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.

Week in Review: FOIA bills and DeVos opposition

Feb 4, 2017
A full Senate vote on Besty DeVos' U.S. education secretary nomination is expected next week.
BetsyDeVos.com

Michigan is one of two states that don't apply public records laws to the governor's office and the Legislature. This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and Michigan Radio senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry look at bills from a bipartisan group of lawmakers who want to expand the state's Freedom of Information Act.

(Support trusted journalism like this in Michigan. Give what you can here.)

They also talk about this week's settlement of a major lawsuit over the state's automated unemployment claims system, opposition to Betsy DeVos' nomination as U.S. education secretary, and former Snyder chief of staff Jarrod Agen's new job in the White House.

Justice statue
Flickr user Jack / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Michigan's Unemployment Insurance Agency has settled a lawsuit over an automated claims processing system that falsely accused tens of thousands of people of fraud.

Between October 2013 and August 2015, the system kicked out more than 50,000 potential fraud cases. An initial state review of those cases found a 93% error rate. 

A lawsuit filed on behalf of the United Auto Workers union, Sugar Law Center and several individuals accused of fraud was dismissed Thursday under an agreement between the state and the plaintiffs.

ICE agents
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

This week, President Donald Trump signed an executive order to increase deportation efforts when it comes to undocumented immigrants. Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about the impact that could have on Michigan. 

They also discuss Trump's call for an investigation into his voter fraud claims, a trip to the White House for Detroit auto CEOs, and a bill to create guidelines for school closures in Michigan.


taliesin / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

A state lawmaker wants to make sure police officers can't use a resignation to hide bad behavior.

Legislation introduced this week would require law enforcement agencies to keep a record of the reasons and circumstances surrounding a resignation.

If a resigning officer applies for a job at another department, the potential employer would be allowed to request a copy of their record.

Nothing goes better with a Sunday morning than a cup of coffee and a newspaper. Fortunately, in Michigan, we've got a pretty long list of papers to choose from.

In Battle Creek, we've got the Enquirer. In Lansing, it's the State Journal. Muskegon has the Chronicle, and Detroit has both the Free Press and the News. 

With so many different mastheads out there, we couldn't help but wonder where some of these papers get their names.


Electronic cigarette
www.ecigclick.co.uk / creative commons http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Minors in Michigan wouldn't be able to buy or possess electronic cigarettes or nicotine cartridges under a bill recently introduced in the state Senate.

The legislation would add vapor products and alternative nicotine products to the Youth Tobacco Act.

Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, says it would close a loophole that lets minors purchase e-cigarettes in Michigan.

michigan.gov

Gov. Rick Snyder delivered his seventh State of the State address on Tuesday. This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about why the speech isn't considered to be one of Snyder's finest.

They also discuss the governor's push to save Medicaid expansion, Attorney General's Bill Schuette's stance on a Flint water crisis lawsuit, and education secretary nominee Besty DeVos' hearing on Capitol Hill.

When we talk about our relatives, there are plenty of gender-neutral terms to cover the bases.

We use "grandparents" to talk about both our grandmothers and grandfathers; "parents" takes care of mothers and fathers; "siblings" refers to both brothers and sisters; and a "cousin" can be either male or female.

But what about nieces and nephews? 

There's good news for aunts and uncles who crave a word to speak collectively about the kids they love to spoil.

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Boy in classroom with his hand raised
Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

The Michigan Legislature is back in session, and the bills are rolling in. This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and Michigan Radio senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry look at a bill that would phase out the state income tax, and another that would end daylight saving time in Michigan.

They also discuss Education Secretary nominee Betsy Devos' rescheduled confirmation hearing, Detroit's newly elected school board, and Gov. Rick Snyder's upcoming State of the State address.

(Support trusted journalism like this in Michigan. Give what you can here.)

On this week's edition of That's What They Say, English professor Anne Curzan joined us from Austin, Texas, where she was attending the American Dialect Society's annual meeting.  

Each year, the ADS gathers to choose a word that best represents "the public discourse and preoccupations of the past year."

This year's candidates included "woke", "post-truth" and "normalize." But the ADS decided it couldn't pick just one word to represent 2016, so the winner ended up being a compound.

A burning, smelly compound.

Wikimedia Commons

Juvenile first-time offenders whose mothers don't get involved in their legal proceedings are much more likely to commit another crime, according to a new study.

The study from Michigan State University looked at the cases of more than 300 male juvenile first-time offenders aged 13 to 17. Since juvenile offenders often don't have a present father in their lives, researchers chose to focus on offenders with female primary guardians.

Michigan's Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA)
Bytemarks / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Thousands in Michigan were wrongfully accused of unemployment fraud through the state's automated claims system. Now, the director of the Unemployment Insurance Agency has been reassigned.

This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about the long road to get things back in order at the UIA. They also talk about Gov. Snyder's emergency declaration in Macomb County and U.S. attorney Patrick Miles Jr.'s decision to step down from his post in Michigan's Western District.


University of Michigan English professor Anne Curzan has been feeling a little self-conscious lately.

Curzan was recently talking with some of her students about how much research had been done on a particular topic, when one student raised her hand and asked about her pronunciation of a particular word.

Keep in mind, this was a linguistics class, and Curzan tends to instill in her students a super-sensitivity to the various quirks of our language.  

The student said she'd noticed that Curzan pronounces "research" with the emphasis on the second syllable. She said she only hears that pronunciation in academic settings. 


Prison bars
powelli / Creative Commons http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

A former Michigan prison guard is facing charges stemming from the death of an inmate at the Women's Huron Valley Correctional Facility in Pittsfield Township.

Janika Edmond committed suicide after she was left unsupervised in a shower at the prison last year.

The 25-year-old allegedly told guard Dianna Callahan that she was going to kill herself and asked to be placed in a protective restraint.

If you run with grammar sticklers, you know that saying "irregardless" under any circumstances not considered ironic is a great way to get yourself thrown into exile.

While it's true that grammar enthusiasts die a little each time someone utters this persistent double-negative, other words of a similar nature don't seem to draw quite as much ire as "irregardless." 

For example, what about "reiterate"?

Think about the last time you used that one. It was probably to let someone know that you were going to repeat something; e.g., "I like to reiterate that the final paper is due tomorrow."

Did anyone correct you when you said it? Did someone give you a slap on the hand with a ruler? Or even just a haughty look? Probably not.


The Michigan House of Representatives in Lansing
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio file photo

The lame duck session wrapped up in Lansing this week. In this Week in Review, Michigan Radio Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about bills that made it through the Legislature and one that didn't. They also discuss an important anniversary in the Flint water crisis.

An anniversary in Flint

CPR training
Rama / creative commons http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Michigan students would be required to learn CPR before they graduate from high school under a bill that's on its way to Gov. Snyder's desk.

This week, the state House voted in favor of legislation that would require students that students receive CPR instruction at least once between 7th and 12th grade. It would be up to school districts to decide when and how to incorporate the training into their curriculum.  

Andrew Pennebaker / creative commons http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The state of Michigan is asking a judge to drop an order that requires water delivery in Flint for residents who don't have a filter.

In a court filing Tuesday, the state says tests show Flint water is in compliance with federal standards for lead. Separately, Virginia Tech expert Marc Edwards says his tests also show significant improvement.

Still, the state and Edwards both say residents should not drink unfiltered tap water.

One of the best things about studying the history of English is digging up words that, for the most part, have died out of the language but still pop up in funny places.

For example, let's take a look at "wer" and "wif", the Old English words for man and woman.

Etymologically, "wer" is related to "vir", which is Latin for man. "Vir" shows up in modern English in words like "virile" and "virility."

However, "wer" has pretty much vanished from modern English. Except for one word.


Rick Pluta / MPRN

The ballot recount in Michigan is over. This time, it’s for good.

This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and Michigan Radio senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry take a look at the short-lived recount and some of the problems it exposed at the polls, particularly in Detroit. They also look at a bill that would make it legal to hunt wolves in Michigan if the bill makes it through this year’s lame duck session in Lansing.


Despite the diligent tutelage of our Speak and Spells, there are plenty of spellings that continue to elude us.

However, while we sometimes complain about the vagaries of English spelling, would we actually change the spelling of any of the words?

University of Michigan English professor Anne Curzan recently put the question to her students, who decided they would change up “supersede.”

Obviously, since it’s already typed out here on the page, we can’t really ask you how you think “supersede” is spelled.

Be honest though, when you saw it, did it look strange to you?


Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

It looks like the ballot recount in Michigan will move forward, unless the courts decide to get involved. This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about the recount as well as a state bill that would tighten up voter ID laws and another that would ban plastic bag bans.


When to use “who” and when to use “whom” is one of those grammar conundrums that just won't die.

Once you learn the rule, it’s not too hard to distinguish between the two.

“Who” is the subject that does an action, while “whom”is the object that receives an action. For example, “who” speaks to “whom.”

Pretty simple, right?

Unfortunately, learning the rule doesn’t mean you’ll escape tricky cases.


If your job involves a cubicle, a computer and any sort of decor that's best described as motivational graphic art, there's a good chance you've had some experience with business jargon.

Maybe you've been asked to circle back around after a conference call or close the loop on an email discussion. Perhaps you've bypassed low-hanging fruit to focus on mission-critical action items.

Or, just maybe, you've implemented corporate best practices to leverage your company's core competencies in order to achieve synergy. 

Michigan flag.
Wikimedia Commons / http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about a loss to Trump’s transition team, newspaper cutbacks, a possible state flag makeover.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles / creative commons http://j.mp/1SPGCl0, cropped

The mayor of Warren is defending a social media post that caused some panic and confusion among residents this week.

In a Facebook post late Wednesday, Jim Fouts referenced a “major environmental scandal brewing in Macomb County” that “could be a mini version of what happened in Flint.”

Following the post, Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel says his office was flooded with calls about the safety of the area's drinking water.

Speaking at a press conference on Thursday, Hackel scolded Fouts for stirring up panic.

News boxes
Allan Foster / creative commons http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Earlier this week, the Detroit News sent buyout offers to its entire editorial staff. Now it appears Detroit’s other major newspaper is following suit.

Like the Detroit News, the Detroit Free Press is trying to meet its budget for the coming year.

Jon S / creative commons http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Employees at one of Detroit's two major newspapers have a very big decision to make.

The Detroit News has offered buy-outs to its entire editorial staff.

That includes reporters, photographers, columnists and anyone else who works in the newsroom, regardless of seniority.

If there aren't enough buyout volunteers and the paper can't meet its budget for the coming year, layoffs will probably be next.

Sunday evening is a great time to relax, binge-watch something on Netflix and come to terms with the fact that Monday is coming and there’s nothing you can do to stop it.

It’s also a great time to revisit the list of errands you promised yourself you’d run this weekend but couldn’t quite get to due to a particularly riveting season of "Scandal."

But now the dry-cleaning still needs to be picked up, there’s a stack of packages still waiting to go to the post office and the car is still in desperate need of an oil change. Pretty mundane stuff, right? No wonder you opted for Kerry Washington. 

A listener recently asked why it is that we “run” errands. We think that’s a good question, and it got us wondering about the word “errand” in general.


Week in Review: Sifting through Election 2016

Nov 12, 2016
Cheyna Roth / MPRN

In this Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry discuss the results of Election 2016, now that the dust has had time to settle.


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