Thursday, October 30, 2014

Meeting with social work students

Me with three of the four graduate students (the forth was taking the picture)

There is a group of graduate students from the School of Social Work at the University of Michigan who are doing a research project on the Warrendale neighborhood in Detroit. They came across this blog and asked me to sit down with them.

Naturally, it was my pleasure to discuss the current state Warrendale with them as well as my thoughts on how we came to be in this position. We discussed crime, unemployment, schools, and our status as being the epicenter of the mortgage crisis in southeastern Michigan.

We also talked at length about where I thought the neighborhood was going in the near future. Specifically, how I saw a lot of potential with the Detroit Works Project and the activities of the Detroit Land Bank Authority.

It was great to sit down with them. When more of their research is available on-line, I will post links to it on this blog.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Halloween parties in Warrendale

Halloween party - Illustration from Open Clip Art
There will be a couple of amazing parties in the Warrendale neighborhood this weekend. This includes celebrations at both Gracie See Pizzeria at the eastern edge of Warrendale and the Toy Chest Bar at the southern end of the neighborhood.

Gracie See Pizzeria & Sports Bar (6889 Greenfield Rd.) will host an amazing party on Saturday. It will start at 8 p.m. and feature a contest for the best costume as well as:

  • Free haunted raffle every hour;
  • Pizza eating contest;
  • Children of the Corn toss; and
  • Beer pong of the dead.

They will also have drink specials from Hell as well as music, dancing, and monster mashing.

Not to be outdone, the Toy Chest Bar (18728 Ford Rd.) will throw a Halloween party that lasts for two days, starting this evening at 7 p.m.

The Toy Chest party won't have any tricks, just treats. It will feature a costume contest for their dancers. They will also bottle, bucket, and food specials both nights for patrons.

Halloween is always a great time to celebrate in the Warrendale neighborhood.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Friday Focus: Conference to explore medicine and the arts

As part of my occasional Friday Focus series on stories that I don't feel are getting the coverage due them in the mainstream media, I wanted to mention the Creative Minds in Medicine Conference, which will happen in Cleveland later this month.

One of the speakers that I am particularly excited about is a session on impact of lead contamination on children and their educational development. This, in my opinion, is a huge issue in Detroit and one that isn't getting as much attention as it deserves. More on the information lead poisoning in Detroit and its impact on children is available here, here, and here.

In an effort to bring awareness to the ever-growing link between medicine and the arts, Cleveland-based, Community Partnership for Arts and Culture (CPAC) will be hosting its first ever Creative Minds in Medicine Conference at the new Cleveland Global Center for Health Innovation. This conference, which takes place on October 29 and 30 will feature a variety of keynote speakers who will focus on the increasing overlap and collaboration between the arts and medicine nationwide.

The two-day event will be filled with diverse discussions led by several nationwide experts on a variety of arts and healthcare projects, practices, research and trends. Keynote speakers include:

Gary Glazner, the founder and executive director of the Alzheimer’s Poetry Project. Glazner will speak on Dementia Arts: Celebrating Creativity in Elder Care. In his fun, high-energy talk, Glazner will relate simple techniques to create high-quality arts programs, build communication skills and help increase the ability to connect with people living with memory loss.

Sunil Iyengar, the research and analysis director of the National Endowment for the Arts. Iyengar will discuss in his Research Agenda for the Arts and Health session, the efforts of leading a federal taskforce to encourage more extensive research on how the arts help people reach their full potential at all stages of life.

Mel Chin, the lead behind Operation Paydirt. This project is a national movement that is designed to support awareness and solutions to lead contamination and address childhood lead poisoning, which is huge in Detroit. As part of this seminar, Chin will demonstrate how arts and culture plays a key role in raising awareness about pressing community health issues.

Nadine Licostie, the director of “The Last One”, a feature-length documentary that summarizes the controversial battle and stigma surrounding the AIDS virus and the gay community. This film frames the quest to sew the last panel into the Quilt, representing the end of AIDS. She will discuss her film making journey, uncovering the birth of the AIDS Memorial Quilt and its subsequent impact on politics, science and the media, as it has become the largest ongoing community art project in the world.

In addition to the keynote speakers, attendees will have the chance to experience firsthand the healing power of the arts through demonstrations and activities, and help shape how the arts and healthcare dialogue in Greater Cleveland is making an impact nationwide. Specifically, the conference agenda also includes several panel discussions on important topics, including: Arts and Health Economy, Arts & Culture in a Changing Healthcare Landscape, and Arts, Culture & Social Change: Fostering Healthy Communities to name a few.

“Northeast Ohio is at the national forefront of a remarkable new dynamic: the growing intersection of our world-class healthcare sector and our world-class arts and culture sector. The interplay between these industries is sparking new ideas, new programs, new products and services. CPAC showed in our recent research report that this intersection is evolving and expanding rapidly. The Creative Minds in Medicine Conference is a timely opportunity to bring together arts and healthcare experts from around the nation to identify ways to support and enhance the critical collaboration taking place every day between our arts and healthcare industries,” said Tom Chema, Board Chair of CPAC.

Those interested in attending the conference can register at CultureForward.org. Registration includes admission for both days of the conference, breakfast and lunch for both days of the conference, a reception, and valet parking.

SMIRNOFF Vodka and Spotify throw the Ultimate House Party in Detroit

SMIRNOFF Ultimate House Party - Photo by Michael Sarnacki
I was lucky enough to be invited to the Ultimate House Party in the nearby Corktown neighborhood. Detroit resident, and woman who shares several mutual friends with me, Nicole Margrif, won the chance to have this party in her home as part of a contest sponsored by SMIRNOFF Vodka and Spotify.

The party kicked into overdrive when SMIRNOFF’s official DJ JayCeeOh took the stage and kept the crowd amped all night mixing some of music’s biggest hits from today. Guests enjoyed ridiculously delicious SMIRNOFF cocktails throughout the evening as they hit the dance floor, played some fun games in the game room, including Jenga and foosball, and raved in the Spotify silent disco.

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Smirnoff Ultimate House Party

As the latest move in SMIRNOFF’s new global marketing campaign, Exclusively For Everybody, SMIRNOFF is bringing ‘The Party’ to life through a national partnership with Spotify giving consumers the chance to win one of four epic house parties thrown in their hometown. Great music is key to any great party – together, SMIRNOFF and Spotify are bringing the inclusive spirit to the people through the “Ultimate House Party” sweepstakes.

The folks at Uber also made sure that everyone who attended could get home safely. The application, for those who aren't familiar with it, connects passengers with safe, professional drivers much more seamlessly than a conventional cab service - all from your smart phone.

Readers of the Warrendale (Detroit) Blog, by the way, can get a $20 discount on their first ride with Uber. All you have to do is download the app from iTunes or the Google Play Store, enter the promo code byix6, and request your first ride from Uber.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Volunteers needed this Saturday in Rouge Park

The next work day for the Friends of Rouge Park is this Saturday, October 4 from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. The non-profit needs additional volunteers to assist with removing woody plants from the prairie.

Interested volunteers are asked to meet at 8:30 a.m. at West Parkway and Parkland Streets inside Rouge Park.  Those willing to help are asked to please bring loppers and a handsaw, if they have one available. They are also advised to wear long pants and long sleeves and sturdy shoes.

Please contact Peggy Dankert with the Friends of Rouge Park to RSVP or will additional questions. dankertp [at] sbcglobal [dot] net.

Bumping into Gabe Leland

One of the cool things about living in a city like Detroit is that one is constantly bumping into some amazing people at random places.

For example, this past Thursday evening, I ended up meeting Council Member Gabe Leland, who represents the Warrendale and surrounding neighborhoods, at the 2014 Celebration of Architecture event at Eastern Market. The event is presented by the Detroit chapter of the American Institute of Architects and celebrates the accomplishments of some the finest architects and designers in southeastern Michigan. It was also one of the many events that happened last week as part of the Detroit Design Festival.

Leland, of course, chairs the City Council's Planning and Economic Development Committee.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Truck knocks out pedestrian bridge


A truck from TLC Waste Disposal in Romulus, Michigan struck a pedestrian bridge over the Southfield Freeway at Cathedral Street, which is just north of the Warrendale neighborhood. This collision caused the bridge to collapse onto the freeway and killed the truck driver. According to published news reports, no one was on the bridge at the time of the collapse.

The Southfield Freeway is currently closed from Ford Road to I-96. However, the Detroit Free Press reports that the Michigan Department of Transportation hopes to have it re-opened later today.

State Representative Harvey Santana posted on his Facebook page that he has asked Governor Rick Snyder for emergency funds to replace the bridge. Students at Cody High School who live east of the freeway use that bridge to get to school every day.