Detroit

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.

Read more
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.

Read more
Stateside
4:59 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

How does Detroit's bankruptcy fit into the city's past, present, and future?

Streets of Detroit.
user Daviddje Flickr

Let's take time now to put today's ruling by Judge Rhodes into historical context. How does the painful journey into Chapter 9 bankruptcy fit into Detroit's past, present, and most importantly, its future?

We're joined by someone who has covered the news in Michigan for five decades: Michigan Radio's political analyst Jack Lessenberry.

Listen to full interview above.

Stateside
4:58 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

What happened inside the courtroom during today's Detroit bankruptcy trial

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes
John Meiu Detroit Legal News Publishing LLC

Michigan Radio’s Sarah Cwiek was in the courtroom today when U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes ruled that Detroit was eligible for Chapter 9 bankruptcy.

Stephen Henderson, the editorial page editor of the Detroit Free Press, has been covering the bankruptcy trial on the pages of the Freep.

Sarah and Stephen talk with us in the studio today to discuss what happened today, and what it means for Detroiters.

Listen to full interview above. 

Stateside
4:41 pm
Mon December 2, 2013

Is Detroit eligible for bankruptcy protection? We'll find out tomorrow

Joy VanBuhler Flickr

Tomorrow will be one for the history books, not just here in Michigan but across the nation.

Tuesday morning is when Federal Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes will rule whether or not Detroit is eligible for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection.

Detroit News reporter Chad Livengood has covered the bankruptcy trial, and he joined us today to talk about what might happen tomorrow morning.

Listen to the full interview above.

Politics & Government
6:16 am
Fri November 29, 2013

Detroit gets $24 million grant to hire 150 firefighters

(file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - Detroit is getting a $24 million federal grant that will be used to hire 150 firefighters in the city.

The grant was announced this week by Michigan's U.S. senators.

It comes through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response program.

The Detroit Free Press says the award is an annual one, but it's believed the hires would be supported by the grant for more than one year.

Executive Fire Commissioner Don Austin calls the federal money a "godsend."

Politics & Government
8:18 am
Wed November 27, 2013

Lessenberry talks abortion coverage, millions to small businesses in Detroit and bankruptcy

Peter Martorano Flickr

Week in Michigan Politics interview

In this Week in Michigan Politics, Christina Shockley and Jack Lessenberry discuss a proposal to block abortions from being covered in basic health plans, how Warren Buffett is backing millions of dollars in an initiative to help small businesses in Detroit, and look to next week when Judge Steven Rhodes will decide if Detroit is eligible for bankruptcy.

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Stateside
5:01 pm
Mon November 25, 2013

The GOP cares about Detroit, they are building new 'African-American Engagement Office' to prove it

Dennis Lennox
Twitter

The Republican Party wants Detroit to know it cares. The GOP is hoping to increase its presence in the city where Barack Obama grabbed 97.5% of the vote in 2012.

And, how is the GOP going to reach out to Detroiters? By sending in Senator Rand Paul, tea party senator from Kentucky, to headline the opening of the new GOP outreach center, which is named "The African-American Engagement Office."

This has at least one Republican stalwart cringing. Dennis Lennox, GOP strategist and columnist at the Morning Sun, joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
4:52 pm
Mon November 25, 2013

Detroit called 'post-apocalyptic' by city outsiders

Dave Linabury Flickr

As Detroit has slid its way down the slippery slope to bankruptcy, the eyes of the world have been fixed on the Motor City.

Whether it was Time Magazine renting a house for embedded reporters, Bob Simon of 60 Minutes comparing Detroit to Mogadishu, chef Anthony Bourdain comparing Detroit to Chernobyl, using the description "post-apocalyptic," the outsiders' view of Detroit has been, to put it gently, negative.

Our next guest has raised the question: what happened when outsiders are shaping Detroit's narrative? When Detroit and its leaders and stakeholders can't articulate a consistent message, someone else is going to do it. And how is that Narrative-Shaped-By-Outsiders going to affect Detroit's destiny?

Detroit Free Press Staff Writer Mark Stryker explored this in a recent piece "Seeking Detroit's Voice: Lack of message lets others shape the narrative." He joined us today to discuss the issue.

Listen to the full interview above.

Politics & Government
4:05 pm
Mon November 25, 2013

Blight Task Force to count every land parcel in Detroit

Urban Prairie, Detroit
Credit Jtmichcock at the English language Wikipedia Commons

The condition of every land parcel in Detroit will be surveyed beginning this week.  The hope is to complete the survey in eight weeks, according to Glenda Price, a member of Detroit's federally-appointed Blight Task Force. The task force was established this past October.

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Offbeat
12:35 pm
Fri November 22, 2013

Holiday lights brighten up Detroit's Michigan Central Depot

Snowflake lights brighten up the Michigan Central Depot in Detroit.
Michigan Central Station Preservation Society Facebook

Detroit’s Michigan Central Depot is looking a little more cheery today.

For the second year in a row, the former train station which now serves as the quintessential symbol of Detroit's urban decay, is decking the halls with holiday lights. According to The Detroit News, Matty Moroun, who bought the building in 1996, came up with the idea of sprucing up the 18-story abandoned station with the help of his family.

“Since we’ve put electricity back in, we decided to light it up, and it looks really nice,” President of the Detroit International Bridge Co. Dan Stamper said. “We’ve gotten a lot of nice comments and we just hope everyone has a happy holiday.”

Electric lighting has returned to the building as part of an effort to (slowly) give the station a facelift. Back in 2011, the International Bridge Co. began to replace windows and stairwells in MCD. 

- Melanie Kruvelis, Michigan Radio Newsroom

Stateside
5:00 pm
Tue November 19, 2013

People will share their failures on a Detroit stage this Thursday

The background for FAILURE:LAB.
FAILURE:LAB FAILURE:LAB

Bill Gates once declared, “It's fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.”

Of course, we all fail at times. But many of us try to cover those mistakes up, or at the very least, choose not to broadcast our failures.

One Michigan group is looking to change that — not only talking about our shortcomings and errors, but sharing them on a stage. FAILURE:LAB brings together storytellers, talking about when they’ve failed, and gives the audience a chance to reflect on the stories told. Because according to the folks at FAILURE:LAB, failure can help inspire us to take intelligent risks.

FAILURE:LAB is coming to Detroit this Thursday. We talked to Austin Dean, co-founder of the group, about what FAILURE:LAB is, and what it can do for audience members and storytellers alike. 

Listen to the full interview above. 

Politics & Government
11:45 am
Tue November 19, 2013

France has a travel advisory for those traveling to Detroit and other US cities

Greetings from France.
user: melancolie en velours Flickr

The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a warning to French tourists traveling to the United States. 

The security recommendations cite Detroit as a city whose "center is not recommended after the close of business."

Other cities included on the advisory list were: Boston, New York, Chicago, Washington, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Los Angeles, Houston, St. Louis, Atlanta, New Orleans, and the entire state of Florida.

Read more
Opinion
7:26 am
Fri November 15, 2013

Is there hope for Detroit after bankruptcy?

Lessenberry commentary for 11/15/13

As we know, no major city has ever been in the position Detroit is in now. What was once the Arsenal of Democracy, a proud and vibrant city of two million people, is now in bankruptcy court, asking a federal judge to let it be reborn.

The city has lost two thirds of its population and far more of its wealth. There are tens of thousands of abandoned buildings.  Earlier this year, Detroit was taken over by the state, and is now being run by a state-appointed emergency manager.

City services are so bad the voters, the vast majority of them black, just elected a mayor who is a white political boss from the suburbs, in the desperate hope that he could somehow fix things. Mike Duggan clearly intends to try.

The scope of the problem is almost beyond imagining, in part because for too long, nobody was willing to admit the facts, not even to themselves. Now, the city has been forced into a rendezvous with reality.

Read more

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