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Kamala Harris with hand on a bible and Joe Biden
Senator Kamala Harris / U.S. Senate

Today on Stateside, the “veepstakes” are over and the presumptive Democratic vice presidential nominee is not Gretchen Whitmer. U.S. Senator Kamala Harris will be Democratic candidate Joe Biden's running mate. What does this all mean for Michigan? Plus, a new album from Michigan singer-songwriter May Erlewine offers a dreamy escape from a strange summer.

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Today on Stateside, while the United States Census of 2020 is still being counted, Michigan responses are higher than the national average. But some communities in the state are vulnerable to being left out of the official count, particularly amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Also, how the inequalities Black Michiganders discussed at the state’s first Convention of Colored Citizens in 1843 compare with those Black Americans still face today. Plus, kids and parents negotiate privacy and trust in the age of smartphone tracking.

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Today on Stateside, Michigan has experienced a drop in COVID-19 cases these past few weeks, but over the weekend, case numbers slightly increased again. We check in with an epidemiologist on how to pace yourself for a pandemic. Also, two law professors explain how legal precedents make it tough to prosecute police misconduct. Plus, the founders of a new bilingual media outlet discuss the need for more local news in Spanish.

woman in personal protection equipment talking to woman in wheelchair
Wikimedia Commons

The total number of confirmed COVID-19 infections now stands at just over 45,000 thousand cases according to the state of Michigan.

Lately, the daily number of new cases has been trending downward.

But in a briefing last week, the state’s top Medical Executive, Dr. Joneigh Khaldun noted an emerging concern.

“To date, the vast majority of cases have still been in Southeast Michigan,” Khaldun said. “However, while the rate of rise is slower in Southeast Michigan, we are seeing an increase in the rate of rise in other parts of the state, particularly in the Western part.”

Joel Langlois surrounded by supporters
Joel Langlois campaign

West Michigan businessman Joel Langlois ends his campaign to take Justin Amash’s congressional seat.

Langlois was in a crowded field of Republican candidates running for the seat currently held by the now Independent Amash.

Political Lizard

 


Listen to this month's Local Spins as we check out the West Michigan music scene with John Sinkevics, editor and publisher of localspins.com.

Here are this months picks: 

Bridge and frozen river in Portland, MI
Courtesy of Jessica Dorsky

West Michigan residents are expecting another winter storm, and that could mean more power outages.

More than 230,000 people in Michigan lost power last week, most of them living on the west side of the state. Restoration crews have been working around the clock to remove tree branches and fix power lines.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer declared a state of emergency for the city of Grand Rapids over the weekend due to last week's winter weather.

Time to kick off this New Year with our first Local Spins of 2019 as we check out the West Michigan music scene with John Sinkevics, editor and publisher of localspins.com.

Here are this month's picks:

"Lysander" by Heaters 

Muskegon, Michigan
user BigMikeSndTech / Flickr

Two and a half years after the Consumer’s Energy power plant closed in Muskegon, city officials are moving forward with development projects.

Frank Peterson, the Muskegon city manager, says the power plant was once worth nearly $100 million in taxable value.

board game
Tetzemann / Pixabay

 


"Everything old is new again."

That adage comes to mind when you hear about a new business in West Michigan called Lakeshore Game Night, a door-to-door delivery for board games.

Jared Leatzow is the business’ founder and owner. He joined Stateside’s Cynthia Canty to discuss how he came up with the idea for Lakeshore Game Night and how the service works. 

Brotha James

This month’s check-in with Local Spins editor and publisher, John Sinkevics, takes a look at musicians plying their trade in the northern climes of the Lower Peninsula.

Sinkevics joined Stateside to highlight new work by Jake Allen, Brotha James, and Joshua Davis.

Major Murphy
Daniel Topete / Facebook

This very hot summer week is a great time to find some new music to enjoy, preferably indoors and in front of an air conditioner.

John Sinkevics, editor and publisher of Local Spins, joined us once again for our monthly look at West Michigan's music scene. 

Cameron Mizell / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

New and exciting artists are cropping up around West Michigan. There are even a few moving from abroad to join the lively music scene there.

Editor and publisher of Local Spins, John Sinkevics returned to Stateside to discuss the latest music trends being crafted and performed in West Michigan.

Listen above to hear more.

Neon box office sign
Connor Limbocker / Unsplash

It’s time for another edition of Theater TalkDavid Kiley, editor-in-chief of Encore Michigan, joined Stateside to preview and review plays, with a special focus on West Michigan.

Dan Moyle / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

This is the time of year when For Sale signs start popping up with the spring crocuses and tulips. But the home-buying season might be a challenge this year in Grand Rapids, despite high home prices.

Time now for our regular check-in on the West Michigan scene with John Sinkevics, editor & publisher of the LocalSpins.com.

This month, he brings us three rocking bands - a super-group, a "rock en español" band and an Americana-fueled, roots rock group, each out with new music.

This week, John Sinkevics introduces us to three new albums coming out in November. Sinkevics is the editor and publisher of Local Spins, which covers west Michigan’s music scene. 

Bigfoot Buffalo, The Sun is the Moon

Singer-guitarist Kyle Brown is the frontman and chief songwriter for this Grand Rapids-based roots rock band that’s been inspired by the likes of The Grateful Dead, The Allman Brothers, and The Band.

Seth Thompson/Revue​

 

Each month, Stateside checks in with John Sinkevics, the editor and publisher of Local Spins, a site that covers West Michigan’s music scene. Sinkevics discusses new artists, their backstories and what makes their music great.

a pair of headphones
CHRISJTAYLOR.CA / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCLO

Summer has been full of music festivals in Michigan, many of them showcasing regional and local Michigan artists.

Local Spins Editor and Publisher John Sinkevics told Stateside about groups in West Michigan. He explored an indie rock group’s new EP, a jazz organ trio’s Beatles cover songs, and Jim Shaneberger’s blues rock band.

a pair of headphones
chrisjtaylor.ca / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

West Michigan is turning out many talented artists and many styles of music these days.

Editor and publisher John Sinkevics has been covering West Michigan’s music scene on his Local Spins website to share music he felt wasn’t getting covered enough by local publications.  

Courtesy of Carlos Sanchez

The Next Idea

West Michigan's got a bigger Latino population than the state average, but the number of Latino-owned businesses in the region has not been keeping pace.

Ferris State University wants to change that with something called the Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative (LEI).

Carlos Sanchez is director of the Latino Business and Economic Development Center at Ferris State. 

Courtesy of Shannon Cohen

Attention businesses and organizations in West Michigan: women of color are more than ready, willing and able to take on leadership roles.

That's the message on this International Women's Day from a study exploring why women of color are so often passed over for leadership roles in Kent and Ottawa Counties.

Saugatuck-Douglas Historical Society Collection

This week Michigan Radio is airing a series called Community Vibe. We’re showcasing one interesting thing about different towns across the state.

Today we’ll visit the neighboring communities of Saugatuck and Douglas. They’re artsy, waterfront resort towns in West Michigan. Although Saugatuck-Douglas sits in what’s known to be the Bible belt of the state, it’s also home to a vacation destination to a large gay community. Michigan Radio’s Emily Fox reports on how Saugatuck-Douglas became the gay resort of the Midwest.


Courtesy of Erin Wilson

West Michigan, you're getting a chance to see unique performance art in the form of music, movement, choreography, film happening Jan. 8-17 at the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts in Grand Rapids.

A Gallery Exhibition of New Works in Screendance is a collection of three short films along with dance photography and video all presented by ArtPeers and Dance in the Annex.

The short film “Pull Me Back” features actor Joshua Burge (The Revenant) and tackles the theme of addiction.

flickr user Texas Military Forces / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM


The city of Holland in West Michigan has certainly made its Dutch heritage known. If the name alone isn’t enough for you, the city has held an annual Tulip Time Festival, celebrating all things Dutch for the last 86 years.

But there’s a sizeable Hispanic community in Holland. The latest census numbers indicate Hispanics make up 23% of the city’s population.

Ten years ago, two women from west Michigan started something called the "Best Prom Ever." They were Sparta High School special education teacher Renne Wyman, and a mother of one of her students, Rhonda Carlisle.

Fifteen students came to their first event. In April, 900 people attended the Best Prom Ever.

The basic idea is to give young people with disabilities the chance to socialize and dance in an environment that is safe and fun.

LaughFest image.
LaughFest

Gilda’s LaughFest 2015 kicks off in Grand Rapids this Thursday (March 5).

The 10-day comedic festival will feature stand-up, comedy films, improv, comedy showcases and more all over West Michigan.

The festival was started by Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids, a survivor support group named after the late comic Gilda Radner.

You can see a full list of the events and venues here.

Lindsey Smith/Michigan Radio

The Next Idea

Michigan’s economy is changing, and our state’s investment culture must change along with it. As we work to diversify by stimulating entrepreneurship, innovation and talent attraction, among many other things, more Michigan residents with money to invest must learn to see that betting on new local businesses is worthwhile, even if the potential for them to fail is high. 

Here are 10 West Michigan trails to explore this fall

Sep 17, 2014
Hiking in Seidman Park in December of 2012.
Steven Depolo / Flickr

The days are getting shorter, but don't resign yourself to settling in for a long, lazy season inside.

One of Grand Rapids' greatest assets is the natural beauty that surrounds this mid-size city, with amenities that you won't even find in many big cities. From small pocket parks to epic-sized Lake Michigan, you're never far away from a wooded trail, a mountain bike path, or a gorgeous beach.

As summer turns to fall, Rapid Growth rounded up ten of West Michigan's best hikes, with hidden urban hiking trails mixed in with cross-country paths that lead to the great lake even in the snowiest of months.
 
City hikes
 
Have an hour or an afternoon? Looking for a hike that can happen within the city limits?

Grand Rapids contains more urban paved trails and hidden hikes than we can count. Savvy West Michiganders already know about the bounty of outdoor experiences at Blandford Nature Center, Provin Trails, Meijer Gardens, and the Calvin College Ecosystem Preserve around the city's edges, plus favorites like Riverside Park and Huff Park right in the city.

Here are a few more in-town walks and hikes to get you started.

Mandi Wright / Detroit Free Press

Controversy over police force has hit not only Ferguson, Missouri but a small town in West Michigan as well.

Some residents in Barry Township, Michigan are getting angry over the build-up of its police force.

Specifically, the nearly three dozen unpaid, reserve police officers from outside the community.

These non-certified officers are carrying guns, riding in patrol cars and, according to some, using way too much force.

Lori Brasier of Detroit Free Press has been covering this controversy.

“These officers were stopping people for having things dangling off their rear view mirrors, they were stopping a lot of high school kids just to stop them,” says Brasier.

The department also has two Humvees and two armored personnel carriers received free of charge from the U.S. Department of Defense for a township with only four full-time officers. 

"People are paying attention. They are going to realize these things are unnecessary and aren’t going to keep us safe,” says Brasier.

* Listen to the full story on above.

Here's a video from the Free Press:

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