Stateside Staff

Dan Gilbert, Quicken Loans Founder and CEO
Quicken Loans

Dan Gilbert, founder of Quicken Loans, has become synonymous with downtown Detroit. 

He's been called "Detroit's savior" by the national media because of his purchase of about 60 buildings downtown, but two new articles argue for a more dynamic depiction of Gilbert.

Ryan Felton recently wrote a piece titled "Dan Gilbert, downtown Detroit's demigod" for Detroit MetroTimes. 

Anna Clark authored "Detroit's Dan Gilbert and the savior complex" for the Columbia Journalism Review.

Both articles question how Gilbert has been framed in the media and scrutinize this portrayal of Gilbert as Detroit's guardian angel.

"Journalists can sometimes conflate a private business person with a charity or philanthropic figure," Clark says. He says it's important to remember Gilbert is still an individual working for his own self-interest.

The abandoned Packard Automobile Factory is emblematic of the financial stress of many minority Michigan communities.
Albert Duce / Wikimedia Commons

When voters went to the ballot to kill the Emergency Manager Law, the state legislature responded in the lame duck session by passing a new emergency manager law that no voter initiative could remove. It was signed into law by Governor Snyder.

Opponents sued on several claims, but a federal judge recently ruled against those claims.... except for one.  

This claim alleged racial discrimination, citing the contrast between 52% of the state's African American population living under emergency managers compared to only 2% of white residents. 

Alexandra Hidalgo

    

There’s a new video documentary that looks at immigration from a woman’s perspective. The documentary is called Vanishing Borders. Alexandra Hidalgo directed and produced the film. She's an assistant professor in the Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures at Michigan State University.

The four women featured in Vanishing Borders are Teboho Moja, Melainie Rogers, Daphnie Sicre, and Yatna Vakharia. Hidalgo says she was looking for people who had compelling stories and who could be eloquent and not afraid of the camera.

Wilamoyo / Flickr

It’s the holiday shopping season and you’re probably being bombarded with the message "buy more, your loved ones deserve it", "Do your part to stimulate the economy", and "Just. Keep. Buying." 

NES Jumpman / Flickr

The Genesee Land Bank owns a lot of property in Flint and the rest of the county. Many of those are houses and other buildings that are vacant, and they have yards. The grass and weeds keep growing, and mowing is expensive. High grass is, at best, an eyesore. At worst, it’s a vector for pests and it increases fire risk.

Today on Stateside:

  • A lawsuit filed against the emergency manager law alleges racial discrimination against minorities. University of Michigan professor Reynolds Farley discusses why so many minorities find their communities and school districts in bad financial shape.

  • There are a number of vacant lots in Flint and many of these lots have grass. Continually having to mow vacant lots is a financial strain on the city. Doug Weiland, Executive Director at the Genesee County Land Bank discusses a recent solution to this problem.

  • A new documentary, Vanishing Borders, directed and produced by Michigan State University assistant professor Alexandra Hidalgo, explores immigration from the perspective of women. Listen to Asst. Prof. Hidalgo discuss her powerful documentary and what she hopes audiences gain from viewing it.

  • In Stateside’s project, The Next Idea, Prof. Rex LaMore, Director of Michigan State University’s Center for Community Economic Development pens an essay on consumerism in relation to economic growth. Listen to Prof. LaMore discuss this concept and why it needs to be reexamined. 

  • When Whole Foods opened in Detroit, there were questions on whether or not the vast majority of Detroit could afford the upscale grocer. Goals were set into place to make the grocer more accessible to the citizens of Detroit. The results, however, have been a mixed bag. Traci McMillan wrote a piece for Slate.com entitled ‘Can Whole Foods Change the Way Poor People Eat.’ Listen to McMillan discuss her piece.

*Listen to the full show above

Whole Foods vegetable aisle.
Erelster / flickr.com

When the popular organic grocer Whole Foods first opened in Midtown Detroit last year, there was loud applause that a major food seller would serve the city.

However, questions soon followed.

Why Whole Foods? Could the vast majority of Detroiters afford the upscale grocer? Whole Foods management indicated that it would work towards keeping its products affordable for low-income residents. Was is successful in executing this goal? 

Tune in to Stateside to find out the perspective of Tracie McMillan, author of the Food and Environment Reporting Network and  Slate.com piece “Can Whole Foods Change the Way Poor People Eat”, on these issues and more.

From Failure Lab in Grand Rapids, Tom Nardone, Internet entrepreneur and creator of the Mower Gang in Detroit, describes unsuccessfully launching an online company to prevent head lice. He talks about what prevented his success, and shares advice of what to keep in mind when launching a business. 

Colorful used cars
Zelda Richardson

After six years of stagnation, it’s looking like the European car market could end the year with some growth. Our partner at the BBC Russell Padmore joins us from London to talk about what’s behind the sales, and what it means for American auto companies.

Listen to our conversation with Padmore below. 

University of Michigan football game
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

Detroit News columnist Daniel Howes wrote today: "Another longtime CEO with scant athletic experience beyond his playing days is looking for yet another football coach at the University of Michigan."

The Michigan House of Representatives.
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Yesterday the choice of whether to add LGBT rights to the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act was stalled in the House Commerce Committee, and it looks like it will likely stay there.

Today on Stateside: 

Solar flares
Flickr user Jason Major / Flickr

Robert Alexander works to give the sun a voice. As a sonification specialist at the University of Michigan, Alexander turns data from the sun into music. 

Peggy Wolff

The smell of freshly baked bread can trigger memories of home, especially around the holiday season.

Peggy Wolff is the author of Fried Walleye and Cherry Pie: Midwestern Writers on Food. She’s part of a project called "Little Big Books.” 

David Hughey / Flickr

There is a rise in wines made and named after celebrities. There is Fergalicious named after singer Fergie, and there's rapper Lil John, who started Little Jonathan Winery. And there's Michigan's own Madonna, whose family owns the Ciccone Vineyard up north. 

Michigan Municipal League / Flickr

Right now in Michigan, you can be fired from a job or be denied housing if you're gay. A group of LGBT rights advocates wants that changed. 

Brady Hoke.
User MGoBlog / Flickr

Brady Hoke is now the former head football coach for the University of Michigan.

Hoke's meeting with interim AD Jim Hackett produced the firing that so many fans expected and demanded.

Jane and Ellen Knuth / Amazon

In 2008, like so many college graduates, Ellen Knuth was looking for a job. But unlike many grads Ellen found a job more than 6,000 miles away teaching English in Japan. All her mother could do was hope and worry from afar. 

Jane Knuth now has Ellen back home in Michigan and together they've written the new book Love Will Steer Me True: A Mother and Daughter's Conversations on Life, Love and God.

In addition to worrying about her daughter being halfway around the world, Jane had concerns for her daughter's spiritual well-being.

user eyspahn / Flickr

It’s already been a month since Election Day, but Democrats in Michigan are continuing to sort out just what happened.

It’s fair to say it wasn’t all bad for Democrats. 

Famartin / Wikimedia Commons

The State House is moving on a package of bills that would boost speed limits on some Michigan highways 

MLive's Capitol reporter, Jonathon Oosting, joined us to discuss what exactly these House bills might do. 

Listen to the full interview above. 

Jeff Reutter / Ohio State University

The images of sludgy-looking green water coming out of taps this summer in Ohio and parts of Southeast Michigan are hard to forget. 

More than 400,000 people saw their water contaminated by toxins from cyanobacteria and algal blooms on Lake Erie. 

User: Nheyob / Wikimedia Commons

The terror being inflicted by ISIS against Christians in Iraq is forcing hundreds to leave the country.

Michigan is home to the second-largest Chaldean community in the world, so many of these refugees have now made it to the Metro Detroit area.

Today on Stateside:

Orbit logo
Rob St. Mary

  Orbit Magazine was a staple in the Southeast Michigan area for its coverage of local music and art. In honor of it’s 25th birthday, Orbit is the subject of a new coffee-table book, Re-Entry: The Orbit Magazine Anthology.

The author, Rob St. Mary, is a Macomb County native who now works as a radio reporter for Aspen Public Radio.

Curwood reviewing his film, The Flaming Forest
Mitchell Speers

  Author, filmmaker, and conservationalist James Oliver Curwood was a Michigan native in the late 1800s whose stories gained popularity all over the world. When he died in 1927, he was said to be the highest-paid per-word author in the world, with much of his passion for writing about nature coming from a close encounter with a grizzly bear.

We talked to filmmaker and historian Mitchell Speers, who explores Curwood's life and works in an upcoming documentary, God's Country: The James Oliver Curwood Story.

A more seamlessly connected experience.

That's what Jeff DeGraff thinks Michigan needs to move its economy forward. DeGraff is our partner for The Next Idea. He's a clinical professor of management and organizations at the U of M Ross School of Business.

DeGraff says he sees Michigan’s economy as three distinct parts: large multinational corporations based in the greater Detroit metro area; mid-level businesses in western Michigan; and small startups in places like Ann Arbor that have young, vibrant, and intelligent people.

Click on the link above to hear Cynthia's conversation with DeGraff.

Polling place.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Campaign posters, billboards, and newspaper, radio and television ads have long been the delivery methods for political candidates trying to win the hearts of voters. But more and more, campaigns are using technology to track and reach you. 

As part of its mission to save shelter dogs from being euthanized, Refurbished Pets of Southern Michigan came up with an idea: place these rescued or unwanted dogs with trainers - trainers who have the time to work with the dogs, to train them for adoption into a good home - trainers who are behind bars.

The RPSM's Correctional Companion Program places dogs with specially trained prison inmates, and what happens in the time these inmates spend with their dogs is powerful. Martin Daughenbaugh has seen this power in his own life. As an inmate of the state prison in Coldwater, Martin met a blind dog named Quinn.

And it's a story worth sharing.

Sami / Flickr

Those of us who lived through last winter are now familiar with the term "polar vortex." But are we using that phrase correctly? Sara Schultz is a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in White Lake. Exactly what IS the polar vortex? And what is it not?

Listen to Sara Schultz above

Allan / Flickr

Like ballet companies across the nation, the Grand Rapids Ballet is gearing up for that beloved holiday ballet, The Nutcracker. But this year's production it will have a new look, thanks largely to Chris Van Allsburg.

Van Allsburg is the renowned writer and illustrator of children's books. He's won two Caldecott Medals for his illustrations for The Polar Express and Jumanji. Both books were turned into successful films.

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