Detroit

Politics & Culture
4:32 pm
Wed November 13, 2013

Stateside for Wednesday, November 13, 2013

On the show today, a surprising new study shows binge drinking is up among high school students, and that's not all. It's a rising problem across the Midwest.

 Then, a very personal story from a filmmaker who overcame being a bully, and how her mission to educate kids and parents resulted in a powerful film. And, we took a look at Michigan House Speaker Jase Bolger's visit to Detroit and what he learned while there. 

First on the show, As Detroit's troubles and "dirty laundry" have been aired out on a world-wide stage, there has been plenty of finger-pointing and judging of the city's leaders, employees, retirees and citizens.

But a new analysis from Michigan State University suggests we might want to hold up on judging Detroit and take a look at our own cities and towns.

That MSU report finds cities all around Michigan face the very same mountain of "legacy" debt that toppled Detroit.

Study co-author Eric Scorsone joined us today.

Stateside
4:30 pm
Wed November 13, 2013

New MSU report says other Michigan cities might be in the same trouble as Detroit

Eric Scorsone, MSU Extension specialist and economist.
Michigan State University

As Detroit's troubles and "dirty laundry" have been aired out on a world-wide stage, there has been plenty of finger-pointing and judging of the city's leaders, employees, retirees and citizens.

But a new analysis from Michigan State University suggests we might want to hold up on judging Detroit and take a look at our own cities and towns.

That MSU report finds cities all around Michigan face the very same mountain of "legacy" debt that toppled Detroit.

Study co-author Eric Scorsone joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
4:24 pm
Wed November 13, 2013

Michigan House Speaker Jase Bolger visited Detroit and left enlightened

Republican Jase Bolger, State Speaker of the House
Michigan Municipal League Flickr

Late last month, on October 28th to be precise, the Speaker of Michigan’s House traveled from Lansing to Detroit. Not for a political meeting, or a dinner, or a ball game.

Jase Bolger (R-Midland) came at the invitation of a Detroit lawmaker to see for himself what people in Detroit face day-in and day-out.

And it would seem that what he saw and heard left its mark.

Detroit Free Press columnist Rochelle Riley has written a series of columns about this apparent enlightenment of House Speaker Bolger, and she joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Politics & Government
1:56 pm
Wed November 13, 2013

State's lease on Detroit's Belle Isle starts, $11 per car will be required

The Scott fountain on Belle Isle
demccain flickrriver

That per car fee won't go into effect for another 90 days, as the MDNR transitions into running things on Detroit's Belle Isle under a 30-year lease approved yesterday by a state loan board.

Detroit City Council wanted a 10-year lease. More from Crain's Detroit Business:

Keith Creagh, director of the Department of Natural Resources, said the reason the state sought a 30-year lease was to be able to apply for grants for park improvements that would require such a time commitment.

The city’s argument for a 10-year lease was that following Detroit’s exit from bankruptcy and a reduction in its structural deficit and a move to a balanced budget, it will have the capacity a decade from now to again properly fund and maintain the 985-acre park.

One member of the loan board overseeing the deal said terms of the deal could be revisited in the future. 

Stateside
5:33 pm
Tue November 12, 2013

Grand Army of the Republic building in Detroit has a new lease on life

historicdetroit.org

It was one of the more memorable vacant buildings in downtown Detroit, but its days of being vacant and decaying are, happily, in the past.

The historic Grand Army of the Republic Hall at Cass and Grand River is getting a new lease on life thanks to brothers Tom and David Carleton and their partner Sean Emery.

They bought the little castle-like building in 2011 from the City of Detroit for $220,000 and started cleaning and restoring it at once.

Now this architectural gem will be home to the partners’ media production firm Mindfield.

It stands as an example of an historic building being saved, not by a tycoon with very deep pockets, but some small business owners with a vision.

One of those partners, Tom Carleton, joined us today.

*Listen to the interview above.

Education
2:18 pm
Tue November 12, 2013

3 things to know about the history of Detroit busing

Newspaper clippings from Detroit's busing era.
Credit clipping courtesy of Ray Litt / via Detroit Free Press

For State of Opportunity,  I've been wading through hours of audio and stacks of research for months about Detroit's mid-1970's busing controversy.

 More specifically, the educational fall-out from the Milliken v. Bradley case.  Here's what happened.

1. Busing was used as a last resort to fix segregated schools. 

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Arts & Culture
1:48 pm
Tue November 12, 2013

Check out these award-winning Instagram pictures from Detroit's Brush Park

A photo from Diane Weiss' Instagram account, Brushpark_MyHood.
Instagram

A Detroit Free Press photo editor won a $3,000 grant for her latest project — capturing her community through her iPhone lens.

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Arts & Culture
1:14 pm
Tue November 12, 2013

Another fire destroys a house in Detroit's Heidelberg Project

The "House of Soul" was covered in vinyl records.
Heidelberg Project Facebook

This Tweet came from The Heidelberg Project this morning:

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Law
3:56 pm
Mon November 11, 2013

What really happened the night Renisha McBride died?

Pallbearers carry Renisha McBride's casket.

Hear the full story above.

It's been a weary, awful November in metro Detroit so far. 

A week ago Saturday, 19-year-old Renisha McBride was shot dead by a 54-year-old white homeowner in Dearborn Heights.

She was killed on his porch. Her family says she was looking for help after her car crashed, more than 2 hours earlier and about six blocks away in Detroit.

Police haven't released the homeowner's name yet. But his attorney says he thought McBride was an intruder, and that the gun went off accidentally. An autopsy confirms she was shot in the face.

So far, he hasn't been arrested. The Wayne County Prosecutor's office announced Monday that it had "begun the warrant review process," but was awaiting more evidence from Dearborn Heights police before deciding on charges.

Read more
Economy
8:39 am
Mon November 11, 2013

Detroit apartment building turned into housing for homeless

A renovated apartment complex in Detroit will provide housing to 41 homeless people.
Credit User Roymundo VII / Flickr

An apartment building on the northwest side of Detroit re-opened on Thursday to provide housing to homeless people.

Cass Community Social Services spearheaded the project to renovate the Arthur Antisdel Apartments on Woodrow Wilson.

Executive Director Faith Fowler says the building attracted crime when it was vacant. She says it will now provide permanent housing for 41 people.

"It saves a building that was worth saving and puts it to good purpose." she said.

Read more
Opinion
8:28 am
Mon November 11, 2013

Putting focus on city neighborhoods instead of downtowns

Lessenberry commentary for 11/11/13

Historically, Detroit has often served the function of sort of a national canary in the coal mine. Miners used to take canaries down the shafts with them, because the birds were much more susceptible to dangerous and invisible gas. When they keeled over, it was time to get out, fast.

Similarly, Detroit’s boom-and-bust auto economy has been an indicator of national trends. When we got rich, the world was better off. When Americans caught an economic cold, Detroit got pneumonia.

This analogy may also apply in connection with the Detroit pension fund crisis. One reason the city is headed for bankruptcy today is that its pension funds seem to have been woefully underfunded. I’ve suggested that, if you live elsewhere, you might want to inquire about the health of your town’s pension funds, and don’t take, “oh, nothing to worry about,” for an answer.

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Politics & Government
2:36 pm
Sat November 9, 2013

Detroit retiree health coverage OK through February

(file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - The city of Detroit is suspending a plan to change retiree health insurance, at least through February.

Emergency manager Kevyn Orr says his staff will negotiate with a committee created to represent retirees during the city's bankruptcy case. He hopes it will lead to a long-term solution.

The city had proposed shifting retirees to Medicare, effective Jan. 1. Retirees under age 65 would have been given a $125 monthly stipend to get their own insurance.

Politics & Government
7:51 am
Sat November 9, 2013

Lawyers wrap case in Detroit bankruptcy trial

(file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - Attorneys have ended final arguments in a rare trial to determine whether Detroit can become the largest municipality to fix its finances in bankruptcy court.

The daylong remarks Friday for and against a Chapter 9 reorganization now will be sorted out by Judge Steven Rhodes. He could take days to make the decision.

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Opinion
2:44 pm
Fri November 8, 2013

Merging Detroit and Wayne County is the only long-term strategy that makes sense

Lessenberry commentary for 11/8/2013.

Well, it was quite a week for our state’s largest city. Voters elected a white mayor for the first time since 1969.

Had you gone to Lloyds of London 10 years ago and bet that within a decade, America would have a black president and Detroit a white mayor, today you would be very rich indeed.

But in the city Cadillac founded, attorneys today will offer closing arguments in a trial to determine whether the city will be allowed to file for bankruptcy. While everything in Federal Judge Steven Rhodes’ courtroom is by the book, there is an element of Kabuki-theater unreality about it all.

Nobody really believes the application will be denied. If it were, creditors would tear what remains of Detroit apart with the efficiency of a pack of wolves with a lamb.

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Detroit
2:23 pm
Fri November 8, 2013

Next Packard Plant bidder has another week to come up with the money

Inside the former Packard Plant.
Angelique DuLong wikimedia commons

DETROIT (AP) — The Wayne County treasurer has given a Chicago developer a one-week deadline to come up with the remaining funds on his $2 million bid for a sprawling former Detroit car plant.

William Hults has produced $200,000 in nonrefundable deposits for the dilapidated auto factory, but has yet to produce the remaining $1.8 million.

The treasurer's office says Hults has until Nov. 15 to pay up.

Hults wants to convert the site into a commercial, residential and entertainment development.

A Texas doctor's $6 million top bid on the blighted property was thrown out last month after she missed a payment.

The No. 3 bid is from Fernando Palazuelo of Peru.

Politics & Government
1:22 pm
Fri November 8, 2013

Detroiters edge out New York voters in mayoral election turnout

Voters filling out ballots.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

A higher number of Detroiters voted in Tuesday’s mayoral election than their New York City counterparts, according to research from Next City.

25.4% of Detroit’s registered voters filled out a ballot on Tuesday, with Democrat Mike Duggan winning the election. In New York City, 24% of voters showed up to the polls. Democrat Bill De Blasio is now NYC’s mayor-elect.

As Michigan Radio's Sarah Cwiek reported, the turnout in Detroit was higher than anticipated. "Detroit city clerk Janice Winfrey had projected that less than 25% of voters would participate."

While Detroit voters edged out New Yorkers Tuesday, Next City reports that the two cities were somewhere in the middle of the pack in terms of major city election turnouts:

Read more
Stateside
4:43 pm
Thu November 7, 2013

DuMouchelles art gallery and auction house

Stock photo.
kellinahandbasket Flickr

Let’s say you’ve been watching episodes of “Antiques Roadshow,” and now you’re inspired. So you want to find out what that old painting you bought at a garage sale for $5 bucks is really worth.

There’s a place in Detroit where you can do just that and get feedback from experts who are regulars on the TV show. Of course, if you’re in the mood to buy things, you’re also in luck.

Michigan Radio’s Kyle Norris tells us about DuMouchelles, an auction house in Detroit.  

Stateside
4:55 pm
Wed November 6, 2013

Jack Lessenberry on the Election Day 2013 results

The Secretary of State says 95.5% of eligible voters are registered
Lars Plougmann Creative Commons

Former medical center chief Mike Duggan will be the next mayor of financially troubled Detroit, beating Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon 55% to 45%. Duggan will be Detroit's first white mayor since Coleman Young was elected in 1973 as the city's first black mayor.

So, we heard from Mike Duggan and results from around the state, we looked today for some perspective on what these results mean for Michigan.

Jack Lessenberry - Michigan Radio's Political Analyst - joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Politics & Culture
4:57 pm
Mon November 4, 2013

Stateside for Monday, November 4th, 2013

Voters in Detroit go to the polls tomorrow, and no matter who gets elected to be that city's next Mayor, crime will be one of the problems they'll have to tackle. On today's show, we looked past the city's financial struggles to curbing the violence in Detroit.

 And, we found out about a "flipped school" - one of the first in the nation. Students watch lectures at night and do homework during the day in class.  And, a Grand Rapids park millage will take park funding out of the city's general fund. We spoke with one of the supports of the millage to find out why voters should consider it. Also, a Canadian photographer found beauty in the ruins of Detroit. He joined us to talk about his exhibit. 

First on the show, one of the most emotionally charged issues in Michigan in 2013 has been wolves.

After teetering on the brink of extinction, the gray wolf population has rebounded so much so that earlier this year, Governor Rick Snyder signed a law that allows a first-ever state wolf hunt in the Upper Peninsula.

That historic hunt begins November 15.

Forty-three wolves can be shot in three UP zones where officials say they have the most problems.

During the legislative debate on the wolf hunt, lawmakers from the UP spoke with passion about the "fear" their constituents had of the wolves, worrying for the safety of livestock, pets, even small children.

Michigan Radio's Steve Carmody spoke with the point man on wolves for the DNR. Adam Bump told Steve that wolves had become very accustomed to life in Ironwood.

"So you have wolves showing up in backyards, wolves showing up on porches, wolves staring at people through their sliding glass doors, while they're pounding on it, exhibiting no fear."

But an MLive investigation into the historic wolf hunt raises some serious questions about the debate, about claims made by opponents, and about the DNR's Bump.

John Barnes is reporting on this for MLive in a series called "Crying Wolf," and he joined us today.

Stateside
4:53 pm
Mon November 4, 2013

What is driving the violence in Detroit and Flint?

Joy VanBuhler Flickr

Election Day 2013 is close at hand.

And that's when Detroit voters will decide whether their next Mayor will be Mike Duggan or Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon.

The winner of the election will inherit the huge challenge of what to do about the crime rate in Detroit.

At least 386 people were murdered in the city last year, and recent FBI statistics put Detroit neck and neck with Flint for the top spot of most violent cities in America.

The high crime rate means those folks who can are getting out of these cities, which makes the economic downward spiral even worse.

What can be done? And do we really know what is driving the violence in cities like Detroit and Flint?

Michigan State University sociologist Dr. Carl Taylor joined us today from East Lansing. His new book "Third City" looks at the challenges in post-industrial Detroit and Michigan. 

Listen to the full interview above.

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