Category: Breaking News Written by Ron Dewey, WWJ
DETROIT (WWJ) - Officials later this week are expected to make an announcement about a trainload of federal money heading to Detroit for the Woodward Light Rail project.
WWJ’s Ron Dewey reports Gov. Rick Snyder and U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood are set to discuss the $25 million grant at Wayne State University on Friday.
While touring the North American International Auto Show on Monday, LaHood told reporters that the M-1 light rail streetcar group did everything he asked them – especially gaining state legislative approval for a regional transportation authority, breaking a decades long impasse between Detroit and Lansing for a viable public transit system.
LaHood said supporters of the light rail project will see their dreams realized — a 3.3 mile long light rail system along Woodward between the city’s downtown and midtown sectors. It is expected to have 11 stops and six streetcars, with daily operation hours from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.
A spokesman for the M-1 group said project officials hoped to complete the effort by late 2015.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 15 January 2013 08:07
Category: Breaking News Written by Martin Luther King III, The Grio
There’s a small, leather-bound Bible that holds special significance for my family. My father, Martin Luther King Jr., used it to prepare his first sermon as a pastor, at the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. He took it with him on the road, as he fought for freedom, equality, and opportunity. Today, the cover of that book has faded. Some of the pages are torn. No one has used that Bible since my father, and I never thought anyone would.
But on January 21, when President Obama takes the Oath of Office, he will place his hand on two Bibles. One belonged to President Lincoln. The other is my father’s.
It’s amazing to think about how far we have come since my father first opened that book almost 60 years ago. The Montgomery Bus Boycott. Bloody Sunday. The March on Washington. The Voting Rights Act. The Poor People’s Campaign. The Memphis Sanitation Workers’ Strike. Those struggles and sacrifices brought us to this moment. Who would have thought that just 45 years after my father’s death, we would see the re-election of our first African-American president, a vote of confidence from a clear majority of the American people?
Of course, my father would have been the first to point out that what most distinguishes President Obama is not the color of his skin, but the content of his character. At the heart of his vision is our nation’s founding creed, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.” Like my father, the President has fought to give all Americans the opportunity to realize their dreams, no matter what they look like or where they come from.
President Obama also shares my father’s belief that everyone has something to offer their communities and everyone has a responsibility to serve. On the Saturday before his first Inauguration, in 2009, I joined the president-elect as we repainted a shelter for homeless teens in Washington, D.C. I was honored that the President and First Lady made a National Day of Service dedicated to my father’s memory part of Inauguration weekend, and I’m thrilled they are continuing that tradition this year. On Saturday, January 19, Americans in all 50 states will come together to lend their neighbors a hand.
If my father could see his work and his Bible still inspiring our country after all these years, I know he would be deeply grateful. But he would also remind us that the dream remains unfulfilled.
Half a century ago, in a Birmingham jail, my father wrote that “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” By that measure, we still have work to do. The Bible on which President Obama will place his hand inspired my father to speak out for the poor, the jobless, the homeless, the disenfranchised and the oppressed. Those struggles are far from over.
So I believe the true value of this Inauguration lies not just in its connection to our past, but its connection to our future. Over three days, beginning with the National Day of Service and culminating with the swearing-in ceremony on the National Mall, Americans have a tremendous opportunity: a chance to reaffirm the commitment of those who came before us to leave something better for those who come after us.
This opportunity is especially personal to me – not only because of my father, but because of my daughter. When President Obama took office, she was just an infant. Today, at four years old, she is beginning to understand how much a moment can mean. Fifty years ago, her grandfather stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, looked toward the Capitol, and told America about a dream he had. In less than two weeks, her President will stand next to the Capitol, look toward the Lincoln Memorial, and tell America about his vision to help make that dream a reality.
I can’t predict the rush of emotions I will feel. But I know my family will join the entire American family as we look back with pride and forward with determination. As my father famously said, the arc of the moral universe is long. But together, we can continue to bend it toward justice.
Last Updated on Monday, 14 January 2013 09:03
Category: Breaking News Written by Zack Burgess, Chronicle Senior Writer
For most Detroiters, cars are like clothing. Life would go on without them, but it wouldn’t be the same. The city has carried on a 125-year love affair with the automobile.
“Driving is what we do,” said Gloria Usher, a government worker from Detroit. “When I look back on it, how I started driving, at such a young age mind you…what cars have meant to me, my father and my brothers. Cars are so important to who we are as Detroiters.”
For most people driving has been a love-hate relationship — traffic jams, accidents, noise — but overall, it has been an enduring and fascinating one. Growing up in the automobile capital of the world has its privileges.
“The only way to describe cars…is beautiful,” said Cam Collins. “Just the mere fact that so many things come together to make an automobile functional and then to get behind the wheel of a car and feel its power, is unbelievable. I think we take it for granted. “
On January 16, 2013, the North American International Auto Show and the city of Detroit will host a plethora of events surrounding a group of people who have made the relationship with automobiles possible.
One event in particular, DRIVEN, honors African Americans who have not only withstood the onslaught of the recession and the automobile industry’s restructuring, but have thrived despite it.
In the 1880s, the continental United States wasn’t even united. California, Oregon, and Nevada were states, but separated from their eastern counterparts by nine territories that would ultimately become 10 states.
There were not yet cars, but the Industrial Revolution was well under way. The country had more than 160,000 miles of railroad tracks by 1890. That is almost four times the length of today’s Interstate highway system. But if you wanted to travel where you wanted and when you wanted, you were relegated to the horse, or the mule.
Conventional 19th century wisdom held that a man on horseback could cover about 20 miles a day without harming his mount. If you lived in rural America, you were unlikely to see much of the country that lay beyond your horse’s range in your lifetime. And such things as emergency medical service, pizza delivery and the Roto-Rooter Man were not even dreams. The automobile proved to be the device that freed every American of geography and the loneliness of isolation.
“I wouldn’t know what to do if I couldn’t drive,” said Joe Meade. “I think I have been driving since I was at least 12. For most of us here in Detroit…it’s such an important part of our makeup. Driving is a part of our culture. All of us remember the first time we got behind the wheel of a car. You had died and gone to heaven.”
The average American knows that Henry Ford invented the Model T, that there was a song involving Lucille and an Oldsmobile, that tires lasted about two hours, and that you risked being considered foolish if you drove a “horseless carriage.”
The generally accepted birth year of the car is 1885, the year Benz actually built his first gasoline-powered three-wheeler, which means that this is either the 126th or 127th anniversary of the car. And more than 100,000 patents ultimately contributed to the creation of what we know as the automobile.
In 1900, in Europe, Ferdinand Porsche, in addition to insisting that his name be pronounced POR-shuh and not Porsche, produced a remarkable automobile. It was battery powered with four electric motors, one at each wheel.
Sound familiar? It should, because it was essentially a hybrid, and it happened 111 years ago.
In Michigan, which would become the seat of the American car industry, Ransom E. Olds expanded on mass production of the automobile. He, not Henry Ford, established the first true assembly line and used it to build a tiller-steered car known as the “curved dash” Oldsmobile. By 1902 he was pumping 2,500 cars out the door, and this rose to 5,000 Oldsmobiles by 1904. To put these sales in perspective, Benz sold 572 vehicles in 1899.
This set the stage for Henry Ford and his refined and expanded assembly line. Ford’s first automobile was not the Model T, but the Quadricycle, an open, gasoline-fueled, four-wheel, tiller-steered contraption with a seating capacity of two.
On June 4, 1896, when he was ready to test his creation, which he built in a shed behind his home on Bagley Avenue in Detroit, Ford had to remove a wall because the Quadricycle would not fit through the doors. The good news was that the Quadricycle worked and led to the formation of the Henry Ford Company and later the Ford Motor Company.
In 1908 Ford brought out the Model T, the car that would put America on wheels. It cost $850 and sold 10,000 units in its first year. Four years later, Ford reduced the price to $575. By 1916 some 55 percent of the world’s automobiles were Model Ts, a record that was never equaled. By the time Model T production ceased in 1927, more than 15 million of the cars had been sold. Amazingly, an astonishing number of Model Ts are still with us, and there would be more had World War II scrap drives not consumed thousands of them.
Cars today are better than anyone ever thought they could be. Diesels don’t rattle or smell anymore. Onboard GPS systems can help you find a hotel or a Starbucks when you’re traveling. Cars are safer and sounder — and they last for years.
The U.S. industry produced the first minivan in 1983, and not long after, the SUV became the thing for moms and dads to drive because kids didn’t want to be seen in a minivan. The station wagon reappeared in the 1990s, but is now called a crossover. The hybrid is back, and so is the electric car.
The love affair between Americans and their cars has lasted for more than a century. Like most affairs of the heart, those years have produced triumph, tragedy, creativity, innovation, and a substantial dose of laughter and lunacy.
This is likely to continue.
“When I moved here from Grand Rapids, it amazed me that people would get in their car to go two blocks to the grocery store,” said Debra Usher. “I found it ridiculous. But that’s Detroit.”
Next week: How the DRIVEN event went from an idea to a reality.
Last Updated on Monday, 14 January 2013 08:42
Category: Breaking News Written by WWJ
DETROIT (WWJ) – Actor Danny Glover will be at the North American International Auto Show today.
Glover will be joining the Mississippi Alliance for Fairness at Nissan, an organization representing clergy, elected officials, civil rights activists and students in Mississippi to “reveal how Nissan treats its employees” according to the group’s press release. The organization says it “will detail how Nissan is denying workers in its Canton, Miss. plant a fair union election and using a campaign of fear to discourage employees from joining a union.”
“With Nissan, you have to look beneath the shine. Nissan builds great vehicles, but the company should respect the rights and dignity of its Mississippi workforce,” said Reverend R. Isiac Jackson, president of the General Missionary Baptist State Convention of Mississippi and chair of the Mississippi Alliance for Fairness at Nissan.
The organization was founded after Mississippi Congressman Bennie Thompson called on state leaders to form a committee to stand up for Nissan workers.
Last Updated on Monday, 14 January 2013 08:32
Category: Breaking News Written by Paige Lavender, thehuffingtonpost
The White House responded to a handful of "We the People" petitions calling for the government to allow some states to secede, saying "our states remain united."
"In a nation of 300 million people -- each with their own set of deeply-held beliefs -- democracy can be noisy and controversial. And that's a good thing," writes Jon Carson, Director of the Office of Public Engagement. "Free and open debate is what makes this country work, and many people around the world risk their lives every day for the liberties we often take for granted. But as much as we value a healthy debate, we don't let that debate tear us apart."
Secession fever hit after President Barack Obama was reelected in November. The petition movement quickly caught on, and by Nov. 14, residents in all 50 states had filed "We the People" petitions.
The movement even caught on with one Texas GOP official, who called for an "amicable divorce" from the U.S.
"Why should Vermont and Texas live under the same government?" wrote Peter Morrison, treasurer of the Hardin County Republican Party. "Let each go her own way."
Last Updated on Monday, 14 January 2013 08:22
Category: Breaking News Written by Minehaha Forman
Detroit School Board President LaMar Lemmons said the board is prepared to “pull the trigger” on a judge’s ruling that could unseat all school board members that were elected by district.
Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette on Thursday asked Wayne Circuit Judge John Gillis, Jr. to speed up a decision on whether seven members of the Detroit Board of Education are holding office illegally. The ruling, which is expected to be delivered by mail, could come down as soon as today.
Schuette filed the lawsuit in August citing a state law that requires school districts with less than 100,000 full-time students to elect all of its school board members at large. Schuette asserts that DPS enrollment numbers dipped below 100,000 prior to the board’s 2011 election.
The state’s chief law enforcer has argued that the seven Detroit school board members elected by districts in 2011 are holding office illegally.
But Lemmons says the board is prepared to fight Gillis’ ruling should he call for the removal of his district-elected colleagues.
“The ACLU has already said that they will join in the fight and we have already retained counsel,” Lemons told MiChronicle.com. “Everything’s all set. We’re ready to pull the trigger.”
This lawsuit is one of many that has been flung between board members and state officials in recent years as battles for control of district functions have flared since the state appointed an emergency financial manger (EFM) to take over district’s beleaguered finances in 2009.
In 2011 the district saw the brief tenure of a controversial emergency manager law, Public Act 4, that gave an emergency manager total control of troubled school districts, including academics, an area that the school board retained control of prior to the sweeping 2011 legislation.
Since Public Act 4 was overturned in November, and its predecessor, Public Act 72 is back in affect, School Board members say EFM Roy Roberts has not honored the voter’s decision to strike down PA4 and return academic decisions to the board.
Meanwhile, state legislature drafted up and passed a new law, Public Act 436, one that will take affect in late March.
“In the interim we are, in theory, in charge of academics of the district but in reality we have not had control,” Lemmons said.
But he said the board has studied the new emergency manager law and found a promising loophole.
“The elephant is the room is that the legislation neglected to see that we will be grandfathered into 436,” he said of the new legislation. “Public Act 436 states that after 18 months, a two-thirds vote [from the board] can remove an emergency manager. We have had an emergency manager for 50 months by now,” Lemmons said. “I don’t have to tell you that we are going to ask to remove the emergency manger.”
To prevent such legal backlash, Schuette has sought an injunction against the four at-large board members to silence them should Gillis decide to unseat seven district-board members according to The Detroit News.
The seven district-elected board members are Tawanna Simpson, Elena Herrada, Annie Carter, Judy Summers, Herman Davis, Wanda Redmond and Juvette Hawkins-Williams.
Lemmons said he is committed to continue the fight for control of the DPS. “This is an attempt to destroy the will of the people,” Lemmons said, noting that the board will be in Court on Wednesday to hear a ruling on whether the Education Achievement Authority, the State-run school district aimed turnaround the state’s worst performing schools, should be dissolved.
The board will also heard from Wayne Circuit Court Judge Annette Berry as to whether the school board can hire a number of new staffers.
The board voted to hire two ombudsman positions and one assistant to the interim superintendent, both with annual salaries exceeding $100,000. Roberts said.
In a letter, Roberts said he recently became aware of several hiring decisions by the board.
"At no point in time did the Board seek my approval in accordance with Public Act 72,” Roberts wrote in the letter. “In fact, no one has even attempted to discuss with me the financial impact the salaries and ancillary costs for these new positions will have on the district's tenuous budget.”
Last Updated on Friday, 11 January 2013 09:25
Category: Breaking News Written by Jeff Gilbert, WWJ
DETROIT — (WWJ) Mayor Dave Bing says the changes being made to Cobo Center are an example of the improvements he aims to make in the City of Detroit.
“This is just a microcosm of what I think our city can become,” said the mayor, after touring the Cobo floor, where millions of dollars of work has been done to prepare for this year’s North American International Auto Show.
When press previews for the show begin on Monday, the opening ceremonies will be held on a stage now being built in the brand new riverfront atrium. Crews are now putting finishing touches on the atrium, and a large staircase leading to it.
“I don’t think three or four years ago, anybody thought this was possible,” said Bing. “As you can see, this has been an unbelievable transformation.”
Construction is still being done to transform Cobo Arena, where Bing used to play basketball for the Detroit Pistons. It will become more meeting space.
Bing, however, said the new atrium–with views of the Detroit River, will make a big impression on show-goers.
“You just have to look up and you can get a crane in your neck,” he said. “This is absolutely wonderful. The engineering and the ingenuity that’s been put into the expansion of this building is something that none of us probably ever dreamed of.”
Auto show organizers took Bing on a tour of the Cobo Floor, where crews were putting carpet into place, and doing final tests on large video systems. A number of companies have all new exhibits. Nissan, and its luxury brand Infiniti, which had skipped this show for a couple of years, are back with large displays and new models.
Toyota has its largest display ever, moving into space that was added in an expansion last year.
Organizers of the show feel that everything is coming together.
“I just feel pride in this city and this region and what we all, and every single person here has done to pull this off,” said auto show vice chair Bob Shuman. “It’s beautiful.”
Another change at the show this year is the addition of healthy food at a new stand called “Go Natural.” It features fresh sandwiches and salads.
“People are becoming more health conscious these days,” said general manager Jason Hogard. “The typical stuff, the burgers and the fries, isn’t filling the niche.”
Burgers, fries, hot dogs and pizza will be available at other stands. Next year’s show will include a full food court.
Press previews of the North American International Auto Show begin on Monday. That will be followed by Industry Previews, and the big black-tie Charity Preview on Friday, January 18th. The show opens the following morning.
Last Updated on Friday, 11 January 2013 08:41
Category: Breaking News Written by WWJ
DETROIT (WWJ) - Ex-Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick has been put on a tether and confined to his residence over concerns about cash he received via wire transfer at an area Walmart last month.
WWJ Legal Analyst Charlie Langton says this was a parole violation.
“It doesn’t surprised me that the parole people put a GPS tether on him. In fact, it’s a little surprising they didn’t put him in prison, because they have the authority to do that,” said Langton.
“To be honest with you, I’m not sure he’s not headed for prison, because I would think that the parole people are still conducting an investigation — Kwame is not out of the woods yet,” Langton said, adding that he believes Kilpatrick should be “very worried.”
The Michigan Department of Corrections is investigating a Chesterfield Township Walmart security tape that shows Kilpatrick counting out $2,000 in cash he accepted as a gift from pastor in Chicago. Department of Corrections spokesman Russ Marlan said Kilpatrick failed to report the money as income and not doing that could be a probation violation.
Talking to WWJ Newsradio 950′s Vickie Thomas earlier this week, Kilpatrick called the money gram matter “trivial.”
However, he added, “I don’t think, Vickie, that it’s … something I cannot worry about, being that I’m Kwame Kilpatrick and this is Michigan and Detroit, and the rules are different for me.”
Kilpatrick, who moved to Texas two years ago, has reportedly been staying at his mother’s house. If that’s indeed the case, the home of Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick would be considered his residence for the purposes of the order.
Marlan said he could not confirm an address.
Kilpatrick took to his Twitter account Thursday night to express his feelings about the ruling.
Last Updated on Friday, 11 January 2013 08:31
Category: Breaking News Written by David Sands, Huffington Post
Michigan State Rep. Alberta Tinsley-Talabi (D-Detroit) responded to release of the Detroit Future City framework Wednesday with an appeal to city and state officials to respect current residents when considering land use policy and the distribution of city services.
The book-length Detroit Future City strategic document was created by the Bing administration's Detroit Works think tank with participation from business leaders, community groups, foundations and residents. It is intended to guide decision-making on change and development in Detroit for the next 50 years.
While Tinsley-Talabi acknowledged that the framework offered a new vision that could help bring resources and opportunities to urban areas like Detroit, she urged state and local leaders not to overlook the needs of current property owners while moving forward with the plan.
"Although the proposal offers our community a plan to address the issues of blight, there must be additional consideration given to recognize certain needs within urban communities, including responsible property ownership and the allocation of taxpayer-based city services," Tinsley-Talabi said in a release.
To protect residents she recommends that the sale of land allocated for innovative productive or ecological uses should be prioritized so that the first areas available for purchase would be located on blocks where no one is living. Further land purchases should be then be made in areas with higher amounts of vacant parcels. She added that residents should be given the first option to purchase the properties and that negotiated prices should affect their ability to afford the land.
"We must be careful to not minimize or trivialize the time, money and energy our neighbors and friends have invested in either maintaining property or community gardens," said Tinsley-Talabi.
The city's policy regarding the sale of vacant land became an issue during the recent debate over the sale of roughly 140 acres the land on Detroit's east side to financial services magnate John Hantz through his Hantz Woodlands company. Though the deal was eventually approved many critics claimed the city's land sale process favored wealthy investors over ordinary city residents.
At a Tuesday press briefing on Detroit Future City, Detroit Works consultant Alan Mallach, said those involved with the framework were calling for a single set of property disposition policies that would apply to all the agencies involved with purchasing land in Detroit.
"This should be something official that all the different groups have signed on to," he said. "Something that's clear so that … anybody that's interested in city land can pick this up and see what are the ground rules."
Tinsley-Talabi also called on elected leaders to provide fair and equitable levels of city services to residents in the new land use areas in accordance with the state constitution's fairness doctrine. Concerns about shut-offs initially created vocal community resistance to the effort, which had originally been portrayed as a downsizing of city services and infrastructure.
In her statement the state lawmaker said it would be unfair for taxpayers to receive city services disproportionate to their assessed taxes.
Last Updated on Friday, 11 January 2013 08:00
Category: Breaking News Written by Madeline Boardman, The Huffington Post
Quvenzhané Wallis just made history. With the announcement of the nominees for the 85th annual Academy Awards this morning, the Louisiana-born Wallis, just 9 years old, is now the youngest ever nominee for Best Actress in a Leading Role.
Wallis, who was just 5 when she auditioned for the role in "Beasts of the Southern Wild," has received major recognition and critical acclaim for her portrayal of the character Hushpuppy.
She beat out former record-holder Keisha Castle-Hughes, who was nominated in the Best Actress category for "Whale Rider" at age 13. Wallis is up against Jessica Chastain for "Zero Dark Thirty," Jennifer Lawrence for "Siver Linings Playbook," Naomi Watts for "The Impossible" and Emmanuelle Riva for "Amour." In an interesting twist, Riva, at age 85, is now the oldest nominee for Best Actress in a Leading Role. (Riva will turn 86 on Feb. 24, which is Oscar night.)
The youngest actress ever to win any kind of Oscar was Shirley Temple, who received the Academy Juvenile Award in 1935, when she was just 6 years old. Ten other youngsters between the ages of 7 and 17 accepted that award -- a miniature statuette standing just seven inches tall -- between 1945 and 1961, when Hayley Mills ("Polyanna") became the last recipient.
Wallis, who is 9 years and 135 days old today, is the third youngest person to be nominated for an Oscar in any of the four acting categories, behind Justin Henry ("Kramer vs. Kramer"), who was 8 years and 276 days old when he was recognized for Best Supporting Actor in 1980, and Jackie Cooper ("Skippy"), who was 9 years and 20 days old when he earned a spot for Best Actor in 1931.
If she wins, Wallis, who will be 9 years and 180 days old on Feb. 24, will be the youngest person ever to win an Academy Award in an acting category. The current record holder is Tatum O'Neal, who was 10 years and 148 days old when she claimed Best Supporting Actress honors for "Paper Moon" in 1974. O'Neal is closely followed by Anna Paquin, who was 11 years and 240 days old when she won in the same category for "The Piano" in 1994. The youngest woman ever to win Wallis' category, Best Actress, is Marlee Matlin, who was 21 years and 218 days old when she accepted the statuette for her performance in "Children of a Lesser God" in 1987.
Since her breakout role in "Beasts of the Southern Wild," Wallis has been cast in the upcoming movie "Twelve Years a Slave," which also stars Paul Giamatti, Brad Pitt, and Michael Fassbender.
"Beasts of the Southern Wild" was nominated for a total of four awards. In addition to Wallis' nod for Best Actress, the film was nominated for Best Picture, Best Director (Benh Zeitlin), and Best Adapted Screenplay (Zeitlin again).
Last Updated on Friday, 11 January 2013 07:10
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