1:09 pm
Fri December 20, 2013

One listener explains the social contract of helping one another

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None of the people State of Opportunity talked to about their good deeds want the focus to be on them. Instead, to a one, they just hope to inspire others, who are moved by stories they hear on the radio, to take action. Michael Mulvihill of Seattle is one of those people. He heard Dustin Dwyer's three-part series on gun violence in Muskegon on his local public radio station. Click through to the State of Opportunity website to find out what Mulvihill did when heard about Carmesha Rogers and her efforts to save three children from gun fire in her neighborhood.
Carmesha Rogers' selflessness in hustling three Muskegon children out of the range of gun fire was a story that Seattle Attorney Michael Mulvihill thought
11:50 am
Thu December 12, 2013

We Found This 20-Year-Old T-Shirt In Kenya. The Internet Found The Original Owner

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Planet Money published a story about used clothing trends. One T-shirt found in Kenya was originally made for a Michigan bat mitzvah in 1993.
We recently published a story about how used clothes that get donated in the U.S. often wind up for sale in markets in Africa. As part of the story, we published some photos of used T-shirts we found in a couple of markets in Kenya.
2:40 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

NPR's Don Gonyea wears his 'Detroit-ness' on his sleeve

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Sandra Svoboda of Deadline Detroit profiles one of our favorite NPR people! Gonyea worked out of WDET in Detroit prior to becoming an NPR correspondent. He remembers his work in Detroit fondly "It's where I had great, great years working as a journalist, it's where I learned how to be a journalist. The stories Detroit handed me to cover were just a never-ending stream of really great and rich stories."
WASHINGTON - His voice is familiar to Michigan public radio audiences who listened to his reports about the auto industry, labor unions, politics, Jack Kevorkian and other major news events during the 1980s and 1990s. Then, for nearly a decade beginning when George W.
1:09 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

U-M professor, Pulitzer Prize winner remembers the day Mandela was released from prison

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"I go to sleep early on Feb. 10, 1990, as the next day will be one of the most important historic days of my career." So wrote David Turnley, a University of Michigan professor and Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer. Turnley took photos on the day Nelson Mandela was released from prison. He tells his story to Time Magazine.
Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer David Turnley spent 28 years photographing South Africa's struggles of apartheid. Having documented the life of Nelson Mandela and his people, Turnley reflects for LightBox on his memories of Mandela on the day of his release from prison. I go to sleep early on Feb.
2:24 pm
Wed November 27, 2013

10,000 turkeys used to walk from Vermont to Boston

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Forget the great cattle drives in the Old West. I want to know more about the "great turkey drives" in the Old East. (This is one more for the "Thanksgiving story files.")
  • Source: Vpr
  • | Via: NPR Local Stories Project
Today, the term farm-to-table signifies the epitome of local food. But nearly 200 years ago, it meant something entirely different when Thanksgiving
9:18 am
Wed November 27, 2013

Putting the 'giving' in Thanksgiving for metro Detroit's kids

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Jennifer Guerra met up with kids and parents from Myers Elementary School as they made their way into New Hope Baptist Church in Wayne. There's more than turkey on the menu with smiles, hugs, and non-perishable household items going to help out the kids and their families---90% of whom are making their way below the poverty line. Myers' school motto is, "Be Respectful, Be Responsible and Be Safe," but State of Opportunity also learns how "be grateful" made it on the list, too.
New Hope Baptist Church in Wayne, Michigan is doing its part to help ensure that students from a nearby school don't go hungry this holiday season. "We just wanted to show some love," says Virgil Humes, the church's pastor. We want to "show them that we believe in helping the community, and those that might not have a thanksgiving meal, we wanted to show them that we can serve them a Thanksgiving meal so that certainly they won’t be hungry."
3:19 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

When his writing sounded like writing, he rewrote it

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The prolific author Elmore Leonard died yesterday, but his writing is still here. So are his rules on how to write well.
These are rules I've picked up along the way to help me remain invisible when I'm writing a book, to help me show rather than tell what's taking place in the story. If you have a facility for language and imagery and the sound of your voice pleases you, invisibility is not what you are after, and you can skip the rules.
3:00 pm
Tue August 6, 2013

Bloomberg says 'avoiding the hard choices is how Detroit went bankrupt'

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New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg talked about Detroit once being an "economic powerhouse." He said there are some important lessons in Detroit's bankruptcy filing.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said every U.S. city needs to heed the lesson of Detroit's recent bankruptcy filing and urged cities to diversify their economies. 'Avoiding the hard choices is how Detroit went bankrupt. And it's the road to ruin for any city,' Bloomberg said in a speech today in New York.
9:16 am
Sat July 20, 2013

Detroit's pension fund was well-funded, but suddenly it wasn't

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Current methods for calculating the health of pension funds might be outdated. This post by Mary Williams Walsh explains why.
Until mid-June, there was one ray of hope in Detroit's gathering storm: For all the city's problems, its pension fund was in pretty good shape. If the city went under, its thousands of retired clerks, police officers, bus drivers and other workers would still be safe. Then came bad news.
11:32 am
Tue July 16, 2013

When it comes to the federal pool of money, Michigan is a giver, not a taker

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Michigan is a net giver when it comes to dollars leaving the state in federal taxes. According to the Economist, from 1990 to 2009, $1.23 trillion went out of the state in federal taxes, while $1.03 trillion in federal spending came into the state during that time frame.
  • Source: Economist
  • | Via: Michael Olson - American Public Media
Where federal taxes are raised and spentSOME American states receive more in federal spending than they pay in federal taxes; others receive less. Over twenty years...
2:19 pm
Fri June 21, 2013

Detroit's emergency manager takes on pension funds

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Detroit's pension boards have been under investigation by the SEC and federal prosecutors. Now Kevyn Orr is ordering his own investigation.
In 2009, a Detroit Free Press investigation of Detroit's two public pensions found a history of failed investments, lavish worldwide travels by the trustees who ran the funds, and few ethics rules. The newspaper reported in 2011 that the funds had lost $470 million in risky investments since 2008.
1:05 pm
Tue June 18, 2013

Want to know where to get the best burger in Michigan? These men did the research.

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John Gonzalez, David Kutzko, and Fritz Klug spent 6 days sampling 33 hamburgers to find the best of the best in Michigan. They revealed the winner this morning: Laura's Little Burger Joint in Decatur. A noteworthy finalist was Krazy Jim's Blimpy Burger in Ann Arbor. Blimpy Burger, which took 10th place, will be closing at the end of August. Many locals hope that they will find a new location for sometime soon.
Does anyone remember the character Wimpy from the old Popeye cartoons? Well, he is best remembered for a healthy appetite for hamburgers, and his classic phrase: "I'll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today." Well, today is Tuesday! And it's pay day, in a way: It's the day we announce the results of our Michigan's Best Burger search.
2:33 pm
Tue June 11, 2013

Column: Detroit politicians hold meetings like political amateurs

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Deadline Detroit's Jeff Wattrick witnessed the scene outside last night's public meeting with emergency manager Kevyn Orr. Other politicians and cities seem to handle large crowds and dissent without much problem. Detroit politicians, Wattrick argues, "stage manage these things like Soviet bureaucrats."
It can be hard sometimes to understand the vitriol of Detroit activists who opposed seemingly common-sense reforms like converting Belle Isle from a public city park into a public state park. It also can be hard to understand the outrage stemming Kevyn Orr's appointment as Detroit emergency manager.
11:25 am
Wed June 5, 2013

Senior class graduates from Buena Vista after months of uncertainty

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Twenty seven seniors from Buena Vista High School graduated yesterday. After the school district's difficult year and budget crisis, the graduation was a happy event for the school and community. The future of the school district remains uncertain.
BUENA VISTA TOWNSHIP, MI - It was a difficult year full of hardships, but Lourenzo Caldwell says he wouldn't trade it for the world. He's a member of the 2013 graduating class at Buena Vista High School. The district's 27 seniors donned blue and white caps and gowns, crossed the stage and received their diplomas on Tuesday, June 4.
11:21 pm
Tue June 4, 2013

Major League Baseball planning big suspensions for 20 players including Detroit's Peralta

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Detroit Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta has been named as among those who could be suspended for using performance enhancing drugs.
Major League Baseball will seek to suspend about 20 players connected to the Miami-area clinic at the heart of an ongoing performance-enhancing drug scandal, including Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Braun, possibly within the next few weeks, "Outside the Lines" has learned. If the suspensions are upheld, the performance-enhancing drug scandal would be the largest in American sports history.
9:58 am
Mon June 3, 2013

Trying to learn more about Snyder's private NERD fund

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The nonprofit, New Energy to Reinvent and Diversify Fund (NERD), was started by Governor Rick Snyder shortly after he took office. The public has access to few details on the fund; mystery surrounds who donates to it and how the funds are used. Several of Snyder's key advisors are payrolled by funds from NERD rather than the state. This may have consequences as Kaffer explains...
Gov. Rick Snyder started the nonprofit New Energy to Reinvent and Diversify Fund shortly after taking office, ostensibly to raise private funds for government innovation. Two years after its creation, few details about the fund's finances have emerged. But the recent revelation that two of Snyder's advisers in the Capitol have spent time on NERD's payroll underscores the need for more information.
3:04 pm
Fri May 24, 2013

House built for boats (people too)

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The Wall Street Journal has this photo essay of a retired boat manufacturer who built a 9,000-square-foot boat house in Michigan. Check the pictures!
In Michigan, The House That Boats Built $6,990,000 Charlevoix, MI Waterfront A retired boat manufacturer brings his passion home-to a nearly 9,000-square-foot boat house attached to the main living space.-Stefanos Chen The owner, John Winn, 66 years old, purchased this property on Round Lake in Charlevoix, Mich., with his wife, Zita Winn, in 1995, according to public records.
3:31 pm
Wed May 22, 2013

Activist to crawl on hands and knees to Albion High School

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49 schools districts in Michigan are in the red. Albion is not one of them. To avoid the red numbers, the district cut their high school.
Community activist Bobby Holley plans to leave Battle Creek Central High School at 10 a.m. May 28 and crawl on hands and knees to Albion High School to protest that school's closure and rally community support for the school. Holley said it could take him two days to crawl from Battle Creek, through Marshall, and to Albion.
11:05 am
Fri May 17, 2013

Detroit pension board spends $22K to send 4 trustees to Hawaii

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The annual National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems is in Hawaii this weekend. Four trustees of Detroit's two public pension funds are attending. The Detroit Free Press obtained records under the Freedom of Information Act that show that the city is covering the airfare, lodging at a resort, registration fees, and meals - a total of $22,000.
Trustees say the conference provides the education they need to manage complex investments for the funds' retirees and beneficiaries. But other major public pension systems avoided sending their officials to Hawaii because of concerns the exotic locale sends the wrong message at a time when pensions nationwide are contemplating or implementing reduced benefits to cope with rising retirement costs and shaky investment returns.
11:04 am
Thu May 16, 2013

Former President George W. Bush helps to raise $400,000 for GR school

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Former President George W. Bush spoke Wednesday to a crowd of roughly 900 during the second annual Leaders of Tomorrow Gala in Grand Rapids. The event raised $400,000 to support the West Michigan Aviation Academy, a school founded by Dick DeVos.
GRAND RAPIDS, MI - Former President George W. Bush Wednesday charmed a crowd of 900 attending the second annual West Michigan Aviation Academy's Leaders of Tomorrow Gala with his candor and trademark wit.