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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 …

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.

Architecture, Economic Development, Featured, Good Ideas, Green Jobs, The Environment, U.S. Auto Industry, Urban Planning »

[6 Feb 2013 | No Comment | ]
Western Michigan University installs solar-powered charging stations

Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo recently installed a bank of 15 solar-powered electric vehicle (EV) charging stations in one of its parking lots at Miller Auditorium. What a great idea for making green driving greener.

Source: openpr.com

Utilizing the sun for recharging eliminates the need for electric infrastructure upgrades, uses Mother Nature as the power source instead of fossil fuels, and in theory eliminates the need for the property owner and/or the vehicle owner would have to pay a utility for the electric charge since it is derived from sunlight.
Here is a brief …

Featured, Sprawl, U.S. Auto Industry »

[9 Nov 2011 | No Comment | ]
The Hypocrisy of Chrysler’s “Imported from Detroit” Campaign

I’ll admit it: I love the Chrysler ad campaign “Imported from Detroit,” which debuted in February’s Super Bowl spot starring Eminem.

What can I say? I’m a sucker for hometown pride. I was born about 60 miles downriver from the Motor City in Toledo, Ohio, a town sometimes known affectionately as “Little Detroit.” I remember when it was considered treasonous to drive a foreign car.

That’s the brilliance of these ads. They appeal to our inner urge to root for the underdog, our nostalgia for simpler days. Those flashes of a grand-looking Woodward Avenue. The water tower that proudly shouts “Birmingham, Michigan.”

Art, Economic Development, Good Ideas, Green Jobs, Headline, U.S. Auto Industry »

[30 Dec 2010 | 3 Comments | ]
Lessons from Germany’s Ruhr District, Part 3

Rust Wire correspondent Ivy Hughes recently visited Germany’s Ruhr District, a northwestern part of the country recovering from the loss of jobs in of the steel and coal industry. The district includes 53 cites and more than 5.3 million residents. The region is a 2010 European Capital of Culture, an annul EU designation awarded to a city or region for the purpose of showcasing its cultural development. As such, the municipalities within the Ruhr District worked within a €62.5 million budget to create 300 projects and 2,500 events highlighting its …

Economic Development, Good Ideas, Headline, The Environment, U.S. Auto Industry »

[29 Dec 2010 | One Comment | ]
Lessons from Germany’s Ruhr District, Part 2

Rust Wire correspondent Ivy Hughes recently visited Germany’s Ruhr District, a northwestern part of the country recovering from the loss of jobs in of the steel and coal industry. The district includes 53 cites and more than 5.3 million residents. The region is a 2010 European Capital of Culture, an annul EU designation awarded to a city or region for the purpose of showcasing its cultural development. As such, the municipalities within the Ruhr District worked within a €62.5 million budget to create 300 projects and 2,500 events highlighting its …

Economic Development, Good Ideas, Green Jobs, Headline, U.S. Auto Industry »

[26 Dec 2010 | No Comment | ]
Lessons from Germany’s Ruhr District, Part 1

Rust Wire correspondent Ivy Hughes recently visited Germany’s Ruhr District, a northwestern part of the country recovering from the loss of jobs in of the steel and coal industry. The district includes 53 cites and more than 5.3 million residents. The region is a 2010 European Capital of Culture, an annul EU designation awarded to a city or region for the purpose of showcasing its cultural development. As such, the municipalities within the Ruhr District worked within a €62.5 million budget to create 300 projects and 2,500 events highlighting its …

Great Lakes, Politics, Regionalism, The Environment, The Media, U.S. Auto Industry »

[13 Nov 2010 | One Comment | ]

There’s been a lot written about last week’s midterm elections and I’m hesitant to add to it.
But I know I’m not the only person who noticed several of the states that swung from blue to red were in our region: Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota. Why is this? High unemployment? Higher turnout of white working class voters dissatisfied with Obama?
What do you think? We’ve got a lot of collective brainpower amongst our readers, I am curious to hear people’s thoughts. Also, what policies enacted by Obama and the Democratic …

Crime, Economic Development, Headline, Real Estate, U.S. Auto Industry »

[28 Sep 2010 | 5 Comments | ]
Youngstown, Battling for Turnaround, Continues to be Plagued by Crime

Hot off being named the national leader in manufacturing job growth, two senseless crimes are causing the city of Youngstown to temper its exuberance.

Tales From the Rust Belt offers this analysis:

The recent murders of Realtor Vivian Martin on the East Side and elderly residents Thomas Repchic and Angela Figmonari on the South Side near St. Dominic’s church are especially hard on a city that seemed to be focusing on the positives. Earlier this year we were able to celebrate the long list of jobs coming to the area including a third shift at GM Lordstown and the V&M Steel expansion.