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2023 Year in Review: The best of Stateside

The Stateside team hosted conversations every day with interesting Michiganders about important issues. Here's a look at their best content of the year.

Stateside Podcast: Beaver Island: The anti-Mackinac Island

Main Street on Beaver island pictured on Friday, July 14, 2023. (Neil Blake | MLive.com) Neil Blake | MLive.com
Neil Blake | MLive.com/Neil Blake | MLive.com
Grand Rapids Press
Main Street on Beaver island pictured on Friday, July 14, 2023. (Neil Blake | MLive.com) Neil Blake | MLive.com

Mackinac Island is undeniably Michigan’s most well-known island, but a team of reporters at MLive recently wrote about another island that’s just as worthy of celebration — not just as a summer vacation destination, but as an ecological gem.

Sheri McWhirter and Garrett Ellison, both environment reporters at MLive, traveled to Lake Michigan's Beaver Island with their team and returned with glowing remarks. McWhirter called the island “an environmental paradise for those who love the outdoors, who love hiking, who love birding, swimming, kayaking, any of that.”

Stateside Podcast: Are Great Lakes beaches better than ocean beaches?

Summertime means beach time, and in Michigan that means the freshwater beaches of the Great Lakes. But which kind of beach is better: lakeside or oceanside?

Dustin Dwyer, Michigan Radio reporter and unabashed Great Lakes enthusiast, went head-to-head with Stateside host April Baer, ocean lover, over beach supremacy. They were joined by Dr. Jo Latimore, an aquatic ecologist at Michigan State University, to keep the peace and offer more insight on Michigan's lakes.

Ride of Passage

I like to think of this limited-run podcast series as "Stateside-adjacent" since it is hosted by Stateside executive producer Laura Weber-Davis.

Ride of Passage is a true American adventure story about one young man's solo ride across the country on horseback. In 2003, Matt Parker set out on a journey that would take years to complete. He became the first to ride horseback across the country on the American Discovery Trail.

Dough Dynasty: The rise of American pizza

Dough Dynasty is a limited-run podcast series that tells the story of how Michigan became the pizza chain headquarters of the world, and how these chains shaped pizza as we know it today.

Mike Ilitch was known as a “real Detroiter.” He grew up on the West Side and was raised by his parents, who immigrated from Macedonia. In many ways, Mike Ilitch’s story played upon a very well-worn trope of the American Dream. He was the son of immigrants, who worked hard and succeeded big.

Former Detroit Free Press reporter Bill McGraw said that Ilitch first got the idea for Little Caesars while working as a door-to-door salesman.

“[H]e saw families with three and four pretty young kids sitting around watching TV; mom’s in the kitchen struggling over dinner,” McGraw said. “He made the connection between pizza and making things easier for mom in the kitchen.”

Studio Visits: Sculptor Jason Quigno

This year, Stateside introduced you to artists from across the state in a series called Studio Visits.

Jason Quigno kicks up a lot of dust when he works. So much dust, in fact, that he operates out of the two-story boiler room of a former furniture warehouse. The space is airy with a large garage door that opens to the outside. It’s not just about aesthetics – though the studio gets some great light – Quigno needs a space that fits his art. He’s a stone sculptor, working on pieces of granite, marble, basalt, and limestone that often weigh thousands of pounds.

“The space does matter,” Quigno told Stateside during a visit to his workspace, Asinaabe Studios. “I started to get, like, eight- and 10-foot stones that I could work on in here. In my studio, I have a big I-beam and I have a five ton chain hoist… I’ll get a big stone and I move it in. And I’ll stand it up and I’ll draw out what I want to do… So I have the capability of working on up to a 7,000 pound stone in here that I can move myself.”

Paulette is a digital media reporter and producer for Michigan Public. She started as a newsroom intern at the station in 2014 and has taken on various roles in that time, including filling in as an on-air host.
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