Detroit

On the Detroit set of Paramount Pictures’ "Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon."
Robert Zuckerman / Michigan Film Office

Despite the abolishment of the state’s film incentives program, the Transformers franchise will make its way back to Detroit this summer.

Differing from previous Transformers installments filmed in Detroit, Paramount Pictures and the Michigan Film & Digital Media Office created a single agreement for this film, which will ensure the production meets standards for its expenditures and number of personnel hired in the state.

The Michigan Film & Digital Media Office said the deal with Paramount will give $21 million to the film project.

Mercedes Mejia

Rick Joseph is the Michigan Teacher of the Year for 2016. Joseph recently wrote a piece for Bridge Magazine that asks, “Who am I to judge Detroit teacher sickouts?”

As Michigan Teacher of the Year, Joseph tells us he considers his role “to be an ambassador for teachers, to be a servant leader, to be an advocate for education throughout the state.”

Jevona Watson, founder of the coffee shop Detroit Sip
Shawn Lee / Motor City Match

Starting a business on your own brings plenty of challenges, but it takes a special kind of courage and vision – and a little bit of help – to set up shop in a struggling neighborhood. Jevona Watson is opening a coffee shop, Detroit Sip, in Northwest Detroit, near the campus of the University of Detroit-Mercy, and has received a helping hand from the Motor City Match program.

Jack Lessenberry
Michigan Radio

This Week in Michigan politics, Jack Lessenberry said the recent shooting in Kalamazoo won't prompt legislation on gun control any time soon, he explained the controversial "gag order" law and gave an update on Flint and Detroit


Joe Gruber

Katrina Watkins stood on her front porch in Detroit’s McDougall-Hunt neighborhood staring at the vacant, overgrown stretch of land across the street.

“I have been trying to get the city out here to cut this for years,” she said.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The state of Michigan is getting tens of millions of dollars from the federal government to tear down blighted buildings.

Last year, Congress approved spending $2 billion to fund blight elimination programs nationwide. 

The U.S. Department of Treasury today says Michigan is eligible for more than $300 million from the Hardest Hit fund. Nearly $75 million is available immediately.

U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Flint, has been among those fighting for the blight money.

Wikimedia Commons

There’s an innovative idea from Israel that might be taking root in Detroit.

The idea is to train people in the community to respond to emergency calls.

“And they usually can get there much more quickly because they live next door or across the street, in the same apartment building, whatever the case may be, and get there before the professional EMTs arrive,” says Detroit News Business columnist Daniel Howes.

Ypsilanti's Sue Webster and Michigan Radio's Paula Friedrich recently ventured to Detroit's Masonic Temple to answer a question Webster posed to our MI Curious project:

"There must have been a huge presence at the Masonic Temple in Detroit at one time. What was it all about?"

While you can read about the answer to this question here, we've provided a few more interesting facts about the Masonic Temple that you can explore in the slideshow above.

What's the story behind Detroit's Masonic Temple?

Feb 16, 2016
Detroit's Masonic Temple is an imposing building.
Paula Friedrich / Michigan Radio

Ypsilanti's Sue Webster visited the Detroit Masonic Temple twice (once for the Theatre Bizarre masquerade, and once for a lecture). Her visits piqued her curiosity, so she posed her question to our MI Curious project.

“There must have been a huge presence at the Masonic Temple in Detroit at one time. What was it all about?”

Detroit's Masonic Temple is a gray stone building that towers over Cass Park.

The country's two most vacant cities are in Michigan

Feb 11, 2016
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A new report from Realty Trac says Flint is the most vacant city in the nation, and Detroit isn't far behind.

According to the report, 7.5 percent of homes in Flint are vacant. Detroit comes in second at 5.3 percent.

According to Laura Reese, while Midtown Detroit is seeing some income growth, the rest of the city is only getting worse
Photo comes from a Wikimedia user, Andrew Jameson / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Construction is moving along in Detroit on the new Red Wings arena scheduled to open in 2017.

It’s right across from the Comerica Park, which is across the street from Ford Field.

Do economic development tactics like shiny new stadiums and arenas, casinos, and festival marketplaces really pay off for cities? What really works in urban development?

Michigan presidential primary voters will head to the polls a month from tomorrow. But, if you think the action is waiting until then, think again.

Iggy Pop at the Grande Ballroom, 1968
Leni Sinclair

Leni Sinclair’s camera captured the music scene of Detroit in the ‘60s and ‘70s even as she played a seminal role in the growing countercultural movement in Southeast Michigan.

Sinclair was born in Königsberg,  East Germany, and escaped to West Germany three years before the Berlin Wall was erected. She was 18 when she emigrated to America in 1959, settling with relatives in Detroit. 

Sinclair photographed musicians from John Coltrane and the MC5 to Iggy Pop, Janis Joplin, Bob Marley and many, many more.

She and her then-husband, John Sinclair, helped to found the White Panther Party, later the Rainbow People’s Party. They fought against the Vietnam War and racism, and worked to legalize marijuana and reform the prison system.

Now Sinclair has been named the 2016 Kresge Eminent Artist. She becomes the eighth artist to receive the $50,000 award in recognition of her contributions to the art, culture, and people of Detroit.

Looking south on Woodward Ave
flickr user Sean Marshall / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The Next Idea

We may be living in the 21st century, but the transportation infrastructure in Southeast Michigan is lagging way behind.

The number of citizens relying on public transport to get in and out of Detroit for business or pleasure is on the rise, thanks in part to the millennial generation's growing tendency to forgo car ownership in favor of alternative means of transit.

In his story for HOUR Detroit, Patrick Dunn digs into a number of projects that aim to transform the way we get around Metro Detroit.

flickr user Bytemarks / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

A new study finds there are many challenges to Detroit residents accessing job opportunities.

The report, Detroit’s Untapped Talent: Jobs and On-Ramps Needed, was commissioned by JP Morgan Chase and Company and was compiled by Corporation for a Skilled Workforce.

Jeannine La Prad helped prepare the report.

NAIAS

An upbeat Barack Obama was greeted by an upbeat crowd at the UAW-GM Center for Human Resources in Detroit Wednesday.

The president joked he will be looking for a new car next year after he's out of office, and there's no place better to browse for one than the Detroit auto show.

"I know they've got auto shows in Paris and Frankfort and Tokyo," he said, "but there's only one Motor City, and there's only one Detroit, and if you're looking for the world's best cars, and the workers that make those cars, you need to be in Detroit, Michigan!"

President Barack Obama
Pete Souza / White House

President Obama travels to Detroit on Wednesday.

The White House says he'll be in town to "experience the remarkable progress made by the city, its people, and neighborhoods."

The president is expected to tour a Detroit neighborhood, visit the auto show, and give a speech at the UAW-GM Center for Human Resources.

But he's coming at a time when Detroit Public Schools are about to run out of money, and teachers are staging sickouts.

And it was just days ago that the president declared a state of emergency in Flint over the water crisis there.

Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

The Detroit Department of Transportation will begin running 24-hour bus service for three of its busiest routes Saturday.

The popular routes are part of more than 15 that will begin adjusted schedules this weekend. The changes are the product of public meetings with riders and aim to improve the system’s efficiency while expanding service.

Neil Greenberg of DDOT said the changes are within budget and that the department is getting "more use out of existing resources."

Sarah Welch, executive chef at Republic Tavern in Detroit
Sarah Welch

A recent Washington Post story declares that “one of the country’s poorest cities is suddenly becoming a food mecca.”

It highlights the growing scene of young chefs and restaurateurs setting up shop in Detroit.

Sarah Welch is one of them. She’s the executive chef at Republic Tavern, located in the restored castle-like Grand Army of the Republic building in Detroit.

Lester Graham

A Detroit artist is suing to protect her nine-story mural, which has become a landmark in the city's north end.

If you've driven by it, you probably remember Katherine Craig's massive, technicolor piece called The Illuminated Mural.

Created in 2009 with nearly 100 gallons of paint, it kind of looks like bleeding rainbow, covering a massive wall at 2937 East Grand Boulevard.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

For years, some Detroiters have raised animals that are usually associated with rural farms: chickens, goats, rabbits, and more.

Although it is technically illegal to keep livestock, residents of Detroit have been able to do so because of bureaucratic dysfunction. 

Now there is an effort, led in part by Detroit Councilman James Tate, to come up with a clear ordinance regarding what is and is not allowed within the city limits. 

flickr user Motown31 / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Public schools in Detroit are looking at a rough year ahead.

Debt payments for Detroit Public Schools are already the highest of any school district in the state, but things are going to get even more dire next month.

Chad Livengood of The Detroit News' Lansing Bureau tells us that DPS will owe $26 million every month through 2016 to pay back this year’s operating debts, as well as debts carried over from previous years.

Ian Freimuth/flickr / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Detroit is often called the comeback city by politicians and boosters. The central business district is recovering. But many of the neighborhoods are still struggling. There are a lot of empty houses. If they don’t sell, they’ll quickly become derelict, blighted, another problem.

A major obstacle to buying a house is getting a traditional mortgage.

Dan Varner
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The Next Idea

Many of Detroit’s potential workers are leaving school without the math or reading skills required to enter training programs.

There doesn’t seems to be a clear plan for educating Detroit’s children. There doesn’t seem to be a clear plan for training a future workforce.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

A special report looking at the progress, struggles, and failures in Detroit during the city’s first year out of bankruptcy:

Michigan-raised artist Brenda Goodman is happy. That’s because she’s finally getting steady recognition from the art world, after years of rejection. This year Goodman won a lifetime achievement award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

The 72-year-old thinks part of the reason she’s becoming more well-known is because people are sharing her artwork on social media sites, which helps her reach new audiences.

Goodman was born and raised in Detroit and was part of the Cass Corridor art movement in the 1970s. These days, Goodman lives in upstate New York.

Why are so few Detroit streets named after women?

Dec 16, 2015
Carolyn Gearig / Michigan Radio

Streets in Detroit have many origins. They’re named after civil rights leaders, forts from the 1820s, cities in other states, and early leaders in Detroit’s history.

 

But what are Detroit streets rarely named after?

 

Women.

 

A recent analysis by Mapbox developer Aruna Sankaranarayanan plots “male” and “female” streets on maps of major cities, including London, Mumbai, Paris and San Francisco.

 

Downtown Detroit
flickr user Tim Wang / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Today marks the one-year anniversary of Detroit’s exit from bankruptcy.

Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes sees a city on the mend, but with some heavy lifting ahead.

“I’m very impressed with the execution of the government under Mike Duggan and the City Council,” Howes says. He adds that the demonstrated stability in the police department and the business community’s continued resolve to stand by its investment in Detroit bode well for the city.

Alas, Detroiters, this is going to be our first Christmas without Northland Mall. And that raises a difficult question for the black community — where will we go to find a black Santa Claus?

Ever since I can remember, Northland was the sure-fire place where parents could take their kids to see a black Santa. My children grew up with two astounding life experiences that, for me, are the hallmark of the progress we have made as a race: They've never voted for a white president, and they've never sat upon the lap of a white Santa.

Daymon J. Hartley / Facebook

Ron Scott’s lifetime of community activism in Detroit ended recently when he died at age 68.

His quest for peace and justice led him to found the Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality, but his activism goes all the way back to when he met Grace and James Boggs. He was 16 years old.

His friend and longtime Detroit activist Rich Feldman tells us that everything Scott did, from his early involvement in the Detroit chapter of the Black Panthers to DCAPB, came from a place of love for his home and the people who live there.

Pages