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.
Friday, October 01, 2010
By Brian Wise
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.
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
By Kate Hinds
(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.
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...
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.
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."
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?
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."
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.
Friday, July 30, 2010
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
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
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.
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.
Thursday, July 29, 2010
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
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.
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.
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.
Friday, July 16, 2010
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.
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.
To follow their whole series, or participate in their mapping project, click here.
Tuesday, July 06, 2010
By Celeste Headlee : The Takeaway
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."