Sunday, December 31, 2006

2006 Year in Review (Warrendale Edition)

Mayor Kwame M. Kilpatrick issued his version of "2006 in Review" earlier this month with a press release that I previously wrote about. In the spirit of the season, I thought I would take a moment to reflect on all that has happened to Warrendale, and the surrounding area, this year.

2006 unquestionably started off with a tremendous bang for all of Detroit as we hosted Super Bowl XL - with visitors pouring into our fair city from around the globe. Many of them (including the SBXL Champion Pittsburgh Steelers) stayed in hotels near the Warrendale neighborhood.

We even got our dose of Super Bowl fame as two reporters from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette ventured into the Warrendale neighborhood and proclaimed their time at Steve's Three Brother's to be the greatest breakfast of their lives in a published article; thereby confirming what we've known for years.

Super Bowl XL proved to be an added bonus to Detroit's Warrendale neighborhood shortly after that when the former site of the Herman Gardens Housing Complex was named to be location of the NFL's Youth Education Town, which is the NFL's gift to each of the Super Bowl host cities.

The site, officially known as the NFL Youth Education Town - Boy's & Girls Club of Southeastern Michigan on the Dick & Sandy Dauch Campus, replaces what for years now has been little more than an empty lot with overgrown weeds. When it opens in this coming spring, it will be the largest such facility in the nation. I think it's a huge honor to have such a distinction in the Warrendale neighborhood.

Also, it was shortly after Warrendale was selected to host the new NFL center that we started to see new businesses open in the neighborhood. We lost La Hacienda Mexican Restaurante on W. Warren Avenue. Papa Joe's Family Restaurant & Buffet opened and then closed only a few months later.

Regardless, the Warrendale neighborhood has seen a net gain of more than a dozen new and renovated businesses in less than a year. That is impressive in any economic environment. However, when one considers that the overall economic climate in Michigan is less than desirable, a dozen new businesses in the past ten months is all that much more impressive.

This past May, we saw the Warrendale Community Organization team up with the Detroit Synergy Group to clean the Southfield Freeway Service Drive as part of the Mayor's Motor City Make Over. Scrap tires and bulk trash were cleared away. Brush was trimmed back so it no longer obstructed the sidewalk.

Also in May, we saw the Warrendale Community Organizaion apply for "Cool Cities" status through the State of Michigan, only to later learn that we didn't make the cut.

2006 was also the year that we saw a little known baseball team called the Detroit Tigers go from being the punch line in one joke after another to being contenders in the World Series, going farther in one season than anyone thought they possibly would.

Their journey to the World Series was one of those things that reminded everyone that miracles do happen and that every season of baseball is about life beginning anew.

On a more practical level, 2006 was also the year that we saw the Joy-Southfield CDC open a free health clinic in the Warrendale neighborhood, providing quality health care treatment for those who simply cannot afford to get it anywhere else.

2006 was also the year of the orange barrells as the Michigan Department of Transportation targeted the three bridges in Warrendale that cross the Southfield Freeway for replacement. The Warren Avenue, Tireman Road and Paul Street Bridges were all replaced this year during a construction project that, for a moment there, I thought would never really end.

The Warrendale Community Organ- ization conducted several environ- mental surveys during 2006, chronicling cases of illegal dumping and other ordinance violations. The results of those surveys were alway turned in to our Neighborhood City Hall and to the Northwestern District of the Detroit Police Department. Sometimes the City managed to followed-up on those reports. Other times, they didn't.

Last, but not least, 2006 was the year that Mayor Kilpatrick declared war on illegal dumping in Detroit. Since then, we have seen progress on combatting illegal dumping but there hasn't been as much done as there could have, or should have, been done.

The Mayor also targeted six neighborhoods for improvement this year. While it's still too early to tell if this strategy will bear fruit towards building the NEXT Detroit, the concept of it does look promising.

All of this leads me to conclude that 2006, on the whole, was a good year for the Warrendale neighborhood. For what it's worth, here's hoping that 2007 brings about even more for the neighborhood and those who call it home.

The Warrendale (Detroit) Blog Gets Interrupted

For anyone who didn't read the post over on my personal blog, I have been out of commission for most of this week. I was rear-ended by a drunk driver as I was coming home from a friend's birthday party on Friday, December 23.

My car is totalled and I got to experience the unique joy of spending Christmas Eve and most of Christmas in the hospital. It also meant that I've been behind in a lot of things, not the least of which is the Warrendale (Detroit) Blog.

The blog should be back up and running at full-steam next week.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Tireman Bridge Re-opens Too

Just a quick note to let folks know that the Tireman Road Bridge over the Southfield Freeway (M-39) has re-opened to traffic. It doesn't look like their done with either the Tireman or Paul Street Bridges, even though they were supposed to be completed in October.

However, at least we don't have to deal with annoying construction detours any longer.

Christmas Lights: Cool Warrendale Thing of the Week

Okay - it has been way too long since I've done a Cool Warrendale Thing of the Week. So long that some folks might wonder if I thought Warrendale was still cool.

Fear not, though. I've just been insanely busy at work. (If anyone asks, I'm not really writing a blog post. I'm actually working on a proposal.)

Anyway, every neighborhood has Christmas lights but I've always thought that they ones in Warrendale were extra special. We manage to walk the fine line between being down-right gaudy and oh-so boring; all with a sense of classic midwestern charm.

The bad news is that I don't have my digital camera with me. I seem to have misplaced the thing; pretty sure that I left it at one meeting or another.

Therefore, I'll have to make do with a photo from last year. The lights are the same but (unfortunately) there's no snow on the ground at the moment.

Without further ado, Christmas lights are officially proclaimed the Cool Warrendale Thing of the Week for the week of December 20, 2006.

Detroit Turns Its Attention to Neighborhoods

Detroit's Mayor Kwame M. Kilpatrick announced earlier this week that his Administration will focus more of their attention on the city's neighbhorhoods now that downtown Detroit is rapidly improving. He is targeting six neighborhoods in the city for significant improvement.

While the Warrendale neighborhood isn't one of the six that were selected, it's good to see that the City is trying a different strategy for improving the quality of life in our neighborhoods. In previous years, one of two things usually happened:
  1. Mayors would focus almost exclusively on downtown; hoping that the neighborhoods would either take care of themselves or promising to deal with the neighborhoods but never get around to it.
  2. Mayors would try to do something for the neighborhoods but it was done city-wide and with so little focus that its impact was almost meaningless. (Think about the old Neighborhood Services Department.)
The new strategy of focusing on indidivual neighborhoods - with a strategy of Redevelop (a complete overhaul, which will focus on the Brightmoor and North End neighborhoods); Revitalize (for generally stable neighborhoods, which will focus on the Grand River/Greenfield neighborhood and Osborne Community) and Reinforce (for neighborhoods that are doing well and they just need to make sure they stay that way - in this case, Bagley and East English Village).

The fact that two of these neighborhoods are fairly close Warrendale (Brightmoor and Grand River/Greenfield) means that there will likely be somewhat of a spillover effect for us.

Oh, and if anyone is interested in some extensive reading, here is a link to the 157 page report that was the theoretical foundation for everything Mayor Kilpatrick announced. His official press release, and a PowerPoint presentation that accompanied it, are available here.

Monday, December 18, 2006

New Housing in Warrendale

More than a dozen new single- family homes are being built in the Warrendale neighbor- hood, just west of the NFL/YET that is being built on the grounds of the former Herman Gardens housing complex (now renamed "Gardenview Estates"). This is in addition to the 920 new housing units that will be built on the grounds of Gardenview Estates itself, which the Detroit News already reported on.

A few of these new homes have already been completed and appear to have been sold.

The fact that Warrendale is one of the few neighborhoods in southeastern Michigan where there actually is much of a housing market at all speaks well for the area. It also means that the steady growth we have seen in our retail markets is likely to continue.

Additional photos are available on my Flick page.

Mail Bag: 2006 In Review

An anonymous reader posted a comment in response to my post about the 2006 Year in Review press release that Mayor Kwame M. Kilpatrick sent out two weeks ago. He or she wrote:
"There aren't enough police officers on our streets. We pay too much in taxes and don't get enough services in return." Hmmm... maybe when you are Mayor you can plant that tree that money grows on... this will solve all our problems. Reality is: Detroit has no money. An income base simply does not exist and whatever little there is, it is fastly dwindling. Are you familiar with foreclosure statistics? Wake up.
First, I am fully awake and from the looks of things, I am even more familiar with the various statistics than you are.

Regarding your assertion that the City of Detroit has "no money", that simply isn't true. The City of Detroit's budget for Fiscal Year 2006-07 is $3.7 billion. That isn't as large as most would like but it is $3.7 billion more than having no money.

The question then is what is the City doing with the $3.7 billion that it does have. Specifically, what priorities are we setting?

As it currently stands, the police and fire departments don't have enough funding to do their jobs properly. There are, in fact, almost 2,000 vacant officer positions within the Detroit Police Department. There are also calls to 9-1-1 that go unanswered every day because there isn't anyone available to respond.

In spite of that, the budgets for the police and fire departments only represent 15.6% of the City's total budget. I firmly believe that essential services are called that for a reason. It is essential that those expenses be covered and those services be provided. The other 84.4% of the budget should have been cut to allow for full-funding of the police and fire departments, in my opinion.

The best part of the City's budget is the simple fact that there is a lot that can be done to free up cash without actually hurting the services that Detroiters receive.

The City of Detroit, for example, owns a lot of property that is outside of the Detroit city limits. All of it should be sold, in my opinion, and that includes those portions of the Water & Sewage Department that are outside of the city limits.

There is also the fact that Detroit is home to thirty two strip clubs, by my count. The women who dance in said clubs can earn a rather significant income and they get it entirely in cash. Many of them are honest enough to pay taxes on it. Some, however, do not pay any income taxes.

All dancers are required to get a cabaret license from the Detroit Police Department. It would be relatively simple to cross-reference the list of dancers with a list of individuals who filed an income tax return with Detroit's Finance Department. If they didn't file a such a return, the tax collectors should decend upon them.

By the way, doing this in cooperation with the IRS and the Michigan Department of Treasury would make the entire collection process that much easier on everyone involved - except, of course, for the folks who aren't paying income taxes.

There is also the fact the City of Detroit simply bleeds cash from frivolous lawsuits that are filed against it. It's time to take a long hard look at those lawsuits and what can be done to minimize that expense without hurting the underlying services that Detroiters receive.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Upgrades to the Warrendale (Detroit) Blog

The good folks at Blogger have released the beta version of a new, improved version of their software. Yours truly is one of the early adopters of this beta version.

So far, it has proven to be a lot easier to use that its predecessor. As the webmaster, I like that I don't have to re-publish this site everytime I put up a new post.

It's also easier for me to post photos to the site, like the one to the right. (If you don't recognize it, that is a close-up of the Isamu Noguchi designed Dodge Fountain in Hart Plaza.)

For my readers, the biggest change that you'll probably notice is the addition of "labels" at the end of each post. Labels describe the general subject of each post. If you click on one of those labels, you'll be able to find any other blog posts that I have done that also have that same label.

Is Pete's Bar Coming Back?

The former location of Pete's Bar on W. Warren Ave., just west of Westwood, has been sitting vacant for so long that I only have a vague recollection of it being anything other than a vacant building.

However, that might be changing soon. I went there on Friday and there was a construction crew inside doing some work. The folks from DTE were also there to restore power to the building.

This looks promising.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

I'm Back

I'm sorry for not posting anything in the past week, Warrendale.

My life was extremely busy between work and Detroit Synergy's Shop Detroit project. (I do the marketing & publicity for Detroit Synergy).

Regardless, it's good to be back in the swing of things.

Dearborn Mayor Michael Guido Dies - Local News - ClickOnDetroit.com | WDIV

Dearborn Mayor Michael Guido Dies - Local News - ClickOnDetroit.com | WDIV

Our neighbors to the south have lost their mayor today. Longtime Mayor of Dearborn Michael A. Guido passed away at the age of 52 following a battle with cancer.

He had been Mayor of Dearborn since January of 1986. He was re-elected in an uncontested election this past November for a sixth consecutive term.

His family will be in my thoughts and prayers.

Finally!!!

The Paul Street bridge over the Southfield Freeway (M-39) finally re-opened to automobile traffic last week. It was only a month behind schedule, which is something considering that they started work on it three weeks early.

The bridge is still closed to pedestrians, at least officially, because they haven't finished the concrete work on the sidewalk portion of it. However, there isn't anyone or anything there to prevent a determined pedestrian from walking across the bridge.

The bridge still has a series of stop signs to regulate traffic across the bridge. The traffic signals that were there before have not been reactivated.

I'm not certain about the status of the Tireman Road bridge over the Southfield Freeway. It was still closed the last time I checked.

Who are we?

There was an interesting exchange between Rebecca and an anonymous reader in my Thanks- giving post. They were wondering what residents of the Warrendale neighborhood should properly be called: "Warrendalers" or "Warrendalians".

Personally, I can't help but feel attracted to the term "Warrendalians". This is in part because it sounds like something out of Star Trek or Star Wars. I was a big fan of the show growing up.

In fact, one of my first creative ventures as a kid was to write this illustrated story (the summer of 1977, if I recall correctly) that was called Moon Wars. It featured such fascinating characters as Spitbaca and Hans Duo. I didn't really intend for it to be a parody, but I was only 7 years old.

Oh, well - if you have an opinion, please feel free to leave a comment below.

2006 Year in Review

Detroit's Mayor Kwame M. Kilpatrick issued a 9-page press release this morning, which chronicled his Administration's accomplishments in 2006. In it, he talked extinsively about developments in downtown Detroit but also talked about the neighborhoods as well.

I campaigned against the Mayor in 2005 and continue to believe that there is still an enormous amount of room for improvement in terms of how the City of Detroit is operated. There aren't enough police officers on our streets. We pay too much in taxes and don't get enough services in return.

However, in spite of those facts, I have to admit that the Mayor's job performance in 2006 was vastly superior to what we saw in 2004 or 2005.

And that gives me hope for 2007.

If you are interested, you read the Mayor's full press release here. (Adobe Reader required.)

Friday, November 24, 2006

Foggy Friday Morning in Warrendale

There was a think layer of fog throughout the Warrendale neighbor- hood, and much of the Detroit area, this morning. Since I didn't have to work because of the Thanksgiving holiday, I thought it was a perfect opportunity to snap a few photographs.

I started with some simple shots the streets, photographing them with different exposure settings and setting on my camera. It was actually rather fun to experient with how the different setting would effect the photo and how light seemed different when the photo is taken in the middle of a foggy street.

Taking photos in the middle of street is always an interesting thing to do. I had to keep looking behind me every few seconds to make sure there wasn't a car coming. (Don't try this at home kids - after all, I'm a professional.)

Anyway, after grabbing a few shots in the street, I decided to move on Rouge Park and shoot a few photos there. Once again, I tried shooting different subjects in the park; using different exposures and camera settting to see how the photo would look in such a foggy condition.

I tried grabbing a few shots of birds as they flew away, but in the fog it was impossible to focus on them. Instead I focused by photographic studies on the roads that run through Rouge Park, the canon at Sawyer and Spinoza, the baseball diamonds that I used to play on as a kid and some of the trees in the park.

It was actually a lot of fun and a great way to spend the monring before heading downtown to meet some friends for lunch.

You can see the rest of my "Foggy Day in Warrendale (Detroit)" photos on my Flickr page. I'm really thrilled with the way that most of them turned out and rather hoping that we have another foggy day soon so I can do this again.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Mayor Kilpatrick and Shop Detroit

Detroit's Mayor Kwame M. Kilpatrick held a press conference this afternoon to put his support behind two initiatives that are intended to promote holiday shopping in Detroit. Both of these initiatives, interestingly enough, are called "Shop Detroit".

The first is Shop Detroit 2006, which is sponsored by the Detroit Branch of the NAACP with support from four other groups. This one is a month-long public relations campaign to encourage Detroiters to do their shopping within the city limits.

The second is Shop Detroit 3, which is presented by Detroit Synergy Group. This one is geared towards helping those who aren't familiar with all of the new stores that have opened up in downtown Detroit and the New Center area have a great shopping experience in Detroit.

Shoppers are invited to register in the atrium of Compuware's Headquarters between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Saturday, December 2. You'll receive a free pass for the Detroit People Mover as well as special promotions at more than eighty participating shops and restaurants; not to mention the "Stepping Out in Motown Giveaway" that is valued at over $700.

In support of both initiatives, the City of Detroit is also creating free parking at all meters citywide this Friday and Saturday. They will also have discounted parking at City-owned lots on those days.

Additional photos from the press conference this afternoon are available on my Flickr page.

Turkey: Cool Warrendale Thing of the Week

In a matter of hours, it will be Thanksgiving in Warrendale. (Yeah, and in the rest of the country, too.) With that in mind, I'm proud to announce that Turkey is the Cool Warrendale Thing of the Week for November 22, 2006.

LOL!

I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Two New Businesses Coming Soon

There are two new businesses that will soon be opening up in Detroit's Warrendale neighbor- hood. They join the more than one dozen other businesses that have come into our area in the past few months or have expanded their existing operation.

There is a new - and as far as I can tell - currently unnamed beauty supply store that will open soon in the former Blockbuster Video location (20125 W. Warren Avenue). Blockbuster closed some of its retail stores nationwide a year ago in an attempt to cut the company's rising losses and plummeting stock price. This move, unfortunately, left their former location in Warrendale vacant for the past several months.

Luckily, the location won't be vacant much longer. Someone has moved the old store fixture from Blockbuster out and new ones in; not to mention hanging up the vinyl "Coming Soon" sign that you can see in the photo above.

Joining the unnamed beauty supply store in their move to the Warrendale neighborhood is Corr Medical Supply. They are opening in a new location, two blocks west of the Southfield Freeway; directly across from Sonny's Pizza.

I quick check of Google shows that there was a Corr Medical Supply on Joy Road in Detroit. I'm not sure if they're simply moving from their old location into this neighborhood or they are opening a second location.

Regardless of which option it is, the fact that there are two more new businesses preparing to open means that retail growth in Warrendale isn't about to end anytime soon.

And that, in my opinion, is very promising.

Work at Sonny's Pizza

Workers were busy at Sonny's Pizza (17031 W. Warren Ave. - (313) 582-9722) over the weekend, expanding and remodelling their location just east of the Southfield Freeway. Sonny's is the newest addition to the competitive pizza market in Detroit's Warrendale neighborhood.

The folks at Sonny's managed to differentiate themselves from the half dozen or so other pizza places in the neighborhood by giving everything on their menu a Mediterranean flair to it, while still keep it affordable. All of the meat they use is Halal. They also have a variety of affordable Mediterranean dishes, such as shish kabob and a falafel platter, in addition to the standard fare of pizza and subs.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Leaves, Leaves, Leaves

The City of Detroit has made a multitude of changes in terms of how it handles our garbage. Many folks have criticized the new $300 annual fee for trash collection. I, however, have preferred to direct my wrath at how poorly Mayor Kwame M. Kilpatrick and his administration have communicated the various changes that are happening.

One of those changes, and perhaps the one that has been communicated the worst of all, is the one that is impact everyone in Warrendale and across Detroit most directly at the moment.

Leaves.

Or, more specifically, what to do with them once you've raked them up.

For the record, the official rule is that leaves are to be placed in either a paper bag or in a seperate trash can but not in your Courville container. Those bags should be placed for collection at the same day as our regular trash collection (Tuesdays for everyone in the Warrendale neighborhood) and they should be positioned approximately 6 feet from your Courville container.

A seperate truck from the City's Department of Public Works is assigned to pick up all leaves through the month of November, provided that they meet those rules. If your leaves do not meet those rules then the City will not pick them up. Furthermore, the City will consider any bags of leaves that don't comply with those rules - such as ones that are in a plastic bag instead of a paper one - to be bulk trash that has been put out early.

Bulk trash that is put out early could subject the owner in question to a ticket. More importantly, it's a very expensive ticket and if you have a couple hundred dollars to blow, I suggest taking your favorite blogger out of an evening of drinking rather than give it to the City.

To recap: leaves that are bagged like the ones below will be picked up by DPW on Tuesdays.

Leaves that are bagged like these will get you a ticket that you really don't want.

It sucks, but I suggest heading over to one of our local hardware store and picking up some of those leaf bags. That or do what I do and compost leaves in your backyard.

The 2006 Weblog Awards

The 2006 Weblog Awards

It turns out that there is still time for folks to nominate a blog for Best New Blog or Best Blog in the 2006 Weblog Awards.

Now, I'm not saying that I want everyone who has ever left a comment about how much they enjoy reading this blog - or who has ever pulled me aside in person to say something - to jump over an nominate the Warrendale (Detroit) Blog for such an honor.

Okay - who am I kidding?

That's exactly what I'm saying. I mean, if it can work for Stephen Colbert - why shouldn't I try it?

Thursday, November 16, 2006

This Amazes Me

There are moments when I see something that I am simply compelled to photograph. A beautiful sunset, for example, or my 4-year old neice playing with her friends.

Those are images that simply move me.

But there are images that I photograph simply because I can't believe I saw them. It's almost like I need to show this to other so I can have reassurance that I wasn't hallucinating.

Like when I went to shoot some photos of the Tipperary Pub - I saw a vacuum cleaner sitting in the middle of the Southfield service drive.

Exactly, in the middle.

Someone had to have positioned it there and done so deliberately. Perhaps as a commentary on "cleaning up the city". Perhaps they did it simply to make people like me photograph it and talk about it.

I don't know who put it there or how long it will stay, but the simple fact that it was there is something I won't forget any time soon.

Tipperary Pub: Cool Warrendale Thing of the Week

Things were, to put it mildly, hectic at my dayjob yesterday. As a result, I unfortunately did not get a chance to post the Cool Warrendale Thing of the Week.

Luckily, everything has calmed down considerably. I can, therefore, take the time to announce that the Tippery Pub (8287 Southfield Freeway - (313) 271-5870) is the Cool Warrendale Thing of the Week for November 15, 2006.

The Tippery Pub has been greating visitors to the Warrendale neighborhood with Irish hospitality since 1969. While the pub came under new ownership recently, their service and drinks have not.

Of course, being named Cool Warrendale Thing of the Week is only the latest honor to be bestowed on the Tipperary Pub. They were named "Best Teeny Irish Bar" by the Detroit News in 2005 and "Best Reason to Order a Pint" by the Detroit Free Press in 2004.

My favorite thing about this place is that it's the main reason why my counterpart at the Dearborn Blog ventures into the Warrendale neighborhood from time to time. Not to be outdone by that, however, there's also the fact that they have live Irish entertainment every Friday and Saturday. Wednesday is their open mic night.

The Tipperary Pub is located on the southbound Southfield Freeway service drive, just south of Joy Road. They have lots of safe and secure parking in their lot.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Six Groups to Announce Plans for Detroit Turnaround effort

Six groups to announce plans for Detroit turnaround effort - 11/13/06 - The Detroit News Online

New Detroit, the Detroit Regional Chamber, the Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau, Detroit Renaissance, United Way for Southeastern Michigan and the Cultural Alliance of Southeastern Michigan will collectively announce a combined effort to turnaround Detroit tomorrow morning. None of the details have been announced thus far.

However, just from looking at the list of who is involved, this is something that looks promising.

Construction Continues at the NFL/YET

Even though the former Herman Gardens site still looks like an overgrown lot when you go past it on the Southfield Freeway, if you go a few blocks east of the freeway on Tireman, you'll see that construction is moving along quickly at the NFL/Youth Education Town–Boys & Girls Club on the Dick & Sandy Dauch Campus. The place appears to be on track to open in the Spring of 2007.

Oh, and I have to say that I really love the giant football that they have over the main entrance. It looks so darn cool.

I have another dozen photos of this construction project that are available on my Flickr page. You can also check out all of the other things that are happening with the Boys & Girls Club of Southeastern Michigan in their on-line newsletter.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Steve's Three Brothers - Cool Warrendale Thing of the Week

Steve's Three Brothers Restaurant (17820 W. Warren Avenue - (313) 271-1227) is one of coolest little diners in Detroit area. Their service is warm and friendly. Their prices are reasonable. They are also the Cool Warrendale Thing of the Week for November 8, 2006.

Steve's Three Brothers Restaurant has been in business in the Warrendale neighborhood for decades and serve some of the best Polish food you can find in the area. Periogis are a specialty of the house and I highly recommend them.

The only drawback to Steve's is that they are currently only open from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m., Monday through Friday; closed on Saturdays and Sundays. They are hoping to once again expand their hours. Until then, if you ever find yourself in Warrendale on a weekday afternoon, you'll be hard pressed to find a better place for lunch.

Discount Laundromat Opens in Warrendale

I had previously reported that a new owner was prepared to re-open the former Norgetown Laundromat on W. Warren Avenue. It took them a few weeks to get the job done, but it is now re-opened as Discount Laundromat.

Detroit Police Make Sweep Through Warrendale

It was reported at the Warrendale Community Organization's November membership meeting on Monday evening that the Detroit Police Department had made a sweep through the Warrendale neighborhood this past Saturday, November 4.

This sweep resulted in 72 abandoned vehicles being tagged on the streets of Warrendale. In addition, a total of 15 arrests were made on Saturday - 2 of which were people who were stealing copper wire in our neighborhood.

They followed this up with a second sweep this morning for abandoned vehicles in the area. I saw them tag 4 vehicles that were illegally parked in a vacant lot on Ashton. All 4 of those vehicles are scheduled to be towed on Friday, November 10 unless they are moved by their owners.

City Council Discusses Rouge Park

The Detroit City Council held a public hearing at St. Thomas Aquinas Church on the future of Rouge Park last Wednesday. (Yes, I am tardy about reporting on it).

The single biggest development was when Harvey Santana of the Warrendale Community Organization addressed the City Council. He asked them to adopt a comprehensive plan for the future of Rouge Park.

There are an additional 38 photos that meeting are available on my Flickr page.

The Friends of Rouge Park will have their next meeting tonight at 6 pm in St. Suzanne Catholic Church (9857 Westwood at West Chicago, in the building next to the church).

Shake-up within the Detroit Police Department

I had previously reported about a rather hellish experience that volunteers from the Warrendale Radio Patrol had on Angel's Night and how it only seemed to get worse when they turned to the Detroit Police Department for help. At the end of my posting on that subject, I mentioned that the entire matter had been brought to the attention of Police Chief Ella Bully-Cummings.

An update was announced during the Warrendale Community Organization's November membership meeting. It's not clear if this happened as a direct result of their complaints, but I can announce three rather important things.
  • A police lieutenant with the Northwestern District of the Detroit Police Department, which serves the Warrendale neighborhood, has been demoted to sergeant and returned to patrol duty;
  • The police officer at the Northwestern District who refused to take a report from our volunteers has been relieved of duty. He was also ordered to undergo counselling before he can return to duty; and
  • The District also has a new community relations officer.
Again, it's not totally clear whether or not these developments are a result of the Angel's Night experience in Warrendale. It is possible that it's entirely a coincidence.

Regardless, I believe it is still very significant.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

WCO Meeting Adresses Abandoned Buildings in Warrendale

Thirty-four individuals came out for the November 2006 membership meeting of the Warrendale Community Organization in the Activities Building of Sts. Peter & Paul Catholic Church. The main focus for the evening was our guest speaker Steven Leggat, assistant chief of Detroit's Buildings & Safety Engineering Department, who spoke about abandoned buildings as well as those that cause blight by the owners not maintaining them.

According to a survey by the WCO's Environ- mental Taskforce, there are 83 homes in Warrendale west of the Southfield Freeeway that have a significant issue with them. These include homes were a fire had previously occurred by the damage hasn't been fixed as well as other properties that simply are not being maintained. While 83 problem properties might not seem like a lot in a community with 9,036 homes, WCO's membership chair Carrie Engle was quick to point out that the number of problem properties has been increasing since the issues in question haven't been addressed by anyone with the City.

Mr. Leggat explained the various divisions within his department and who was responsible for what. He also pointed out that his department does not receive any funding from our tax dollars beyond what is used to demolish dangerous buildings. The rest of their budget comes from permit and inspection fees that are assessed against those who build in Detroit.

As a result, the City's Department of Buildings & Safety Engineering only has 1 inspector for every 11,000 commericial or rental properties in the city. This, in turn, does cause a certain amount of delay in responding to citizen complaints. Regardless, he pointed out that his department does respond to every complaint that is made.

Mr. Leggat provided the WCO with a list each of the inspectors within the department and their telephone numbers. He also provided us with the names and telephone numbers of each of their respective supervisors.

Ella Norman, president of the WCO, presented Mr. Leggat with a list of the problem properties. He promised to share it with the inspectors for our area. More importantly, he also promised to follow-up with the WCO's Environmental Taskforce later this month.

There will undoubtedly be more news to report as this situation progresses. When that happens, you can read about it all in the Warrendale (Detroit) Blog.

Additional photos from this month's WCO meeting can be found on my Flickr page.

Two Important Notes

::: MOZELLA :::

I have two important notes for everyone.

First, go vote! You have to live with the results of today's election for years to come. You may as well make your voice heard.

Second, when you get back from the polls, log back onto your computer and listen to some music from Detroit-native Mozella. Her debut CD I Will hits stores and iTunes today.

If her song "Love Is Something" doesn't get your toes tapping, please consult a physician immediately.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Endorsements from the Warrendale Blog

The general election is this Tuesday. With so much at stake in this year's election, I would be remiss if I didn't take a moment to opine and offer a few endorsements.

I offer the neighborhood my take the candidates. My opinions are molded by being in a few dozen community meetings and meeting the folks involved (plus, a college degree in political science and 4 years of earning a living by working on political campaigns before joining the private sector).

Regardless of whether you agree or disagree with my thoughts on any of these candidates, I hope that everyone goes to polls on Tuesday. The Warrendale neighborhood has always had a better than average level of voter turnout and I think it serves the community well for it to continue.

For Michigan's top job, I am pleased to endorse the incumbent Governor Jennifer M. Granholm (D). Michigan's economy is unquestionably in a challenging position; one that would have been better if Ms. Granholm had introduced her "Jobs Today, Jobs Tomorrow Initiative" a little sooner. Regardless, we are starting to see some improvements as Michigan has gained more that 55,000 "New Economy" jobs. This does not replace all of the manufacturing jobs that Michigan has lost, but it does show that Michigan is moving in right direction.

To represent us in the U.S. Senate, the Warrendale (Detroit) Blog endorses U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D). In her first term of office, Ms. Stabenow has managed to:
Also, I believe that Mike Cox (R) has earned a second-term as Michigan's Attorney General. He has cracked down on "Dead-Beat Dads" and, through his Office of Special Investigations, has conducted more than 100 investigations into public corruption and successfully prosecuted homicides that have long since gone cold, such as the conviction of serial killer Coral Watts.

One incumbent who I believe does not deserve a second term is our Secretary of State, Terri Lynn Land (R). One of the most essential jobs that a Secretary of State does is ensure that our elections are conducted properly. Many Michigan communities are suffering from electronic voting machines that don't count votes properly. As Michigan's top election official, she could have done something about it, but she hasn't - creating a dire situation that recently caught national attention.

Even Oakland County Clerk, and Republican nominee for Lieutentant Governor, Ruth Johnson has complained about the entire situation. For this reason, the Warrendale (Detroit) Blog endorses her Democratic challenger Carmelle Sabaugh.

Speaking of people who do not deserve to be re-elected, I believe it is way past time for Congressman John C. Conyers, Jr. (D) to retire. He has been in Congress since 1965 and his list of accomplishments get slimmer and slimmer each year. I don't even remember the last time that I saw him at a community event.

Since he won't retire on his own, it's up to us to show Mr. Conyers the way out. He is being challenged by Republican Chad Miles of Dearborn. Given the strong Democratic base of this community, and the lingering problems Republicans have on the national stage, it isn't very likely that he'll win. However, I believe that the more people who vote for Mr. Miles this year, the more reluctant Mr. Conyers will be to run for a 22nd term in 2008.

Speaking of the tight grip that Democrats have on this area, I think it would be it good idea to vote for two other people who don't have a strong probability of winning. Republican David L. Malhalab, and a Warrendale resident, and Green Party nominee James Wolbrink are squaring off against Democrat Tupac Hunter for a seat in the Michigan Senate. I am giving a dual endorsement to both Mr. Malhalab and Mr. Wolbrink in that contest.

For the Michigan House of Representatives, Warrendale resident Thomas J. Schaut (R) is squaring off against incumbent Gabe Leland (D).

If a few more people vote for any of these long-shot candidates, it would make the respective incumbents that much more nervous about keeping their jobs. And that, in my opinion, is actually what we need.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

November 2006 WCO Meeting

A quick reminder: the Warrendale Community Organization will have its next general membership meeting on Monday, November 6, 2006, at 7:00 PM in Sts. Peter and Paul Activities Building (7718 Westwood, immediately behind the church). Amru Meah, director of the Detroit Buildings & Safety Engineering Department, will be their guest speaker.

Everyone is welcome to attend - even if you're not currently a member of the WCO. Heck, you're welcome to attend even if you don't live in Warrendale.

Volunteers: Cool Warrendale Thing of the Week

Okay - usually I highlight a bar or something about Warrendale that I think is really every Wednesday. This time, however, the Cool Warrendale Thing of the Week for November 1, 2006 is the volunteers who work for the Warrendale Community Organization and the Warrendale Radio Patrol.

In spite of the fact that they don't get paid a single penny...

In spite of the fact that they got eggs and other crap thrown at their cars on Monday...

In spite of the fact that the Detroit Police Department treated them like crap that evening...

In spite of the fact that they have so many different reasons to throw in the towel and say "Forget it!"...

In spite of all of that - they still showed up to help again on Tuesday.

Even the 80-year old amputee kept going when no one would have blamed him for not even starting.

It's their dedication makes Warrendale one of the coolest neighborhoods around.

Detroit Loses Its 9-1-1 Service for 6 1/2 Hours

According to an article in this morning's Detroit Free Press, Detroiters lost their ability to call 9-1-1 from a landline yesterday afternoon. Residents were still able to call from a cell phone, but not from a conventional phone. The outage lasted for approximately 6 1/2 hours and began at 2 p.m.

9-1-1 is the cornerstone to Detroit's emergency response system. Police, fire and EMS are all dispatched by 9-1-1 operators. It is completely unacceptable for the 9-1-1 system to be down for even 1 hour. 6 1/2 hours is, in my opinion, inexcusable.

The article does report that citizens were able to reach the 9-1-1 call center by dialing the City's back-up emergency telephone number, which is (313) 224-1212. However, when a pair of drug dealer start arguing in front of your house and one of them pulls out a gun - something that happened to me a year ago - hunting for a back-up telephone number isn't a viable option.

9-1-1 is something that simply has to work.

Angels' Night Turns Hellish

More than 300 volunteers converged on the Northwest Neighborhood City Hall in an effort to keep arson and other crimes at bay. This, of course, was in addition to the hundreds of other volunteers who helped out elsewhere in Detroit. For most of Detroit, the 3 day period past uneventfully - with fires and crime continuing their 12-year decline.

Warrendale, however, was an unfortunate exception to this rule. While we thankfully didn't have any fires, we were not exempt from our share of problems.

Almost all of the cars on patrol from the Warrendale Radio Patrol where attacked by teenagers who threw eggs, lard and butter at them. In at least one case, the teenagers taughted the patrol by screaming, "Take your white ass back to suburbia where you came from," as they hurled eggs at the patrol car.

It's interesting that the teenagers assumed the folks from the Warrendale Radio Patrol were from the suburbs. In this case, while the couple was white, they were both Detroit residents and were patrolling less than 3 blocks from their home.

The real tragedy, however, came from the response the Warrendale Radio Patrol got from the Detroit Police Department.

When they first attempted to report this by telephone, the police hung up on them.

When they went to the Northwestern District of the Detroit Police Department, the officer at the desk initially refused to take a report of the incident and also refused to provide the patrol members with the name of the command officer on duty.

This, quite frankly, is unacceptable. I'm only one of the board members for the Warrendale Community Organization, but incidents like this make me wonder just how cooperative we will be the Angel's Night 2007 campaign. This year, WCO members staffed the offices and patrolled other neighborhoods who weren't able to generate enough of their own volunteers; all in addition to patrolling our own neighborhood.

Stupid teenagers throwing eggs can be dealt with by patrolling without the orange lights. It is hard to target patrol cars when you don't know who they are.

However, there are deeper, systemic problems within the Detroit Police Department that must be dealt with and dealt with expeditiously. Everyone from Chief Ella Bully-Cummings to the command officers at the Northwestern Division have promised to address those concerns.

When they do, you can read about them in this blog.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Interesting Paragraph

Rouge Park users celebrate

The Freep covered Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick's decision not to sell 115 acres of parkland in Rouge Park in their Friday issue. The most interesting portion of the entire article, in my opinion, came at the very end.
(Mayoral spokeman Matt) Allen said the city is about to announce a new recreation master plan and intends to sell some parks and other surplus land for housing. The city wants to put recreation closer to the biggest population centers in the city, he said. Parks that are sold would be replaced by green space elsewhere.
We will have to watch the release of this master plan very carefully. It could be that I'm just paranoid, but there's this little voice in the back of my head that keeps saying that they're about to try selling the Ryan playground in Warrendale.

Only time will tell, though.

Rouge Park Meeting/Celebration

Mayor Kwame M. Kilpatrick announced last week that he is no longer planning to sell a large portion of Rouge Park. However, the Detroit City Council is still going ahead with a previously scheduled public hearing on the future of Rouge Park. This will happen on Wednesday, November 1 from 7:00 - 8:30 pm in St. Thomas Aquinas School (near Ford Road and Evergreen, go to www.rougepark.org for a map).

The Friends of Rouge Park are also hosting a party to celebrate the fact that the park has been saved for now after this hearing. The Warrendale (Detroit) Blog will, of course, be on hand for both events. You can expect to see lots of photos on-line this Thursday.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Weird Dumping Case

I've seen all kinds of things get dumped illegally in Warrendale. This one, however, is a new one for me.

Dry ice.

I have no idea where it came for or what kind of an idiot would dump it on a public sidewalk, but that's exactly what someone did.

Halloween Decorations - Cool Warrendale Thing of the Week

Blogger was off-line for awhile yesterday. (Darn those pesky servers!) As a result, my Cool Warrendale Thing of the Week for October 25, 2006 was delayed by one day.

Halloween decorations aren't exactly unique to Warrendale nor are really all that different from decorations in other neighborhoods throughout Detroit. However, I happen to think that they are exceedingly cool. Therefore, I'm using my enormous influence with this blog and declaring Halloween decorations to be the Cool Warrendale Thing of the Week for October 25, 2006.

I found this house all decorated on Rosemont, just north of Whitlock. There aren't any lights involved so you can't see it all that clearly at night. Still, I think it looks darn cool during the daytime.

Detroit Will Preserve Rouge Park

Detroit will preserve park - 10/26/06 - The Detroit News Online

Loren Jackson, director of Detroit's Recreation Department, announced yesterday that the City has agreed to stop any deal to sell 115 acres of parkland in Rouge Park to developers.

This is terrific news, in my opinion, because the sale was simply a badly thought out move. However, Rouge Park is still threatened by vandalism and neglect.

I still believe that the best way to address those concerns is to transfer control of the park to a private conservancy - similiar to what was set up for Campus Martius Park and the Detroit Riverfront - and allow some residential and/or commericial development in the park; just think it's location and type through much more carefully.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Autumn in Warrendale


It's fall once again in Warrendale and that means that there are lots of leaves to be raked up.

You can bag your leaves and put them in your Courville container for our weekly pick-up. You can even keep them bagged and out of sight until our bulk trash pick-up in November.

However, being a bit of an environmentalist, I'm partial to composting the things. Yard waste makes up 20% of our landfills and by composting, you create a good fertilizing material for your lawn or garden.

You can find composting tips at http://www.montana.edu/wwwpb/pubs/mt9204.html

Mail Bag: Rouge Park Unfit for Kids

In the comments section for "My Thoughts on the Rouge Park Sale", CanoeCarver opined that Rouge Park isn't safe for children anymore because the rampant acts of sexuality that happen in public througout the park, mostly committed by gay men.

Once upon a time, his concerns were definately an issue. When I was growing up in Warrendale in the 1970s and 80s, this was a huge problem. There was an enormous amount of sexual activitity that happened in that park and, a child, I was frequently exposed to it.

However, during Mayor Dennis Archer's administration, the Detroit Police Department began to crack down on it and crack down harshly. (Harsh enough, in fact, that the ACLU filed a lawsuit against the DPD.)

Since then, DPD has grown to be much more respectful of civil rights and I haven't seen a single sexual act in Rouge Park. However, I'm only in Rouge Park every so often. It's possible that it's still going on and I'm simply not seeing it.

If anyone else has seen any wanton acts of inappropriate behavior, please feel free to leave a note about it in the comments section.

Rouge Park Hearing Re-scheduled

The previously scheduled town hall meeting regarding the sale of 5 parcels of land in Rouge Park was cancelled at the last minute. The Detroit City Council has re-scheduled this town hall meeting for Wednesday, November 1 at 7 p.m. It will happen at St. Thomas Aquanis Church (southeast corner of Evergreen and Kirkwood - just north of Ford Rd.).

Everyone is invited to express their views on the proposed sale.

I haven't gotten an official confirmation, but I presume the rules will be the same as last time.
  • Everyone gets 2 minutes to speak;
  • Written copies of your testimony (15 copies for everyone on the council + staffers) are greatly appreciated.
I will be there. I look forward to seeing others as well.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Suit wants trash fee tossed

Suit wants trash fee tossed

A group of homeowners filed a lawsuit in Wayne County Circuit Court to block the City of Detroit from continuing to collect the $300 annual fee for trash collection.

From my limited reading of the relevant laws, I don't think they have much of a proverbial leg to stand on. However, I'm sure that it will make for an interesting story to follow as the case progresses.

As always, the latest news on this (not to mention my own opinions) will be posted to the Warrendale (Detroit) Blog.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Hollywood Tobacco - Cool Warrendale Thing of the Week

Oh, what a week this has been for me personally. It started with an insanely busy weekend and isn't likely to let up for another couple of days.

Anyway, before I rush off again, I wanted to chime in with the Cool Warrendale Thing of the Week for October 18, 2006. It's the soon to be opened Hollywood Tobacco Shop (19501 W. Warren Avenue).

It's spray-painted sign is tacky as all hell and I'm not a huge fan of tobacco stores in general. However, and this is the important part, the opening of Hollywood Tobacco brings us to an even dozen for the number of new businesses to have opened in Warrendale this year.

Yes, one of them - Papa Joe's Buffet - has closed its doors. Business is bad for restaurants right now in general. However, the other ones seem to be doing just fine for themselves.

Still, I think it's very cool that we've had a dozen new businesses open in Warrendale this year and three more undergo a significant expansion. When you consider how things are for the rest of Michigan - Warrendale is kicking butt and taking names.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Mail Bag: Cool Thing of the Week

An anonymous reader wrote in to say:
I came across your blog while looking up information on Warrendale for a class project. I love the cool thing of the week idea. Can you tell me when and where the Warrendale Community Organization meetings are held. Are they open to Detroit residents who live outside Warrendale?
Thanks for stopping by. I'm glad you like the Warrendale Cool Thing of the Week. The next one is only two days away.

As for the Warrendale Community Organization - yes, their meetings are open to everyone; even folks who don't live in the neighborhood. It meets on the first Monday of each month at 7 p.m. in the Activities Building of Sts. Peter & Paul Church. The church is on Sawyer, between Grandville and Westwood; there's a parking lot behind the church and the Activities Building is at the north end of said parking lot.

I look forward to seeing you at the next W.C.O. meeting on Monday, November 6 at 7 p.m.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

My Thoughts on the Sale of Rouge Park

Mayor Kwame M. Kilpatrick has proposed selling 5 parcels of land in River Rouge Park. For the most part, those parcels consist of everything in the park that is south of Joy Road. I think Mayor Kilpatrick deserves a certain amount of credit for trying to hold down the costs of maintaining the park and secure additional moneys for a cash-strapped city.

However, and this is the important part, I believe that his adminstration is going about it in totally the wrong way. His proposal calls for selling too much of the park, in too dense of a concentration and does it in totally the wrong way.

Housing can be developed in Rouge Park without harming the park itself. Almost every golf course in the United States has houses near it. There's no reason why we can't build golf courses near the Rouge Park Golf Course.

Commericial development can happen in Rouge Park without harming the park itself. Central Park in New York has a restaurant in it. The Campus Martius Park in downtown Detroit has an Au Bon Pain in the middle of it. During its heydey, Belle Isle had snack shops on the island park. There's no reason why can't have a restaurant or two operate inside Rouge Park.

Also, it always struck me as odd that Rouge Park has 8 miles of bicycle trails as well as the only mountain bike trail in Wayne County - yet there's no place near it where you can rent a bike or get a bike that you own repaired.

Of course, while I'm on the subject of things that Rouge Park has, I should point out that the park also has:
  • 14 regulation baseball diamonds;
  • 6 basketball courts;
  • 11 outdoor tennis courts;
  • 2 football fields;
  • 1 soccer field;
  • 2 miles of fitness trails;
  • 18 holes of golf; and
  • 3 outdoor swimming pools.
Think about it. It has all of those resources yet there isn't a single sporting goods store within a one-mile radius of the park.

Housing and commericial development could, in my opinion, make Rouge Park an even better place - if it is done properly.

As a result, I don't believe the solution is for Detroit to rush into selling it this land. Rather, I think we should establish a private conservancy to manage Rouge Park and transfer control of the park to that conservancy.

Private conservancies have done a lot of good in terms of managing Detroit's most precious jewels. They bring together the best of the public, private and non-profit sectors to provide stewardship for a key resource.

The Detroit riverfront has been reborn thanks to the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy. They have worked to reinvent Detroit's riverfront, from the Ambassador Bridge to the Belle Isle Bridge. Their work has produced some great results that have garnered national attention.

The Detroit 300 Conservancy has assumed control of Campus Martius Park; transforming and rebuilding a historic part of downtown Detroit. They host some terrific outdoor events throughout the year - from concerts and movies in the summer to ice skating in the winter.

My point is that a private conservancy can accomplish things that a traditional government agency or non-profit could not do. It has become a proven model for success when it comes to managing Detroit's crown jewels.

A private conservancy has worked well for the Detroit Riverfront and Campus Martius Park. It can work just as well for River Rouge Park - bringing a sense of health and vitality back to the area that, quite frankly, has been absent for far too long.

It's for this reason that I believe the best course of action Detroit could take would be to hand control of Rouge Park over to a private conservancy. That conservancy could then work to ensure that any residential and commericial development of the land improves what already exhists within the park.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Starting & Growing Your Own Business

Detroit City Council President Kenneth V. Cockrel, Jr. is sponsoring the 3rd Annual "Starting & Growing Your Own Business Forum" on Tuesday, October 17. The event will take place in the Ponders Auditorium at the Lewis College of Business (17370 Meyers Rd., between McNichols and 7 Mile). This program will start with a light dinner, served from 5 p.m. - 6 p.m., and move into the main program from 6 p.m. until 8:30 p.m.

If you have ever wanted to start your own business in the Warrendale neighborhood, or anywhere else in Detroit, this is the place for you to start.

The forum will include a panel discussion that features:If you wish to attend, you must call (313) 224-4507 to RSVP by this Friday, October 13.

Chick's Bar - Cool Warrendale Thing of the Week

One of our regular readers, Cracktown! USA, left a comment not too long ago inquiring about the local watering holes in the Warrendale neighborhood. I thought about it for a bit and have decided to launch a new feature on the Warrendale Blog: Cool Warrendale Thing of the Week.

Every Wednesday I will feature something about the Warrendale neighborhood that I think is just plain cool. It might be a local watering hole, eatery or a unique example of architecture in the area. Whatever it is that I happen to think is cool.

The opinions are purely subjective and they are totally mine. I just thought that this would be a good opportunity for us to showcase a few things about the neighborhood for folks who either haven't been here at all or who have been away for awhile. (Believe it or not, this blog has received visitors from as far away as Helsinki, Finland).

Anyway, without further ado, I give you the Cool Warrendale Thing of the Week for October 12, 2006.

Chick's Bar has been welcoming thirsty Warrendale residents and visitors alike for so long that no one really remembers them not doing it. I'm not 100% certain of this, but I am fairly confident that there was an earlier version of Chick's Bar at that location when Cadillac's expedition landed in Detroit way back in July of 1701.

It is the quintessential neighborhood tavern. The sort of place where you feel right at home from the moment you walk through its door, whether the place you call "home" is around the corner or - dare I say it - in Helsinki, Finland.

There is almost always a game playing on one of their TVs. The beer is always cold at Chick's Bar. The chairs are always comfortable and - miracle of all miracles - every one of the bartenders at Chick's Bar instinctively knows the ideal ratio of Jack Daniel's to Coca-Cola whenever I happen to walk in.

If the folks in Stockholm were to start giving away Nobel Prizes for Bartending, Chick's Bar would surely be one of the top contenders. Until that happens, however, they will have to content with merely being named Cool Warrendale Thing of the Week.

Rouge Park Signs

It's great to walk through Warrendale and see so many of the "Save Rouge Park" signs. This afternoon, in fact, I came across a series of 4 houses in a row that all had those signs on their front lawns.

It made for a very powerful message that I'm sure anyone who sees them will notice.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Work Almost Done on the Paul Street Bridge

It looks like construction crews are nearing the end of their work on the Paul Street bridge over the Southfield Freeway. The side rails are going up. The turn around lane is being constructed. The whole thing looks like it's on track for completion by the end of this month.

All of the construction detours have been a major pain in my ass (pardon my bluntness; the word "inconvience" just didn't seem to capture the way I feel). However, I have to admit that this is one road project that r-e-a-l-l-y needed to be done. The old bridge was in really bad shape and had been for years.

For folks who aren't from the area, but who read this blog anyway, there was a certain spot on the old bridge where you'd hear a "clanking" sound when you drove over it. It was cause by some of structural elements moving when they clearly weren't supposed to.

So, at least for the time being, I'll resist the urge to stand near the bridge and scream to construction crew, "Work faster!"

Something tells me they would not appreciate it.

Southfield Service Drive Re-Opens

The Southfield Freeway service drive, between W. Warren and Ford Rd., has been closed for months as crews work on rebuilding the Paul Street bridge. Work on the bridge still isn't finished, but at long last, the service drive has been reopened.

That stretch of road might not seem like much to most folks, but to me it looks a little stretch of heaven. (Yes, I am biased because of my usual commute.)