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Detroit

Rich Evenhouse / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

How do we talk about Detroit?

In the 80's and 90's, the focus was on crime and urban decay. Detroit was the "Murder City." Today, the narrative is one of possibility and resurgence.

But both of those depictions were largely imposed by outsiders, and were, at best, incomplete.

 "My grandmother always told me I was smart, and so I believed it. And so by the time she left, being smart and doing good in school was something that Shawn just did," Blanchard told us.
Courtesy of Shawn Blanchard

 


If anyone seemed destined for a life that would either end in a drug deal gone bad or in prison, it would probably be Shawn Blanchard.

Everything in his life pointed him down that path, beginning with the fact that he was born with crack cocaine in his system.

Instead, Blanchard is a graduate of the University of Michigan, where he majored in math and economics. He’s also a graduate of Wayne State University’s Law School.

His memoir is titled How ‘Bout That for a 'Crack Baby.'

Dave Pinter / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

For the last century, almost since the day Henry Ford’s first assembly line started rolling in 1913, Detroit has been known as the Motor City. It was a regional point of pride that cars made in Michigan could be found zipping down roadways in every U.S. state and across the globe.

That image has been battered in recent decades as factories have been shuttered and work forces trimmed.

But today, a new vision is emerging, one in which Detroit specializes not only in building cars, but in all things transportation. That includes new technologies like autonomous vehicles, but it also means connecting those technologies to services like public transportation and bike shares.

Nick Tobier, the author of "Looping Detroit: A People Mover Travelogue"
Courtesy of Nick Tobier

Think of it as an artistic “fan letter” to Detroit’s People Mover.

Artist Nick Tobier’s new book is Looping Detroit: A People Mover Travelogue. It’s a collection of essays, photographs and poems inspired by the People Mover and the views it offers of Detroit’s geography and culture.

The state says 38 schools with persistently low test scores might not have to close by the end of the year. At least, not yet. These schools now have 60 days to come up with a turnaround plan using what the state calls a "partnership" model. We wanted to know a little bit more about what that partnership strategy might entail, so we took a trip to Dearborn to find out. 

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

The U.S. EPA is making long term revisions to the 25-year-old Lead and Copper Rule. The new rules are expected to come out this year. A top EPA official says one of the biggest changes could be an expensive one.

Because of the water crisis in Flint, city officials now know there are more than 20,000 lead service lines, the water pipes connecting homes to a water main, still buried underground in Flint.

Because of Flint, we know that other cities are now at least trying to figure out how many lead service lines they have and where they’re located.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Mike Duggan knows politics.

That’s partly why Detroit’s mayor is alleging that former Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr misled him about the city’s pension exposure. It’s an insurance policy.

Area where the boil water advisory was in effect.
City of Detroit

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has lifted the boil water advisory covering parts of Detroit, Hamtramck and Highland Park.

More from a press release from the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department:

The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department received a statement released from GLWA today indicating that the most recent round of testing shows no bacterial contamination in Detroit’s water supply. Two rounds of multiple samples were tested by GLWA indicating the water meets the Safe Drinking Water Act. According to the statement:

user Werwin15 / Creative Commons

More than 70% of the tenants at the Russell Industrial Center in Detroit left after the city ordered them out a week ago due to building violations.

The converted auto factory is – or was – home to a major artists community in Detroit.

Eric Novak is the project manager for the Russell Industrial Center.  

He says they'll try to get people to move back, but it could take a long time because some had to sign new one-year leases elsewhere.

iivangm / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Across Michigan, a number of undocumented Mexican immigrants have been detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials.

While President Donald Trump indicated his order would deport criminals – “bad hombres,” as he put it –  there are reports that people with only minor violations are being picked up, even people with no apparent violations.

Miguel and Angel are brothers and they pretty much disagree on everything: TV shows, music, games, even the way they dress. But that stuff’s all pretty minor compared to the big disagreement they have over where they should go if their mom is deported back to Mexico.

Miguel is 14-years old and a proud mama’s boy. He says he never wants to separate from his mom and will go with her to Mexico even though he’s only visited there once, when he was three.

Big brother Angel, who's 15, says he wants to stay here in the U.S. and finish studying.

In this historical photo, a group stands outside of a drugstore on the corner of St. Aubin and Mullett streets on May 8, 1950 in Black Bottom, an area that was torn down in the 1950s to make way for the Chrysler Freeway and the Detroit Medical Center.
Burton Collection

In today’s Detroit Free Press, there's an article titled Bringing Detroit’s Black Bottom back to (virtual) life.

It tells the story of a young Detroit architect named Emily Kutil who's trying to bring a neighborhood that no longer exists back to life ... in digital form. 

Courtesy of John Semper Jr.

In the D.C. Comics universe, Superman has Metropolis, Batman has Gotham, and now Cyborg has Detroit.

When D.C. rebooted its universe a few years ago, the superhero Cyborg got a promotion. He joined Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman as part of the Justice League and has become a higher-profile character. 

The other night I had dinner with John King, not the one on CNN with the election maps, but Detroit’s own John King, one of the city’s most colorful and eccentric personalities.

John, whose ancestry is mainly Lithuanian, owns the city’s biggest bookstore, John King Used and Rare Books, housed in a huge former glove factory along the Lodge Freeway.

The Michigan Urban Farming Initiative's headquarters and community center in Detroit.
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

State economic development officials and a nonprofit urban farming group have launched a crowdfunded campaign to turn a vacant Detroit building into a community resource center.

The campaign to raise $50,000 was launched Tuesday by the Michigan Economic Development Corp. and Michigan Urban Farming Initiative. Automotive supplier BorgWarner pledged $10,000 as part of the kickoff.

user Werwin15 / Creative Commons

One of the largest hubs for artists in the Midwest may soon be abandoned, at least temporarily, after Detroit's Building Department ordered all tenants in the Russell Industrial Center to immediately vacate the premises, due to building code violations.

Jimi Custer owns a video production company, The Afterhours Network, that operates out of the Center, as well as Channel 313.tv.

He says the notice was a complete surprise.

"I came to my work today and all of a sudden I can't do my business," says Custer.  "Now I've got to figure out where I'm going to relocate."

Mike Ilitch (center) with Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander (right) and Alex Avila (left) in 2011.
Dave Hogg / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

They don’t make ‘em much like Mike Ilitch anymore.

Here was Detroit distilled, the local guy done good, the former Marine and aspiring shortstop, his Tigers career cut short by a bad knee. The guy who told his teammates he'd open pizza shops across America if his baseball thing didn't work out.

According to Laura Reese, while Midtown Detroit is seeing some income growth, the rest of the city is only getting worse
Wikimedia user, Andrew Jameson / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Over the past several years, the conventional wisdom has been that Detroit is recovering. Every new restaurant, boutique store, or retail chain setting up shop in Detroit is offered as proof.

There’s a major flaw in that assessment.

The focus of recent development has been the city’s central business districts. Meanwhile, the people in the neighborhoods are not sharing in that prosperity. If anything, the plight of Detroit’s long-time residents has been getting worse.

Ilitch Holdings, LLC

His empire was built on pizza.

With last week’s death of Mike Ilitch, that empire is now in the hands of his son Christopher.

Courtesy of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra

No matter where you are, when you say the words "Detroit" and "music," someone's going to exclaim "Motown!"

But Detroit's music history is much deeper and wider than Motown. There are some locations around the city that have been forgotten and are important in the telling of Detroit's black history, and the history of music.

Little Caesars Arena under construction in June 2016.
Rick Briggs / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The city of Detroit lost one of its business icons when Mike Ilitch passed away. Many people know him for being the founder of Little Caesars Pizza, but most know him as the owner of the Detroit Tigers and the Detroit Red Wings.

Michigan Sports Hall of Famer Ray Lane began covering sports in Detroit starting in 1961 and was there when Ilitch bought the Red Wings in 1982 (for $8 million!), and later the Tigers in 1992. Lane joined Stateside to look back at the sports side of Ilitch's legacy.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Michigan’s largest skilled trades union has agreed to train more Detroit residents in construction work.

The Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Millwrights says three of its local units will commit to new targets.

Those include making sure that Detroiters make up at least 25% of new apprentices, and tripling their Detroit membership in the next 10 years.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan announcing his campaign for reelection.
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan officially launched his reelection bid today.

Duggan’s first term was focused on new streetlights for the city’s neighborhoods and blight removal projects. Now, he is pivoting his focus to public education and crime.

“We are going to fight the irrational closing of these Detroit Public schools,” Duggan said.

The state has placed two dozen Detroit schools on the list for potential closure this year because of consistently low test scores.

“You don’t close a school until you’ve created a quality alternative,” he said.

Microsoft is currently in the Town Center in Southfield. The company hopes that the move will benefit Detroit.
Google

Software maker Microsoft plans to move its Michigan Microsoft Technology Center to downtown Detroit in early 2018.

The Redmond, Washington-based company and Detroit-based real estate business Bedrock announced Friday that Microsoft will use more than 40,000 square feet in Bedrock's One Campus Martius building.

The technology center is one of more than 40 worldwide and is used to bring together resources for customers. Microsoft currently has office space in the Detroit suburb of Southfield.

Orange construction barrels.
(Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

A two-year-long construction project on I-75 will complicate things for some Detroit-area commuters.

Southbound I-75 will close from Springwells street in Detroit to Northline Road in Southgate starting Saturday.

The construction project looks to make improvements to the Rouge River Bridge, fix patches of rough concrete, and increase safety on the highway through technological advancements.

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow speaking about the "Bring Jobs Home Act" in Detroit
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

An initiative to bring jobs back to the United States was announced in Detroit today.

Debbie Stabenow has been pushing her "Bring Jobs Home Act" in the U.S. Senate since 2012.

Senator Stabenow said the bill would get rid of tax loopholes for companies that outsource jobs, and reward those moving jobs back.

Stabenow said every time companies take jobs from the U.S., American taxpayers pay for the move.

“You want to move away from the United States, you are on your own,” Stabenow said. “We aren’t paying for it.”

Detroit health department employee Mariah Allen says the EITC will be a "great relief" for her family.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Tens of thousands of Detroit households who qualify for the federal Earned Income Tax Credit don’t claim it, leaving tens of millions of dollars on the table.

Now, the city is expanding services to help eligible residents get that money.

The Earned Income Tax Credit helps lower-income working families, and it’s a substantial boost for many. The average EITC refund is $2400.

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

Across the country, Democrats are asking how to come back from their 2016 losses. One California party leader has a proposal: move the party’s headquarters to Michigan.

Phil Angelides is a former chairman of both the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission and California's Democratic Party. In an article in Politico, he urged the party to “rebuild from the ground up.” Detroit, Angelides believes, is the best place to begin that process.

Courtesy of Tashaune Harden

 

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Donald Trump’s pick for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, is a long-time Republican donor. DeVos is an advocate of charter schools, school voucher programs, and tax credits for businesses that give private scholarships.

Her likely appointment excites many in Michigan’s charter schools.

But not everyone.

Detroitsound.org

You could argue that the biggest Michigan story of the last decade was Detroit – the fall of its famously corrupt mayor, the city’s descent into bankruptcy, and its reemergence and renaissance. Nobody would have believed 10 years ago that downtown Detroit would be booming today, or that Midtown near Wayne State University would be a trendy place to live.

Today, Detroit’s streetlights are all on again, and a balding and plump white guy from the suburbs is the most popular mayor in years.

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