Detroit

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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Stateside
4:42 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

Why is Detroit lacking in French influence?

Hurlbut Memorial Gate Detroit MI
Andrew Jameson wikipedia.org

A few centuries ago it was not uncommon to hear Detroit referred to as "The Paris of the Midwest."

Just look at the history of Detroit and you can see that there are good reasons to link Detroit and France. The city’s early settlers were, by and large, French and French Canadian. But unlike, say, Quebec, Montreal, or New Orleans, there is no special "French feel" to Detroit beyond some French street names.

We wondered why Detroit's modern identity is so lacking in that French influence. For some insights, we turned to Guillaume Teasdale, a history instructor at the University of Windsor.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
4:31 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

Stateside for Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014

As Detroit continues the process of bankruptcy, there's lots of talk about turning over a new leaf in the city, a rejuvenation. But headlines have recently turned to the legal troubles of City Councilman George Cushingberry. On today's show: Can Detroit change its image if there are still leaders courting controversy?

 Then, we spoke to an artist who's trying to change the way we think about abortion and issues of contraception through art. And, we want everything modern medicine can offer, but as taxpayers we want health care costs controlled. Is there a way we achieve both goals?  First on the show, as Gov. Snyder prepares to reveal his 2014-15 budget tomorrow morning, there will be many eyes fixed on how much he proposes to put into K-12 education.
 

In the “Comeback Kid” Snyder campaign ad unveiled during the Super Bowl, amidst the talk of jobs was the claim “education funding’s up”. Yet many of his critics claim the governor cut $1 billion from K-12 education.

So what’s the truth about education funding? And what should we expect to see for schools in the about-to-be released budget?

Detroit Free Press Lansing reporter Paul Egan joined us today.

Stateside
4:18 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

How have George Cushingberry's actions affected Detroit?

Detroit City Council President George Cushingberry.
http://www.michiganlcv.org/

When Detroit City Council President Pro-Tem George Cushingberry was stopped by police last month after leaving a northwest Detroit strip club, police found an open glass of alcohol, an empty bottle of booze, a lit marijuana cigarette, and expired vehicle registration.

Far from expressing any acts of contrition, Cushingberry claimed he had been stopped "for driving black." It should, however, be noted that the two officers were African-American and Arab-American.

This has caused many in Detroit to do a collective "facepalm," as in, "Oh no, not again!"

Detroit Free Press columnist Rochelle Riley and blogger and author Karen Dumas joined us today to talk about what this all means for the city in practical terms, and in terms of the image of its leadership.

Listen to the full interview above.

Health
2:59 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

The city of Detroit is understaffed for its stray animal problem

Researchers attempt to nail down the real number of stray animals in Detroit.
user: RTD Photography

The question of how many stray animals are in Detroit has been talked about ever since Bloomberg News put out this piece with the typical "Detroit is a hellhole" headline:

Abandoned Dogs Roam Detroit in Packs as Humans Dwindle

Chris Christoff reported that the city had "as many as 50,000 stray dogs."

Michigan Radio's Sarah Cwiek reported that other groups said there's no question that the number has been "wildly inflated."

Tom McPhee of the World Animal Awareness Society estimated there were between 1,000 to 3,000 stray dogs in the city.

Now, yet another estimate has been published.

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Politics & Government
5:21 pm
Sun February 2, 2014

Consul: Canada to buy Detroit land for new bridge

Canada is paying most of the project's $2 billion-plus cost on both the Windsor, Ontario, and the Detroit sides of the river, recouping costs from future tolls.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - A Canadian official says his government plans to start buying land in Detroit for the U.S. portion of a new bridge linking the nations. It's a way to bypass opponents of the project and overcome the U.S. government's failure to allocate the money.

Outgoing Canadian Consul General Roy Norton tells the Detroit Free Press that the project is too important to delay.

Canada is paying most of the project's $2 billion-plus cost on both the Windsor, Ontario, and the Detroit sides of the river, recouping costs from future tolls.

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Weather
11:39 am
Sat February 1, 2014

More snow today after record setting January in parts of Michigan

The National Weather Service says up to seven inches of snow is expected to cover the Detroit area Saturday, a day after the region ended January with 39.1 inches of snow -- its snowiest month ever.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - The weather outside continues to be frightful for parts of Michigan even after some areas experienced their snowiest Januaries.

The National Weather Service says up to seven inches of snow is expected to cover the Detroit area Saturday, a day after the region ended January with 39.1 inches of snow -- its snowiest month ever.

Meteorologist Steven Freitag says the previous record was 38.4 in February 1908.

Flint's 32.9 inches of snow also was a January record.

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Offbeat
2:13 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

Fourth grader sworn in as Detroit Police Chief for the day

Detroit's Police Chief for the day is nine year old Jayvon Felton - a fourth grader who is fighting leukemia, but one day hopes to fight crime as a Detroit Police Officer.

This morning Jayvon made his way to work by helicopter, taking a ride from Coleman A. Young International Airport, over Belle Isle, Comerica Park and the Ambassador Bridge. Upon his arrival, he was greeted by a group of Detroit Police Officers, Felton's classmates from Roberto Clemente Academy, and Detroit Police Chief James Craig.

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Detroit Journalism Cooperative
6:00 am
Thu January 30, 2014

Detroiters need jobs and Detroit needs taxpayers

A technician at Shinola assembles a watch. Shinola operates in Detroit and three-fourths of its employees live in the city. In the aftermath of the city's bankruptcy, Detroit will need more of its people in the workforce to provide the tax base to keep the city financially viable.
Credit Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

To successfully emerge from bankruptcy, Detroit has to find ways to cut spending and increase revenue. But that’s not going to be easy when so many Detroit residents are struggling just to get by.

No matter how well bankruptcy goes for Detroit, the city is going nowhere if most of its residents are broke and without jobs.

No jobs mean no income taxes for the city.

Read more
Stateside
4:36 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

Preservationists hope to influence demolition decisions in Detroit

The historic Albert Kahn structure that once housed the Detroit News.
Credit Goldnpuppy Wikimedia Commons

As Michigan cities age and populations shrink, some say that demolishing  abandoned buildings is essential to reviving these cities and stabilizing neighborhoods.

Take Detroit, for instance. One estimate puts the number of buildings set to be demolished at 10,000.

But amid the demolition, is there room to preserve historic structures? How do we determine what should be torn down and what's worth rescuing and restoring?

To help answer those questions, Preservation Detroit and the Michigan Historic Preservation Network just completed a survey of six historic areas in Detroit. They're hoping to bring a preservationist's point of view to decisions about blight and demolition.

Emilie Evans is a preservation specialist with the Michigan Historic Preservation Network, and she joined us today.

*Listen to the story above.

Stateside
5:30 pm
Tue January 28, 2014

Detroit Journalism Cooperative will dig into unanswered questions in Detroit

Detroit Skyline
JSFauxtaugraphy/Flickr

What important questions are we, in the media, not asking about Detroit?

 What impacts of the Detroit bankruptcy have flown under the radar? What about questions about life post-bankruptcy – like just how can Detroit rebuild its neighborhoods and create more high-paying jobs? And what does all of that mean for Michigan as a whole? Well, Michigan Radio is partnering with other media organizations in the state to try and find the answers to those questions. And so welcome to the new "Detroit Journalism Cooperative." Lester Graham will be digging into the coverage for Michigan Radio and he joined us today.

Health
11:44 am
Tue January 28, 2014

Hookah lounges are getting popular in Detroit, which has this doctor worried

Hookahs for sale.
Zack Lee Flickr

David Leveille published a story about the increasing popularity of hookah lounges in the Detroit area for PRI's The World.

Leveille spoke with pulmonologist Basim Dubayo, the associate chairman of the Department of Internal Medicine at Wayne State University's School of Medicine.

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Education
12:53 pm
Mon January 27, 2014

DTE gives $1 million to Michigan Science Center in Detroit

Detroit Science Center, now known as the Michigan Science Center.
user: Liza Lagman Sperl

The DTE Energy Foundation plans to donate $1 million to the Michigan Science Center in Detroit.

According to their press release, the donation will span a period of five years, specifically funding the science center's STEM educational program (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).

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Transportation
9:23 pm
Sun January 26, 2014

Contractors sought for $140M Detroit light rail

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

DETROIT – Detroit's light passenger rail project is moving one step closer to reality with a request for contractors to work on the $140 million mass transit system.

The company serving as construction manager on the 3.1-mile M-1 Rail project announced Sunday night that it's seeking proposals from contractors on the project for such services as paving, salvage, traffic signals, water main work and landscaping.

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Law
1:59 pm
Sun January 26, 2014

Group calls Michigan's African-American homicide rate a public health crisis

African-Americans in Michigan are murdered at one of the highest rates in the nation. That's according to a study from the Violence Policy Center.

The Center says 31 of every 100,000 black Michiganders was a homicide victim in 2011. That's twice the national rate for blacks and seven times the rate for Americans overall.

Josh Sugarmann is the Center's executive director. He says this is part of a public health crisis in America.

Read more
Politics & Government
3:12 pm
Sat January 25, 2014

Blighted property survey nearing completion in Detroit

Detroit, Michigan (file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - Surveys have been completed on about two-thirds of all structures in Detroit as part of a project to eradicate blight in the city.

The Detroit Blight Removal Task Force is on track to complete its database of 380,217 structures and vacant parcels in February. The project hopes to determine the number of blighted and deteriorating structures in Detroit.

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Politics & Government
9:48 am
Fri January 24, 2014

Why Snyder's immigration plan may be his best yet

Jack's essay for January 24, 2014.

Thirteen years ago, a friend who runs a political PR firm urged me to meet a man he saw as a visionary politician who he was going to be elected mayor and transform Detroit.

His name was Kwame Kilpatrick. We all know how that turned out, but nobody did then. What was the same then and now, however, was Detroit’s need for jobs and money.

Over the years, I had learned one thing: If you want to jump-start an economy, what you need are immigrants. Driven, motivated, immigrants who want a better life.

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Stateside
6:12 pm
Thu January 23, 2014

Gov. Snyder proposes cash infusion to save Detroit Institute of Arts

user aMichiganMom Flickr

Big news out of Lansing yesterday: Gov. Rick Snyder has proposed committing up to $350 million of state money to guarantee city of Detroit pension benefits and to keep Detroit Institute of Arts art off the auction block.

Big news, but not altogether surprising.

Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes has been writing about this possible cash infusion for weeks now. He joined us today to discuss the issue.

Listen to the full interview above.

Business
11:16 am
Thu January 23, 2014

Leaders call for immigration reform to help save Detroit

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan speaking in support of the immigration plan with Gov. Snyder looking on (left).
screen shot from LiveStream

Gov. Rick Snyder and Detroit leaders announced their immigration reform plan this morning at the Hispanic-owned Ideal Group in Detroit.

The plan calls for federal changes that would allow immigrants to live, work, and hopefully create jobs in the city of Detroit.

More from Gov. Snyder’s press release:

Detroit must harness the power of skilled immigrants to grow its economy, increase its tax base and reverse its population decline, Gov. Rick Snyder said today as he urged federal action on his proposal that increases employment-based visas for immigrants.

“We want the world to know that Detroit is open for business,” Snyder said. “Legal immigration helped to build this great city and is just as critical to its comeback. Immigrants create jobs and Detroit is a great value opportunity in terms of business costs and overall quality of life.

The plan calls for the federal government to secure 50,000 employment-based visas for skilled immigrants (employment-based second preference visas, or EB-2 visas).

The visas would require that the visa holders reside and work in the city of Detroit.

Gov. Snyder's office cited the following statistics in support of the plan:

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