Politics & Government
6:49 am
Tue February 12, 2013

In this morning's news: MEAP scores, right to work lawsuit, Detroit's finances

User: Brother O'Mara flickr

MEAP scores show improvement

"State education officials say they’re excited by rising standardized test scores. They released the Michigan Educational Assessment Program results for 2012 Monday. Students in all grades showed improvements in math, reading, and writing," Jake Neher reports.

Unions sue to block right to work

"Labor unions are asking a federal judge in Detroit to block part of Michigan's right-to-work law from taking effect in late March. The lawsuit filed Monday is the second to challenge the law in recent weeks. It prohibits requiring workers to pay union dues or fees as a condition of employment," the Associated Press reports.

Gov. Snyder looking at emergency managers for Detroit

"Governor Rick Snyder says he’ll be ready to move ahead with a state takeover of Detroit city hall – depending on the results of a financial review that should wrap up within several days. Governor Snyder says he’s already talked to prospective emergency managers in case a state takeover is called for," Rick Pluta reports.

Politics & Government
4:25 pm
Mon February 11, 2013

Stateside: Nolan Finley talks Detroit and emergency financial managers

Outside Detroit city hall
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

The following is a summary of a previously recorded interview. To hear the complete segment, click the audio above.

Nolan Finley is the Detroit News editorial writer.

His column in Sunday's Detroit News seems to point to action from Lansing for an emergency financial manager in Detroit in the near future.

Cindy talked with Finley about cities in Michigan with an emergency financial manager in place and how effective they have been.  

There are two ways you can podcast "Stateside with Cynthia Canty"

Politics & Government
2:45 pm
Mon February 11, 2013

A Detroit emergency financial manager could come soon

Kate Sumbler Flickr

In yesterday's Detroit News, columnist Nolan Finley said  an "emergency manager for Detroit [is] on its way."

Sources tell me that Snyder has selected an emergency manager, offered the person the job and expects to hear this week whether he or she will take it. While I don't have the name, the prospect is said to be from out of state, and it's not former Washington, D.C., Mayor Anthony Williams — the governor's first choice.

At a Detroit Regional Chamber luncheon today, Gov. Snyder didn't name a person he had in mind, but he did say there are talks going on. More from the Detroit Free Press

“We’re talking to people,” Snyder said. “But I won’t speculate about a particular candidate.”

Still, Snyder stressed he doesn’t want the state to run the city.

“The role of the state is not to run the city of Detroit. We’re here to be a partner,” he said.

He said it won't "take a significant amount of time" before he makes a decision on whether an emergency financial manager is needed for Detroit.

 A review team probing the city's finances will have a report to him in the coming weeks. The team began its review in December and is tasked with determining whether Detroit is in a financial emergency.

 The report officially is due February 19.

 The city has a budget deficit of more than $300 million and has struggled with sustaining cash flow in recent months.

Politics & Government
6:23 am
Wed February 6, 2013

In this morning's Michigan news headlines. . .

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

The race for the Democratic chair

"Michigan's Democratic congressional delegation wants to replace the long-time chairman of the state Democratic Party. Sens. Carl Levin, Debbie Stabenow and five members of the U.S. House wrote an open letter to Democrats Tuesday backing Lon Johnson over incumbent Mark Brewer," the Associated Press reports.

Detroit moves to turn on its lights

"The Detroit City Council on Tuesday approved articles of incorporation for a public lighting authority in the city. The state legislature passed bills in December enabling the lighting authority. Detroit has chronic problems keeping many of its streetlights on, though no one can say for sure how many aren't working at any given time," Sarah Cwiek reports.

Lakes Michigan and Huron at record low levels

"The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers may take another look at placing structures at the bottom of the St. Clair River to boost water levels in Lakes Huron and Michigan. The lakes are at their lowest levels since record-keeping began in 1918, and many people in the region are demanding action," The Associated Press reports.

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Politics & Government
4:19 pm
Tue February 5, 2013

The end is near for Kilpatrick's public corruption trial

Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.
Michigan Radio

Federal Judge Nancy Edmunds stated that Wednesday will be the final day of testimony in the corruption trial of former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, his father, and city contractor Bobby Ferguson.

This will mark the end of a week of  testimony for the defense after 63 days of arguments and testimony led by prosecutors, since the trial began in September.

The AP reports that jurors were sent  home early Tuesday after the defense had no witnesses to call to the stand because of illness and other conflicts.

The three face a range of charges including extortion, bribery, racketeering, and fraud  while Kilpatrick was mayor of Detroit.

Kilpatrick's defense lawyers have argued that he received money through monetary gifts and donations made by friends and mayoral staff.

Closing arguments are planned for Monday.  If convicted, they could face up to 20 years in prison.

3:36 am
Tue February 5, 2013

Many Michigan commuters spend a lot of time sitting in traffic

A new report shows commuters are spending a lot of time behind the wheel in two Michigan cities.

The Texas A & M Transportation Institute releases an annual report on traffic congestion around the country. Many Detroit commuters will probably agree with the findings in this year’s Urban Mobility reports.   

Report co-author Bill Eisele says Motown motorists spend a lot of time each year not moving.

“Those commuting in Detroit are losing 40 hours,” says Eisele, “[They] are losing essentially a whole…week just stuck in traffic.”

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3:01 pm
Wed January 30, 2013

New export finance center opens in Detroit

Export-Import Bank of the United States

Earlier this week, Gov. Rick Snyder, Senator Debbie Stabenow and nearly 100 small business owners were in Detroit for the opening of a new regional office for the Export-Import Bank of the United States.

The new office is expected to help Michigan businesses export products overseas by providing access to various types of insurance, loans, and financial resources.

According to their website, the agency has helped generate $456 billion in export revenue since its creation by Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1934.

Read more
Politics & Government
7:06 pm
Tue January 29, 2013

State set to withdraw Belle Isle lease offer after city tables vote

Mike Russell wikimedia commons

Update 7:06 p.m.

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing issued a statement critical of both the city council for tabling the vote on the Belle Isle deal and the governor for pulling the deal off the table:

“I am extremely disappointed with today’s decision by City Council to table the vote on the Belle Isle lease deal with the State. I have just received a letter from the Governor's office confirming that he has now withdrawn the proposed Belle Isle lease agreement from further consideration. This plan would have provided state funding for the operation, renovation and maintenance of the island as a state park, while we work to stabilize the City’s finances. I believe the majority of Detroiters supported this lease agreement. City Council’s actions today will force us to look at making additional cutbacks that may negatively impact the City’s other parks.”

2:30 p.m.

A deal between the city of Detroit and the state over Belle Isle is off the table, state officials say.

Read more
Arts & Culture
4:41 pm
Tue January 29, 2013

Albert Kahn: The architect of Detroit

Over the course of a 50 year career, architect Albert Kahn designed over 2,000 buildings, including The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press Building (1917) and all of the notable structures in this slide show.
Goldnpuppy Wikimedia Commons

Last week we heard the news that The Detroit Free Press and Detroit News were leaving behind a nearly 100 year-old building designed by famed architect Albert Kahn.

Now, it would be easy to continue this story, having glossed over the part about “famed architect Albert Kahn," but you really should know who this guy is.

You might not have heard of Kahn, but you’ve definitely seen his work or the work of his firm.

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1:33 pm
Mon January 28, 2013

Detroit students say education policies violate their civil rights

Mercedes Mejia Michigan Radio

Some students, parents, and education advocates from Detroit and Highland Park will testify at a federal hearing in Washington this week.

They are part of a nationwide group speaking out against changes in Detroit and other poor school districts.

The group alleges that some of the measures, particularly closing neighborhood schools, have “sabotaged and destabilized” education for many children.

Helen Moore is with the Detroit-based group Keep the Vote-No Takeover.

She said the group wasn’t getting far fighting these measures at the local level.

Read more
11:10 am
Sat January 26, 2013

Ex-Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick back in jail this weekend

Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick (file photo)
Michigan Radio Newsroom

DETROIT (AP) - Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick is behind bars for the weekend for violating parole in a 2008 conviction that bounced him from office.

Kilpatrick reported to a Michigan Corrections Department facility in Detroit on Friday afternoon. He'll remain locked up there until Monday when he returns to federal court where he's on trial in a separate matter.

His dinner choices are baked fish or bean patty.

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10:29 am
Fri January 25, 2013

Takeover bid rejected by Detroit-based Compuware

Compuware's world headquarters in downtown Detroit.
user DeeMusil Wikimedia Commons

Coming off two good earnings reports, the Compuware Company announced today it rejected a takeover bid by a hedge fund company.

More from JC Rendl of the Detroit Free Press

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Politics & Government
7:16 am
Fri January 25, 2013

In this morning's Michigan news headlines. . .

User: Brother O'Mara flickr

Michigan Attorney General questions Hathaway's fitness as a lawyer

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette asked the Attorney Grievance Commission to investigate former Supreme Court Justice Diane Hathaway’s “fitness to practice law.” As the Detroit Free Press reports,

"Schuette requested the investigation as Hathaway, who officially retired Monday amid an ethics scandal, awaits a Tuesday appearance in federal court in Ann Arbor on a felony charge of bank fraud. She is expected to plead guilty. The federal charge relates to property transfers Hathaway made while seeking a short sale on a home in Grosse Pointe Park. But Schuette said in his letter to Attorney Grievance Commission administrator  that the allegations against Hathaway raise questions about her fitness to hold a law license, not just to be a judge."

Obama administration to address Detroit's abandoned buildings

"US Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, Senator Carl Levin and Michigan officials will host a meeting in Detroit today to talk about how tax breaks for historic preservation projects can help distressed cities. In a statement, Secretary Salazar says the Federal Historic Preservation Tax Incentives program has been used for 70 projects in Detroit since 2000. He says he wants to talk about how that program can help revitalize the city," Sarah Hulett reports.

Detroit Public Schools expect more cuts

"The Detroit Public Schools plans to shrink even more to wipe out its deficit by 2016. The district’s latest deficit elimination plan projects that enrollment will dip below 40,000 students. In order to 'stay ahead of the cost curve,' emergency financial manager Roy Roberts proposes some drastic cuts—including closing as many as 28 more schools," Sarah Cwiek reports.

Arts & Culture
1:22 pm
Thu January 24, 2013

Detroit hip hop legend J Dilla's record collection goes up for auction

J Dilla at a drum set
Thomas Angermann Creative Commons

A portion of the record collection belonging to Detroit artist J Dilla (James Yancey) is now for sale.

Since his death in 2006, the seminal hip-hop producer’s record collection had lain dormant in a storage unit maintained by his mother.

Now Dilla’s mother, Maureen “Ma Dukes” Yancey, is selling records from the collection through weekly Ebay auctions.

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4:11 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

Stateside: Fending off bitter temperatures with shelters

More Michigan residents are seeking help at homeless shelters and warming centers this winter.
SamPac creative commons

Reverend Chico Daniels and Reverend Faith Fowler are giving shelter to the homeless.

The following is a summary of a previously recorded interview. To hear the complete segment, click the audio above.

During these frigid weeks the warmth of a home is invaluable.

But for the homeless, these winter conditions pose life-threatening challenges.

Reverend Chico Daniels, president and chief executive of Mel Trotter Ministries and Cass Community Social Services  executive director, Reverend Faith Fowler, spoke with Cyndy about the necessity of homeless shelters in the winter.

“In the Cass Corridor we have a warming center for 50 homeless women and children. Beyond that we have two regular shelters and some transitional housing,” said Fowler.

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Arts & Culture
4:46 pm
Tue January 22, 2013

Stateside: Hostel Detroit gives a behind the scenes art tour of the city

Hostel Detroit is located in Corktown, Detroit
Emily Fox Michigan Radio

Michigan Radio's Emily Fox went to Hostel Detroit.

When someone from out of town travels to Detroit, the usual destinations might be the Fox Theater for a concert, or Comerica Park for a Tiger’s game. But how do you explore the city on a deeper level without the double decker busses and big tour companies that many big cities have?

When Hostel Detroit opened its doors in April of 2011, its mission was to give its guests a behind the scenes look of the city and take visitors to places that would otherwise be overlooked.

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Politics & Government
1:50 pm
Tue January 22, 2013

Detroit City Council, state officials close in on Belle Isle deal

The Belle Isle casino.
Mikerussell wikimedia commons

State and Detroit city officials appear close to an agreement on a deal that would turn Belle Isle into a state park, the Detroit News is reporting.

A City Council vote to approve the deal could come as early as Monday.

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Politics & Government
3:16 pm
Mon January 21, 2013

State lawmaker may push for higher city income tax rates in Michigan

Is it time to increase city income tax rates in Michigan?
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Some Michigan cities that collect an income tax might soon see a revenue boost.

A state lawmaker wants to increase the tax rate cities can charge.

State representative Andy Schor is looking at lifting the current state cap on city income tax rates.   Four cities (Detroit, Grand Rapids, Saginaw and Highland Park) are already allowed to collect more than the 1% limit on city residents and  .5% on non-city residents.

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Politics & Government
8:35 am
Fri January 18, 2013

Commentary: Why Detroit failed

Lessenberry commentary for 1/18/13

This week, people in the Detroit area have been giddy with excitement over what seems to be even a better North American International Auto Show than usual. But in a week the auto show will be over, and sooner or later, we’ll be painfully reminded that Detroit is still teetering on the edge of insolvency.

Lately, the city council has been making some rational or semi-rational moves aimed at staving off the loss of political control. And indeed, the Governor seems to have slowed what once looked like a quick march to the appointment of an emergency manager.

Still, it is hard to see how a state takeover of the city can eventually be avoided, given what my students would call Detroit’s “ginormous” problems balancing its budget and the ticking time bomb of 12 billion in unfunded liabilities.

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Politics & Government
2:55 pm
Thu January 17, 2013

Detroit attempts to increase revenue with income tax amnesty plan

Mayor Bing announced Detroit's plan for an income tax amnesty program.
Kate Davidson Michigan Radio

On Tuesday, the city of Detroit will begin an income tax amnesty program in an attempt to recoup lost revenue.

The program will allow individuals and companies to pay off outstanding debts without penalty if done so before February 16.

Matt Helms of the Detroit Free Press has more:

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