Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Looking for 100 Year Old Detroiters

The City of Detroit Senior Citizens Department is in search of residents who are or will be 100 years old or older by December 31, 2007.

Every year in May, during Older Americans Month, the city recognizes the seniors at the Annual Centenarian Luncheon and provides free food, entertainment and gifts. Mayor Kwame M. Kilpatrick will deliver the keynote address. The event is free.

If you know anyone aged 100 or older, who lives in Detroit, please contact the City of Detroit Senior Citizens Department at 224-5444 by April 1.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Earned Income Tax Credit

Detroit's Mayor Kwame M. Kilpatrick has teamed up with Accounting Aid Society to help educate Detroiters about applying for Earned Income Tax Credits. That tax credit could result in an additional refund of as much as $4,500 for those who qualify.

The Earned Income Tax Credit is a refundable federal income tax credit for low income working individuals and families. Detroit residents interested in learning if they qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit and other credits like home heating and property tax, as well as city, state and federal tax returns can contact the Accounting Aid Society at 313-647-9620 or log onto www.accountingaidsociety.org. They have 16 locations throughout the city.

Accounting Aid Society services are free of charge for qualified Detroit residents.

You can also find more infomation about the Earned Income Tax Credit on the IRS's web site. In addition to the Earned Income Tax Credit, low to moderate income Detroiters would also be wise to take a close look at the Retirement Savings Contribution Tax Credit, which provides an additional reward when saving for your retirement.

In additional to the Accounting Aid Society, there are private businesses in the Warrendale area that will help Detroiters take full advantage of all of these tax credits for fee. They can also file your taxes electronically and get you a loan against your tax refund so you get your cash faster. H&R Block and Jackson Hewitt each have offices in our neighborhood that will do that.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

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

I haven't done the Cool Warrendale Thing of the Week in awhile. (My camera got smashed up in the car accident last month, and I feel weird talking about all of these places without any photos of them.)

Anyway, I proclaimed Steve's Three Brothers (17820 W. Warren Avenue - (313) 271-1227) to be the Cool Warrendale Thing of the Week back in November. Since then, they have finally expanded their hours of operation.

And that is a very cool thing for the Warrendale neighborhood.

No one does pierogis better than Steve's. With the new hours, folks who didn't work in the Warrendale neighborhood can once again experience the wonder of Steve's cooking.

The restaurant is open from 10 a.m. - 7 p.m. Sunday through Friday (closed Saturdays). If you've never been to Steve's, or if you haven't been in awhile, I definitely recommend checking the place out.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

ATM Cash Advance Closes

The ATM Cash Advance Store, in the "Little Castle" on W. Warren, has ceased operations after only being open since April of last year.

While it is unfortunate that the Warrendale neighborhood has lost a couple of jobs, and our state local governments have lost some tax revenue, I'm not overly worried about losing a cash advance store. There are still plenty of other options for people who need a short-term loan.

I just hope that another business moves into that building soon.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Mail Bag: Neighborhood City Hall

Rebecca wrote in to ask:
What exactly does the Neighborhood City Hall do, where are they located, and what are their hours?

I wasn't even sure it still existed except for the building...
The Neighborhood City Halls are supposed to serve as the primary link between city government and the neighborhoods. You can find a complete list of the various services that they offer here.

The closest Neighborhood City Hall to the Warrendale neighborhood is located at 19180 Grand River (between Evergreen and the Southfield Fwy.). They are open from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Warrendale Native in the Detroit News

Detroit Red Wings broadcaster, and a Warrendale native, Ken Kal was in the Detroit News last week.

Ken and a couple of other broadcasters took time out of their busy schedules to talk with high school students as part of the annual Detroit Red Wings High School Journalists Day. The students who took part in it got a first-hand perspective on what it takes to make it as a sports broadcaster.

The story of his career to date is actually rather inspiring. You can read Neal Rubin's column about it here.

Now if I can just get Ken Kal to plug the Warrendale (Detroit) Blog on the air...

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Detroit Will No Longer Mail Tax Forms

Detroit Mayor Kwame M. Kilpatrick has announced that the City of Detroit will no longer mail out tax form like they have done in years past. This, he explained in a prepared statement, is because so many people download their tax forms from the internet and thousands of tax forms go unused every year.

Citizens can download forms from the City's web site at http://www.ci.detroit.mi.us/forms.htm. The forms can also be picked up in room 512 of the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center or in many libraries.

Mail Bag: Warrendale Community Organization (Part 2)

In response to my comments on the Warrendale Community Organization, an anonymous reader wrote in to say:
In order to help fight blight, I have just rifled off an e-mail to Terri Lynn Land, who still has a huge election sign on the corner of Warren and Evergreen. I let her know that she is breaking sign ordinace 28-94, and it is bad enough that we have others blighting our community. I also said we should expect that our elected officials should respect the law and not contribute to blight.

Now I know this has nothing to do with hookers, but there was a reference to doing things to be proactive in this area. I also think that instead of just waiting for one day, that we should schedule more than one. My rationale? Not everyone can make it to a clean up day once a year, but there are still lots of folks who want a clean neighborhood. We should have more options to help clean it up. Even though I am on the other side of Southfield, I'd gladly participate. The only reason why I did not this time was I was the only one pulling the tires out of the alley behind the businesses by my house. They are now all back and more :(
First off, thank you for being proactive when it comes to Ms. Land and the campaign sign that she is legally required to remove, but didn't.

Second, there are always opportunities to get involved with the W.C.O. throughout the year. Once a month, a team of W.C.O. volunteers fans out throughout the neighborhood and removes signs that have been illegally posted on public property.

Also, every couple of months, their environmental taskforce does a survey of neighborhood and documents any environmental issues that they find. This includes case of illegal dumping, bulk trash that is out when it's not supposed to be, abandoned cars and so on. The results of that survey are turned over to the Neighborhood City Hall as well as to the Northwestern District of the Detroit Police Department.

Finally, if environmental issues aren't your sort of thing - the Warrendale Radio Patrol is always looking for new volunteers to help patrol our neighborhood. They keep an eye on things as best as they're able to; serving as the eyes and ears of the Detroit Police Department.

If you are interested in any of these opportunities, please shoot me an email at frank.nemecek [at] gmail.com. I'll be happy to put you in touch with the appropriate people.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Mail Bag: Warrendale Community Organization

In response to my comments about prostitution in the Warrendale neighborhood, an anonymous reader wrote in to say:
the warrendale community org has to start putting it in high gear..thats the only hope for warrendale...we need a neighborhood news letter to go out to every address..and we need the business community to sponser that...the city and police are not going to help....what happened to the cool "warrendale banners"..on the light posts?...no money?...well start raising the money..get the word out..go door to door...the servive drives look like crap..why doesnt the warrendale org send out their own letters to the houses and business.....why isnt channel 2,4 and 7 contacted to do a "feelgood story"..on a neighborhood struggling?......if the president can dupe the country into spending 2 billion$ a day in iraq...than we can get the residents in warrendale to support....some nice banners and other landscaping....
I agree that the Warrendale Community Organ- ization has the potential to do a lot of great things for our neighbor- hood. The problem, however, is that out of a neighborhood with 9,036 homes there is usually only a dozen or so people who show up at their meetings. In fact, when the WCO did a clean-up of the Southfield Freeway service drive last May, there were more people who came to help out from Macomb County then there were from the Warrendale neighborhood.

Think about that one: folks in Macomb County have absolutely nothing to gain from seeing a portion of the Warrendale neighborhood cleaned up, but there were still more of them helping out than there were folks who live right by it. This is in spite of the fact that flyers were hand-delivered to everyone who lives along the service drive and it was announced repeatedly including on this blog.

Now it's a New Year.

A chance for a gigantic "do-over."

A time to move beyond blaming others.

A time when folks make resolutions and (hopefully) keep them.

With that in mind, please allow me to say this. There won't be a WCO meeting in February because of scheduling problems. The next one will be on Monday, March 5 at 7 p.m. in the Activities Building of Sts. Peter & Paul Church.

I invite and encourage everyone in the neighborhood to stop by. I also invite the dozen or so people who have emailed me privately to say that they used to live in Warrendale and wish us the best to stop by as well. Your input and involvement is welcome even if you no longer call the Warrendale neighborhood home.

If you work the afternoon or evening shift somewhere and can't make it to the meeting, I invite you to send me an email (frank.nemecek [at] gmail.com) and I'll see if I can find a way to get involved that meets your schedule.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Middle School Students Robbed

A string of robberies happened this morning that seemed to target students of Webber Middle School on Detroit's west side. While none of this happened in the Warrendale neighborhood and, as far as I know, no Warrendale residents were involved - I still think this is important to our neighborhood.

The Detroit Police Department is currently operating with a shortage of almost 2,000 police officers. It's no wonder then that when a series of calls starting to pour into 9-1-1, Detroit police weren't able to stop this crime spree as it was happening.

For that reason, I think we should be extra attentive when the City starts to plan for next year's budget. It is way past time for the City to fill those vacant officer positions.

Mail Bag: Prostitution in Warrendale

In response to my post about the new ordinance for evictions, an anonymous reader wrote in to say:
I think the prostitutes and crack houses need to be evicted. If you get rid of the crack houses (mostly rented) the prostitutes will leave. What else would they have reason to prowl Warrendale if their walk to crack house was put out of business. Cut off their drug supply and they will leave.

Does this make sense to anyone else? I'm tired of getting propositioned walking out of Chicks or Hurry Inn. Maybe I should head towards Rouge Inn or Halligans.
No one around here will argue that crackheads and prostitutes aren't a detriment to the community or that they shouldn't be run out of town. In fact, one of my loyal readers has gone so far as to set-up her own blog about crackheads and how they are the bane of society's continued existence.

I wouldn't let that make stop visiting Chick's Bar or the Hurry Inn. The other bars just don't have the kind of vibe or flavor that they do. Why should you be the one to suffer because there are prostitutes in the neighborhood?

I say, have a little fun at their expense. When a prostitute propositions you, come up with a witty comeback and walk away. If you're not sure what to say, I recommend any of these.

Do it once or twice - and they'll leave you alone from now on.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Mail Bag: Pete's Bar

In response to another post about businesses in Warrendale, an anonymous reader wrote in to say:
I don't see where anythings being done to Pete's Bar. Looks like the same old dump to me.
The work at Pete's Bar was chronicled in a previous post last December. There were work crews inside the building for a couple of days, which led me to speculate that someone might be prepping the building for redevelopment. This pattern of work happening inside the building before a new business moves in similiar to what we saw at the Little Castle, the former Norgetown Cleaners and the new location of Hollywood's Tobacco.

Since almost all of the work as done inside the building, there really isn't anything to see.

Evictions in Warrendale

A new ordinance has finally gone into effect that will change how renters are evicted in the Warrendale neighbor- hood as well as in the rest of Detroit.

Previously, when someone was evicted, all of their stuff was dumped on the sidewalk - creating a nasty eyesore and frequently blocking one's ability to walk on the aforementioned sidewalk.

Now, however, landlords are required to provide a roll-off container for all of the tenants belonging when they evict someone. The container must be removed within 48 hours.

If the landlord fails to either provide such a container or to remove it within 48 hours, he or she is now subject to a fine of $800. For any landlords who find their way to this blog, such a container will cost you about $300. I'm sure no one is thrilled with paying that, but it is definately cheaper than the $800 ticket.

You can get one of these containers from local vendors, such as Capital Waste (313-931-1300) or Recy-Clean (313-871-4000).

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Mail Bag: Scrap Tires

In response to a post about the new recycling program in Detroit, an anonymous reader asked:
Can anyone direct me what to do about all of the old tires that have seemed to have found their way into the neighborhood over the last few months? These are covering the alleys now!
Scrap tires are, to put it mildly, problematic. The official answer is to call 3-1-1 and report it. However, as another anonymous reader pointed out in the comment immediately following yours, response time from the 3-1-1 Call Center is less than desirable.

It's still worth it to report any case of illegal dumping to the 3-1-1 Call Center, if for no other reason than it establishes an official record of it. That, in turn, is useful later down the road when someone from the community organization needs to ream one municipal employee or another for not doing their job.

There is also one other option that I've never tried, but have thought about a couple of times.

The transportation, storage and disposal of scrap tires is supposed to be regulated by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. If you're still in the mood to gripe after you call 3-1-1 then you might want to make your next phone call to the MDEQ Field Office in Detroit. Their telephone number is (313) 456-4700.

Mail Bag: 2006 In Review (Part 3)

In response to my review of what 2006 has meant for the Warrendale neighborhood, an anonymous reader wrote in to say:
i want to put in my 2 cents.....2006, what a great year for warrendale..we lost la hacienda,blockbuster,papa joes..rio wraps and a n w but gained wonderfull new business like...another dumpy beauty supply store..a cash loan pit..goodfellas wear(where u too can wear your pants down around your ankles)...and some 5th rate used car dealerships....now all we need is a pawn shop..so the criminals dont have far to go,after they break into your house or garage....yes warrendale is really going places...in 2007 look for the chineese place across from farmer jack to close...more graffiti on peoples garages,houses and on anything that is clean...look for more crack heads on the corners ..more crime..more garbage ..more noise..lower property values...look for more good people to move out and take a huge loss....hahaha what a joke
First, we lost the Blockbuster Video and A & W before the start of 2006. I'm pretty sure that Rio Wraps has been gone for more than a year, but I'm not positive about that one.

Closing the Blockbuster Video was part of a nationwide trend. Blockbuster has been closing retail stores across the country for a couple of years now because they're seeing more and more of their business move to an internet-based model that doesn't require as many retail stores. That's hardly a reflection on either Detroit or the Warrendale neighborhood.

In addition, we already have new restaurants operating in the former locations of A&W and Rio Wraps. It's a change, but it's not a set-back.

As for the businesses that we gained in 2006, it's a lot more than the cash advance and beauty supply stores. We also gained:
  • a barber shop;
  • a laundromat;
  • a cell phone store;
  • a dollar store;
  • a pharmacy;
  • a tobacco shop;
  • a gas station; and
  • a medical supply store.
We also saw the Tipperary Pub re-open under new ownership, Warrendale Lube expand its facilty and Movie Mania Video make improvements to its fascade. All of that is in addition to the folks who fixed up vacant storefronts such as the former Novack Drugs and Pete's Bar; putting them on the market.

This is hardly an economic boom, but in comparison to the rest of southeastern Michigan - Warrendale is kicking some serious butt when it comes to new businesses opening up.

Mail Bag: 2006 In Review (Part 2)

Not to be outdone by the first anonymous reader, a second one wrote in response to my recap of 2006:
I wish the police would get those two people who panhandle on the corner of Southfield and Warren away. It just does not help the Warrendale community. The guy stands at the Mobil station and his girlfriend stands at the Chase bank. And by the way Frank, why are my messages removed? I see nothing improper about them. No foul language, no racists remarks. What gives? What happened to freedom of speech?
Regarding the two panhandlers (nicknamed "Caveman" and his "Girlfriend" by some in the neighborhood), from what I heard, the Girlfriend was found shot to death a few weeks ago. I haven't seen Caveman around in awhile. As for his Girlfriend's death, since the two of them were frequently linked to drug dealing and prostitution, I have a funny feeling that the case isn't the highest priority for the Detroit Police Department at the moment.

As for comments made here, the only time I remove something is if it either wreeks of spam or borders on libel. I don't think I've deleted anything as of late. The spam has really died down.

If you posted something and it isn't here anymore, the best guess I can make is that maybe Blogger killed it when I switched over to the new version of their software.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Detroit's New Recycling Program

Detroit has a new recycling program and it's called Recy-Clean. The program grew out of a smaller recycling effort that our neighbors over in Detroit's Midtown area started last year called "Midtown Recycles".

The program gives folks a chance to recycle their trash instead of simply having it all thrown into a landfill. Our first opportunity to take stuff their for recycling is this coming Saturday, January 6 from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. Recycling drop-off is available at their new facility, 1331 Holden Street in the Midtown neighborhood.

They will also be open for drop-offs every Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The sign on it simply amused me so much that I felt compelled to use it here.

Oh, and as for the photo that accompanies this post - it's a recycling container that I saw on a trip to Toronto.