Detroit

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - Chief James Craig has placed a 10-percent drop in overall crime, 5-minute response time for priority calls to 911 and more solved homicides among this year's goals for Detroit's police force.

Craig released his 2014 Plan of Action on Thursday and is making it available to residents on the city's website.

The department also will hire 150 new officers by mid-year and deploy detectives in each of the city's 12 police precincts.

Credit Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - Detroit's state-appointed emergency manager is delaying the release of his plan to shepherd the city through bankruptcy.

A spokesman for Kevyn Orr told The Associated Press on Thursday that no new date is being given for the report's release because the city is continuing mediation with creditors.

Orr had said he'd submit his plan to a federal bankruptcy judge in early January. The court-imposed deadline is mid-March.

Clip from Poor Boyz Productions / YouTube

After 40 years of decline, Detroit has become a haven of so called ruin porn, with people flocking from all over the country and the world to photograph the city’s many decaying buildings.

Once winter was in full swing, a video went viral on social media. And it’s an epic, not to mention adventurous example of ruin porn.

Stateside’s Emily Fox has more.

Listen to the full audio above.

Watch "Tracing Skylines":

Last month, Governor Rick Snyder called for less coal power and more renewable energy in Michigan. Utilities are in a good position, but questions remain over whether lawmakers will be able to act before the state's current energy standards expire. We found out more on today's show.

Then, of all the physics professors in the United States, only 14% are women. Why do some female scientists give up? And what can be done to help female students and minorities succeed?

And, we heard from the BBC on how China had become the world leader for wind power.

Also, a group of “free skiers” have found a new ski location in the abandon buildings of Detroit.

First on the show, it's Thursday, time for the first check-in of this New Year with Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes.

Understandably, he has the auto industry on his mind as we prepare for next week's opening of the North American International Auto Show. He got an early look at the show, and he joined us today to discuss it.

Peter Martorano / Flickr

We've had many ideas and proposals floated for ways to rebuild Detroit to help it back from the depths of bankruptcy.

But there has been one group, it could be argued, that has been overlooked in these conversations: the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

And that is quite an oversight, considering that, as my next guest writes in Slate, "gays and lesbians are known to be drivers of gentrification.”

And as the CEO and president of the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation says about Detroit, "bring on more gentrification!"

Joining me is Ross Benes, journalist and researcher. His piece for Slate is titled "The Latest Plan to Save Detroit: Build a Gay Neighborhood.”

And we're joined by Curtis Lipscomb. He's the executive director of KICK in Detroit.

*Listen to the audio above.

Below-ground work starts on Detroit light rail

Dec 21, 2013
M-1 Rail Detroit

DETROIT (AP) - Below-ground utility relocation is underway on a 3.3-mile light rail system that will run from Detroit's riverfront to the city's New Center area.

Officials for the M-1 Rail say crews are moving or replacing water catch basins, storm manholes and water main gate valves along Woodward Avenue.

The work is the initial step toward full construction activities on the streetcar system and is not expected to prevent customer access to local businesses.

Kate Davidson / Michigan Radio

In less than two weeks, Detroit will have a new mayor.

Mike Duggan's term begins January first. Outgoing Mayor Dave Bing has been making his "farewell tour" around Detroit.

What is the Bing legacy? And what might we expect from his successor?

We turned to Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes for some perspective.

Listen above.

UM Press

What is “Ballroom Culture”? Well, a surface definition might be a culture that centers on a competition where black LGBT individuals dress, dance and vogue - competing for prizes and trophies.

But there is more to Ballroom Culture as my next guest spells out in his new book "Butch Queens Up In Pumps: Gender, Performance and Ballroom Culture in Detroit.”

Marlon Bailey is an Associate Professor of Gender Studies and American Studies at Indiana University. And he brings another perspective to his writing -- that of a black gay man who grew up in Detroit and who was deeply involved in Ballroom Culture.

Listen to the interview above.

A few years ago, I had a student named John Carlisle who graduated and got a job as a reporter and then editor for a bunch of weekly suburban newspapers. He was very good at it, and he was also bored. So in his spare time, he began roving around Detroit, boldly going to places where nice suburban white kids have almost never gone before.

He met a guy called Jay Thunderbolt who had his own personal strip club in his house. He met a blues musician who kills and eats raccoons, and a civil rights icon who runs her own chicken farm in the old Irish neighborhood of Corktown.

Carlisle was fascinated. These stories had no place in the little newspapers he edited, so he began writing them for the Metro Times, an alternative paper in Detroit. To avoid any conflict with his day job, he wrote them under the pseudonym “Detroitblogger John."

Though Glenda Price has been in Detroit barely 15 years, it is hard to imagine the city without her. A Philadelphia native, she first came to town as president of Marygrove, a small, struggling Catholic college on the city’s west side. Now in her mid-70s, Price is both a skilled fundraiser and a visionary who can see around corners.

Though neither Catholic nor a Detroiter, thanks to development skills and an ahead-of-its time distance learning program, she helped revitalize Marygrove before retiring seven years ago. She could have gone anywhere after that.

She'd had careers in medical technology and as provost and dean of prominent universities. But she had fallen in love with Detroit, and elected to stay. You may not know her, but those who run things do.

Renewable resources, such as wind and solar, are likely to supply 10% of Michigan electricity by 2015, as state law mandates. On today’s program, we looked at a recent report that says we could be doing more, boosting the number to 30% by 2035.

Then, the losing streak of Medora, Indiana's high school basketball team compelled two Michigan filmmakers to move there, and to tell the story of this small industrial town and the people who live there.

And, federal Judge Stephen Rhodes gave Detroit the go-ahead to slash its public pension and healthcare benefits. What will this mean for Detroit retirees?

First on the show, it was one year ago this day that the State Legislature and Governor Rick Snyder passed a set of bills into law that made some very contentious history in our State.

On December 11th, 2012, Michigan became the nation's 24th right-to-work state.

The laws took effect in March, making it illegal to force workers to pay union dues as a condition of employment.

One year later, has right-to-work changed Michigan?

We were joined for this discussion by Michigan State University economist Charley Ballard, and, from the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, Wendy Block.

user: jodelli / Flickr

Federal Judge Stephen Rhodes gave Detroit the go-ahead to make cuts to public pension and healthcare benefits.

Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr maintains that Detroit's pension funds are unfunded by $8 billion. That's a big chunk of the city's $18 billion in overall debts and long-term liabilities. 

So what will happen to future pensions?

Cynthia Canty spoke with Alicia Munnell about the possibility of cutting pensions for future city retirees. Munnell is the director of the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College.  

The state House is expected to take up a controversial telecommunications bill. 

The measure would let AT&T end traditional landline phone service as long as there is Internet phone service that can take its place. But, in some rural areas in Michigan, Internet phone service can be spotty. On today's show, we took a look at what the legislation could mean for you.

Then, could private philanthropy save the art at the DIA?

And, how would Shakespeare’s play King Lear look like if it were set in Flint? One professor and her students found out.

Also, we spoke to meteorologist Mark Torregrossa about which parts of the state will be getting snow this week.

First on the show, what happens when a child is struggling to read at his or her grade level?

In too many cases, the student moves up a grade anyway and the struggle continues, resulting in high school graduates who are poor, ineffective readers. And that can impact that student's chances of going to college and then getting a job that provides a good level of pay over a lifetime.

There's a package of bills sponsored by Holland Republican Representative Amanda Price now working through the State that tries to tackle this problem. It's called the "read-or-flunk law."

In a nutshell, if third-grade kids aren't reading, hold them back.

Ron French reported on the pros and cons of these bills for Bridge Magazine, and he joined us today to discuss the issue.

DIA

There's been a new development in the unfolding story about Federal Judge Gerald Rosen and his bid to protect the DIA collection and the pensions of Detroit city retirees.

Judge Rosen is serving as the mediator in the Detroit bankruptcy case. We've heard how he is trying to craft together a plan wherein at least 10 national and local charitable foundations would chip in to create a $500 million fund, a fund that could be leveraged to not only protect the DIA treasures but to lessen the pain of retiree pension cuts.

Late last week, a former Wayne State Chemistry professor stepped forward with an offer.

Dr. A. Paul Schaap developed a molecule that created light through chemistry. His discovery proved very useful in a wide range of medical tests. He then founded the company Lumigen, and he made many millions as a biotech entrepreneur.

Over the years, Paul Schaap has given many millions back to Wayne State, to Hope College, to professors and researchers. Now, Paul Schaap is donating $5 million to help the DIA and the city retirees.

Dr. A. Paul Schaap joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

http://www.michiganopera.org/leadership/david-dichiera/ / Michigan Opera Theatre

The man who helped turn the Michigan Opera Theatre into one of Detroit's most prestigious arts centers, is stepping aside as general director after 42 years.

David DiChiera is an institution in Detroit: he started the Opera in 1971 and he's been running it ever since.

And it's thanks to his fundraising efforts that Detroit even still HAS an Opera, given how hard the recession hit the arts.

Now DiChiera is 78, has prostate cancer, and is bringing in a new president and  CEO to run the financial side.

DETROIT (AP) - Mayor-elect Mike Duggan says he wants to reduce the time it takes to tear down vacant houses as part of his plan to revitalize distressed Detroit neighborhoods.

The Detroit News reports that Duggan also told about 50 people attending the ARISE Detroit! annual breakfast Saturday that between state and federal programs designed to attack blight "there is more than enough money" available to transform the city.

The former Detroit Medical Center chief was elected in November and will take over as mayor in January.

This Week in Review, Rina Miller and Jack Lessenberry talk about how Rand Paul thinks Detroit should lower it's tax rate in order to stabilize, what's behind Governor Rick Snyder's 36 percent approval rating, and how the average Michigan graduate has $29,000 in student loans.

DETROIT (AP) - A federal judge has cleared the way for Detroit's Public Lighting Authority to immediately sell $60 million in bonds to begin fixing thousands of broken streetlights.

Judge Steven Rhodes issued his order Friday - three days after he allowed Detroit to become the largest U.S. city to enter bankruptcy.

Total financing for the lighting plan is expected to reach $210 million.

Rhodes' ruling also means $12.5 million in annual utility taxes approved by the state Legislature to back the bond sale will not be affected by the bankruptcy.

Not many people remember it now, but there was a day in the remarkable life of Nelson Mandela when he came to Detroit. The Motor City went, predictably, wild over him. They filled Tiger Stadium to see him at 10:00 on a Thursday night in June.

He was welcomed by Mayor Coleman Young, and enthusiastically hugged Rosa Parks. He met stars of Motown, politicians and labor leaders, and visited workers on the line at a Ford assembly plant.

How many people know that Nelson Mandela, leader of a revolution, international icon of freedom, once went to an assembly line in Dearborn and told workers, “I am your comrade."

The Detroit Institute of Arts
Flickr

What’s going to happen with the Detroit Institute of Arts?

 

That’s the question on the minds of many Michiganders after the city of Detroit was deemed eligible for Chapter 9 bankruptcy on Tuesday.

Daniel Howes, a business columnist with The Detroit News, talks with us about all things DIA – a recent appraisal of the institute’s collection, emergency manager Kevyn Orr’s interest in the museum, and a possible rescue plan cooked up by a federal judge.

Listen to full interview above. 

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The judge’s decision to let the city of Detroit pursue Chapter Nine bankruptcy protection could have an effect on the municipal bond market.

Municipal bonds have long been viewed as one of the safest investments out there. But bond holders may be among the biggest losers in Detroit’s bankruptcy.

user Daviddje / Flickr

Let's take time now to put today's ruling by Judge Rhodes into historical context. How does the painful journey into Chapter 9 bankruptcy fit into Detroit's past, present, and most importantly, its future?

We're joined by someone who has covered the news in Michigan for five decades: Michigan Radio's political analyst Jack Lessenberry.

Listen to full interview above.

Detroit bankruptcy judge Steven Rhodes.
John Meiu / Detroit Legal News Publishing LLC

Michigan Radio’s Sarah Cwiek was in the courtroom today when U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes ruled that Detroit was eligible for Chapter 9 bankruptcy.

Stephen Henderson, the editorial page editor of the Detroit Free Press, has been covering the bankruptcy trial on the pages of the Freep.

Sarah and Stephen talk with us in the studio today to discuss what happened today, and what it means for Detroiters.

Listen to full interview above. 

Joy VanBuhler / Flickr

Tomorrow will be one for the history books, not just here in Michigan but across the nation.

Tuesday morning is when Federal Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes will rule whether or not Detroit is eligible for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection.

Detroit News reporter Chad Livengood has covered the bankruptcy trial, and he joined us today to talk about what might happen tomorrow morning.

Listen to the full interview above.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - Detroit is getting a $24 million federal grant that will be used to hire 150 firefighters in the city.

The grant was announced this week by Michigan's U.S. senators.

It comes through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response program.

The Detroit Free Press says the award is an annual one, but it's believed the hires would be supported by the grant for more than one year.

Executive Fire Commissioner Don Austin calls the federal money a "godsend."

Peter Martorano / Flickr

In this Week in Michigan Politics, Christina Shockley and Jack Lessenberry discuss a proposal to block abortions from being covered in basic health plans, how Warren Buffett is backing millions of dollars in an initiative to help small businesses in Detroit, and look to next week when Judge Steven Rhodes will decide if Detroit is eligible for bankruptcy.

Twitter

The Republican Party wants Detroit to know it cares. The GOP is hoping to increase its presence in the city where Barack Obama grabbed 97.5% of the vote in 2012.

And, how is the GOP going to reach out to Detroiters? By sending in Senator Rand Paul, tea party senator from Kentucky, to headline the opening of the new GOP outreach center, which is named "The African-American Engagement Office."

This has at least one Republican stalwart cringing. Dennis Lennox, GOP strategist and columnist at the Morning Sun, joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Detroit Skyline
Dave Linabury / Flickr

As Detroit has slid its way down the slippery slope to bankruptcy, the eyes of the world have been fixed on the Motor City.

Whether it was Time Magazine renting a house for embedded reporters, Bob Simon of 60 Minutes comparing Detroit to Mogadishu, chef Anthony Bourdain comparing Detroit to Chernobyl, using the description "post-apocalyptic," the outsiders' view of Detroit has been, to put it gently, negative.

Our next guest has raised the question: what happened when outsiders are shaping Detroit's narrative? When Detroit and its leaders and stakeholders can't articulate a consistent message, someone else is going to do it. And how is that Narrative-Shaped-By-Outsiders going to affect Detroit's destiny?

Detroit Free Press Staff Writer Mark Stryker explored this in a recent piece "Seeking Detroit's Voice: Lack of message lets others shape the narrative." He joined us today to discuss the issue.

Listen to the full interview above.

Jtmichcock at the English language Wikipedia Commons

The condition of every land parcel in Detroit will be surveyed beginning this week.  The hope is to complete the survey in eight weeks, according to Glenda Price, a member of Detroit's federally-appointed Blight Task Force. The task force was established this past October.

Michigan Central Station Preservation Society / Facebook

Detroit’s Michigan Central Depot is looking a little more cheery today.

For the second year in a row, the former train station which now serves as the quintessential symbol of Detroit's urban decay, is decking the halls with holiday lights. According to The Detroit News, Matty Moroun, who bought the building in 1996, came up with the idea of sprucing up the 18-story abandoned station with the help of his family.

“Since we’ve put electricity back in, we decided to light it up, and it looks really nice,” President of the Detroit International Bridge Co. Dan Stamper said. “We’ve gotten a lot of nice comments and we just hope everyone has a happy holiday.”

Electric lighting has returned to the building as part of an effort to (slowly) give the station a facelift. Back in 2011, the International Bridge Co. began to replace windows and stairwells in MCD. 

- Melanie Kruvelis, Michigan Radio Newsroom

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