Not just Asian Carp..

One of the predators, also from Asia, that threaten Michigan's $7 billion fishing industry. (Associated Press)

A Grand Rapids Press story today goes into the 75 or so other invasive species that could be making their way into the Great Lakes, calling them “bad actors” like this baby, which reminds me of when I was a kid, and my uncle made me watch the movie Piranha. Just before we went to the beach.

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Timeline of Manufacturing in the Industrial Midwest

Expanding railroads meant a growing demand for steel in the mid 1800’s. The vast iron ore reserves around Lake Superior, the coal of Pennsylvania and the cheap transport on lakes and rivers made the region the bastion of the iron and steel industry. Workers organized to win higher wages, shorter hours, and safer working conditions. The factory jobs had an aura of permanence but in truth they were always able to move where production was cheaper.

Read on to view the interactive timeline.
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A masterpiece from lint in Michigan

Laura Bell's Lint Last Supper (photo courtesy of Ripley's Believe It or Not!)

Our friends at NPR just published a great story about a woman in Michigan who has recreated a version of  Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper out of lint from her dryer. Ok, so it’s not as big as the original mural, but it is 14 feet long. Out of lint. From her dryer.

The woman, Laura Bell, is a home health aide from Roscommon, Michigan, and here’s her work, which Ripley’s Believe or It has bought to add to their collection of Lint Art. (Who knew they had an entire collection?)

Leonardo da Vinci's original

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With High Expectations, Medical Mart Breaks Ground in Cleveland

Ohio Governor John Kasich at the Medical Mart Groundbreaking (photo: Dan Bobkoff)

After years of wrangling and controversy, Cleveland’s planned Medical Mart and Convention Center broke ground today. Actually, construction started a couple of weeks ago, but today was the day the big names came to ceremonially stick shovels in the ground. The project has been controversial for years, and some wonder if it will live up to promises of making Cleveland known as a medical industry hot-spot. It’s supposed to be a big economic driver. The Medical Mart will be run by Chicago-based Merchandise Mart Properties, Inc.

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The Digital Divide When You Don’t Have A Job

CHICAGO –  When you talk about a digital divide, you’re probably thinking of inner city kids who don’t have ready access to the Internet. But there’s another group that looks at the digital divide with a growing sense of urgency: unemployed workers. Changing Gears is  public media project looking at the reinvention of the industrial Midwest. In this story, we look at how hard it is to find a job when you don’t have the skills or access to technology.[display_podcast]

Students in the Everyday Digital Literacy class, at the Greater Auburn Gresham Community Development Corp.'s Family Net Center (Niala Boodhoo)

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Freeway Removal Goes Mainstream: A Survey of Projects

Ferry Building and Embarcadero, circa 1960
Before: SF's Embarcadero Freeway cutting through the city (Telstar Logistics)
After: Where there was once a freeway, a park is part of the redevelopment in SF. (Seattle Weekly)

When I first started researching  freeway removal, I had no idea it was being considered or completed in so many cities. It looks like the anti-freeway activists of the 1960s and 70s are now finding their views in the mainstream. Every project is different. Some replace freeways with waterfront parks. Others use the land for new developments like hotels. Some cities like Boston and Seattle bury the roadway underground to make the land more attractive, without impeding traffic. Below is a list of some of the major projects that are done or under consideration:

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Would You Move To Midtown Detroit?

There’s an interesting new $1.2 million plan to entice people to move into Detroit’s neighborhoods north of downtown.

The “Live Midtown” incentive is being offered to 30,000 employees of the plan’s three participants — Wayne State University, the Detroit Medical Center and the Henry Ford Health System. Renters and home owners are eligible for incentives aimed at getting them to stay or move to the city. Continue reading “Would You Move To Midtown Detroit?”

The Case for “Cleveburgh”

Cleveburgh (Christopher Briem

Last year, I reported on the reinvention of Pittsburgh. The former steel city is doing better than many other post-industrial cities thanks to its spirit of collaboration and success in technology and other new fields. Just after the New Year, Christopher Briem, who helped us with our series, published a provocative Op-Ed in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette arguing that we think of Cleveland and Pittsburgh as one region. He calls it “Cleveburgh.”

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Auto Show Season Is Underway

Inside Cobo Center in Detroit, thousands of automotive journalists and auto industry figures are gathered this week for the annual North American International Auto Show. It’s a chance for companies to show their wares, thump their chests and try to set the tone for the year to come.

The industry needs 2011 to be strong. Auto sales figures for 2010 showed a tepid recovery underway from the dismal levels of 2009. Auto sales are still down more than 30 percent from the levels of the middle of the last decade, and it’s tough to see a comeback happening much faster until the unemployment rate eases and the demand for housing picks up.

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