Detroit

Politics & Government
9:50 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Orr's plan for Detroit delayed

Kevyn Orr
Credit Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - Detroit's state-appointed emergency manager is delaying the release of his plan to shepherd the city through bankruptcy.

A spokesman for Kevyn Orr told The Associated Press on Thursday that no new date is being given for the report's release because the city is continuing mediation with creditors.

Orr had said he'd submit his plan to a federal bankruptcy judge in early January. The court-imposed deadline is mid-March.

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Stateside
8:43 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Detroit ruins become a playground for 'free skiers'

Clip from Poor Boyz Productions YouTube

After 40 years of decline, Detroit has become a haven of so called ruin porn, with people flocking from all over the country and the world to photograph the city’s many decaying buildings.

Once winter was in full swing, a video went viral on social media. And it’s an epic, not to mention adventurous example of ruin porn.

Stateside’s Emily Fox has more.

Listen to the full audio above.

Watch "Tracing Skylines":

Politics & Culture
5:18 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Stateside for Thursday, January 9, 2014

Last month, Governor Rick Snyder called for less coal power and more renewable energy in Michigan. Utilities are in a good position, but questions remain over whether lawmakers will be able to act before the state's current energy standards expire. We found out more on today's show.

Then, of all the physics professors in the United States, only 14% are women. Why do some female scientists give up? And what can be done to help female students and minorities succeed?

And, we heard from the BBC on how China had become the world leader for wind power.

Also, a group of “free skiers” have found a new ski location in the abandon buildings of Detroit.

First on the show, it's Thursday, time for the first check-in of this New Year with Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes.

Understandably, he has the auto industry on his mind as we prepare for next week's opening of the North American International Auto Show. He got an early look at the show, and he joined us today to discuss it.

Stateside
5:14 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

How gay neighborhoods could help rebuild Detroit

Peter Martorano Flickr

We've had many ideas and proposals floated for ways to rebuild Detroit to help it back from the depths of bankruptcy.

But there has been one group, it could be argued, that has been overlooked in these conversations: the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

And that is quite an oversight, considering that, as my next guest writes in Slate, "gays and lesbians are known to be drivers of gentrification.”

And as the CEO and president of the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation says about Detroit, "bring on more gentrification!"

Joining me is Ross Benes, journalist and researcher. His piece for Slate is titled "The Latest Plan to Save Detroit: Build a Gay Neighborhood.”

And we're joined by Curtis Lipscomb. He's the executive director of KICK in Detroit.

*Listen to the audio above.

Transportation
4:36 pm
Sat December 21, 2013

Below-ground work starts on Detroit light rail

Artist's conception of proposed Woodward Avenue light rail line
Credit M-1 Rail Detroit

DETROIT (AP) - Below-ground utility relocation is underway on a 3.3-mile light rail system that will run from Detroit's riverfront to the city's New Center area.

Officials for the M-1 Rail say crews are moving or replacing water catch basins, storm manholes and water main gate valves along Woodward Avenue.

The work is the initial step toward full construction activities on the streetcar system and is not expected to prevent customer access to local businesses.

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Stateside
10:24 am
Fri December 20, 2013

Detroit News columnist talks about Duggan and Bing

Dave Bing in the office he'll be leaving soon.
Kate Davidson Michigan Radio

In less than two weeks, Detroit will have a new mayor.

Mike Duggan's term begins January first. Outgoing Mayor Dave Bing has been making his "farewell tour" around Detroit.

What is the Bing legacy? And what might we expect from his successor?

We turned to Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes for some perspective.

Listen above.

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Stateside
3:07 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

Exploring "Ballroom Culture" in Detroit

The cover of Marlon M. Bailey’s book.
UM Press

What is “Ballroom Culture”? Well, a surface definition might be a culture that centers on a competition where black LGBT individuals dress, dance and vogue - competing for prizes and trophies.

But there is more to Ballroom Culture as my next guest spells out in his new book "Butch Queens Up In Pumps: Gender, Performance and Ballroom Culture in Detroit.”

Marlon Bailey is an Associate Professor of Gender Studies and American Studies at Indiana University. And he brings another perspective to his writing -- that of a black gay man who grew up in Detroit and who was deeply involved in Ballroom Culture.

Listen to the interview above.

Opinion
10:18 am
Thu December 19, 2013

Finding the hidden and fascinating stories in Detroit

Lessenberry commentary for 12/19/13

A few years ago, I had a student named John Carlisle who graduated and got a job as a reporter and then editor for a bunch of weekly suburban newspapers. He was very good at it, and he was also bored. So in his spare time, he began roving around Detroit, boldly going to places where nice suburban white kids have almost never gone before.

He met a guy called Jay Thunderbolt who had his own personal strip club in his house. He met a blues musician who kills and eats raccoons, and a civil rights icon who runs her own chicken farm in the old Irish neighborhood of Corktown.

Carlisle was fascinated. These stories had no place in the little newspapers he edited, so he began writing them for the Metro Times, an alternative paper in Detroit. To avoid any conflict with his day job, he wrote them under the pseudonym “Detroitblogger John."

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Opinion
8:27 am
Fri December 13, 2013

Getting the true picture of blight in Detroit

Lessenberry commentary for 12/13/13

Though Glenda Price has been in Detroit barely 15 years, it is hard to imagine the city without her. A Philadelphia native, she first came to town as president of Marygrove, a small, struggling Catholic college on the city’s west side. Now in her mid-70s, Price is both a skilled fundraiser and a visionary who can see around corners.

Though neither Catholic nor a Detroiter, thanks to development skills and an ahead-of-its time distance learning program, she helped revitalize Marygrove before retiring seven years ago. She could have gone anywhere after that.

She'd had careers in medical technology and as provost and dean of prominent universities. But she had fallen in love with Detroit, and elected to stay. You may not know her, but those who run things do.

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Politics & Culture
4:56 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

Stateside for Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

Renewable resources, such as wind and solar, are likely to supply 10% of Michigan electricity by 2015, as state law mandates. On today’s program, we looked at a recent report that says we could be doing more, boosting the number to 30% by 2035.

Then, the losing streak of Medora, Indiana's high school basketball team compelled two Michigan filmmakers to move there, and to tell the story of this small industrial town and the people who live there.

And, federal Judge Stephen Rhodes gave Detroit the go-ahead to slash its public pension and healthcare benefits. What will this mean for Detroit retirees?

First on the show, it was one year ago this day that the State Legislature and Governor Rick Snyder passed a set of bills into law that made some very contentious history in our State.

On December 11th, 2012, Michigan became the nation's 24th right-to-work state.

The laws took effect in March, making it illegal to force workers to pay union dues as a condition of employment.

One year later, has right-to-work changed Michigan?

We were joined for this discussion by Michigan State University economist Charley Ballard, and, from the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, Wendy Block.

Economy
4:40 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

What would cutting pensions mean for future Detroit retirees?

user: jodelli Flickr

Federal Judge Stephen Rhodes gave Detroit the go-ahead to make cuts to public pension and healthcare benefits.

Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr maintains that Detroit's pension funds are unfunded by $8 billion. That's a big chunk of the city's $18 billion in overall debts and long-term liabilities. 

So what will happen to future pensions?

Cynthia Canty spoke with Alicia Munnell about the possibility of cutting pensions for future city retirees. Munnell is the director of the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College.  

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Politics & Culture
4:53 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

Stateside for Monday, December 9th, 2013

The state House is expected to take up a controversial telecommunications bill. 

The measure would let AT&T end traditional landline phone service as long as there is Internet phone service that can take its place. But, in some rural areas in Michigan, Internet phone service can be spotty. On today's show, we took a look at what the legislation could mean for you.

Then, could private philanthropy save the art at the DIA?

And, how would Shakespeare’s play King Lear look like if it were set in Flint? One professor and her students found out.

Also, we spoke to meteorologist Mark Torregrossa about which parts of the state will be getting snow this week.

First on the show, what happens when a child is struggling to read at his or her grade level?

In too many cases, the student moves up a grade anyway and the struggle continues, resulting in high school graduates who are poor, ineffective readers. And that can impact that student's chances of going to college and then getting a job that provides a good level of pay over a lifetime.

There's a package of bills sponsored by Holland Republican Representative Amanda Price now working through the State that tries to tackle this problem. It's called the "read-or-flunk law."

In a nutshell, if third-grade kids aren't reading, hold them back.

Ron French reported on the pros and cons of these bills for Bridge Magazine, and he joined us today to discuss the issue.

Stateside
4:21 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

Former Wayne State professor donates $5 million to the DIA and Detroit retirees

DIA

There's been a new development in the unfolding story about Federal Judge Gerald Rosen and his bid to protect the DIA collection and the pensions of Detroit city retirees.

Judge Rosen is serving as the mediator in the Detroit bankruptcy case. We've heard how he is trying to craft together a plan wherein at least 10 national and local charitable foundations would chip in to create a $500 million fund, a fund that could be leveraged to not only protect the DIA treasures but to lessen the pain of retiree pension cuts.

Late last week, a former Wayne State Chemistry professor stepped forward with an offer.

Dr. A. Paul Schaap developed a molecule that created light through chemistry. His discovery proved very useful in a wide range of medical tests. He then founded the company Lumigen, and he made many millions as a biotech entrepreneur.

Over the years, Paul Schaap has given many millions back to Wayne State, to Hope College, to professors and researchers. Now, Paul Schaap is donating $5 million to help the DIA and the city retirees.

Dr. A. Paul Schaap joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Arts & Culture
3:24 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

After 42 years, the hero of Detroit's Opera steps aside

David DiChiera has made the Michigan Opera Theatre his life's work. Now, he'll be handing some of those reins off to a new CEO.
http://www.michiganopera.org/leadership/david-dichiera/ Michigan Opera Theatre

The man who helped turn the Michigan Opera Theatre into one of Detroit's most prestigious arts centers, is stepping aside as general director after 42 years.

David DiChiera is an institution in Detroit: he started the Opera in 1971 and he's been running it ever since.

And it's thanks to his fundraising efforts that Detroit even still HAS an Opera, given how hard the recession hit the arts.

Now DiChiera is 78, has prostate cancer, and is bringing in a new president and  CEO to run the financial side.

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Politics & Government
6:53 pm
Sat December 7, 2013

New mayor's plans include speedier house demolitions in Detroit

DETROIT (AP) - Mayor-elect Mike Duggan says he wants to reduce the time it takes to tear down vacant houses as part of his plan to revitalize distressed Detroit neighborhoods.

The Detroit News reports that Duggan also told about 50 people attending the ARISE Detroit! annual breakfast Saturday that between state and federal programs designed to attack blight "there is more than enough money" available to transform the city.

The former Detroit Medical Center chief was elected in November and will take over as mayor in January.

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Politics & Government
9:00 am
Sat December 7, 2013

Lessenberry talks Rand Paul's ideas for Detroit, Snyder's approval rating and student loans

This Week in Review, Rina Miller and Jack Lessenberry talk about how Rand Paul thinks Detroit should lower it's tax rate in order to stabilize, what's behind Governor Rick Snyder's 36 percent approval rating, and how the average Michigan graduate has $29,000 in student loans.

Click here to listen to the interview

Politics & Government
8:44 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

Bankruptcy judge gives go-ahead for Detroit lighting plan

DETROIT (AP) - A federal judge has cleared the way for Detroit's Public Lighting Authority to immediately sell $60 million in bonds to begin fixing thousands of broken streetlights.

Judge Steven Rhodes issued his order Friday - three days after he allowed Detroit to become the largest U.S. city to enter bankruptcy.

Total financing for the lighting plan is expected to reach $210 million.

Rhodes' ruling also means $12.5 million in annual utility taxes approved by the state Legislature to back the bond sale will not be affected by the bankruptcy.

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Opinion
8:38 am
Fri December 6, 2013

Remembering Nelson Mandela and Detroit

Lessenberry commentary for 12/6/13

Not many people remember it now, but there was a day in the remarkable life of Nelson Mandela when he came to Detroit. The Motor City went, predictably, wild over him. They filled Tiger Stadium to see him at 10:00 on a Thursday night in June.

He was welcomed by Mayor Coleman Young, and enthusiastically hugged Rosa Parks. He met stars of Motown, politicians and labor leaders, and visited workers on the line at a Ford assembly plant.

How many people know that Nelson Mandela, leader of a revolution, international icon of freedom, once went to an assembly line in Dearborn and told workers, “I am your comrade."

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Stateside
4:47 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

Will the DIA survive Detroit's bankruptcy? A Detroit News columnist shares his thoughts

The Detroit Institute of Arts.
Flickr

What’s going to happen with the Detroit Institute of Arts?

That’s the question on the minds of many Michiganders after the city of Detroit was deemed eligible for Chapter 9 bankruptcy on Tuesday.

Daniel Howes, a business columnist with The Detroit News, talks with us about all things DIA — a recent appraisal of the institute’s collection, Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr’s interest in the museum, and a possible rescue plan cooked up by a federal judge.

Listen to full interview above. 

Business
8:43 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Detroit's bankruptcy & the municipal bond market

Downtown Detroit (file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The judge’s decision to let the city of Detroit pursue Chapter Nine bankruptcy protection could have an effect on the municipal bond market.

Municipal bonds have long been viewed as one of the safest investments out there. But bond holders may be among the biggest losers in Detroit’s bankruptcy.

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