Detroit

Opinion
9:46 am
Wed July 18, 2012

Let Detroit go bankrupt: The famous line Romney never said

Charles Brown

The four most famous words that Mitt Romney never wrote are, “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt.”

You read that right.  Mitt Romney never wrote those words.  They were the headline of a New York Times op-ed column that was authored by Romney and published in the newspaper on November 18, 2008.

I doubt that most people could accurately recite so much as a sentence of the op-ed that Governor Romney actually wrote in that column.  All that anybody remembers is the headline, which I have discovered was written by a New York Times editor, not Governor Romney.

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Auto
1:31 pm
Tue July 17, 2012

Chrysler will idle Mack Avenue Engine II plant

The the 3.7-liter, V6 engine built at the Mack Avenue Engine II is used in Jeep Liberty vehicles, seen here.
Jeep Liberty Facebook.com

The Detroit Free Press' Brent Snavely reported today that Chrysler plans to close its Mack Avenue Engine II plant in Detroit this September. The company plans to replace the engine built there with a different one made in Chrysler plants in Trenton, Mich. and in Saltillo, Mexico, reports the Detroit News.

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Offbeat
4:23 pm
Mon July 16, 2012

A bird's-eye view of Detroit and the coming 'Drone Age'

The ArduCopter posted on DIY Drones can take pictures in the sky for $549.
DIY Drones

This drone doesn't shoot missiles, like the military's multi-million dollar flying death machines.

It just takes some amazing pictures (and can cost in the neighborhood of $500 to $1,000).

The video from the four rotor hobbyist helicopter was posted by YouTube user "Tretch5000."

Bill McGraw of Deadline Detroit reposted on the video late last night. He writes:

Tretch5000's drone buzzes over the green lawns and trees of Belle Isle. 

It glides between floors of an abandoned factory and out over a meadow of discarded tires. 

It zig-zags among the pillars of an old church that looks like a Roman ruin. 

It soars up the back, over the top and down the front of the Michigan Central Station in a dizzying trip that gives the viewer the sensation of falling -- or flying -- off the roof.

Here's the video, flying to the sounds of Ruby Frost and Mt. Eden's "Oh That I Had":

Remotely controlled flying machines are nothing new, but their capabilities are significantly increasing while their costs are significantly decreasing.

Wired Magazine's Editor in Chief Chris Anderson attributes the "drone" boom to burgeoning smart phone technology in his self-promoting piece "How I Accidentally Kickstarted the Domestic Drone Boom." (One poster commented, "Next up: How I kickstarted the Internet, by Al Gore.")

Anderson writes:

—sensors, optics, batteries, and embedded processors—all of them growing smaller and faster each year. Just as the 1970s saw the birth and rise of the personal computer, this decade will see the ascendance of the personal drone. We’re entering the Drone Age.

And Anderson and his company hope to be there to capitalize on it.

Right now, these "drones" can't really be drone-like unless the Federal Aviation Administration steps in.

FAA rules require that UAS (or unmanned aircraft systems) have to be within the operator's line of sight, have to stay under 400 feet, have to be flown during the day and have to be away from airports.

To be a "drone" implies that it flies somewhere either far from the person controlling it, or on some type of pre-programmed auto-pilot course.

With increasing pressure mounting (the government says in the United States alone, approximately 50 companies, universities, and government organizations are developing and producing over 155 unmanned aircraft designs), the FAA is looking into how it can regulate the coming "Drone Age" safely. They expect to have new rules by 2015.

Who knows? In 2015, Michigan Radio might finally be able to afford its first news chopper.

1:23 pm
Mon July 16, 2012

Infographic: Auto cities and where they stand

Lead in text: 
Check out this infographic that shows how the top auto-producing cities around the world stack up against Detroit and Flint.
  • Source: Freep
  • | Via: Elaine Ezekiel
A look at the world's vehicle production sites.
Economy
1:21 pm
Mon July 16, 2012

Forbes: Detroit ranks 3rd in adjusted wages compared to national average

Detroit
user andrea_44 Flickr

Detroit has the third highest average annual income out of the 51 largest metropolitan areas in the country.

Shocked? Let me explain.

Forbes Magazine and the Praxis Strategy Group re-ranked the incomes in these 51 cities after adjusting for cost of living. Not surprisingly, it turns out a dollar goes a lot farther in Detroit than in, say, New York City or Boston.

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Politics & Government
1:47 pm
Fri July 13, 2012

Michigan to host Dem meeting before national convention

Michigan Democratic Party Chairman Mark Brewer
Dwight Burdette Wiimedia Commons

The Democratic National Committee will hold a Platform Committee meeting next month in Detroit, a major stop on the road to party's September convention in Charlotte, N.C.

The Democratic Party announced yesterday that the platform committee will meet Aug. 10 through 12. Participants are expected to discuss the party's draft platform, submit amendments and present it to convention delegates at the Charlotte convention.

Michigan Democratic Party Chairman Mark Brewer said the decision to hold the meeting in Detroit highlights Michigan's political importance.

In a statement on the Michigan Democratic Party website, Brewer said,

The Platform Committee has the critical task of drafting and voting on a platform to present to the delegates at the Democratic National Convention in September, and we are honored to host the committee members in Detroit. This distinction shows how important Michigan is to the Democratic Party and to the 2012 election effort. We welcome the elected officials and dignitaries of the committee to Michigan.

The 2012 Republican National Convention will be held in Tampa, Fl. this August.

-Elaine Ezekiel, Michigan Radio Newsroom

Politics & Government
11:39 am
Fri July 13, 2012

Detroit financial board OKs plan for union cuts

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing
Mayor Dave Bing Facebook.com

A board created to help Detroit Mayor Dave Bing repair the city's broken finances has approved his plan to make more than $100 million in cuts to the unionized workforce.

The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press report the financial advisory board took its first major steps toward restructuring the city's finances yesterday. The plan calls for putting in place savings that include a 10 percent wage cut and significant changes to health care and work rules.

Most are similar to tentative agreements reached earlier this year with unions.

The City Council is expected to consider the plan next week, but the financial board can implement the actions without council's approval.

The nine-member board was formed under a consent agreement between the city and state.

Education
10:43 am
Thu July 12, 2012

How do stereotypes shape your view of Detroit?

Young journalists in Detroit work to break stereotypes about what life in some of the city's under-reported neighborhoods is like.

Most of what people think they know about what poor people look like and what their problems are is clouded by stereotypes.

I met a group of young journalists in Midtown Detroit looking to paint a more accurate version of what life in a low-income community is really like. They write for a project called “Our life in the D.” Most of them are in high school and from neighborhoods in Detroit that don’t attract much money or attention.

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Environment & Science
11:33 pm
Wed July 11, 2012

Tracking invasive species in Detroit, one tree at a time

Ecological surveyor Chris Kort leans back to get a better view of a tree he's cataloging. Kort has counted over 13,000 trees in Detroit since March.
Meg Cramer

There’s so much to know about what’s happening in the world around us, and that information gives us insights into patterns and changes that could have a big impact on our lives.

But finding these trends requires a lot of data – and somebody has to go out and get it.

Chris Kort is one of those people. He's an ecological surveyor counting trees in Detroit. For every tree he counts, Kort marks where the tree is, then he adds details like its size, species, and health.

Kort does this all day long, walking up and down Detroit streets, counting trees on city property.

“Since March, I have surveyed 13,468 trees. And counting,” he says.

The data from this survey will go to the city, the state, and scientists at the U.S. Forest Service. It will tell a story about what’s happening to trees in the city.

A database like this has to be built manually by people like Chris Kort, tree by tree.

Kort is like the human version of the Google street view car, roving up and down blocks and adding to his map. He notices details that most people miss. There are some things you can only find on foot. 

“I’ve actually been collecting pennies on the sides of the roads for, like four months," says Kort, "I cashed in 2,200 pennies yesterday. People just don’t pick them up anymore apparently.”

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Arts & Culture
3:17 pm
Wed July 11, 2012

DIA displays more than 100 works by Picasso and Matisse in new exhibit

Matisse - Circus, 1943
Pamela Marcil Detroit Institute of Arts

 

The Detroit Institute of Arts opened a new exhibition today comprised of works by Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse.

"Picasso and Matisse: The DIA's Prints and Drawings" will run through January. Showcasing the institute's collection, the exhibit explores the artists' stylistic progression, with 110 prints and drawings across a broad range of media.

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Economy
3:23 pm
Mon July 9, 2012

Report: Black unemployment down in metro Detroit

Shawn Wilson Wikimedia Commons

A new report says African American unemployment fell last year in metro Detroit, even as it remains well above the unemployment rate for white workers in the same region.

The Economic Policy Institute says African Americans in the Detroit area had an 18.1 percent jobless rate in 2011, down from 25.4 percent the year before.

This 7.3 percent decline in Detroit, Warren and Livonia's  collective unemployment rates was by far the largest decrease in African American unemployment by percentage in any of the 19 metropolitan areas the report studied. 

However, the report found last year's lowered African American unemployment rate in metro Detroit still sat 2.2 percent above the respective national rate of 15.9 percent.

In fact, the region has the fourth highest African American unemployment rate nationally, trailing metropolitan Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Chicago.

The report also says the gap between white and black unemployment was smaller in Detroit than the nation as a whole. It says African Americans were 1.8 times more likely than whites to be unemployed in the Detroit area, while they were 2.2 times more likely nationwide.

-Elaine Ezekiel, Michigan Radio Newsroom

Education
10:04 am
Sat July 7, 2012

Teachers face uncertain futures in three Michigan school districts

DETROIT (AP) - Teachers in three school districts run by the state are laid off with many not knowing if they'll have jobs when classes begin.

Charter operators have yet to be selected to run new systems in Muskegon Heights and Highland Park.

State-appointed emergency managers have shopped Muskegon Heights in West Michigan and Highland Park near Detroit to charter operators as part of plans to pull the cash-strapped districts from near-fiscal ruin.

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Economy
2:46 pm
Tue July 3, 2012

Feds to auction Lafayette Towers in Detroit

Mies van der Rohe Residential District. The foreclosed Lafayette Towers, seen on the right, will be auctioned off later this month.
user Mikerussell Wikimedia Commons

The Detroit landmark Lafayette Towers has fallen into foreclosure and is set to be auctioned by federal authorities in two weeks.

The Detroit News says financial details were not immediately available in the notice posted by the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development.

Successful bidders on the luxury high-rise will need to post more than $2.5 million in escrow for an estimated $10 million in repairs required to be completed in 18 months.

The apartment towers were constructed in the 1960s. The two 22-story, river-view buildings contain 584 units located on nearly 10 acres in the Mies van der Rohe Residential District.

The auction is set for 10 a.m. July 18 in the first floor of the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center.

Commentary
10:44 am
Tue July 3, 2012

Commentary: Black Racism?

Several weeks ago, I was contacted by someone attempting to smear Congressman Hansen Clarke, who faces a tough primary race next month to try and keep his job.

The writer told me that he had uncovered the fact that the congressman’s father was from a different country and gave his son a different name, which he later changed. Well, not only had I known that, I had written about it.

Clarke has never made a secret of either that his father was from Pakistan. Nor was it a secret that the boy was named Molik Hashem, a name he later Anglicized.

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Health
8:22 pm
Mon July 2, 2012

"Dying before their time" in Detroit

Detroit residents over 50 are hospitalized more often and die earlier than people in other parts of the state.

That’s according to a new report, “Dying Before Their Time II: The Startling Truth of Senior Mortality in Detroit and Other Urban Michigan Communities.”

The difference between those two groups is starkest in the 50-59 age bracket.

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Politics & Government
9:35 pm
Thu June 28, 2012

Bing faces questions, criticism at "community conversation'

Dave Bing

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing took questions from Detroiters during a “community conversation” at city hall Wednesday night.

Bing answered a wide range of questions from citizens, ranging from concerns about blight and crime, to leaking pipes and building permits.

But he also deflected some questions to his top officials, nearly a dozen of whom flanked him in a city auditorium.

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Economy
12:26 pm
Thu June 28, 2012

Michigan cities continue to lose population

Here's a clue to where to find some former Michiganders.
citygirlgc.blogspot.com

Michigan cities continue to see their populations shrink.Where’s everyone going?  Texas, it seems.

The U.S. Census is out with new numbers today that show population shifts in the nation’s 715 largest cities. And the data is not good for Michigan.

Seven Michigan cities ranked at the bottom of the list of the nation’s cities with more than 50,000 residents.

According to the report, Dearborn, Detroit, Livonia, Westland and Taylor all saw their populations drop 1 percent from 2010 to 2011.

Flint, Battle Creek and Saginaw also posted sharp population declines.

These latest population losses come after Michigan posted a slight population decline between the 2000 and 2010 censuses.  

Meanwhile, Texas had eight of the top 15 fastest-growing cities during the past year, according to the U.S. Census.

Politics & Government
6:32 pm
Wed June 27, 2012

Federal grant expected to offset Detroit firefighter layoffs

A round of firefighter layoffs in Detroit might not be as severe as city officials announced earlier this week.

Michigan U.S. Senator Carl Levin says Detroit will be awarded a $22.5 million federal grant that would save most of the fire department jobs slated for layoff.

Word of the grant comes just a few days after the layoff announcement. The job cuts were to take effect at the end of July.

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Law
7:09 pm
Tue June 26, 2012

Mistrial declared in Detroit corruption case

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - A federal judge has declared a mistrial in the bid-rigging trial of a Detroit contractor whose business flourished when Kwame Kilpatrick was mayor.

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Politics & Government
2:00 pm
Tue June 26, 2012

Gov. Snyder's meeting with Baptist Ministers in Detroit disrupted

Michigan Gov. Snyder was in Detroit today talking about cooperatively coming up with a new vision for Detroit, but he wasn't met with cooperation by some.

The Detroit Free Press reports his meeting was disrupted by protestors.

A meeting between Gov. Rick Snyder and the council of Baptist Pastors ended abruptly this morning when a group of several dozen protesters disrupted the meeting with shouts about the emergency manager law.

“Are you going to make sure the repeal gets on the ballot?” one protester shouted, with several more taking up the chants.

After a few moments, Snyder was escorted out of the Bethel Baptist Church on the east side of Detroit.

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