willow run

Stateside
5:02 pm
Mon April 21, 2014

Yankee Air Museum sets record for most "Rosies;" now about that bomber plant

One of the real "Rosies" at work at a bomber plant.
Credit Alfred T. Palmer / U.S. Government

A few weeks ago, 778 women of all ages donned coveralls, tied their hair up with bandanas, and headed to the Yankee Air Museum at Willow Run Airport in southeast Michigan to try to break a world record.

And now it's official. That gathering has set the Guinness World Record: 778 “Rosie the Riveters” all in one place.

It was the Yankee Air Museum's second try at setting the Guinness World Record for the most women and girls dressed as Rosies, and their second try was a charm.

The original Rosies turned out B-24 "Liberator" heavy bombers at the plant during World War II.

The event helps the museum with the serious business of raising enough money to save the historic Willow Run Bomber plant from demolition.

The Yankee Air Museum is trying to raise $8 million to buy the old plant from the RACER trust, which oversees liquidation of former GM properties.

The Museum has until May 1 to save the bomber plant from the wrecker's ball.

*Listen to our interview above.

Transportation
2:27 pm
Fri September 20, 2013

Willow Run Airport receives additional $12 million for runway renovations

Planes on the tarmac at the Willow Run Airport
Wikipedia

The U.S. Department of Transportation is giving the Wayne County Airport Authority a $12 million federal grant to renovate a runway at the Willow Run Airport, according to Congressmen John Dingell and John Conyers, Jr. and Senators Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow.

This is on top of the $9 million in federal funding awarded to the airport in July. This additional $12 million will go towards the repaving of runway 05R/23L.

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Auto
11:10 am
Mon August 5, 2013

Air museum hopes to save 'Rosie the Riveter's' factory

A real-life 'Rosie the Riveter' in 1943. She worked at Vultee-Nashville, Tennessee. The plane is an A-31 Vengeance dive bomber.
Alfred T. Palmer U.S. Government

The historic Michigan factory where the iconic Rosie the Riveter and thousands of other women built B-24 bombers during World War II could face the wrecking ball two months from now.

A modest nonprofit is trying to raise enough money to salvage some of the massive plant, which Ford sold to General Motors after the war. The Yankee Air Museum figures the factory is the perfect place to start anew, after a devastating fire destroyed its collections in 2004.

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Politics & Government
7:46 am
Thu August 1, 2013

In this morning's news: Medicaid expansion, the Willow Run Bomber Plant, and pet coke removal

User: Brother O'Mara flickr

State Senate committee approves Medicaid plans

A Michigan Senate committee has approved a plan to expand Medicaid.  The bill would allow thousands more Michigan residents to receive coverage.  Michigan Radio’s Jake Neher reports that the committee also approved two alternative bills that would not expand Medicaid. The proposed bills are expected to reach the Senate floor in late August.

Demolition of Willow Run Bomber Plan delayed

The Willow Run Bomber Plant has received an extension on its demolition deadline.  Michigan Radio’s Rina Miller reports that “the trust overseeing the property gave a non-profit group two extra months to raise 8 million dollars.” The Yankee Air Museum hopes to renovate and move into the space that helped inspire the “Rosie the Riveter” character.

Detroit Bulk Storage will halt pet coke shipments

Yesterday a hearing was held at Detroit City Hall about the storage of petroleum coke along the riverfront.  Detroit Bulk Storage has been piling the substance there for months without a permit. Michigan Radio's Sarah Cwiek reports that local residents and organizations voiced their opposition to storing the pet coke in the city.

Politics & Government
8:04 am
Wed July 31, 2013

In this morning's news: Buena Vista dissolved, preservation of Willow Run, Detroit streetcar line

Morning News Roundup for Wednesday, July 31, 2013
User: Brother O'Mara flickr

Buena Vista school district has been dissolved

The Saginaw Intermediate School District board voted to close the Buena Vista School District yesterday. The nearly 400 students will be split up it among the Saginaw, Bridgeport-Spaulding and Frankenmuth districts. According to MLive,  261 students attend the part of the Buena Vista district that the Saginaw schools are absorbing and 135 the Bridgeport-Spaulding schools' section; there are no students in the rural area that Frankenmuth is taking.

Willow Run could still be saved

The deadline to present funds for the preservation of a portion of the former Willow Run bomber plant was originally tomorrow, August 1. However, the trust set up to oversee properties owned by a pre-bankruptcy General Motors announced yesterday that it's extending the deadline until October 1, the Detroit Free Press reports. The Save the Bomber Plant campaign has raised $4.5 million toward the $8 million cost of preserving 175,000 square feet of the plant and turning it in to the new home of the Yankee Air Museum.

Detroit streetcar line has chosen construction manager

Developers of a $140 million streetcar line planned for a 3.3-mile course through the heart of Detroit have selected Stacy and Witbeck Inc. to serve as construction manager and general contractor, according to the Detroit News. Groundbreaking on the project could take place in the fall. The streetcar line is scheduled to start running in late 2015. Officials have said they don't believe that Detroit's bankruptcy case will affect the privately managed streetcar line.

Stateside
5:23 pm
Mon July 29, 2013

An interview with Rosie the Riveter

The Wilow Run Factory was built in 5 months, and at the height of production during WWII, it was producing one B-24 bomber every hour.
U.S. Army Signal Corps

An interview with Emma Rancour, a former Rosie the Riveter from the Willow Run bomber plant.

There's a song from 1942 written by Red Evans and John Jacob Loeb that celebrates one of the most important groups to emerge on the home front in World War Two.

Collectively known as "Rosie the Riveter," women covered their hair with bandanas and picked up their tools to work in war production in factories all across America.

One of the most important plants in the war effort was the Willow Run bomber plant in Ypsilanti Township. Henry Ford built it to make B-24 bombers. 8, 685 bombers rolled off the assembly line at Willow Run during the war.

Emma Rancour was one of those Rosie the Riveters who worked at Willow Run. She installed radios in the flight decks of those Liberators.

These days, Emma Rancour lives in South Lyon. She joined us today to talk about her time at the plant.

Listen to the full interview above.

Politics & Culture
4:57 pm
Mon July 29, 2013

Stateside for Monday, July 29th, 2013

Today we focused our attention on what it takes to run an auto company, and the future of Michigan’s automakers.

And, we met a real life "Rosie the Riveter." She helped turn out bombers at the Willow Run Bomber Plant nearly 70 years ago.

And, we a got a preview of this year's Traverse City Film Festival, which kicks off this week.

Also, we took a look at what invasive plant species are threatening the Great Lakes and what can be done to stop them.

And, more and more people are doing their shopping on their smart phones. We spoke with a man from Ann Arbor who created an app to help with mobile shopping.

Also, John Fierst with the Clarke Historical Library at Central Michigan University joined us to discuss Michigan In Letters, an online collection of letters that give insight to Michigan’s past.

First on the show, it's been just over a week since Detroit became the largest city in American history to file for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 9.

Until now, that unwanted distinction belonged to Stockton, California. 

Earlier this year, Bridge Magazine writer Ron French wrote an article about his visit to bankrupt Stockton and Vallejo, a California town that has emerged from bankruptcy.

As Ron puts it, if Stockton is an example of a city just being diagnosed with fiscal "cancer," Vallejo is a community that has finished chemotherapy. And so far nobody seems particularly thrilled with the results.

Ron French joined us today. 

Stateside
3:09 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

Willow Run Bomber Plant could be a new home for the Yankee Air Museum

The Wilow Run Factory was built in five months, and at the height of production during WWII, it was producing one B-24 bomber every hour.
U.S. Army Signal Corps

An interview with Dennis Norton and Ray Hunter from the Yankee Air Museum.

When you think about what it took for the United States and our Allies to win World War II, it wasn't just up to the troops fighting in Europe and the Pacific, the war was waged on the home front as well.

And a big chunk of real estate in Ypsilanti was one of the most important spots in the nation for that war effort: the Willow Run Bomber Plant.

It was built by the Ford Motor Company to turn out B-24 Liberator bombers.

At the peak of its war effort, Willow Run turned out one Liberator bomber every 59 minutes. And 42,000 workers kept those bombers coming, earning the plant its nickname of "The Arsenal of Democracy."

Willow Run was also where Rose Will Monroe hired on to work as a riveter. She appeared in a film aimed at getting women out of the home and into the plants to help the war effort, and that led to the iconic “Rosie the Riveter” image and hit song.

These days, the future of Willow Run is cloudy.

It had been a GM plant, but Willow Run was discarded by GM during its bankruptcy woes in 2009.

Now, the Yankee Air Museum is hoping to buy a good-sized piece of the historic plant for a new home, thus saving the plant from the wrecker's ball and helping grow the museum.

Dennis Norton, founder of the Yankee Air Museum, and Ray Hunter, the current Chair of the Museum as well as a pilot and former Air Force colonel, joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Culture
12:53 pm
Tue April 23, 2013

Yankee Air Museum wants home at ex-bomber plant

B-24 bombers being assembled at the Willow Run plant. Ford Motor Company built 8,685 B-24s from 1942 until the end of World War II.
wikimedia commons

VAN BUREN TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) - The Yankee Air Museum is kicking off a $6 million campaign to make its home at a former facility that built B-24 bombers during World War II.

Museum officials announced this week an effort to purchase and renovate part of the former Willow Run powertrain plant. The museum is housed at Willow Run Airport, near Ypsilanti in Wayne County's Van Buren Township.

Its original headquarters was destroyed by fire in 2004.

Dennis Norton, the founder and president of the Yankee Air Museum, has presented plans to Ypsilanti Township officials. The museum says it has until Aug. 1 to secure funding, and would buy the site from the Revitalizing Auto Communities Environmental Response Trust.

Ford Motor Co. built the plant for B-24 production. It later was taken over by General Motors.

Education
10:25 am
Wed March 21, 2012

Ypsilanti, Willow Run school districts consider consolidation

YPSILANTI, Mich. (AP) — Leaders of the Willow Run and Ypsilanti school districts say plans to consolidate could prevent them from being placed under the control of an emergency financial manager.

AnnArbor.com reports both school districts have been on the state's list of districts operating with a deficit consistently since 2009. Ypsilanti Public Schools has a total projected deficit of $9.4 million and Willow Run Community Schools has a $1.7 million deficit.

The superintendents of both districts said Tuesday that consolidation could prevent an emergency manager and improve student achievement.

Ypsilanti Superintendent Dedrick Martin says his district has spent more than it has taken in since 2004-05. Willow Run Superintendent Laura Lisiscki says school officials are looking to take a local, proactive approach to solving their schools' growing financial and student achievement problems.