State Rep Jeff Irwin on Lansing’s response to the Flint disaster, the case for place-based education, and the music of Spelling… on this weekend’s Saturday Six Pack


Those of you who, after last week’s show, predicted that I would never return to the Saturday Six Pack, failed to consider one thing…

I have no where else to go.

So, yes, we’re going to be back on the air this Saturday evening with what promises to be yet another equally thought-provoking and fun installment of what some people, at least up until last week, were calling “the most interesting program on midwestern micro-watt AM.”

This week’s guests will include Southeast Michigan Stewardship Coalition (SEMIS Coalition) Director Ethan Lowenstein, State Representative Jeff Irwin, and the band Spelling, who will be performing for us live in the studio. [Spelling is composed of Victoria Weeber and Craig Johnson.]

For those of you who aren’t aware of the incredible work being done by the Eastern Michigan University-based SEMIS Coalition, their mission is to facilitate school-community partnerships intended to develop students as “citizen-stewards of healthy ecological-social systems.” And, toward this end, they work with educators and community members to develop programs that not only expose students to the natural world outside of the classroom, but empower these young people to contribute in significant, meaningful ways that both build confidence and lead to a greater appreciation for community… In a world where people seem to be growing increasingly isolated from one another, SEMIS is trying to actually build healthy, sustainable communities, starting with kids, and I think that’s incredibly cool. They’re building programs that teach young people not only that they matter, and that they can make their communities better, but make clear to them that, as members of a society, we have a responsibility to help contribute toward solving the problems that face us.

Here, to give you a sense of the underlying philosophy that drives the program, is one of their core principles… “A strong and viable Great Lakes ecosystem includes human communities nested within and interdependent with other diverse living systems including water, soil, air, plant, and animal species. A sustainable Southeast Michigan depends upon diversity—both human and ecological—and is thus best served by strong democratic and collaborative systems.” Pretty incredible, right?

And, after we talk with Lowenstein, we’ll invite our old friend Jeff Irwin back into the studio. Ostensibly, he’s coming in this time to talk about a newly announced effort in the Michigan House to finally drive a stake through the heart of the Emergency Manager law once and for all, but I’m sure that we’ll also be picking up where we left off last time on things like guns in schools, the conditions of our roads, education spending, and the possibility of winning back the House in 2016. And, of course, we’ll be taking your calls on the Flint disaster, and anything else you may want to talk about… It should be fun.

And, here, thanks to AM 1700 senior graphic designer Kate de Fuccio, is this week’s poster, in case any of you want to print copies and distribute them in outside the Governor’s Ann Arbor condo.



Unless you live inside the AM 1700 studio, chances are you won’t be able to pick the show up on your radio. As that’s the case, I’d recommend streaming the show online, which you can do either on the AM1700 website or by way of

And for those of you who aren’t yet familiar with the show, and need to get caught up, you can listen to the entire archive on iTunes. If you start right now, and listen to everything at double speed, but you can do it.

One last thing… If you’d like to tell your friends and neighbors about the program, feel free to share the Facebook event listing.

And do call us if you have a chance. We love phone calls. So please scratch this number into the cinder block wall of the recreation room of whichever facility you’ve been assigned to… 734.217.8624… and call us between 6:00 and 8:00 this Saturday evening. The show is nothing without you. Sure, sometimes it’s nothing even with you, that’s true, but usually you make it better.

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  1. Peter Larson
    Posted January 29, 2016 at 5:01 am | Permalink

    Last week’s show was troubled because you refused to play my song.

  2. Eel
    Posted January 29, 2016 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    If the band Spelling is, as I assume, named after Aaron Spelling, please find a way to work in the following fact about the man.

    “At the age of eight, Spelling psychosomatically lost the use of his legs due to trauma caused by constant bullying from his schoolmates, and was confined to bed for a year. He made a full recovery.”

  3. Anonymous
    Posted January 29, 2016 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    Please ask Irwin about the official inquiries into what happened in Flint and the possibility of getting Snyder to answer questions under oath.

  4. Jean Henry
    Posted January 31, 2016 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

    The more shows you do, the further into the distance that last show recedes.

  5. Posted January 31, 2016 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

    There was a lot to like about that last show. I’m listening to it now and writing up my notes. I just tend to catastrophize stuff.

  6. Jean Henry
    Posted February 1, 2016 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    I will never listen to it– which has nothing to do with you– so I will take your word on that.

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