Friday, March 30, 2007

Many Updates

I've been a very bad blogger. It's been almost two weeks since I last posted anything. I have been insanely busy with a half dozen different projects.

Rather than post a series of notes about all of the things that I should have posted about over the past few days, I thought I'd write one long post with a series of quick updates.

6548 Greenview (a/k/a - "The House With A Hole In It")
I went past this house on Friday, March 23 and noticed that someone had positioned a sheet of plywood over the whole. Other debris had been stacked in front of it, to keep the plywood from moving. When I walked by the next day, someone had installed new cinderblocks to seal the gaping hole.

I don't know who it was that did this. I reported it the City and I know other people had as well. However, I doubt that they would have come out to seal the building. (If anyone knows, please feel free to correct me.)

To whoever it was that did this: thank you!

The house still has fire damage to its siding. However, the immediate threat of the building collapsing because of a hole in its foundation is remedied.

If you had anything to do with this, Cracktown! USA, then I have yet one more reason to love you dearly.

Warrendale Community Organization
The WCO's next membership meeting has been re-scheduled. It will be on Tuesday, April 10 at 7:00 p.m. in the Activities Building of Sts. Peter & Paul Church.

Friends of Rouge Park
The next meeting for the Friends of Rouge Park will be on Monday, April 16 at 6:00 p.m. in St Suzanne School. Everyone is invited to attend.

Monday, March 19, 2007

My Thoughts on Mayor Kilpatrick's State of the City Address

It's been almost a week since Mayor Kwame M. Kilpatrick delivered his 2007 State of the City Address. I was there to see it live and I feel remiss for not commenting on his speech already.

I liked almost everything that he said that evening. I was proud that he made a point of recognizing the widow and son of the late Dearborn Mayor Michael A. Guido. I was also glad that he recognized the new superintendent of the Detroit Public Schools, Dr. Connie K. Calloway.

I was thrilled that he talked about the importance of Detroit's neighborhoods. Even though Warrendale wasn't specifically mentioned, the simple fact that he made a neighborhoods such a center piece in his remarks is a wonderful contrast with previous mayors.

The only thing that I didn't like in the Mayor's Address was when he announced that Detroit would only hire 200 new police officers. According to The Detroit News, half of that number is simply a replacement for older officers who have retired from the department. That leaves a net increase in the number of police officers at only 100 - or roughly 1 new police officer per square mile of the city.

This is definately a step in the right direction. However, in my opinion, I believe that Detroit needs a lot more. If I were Mayor, I would have cut the amount spent on upgrading the Northwest Activities Center ($14 million, according to the Mayor's address) and used it to hire even more police officers.

As for the rest of his address, I loved every word of it.

Friends of Rouge Park Plan Their Appreciation Day

The Friends of Rouge Park are planning an event called the Rouge Park Appreciation Day to both celebrate saving the park from development and to clean up the park and a portion of the Rouge River. A planning meeting to facilitate the various details is scheduled for this coming Wednesday, March 21, at 6 p.m. in St. Suzanne School. Everyone is invited to attend.

The event itself is scheduled for Saturday, June 2. Clean-up of the park will begin at 8 a.m. that day. Lunch is scheduled for 11 a.m. and will followed by a model airplane demonstrations by the Detroit Aeromodelers Association and horseback rides from the Buffalo Soldiers Association.

The Appreciation Day is sponsored by the Detroit Aero Modelers, Friends of the Rouge, Friends of Rouge Park and the City of Detroit's Recreation Department. A flyer for the event can be downloaded here (Adobe Reader required).

Friday, March 16, 2007

Hunter Named Legislator of the Year

Michigan Senator Tupac A. Hunter was named "Legislator of the Year" by the Michigan Credit Union League yesterday. His district includes the Warrendale neighborhood as well as portions of Dearborn and Inkster.

Mr. Hunter sponsored several initiatives to assist financial institutions, including establishment of Individual or Family Development Accounts, under which eligible individuals and families could establish special savings accounts to be used for education, first-time home purchases, or business capitalization. He was also responsible for Public Act 192, which streamlines financial institution operations by repealing sections of statutes that required duplicate filings on suspicious activity.

He was also cited by the MCUL for his tireless leadership on numerous consumer protection issues.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

DSG Comes to Warrendale

Detroit Synergy hosts a monthly social event called Third Thursday at various bars throughout Detroit. Oddly enough, it's done on the third Thursday of each month.

This month, they will visit the Tipperary Pub (8287 Southfield) in Detroit's Warrendale neighborhood. Everyone is invited to attend. The people are great and there will be drink specials throughout the evening.

The fun starts at 6:30 p.m. I hope to see everyone there.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Mail Bag: World on Warren Avenue

In response to an article in the Detroit Free Press about Warren Avenue, and my blog post about it, Rebecca wrote in to say:
This was a great article. Thanks for posting it, Frank, but I find it rather sad that they skipped right over Warrendale. So far as Detroit was noted in the article, Warren Rd either runs through miles of burnt out buildings or the cultural center. They went through Dearborn, skipped over us, and went right on into Dearborn Heights. Warrendale is one of the few communities left in Detroit that doesn't "look like" what people have stereotyped as a Detroit neighborhood (burnt out and/or dirty and/or unkempt), I think. It's frustrating to be passed over like that.
I agree that it's no fun to be skipped in an article like that. The only consolation that I can offer is that reporters can only cover so much of a 45 mile long story in an article as short as that.

Someone will just have to contact Arcadia Publishing (the folks who publish lots of local history books) and suggest that they publish one on either the history of the Warrendale neighborhood and/or one about the full 45 mile long stretch of Warren Avenue.

DPD Looking for Info on Dope Houses

I got an email from an officer with Detroit Police Department. If anyone has any information regarding locations in the Warrendale neighborhood where drugs are being sold, they would like to know about it.

You can leave an anonymous comment here. You can also email me at frank.nemecek [at] gmail.com.

Mail Bag: The House With A Hole In It

An anonymous reader wrote in to say:
This hasn't been mentioned in this blog but about a month ago... I think on Feb. 10th there was a bad accident at the intersection of Greenview & Whitlock. A driver ran the yield sign and plowed into a vehicle. One truck turned over on its top and a car plowed into the house on the southeast corner of greenview. The car caught on fire and the house had a hole in the side of it. This was on all 3 major news stations. This house had renters in it that are now displaced. It's been a month and the owner of this house hasn't done ANYTHING to secure the house. There is a big GAPING hole in the side of the house that leads to the basement. It's a clear hazard to schoolkids. That's a route that kids take EVERYDAY to Carver elementary. Not to mention its an easy hideout for the drug addicts. What can be done to at least get someone to cover this hole in the house?? I live right down the street from this and it's an eye sore as well as a danger and nuisance! Please advise.....
That house is definately a nuisance and probably a danger as well. The City of Detroit's Department of Buildings & Safety Engineering is the agency responsible for handling this one.

A representative from B&SE was at the Warrendale Community Organization meeting last Novemeber. I sent him an email about this matter earlier today. Hopefully, he'll respond and we'll see some action soon.

I would also encourage you to report this, and any other problems, to the City's 311 Call Center. They take care of all non-emergency problems in Detroit.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Mail Bag: Shooting in Warrendale

In response to my post about the shooting on Mansfield Street in Warrendale a little over a week ago, CanoeCarver and David L. Malhalab exchanged a lengthy series of replies about why it is that the Detroit Police Department has been much more active on W. Warren Avenue, but not as visible on the residential sidestreets.

Quite frankly, I don't know why we don't see more police patrols on the residential side streets. Maybe it is laziness, as CanoeCarver suggests. Maybe it is the result of management issues, as Mr. Malhalab argues.

The one thing that I do know for certain is that it would probably do everyone a lot of good to bring the issue straight to the man in charge. Detroit's Mayor Kwame M. Kilpatrick will be at the Norrthwestern District Police-Community Relations Meeting on Monday, March 26 at 7 p.m. The meeting will be held at Bushnell Congregational Church, 15000 Southfield (southeast corner of Grand River and the Southfield Freeway).

Please stop by and give the Mayor a piece of your mind.

World on Warren Avenue

The Detroit Free Press ran a profile in yesterday's issue that talked about the 45 mile long stretch of road that is Warren Avenue. Since this road runs right through the middle of the Warrendale neighborhood, I think it was rather cool and worth repeating on this blog.

For anyone who missed it, you can read the entire article here.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Shooting in Warrendale

For the benefit of anyone who hasn't already heard the news, two children (ages 11 and 13) were shot and killed in their home on Mansfield last Friday. Their 23 year-old cousin Ronel Thompson was also shot in the home but survived. Detroit police found approximately $6,000 worth of cocaine in the home and believe that the adult cousin was a dealer.

Six suspects have been arrested in connection with the shootings, all had convictions on their record for drug related offenses. According to this morning's newspapers, one of the suspects wasn't supposed to on the streets. He was released from the Wayne County Jail ten days earlier when he should have been transferred to the Macomb County Jail where he was scheduled to serve a two-week sentence for fleeing and evading the police.

A few thoughts come rushing to mind in the aftermath of this madness.

First off, drugs kill.

It's really that simple. Drugs don't just kill the users they also kill the drug dealers when they get into fights with rival dealers. More importantly, drugs kill those who get caught in the crossfire - such as the two children who were shot last week.

The second thought that comes to mind from this is that because drugs kill people who were simply standing in the crossfire, it is imperative for the police to intervene; arresting drug dealers and users before shootings like this happen. The fact that enforcement has been so relaxed for so long has turned Detroit's neighborhoods into a virtual Wal-Mart for drug dealers - a place where they can ply their illicit trade with little fear of prosecution.

The fact that Detroit's Warrendale neighborhood is bounded on two sides by Dearborn and on a third side by Dearborn Heights, plus the fact that there is a freeway running through the middle of our neighborhood, means that suburban drug customers can easily come into the neighborhood to make their buys and then quickly leave.

The one bit of good news to come out of this shooting is that I have seen a dramatic increase in the number of police officers in the Warrendale neighborhood. Last night, while waiting for a bus, I saw three police cars and one police van along W. Warren Ave. Shortly after getting on the bus, I saw another police car - bring the total to five Detroit police vehicles that I saw in the Warrendale neighborhood within the span of approximately twenty minutes.

I have lived in the Warrendale neighborhood for years and have never seen five DPD vehicles in one day before, let alone within the span of twenty minutes. I have seen that many downtown several times, but never in the neighborhood.

This increase in police patrols is not without its benefits. I usually see three or four drug deals happen every week. In the past week, I haven't seen a single one.

I'm thrilled that the Detroit Police Department is stepping up its patrols. However, I'm sad that it took the deaths of two children to bring it about.