Stateside Staff

Today on Stateside, we review the bills headed to Governor Snyder's desk after the lame duck state legislature's all-nighter. Plus, this year marks the 50th consecutive year of a very special Christmas tradition for Stateside producer Mike Blank's family.  

Christmas 2018 is going to be a special one for Stateside producer Mike Blank’s family. It marks the 50th consecutive year of his dad composing an original Christmas carol. Rev. Richard Blank, a retired Episcopal priest, would send a copy of each new carol to loved ones in the family’s annual Christmas letter. Mike sat down to talk to his dad about his favorite compositions and where he gets his inspiration year after year.

Shades of A Charlie Brown Christmas are playing out on a busy intersection in West Toledo.

The Toledo Christmas Weed, a lonely sapling growing out of a crack in the sidewalk, is now adorned with tinsel and surrounded by gifts. It even has a dedicated crew of Santa and his elves, one of whom was passing out free lottery tickets on Wednesday. 

The Michigan PFAS Action Response Team released the findings from the independent PFAS Science Advisory Committee appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder.

The 90-page report includes analysis of the causes and effects of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), as well as 17 recommendations to the state in its ongoing response to PFAS contamination.

It was supposed to be a day of fun at AJ's Family Fun Center near Grand Rapids in 2015. Rachel Gibbs wore a scarf on the cool August day.  Staff at AJ's made no mention of the potentially dangerous item as Gibbs and her youngest son loaded into a go-kart and zipped off. During the ride, Gibbs’ scarf got caught in one of the go-kart’s axles, snapping her windpipe. 

 

Today, where do bills still passing through the Michigan Legislature stand as we head into the final week of the lame-duck session? Plus, we speak to two siblings who were separated in the foster care system. Now, they're fighting for a Sibling Bill of Rights. 


Legislator explains why school grading system is needed

A bill introduced by Representative Tim Kelly (R-Saginaw) passed yesterday with some amendments in the state House. If the education bill is passed in the state Senate, it will create an A-through-F grading system for Michigan schools.

Rep. Kelly joined us to discuss SB 5526 and respond to criticizers of the bill, such as Nikolai Vitti, the superintendent of Detroit Public Schools Community District who called the bill anti-democratic. 

 

Today, Detroit Public Schools Community District Superintendent Nikolai Vitti joined Stateside to react to a lame-duck bill that would create a statewide A-F grading system for Michigan schools. Plus, what would Michigan native Russell Kirk, a founder of American conservatism, think of the ideology today? 


“This is colonialism”: Detroit schools chief blasts lame-duck A-F grading plan  

 

 

A recent national report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation found that Michigan is behind the rest of the country in helping young people move out of the foster care system and onto a successful adult life. In West Virginia, 70 percent of youth transitioning out of foster care got education financial assistance. The national average was 23 percent. Here in Michigan? It was just one percent.

Today on Stateside, the Michigan legislature has been busy pushing through bills during lame duck. The question is: will Governor Rick Snyder sign them? Plus, how training police to interact with people who have a mental illness or cognitive disability can reduce the chance of a violent encounter. 

 

Perhaps you’ve heard news stories about police arriving on the scene and mistaking someone with autism or a mental illness as a violent threat. Sometimes that story ends very badly.

That's why some police departments have started training officers to identify a mental health crisis and deal with the situation without using violent force. It's called the "Crisis Intervention Team" model. 

 

Last week, David Lindorff published a piece for The Nation titled “The Pentagon's Massive Accounting Fraud Exposed: How US military spending keeps rising even as the Pentagon flunks audit." The research by Mark Skidmore, an economics professor at Michigan State University, on the Pentagon's budget irregularities formed the basis for the article.


As of today, Michigan is the first state in the midwest to allow recreational use of marijuana. What changes can we expect? Plus, we hear music that prisoners at Auschwitz concentration camp arranged and performed for their Nazi captors. 

 

Today, big changes in the lame duck session could be coming over who controls oversight of Michigan schools. Bills sponsored by term-limited Representative Tim Kelly would create a new 13-member education commission. Plus, voters approved Proposal 3, also called "Promote the Vote," on Nov. 6, but now Senator Mike Kowall has introduced a series of bills during the lame duck session that would alter what voters have approved.

He may have been born in Massachusetts, and raised his family in West Texas, but former President George H. W. Bush was no stranger to Michigan. He trained on Grosse Ile as a young Navy pilot. In 1980, Bush was picked as Ronald Reagan’s running mate at the July 1980 GOP convention in Detroit, and traveled all around the state during his two presidential campaigns.

One of the more personal ties between Bush and the state was his longtime friendship with the state’s current Attorney General Bill Schuette. Schuette joined Stateside to talk about his memories of President Bush before leaving for the late president's funeral in Washington.

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