Michigan Radio is giving 2011 a sendoff by taking a look back at some of the year's popular and important stories. As part of this retrospective series, here's a small collection of stories we covered about Detroit. You can also weigh in. Tell us your pick for the most important Detroit story this year (if you want to peruse all the stories we've covered in Detroit, you can find them organized under our Detroit tag):
January 9: Detroit ruin porn?
One of Detroit's defining characteristics nowadays is the huge amount of abandoned structures found throughout the city, and in recent years, these empty, often crumbling buildings have become popular subject matter for photographers, journalists, and artists, some traveling from as far away as Europe. But as Michigan Radio's Jennifer Guerra reported back in January, some people view using the city's decline as a muse to be exploitative. They deride the practice as "ruin porn."
February 14: Challenges for Bing
As part of a Changing Gears series examining leadership, Michigan Radio's Kate Davidson looked at some of the challenges facing Detroit Mayor Dave Bing. From a ballooning budget deficit to the blight of abandoned buildings to the city's struggling reputation following his predecessor's incarceration, Bing might have one of the toughest public service leadership roles in the country. Davidson talked to Bing long before the specter of bankruptcy faced the city.
April 15: Deporting an honor student?
In April, Michigan Radio reporter Sarah Cwiek covered the story of Ola Kaso, an honor student in Sterling Heights who found herself handcuffed by immigration officials in Detroit weeks before her high school graduation. There was a deportation order for Kaso and her mother. As Cwiek reported, Kaso came to the United States from Albania with her mother at the age of five and had been living in immigration limbo for years after a request for asylum was denied.
May 2: Detroit census difficulties
Census data released this spring showed a marked decrease in Detroit's population, a troubling issue for city officials because less people means less money, but many, including Detroit Mayor Dave Bing, believe that tens of thousands of residents went uncounted. A report from Michigan Radio's Kate Davidson examines some of the possible reasons for this undercount. Davidson talks to those working to come up with a more accurate figure.
June 16: Saving a school for teen moms
Catherine Ferguson Academy, an award-winning school for pregnant teens and young moms in Detroit was on track to be the next casualty of cash-saving cuts it a struggling district, but as Michigan Radio's Sarah Hulett reported this past summer, district officials lobbied to save the school by turning it over to a charter operator.
October 7: Detroit Arab Americans on Arab Spring
2011 saw groundbreaking changes in much of the Arab world, and perhaps nowhere in the U.S. were theses events followed more closely than in metropolitan Detroit. The region is home to almost 500,000 Arab-Americans. A report from Michigan Radio's Sarah Hulett explores the thoughts and reactions of many in the Detroit metro area's Arab-American community.
December 2: Detroit's rape kit backlog
Most people might assume that if they were the victim of a sexual assault, law enforcement would work as quickly as possible to bring the assailant to justice, but as Michigan Radio's Sarah Hulett reported earlier this month, that might not be the case if that attack occurs in Detroit. Hulett reported that Detroit police are facing a backlog of over 10,000 untested rape kits, many dating back years, and with diminished funding and resources, headway is minimal.
December 9: In Detroit, Drastic Steps to Avoid Bankruptcy
Perhaps the biggest story coming out of Detroit this year is the fact that the city is in danger of going broke. Last month, Detroit Mayor Dave Bing highlighted a financial report showing the city is in danger of running out of cash by April of 2012. Michigan Radio's Sarah Cwiek reported that Detroit leaders are trying to operate a city with "infrastructure and legacy costs [that] still reflect the much bigger city it once was." City leaders are facing tough decisions, and in the end, they might not make them. A state-appointed emergency manager could come in and strip city officials of their power.
-John Klein Wilson, Michigan Radio Newsroom
Inform our coverage: Tell us your pick for the most important Detroit story this year