Detroit

Kate Wells / Michigan Radio

READERS - PLEASE NOTE: This story was written in the afternoon of 11/25 - and is about the protests that happened during the day. This story was published before the larger protests occurred in the evening.

Small protests continue around Michigan today after news broke last night that a St. Louis County grand jury won’t indict Darren Wilson, a white police officer who fatally shot Michael Brown, an unarmed black man in Ferguson, Missouri.  

House fire in Detroit.
Dave Hogg / Flickr

"Speramus Meliora; Resurget Cineribus."

 "We Hope for Better Things; It Shall Rise From the Ashes."

Fr. Gabriel Richard wrote that after a tremendous fire in 1805 that destroyed most of Detroit.

Those words from the French-Canadian priest became the motto of city - a city whose history is filled with many different kinds of fires.

Michael Jackman spells out this history in his story for The Metro Times.

Listen to our conversation with Jackman below.


Charles & Adrienne Esseltine / Flickr / Flickr

Sixteen people were charged in an indictment unsealed today, for operating a fraudulent telemarketing scheme involving losses of $20 million and almost 300 victims around the country.

According to the U.S. Attorney in Detroit, the telemarketing ring called people offering them cheap deals on homes in Detroit, claiming the houses were bank-owned and up for a sale at a price way under their market value.  

Foreclosure sign
Jeff Turner / Michigan Radio

Wayne County has begun tax foreclosure proceedings on nearly 75,000 properties, up 34% from 56,000 last year.

Treasury workers last month began posting notices on properties the county plans to auction next fall if owners don't pay taxes or agree to payment plans.

There are 62,000 properties in Detroit owing $326.4 million in taxes, interest and fees that are set to be foreclosed. Motor City Mapping data analyzed by Loveland Technologies indicates that 37,000 of those Detroit Properties are occupied.

The "Taxi House" in the Heidelberg Project.
Heather Phillips / Flickr

Another fire has been reported at the Heidelberg Project in Detroit.

The "Taxi House" was burned inside and in the rear, according to the Detroit News. The paper reports it's the 12th fire in 18 months at the Heidelberg Project.

Security cameras and security patrols were put in place in the last year after a string of arsons struck the project.

Lauren Abdel-Razzaq of the Detroit News reported that Tyree Guyton, the artist behind the decades-old installation, was sweeping up outside the burned house on Sunday afternoon.

More from the News:

Although the art installation's brainchild wasn't saying much about the fire, he was sending a message by standing out front of the house cleaning up what he could: He's standing strong and not going anywhere.

"Mother Teresa said, 'what you spend years building may be destroyed overnight. Build it anyway,' " Guyton said. "That's all I want to say."

He declined to say whether any suspects have been spotted on the organizations security cameras. 

After the string of arsons, the Cultural Landscape Foundation has listed the Heidelberg Project as "among the most endangered in the United States."

Vacant lot in Detroit.
University of Michigan School of Natural Resources & Environment / Flickr

This Week in Review, Jack Lessenberry and Rina Miller discuss Gov. Rick Snyder’s Asia trip, the financial status of Michigan’s schools, and a new plan to sell Detroit land.


user memories_by_mike / Flickr

 Welcome back to ArtPod, the arts-obsessed home for Michigan’s movie, music and book lovers.

Here’s what we're talking about right now:

1)      Matt Jones. The Ypsilanti indie-rocker with a cult following, a great new album (arguably his best yet) and a serious Civil War obsession. We’ll talk with him about alcoholism, getting through a self-destructive phase, depression and making great music with people you love.

2)      But first, let’s go back to a story that was just cool and different and got some press in the papers but nothing that really did it justice.

DTE's St. Clair Power Plant in East China, Michigan.
user cgord / wikimedia commons

 A new report from Public Sector Consultants projects Michigan will lose enough energy production for 1 million people in 2016.

According to Julie Metty Bennett, who helped author the report, Michigan is overly reliant on coal-fired power plants compared to other states.

Bennett says many of these coal plants in Michigan won't comply with new regulations from the EPA.

“Given the age of our coal plants, upgrading them to comply with the new EPA regulations is not economically viable. Because we are so reliant on these old coal plants, we are going to lose a significant amount of our energy supply, and it takes years to replace that capacity,” Julie says.

You can listen to our conversation with Bennett above.

Paige Pfleger

In a city like Detroit, urban art and outdoor art installments have become a way to beautify neglected spaces. The alleyway between the Z Garage, called The Belt is one of the most recent spots in Detroit to get a facelift — it has been turned into an outdoor gallery where international, national, and local urban artists have contributed murals and graffiti pieces.

Historic Belle Isle
Flickr user Don Harrison

Bill Loomis, author of a Detroit News piece "Detroit Before Motors: The Horse Age," talked to us about the 12,000 horses that crowded the streets of Detroit in the late 1800s.

Loomis tells us about the logistics of using horses to get around in the city and horse racing in Detroit.

You can listen to our conversation with Loomis below:


Detroit skyline.
user JSFauxtaugraphy / Flickr

Detroit's historic and unprecedented bankruptcy came together last Friday for approval from Judge Steven Rhodes.

The Detroit News recently provided in-depth coverage from business columnist Daniel Howes and reporters Chad Livengood and David Shepardson.

We talked to Howes about how the case was completed in 15 months, about the key players, and about what must be done to avoid repeating mistakes.

You can listen to our conversation with Daniel Howes below:  

Detroit's Jessica Hernandez & The Deltas made their television debut on David Letterman last night.

The band, which hails from southwest Detroit, performed their song "Sorry I Stole Your Man" from their album "Secret Evil."

The group was well received, and at the end of the performance Letterman said, "Wow, that's tremendous! That's it, no more calls! We have a winner ladies and gentleman, right here! Jessica Hernandez & The Deltas!" 

You can watch their performance here: 

Wil C. Fry / Flickr

You can't walk across a street in Michigan without stepping on a manhole cover branded "East Jordan Iron Works."


user Tyrone Warner / Flickr

This Week in Review, Jack Lessenberry and Rina Miller discuss Michigan’s anti-gay marriage law being upheld, the Detroit bankruptcy trial ruling, and what to expect during this term’s lame-duck session.


Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

Take a book. Leave a book.

This is the simple idea behind the Little Free Library movement.

It was launched in 2009 in Madison, Wisconsin. In just a few short years, the movement spread to the point where today there are thousands and thousands of Little Free Libraries all over the world.

Now the Little Free Library movement is taking root in Detroit.

Michigan Humane Society

The Michigan Humane Society recently broke ground on a state-of-the-art animal care center in Detroit.

The new facility will offer improved animal housing, expanded veterinary and rehabilitation services, a home for its cruelty investigation and rescue operations, and a community dog park.

Charles & Adrienne Esseltine / Flickr / Flickr

The City of Detroit and Wayne County are making concerted efforts to tackle two big problems: the lack of money, and blight.

They’re zeroing in on abandoned houses and homes where owners have fallen behind on their taxes - pay up or face foreclosure.

The foreclosed houses are being offered to those who will fix them up, keep them up, and pay taxes.

What does all of this mean for the people who've been living in those houses? Writer Rose Hackman looked into that question. Her story, "One Fifth of Detroit's Population Could Lose Their Homes," is in The Atlantic.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

This Week in Review, Jack Lessenberry and Rina Miller discuss who’ll be more hurt by low voter turnout on Tuesday, more Congressional race surprises, and a Detroit developer who dropped $3.1 million on some of the city's worst properties.


Detroit has barely half the number of people it did 30 years ago, and only about a third of its population 60 years ago.

The city is now waiting, as we all are, to see how federal Judge Steven Rhodes will rule on the city’s plan to get out of bankruptcy. Nobody has any illusions the future will be easy.

But here’s something to think about: there was no mass arson in the city last night. Devil’s Night seems truly a thing of the past.

Even that term is politically incorrect. They call it Angels’ Night now.

The Jewish Museum / Flickr

Harry Houdini died in Room 401 at Grace Hospital in Detroit 88 years ago this week.

How did this world-famous magician and escape artist come to die in Michigan? John Cox, a Houdini historian, has the answer.

YouTube

President Obama will be in Michigan Saturday to campaign for Democratic candidates Mark Schauer and Gary Peters. 

Michigan State University / http://msutoday.msu.edu/news/2014/msu-partners-with-detroit-to-investigate-death-scenes/

It sounds like "CSI" meets "Bones." 

The Wayne County Medical Examiner is sending swab samples from dead bodies to Michigan State University researchers.

They're going to run a new kind of analysis in hopes of determining when someone died, whether they touched a weapon, and possibly even where they've been. 

What they’re looking at are the teeny-tiny things that live on our bodies: microbes.

You can’t see them with the naked eye, but we all have bacteria, fungi, and even tiny worms that live on our bodies and form their own ecosystems.

screen grab from HDNet clip

The city of Detroit plans to acquire 77 vacant properties from Detroit Public Schools.

In return, the city will forgive the district's $11,600,000 in debt.  From the city's press release:

Lauren Beukes
Wikimedia Commons

Halloween week is a perfect time to find a story that truly sends that proverbial chill down your spine.

"Broken Monsters" by South African author Lauren Beukes tells such a story. It's crime, it's horror, it's a thriller, it's fantasy, and it is set in the streets of Detroit.

Lauren Beukes says she chose to set the story in Detroit, because the city has a lot in common with her hometown of Johannesburg, South Africa. They are both troubled with crime, corruption, and segregation – yet there's something much more going on in the cities as well.

How is the Republican Party faring in its quest for votes in Detroit?

It was last December when the GOP brought in U.S. Sen. Rand Paul to christen its new voter engagement office in Detroit.

Bridge Magazine writer Nancy Derringer recently visited the office to check in on things. Derringer says selling the Republican Party in Detroit, a city with enormous African-American majorities, is a more daunting task than you might think. And even the party itself says it's a long-term effort.

Detroit-based freelance writer Aaron Foley says the African-American community tends to get turned off easily by even the word "Republican."

"A lot of people still vote Democrat even though where they worship and where a lot of their faith is more of a Republican thing," says Foley.

Derringer says the GOP's message to Detroit voters is to emphasize the similarities they share with them. 

"You have to admit that we have a lot in common. You are for faith and families, we are for faith and families; you want good schools, we want good schools; you want to feel safe in homes, that's what we are all about," says Derringer.

* Listen to our conversation with Aaron Foley and Nancy Derringer above.

The Detroit budget department is hosting a public meeting on Tuesday to hear from residents what they believe the city’s budget priorities should be.

Representatives from a number of city departments will be present at the hearing, including fire, police, health, public lighting and public works.

John Roach is a spokesman for City of Detroit. He says because of the bankruptcy, the budget this year is a bit different from a typical city budget.

Heidelberg Project

A new report lists public art in Detroit and Toledo among the most endangered in the United States.

The Heidelberg Project in Detroit and the works of Greek-American artist Athena Tacha in Toledo are on the list compiled by the Cultural Landscape Foundation. The group works to preserve and protect notable U.S. landscapes.

@billclinton

Bill Clinton will be campaigning with Democrats in Flint tomorrow.

The former president is just the latest big-name Democrat to push for votes in Michigan. First Lady Michelle Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have made campaign stops in Detroit to rally the Democratic Party base in recent weeks.

President Barack Obama is expected to visit Michigan before Election Day.

One analyst says Democrats are bringing in big names in an attempt to boost turnout in next month’s election.

Detroit skyline
Ian Freimuth / flickr.com

Members of the United Nations Human Rights Commission heard testimony in Detroit this week from citizens who are struggling to secure affordable water and housing.

Nicole Hill is a Detroiter who has had her water shut off twice this year. Hill says the water department tells her she owes more than $6,000 — a number she vigorously disputes.

“I have asked for a hearing, and I was told that I could possibly get a hearing date sometime in 2015,” she said.

For Mignon Jennings, the cost of her water bill has put her in danger of losing her Detroit home.

“$3,000 for a water bill for one year? That’s ludicrous. That’s crazy. And I believe something needs to be done.”

The UN panel has criticized Detroit’s policy of cutting water service to people with delinquent bills.

Panel members issued recommendations on the situation Monday. They also met with Mayor Mike Duggan.

Duggan's chief of staff, Alexis Wiley, defended the administration's response to the water shutoffs, pointing out that the number of customers on payment plans has almost doubled to about 33,000 since Duggan announced his 10-point plan on dealing with them in August.

Wiley said the meeting was unproductive. "Unfortunately, it became clear shortly into the meeting that the UN representatives had reached their conclusions and prepared their recommendations before the meeting had even begun," she said in a statement, that also accused the UN of singling out Detroit for criticism of a "standard practice among utilities."

Road sign for 8 Mile Rd.
Sean Loyless / Flickr

When Michael Imperiale moved to Michigan from Brooklyn, New York, he noticed the mile road system and wanted to know what it was all about. 

"I've asked people from time to time, occasionally, and no one seemed to know," Imperiale said. He's a professor of microbiology and immunology at the University of Michigan. 

Asking his friends was a dead end, but that didn't stop Imperiale's curiosity. He took to M I Curious and asked a simple question: 8 Mile is 8 miles from where? 

Pages