One Week to Go! Gearing Up for Changing Gears

Next week, public radio listeners will meet the Changing Gears team for the first time on the air. Niala Boodhoo in Chicago, Kate Davidson in Ann Arbor and Dan Bobkoff in Cleveland are preparing their reports for our launch the week after next.

You’ll be hearing their voices — and mine — throughout next week, as we talk about the stories we’ll be doing about the reinvention of the Great Lakes Region.

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Changing Gears Goes On the Air 9/20

Mark your calendars for  Monday Sept. 20. That’s when Changing Gears will go on the air. We’ll be reporting on the future of the Midwest industrial region from our partner stations Chicago Public Radio, Michigan Radio and ideastream in Cleveland.

You’ll hear from all the members of Team Gears — Niala Boodhoo, Kate Davidson and Dan Bobkoff — and we’ll be kicking off our special Web features. Meanwhile, our food writer Michael Nagrant is whipping up a batch of Reinvention Recipes that will give you a new view of some familiar dishes and places.

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Team Gears: On The Scene in Ann Arbor

I’m Kate Davidson and I am delighted to be joining Changing Gears as our Ann Arbor based reporter.  Ann Arbor is just lovely this time of year.  For one thing, it’s cooler than Washington D.C., where I grew up.  (When we moved to D.C. from Buffalo, my brother was four.  He greeted the sweaty capital by stepping off the plane and promptly fainting.)

Until my things arrive, I’m staying in temporary university housing, where kids criss-cross the yard in the morning, practicing martial arts.  They defy neighborhood naps with trumpet practice.

Ann Arbor has always had the reputation of being a place apart from the rest of the Detroit area.  A local landlord summed it up this way:

“Ann Arbor – twenty-eight square miles surrounded by reality.”

But that reality is exactly what Changing Gears is about.  And I need your help to understand it. Continue reading “Team Gears: On The Scene in Ann Arbor”

The Future of the Automobile Industry

Senior Editor Micki Maynard appeared on The Diane Rehm Show on NPR stations Monday to discuss the future of the automobile industry.

The show featured a number of callers from the Changing Gears region, who had interesting stories and opinions on federal assistance for General Motors and Chrysler. Other guests included David Shepardson, the veteran Washington automotive reporter for the Detroit News.

Did you listen to the program? Let us know your thoughts on the industry’s future.

Updated: An Oil Spill Of Our Own

The oil spill in the Kalamazoo River looks worse than originally thought. It now covers more than 25 miles of the Kalamazoo River, according to the latest information from the Environmental Protection Agency.

On Thursday, Michigan Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm declared a state of disaster in Calhoun County and potentially affected areas along the Kalamazoo River downstream of Talmadge Creek in response to Monday’s oil spill from a pipeline near Marshall, Michigan.

“This disaster declaration reinforces our efforts to ensure the safety of Michigan citizens and the environment by making any needed state resources readily available,” said Granholm.

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From The Senior Editor: Welcome to Changing Gears

The past few years have been devastating for the industrial states. As a journalist for the New York Times, I wrote numerous stories about plant closings, job losses, beleaguered communities, and residents’ bewilderment that the nation did not see value in what generations had created.

Many people have written off the manufacturing belt as a remnant of the past. But I grew up in Michigan, and I refuse to believe that region is finished. That is why I decided to join the Changing Gears project.

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