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.
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.
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 email@example.com, or find me on twitter @SarahAlvarezMI.
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.”
Changing Gears joins our partner station Michigan Radio and the Center for Michigan on Monday Dec. 13 for “Fixing Michigan.” It’s part of Michigan Radio’s Issues and Ale series. The event starts at 6 pm at the Nuthouse Sports Grill in Lansing. See details here.
We’ve been looking at the reinvention of Pittsburgh. Now, we move west to see whether the ideas that worked there can work in other places. One such city is Detroit. Here is a report from Sarah Hulett, of Changing Gears partner station Michigan Radio.
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 →
Tom says nobody likes living here, but it's home. Photo by Mark Brush.
Look out the window and you’ll probably see fall’s colors in full flame. Here at Changing Gears we’ve also been looking at the autumn leaves. They may be beautiful, but as Ann Arbor reporter Kate Davidson found, they can’t camouflage the impact of the economy. Continue reading →
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:
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.