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This Guy Is Biking The Midwest (& He Wants You To Come Along) [Cincinnati Refined]

I have a deep, passionate concern for the environment and the Midwest. As my tangent of bike riding in the great USA went through its internal critique, I thought it might be more exciting for me, personally, to (as my sister Anna branded it) Bike the Belt. The Rust Belt that is.

And along the way, I’ll write about my adventure. Amplify the quiet stories of Youngstown and Canton, Kalamazoo and South Bend. Places that were, at one time, giants of industry, examples of hard work and the American dream. Also, great places to live. If national trends are in effect in those places like they are here in Cincinnati, I have little doubt that I’ll be able to detect and document the heartbeat in these places.

The Wedding Sting: How a Police Department Tried To Save a Failing Rust Belt Town by Luring All the Local Drug Dealers to One Party [The Atlantic]
After months of undercover work, Williams and Moon had information on more than 40 suspects, but the department realized it didn’t have the funds or the manpower to round them all up. So it had to come up with clever ideas. “Cops used to offer parolees free tickets to the Detroit Lions, then arrest them,” recalls Peggy Lawrence, a Flint historian. On one occasion, Moon quietly arrested and locked up stolen property dealer, announced his death in the newspaper, and arrested gang members who showed up at his fake funeral. In 1990, the department planned a particularly elaborate operation: Officers would throw a fake wedding, invite all the suspects, and arrest them.

The Best and Worst Places to Grow Up: How Your Area Compares [The New York Times]
Children who grow up in some places go on to earn much more than they would if they grew up elsewhere. Location matters – enormously.

A Rust Belt Story Retold, Through Portraits Of The Women Who Lived It [NPR]
Just outside Pittsburgh is the tiny borough of Braddock, Pa., best known as the birthplace of Andrew Carnegie’s first steel mill. Today, it’s something of a poster child for rust belt revitalization, a place where artists can buy property for pennies and even construct outdoor pizza ovens using the bricks from abandoned or demolished buildings.

LaToya Ruby Fazier grew up in Braddock. She’s a photographer who’s been taking pictures of her hometown for two decades, and she says that neither of those narratives represent the Braddock she knows. Her Braddock is primarily black, primarily female and primarily poor. [editor’s note: Frazier is a contributor in Belt’s forthcoming Pittsburgh Anthology]

Ohio Asks States To Help Fight Lake Erie’s Algae [Lansing State Journal via AP]
Pollutants feeding the toxic algae blooms that have been turning parts of western Lake Erie green and contaminating drinking water in recent summers aren’t just coming from Ohio. They’re flowing into the lake from farm fields in Michigan and Indiana, leaky septic tanks in southern Canada, and Detroit’s wastewater plant.

“We can’t do it alone, and they can’t do it alone,” said Craig Butler, director of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. “I think everybody really understands that we need collaboration.”