Detroit

Economy
3:09 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

Look at this interactive map for insight into one of Detroit's biggest problems

You can see how Detroit developed over time with this map. The pink parcels are the oldest, the blue a little newer, and the green are the newest.
screengrab of Loveland Technologies' WDWOT map.

The blighted buildings in Detroit have been a major stumbling block for decades.

How do you start revitalizing a city when so much of it is crumbling?

Current estimates put the number of abandoned buildings at somewhere between 78,000 and 90,000, but that's a guess. Nobody really knows the true number.

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Politics & Culture
4:50 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

Stateside for Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014

There are more than 70 virtual currencies in the marketplace.

You may have heard of the biggest players: Bitcoin, Ripples, and Litecoin, which are taking out the middleman and reinventing the meaning of money. The idea is gaining momentum among college students. Today, we heard how virtual money is opening doors for young Michigan entrepreneurs.

Then, school districts around the nation and right here in Michigan are talking about ways to accommodate transgender students. The ACLU of Michigan's LGBT Project (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) is already working on model policies.

And we spoke with some talented Michigan musicians about how their EP (extended play recording) reached No. 2 on the iTunes electronic charts with virtually no promotion.

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Stateside
4:37 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

Where are the best places to dine in Detroit?

Xochimilco Mexican restaurant.
Facebook

National leaders are recognizing Detroit’s food movement. Last week it was announced that the federal government is providing $150,000 to support local food cultivation in the Detroit area. The money will mostly go to farmers in the city to help fund infrastructure for growing crops.

Detroit has become a hub for urban farming, but the city is also home to a host of hidden and amazing restaurants. Let’s take a tour of those restaurants with writer Bill Loomis. He wrote the book, "Detroit Food: Coney Dogs to Farmers Markets." He joined us today to give us some recommendations.

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Transportation
8:21 pm
Mon February 17, 2014

Detroit to add surveillance cameras to city buses

DDOT is installing new surveillance cameras on buses
User flickr

Detroit is installing surveillance cameras on city buses.

Recent months have seen an increase in fighting and harassment on Detroit Department of Transportation buses, sparking a reaction from city officials and the police department.

A unit of undercover police officers is now riding some of DDOT's more problematic bus lines, according to Elvin Barren, commander of the Detroit Police Department's Organized Crimes Division.

He calls the new surveillance cameras a positive development in making Detroit's buses safer.

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Arts & Culture
10:32 am
Mon February 17, 2014

Detroit's artists on love, heartbreak, and sext messages

Childhood valentines on display.
Melanie Kruvelis Michigan Radio

By now you've hopefully recovered from your Valentine's weekend.

Maybe you spent it with a hot date, or just curled up in pajamas binge-watching "House of Cards."

In Detroit, you could have checked out an art show about love and heartbreak. It's made up entirely of people's breakup emails, sext messages, tween diary entries, and love letters.

And if that sounds cringe-worthy, you're right.

Anonymous submissions, from prison letters to breakup emails 

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Education
1:08 pm
Sat February 15, 2014

Expansion of school turnaround district stalled

Michigan allows the lowest-achieving 5 percent of public schools to be placed into a turnaround district. The district has been transferred to the EAA, a system running 15 troubled Detroit schools.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Despite a renewed push, expansion of a state turnaround entity for failing public schools beyond Detroit remains in trouble in the Legislature.

Some majority Republicans say it's too early to know whether the 15-school Education Achievement Authority is working.

Others contend a version of legislation floated this week doesn't guarantee a role for local intermediate school districts to run the worst schools instead. Critics also say there's no promise schools can return to their home districts once being improved.

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Politics & Culture
4:53 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

Stateside for Thursday, Feb.13, 2014

When it comes to support for emergency care services, the U.S. just barely squeaked by with a passing grade, at least according to a new state-by-state report card put out by the American College of Emergency Physicians.

And how did Michigan measure up, you might ask? Well, it turns out we're failing in access to emergency health care. We heard some recommendations about ways to move forward.

Then, we met a woman who’s trying to help people come together to have some uncomfortable, but enlightening, conversations about race, class and more.

And, we spoke with Daniel Howes about Tom Lewand, Detroit’s job czar.

Also, “Saturday Night Live” just hired its first black female cast member in five years. Will this bring more attention to other black comedians?

And, a Michigan historian gave us a closer look at how Michigan milkweed helped us in World War II.

Also, the Michigan Human Society has a new way to find homes for their animals: social media.

First on the show, how do you best measure the progress of students in Michigan's classrooms and, by extension, the effectiveness of their teachers?

It's one of the thorniest challenges being debated in Michigan education.

For years, the Michigan Education Assessment Program (MEAP) and the Michigan Merit Examination (MME) have been the assessment tools. Now, with the move to the Common Core Standards, it's out with the MEAP and MME and in with the what?

Districts around Michigan are gearing up for an online adaptive assessment test in the spring of 2015.

The Michigan Department of Education says the state has only one option for testing students on the Common Core State Standards for the next three years.

And that option is the Smarter Balanced Assessment – the SBA.

But state lawmakers haven't made that official.

We wondered how districts  are preparing for the SBA or whatever test they're told to administer next year.

William Heath is the superintendent of the Morrice Area Schools and principal at Morrice Junior and Senior High School located in Shiawassee County. He joined us today.

Stateside
4:53 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

Deep Dive Detroit helps start conversations about social justice

Lester Graham Michigan Radio

What discussions and conversations should we be having around Michigan that we are veering away from?

What's the price we're paying for not opening up and talking about hot-button issues like racism, poverty, food justice, LGBT rights, and so much more?

That's what our next guest asked herself, and that led her to co-found Deep Dive Detroit. Its mission is to "create a safe place for uncomfortable conversations between disparate groups."

Co-founder Lauren Hood joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
4:52 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

Detroit's jobs czar Tom Lewand claims to have the 'best job in America'

Peter Martorano Flickr

It’s time for our Thursday check-in with Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes.

His focus today was on someone who says he's got "the best job in America." Tom Lewand is the man in the Mike Duggan administration whose mission is to find jobs for Detroiters.

Daniel Howes joined us today to tell us more about this job.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
4:05 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

Are Detroit's female and minority entrepreneurs ignored?

Detroit's skyline.
Peter Martorano Flickr

There has been much talk – some of it here on this show – about opportunities for entrepreneurs in Detroit.

After more than a century of being dominated by big business – General Motors, Chrysler, Packard – the new look of business in Detroit is small, nimble, and full of innovation.

Some have raised the question whether there has been an inordinate amount of attention paid to white entrepreneurs – and male entrepreneurs.

Lisa Cook, an associate professor of economics and international relations at Michigan State University, says that many are ignoring women and ethnic minorities’ roles in Detroit’s entrepreneurial scene.

Listen to the full interview above. 

Opinion
4:02 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

Roads and sewers aren't sexy, but they need our attention

Back during the Great Depression, some radicals were strongly against helping starving people at all. They believed that when only their condition was so bad and so hopeless and they couldn’t stand it anymore, they would finally revolt and bring about a new society.

That never happened, of course, in part because the New Deal kept people alive and gave them hope in the future. For a long time, I thought the idea that you could get people to do the right thing only by making them suffer terribly was heartless.

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Stateside
3:26 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

Are Detroit's pet coke piles coming back?

Pet coke piles on the Detroit River.
James Fassinger Stillscenes


A meeting of the Detroit Board of Zoning Appeals yesterday resulted in some verbal firework, some confusion, and much scrutiny.

That's because the hearing involved a request from the company that was home to massive piles of petroleum coke last summer. The petroleum coke — or pet coke, as it’s called — is a byproduct of refining heavy crude oil brought in by pipeline from Alberta.

The people who had to live near four-story piles of pet coke, and breathe in clouds of pet coke dust last year before the stuff was moved out, are now watching to see if Detroit Bulk Storage is trying to get pet coke back on the Detroit Riverfront.

Dave Battagello has been tracking this story for The Windsor Star.

Listen to the full interview above.

Made In Michigan
3:10 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

Ball Park Franks: A Michigan-made tradition

Did you know Ball Park Franks came from Michigan?
user andrewmalone Flickr

Joel Stone, curator at the Detroit Historical Museum, tells us the history of Ball Park Franks.

Some might argue there's nothing more American than baseball. 

Well, did you know those Ball Park Franks that go with it are Michigan-made?

Back in 1958, the owners of Tiger Stadium were not happy with the hot dogs served at the games. So they asked Detroit-based company, Hygrade Food Corp., to come up with a better version. 

Gus Hauf, a Hygrade employee, had already developed his secret recipe for the hot dog that decade. His co-worker, Mary Ann Kirk, came up with the "Ball Park" name, cementing the relationship between baseball and hot dogs. For her out-of-the-park idea, Mary Ann earned $25 and a leather chair

"Michigan had kind of the best frankfurters in the country," said Joel Stone, the curator of the Detroit Historical Museum. "And the Ball Park was a perfect example of that."

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
4:17 pm
Tue February 11, 2014

University programs send students to Detroit communities

Detroit Skyline
JSFauxtaugraphy/Flickr

Getting college students out of their classrooms, out of the "academic bubble" and into communities, giving eager students an opportunity to take what they're learning and put it into practice, and, at the same time, hopefully help their communities certainly seem like a win-win for all sides.

And that's why students from Wayne State University and the University of Michigan are permeating the city of Detroit in many ways, through many programs.

We wanted to see what's been learned by all sides in these partnerships.

Jerry Herron, founding dean of the Honors College at Wayne State and UM professor Larry Gant joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Business
6:00 am
Tue February 11, 2014

High stakes for Michigan's pilot apprenticeship program

An engineer works with a student apprentice at Toyota.
Toyota UK Flickr

Tracy Samilton's report on apprenticeships in Michigan.

Michigan imports a lot of things from Germany, from craft beer to high-tech appliances.

Now, the state's trying to import Germany's highly successful apprentice system.

The hope is that employer-paid apprenticeships could address two problems: high-skilled jobs that go unfilled – and four-year college degrees that are becoming unaffordable.

One such program is already underway, teaching students how to manage automated assembly lines.

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Offbeat
4:21 pm
Mon February 10, 2014

Are stray animals taking over Detroit?

Researchers try to find the true number of stray animals in Detroit.
user: RTD Photography

The question of stray animals in the City of Detroit has been in the spotlight ever since Bloomberg News published a story painting Detroit as some place where "abandoned dogs roam in packs as humans dwindle." The article estimated the number of stray dogs at 50,000, a number that has turned out to be grossly inaccurate. 

Michigan State University political science professor Laura Reese has completed the first academic study of the problem, which hopes to shed light on the reality of the situation.

Listen to the full interview above. 

Stateside
4:20 pm
Mon February 10, 2014

Stateside for Monday, February 10, 2014

Belle Isle has become Michigan's 102nd State Park. What does this new chapter for Belle Isle mean for the city and people of Detroit?

Next, stray animals in Detroit are up for debate since a article by Bloomberg News put the number of strays at 50,000. A Michigan State University professor discusses the findings of her study on the problem. 

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Environment & Science
12:29 pm
Sat February 8, 2014

Gov. Snyder talks about economy, bridge and pandas (?)

The Detroit News says Snyder repeated many points from his State of the State address during an appearance at the Detroit Regional Chamber.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - Panda bears at the Detroit Zoo?

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder tells business leaders that he'd like to see it happen, although he acknowledged Friday that the bears are expensive and hard to obtain. He's been interested since traveling to China on trade missions.

The Detroit News says Snyder repeated many points from his State of the State address during an appearance at the Detroit Regional Chamber. He also repeated his criticism of the federal government for its failure so far to agree to a U.S. Customs plaza at a new bridge linking Detroit and Canada.

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Politics & Government
4:12 pm
Fri February 7, 2014

Mayor Duggan says President Obama asks for formal proposal to boost Detroit's economy

“The conversation was very fast paced. We exchanged a number of ideas on a number of strategies,” Duggan says of his lunch with President Obama
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

President Obama was doing more today in Michigan than talking about farm policy.

The president also met with Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan.  

Over a lunch of salmon and rice, Duggan says the two men talked about improving Detroit’s economy.

“The conversation was very fast-paced. We exchanged a number of ideas on a number of strategies,” says Duggan. “You are going to see a continued partnership between the Obama administration and the city of Detroit.”

Arts & Culture
10:54 am
Fri February 7, 2014

A project hopes to give away rehabbed houses in Detroit to aspiring writers

"The Apple House"
Andrew Kopietz

If we could transport ourselves back to Detroit at its prime, we might barely recognize the city: The streets bustled with a population of nearly two million, lights shone in the storefronts, and the neighborhoods were full.

Here how Detroit looked in the 1920s:

Today, the story is well known.

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