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Stateside: State budget sent to Whitmer; special ed shortfall; Buster Keaton’s love for Muskegon

a black and white photo of actor Buster Keaton reading a book
International Buster Keaton Society
Buster Keaton was one of the early legends of Hollywood, but his favorite spot was Muskegon, Michigan.


Today on Stateside, the GOP-controlled Michigan Legislature passed a new budget. Governor Gretchen Whitmer declared it "a mess." What are her options now? Plus, a Detroit man returns home after being incarcerated in China for three years.

Listen to the full show above or find individual segments below. 

Governor Whitmer calls Republican budget proposals “a mess.” So what are her options?

Stateside’s conversation with Zach Gorchow

  • The pressure is on to avoid a partial government shutdown by the October 1 deadline. The Legislature has wrapped up work and approved a new $59.9 billion budget for fiscal year 2020. But now the 14 budget bills go to Governor Gretchen Whitmer, who says they are "a mess." Zach Gorchow of Gongwer goes through what options Governor Whitmer has now that the budget is on her desk.

After 3 years in Chinese prison, Detroit native and former CFL football player returns home

Stateside’s conversation with Bryce Huffman

  • Today, Detroiter Wendell Brown came home to a joyous welcome from friends and family. That's after he spent three years in a Chinese prison for a bar fight. Michigan Radio's Bryce Huffman was at the Detroit Metropolitan Airport for the emotional homecoming. He shares details about Brown’s journey through the Chinese court system and his aspirations now that he is back on American soil. 

Silent film star Buster Keaton’s favorite spot on earth was Muskegon

Stateside’s conversation with Ron Pesch

  • The silent film star Buster Keaton was one of the early legends of Hollywood. But his favorite spot on Earth was actually Muskegon, Michigan! The International Buster Keaton Society has been coming to Muskegon to celebrate Keaton's connection to the city for the past 25 years.
  • Michigan High School Athletic Association historian, and board member of the International Buster Keaton Society, Ron Pesch talks about why Keaton was so enamored with Muskegon.

Climate Crew: College student evolves into environmental leader on campus

Stateside’s conversation with Logan Vear

  • Our Climate Crew series featuring ordinary people who identified a problem — no matter how big or small — and chose to act. Logan Vear is a University of Michigan senior studying environmental engineering and is the only undergraduate student on the university’s Commission on Carbon Neutrality. She's also the co-founder of the Climate Action Movement in Michigan. Vear joins Stateside to talk about the role students play in climate activism, and how she and fellow students will hold the University accountable to its ambitious goal of carbon neutrality by 2030. 

What you need to know about the legislature’s proposed education budget 

Stateside’s conversation with Koby Levin


  • The Republican-led Michigan Legislature passed a $15.2 billion education budget for fiscal year 2020. GOP lawmakers are celebrating this $15.2 billion school budget as providing record funding for schools, and say it includes more money for lower-funded districts than the governor's plan without a tax hike. Chalkbeat Detroit's Koby Levin tells us if that claim holds up, and what else you need to know about the budget. 

Budgeted $60 million boost for special ed still falls far short of overall cost to districts

Stateside’s conversation with Ron Koehler

  • Districts are required by state and federal law to provide certain special education services. But the state's reimbursement for those services falls short of what it actually costs to provide them. The Michigan Legislature allotted an extra $60 million in funding for special education services in its budget. How much difference will that make?
  • To answer that question, we spoke with Ron Koehler. He's an assistant superintendent for the Kent County Intermediate School District. He says while educators appreciate the funding boost, it is only a drop in the bucket of the overall cost of providing special education services. 

Ragatz: What afterschool progams can give kids that the classroom can’t 


Stateside’s conversation with Matinga Ragatz

  •  After-school and extra-curricular activities are more than a way for kids to fill the hours outside of school. Many educators believe the skills students learn in extra-curricular activities are just as important as test scores in predicting future success. Yet not all students have equal access to these activities. Michigan Radio's education commentator Matinga Ragatz joins us to talk about the gap in access to afterschool programs.

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Stateside is produced daily by a dedicated group of producers and production assistants. Listen daily, on-air, at 3 and 8 p.m., or subscribe to the daily podcast wherever you like to listen.
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