more and more cities are seeing their streets filled with smog as cars and power stations pollute the air. One response by the Chinese government is to launch a major push for cleaner renewable energy. China is now the world's leading producer of wind power and it has plans to install thousands of turbines every year, especially in the remote regions in the country's far west.

That's where the BBC's science editor David Shukman is, and he sent us this report.

Listen to the full audio above.

A young woman entered college, full of the dreams she’d been holding tight since early grade school: dreams of being a doctor. She entered college in pre-med as a biology major. The biology part of pre-med went just great. But the chemistry was tough, and, in the middle of her sophomore year, when she saw she’d gotten a “D” in organic chem lab, that was that. She dropped out of all her science classes, switched over to History and tried to forget that she’d ever wanted to be a surgeon.

Today she’s glad to be hosting Stateside here on Michigan Radio!

But even after 34 years in radio and TV, Cynthia Canty still finds herself wondering what if she had not let that one “D” chase her out of her science major? And why did no one try to encourage her to keep plugging away?

So when the New York Times Sunday Magazine recently ran a long piece by writer Eileen Pollack titled “Why Are There Still So Few Women in Science?” it struck a very personal chord.

As Eileen finds, women are still underrepresented in the STEM classes and careers that are so crucial to our country’s future prosperity.

But the University of Michigan is working hard to find ways to nurture and support women students and faculty in the sciences.

We were joined today by the author of that New York Times piece. She is one of the first two women to earn a bachelor of science degree in physics from Yale. Today she teaches creative writing at the University of Michigan.

Tim McKay is a professor of astrophysics at the University of Michigan, and he directs the undergrad honors program.

Abby Stewart is a professor of psychology and women’s studies at Michigan. She directs the university’s advance program.

The three of them joined us today to discuss the issue.

Listen to the full interview above.

Emergency unemployment benefits and senatorial "jitters" over an Enbridge oil pipeline running through the Straits of Mackinac: Both are issues consuming attention from Michigan's congressional delegation.

More than a week ago, a federal unemployment benefits program expired, leaving 1.3 million jobless Americans without aid. Some 45,000 of them are here in Michigan.

The program is the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program. In Michigan, the EUC added 36 more weeks to the state's regular 20 weeks of benefits.

On Capitol Hill today, Democrats are trying to pressure House Republicans to extend the program for three more months.

Meanwhile, the Obama administration is trying to ease concerns over an oil pipeline in the Straits of Mackinac.

Detroit Free Press Washington reporter Todd Spangler joins us now to tell us more about these issues.

Listen to the full interview above.

Dec. 10, 1971. Crisler Arena in Ann Arbor. John Lennon steps up to the microphone.

"It ain't fair, John Sinclair…” the former Beatle sings.

In his new book, "The Walrus And The Elephants: John Lennon's Years of Revolution," author James Mitchell tells the story of Lennon’s trip to Michigan, and why Ann Arbor was the perfect launchpad for Lennon's new life as a revolutionary.

Listen to the full interview above. 

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.

This time the forecasters did not cry wolf. We got slammed by snow.

Now that the snow has fallen, we’re looking at winds and dangerous cold.

What's ahead and when will we see something resembling a more "typical" Michigan winter?

For the answers we turned to MLive meteorologist Mark Torregrossa, who also runs farmerweather.com.

I just got back yesterday from nearly two weeks in Ireland, and we were checking on Torregrossa’s reports as we got ready to fly back yesterday -- wondering if we were going to beat the snow and be able to land. The answer was "yes." He was spot-on in calling what was going to happen and when.

*Listen to the audio above.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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