This Week on One Detroit:

Toxic Coal Ash Contaminants Could Threaten Michigan’s Drinking Water, Great Lakes 

The industrial history of Great Lakes communities across the region was primarily fueled by coal, and reminders of the era remain. Numerous coal ash ponds are located around the region and hold the remains generated by these power sources. Coal ash is toxic, containing mercury, cadmium, arsenic and other heavy metals, and it could potentially threaten Michigan’s drinking water, as well as the Great Lakes. 

A few miles south on the Lake Michigan shoreline is the town of Waukegan, Illinois, population of about 89,000, where several coal ash sites sit about 100 yards from Lake Michigan. “Waukegan has suffered from industrial pollution. We have five superfund sites,” said Dulce Ortiz, a lifelong resident and community activist. “So we’ve seen the horrors that these companies have done to our community.”  

Detroit Public TV’s “Great Lakes Now” host Ward Detwiler speaks with Northwestern University professor and journalist Kari Lydersen about the research being done by the Energy News Network and a group of Lydersen’s journalism students and the efforts to prevent coal ash from contaminating Michigan’s environment. One Detroit collaborated with Great Lakes Now to produce this featured story, part of Great Lakes Now’s episode “Poisonous Ponds: Tackling Toxic Coal Ash.”

Does the Future of Teaching Spell Trouble for Michigan Educators, School Systems? 

What does the state of teaching in Michigan look like for the state’s current educators, and how can Michigan make the profession more prosperous for future educators and students to come? As the 38th-ranked state in education, teachers in Michigan have been presented with more challenges and increased demands in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and recent school shootings. Plus, the debate remains open as to whether Michigan faces a teacher shortage heading into the new school year in the fall. 

From One Detroit’s Future of Work Town Hall series, Future of Work host Will Glover sits down with Ypsilanti Community Schools Superintendent Alena Zachery-Ross, Tracie Mauriello, the state education reporter for Chalkbeat Detroit and Bridge Michigan, and Citizens Research Council of Michigan Research Director Craig Thiel to discuss the future of education across Michigan, what career pipelines are in place for students entering the profession, and where progress is being made around the state.

Grammy-Winning Cuban Pianist Jesús “Chucho” Valdés Discusses Detroit Jazz Fest 2022 Artist Residency

Renowned Cuban pianist, composer and bandleader Jesús “Chucho” Valdés, 80, has amassed a laundry list of awards and accolades in his decades as a musician, including seven Grammy and four Latin Grammy Awards, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Latin Academy of Recording Arts & Science and he’s been inducted in the Latin Songwriters Hall of Fame. This year, he adds another accolade to the list as the Detroit Jazz Festival‘s 2022 artist-in-residence.

Chucho Valdés has performed solo and as a bandleader, blending elements of Afro-Cuban music tradition with jazz, classical music, rock and more into a deeply personal style. Ahead of the 2022 Labor Day weekend festival, WRCJ “The Swing Set” host Linda Yohn sits down with Valdés to talk about performing at the upcoming festival and his role as the 2022 artist-in-residence.


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