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Stateside: Benton Harbor faces school closure; return of Flint soap box derby; women in soccer

Kevin Cronin
The winner of this weekend's soap box derby race in Flint will get to compete in the All-American Soap Box Derby Race next month in Akron, Ohio.

Today on Stateside, Governor Gretchen Whitmer says that Benton Harbor Area Schools have until June 14 to submit a plan to keep their high school open. If not, the state could choose to dissolve the entire district. Plus, Northern Michigan University is working to provide affordable Internet access to students in need. 

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

Financial, academic woes and a change in state law puts Benton Harbor high school at risk 

Stateside’s conversation with Craig Thiel

  • The clock is ticking for Benton Harbor High School. The state says the district is $18.4 million in debt and could run out of money by next spring. Last night, Governor Gretchen Whitmer told local leaders in the Southwest Michigan city that they have until June 14 to submit a plan to keep their high school open.  If Benton Harbor Area Schools can’t reach an agreement with the state, the entire district could be dissolved.
  • Craig Thiel is research director at the Citizens Research Council of Michigan. He breaks down how Benton Harbor High School ended up in this position, and the state's track record on intervening in financially distressed and low-performing schools. 

Howes: Why FCA got cold feet on Renault merger

Stateside's conversation with Daniel Howes

  • Late Wednesday night, Fiat-Chrysler announced that it is withdrawing from a $37 billion merger agreement with Renault, a deal that would have created the world’s third largest automaker. Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes explains why negotiations broke down, whether the decision could impact FCA’s plans to expand the Mack Avenue assembly plant in Detroit, and if there’s any chance the merger could — or should — be salvaged. 

NMU brings Upper Peninsula students online

Click above to hear Interlochen Public Radio’s Taylor Wizner’s reporting

  • More and more school work is done online these days. But some students across the country are falling behind their peers because they don’t have Internet access at home. Schools are now coming up with their own work arounds to ensure that their students can finish online assignments. Interlochen Public Radio’s Taylor Wizner brings us this story.

At Flint’s first soap box derby race in 25 years, going downhill - and fast - is the goal 

Stateside’s conversation with Kevin Cronin

  • This Saturday in Flint, 12 kids will climb into their homemade, unmotorized race cars and zoom down a track, just the way their grandparents or great-grandparents might have. The winner gets to compete in the All-American Soap Box Derby Race next month in Akron, Ohio.
  • Kevin Cronin is the founder of the Flint Soap Box Derby. He talks about the history of soap box derbies in Flint, and what he’s seen this year’s young participants get out of building and racing their own cars.

Poor sense of smell in elderly connected to shorter life expectancy, says MSU study

Stateside’s conversation with Honglei Chen

  • A new Michigan State University study suggests that the question “How’s your sense of smell?” may become a valuable part ofhealth screening in older people. Honglei Chen, an epidemiologist at MSU, has been studying what sense of smell could tell us about a person’s life expectancy. He tells us what surprised him most about the finding, and what’s next for research into the connection health and sense of smell. 

How women soccer players in America and Europe fought their way to success

Stateside’s conversation with Andrei Markovits

  • The 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup kicks off this week in France. The U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team, which has won three Women’s World Cup titles and four Olympic gold medals, will be chasing rare back-to-back trophies.
  • Andrei Markovits teaches comparative politics and German studies at the University of Michigan. His newest book is called Women in American Soccer and European Football: Different Roads to Shared Glory. He talks about the vastly different cultural associations surrounding soccer — also known as football — in the United States and Europe, some of the biggest achievements women have made in the sport, and what he’ll be keeping an eye on as the Women's World Cup begins.

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