Midwest Memo: Illinois enters ‘danger’ zone, Wisconsin reacts to court ruling

Three stories makings news across the Midwest today:

1) Ohio governor proposes consolidation study: The state of Ohio contains more than 3,800 local government entities, including cities, townships and villages. Ohio governor John Kasich said today he wants to appoint a committee to study whether consolidating these entities would save taxpayer money.

“It’s not going to be a commission so we can navel-gaze,” Kasich told our partner station Ideastream. “It’s going to be a commission that’s going to look at what they do around the country, what the research has shown and they’ll do their own research.”

2) Fallout from Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling. After months of wrangling, the Wisconsin Supreme Court reinstated a controversial collective bargaining law Tuesday on a 4-3 vote. The implementation of the law, which restricts public employees collective-bargaining power and requires them to contribute to pension and health-care premiums, is the least of Wisconsin’s concerns, writes Forbes.

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Midwest Cities Consider Results of 2010 Census

Photo by Krissy Venosdale via Flickr

Census 2010 is painting a painfully clear picture of the Midwest: what were once major American cities have now shrunk to half their former size. Cleveland and Detroit are both at 100 year population lows. Detroit dropped to 713,777 – a 25 percent decrease in the last decade. Cleveland dropped just below 400,000 – a 17 percent decline since 2000. So what’s a Midwest City to do?

That’s the question the Sound of Ideas team posed recently. The Sound of Ideas is the local talk show out of Changing Gears partner station 90.3 WCPN in Cleveland.

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Here’s a look at some of the suggestions guests put forward.

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Results Pour in On Election Night 2010

Updated early Wednesday

The 2010 election is turning out to be an eventful one for the Changing Gears region. Our Changing Gears partners are providing live coverage with reports from NPR and their own newsrooms.

Listen to live election coverage on WBEZ

Listen to Michigan Radio's Live Election coverage

Ideastream's 2010 live election coverage

Meanwhile, our public broadcasting partners at The Newshour are streaming live on the Web for the first time. Watch here.

Here’s a quick summary of major results:
Continue reading “Results Pour in On Election Night 2010”

The 2010 Election and Our Region

It’s election eve, and we’re gearing up at Changing Gears to be a regional hub for coverage on Tuesday.

All three of our partners plan extensive election coverage. To get up to speed, check out the election pages for WBEZ, Michigan Radio and ideastream.

Over the weekend, two of the states in the Changing Gears region received visits from President Obama. He spoke at rallies in Chicago on Saturday and Ohio on Sunday, covered by WBEZ and ideastream. Continue reading “The 2010 Election and Our Region”

Changing Gears: Our Opening Lineup

Changing Gears goes on the air and on the Web Monday with a full week of reports on reinventing the Industrial Midwest.

Here’s the lineup: IMG_0049

MONDAY: Reporters Dan Bobkoff, Niala Boodhoo and Kate Davidson present The Film Factory, a look at the race across the Midwest to land movie deals. You’ll hear Mayor Daley, Clint Eastwood and the family that got a visit from Wes Craven.

On the Web, we have a list of movies that star the Midwest.

Continue reading “Changing Gears: Our Opening Lineup”

One Week to Go! Gearing Up for Changing Gears

Next week, public radio listeners will meet the Changing Gears team for the first time on the air. Niala Boodhoo in Chicago, Kate Davidson in Ann Arbor and Dan Bobkoff in Cleveland are preparing their reports for our launch the week after next.

You’ll be hearing their voices — and mine — throughout next week, as we talk about the stories we’ll be doing about the reinvention of the Great Lakes Region.

Continue reading “One Week to Go! Gearing Up for Changing Gears”

Changing Gears Goes On the Air 9/20

Mark your calendars for  Monday Sept. 20. That’s when Changing Gears will go on the air. We’ll be reporting on the future of the Midwest industrial region from our partner stations Chicago Public Radio, Michigan Radio and ideastream in Cleveland.

You’ll hear from all the members of Team Gears — Niala Boodhoo, Kate Davidson and Dan Bobkoff — and we’ll be kicking off our special Web features. Meanwhile, our food writer Michael Nagrant is whipping up a batch of Reinvention Recipes that will give you a new view of some familiar dishes and places.

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Team Gears: Our Man in Cleveland

Dan BobkoffI’m Dan Bobkoff, and as the Cleveland reporter for Changing Gears, I’ll be holding down our fort on Lake Erie.

If you’re a regular listener to our partner station WCPN ideastream, you’ve already heard me for the past three years, doing reports on business and politics in northern Ohio. Many of those have run on NPR shows like All Things Considered and Morning Edition. Here’s one I did recently for Weekend Edition on interesting new uses for excess infrastructure.

One thing I’ve learned since I moved here nearly four years ago is that Cleveland and Northern Ohio don’t have as clear a national image as Michigan and Chicago. That’s both good and bad. Many outside the Midwest have no real conception of what’s happening here and what it’s like to live here. For some, the image is stuck in a 40-year time warp conjuring up images of a Cuyahoga River on fire and late night comics picking on Cleveland as the “mistake on the lake.” Sure, foreclosures, population loss and the decline of manufacturing have taken their toll, but Northeast Ohio is also home to a world class orchestra, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, a fantastic hospital, food scene, and a downtown that’s looking better every year. Continue reading “Team Gears: Our Man in Cleveland”