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[5 Aug 2013 | No Comment | ]
Shared Responsibility for Detroit’s Woes

As a Michigander for the past 21 years, I’ve heard my share of Detroit criticisms, jokes, and put downs, both from within and outside the Great Lakes State. While fingers can be  pointed at the lack of past civic and political leadership in Detroit, our collective actions (or lack thereof) can certainly share in the responsibility. Some may scoff at such a notion, but here’re a few reasons why:

As a nation we elected leaders who adopted a tax code and laws that advocated, promoted, and accelerated flight from cities and …

Art, Brain Drain, Featured, Great Lakes »

[25 Jul 2013 | No Comment | ]
A Detroit Band with Staying Power

If you have’nt heard of Joe Hertler and the Rainbow Seekers (JH+TRS), don’t worry, because you definitely will. Like a breezy breath of cool, fresh air blowing off of our lovely blue waters, this band brings to life a captivating musical style and awesome songwriting both on the stage and in its recordings. Their shows are filled with superb music and musicianship, tons of rollicking good fun, an eye-popping blizzard of floral/Hawaiian patterns, hilarious/zany eyewear, colorful balloons, and bouncing beach balls. It’s obvious that JH+TRS are having a great time …

Book Review, Brain Drain, Economic Development, Featured, Great Lakes, Headline, Labor, Politics, Race Relations, The Environment, U.S. Auto Industry, Urban Planning, Urban Poverty »

[3 Jun 2013 | No Comment | ]
A literary triumph – “Nothing But Blue Skies” by Edward McClelland

It is difficult to describe how truly outstanding the book entitled Nothing But Blue Skies: The Heyday, Hard Times, and Hopes of America’s Industrial Heartland is to read. As a nearly lifelong Rust Belt resident, I can attest to the fact that Edward McClelland’s newly released book simply nails our industrial heritage, decline, and hopeful potential squarely on the head. From nationally known politicians like Dennis Kucinich or Coleman Young to the everyday blue-collar laborer toiling in our mills and factories, Mr. McClelland personifies the Rust Belt like no other book I have ever read on the subject. As a Lansing native, he has personally witnessed the dramatic (and sometimes catastrophic) changes just in his lifetime. In Nothing But Blue Skies, Mr. McClelland takes the reader on a quasi-chronological step-by-step sequence of events that shook the Rust Belt down it its very core.

Brain Drain, Economic Development, Editorial, Great Lakes, Headline, Politics, Real Estate, The Environment, U.S. Auto Industry, Urban Planning »

[24 Apr 2013 | No Comment | ]
Economic development soul-searching

The title of this post may be a bit controversial, but can also be sadly true. Far too often, it seems a blind eye is turned toward the sins of the past just to generate new economic investment. A perfect example is portrayed in the past week’s (April 17th edition) of City Pulse by an article entitled “A Tax Break Won’t Change This.” While tax breaks are being offered to GM for additional investment in Greater Lansing, a ginormous vacant parking lot blights the near south side of the city, not to mention additional deteriorated sites along Saginaw Highway on the west side of town.

Economic Development, Featured, Great Lakes, Public Transportation, Regionalism, Urban Planning »

[16 Apr 2013 | No Comment | ]
Are Michigan and Wisconsin missing a golden opportunity?

Since reading the book Aerotropolis several months ago, the topic of intermodal logistics has been on my mind. One logistical issue that routinely comes up in the Great Lakes Region is the congestion and delays that take place in and around Chicago. Being a chokepoint for numerous rail lines and highways at the south end Lake Michigan, the Chicago Region is critical hub for cross-country freight movements.  With the rapid growth in just-in-time delivery, containerization, container ports, and intermodal facilities over the past few decades, any bottlenecks and/or delays here …

Economic Development, Good Ideas, Great Lakes, Green Jobs, Headline, The Environment »

[16 Oct 2012 | No Comment | ]
Michigan establishes “dark-sky coast”

In what may be a first for the nation, Michigan Governor Snyder recently signed legislation establishing a “Dark-Sky Coast” on 21,000 acres of State-owned land in Emmet County, located north of Petoskey and west of Mackinaw City. An aerial photograph of the newly designated Dark-Sky Coast is shown.

Combined with the existing Headlands International Dark-Sky Park, it is hoped the two sites will increase tourism while also literally displaying the numerous benefits of protecting the night sky from sources of light pollution, particularly sky glow or the urban halo effect created by communities which do not require downshielded lighting and shut-off fixtures.

Architecture, Art, Economic Development, Great Lakes, Real Estate, The Environment, Urban Planning »

[10 Jan 2012 | One Comment | ]

This post was originally published on panethos.wordpress.com.
Kudos to Carmel. No…I am not talking about Carmel, California, which is indeed a gorgeous town overlooking the Pacific Ocean. In this case I am complimenting  Carmel, Indiana, a large suburb of approximately 80,000 residents located just north of Indianapolis. When I was growing up in Indy (way back when), Carmel was largely nondescript,  with sprawling subdivisions across cornfields. It was best known for powerhouse football and basketball teams and the Carmel movie theater (sadly no longer there). The downtown area at the time was very small …

Economic Development, Featured, Great Lakes, The Environment »

[23 Jun 2011 | No Comment | ]
How Will Climate Change Impact the Great Lakes?

Lower water levels. Warmer air and water temperatures. Less winter ice cover. More extreme storms.

Scientists believe this is the future of the Great Lakes basin as it begins to feel the impacts of climate change.

Al Douglas is the director of the Ontario Centre for Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Resources, an agency tasked with communicating the science of climate change and its impacts. He recently spoke to Rust Wire about what residents of the Great Lakes region should know and understand about climate change. Our conversation has been edited for space. (To read more on this topic, see here, the Great Lakes Regional Assessment here, a report from the Union of Concerned Scientists here or the Climate Change on the Great Lakes project here.)

Great Lakes, Politics, The Environment »

[20 Mar 2011 | 4 Comments | ]
What’s the Matter With Wisconsin?

And we’re not talking about the state’s recent labor showdown.
What hasn’t gotten as much attention, is the new governor’s “assault on environmental regulations,” writes Gary Wilson in a commentary on Great Lakes Echo. Wilson cites several examples, among them: a proposal to weaken regulation around phosphorous. (More on why you should care about that and how it impacts the Great Lakes here.)
Wilson sees this as especially unfortunate, as the state was long considered a leader on environmental issues.
He tells Echo readers:
“National labor leaders rallied behind Wisconsin workers as …

Brain Drain, Economic Development, Featured, Great Lakes »

[6 Mar 2011 | 2 Comments | ]
Duluth Aims for 90,000 Residents

Duluth, Minnesota, is aiming to grow its population and reach 90,000 residents by 2020, according to this article in The Duluth News Tribune.
The city plans to build on its historic strengths such as shipping, and grow other areas like medicine and IT, according to the story.
It currently has about 84,000 residents, per the US Census via Wikipedia.
Do we have any readers in Duluth? What do you think?
Also, a personal observation – I was in Duluth for the first time last summer and was frankly blown away by how beautiful it …