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Detroit

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. 

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.

Brian Turner / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

It's called "pay or stay:" jailing people who can't afford to pay a fine.

It's a controversial issue nationwide. Critics say pay or stay sentencing has created a 21st-century version of debtors' prisons.

In May of 2016, the Michigan Supreme Court announced rule changes designed to keep people out of jail just because they cannot pay court fines. But a Bridge Magazine investigation finds that's exactly what's happening in the weekly collections docket at the 36th District Court in Detroit.

Spartan stadium
Flickr/Ken Lund / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Three Michigan State University football players have been charged with sexual assault stemming from an incident in January in which they allegedly sexually assaulted a woman on campus. 

Morning Edition host Doug Tribou and senior political analyst Jack Lessenberry discuss the this case and others, including former Olympic gymnastics and MSU sports doctor Larry Nassar.

The attack occurred just outside this service center, that serves many of the area's homeless and mentally ill in Detroit's Eastern Market.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Some Detroit activists and community members are outraged by what they see as a low-key response to an attack on a homeless man last week, one that seems to have been at least partly racially motivated.

According to the victim and witnesses, a white man suddenly beat and stabbed the homeless man, who is black, in Detroit’s busy Eastern Market district. They also said the attacker shouted racial slurs as he did it.

The mid-day attack happened outside the Team Wellness Center, which serves many homeless and mentally ill people in the area.

Person on bicycle riding in an urban area.
Thomas Hawk / flickr http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Tomorrow marks the anniversary of the crash in Kalamazoo County that left five bicyclists dead and four others seriously injured. The riders were all members of the Chain Gang, a group that organizes weekly rides in and around Kalamazoo. 

grill
Mike / Flickr - http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

City officials are cooling the coals on front porch grilling in Detroit.

The Detroit News reports that the City Council has updated its outdoor fire code to ban outdoor cooking under a roof or an enclosed area.

The ordinance was approved last month and aims to prevent accidental fires when grills tip over or flames lick too close to homes.

John Sims has organized the "Burn and Bury Memorial: Detroit 2017" event where the Confederate Flag will be burned and buried.
Courtesy of John Sims

It’s Memorial Day on Monday. Some Michiganders will be visiting cemeteries, others will attend parades, and many will be lighting up the grill.

One person will be burning flags.

Not the United States flag. The flag that’s often a symbol of the Confederacy, the Stars and Bars Confederate battle flag.

two men sit at a desk
Detroit Public Television / YouTube

Crime is down in Detroit, but the homicide rate in the city is still high. For all the talk about Chicago's murder rate, Detroit's per capita rate is higher.

One of the newest efforts to deal with the violence is an intervention initiative called D-LIVE, which stands for "Detroit Life Is Valuable Everyday." The program treats violent crime as a health care issue and goes into the hospital to talk to gunshot victims. 

exterior of the Packard Plant
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The last Packard automobile rolled off the assembly line in Detroit on June 25, 1956. After that, it was used in various ways, but for years the sprawling automobile plant – about 3.5 million square feet –  has sat empty and deteriorating. 

Three years ago, Spanish-born developer Fernando Palazuelo, currently living in Peru, offered hope of a future for the Packard Plant. But we didn't hear much else.

This week, Palazeulo was back in Detroit to finally announce the first phase of development of the Packard Plant.

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