Detroit | Michigan Radio


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Today on Stateside, Detroit's handling of sewage, and a system that’s been overwhelmed with flooding twice already this summer. Also, thoughts on this stage of the pandemic. If herd immunity is impossible, how should we change prevention plans? And the owner of Count Your Lucky Stars records tells the story of growing a micro music scene.

Beenish Ahmed / Michigan Radio

The Belle Isle Aquarium will reopen on Friday, relieving the ennui that has set in among fish, eels, and frogs since the building closed to visitors last March as a response to the onset of the pandemic. 

"The fish actually react to people so there's a lot of enrichment with people coming by and seeing them and then when no one was around, they just kind of become lethargic,” said Dr. Paul Shuert, a curator at the Aquarium. “There's no excitement for them."

Courtesy of Dan Austin

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is asking the White House for a disaster declaration to secure federal aid to deal with damage from last month's flooding in southeast Michigan.

Parts of the region saw about 7 inches of rain over a 12-hour period between the night of June 25 and the morning of June 26.

Angela Gallegos

The torrential rain and flooding that struck parts of Metro Detroit on June 26 took a “devastating” toll on some households. That’s especially true in some Detroit communities, where many people lack insurance and there are a large number of low-income, senior, or disabled residents.

John Curnow / Flickr

Today on Stateside, how the Delta COVID variant could affect Michigan. Then, two business owners talk about getting through the pandemic, and back to “normal.” And, we dig into Detroit’s multiple bids to host the Olympic Games.

The Detroit skyline as seen from across the Detroit River.
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The Michigan Supreme Court will hear arguments Wednesday on whether a proposal to revise Detroit’s city charter should appear on the August ballot.

Elaine Cromie / Bridge Michigan

Any Detroiter aged 12 and older can now get a COVID-19 vaccine in their own home, as Detroit expands its at-home vaccination effort beyond the homebound population.

Detroit is lagging the rest of the state when it comes to vaccinations—only about 37% of Detroiters 12 and up have received at least one shot so far, compared to about 56% statewide.

Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

Detroit is the most segregated city in America, according to a new study from the Othering and Belonging Institute at the University of California-Berkeley. The study also ranks the Detroit-Warren-Livonia metropolitan area as the fourth most segregated metro area in the country.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A federal judge finds Detroit’s effort to reserve half of recreational marijuana retail licenses for city residents is likely “unconstitutional.”   

The legacy provision in Detroit’s ordinance gives an advantage to people who’ve lived ten to 15 years out of the past 30 in the city. Other factors like low incomes or past marijuana convictions would give legacy applicants an advantage in obtaining adult-use licenses.

Michigan Radio and ARISE Detroit! have announced that they will be working together to form a Community Reporting Engagement Council.  The mission of the group is to strengthen networking with communities of color, serve as a sounding board and inform news coverage that is for and about Detroit. A key goal of the initiative is to strengthen Michigan Radio’s relationships with diverse communities throughout the city and to bring their stories and perspective to life to the station’s 800,000+ monthly listeners across the state. 

The council will be made up of Detroit residents from neighborhoods throughout the city, as well as Highland Park and Hamtramck. The Community Reporting Engagement Council is expected to meet for the first time this fall.

The Detroit skyline as seen from across the Detroit River.
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Today on Stateside, with an influx of cash from the 2021 stimulus bill, Mayor Duggan has big plans for Detroit. We talk with a reporter about the proposed spending plan for a city in recovery. Plus, infrastructure week never ends. A new book by a Michigan journalist focuses on “bridging” the gap in a polarized America.

Beenish Ahmed / Michigan Radio

blank vaccine registration cards sitting on a table
Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

Today, on Stateside, we discuss the legality of requiring employees to get a vaccine. Plus, a doctor in training writes about her time at a Detroit hospital during the early months of the pandemic.

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City of Detroit

Detroit police chief James Craig plans to talk to reporters today amid speculation that he will retire after eight years and consider a turn to politics.

Craig told The Detroit News that he will hold a news conference Monday.

“I’m a lifelong public servant,” Craig said. “I want to continue to serve.”

The 64-year-old Detroit native has been chief since 2013. He returned home after a long police career in Los Angeles and short stints as chief in Cincinnati and Portland, Maine.

frida kahlo mural on street in Detroit's Mexicantown neighborhood
Lauren Talley / Michigan Radio

August Snow is a retired Marine sniper. He's also an ex-police detective who became a multimillionaire after he sued for wrongful termination. But above all, Snow is a Detroiter, and he's the main character in author Stephen Mack Jones' latest novel, Dead of Winter.

Jones joined Michigan Radio Morning Edition host Doug Tribou to talk about the third book in his August Snow series, and plans to make a television show based on the novels.

Courtesy of Vickie Thomas

After more than 30 years in Detroit broadcast journalism, award-winning reporter Vickie Thomas says she’s ready to start a new chapter. She retired from radio station WWJ April 29, and she’ll be joining Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan’s administration as director of communications for the city. Stateside caught up with the veteran journalist on the eve of her retirement from WWJ to discuss her years of experience bringing Detroit stories to the air.

A nurse administers a COVID-19 vaccine during a drive-thru clinic.
Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

Detroit is offering a new incentive for people to get their friends and family members vaccinated against coronavirus. The city will offer a $50 pre-paid debit card to any individual who drives a Detroit resident to their appointment. Mayor Mike Duggan says while he doesn’t support directly paying people to get vaccinated, the policy should help improve Detroit’s inoculation rate.

“I don’t know any place else in the country that’s doing this, so we made up a set of rules and we’re going to try this. We’re in uncharted territory here.”

Elaine Cromie / Bridge Michigan

Starting on Tuesday, Detroiters can walk in and get COVID-19 shots at eleven sites across the city, no appointment required.

Mayor Mike Duggan said it represents a shift in strategy as vaccine supply starts to exceed demand. Along with moving to walk-in access, Detroit is also starting to spread vaccine supply out more across the city.

Detroit skyline
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan says the city is in real danger from COVID-19 again, and things are likely going to get worse.

After months of relatively few COVID-19 cases, the virus is surging in Detroit once again. The city’s test positivity rate is now over 20%, and more than 400 Detroiters are hospitalized.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Michigan is heeding the advice of federal agencies, and pausing its use of the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.

That throws a wrench in efforts to ramp up vaccination as the virus resurges. And that’s particularly true in Detroit, where vaccination coverage lags the rest of the state.

The city is adjusting on the fly, for now.

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services

Detroit is lagging the state when it comes to getting residents vaccinated against COVID-19, and the city is now stepping up efforts to correct that.

As of last week, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, more than 39% of people in Michigan have received at least one dose of a COVID vaccine. In Detroit, that number is less than 23%.

University of Michigan/DMACS

More Detroiters now say they’re very likely to get a COVID-19 vaccine than said so in the fall, according to a University of Michigan survey.

The University of Michigan’s Detroit Metro Area Communities Study regularly surveys Detroiters about their lives and communities. Its latest survey covered more than 2200 people.

A nurse administers a COVID-19 vaccine during a drive-thru clinic.
Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

Detroit on Monday immediately expanded COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to all residents 16 and older, a week earlier than planned, as Michigan continues to confront spiking infection rates that rank third-highest in the country.

Mayor Mike Duggan said the seven-day testing positivity rate in the state’s largest city doubled in 10 days, to 10.3%. Hospitalizations also doubled over that period but, unlike during the second wave of cases last fall, involve younger people in their 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s.

“The younger people are getting infected. The younger people are being hospitalized. We have got to start to get them vaccinated,” Duggan said.

detroit homeowners file a lawsuit against the city for property tax over assessment
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

A federal judge dismissed a class action lawsuit against the city of Detroit, Wayne County, and the state of Michigan over inflated property tax assessments in 2017.

Judge Nancy Edmunds cited the Tax Injunction Act, writing, "because there is a state remedy that is plain, speedy, and efficient, this Court, a federal court, lacks subject matter jurisdiction over these claims."

Attorneys for the plaintiffs are appealing the dismissal, arguing that clients' federal constitutional rights to due process were violated, therefore making federal court the right place to litigate the issue.

an african american woman holds up her sleeve in order to receive the COVID-19 vaccine
Zoran Zeremski / Adobe Stock

On a cold, sunny Saturday in March, Reverend Dr. Wendell Anthony wants to keep the mood light. Relaxed.

“Did you see my lollipops over there?” he asks, pointing down the hall with a laugh. “We’ve got lollipops! So, from the bitter to the sweet,” he says, moving through the socially-distanced crowd at Fellowship Chapel in northwest Detroit.

Every Saturday for the last several weeks, the parking lot, halls, and event space at this historically Black church - one of the largest in the city - has been turned into a vaccination clinic for those 60 and older.

detroit fire department fire truck

Two Detroit fire fighters were found to have been drinking and driving on the job after crashing their department-issued vehicles. The city is now conducting an audit of the emergency service and re-emphasizing its zero-tolerance policy on working while under the influence of alcohol.

In one case a fire captain nearly crashed his city-issued vehicle onto the Lodge freeway. Detroit Fire Commissioner Eric Jones says police are conducting a criminal investigation into the two incident while the fire department handles an internal probe.

Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Afrourbanism, Detroit's Black history and future

A bustling area of the country’s most chocolate city razed to make way for Highway I-375. An idyllic “Black Eden” designed as a safe haven of relaxation and entertainment in rural Yates Township. Remembering Idlewild and Detroit’s Black Bottom is an important part of contextualizing Michigan’s Black history, and they can provide the blueprint for creating  future spaces with black people in mind.

Ann Arbor's Skyline High School. Ann Arbor Public Schools has been on the state's "significant disproportionality" list for over-suspending black students for five years, but says it's taken aggressive steps to correct that disparity.
Wikimedia Commons

Today on Stateside, confusion and frustration among Ann Arbor parents over the decision on whether to reopen schools. Plus, a look into the history and future of public spaces centered around Detroit's Black residents. And, if you’re starting to feel a little cooped up, may we recommend some winter bird watching?

unemployement insurance form on a clipboard
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Today on Stateside, frustrated Michiganders try to navigate an unemployment system overwhelmed by pandemic job losses. Plus, a Detroit festival celebrates the food of the African diaspora.

man in a mask gets a vaccine from health care worker in a mask
Adobe Stock

Today, on Stateside, we talked with photographer Leni Sinclair about her years of political involvement and her stunning photos of Detroit’s stages and people. Also, how Detroit leveraged help from a large and well-funded partner to coordinate its massive effort to vaccinate residents.