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Offbeat

Offbeat

scan of The Michigan Essay newspaper
Archives of Michigan

For much of American history, newspapers were the main source of information for citizens of all backgrounds.

And although profits may have been a top priority, newspapers helped form and inform communities, and provided a check on government.

A letter urging the governor to suppress the film
Michigan History Center

Nowadays, watching sports highlights is as easy as looking at your phone. But a century ago, not so much. 

In fact, more than 100 years ago, groups were urging the Governor of Michigan to suppress the showing of a film that recorded one of the biggest sporting events of the age. 

Kyle and Bryce at a library
Michigan Radio

  

Taking that first step down a career path can be daunting. It's like stepping into a world completely unknown. On the flip side, if you’ve been walking that road a long time, chances are you’ve learned a thing or two. 

woodcut of le griffon
Wikimedia Commons / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Today, we’re taking you way back to the summer of 1679. It was on this Friday, 339 years ago, that the French ship Le Griffon appeared on the Detroit River.

It was the first large scale, European style sailing ship to reach the shores of what would eventually become Michigan.

Cydni Elledge

  

Being a black woman in America is equivalent to feeling like a “double, triple, quadruple minority,” says Florence Noel. She argues that this is not only reflected in national statistics, but also in their everyday experiences.

Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

Each year, Native American kids can enjoy a cultural summer camp experience at the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi's Rodgers Lake campus. Many of the camp activities are built around cultural teachings, and a big part of that is telling stories passed down through generations. 

Colin Wesaw is a tribal elder and leader in the Pokagon Band community. He often tells stories at Camp Kë Gbéshmen in Dowagiac. The 63-year-old started telling stories when he was just 18. 

He joined Stateside to talk about the importance of stories, and to share a tale about making choices. 

The LaSalle Hotel lobby, the site of the assassination of Detroit Radio personality Jerry Buckley
Courtesy of The Detroit News

Like something out of a gangster movie, radio personality Jerry Buckley was gunned down in the La Salle Hotel in Detroit 88 years ago this week.

Buckley’s killer was never found, and the mystery of his death involves mobsters, a city mired in violence, and a corrupt mayor who was recalled, in part, because Buckley protested his election on the radio.

Marijuana leaves
Unsplash

Michigan, like other states, is at a kind of crossroads when it comes to marijuana policy.

The drug is still illegal at the federal level. But public opinion is changing. More than 60 percent of Americans now favor legalizing weed.

And this November, Michiganders will vote on whether or not to allow recreational marijuana use.

So what does all this mean for the state's economy, health care, or criminal justice system?

Downtown Grand Rapids
Steven Depolo / Creative Commons

Today marks the 51st anniversary of the 1967 uprising in Detroit. What some call a rebellion, some a riot, left 43 people dead and thousands of buildings in the city destroyed.

Michigan Radio did a deep dive into the history and legacy of that event last year. This year, we’re focusing on a smaller uprising that started just two days later,  on July 25th, 1967, in Grand Rapids.

Matthew Daley, Associate Professor of History at Grand Valley State University, joined Stateside to talk about what happened. 

EMMA WINOWIECKI / MICHIGAN RADIO

There are some classic campfire stories we hear again and again, like Bloody Mary or the hitchhiker. Then there are stories unique to the place they are told.

Stories where the long-last camper or escaped madman is roaming around your lake, or where the ghost mentioned may be in your cabin.

That’s the kind of story J. Berry, manager for instrument services at the Interlochen Center for the Arts, tells us. 

Jason / FLICKR: HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

With the tap of your finger, you can access pretty much anything these days, whether you're streaming a movie or ordering a pair of shoes. But just 50 years ago, Michigan had a law banning most businesses from being open on Sunday. 

That law, which was upheld by the United States Supreme Court in 1962, fell into a category of “blue laws.”

A corpse flower blooming
Courtesy of Meijer Gardens

It's a momentous week at the Frederik Meijer Gardens.

Its once-tiny corpse flower is now a strapping plant, reaching several feet high, and it's about to bloom for the very first time. 

An image of a silver bitcoin
Zach Copley / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

 

Cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin or the more than 1,500 other cryptocurrencies, are making some people rich. 

They're also opening up something new: your computer could be using its processor power, its memory, and your electricity to help make money for someone else. The process is called cryptojacking.

 

Ekaterina Selivanova on a beach.
Ekaterina Selivanova

Michigan Radio has been hosting a visiting journalist from Russia for the past week and a half. 

Ekaterina Selivanova works for the television channel, Dozhd, in Moscow. 

While in Ann Arbor, Selivanova hit the streets to ask Americans about U.S.-Russia relations. She also offers her own reflections on the two countries' relationship.

A sticky bun on a plate
Tombarta / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

Summertime in Michigan bring an endless variety of festivals to explore. 

Some, like the National Asparagus Festival in Oceana County, are pretty self-explanatory. Others, however, are a little more quirky.

Take Sticky Buns Days, for example, which is happening this weekend in Grayling at Wellington Farm, USA.

Michigan History Magazine, Vol. 6, 1922 / Michigan History Center

You probably know the basics of how a typewriter works – even if you have never used one. What you may not have known, however, is that the “father of the typewriter” was William Austin Burt, from Macomb County.

As it happens, this Saturday is National Typewriter Day. Stateside invited Mark Harvey, state archivist with the Michigan History Center, to talk about what led to the birth of the typewriter. 

Peder Toftegaard Olsen

Plenty of us will be enjoying the water and exploring the outdoors in Michigan this summer.

But writer, broadcaster, and attorney Steve Lehto is taking these sorts of adventures to a new level.

This July, Lehto will be taking a 1,200-mile motorized canoe trip from Duluth to Detroit via Sault Ste. Marie. He is retracing the path of famous Michigan explorer Douglass Houghton in the 1830s and 1840s.

Charlie LeDuff's Sh*tshow
Penguin Random House

Charlie LeDuff has been busy. Over the last few years, he’s hung out at the Mexican border waiting for undocumented immigrants to be ferried across the Rio Grande on a jet ski. He's chatted up conspiracy theorists at the Cliven Bundy standoff with the federal government, and he's tried not to get hit by rubber bullets or worse in Ferguson, Missouri.  

Saugatuck Dunes
Wikimedia / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

There's no better time than summer to enjoy Michigan's Great Lakes.

It is also a great time to learn something new about the freshwater seas that surround our state.

Because the lakes aren't just the perfect summer vacation spot, they're also a big part of Michigan's culture, economy, and environment.

Chase and Drew Kegley headshot
Mercedes Mejia/Michigan Radio

 


 

The world of video games is meeting the world of school athletics.

 

This weekend brings the final round of a three-month online gaming competition among 32 Michigan high schools.

pintandpoppy / FLICKR - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

This Friday marks the 172nd anniversary of a uniquely Michigan milestone. On May 18, 1846, Michigan became the first English-speaking government in the world to vote and pass a measure to abolish the death penalty.

Mark Harvey, State Archivist with the Michigan History Center, joined Stateside to talk about Michigan’s progressive past. Judge Avern Cohn, the Senior United States District Judge for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, also joined the conversation.

Bob Anderson on stage in his Frank Sinatra show
Courtesy of Bob Anderson

 


Today is the 20th anniversary of Frank Sinatra's death, but he lives on in Bob Anderson​. Anderson has been a fixture in Vegas and on stages all around the country with his show, "Frank. The Man. The Music."

Michigan ad
Michigan History Center

If you recognize the lyric, "Yes Michigan! The feeling’s forever," you’re probably not alone (and no longer in your 20s). The words stem from the “Yes Michigan” tourism ad campaign from the 1980s.

New York City's Asylum for the Insane on Blackwell's Island
Moses King / British Library

This past Saturday was the 154th birthday of Nellie Bly, one of the first (if not the first) American investigative journalists.

Her willingness to be checked into the New York City Women's Insane Asylum helped change the way America treated people who were mentally ill.

Detroit police inspecting equipment found in a clandestine underground brewery during the prohibition era
Wikimedia Commons - U.S. National Archives


   

Last week, the Board of State Canvassers approved a ballot petition that might end the prohibition of recreational marijuana in Michigan

 

Meanwhile, this week marked the 100th anniversary of another important social experiment: Prohibition. 

Ruth Willet with an antennae for radio outside
Courtesy of Ruth Willet

 

She may be busy with her double major in Mechanical Engineering and Engineering Physics, but Kettering University student Ruth Willet always finds time for her passion: amateur radio – also known as "ham radio." 

The front of the Mackinac Island Dr. Beaumont museum and fur trade shop
Courtesy of the Michigan History Center

 


 

With eight hospitals and a medical school named in his honor, many Southeastern Michiganders are familiar with the name William Beaumont. But just what did the doctor do to acquire such acclaim in the world of medicine?   

A photo from 1881 of Moses Fleetwood Walker with the Oberlin team
Courtesy of the Baseball Hall of Fame

 

 

The baseball season is once again upon us. The national pastime carries an overwhelming sense of history and tradition that continues to make the game fascinating to watch — even if your favorite team is struggling. 

The branded label on the front of a snow motor
California Agricultural Museum

 

This winter driving season has created many white-knuckled moments throughout our state.  

If you find yourself thinking, “There’s got to be a better way to get around in the snow,” then you wouldn’t be the first. 

It's Been a Minute is nearing its first anniversary. NPR Extra caught up with NPR journalist and podcast host Sam Sanders about his move to NPR West in Culver City, California, transition from NPR's Washington Desk, and what he hopes to accomplish before IBAM turns one year old.

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