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.
We’re happy to announce that Pete Bigelow, an award winning editor and writer, is joining the Changing Gears team next week. Starting Monday, Pete will become our editor for the Web and social engagement. He’ll be responsible for everything on ChangingGears.info, will direct our social media and become our connection with the community across the industrial Midwest.
Pete has spent the past four years in Ann Arbor, Mich., home of our partner Michigan Radio. He served as the sports editor of The Ann Arbor News, and more recently, covered the Michigan Wolverines football beat for AnnArbor.com. Prior to Michigan, he covered the Denver Broncos and the NFL for The Daily Times-Call in suburban Denver.
GARY, Indiana – What happens when your local library shuts its doors? That’s a question Midwestern towns from Evanston, Ill., to Troy, Mich., are asking as local libraries are targeted in budget cuts. I went to Northwest Indiana, where the Gary Library Board has just decided to close its main branch, to find out the impact on a local community.
Michigan may be getting more federal dollars to modernize its railway system. U.S. Transportation officials will be in Detroit today to make an announcement, probably about Michigan and New York splitting the $2 billion dollars in high speed rail funds Florida recently declined.
Richard M. Daley is spending his last week as Chicago mayor. As if to bid him goodbye, thousands of tulips have burst into bloom on Michigan Avenue’s Magnificent Mile.
The two are closely related. In nearly 22 years as mayor, Daley made the beautification of the city a top priority in his efforts at economic redevelopment. If Chicago looked attractive, tourists and business travelers would be more likely to come, and residents would feel better about their city, or so he reasoned.
Changing Gears reporter Niala Boodhoo looked at Daley’s approach to beautification and his other efforts to spur development on the eve of Chicago’s mayoral election in February.
One of the prominent themes of the discussion was that Cleveland does have a vibrant and active music scene.
“But we’ve had a loss of population, a loss of corporations, a loss of revenues and disposable income,” said Rock Hall C.E.O Terry Steward. “So we have to figure out: how do we repurpose ourselves into a new kind of music place.”
The Cleveland Metropolitan School District has narrowed its search for a new school’s CEO down to three candidates. A few weeks ago, it was announced that Jean-Claude Brizard will head Chicago Public Schools, along with an entirely new school board and a new Chief Education Officer. And in Michigan, Governor Rick Snyder announced just yesterday that a former vice president of General Motors Corp., Roy S. Roberts will be taking over Detroit Public Schools as its emergency manager. All three school districts have had to deal with high dropout rates, students who live in poverty, declining overall populations, and poor academic performance on standardized tests. All of that has led to a high turnover in superintendents.
Job growth in April was slower than many had hoped. According to the payroll processing firm ADP, 179,000 private sector jobs were added in April, compared to 207,000 that were added in March.
Gross Domestic Product is one of the most common ways a nation’s economic advancement is measured. But this University of Chicago professor argues that although GDP may be the easiest way to measure economic growth, it doesn’t necessarily give an accurate view of national advancement overall.
Economic transformation can take a long time, but if it works, it can be worth it.
The Wall Street Journal today profiled Playhouse Square Foundation in Cleveland. (Full disclosure: this non-profit real-estate and arts venture is home to Changing Gears partner station WCPN 90.3)
When some of the city’s less-used downtown playhouses started to close in the 1960’s, an employeee of Cleveland public schools founded the non-profit organization to scoop them up. The Playhouse Square Foundation now encompasses five historic theatres, the Wyndham Cleveland Hotel, one million square feet of real estate and 1.5 million square feet of office and retail space where 3000 people go to work daily.