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BVT News Roundup 24 February 2014.

BVT News Roundup 13 January 2014.


Evening News Wrap 3 December 2013.

Shortly before 1 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 2, a young woman, just a year out of high school, crashed the car she was driving along a residential street on Detroit’s west side.

The woman, Renisha Marie McBride, 19, had veered into a parked car. As people emerged from their houses, she appeared disoriented and troubled, some witnesses said, walking off into the darkness before returning for a time, then walking off again. Someone heard her say she wanted to go home.

Several hours later and six blocks away, just outside the Detroit city limits in this mostly white suburb, Ms. McBride, who was black, was dead on the front porch of a stranger’s home, a shotgun blast to her face.

In the days since, the death has stirred long-simmering racial tensions between mostly black Detroit and its whiter suburbs and provoked comparisons to other racially charged cases around the country. Protesters held a vigil outside the house where she died, whose owner has not been publicly identified. The authorities say he thought Ms. McBride, who tests have shown was intoxicated, was trying to break in.

Anguished family members and friends, wearing shirts with messages like “Justice for Nisha,” say they believe that Ms. McBride was merely seeking help at random homes after the crash, and they were troubled that the man who shot her had not been arrested.

And civil rights activists in Detroit have pointedly recalled the cases of Trayvon Martin, the black teenager who was shot last year in a fatal encounter in Florida, and Jonathan Ferrell, a black man who was shot to death by a police officer in Charlotte, N.C., in September when he sought help after a car accident.

The Wayne County prosecutor was expected to announce on Friday whether charges would be brought against the homeowner, but essential details were still lacking to explain how a car accident had led, over a stretch of several hours in the middle of a night, to death on a tiny concrete porch.

Some people here cautioned against presuming that race played a role. Some neighbors of the man, who they said is in his 50s and lives alone in his small house, said the shooting struck them as a tragic accident. Most of all, a long list of questions remained unanswered about events that night, including what actually took place in Ms. McBride’s final moments.

“At the time I didn’t think much of what I was seeing,” said LeDell Hammond, 23, who said he was among a group of neighbors who observed Ms. McBride, seeming dazed, then disappearing, after the car crash along their block of Bramell Street. “But to have this end with that? It’s hard for me to find a way to make it add up.”

The New York Times, "Fatal Shooting of Black Woman Outside Detroit Stirs Racial Tensions"

Morning News Read 7 November 2013.


(Cover via Bloomberg Businessweek)

Morning News Read 19 August 2013.

Gov. Rick Snyder of Michigan announced on Friday that the city of Detroit is so snarled in financial woes that the state must appoint an emergency manager to lead it out of disaster.

“There is probably no city that is more financially challenged in the entire United States. If you look at the quality of services for citizens it’s ranked among the worst. So we went from the top to the bottom over the last 50 or 60 years,” Mr. Snyder told Detroiters in a town-hall-style meeting that was broadcast live on local television stations across the city.

“It’s time to say we should stop going downhill,” he said. “There have been many good people that have had many plans, many attempts to turn this around, they haven’t worked. The way I view it, today is a day to call all hands on deck.”

The state-appointed manager, who could be selected later this month, would ultimately wield powers aimed at swiftly turning around the municipal government’s dire circumstances — powers to cut city spending, change contracts with labor unions, merge or eliminate city departments, urge the sale of city assets and even, if all else failed, to recommend bankruptcy proceedings.

After a state report that Detroit is carrying more than $14 billion in long-term liabilities and experiencing nearly annual projections of cash shortfalls, the decision was years — perhaps decades — in the making. Still, it set off a range of pointed, emotional reactions here about whether this was the first step toward true repair in a city that was once the nation’s fourth largest or one last very public sign of a city crumbling.

Some elected city leaders have widely criticized the notion of an outside manager as a takeover of their city and an affront to democratic principles, and they were expected to protest the governor’s decision. Under Michigan law, city officials have 10 days in which to seek reconsideration by the governor, as well as the possibility for a legal appeal in the courts after that. The decision comes during an election year for the mayor and City Council here, and even before Mr. Snyder’s formal announcement on Friday, members of the City Council had been mulling legal options, including the possibility of hiring outside lawyers to block the move.

The New York Times, "Michigan to Appoint Emergency Fiscal Manager for Detroit"

A review team appointed by the State of Michigan has concluded that Detroit is mired in serious financial problems, a step that draws the city ever closer to emergency oversight by a state-assigned financial manager.

If Gov. Rick Snyder concurs with the findings in the coming days, state officials will appoint an emergency financial manager who would try to solve the city’s financial woes, and if that fails could ultimately urge Detroit to enter into bankruptcy proceedings.

In a way, the review team’s conclusion, announced on Tuesday, seemed inevitable in a city that has wrestled with more than $14 billion in long-term liabilities, nearly annual projections of imminent cash shortfalls and a population — and accompanying tax base — that has plunged to 713,000 residents from 1.8 million decades ago. Still, it is an outcome that many of Detroit’s political leaders have fought for years to avoid, racing in recent months to cut costs and collect more revenue as proof that the city can solve its own problems.

The team’s findings called new, undesired attention to the dismal financial circumstances of government operations in Detroit, a city that by some other measures has experienced a period of renaissance and private investment in recent years. It also raised the prospect of growing political and racial tension between the city, where the population is about 83 percent black and many leaders are Democrats, and the state, where the population is nearly 80 percent white and Republicans, including Mr. Snyder, control the capital.

The New York Times, "State Control Draws Closer for Detroit After Fiscal Review"


My name is Ray Stoeser and I teach 10th and 11th grade English at Crockett Technical High School in Detroit, MI.  A few months ago I reached out to the internet for help.  Because of some mismanaged funds, my school, already high poverty, was unable to pay for my AP class’ AP Language tests.  My students had been told all year that the school/district would be able to pay for the exams.  The students had no way of coming up with the already reduced fee in time.  

Thanks to the generosity of strangers, mainly the Tumblr community, my class was able to raise more than the required amount to pay for all of the exams.  I asked my students how they wanted to thank you and they decided to make you a music video showcasing some of the material they learned in the class.  Here is that video.

As I said before, thank you all for your help.  Even if you couldn’t donate, your reblogs helped our request reach a massive audience.  Please share this video with anyone you know contributed in even the smallest way.  This video may not be much, but just know that your help brought us one step closer to closing the achievement gap.  

Thank you,


P.S. Scores aren’t in yet, but I will be sure to let you know how they all did!

[Video posted with written parental permission.]

Crying over here.  Going to remember this forever.  "I Got Five On It" is going to be my daily affirmation from now on.

Congrats to all the kids involved.  You’re going to continue kicking butt in whatever you do.  And a shout-out to anyone who reblogged the original post and helped out.  

Also, I forget what that song title is but damn if that sample doesn’t make me feel ollllllld.  :-)