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

She was born to fight – and did for 3 years without water in Detroit

She was born to fight – and did for 3 years without water in Detroit

May 14, 2019 | Joel Kurth

Fayette Coleman was tough as nails and endured an epic water shutoff. Now, activists wonder if that led to her death. Despite 100,000 shutoffs, no one knows because the issue is scarcely researched.

Michigan Republicans appeal gerrymandering ruling. What you need to know.

Michigan Republicans appeal gerrymandering ruling. What you need to know.

April 30, 2019 | Joel Kurth, Lindsay VanHulle

Five questions and answers following Tuesday’s appeal of a bombshell federal court ruling ordering special elections in Michigan.

Michigan’s political districts illegally gerrymandered, court rules

Michigan’s political districts illegally gerrymandered, court rules

April 25, 2019 | Joel Kurth, Lindsay VanHulle, Riley Beggin

A three-judge panel finds that 34 districts were drawn in 2011 to benefit Republicans and orders special elections in 2020.

 

It’s tax day, Michigan. Take this quiz or face an audit

It’s tax day, Michigan. Take this quiz or face an audit

April 15, 2019 | Joel Kurth

Okay, we totally lied about the audit. But it wouldn’t kill you to learn more about Michigan’s taxes and exemptions. Test your smarts with this quiz.

Detroit studies restoring passenger trains to Michigan Central Station

Detroit studies restoring passenger trains to Michigan Central Station

April 3, 2019 | Joel Kurth, Chastity Pratt

Report should wrap up this month to determine costs, logistics of resuming Amtrak service at the historic station that had become a symbol of Detroit’s decline.

Fiat Chrysler promises 5,000 jobs. But not all Detroiters love the plan.

Fiat Chrysler promises 5,000 jobs. But not all Detroiters love the plan.

March 14, 2019 | Joel Kurth

Fiat Chrysler hosts its first community meeting for a massive investment on the eastside of Detroit. It could have gone better, with several neighbors doubting whether the deal would benefit nearby residents.

One in five Detroit rentals face eviction. Time to call in the lawyers?

One in five Detroit rentals face eviction. Time to call in the lawyers?

March 12, 2019 | Joel Kurth

A coalition of foundations and law firms is calling for low-income renters to be represented by a lawyer at eviction hearings. In New York, a similar program actually saved the city money.

Crime dips in Detroit. But ‘people do not feel safe,’ commissioner says.

Crime dips in Detroit. But ‘people do not feel safe,’ commissioner says.

March 5, 2019 | Joel Kurth

Violence remains a big impediment to Detroit’s comeback. Despite encouraging trends, there’s no ‘magic formula’ for Mayor Mike Duggan, a veteran police commissioner says.

Detroit is billing residents for rain. It’s going as well as you’d think.

Detroit is billing residents for rain. It’s going as well as you’d think.

March 4, 2019 | Joel Kurth

Facing major repairs, Detroit has revamped rates on treating stormwater. That’s led to astronomical rates, a lawsuit and familiar questions about equity in a rapidly changing city.

That’s a wrap. Michigan gerrymandering case now in hands of three judges

That’s a wrap. Michigan gerrymandering case now in hands of three judges

February 23, 2019 | Joel Kurth

More than 650 pages of arguments filed by parties in hotly disputed case over whether Michigan political districts that have favored Republicans are unconstitutional.

Redistricting guru: Michigan’s maps are legal, even if process was political

Redistricting guru: Michigan’s maps are legal, even if process was political

February 7, 2019 | Joel Kurth

Michigan’s gerrymandering trial wraps up with testimony from the architect of the state’s political maps. He says he was besieged with requests but kept the process ‘bipartisan.’

Expert testifies gerrymandering in Michigan is worse than almost anywhere

Expert testifies gerrymandering in Michigan is worse than almost anywhere

February 5, 2019 | Joel Kurth

An unusual federal trial that could redraw Michigan’s political boundaries before 2020 began Tuesday in Detroit. Republicans defend the maps, saying demographics are to blame, not partisan tricks.

Michigan Republicans defend political maps as gerrymandering trial opens

Michigan Republicans defend political maps as gerrymandering trial opens

February 5, 2019 | Joel Kurth

An unusual federal trial that could redraw Michigan’s political boundaries before 2020 begins in Detroit. The stakes are huge, but spoiler alert: there may be few theatrics.

Federal court scuttles Michigan gerrymandering deal, rejects trial delay

Federal court scuttles Michigan gerrymandering deal, rejects trial delay

February 1, 2019 | Joel Kurth, Mike Wilkinson

Less than a week before a trial is expected to start, federal judges paved the way for a landmark showdown over Michigan’s legislative districts, which Republicans drew and Democrats have derided as unfair.

Jocelyn Benson seeks to settle gerrymandering suit by redrawing House seats

Jocelyn Benson seeks to settle gerrymandering suit by redrawing House seats

January 25, 2019 | Joel Kurth

Michigan’s new Democratic Secretary of State proposes deal before 2020 elections. Republican lawmakers call effort a partisan coup.

Gerrymandering settlement would give Michigan Dems hope, GOP despair

Gerrymandering settlement would give Michigan Dems hope, GOP despair

January 23, 2019 | Joel Kurth

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson is drawing fire from Republicans, who say she’s trying to ‘rig elections to favor Democrats’ with a deal to end a suit over redistricting.

Michigan secretary of state wants to settle gerrymandering lawsuit

Michigan secretary of state wants to settle gerrymandering lawsuit

January 17, 2019 | Joel Kurth

Jocelyn Benson seeks to settle the lawsuit that labeled the state’s legislative districts unfair. A settlement could pave way for new districts to be drawn for the 2020 election.

Michigan’s water crisis is coming to city near you, report says

Michigan’s water crisis is coming to city near you, report says

January 14, 2019 | Joel Kurth

A new report says Detroit’s beleaguered water system is a harbinger for state and nation. Rising rates could make water unaffordable for 1 in 3 Michiganders in five years.

Will Jocelyn Benson defend Michigan gerrymandering tactics she once fought?

Will Jocelyn Benson defend Michigan gerrymandering tactics she once fought?

January 11, 2019 | Joel Kurth

The new Michigan secretary of state has spent years criticizing partisan redistricting. Now she heads the office that has defended the state against gerrymandering accusations. A federal trial is only weeks away.

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