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Families & Community

Is Detroit coming back? It depends on the neighborhood.

Oct 17, 2017
Bridge Magazine

Detroit is at an inflection point. Maurice Cox can see it. So can the Rev. Aaron McCarthy, Jr. And their visions reveal much about a city brimming with possibility and problems.

The director of Detroit’s Planning Department, Cox has one of the best views at the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center. His eighth-floor window overlooks a downtown so revitalized that it’s practically unrecognizable from a few years ago.

“A lot of people who have been following Detroit’s recovery for a very long time have convinced me there’s something different about this one,” Cox said.

“People are seeing forward momentum. The streetlights come on at night. The lots are better maintained. Blight is coming down in everyone’s neighborhood. Little shops are popping up. Our downtown is on the upswing.”

Owe taxes? That’s OK. Wayne County will still sell you foreclosed homes.

Oct 12, 2017
Sarah Alvarez / Bridge Magazine

Wayne County doesn’t always enforce a law that forbids tax delinquents from buying properties at its tax foreclosure auctions, contributing to a cycle of speculation that perpetuates blight, a Bridge Magazine investigation has found.

Judge's gavel
Flickr user Joe Gratz / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

The Michigan Supreme Court has awarded more than $3 million in grants to circuit courts across the state.

The money will help pay for the Swift and Sure Sanctions Probation Program, an intense probation supervision program in the state. The program is for high-risk, felony offenders who have a history of violating the rules of their probation. It offers specialized and structured help so they can finish their probation successfully – and stay out of trouble.

Roymundo VII / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCLO

The number of homeless people in Michigan declined 9% last year.

That shows Michigan's approach is working, says Kelly Rose.  She's Chief Housing Solutions Officer for the Michigan State Housing Development Authority. 

Rose says agencies now focus resources on those most in need, rather than first come, first serve.  And the approach is to get someone into housing first, then help them deal with problems like substance abuse or mental health.

G.L. Kohuth / Michigan State University

Michigan may start tracking its sexual assault evidence kits. An amendment to the state’s budget would pay for the required software and training.

The kits contain swabs and other evidence gathered from a victim of sexual assault. Software would track the kit as it moves from hospital to police department to laboratory. It also sends out alerts if a kit has been in one location too long. 

Stuart Rankin / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

President Trump is spending today in Puerto Rico, getting a first-hand look at the destruction wrought by Hurricane Maria, and meeting with storm victims and first responders.

Meanwhile, Puerto Ricans living here in Michigan continue to worry about family and friends back on the island.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Detroit might not be ready for the wave of baby boomers who are aging. The oldest baby boomers are now 71. The youngest are 53. Right now in Detroit, many seniors rely on informal networks of neighbors, family, or friends.

In Detroit, 41 percent of people over 60 live alone according to a report by Data Driven Detroit based on 2010 Census data.

That’s the case with Ida Brown, 87, who lives in a house in the MorningSide neighborhood of Detroit.

Although she has lived there three years, she really hasn’t gotten to know her neighbors.

After you flush, where does it go? Today on Stateside, we learn the answer is no longer a solution in many communities. And, we learn what anxiety disorders look like in kids, and how to treat them. 

Juhan Sonin / Flickr - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

The Next Idea

In an age where anonymous opinions posted online often drown out civil discourse, the idea of people sitting down to share a meal and conversation seems downright radical. 

But this coming Wednesday, groups of regular folks all over Southeast Michigan will be doing just that, and each gathering will address the same question: What can we do to make our communities places where young people can grow and thrive?

Courtesy of RobinDiAngelo.com

Last week we brought you a conversation centered around this question: What can white people do about racism in America?

Robin DiAngelo, an author, consultant and former professor of education, joined Stateside today to continue that conversation. She's author of the book, What Does it Mean to Be White? Developing White Racial Literacy.

Pippalou / Morguefile

Grand Rapids has earned a reputation as one of Michigan's most "hip" cities, but it also wants to be at the forefront of the movement to create places where age isn't a barrier to being active in community life.

The city is working to become part of the AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities, which includes factors like housing, outdoor spaces and transportation to maximize the economic and social power of older residents. Associate state director at AARP Michigan, Jennifer Munoz, said with changing demographics, cities can't afford to focus only on the young.

"If a community doesn't address the needs of all populations, from stroller to walker, then we will lose residents in our communities," Munoz says. "So, it's important that we allow them the resources and the necessities so that they can age in place."

Stateside 9.27.2017

Sep 27, 2017

Today, the federal Education Department rolls back an Obama-era guideline on campus sexual assault, opening fresh debate over how schools handle the problem.

Plus, the fallout over the director of the Michigan State Police sharing a Facebook post calling NFL players who kneel during the national anthem "degenerates."

Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

Most Americans say they want to protect the "DREAMers," the term often used to refer to undocumented immigrants brought here as children.

That poll was taken after President Trump announced he is phasing out the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, a federal program that afforded some protections to those immigrants, and he gave Congress six months to come up with a replacement.

Three Republican senators this week announced details of their reform idea, the Succeed Act. It spells out steps for receiving "conditional status" in the U.S., including maintaining gainful employment, or pursuing higher education classes or military service. Ultimately, holders of this status could apply for a green card.

krossbow / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

The Trump administration recently announced new guidance for how college campuses should handle sexual assault complaints. But Michigan universities won’t be changing their policies right away.

The Trump administration rescinded the Obama-era guidance on campus sexual assault last week.

The new guidance isn’t mandatory, and officials say it’s temporary until they come up with new rules.

Daniel Hurley is the CEO of the Michigan Association of State Universities. He said Michigan campuses will keep their current policies for now.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Many homes that go into tax foreclosure in Detroit are owned by landlords. The renters are often booted out once the homes are sold at auction.  

In a pilot project, Detroit has bought 80 of these homes where tenants have expressed interest in becoming homeowners.  The city used right of first refusal for the purchases. That means the city can buy the properties before they go to auction, paying only the county and state portions of the taxes owing, but not the city portion. 

Stateside 9.22.2017

Sep 22, 2017

Today on Stateside, Senator Gary Peters calls the latest ACA repeal attempt "worse than the last," and we hear why Flint charges against the director of the Department of Health and Human Services may seriously inhibit state government decision making. We also learn ICE raids increased across the state this week, and why natural disasters in certain countries prompt more immigration to the United States. And, we head into the weekend cheering whiskey made from beer.

NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

While the politicians argue about it, the U.S. Department of Defense is trying to prepare for the effects of climate change. The Pentagon sees it as a national security issue. One of the predictions is that there will be massive migration because of extreme weather events leading to flooding or drought or other disasters.

There’s evidence of that sort of trend happening in the aftermath of hurricanes.

Dean Yang, professor of economics and public policy at the University of Michigan, co-authored an article for The Conversation titled “Hurricanes Drive Immigration to the U.S.” He joined Stateside today to explain his research.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement - or ICE - agents
U.S. Air Force / Creative Commons / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Some Iraqi immigrants who are being detained while they fight deportation have gone on a hunger strike.

It’s not clear how many detainees are refusing to eat. Family members and the ACLU say it might be as many as 50. 

Many of the detainees are from metro Detroit and are being held at a federal facility in Youngstown, Ohio.

tahira Khalid and halim naeem
Stateside / Michigan Radio

It is an interesting, and also tough, time to be both black and Muslim in Michigan.

Anti-Muslim rhetoric in politics and media seems to be intensifying, and there are daily reminders of our nation's long, painful – and still unresolved – history of race relations. 

Dr. Halim Naeem​, a psychologist based in Livonia, and Tahira Khalid, head counselor at Muslim Family Services in Detroit, joined Stateside to share their perspectives on what it means to be both black and Muslim in Michigan.

Muhammd Ali and first responders
Courtesy of George Franklin

Everyone over a certain age remembers where they were when the Twin Towers fell 16 years ago. But George Franklin also remembers a different day.

“I have seared in my memory, the date of September 20, the day I took Muhammad Ali to Ground Zero.”

A music teacher fluent in the language of small children

Sep 11, 2017
Vera Davis

Violin teachers usually earn their reputations through the fame and virtuosity of their students. But every virtuoso has to start somewhere, and those early lessons have their own challenges.

Wendy Azrak is a teacher whose genius is showcased in a less grandiose, but arguably more difficult accomplishment: She can get a three-year-old to stand still.


BasicGov / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

Michigan's "Hardest Hit" program for homeowners is winding down.

Hardest Hit is the federal program to help people keep their homes after the Great Recession.

Mary Townley is vice president of Step Forward. That's the name of the state's Hardest Hit program.

She says Michigan has received $761 million from the federal government since late 2010.

A little more than half has gone to blight demolitions, and the rest to homeowners in distress.

Mercedes Mejia/Michigan Radio

Religion and politics are always a combustible mix.

During the long debate over gay marriage, many people of faith and their leaders argued that it violated their deeply held religious beliefs.

Now, more are speaking out against our nation's immigration laws and their enforcement by the Trump administration. And they're using religious convictions as the reason why. 

Today, some faith leaders gathered in Washtenaw County to make a passionate declaration of support for protecting immigrants from deportation.

Stateside 9.5.2017

Sep 5, 2017

Today on Stateside, we take a trip to Bach Elementary School in Ann Arbor to hear how students are feeling on the first day of school. Also on the show, a Michigan DREAMer says DACA changed his life "drastically," but today he faces uncertainty. And, a psychiatrist offers tips for returning college students on how to keep stress in check.

Stateside 8.30.2017

Aug 30, 2017

Today on the show, we hear the story of how three women in Michigan found the vaccine for whooping cough. We also learn how Michigan students' 2017 test scores stack up against those in other states. And, we speak with a Battle Creek mom who chose to panhandle to raise money for her daughter's Michigan State University tuition.

stack of dollar bills
tom_bullock / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCLO

Battle Creek mom Lori Truex didn't have the money to pay her daughter's Michigan State University tuition.

But she didn't let that stop her. Truex decided to stand on the side of a street asking for donations. Seventy nine days later, she was able to end her panhandling campaign, which she called "One Mom, One Year."

Updated Friday, September 1, at 6:30 p.m. ET

After Hurricane Harvey made landfall and dropped more than 2 feet of rain, thousands of people in Houston and along the Gulf Coast have been displaced. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott activated the entire Texas National Guard.

Reverend Joan Ross recording in her studio
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Detroit’s North End neighborhood is changing.

It's in a part of the city that's adjacent to the residential and retail boom that's drawn so much attention to Detroit in recent years. As that development moves outward from downtown, things are starting to look a little different around here. 

Joan Ross is a reverend and community organizer who works in the neighborhood. And like a lot of people who've worked or lived in the city for a while, she's thinking about what those changes mean.

Stateside 8.28.2017

Aug 28, 2017

Today on Stateside, we hear how Michiganders are helping with hurricane relief in Texas. We also learn about our state's history at the forefront of extremist movements. And, Michigan Radio sports commentator John U. Bacon returns to the show to bring us his first predictions for college football season.

Adriana Flores next to E2 box
Courtesy of Adriana Flores

The Next Idea

Give a book, take a book. You've probably seen or heard of those tiny, roadside libraries with that mantra. They're usually small wooden structures, like a dog house on stilts, filled with books that are free to anyone in the community.

Our latest contributor to The Next Idea has taken that concept and turned it into a special way to provide basic necessities to folks in need. It’s a box called E²: Empathy and Equity. Instead of books, the box holds free hygiene products.

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