Mapping the Midwest’s Food Deserts

Visit any city in our region, and you’ll hear a common complaint: the lack of easy access to fresh fruits and vegetables. That’s known as a food desert.

Photo by Eric Wellman.

Now, a pair of Michigan State University professors are charting Michigan’s food deserts. You can check out their interactive map. The map makes it clear just how difficult it can be to get your hands on fresh produce in some parts of Lansing, especially if you don’t have a car.

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Is Right-To-Work Next?

The battle over public sector unions is loud and visible. Are private sector unions far behind? Getty Images

ANN ARBOR — The labor battle seizing the Midwest right now is focused on the collective bargaining rights of public sector employees. But the fight over breaking these unions may have cracked open another door: the one labeled “right-to-work.”[display_podcast] Continue reading “Is Right-To-Work Next?”

Slow Jamming the Wisconsin Protests

You’re ready for a laugh over Wisconsin, right? (Our apologies if it’s too sensitive, but we are.) Last night, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams, a fellow airplane geek and former White House intern, visited Jimmy Fallon for another in a series called Slow Jamming the News.

This time, BriWi and Jimmy chose the Wisconsin protests. Too silly? Or just right?

CG Call-in Show Next TUESDAY: “Hard Labor”

(Update: Wisconsin Public Radio’s Ideas Network also will carry the broadcast)

To many union members, collective bargaining rights and the right to organize are hard-won, sacred treasures. But some in the business community see those as impediments to making our states competitive.

People came from all sides to Wisconsin Sunday. (photo: Chip Mitchell)

Now, public and private sector unions are under fire. Lawmakers in states like Wisconsin and Ohio want to strip public employees of collective bargaining rights. Meanwhile, the conversation has begun about Right to Work laws, a mainstay of the South but long considered impossible in Great Lakes states.

Changing Gears invites you to join our conversation about those issues. Tune in next TUESDAY March 8 at 2 pm ET/1 pm CT for “Hard Labor,” a call-in program that will look at the situation from all angles. Continue reading “CG Call-in Show Next TUESDAY: “Hard Labor””

Detroit’s Push Back Against Ruin Porn

Photo by Erika Lindsay.

Almost a month after the Green Bay Packers beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in this year’s super bowl, Chrysler’s “Imported from…Detroit” ad is still causing quite a bit of Internet buzz. Detroit area native Harvey Dickson talks here about how much backlash “ruin porn” has been getting, thanks in part to the positive images the ad featured. The New Republic also recently lashed out at ruin porn here. You can also read what Changing Gears’ Micki Maynard wrote about the ad’s immediate success and its divergence from the ruin porn Detroit is better known for.

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Changing Gears Goes To Grand Rapids

Grand Rapids means a lot to Michiganians. It’s a business, health care and education capital for the western side of the state. It’s the home town of a president, Gerald R. Ford, who helped steady the country after Richard M. Nixon resigned. And it’s also my mom’s hometown.

Skaters in front of the Grand Rapids Art Museum

For all those reasons, I was delighted on Monday to speak to an audience of 400 people at the Economic Club of Grand Rapids. My topic: “Reinventing Our State” which fits right in with our mission at Changing Gears.


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Training Health Care Workers Part Two: Simulation

The patient, Mr. Pointer, is recovering from abdominal surgery. Photo by Kate Davidson.

LANSING — The country is facing a nursing shortage. But schools in our region can’t keep up with the demand for nursing education.  As we reported in our first story, that’s partly because there are a limited number of clinical settings where student nurses can work with patients. So to augment the clinical experience, some nursing programs are enlisting the help of a newfangled dummy, wired with smart technology.[display_podcast] Continue reading “Training Health Care Workers Part Two: Simulation”