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Author James Carl Nelson says as World War I was winding down on November 11, 1918, fighting in northern Russia was getting more intense. He says it was frustrating for American troops who wondered what their mission was. 

Nelson’s book is called The Polar Bear Expedition: The Heroes of America’s Forgotten Invasion of Russia, 1918-1919. He tells the story of men, most of them from Michigan and Wisconsin, and their strange trip from what was then called Camp Custer near Battle Creek to Russia, 600 miles north of Moscow for a mission that went beyond the end of World War I. Note: This interview was originally presented in February. 


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Tim Bartik says employers should go beyond thinking of job training as a one-time program. The Senior Economist for the Upjohn Institute for Employment Research says if workers can stay on the job, companies won’t have to take on as many costs that come with job turnover. Bartik and Senior Researcher Michelle Miller-Adams are two of the authors of the Upjohn Institute’s report called Building Shared Prosperity: How Communities Can Create Good Jobs for All. 

Bartik says job coaches can help find resources for workers to address problems like child care and transportation. Miller-Adams says large employers have their own people to do that, but she says employer resource networks can help spread out those costs for small and medium sized businesses. Note: This interview was originally presented in March


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Remember the late celebrated astrophysicist Carl Sagan? An interesting tie exists between science phenom Neil deGrasse Tyson and him besides both having hosted the popular "Cosmos" show begun by Sagan. It's that Tyson met Sagan as a teenager. In fact, Sagan personally invited Tyson to visit Cornell University to convince him to enroll there. Sagan met Tyson in his professor's office on a Saturday, gave him a campus tour, then gifted him one of his books with a foretelling inscription: "To Neil Tyson, future astrophysicist."


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Kalamazoo Schools Superintendent Michael Rice says despite many “headwinds” the Kalamazoo district has been able to increase graduation rates. Rice says those challenges have included a reduction in “inflation adjusted funding” and a more difficult Michigan Merit Curriculum. Rice says it’s hard to know how much the increase in graduation rates is due to the Kalamazoo Promise, but he says it is a factor. 

Rice has been Kalamazoo Superintendent for the last 12 years, but he will soon become state Superintendent of Public Instruction in Michigan. The state Board of Education picked Rice for the job earlier this month.


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When Kalamazoo Schools Superintendent Michael Rice takes on the job of State Superintendent he will tasked with the job of improving education in the state. Western Michigan University Professor of Educational Leadership, Research and Technology Brett Geier says Rice is up to the challenge. 

Geier was a teacher, principal and Superintendent of Bloomingdale Public Schools, before he became a professor. He says Rice is very intelligent, a good listener and understands the challenges and dynamics of public education. Geier says Rice will be a champion and advocate for marginalized student populations.


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