Rebecca Kruth | Michigan Radio
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Rebecca Kruth

Weekend Host / Producer

Rebecca Kruth is the host of Weekend Edition at Michigan Radio. She also co-hosts Michigan Radio’s weekly language podcast That’s What They Say with English professor Anne Curzan.

After earning degrees in English and American Studies from Michigan State University, Kruth began her radio career as a newsroom intern at WKAR in East Lansing. She completed additional news internships at WBEZ Chicago and KAJX Aspen.

Kruth first came to Michigan Radio in 2014 as a producer for Morning Edition. She served as a general assignment reporter and fill-in host before becoming the station’s full-time Weekend Edition host in 2016.

When she’s not on the airwaves, Kruth enjoys hiking, Korean food and hunting for vinyl records with her husband James. She’s also Bruce Springsteen’s number one fan.

A Tesla electronic car at a charging station
Austin Kirk / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

This Week in Review, Jack and I look at a lawsuit in which Michigan and 20 other states seek to block a new federal rule that expands overtime eligibility for white-collar workers.

We also discuss a bill that would require more transparency from state lawmakers, and electronic car maker Tesla's lawsuit against the state of Michigan.


Some acronyms have become so common as words, that it’s tough to remember what they stood for in the first place.

We’re talking about words where each letter actually stands for its own word. Instead of saying each word individually, we mash the first letters together and say that instead.

Take scuba, for instance. We don’t call it “scuba” diving because some guy named Steve Scuba invented a cool way to stay under water for a long time.

“Scuba” actually stands for Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus.

Language ambiguity can certainly create some confusing situations.

Take this headline from a 1982 issue of The Guardian, for example: “British Left Waffles on Falklands.”

At first, it sounds like the British forgot their breakfast on the Falkland Islands. While we love waffles and certainly agree that accidentally leaving them behind in the South Atlantic would be a bummer, that’s not exactly headline material.

Go back and read the headline again. This time, treat “waffles” as a verb instead of a delicious breakfast treat.

Now does it make sense?

It's difficult to escape the lure of the concession stand.

They’re at the movies, beckoning to you with rainbow-colored boxes of candy and buckets of warm, buttery popcorn.

You’ll find them at circuses and fairs, pulling you in with bags of fluffy, pastel-colored cotton candy and crispy funnel cakes, sweet with cinnamon and sugar.

At baseball games, you don’t even have to get out of your seat to get peanuts or a box of Cracker Jack. The concession stand comes to you.

It’s not a question of if you’ll give in, but when.

kids getting on a school bus
woodleywonderworks / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Summer's almost over, and kids all over Michigan are getting ready for the new school year. This Week In Review, Jack Lessenberry and Rebecca Kruth look at the School Reform Office's annual list ranking the state's lowest performing schools. They also talk about the latest in the straight-ticket voting saga and whether third party candidates will affect election outcomes in Michigan.


Wikimedia user Gyre / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The state of Michigan has hit a roadblock in its efforts to cut down on air pollution in Wayne County.

U.S. Steel is suing the state over a rule that requires the company to submit a plan for meeting sulfur dioxide standards at its Great Lakes Works plant in Ecorse.

Michigan has been trying get the Pittsburgh-based company and several others in the Detroit-area to scale back emissions since 2010, when a federal review found that levels were above standards.

We try to keep our language pretty clean here at That’s What They Say, but sometimes things just slip out.

Like when we’re explaining the difference between “they’re”, “their,” and “there” for what feels like the millionth time.

Or when we see "for all intensive purposes" in print, and the writer isn't trying to be ironic.

Sometimes it happens when we stub a toe and it really, really hurts.

In any case, for those of us guilty of occasionally uttering words that would make a sailor blush, the phrase “pardon my French” is a go-to apology.

Spacing Magazine / Creative Commons http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

This Week in Review, Jack Lessenberry and Rebecca Kruth talk about a failed attempt to get recreational pot on the ballot this November, a report that the owners of the Ambassador Bridge might soon throw some legal hurdles down river to block construction of the Gordie Howe Bridge, and the latest chapter in the rivalry between Gov. Rick Snyder and Attorney General Bill Schuette.


Michigan Department of Corrections

Update 5:30 p.m.:

The Michigan Department of Corrections says Johnny Rodgers is back in custody following an arrest this afternoon.

Original post 3:35 p.m.:

The search is on for a convicted felon who was mistakenly released from a suburban Detroit jail on Wednesday evening.

Johnny Rodgers is serving a seven- to 15-year sentence for assault with intent to commit murder, armed robbery and felony firearms charges in Wayne County.

It’s the kind of thing that can divide a nation.

Or, at the very least, it’s the kind of thing that can bring a perfect date between two grammar nerds to a screeching halt.

Picture it. You’re midway through what has been a nearly perfect first date. Conversation has been interesting, awkward lulls have been minimal and basic hygiene expectations have been met.

Then, somewhere between entrees and dessert, the word "alleged" comes up in conversation.

Did you own a talking car in the 1980s?

The Chrysler New Yorker was one of a handful of models in the mid-80s to feature an electronic voice alert system.

We're guessing it launched more than a few Knight Rider fantasies.

The car would remind you to fasten your seatbelt or to replenish your wiper fluid. It would let you know if your lights were on or if your engine was overheating. All in a robotic monotone.

Jack Lessenberry
Michigan Radio

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton were in Michigan this week to deliver big economic speeches. This Week in Review, Jack Lessenberry and Rebecca Kruth talk about each candidate's fiscal vision, and whether it will resonate with voters. Lessenberry and Kruth also discuss the latest move in a battle over straight-ticket voting in the state.


There sits the dictionary.  

A forgotten volume, alone on its rickety pedestal with nothing but a shabby jacket to protect it from dust and shelf ware.

All the dictionary ever wanted was to serve you.

Think about that time you were cramming for the vocabulary portion of your SAT and just couldn’t make sense of “legerdemain.” Who was there to offer not only a sentence for context but also a language of origin?

I voted sticker
Michael Bentley / Creative Commons http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The state primary results are in, so what's to come in November? This Week in Review, Jack Lessenberry and Rebecca Kruth discuss voter turnout and races to watch on the road to Election Day. They also talk about a resurrected plan to bring regional transit funding to southeast Michigan and a dispute over the state's emergency manager law that's playing out in federal court.


Thatcher Cook / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

When the 2016 summer Olympics kick off in Brazil tonight, there will be plenty of opportunities to root for Michigan.

Ten athletes who call the state their home will go for the gold in volleyball, track and field, rowing and other events.

In the boxing ring, you'll see Claressa Shields from Flint. In the 2012 Olympics, Shields became the first U.S. woman to win a gold medal in the sport.

In the pool, look for Allison Schmitt of Canton. She won five medals in 2012, including three gold. This year, she's back as a team captain.

Mutter, mumble and murmur may look similar, but don't be fooled.

Think of it this way. If someone you're dating tells you they  love you for the first time, which would you prefer?

1) "I love you," he murmured.

2) "I love you," she mumbled.

3) "I love you," he muttered.

Okay, none of these scenarios instill a lot of confidence when it comes to long-term relationship potential, but one certainly seems worse than the others.

STEVE CARMODY / MICHIGAN RADIO

This Week in Review, Jack Lessenberry and Rebecca Kruth talk about the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, and whether mentions of the Flint water crisis this week were political fodder. Kruth and Lessenberry also look at some races to watch in the state primary Tuesday, and a failed attempt to put a millage to fund Detroit regional transit on the November ballot. 

Kalamazoo
Public domain

Kalamazoo is getting $70 million from philanthropists and others that will be used to create a foundation to help solve the city's budget woes, and cut property taxes.

The Kalamazoo City Commission decided Thursday to move forward with the idea of creating the Foundation for Excellence.

Officials expect the foundation would be fully funded by 2020, so revenue from investments would be available long-term.

Apple with books
Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The CEO appointed by the state to take over four low-performing East Detroit schools can start working, but with some limits.

Under an agreement in court Thursday, CEO Gary Jensen can act as a consultant in the district, but he doesn't have authority over decisions on academics, curriculum or finances.

The state's decision to hire a CEO has faced months of backlash from teachers and administrators in East Detroit schools, who say they're already working to turn things around in the struggling district.

Some things are inevitable when you’re a radio host.

It’s almost time to go on the air, and you're ready. Your headlines are juicy and your weather forecast is spot on.

You’ve even got a great line to get people to listen to that segment on the mating rituals of the brown marmorated stink bug. 

Your finger is poised over the microphone button, and then you think, “Maybe I should check the traffic map one last time, just in case.”

Why not? You've got 30 whole seconds to spare.

That's when you see it.

Outside the RNC in Cleveland.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

This Week in Review, Rebecca Kruth and Jack Lessenberry wrap up the Republican National Convention and look toward Philadelphia where the Democratic National Convention is set for next week. Kruth and Lessenberry also discuss a federal ruling that blocks Michigan’s ban on straight ticket voting and the loss of one of the state’s most prominent LGBT rights advocates.


The civil unrest began in the early hours of July 23, 1967 following a police raid on an unlicensed after-hours bar on the corner of 12th and Clairmount.
Public Domain / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

In the summer of 1967, the streets of Detroit shook with violence.

Civil unrest over lack of housing for blacks and open animosity with the mostly white police department boiled over in the early morning hours of July 23.

What began with a police raid on an unlicensed after-hours club grew into rioting and looting that devastated parts of the city and lasted for days.

Then-governor George Romney called in the National Guard, and President Lyndon Johnson sent in paratroopers to help quell the violence. 

Peeling lead paint.
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Some Grand Rapids homes are about to get a lot safer.

The city is among 23 state and local agencies across the country to receive Lead Based Paint Hazard Control grants from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Lead paint has been banned from use in housing since 1978, but it's still on the walls and woodwork in many older Michigan homes.

"It was marketed as 'the good paint', so if you cared about your home, then you used it," said Doug Stek, who directs hazard control projects for the City of Grand Rapids.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

It’s about to get easier for coaches and parents to decide whether an athlete has had a potentially serious blow to the head.

Two Michigan State University professors have invented an impact-sensing headband to help people on the sidelines make quick decisions if a player takes a hit.

On the outside, the device looks like any other stretchy athletic headband, but this headband has pockets for wireless sensors that record the location and severity of an impact.

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