Saturday, January 31, 2009

Tunnelling Ahead

The actual contracts for the Upper Rouge Tunnel Project have been approved by the Detroit City Council. It will take 1.5 - 2 years of prep work before they are ready to bring in the tunnel boring machine and start the actually digging.

There are currently various support activities in place for the excavation of the Tunnel Boring Machine's launch shaft occurring. As a result, we will see effects on the Warrendale neighborhood. This includes:
  • Closure of Outer Drive in Rouge Park;
  • Near surface work at the outfall structure at Tireman and Spinoza; and
  • Work to connect the pump station discharge conduit to the existing Northwest interceptor near Warren and Pierson.
As always, I will keep everyone updated as this progresses.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Catching Up

These past few weeks have been insane for me. I have a momentary calm in the proverbial storm so I wanted to post a few stories before the next wave hits.

I'm not working this weekend for the first time this month. Hopefully, I'll have a few more posts soon.

Stepping Down As President

It has been my pleasure to serve as president of the Warrendale Community Organization for the past fifteen months. Unfortunately, my commitments at work and with other projects have been taking up much more of my time; a situation that is only likely to get worse in the coming months. Quite frankly, I've let too many things within the organization fall through the cracks.

As a result, I have decided to resign as president of the organization. Harvey Santana, the organization's vice president, will take over in my stead. I'm confident that the organization is in capable hands with him as president.

Stoneflies Bring 'Em Out

More than 90 people joined the Friends of Rouge Park last Saturday to search for stoneflies in the park. I have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised that so many people braved freezing temperatures to find these insects.

One of the important things about stoneflies is that they are known for being intolerant of water pollution. The fact that some were found near the Rouge River is a positive sign for water quality in our area.

More information about stoneflies is available over on Wikipedia.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

I Like What I See

Being the techie - and once upon a time campaign staffer - that I am, I jumped onto the White House's web site a moment ago. I have to say that I liked what I saw.

My congratulations go out to our 44th President of the United States Barack Obama. I wish him well in his coming years in office.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Herding Cats

I have to apologize for not posting lately. A lot has happened these past few days. I carefully prepared a video that illustrates what my life has been like lately.



Yes, it's true. I'm a professional cat herder. (Or at least that's how it feels lately.)

Anyway, I will have more to post soon. Until then, stay warm everyone!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Yelping Through Warrendale

The local search site Yelp.com has finally expanded its reach into the Detroit market. While some businesses aren't thrilled with Yelp, I've found it to be generally helpful and - quite frankly - the most useful site of its kind that is currently available.

Yelp allows visitors to search for restaurants, retail stores, nightlife options and other businesses. More importantly, it allows everyone to review and comment on those particular businesses. You can also browse through the various businesses within a given neighborhood, such as Warrendale. This, of course, displays everything that exists within that geographic area.

Since Yelp is still fairly new to the Detroit area, most of the businesses that are listed on it don't have any reviews. However, that is slowly changing.




My only complaint is that Yelp considers both sides of Greenfield and Ford Rds. to be within the Warrendale neighborhood. As a result, some of the Warrendale businesses listed are actually located in Dearborn - which has never really been considered a part of the neighborhood, but rather simply a part of Dearborn. In the grand scheme of things, this is a rather small detail, but it's worth mentioning.

You can browse through their complete list of businesses within the Warrendale neighborhood here.

CORRECTION: Upper Rouge Tunnel Project

Earlier this week, I posted about how fencing was installed in preparation for the Upper Rouge Tunnel CSO Control Project. In my post about this project in Rouge Park, I made a comment about how this project was expected to take take "several months". In the purest context, that's factually accurate - but not really.

I have since gotten confirmation that this project is expected to take 55 months to complete. In addition, the principal contract for its construction is reportedly still awaiting approval from the City Council. Construction will not begin until after that contract has been approved.

The fencing that was installed this week is expected to remain in place throughout the duration of construction.

Friday, January 09, 2009

West of 14th Street

The folks at Outside.in automatically track the locations of various things that various bloggers are posting about. One of the interesting things about this is that it demonstrates how I'm not only the only person covering the Warrendale neighborhood, I'm the only one covering anything west of 14th Street.

Really.

There are twenty two different on-line sources that are covered by Outside.in. They range from mainstream media outlets to ordinary bloggers.

Even the Detroit News, the Detroit Free Press and Michigan Chronicle are barely covering most of this territory. They, of course, are supposed to be "professional journalists". Ones who, I might add, keep wondering why their readership keeps going down.

This works out to me having an exclusive on almost half of the city of Detroit. I have to admit that a portion of me likes having that much room with essentially no competition.

However, there's another part of me that feels sorry for all of the other bloggers in town. I love the Magic Stick and Lager House as much as anyone else. However, one can only write so many articles are those places before it starts to get boring.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Tip of the Week: Preventing Buglaries (Again)

I had talked about the couple on Warwick who had been robbed four times this year and the complete lack of response that they've received from the Detroit Police Department. This, of course, is the incident that prompted me to start the Tip of the Week series. If we can't count on the police to do, well, anything then at least we should talk about what we can do for ourselves.

This couple typifies a growing problem within the Warrendale neighborhood and many of Detroit's other neighborhoods. There are so many vacant homes in the area because of the mortgage crisis that many neighborhoods have become an almost ideal hunting grounds for criminals. There are still people who have stuff worth stealing. However, because they don't have neighbors anymore who might call the police or otherwise interfere, those criminals can steal stuff in broad daylight with any concern.

One of the things that we discussed at the Warrendale Community Organization meeting last night was: What are some of the things that ordinary people can do to minimize these things?

There were two suggestions brought forward that I want to share with everyone as a special bonus Tip of the Week.

First, since criminals rely on vacant homes for cover, it was suggested that anything that can be done to make a vacant home look lived in is a very good idea. Pick up the mail. Park your car in a vacant driveway. Anything.

Second, since these criminals rely on the homeowner not being home when they break in, it was also suggested that folks who live near a vacant home - and that's a lot of us - change their schedule as often as possible. If criminals have to wonder whether or not the homeowner is likely to return at any moment, they're more likely to move on to another location.

With one job schedule, this is always a challenge. However, even the smallest change that you can make will help to keep criminals off-balance and less likely to strike.

If anyone else has any other ideas, please feel free to share them. You're welcome to leave a note in the comments section of this blog.

Upper Rouge Tunnel Project Begins

The Detroit Department of Water & Sewage has begun its Upper Rouge Tunnel Project. They have installed fencing along W. Warren Ave. and Outer Drive in Rouge Park.

The project's official name, by the way, is the Upper Rouge Tunnel CSO Control Project. I know this, of course, because of the sign that was posted near the construction site.

Several hundred feet of fencing were installed as the first step in this process. The project will take several months to complete and is expected to cost a little over $316 million, all of which is paid for by water revenue.

By the way, for the curious among us, a quick review of the Google machine tells me that the "CSO" in "CSO Control" stands for "Combined Sewer Overflow". The whole process is designed to better accommodate both storm water and waste water as they flow through the area; bringing Detroit's system into compliance with standards from the EPA as well as the Clean Water Act.

A portion of me would prefer to not think about either sewage or sewage overflows. However, if I hadn't Googled that term then I'd probably be wondering about it all night.

Anyway, I wasn't able to make it over yesterday to snap any photos of the work. Luckily, David L. Malhalab was willing and able to lend his camera to the cause. The photos that appear in this post are courtesy of him.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Tip of the Week: Facebook

If you're reading this blog then presumably you have two things:
  1. Internet access; and
  2. Some kind of an interest in Detroit's Warrendale neighborhood.
Luckily, this is all that you need to set yourself up with a Facebook profile and join Warrendale's Facebook group. My Tip of the Week is simply to encourage everyone to visit http://www.facebook.com/ and set up a Facebook profile. It's completely free and only takes a moment.

Once you're on Facebook, use the search bar in the upper-right hand of your screen to search for "Warrendale, Detroit". You'll soon be directed directly to the Warrendale group on Facebook. Once you join, you'll get notices of our monthly dinner parties and other cool things.

The group started with just a handful of people, but it's currently up to 97. I'm looking forward to it crossing the 100-person mark, which should be any day now.

Police Chief to Hold Three Town Hall Meetings

Detroit's Chief of Police James R. Barren will hold three town hall meetings to discuss neighborhood issues. None of these meetings will be in the Warrendale neighborhood, but this should be worth going to anyway.

The first one will be this Friday, January 9 from 6 pm. to 9 p.m. It will happen in the Community Arts Auditorium on Wayne State University's campus, 450 W. Kirby. I would point out the irony that this is a part of Detroit the Detroit Police Department generally doesn't patrol, leaving it the WSU Public Safety Department, but I digress.

The second community meeting will be on Thursday, January 22 from 6 pm. to 9 p.m. It will happen at Wayne County Community College's Eastern Campus, which is located at 5901 E. Conner.

The final of these three meetings will be on Wednesday, February 4 from 6 pm. to 9 p.m. This one will be at the Greater Grace Temple, which is located at 23500 W. Seven Mile.

Refreshments will be served at each of these three meetings.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Featured Business: El Monterey

For several weeks, I've been meaning to launch a new segment on the Warrendale (Detroit) Blog - one that highlights a different business each week. There are some really cool places in and around the neighborhood to spend your hard earned money. Most of them don't get anywhere near as much attention as they probably should.

Well, gosh, darn it - there's no time like the present to start. To kick things off, I'd like to feature El Monterey Mexican Restaurant & Cantina, which is located at 18920 Ford Rd. They took over the former Tijuana's Mexican Kitchen location that has been vacant for more than a year and had a soft opening in August. I'm proud to say that they currently in full swing and are a tremendous asset to the neighborhood.

The restaurant is a warm, inviting location with ample parking in the rear of their building. They have a full bar and some of the best Mexican food in the area. The staff is fantastic. I have a few more photos over on my Flickr page.

Prices at El Monterey are reasonable. I went there with two other people not too long ago. Our combined bill - including tax and tip - was only $54, which is reasonable for three people.

There are a couple of blogs around town who do a much better job at reviewing restaurants. Rather than stealing their thunder, I'll leave a full-scale review up to them. In the meantime, just know that El Monterey has some really good Mexican food, with a full bar and their prices are reasonable.

The Tale of 300 Trees

I've reported before about the tree that came down late Saturday night; blocking traffic on Ashton, south of Paul. It took the City of Detroit's Forestry Division three days to clear it away and re-open the street to traffic.

I found out yesterday that this was one of approximately 300 knocked down trees within the city limits in that the Forestry Division had to clear away. Quite frankly, with that many trees for them to deal with, I'm impressed that they were able to get to the one on Ashton as quickly as they did.

Kudos, therefore, go out from the Warrendale (Detroit) Blog to everyone in the Forestry Division.

Photo credit: Mark Nemecek.