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Detroit Journalism Cooperative

Michigan Truth Squad: Republicans attack Dana Nessel for firm’s defense on sex crimes

2 hours ago
“Dangerous Dana Nessel” shares a 30-second ad with Larry Nassar, Bill Cosby and Harvey Weinstein. No, there’s no connection between Nessel and the three infamous sex abusers.
Bridge Magazine

Michigan Democratic attorney general candidate Dana Nessel is blasted for having worked at a law firm that defended accused sex offenders in a television ad paid for by the Michigan Republican Party.

Misleading images and a blatant disregard for the role of defense attorneys earn the ad a rating of foul. The ad is on stronger ground attacking the crass-marketing tactics used by Nessel’s former firm to win the business of accused child rapists.

Truth Squad | Bill Schuette goes low, accusing Whitmer of terror sympathy

Sep 12, 2018
YOUTUBE Video Still / Bill Schutte for Governer

The Michigan Republican Party and GOP gubernatorial candidate Bill Schuette have attacked the Democratic team of governor candidate Gretchen Whitmer and lieutenant governor candidate Garlin Gilchrist II, saying the Democratic team wants to abolish ICE and “sympathizes with terrorists.”

Truth Squad rates the claims misleading.

Traditional media outlets have enhanced their community presence, oftentimes these communities have established networks of communication, engagement, and in some cases, content production.

 

Take MorningSide for example. The neighborhood is home to two podcast studios. One belongs to Jonathan “JG” Galloway of Audio Wave Network and another is housed at the Bethany Lutheran Church which is led by Pastor Christopher Bodley.

 

Real estate is hot in Detroit. But its top owner, the city, isn’t selling.

Aug 23, 2018
More than 1 in 3 Detroit homes have gone into foreclosure in the past 15 years, creating miles of blight. The Detroit Land Bank was supposed to assemble and sell vacant homes but some contend it is too slow to do so.
Bridge Magazine

William Gill wants to buy a fixer-upper home in Detroit and has his sights set on the neighborhood of North Campau.

Far removed from the trendy areas of Midtown and downtown, the neighborhood near Interstate 75 and Hamtramck is close to his job as a hi-lo driver and his daycare for his children.

Rising rents. Falling wages. Detroit’s poor face housing crisis.

Aug 21, 2018
Bridge Magazine

Clark Washington Jr. works 10 hours a day, five days a week driving a hi-lo on a shift that starts at 9 p.m.

He keeps his costs low, living with his 70-year-old father, and only has one major expense: his cell phone.

Trouble is, he makes entry-level wages, $9 an hour, and that makes it hard nowadays to find housing in Detroit, the poorest big city in the United States.

The MorningSide divide

Aug 15, 2018
Kate Gowman

I grew up in Detroit during the ‘80s, a period of recession and white flight. As industry left, our community went from being a stable middle-class neighborhood to one that was falling apart at the seams. Cultural centers disappeared and money for education and other city services evaporated.

VIDEO: Meet the 2018 candidates for governor

Jul 19, 2018
Six of the gubernatorial candidates
Detroit Journalism Cooperative

Six of the seven Democratic and Republican candidates for governor sat for one-hour interviews with reporters from the Detroit Journalism Cooperative, a multimedia public service journalism partnership. 

Michigan Truth Squad: Gretchen Whitmer depicts Michigan teachers in poverty

Jun 26, 2018
Gretchen Whitmer at a Democratic gubernatorial debate
Twitter

In her bid to become Democratic nominee for Michigan governor, former state Sen. Gretchen Whitmer has made improving education and better supporting classroom teachers a campaign centerpiece. Whitmer, for instance, released a plan that would make the first two years of college debt-free, and she would spend more state money to phase in universal preschool.

Mr. Earl's neighborhood

Jun 25, 2018

 

Long before the city of Detroit rebranded itself, a tight-knit neighborhood on the far east side decided to make a name for itself. The community formerly known as NEAR (Neighborhood East Area Residents) wanted a name that could state their wishes, dreams, hopes and struggles aloud.

Michigan Truth Squad: Michigan Republican Tonya Schuitmaker attacks foe on DACA

Jun 11, 2018
Tonya Schuitmaker
Bridge Magazine

With less than three months until its Lansing convention, the two Republican candidates for Michigan attorney general are pitching their message to a small, impassioned audience: the estimated 2,000 delegates who will choose between House Speaker Tom Leonard and state Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker.

In this special episode, MorningSide 48224 teams up with WYPR's Out of the Blocks to share voices from MorningSide.

On the east side of Detroit, the streets of MorningSide are lined with stately, brick Tudor-style houses. But today, one in four of those houses is abandoned, boarded up, gutted, or burned out.

The foreclosure crisis of 2008 hit MorningSide like a tidal wave, and the neighborhood is struggling to sprout again from the rubble. There’s a lot of buzz about a new Renaissance in downtown Detroit, but the locals in this corner of town are wondering when – and if – the revival is going to make its way to them. In the meantime, they’re holding their own and looking out for each other.

Michigan Truth Squad: Bill Schuette says Michigan is ‘last’ in third-grade reading

Jun 7, 2018
Bill Schuette
Bridge Magazine

Bill Schuette, Michigan’s attorney general and the frontrunner in the Republican primary for governor, has a line he offers in stump speeches and, last week, on a debate stage at the Mackinac Policy Conference.

Michigan, he says, is last in the nation in third-grade reading.

Michigan Truth Squad: Koch brothers group attacks Gretchen Whitmer’s tax votes

May 31, 2018
Gretchen Whitmer
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Americans For Prosperity, a national conservative advocacy group founded by the Koch brothers, has bought an online-only ad targeting Gretchen Whitmer’s Michigan gubernatorial campaign, claiming she has supported tax increases that hurt the state.

Turns out, Whitmer, a leading Democratic candidate, doesn’t seem to mind.

Family photos document memories and milestones in MorningSide.
Ali Lapetina

Over three generations, grandmother Patricia Robinson, mother Tamiko Clark, and daughter DaTrice Clark have lived on the same street in MorningSide. Their family story doubles as a history lesson in the neighborhood.

Foreclosed for the cost of an iPhone. That’s life in Wayne County.

May 17, 2018
foreclosed home
stock photo / Bridge Magazine

Antoinette Coleman lost her home for less than the cost of an iPhone.

After 30 years of paying the mortgage on her neat, three-bedroom brick home on Detroit’s east side, the retired Defense Department technician was foreclosed last year because of unpaid taxes of $291, records show.

Michigan Truth Squad: Bill Schuette’s stand on transparent government

May 9, 2018
Bill Schuette
Bridge Magazine

Republican gubernatorial candidates Attorney General Bill Schuette and Lt. Gov. Brian Calley have traded barbs in previous weeks over accusations of political showmanship and lack of conservative bonafides.

Now the question of whether both candidates have a plan to increase government accountability has taken to Twitter, where Schuette threw down the gauntlet over their transparency track records.

Michigan Truth Squad: Democrat candidates blast Nestlé’s ‘free’ water

May 8, 2018
Bridge photo by Jim Malewitz

The Democratic race for Michigan governor is getting spirited, but all three candidates still find plenty to agree on ‒ including criticism of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality for granting Nestlé Waters North America permission to tap up to 400 gallons of water per minute (up from 250 gallons) from one Osceola County well.

A new bridge is dawning in Detroit. Matty Moroun isn’t the only one unhappy.

May 3, 2018
Gregg Wards owns the Detroit-Windsor Truck Ferry and has become one of the biggest champions of the Gordie Howe International Bridge, even though it will put him out of business.
(Bridge photo by Anthony Lanzilote)

Gregg Ward is a nice guy with a lousy view. His family business overlooks Detroit’s hell on earth: the hulking, pitch-black U.S. Steel plant on Zug Island whose blast furnaces belch 30-foot plumes of fire.

Next door, mixing trucks kick up dust at a massive concrete operation, the air is so thick that black grime coats street signs. Sometimes, when the wind shifts, the scent of chemicals gives way to feces from Detroit’s nearby wastewater treatment plant.

Michigan leaders want to make crumbling Detroit fort into national park

May 3, 2018
Historic Fort Wayne
Wikimedia Commons

A movement is afoot to make the historically rich but deteriorating Historic Fort Wayne in Southwest Detroit into a national park, Bridge Magazine has learned.

As construction is set to begin this fall on the $4.5 billion Gordie Howe International Bridge linking Detroit and Windsor, Ontario, community and state leaders increasingly are focusing on the future of the fort grounds that lie directly to the east.

Take a tour of MorningSide 48224 with Detroit Public TV

May 1, 2018
Corner of Mack and Alter
Detroit Public TV

Michigan Radio's Imani Mixon was on Detroit Public TV last weekend to discuss MorningSide 48224, the new podcast project by Michigan Radio and the Detroit Journalism Cooperative.

Watch below to get a tour of the neighborhood, and to learn more about the podcast:

One year in, Detroit’s QLine falling well short of expectations

May 1, 2018
The QLine on Woodward Ave.
Bridge Magazine

After a year of constant problems, the shiny electric streetcar that hums down Detroit’s main thoroughfare has proven more troubled than trusty.

The QLine, the privately operated streetcar that launched along 3.3 miles of Woodward Avenue last May, attracted less than half of its projected riders for several months its first year, as it was beset by traffic snarls and dwindling popularity.

Low-income Grand Rapids preschoolers are catching up. Will Lansing notice?

Apr 24, 2018
In a neighborhood in southwest Grand Rapids, teacher Lorena Lopez leads a group of 4-year-old students.
Photo courtesy of Early Learning Neighborhood Collaborative

In some of the poorest neighborhoods in Grand Rapids, in places inured to academic failure, children are grasping at a chance to defy the odds.

So it was one recent spring day, in a pre-K classroom on the city’s southwest side. In a poor, largely Hispanic neighborhood, where more than half of adults over age 25 lack a high school degree, a group 4-year-olds watched a classmate draw a “2” and a squiggly “0” on a whiteboard.

Their teacher, Sadie Kovich, asked: “What is it if the 2 is in front and a 0 is in back?”

There are a few basic steps journalists take when reporting. Pick a newsworthy topic. Track down the facts. And then talk to people out in the community what they think about it.

But what if you flipped that script?

This year, Michigan Radio is trying something new.

Instead of sending a reporter in to tell stories about MorningSide, we’re inviting the MorningSide community to tell their own stories.

From family histories to local happenings, we want to highlight narratives that feel true and honest to the people who experience the neighborhood every day.

AAA Laundromat & Dry Cleaner located on E Warren Ave in MorningSide, Detroit.
Ali Lapetina

What happens when community members lead the conversation about their community?

MorningSide 48224, a community-led podcast, will endeavor to find out. Instead of unearthing city stories from a distance, Imani Mixon, a Detroit-based and embraced journalist who grew up in MorningSide, will be embedded in the community working closely with residents to produce their own stories about their own experiences.

Tax breaks for poor neighborhoods steered to booming pockets in Detroit

Mar 20, 2018
Downtown Detroit Skyline
Bridge Magazine / Bridge Magazine

Detroit is a city with abundant need. The poorest big city in America, there are few corners that couldn’t use help.

So critics wonder why a new federal tax incentive program – intended to benefit the poorest neighborhoods in the nation – is poised to help areas of Detroit that are doing the best. And it’s not just the Motor City; state officials have also designated areas in some affluent counties in northern Michigan.

Detroit schools chief: District can now pay for counselors, art classes, and gym in every school

Mar 14, 2018
Boy in classroom with his hand raised
Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

After months spent talking about expensive new programs he’d like to see, Superintendent Nikolai Vitti says he’s found money in the Detroit district’s budget to hire a slew of educators who’ve been missing for years from city schools.

The budget framework he presented to a school board committee Friday calls for every city school to have a guidance counselor, an arts or music teacher, a gym teacher, and a “dean of school culture” who would be in charge of student discipline and creating in-school suspension programs.

Out of the limelight, Cindy Garcia keeps fighting for immigrant family reunification

Mar 13, 2018
Cindy Garcia
Georgi-Ann Bargamian / New Michigan Media

Cindy Garcia methodically sorts and folds #TeamGarcia fundraiser T-shirts in her Lincoln Park living room. The TV is on, the dog is barking, and her granddaughter is trying to get her attention.

It’s a typical Saturday for Garcia, wife of Jorge Garcia, who was deported to Mexico on Jan. 15. That’s the day Jorge Garcia became a Michigan flesh-and-blood symbol of the Trump Administration’s decision to make every undocumented individual in the United States subject to immediate removal.

Pension paybacks for Detroit district employees may show up in March

Feb 27, 2018
A person writing a check
RikkisRefuge Other / FLICKR - creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/legalcode

Thousands of Detroit district school employees may reap the benefits of a lawsuit over pension funding as soon as March.

School employees who worked for Detroit’s main district between 2010 and 2011 can expect refund checks in their mailboxes soon, district leaders say, but making sure the money ends up in the right place will be difficult.

The reimbursements are the outcome of a controversial move during Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s administration to withhold additional money from employees’ paychecks to pay for retiree health care benefits.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The economy is booming and the unemployment rates for the nation and Michigan are low. In Detroit, the official rate has fallen dramatically since peaking at more than 28% in 2009.

But the rate that’s often cited only tells part of the story.

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