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Metro Retro 

Looking back on 30 years of Metro Times

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24 years ago in Metro Times: The Gray Panthers, a group uniting elderly and young progressive activists, call for national health insurance. The intergenerational group holds a three-day demonstration in front of the White House designed to call attention to the social costs of massive defense spending. A Detroit Gray Panther, Kate Streitmatter, 30, tells MT that the group is reaching out to college students to try to break down artificial barriers between ages. She says the establishment of national health insurance is the most urgent issue, and affects all ages. Almost a quarter-century later, Americans are finally preparing for health care reform to take full effect — by 2014. What was happening: Doug E. Fresh at Joe Louis Arena, Michael W. Smith at Fox Theatre, and Psychedelic Furs at Hill Auditorium.

15 years ago in Metro Times:Jack Lessenberry interviews Coleman Young, Detroit's most powerful and controversial mayor, 21 months after he left office. Hizzoner tells Lessenberry that Detroit and the metro area need transportation first, then jobs and unity among their citizens. Young, 77, hasn't stopped keeping score or speaking frankly. He suggests Highland Park should merge with Detroit, doesn't oppose casino gambling and says, "I'd like to be remembered as a mayor who served in a period of ongoing crisis and took important steps to keep the city together." Just 25 months later, Young would die, leaving a mixed legacy marked by successful reforms in the Detroit Police Department, but marred by projects that displaced Detroiters to appease industry, such as the razing of Detroit's Poletown neighborhood for a new auto plant. What was happening: Elvis Hitler at Alvin's, Waylon Jennings at the State Theatre, and Dick Dale at the Majestic.

Four years ago in Metro Times: MT praises the Windsor Star for informing its readers about what's going on with transportation mogul Manuel "Matty" Moroun — unlike Detroit's dailies. The Star reports that Moroun, whose privately owned company controls and operates the Ambassador Bridge, says that a new bridge is not needed. But Moroun's company applied in July for a state permit to build a new six-lane bridge adjacent to the Ambassador. We're left to conclude that, in Matty's view, we really do need a new bridge; we just don't need one that will provide his company with competition and the public with an alternative to his monopoly. Four years on and Canadian officials seem less likely than ever to sign off on a new Ambassador span, leaving Moroun's "ramp to nowhere" in southwest Detroit with uncertain hope of ever reaching Windsor. What was happening: Pinataland at Cadieux Café, Hubert Sumlin at the Detroit Institute of Arts, and Jerry Douglas at the Fox Theatre.

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