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

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.

Nearly 200 Michigan communities are financially distressed, despite economy

Nearly 200 Michigan communities are financially distressed, despite economy

February 10, 2020 | Joel Kurth, Mike Wilkinson

Michigan municipalities cut staff big-time to get through the last 20 years, including 22,000 fewer law-enforcement positions. And while municipalities most have recovered, the state still considers 139 cities, 36 townships and 15 villages financially distressed.

Bridge is doubling down on politics and changing how we fact-check claims

Bridge is doubling down on politics and changing how we fact-check claims

January 27, 2020 | Joel Kurth

With Michigan expected to play a crucial role in national election politics, Bridge is launching weekly coverage of issues in the race. We also are launching the Michigan Fact Squad to scrutinize political ads.

Michigan wants drivers to learn to love roundabouts. It’s been a slow go.

Michigan wants drivers to learn to love roundabouts. It’s been a slow go.

January 23, 2020 | Joel Kurth

Michigan is the birthplace of the three-signal traffic light. But roads engineers increasingly are dumping them for roundabouts, which are safer, improve traffic flows and drive motorists nuts.

How to safely navigate roundabouts in Michigan

How to safely navigate roundabouts in Michigan

January 23, 2020 | Joel Kurth

Tips and facts about roundabouts, which are becoming more common in Michigan. Here’s what you need to know to stay safe.

As surging Great Lakes threaten Michigan, homeowners beg Canada for help

As surging Great Lakes threaten Michigan, homeowners beg Canada for help

December 17, 2019 | Joel Kurth

As Gov. Gretchen Whitmer weighs an emergency declaration for towns besieged by rising waters, a movement is growing to ask Canada to stop dumping millions of gallons of water per day into the Great Lakes through dams in northern Ontario.

John Conyers Jr., champion of Detroit and civil rights, dies at 90

John Conyers Jr., champion of Detroit and civil rights, dies at 90

October 27, 2019 | Joel Kurth

John Conyers Jr. served 53 years in Congress as a representative from Detroit, pursuing progressive causes long before they became popular. He died at his home.

In a changing Detroit, footpaths are vanishing across vast, empty lands

In a changing Detroit, footpaths are vanishing across vast, empty lands

October 4, 2019 | Joel Kurth

The University of Michigan has mapped 5,200 footpaths through Detroit. The author of the study says it’s a valuable planning tool. But one critic calls it ‘poverty porn.’

Wayne County’s tired jail deputies work double shifts at low pay. Wanna apply?

Wayne County’s tired jail deputies work double shifts at low pay. Wanna apply?

September 24, 2019 | Joel Kurth

Michigan’s largest county is perpetually short of officers to guard jail inmates that critics contend shouldn’t be incarcerated in the first place. ‘It’s a screwed up system,’ a sheriff’s official admits.

Higgins Lake’s crystal waters are under threat. Blame poop (and other stuff)

Higgins Lake’s crystal waters are under threat. Blame poop (and other stuff)

September 6, 2019 | Joel Kurth

It’s not just Higgins Lake. Leaky septic systems and fertilizers are leading to a growth of algae in northern Michigan’s clear water lakes and could require big-time investments to fix.

What you need to know about Michigan’s flavored e-cigarette ban

What you need to know about Michigan’s flavored e-cigarette ban

September 4, 2019 | Riley Beggin, Joel Kurth

Amid a surge in teen vaping, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer orders a ban on flavored e-cigarettes. Here’s a look at the legal, political and health implications of the nation’s first ban.

Detroit shut off water to 11,800 homes this year. Most are still off.

Detroit shut off water to 11,800 homes this year. Most are still off.

August 19, 2019 | Joel Kurth

Records show 62 percent of Detroit residential shutoffs were without service as of Aug. 1. The vast majority had gone a week or more, contradicting claims that the city restores nearly all water within 48 hours.

How to get help with Detroit water payments and avoid shutoffs

How to get help with Detroit water payments and avoid shutoffs

August 19, 2019 | Joel Kurth

Every year, thousands of Detroit customers are disconnected for nonpayment. Many resources exist for help. Here is what is available.

Hey, CNN: Ask Democratic candidates these 6 Michigan policy questions

Hey, CNN: Ask Democratic candidates these 6 Michigan policy questions

July 30, 2019 | Joel Kurth

From stagnant population to Great Lakes threats and lousy sewers, Michigan has extraordinary problems that require specific solutions. This is what we want the Democratic presidential hopefuls to address.

Thanks for making Detroit cool, artists. Here’s your eviction.

Thanks for making Detroit cool, artists. Here’s your eviction.

June 18, 2019 | Joel Kurth

As rising rents displace artists in Detroit, an ownership change and evictions at the onetime headquarters of the Grand River Creative Corridor sparks a debate about gentrification.

Down for so long, can Detroit remember how to include neighbors in growth?

Down for so long, can Detroit remember how to include neighbors in growth?

June 3, 2019 | Joel Kurth

Detroit’s decline stripped neighborhood groups of power. As the city ascends, city hall manages most growth, fueling debate from Corktown to the city’s impoverished east side on the value of neighborhood voices.

Sheila Cockrel on Corktown’s transformation: ‘This is capitalism, baby’

Sheila Cockrel on Corktown’s transformation: ‘This is capitalism, baby’

June 3, 2019 | Joel Kurth

Former City Councilwoman Sheila Cockrel says she can’t disparage those in her neighborhood who are cashing in on peaking property values in the rising Detroit neighborhood.

Detroit serious about boosting census participation, Mayor Mike Duggan says

Detroit serious about boosting census participation, Mayor Mike Duggan says

May 30, 2019 | Joel Kurth

Detroit is raising $3 million and plans to hire hundreds of workers to boost participation in the census, which provides $1,800 per person annually in federal funds.

Michigan leads nation in PFAS. It will lead cleanups, too, U.S. reps say

Michigan leads nation in PFAS. It will lead cleanups, too, U.S. reps say

May 29, 2019 | Joel Kurth

A bipartisan group from Michigan’s congressional delegation vows to protect waterways in Michigan, push for PFAS standards and explore ways to keep Asian carp out of Lake Michigan.

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