Detroit

Arts & Culture
1:01 pm
Tue September 24, 2013

Listen to this hilarious story from a Detroit comedian featured on The Moth Radio Hour

Detroit comic Horace H.B. Sanders
Liz Mackinder The Moth

A Detroit comedian is featured in this week’s episode of The Moth Radio Hour.

Back when he was 12, Horace H.B. Sanders, a stand-up comic from the Motor City, showed up to a costume party in his homemade ninja costume.

Turns out, he was the only one who dressed up for the party.

Listen to Sander’s hilarious story, recorded at a Grand Slam in Detroit.

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Politics & Government
11:38 am
Fri September 20, 2013

Obama administration officials to visit Detroit

Downtown Detroit (file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - Officials from the administration of President Barack Obama are expected to visit Detroit next week to meet with community leaders, elected officials and others.

The Detroit Free Press and The Detroit News report the Sept. 27 meetings are part of ongoing discussions involving the White House amid Detroit's financial troubles. The city this summer made the largest municipal bankruptcy filing in U.S. history.

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Law
5:40 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

Feds charge several Detroit Eastern Market retailers with fraud

Detroiteasternmarket.com

Federal authorities are charging nine people with food stamp fraud in Detroit.

Federal and state law enforcement agencies swooped down onto more than a half-dozen businesses in Detroit’s popular Eastern Market area earlier this week.

They were looking for evidence that retailers were engaging in the illegal practice of exchanging cash for food stamp benefits.

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Transportation
12:49 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

Bus drivers in Detroit rally for better security

Snyder discussed DDOT busses during his townhall meeting online Wednesday.
Sarah Hulett Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) — Bus drivers in Detroit want better security after they say at least eight drivers were hospitalized after attacks by riders in the past nine months.

Fred Westbrook, president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 26, tells the Detroit Free Press that Tuesday's rally also was organized to let riders know that drivers are frustrated about crowded buses, buses running late and a lack of police protection.

Ideas for improving security include creating a transit police for the Detroit Department of Transportation. Another rally is planned for October.

Officer Dan Donakowski tells The Detroit News that police met Monday with DDOT representatives and offered training to drivers. He says drivers also plan to provide police with information about routes where assaults have taken place so police can step up efforts.

Politics & Culture
4:33 pm
Mon September 16, 2013

Stateside for Monday, September 16th, 2013

It's officially the law of the land.

Governor Rick Snyder signed the Medicaid expansion into law today.

The expansion will provide Medicaid services to hundreds of thousands of working-poor in the state through the federal Affordable Care Act. On today's show, what the expansion means for Michigan and what's next on the Governor's and the Legislature's agenda.

And, Brandon and Bethany Foote, the couple behind the musical group Gifts or Creatures, joined us today to talk about their music.

Also, Rivertown, a $55 million proposed development along the east riverfront in Detroit, recently won approval from the Detroit Economic Development Corporation. How are developments like this possible when Detroit is bankrupt?

First on the show, in Michigan, by state law, the day after Labor Day is Back-To-School Day.

But in some 30 districts and charter schools in Michigan, kids have already been going to school because these districts and schools are experimenting with year-round school.

It's a concept getting much attention with the realization that our traditional school schedule causes most kids to forget some of the reading and math skills over the long summer break. That forces teachers to spend the first month or more re-teaching the previous year's material.

What does year-round school look like and is there a demand for it?

For the answer, we turned to the Crosswell-Lexington Community Schools in rural Sanilac County, which is offering the option of a year-round schedule.

Superintendent Kevin Miller joined us today.

Stateside
4:28 pm
Mon September 16, 2013

Detroit bankruptcy is not deterring $55 million Rivertown development

User: Fabienne Kneifel/Flickr

The news of Detroit's bankruptcy filing has been relentless.

But that Chapter 9 filing does not seem to be completely stalling economic growth and development in and around downtown.

Case in point: Rivertown -- a $55 million proposed development along the east riverfront. It recently won approval from the Detroit Economic Development Corporation.

Rivertown would have townhouses, apartments and small-scale retail.

Richard Baron, chairman and CEO of real estate development firm McCormick Baron Salazar, joined us today to talk about the development.

Listen to the full interview above.

Politics & Government
10:52 am
Mon September 16, 2013

Plans move ahead to fix Detroit streetlights

DETROIT (AP) — Crews will begin a block-by-block review of streetlights in two Detroit neighborhoods this week as part of a three-year plan to overhaul the city's decrepit lighting system.

Fewer than half of Detroit's 88,000 streetlights are believed to be working, and Public Lighting Authority workers will inspect each light in areas on the city's east and west sides to map out which aren't working and to determine the cause of each malfunction.

"We will use the information we gather to design a specific plan to relight both of these areas as a prelude to moving out into the rest of the city to completely restore street lighting," the authority's Executive Director Odis Jones said in a statement.

Workers will be wearing yellow vests with the Public Lighting Authority's logo and will be driving vehicles with PLA signs on the side.

After approval from City Council, the Public Lighting Authority was set up earlier this year to design and implement the plan to improve Detroit's public lighting system. Gov. Rick Snyder signed legislation last year to allow lighting authorities in some cities.

Politics & Government
8:19 am
Mon September 16, 2013

In this morning's headlines: Medicaid, anthrax vaccine expansion, Detroit lighting

Morning News Roundup, Thursday, Oct. 13, 2011
User: Brother O'Mara Flickr

Governor to sign Medicaid expansion today

"Governor Rick Snyder today will sign into law a plan to expand Medicaid in Michigan. The measure will extend government-sponsored health care to hundreds of thousands of low-income Michiganders through the federal Affordable Care Act," Jake Neher reports.

Anthrax vaccine facility expands in Michigan

The nations only licensed anthrax vaccine is made in Lansing. Now the company that makes the vaccine will open a new Michigan facility to expand production of the anthrax vaccine. More on the story can be found here.

Plan for more lighting in Detroit moves forward

"Plans are moving forward on a new effort to keep streetlights working in Detroit. The Public Lighting Authority of Detroit says it will begin a block-by-block review of streetlights in two Detroit neighborhoods this week as part of two pilot projects. According to some estimates, fewer than half of Detroit's 88,000 streetlights are believed to work," the Associated Press reports.

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.

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