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Detroit

WQXR Features

Motor City Maestros

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Founded in 1914, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra has had a tumultuous history of financial crises, labor unrest, and concert hall problems but also some nationally and internationally acclaimed concert tours and recordings. Here are some highlights from its history.

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WQXR Features

Labor Dispute Quiets Detroit Symphony

Friday, October 01, 2010

Detroit Symphony Orchestra musicians called a strike after refusing to accept steep pay cuts demanded by the financially struggling orchestra. Read more and listen to Midge Woolsey's interviews with both sides.

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The Takeaway

One Small Business in Detroit is Hiring Again

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Are small businesses hiring again? Detroit Power and Light owner Will Laneski is, and he explains why.

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Transportation Nation

Is High Speed Rail Part of the Midwest's Economic Solution?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

(Detroit -- Noah Ovshinsky, WDET) Supporters of mass transit are touting a new study that looks at the economic impact of high-speed rail in the Midwest. According to the Public Interest Research Group In Michigan (PIRGIM), a new rail network would create 58,000 jobs and tap into the manufacturing base that already exists in Michigan. Several Midwest states, including Michigan, have received stimulus money to help establish high speed train routes.

Meghan Hess of PIRGIM says she hopes the report keeps the issue in the public eye. “There is some money coming in from the recovery act but its not enough to fund the whole system," she says. "It needs the political will and the public pressure behind that political will to make that system a reality.”

Michigan is using stimulus money to build new train stations in several cities along the Chicago-Detroit rail corridor. Advocates say a new high speed rail system would allow passengers to travel between the two cities in less time than it takes to drive.

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The Takeaway

An Oral History of the Great Migration

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The massive migration of black Americans from the South to the North in the early part of last century changed the social and cultural landscape of America forever.  Six million African Americans eventually left the South around 1920.  Before then, 90 percent of all African Americans lived in the south.  By 1970, nearly half lived elsewhere in the country. 

We're asking our African American listeners: Does your family have a story about the Great Migration? If so, we'd love to hear it: When did your family come north? Why did they leave the South? Tell us your story...

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The Takeaway

In Recession, Orchestras Falling Silent

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Detroit Symphony Orchestra is one of the nation's top orchestras. It has been facing financial problems in recent years, with corporate contributions and ticket sales down and an operating deficit that could reach $5 million this year. Now they are negotiating with the orchestra's musicians over a new contract. 

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Transportation Nation

Autoline Daily Editor to WDET: Auto Industry Will Rock

Saturday, August 14, 2010

(Detroit -- Jerome Vaughn, WDET).   Detroit is buzzing about word of a leadership change at GM -- it's almost as big news as the Flint serial killer.   The Editor of Autoline Daily John McElroy says GM's new CEO,  Dan Akerson "fits the bill perfectly for what the[U.S] treasury wanted."  But, he adds "if GM is  going to have only finance people running the company-- we saw the trouble that it got into in the last decade by having those kind of officers in charge."

McElroy also notes that the company's 1.3 billion profit this quarter  "is not a surprising number" and that " what everybody seems to forget is that  the Obama administration came into town a year ago, waved a magic wand, and made all of GM's and Chrysler's legacy costs disappear, pouf, they're gone...that was not done by the people who are running GM right now."

McElroy's prediction for the future of the industry: "Three, four years from now the auto industry in Detroit is going to be rocking like we haven't seen in a long, long time."

More on Detroit from today's New York Times "Detroit Goes from Gloom to Economic Bright Spot."

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The Takeaway

General Motors CEO Ed Whitacre Steps Down

Friday, August 13, 2010

Barely 24 hours after announcing the company's positive second quarter earnings, GM CEO Ed Whitacre announced yesterday that he would be stepping down from the company. It was an expected move; Whitacre came out of retirement to steer the company towards better economic waters, and promised it would be a short term undertaking. But his departure took some by surprise, who expected he would stay through the company's stock offering, which should take place next week. What shape does Whitacre leave the company in? And what ahead?

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Transportation Nation

LaHood: Light Rail Will Boost Motor City

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

(Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation) U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood was in Detroit on Monday, just a couple days after President Barack Obama visited a car factory, drove a Volt, and otherwise touted the revival of the auto industry.

LaHood was there talking about another mode of transportation, entirely. "You build a bus line, a transit line, a light rail line, people will come, they will use it, and it will become an economic engine," LaHood said at a press conference announcing the U.S. DOT is backing an environmental review for the proposed Woodward Avenue light rail line, the linchpin of a plan to revive downtown Detroit.

The light rail, LaHood said, "will give people a new choice or maybe a  first chance to get from one place to another, from home to school, to work, to the store, to see family and friends, or a doctor. They will help make Detroit a model for livable communities. A place where transit brings housing in close proximity to jobs and businesses. A place where sidewalks and bike paths are usable, inviting, and safe."

"Woodward Avenue was the first street paved with concrete any place in the world. What an extraordinary piece of history. Its traffic was among the first to be managed by public stop lights which a Detroit police officer invented in 191," LaHood said. "And while the community is rightfully proud of its history as the birthplace of the freeway and automobile, Woodward Avenue was also once upon a time the backbone of a streetcar network and transit system replicated in cities across the United States."

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Transportation Nation

Feds Fund Study for Light Rail in Detroit

Monday, August 02, 2010

(Detroit, Michigan - Quinn Klinefelter, WDET)  A proposed light rail line is a step closer to reality today in the Motor City.  Detroit officials want to build a light rail loop stretching from downtown to 8 Mile (map).  A private group has assembled roughly $125 million to pay for the first leg of the line, from downtown to the New Center area and the Granholm Administration is directing $25 million in federal stimulus money to the project.

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing says a light rail line would take some Detroiters to their jobs and create employment in construction for others.  "That means not only convenient modern transportation.  It also means tremendous economic spin-off development that will occur all along the line. If you’ve visited other cities as I have to see the impact of light rail, you’ve seen that the development that it generates is equally important with the convenient transportation that it provides.”

The federal government now begins an environmental impact study that will take at least a year to complete to identify factors like when and where trains should actually operate.  Submitting the final environmental impact statement could qualify the project for federal funding of up to 80 percent of the total cost.  Supporters predict the line could be in operation by 2016.

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Transportation Nation

Other than Volt President Hasn't Driven since 2007; GM Engineer Predicts $41,000 Volt Will Sell

Friday, July 30, 2010

More from the President's Michigan Trip, from the pool report:

After driving the black Volt earlier, POTUS signed the hood of a white Volt   Terry Quigley, the GM plant manager, said she plans to save the hood of the car. “I’m going to keep that hood as a memento for my workforce,” she said. She said she was struck in her one-on-one conversation with the president about how interested he was in the details of the plant, characterizing his attitude as “no B.S.” She added, “He’s a pretty good driver.”

Another Volt update: White House aides say other than driving at the Secret Service training facility that POTUS hasn’t driven since spring 2007, when he got Secret Service protection. The Obamas most recently had a Ford Escape hybrid but turned it in after its lease ran (don’t have dates on this).

One interesting interview with a GM plant worker following the president’s remarks: Robert Allen, 62, an electrician with 25 years at GM, said he voted for John McCain in 2008 and doesn’t consider himself an Obama supporter today, largely because he sees the health care overhaul and some of the administration’s other policies as too much big government. But he sees the auto bailout differently, saying “it’s kept a lot of plants open.”

“Sometimes the government needs to help out,” Allen said. But he hoped the government could get out of the auto business soon, “I’m hoping next year.”

Asked whether he thinks the Volt can succeed at $41,000, Allen said, "Yes I do" because it will be cheaper "within a few years" and "there's a lot of people that are very interested in the environment that I think will buy it."

-- Transportation Nation

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Transportation Nation

Obama: We're Proving Naysayers Wrong on Auto Industry

Friday, July 30, 2010

The President's Remarks in Detroit:

THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secretary

___________________________________________________________

For Immediate Release July 30, 2010

REMARKS BY PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA

ON THE AMERICAN AUTO INDUSTRY AND THE AMERICAN ECONOMY

Chrysler Jefferson North Assembly Plant

Detroit, Michigan

12:16 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Hello, Detroit! (Applause.)

Well, it is good to be here. Everybody, if you have a seat, have a seat. (Laughter.) It is good -- it’s good to be back.

AUDIENCE: Yeah!

THE PRESIDENT: It’s good to be back. First off, give it up -- give it up to Leah for that wonderful introduction. (Applause.)

We’ve got some special guests here that I want to acknowledge. First of all, your Secretary of Transportation, who has helped to make sure that we are guiding this process of rebuilding the American auto industry and is doing an outstanding job, from Peoria, Illinois, Secretary Ray Lahood. Give him a big round of applause. (Applause.)

Because of a funeral, she couldn’t be here, but I want everybody to give a huge round of applause to one of the best governors in very tough times that exists anywhere in the country, Jennifer Granholm. She’s doing a great job. (Applause.)

Your outstanding new mayor and close to my heart, NBA Hall of Famer, Dave Bing is in the house. (Applause.)

Two of the hardest working senators anywhere. And they are always thinking about Michigan and Michigan manufacturing, making stuff right here in the United States of America, Carl Levine and Debbie Stabenow. (Applause.)

Outstanding member of Congress, Representative Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick. (Applause.) UAW President Bob King is in the house. (Applause.) And Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne. (Applause.) Sergio is modest. He doesn’t stand up. (Laughter.) But he’s doing a great job.

So I just had a tour of this outstanding plant with Sergio and Pat Walsh, your plant manager; General Holiefield -- now, that's a name right there -- (Laughter.) General Holiefield, vice president of the UAW. (Applause.) Cynthia Holland, your local UAW president. (Applause.)

And it was great to see the work that you’re doing and the cars that you’re building. Especially when you consider the fact that just over a year ago, the future here seemed very much in doubt.

Now, before I make my remarks, I’ve got to disclose, I’m a little biased here because the first new car that I ever bought was a Grand Cherokee. (Applause.) First new car.

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Soundcheck

The Wisdom of Jerry From Queens

Friday, July 30, 2010

John Schaefer says Detroit rocks, and raps, and funks...

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Transportation Nation

White House: The Auto Industry is Thriving. Give US Credit!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Graphic: White House

This in from the White House today.    As the Takeaway reported last week, the auto industry, near death just a little over a year ago, is on the upswing.     Now, as the White House struggles to argue there IS indeed, an economic recovery -- the President travels to Detroit Friday     -- Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation

THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secretary

______________________________________________________________________________

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

July 29, 2010

REPORT: Rebuilding the American Auto Industry

WASHINGTON – The statement below was posted today on http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog.

The American Auto Industry: A Comeback Story

Posted by Ron Bloom and Ed Montgomery on July 29, 2010 at 1:31 PM EDT

Over the next week, the President will travel to Detroit and Chicago where he will meet with auto workers and tour plants of each of the big three auto makers.  His trips offer an opportunity to take stock of where the industry stands this summer.

A little more than one year ago, the entire industry was on the edge of failure.  Plants were being closed, jobs were being lost, and America’s future role as a leading producer of vehicles in the global marketplace was in question. We’re now starting to see real signs of recovery. 

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The Takeaway

Detroit Automakers Come Back to Life

Friday, July 23, 2010

Things are looking up for U.S. automakers. Sales are up, and some companies like Chrysler are projecting that they will end this quarter in the black. This is big news for an industry which required massive government support to avoid bankruptcy less than two years ago. Paul Eisenstein, publisher of The Detroit Bureau, says that the car companies have been making smart moves. 

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The Takeaway

Detroit Police Chief Resigns. Blame Reality TV?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Warren Evans unexpectedly resigned from his post as Detroit’s chief of police Wednesday. He had held the position for under a year and his rocky tenure will probably be marked by a scandal in which a 7-year-old girl was shot and killed by a police bullet in a home raid. The incident was caught on tape by a reality TV crew which was following Evans for a show called “The Chief” about his job as the city’s top cop. The show painted him as a cowboy-like cop and may also have pushed the mayor to ask for his resignation.

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Studio 360

Belly Dancers in Detroit

Friday, July 16, 2010

While the economy decays, there's no shortage of work for belly dancers in Detroit. The city has one of the largest Arab populations outside of the Middle East and a vast network of dancers. Martina Guzman explores the belly dance scene and the conflicts the community ...

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Transportation Nation

Some Detroit Truckers say Financial Pressures Push them to Neighborhood Streets

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

(WDET, Detroit) Detroit's public radio station wraps up its series on trucks in residential neighborhoods talking to some truckers who say they can't afford NOT to stray from established routes.    Also in the series:   A multi-generational fight to keep trucks off residential streets.   Live in Detroit? WDET-FM is looking for your help in tracking trucks in residential neighborhoods.

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Transportation Nation

Neighborhoods and Trucks Meet in Detroit

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

(Detroit, MI - Rob St. Mary, WDET) Trucks aren't allowed in residential neighborhoods in Detroit, but with the help of mobile phone texts and a mapping tool, the public radio station in the Motor City, is showing that they're going into those neighborhoods anyway. In the first part of a series, reporter Rob St. Mary talks to a neighborhood resident who's been collecting photographic evidence.

Listen here:

To follow their whole series, or participate in their mapping project, click here.

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The Takeaway

Is 'Ruin Porn' Art or Journalism?

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

As long as we've had cameras, we've had “ruin porn.” It's the deliberate effort to publish images of a city or a region that sensationalize devastation, while choosing not to print photos of beautiful landscapes or majestic architecture.  Residents of New Orleans complain that reporters fly into Louis Armstrong International Airport and ask their guides to show them the best examples of ruined neighborhoods and flood damage. 

In an article from Vice UK, Thomas Morton writes about a "French filmmaker who came to Detroit to shoot a documentary about all the deer and pheasants and other wildlife that have been returning to the city. After several days without seeing a wild one he had to be talked out of renting a trained fox to run through the streets for the camera."

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