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Stateside: Why the DNR okayed wolf killings; citizen activists on PFAS; expanding food assistance

Groceries, including milk, eggs and produce, sitting on a counter.
Lindsey Smith
Michigan Radio
A program that helps people double the SNAP benefits they have when they buy fresh produce is expanding statewide thanks to a boost in federal funding.

Today on Stateside, what newly-released emails between state officials reveal about the behind-the-scenes negotiations that allowed federally-protected gray wolves to be killed in the Upper Peninsula. Plus, on the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy's assassination, a look into the former president's long list of health problems and why they were hidden from public view.

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

Bridge: The state DNR claimed killing wolves protected humans. Internal emails say otherwise.

Stateside's conversation with John Barnes

  • Gray wolves in Michigan are considered an endangered species. Under federal law, they can only be killed if they pose a risk to humans. And that was the justification state officials used when they okayed wolf killings in the Upper Peninsula. But a new investigation published in Bridge Magazine found that emails between DNR officials paint a very different picture of what was driving the DNR's decisions. We talk to John Barnes, the reporter behind the investigation, about what those emails reveal about the behind-the-scenes negotiations over killing the federally-protected wolves. 

Program that stretches SNAP dollars for fresh produce gets funding to expand statewide

Stateside’s conversation with Oran Hesterman

  • Double Up Food Bucks is a program that makes SNAP benefits go twice as far when spent on fresh fruits and vegetables. It originated in Michigan as an initiative from the Fair Food Network and is now a model used across the country. The organization recently received $12.5 million in federal funding to help expand the food assistance program statewide. Oran Hesterman is the president and CEO of Fair Food Network and created the Double Up Food Bucks program in 2009. He talked about the effectiveness of the current program, and what the boost in federal funding will mean for its expansion.

Medical history of JFK shows public is often left out of loop when it comes to a president’s health

Stateside’s conversation with Howard Markel

  • President John F. Kennedy was assassinated on Friday, November 22nd, 1963 as he rode in a motorcade through the streets of Dallas. But before he was murdered at the age of 46, JFK suffered more than a lifetime's worth of medical miseries. University of Michigan medical historian and PBS contributor Dr. Howard Markel discussed JFK's long list of medical problems and why presidents' health is often hidden from public view.

PFAS-contaminated water turned residents in a W. Michigan community into activists

Stateside’s conversation with Sandy Wynn-Stelt and Jenny Carney

  • The shoemaker Wolverine Worldwide owned and operated a tannery in Rockford, Michigan for decades. In 2017, residents learned that waste from the now-closed tannery had contaminated the community's drinking water supply. That revelation spurred West Michigan residents Sandy Wynn-Stelt and Jenny Carney to take action and push the government, and Wolverine, to address the contamination. 

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Stateside is produced daily by a dedicated group of producers and production assistants. Listen daily, on-air, at 3 and 8 p.m., or subscribe to the daily podcast wherever you like to listen.
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