Changing Gears is a public media project about the future of the industrial Midwest. Each week, reporters Dan Bobkoff in Cleveland, Niala Boodhoo in Chicago and Kate Davidson in Ann Arbor cover issues of interest to the Great Lakes region. Changing Gears also sponsors public events and conversations.
Throughout the past two years, Changing Gears has looked at the role that newcomers play in the Midwest. On Wednesday, we’ll be talking about them — and talking with you.
Join us at 3 pm ET/2 pm CT for “Hidden Assets,” a call-in show airing on WBEZ Chicago, Michigan Radio and ideastream Cleveland. We’ll also be holding a live chat here at ChangingGears.info.
WBEZ’s Steve Edwards will host with a variety of scheduled guests, including Michigan’s governor, Rick Snyder. They’ll be looking at ways the Midwest is trying to attract immigrants, and how they can be a competitive business advantage for our region.
“Hidden Assets” welcomes your participation, on the air and here.
Whose economy is better? The Chicago Sun-Times tries to settle a debate between Illinois Governor Pat Quinn and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. The two governors traded insults last week over which state is doing a better job of attracting businesses. The Sun-Times says Illinois is the winner on most points.
Northeast Ohio is no longer the home of giant smoke-belching factories that typified the Industrial Revolution. The economy is slowly but surely striking out in new directions as the region works to diversify. Medical devices and services, polymers, processed foods, even fracking, are all in the vanguard of long-term change. Mr. Feagler looks at the big picture with Thomas A. Waltermire, President and CEO of Team NEO.
On Sunday, which is Earth Day, the Detroit Tigers want to take all that a step further.
The team is hosting its first Ride to the Ballpark event, testing its theory that baseball fans and bicyclists are one and the same.
“Detroit has a very cool, strong cyclist culture,” says Eli Bayless, the Tigers’ director of promotions and in-game operations.
The Tigers are offering a $14 package that includes an upper deck ticket to the game, and a ticket for a bicycle valet. Cyclists will pull up to Columbia Plaza in front of Comerica Park’s Gate A entrance, and check their bikes.
Tickets must be purchased by midnight tonight: there will be no same-day Ride to the Ballpark sales.
This week on Changing Gears we’re talking about people who are leaving the Midwestern industrial corridor. Some of the areas hardest hit by out-migration are small rural communities. They are facing a triple whammy – the decline of manufacturing, farming and shipping sectors.
North Country Public Radio’s Brian Mann tracked the journey of one woman who moved from a tiny town to New York City. He brings us this report:
It’s hard to imagine just how small Becca Johnson’s hometown is. Her parents moved to Rossie, in upstate New York, in the 1970s, part of the farming and manufacturing belt that stretched from the Northeast to the Midwest.
Their family homesteaded in an old abandoned barn.
“No running water and no toilet, or anything like that,” says Johnson. She was practically a teenager before her family got indoor plumbing. “It had an interesting influence on my social life,” she says.
Losing jobs Wisconsin lost 4,300 jobs in March. That could have an effect one other important job: Scott Walker’s. The Governor is facing a tough recall campaign, and the state is nowhere near reaching the 250,000 new jobs he promised by the end of his term.
It’s a mantra among politicians and CEOs across the Midwest and the country: we need to graduate more engineers in order to stay competitive in the world economy. It’s pitched as a way to create jobs and innovation. But all that might be wrong.
When General Motors went into Chapter 11 protection three years ago, it closed factories all over the Midwest.
One of them was the Grand Rapids Metal Center, a 2 million square foot stamping plant in Wyoming, Mich. Once the biggest employer in that Grand Rapids suburb, it was the first site sold by Motors Holdings, the company created to liquidate GM’s unwanted locations.
Now, new owners are trying to give the 75-year-old factory a new identity, reports Lindsey Smith at our partner Michigan Radio. They’ve demolished most of what was once they’re and re-branded the location as Site 36 (the factory’s address was 300 36th Street).
The developers would like to attract a global company, but they know there’s limited cache to trying to peddle a former GM plant. Thus, the new name.