Detroit

Opinion
10:00 am
Wed October 16, 2013

So what can we do?

Lessenberry commentary for 10/16/13

Last night I spoke to a group in Northville, a pleasant and mostly affluent little town that straddles Wayne and Oakland Counties. Northville is about 30 miles and thirty light years from Detroit, but my audience wanted to know about the city. Wanted to know how Detroit got in the mess it is in, and what was going to happen next.

They all seemed to hope the city would come back, that someday it would be prosperous again. When I asked, I found that perhaps eighty percent used to live in Detroit; only one does now, which was one more than I expected.

They were people with varying opinions, but with good will. Besides Detroit, they were interested in the dysfunctionality and corruption of Wayne County government. I gave them as much information about the facts as I could.

But then one person, and then another, and another, asked me questions I couldn’t answer, questions along the lines of:  What can we do? What can we do about all this? How do we fix it? What can ordinary people, do?

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Politics & Government
4:07 pm
Mon October 14, 2013

Flint begins knocking down hundreds of abandoned homes

Wrecking crews turn the abandoned home at 2010 Barth Street into the empty lot at 2010 Barth Street
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The first of 1,600 homes in Flint fell to a backhoe today.

The Genesee County Land Bank and the Michigan State Housing Development Authority are using a $20.1 million federal grant to pay for the largest blighted home demolition program in Flint’s history.

The program is expected to eliminate a quarter of Flint’s 5,600 abandoned homes. 

Flint Mayor Dayne Walling says tearing down a derelict home has a positive effect on the surrounding neighborhood. 

“When dangerous houses come down, surrounding property values stabilize.  Safety increases,’ says Walling.

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Politics & Government
8:32 am
Thu October 10, 2013

Unions question Gov. Snyder under oath about Detroit bankruptcy

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing, Gov. Rick Snyder, and Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr.
mich.gov Michigan Government

Unions representing Detroit city workers and retirees got a chance to question Gov. Rick Snyder under oath Tuesday about the city’s historic bankruptcy filing.

A federal judge is set to begin hearings on whether the governor and Kevyn Orr — the emergency manager he appointed — properly filed for the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history.

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Sports
10:05 pm
Tue October 8, 2013

Detroit Tigers win Game 4, the ALDS moves to Oakland for one game to decide the series

A young Detroit Tigers fan waves a rally towel during Game 4 of the ALDS.
Steve Carmody/Michigan

The Detroit Tigers defeated the Oakland A’s last night to force a deciding Game 5 in their baseball playoff series.   The two teams will face off Thursday in Oakland.

Detroit baseball fans have been waiting for the Tigers offense to show itself during this playoff series against the Oakland A’s.   During first 3 games of the series, the Tigers scored a combined 6 runs.

Last night, it showed up.  The Tigers erupted for eight runs.    

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Stateside
5:22 pm
Tue October 8, 2013

What would it take to make Detroit a new fashion hub?

Karen Buscemi, editor of StyleLine magazine.
blog.michiganadvantage.org

An interview with Karen Buscemi.

When you think “fashion,” what are the first cities to pop into your mind?

New York? London? Milan? Paris?

No one will dispute those cities’ claim to being fashion hubs.

But there’s a passionate group in the style and fashion community that says Detroit can be a fashion hub, and a great place for designers to make a mark.

Karen Buscemi is the editor of StyleLine magazine. She’s also the founder and managing partner of the Detroit Garment Group Guild. Their motto: “Keep Michigan Talent In Michigan.”

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Sports
8:44 am
Mon October 7, 2013

The Detroit Tigers host the Oakland A's in baseball playoff game today

Comerica Park will be a busy place this afternoon as the Tigers host the A's in Game 3 of their American League Division Series
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The Detroit Tigers take on the Oakland A’s in today's game three of their American League Division Series.

The teams are tied one-one in the best of five game series. The series has been marked by strong pitching and little scoring by both sides.

Tigers’ manager Jim Leyland says he would like to see his players produce more runs in this afternoon’s game at Comerica Park.

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Opinion
8:26 am
Mon October 7, 2013

Michigan needs more immigrants

Lessenberry commentary for 10/7/13

State Representative Harvey Santana, a Detroit Democrat, thinks we need to make this a more immigrant-friendly state. He believes that could lead to Michigan becoming the leading state in the nation in job creation and economic development. Two weeks ago, something incredible happened that showed me exactly how right that is.

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Stateside
5:47 pm
Thu October 3, 2013

Detroit's EM hints at how he might use DIA art to help city

Flickr

Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr has sent out the strongest hint yet that prized pieces in the DIA collection are on the table as a way to put money into the city coffers.

Without offering many details, Orr told the Detroit Economic Club today that there are ways for the DIA to make money from its artwork that might not involve outright sales, but perhaps would involve long-term leases.

Orr was clear -- he said he must consider ways to use the museum's treasures to help the bankrupt city.

And, earlier this week, another one of the city's "jewels" was back in the spotlight.

The State and Mayor Dave Bing announced an agreement under which the State DNR would run Belle Isle as Michigan's 102nd State Park.

Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes joined us to talk about all this.

Listen to the interview above.

Law
12:02 pm
Thu October 3, 2013

U.S. Marshals moving prisoners from Wayne County jails

U.S. Marshals are moving 200 prisoners from jails in Detroit due to faulty conditions.
Credit Flick user Still Burning

The U.S. Marshals Service is stepping in to move inmates from two jails in downtown Detroit. That's because of faulty conditions -- leaky roofs, plugged pipes and overheating -- that officials say have plagued the jails for years.

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Politics & Government
7:38 am
Wed October 2, 2013

In this morning's headlines: Shutdown, Medicaid delays, Belle Isle deal

User: Brother O'Mara flickr

Shutdown could cost Michigan $18 million a day

"Michigan’s budget chief says the federal shutdown could cost the state $18 million dollars a day in lost funding. Budget Director John Nixon says he does not expect that to happen unless the shutdown lasts more than two weeks. He says, after that, pre-funding for some big programs will run out," Rick Pluta reports.

Delays in Medicaid sign up

"The Michigan Department of Community Health is still working to start early enrollment to help people sign up for Michigan's expanded Medicaid program. Michigan's Medicaid expansion also still needs to be approved by the federal government. That means hundreds of thousands of low-wage Michiganders could have to wait weeks or months to enroll," Jake Neher reports

The state to take over Detroit's Belle Isle

"The state of Michigan has signed a deal to lease Detroit’s Belle Isle. Governor Snyder and emergency manager Kevyn Orr have both approved the 30-year plan. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources will run Belle Isle as a state park, saving Detroit an estimated $4 million a year in maintenance costs," Sarah Cwiek reports.

Stateside
4:43 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

Author revisits crime and corruption of yesteryear in 'Detroit Shuffle'

A map of Detroit from 1923, around the time author D.E. Johnson writes about in "Detroit Shuffle."
user davecito Flickr

Corruption. Political shenanigans. Murder. 

That may sound like life in a big city in 2013. 

But Kalamazoo-based writer D.E. Johnson says think again. His latest novel is set in the Detroit of 1912. From his research, there was plenty of crime and corruption happening in those good old days. 

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Offbeat
9:00 am
Tue October 1, 2013

A tale of two households, and the complicated reality of living in Detroit

Jen Janke and kids.
Credit Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

It’s no secret that Detroit is much smaller than it used to be.

The city’s population peaked at a little under two million people in the 1950s. It’s declined steeply since then, to about 700,000.

People are still leaving the city. But the rate is slowing, as some people discover new reasons to move in.

Here’s a story about two Detroit households moving in opposite directions — and the different forces tugging on the city’s population.

“We really felt led to live here”

At Jen Janke’s house, conversations can get a little sidetracked.

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Transportation
1:41 pm
Sun September 29, 2013

Michigan's Amtrak subsidy is about to triple

Jackson's train station (file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Beginning Tuesday, the subsidy that Amtrak gets from the state of Michigan is about to triple, from $8 million to nearly $25 million a year.   

The reason for the increase is a 2008 federal law that requires greater cost sharing between the federal government and the states where Amtrak operates.

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Politics & Government
2:14 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

$300 million offered to Detroit by federal officials

White House Economic Council director Gene B. Sperling is one of the federal officials meeting in Detroit.
whitehouse.gov White House

A delegation of President Obama’s top advisors met in Detroit today, announcing $300 million in federal and private funding for the Motor City.

Most of that aid is earmarked: For instance, about $140 million devoted to public transportation, another $30 million reserved for crime reduction, and another $25 million for demolishing abandoned commercial buildings.

This is the first federal intervention in Detroit after the city filed for bankruptcy on July 18. But don’t call it a bailout — according to federal officials, the aid coming into the city came from galvanizing "public and private partners," and is not a full-fledged bailout of the city. Currently, Detroit owes more than $18 billion to its creditors. 

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Stateside
4:35 pm
Thu September 26, 2013

Feds coming to Detroit to help the city take advantage of grant dollars

Detroit.
Lester Graham Michigan Radio

White House officials are meeting with Detroit and Michigan officials tomorrow and the feds are expected to bring some money.

It’s not being called a Detroit bailout, but it is expected to include federal and private funds to help Detroit demolish abandoned buildings, support police and some transportation projects.

The Detroit Free Press has been reporting on efforts to leverage as much federal help as possible. Todd Spangler with the Freep joined us today.

One of the problems Detroit has had is getting grants -- not keeping within the requirements of the grant and having to send money back to Washington. Part of the meeting tomorrow at Wayne State University is to help Detroit handle the grant money better and to take advantage of other money that might be available to help- without crossing that line of being a bailout. 

Politics & Government
11:26 am
Thu September 26, 2013

Group: Detroit riverfront restrictions reasonable

Detroit's riverfront walkway.
Gerri Trager Flickr

The nonprofit group that manages Detroit's riverfront walkway says its restrictions on organized activities including protests are reasonable.

The Detroit River Front Conservancy on Thursday released a statement after the American Civil Liberties Union earlier this week said the group was violating the First Amendment by preventing people from holding protests. The conservancy says that's not the case.

The ACLU said a security guard ordered a small group of people taking part in an anti-war march along the Detroit River Walk last summer to stop. The ACLU said that that violated the free speech rights of the group Women in Black, and it asked the conservancy to change its policy.

Women in Black said it wants to march at the river Saturday afternoon. The conservancy said Thursday it welcomes the planned march.

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Environment & Science
11:47 am
Wed September 25, 2013

Detroit officials may collaborate with goats to solve landscaping issues

Solving Detroit's urban landscaping issues, one blade of grass at a time
user: eviltomthai Flickr

When things get tough, Detroit City Councilman James Tate digs deeper.

He (at the suggestions of residents) might have a way to maintain Detroit's miles of vacant lots. 

At tomorrow's city council meeting, he'll talk about the possibility of allowing goats and sheep to graze on tall grasses. 

According to MLive, Tate is bringing in a grazing expert to speak at the meeting. 

"Urban cities are doing this all across the country and having absolutely no issues, whatsoever," Tate said. Allowing the animals into neighborhoods could require changes to the city's urban agriculture ordinance.

Chicago recently used goats (some of whom are named Cream Puff, Orca, and Nugget) to clear invasive plants from a park. 

The grazing expert, according to MLive, was also involved in a similar livestock endeavor in Cleveland. The Cleveland project used sheep -- and one llama -- to maintain a vacant lot. The project received a $2,000 grant from Charter One's Growing Communities program. 

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Politics & Government
8:18 am
Wed September 25, 2013

The week in Michigan politics

cncphotos flickr

Week in Michigan politics interview for 9/25/13

This week in Michigan politics, political analyst Jack Lessenberry and Morning Edition host Christina Shockley talk about why the Obama administration will be in Detroit this week, how a federal government shutdown could affect Michigan's poor, Democrats plan to turn around Michigan schools, and Governor Snyder's ad campaign.

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Stateside
4:42 pm
Tue September 24, 2013

Is Detroit's 'stop and frisk' policy unconstitutional?

taliesin Morgue File

A federal judge recently called the New York City police force’s ‘stop and frisk’ practice unconstitutional and discriminatory.

Detroit’s ‘stop and frisk’ policy is based on the same advice of consultants at the Manhattan Institute who advised New York.

Despite the judge’s findings, Detroit Police Chief James Craig says the ‘stop and frisk’ in will continue and that the police in Detroit adhere to the best policing practices as called for under a consent agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan has called on the Detroit Police to end the practice. In a three page letter the ACLU called ‘stop and frisk’ a prescription for an avoidable local disaster.

Mark Fancher of the ACLU joined us today. Click on the link above to listen to our conversation with him.

Law
3:42 pm
Tue September 24, 2013

Detroit Police Department warns about 'Apple picking'

The Detroit Police Department is distributing fliers that warn residents of "Apple picking."
Josh Bancroft Flickr

iPhone thefts are on the rise in Detroit and around the country. The Detroit Police Department is warning residents about "Apple picking."

Wayne State University is reporting an increase in iPhone thefts over the past year.

Lieutenant Dave Scott says the Wayne State Police Department is frequently alerting students to iPhone thefts via emails. He says college campuses across the country are popular targets for smart phone thefts.

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