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Kym Worthy
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy says her office is still accepting donations to fund the investigation and prosecution of sexual assaults linked to a backlog of thousands of untested rape kits.

Erica Perez
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Can a county government seize a home for back taxes, sell it for price that exceeds the tax debt, and pocket the profits?

That issue is at the heart of the lawsuit that Erica Perez filed against Wayne County and County Treasurer Eric Sabree Tuesday.

foreclosure sign outside old home
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Detroit offers people living in poverty a 100% exemption on their property taxes. It’s Detroit’s local adaption of a state law. But many Detroiters living below the poverty line don’t know about it. 

Wayne County / via Facebook, used with permission

Governor Gretchen Whitmer declared a state of emergency in Wayne County on Thursday night, just hours after Wayne County Executive Warren Evans requested her to do so.

Emilio Gutierrez Soto
Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

Today on Stateside, we talk with Congresswoman Debbie Dingell about efforts to halt the deportation of Mexican journalist and University of Michigan Knight-Wallace Fellow Emilio Gutierrez Soto. Plus, we check in with Wayne County Executive Warren Evans about the state of the county's finances.

Listen above for the full show, or find individual segments below.

Political roundup: Unlimited medical benefits, lack of transparency contribute to high auto insurance rates

Warren Evans
Warren Evans on Instagram

Wayne County Executive Warren Evans highlighted property values and taxes in his State of the County address Thursday.

Evans was a guest on Stateside Friday. He said property tax revenues are down in Wayne County.


Multiple potholes along a concrete road.
User: Pearl Pirie / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Today on Stateside, Benton Harbor's emerging problem with lead in drinking water, and what it tells us about the risk of lead in other Michigan communities. Plus, the city of Midland is documenting its unique, and massive, treasure trove of mid-century modern architecture. So far, they've found more than 400 structures. 

Listen to the full show above or find individual segments below. 

foreclosure sign in front of house
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The city of Detroit runs an annual property tax-exemption program for its lowest-income homeowners. The deadline is Monday, but many qualified residents don't know about it or struggle with their applications.

They risk heading into foreclosure and eventually seeing their homes sold in the Wayne County Tax Foreclosure Auction.

Melissa Benmark / Michigan Radio

A pilot project in western Wayne County will offer people struggling with opioid addiction a possible path to recovery.

The Rescue Recovery program will provide people referred from St. Mary Mercy Livonia hospital or one of 18 participating law enforcement agencies with the opportunity to go through specialized detoxification treatment at the hospital.

ballot
Emma Winowiecki / Michigan Radio

The Wayne County Board of Canvassers heard what went wrong with the county’s election results website last Tuesday, as questions and concerns linger about problems with the Aug. 7 primary election.

Detroit brought in new voting equipment for 2017 elections after rampant problems with 2016 vote.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

The Wayne County Board of Canvassers wants to know what went wrong with the county’s election website during last week’s primary.

The board is expected to meet Monday with the CEO of ElectionSource, the Grand Rapids-based company that runs the county’s election results reporting website, to try and get answers.

City of Detroit

After years of being ravaged by property tax foreclosures that claimed more than one in three city homes,  Detroit will see fewer than 5,000 properties go to the annual Wayne County tax auction this fall.

The county announced preliminary 2018 tax foreclosure numbers Friday. They show the county is set to foreclose on 4,676 properties this year, with 1,499 of them occupied properties.

Don...The UpNorth Memories Guy... Harrison / http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

Want to buy an abandoned psychiatric hospital in Michigan? It might only cost you one dollar.

 

At least, that was the price tag for the dilapidated site of the once-sprawling Eloise Hospital Complex located in and owned by Wayne County. The site was purchased by Southfield-based Morgan Development Thursday after about a year of discussion.

 

The incomplete Wayne County jail.
Wayne County

A long-standing jail problem in Wayne County may be resolved.

By a 14-to-1 vote, the Wayne County Commission has approved a deal with Dan Gilbert’s private development company, Rock Ventures, to build a new criminal justice center on East Warren Avenue near the I-75 service drive.

An abandoned and boarded up house in Detroit
University of Michigan School for Environmental and Sustainability / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

 


 

The first line of Sarah Alvarez's report in Bridge Magazine packs quite a punch: "Antoinette Coleman lost her home for less than the cost of an iPhone."

 

That price tag was just $291 to be exact.

wikimedia commons

Stateside's Cynthia Canty recently spoke with David Carroll of the 6th Amendment Center about its new report, which concludes that public defenders in Wayne County are overworked, underpaid, and under-resourced.

He says there are only 16 public defenders for Wayne County when there should be 30.

Their caseloads are 145% of the national average, and they have no secretaries, paralegals or investigators.

They're also grossly underpaid.

The incomplete Wayne County jail.
Wayne County

The Wayne County Commission sealed a deal to swap some land with the city of Detroit Thursday.

It’s part of a larger deal that has the county partnering with billionaire Dan Gilbert to build a new $533 million criminal justice center.

The land swap deal with Detroit gives Wayne County a spot to build a new jail and courthouse.

Kym Worthy (file photo).
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

The last of over 11,300 rape kits discovered in a Detroit police facility are currently being processed by the Wayne County Prosecutor’s office.

614 kits remain, and they were shipped to Bode Cellmark Forensics and Sorenson Forensics labs for testing before they are reviewed by the Michigan State Police lab.

Gratiot construction site
Tony Brown / Michigan Radio

It looks like Wayne County may finally have a solution for its long-stalled jail project. The county has reached a tentative agreement with Dan Gilbert's Rock Ventures. Gilbert's company will construct a brand new $533 million "criminal justice center," pending approval from the county commission and building authority.

This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about the plan and what it could mean for Wayne County.


Gratiot construction site
Tony Brown / Michigan Radio

Type the words “fail jail” into a simple search and Google will immediately suggest: “Detroit.” The nickname refers to the downtown site at Gratiot and St. Antoine, where construction of what was supposed to be a new county jail began in 2011 but has been on pause since 2013.

That is, until Dan Gilbert takes over.

On Wednesday, Wayne County Executive Warren Evans announced a tentative deal with Gilbert’s Rock Ventures to transform the Gratiot site into a billion-dollar commercial development. 

Highland Park municipal building
City of Highland Park

Highland Park is a small city with a lot of vacant land. Now, it's trying to use that vacant space as an asset to lure developers.

At just under three square miles, the city is basically an enclave within the city of Detroit, along the central Woodward Avenue corridor. A once-prosperous city built on the backs of automakers, Highland Park is now close to economically destitute.

COURTESY OF PENNI JOHNSON

He was born April 29th, 1976. His parents named him James Dean Fuson.

James’ mom died when he was seven, and his dad left the picture after that. His maternal grandparents, Delores and Wallace Bach, raised him alongside his aunt, Penni, in southwest Detroit.

In the beginning, he called them Granny and Pee Wee. Then teenage self-consciousness got the better of him, and he switched to Grandma and Gramps.

The unfinished Wayne County jail project at Gratiot near Downtown Detroit.
Wayne County / via Wayne County

Wayne County announced Friday it's scrapping plans to complete construction on its stalled jail project on Gratiot Avenue near Greektown.

It will instead pursue Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert's offer to build a brand new, $380 million criminal justice center at a different location in Detroit.

Chicago-based Walsh Construction was the lone bidder to submit a proposal to complete the roughly $400 million Gratiot project.

Dan Gilbert's Rock Ventures offered to build a jail at a new location in Detroit in exchange for the current jail site.

Warren Evans
Warren Evans on Instagram

  The state's largest mental health authority has selected Joy Calloway as its next CEO, but Wayne County Executive Warren Evans says the board should resolve a conflict of interest before hiring her.

The Detroit Wayne Mental Health Authority is currently in contract negotiations with Calloway. 

The authority has a budget of over $700 million, and cares for 80,000 people with mental health and substance abuse disorders and developmental disabilities in Detroit and Wayne County.

The incomplete Wayne County jail.
Wayne County

The Detroit City Council on Tuesday put a short-term hold on plans to start a land swap that could provide a new location for the Wayne County jail.

The three-party property exchange would set that plan in motion.

Right now, a half-finished jail is sitting on a piece of downtown Detroit real estate that developer Dan Gilbert wants. The project has been sitting idle since 2013, when Wayne County abandoned initial plans because of cost overruns.

MORGAN SPRINGER / Interlochen Public Radio


(Editor’s note: we recommend you listen to the story.)

In March 2001, Fred Williams left his friend Tanya Davis’ house to get groceries. He was 17 and living on the west side of Detroit. Fred says he weighed two options before he left.

“I had Hometown Groceries on Joy Road and Wyoming,” Fred recalls, “or I had Foodarama on Livernois and Julian.”

BURGOS/JIMENEZ FAMILY

(Editor’s note: we recommend you listen to this story.) 

Jose Burgos was 16 years old when he shot and killed Omar Kaji. It happened during a bogus drug deal in 1991 in southwest Detroit. 

“The whole plan was, we’re going to make it look like – from the outside looking in – there’s 10 pounds of marijuana in this bag,” says Jose.

The incomplete Wayne County jail.
Wayne County

Wayne County and the city of Detroit announced a tentative land swap deal Thursday, which brings the Dan Gilbert-owned Rock Ventures one step closer to building a new jail on the land.

Wayne County Executive Warren C. Evans and Mayor Mike Duggan said in a press release that the move will benefit the city and the county alike. Duggan called it “a win-win.”

Detroit needs to embrace the metropolitan dream

Sep 14, 2017
Photograph of Downtown Detroit
Ifmuth / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Toledo, Ohio isn’t in Michigan, but should be. I’m not just saying this because of the famous and farcical 1835 Toledo “War,” that ended up establishing that the city belonged to Ohio, with Michigan getting the western Upper Peninsula as compensation.

More to the point is that the Toledo economy is essentially the Metropolitan Detroit manufacturing economy. Like the Motor City, Toledo has slowly declined as auto jobs waned. The decline has been slower, however, as has the demographic change.

Tax Foreclosures in Detroit
Kaye LaFond / Michigan Radio

Wayne County will put more than 6,000 properties up for auction online starting this week.

Tuesday kicks off the first round of bidding in the annual sale for the county’s property tax-foreclosed properties. It’s become something of a real estate bonanza in recent years, as the county has foreclosed on tens of thousands of homes since 2009 — and by one count, as many as one in four properties in the entire city of Detroit.

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