Today on Current State: Spartan women's basketball coach Suzy Merchant; author Winona LaDuke on Native American struggles with the U.S. military; the unsolved murder that changed Michigan politics; opera star Renee Fleming; and Neighbors in Action features Lansing's Box 23.
Forty years ago, 200 members of the American Indian Movement took over the town of Wounded Knee, South Dakota. The group was protesting the federal government’s failure to honor various treaties with native tribes. The location was symbolic. In 1890, as many as 300 Lakota Indians were killed at Wounded Knee by the U-S Army. The standoff lasted 73 days and claimed three lives.
Before the assassination of State Senator Warren Hooper in 1945, corruption in Michigan politics was the norm, not the exception. While it remains unsolved, the Hooper hit, which was widely believed to be the work of Detroit’s infamous Purple Gang, ushered in a crackdown on corruption and altered the political climate in Lansing for good.
Bill Whitbeck, a Michigan Court of Appeals judge and the author of the 2010 novel “To Account for Murder,” which is based on Hooper’s death, recounts the story.
Lansing’s Box 23 has supported the city's fire department for 75 years. The all-volunteer group provides refreshments and support to firefighters as they battle the worst fires. The name comes from the firebox used to call in the massive fire at Lansing’s Kerns Hotel in December 1934.
Longtime Box 23 member Dave Rule and Lansing firefighter Steve Babcock share Box 23’s long history and explain what it’s all about.