A Notice From Changing Gears

The economic transformation of the industrial Midwest will continue to be a principal reality in the communities served by our stations, WBEZ, Michigan Radio, and WCPN ideastream, and the coverage of that change will continue to be our priority.

But change, as our project name implies, is inescapable, and we are not immune. This blog will continue to be a repository for coverage about this topic, However it will not continue to be updated with the frequency it has for the past two years.

My Job is to Hear Your Story

I first came to Michigan when I was 13, moving from New Mexico to Laingsburg, a small agricultural community between Lansing and Flint. When I went to high school there, Future Farmers of America was the biggest club in the school. Our chemistry lab was used more for preparing the club’s chickens for sale than chemistry class. It’s changed since then. Farming is a hard business, and Laingsburg is close enough to the Lansing and Flint areas to attract people looking for a great place to live close to work, but out of the city.

I went to the University of Michigan for college and left the state to go to law school at Columbia University in New York City. I lived and worked in New York for about seven years. I do love New York, but we didn’t want to stay there because it’s hard and really expensive to raise a family.

We found our way back to Michigan in 2010 after three more years in Oakland, California. Most people in the Bay Area think it is Heaven on earth, but I wanted to get back to Michigan. When I would come home, my husband and I would talk about being able to feel the energy people were putting into starting something new and just figuring out how to make it work.

I decided I wanted to start over too. I was determined to use my legal background to help me do something I actually like. We used our savings and I became an unpaid intern in the Michigan Radio newsroom. I worried about day care and bills but we were able to do it.

There are so many of us making leaps we never thought we would. These stories of personal and regional reinvention have infinite variations. All of them are better when there are more voices in the conversation.

I can’t wait to hear from you. email me at sarahwa@umich.edu, or find me on twitter @SarahAlvarezMI.

Midwest Memo: Friday, May 27, 2011

Eventually, the Wisconsin Supreme Court may have the final say over a law that restricts the collective bargaining of public employees. For now, the controversial legislation has been struck down.

A Dane County judge ruled Thursday that Republican lawmakers violated the state’s open meetings act when they passed the bill on March 9. In her 33-page ruling, Judge Maryann Sumi wrote, “transparency in government is most important when the stakes are high.”

Republicans should try to pass the legislation again, opines the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, this time with a “more reasonable approach.” The ruling is a big boost to Wisconsin Democrats and their efforts to recall Gov. Scott Walker, says the Washington Post. Continue reading “Midwest Memo: Friday, May 27, 2011”

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”