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Why I chose to block water shutoff trucks

Water was created by none of us — just like air and earth and fire. Indeed, like the universe. It flows and freezes and breathes into the atmosphere as mist, without permission or legal backing. It is no one’s “machine.” It was not made to be enslaved in a market price or bottled into a “good” yielding “ownership” and power. Water is a commons — commonly shared as abundant and precious “gift” given by the c ...

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Bankruptcy judge to Detroit EM: What are you doing to help with water shutoffs?

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Stephen Rhodes, in court Tuesday, instructed Jones Day law firm, the lead restructuring attorneys in the city’s bankruptcy case, to return to the afternoon session with a report on what their former partner Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr is doing to aid people who are having their water shut off. ...

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Detroit’s Jewish community reconnects with ‘the old neighborhood’ to offer helping hand

Local conversations about suburban residents coming to the city of Detroit tend to revolve around downtown and Midtown, as if there’s a transporting device that beams crowds of people for sporting events, concerts and the like. Do residents from the ‘burbs ever come to less alluring places in the city and work collaboratively with Detroiters to strengthen their neighborhoods? They do, and in increasing numb ...

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A disturbing trend

I am concerned. In the last two weeks, I have personally heard of three separate incidents in which the city of Detroit has completely mowed over or even bulldozed community-maintained green spaces or gardens. I met a woman who was nearly in tears describing how the fruit trees she planted over four years ago, which were just entering their first year of active fruit production, were mowed down in the blink ...

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Open letter to DWSD mediators:

We write to you because the future of the (Detroit Water and Sewerage Department) is currently being determined behind closed doors. Mediation by United States District Court judges and local political leaders will determine the utility’s future in the aftermath of the city’s bankruptcy arrangements. We are writing to urge you to uphold the human right to water and the public trust doctrine in your delibera ...

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Artists and activists gather in Southwest Detroit for water shutoff awareness

Detroit’s water shutoffs brought people together July 6 to Southwest Detroit’s Clark Park as the Raiz Up hip hop collective invited activists, poets, musicians and community members to share their knowledge and experiences of this urgent issue, in addition to the art it has inspired. Residents and visitors shared the latest news and information and possible preventative actions in response to the shutoffs, ...

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Water war heats up

For two hours July 10, approximately 50 protestors blocked Homrich employees from shutting off water to Detroit residences. The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department recently contracted the Carelton, Mich.-based Homrich to execute the shutoffs at a price of $5.6 million. The protestors, individuals and those representing various activist groups — among them the Detroit People’s Water Board, the Detroit Wate ...

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Water main gushes while EM continues water shutoffs 

On July 10, nine protesters, most of them elderly, were arrested protesting the continuation of what they called "draconian" water shutoffs by the emergency manager-controlled Detroit Water and Sewerage Department. Residents whose bills are more than 60 days or $150 behind, are subject to immediate shutoff. As reported in the Michigan Citizen, however, some residents have been shut off prior to their due da ...

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Buckets and balance sheets

This summer, the real estate industry celebrated as Detroit neared the tipping point for real estate prices. The downtown rental market neared $2 per square foot. At $2 a square foot, financing gets a lot easier for developers and it indicates downtown and Midtown Detroit are increasingly popular markets. Available rentals are scarce, affluent professionals and 20-somethings are finding a home in Detroit. D ...

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Legendary journalist Herb Boyd to chronicle Detroit’s Black history

Though a New York resident since 1985, Native Detroiter Herb Boyd is one of the city’s pre-eminent men of letters. The Wayne State University graduate (and former professor) has published 23 books — among them a biography of James Baldwin, Malcolm X’s diary and numerous works of Black history. Boyd helped to establish the first Black studies classes at WSU, and co-founded The Metro Times. A jazz lover and l ...

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