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Metro Matters: Our Next Evolution

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More than a decade ago, the Michigan Suburbs Alliance was formed to represent the interests of metro Detroit’s neglected inner ring suburbs. We’ve served those cities by helping them work together when it makes sense locally and benefits the whole region, in areas like development, sustainability, transit, and civic engagement. Our member communities have been trailblazers on intergovernmental collaboration, making the most of perpetually strained budgets through truly innovative partnerships and governance models.

But the way that these communities can achieve lasting success is different than we originally imagined. Our region’s greatest wins in recent years have come about through the collaboration of diverse constituencies—local government, yes, but also business leaders, civic leaders, and advocacy organizations.

For example, transit in this region couldn’t have been catalyzed without the business community committing to build M1-Rail; it can’t be sustained without the Regional Transit Authority as an institution; and the RTA wouldn’t exist without the civic infrastructure that fought for decades for its creation. Individually, any of these efforts is laudable but limited. Together, however, they created a real opportunity to transform our region for the better. We see the need for a different organization to help discover and advance more of these opportunities.

We plan to become that organization. Our core philosophy has always been that our interdependence is our greatest strength; that is, if we can recognize and build on our commonalities rather than our divisions, our potential as a region is unlimited. Up until now, we’ve applied it as a coalition of local governments. From now on, we’ll expand our work to better unify metro Detroit’s diverse leadership around smart regional solutions.

A Broader Coalition

Our first meaningful step toward becoming a truly regional organization was to partner with the City of Detroit on a number of initiatives, which we’ve been doing now for several years. As leaders of the BetterBuildings for Michigan program we helped win more than $10M to upgrade energy efficiency of Detroit homes and businesses. We sat at the table to write the legislation that established the RTA, an historic achievement that brings us closer to bridging the city/suburb divide. Detroit recently voted to join our Millennial Mayors Congress, and appointed the first young person to represent the city in our regional discussions between elected officials and emerging leaders. We continue to advocate for municipal finance reform, and stand strong for all communities that face the same challenges that contributed to Detroit’s bankruptcy.

Building on our successes with Detroit, we’re making changes to help us better serve the entire metropolitan area. Over the coming weeks, we’ll share these changes, including an updated mission statement, new partnerships and programming, and a national advisory committee of experts that will help us lead the metropolitan revolution here in metro Detroit.

But perhaps most critically, we need to diversify our organization to better reflect the entire region. Over the years, our staff and board have been primarily white leaders accountable to suburban local government. We can’t claim to be a regional organization and not talk about race or engage our business and civic institutions in addressing our challenges.

We’re actively working to better engage a much more diverse set of voices, and in short order will announce new board members. This will not only demonstrate our commitment to diversity and our understanding of the region, it will also provide a diversity of thought and experience to help us do better work for metro Detroit.

A New Strategy

Even as we walk the regionalism walk, one glaring mismatch between our beliefs and our practices stares us in the face: our identity. The Michigan Suburbs Alliance was the perfect descriptor for our organization at its inception, but simply put, it doesn’t work anymore. When we say “we are one”, it says “we are separate”. When we say “Detroit is the heart of region”, it cuts us off with “but you are the suburbs”. When we proclaim the metropolitan space is our home and municipal borders are meant to be crossed, it insists that our borders define us.

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Wayne County assistance programs.

Find ways to get help with bills, and programs that offer long term support

If you are struggling in today’s weak economy, the Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency provides a wide range of programs, resources, and services to low-income persons in Wayne County. The agency does not cover the metro Detroit area. Some of those resources, as well as contact information, are listed below. Also at the bottom find information on other non-profit organizations and charities.

Rent assistance and homeless prevention

Wayne County’s Rent Assistance and Homeless Prevention Program provides case management and grants to struggling households. Families and individuals with children who are at risk of being evicted from their apartment or home, or who may otherwise become homeless are eligible for this program. If you apply and are accepted, you can receive short-term support such as assistance with paying your utility bills, mortgage help, or help with paying your rent. In addition, you may be able to receive guidance and counseling through life-skills coaching including finances and budgeting, credit counseling, health and nutrition, and links to other family and community resources. Participants in the program will eligible for up to one year of support, with up to six additional months for a follow up period. Call the Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency. The phone numbers are 734-284-6999 for downriver residents. For tose that live in Detroit, they should dial 313-388-9799.

Emergency and crisis assistance

This program will identify the needs of families and provide them with information and referral to both external and internal resources including clothing, food, and other supportive services. Clients can get direct assistance and grants to help with utilities, rent, mortgage, food voucher services, and heating bills. The Outreach workers act as the agency’s liaisons to the five Regional Advisory Councils. Call them to find other ways to get mortgage help from the non-profit, or find programs from Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency.

HURT: The cost of ‘free’ water in Detroit

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ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Anyone who wants a glimpse of America’s Third World future can just take a gander at Detroit.

Things have gotten so bad that Detroit residents are fighting over the only thing more urgently necessary than food and weapons when nature reclaims its authority over civilization.


SEE ALSO: HURT: Now that I have to pay for it, it is my business


Water.

Even gasoline and fire can be lived without. But not water.

Wars have been fought over it and civilizations have ceased for the lack of it. And so the battle rages in Detroit as the once-great civilization slips into chaos.

It is kind of odd to think that a city named for water, nestled along a great river with access to the world’s largest supply of fresh water would be fighting over — water? How is this possible?

Answer: Government.

For over 150 years, the City of Detroit has operated one of the largest water filtration systems in the country with grand pumping facilities drawing hundreds of millions of gallons every day from the Great Lakes. It sells water at cost to residents and neighboring governments.

It has been enough water to supply Detroit during all of her booms and busts — smelting iron, logging timber, building stoves and carriages. Arsenal of Democracy. Motown.

Then, the biggest boom of all: the auto industry. Followed by the biggest bust of all. Now the city is in bankruptcy.

Sorting through the bills, a new generation of forced realists learned the hard way Margaret Thatcher’s maxim about socialism. Eventually, you really do run out of other people’s money.

Turns out, for decades, the grand and generous city has been just giving water to residents for free. If the Koch Brothers had done this, environmentalists would freak out and picket their headquarters accusing them of wasting precious water. But it’s all cool in the name of welfare.

Who is the ultimate loser here? Not you and me. We have never been told the water is free. We keep on paying our water bill and fixing leaky faucets. And the water keeps coming.

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Top schools for nursing in the Detroit metro area, Michigan

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Aspiring nurses can target one of three nursing roles. Certified nursing assistants (CNAs) take a short eight- to ten-week certificate course, typically offered at a local community college. Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) complete a longer certificate program of 12-18 months; they must also pass the NCLEX-PN national examination to gain licensure. CNAs and LPNs are usually supervised by the most senior type of nurse, a registered nurse (RN). RNs must hold either an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in professional nursing; they must also pass the NCLEX-RN national examination to gain licensure.

Nursing salaries in the Detroit metro area
A significant number of nurses are employed in the Detroit metro area. Approximately 20,000 CNAs and 6,000 LPNs work in the area, in addition to over 40,000 RNs. These nurses earn very competitive pay. The median annual salary for a Detroit-area CNA is $27,000, while that of an LPN is $47,000. Detroit’s registered nurses earn roughly $68,000 per year. Highly qualified advanced practice registered nurses, who hold graduate degrees, can command average salaries of up to $170,000.

Detroit metro area nursing employers
Tenet Healthcare, which operates a large network of hospitals and clinics, is one of the largest nursing employers in the Detroit metro area. The Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute, which specializes in cancer treatment services, is a notable local employer for nurses who wish to focus on oncology.

To help those exploring a nursing career in the Detroit metro area, we have compiled below a detailed list of accredited local nursing schools and programs.

Faster Internet Service Coming to Metro Detroit

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Comcast said Tuesday it is bringing faster Internet service – up to 2 gigabits per second – to the Detroit metro and several other Michigan markets within the next month.

Its Gigabit Pro service will be delivered via a fiber-to-the-home solution to nearly 1.5 million homes in Michigan, according to a news release. Other markets included in the upgrade include Flint, Grand Rapids, Jackson and Lansing.

The service will allow for faster downloads on multiple devices, the company said.

“Michigan is swarming with tech-savvy residents who have a need for even faster speeds,” Tim Collins, senior vice president of Comcast Cable’s Heartland Region. “Bringing this new level of ‘fast’ to our customers reflects more than just our commitment to meeting their needs today, but also into the future.”

Gigabit Pro will be available to any home within close proximity of Comcast’s fiber network and will require an installation of professional-grade equipment. The company has fiber at the core of its network and, for the past decade, it has been extending it deeper into neighborhoods and closer to homes.

To date, Comcast has built out more than 145,000 route miles of fiber across its service area.

Access to some of the fastest broadband speeds in the nation will help put Michigan at the front of the technology revolution, state Sen. Mike Nofs, R-Battle Creek, chairman of the Senate Energy and Technology Committee, said in the release.

House Communications and Technology Committee chairman state Rep. Brad Jacobson, R-Oxford, said the Comcast’s investment “not only brings one more competitive advantage to many Michigan residents, but will also reap significant economic benefits throughout the state.”

Comcast has been doubling the capacity of its network at least every 18 months, and the company has increased speeds for its subscribers 15 times in the past 13 years. In addition to fast, wired broadband tiers, XFINITY Internet customers have access to the industry’s fastest in-home wireless gateway capable of offering up to 700 Mbps Wi-Fi connections.

Gigabit Pro also plans to offer the service in the Greater Chicago area, which includes Benton Harbor and St. Joseph, as well as California, Colorado, Florida, Utah, Indiana, Washington state, and Atlanta, Houston, Portland, OR, the Twin Cities, and Chattanooga, Knoxville and Nashville in Tennessee.

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