Detroit

Stateside
3:26 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

A former housing project challenges Detroit's urban planners

The Brewster-Douglass Projects.
Amber Leigh Flickr

To those of us who have seen those decaying buildings along I-375 near downtown Detroit, it’s pretty difficult to realize that the Brewster-Douglass Projects were once seen as a shining example of public housing.

First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt turned up on Sept. 7, 1935 for the groundbreaking. And when Brewster homes opened in 1938, they became the America’s first public-housing project built for African-Americans.

Brewster-Douglass went on to become home to names like Diana Ross, Mary Wilson, Florence Ballard, Smokey Robinson and Lily Tomlin.

The projects helped launch many blacks into the middle class.

Now the last phase of demolition is under way. No one will miss the crime-ridden, decaying housing project that sat empty since 2008. And now the question is: What should be done with the site?

We welcome June Manning Thomas. She’s an urban planner with the University of Michigan College of Architecture and Urban Planning. We also talk to her colleague, urban designer Roy Strickland.

Listen to the full interview above.

Politics & Culture
5:01 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

Stateside for Monday, March 31, 2014

When it comes to road repair, this winter has left Michigan in a state of despair. Where will the money come from to fill in the potholes and crater lakes that pepper our roads? Is it possible that the argument of funding will follow Democratic and Republican roads? Chris Gautz from Crain's Detroit joins us. 

We are joined today by a special guest from the BBC, Ros Atkins. Ros just produced an hour-long documentary that traces the lives of four girls in four countries to examine if there is anywhere in the world that truly treats women as equal to men. 

Is graffiti art, or vandalism? Nancy Derringer explored these questions in a recent article for Bridge Magazine that examines graffiti in places like Detroit, Pontiac and Flint. 

Listen to the full show above.

Arts & Culture
4:57 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

Graffiti: Is it art or a nuisance?

Graffiti inside Detroit's Fisher Body Plant.
user: memories_by_mike Flickr

When you drive through cities like Detroit, Pontiac, and Flint, graffiti can be found in unexpected and expected places.

The constant debate over graffiti is whether it should be seen as a nuisance, or as art. Does it signal signs of cultural revival? Is it that black and white?

Nancy Derringer explored those questions in a recent article for Bridge Magazine.

Listen to the full interview above.

Opinion
10:25 am
Mon March 31, 2014

The Ilitch family seeks a monopoly on the backs of taxpayers

Jack Lessenberry talks about Detroit's deal with the Ilitch family.

I’ve talked before about the sweetheart deal that the city of Detroit gave Mike Ilitch in connection with the new hockey stadium and entertainment complex being built in downtown Detroit.

The city is giving Ilitch’s Olympia Entertainment all the land they need, absolutely free. The taxpayers are also kicking in most of the cost of the project.

In return, the city gets nothing – not one dime of the parking or pizza or ticket sales revenue.

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Arts & Culture
7:00 am
Mon March 31, 2014

How diversity can help Michigan arts organizations

Gabriela Frank
Credit sphinxmusic.org

Gabriela Frank is probably not what comes to mind when you think of a contemporary classical music composer.  For starters, she considers herself a hippie.

“I was born in the 1970s in Berkeley, California, during the Vietnam protests," says Frank. "My dad was a nice Jewish boy from the Bronx who married a Peruvian woman from the coast. I’m also a woman and I have a hearing loss, so technically I’m disabled as well.”

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Economy
12:11 pm
Thu March 27, 2014

Here's a short list of the 8 Detroit creditors who will win and lose the most

Courtesy of Bridge Magazine

Long before Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr rolled out his proposal in February for paying back the city’s creditors, bankruptcy experts knew the pain would not be spread evenly.

Because so much of the city’s debt – nearly $6 billion owed to pay back loans for the city’s sprawling water and sewer department – cannot be reduced in bankruptcy court, the creditors feeling the brunt of the cuts are retirees and city employees.

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Sports
1:52 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

Detroit seeks proposals for former Tiger Stadium site

The site of the former Tiger Stadium in 2011.
user wyliepoon Wikimedia Commons

A baseball diamond is still there, but not much else. 

Now Detroit’s Economic Development Corporation wants to see proposals to redevelop the former site of Tiger Stadium.

The EDC wants to establish a new headquarters for a Detroit youth sports league, Detroit PAL, along with three zones for mixed-use development at the site in the Corktown neighborhood.

The proposed plan should also have a youth baseball diamond “in the same area as many legendary baseball stars played.”

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Arts & Culture
7:00 am
Mon March 24, 2014

Not just another movie about Detroit: Free Press Film Fest kicks off an experiment

On opening night, the festival audience filled most of the Fillmore Theater in Detroit.
Kate Wells

"One great movie can change you," the ads said. See if they're right: listen to the full story above.

I like movies. You like movies.

So let’s get together, watch some new documentaries about Detroit, and then talk with the people who actually have the power to fix some of the stuff that’s wrong in this city.

That’s the idea behind the first-ever Detroit Free Press Film Fest, which kicked off last week with a line stretched for blocks around the Fillmore Theater.

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Politics & Government
10:12 am
Sat March 15, 2014

Metal theft bill hung up despite push by legislative leaders

Leaders in Lansing remain hopeful a compromise is within reach this month.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Five years after Michigan targeted copper thefts plaguing cities like Detroit and disrupting railroads and utilities, plans to better restrict sales of stolen scrap metal are caught in a legislative fight.

Lawmakers are generally in agreement over giving law enforcement more tools to crack down on the problem.

But a provision to make people wait three days for payment for copper wire, air conditioners and catalytic converters is angering scrap buyers and dividing legislators.

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Arts & Culture
8:08 pm
Fri March 14, 2014

Is this a Banksy? Or did two Detroit guys do it?

The piece sits in the 555 Gallery in Detroit. Widely believed to be by Bansky, now two Detroiters say they did it.
Kate Wells

This next story might win for weirdest art mystery we've heard in a while.

For a few years, a Detroit art gallery has proudly displayed a big piece of street art.

It's widely believed to be by Banksy, the most famous, mysterious street artist working today.

But now that the gallery is trying to sell the piece, two local artists claim they are the real painters.

Read more
Stateside
10:48 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

Kevyn Orr reflects on his past year as Detroit's Emergency Manager

Kevyn Orr was appointed Emergency Manager one year ago tomorrow.
Michigan Radio

An interview with Detroit News Business Columnist Daniel Howes.

It's Thursday. Time for our weekly check-in with Detroit News Business Columnist Daniel Howes.

It’s hard to believe it will be one year ago tomorrow that Kevyn Orr was appointed Detroit's Emergency Manager. Orr sat down to talk to the Detroit News. What does he say about these past 12 months?

Daniel Howes joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
4:25 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

Why this guy is pitching Detroit at SXSW festival in Austin

A screenshot from Lowe Campbell Ewald video.
Lowe Campbell Ewald video. YouTube.

The South by Southwest festival is happening right now in Austin, Texas. It's where the cutting edge of music, technology and new thinking all come together.

And that's where our next guest has been busy pitching Detroit to all those creative entrepreneurs. Earlier this week, he hosted a session called "We're Moving to Detroit, and So Should You."

Iain Lanivich is the digital creative director of Lowe Campbell Ewald, and he joins us from Austin.

Listen to the full interview above.

Weather
3:43 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

Records may fall with the snow this week in Michigan

A winter storm bearing down on Michigan may push Detroit and Flint very close to breaking their all- time winter snowfall totals.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

All-time snowfall records could be broken this week in Michigan.

A storm blowing through the state tonight is expected to dump two to eight inches of snow.

What’s on the line this week may very well be bragging rights for generations of people in Flint and Detroit.

Flint is just about five inches short of its all-time snowiest winter. 82.9 inches fell during the winter of 1974-75. So far this winter, Flint has been buried under 77.3 inches of snow. 

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Investigative
7:00 am
Mon March 10, 2014

Being broke makes Detroit get creative

Credit Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Detroit's municipal bankruptcy has made the world aware of what Michigan already knew. Detroit is broke. No matter how it turns out, bankruptcy is not going to change things very quickly. Detroit will still be broke. That’s going to force the city to get creative.

Let’s get one thing out of the way: the state of Michigan is not going to bail out Detroit.

And the state of Michigan is not going fully restore revenue sharing from the sales tax with cities such as Detroit.

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Stateside
4:53 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

The lessons Detroit can learn from the rebuilding in New Orleans

New Orleans
Ron Reiring Flickr

When Hurricane Katrina slammed into New Orleans on August 29, 2005, we here in Michigan – along with the rest of America – watched in horror and shock. The scenes from New Orleans were practically beyond comprehension.

It's been eight and a half years since Katrina. New Orleans is still rebuilding and still recovering.

And, in the process, lessons have been learned that might benefit Detroit as it struggles back from bankruptcy and years of shrinking resources and population.

Writer Campbell Robertson's recent piece in the New York Times, A Lesson for Detroit in Efforts to Aid a New Orleans Devastated By Katrina, gives Detroiters and decision-makers much food for thought.

Robertson joined us today.

*Listen to the audio above.

Opinion
12:31 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Shrinking Detroit might be a solution to the city's intractable problems

Detroit’s bankruptcy process, like this long and dreadful winter, is unlikely to end anytime soon. While it is still officially a “fast-track” bankruptcy, it is definitely a muddy track.

As of now, federal bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes has a hearing June 16 to consider the city’s “plan of adjustment” bankruptcy proposal, but that now seems certain to be pushed back.

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Economy
10:30 am
Thu March 6, 2014

A reminder of Detroit in the Quebec town of Lac-Mégantic

Lac-Mégantic almost eight months after a train derailed and exploded in the middle of the town.
Tamar Charney Michigan Radio

When I realized I was vacationing less than an hour from Lac-Mégantic last week, I grabbed my passport and went.

I somehow needed to see for myself what happened there.

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Politics & Government
3:48 pm
Mon March 3, 2014

Detroit computer security breach affects 1,700 employees

Credit Morguefile

Detroit officials revealed today a computer security breach of files containing personal information of 1,700 past and current firefighters and EMS workers.

Beth Niblock is Detroit's Chief Information Officer. She said the breach was caused by malware that froze access to the files.

Niblock said it does not appear that the employees' personal information is at risk. 

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Opinion
11:27 am
Mon March 3, 2014

How much will Detroit get from new Detroit Red Wings arena? Nothing.

We still don’t know how Detroit’s bankruptcy is going to play out. We don’t know how much pensions will finally be cut. We don’t know whether the state will kick in the funds needed to save the collections of the Detroit Institute of Arts.

But we do know two things.

In the end, a lot of people – pensioners – who don’t have much money now will have even less.

And we also know this: Bankrupt, poor Detroit and the state are going to spend more than $250 million to build a new hockey and entertainment arena for Mike Ilitch, who owns the Detroit Red Wings.

That’s more than half the entire cost of the project.

This is the second arena the city has helped build for the Red Wings. The team now plays in Joe Louis Arena, which was built 35 years ago.

They give a small cut of their proceeds to the city – about $7 million a year for Detroit, but once the new arena is finished, know how much the taxpayers will get? Nothing.

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Investigative
7:32 pm
Sat March 1, 2014

2,500 apply for city of Detroit jobs

On Friday 1400 people applied for the 350 jobs the City of Detroit is offering. On Saturday another 1100 submitted applications.
Credit Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

About 2,500 people showed up to apply for new city of Detroit jobs during a two-day job fair at Cobo Hall on Friday and Saturday.

On average, more than seven people applied for each job available.

Michael Hall is Detroit’s Director of Human Resources and Labor Relations.

“You know, we had 350 jobs that we listed. Anything from a GED to a CPA we’re looking for. So, we’ve had great candidates come through and some of those people will be called back for future interviews,” Hall said.

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