Dan Bobkoff http://michiganradio.org en Teaching after a year in the crossfire http://michiganradio.org/post/teaching-after-year-crossfire <p>It&rsquo;s been a tough few years for teachers. Classes are bigger. Pay is down. Benefits cost more.</p><p>And, in the last year, teachers across the Midwest have been at the center of collective bargaining fights in Wisconsin and Ohio. With all that, we wanted to know what it&rsquo;s like to be a teacher today. So, three generations assembled in Lila Howard&rsquo;s classroom at Saline High School near Ann Arbor.</p><p>Howard is about to retire after years teaching AP Psychology. Jason Gumenick teaches government and is in the middle of his career. Then, there&rsquo;s David Dolsen, a college freshman, who had both of the others as teachers. Wed, 25 Jan 2012 17:09:28 +0000 Dan Bobkoff 5933 at http://michiganradio.org Teaching after a year in the crossfire Can health care be a magic bullet for the Midwest? (Part 3) http://michiganradio.org/post/can-health-care-be-magic-bullet-midwest-part-3 <p>Detroit is the latest metro area vying to become a medical destination. The hope is that its hospital systems can draw patients from outside its region, helping the local economy.</p><p>In short, Detroit wants to be more like Cleveland.</p><p>But Cleveland could be tough to copy.</p><p><strong>Cosgrove comes to Cleveland</strong></p><p>In 1975, a young cardiologist arrived in Cleveland.</p><p><em>&ldquo;I came here in a rented truck with a Vega on the back end because it was too sick to pull,&rdquo;</em> Toby Cosgrove says.</p><p>Jump ahead 36 years and that newbie with a beater of a car is now CEO of the Cleveland Clinic.</p><p>Cosgrove presides over a medical empire vastly larger than when he came to town hoping to get better at heart surgery.</p><p><em>&ldquo;We were about 140-150 doctors. We&rsquo;ve grown a bit since that time. We&rsquo;re now about 3,000,&rdquo;</em> he says. Wed, 19 Oct 2011 11:00:00 +0000 Dan Bobkoff 4620 at http://michiganradio.org Can health care be a magic bullet for the Midwest? (Part 3) The "Google of manufacturing?" One company shows a possible future http://michiganradio.org/post/google-manufacturing-one-company-shows-possible-future <p>Depending on who you ask, American manufacturing is either the way out of our bad economy, or it&rsquo;s dead.</p><p>Whatever you think, there&rsquo;s no denying that manufacturing has changed.</p><p>That&rsquo;s the story of <a href="http://www.thogus.com/">Thogus Products</a> in Avon Lake, Ohio.</p><p>This manufacturer has changed so much, its President calls it a 61 year-old startup company. Wed, 07 Sep 2011 13:31:08 +0000 Dan Bobkoff 4054 at http://michiganradio.org The "Google of manufacturing?" One company shows a possible future Coal regulations could reshape Midwest energy http://michiganradio.org/post/coal-regulations-could-reshape-midwest-energy <p>The Midwest relies so heavily on one source of power that some call us the &quot;coal belt.&quot;</p><p>Coal is cheap and plentiful, but that&rsquo;s about to change.</p><p>A wave of government regulations is about to hit the electric industry.</p><p>Ed Malley, a Vice President at industry consulting firm, <a href="http://www.trcsolutions.com/Pages/default.aspx">TRC Corporation</a> has a name for all the new rules coming down the track: &ldquo;The train wreck.&rdquo;</p><p>That &quot;train wreck&quot; is the list of environmental regulations expected to be in place within the next few years.</p><p>Electric utilities say this will mean the shutting of power plants, leading to higher prices and less peak capacity for hot summer days. Environmentalists say: about time. Thu, 01 Sep 2011 20:37:35 +0000 Dan Bobkoff 4000 at http://michiganradio.org Coal regulations could reshape Midwest energy Taxing Cigarettes for the Arts http://michiganradio.org/post/taxing-cigarettes-arts <p>http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/michigan/local-michigan-981280.mp3</p><p>It&rsquo;s a tough time for arts funding around the nation. Kansas, as an example, just cut all its state support. It&rsquo;s a different story in the Cleveland area, though. That region has found a unique way to fund the arts, and it&rsquo;s paying off big.</p><p>It&rsquo;s made residents like Samantha Kane arts patrons of sorts. She says she smokes about two or three packs of cigarettes a week. We find her waiting at a bus stop with a stroller in one hand and a cigarette in the other. Since 2006, each cigarette she smokes contributes a penny and a half to Cuyahoga County&rsquo;s arts organizations.</p><blockquote><p>&ldquo;I love that it goes to something instead of road work, or you know, padding congressmen&rsquo;s pockets,&rdquo; Kane says.</p></blockquote><p>This county cigarette tax really adds up. The group that administers the money is doling out $15 million this year alone. That&rsquo;s enough to catapult the Cleveland area to among the top public funders for the arts in the nation&mdash;many times more than what most states contribute.</p><blockquote><p>&ldquo;I tell people: you don&rsquo;t have to smoke &lsquo;em, just buy them,&rdquo; says Cindy Einhouse, CEO of the Beck Center for the Arts in Lakewood.</p></blockquote><p>It puts on shows, teaches dance and music, and provides summer camps for kids.</p><p>Einhouse says the recession hit her organization hard. The Beck Center almost closed its doors in 2009. A wave of private donations helped, but she&rsquo;s grateful for this county tax. Wed, 10 Aug 2011 10:10:00 +0000 Dan Bobkoff 3666 at http://michiganradio.org Taxing Cigarettes for the Arts Road Trip: Orrville, more than a company town (Part 5) http://michiganradio.org/post/road-trip-orrville-more-company-town-part-5 <p>Our Changing Gears team has been on the road this week traveling to some of our company towns in the Midwest.</p><p><a href="http://www.changinggears.info/">Changing Gears</a> is a Michigan Radio project looking at the economic transformation of the industrial Midwest.</p><p>Our final stop is Orrville, Ohio: A place that seems like a company town, but there&rsquo;s long been a whole lot more going on in Orrville.</p> Fri, 29 Jul 2011 15:26:39 +0000 Dan Bobkoff 3527 at http://michiganradio.org Road Trip: Orrville, more than a company town (Part 5) Road Trip: Norwalk saves its company (Part 4) http://michiganradio.org/post/road-trip-norwalk-saves-its-company-part-4 <p>When a company bears the name of its hometown, it can be hard to separate the two. Such is the case with Norwalk Furniture and the town of Norwalk in Northern Ohio. Sue Lesch is the town&rsquo;s mayor.</p><p>&ldquo;It really is our flagship company,&rdquo; said Sue Lesch, Norwalk&rsquo;s mayor. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s the company we&rsquo;re proud of. We&rsquo;re known for furniture all over the country.&rdquo;</p> Thu, 28 Jul 2011 14:16:30 +0000 Dan Bobkoff 3503 at http://michiganradio.org Road Trip: Norwalk saves its company (Part 4) Canadian oil is boosting midwest economy, but at what cost? http://michiganradio.org/post/canadian-oil-boosting-midwest-economy-what-cost <p>http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/michigan/local-michigan-976530.mp3</p><p>Green energy is often said to be the future of the Midwest economy. But old fashioned fossil fuels could be having a bigger effect on the region&rsquo;s jobs and corporate bottom lines.</p><p>This is not conventional oil, though.</p><p>It&rsquo;s a thick, tar-like crude from the oil sands in Alberta, Canada.</p><p>It&rsquo;s sent here by pipelines, many which cross our rivers and the Great Lakes, and that has some worrying about a bigger risk to the region. Thu, 07 Jul 2011 14:57:59 +0000 Dan Bobkoff 3186 at http://michiganradio.org Canadian oil is boosting midwest economy, but at what cost? Zoning out: Cities rewrite codes to transform their look http://michiganradio.org/post/zoning-out-cities-rewrite-codes-transform-their-look <p>Zoning is the DNA of a community: it controls how you live, shop, and work.</p><p>After nearly a century of many cities separating those uses, now, they&rsquo;re going back to the future: trying to recreate an old way of life.</p><p>Streetsboro, Ohio is one such place.</p><p>http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/michigan/local-michigan-960059.mp3</p><p>Drive down its main commercial district and it has nearly every chain store you can imagine: A Walmart and a Target, a Lowes and a Home Depot.</p><p>Some call it sprawl. Streetsboro calls it economic development.</p><p>This six-lane strip of big box shopping centers has served this city well since its explosive growth started in the 1960s. It just doesn&rsquo;t look like a traditional town.</p><p>The town center is an intersection with a grassy knoll on one side. But Jeff Pritchard is in charge of planning there now and he&rsquo;s aiming for a future Streetsboro that would look very different.</p><p>These big box stores could eventually be replaced by attractive housing and shops. The way towns and cities used to be.</p><blockquote><p>&nbsp;&ldquo;A place where they can walk to a corner store, maybe live above a store, says Anthony Flint of the <a href="http://www.lincolninst.edu/">Lincoln Institute of Land Policy</a>. &ldquo;And, those kinds of things, that&rsquo;s illegal in America today in so many of our communities.&quot;</p></blockquote><p>Illegal because of zoning. &nbsp;In many cities and towns, zoning codes don&rsquo;t allow living and working in the same place. And, when zoning spread across the country in the 1920s and 30s, that was considered a good thing.</p><blockquote><p>&nbsp;&ldquo; You didn&rsquo;t want to have a slaughter house next to a residential apartment,&rdquo; Flint says.</p></blockquote><p>But those issues aren&rsquo;t as big a deal anymore.</p><p>As the Great Lakes region reinvents itself, there&rsquo;s a growing feeling among planners and thinkers that much of the public wants to spend less time in their cars. Mon, 28 Mar 2011 21:43:06 +0000 Dan Bobkoff 1821 at http://michiganradio.org Zoning out: Cities rewrite codes to transform their look Leadership Series: Cleveland's Quiet Mayor (Part 2) http://michiganradio.org/post/leadership-series-clevelands-quiet-mayor-part-2 <p>Our Midwest reporting project Changing Gears is looking at the role of leadership this week. Yesterday, we heard about Detroit Mayor Dave Bing determined to remake his troubled city. Today, we hear about another mayor in our region faced with challenges.</p><p>http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/michigan/local-michigan-952295.mp3</p> Tue, 15 Feb 2011 14:25:14 +0000 Dan Bobkoff 1285 at http://michiganradio.org Leadership Series: Cleveland's Quiet Mayor (Part 2) Casino development in nearby Ohio http://michiganradio.org/post/casino-development-nearby-ohio <p><span lang="EN" style="font-size: 14pt;">After years of watching its residents travel to Michigan, Indiana, or Pittsburgh for gaming, Ohio is getting in on the action. Cleveland kicked off its first casino development yesterday. </span></p><p><span lang="EN" style="font-size: 14pt;">Developers say they&rsquo;ll spend $350 million to convert a former department store in the center of the city into a place for slot machines and poker. </span></p><p><span lang="EN" style="font-size: 14pt;">Behind all this is Dan Gilbert, the Cavaliers owner and founder of Michigan&rsquo;s Quicken Loans. He sees this casino as the first phase of gaming in Cleveland. He&rsquo;ll be building a casino from scratch a few blocks away. </span></p><p><span lang="EN" style="font-size: 14pt;">Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson says the project should create hundreds of local jobs. </span></p><blockquote><p><span lang="EN" style="font-size: 14pt;">They&rsquo;re actually talking about how can we hire people? How can we hire local contractors, local vendors and make this investment a stimulus for this economy and the people of this city and region. </span></p></blockquote><p><span lang="EN" style="font-size: 14pt;">Dan Gilbert says the Cleveland casino will be integrated into the city, helping local businesses.&nbsp; </span></p><p> Fri, 04 Feb 2011 19:47:01 +0000 Dan Bobkoff 1174 at http://michiganradio.org Casino development in nearby Ohio Great recession slows Midwest's "brain drain" http://michiganradio.org/post/great-recession-slows-midwests-brain-drain <p>For much of the last decade, cities across our region have watched their recent college graduates flee to cities like Phoenix.</p><p>It what might be good news for our region, new census data show the recession has significantly changed where young people are moving.</p><p>People, especially people in their early twenties, go where the jobs are.</p><p>That&rsquo;s why Michigan is so concerned about being the only state in the census to lose population</p><p>And cities like Cleveland and Detroit have been fretting about &quot;brain drain&quot; to other areas.</p> Tue, 25 Jan 2011 19:04:11 +0000 Dan Bobkoff 998 at http://michiganradio.org Great recession slows Midwest's "brain drain" Why removing freeways can be good for cities http://michiganradio.org/post/why-removing-freeways-can-be-good-cities <p><em>(You can also see this story with more photos on the </em><a href="http://www.changinggears.info/2011/01/12/why-removing-freeways-can-be-good-for-cities/">Changing Gears website</a>)</p><p>Half a century after cities across our region and country built sprawling freeways, many of those roads are reaching the end of their useful lives.</p><p>Instead of rebuilding them, a growing number of cities are thinking about, or actively, removing them. That may come as a surprise.</p><p>When Clevelanders hear that the <a href="http://planning.city.cleveland.oh.us/projects/detail.php?ID=41">city plans to convert a coastal freeway</a> into a slower, tree-lined boulevard, you get reactions like this one from Judie Vegh:</p><blockquote><p>“I think it’s a pretty bad idea for commuters,” she said. “And if it were 35 mph, I would just be later than usual.”</p></blockquote><p>Within the next few years, Vegh’s commute on Cleveland’s West Shoreway will likely look very different.</p><p><a href="http://www.city.cleveland.oh.us/CityofCleveland/Home/Government/Cabinet/RBrown">Cleveland City Planner Bob Brown</a> says this is not the traditional highway project, "the traditional highway project is obviously speeding things up, adding more capacity, and often ignoring the character of neighborhoods."</p><p>It’s quite a change.</p><p>In the 1950s and 60s, freeways were seen as progress and modernity. They were part of urban renewal and planners like New York’s Robert Moses tore through neighborhoods to put up hulking steel and concrete roadways.</p><p>Today, cities are looking to take them down.</p><p>The list is long:</p><ul><li>New Orleans</li><li>New Haven</li><li>Buffalo</li><li>Syracuse</li><li>San Francisco</li></ul><p>These are just some US cities thinking about or actively taking freeways down. You can find more information about these projects on the <a href="http://www.changinggears.info/2011/01/13/freeway-removal-goes-mainstream-a-survey-of-projects/">Changing Gears website</a>. Thu, 13 Jan 2011 20:18:28 +0000 Dan Bobkoff 876 at http://michiganradio.org Why removing freeways can be good for cities Reinventing Pittsburgh: Part 3 http://michiganradio.org/post/reinventing-pittsburgh-part-3 <p>Pittsburgh is looking up these days. Many point to the steel mills turned into technology parks, or the slight uptick in population as signs that Pittsburgh could be a model for the rest of the industrial Midwest, but all this doesn’t mean Pittsburgh is out of the woods.</p> Wed, 17 Nov 2010 20:34:37 +0000 Dan Bobkoff 339 at http://michiganradio.org Reinventing Pittsburgh: Part 3 Reinventing Pittsburgh: Part 2 http://michiganradio.org/post/reinventing-pittsburgh-part-2 <p>All this week, the Changing Gears team is looking at Reinventing Pittsburgh. The steel city is now more like the medical and technology city with hundreds of start up companies, a below average unemployment rate, and more jobs than during the height of the steel era. Not bad just three decades after its major industry collapsed. In Part 1, we described that remarkable transformation. In this story, we hear how it happened.</p> Tue, 16 Nov 2010 14:52:49 +0000 Dan Bobkoff 332 at http://michiganradio.org Reinventing Pittsburgh: Part 2 Reinventing Pittsburgh: Part 1 http://michiganradio.org/post/reinventing-pittsburgh-part-1 <p>The traditional industrial economy in the Midwest has been changing. When the steel mills in Pittsburgh shut down, people had to search for something new. Changing Gears has this first report in a series about the transformation taking place in Pittsburgh.</p> Mon, 15 Nov 2010 18:00:15 +0000 Dan Bobkoff 324 at http://michiganradio.org Reinventing Pittsburgh: Part 1