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Detroit

Donnie Ray Jones / flickr http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Detroit is trying to do more to prevent premature births and infant deaths. The city outlined the new plan Wednesday.

A person marking a ballot
Michael Dorausch / Flickr, http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

A lawsuit filed Thursday in Wayne County Circuit Court alleges Detroit’s city clerk violated election law.

Detroiter Anita Belle says she was trying to challenge the legitimacy of potentially more than a thousand absentee ballots. She says there are voters registered at addresses that are actually vacant lots owned by the Detroit Land Bank. Belle had hoped to challenge any ballots from those addresses. But she says she wasn’t allowed to.

City takes lead on boarding up vacant Detroit homes

Aug 10, 2017
Workers board up a vacant home in southwest Detroit.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Abandoned homes are a familiar sight in many Detroit neighborhoods. And they aren’t just an eyesore. Left unsecured, those vacant properties can become magnets for crime.

But a new city program is hoping to change that.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan says for years, the work of boarding up vacant homes fell to volunteers.

"The city would deliver plywood for free on the weekends, and the neighbors would volunteer,” he said at a press conference announcing Detroit's recently launched “board-up brigade.” 

The old library entry at Marygrove College in Detroit.
Marygrove College Library / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

A liberal arts school in Detroit is shutting down its undergraduate programs next year due to declining enrollment. Beginning in January only master's degree programs will be offered at Marygrove College.

The college, which is known for its graduate teacher training program, expects that the demand for Masters degrees in teaching will lead to the success of the new business model. 

sign that says "vote here"
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan Radio Morning Edition Host Doug Tribou and Senior News Analyst Jack Lessenberry discuss the results of yesterday's primary elections in Detroit, Flint and Pontiac. 

State Farm / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

Last week in Crain’s Detroit BusinessChad Livengood wrote about how Detroit factory workers are charged more than lawyers for auto insurance. Livengood joined Stateside to explain a new study that looked at why rates are so high in the city. 

The study, conducted by California researcher Douglas Heller, tested six major insurance carriers using a 30-year-old female profile. It found the rates she received varied widely depending on her level of education, job title, and area of the state she lived in.

man with cricket bat
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

A public cricket field opened in Detroit on Saturday for the first time since the 1970s.

Cricket player Saiyed Ahmed is one of the people who helped make the new pitch a reality. To keep up with cricket’s rising popularity in Detroit, he pushed for the city to build a professional, public field.

Money
Flickr user 401(K) 2012 / Creative Commons

We have an update on the efforts to get Detroit area charter school employees paid for time worked during the school year.

Many employees at Michigan Technical Academy spread their paychecks out over the year, but late last month, the charter school's board had to divert those summer paychecks to creditors. 

Matchbook Learning is the nonprofit charter management company that directly employs MTA staff. Today, the company's CEO Sajan George sent a letter to MTA employees saying the charter's board gave its approval last night to appoint an independent "receiver" to review the payroll issue. 

Andrew Stein, executive director of City Year Detroit, says Americorps members help at-risk students, and teachers who have to manage large class sizes.
Detroit Public Schools

Detroit public school students could soon be spending a lot less time on testing during the school year.

The Detroit Public Schools Community District is moving to cut the number of assessments they give students across the district by 70 percent — from administering 186 tests down to 57 tests.

downtown detroit
flickr user Tim Wang / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Philanthropic groups have played a central role in helping Detroit recover from the depths of bankruptcy.

But has that philanthropic giving been too “top down” and not enough “bottom up”? And has it done enough to bring grassroots and neighborhood groups into the conversation about what is needed and how those dollars can be best used?

LBJ Presidential Library

News media around the world are talking about Detroit’s resurgence.

Politicians in the city and the state, such as Gov. Rick Snyder, hype its revitalization.

“New investments have helped fuel a rapid dramatic transformation of Detroit and today it’s America’s comeback city,” he said in a video.

But that’s only part of the story of Detroit.

In the city’s neighborhoods, many people are still struggling.

However, there was a plan released in the 1960s to help end racial discrimination in Detroit and the nation.

gordon park sign
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

It’s a Sunday afternoon, and there’s a party of sorts going on at 12th Street and Clairmount on Detroit's west side.

Exactly 50 years ago, the police raid that sparked the city's massive, deadly riots started right here. Now there’s a newly-refurbished park on that corner and a marker designating it a state historic site.

downtown detroit
flickr user Tim Wang / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The city of Detroit has been losing population for decades, but that could soon change.

Southeast Michigan is expected to gain approximately 380,000 households by 2040, according to a new report from the Urban Institute.

Ali Elisabeth / Michigan Radio

 


Last year, more than 27,000 Detroit homes had water shut off because of what the city says were unpaid bills. In some neighborhoods, one in five homes lost water access.

In 2014, the cash-strapped city started getting tough on people who couldn’t keep up with paying for water. City officials predicted the shutoffs would taper off as residents got on payment plans and bills started being paid, but Bridge Magazine reports residential shutoffs last year rose 18% over the previous year.

Photo courtesy of Khaled Beydoun

If you spent the weekend on a deserted island or just abstaining from all social media, you probably missed the swift, brutal backlash to a large window ad in downtown Detroit. 

The banner was put up by Detroit mogul Dan Gilbert's property management company, Bedrock, on a building at the corner of Woodward Ave. and Congress St. 

The slogan for the campaign, "See Detroit Like We Do" overlays a mostly-white crowd. Cringe. 

The fires of the Detroit riot began blazing exactly fifty years ago today. Years later, in an odd case of serendipity, I got to know Ray Good, the first police lieutenant on the scene, in the course of profiling his wife Janet for Esquire Magazine.

That was in the 1990s, when she had her moment of fame as Dr. Jack Kevorkian’s partner in evaluating who he would help die.

David Tarver

The Next Idea

It’s the quintessential American success story. Three young, black engineers left a major technology corporation to form their own business. They built it into an internationally successful company and eventually sold it. 

Today’s guest on The Next Idea, David Tarver, was one of the engineers who founded Telecom Analysis Systems over 30 years ago amid the challenges and promise of the post-Civil Rights era. 

State Senator Coleman Young II unveiled his plan for Detroit yesterday. He is running for mayor this year, and the odds are that he and incumbent Mike Duggan will be the two top vote-getters in the September primary, and go on to face each other in the general election.

Actually, I had planned on talking to Senator Young Monday so I could tell you more about his campaign, and had scheduled an interview weeks ago.

Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

Attorney General Bill Schuette says the Michigan schools superintendent can't withhold state aid from school districts with American Indian mascots or logos. Earlier this year Superintendent Brian Whiston proposed cutting up to 10% of a district's annual payment. This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry discuss Schuette's opinion on the matter.

They also talk about a ruling that temporarily halts state funding to private schools, Michigan Supreme Court Justice Joan Larsen's federal court nomination delay, and whether the an iconic Detroit hat shop is a casualty of rising downtown rents.

A new study shows that as many as 85% of homes in Detroit might have been taxed at rates that violate the Michigan Constitution.
BasicGov / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The tax foreclosure crisis in Detroit may not get the attention it deserves. In fact, the tax foreclosure crisis didn’t just happen, and it doesn't continue to happen, by unfortunate circumstances. There are decisions behind it. One group says those decisions are illegal.

Everybody knows that Detroit has made it through bankruptcy, and that a remarkable coalition of people and politicians came together on a “Grand Bargain” to save the city.

But now we need to start thinking about the next hugely important step, one that’s largely been ignored: Finding a way to bring many thousands of forgotten people into the workforce and make them economically and socially productive citizens.

Cars on the freeway
Flickr user a.saliga

Based on data from an insurance comparison website, Detroit has the best drivers in the country. But the statistic has some caveats. 

Seattle-based Quote Wizard looked at the 75 largest metropolitan areas in the U.S. for the study. It created the ranking based on reports to insurance companies of accidents, DUIs, speeding tickets, and minor citations. 

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

One of the big issues in Detroit is blight. People walking away from their properties or foreclosures are the base of the problem. After that, it’s people stealing things out of the empty house.

Some neighborhoods have been devastated by abandoned homes and the scrappers who strip them. The MorningSide neighborhood on Detroit’s east side hasn’t hit the level of devastation, but it’s been hit pretty hard.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Detroit still has a reputation for being a high-crime city. However, like the rest of the nation, Detroit’s violent crime rate has been steadily declining since the late 1980s.

Matty Moroun, the billionaire owner of the Ambassador Bridge across the Detroit River, turned 90 earlier this month. I don’t know how he celebrated, but I do know something happened last week that may well have ruined his birthday.

Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

A federal judge will hold an emergency hearing Monday morning in Detroit, where the ACLU is asking him to temporarily block the deportations of all Iraqi nationals facing removal in the U.S.

This all started a few months ago, when Iraq agreed to accept Iraqi nationals the U.S. wants to deport. For years it had refused to issue travel documents to those individuals.

Then, earlier this month, Immigration and Customs Enforcement rounded up 114 Iraqis living in metro Detroit. Another 85 were taken into custody in other states.

illustration of trail
City of Detroit

Cyclists and pedestrians will soon have an easier time getting around Detroit.

What was once abandoned railroad track will become 7.5 miles of paved trails for biking and walking. The city used $4.3 million in state grants to purchase 76 acres of land from the Conrail railroad company.

The new trail will help fill the biggest gap in the city’s Inner Circle Greenway, a 26-mile loop of bike lanes and trails encircling the city. 

Detroit houses
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

Comerica Bank plans to invest up to $5 million in a Detroit program for home mortgages that seeks to address issues with property appraisals.

The money will go toward the Detroit Home Mortgage program, which was introduced last year. The bank notes that housing in Detroit typically appraises below the price to buy and renovate, making it more difficult for some to buy homes in the city.

CREDIT Joe Ravi / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA 3.0

You may have missed the biggest news of the week – at least here in the Motor City. For the first time ever, Apple’s CEO confirmed the tech giant is hot for self-driving cars.

Buckle up, folks.

CEO Tim Cook says there’s “a major disruption looming” as self-driving technology, electric vehicles and ride-sharers like Uber and Lyft converge into one big ball of change. He says autonomous systems are a “core technology” for Apple and “the mother” of all artificial intelligence projects.

illustration of beach
Detroit Riverfront Conservancy

The Knight Foundation’s Cities Challenge awards were announced recently. One of the projects it’s funding is an urban beach along Detroit’s riverfront.

It will be another segment of the growing Detroit riverfront walkway put together by the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy.

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