Posted by: Kath Usitalo | January 28, 2010

Sending Out the S.O.S.

New Web sites and a radio show strive to help Michigan retain and recruit folks that have been heading to places like Chicago

On Wednesday evening I tuned into WJR-760 am on my radio dial and caught part of a new show about Michigan’s future success called “The Prosperity Agenda.” No, it is not about strategies for winning the Lotto.

Hosted by Dan Gilmartin, who says he’s been “advocating for communities” for 15 years, with Mary Kramer, publisher of Crain’s Detroit Business, the hour-long program is a forum for entrepreneurs and people affiliated with programs and organizations that are leading the state into “the next 50 years.”

The show intro announces, “We’ll challenge the old ways of thinking, and dare you to dream about a better Michigan. A Michigan that is prosperous once again.”

You can help Save Michigan by supporting small businesses and local artists, like those at Dancing Eye Gallery

Gilmartin and Kramer talked about the importance not only of jobs for Michigan but of creating a quality of life and a sense of place with an emphasis on urban areas—attractive environments that can compete with Chicago and other addresses with more appeal than Michigan zip codes.

I missed it if there was any reference to Governor Granholm’s “Cool Cities” initiative, but I did hear David Egner, CEO of the Hudson-Webber Foundation and executive director of something called the New Economy Initiative for Southeast Michigan,which since 2008 has been investing in projects to “restore southeast Michigan to a position of leadership in the new global economy.” He talked about revitalizing the neighborhood around Wayne State University in Detroit’s Midtown area.

And Joe Borgstrom plugged the Michigan State Housing Development Authority’s (MSHDA) new Pure Michigan Living Web site (mentioned in my blog post of January 26). MSHDA is one of the sponsors of the radio program, which dovetails with its Pure Michigan Living effort to point out the state’s positive attributes and its potential for current and future residents.

But wait—there’s more: Sean Mann talked about “Let’s Save Michigan,” a campaign of the Michigan Municipal League. Its Web site declares, “Unless we seize this opportunity to redefine and rebuild our beloved state, we may lose the very things that make it such a special place to live.”

I'll have to help Save Michigan by having another lunch at Polonia Restaurant in Hamtramck

Let’s Save Michigan promotes “smart redevelopment and rededication to our cities.” It asks individuals to pledge to support the arts, attend cultural events, shop local and eat at local diners, get politically involved (or at least aware) and be a greener person (every modern day movement must work in a green angle).

Wow. I like the new energy put forth here. Michigan’s not dead yet, and the earnest folks behind these new efforts deserve credit for thinking outside of the coffin—er, box—by taking this giant S.O.S. to the air waves and the www.

“The Prosperity Agenda” takes to the airwaves at 7 p.m. on the last Wednesday of each month.

To listen to the show on the Web site click here.

And check out the Let’s Save Michigan Poster Contest. The Detroit Institute of Arts is participating in the competition, and there are cash prizes of $1,000 and $250. Deadline is February 15.



  1. Neat stuff going on – we live in such an amazing place! Now all of us need to work to make it better for the folks around us…thanx for all the info, Kathy.

  2. Gotta give ’em credit for trying!

  3. Kath – My favorite gallery is the Twisted Fish, near Traverse City. I bought a wonderful pair of earrings there, and hope to return some day. Really some talented artists in that part of the world.

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