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Stories written by Ben Lefebvre

31 stories found. Showing page 1 of 2.

Stalking the answers: Critics and boosters tackle the questions about ethanol

By Ben Lefebvre

Published: 7/19/2006

Types: Cover Story

Bruce Dale got his education early. As a 12-year-old living in the mining town of Ruth, Nev., he saw his dad leave every morning to work at the nearby copper mines. Normally his father would come home and talk to his son about fishing, hunting or Bruce's schoolwork. But one evening it was diffe...[MORE]

Shifting ground: Lawsuit by immigrant workers highlights issue’s complexities

By Ben Lefebvre

Published: 6/28/2006

Types: News, Labor

Even though he's a named plaintiff in a federal lawsuit, the man we'll call Reynaldo didn't want his name used for this article. That request for anonymity, at least in part, speaks to the complexity surrounding the issue of undocumented foreign workers in this country. Reynaldo, now 26, came i...[MORE]

Water woes: Increased Detroit rates put pressure on poor

By Ben Lefebvre

Published: 6/14/2006

Types: News, Government

Paying her water bill was tough enough for Nicole Covington when she still worked as a mall security guard. But when the Detroit resident and mother of four lost that job in January, making ends meet became impossible. And her debt to the city's Water & Sewerage Department kept mounting. "I...[MORE]

License to pry: ID program raises far-reaching concerns

By Ben Lefebvre

Published: 5/31/2006

Types: News, Government

It's called the Real ID Act, but the way things are right now, it might more accurately be called the Really No IDea Act.More than a year after President George W. Bush signed into law the legislation touted as a tool to combat terrorism, Michigan officials and their counterparts in other stat...[MORE]

The battle of the bridge: Distrust of Moroun has Delray residents rallying behind a public span

By Ben Lefebvre

Published: 5/24/2006

Types: Cover Story

Driving his red SUV through southwest Detroit's Delray neighborhood, John Nagy points to the bright spots of a few new housing developments springing up. But he also makes note of the red dust that belches from a nearby foundry and covers many of the houses. He rolls past the old Fisher Body p...[MORE]

‘Men in Black’: Greektown panhandlers say private security squad gets physical

By Ben Lefebvre

Published: 5/10/2006

Types: News, Law

Cedric Biggs usually spends his nights sleeping in Detroit's Hart Plaza and his days sitting on a stoop in the Greektown restaurant district, where he shakes a Styrofoam cup at passersby, hoping to catch a few coins. As long as the sun is out, he says, there's typically no hassle. It's when twi...[MORE]

Port in a storm: Controversy swells in wake of far-reaching deal

By Ben Lefebvre

Published: 4/26/2006

Types: Cover Story

Pat Hartig was reading a Detroit newspaper last November when something caught her eye. An article explaining Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick's plan to transfer operation of the city's half of the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel to the privately owned Ambassador Port Co. made passing reference to a contract betw...[MORE]

A bridge too far?: Lawsuit against span's owner pits local control against national security

By Ben Lefebvre

Published: 3/22/2006

Types: News, Law

When Melinda Romero moved into her two-story wood house on Ste. Anne Street in southwest Detroit more than 20 years ago, she could look out back and see the tree-shaded yards and homes of her neighbors. Now she sees a brick wall that's high enough to block the view but not the aggravation of a s...[MORE]

Watchdog out: For almost a year, John Eddings listened to complaints in his role as Macomb County ombudsman; now a position coneived under pressure and botched at birth could be facing a quick death

By Ben Lefebvre

Published: 2/15/2006

Types: Cover Story

John Eddings sits at his desk, surrounded by emptiness. There are no personal touches in his office here on the first floor of the old Macomb County Building in Mount Clemens, its walls bereft of the usual photos, diplomas and awards. The only thing on his desk is a beat-up computer that he peck...[MORE]

Adopting new rules: State legislator hopes to change law for unmarried parents

By Ben Lefebvre

Published: 1/25/2006

Types: News, Law

It all started innocently enough.While working as a social worker at a Toledo, Ohio, foster home in the early 1990s, Beverly Davidson fell in love with another woman. The two started dating, then moved in together. After two years, they talked of having children. They researched the process an...[MORE]

Wham BAMN: Group stirs controversy in fight for civil rights

By Ben Lefebvre

Published: 1/11/2006

Types: News, Education

On the 29th floor of the Cadillac Tower in Detroit, a group of high school and college students sat around a conference table last December reviewing a script they would read over the phone to black voters who signed petitions to put the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative on the state ballot. ...[MORE]

Abate and switch: How a Wayne County program is changing the landscape of blighted Detroit property

By Ben Lefebvre

Published: 12/28/2005

Types: News, Government

Last summer, a cleanup crew hired by the East Jefferson Business Association was pulling weeds in front of the old Vanity Ballroom on Jefferson Avenue and Newport Street in Detroit, even though the owner of the vacant building hadn’t paid association fees for more than five years. A chunk ...[MORE]

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