Detroit

Law
12:02 pm
Thu October 3, 2013

U.S. Marshals moving prisoners from Wayne County jails

U.S. Marshals are moving 200 prisoners from jails in Detroit due to faulty conditions.
Credit Flick user Still Burning

The U.S. Marshals Service is stepping in to move inmates from two jails in downtown Detroit. That's because of faulty conditions -- leaky roofs, plugged pipes and overheating -- that officials say have plagued the jails for years.

Read more
Politics & Government
7:38 am
Wed October 2, 2013

In this morning's headlines: Shutdown, Medicaid delays, Belle Isle deal

User: Brother O'Mara flickr

Shutdown could cost Michigan $18 million a day

"Michigan’s budget chief says the federal shutdown could cost the state $18 million dollars a day in lost funding. Budget Director John Nixon says he does not expect that to happen unless the shutdown lasts more than two weeks. He says, after that, pre-funding for some big programs will run out," Rick Pluta reports.

Delays in Medicaid sign up

"The Michigan Department of Community Health is still working to start early enrollment to help people sign up for Michigan's expanded Medicaid program. Michigan's Medicaid expansion also still needs to be approved by the federal government. That means hundreds of thousands of low-wage Michiganders could have to wait weeks or months to enroll," Jake Neher reports

The state to take over Detroit's Belle Isle

"The state of Michigan has signed a deal to lease Detroit’s Belle Isle. Governor Snyder and emergency manager Kevyn Orr have both approved the 30-year plan. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources will run Belle Isle as a state park, saving Detroit an estimated $4 million a year in maintenance costs," Sarah Cwiek reports.

Stateside
4:43 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

Author revisits crime and corruption of yesteryear in 'Detroit Shuffle'

A map of Detroit from 1923, around the time author D.E. Johnson writes about in "Detroit Shuffle."
user davecito Flickr

Corruption. Political shenanigans. Murder. 

That may sound like life in a big city in 2013. 

But Kalamazoo-based writer D.E. Johnson says think again. His latest novel is set in the Detroit of 1912. From his research, there was plenty of crime and corruption happening in those good old days. 

Read more
Offbeat
9:00 am
Tue October 1, 2013

A tale of two households, and the complicated reality of living in Detroit

Jen Janke and kids.
Credit Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

It’s no secret that Detroit is much smaller than it used to be.

The city’s population peaked at a little under two million people in the 1950s. It’s declined steeply since then, to about 700,000.

People are still leaving the city. But the rate is slowing, as some people discover new reasons to move in.

Here’s a story about two Detroit households moving in opposite directions — and the different forces tugging on the city’s population.

“We really felt led to live here”

At Jen Janke’s house, conversations can get a little sidetracked.

Read more
Transportation
1:41 pm
Sun September 29, 2013

Michigan's Amtrak subsidy is about to triple

Jackson's train station (file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Beginning Tuesday, the subsidy that Amtrak gets from the state of Michigan is about to triple, from $8 million to nearly $25 million a year.   

The reason for the increase is a 2008 federal law that requires greater cost sharing between the federal government and the states where Amtrak operates.

Read more
Politics & Government
2:14 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

$300 million offered to Detroit by federal officials

White House Economic Council director Gene B. Sperling is one of the federal officials meeting in Detroit.
whitehouse.gov White House

A delegation of President Obama’s top advisors met in Detroit today, announcing $300 million in federal and private funding for the Motor City.

Most of that aid is earmarked: For instance, about $140 million devoted to public transportation, another $30 million reserved for crime reduction, and another $25 million for demolishing abandoned commercial buildings.

This is the first federal intervention in Detroit after the city filed for bankruptcy on July 18. But don’t call it a bailout — according to federal officials, the aid coming into the city came from galvanizing "public and private partners," and is not a full-fledged bailout of the city. Currently, Detroit owes more than $18 billion to its creditors. 

Read more
Stateside
4:35 pm
Thu September 26, 2013

Feds coming to Detroit to help the city take advantage of grant dollars

Detroit.
Lester Graham Michigan Radio

White House officials are meeting with Detroit and Michigan officials tomorrow and the feds are expected to bring some money.

It’s not being called a Detroit bailout, but it is expected to include federal and private funds to help Detroit demolish abandoned buildings, support police and some transportation projects.

The Detroit Free Press has been reporting on efforts to leverage as much federal help as possible. Todd Spangler with the Freep joined us today.

One of the problems Detroit has had is getting grants -- not keeping within the requirements of the grant and having to send money back to Washington. Part of the meeting tomorrow at Wayne State University is to help Detroit handle the grant money better and to take advantage of other money that might be available to help- without crossing that line of being a bailout. 

Politics & Government
11:26 am
Thu September 26, 2013

Group: Detroit riverfront restrictions reasonable

Detroit's riverfront walkway.
Gerri Trager Flickr

The nonprofit group that manages Detroit's riverfront walkway says its restrictions on organized activities including protests are reasonable.

The Detroit River Front Conservancy on Thursday released a statement after the American Civil Liberties Union earlier this week said the group was violating the First Amendment by preventing people from holding protests. The conservancy says that's not the case.

The ACLU said a security guard ordered a small group of people taking part in an anti-war march along the Detroit River Walk last summer to stop. The ACLU said that that violated the free speech rights of the group Women in Black, and it asked the conservancy to change its policy.

Women in Black said it wants to march at the river Saturday afternoon. The conservancy said Thursday it welcomes the planned march.

Read more
Environment & Science
11:47 am
Wed September 25, 2013

Detroit officials may collaborate with goats to solve landscaping issues

Solving Detroit's urban landscaping issues, one blade of grass at a time
user: eviltomthai Flickr

When things get tough, Detroit City Councilman James Tate digs deeper.

He (at the suggestions of residents) might have a way to maintain Detroit's miles of vacant lots. 

At tomorrow's city council meeting, he'll talk about the possibility of allowing goats and sheep to graze on tall grasses. 

According to MLive, Tate is bringing in a grazing expert to speak at the meeting. 

"Urban cities are doing this all across the country and having absolutely no issues, whatsoever," Tate said. Allowing the animals into neighborhoods could require changes to the city's urban agriculture ordinance.

Chicago recently used goats (some of whom are named Cream Puff, Orca, and Nugget) to clear invasive plants from a park. 

The grazing expert, according to MLive, was also involved in a similar livestock endeavor in Cleveland. The Cleveland project used sheep -- and one llama -- to maintain a vacant lot. The project received a $2,000 grant from Charter One's Growing Communities program. 

Read more
Politics & Government
8:18 am
Wed September 25, 2013

The week in Michigan politics

cncphotos flickr

Week in Michigan politics interview for 9/25/13

This week in Michigan politics, political analyst Jack Lessenberry and Morning Edition host Christina Shockley talk about why the Obama administration will be in Detroit this week, how a federal government shutdown could affect Michigan's poor, Democrats plan to turn around Michigan schools, and Governor Snyder's ad campaign.

Read more
Stateside
4:42 pm
Tue September 24, 2013

Is Detroit's 'stop and frisk' policy unconstitutional?

taliesin Morgue File

A federal judge recently called the New York City police force’s ‘stop and frisk’ practice unconstitutional and discriminatory.

Detroit’s ‘stop and frisk’ policy is based on the same advice of consultants at the Manhattan Institute who advised New York.

Despite the judge’s findings, Detroit Police Chief James Craig says the ‘stop and frisk’ in will continue and that the police in Detroit adhere to the best policing practices as called for under a consent agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan has called on the Detroit Police to end the practice. In a three page letter the ACLU called ‘stop and frisk’ a prescription for an avoidable local disaster.

Mark Fancher of the ACLU joined us today. Click on the link above to listen to our conversation with him.

Law
3:42 pm
Tue September 24, 2013

Detroit Police Department warns about 'Apple picking'

The Detroit Police Department is distributing fliers that warn residents of "Apple picking."
Josh Bancroft Flickr

iPhone thefts are on the rise in Detroit and around the country. The Detroit Police Department is warning residents about "Apple picking."

Wayne State University is reporting an increase in iPhone thefts over the past year.

Lieutenant Dave Scott says the Wayne State Police Department is frequently alerting students to iPhone thefts via emails. He says college campuses across the country are popular targets for smart phone thefts.

Read more
Arts & Culture
1:01 pm
Tue September 24, 2013

Listen to this hilarious story from a Detroit comedian featured on The Moth Radio Hour

Detroit comic Horace H.B. Sanders
Liz Mackinder The Moth

A Detroit comedian is featured in this week’s episode of The Moth Radio Hour.

Back when he was 12, Horace H.B. Sanders, a stand-up comic from the Motor City, showed up to a costume party in his homemade ninja costume.

Turns out, he was the only one who dressed up for the party.

Listen to Sander’s hilarious story, recorded at a Grand Slam in Detroit.

Read more
Politics & Government
11:38 am
Fri September 20, 2013

Obama administration officials to visit Detroit

Downtown Detroit (file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - Officials from the administration of President Barack Obama are expected to visit Detroit next week to meet with community leaders, elected officials and others.

The Detroit Free Press and The Detroit News report the Sept. 27 meetings are part of ongoing discussions involving the White House amid Detroit's financial troubles. The city this summer made the largest municipal bankruptcy filing in U.S. history.

Read more
Law
5:40 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

Feds charge several Detroit Eastern Market retailers with fraud

Detroiteasternmarket.com

Federal authorities are charging nine people with food stamp fraud in Detroit.

Federal and state law enforcement agencies swooped down onto more than a half-dozen businesses in Detroit’s popular Eastern Market area earlier this week.

They were looking for evidence that retailers were engaging in the illegal practice of exchanging cash for food stamp benefits.

Read more
Transportation
12:49 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

Bus drivers in Detroit rally for better security

Snyder discussed DDOT busses during his townhall meeting online Wednesday.
Sarah Hulett Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) — Bus drivers in Detroit want better security after they say at least eight drivers were hospitalized after attacks by riders in the past nine months.

Fred Westbrook, president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 26, tells the Detroit Free Press that Tuesday's rally also was organized to let riders know that drivers are frustrated about crowded buses, buses running late and a lack of police protection.

Ideas for improving security include creating a transit police for the Detroit Department of Transportation. Another rally is planned for October.

Officer Dan Donakowski tells The Detroit News that police met Monday with DDOT representatives and offered training to drivers. He says drivers also plan to provide police with information about routes where assaults have taken place so police can step up efforts.

Politics & Culture
4:33 pm
Mon September 16, 2013

Stateside for Monday, September 16th, 2013

It's officially the law of the land.

Governor Rick Snyder signed the Medicaid expansion into law today.

The expansion will provide Medicaid services to hundreds of thousands of working-poor in the state through the federal Affordable Care Act. On today's show, what the expansion means for Michigan and what's next on the Governor's and the Legislature's agenda.

And, Brandon and Bethany Foote, the couple behind the musical group Gifts or Creatures, joined us today to talk about their music.

Also, Rivertown, a $55 million proposed development along the east riverfront in Detroit, recently won approval from the Detroit Economic Development Corporation. How are developments like this possible when Detroit is bankrupt?

First on the show, in Michigan, by state law, the day after Labor Day is Back-To-School Day.

But in some 30 districts and charter schools in Michigan, kids have already been going to school because these districts and schools are experimenting with year-round school.

It's a concept getting much attention with the realization that our traditional school schedule causes most kids to forget some of the reading and math skills over the long summer break. That forces teachers to spend the first month or more re-teaching the previous year's material.

What does year-round school look like and is there a demand for it?

For the answer, we turned to the Crosswell-Lexington Community Schools in rural Sanilac County, which is offering the option of a year-round schedule.

Superintendent Kevin Miller joined us today.

Stateside
4:28 pm
Mon September 16, 2013

Detroit bankruptcy is not deterring $55 million Rivertown development

User: Fabienne Kneifel/Flickr

The news of Detroit's bankruptcy filing has been relentless.

But that Chapter 9 filing does not seem to be completely stalling economic growth and development in and around downtown.

Case in point: Rivertown -- a $55 million proposed development along the east riverfront. It recently won approval from the Detroit Economic Development Corporation.

Rivertown would have townhouses, apartments and small-scale retail.

Richard Baron, chairman and CEO of real estate development firm McCormick Baron Salazar, joined us today to talk about the development.

Listen to the full interview above.

Politics & Government
10:52 am
Mon September 16, 2013

Plans move ahead to fix Detroit streetlights

DETROIT (AP) — Crews will begin a block-by-block review of streetlights in two Detroit neighborhoods this week as part of a three-year plan to overhaul the city's decrepit lighting system.

Fewer than half of Detroit's 88,000 streetlights are believed to be working, and Public Lighting Authority workers will inspect each light in areas on the city's east and west sides to map out which aren't working and to determine the cause of each malfunction.

"We will use the information we gather to design a specific plan to relight both of these areas as a prelude to moving out into the rest of the city to completely restore street lighting," the authority's Executive Director Odis Jones said in a statement.

Workers will be wearing yellow vests with the Public Lighting Authority's logo and will be driving vehicles with PLA signs on the side.

After approval from City Council, the Public Lighting Authority was set up earlier this year to design and implement the plan to improve Detroit's public lighting system. Gov. Rick Snyder signed legislation last year to allow lighting authorities in some cities.

Politics & Government
8:19 am
Mon September 16, 2013

In this morning's headlines: Medicaid, anthrax vaccine expansion, Detroit lighting

Morning News Roundup, Thursday, Oct. 13, 2011
User: Brother O'Mara Flickr

Governor to sign Medicaid expansion today

"Governor Rick Snyder today will sign into law a plan to expand Medicaid in Michigan. The measure will extend government-sponsored health care to hundreds of thousands of low-income Michiganders through the federal Affordable Care Act," Jake Neher reports.

Anthrax vaccine facility expands in Michigan

The nations only licensed anthrax vaccine is made in Lansing. Now the company that makes the vaccine will open a new Michigan facility to expand production of the anthrax vaccine. More on the story can be found here.

Plan for more lighting in Detroit moves forward

"Plans are moving forward on a new effort to keep streetlights working in Detroit. The Public Lighting Authority of Detroit says it will begin a block-by-block review of streetlights in two Detroit neighborhoods this week as part of two pilot projects. According to some estimates, fewer than half of Detroit's 88,000 streetlights are believed to work," the Associated Press reports.

Pages