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Stateside: Early snow hurts farmers; DACA recipient faces uncertainty; history of sanctuary churches

A snow-covered farm
"What we hope is that next year will have a normal production, that we'll be able to get [crops] planted on a timely basis, that the season will go much better than it has this year," said Michigan Corn Growers Association president Jim Zook.

Today on Stateside, this year’s multiple weather-related curveballs have spelled out an uncertain future for some of Michigan’s corn farmers. Plus, we hear from a Michigander whose future depends on the upcoming U.S. Supreme Court decision on the fate of the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

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

Between a wet spring and early snow, Michigan corn farmers face a tough year

Stateside’s conversation with Jim Zook

  • There’s no question that the weather this year has hit Michigan farmers with a one-two punch. Corn farmers are especially worried. The cold, wet spring delayed planting for many farmers, and the early-November record snowstorm is threatening to hurt corn harvests.
  • Jim Zook is executive director of the Michigan Corn Growers Association. He explained how the early snow is impacting farmers' bottom lines, and what that means for the agriculture industry in Michigan going into next year.

After 3 dam removals, restoration shows promise on Boardman River

Click above to hear reporting from Interlochen Public Radio’s Kaye LaFond

  • Our state is home to thousands of aging dams. Many are more than 50 years old, and some aren’t safe. Three dams were removed from the Boardman River in Northern Michigan in the past few years. It was part of the largest-ever dam removal project in Michigan. One of the main goals was to return the river to a more natural state. Interlochen Public Radio’s Kaye LaFond went to see how the Boardman has been doing since the dams came out.

Theater Talk: What shows to add to your wish list this holiday theater season

Stateside’s conversation with David Kiley

  • We’re still more than two weeks away from Thanksgiving, but some people are already getting into the holiday spirit.Encore Michigan editor and publisher David Kiley has a list of local theater productions to welcome in the season. He talked about A Christmas Carol at the Meadow Brook Theatre, Home for the Holidays at The DIO in Pinckney, and It’s a Wonderful Life Radio Show at Farmers Alley in Kalamazoo and the Riverbank Theatre in Marine City.
  • Support for arts and culture coverage comes in part from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs.

As the US Supreme Court considers future of DACA, a young immigrant fears life without it

Stateside’s conversation with Javier Contreras

  • Today, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in a historic case that tests the legality of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA. The program was created in 2012 by former President Barack Obama. It offers temporary protection without a pathway to citizenship for people brought to the country illegally as children. President Trump tried to rescind DACA, but lower courts blocked him. Now, the Supreme Court will decide on the program’s future. At stake is the fate of some 700,000 young immigrants, often called Dreamers. More than 6,000 of them live in Michigan.
  • Javier Contreras is a DACA recipient. He talked about how his immigration status has affected his employment situation since graduating from the University of Michigan, what kinds of conversation he’s had with other Dreamers, and what the outcome of this ruling will mean for his future.

From the Underground Railroad to asylum seekers today, MI faith leaders have long offered sanctuary 

Stateside’s conversation with Reverend Jill Hardt Zundel and Roy Finkenbine

  • Nearly two years ago, Albanian immigrant Ded Rranxburgaj and his wife Flora sought sanctuary in Central United Methodist Church in downtown Detroit after Ded was issued a deportation order from ICE. Reverend Jill Hardt Zundel is the senior pastor at that church, and Roy Finkenbine is a history professor at the University of Detroit-Mercy who specializes in the Civil War era and the Underground Railroad. Zundel explained how her congregation has worked to support Ded and Flora over the past two years, and Finkenbine talked about the history of Michigan's faith communities offering sanctuary.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this post misstated Jim Zook's title. He is the executive director, not the president, of the Michigan Corn Growers Association. 

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