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Stateside Staff

Courtesy of Andrew Cohn

Today on Stateside, the Upper Peninsula recorded its largest single-day increase in COVID-19 cases this week, and Houghton County’s public schools will close face-to-face instruction starting Monday for two weeks. We check in with the Western U.P.’s health officer to find out more. Also, a documentary filmmaker’s first feature film, set in Michigan. Plus, a journalist and an organizer on Black voters’ roles in the upcoming presidential election.

3D rendering of coronavirus
donfiore / Adobe Stock

The Upper Peninsula recorded its biggest single-day increase in COVID-19 cases this week. In response, Houghton County Schools will close face-to-face instruction starting Monday for a two-week period. More outbreaks have been noted in Iron, Menominee, and other counties in the western U.P. 

kids getting candy at someone's front door
Matt Olson / Flickr

Grab your broomsticks and cauldrons, witches. It’s time to start planning your pandemic Halloween. Of course, things will look a little differently this year. The CDC is advising against things like indoor haunted houses, boozy costume parties, and most heartbreakingly, door-to-door trick or treating.

man holding an american flag in front of a police line
Zac A. Clark / Clark Camera

The following commentary was produced and written in reflection by our Stateside production team.

Tuesday evening, the protests kicked back up in Detroit and Grand Rapids and across the country after a grand jury declined to indict Louisville Police officers for the killing of Breonna Taylor.

The protests were peaceful. Some people - protesters not among them - credit and are counting on Police Chief James Craig to keep protests under control.

A white sporty car at the Detroit Auto show
Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

Today on Stateside, Cornelius Fredrick died after being pinned down by staff members at the residential youth facility where he lived. A Michigan Radio investigation found that there were plenty of warning signs about the facility—and the private company that ran it—in the years leading up to the 16-year-old's death. Plus, the Detroit auto show is being pushed back until the fall of 2021. We'll talk about what that means for the city's economy. 

Courtesy of the artist, Gavin Brown’s enterprise, and MOCAD.

Today on Stateside, a curator who left the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit returned to the institution and spoke with us about working at the overwhelmingly white spaces in the art world. Also, a conversation about the discrepancies in Michigan State University’s number of COVID-19 cases.

The Detroit Cubs at Hamtramck Stadium in 1935.
Burton Collection, Detroit Public Library

It’s been a long time since the historic Hamtramck Stadium has heard the roar of a crowd. One of the few Negro Leagues ballparks left in the nation, it’s stood empty and neglected for years. But in its heyday, back before professional baseball was integrated, it was home to the Detroit Stars. Legendary Black ballplayers like Satchel Paige and Josh Gibson played there. Now, a local nonprofit wants to honor the stadium’s history and restore it to its former glory.

A cell phone with the apps Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter pulled up
dole777 / Unsplash

A new Netflix documentary has social media users rethinking the platforms they frequent. The Social Dilemma revealed some disturbing truths about tech companies and big data. In addition, the Federal Elections Commission recently published an op-ed for Wired magazine suggesting the integrity of the 2020 election is in the hands of Facebook and Twitter. With misinformation and disinformation running rampant on those platforms, the op-ed paints a bleak picture.

Mitigating misinformation

a black and white portrait of Charlotte "Lottie" Wilson
Michigan History Center

One hundred years ago in August, the 19th amendment guaranteed women the right to vote. But not all women benefitted equally. Voting was—and still is—more difficult for people of color due to voter suppression and disenfranchisement. While many of the most well-known suffragettes are white, Black women were also fighting for equal voting rights. Michigander Charlotte "Lottie" Wilson was one of them. 

A screen showing the logos of different social media platforms.
Pixabay

Today on Stateside, Michigan’s 8th congressional district is one of the state’s most competitive races this year. We check in on how the changing district has shaped the political calculus for the candidates there. Speaking of elections, we take a look at how our social media feeds impact our political views and why that’s a problem. Plus, the story of a Black suffragette from Niles, Michigan who used art and activism to push for racial and gender equality.

In February, the Detroit News broke the story about allegations of abuse involving former University of Michigan sports doctor Robert Anderson. Since then, hundreds of men – and some women – have come forward to accuse Anderson of sexually assaulting them. Anderson worked at U of M from the mid-1960s until he retired in 2003. He died in 2008.

But survivors such as Jon Vaughn, who played football for U of M and in the NFL, want to see institutions implement protections for students who are abused on their campus, especially in sports.

As people victimized by Anderson continue to come forward, state legislators have been working on bills that allow survivors to seek justice through the courts. One of those lawmakers is Ryan Berman, a member of the Michigan House of Representatives.

Back of a school bus
Pixabay

Today on Stateside, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death last week sent shockwaves throughout the nation, both emotionally and politically. We talk to one of her former clerks about Ginsburg's legacy and what the future makeup of the Supreme Court means for Michigan. Plus, a former Michigan football player talks about the abuse scandal surrounding former sports doctor Robert Anderson, and the breadth of access our state institutions provide to abusers.

Elissa Slotkin
Cheyna Roth / MPRN

Today on Stateside, U.S. Representative Elissa Slotkin discusses how Congress is still struggling to get a COVID relief package through before the general election. Plus, we’ll hear about the evangelical Christians making a case against President Trump.

An illustration of people behind voting booth curtains
Morning Brew / Unsplash

White evangelical Christian voters are all in for Donald Trump—or, at least, that's the conventional wisdom. And while the president continues to see high approval ratings among that group, there are some faith leaders who hope to convince religious voters to move away from Trump in the November election. The nonprofit group Vote Common Good is holding rallies across the state through next week to try and do just that. 

A sunset seen through wildfire haze in Ann Arbor.
Lauren Talley / Michigan Radio

The wildfire season in the Pacific Northwest has been historic. With millions of acres of Western land up in flames, the trail of smoke has made its way to Michigan. It’s created strange and spectacular displays in the sky, especially at sunset. But Nick Schroeck says those beautiful colors hold an ugly truth: the impacts of climate change don’t stay in one spot.

a picture of a brick building on Albion College's campus
Albion College

On Stateside, how can schools keep COVID-19 cases under control on campus, while also holding in-person classes? Albion College is hoping that their pandemic pod model might be the answer. Also, why the spectacular skies caused by Western wildfires are a reminder of the collective stakes of climate change. And finally, we hear from members of an artist collective that questions white people's fascination with—and sometimes fetishization of—Indigenous culture.

Unsplash

On Stateside, the state Senate passed a bill this week that allows local and county clerks to begin preparing absentee ballots a day ahead of the election. We check in with two clerks on whether the state's election system is ready for a potential wave of absentee ballots as November approaches. Also, a Detroit Free Press reporter updates on the Big Ten’s decision to resume football this fall. Plus, a look at the legacy of the first Black faculty member at the University of Michigan’s School of Music, Theatre, and Dance.

EMMA WINOWIECKI / Michigan Radio

The Big Ten has reversed course. There will be college football this fall.

The Big Ten announced Wednesday that the fall football season will begin October 23. The conference has not said when or if other fall sports will also get the go ahead. 

Demostrators in downtown Detroit protest police-involved shootings that have killed African-Americans.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Protests against police brutality have been a mainstay in the city throughout the summer. In the early morning hours of August 23, the flow of peaceful protest after peaceful protest came to a halt when police met protesters with tear gas and physical force.

Tristan Taylor is one of the organizers of Detroit Will Breathe, which has been leading the protests. He described the mood before the violence on August 23 as festive; a DJ played music as the protesters marched down Woodward Avenue, and the police response, he said, stood in stark contrast.

absentee ballot
Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

The Michigan Senate adopted a bill Tuesday that would allow many local governments to prepare absentee ballots the day before Election Day. They could then be opened and counted starting on Election Day.

That rule would only apply to cities of 25,000 or more residents.

Local clerks say that alone could shave hours off the process of tallying the ballots.

A young Black child with curly hair writes in a notebook while sitting in the grass
Adobe Stock

Today on Stateside, new data finds that colleges and universities are now Michigan's biggest COVID-19 hot spots. We talk to an epidemiologist about the challenges of containing campus outbreaks. Meanwhile, to make in-person learning safer, one Detroit school is moving all of its classrooms outside. Plus, one of the Detroit activists leading protests against police brutality talks about how the game changed this summer.

gretchen whitmer sitting at table
michigan.gov

Today on Stateside, a petition aiming to curb the governor's executive powers is nearing the number of signatures it needs. And, graduate students at the University of Michigan are continuing their strike against the school over concerns about COVID-19 regulations and precautions. Plus, a conversation with the director of Michigan Opera Theatre about how he plans to add to Detroit’s illustrious musical legacy.

Credit Paul-David Rearick

The Michigan Opera Theatre has a new artistic director: renowned opera director and MacArthur Fellowship recipient Yuval Sharon. He’s bringing his experimental approach to Detroit right from the start: his first project at the helm of the organization will be a condensed, drive-in staging of Richard Wagner’s Twilight of the Gods, set in a parking structure. Stateside spoke with Sharon, who is succeeding the theatre’s late founder David DiChiera, about his work and his hopes for how opera can evolve in the years to come.

A nurse administers a vaccine.
Rhoda Baer / Flickr - http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Today on Stateside, we check-in with Crain’s Detroit Business about the latest in vaccine development for COVID-19. Plus, we talk to a hip-hop artist from Detroit whose career was just picking up steam when the pandemic came crashing down on the music industry. And we ask parents and kids how they're handling the new school year.

Unsplash

At this point, nearly all Michigan students are back in class for the fall semester, through Zoom meetings, physically distanced instruction, or shepherding from grownups at home. As the COVID-19 pandemic forces teachers and families to navigate a new world of education, Stateside checked in with parents feeling their way through the first days of a back-to-school season unlike any other.

virtual orchestra playing
Grand Rapids Symphony

Today on Stateside, a violinist from the Grand Rapids Symphony talks about rehearsing without an ensemble, and other oddities of 2020. Plus, we talk about the shift in Michigan’s car culture.

Noah / Unsplash

On Stateside, a church in Romeo grapples with systemic and politically motivated vandalism. And, what six months of COVID have looked like. Plus, we continue a focus on Detroit Month of Design with a conversation with the winner of the Design in the City competition.

Kristen Dage

Way up in the Andes mountains sits a little bit of East Lansing. On the Cerro Pachón mountain in Chile, the Southern Astrophysical Research, or SOAR, telescope looks out at the stars. It’s a partnership between four institutions including the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Michigan State University. Talk about working remotely.

Trice Clark

Today on Stateside, U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos says Michigan students need to take standardized tests this year. We check-in with an educator and an administrator who have thought a lot about the role of testing. Then, Detroit's creative pros talk about what design has to offer during a time of crisis. And, Michigan State takes stargazing to high heights.

Lady Ace Boogie

Today on Stateside, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson discusses the state's preparedness for a deluge of absentee ballots ahead of the November election, and how the new redistricting commission is shaping up. And a Michigan MC hangs up the mic to spend time on herself and her family.

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