Agriculture and the Midwest

Michigan farmers at the Green City Market in Chicago

The Chicago Fed held a conference last fall looking at the role agriculture is playing in both rural and overall economic development of the Midwest. Their conclusion: agriculture and other rural development should be viewed as “partners” in the “continuing revival” of communities throughout the region.

In particular, the report noted that the agricultural sector, from an economic standpoint, is doing pretty well.

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Coming Up On Our Podcast: Your Community Events

Update: phone in your events to 1-888-YOUR-NPR

Changing Gears wants to feature your community events on an upcoming edition of our podcast. If your group is putting on an event that you think might be of interest to listeners in our region, send the information to ChangingGears (at) Include the name of the event, the sponsoring group, the date, time, and location, plus the phone number of your organization if we have questions.

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Gary Asks Indiana For A Bailout

The city of Gary is asking the state of Indiana for an $11 million property tax bailout. Reporter Michael Puente of WBEZ has the story.

You might remember hearing about Gary as part of our Reinventing Pittsburgh series and again on Reinventing Our Cities. You can listen to both reports on our audio player.

Reinventing the Midwest Narrative

“Want to change the reality? Change the narrative.” That’s what Central Michigan University history professor Stephen A. Jones suggests in this essay, published at He cites our recent special, Reinventing Our Cities, in which Donald Carter of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, said a better name for the region might be “Water Belt.”

Jones, who lives in Detroit, isn’t saying that all the region’s problems will end by calling itself something different. But, he says, “We must change the story.” What do you think?

You heard it first from Changing Gears…

If you were tuned in to Marketplace on public radio stations this week, you heard Changing Gears’ Cleveland reporter Dan Bobkoff talk about shipping on the Great Lakes. Changing Gears listeners heard his story for us on Michigan Radio, ideastream and WBEZ during the holidays. You can listen to it in our audio player.

Here’s a slideshow on Great Lakes shipping that’s up at

Manufacturing’s Doing Great. Manufacturing Jobs, Not So Much. : Planet Money : NPR

“This combination of trends — a growing manufacturing sector, and shrinking manufacturing employment — is not a function of the recent recession; it’s the result of a long shift toward high-tech manufacturing that goes back decades, and allows U.S. manufacturers to make and sell more while employing fewer people.”

via Manufacturing’s Doing Great. Manufacturing Jobs, Not So Much. : Planet Money : NPR.

Trombone Shorty and Changing Gears

Trombone Shorty, real name Troy Michael Andrews, has deep roots in New Orleans, his home town, but he’s also breaking new ground as a musician, singer, and song writer in contemporary jazz.

Cleveland 015

In December, he earned his first Grammy nomination for his album Backatown. That’s where you’ll find Right to Complain, the theme song for Changing Gears. Andrews took time out from a recent appearance in Cleveland to talk with me for the Changing Gears podcast. Continue reading “Trombone Shorty and Changing Gears”