Detroit

Politics
1:49 pm
Fri February 3, 2012

State Rep. Howze plans run for Detroit mayor

State Rep. Lisa L. Howze.
Facebook

DETROIT (AP) - State Rep. Lisa L. Howze plans to run for Detroit mayor in 2013.

The Democrat announced Friday that she wouldn't seek reelection to her House seat this year and instead would run for mayor of Michigan's largest city.

Howze says her experience as a certified public accountant and finance professional would be key for the financially struggling city. She says her legislative experience in Lansing would be pivotal in gaining support that the city needs from the state.

The office of Detroit Mayor Dave Bing had no comment Friday on the announcement.

Changing Gears
4:44 pm
Thu February 2, 2012

Our How-To Guide for making a hardscrabble, gritty, post-industrial documentary about Detroit

The Michigan Central Depot is a must-have shot for any documentary about Detroit.
user trevorpatt Flickr

Detroit is a city that fascinates a lot of people.

Its story is not a simple one, though it has sometimes been a dramatic one. So maybe it’s not surprising that we seem to hear every week about a new documentary film being made about Detroit.

Changing Gears hasn’t had a chance to see all of these documentaries, but we’ve heard about an awful lot of them.

And we’ve noticed some patterns that we thought could be helpful in case you ever decide to make a documentary about the Motor City.

So, here is our DIY guide for how to make a Detroit documentary:

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Detroit
2:19 pm
Thu February 2, 2012

Detroit Mayor Bing and some unions reach tentative deal on concessions

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing says a tentative deal has been reach with some of the city's unions.
screen from City of Detroit video

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing and a coalition of  "non-uniform" unions in the city have announced an agreement that could help stave off a takeover by a state-appointed emergency manager.

Michigan Radio's Sarah Cwiek will have more on this story later today.

The coalition of unions and Mayor Bing released this joint statement this afternoon:

JOINT STATEMENT FROM MAYOR DAVE BING AND COALITION CO-CHAIRS ON TENTATIVE AGREEMENT

Members of the City’s non-uniform coalition of unions reached a tentative agreement with Mayor Bing and his negotiating team last night.

This tentative agreement is the first meaningful step in achieving the necessary concessions and structural changes to resolve the city’s financial crisis.

“The tentative agreement we’ve reached is not just about concessions. It’s about how labor and management can work together in a fair and constructive way,” said Mayor Dave Bing. “The agreement provides checks and balances that hold both unions and my administration accountable.”

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Arts/Culture
1:33 pm
Thu February 2, 2012

Artpod: Film and fashion in Michigan

mconnors, gracey morgueFile

Lots of news packed into this week's Artpod!

We learn about Michigan's burgeoning garment industry, and we get an update on how one of the state's biggest movie studios is doing (hint: not too well.) Plus, we talk with the director of the new documentary, After the Factory.

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Arts/Culture
1:19 pm
Thu February 2, 2012

Michigan group travels to Turkey to tout state's emerging garment industry

Could Michigan's garment industry be the next big thing for the state?
user gracey morgueFile

A small group of Michigan designers and economic development officials are headed to Turkey for a week-long trade trip.

The group believes Michigan’s garment industry is up-and-coming, and they hope the trade trip will spur on partnerships with Turkey’s textile suppliers and buyers.

Eleanor Fuchs believes the garment industry "has the potential to be a multi-million if not billion dollar industry here in Michigan."

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Politics
6:59 pm
Wed February 1, 2012

Detroit seeks to prevent fire deaths, cut costs

User RickM2007 flickriver.com

The Detroit Fire Department is aiming to save lives—and money—by preventing heating-related home fires.

Fire officials say there’s a “noticeable peak” in fire-related deaths in the winter months--largely due to people improperly using space heaters and other heat sources, like propane tanks.  19 people died in the winter months last year.

Detroit fire captain Christopher Dixon says that’s a tough but unfortunate calculation many Detroiters make each month.

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Midwest Migration
3:47 pm
Mon January 30, 2012

After a reluctant move, finding the right cultural vibe in Portland, Ore.

Changing Gears' Midwest Migration” project is featuring the stories of former Midwesterners – people who have left region since the 2008 recession.

Name: Zoe Johnson
Midwest Home: Detroit, MI
New Home: Portland, OR

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Auto/Economy
1:29 pm
Mon January 30, 2012

Quicken Loans founder buys historic Detroit site

DETROIT (AP) - Quicken Loans founder and chairman Dan Gilbert says his venture capital firm is buying downtown Detroit's historic Federal Reserve Building.

Gilbert said Monday that he hasn't landed a tenant for the 176,000 square-foot building but believes it's ideal for one occupant. The original building was constructed in 1927 and an eight-story annex was added in 1951.

The purchase price wasn't disclosed for the building, which has been vacant since 2004.

In the past year, Gilbert's Rock Ventures LLC has bought nine buildings, three parking structures and one lot with an aim to create an entrepreneurially focused, technology district.

The Cleveland Cavaliers owner made the announcement from the M@dison Building, a five-story structure Rock Ventures bought and spent $12 million renovating. Other holdings include the Chase Tower and First National Building.

Politics
6:28 am
Mon January 30, 2012

Poll: Michigan voters split on emergency managers

A poll says voters are about evenly divided over whether Michigan should keep or repeal its new law extending the use of state-appointed emergency managers for communities and school districts facing financial problems.

The poll released Sunday shows 45 percent of the Michigan voters questioned say they would vote to repeal the new law, while 42 percent would vote to keep it.

The state is considering whether to name an emergency financial manager for Detroit. Fifty percent of those questioned say Michigan should negotiate with Detroit officials, while 31 percent say it should appoint a manager.

Lansing-based EPIC-MRA polled 600 likely voters by phone Jan. 21-25 for the Detroit Free Press  and WXYZ-TV. The results have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Arts/Culture
3:00 pm
Sun January 29, 2012

"After the Factory" looks at life in post-industrial Detroit

user RichL morgueFile

A new documentary focuses on two cities: Detroit, Michigan and Lodz, Poland.

After the Factory” looks at how the two cities are trying to reinvent themselves in a post-industrial age.

Philip Lauri is the film’s director. He says cities around the world are struggling to answer the question: What happens after industrialization and manufacturing leaves?

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Arts/Culture
3:33 pm
Fri January 27, 2012

Detroit Symphony Orchestra offers free webcasts of concerts

The Detroit Symphony Orchestra is offering enhanced webcasts of its concerts this season.

A "Live from Orchestra Hall" webcast will be held tomorrow night January 28, beginning at 7:50 p.m. Participants have to register before watching.

More from the Associated Press:

The Detroit Symphony Orchestra is introducing a new webcast player designed to make online concert viewers feel as if they're in Orchestra Hall.

More than 30,000 people from over 40 countries are expected to view Saturday's high-definition "Live from Orchestra Hall" webcast.

The DSO says it's the only U.S. orchestra to offer a free series of webcasts.

The Symphony says the webcast player "mimics the actual interior" of Orchestra Hall. Dimming controls allow the virtual viewer to adjust lighting.

Saturday's webcast will feature a performance of Mozart's Horn Concerto No. 4.

The piece will be highlighted on a live repertoire tracker, and live program notes will post below the viewing window with trivia about the piece and the artists.

Here's a promotional video from the DSO about it's webcasts:

Auto/Economy
3:23 pm
Thu January 26, 2012

Quicken Loans' Gilbert says he's seeking to fill 500 internships and 300 new technolgy jobs

John Gallagher of the Detroit Free Press reports the head of Quicken Loans, Dan Gilbert,  is hoping to hire "500 college interns this summer in downtown Detroit."

Gilbert said he wants to move the city from having a "brain drain" to a "brain gain" - from the Freep:

Gilbert told the annual meeting of the Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau that hiring 250 interns last summer proved so successful that Quicken plans to double the program this year. He urged the hundreds of attendees at the Fillmore Theatre in Detroit to spread the word to college-age young people.

“We want them all,” he said.

Gilbert also told the group that the company is planning to hire 300 "new technology" employees.

Anyone interested in applying can visit Quicken's employment website to find out more.

Economy
2:57 pm
Wed January 25, 2012

Veterans business conference set for Detroit

DETROIT (AP) - A Veterans Affairs conference this summer in Detroit is expected to bring $3 million of spending to the area.

The National Veterans Small Business Conference will be held June 25-29 at Cobo Center. Organizers say more than 6,000 veterans, business owners and federal employees are expected to attend.

Nearly 5,000 people attended the conference last year in New Orleans.

Mayor Dave Bing and Veterans Affairs Chief of Staff John Gingrich announced the conference  Wednesday. Gingrich says the conference and a hiring fair "will provide veterans with on-the-spot job opportunities and interviews" in the public and private sectors.

A partnership of federal agencies and private industry attracted more than 4,100 veterans and resulted in over 2,600 on-the-spot interviews and more than 500 tentative job offers earlier this month in Washington D.C.

Detroit Finances
7:53 am
Wed January 25, 2012

Report: Detroit could lose $8.5M in income tax

Ifmuth Flickr

A published report says state law requires the cash-strapped city of Detroit to cut its income tax rates starting July 1 unless the Legislature steps in.

The Detroit Free Press reports Wednesday the requirement is from a 1998 law that was part of a deal to preserve a state revenue-sharing payment and would total about $8.5 million.

The newspaper cited an analysis from the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan.

Detroit sought a waiver from a state administrative board in December but was denied. Mayor Dave Bing says he will seek legislative help again because the city needs to keep "every
dollar" it can get.

A state-appointed review team is working to determine whether a financial emergency exists in Detroit, a step that could lead to an emergency manager.

Arts/Culture
9:29 am
Mon January 23, 2012

Detroit Science Center still looking for funds, bank asks for liquidation

The Detroit Science Center is seeking $10 million in order to reopen its doors, according to Crain's Detroit Business.
Detroit Science Center

When the Detroit Science Center closed its doors last September because of cash shortfalls, officials there said they would reopen in early October.

It proved to be wishful thinking.

The Center continues to look for ways to drum up enough money to reopen.

Crain's Detroit Business' Sherri Welch reports that one bank is calling for liquidation:

Sources tell Crain's that Citizens Bank of Flint is demanding the Detroit Science Center board bring in liquidators so that the bank can recoup some portion of the money owed to it by the science center through the sale of its contents.

Citizens holds the debt on a $1 million credit line which is bundled with a $4.8 million mortgage tied to the science center's 2001 expansion.

The bank did not return messages left Thursday afternoon.

Welch says sources tell her that GM and Ford have "promised money to help bail the science center out." $10 million is being sought to cover debt and operating expenses for both the Detroit Science Center and the Detroit Children's Museum.

The Detroit Children's Museum, which is housed in the Detroit Science Center, closed its doors earlier this month. A message on their Facebook page posted on January 19 says, "we are still working on a reopening plan with Detroit Public Schools. Please stay tuned for more details."

Arts/Culture
1:19 pm
Fri January 20, 2012

Public radio program 'On Being' focuses on Detroit

The "Feedom Freedom Growers" working in Detroit (photo posted on the "On Being" website).
Amy K. Senese www.amysenese.com

It seems the entire nation is watching what will happen in the Motor City.

A new documentary opens this weekend looking at Detroit as the epicenter of the fallout of the new global economy.

And now, in their latest episode, the public radio program On Being uses Detroit to look at rebuilding.

The program's producers write the program is:

A Detroit you probably haven't seen in the news. It's a city of vigor — a place where neighbors are reimagining work, food, and the very meaning of humanity. To meet these people is to gain perspective on all of our work, and how we might imagine possibility in our own community.

The program includes conversations with 96 year-old social activist Grace Lee Boggs about reinventing society.

You can listen to the program below, and let us know what you think. Write a review of the On Being episode in the comments section.

Arts/Culture
12:02 pm
Fri January 20, 2012

'Detropia' makes debut at Sundance Film Festival this weekend

The filmmakers say if people only take away the message that Detroit has problems after watching 'Detropia,' then "we've failed at our job."
screen grab from YouTube video

Yes, yes... there are a lot of abandoned buildings and sad reminders of better times in Detroit.

While some artists come to Detroit to gawk at the "ruin porn," as Michigan Radio's Jennifer Guerra has pointed out, the filmmakers of the new documentary "Detropia" say they hope people take away something other than a sense of awe at the decay.

Co-directors Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady say they want their audience to understand the people who stayed behind in Detroit:

"Initially when we went there, we were just looking for this Phoenix story. We were hoping that there were people on the ground there that were really just going to fix the place. But after spending a couple years filming there, and spending time with our characters we realized that was really just a very dishonest story," said Grady.

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detroit
11:25 am
Fri January 20, 2012

Detroit land use project opens walk-in office

The Detroit Works Project long-term planning team's "home base" is located in Eastern Market.
detroitworksproject.com

Detroit residents interested in Mayor Dave Bing’s planning project for the city have a place to go for information. The Detroit Works long-term planning team has just opened a walk-in office in Eastern Market.

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Economy
1:01 am
Mon January 9, 2012

Michigan home prices predicted to largely stabilize in 2012

Sold (but for how much?)
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

A new report predicts home prices in Detroit will continue to decline. But the report also finds Michigan home prices overall are stabilizing.   

Real estate industry analysts at Clear Capital predict nationally, average home sale prices will remain relatively unchanged in 2012. Prices nationally have been falling since the housing market crash of a few years ago.   

Detroit’s home sale prices have been declining faster than the nationally average and Clear Capital predicts another 5 percent drop this year.    

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Auto
5:47 pm
Thu January 5, 2012

Deal inked to keep auto show in Detroit through 2017

Detroit will hang on to the North American International Auto Show for at least another five years.

The deal signed today by auto show and Cobo Center officials should reverse years of suggestions that show sponsors might take their business elsewhere.

"It is our way of saying: 'Detroit, we are with you,'" said Bill Perkins, chairman of the 2012 show. 

A regional authority took control of Cobo away from the city two years ago. The move paved the way a $278 million renovation of the aging facility. Perkins says those renovations will put the facility on par with other top global venues, "helping us to maintain our position on the world auto stage as the show at which to introduce new and exciting vehicles."

The renovation is under way that will add space to Cobo and open views to the Detroit River. The facility is also getting new loading docks and other amenities. The auto dealers who put on the show had warned the city could lose the auto show if renovations were not made.

The show opens to the public January 14.

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