News of the Rust Belt from around the world, brought to you weekly by the staff of Belt. 

Secondhand Stories in a Rusting Steel City [The Wilson Quarterly]
It would be easy to imagine Norm and Ray sitting almost anywhere — two retirees at the end of a dock with fishing poles propped in their metal lawn chairs; on a front porch gripping beers and using a cooler as a table; waiting for their wives in the lobby of a hair salon — and nothing would change, not the timbre of their days or their conversations over cans of Coke and bag lunches. Their work at Steel City strikes less as a job than a hobby, a habit, a favor to no one in particular.

City of Cleveland’s Rough Week in Court May Mean Judges are Taking Notice of DOJ’s Findings []
Legally, the city of Cleveland had a bad week. … And its woes may continue, as county prosecutors have asked a judge to allow them to treat a slew of police officers expected to testify in the manslaughter trial of Cleveland police officer Michael Brelo as hostile witnesses.

Can a High-End Boutique Prosper in Detroit? John Varvatos has a Vision [Washington Post]
Varvatos has likened his decision to open a Detroit boutique to his opening the Bowery store. But in New York, he was merely betting that a gritty neighborhood would eventually gentrify. In Detroit, he is betting that a strip overwhelmed by empty buildings will someday become a neighborhood, period.

 What the Heck are Ramps Anyway? [The Land Connection]
The native Menominee people of the area around Lake Michigan called the broad-leaved wild ramp spikwute sikakushia (skunk plant). And they referred to the area near the southern shore of Lake Michigan, where the ramps grew abundantly, as ShicagaWuni or shikako (skunk place), the place we know today as Chicago.

Chicago’s Chuy Garcia Lost an Election, but Won a Movement [The Nation]
Labor unions and activist groups that campaigned for Garcia and the progressive council candidates signaled that they would, indeed, keep trying. “Rahm’s wealthy donors bought him another term but they couldn’t buy him love,” declared the Working Families Party’s Jon Green. “A progressive movement is growing in Chicago and it’s capturing hearts and minds. Three months ago, Rahm thought he was untouchable. He survived the political fight of his life, but he had to move on important issues like the minimum wage and affordable housing. Rahm is still the mayor, but he’s no longer the king.”

Driving the Blue-Collar Highway, Where the Porsches Don’t Roam [Globe and Mail]
This is not the Pacific Coast Highway, with its crashing surf, golden hills and celebrity golf courses. Interstate 75 is lined with trailer parks, concrete dinosaurs and redneck emporiums where you can buy a lawn jockey statue or a case of ammunition. No one dreams of driving Interstate 75 – you take it because you need to get somewhere.

And yet I love it anyway.