wayne county

Politics & Government
5:00 am
Wed October 29, 2014

The 2014 Wayne County tax auction is over, but key details slow to emerge

Credit Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

The final round of the annual Wayne County property tax foreclosure auction closed on Tuesday.

This year, about 24,000 properties—the vast majority located in Detroit--were up for auction over two rounds.

The auction has become a real estate mega-event in recent years, as the number of tax-foreclosed properties has soared, and bidding moved online.

More than 7000 of the properties up for auction this year were believed to be occupied.

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Education
4:41 pm
Mon September 29, 2014

For $150, you could see Neil deGrasse Tyson speak in Detroit

Credit Neil deGrasse Tyson / Facebook

Tomorrow, Sept. 30, the world-renowned science educator and astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson will deliver a keynote speech at the Wayne County Community College District Chancellor's Banquet. 

The event will be held at 6 p.m. at the Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center. Event proceeds will benefit the Wayne County Community College district scholarship fund. 

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Education
4:08 pm
Mon September 29, 2014

Michigan community colleges receive $5 million in federal funding

Credit Alpena Community College / Facebook

In an effort to raise employment through increased job training, the Obama administration has distributed $450 million to nearly 270 community colleges across the country.

Among these recipients are two community colleges in Michigan: Alpena Community College and Wayne County Community College District in Detroit. The community colleges were selected for their partnerships with employers on job training. Together, they will be receiving nearly $5 million in federal funding.

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Families & Community
5:24 pm
Fri September 5, 2014

U of M to run Wayne County Medical Examiner's Office

Credit User: Brett L / flickr

Beginning in October, the University of Michigan will run Wayne County's Medical Examiner's Office. 

The $16.7 million contract will be in effect for three years.

Wayne County's Chief Medical Examiner, Dr. Carl Schmidt, says the partnership could allow the county greater access to pathologists, advanced lab facilities, and forensics through the University of Michigan.

“The vision is that we will gain more flexibility in hiring the people that we need. And because of the economies of scale that are provided by the university, we can do things that we used to do at a lower price,” says Schmidt.

The agreement is expected to save taxpayers at least $1.5 million. It's also expected to address criticism the county faced over understaffing and long waits for autopsies.

Stateside
5:38 pm
Thu August 7, 2014

Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano leaves behind tough financial challenge for successor

Outgoing Wayne County executive Robert Ficano
Credit Wayne County / YouTube

Tuesday’s primary election marked the beginning of the end of the scandal-ridden administration of Robert Ficano, Executive of Wayne County.

He placed fifth in the Democratic primary, so former sheriff Warren Evans will likely win the office this November in that Democratic stronghold. But Ficano leaves behind a huge challenge for his successor.

Daniel Howes, business columnist for The Detroit News, joined us today. Howes said Robert Ficano has left Wayne County in a financially poor shape.

“The pension fund is in some way more underfunded than some of the Detroit pension funds. Budgets are out of whack. A lot of white elephant projects. It’s going to be very hard for a successor to unwind, particularly a successor who has basically been a part of the Wayne County and Detroit political law enforcement machine for a very long time, ” Howes said.

* Listen to the full interview with Daniel Howes above.

Opinion
3:50 pm
Fri July 18, 2014

The pros and cons of Bill Wild, one of the candidates for Wayne Co. executive

Westland sometimes is in national trivia contests because it was the first city ever named after a shopping mall.

Bill Wild, Westland’s mayor for the last seven years, has been much less well-known. Perhaps until recently, that is; he is now waging a serious campaign to be elected Wayne County executive. That is, to win the Democratic primary August 5, which essentially guarantees victory in the November election.

Wild may still have more money and less name recognition than his four major rivals. But he is running second in some polls, and has one powerful argument.

“I’m the only candidate who actually has executive experience, who has run both a business and a government,” he told me a couple days ago, when I went to see him at his campaign headquarters on the east side of Detroit. 

That is somewhat true.

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Politics & Government
8:00 am
Sat July 12, 2014

Is building deconstruction viable on a large scale? Project suggests it just might be

Workers deconstructing a home.
Credit via SER Metro

Wayne County officials say a large project proves that building deconstruction is becoming a viable alternative to demolition.

Deconstruction is the process of carefully taking apart abandoned properties, and salvaging as many materials from them as possible.

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Health
1:23 pm
Sat June 28, 2014

Group wants "Health" to be a key consideration in all government decisions

The idea is that the “health” is determined by many factors that fall outside the control of health care professionals. Factors include: income, employment, education and where people live, work, and play.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A handful of Michigan county health department leaders say “health” should play a bigger role in local decision making. 

Health department officials from Wayne, Genesee, Ingham, Kent, Kalamazoo, Saginaw and Washtenaw counties met in Lansing this past week to strategize how to change the way local governments do pretty much everything. 

Linda Vail is Ingham County’s Chief Health Officer.   She says city and county leaders often fail to consider the potential effects their decisions will have on their community’s health.

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Opinion
12:34 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

Wayne county is so Democratic the only election that really counts is the August primary

Wayne County always has been the biggest county in Michigan, at least in terms of people, and it's the most important. Though it includes Detroit, more than a million of its residents live elsewhere, from the affluent leafy suburbs of Plymouth to gritty downriver towns like River Rouge.

They are all very different, but have two things in common. First, they elect an executive, sort of a super mayor to run things. And second, they live in a county in trouble and in deficit.

In recent years, Wayne County has been rocked by personnel scandals and an astonishing farce concerning a half-built jail abandoned after $125 million taxpayer dollars had been wasted.

Now, there are increasing worries that Wayne County, like its largest city, could be facing emergency management. That should be alarming to all of us for the same reason Detroit’s troubles are.

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Politics & Government
10:51 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

Wayne County sues to collect back taxes on properties it once sold at tax-foreclosure auctions

Credit Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Wayne County treasurer Raymond Wojtowicz’s office has filed a lawsuit to collect about $80 million in delinquent property taxes.

The irony is that these are taxes owed on properties the county once owned, but sold at auction after they were foreclosed on...for delinquent property taxes.

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Politics & Government
8:00 am
Mon May 26, 2014

Wayne County getting much-needed cash from its treasurer; report finds he owes more

Wayne County Treasurer Raymond Wojtowicz
Credit via Wayne County

Struggling Wayne County will get a much-needed cash infusion, thanks to its own treasurer’s office—and the county’s auditor general thinks it should get even more.

Michigan’s largest county is in major financial trouble, running a deficit of at least $175 million and growing.

The state recently approved a deficit-elimination plan that includes steep cuts and possible asset sales. And there’s been lots of speculation about a possible emergency manager coming down the road.

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Politics & Government
7:00 am
Mon April 21, 2014

Plagued by scandal, Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano will still seek re-election

Robert Ficano

Embattled Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano will formally announce he’s seeking a fourth term Monday.

Ficano’s current term has been plagued by scandal.

His administration is the subject of an ongoing FBI public corruption investigation, and several former members of his inner circle have been convicted of various crimes.

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Health
6:15 am
Wed March 26, 2014

Ranking the health of Michigan's counties

Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

A new report ranks the healthiest and least healthy of Michigan’s 83 counties.

Ottawa County topped the rankings as healthiest, while Wayne County placed at the bottom.

But there’s no geographic pattern to the rankings put together by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and University of Wisconsin researchers.

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Politics & Government
6:33 pm
Tue February 11, 2014

Wayne Co. plan calls for pay and benefit cuts, spinning off sewage plants

Wayne County Commission Chair Gary Woronchak
waynecounty.com

Wayne County Executive Bob Ficano is asking commissioners to approve a plan that calls for cutting pay and benefits for county employees, and spinning off its sewage treatment plants, among other things.

The county has a running deficit of at least $175 million. And it continues to spend more than it takes in.

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Politics & Government
12:45 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

Wayne County ponders offer for botched jail site

Credit Wayne County

Downtown Detroit real estate mogul Dan Gilbert wants to buy the site of Wayne County’s botched jail project.

Rock Ventures has offered a total of $50 million to build an entertainment district where the half-built jail and other county facilities now sit. Wayne County abandoned the jail project in August because it was hugely over-budget.

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Education
7:19 pm
Sun October 27, 2013

Detroit taxpayers foot big bill for closed schools

Abandoned school in Detroit
Credit Flickr user/Dave-a-roni (Dark Spot Photography)

Detroit property owners face a quarter century of payments for construction and renovation of school buildings that no longer operate.

The Detroit Free Press says that 110 buildings covered by $2.1 billion in bond issues in 1994 and 2009 are either empty or demolished.

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Law
3:06 pm
Fri October 11, 2013

Judge dismisses lawsuit against Ficano

A wrongful termination lawsuit against Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano was dismissed.
Credit Wayne County / YouTube

U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman has dismissed a lawsuit against Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano. The case was filed by former Wayne County employee James Wallace, who claimed Ficano fired him for refusing to do political work on county time.

Wallace is a graphic designer who worked for Ficano for 13 years. He claimed he was fired for refusing to design campaign materials for Ficano. The Wayne County lawyers maintain Wallace's firing was strictly a budgetary decision.

Deborah Gordon, Wallace's lawyer, says she was shocked by the ruling.

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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.

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Politics & Government
8:59 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

1-person grand jury to look at Wayne County jail project

(file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - A one-person grand jury has been convened to investigate whether any criminal activity is involved in the over-budget Wayne County Jail project.

County Circuit Court Judge Timothy Kenny on Wednesday also banned the release of an auditor general's investigation of the construction project.

Kenny's order came after a petition filed by Prosecutor Kym Worthy. Among other things, the petition says Worthy's investigation will focus on neglect of duty, conspiracy, fraud and misconduct.

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Politics & Government
9:00 am
Sat August 24, 2013

The week in review: Detroit primaries, ACLU racial mapping case, 'fee-for-service'

Sarah Cwiek Michigan Radio

This week, Rina Miller and Jack Lessenberry discuss the certification of Detroit’s mayoral primary results, the Detroit ACLU’s case against the FBI, and a union’s “fee-for-service” for employee grievances.

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