Detroit

Politics & Government
1:39 pm
Thu September 12, 2013

No power keeps Wayne State, Detroit City Hall closed

DETROIT (AP) - The Detroit Institute of Arts and Wayne State University's main campus in the city's Midtown are closed as crews continue to try and restore electricity following a power outage.

Officials at the art museum and nearby college shut down Wednesday afternoon due to the outage which is being blamed on cable failures, recent high temperatures and routine maintenance.

The mayor's office said the issues contributed to overload the city's aging electrical system.

On Thursday, City Hall remained closed and some traffic lights through downtown remained out. Police officers manned intersections to prevent traffic snarls.

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Stateside
5:17 pm
Wed September 11, 2013

Public transportation for kids is improving with the Youth Transit Alliance

Detroit Bus Co. Facebook page

In the quest to improve life in Michigan's cities, one of the biggest challenges comes down to transportation.

And one of the most problem-plagued, dysfunctional bus systems in the entire state is in the city of Detroit, where using a bus to get from Point A to Point B can become a herculean task.

And for kids, it's an even greater challenge getting them to and from summer enrichment and after-school programs and doing it safely.

But there's a solution to that challenge which launched this summer and which may have lessons that can apply to cities all over Michigan.

It's called the Youth Transit Alliance. It's a pilot program funded by the Skillman Foundation, a public-private partnership between the Detroit Bus Company and area youth groups.

Andy Didorosi, the president and founder of the Detroit Bus Company and Nina Ignaczak, the project editor for Model D's transportation series, joined us today to tell us how it works.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
5:16 pm
Wed September 11, 2013

There is a new news channel in Detroit, Al Jazeera America

A screenshot of Al Jazeera
Al Jazeera

There is a new "eye" on the news coming out of Detroit and southeast Michigan.

Al Jazeera America was launched August 20 on cable lineups in 48 million American homes. And it has opened 12 bureaus across the nation, including a Detroit bureau.

Bisi Onile-Ere, the correspondent for the new Detroit Bureau, joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Politics & Culture
5:09 pm
Wed September 11, 2013

Stateside for Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

It's called many things -- the

ACA, the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare. As implementation of the law continues, so does the confusion. On today's show, we sat down and tried to make sense of it all. What will the law mean for Michigan and for you?

And, we spoke with the Detroit Bureau correspondent for the new TV network Al Jazeera America.

And, author Jim Tobin and illustrator Dave Coverly joined us to talk about their new children’s book.

And, public transportation can be confusing, especially for children. The Youth Transit Alliance in Detroit is looking to improve this. 

Also, Moo Cluck Moo, a fast food restaurant in Dearborn Heights, has stepped up and raised their starting wage to $12 an hour. The founder spoke with us about why he thinks fast food workers deserve to be paid more than minimum wage.

First on the show, President Obama is conditionally endorsing a Russian offer for international inspectors to seize and destroy chemical weapons in Syria. It's an effort to avert U.S. missile strikes.

President Obama addressed the nation last night amidst the continued erosion of support in Congress for military strikes. The President's speech drew mixed reactions from Michigan's Congressional delegation.

Todd Spangler, D.C. based reporter for the Detroit Free Press, joined us today from Washington.

Opinion
9:12 am
Wed September 11, 2013

How Detroit is impacting the rest of the state’s finances

Lessenberry commentary for 9/11/13

A few days ago, Michigan Radio’s Sarah Cwiek reported a story worth thinking about. The market for municipal bonds has nosedived since Detroit announced its intention to file for bankruptcy in July.

Now, if you would like a clear and concise explanation of how the bond market works … good luck with that. But essentially, communities sell bonds to raise money, bonds they pay off gradually with interest over time. They are a traditional and time-honored way of raising money for civic improvements.

There’s also been an understanding, at least since the Great Depression, that money owed to bond holders -- especially the holders of general obligation bonds -- was sacrosanct. No matter how hard things were, the bond holders had to be paid. Well, that’s not happening in Detroit, which, as all the world knows, has filed for bankruptcy.

Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr isn’t honoring Detroit’s general obligation bonds. And that has investors across the state spooked. Battle Creek and Genesee County have pulled back from plans to sell new bonds. So has affluent Oakland County. In fact, the value of all the municipal bonds sold in the state last month was the lowest in ten years. Something is clearly going on.

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Arts & Culture
2:54 pm
Tue September 10, 2013

Detroit's hip hop scene moving on from the days of '8 Mile'

Flaco Shalom in Detroit's North End neighborhood.
Model D

Detroit's hip hop scene was made famous in Eminem's move "8 Mile."

You know the one -- where the white guy from the trailer park shows up the black rapper who went to Cranbrook High School?

It's a representation of the hip hop scene in Detroit in 1995.

Back then, The Shelter below St. Andrew's Hall was the spot where hip hop artists sought to make a name for themselves.

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Stateside
5:27 pm
Mon September 9, 2013

Who is to blame for Detroit's bankruptcy?

Marilyn Katz is the founder and president of MK Communications in Chicago.
Twitter

Ever since Detroit made history with its bankruptcy filing, there has been a mountain of opinion as to what got us here, what exactly happened, and why.

There have been many accusatory fingers pointed at black leaders like Kwame Kilpatrick and Coleman Young, at union leaders, even at Detroiters themselves.

But, there are, of course, other views about just what went wrong in Detroit.

One such view comes from Marilyn Katz of Chicago, a long-time liberal political and social activist, dating back to the 60's. Katz was an active member of Students for a Democratic Society, the SDS. She played a leading role in the SDS demonstrations during the 1968 Democratic convention in Chicago.

Katz recently published a piece on the website inthesetimes.com.

Its title? "Detroit's Downfall: Beyond the Myth of Black Misleadership."

Marilyn Katz joined us from Chicago, where she heads up her firm MK Communications.

Listen to the full interview above.

Opinion
8:39 am
Mon September 9, 2013

The key to Detroit’s success after bankruptcy

Lessenberry essay for 9/9/13

Detroit is in the news a lot these days, and will continue to be, for obvious reasons, as the city goes through the agony of the bankruptcy process while simultaneously conducting an election. An election, that is, for a new mayor and City Council who will be essentially figureheads until Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr leaves, something that will probably happen a little over a year from now.

But while the media is concentrating on the bankruptcy itself, I sense that we aren’t asking the really important questions. For me, the most important of all is simply this: What happens after bankruptcy is over?

There are streets in Detroit that bear an uncanny resemblance to Germany at the end of World War II. The shells of red brick buildings stand, most of them burned out, roofless, some with homeless and destitute people squatting in the ruins.

Looking at a street like that the other day, I was struck by the thought that throughout the last year of the Second World War, as vast armies raged across Europe, there were teams of planners in Washington and elsewhere working on how to govern the conquered nations after the war; How to lead them on an eventual path to a return to normalcy and democratic self-government.

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Politics & Government
7:35 am
Mon September 9, 2013

In this morning's headlines: More lights less blight in Detroit, high speed rail, more in preschool

User: Brother O'Mara flickr

More streetlight and less blight in Detroit in 60 days

Detroit's emergency manager says residents will be able to notice more robust city services within the next two months. As the Detroit News reports,

"After five months on the job, Kevyn Orr says efforts to restore streetlights and reduce the number of abandoned structures will become more visible within 60 days. Meanwhile, dozens of new public safety vehicles are hitting the streets, and police officers and firefighters are being outfitted with new gear and equipment."

More high speed rail in south Michigan

"Michigan is adding more high-speed rail. The federal government will give the state more than $9 million to upgrade train tracks between Dearborn and Kalamazoo. The upgrade allows Amtrak trains to travel as fast as 110 miles an hour," Tracy Samilton reports.

Funding boost will allow more kids in preschool

"As many as 16,000 more 4-year-olds will be able to attend preschool in Michigan this fall, thanks to a big boost in the state's early education budget," the Associated Press reports.

Education
3:13 pm
Fri September 6, 2013

New Detroit charter school is changing the education paradigm

The first day of the James and Grace Lee Boggs School.
Zak Rosen

What if something other than jobs could rebuild Detroit?

What if the purpose of education was to help children reach their highest human potential?

What if we had a conversation about the meaning of service to our community?

These are just a few of the many questions being raised at a new charter school in Detroit. It’s called the James and Grace Lee Boggs School. They opened their doors this week.

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Stateside
5:09 pm
Wed September 4, 2013

While Detroit is going bust, the US auto industry is booming

Peter Martorano Flickr

There is no small touch of irony in the fact that as Detroit filed for bankruptcy, the U.S. car makers are enjoying boom times. Sales for the Big Three in July were the highest in seven years. GM, Ford and Chrysler are adding shifts and hiring workers. Good times.

But not for the city that gave birth to what we know as the U.S. auto industry.

Tom Walsh, business columnist for the Detroit Free Press, and Sonari Glinton, National Desk Reporter from NPR who has covered transportation and the auto industry, joined us today.

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Arts & Culture
5:36 pm
Tue September 3, 2013

Capuchin Soup Kitchen serving Detroit for 130 years

http://www.cskdetroit.org/programs

Brother Jerry Smith interview for 9/3/2013

In the ongoing effort to help struggling men, women and children in Michigan's cities, there is one group who's been reaching out to the needy for generations.

The Capuchin Soup Kitchen has been in continuous operation on Detroit's East side since the Great Depression of 1929, and the Capuchin friars' ministry in Southeast Michigan goes back even further to 1883. That's 130 years of day-in, day-out work.

We wanted to find out whether the face of poverty and need in Southeast Michigan has changed over so many decades.  Brother Jerry Smith joined Cynthia Canty to speak about the Capuchins’ continuing mission to serve Detroit's disadvantaged people.  

Listen to the story above.

Politics & Government
7:44 pm
Sat August 31, 2013

Detroit emergency manager fires pension fund chair

(file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - Detroit's state-appointed emergency manager has fired the chairman of one of the city's two pension funds from his municipal job.

The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press report Friday that Kevyn Orr fired Cedric Cook. Cook served as a senior data program analyst for information technology services and has been chairman of the Detroit General Retirement System.

Cook took an all-expenses-paid trip this year to a conference in Hawaii. Orr spokesman Bill Nowling says the dismissal was due to Cook's poor job performance, not for taking the trip.

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Politics & Government
1:25 pm
Sat August 31, 2013

Ford Foundation donates money to help Detroit manage its federal grants

Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr hired the firm Public Consulting Group to help the city manage its federal grants.
Credit www.mich.gov

The Ford Foundation has pledged $127,000 to hire the firm Public Consulting Group to help manage Detroit's federal grant money.

The city has lost money in the past because of poor oversight of its grants, like a $400,000 lapsed grant to the Detroit Police Department for an armored personnel carrier.

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Politics & Government
5:28 pm
Thu August 29, 2013

Detroit featured on MSNBC's 'Morning Joe' today

Screen grab from 'Morning Joe'
MSNBS

It's Thursday, our day to meet up with Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes. Today we spoke with him about how Detroit got the spotlight for the three hours of MSNBC's "Morning Joe" today. The show was broadcast live from the Ford Flat Rock Assembly Plant to highlight the fact that Ford is switching production of its Fusion from Mexico to Flat Rock - spending $550 million to tune-up the Flat Rock plant, and adding 1,400 jobs at the plant. 
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Stateside
5:04 pm
Wed August 28, 2013

Development group having success in attracting new residents to Detroit

The offices of the Grandmont Rosedale Development Corporation.
GRDC Facebook

It's no secret that the Great Recession took a huge toll on Michigan's population.

Our state population dropped for six straight years, leveled out from 2010-2011, and increased slightly from 2011-2012.

For many cities and neighborhoods, the post-recession challenge is getting new residents back into vacant homes.

One Detroit neighborhood is succeeding in that challenge: the Grandmont-Rosedale area, which is actually made up of five smaller areas on Detroit's West Side.

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Stateside
3:02 pm
Wed August 28, 2013

Detroit's new festival focuses on sports, noise, idea and form

Kevin Krease, Founder & Director of Action Sports Detroit
LinkedIn

Sports, noise, idea and form. Those are the core components of a new festival that could be created in Detroit.

After Detroit lost its bid for the X-Games, the guys who led Detroit's X-Games campaign decided to come up with a new idea for the city. 

Kevin Krease and Garret Koehler of Action Sports Detroit are integrating food, art, music and sports into their project. The festival, called Assemble, would be one week long.

One of their biggest goals is to make Detroit home to the premier BMX and skate competition in the United States.

To hear the full interview, click the link above.

Politics & Government
12:49 pm
Wed August 28, 2013

Orr says Detroit's parking system losing money, considering sale

Sarah Cwiek Michigan Radio

The Detroit News reports that Kevyn Orr is considering a sale of the city's parking system.

Michigan Radio's Sarah Cwiek is looking into this story further and will have more later.

Parking systems can be a source of revenue for a city, but according to the News, Orr says the system is losing money:

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Environment & Science
7:38 pm
Mon August 26, 2013

Company says Detroit pet coke piles cleared away (almost)

The pet coke piles in Detroit, near their height earlier this summer.
Sarah Cwiek/Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - A company says it has removed piles of petroleum coke from Detroit's riverfront, but will need more time to haul away other materials from storage sites.

The city-imposed deadline for Detroit Bulk Storage to get rid of the petroleum coke is Tuesday.

Spokesman Daniel Cherrin says the company has asked for additional time to remove limestone aggregate and that it may take until early next month to clear it all away.

Bob Warfield, a spokesman for Mayor Dave Bing, says daily inspections show the petroleum coke was being removed.

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Stateside
1:25 pm
Mon August 26, 2013

New book explores how one Motown song embodied the spirit of revolution

Writer Mark Kurlansky.
Wikipedia

An interview with writer Mark Kurlansky.

“Dancing in the Street,” written by Mickey Stevenson, Ivy Jo Hunter and Marvin Gaye, and recorded in two takes, less than 10 minutes, by Martha Reeves. For many, that song is Motown.

Little did they know after slapping down Martha’s vocals in that studio in Hitsville on West Grand Boulevard, they had created a song that would come to represent a watershed moment in history--Motown’s history, Detroit’s history, and America’s history.

Writer Mark Kurlansky talks about the story of how this hit Motown song became the rallying point for these important moments in history in his newest book, “Ready For A Brand New Beat: How ‘Dancing in the Street’ Became the Anthem for a Changing America.”

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