WUOMFM

Detroit Stories

On this page you'll find all of our stories on the city of Detroit.

Suggest a story here and follow our podcast here.

The old library entry at Marygrove College in Detroit.
Marygrove College Library / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

 

The wolf was at the door for Marygrove College.  

After nearly a century, the small liberal arts college in Northwest Detroit was drowning in debt and enrollment was shrinking

In the 1930s, property assessors graded American cities on a four-point scale, with the worst neighborhoods coded red, giving birth to the term "redlining."
Mapping Inequality: Redlining in New Deal America / Creative Commons

It’s been half a century since the federal government banned discrimination in the home mortgage industry. But a new analysis of mortgage data shows people of color are still routinely denied conventional mortgage loans far more often than white people.

Airbnb

Detroit may have quietly banned many Airbnb rentals with a new zoning law that went into effect this week. The zoning change as written bans Airbnb room rentals in owner-occupied single-family and duplex homes.

The company says that's about 50% of Detroit's total Airbnb business.

Some Airbnb owners claim city is now notifying people like Melissa Jasper to stop opening up their homes to paid guests. 

Jasper says her Airbnb business was paying the mortgage. And she says the change is short-sighted, because a good Airbnb host is a booster for their city's image.

Bedrock Detroit / Rock Ventures

Redevelopment is planned for the former Detroit police headquarters building.

Bedrock real estate and Pike Pointe Holdings are partners on the project. Plans for the building’s development have yet to be released, but “the partners are committed to preserving the historic nature of this architectural gem." The Pike Pointe Holdings and Bedrock partnership hold title to the building.

mural
Tara / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Dr. Felix Valbuena is CEO of the Community Health and Social Services Center (CHASS) in Southwest Detroit. It’s one of 45 community health centers in Michigan that provide care to about 700,000 people.

Roughly 27 million Americans – largely located in low-income urban or rural areas – rely on community health centers for medical, dental, and mental health care. But it’s been 129 days since Congress let funding run out for community health centers. Valbuena, along with other health administrators, is nervously waiting to see whether Congress passes funding for the program in the ongoing budget negotiations.

DETROIT MUSIC FACTORY

DETROIT  - Detroit philanthropist Gretchen Valade has given more money to boost jazz studies at Wayne State University.

The Detroit school announced Monday that Valade, a board member of Carhartt Clothing and granddaughter of its founder, pledged $2 million for an additional performance space in the future Gretchen Valade Jazz Center. Wayne State is using the money to update its current Studio Theatre in the Hilberry Theatre.

Cynthia Lambert
Cynthia Lambert

Cynthia Lambert had the title many others dream of: sports reporter. She worked for the Detroit News covering the Red Wings for 12 seasons, including their Stanley Cup wins in 1997 and 1998.

Now she’s taken those seasons of sports reporting and packed them into her new memoir Power Play: My Life Inside The Red Wings Locker Room.

A Techtown building in Detroit
Andrew Jameson / Wikimedia Commons

Grant funding is being extended for a program in Detroit that supports a business startup accelerator for students.

TechTown's Detroit Technology Exchange Business Incubator will receive a $250,000 extension. The funding is part of more than $1.7 million in extensions approved by the Michigan Strategic Fund.

detroit police car
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Update: 2:20 p.m.

Officer Glenn Doss died at Detroit Receiving Hospital shortly after 1:00 this afternoon, according to Detroit Police Chief James Craig. 

Original post: 1:50 p.m.

A man has been charged in the shooting of a 25-year-old Detroit police officer who had responded to a domestic violence complaint on the city's east side.

The Wayne County prosecutor's office says 43-year-old Decharlos Brooks was arraigned Saturday on eight counts of assault with intent to murder, resisting and obstructing and carrying a dangerous weapon.

Governor Rick Snyder
Rick Snyder for Michigan / Facebook Page

 

Michigan’s hopes of hosting Amazon’s second headquarters crashed into pieces when Detroit failed to make the list of 20 finalists.

 

It’s a sign that there’s a lot of work to do to burnish Michigan’s business image across the country and around the world.

Michigan State University President Lou Anna Simon
File photo / Michigan State University

Michigan State University President Lou Anna Simon is facing mounting pressure to resign over how the university handled complaints against former sports Dr. Larry Nassar. The full leadership of the state Legislature, MSU's student newspaper and MSU's student government have all called for her resignation. However, it doesn't look like Simon is going anywhere at the moment.

This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about what could be keeping Simon from stepping down.


Carlos Nielbock / Facebook

The Next Idea

You’ve heard of a “hotbed of innovation” – a time and place where money and talent flow towards the creation of new ideas. Sometimes, though, innovation happens during the slowdowns, the dry spells.

Paige Pfleger / WHYY

A few miles from the heart of Detroit’s downtown, sandwiched between diverging freeways is a sort of microcosm of the city: a factory, a boarded-up warehouse, and a handful of homes surrounded by the kind of sprawling yards usually associated with the suburbs.

Courtesy of Hajjar Baban

Hajjar Baban is the 2017 Detroit Youth Poet Laureate. She was also a finalist in the 2017 National Youth Poet Laureate Program.

Baban joined Stateside today to talk about her process, and to read her poem, “portrait of my grand / father as another kurdish man i never met.”

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Detroit swore in a crop of city officials to new, four-year terms Tuesday.

Unlike four years ago, when the city was just about to emerge from bankruptcy and was still still under state control, this time nearly all are incumbents who have done the job before.

That includes Mayor Mike Duggan, who says he’s back for another full, four-year term.

Neeta Lind / Flickr

Several medical marijuana businesses in Detroit are suing the city for failing to process permit applications. Attorney Michael Stein says he represents around 20 local medical marijuana businesses. He says he filed complaints on behalf of several clients Tuesday, asking the courts to force the city to issue decisions on the permit applications.

Stein says Detroit’s new medical marijuana ordinances are designed for businesses to get approval as long as they meet necessary requirements. He says several clients have submitted applications, only to have them ignored by city officials.

The state began accepting permit applications for medical marijuana facilities on December 15. Medical marijuana businesses that have already been operating can stay open while their state application is pending – as long as they receive local government approval and apply to the state by February 15.

Detroit People Mover
Sönke Biehl / Flickr - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCl0

 

 

Daniel Howes, Detroit News business columnist, joined Stateside to look at Detroit's year in review. He shared his takeaways about Detroit's progress post-bankruptcy and what to look forward to in Detroit's future from the auto industry and its neighborhoods.

Mixtape: Colin Stetson, Stef Chura, and Royce da 5’9”

Dec 19, 2017
Courtesy of artists

Today on Stateside, we take an end-of-the-year listen to music from Detroit-area artists. Our guides, as always, are Paul Young, publisher of Detroit Music Magazine, and Khalid Bhatti, the magazine's executive editor. 

Listen to the full conversation above, or read highlights below.

Colin Stetson, “All This I Do for Glory” from All This I Do for Glory

Paul Sableman / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Last year the Jewish News, a Detroit Journalism Cooperative partner, published a piece about Jews being part of Detroit’s white flight.

But rather than fighting or hassling black residents moving into Jewish neighborhoods, Jews just left. Still, some of the Jewish-owned businesses stayed behind, serving the new residents.

Pastor Aramis Hinds of Breakers Covenant Church International and Rabbi Ariana Silverman of the Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue joined Stateside today to discuss how the relationship between Jews and African Americans evolved during that period of history. They also discussed how it continues to evolve today.

Courtesy of Emma Weinstein

On Sunday, there will be a staged reading of a new play called Come My Beloved. It's described as being about race, intimacy, and Detroit.

The play chronicles a Friday night in the lives of three black and Jewish couples at different points in time.

The playwright and director is Emma Weinstein, and she joined Stateside today.

Michigan State University sign
Wikimedia Commons / public domain

As the cases against former Michigan State University sports doctor Larry Nassar continue to unfold, there have been calls for MSU President Lou Anna Simon to resign. The latest came from State House Speaker Tom Leonard who says MSU hasn't been forthcoming about who knew what, and when, about Nassar's crimes.

Michigan Radio's Morning Edition host Doug Tribou and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry discuss whether removing President Simon is the right response. 

The New Press, 2017

There are accepted historical “facts” which do not hold up to closer scrutiny. One of those is that slavery was something that happened in the South, not the North. That is simply wrong.

A new book examines examples of Northern slavery, focusing on the early days of Detroit.

Detroit shut water to 1 in 10 homes this year. Yes, that’s progress.

Dec 5, 2017
A customer walks into a Detroit Water Department customer service center
Joel Kurth / Bridge Magazine

So far this year, Detroit has shut water to more homes than exist in all of Muskegon. One in 10 residential customers lost service, at least temporarily, in Detroit.

notices
Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

Because of the Flint water crisis, several Michigan cities are making long term plans to replace old lead water pipes that connect homes to the water main.

That is good for public health, but well-meaning municipal water operators can actually make lead exposure worse if they’re not careful.

There’s a mix of lead and copper pipes buried near the corner of Trinity and Florence in a neighborhood on Detroit’s northwest side. When I visited a month ago the block was lined with nice, two story brick homes and orange construction barrels. It smelled like diesel.

MorningSide: A Detroit Neighborhood

Nov 10, 2017
MorningSide
Mercedes Meija / Michigan Radio

Downtown Detroit is in the midst of a resurgence. However, business districts in the neighborhoods are not seeing the same successes. The decline in population and the decline in wealth in many neighborhoods is keeping much of the city in a prolonged economic downturn.

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

Many people in Detroit cannot or, sometimes in the case of landlords, do not pay property taxes. Every year, the Wayne County Treasurer's Office seizes owner-occupied homes and puts them up for auction.

Even with recent efforts to get homeowners on installment plans, lowering interests rates, and letting more low-income people know they might be eligible for property tax wavers, it hasn’t been enough to keep many people in their homes. There’s a high poverty rate in Detroit.

A foreclosure sign.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

An effort to help some Wayne County residents from losing their homes to tax foreclosure seems to have stalled. Until the last minute, low-income property owners were being encouraged to apply for tax exemptions, with the hope of preventing their homes from being sold at Wayne County’s annual auction of tax-foreclosed properties.

Detroit City assessor Alvin Horhn’s office promoted the idea that some low-income homeowners might be able to avoid tax foreclosure this year if they hurried to apply for a tax exemption.

Detroit skyline with GM building
Pixabay.com

The city of Detroit is offering $1 million in grants to help lift residents out of poverty and into jobs. The initiative is a partnership between the city and the Detroit Employment Solutions Corporation.

Grants are available to community organizations offering services like literacy education, vocational training, and support services to Detroit residents enrolled in SNAP -- the federal food assistance program.

Jeff Donofrio is executive director of workforce development for the city of Detroit. He says low-income job seekers in the city often face many challenges.

Digital_Third_Eye / Flickr - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

The Next Idea

One of the central challenges in Detroit’s revival: making sure that all boats rise. That good things are happening for long-time Detroiters, not just the newcomers and new businesses setting up in the city.

Capital Impact Partners created its Equitable Development Initiative after realizing how little of its money went to projects led by minority developers. The program is designed to bring more minority developers into Detroit’s revitalization.

"Out of water" sign after Oakland County water main break
Tracy Samilton / Michigan Radio

Thousands of people in Oakland County are still dealing with a mandatory boil water advisory this weekend. It was issued after a broken water transmission main caused system pressure to drop, and then extended after another leak was detected. The CEO of the Great Lakes Water Authority called it an "unprecedented" event in the regional water system's history, but this Week in Review, senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry tells Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth why he wasn't surprised.

Pages