News

More Than $82 Million Awarded for Arts Projects Nationwide - Includes $10,000 awarded to Wayne State University

NEA Press Release, May 11, 2016

Detroit, MI —National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Jane Chu has approved more than $82 million to fund local arts projects and partnerships in the NEA’s second major funding announcement for fiscal year 2016. Included in this announcement is an Art Works Research award of $10,000 to Wayne State University’s Center for Urban Studies to support the project entitled, “Making Sense of the Environment: Exploring the Locational Patterns of Cultural Organizations in Southeast Michigan.”

“The arts are all around us, enhancing our lives in ways both subtle and obvious, expected and unexpected,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “Supporting projects like the one from Wayne State University offers more opportunities to engage in the arts every day.”

The WSU Center of Urban Studies project is one of the eighteen research projects supported by the NEA in spring 2016. The project investigators Dr. Lyke Thompson (Director, Center for Urban Studies) and Dr. Alisa Moldavanova (Co-PI, Assistant Professor of Political Science) will research the locational patterns of cultural organizations in southeast Michigan and the accessibility of cultural resources to different population groups. This study will design and implement an index of access to arts and cultural institutions, accounting for admissions policy, the physical characteristics of a location, and transportation options. Researchers will explore the geographical, institutional, and social barriers limiting access to arts and cultural organizations, and will develop recommendations for improving this access.

For more information on projects included in the NEA grant announcement, go to https://www.arts.gov/news/2016/823-million-grants-will-support-art-projects-nationwide

To join the Twitter conversation about this announcement, please use #NEASpring16.

Lincoln Park police use new tool to chart crime trends, measure success

From The News Herald, September 18, 2015

Six months ago the department began using a customizable mapping program to chart specific crime trends and Police Chief Ray Watters said tool has helped officers do what they’ve always done protecting and serving citizens, but in a more effective manner. [...]

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Lead Poisoning Is Still A Public Health Crisis For African-Americans

From The Huffington Post, July 13, 2015

".."To suggest that we should be decreasing funding is absurd," Lyke Thompson, a political science professor and the director of the Center for Urban Studies at Wayne State University in Detroit told The Huffington Post. Thompson noted that more than 1,500 children were lead poisoned in Detroit in 2014, but that the city only had enough money for 100 to 200 lead paint abatements each year. "It means that they don't understand the problem -- it doesn't mean that the problem doesn't exist," he said. [...]

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Volunteers help clean up Detroit neighborhood so woman battling cancer can use her backyard

From WXYZ, May 21, 2015

Members of the Americorps Urban Safety Project assisted with cleaning up an elderly woman battling cancer's neighborhood after seeing a report on the news.

Please click the link for the full story and video.

AMUS Selected as a finalist for Governor Snyder's Outstanding National Service Program Award

From State of Michigan, May 21, 2015

The Wayne State University Center for Urban Studies AmeriCorps Urban Safety Program of Detroit has been helping make Detroit a safer place since 2010. AmeriCorps members use Detroit Police Department crime data to identify hot spots of criminal activity and the group determines ways to make improvements to those areas. One of the program’s main pieces is the Safe Pathways to Schools initiative, which identifies walkways frequented by students and improves them by boarding up abandoned houses or improving lighting. The program has helped reduce crime in Midtown Detroit by 44 percent, saving $3.25 million in the overall cost of crimes. In 2014, members canvassed 1,000 city blocks, engaged 13,448 residents in neighborhood guardianship and improved public safety discussions. Members boarded up 255 vacant homes and marked safe pathways for school routes, impacting 7,144 students.

Read the Governor's Whole Announcement

Michigan AIDS Coalition (MAC) Announces Expanded STD Testing

Press Release: May 20, 2015

On June 1st, MAC will formally launch its Integrated Testing Pilot Project, which now will include Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, and Hepatitis C in addition to their longstanding screenings for HIV and Syphilis.

“For many years, we had been serving high risk populations including white, African-American, and Latino men who have sex with other men, providing counseling and testing services for HIV and Syphilis. The same modes of transmission provide opportunities for other STD’s, including Chlamydia, Gonorrhea and Hep C,” said MAC CEO Terry Ryan”. “It made sense that we could better serve our clients, but also help stem the spread of other sexually transmitted diseases as well.”

This two year pilot project, one of the very first in Michigan, will operate under the banner MAC Health, and represents Michigan AIDS Coalition’s strategy of offering expanded health services to those communities most in need. The project is funded by the Gerstacker Foundation, Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation, and the Jewish Fund, providing almost $60,000 per year in support. “These grants also allow us to expand testing to high risk heterosexual African-American men and women as well as other groups that current funding does not allow,” Ryan said. “We are very gratified by the continued support of the foundation community, and in particular these three long-time partners.”

Other participating partners are the Michigan Dept. of Public Health, and the School of Medicine at Wayne State University, which will provide evaluation of the project.

Expanded testing services are offered at the MAC office in Ferndale, its MPowerment Detroit site in New Center, and the various bars, clubs, and soup kitchens where MAC testing and outreach teams meet clients in their own communities. Testing information can be accessed by calling (248) 545-1435, or ….

For more information on these services, contact MAC CEO Terry Ryan at (248) 545-1535, ext. 123 or tryan@michiganaidscoalition.org.

Lincoln Park to be equipped with new police, fire technology

From The News Herald, February 11, 2015

Thanks to a federal grant of more than $143,000 for public safety, Lincoln Park will update its police and fire services with new software and technology features that will make help authorities organize information that keeps residents safe...

...“We have contracted with Dr. David Martin in Wayne State’s Center for Urban Studies to implement the CompStat crime-mapping program that he developed for Detroit. This program will give officers the ability to visualize crime patterns, quickly do in-depth crime analysis, and allow our staff to become more effective in providing public safety,” Coulter said, adding that Martin’s group will help Lincoln Park analyze crime trends and coordinate regular CompStat meetings.

Read the whole article

Experts: Incidence of of preventable diseases linked to vaccination waiver rates

From The Oakland Press, February 9, 2015

...[A]ccording to a Jan. 26 blog post by Wayne State University’s Center for Urban Studies drawingdetroit.wordpress.com/, the greater Richmond area, along with Bruce and Washington townships, have the highest vaccination waiver rates in Macomb County, at 10 to 15 percent. In contrast, Warren, Roseville, Eastpointe and Mount Clemens had the lowest waiver rates, at zero to 5 percent.

Similarly in Oakland County, Milford, Oxford and Addison townships had the highest vaccination waiver rates with 15.1 to 27 percent and Southfield, Ferndale, Pontiac and Auburn Hills have the lowest rates, again with zero to five percent.

The trend toward vaccination avoidance runs the gamut of political ideologies, said Katelyn Burkart, a research assistant with WSU’s Center for Urban Studies, with some distrusting the government and others distrusting pharmaceutical companies.

“People who avoid vaccination have likely done a lot of their own research,” Burkart said. “Unfortunately this research is not likely based on the most reputable sources. The good news is that the more barriers you put up in terms of getting waivers, the more people you have getting vaccinated.”

Read the whole article

Detroit yearly rape totals vastly underreported

From The Detroit News, January 7, 2015

Police officials on Tuesday reported there were 322 sexual assaults in Detroit last year — but the actual number was more than five times that.

According to police records reviewed by The Detroit News, there were 1,845 sexual assaults in the city.[...]

Read more at The Detroit News

Wayne State University, AmeriCorps, Detroit Police Dept. partner to secure 10 dangerous structures surrounding Clark academy, ensuring Safe Routes to school

From Detroit Public Schools, November 11, 2014

The Wayne State University Alumni Association and Wayne Cares joined the AmeriCorps Urban Safety program (AMUS) in partnership with Detroit Public Schools, the Detroit Police Department and the Morningside Community Organization to secure 10 dangerous, vacant structures surrounding the campus of Clark Preparatory Academy on Friday, Nov. 7.

Nearly 80 volunteers completed two blocks of beautification to ensure safer pathways to and from school as part of the city-wide Safe Routes to School initiative. [...]

Read more at the DPS web site

Police Using 'Bait' to Stop Car Thieves, Break Ins

From Click on Detroit, November 10, 2014

A partnership in Detroit's Midtown is helping stop car break-ins and thefts.

Wayne State University Police Chief Anthony Holt said in order to fight crime, officers need to be prepared with a variety of different tools. His department often deploys a tool they refer to as a bait car.

The bait cars are provided by DTE Energy, and come fully equipped with cameras that officers can monitor around the clock. [...]

Read more from Click on Detroit

Detroit Volunteers to Board Up Vacant Houses Near School

From The Detroit Free Press, November 6, 2014

More than 100 volunteers are expected to board 11 vacant houses near a Detroit school.

The work is part of the city-wide Safe Routes to School Initiative and will start Friday morning at Clark Preparatory Academy on Detroit's east side.

See more from the Free Press

Raw Data: Crime in Midtown Detroit Drops

From The Detroit Free Press, September 13, 2014

Violent crime in Midtown Detroit fell 39% between 2008 and 2014, while property crimes decreased by more than half, according to data from the Center for Urban Studies at Wayne State University. David Martin, a research professor at the center, attributes that to a collaboration among security agencies, WSU and Detroit police, the expansion of patrol areas by non-DPD agencies and a focus on hot spots and high impact offenders. [...]

See more from the Free Press

AmeriCorps Members Help with Royal Oak Flooding

From Royal Oak, MI - City Hall's Facebook Page:

City Hall received this message today via email:

I wanted to let you know that after seeing your post on the City Hall Facebook page, I contacted Pastor Ryan McVicar about needing help for my elderly neighbor who desperately needed it.

The Pastor emailed me right back saying volunteers could be there between 3 and 5 today. I gladly accepted his offer and right before 3 p.m., 5 lovely Wayne State students showed up at my neighbor’s house and immediately started clearing out her flood ravaged basement. They all worked very hard and did 3 days work in about 2 hrs.. I am so very grateful as I have been trying to assist my neighbor as best I can but our home had 3 feet of raw sewage and it has been an impossible task trying to recover from that.

Thank you for the post which led me to find such wonderful giving people. One positive outcome of this devastating storm is to see the community coming together and people helping each other.

Julie Brewster

Royal Oak City Hall also provided this photo. Great job, AmeriCorps!

AMUS Royal Oak.jpg

AMUS: Safe Pathways to School

AmeriCorps Urban Safety Project, August 11, 2014

Over recent months a series of initiatives have finally led to the introduction of Safe Pathways to School in the Cody High School neighborhoods. With a new school year just around the corner, the AmeriCorps Urban Safety Project is partnering with the students and parents of Cody High School and Life Remodeled during this week of August 11th through the 16th, to realize months of dedicated preparation. [...]

See more at the AmeriCorps Urban Safety website

For Midtown Safety, Holt is Leading Model For Nation

The Michigan Chronicle, July 16, 2014

Tony Holt, is the man in charge of Midtown’s public safety that is now being looked at as a national model for local universities and their police forces that are located in urban environments. Holt is the police chief of Wayne State Police Department, and his department was praised in an April article in the New York Times for its 90 seconds response to the need of a small business owner in Midtown. That is not unusual for Holt’s department. It is the norm. [...]

Read more from The Michigan Chronicle

Editorial: We must take the lead on stopping lead poisoning

The Detroit Free Press, June 17, 2014

We see the scenario again and again — invest now and pay less later.

It’s the economics at the heart of our state’s recent investments in early education. Ignoring these forces is a key reason the state’s roads are in such terrible shape. And for thousands of Michigan’s children, it’s the means to finally ending the silent but pernicious effects of lead poisoning on our most vulnerable residents.

A study by the University of Michigan released last week found that remediating 100,000 of the homes in Michigan most at risk for having lead paint would cost about $600 million, but taxpayers quickly recoup the expense. [...]

Read more from The Detroit Free Press

Today's Heroes Inspire Service in the Shadows of Gettysburg

Huffington Post, June 13, 2014

DeShawn Singleton grew up in Detroit and served with AmeriCorps Urban Safety Project, a national service program championed by Michigan Governor Rick Snyder and former Detroit Mayor Dave Bing. AmeriCorps Urban Safety Project helps local residents to protect their neighborhoods from rampant crime. With his AmeriCorps team, DeShawn went door-to-door to establish and grow block clubs and local tenant organizations. They partnered with existing neighborhood groups to organize clean-ups, bike watches for children, board-ups of abandoned buildings, and host bar-b-q's and social gatherings to build community among neighbors. The program has helped to reduce crime in targeted neighborhoods by 44 percent, decreasing the cost of crime in the city of Detroit by $62 million. DeShawn's story is a clear example of how national service can transform a community from within, ensuring meaningful and lasting impact tailored to meet community needs. [...]

Read more from the Huffington Post

Lead abatement a wise economic, public health investment

University of Michigan Risk Science Center, June 11, 2014

The University of Michigan Risk Science Center releases findings from the first study in Michigan to compare the economic impacts of lead exposure and remediation.

A new report released by the University of Michigan Risk Science Center estimates that childhood lead exposure costs Michigan residents $330 million annually, and a statewide remediation program would pay for itself in three years.

Click here to download the report

More information at University of Michigan's Risk Science Center.

Volunteers hit Clark Park to help make city healthier, happier and safer

The Detroit News, May 17, 2014

Hundreds of volunteers gathered Saturday in a park on the city’s southwest side as a part of another large-scale clean-up and to install what organizers say is the city’s first-ever outdoor fitness center.

Volunteers from several charitable organizations helped build an outdoor gym in Clark Park, including the installation of two beach volleyball courts and park benches as well as the renovation of the soccer and baseball fields. [...]

Read more from The Detroit News

Guy Williams: Detroit striving to become global model for environmental, economic and social health

MLive.com, May 6, 2014

The term ‘environmental justice’ is not heard often, especially in reference to Detroit, the birthplace of the industrial revolution, says Guy Williams, Michigan resident and CEO of Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice, who has spent the last two decades taking action to change that.

On Greening of the Great Lakes, Williams tells host Kirk Heinze about the double-edged impact of being a historically industrial city and about his vision for Detroit as a global model for environmental, economic and social health. [...]

Read more from MLive.com

Deconstructing Detroit

Hour Detroit, May 2014

In a neighborhood near Henry Ford Hospital called Northwest Goldberg, a boarded-up home at the corner of the block is surrounded by overgrown trees and broken glass. It’s a common example of “ruin porn” overplayed by the media.

Eliminating decay in Detroit is a monstrous undertaking, but if Reclaim Detroit and the Detroit Blight Removal Task Force do what they intend to do, things are about to change — for the better. [...]

Read more from Hour Detroit