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.
The 2010 Census Data for the Midwest Region has been released, and although most states gained in population overall, many of their bigger cities lost people.
Cleveland, OH declined by 17 percent and Chicago, IL dropped by almost seven percent, and perhaps most notable Detroit lost a quarter of its population since 2000. But there was some growth, too. Columbus, OH grew by more than 10 percent, Indianapolis, IN increased by just over six percent, and Madison, WI grew by about 12 percent.
First there was ArtPrize, now there’s LaughFest. As a former Grand Rapidian, I admit I’m a bit biased in this category, but Grand Rapids sure seems to be getting good at incubating fun cultural events.
LaughFest is, as the organizers describe it, a “tidal wave of funny” washing over Grand Rapids – a series of free and paid performances, lectures and other events that starts today. Basically, it’s a ten-day festival of funny – with proceeds to benefit the local Gilda’s Club, a cancer support organization that works with children, adults, family and friends dealing with cancer.
Wisconsin has already seen its share of drama over collective bargaining rights for public employees. But the situation has become even more heightened, due to an unexpected move by Wisconsin Republicans.
On Thursday, the Wisconsin state assembly approved a revised version of legislation that cleared the state senate late Wednesday. It removes collective bargaining rights for most public employees. Gov. Scott Walker has pledged to sign the bill as soon as possible. The assembly’s action began after protesters were removed from the capitol building.
Collective bargaining rights for public and private sector employees are a hot button issue in our region. On Tuesday March 8, Changing Gears hosted a region wide call-in show and live chat discussing the issues facing workers in Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana and elsewhere.
Welcome to the live chat for the Changing Gears call-in special, “Hard Labor.” You can hear the show starting at 2 pm ET/1 pm CT at Michigan Radio, WBEZ Chicago and Ideastream Cleveland as well as Wisconsin Public Radio‘s IdeasNetwork. Members of the Changing Gears team also are here to answer your questions.
Union employees are under fire in states like Wisconsin and Ohio, where some lawmakers are saying it’s time to do away with collective bargaining. Some business community members also think unions are keeping those states from being competitive. But union members say they’ve fought long and hard for their bargaining rights, and intend to hold on to them.
And then there’s the issue of Right to Work laws. Should Midwestern states embrace what’s long been a staple of the South? Changing Gears’ Kate Davidson took a look at that this week.