Stateside Staff | Michigan Radio

Stateside Staff

people cheering glasses of red wine

It's that time of year when people are stocking up on wine for festive dinners and holiday parties. Despite a sizable winemaking industry in the state, Michigan wine often is stereotyped as being overly sweet, and not on par with products from other areas of the country.

But winemakers and sommeliers around the state want to break that stereotype, and maybe even convince you to pick up a Michigan-made wine for your holiday table. 

A federal judge on Monday handed a major setback to Michigan Republicans who wanted the court to delay implementation of a redistricting commission approved by voters last November. Plaintiffs in two lawsuits are challenging the state constitutional amendment that created the redistricting commission.

Groceries, including milk, eggs and produce, sitting on a counter.
Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

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.


Today on Stateside, we recap the Michigan congressional delegation's reactions to the impeachment inquiry. Plus, following the recent settlement of a discrimination lawsuit against Founders Brewing Co., we talk to people of color in Michigan's food and craft beer scene about its lack of diversity.

a brain scane
Adobe Stock

How do you diagnose death?

For the last several decades, doctors have used brain death, defined as the complete and irreversible absence of all brain function, to determine when someone is legally dead. But in two recent cases in Michigan, both involving children, families have pushed back on doctors' diagnoses of brain death. 

The U.S. Capitol
user kulshrax / creative commons

The first public hearings in the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump began last week. Since no Michigan representatives sit on the House Intelligence Committee, which held the hearings, we collected their statements on the inquiry.

A mighty big shoe has dropped in the still-unfolding UAW corruption probe. This twist involves a racketeering lawsuit that GM has filed against crosstown rival Fiat Chrysler. Michigan Radio's Tracy Samilton reported on what the lawsuit is all about and how FCA has responded to it. We also talk to Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes about how the suit, tied to an ongoing federal investigation into corruption at the UAW and FCA, might impact the legacy of the company’s late CEO Sergio Marchionne.

a young black boy raises his hand at a desk with a book on it
Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

Today on Stateside, General Motors is suing rival automaker Fiat Chrysler. We’ll hear about how corruption charges against the UAW and Fiat Chrysler are at the heart of the lawsuit. Plus, a case before a federal appeals court looks at whether some Detroit students’ constitutional rights were violated by subpar learning environments and instruction.

record player
James Sutton / Unsplash

Today on Stateside, fewer people are stepping up to serve as volunteer firefighters. What does that mean for the safety of Michigan communities? Plus, how best to support non-traditional students in their career paths.

bus stop sign
fabi k / Creative Commons

Today on Stateside, a reboot of efforts to expand regional transit in Southeast Michigan. Plus, as the state tackles PFAS contamination, we look at the lessons missed in the 1973 PBB crisis in St. Louis, Michigan.

mwanner_wc / creative commons

Today on Stateside, new draft regulations for PFAS in drinking water take a step closer to becoming a reality. Plus, Detroit struggles to get landlords to comply with rules that protect renters.

PFAS foam on lakeshore
Michigan Department of Environmental Quality / Flickr

The state of Michigan is a step closer to establishing the limits of PFAS in drinking water. PFAS is a family of chemicals that have been discovered in high levels in drinking water at sites across the state. Yesterday the Environmental Rules Review Committee voted to move the draft regulations forward. If approved, the new regulations will be among the strictest in the nation. The next step is a public comment period along with public hearings, which are expected to be announced before year's end. 

water faucet
Flickr user Bart /

The Flint water crisis showed the state—and the country—that clean drinking water isn't something we can take for granted. But it isn’t just Flint. Recent water samples put St. Clair Shores on the list of Michigan communities with high levels of lead in their water. Other areas of the state are worried about PFAS contamination.

Multi-colored books.
Kimberly Farmer / Unsplash

Today on Stateside, we hear from two sisters working to increase Muslim representation in the books at libraries. Plus, we talk to the director of the Detroit Zoo about the role that zoos can play in addressing the impacts of climate change. 

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in a historic case that tests the legality of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA. The program was created in 2012 by former President Barack Obama. It offers temporary protection without a pathway to citizenship for people brought to the country illegally as children. President Trump tried to rescind DACA, but lower courts blocked him. Now, the Supreme Court will decide on the program’s future. At stake is the fate of some 700,000 young immigrants, often called Dreamers. More than 6,000 of them live in Michigan.

Andrew Pons / Unsplash

On this Veterans Day, we're 10 months into Governor Gretchen Whitmer's term. Air Force veteran Stephanie Zarb helped advise Whitmer's campaign for governor as co-chair of the Veterans for Whitmer group. Zarb told Stateside that despite Whitmer's promises to make sure veterans get the benefits to which they are entitled, the administration has actually made it harder for veterans to access those benefits. 

For some people, prison is temporary. At some point, they get released, they go home, and they move on with their lives.

But for those serving a life sentence, prison is their home. And whatever meaning they can find in life will have to be found behind the barbed wire and prison walls.

a dog running at Lakeland Correctional Facility in Coldwater
John McGuire for Michigan Radio

In one of the housing units at Lakeland, half-walls separate the bunks. In each one, there are two beds: one for a person, and one for a dog. This is where inmates who are a part of one of the prison’s two dog training programs live. Dogs deemed “unadoptable” by shelters and former racing greyhounds are brought to the facility to be trained and rehabilitated. 

The ever-shifting budget talks between Governor Whitmer and Republican legislative leaders over the governor's nearly $1 billion in budget vetoes wears on. Earlier today, it looked like both sides were close to a deal. Now, not so much. Michigan Radio’s Lansing Bureau Chief Rick Pluta walked us through what happened, how the ongoing stalemate impacts organizations whose funding was wiped out, and what it could take for the two sides to find a compromise.

two lakeland correctional facility inmates
John McGuire for Michigan Radio

When you’re sent to prison, many of the things that make life meaningful—work, family, friends—are gone. During Stateside’s visit to Lakeland Correctional Facility, in Coldwater, we wanted to know how inmates there create meaning for themselves.

To do that, we talked to two of the men there—Matt Blumke and Felton Mackiehowell—during our live show at the prison.

For more, visit Life on the Inside.

Dujuan Quinn and two of his children.
Courtesy of Tondalaya Quinn

The time that inmates spend in prison is a punishment for the crimes they’ve committed. But a prison sentence doesn’t just impact the person behind the prison walls. It has ripple effects on everyone in their life.

teal background and hands holding up a red old fashioned alarm clock
Malvestida Magazine / Unsplash

Today on Stateside, as the federal investigation into the UAW continues, the union's new acting president vows to weed out corruption. Plus, a look at how two inmates in a state prison find meaning in their lives behind the prison walls. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

"Spring forward. Fall back." That's how we do daylight saving time. Having run around last weekend turning all the house and car clocks back one hour, we got to wondering: How'd we ever wind up with this thing called “daylight saving time” in the first place?

UAW workers went on strike in Flint Monday.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The  federal corruption probe into the UAW marches on.

On Wednesday, retired union vice president Joe Ashton became the 13th and highest-ranking person to be charged in the investigation. Union president Gary Jones has taken a leave of absence.

The union's vice president Rory Gamble, who recently negotiated the contract agreement with Ford, is now the UAW's acting president.

a prisoner shovels dirt in a garden
John McGuire for Michigan Radio

What’s the purpose of prison? That’s a question that people have been asking for centuries. To many, incarceration is meant to be punishment for people who commit a crime. But Heidi Washington, director for the Michigan Department of Corrections, doesn’t believe that’s a productive approach.

For more, visit Life on the Inside.

food delivery robot
Screenshot from Refraction-AI Youtube

Today on Stateside, a rundown of the major issues voters across the state will see on their ballot in Tuesday's election. Plus, an urgent care center designed for mental health needs.

chain link fence outside of a lakeland correctional center
John McGuire for Michigan Radio

What are prisons for? The delicate balance between punishing those who commit horrible crimes in order to protect public safety and considering a human being’s capacity for change makes the answer to that question not easily identifiable.

Today on Stateside, what 5G technology could mean for Michigan. Plus, Detroit is considering opting-out of allowing recreational marijuana business until at least 2020.

election yard signs
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Today on Stateside, Michigan students are improving their academic performance in comparison to peers in other states. We'll talk about what that tells us about the success of recent education reforms. Plus, we'll hear from both of the people vying for the title of Flint mayor in next week's election. 

man in a wolf costume

He was seven feet tall with glistening eyes of blue or yellow and a terrifying, humanoid howl. He looked like a man, but also had the qualities of a canine-like creature. He was the Michigan Dogman.