Joel Kurth

Managing Editor Joel Kurth has spent more than two decades in journalism in Michigan. He worked 17 years as an editor and reporter at The Detroit News, the last five of which he served as editor of investigations and projects. He’s overseen projects that prompted a reassessment of property taxes in Detroit, changed laws about tax foreclosure sales, prompted reforms at the Detroit Medical Center and led numerous investigations into municipal corruption. Kurth also worked at The Saginaw News and in the Upper Pensinsula and has won more than 40 national and state journalism awards. You can reach Joel via email at jkurth@bridgemi.com, or call him at 586-306-4708.

Articles

Detroit moving faster to restore water, but hundreds still without service

Detroit moving faster to restore water, but hundreds still without service

March 21, 2020 | Joel Kurth

Ten days into an emergency effort to restore water to Detroit homes, several hundred residents still remain without water and activists wants Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to enlist the National Guard to help in the effort.

Detroit off to slow start restoring water to homes as coronavirus hits

Detroit off to slow start restoring water to homes as coronavirus hits

March 13, 2020 | Joel Kurth

Detroit has turned water back on to fewer than 100 homes despite a program that slashes reconnection fees to $25. City officials say they are racing to solve phone and contractor issues they blame for the delays.

Detroit to offer $25 water restorations as coronavirus fears mount

Detroit to offer $25 water restorations as coronavirus fears mount

March 9, 2020 | Joel Kurth

Detroit is offering to turn back on water for $25 to halt the spread of coronavirus, and for 30 days, the state of Michigan will pick up the tab for those who can’t afford it, Mayor Mike Duggan announced.

Coronavirus fears renew calls for Gov. Whitmer to end Detroit water shutoffs

Coronavirus fears renew calls for Gov. Whitmer to end Detroit water shutoffs

March 2, 2020 | Joel Kurth

One day after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer denies a request for a health emergency in Detroit’s water shutoffs, activists again are seeking another one, saying that living without water could spread coronavirus.

Detroit says no proof water shutoffs harm health. Get real, experts say.

Detroit says no proof water shutoffs harm health. Get real, experts say.

February 26, 2020 | Joel Kurth

 Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is unlikely to declare a state emergency to end Detroit water shutoffs, prompting debate about how much proof is needed about health detriments that researchers say are obvious.

 

Bernie Sanders calls Detroit shutoffs an ‘outrage,’ as city seeks more help

Bernie Sanders calls Detroit shutoffs an ‘outrage,’ as city seeks more help

February 19, 2020 | Joel Kurth

Citing a Bridge Magazine article, Sanders calls water shutoffs a ‘moral outrage.’ City officials say they want to expand relief efforts for thousands of impoverished residents with no running water.

Detroit wants to expand water help. Here’s how to avoid disconnections.

Detroit wants to expand water help. Here’s how to avoid disconnections.

February 17, 2020 | Joel Kurth

Detroit officials want to double the amount of help available for low-income customers facing water shutoffs. Most programs help those who aren't yet disconnected.

I hate to complain, but I haven’t had water in a year. A Detroit story.

I hate to complain, but I haven’t had water in a year. A Detroit story.

February 17, 2020 | Joel Kurth, Mike Wilkinson

After two years of decline, Detroit water shutoffs jumped 44 percent last year, as the city stopped water to 1 in 9 homes. Most stayed off a month or more, and nearly 10,000 homes still don’t have service.

Michigan could decide presidency. These are the facts that shape our state.

Michigan could decide presidency. These are the facts that shape our state.

February 10, 2020 | Joel Kurth, Mike Wilkinson

With the Michigan primary just weeks away, Bridge Magazine is unveiling its 2020 Fact Guide to help frame the debate and separate rhetoric from facts.

50 facts that frame Michigan, from health care and poverty to income

50 facts that frame Michigan, from health care and poverty to income

February 10, 2020 | Joel Kurth

Michigan is often mischaracterized. Here are 50 facts about demographics, education, health care, the economy and government that shape the state.

Michigan K-12 test scores slowly improving but remain mediocre at best

Michigan K-12 test scores slowly improving but remain mediocre at best

February 10, 2020 | Joel Kurth, Mike Wilkinson

Education funding in Michigan hasn’t kept up with other states, and lawmakers are trying a host of reforms to boost outcomes that, while improving, lag much of the nation.

Early childhood education is key to success. Michigan still has work to do.

Early childhood education is key to success. Michigan still has work to do.

February 10, 2020 | Joel Kurth, Mike Wilkinson

Michigan has vastly improved access to state-funded preschool, but gaps remain. Should the state spend another $400 million to make its Great Start Readiness Program universal?

Michigan college tuition hikes leave average graduate with $35K in debt

Michigan college tuition hikes leave average graduate with $35K in debt

February 10, 2020 | Joel Kurth, Mike Wilkinson

More Michigan graduates than ever have college degrees. But disinvestment in higher education has prompted skyrocketing tuition, leaving graduates with big debts.

Jobs up, poverty declines as Michigan emerges from Great Recession hangover

Jobs up, poverty declines as Michigan emerges from Great Recession hangover

February 10, 2020 | Joel Kurth, Mike Wilkinson

In the past five years, total employment and personal income have grown by double-digits in Michigan, while poverty has plunged. But not all news is good.

Incomes climb in Michigan, but state still struggles with loss of manufacturing

Incomes climb in Michigan, but state still struggles with loss of manufacturing

February 10, 2020 | Joel Kurth, Mike Wilkinson

The loss of 300,000 well-paying manufacturing jobs means that, even though, Michigan wages have climbed over the past few years, they’re still less than the nationwide average.

Michigan has great access to health care. Health outcomes are another story

Michigan has great access to health care. Health outcomes are another story

February 10, 2020 | Joel Kurth, Mike Wilkinson

Like much of the Midwest, Michigan is more obese and less healthy than the rest of the nation. The state has terrific rates of insurance, immunization and primary care physicians, though, making the state’s overall health a bit of a puzzle.

Michigan’s cherished Great Lakes, clean waters face threats from all sides

Michigan’s cherished Great Lakes, clean waters face threats from all sides

February 10, 2020 | Joel Kurth, Mike Wilkinson

Flint was a wake-up call about access to clean water. Since that crisis, numerous new threats have emerged to Michigan’s waterways, from PFAS to corporate extractions.

Michigan roads are infamously bad. But sewers and dams are in rough shape too

Michigan roads are infamously bad. But sewers and dams are in rough shape too

February 10, 2020 | Joel Kurth, Mike Wilkinson

Even with new funding to pay for roads, Michigan’s infrastructure is aging rapidly. Solutions are not only expensive but politically divisive in an era of divided government.

Michigan doles out more in tax breaks than it spends on schools

Michigan doles out more in tax breaks than it spends on schools

February 10, 2020 | Joel Kurth, Mike Wilkinson

More than $25 billion in tax breaks go to businesses and Michigan is considered the nation’s 12th most business-friendly tax state. And even though tax bills increase, the amount of money flowing into state coffers is restricted.

Michigan employs 48K people. A quarter of them work in prisons.

Michigan employs 48K people. A quarter of them work in prisons.

February 10, 2020 | Joel Kurth, Mike Wilkinson

The average Michigan state government worker is a woman who makes $64,000 and works in either corrections or health and human services. That’s just one takeaway from a vast enterprise with a $60B budget.

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