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.
Next week, Changing Gears teams with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to look at the future of the Midwest music scene. This week, we want to hear about your favorites out there today. Who’s the best band or performer with Midwest roots?
Tell us why you like their music — and include any links you want, from YouTube to a URL. We’ll take all suggestions — singers, duos, groups. Indie or big stars, up and coming artists and veterans. Post them below, or tweet @ChGears with #MidwestMusic.
Ford Motor Company had a strong first quarter. In fact, the U.S. automaker had its best first quarter earnings in 13 years, reporting net income of $2.6 billion. That comes out to 61 cents per share, far higher than the expected 50 cents per share. Part of Ford’s success is being credited to their new fuel-efficient models, which are proving popular as gas prices climb.
Michigan’s unionized corrections workers make up about 16 percent of the state’s public employees, but they are being asked to give more than half of the $180 million in contract concessions Governor Rick Snyder is seeking from unions.
China isn’t ready to infringe on America’s growing electric car industry – yet. According to a new study by the management consulting firm PRTM, there are several hurdles ahead for China, such as the high cost of shipping heavy electric car parts. Still, China has already spent five times more than the U.S. on their electric car industry.
Michigan may be nearing a budget deal. Lawmakers drafted an early version of the state budget this weekend that included language limiting embryonic stem cell research and state universities. Governor Rick Snyder supports embryonic stem cell research, and Michiganders recently voted in support of it too.
Miss any of our coverage this week? No worries, catch up with this episode of the Changing Gears podcast. Niala Boodhoo filed a report on McDonald’s hiring spree earlier this week. Micki Maynard and Erica Hunter discuss fashion incubators around the region. Finally, a little bit about our upcoming event; Living for the City: Reinventing the Region with Music and the Arts.
Real estate developer and philanthropist A. Alfred Taubman is giving the University of Michigan Medical Research Institute $56 million for stem cell and cancer research. U-M President, Mary Sue Coleman said the money will go to high-risk research. This isn’t Taubman’s first big donation to his alma mater. Including this latest gift, Taubman has donated $100 million to medical science research at the U-M.
If you need gas for the Easter holiday, you might want to fuel up now, because prices are supposed to go even higher. The average gas price in Michigan is expected to jump between $4.05 and $4.15 a gallon. As you can see from this picture, gas prices in Chicago are well passed the $4.00 a gallon mark.
There’s a shop on Michigan Avenue in Chicago that has exclusive designs — and it’s only open until Saturday. But you might not have heard of any of the designers. That’s because they’re getting their start through a fashion incubator. These programs are popping up across the Midwest, with various degrees of success.
WBEZ’s Erica Hunter, an expert on the Chicago fashion scene, provided Changing Gears with a look at fashion incubators.
Cleveland Hopkins International Airport is getting a $1.6 billion makeover. Some of the work is already underway, but completing the construction can take anywhere between 10 to 24 years. Airport officials say the current airport is poorly functional and too small.
Ohio Governor John Kasich is discouraging voters from approving school levies in November. Many school districts say if the proposed cuts in Kasich’s budget become reality, they’ll be forced to ask taxpayers for support. But the governor said no school district will be cut by more than 8 percent, and raising taxes will only discourage businesses from moving in.
Monday night is usually chefs’ night off. But this week, a flock of Chicago’s top chefs worked on their day off to support Japan.
There was so much fire power in the kitchen, and on the restaurant floor, that one guest called it “a meal cooked by the 1927 Yankees.”
The Chicago benefit dinner took place at Takashi, a modern Asian restaurant in Chicago’s Bucktown neighborhood. It is owned by Takashi Yagihashi, a Japanese native who Detroiters will remember as the executive chef at Tribute. Within hours of hearing about the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, Takashi decided to hold a benefit dinner.
General Motors cars and trucks are getting more expensive. The Detroit based car company says it will raise the prices of its vehicles by about $123 dollars to make up for jumps in the cost of oil and metal starting May 2nd. GM is the third company recently to announce an increase in auto prices, joining Toyota and Ford.
In other auto news, electric cars have won the favor of the Obama administration. Now, hydrogen fuel cell cars are trying to do the same. Supporters say hydrogen powered cars are ready for the mass market, but U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu disagrees. Since there’s not federal funding backing up the research, these cars – such as the Honda FCX Clarity – costs about $600 a month to lease.