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Detroit

Photograph of Downtown Detroit
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Detroit is cracking down on those who owe back income taxes by launching an effort targeting thousands of potential tax evaders living or working at certain properties in downtown and Midtown.

Detroit corporation counsel Melvin Butch Hollowell tells the Detroit Free Press the city identified at least 7,000 potential tax evaders at 33 properties, which include the Penobscot Building, Cadillac Square Apartments and Broderick Tower.

Michigan still has one of the highest rates of juvenile lifers in the country.
Thomas Hawk / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

A Senate subcommittee has passed a budget cutting the Department of Corrections' budget by $40 million. The department says that would mean cutting jobs and programs to fight recidivism. Both Republicans and Democrats want to see lower prison populations.

Morning Edition host Doug Tribou and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry discuss whether this plan could get bi-partisan support.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The clock is ticking on homeowners in Wayne County who received tax foreclosure notices. They have until June 7 to either pay their taxes or sign up for a payment plan.

The Detroit Q-Line streetcar
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

The QLINE streetcar in Detroit officially launched service today. The QLINE runs along Woodward Avenue for 3.3 miles, basically connecting Midtown and Downtown.

Matt Cullen, CEO of the QLINE streetcar service, joined Stateside to talk about the launch and what expectations are for public transportation in Metro Detroit. 

Mural painted on a wall
wilansky / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

 

In Detroit, there are all kinds of artists and art projects happening organically. But, the City of Detroit doesn’t really have a vehicle to encourage or develop an arts culture.

Mercedes Mejia/Michigan Radio

Escape rooms keep gaining popularity. 

You might have heard of them. The interactive game where you and a bunch of friends, or complete strangers, are locked in a room and have to solve a series of puzzles to get out -- oh, and you only have about an hour.  

The scenarios are endless. Think Sherlock Holmes, Indiana Jones or Jail Break. 

Patton Doyle is the co-founder of Decode Detroit, an escape room with a tech vibe located in Ann Arbor.

The old Hudson's Deparment Store site in Detroit
girl-in-the-d / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

 

Republicans and Democrats in Lansing support a big incentive package that big developers in the state want. 

These incentives not only include money for cleaning up polluted “brownfield” sites, but also income tax kickbacks from the workers who build the development, and from the tax revenue of the development.

Car accident
Daniel X. O'Neil/Flickr / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

If you’re a driver in Michigan, it's not exactly breaking news to hear that our auto insurance rates are some of the highest in the country. Drivers in Detroit pay the most. One study estimated an average of $3,400 annually. By comparison, the national average is about $900.

Mayor Mike Duggan announcing plans for Midtown west development project at Delta Prep Academy in Detroit
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

A new development project is coming to Detroit's Cass Corridor.

Midtown West will be a $77 million development project that will be located at what was once the Wigle Recreation Center near Midtown.

It will include a total of 335 residential units, 175 rental units and 160 units for sale. About 20% of those rental units will be affordable housing.

Councilwoman Raquel Castaneda Lopez represents the district where the project will be.

She says it’s important that development be done with and for the people.

Tommy and Raymond Highers served 26 years in prison for a crime they didn't commit.
Joe Linstroth / Michigan Radio

"It was an out-of-body experience."

That's how Raymond Highers described the moment when the judge sentenced him and his brother Tommy Highers to life without parole for a murder they didn't commit.

Book cover: "The Intersection: What Detroit has gained, and lost, 50 years after the uprisings of 1967."
Courtesy of Lester Graham

 

This year marks 50 years since the 1967 uprising in Detroit. A new book reflects on what's happened since those hot, angry four days in July. 

Detroit Public Schools Community District sign
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

The Detroit Public Schools Community District school board has chosen Nikolai Vitti as its first permanent superintendent. Vitti grew up in Dearborn Heights and is currently the superintendent in Duval County, Florida.

Michigan Radio Morning Edition host Doug Tribou and Senior News Analyst Jack Lessenberry discuss what the district's new pick means for Detroit schools. 

DPROVOST ~ PROSPER IN 2011 / FLICKR HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Poor air quality in Detroit is putting people into the hospital, and even killing some. It's making them sick and unable to go to work or school.

That's not opinion. That's a fact with scientific data to back it up.

Screenshot of Detroit website allowing residents to see locations of medical marijuana caregiver centers.
Detroitmi.gov

Medical marijuana users have a new way to learn about caregiver centers in Detroit.

An interactive map will help them track the status of the more than 280 centers across the city.

120 shops are in the application process. Over 60 of them are able to operate in the meantime.

Marvin Jamo, owner of a medical marijuana caregiver center in Detroit, says plenty of people use medical marijuana.

Meet the city of Detroit's Chief Storyteller: Aaron Foley
City of Detroit

One of the most primal human experiences is storytelling. And now that ancient tradition is coming to Detroit City Hall.

Mayor Mike Duggan's team has a new member: Aaron Foley now holds the title of Detroit's Chief Storyteller.
Aaron's been a journalist at MLive, Ward's Automotive, and for the past year and a half, the editor of BLAC Detroit magazine, covering black life, arts and culture.

Foley tells Stateside leaving BLAC was difficult, but says he couldn't pass up the challenge of starting a project like this from the ground up.

"You have this project in multiple forms, where we go across the city, talk to residents, talk to neighbors, talk to people about what they'd like to see in their neighborhoods," Foley said.

"Also, to talk to them about what's coming to their neighborhoods. There's a big push to make sure that everyone is included in whatever goes on in any neighborhood, whether it's a tree coming down, or a new housing development ... and this is just taking that an extra step forward."

According to Foley, one of the goals of this project is to bring people from different parts of the city together and to create more of an awareness of citizens' own neighborhoods. 

The Tesla Model S, first introduced in June 2012
Tesla Motors

Here’s the latest Detroit indignity: Tiny Tesla, the electric automaker, is felling giants.

The Silicon Valley startup created in 2003 is worth more in market value than the American industrial icon founded exactly 100 years earlier by Henry Ford, the premier innovator of his time.

Tesla’s not far behind General Motors, either. The promise of game-changing innovation, the hope that someone new can crack the emissions-free code is causing tons of smart money to flow into Chairman Elon Musk’s Tesla.

Nearly $49 billion-worth, to be precise.

Demolition
Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

The city of Detroit has approved a new contract with the same company that left 19 demolition sites unfinished for more than 8 months. That work was part of the city's blight removal program, which is currently under federal investigation.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan speaking where he plans to build Ella Fitzgerald Park on the city's northwest side
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan says neighborhoods won't be left out of the city's comeback.

Duggan announced his two year plan to invest $4 million into the Fitzgerald neighborhood on the city's northwest side, near Livernois and McNichols.

The project aims to rehab 115 vacant homes and 192 vacant lots, create a two-acre park, and build a bike path between Marygrove College and the University of Detroit Mercy.

Maurice Cox, the planning director for the project, says the goal is to create something seldom seen in the city.

BRIDGE MAGAZINE: One promise Mike Duggan can’t keep?

Mar 30, 2017

Home sales with mortgages are rare in Detroit, occurring in just a few areas. Use the slider in the middle of the image below to see where the cash sales (red) are compared with sales via mortgages (blue).

for the map/Bridge map by Mike Wilkinson:

Few mortgages in Detroit

Most home sales in Detroit require cash; only 19 percent of the 3,800 sales in 2016 involved a mortgage, reflecting the difficulty to secure loans in a city where property values are less than half what they were a decade ago. Click on a marker to get more information, including price and year the home was built.

Source: RealComp II

If Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan is to be taken at his word, perhaps he shouldn’t be running for re-election this year.

Alex Porbe / Incite Design

There are people in Michigan who are quietly making pieces of art with a purpose beyond art. 

One of them works in Detroit at a nondescript shop on Mack Avenue. Alex Porbe is with Incite Design, a  fabrication and custom design firm.

Porbe works with architects and project managers, working up designs to complement existing architecture or making a design statement.

Rich Evenhouse / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

How do we talk about Detroit?

In the 80's and 90's, the focus was on crime and urban decay. Detroit was the "Murder City." Today, the narrative is one of possibility and resurgence.

But both of those depictions were largely imposed by outsiders, and were, at best, incomplete.

 "My grandmother always told me I was smart, and so I believed it. And so by the time she left, being smart and doing good in school was something that Shawn just did," Blanchard told us.
Courtesy of Shawn Blanchard

 


If anyone seemed destined for a life that would either end in a drug deal gone bad or in prison, it would probably be Shawn Blanchard.

Everything in his life pointed him down that path, beginning with the fact that he was born with crack cocaine in his system.

Instead, Blanchard is a graduate of the University of Michigan, where he majored in math and economics. He’s also a graduate of Wayne State University’s Law School.

His memoir is titled How ‘Bout That for a 'Crack Baby.'

Dave Pinter / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

For the last century, almost since the day Henry Ford’s first assembly line started rolling in 1913, Detroit has been known as the Motor City. It was a regional point of pride that cars made in Michigan could be found zipping down roadways in every U.S. state and across the globe.

That image has been battered in recent decades as factories have been shuttered and work forces trimmed.

But today, a new vision is emerging, one in which Detroit specializes not only in building cars, but in all things transportation. That includes new technologies like autonomous vehicles, but it also means connecting those technologies to services like public transportation and bike shares.

Nick Tobier, the author of "Looping Detroit: A People Mover Travelogue"
Courtesy of Nick Tobier

Think of it as an artistic “fan letter” to Detroit’s People Mover.

Artist Nick Tobier’s new book is Looping Detroit: A People Mover Travelogue. It’s a collection of essays, photographs and poems inspired by the People Mover and the views it offers of Detroit’s geography and culture.

The state says 38 schools with persistently low test scores might not have to close by the end of the year. At least, not yet. These schools now have 60 days to come up with a turnaround plan using what the state calls a "partnership" model. We wanted to know a little bit more about what that partnership strategy might entail, so we took a trip to Dearborn to find out. 

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

The U.S. EPA is making long term revisions to the 25-year-old Lead and Copper Rule. The new rules are expected to come out this year. A top EPA official says one of the biggest changes could be an expensive one.

Because of the water crisis in Flint, city officials now know there are more than 20,000 lead service lines, the water pipes connecting homes to a water main, still buried underground in Flint.

Because of Flint, we know that other cities are now at least trying to figure out how many lead service lines they have and where they’re located.

mayor mike duggan shaking woman's hand
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Mike Duggan knows politics.

That’s partly why Detroit’s mayor is alleging that former Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr misled him about the city’s pension exposure. It’s an insurance policy.

Area where the boil water advisory was in effect.
City of Detroit

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has lifted the boil water advisory covering parts of Detroit, Hamtramck and Highland Park.

More from a press release from the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department:

The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department received a statement released from GLWA today indicating that the most recent round of testing shows no bacterial contamination in Detroit’s water supply. Two rounds of multiple samples were tested by GLWA indicating the water meets the Safe Drinking Water Act. According to the statement:

user Werwin15 / Creative Commons

More than 70% of the tenants at the Russell Industrial Center in Detroit left after the city ordered them out a week ago due to building violations.

The converted auto factory is – or was – home to a major artists community in Detroit.

Eric Novak is the project manager for the Russell Industrial Center.  

He says they'll try to get people to move back, but it could take a long time because some had to sign new one-year leases elsewhere.

iivangm / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Across Michigan, a number of undocumented Mexican immigrants have been detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials.

While President Donald Trump indicated his order would deport criminals – “bad hombres,” as he put it –  there are reports that people with only minor violations are being picked up, even people with no apparent violations.

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