Pete Bigelow Joins the Changing Gears Team

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, will direct our social media and become our connection with the community across the industrial Midwest.

Pete Bigelow

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 Prior to Michigan, he covered the Denver Broncos and the NFL for The Daily Times-Call in suburban Denver.

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Across the Region, Shutting The Local Library

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.


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Midwest Memo: Monday, May 9, 2011

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.

MOVE Detroit want to get 1,100 people to move into downtown Detroit by November 11, 2011. What’s the best way to get young people to move downtown? Throw some loft parties! Continue reading “Midwest Memo: Monday, May 9, 2011”

Daley Departs, Tulips Bloom

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.

Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley (Photo courtesy of Kate Gardiner, WBEZ Flickr)

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Midwest Memo: Friday, May 6, 2011

Employers added 244,000 jobs in April, the third straight month of gains higher than 200,000 jobs overall. Still, the unemployment rate inched up to 9 percent.

Motorola Mobility is getting $100 million from Illinois to keep its headquarters in state. Photo by Tom Magliery via Flickr.

Motorola Mobility has decided to keep its headquarters in Libertyville, Illinois. The company had been thinking about moving to California or Texas, near other high-profile tech companies. But Illinois has been working hard to keep the company in state, giving Motorola Mobility a financial package worth $100 million over ten years to stay.

Today is Fair Trade Day in Chicago. You can track Chicago’s progress as a fair trade city through this website.

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Rock Hall Event Wrap Up: Cleveland Still Rocks. It Just Needs An Audience


The panelists, from left to right: Alex Bevan, Cindy Barber, Karen Gahl-Mill and Terry Stewart. Micki Maynard hosts the panel from the far right. Photo by Ron Dustman.

Earlier this week, Changing Gears teamed up with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland to present “Living for the City: Reinventing the Region with Music and the Arts.” Changing Gears senior editor Micki Maynard hosted a panel of local experts in the music business, representing every facet of the industry.

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.”

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High Turnover In Area School Superintendents

Jean-Claude Brizard will be the next person to lead Chicago Public Schools. Photo courtesy of WBEZ.

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.

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Midwest Memo: Thursday, May 5, 2011

GM joined Ford and Chrysler with a good first quarter in 2011. Photo by Chris via Flickr.

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.

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How Cleveland Successfully Capitalized On The Arts

Economic transformation can take a long time, but if it works, it can be worth it.

The five theatres at the Cleveland Playhouse draw more than a million visitors annually. Photo by Sanford Kearns via Flickr.

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.

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