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Michigan Radio: Offbeat

Michigan PR

Assorted stories from Michigan Radio.

Assorted stories from Michigan Radio.
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Michigan PR


Assorted stories from Michigan Radio.




The Toledo Christmas Weed is "what we all need this Christmas season"

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.


Put that in your pipe and smoke it: UP pipe maker among world’s best

Just off U.S. Highway 41 outside of Marquette, there’s an old man who lives alone in a small, one-bedroom house. Most days he's upstairs sitting at his desk or downstairs in his workshop. There he makes some of the best tobacco pipes in the world. Not just blowing smoke “My name is Lee Erck. I am a tobacco-smoking pipe maker. I live here in Negaunee Township,” he says on a cloudy Friday afternoon. Lee is 78 years old. He’s sitting in his living room, smoking a pipe. A lamp fills the small...


Pop history: New book covers 100 years of Faygo soda company in Detroit

"Remember when you were a kid? Well, part of you still is. And that’s why we make Faygo," goes an old jingle for one of Detroit's most iconic companies. Faygo was born on Detroit’s Eastside more than 100 years ago, and it remains a well-known pop brand in the United States today. Joe Grimm is a journalism professor at Michigan State University and author of The Faygo Book .


A Minute with Mike: the Lions gift that keeps on giving

As a long-suffering Lions fan, I've learned to appreciate the things they've taught. Things like the brief moment of hope before the season begins, or the benign satisfaction of a meaningless last second win after already being eliminated from the playoffs.


How a language snafu shut down Michigan's first newspaper after just one issue

For much of American history, newspapers were the main source of information for citizens of all backgrounds. And although profits may have been a top priority, newspapers helped form and inform communities, and provided a check on government.


In 1910, Michigan governor faced pressure to censor “match of the century” for fear of race riots

Nowadays , watching sports highlights is as easy as looking at your phone. But a century ago, not so much. In fact, more than 100 years ago, groups were urging the Governor of Michigan to suppress the showing of a film that recorded one of the biggest sporting events of the age.


Shifting technology, odd hours, sacrifice: what it takes to be a millwright

Taking that first step down a career path can be daunting. It's like stepping into a world completely unknown. On the flip side, if you’ve been walking that road a long time, chances are you’ve learned a thing or two.


The “holy grail” of Great Lakes shipwrecks disappeared 339 years ago this week

Today, we’re taking you way back to the summer of 1679. It was on this Friday, 339 years ago, that the French ship Le Griffon appeared on the Detroit River. It was the first large scale, European style sailing ship to reach the shores of what would eventually become Michigan.


Dear Black Women offers a space for "reflection and affirmation"

Being a black woman in America is equivalent to feeling like a “double, triple, quadruple minority,” says Florence Noel . She argues that this is not only reflected in national statistics, but also in their everyday experiences.


Campfire Stories: a Potawatomi tale of a boy, a snake, and a choice

Each year, Native American kids can enjoy a cultural summer camp experience at the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi's Rodgers Lake campus. Many of the camp activities are built around cultural teachings, and a big part of that is telling stories passed down through generations. Colin Wesaw is a tribal elder and leader in the Pokagon Band community. He often tells stories at Camp Kë Gbéshmen in Dowagiac. The 63-year-old started telling stories when he was just 18. He joined Stateside to talk about...


The unsolved 1930 murder of a Detroit radio crusader

Like something out of a gangster movie, radio personality Jerry Buckley was gunned down in the La Salle Hotel in Detroit 88 years ago this week. Buckley’s killer was never found, and the mystery of his death involves mobsters, a city mired in violence, and a corrupt mayor who was recalled, in part, because Buckley protested his election on the radio.


Racial discrimination, segregation provided “tinder” for 1967 Grand Rapids uprising

Today marks the 51st anniversary of the 1967 uprising in Detroit. What some call a rebellion, some a riot, left 43 people dead and thousands of buildings in the city destroyed. Michigan Radio did a deep dive into the history and legacy of that event last year. This year, we’re focusing on a smaller uprising that started just two days later, on July 25th, 1967, in Grand Rapids. Matthew Daley , Associate Professor of History at Grand Valley State University, joined S tateside to talk about...


Campfire Stories: The friendly camp ghosts of Interlochen Center for the Arts

There are some classic campfire stories we hear again and again, like Bloody Mary or the hitchhiker. Then there are stories unique to the place they are told. Stories where the long-last camper or escaped madman is roaming around your lake, or where the ghost mentioned may be in your cabin. That’s the kind of story J. Berry, manager for instrument services at the Interlochen Center for the Arts, tells us.


No driving, liquor, or films: Michigan "blue laws" prevented secular activity on Sundays

With the tap of your finger, you can access pretty much anything these days, whether you're streaming a movie or ordering a pair of shoes. But just 50 years ago, Michigan had a law banning most businesses from being open on Sunday. That law, which was upheld by the United States Supreme Court in 1962, fell into a category of “blue laws.”


Stop and smell the “rotting flesh” as rare corpse flower blooms in Grand Rapids

It's a momentous week at the Frederik Meijer Gardens . Its once-tiny corpse flower is now a strapping plant, reaching several feet high, and it's about to bloom for the very first time.


Hackers are mining for Bitcoin, and they might be using your computer

Cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin or the more than 1,500 other cryptocurrencies, are making some people rich. T hey're also opening up something new: your computer could be using its processor power, its memory, and your electricity to help make money for someone else. The process is called cryptojacking.


Visiting Russian journalist talks Trump-Putin, roadkill, and impressions of Michigan

Michigan Radio has been hosting a visiting journalist from Russia for the past week and a half. Ekaterina Selivanova works for the television channel, Dozhd , in Moscow. While in Ann Arbor, Selivanova hit the streets to ask Americans about U.S.-Russia relations. She also offers her own reflections on the two countries' relationship.


Sticky buns meet Great Depression farming at Grayling festival

Summertime in Michigan bring an endless variety of festivals to explore. Some, like the National Asparagus Festival in Oceana County, are pretty self-explanatory. Others, however, are a little more quirky. Take Sticky Buns Days , for example, which is happening this weekend in Grayling at Wellington Farm, USA .


“Father of the typewriter” was a Michigander who forever changed the way we communicate

You probably know the basics of how a typewriter works – even if you have never used one. What you may not have known, however, is that the “father of the typewriter” was William Austin Burt, from Macomb County. As it happens, this Saturday is National Typewriter Day. Stateside invited Mark Harvey , state archivist with the Michigan History Center , to talk about what led to the birth of the typewriter.


Writer to retrace 19th century explorer's route on Great Lakes canoe trip

Plenty of us will be enjoying the water and exploring the outdoors in Michigan this summer. But writer, broadcaster, and attorney Steve Lehto is taking these sorts of adventures to a new level. This July, Lehto will be taking a 1,200-mile motorized canoe trip from Duluth to Detroit via Sault Ste. Marie. He is retracing the path of famous Michigan explorer Douglass Houghton in the 1830s and 1840s.