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Detroit

Michigan State University sign
Wikimedia Commons / public domain

As the cases against former Michigan State University sports doctor Larry Nassar continue to unfold, there have been calls for MSU President Lou Anna Simon to resign. The latest came from State House Speaker Tom Leonard who says MSU hasn't been forthcoming about who knew what, and when, about Nassar's crimes.

Michigan Radio's Morning Edition host Doug Tribou and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry discuss whether removing President Simon is the right response. 

The New Press, 2017

There are accepted historical “facts” which do not hold up to closer scrutiny. One of those is that slavery was something that happened in the South, not the North. That is simply wrong.

A new book examines examples of Northern slavery, focusing on the early days of Detroit.

Detroit shut water to 1 in 10 homes this year. Yes, that’s progress.

Dec 5, 2017
A customer walks into a Detroit Water Department customer service center
Joel Kurth / Bridge Magazine

So far this year, Detroit has shut water to more homes than exist in all of Muskegon. One in 10 residential customers lost service, at least temporarily, in Detroit.

notices
Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

Because of the Flint water crisis, several Michigan cities are making long term plans to replace old lead water pipes that connect homes to the water main.

That is good for public health, but well-meaning municipal water operators can actually make lead exposure worse if they’re not careful.

There’s a mix of lead and copper pipes buried near the corner of Trinity and Florence in a neighborhood on Detroit’s northwest side. When I visited a month ago the block was lined with nice, two story brick homes and orange construction barrels. It smelled like diesel.

MorningSide: A Detroit Neighborhood

Nov 10, 2017
MorningSide
Mercedes Meija / Michigan Radio

Downtown Detroit is in the midst of a resurgence. However, business districts in the neighborhoods are not seeing the same successes. The decline in population and the decline in wealth in many neighborhoods is keeping much of the city in a prolonged economic downturn.

BasicGov / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

Many people in Detroit cannot or, sometimes in the case of landlords, do not pay property taxes. Every year, the Wayne County Treasurer's Office seizes owner-occupied homes and puts them up for auction.

Even with recent efforts to get homeowners on installment plans, lowering interests rates, and letting more low-income people know they might be eligible for property tax wavers, it hasn’t been enough to keep many people in their homes. There’s a high poverty rate in Detroit.

A foreclosure sign.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

An effort to help some Wayne County residents from losing their homes to tax foreclosure seems to have stalled. Until the last minute, low-income property owners were being encouraged to apply for tax exemptions, with the hope of preventing their homes from being sold at Wayne County’s annual auction of tax-foreclosed properties.

Detroit City assessor Alvin Horhn’s office promoted the idea that some low-income homeowners might be able to avoid tax foreclosure this year if they hurried to apply for a tax exemption.

Detroit skyline with GM building
Pixabay.com

The city of Detroit is offering $1 million in grants to help lift residents out of poverty and into jobs. The initiative is a partnership between the city and the Detroit Employment Solutions Corporation.

Grants are available to community organizations offering services like literacy education, vocational training, and support services to Detroit residents enrolled in SNAP -- the federal food assistance program.

Jeff Donofrio is executive director of workforce development for the city of Detroit. He says low-income job seekers in the city often face many challenges.

Digital_Third_Eye / Flickr - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

The Next Idea

One of the central challenges in Detroit’s revival: making sure that all boats rise. That good things are happening for long-time Detroiters, not just the newcomers and new businesses setting up in the city.

Capital Impact Partners created its Equitable Development Initiative after realizing how little of its money went to projects led by minority developers. The program is designed to bring more minority developers into Detroit’s revitalization.

"Out of water" sign after Oakland County water main break
Tracy Samilton / Michigan Radio

Thousands of people in Oakland County are still dealing with a mandatory boil water advisory this weekend. It was issued after a broken water transmission main caused system pressure to drop, and then extended after another leak was detected. The CEO of the Great Lakes Water Authority called it an "unprecedented" event in the regional water system's history, but this Week in Review, senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry tells Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth why he wasn't surprised.

Virginia Gordan / Michigan Radio

Enrollment in Detroit Public Schools Community District is up for the first time in 15 years. The recent fall count is 50,100 students, up ten percent from last year's 45,500. 

According to Superintendent Nikolai Vitti, this year saw the lowest departure of students to charter schools in four years, with fewer students leaving for surrounding districts and more returning. 

Vitti said enrollment is one of the most important indicators of the health of a school district.

State Sen. Coleman Young II and Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, during their debate broadcast from WDIV-TV's Detroit studios.
WDIV

Detroit’s one and only debate between its two mayoral candidates got very contentious last night, with plenty of personal attacks.

(You can watch the full debate here.)

State Senator Coleman Young II is the underdog challenger. Young said he’s running to help struggling Detroiters who’ve faced water shutoffs, losing homes to tax foreclosure, and various forms of what Young called “racist redlining.”

Mayor Mike Duggan, and state Sen. Coleman Young II
courtesy of Bridge Magazine, and State Dems

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan debated his challenger for the upcoming November 7 general election, state Sen. Coleman Young II.

Wikimedia Commons

A British invasion is coming to Detroit. 

This week a five-day music festival called Detroit a Go Go kicks off in the city.  Phil Dick organized that festival and he joined Stateside today to explain why the music appeals so much to British listeners.

Mike Boening Photography / FLICKR - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Today was the deadline for cities to turn in proposals to lure Amazon’s second headquarters.

Cities around the nation have been putting together their bids.

rock and roll hall of fame
Chris "Paco" Camino / Flickr- HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL

Could 2017 be MC5's year? 

Detroit Music Magazine Publisher Paul Young and Executive Editor Khalid Bhatti think so. 

After two unsuccessful nominations to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2003 and 2016, they say nostalgia around the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Detroit uprising might help their case, along with the band's famous supporters like Iggy Pop and The Stooges. 

detroit city skyline
Shawn Wilson / Wikimedia Commons / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Sonya Mays doesn't like saying the "g word" – gentrification, that is. 

But if we're talking about it, she says her company Develop Detroit might just have the solution. 

“We’re saying that we believe that there’s a way to be very intentional and thoughtful and to partner with particularly residents who have been in a community the longest. We’re saying there’s an approach here that can be taken that doesn’t directly lead to rapid displacement," Mays said. 

It's called equitable development, and she says cities like Harlem and Washington, D.C., have used it to combat gentrification with mostly positive results. 

Is Detroit coming back? It depends on the neighborhood.

Oct 17, 2017
Bridge Magazine

Detroit is at an inflection point. Maurice Cox can see it. So can the Rev. Aaron McCarthy, Jr. And their visions reveal much about a city brimming with possibility and problems.

The director of Detroit’s Planning Department, Cox has one of the best views at the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center. His eighth-floor window overlooks a downtown so revitalized that it’s practically unrecognizable from a few years ago.

“A lot of people who have been following Detroit’s recovery for a very long time have convinced me there’s something different about this one,” Cox said.

“People are seeing forward momentum. The streetlights come on at night. The lots are better maintained. Blight is coming down in everyone’s neighborhood. Little shops are popping up. Our downtown is on the upswing.”

Photograph of Downtown Detroit
Ifmuth / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

As you may know, Amazon is looking for another city in which to build a vast new headquarters that could mean billions in investment and up to 50,000 jobs.

Not surprisingly, just about every city wants that. But the place where it might make the most difference for the local economy is, of course, Detroit.

Dan Gilbert, the Quicken Loans czar who many regard as Detroit’s capitalist savior, is heading a task force that will submit a bid in the next two days to the giant mail order retailer. Mayor Mike Duggan would do just about anything to lure Amazon.

Owe taxes? That’s OK. Wayne County will still sell you foreclosed homes.

Oct 12, 2017
Sarah Alvarez / Bridge Magazine

Wayne County doesn’t always enforce a law that forbids tax delinquents from buying properties at its tax foreclosure auctions, contributing to a cycle of speculation that perpetuates blight, a Bridge Magazine investigation has found.

Part of a polished Petoskey stone.
Michelle Pemberton / Wikimedia Commons

Most Michiganders have spent hours walking up and down shorelines, hoping to spot a Petoskey stone or two for their collection.

Hunting for Petoskey stones can be tough - they're often small, hidden among thousands of other little rocks and their distinctive pattern is only visible when wet.

Law enforcement officials and victims of sexual assault in Michigan could soon be able to track the rape kits used to gather evidence. A state budget amendment would set aside money for training and software that keeps track of where a kit is located at each step of an investigation. This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about why Michigan isn't already using tracking software.

The incomplete Wayne County jail.
Wayne County

Wayne County and the city of Detroit announced a tentative land swap deal Thursday, which brings the Dan Gilbert-owned Rock Ventures one step closer to building a new jail on the land.

Wayne County Executive Warren C. Evans and Mayor Mike Duggan said in a press release that the move will benefit the city and the county alike. Duggan called it “a win-win.”

Chuk Nowak / Courtesy of Detroit Public Theatre

After lots of praise from critics in New York, a play set in Detroit, written by someone from Detroit is coming to Detroit. The play is “Skeleton Crew,” and it’s beginning a four-week run at the Detroit Public Theatre this weekend.

The play “is a peek into the world of the auto industry,” said Dominique Morisseau, the playwright who is originally from Detroit. “This is about a small fictional stamping plant,” one of the last in the city. The play focuses on a group of workers who are threatened by plant closure.

Michael Bolden / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Some people are enthused about what’s happening in the central business districts in Detroit. New pedestrian areas in downtown, old buildings being rehabbed, new art installations, new restaurants, boutiques, and other retail opening up and down Woodward and Cass.

And some people are hopeful that eventually, someday, some of that development will spill over into the neighborhoods. But some leading design people say now is the time to look at these neighborhoods.

Davontae Sanford was wrongfully convicted of four murders at age 14. He was released from prison in 2016 spending nearly nine years behind bars.
Kate Wells / Michigan Radio

Davontae Sanford is suing the city of Detroit, as well as former Detroit Police Commander James Tolbert and Sgt. Mike Russell, for wrongful imprisonment. 

Sanford spent nearly nine years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. At age 14, he was picked up by Detroit police in 2007 after four people were gunned down in a home in his neighborhood. Police interrogated him off and on for 2 days without a parent or attorneys present.

amazon seattle headquarters
Manuel Bahamondez H / FLICKR - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

In the Detroit News today, columnist Daniel Howes examined whether Detroit has the leadership to land the much talked about Amazon HQ2, a second headquarters for the massive online retailer.

Amazon’s $5 billion investment would result in around 50,000 jobs, with an average compensation of $100,000 a year.

“You’re looking at a potential economic boon the likes of which few communities ever see,” said Howes.

Minoru Yamasaki with a model of Manhattan and the WTC buildings.
Archives of Michigan

The firm of famed Detroit architect Minoru Yamasaki is returning to the city, seven years after it was forced to close.

The Seattle-born architect lived in Detroit from 1945 until his death in 1986. He launched his own firm in 1950, which survived him until 2009 when it closed due to financial problems.

Photograph of Downtown Detroit
Ifmuth / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Toledo, Ohio isn’t in Michigan, but should be. I’m not just saying this because of the famous and farcical 1835 Toledo “War,” that ended up establishing that the city belonged to Ohio, with Michigan getting the western Upper Peninsula as compensation.

More to the point is that the Toledo economy is essentially the Metropolitan Detroit manufacturing economy. Like the Motor City, Toledo has slowly declined as auto jobs waned. The decline has been slower, however, as has the demographic change.

Are there two Detroits? A new report says yes, but…

Sep 13, 2017
Detroit skyline
City of Detroit

Turns out, there could be something to perceptions about “two Detroits” after all.

The Urban Institute, a nonprofit Washington D.C. think tank, issued a report Tuesday that concludes tax subsidies in Detroit have disproportionately favored downtown and Midtown.

Those areas received 57 percent of state, federal, and local tax subsidy investments from 2013 to 2015, even though they only contain 46 percent of the city’s 245,000 jobs, the report found.

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