Friday, December 05, 2014

Beautiful people of Detroit

The folks at Travel and Leisure magazine released a poll recently, which claimed that Detroit was home to the least attractive people in the nation while Miami was home to the most attractive. I have absolutely nothing against Miami or its beautiful residents. However, I have to take issue with the notion that Detroiters are unattractive.

Kirsten Haglund - Photo by Matt Billings
Granted, my fat face may not be the most attractive around, but there lots of beautiful women in Detroit. I mean, really - there's a reason why I choose to live in this town and it's not the reasonably priced auto insurance, stellar city services, nor absence of crime. It's the people who keep me here.

For the benefit of anyone from Travel and Leisure who finds their way to my blog via one of the search engines, please allow me to cite a few examples that you presumably missed.

Kirsten Haglund was Miss America 2008 and she is from Detroit. She is also currently president of the Kirsten Haglund Foundation, which provides hope, network, and financial aid to those seeking treatment and freedom from eating disorders. She has also appeared on Hannity, Red-Eye, Fox and Friends Weekend, and The Real Story on Fox News Channel where she talks about women's health issues.

Not to be outdone, Rima Fakih was Miss USA 2010. She was the first Arab American who to hold that title.

Rima Fakih also lives a mere three miles away from Detroit's Warrendale neighborhood in the nearby community of Dearborn, Michigan.

Rima Fakih - U.S. Air Force photo
To put this tidbit into perspective, one has to go all the way to 1967 in order to find someone from the Miami area who won the Miss USA pageant, in spite of Travel and Leisure's claim that they are home to the most attractive people in the nation. In contrast, three different women, including Rima Fakih, have won the title since then.

No one from Miami, by the way, has ever been crowned Miss America in the 93 year history of that pageant. Five different women from the Detroit area, though, including Kirsten Haglund, have won that title.

Now, I know what everyone at Travel and Leisure must be thinking at this moment, "beauty pageants alone aren't effective way of measuring the attractiveness of a city's population."

They're right in such an argument, which is why I won't stop at beauty pageants. The women of Detroit, after all, have a lot more to offer than just that.

Alexa Spierling is a country singer/songwriter whose Mom grew up in the Warrendale neighborhood of Detroit. She has an amazing voice that has thrilled audiences from around the country.

She is also as attractive as can be. If anyone doubts me, the music video for her song "Walk Away" is available below. It gives one three minutes, 44 seconds of opportunity to realize how beautiful Alexa Spierling looks and sounds.

And she lives in the Detroit area.



Shall I continue?

Tania Marie Caringi - Photo by Scott Spellman,
Hair & make up by Elia Liz
Yes, I think I will continue.

After all, there are so many attractive people in Detroit it would seem like a shame not to mention a few more more them.

Tania Marie Caringi is a friend of mine who just happens to be a model and actress. She has worked throughout the United States and in Europe. As part of her modelling work, she is currently the face of LuLu Cosmetics.

She was also named the most beautiful woman in the world by MODE Lifestyle. Quite frankly, I have a certain amount of trouble disagreeing with them on this one.

And, yes, Tania Marie Caringi lives right here in Detroit with a lot of other beautiful people.

Of course, neither MODE Lifestyle nor I are the only ones to recognize how attractive Detroiters are. There are even those who have used this beauty in their commercials.

Actually, there are a lot of companies that have used Detroit in their commercials. Those commercials have ranged from the Super Bowl spots to regional ones.

One of my favorite ones was when the folks at Fiat teamed up with Jenny Bauer to create a commercial for the Fiat 500, which showcases the beauty of both Detroit and her residents. The result is nothing short of spectacular, in my opinion.




Oh, and speaking of Jenny Bauer, here is another video that is just her being an unattractive woman from Detroit. It was created by Jerome Duran of Mediatropics. It's probably not safe for work - but it is awesomely sexy.



#NSFW

And then there is another woman whose photograph has previously appeared on this blog back in 2012 to celebrate the founder of Detroit, Antoine Cadillac.

Elizabeth Grutza is another friend of mine. She is a model, actress, bartender, and all-around awesome person.

Elizabeth Grutza - Photo by David Yee
She also lives in Detroit where she seems determined to refute the claim that Detroiters are unattractive. (Seriously, her and her fiance Brian are two of the most beautiful people anyone could ever hope to meet.)

And here's the thing, Travel and Leisure readers, these are just a small sampling of attractive Detroiters; one that is based on images that I could get the rights to publish in under five minutes. If I spent a little bit more time, I could produce photographs and video of hundreds of thousands of beautiful Detroiters.

Of course, one could also make the argument that the folks at Travel and Leisure did me a huge favor by proclaiming Detroit to be home of the most unattractive people in the nation. Surveys like that, after all, do keep the number of people flocking to Detroit down a bit.

That, in turn, means that I'm able to keep more of the beautiful women of Detroit to myself.

Thursday, December 04, 2014

"Cody High" receives 5 Dove rating

The Dove Foundation, which advocates for families and for moving Hollywood in a more family-friendly direction, recently honored Cody High: A Life Remodeled Project with their 5 Dove designation. The show focuses on family near Cody High School, just north of the Warrendale neighborhood.

"Cody High: A Life Remodeled Project is a remarkable movie about remarkable people," the group explained in a prepared statement. "The people of Detroit - construction workers, coaches, politicians, people from churches, people from all backgrounds - become involved to improve Cody Rouge in 2014. People help remodel a home for young wheelchair- bound Ebony and her mother, they clean up the neighborhood and paint and remove debris. One hundred blocks of city blight are transformed due to their efforts. To see Ebony’s response and her grateful spirit is alone worth watching this fine documentary."

Their statement went on to add, "This is a feel-good film of the best kind, because it is a documentary based on real life! Principal Johnathon Matthews of Cody High School speaks about the previous lack of involvement but how that profoundly changes. The graduation rate was below 40 percent, but it begins to climb due to the involvement of coaches and concerned parents and citizens of Detroit. Sports becomes more meaningful as the Hope football field is created for the local team. Hope is kindled in this wonderful film. This movie has earned five Doves, our best rating. It is an inspiring and true story about a group of incredible, dedicated people."

If you haven't had a chance to see Cody High, then you don't want to miss the last screening of 2014 held at the Boll Family YMCA Theater this Saturday. The event information is as follows: 1401 Broadway St, Detroit, MI 48226 on Saturday, December 6th 2014 at 5:00 pm.

Vacancy on the Detroit City Council

City Council meeting - Photo by Frank Nemecek
There is a vacancy on the Detroit City Council due to Saunteel Jenkins's recent resignation; one which any resident is allowed to apply to fill. Yesterday afternoon, I submitted my application to fill that vacancy.

For years now, I've screamed into the proverbial wind - both on this blog and elsewhere - about ways that things could be done better in this town. I know it's a long shot that I'll be selected to fill that slot. However, I feel like if I don't throw my hat into the ring, I'll spend years wondering what would have happened if I had done so.

The Detroit City Council will schedule a series of interviews with applicants in January. The Council as a whole will then decide who will fill Jenkins's seat until the next election. I will keep everyone updated as this develops.

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Girls can code the National Christmas Tree

National Christmas Tree - Photo by Tim Evanson
The National Park Foundation, the official charity of America's national parks, announced yesterday its partnership with Google in support of the 92nd annual National Christmas Tree Lighting. Thanks to Google's Made with Code initiative, girls from the Warrendale neighborhood and across the country will experience the beauty of code by lighting up holiday trees in President's Park, one of America's 401 national parks and home to the White House.

"Millions of girls will have the chance to explore science, technology, engineering, and math in connection with one of America's national parks and as part of a historic American holiday tradition," said Dan Wenk, president of the National Park Foundation. "We are grateful for Google's partnership and shared commitment to connecting youth to our nation's treasured places."

Google's Made with Code is a movement launched in June 2014 to inspire millions of girls to learn to code, and to help them see coding as a means to pursue their dream careers.  Beginning on December 2, girls can head to madewithcode.com to code a design for one of the 56 state and territory trees. Girls can select the shape, size, and color of the lights, and animate different patterns using introductory programming language and their designs will appear live on the trees.

"Made with Code is a fun and easy way for millions of girls to try introductory code and see Computer Science as a foundation for their futures. We're thrilled that this holiday season families across the country will be able to try their hands at a fun programming project," stated Google's Susan Molinari, vice president of public policy and government affairs.

"While national parks are famous for breathtaking scenery and American history, there's a lot more to their care than meets the eye," National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis added. "More than ever, the National Park Service relies on scientists, engineers and good data to take the best care of these special places. We want to spark an early love for science and math and match it with a passion for nature and history – the National Park Foundation and Google are helping us do just that."

Presented by the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation, the National Christmas Tree Lighting will be held Thursday, December 4, 2014, at 5 p.m. Girls can code their own state and territory trees throughout the month of December, and visitors can see and code the designs live in Washington, D.C.

For event information and talent announcements, please visit www.thenationaltree.org and follow the National Christmas Tree on Twitter at @TheNationalTree. Join the conversation online using the hashtag #NCTL2014.

Help for City of Detroit retirees

As a part of the Detroit Bankruptcy solution, the State of Michigan, the Retirement Systems of the City of Detroit, the Michigan Association of CPAs and the Accounting Aid Society have come together to provide pensioners with supplemental aid. Applications for this program are now being accepted.

The Income Stabilization Benefit Program was created as part of the Detroit bankruptcy resolution. The State of Michigan’s Treasury Department is conducting the application process. Retirees who qualify would receive a supplemental pension benefit to prevent pensioners from falling below the poverty line as a result of the bankruptcy pension cuts.  The Retirement Systems for the City of Detroit, using information provided in the application, will calculate the amount of the benefit, which would vary for each person but could restore most of the benefit cut required by the City’s Plan of Adjustment for those that qualify.

Eligibility for the benefits will be determined by age, income and household size. Applicants must be aged 60 years or older (or under 18 years of age) on the effective date of the Plan of Adjustment, occurring in December of 2014.

Applications will be mailed to retirees, and also will be available for download at the Retirement Systems of the City of Detroit website at www.rscd.org.

Two information sessions regarding the Plan of Adjustment and the Income Stabilization Benefit Program will occur on the same day – Wednesday, December 17. The first will take place from 2 – 4 p.m. at Fellowship Chapel (7707 W. Outer Dr.) in Detroit. The second will be held from 6 – 8 p.m. at Renaissance Unity Church (11200 E. 11 Mile) in Warren.

Dedicated staff will be on hand to help retirees who may qualify fill out applications to the Income Stabilization Benefit program, and to answer questions related to the Plan of Adjustment.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Side Lot Fair this Saturday

Mayor Mike Duggan - Press photo
The City of Detroit has unveiled a program whereby resident will be able to purchase vacant lots next to their homes. This, of course, was part of Mayor Mike Duggan's 10-point plan to rebuild our neighborhoods.

For those who are interested in knowing more about this program, there will be an information side lot fair this Saturday, December 6 from 2 - 5 p.m.The event will happen at the Don Bosco Hall (19321 W. Chicago), which is just north of the Warrendale neighborhood in Detroit.

This event will teach Detroiters how they can buy vacant lots near them and then put those lots to use.

This program is free and open to the public. It is presented by the Detroit Land Bank Authority. Those who wish to attend are asked to RSVP by clicking here.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving


There are Thanksgiving greetings and then there is a Thanksgiving greeting from outer space.

Ladies and gentlemen of Warrendale, I give you a Thanksgiving greeting from on-board the International Space Station.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Detroit named one of the top cities for shopping locally

Small business in action - Photo by Frank Nemecek
As millions of small retailers prepare for Small Business Saturday on November 29, I believe it's worth noting that Detroit was recently named one of the best cities in America for shopping locally. A survey conducted by Yelp and Nielsen found that Detroit has the sixth highest concentration of highly rated retail businesses where consumers can buy gifts this holiday season.

Detroit, I should add, is also the largest city to make the top 20 in this list. Portland, Maine took the top spot in the survey. They were followed by Lawrence, Kansas, St. Petersburg, Florida, Asheville, North Carolina, Santa Cruz, California, and then Detroit in the number six spot.

Rounding out the top twenty in this list of the best cities for shopping locally was

  • Bend, Oregon
  • Chapel Hill, North Carolina
  • Wilmington, North Carolina
  • Hoboken, New Jersey
  • Minneapolis, Minneapolis
  • Portland, Oregon
  • Frederick, Maryland
  • Flagstaff, Arizona
  • New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Worcester, Massachusetts
  • Savannah, Georgia
  • Providence, Rhode Island
  • Seattle, Washington and
  • Baltimore, Maryland
I want to take a moment to congratulate all of the small business owners in the Warrendale neighbor and across Detroit for giving some great options for shopping locally.

Publisher's Note: This story is presented as part of this blog's semi-regular Friday Focus series, which features stories that I do not believe are getting sufficient attention from the mainstream media. Please check back next week for another Friday Focus story.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Detroit examines creating its own auto insurance for residents

Auto insurance has long been the bane of many Detroiters. The rates that city residents pay is dramatically higher than those paid by our suburban neighbors and this has been one of the many impediments to bother attracting new residents as well as retaining current ones. All of this may change, though, thanks to a plan approved by the City Council today.

The City of Detroit has hired Pinnacle Actuarial Services of Bloomington, Illinois to examine the feasibility of creating a city-owned insurance program. This program, tentatively called D Insurance, would provide city residents with auto insurance rate that much cheaper than what is currently available.

This idea has been proposed several times over the years, most notably by former City Council Member Kwame Kenyatta. However, prior to today, no action has ever been taken on making it a reality.

I believe this is an important first step in either creating such a program or in scaring the crap out insurance companies so that they make changes to their rates. I commend Mayor Mike Duggan as well as Council Member Gabe Leland who represents the Warrendale and its surrounding neighborhoods on the Detroit City Council and each of the other council members for taking this important first step.


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Featured Place to Live: 6784 Asbury Park

6784 Asbury Park - Photo courtesy of the Detroit Land Bank Authority
The Detroit Land Bank Authority is currently auctioning a four bedroom, 1.5 bath brick bungalow in Detroit's Warrendale neighborhood. The home, located at 6784 Asbury Park, does need some work but has tremendous potential and it reasonably priced. The current bid for this home is only $1,600 plus the 2014 property taxes.

This charming home features an open layout as well as:

  • Stone-clad living room wall;
  • Fireplace;
  • Wood paneling;
  • Bay window at the house’s rear;
  • Open living room leading directly to a large back patio
  • Sizable front window, allowing plenty of natural light to enter;
  • Wood floors; and
  • Detached garage.
Additional photos of this home are available here. There are also several attractive financing options available for this home, with more information available here.

6784 Asbury Park is your Featured Place to Live for this week.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Board of Police Commissioners to meet in Warrendale

Detroit police officer on patrol - Photo by Frank Nemecek
The Board of Police Commissioners will meet in the Warrendale neighborhood on Thursday, November 13  at 6:30 p.m. This meeting will be at the Boys and Girls Club (16500 Tireman Ave.).

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy will be a special guest at this meeting.

The public is invited to attend this special meeting.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Happy Veterans Day

Soldiers standing guard - Photo courtesy of the U.S. Army
There are some debts that can never be fully repaid. To each and every one of those who served this great nation of ours, I simply say, "Thank you!"

I want to wish a happy Veterans Day to all of the veterans - both in Detroit's Warrendale neighborhood and beyond. Regardless of which branch you served in, or when and where your service took place, this nation owes you a debt of gratitude.

Thank you, Veterans!

Sunday, November 09, 2014

25 years since the Berlin Wall came down


I remember the day - 25 years ago today - when the Berlin Wall came down. It seemed like the world was changing, the Cold War was ending, and it was all happening faster than anyone could keep track of it.

Today, the Cold War is over and the Soviet Union no longer exists. The world is still changing. In fact, the rate at which it is changing has only accelerated and people are still struggling to keep up with those changes.

Still, it's worth pausing to remember one of those pivotal moments in human history; the moment when the Berlin Wall came down.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Charlie LeDuff deals with squatter in Warrendale

Fox 2 News Headlines

The one and only Charlie LeDuff cracked down on a squatter who was illegally living in a house on Artesian Street in Detroit's Warrendale neighborhood. He did it, of course, in typical Charlie LeDuff style by squatting on the squatter.

The result is perfect. Not only to the rightful homeowner get her home back, but the squatter ended up getting arrested.

Please take a moment to watch his report.

Monday, November 03, 2014

Art Van teams up with Humble Design and COTS for fundraiser

The future looks a bit brighter for some of the families experiencing homelessness in Detroit. Local nonprofits, Humble Design and Coalition On Temporary Shelter (COTS), have teamed up with Art Van Furniture to help families overcoming homelessness.

The trio has planned a celebratory event to launch their collaboration.  The event, ‘There Is No Place Like Home,’ will take place on November 19, 2014 from 6-8 p.m. inside the new Scott Shuptrine Interiors, which is located at 32301 Woodward Avenue in Royal Oak.

The objective of this partnership is to make a house a home and provide supportive services to 12 homeless families.  Funds raised from this initiative will provide the security deposit and first month’s rent; new and gently used furniture, along with accessories and home supplies; a new mattresses for each family member; and continued supportive services. The organizations seek to raise $60,000 to support this initiative.

A full cocktail bar and strolling hors d’oeuvres will be available for attendee’s enjoyment. Renowned local artists Stevie Soul and Omar Aragones will keep the crowd entertained with their signature sounds throughout the evening. Complimentary valet parking will also be available.

Event supporters can peruse the state-of-the-art gallery and learn more about each organization within this new partnership. Scott Shuptrine has graciously offered to gift 15 percent of all furniture and furnishing sales made during the event back to the partnering nonprofits.

“We encourage supporters, both new and old, to attend,” said Julie Nagle, Director of Humble Design. “With Art Van Furniture backing both organizations, we can provide furniture for more families that are striving to escape the cycle of homelessness.”

COTS’ chief executive director Cheryl P. Johnson added, “It is partnerships such as this that serve to empower families experiencing homelessness.  Together we are helping to end the cycle of poverty and homelessness and create stable homes for children to be educated and to thrive. With participation from supporters, we all can take pride in helping others succeed.”

Tickets for this event are free, but a donation of at least $50 is encouraged and appreciated. To RSVP please visit ThereIsNoPlaceLikeHomeTickets.eventbrite.com before November 12, 2014.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Win VIP tickets to see Hunter Hayes

Hunter Hayes - Press photo
Readers of the Warrendale (Detroit) Blog can win free VIP tickets to see Hunter Hayes at the Palace of Auburn Hills and to meet him after the show. He will bring his award-winning country music performance there on Saturday, November 22.

Hunter Hayes has been nominated for four Grammy Awards, including Best New Artist. He also won the Country Music Association Award for New Artist of 2012 and three BMI Awards.

To enter, participants can download and register on Rowl.com, a world-class discovery and engagement app that cuts through social media clutter to deliver the most relevant major and local events directly to fans.

The official rules for this Hunter Hayes contest are available on-line here.

Your chance to see Hunter Hayes live in concert is the latest installment in the Friday Focus series.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Meeting with social work students

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, October 24, 2014

Halloween parties in Warrendale

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, October 17, 2014

Friday Focus: Conference to explore medicine and the arts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SMIRNOFF Vodka and Spotify throw the Ultimate House Party in Detroit

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

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

Loading
Smirnoff Ultimate House Party

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

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

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

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Volunteers needed this Saturday in Rouge Park

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

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

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

Bumping into Gabe Leland

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

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

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

Friday, September 26, 2014

Truck knocks out pedestrian bridge


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

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

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

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Volunteers need in Rouge Park

The Greening of Detroit is planning a tree planting on Saturday, October 4 from  9 a.m. - 1 p.m. on the east side of Spinoza just north of Tireman. They are asking  the community to help them plant trees. Training and tools will be provided.

As an ongoing effort to support its mission, they will be working in the park to replace the lost tree canopy.  By planting trees on the city owned property between the sidewalk and the street, this will assist in reducing basement flooding, that is caused from storm water overflow.

There will be planting along the Southfield service drive as well. This planting will benefit help to produce clean air by absorbing the carbon dioxide from vehicle emissions, also creating a green barrier which will produce sound reduction.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Movie night in Rouge Park

The Incredibles - Disney/Pixar
The sixth and eighth precincts of the Detroit Police Department will present a movie night in Rouge Park for area families. This will happen at the corner of Joy Rd. and Spinoza in Rouge Park this coming Friday, starting at 6 p.m. The film this month will be the Disney/Pixar smash hit The Incredibles.

The movie is free. Families are encouraged to bring a blanket as well as their own snacks.

In the event on inclement weather this Friday, there is an alternate rain date of Friday, October 3.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Hello Kitty Cadillac on Faust Street

Hello Kitty Cadillac - Photo by Frank Nemecek
I see some strange things as I walk the streets of Warrendale. However, this one is particularly unique. I saw it over on Faust, just north of Sawyer.

Someone actually took a white Cadillac, spray painted it hot pink, and slapped Hello Kitty decals on it. The result is visible above.

I have nothing further to add to this one.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Pizza party this Wednesday

The September pizza party for the Warrendale (Detroit) Blog will happen this coming Wednesday, September 17 at 6:30 p.m. at Gracie See Pizzeria (6889 Greenfield Rd.) As always, the first pizza is on me.

After that, we simply order from the menu and split the check when it arrives.

Everyone is welcome to join us.

Kristen Renton in Warrendale

I posted last week that Kristen Renton, who plays Ima on Sons of Anarchy, would be making a special appearance at the Toy Chest Bar (18728 Ford Rd.). The bar, of course, is at the southern end of Detroit's Warrendale neighborhood.

My original post about Kristen Renton's special appearance is available here. She was in town to celebrate her birthday Detroit-style.

I was able to go and had a chance to meet her. I have to say I was impressed with how warm and approachable Kristen Renton was.




I had a great time celebrating Kristen Renton's birthday with her. I'll keep my fingers crossed that she comes back to Detroit some time soon.

Update @ 7:44 p.m.
In addition to the photo that I posted above, the crew at the Toy Chest Bar posted a total of 66 photos from Kristen Renton's visit to their establishment on their Facebook page. Those photos are available here.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Kristen Renton comes to Warrendale

Kristen Renton - Photo by Jeff Xander
Hollywood will come to Detroit's Warrendale neighborhood this Saturday when Kristen Renton, who is best known for playing Ima on FX's Sons of Anarchy, makes a special appearance at the Toy Chest Bar (18728 Ford Rd.). She will be there this Saturday to sign autographs, pose for photos with her fans, and celebrate her birthday.

While Kristen Renton is perhaps best known for playing Ima on Sons of Anarchy as well as Morgan Hollingswoth on Days of Our Lives, she has a total of 21 acting credits to her name. She has also appeared on CSI: Miami, The Andy Dick Show, and several other television shows as well as in four different motion pictures.

In addition her acting and volunteer work, according to her biography, Kristen Renton is enrolled in Pennsylvania State University where she is majoring in psychology and maintains a 4.0 grade point average. Penn State, by the way, is also her parents' alma mater.

I look forward to seeing Kristen Renton at the Toy Chest Bar tomorrow night. It should be another fun night in the neighborhood.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Duggan endorses Santana for state house

Mayor Mike Duggan endorsed incumbent State Representative Harvey Santana in his final re-election bid for the 9th District of Michigan House of Representatives. The primary election for this race is this coming Tuesday. Santana is opposed by newcomer Hussein Barry who is apparently basing his entire campaign on attacking without mentioning what he would do differently.

During his tenure this far, Santana has worked to address issues such as abandoned homes, squatters, and blight. He was also pivotal in getting a $330,000 allocation for Brennan Pools in Rouge Park as well as restoring funding for Detroit's Hutzel Women's Hospital.

If re-elected, this will be Santana's third term in the Michigan House of Representatives. He will not be eligible for forth term in that office due to term limits.

Detroit can be surreal

Detroit can be rather surreal at times. For example, I was at Tony V's Tavern in Midtown yesterday evening (photo of the place from my Instagram account is above). I spent some time reliving one of my more embarrassing moments with a couple of people that I haven't seen in years and then planned a series of fashion videos with one of those individuals.

And then I came home to Warrendale where I had to chase a neighbor's chickens out of my driveway so I could park my car.

The contrast between those two moments - within an hour and 10 miles of each other - just strikes me as surreal.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Derelict apartment building demolished

Formerly a blighted building - Photo by Frank Nemecek
The burned out, and mostly collapsed, apartment building at corner of Tireman and Pierson Streets has been demolished after sitting in its derelict condition for more than decade.

Former Mayor Kwame M. Kilpatrick proposed demolishing more than dozen large commercial structures, including this one, back in 2007 as a way to help stimulate Detroit's local economy. That, of course, never happened and the building continued to sit there.

The building is demolished now. More importantly, trees and grass has been planted on the site. This means that the land that building used to sit on will blend perfectly into Rouge Park.

I'm glad to see it happen.

Friday, July 25, 2014

LED Streetlights coming to the Warrendale neighborhood

Contractors installing light poles - Photo by Frank Nemecek
Contractors from Detroit's Public Lighting Authority have been busy lately installing removing old streetlights and installing new ones. Their first step is to install a new pole for the lights.

Once that pole has had a chance to settle in the ground for a few days, they will install a new LED streetlight onto it.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Open Letter to Jim Diamond (and everyone else downtown)

Downtown and Midtown Detroit are becoming expensive. They are becoming so expensive, in fact that Jim Diamond of Ghetto Recorders can no longer afford to operate there and is considering a move to the suburbs.

An article about this fact, by the way, is available from The Detroit News here.

That's a little sad because he is one of the creative pioneers who helped to make the rebirth of downtown possible.

However, if Jim Diamond or anyone else is interested, I can show them a bunch of really cool spaces in Detroit's Warrendale neighborhood on the far west side that would be a great spot for you.

Plus, you'll be closer to Gracie See Pizzeria, named the best traditional pizza in North America at the International Pizza Expo, as well as Tijuana's Mexican Kitchen, which is one of the best Mexican restaurants in town. You'll also be closer to some shawarma that makes the stuff served downtown seem like left-over Chef Boyardee.

And when you need to burn off all of those calories, you'll also be closer to the largest park in Detroit - one that's bigger than Belle Isle, Campus Martius, Grand Circus, and Hart Plaza combined.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Brennan Pools Re-Open



Brennan Pools in Rouge Park re-opened today after having been closed for nearly two years. The pools were originally closed by former Mayor Dave Bing due to budget cuts.

The pools were able to restored and opened again thanks to $3 million fundraising campaign that was spearheaded by State Representative Harvey Santana and supported by the Speak of the House Jase Bolger. The largest donor to the cause was Lear Corporation, although a variety of other partners contributed as well.

The pools will be open for the rest of the summer every day from 12:30 p.m. until 8 p.m..

Friday, June 27, 2014

Laws and ordinances that relate to fireworks


I used to love fireworks as a kid. Today, however, I hear them so often that I am simply sick of them.

I breathed a tiny sigh of relief, therefore, when I got this sheet in my email from Ricardo Moore, our police commissioner, that outlines the various laws and ordinances regarding fireworks in Detroit. The short version: most of this stuff violates an existing city ordinance.

Now, we just have to get someone to enforce those ordinances.

Monday, June 09, 2014

Consumers Beware: 5 Tips to Keep you Scam-Free this Summer

For the majority of Americans who plan to take a vacation, attend a concert, or work on their home or garden this summer, this season comes with its own unique consumer challenges. As this week's Tip of the Week feature, here are the top five scams and frauds to be alert for this time of year:

  1. Don’t buy gas additives that claim to make fuel last longer. Even though gas prices go up in the summer, the Environmental Protection Agency has not found any product that significantly improves gas mileage, and some could damage a car’s engine or increase exhaust emissions.
  2. Unlicensed home repair or landscaping contractors may come to your door to offer services. Always research contractors, pay for services upon completion—not ahead of time— and consider using a signed contract outlining the work to be done and the exact price.
  3. Interested in a summer concert or festival? If you buy tickets from a major vendor, remember surcharges and additional fees may be tacked onto the listed price. Some venues require the same credit card used to purchase tickets be presented when the tickets are picked up, so if you’re buying tickets for someone as a gift, they may have difficulty getting them at will-call.
  4. When renting a beach or lake house for vacation, make sure the property actually exists. Do your homework before paying— check out the owner or rental company, consult maps and read the lease carefully. Pay with an online payment service or a credit card so you can dispute the charges if something goes wrong.
  5. When flying, make sure you’re aware of the airline’s baggage charges and their policy when it comes to bumping passengers. A lot of airlines “bump” depending on how late you checked in, so check in ASAP!

For more advice on protecting your money, order the Consumer Action Handbook, which is available here. Also, follow USA.gov on Facebook and Twitter. If you have your own consumer questions, ask us using the hashtag #AskMarietta, and they’ll answer them live during a Google hangout on Tuesday, June 24 at 3 p.m. ET.   

Don't leave your keys in your car overnight

I see some rather strange things as I go running or walking through the streets of Detroit's Warrendale neighborhood. (Okay - I see strange things everywhere. It's just the ones in Warrendale that fit this blog.) Regardless, I was surprised to see a set of keys dangling from a car door on Ashton near Kirkwood recently.

I also wonder which happened first: the owner coming back to retrieve his or her keys or someone taking advantage of this situation and stealing said car.

Guest commentary: Ricardo Moore, Police Commissioner

The following is a piece that was written by Ricardo R. Moore. He is the Police Commissioner for the District 7 in Detroit, which includes the Warrendale neighborhood.

Ricardo Moore campaigning in Warrendale - Photo by Frank Nemecek
As a police commissioner, I understand the role of checks and balances in respect to the Detroit Police Department. I also understand promoting peace and the long-term outcomes of doing such.

It’s important for us not to be reactionary to criticism but proactive to our thoughts and beliefs of a safer city. Moving the focus from the negative to the positive is needed.

In a lot of instances, leaders have programmed the citizenry for negativity: the violence, the robberies, the blood, the unsolved crimes. Pain is something everyone can relate to, and therefore, it’s served as a main course.

Currently, the Detroit Police Department is focusing on the positive aspects as opposed to the negative, more familiar headlines. A healthy, motivated and transparent DPD changes the community for the better.

A person feels safer when he or she senses the tone of their environment changing (streetlight repairs, blight removed, potholes fixed, visible leaders in the community). This tone is set from managers who control resources.

Leaders should always accent the positive, while also safeguarding lives and property.

I challenge every leader in southeast Michigan to put personal agendas aside and work for the betterment of our hometown, our city, our future.

Sincerely,

Ricardo R. Moore
Police Commissioner
Detroit Police Department

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Water and Sewage director sentenced to jail

The former director of the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department was sentenced to eight months in a halfway house after having pleaded guilty to conspiracy in the case of former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, announced U.S. Attorney Barbara L. McQuade.

Joining on the announcement were Paul M. Abbate, Special Agent in Charge of the Detroit Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Carolyn Weber, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation Division; and Randall K. Ashe, Special Agent in Charge, Environmental Protection Agency, Criminal Investigation Division.

U.S. District Judge Nancy G. Edmunds imposed sentence on Victor Mercado, 62, of Stuart, Florida.

According to the superseding information, from June 2002 to June 2008, Mercado served as director of the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD), reporting directly to Kilpatrick. In this capacity, Mercado was responsible for administering more than $2 billion in contracts with private companies.

The plea documents stated that Mercado, acting at the direction of Kilpatrick, unlawfully steered contracts and payments to Kilpatrick co-conspirator Bobby Ferguson. Mercado influenced the procurement process to Ferguson’s advantage and directed a bidder to include Ferguson on a DWSD contract if the bidder wanted to receive favorable consideration on the bid. Mercado took these steps as a result of regular and consistent pressure from Kilpatrick and his staff to help Ferguson obtain DWSD business regardless of procurement policies, rules, and regulations.

“Although Mr. Mercado was acting under pressure from the mayor, he must be held accountable for abusing his position of trust and causing harm to the city,” McQuade said.

“While director of the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department, Mr. Mercado violated the law by unlawfully steering business contracts at the direction of the former mayor,” explained Abbate. “This criminal conduct inflicted economic harm upon the city, and Mr. Mercado must be held accountable for his actions.”

“Illegally influencing the bidding process for managing wastewater and sewage can significantly endanger public health and safety,” said Ashe. “As a public servant charged with protecting Detroit’s residents, these actions are particularly egregious. Today’s sentence sends a clear message that EPA and its partners will prosecute municipal officials that skirt their responsibility to protect those they serve.”

“Public corruption remains a top priority for IRS-Criminal Investigation, and this case represents the value of the collaborate efforts of law enforcement to hold those in positions of public trust accountable,” added Weber.

From January 2002 to January 2006, Kilpatrick served as special administrator over the DWSD. That designation, arising from a federal consent decree resolving a lawsuit alleging federal environmental violations, gave Kilpatrick authority to award DWSD contracts directly with outside parties, bypassing city procurement procedures, and also gave Kilpatrick responsibility over the operation of DWSD’s wastewater treatment plant to ensure compliance with environmental standards.

As stated in the plea documents, Kilpatrick used his position as Mayor of Detroit and Special Administrator of DWSD to pressure city contractors to give subcontracts or payments obtained under those contracts to Ferguson, or risk having the contracts delayed, awarded to competitors, or canceled, resulting in economic harm. Invoking and otherwise exploiting his well-known affiliation with former Mayor Kilpatrick, Ferguson pressured city contractors to hire or pay him for DWSD contracts.

This case was investigation by special agents of the FBI, IRS, and EPA-CID and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Mark Chutkow, Michael Bullotta, and Eric Doeh.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Mayor Duggan to meet with district residents

Mayor Mike Duggan
Mayor Mike Duggan will host a meeting with residents of Detroit's seventh district, which includes the Warrendale neighborhood. This meeting will happen on Thursday, May 22 at 7 p.m. in the Kadesh Missionary Baptist Church (20361 Plymouth Rd.), which is a mile north of Warrendale.

Parking is available in the parking lot adjacent to the church. Doors open at 6 PM and the meeting will adjourn promptly at 8:30 p.m.

All residents and stakeholders of the Warrendale and surrounding neighborhoods are encouraged to attend this meeting.

Metal thieves really will steal anything

There are moments when I see something while out in the neighborhood; I'll snap a photo of it with my phone. I will upload it to one of my social media accounts, with every intention of also uploading it here. Unfortunately, I don't always remember to do so.

Especially when I'm as busy as I have been these past few weeks.

Anyway, the latest example of this a series of photos from Ryan Playground (5741 Faust Ave.) at the southern end of the Warrendale neighborhood. These photos clearly show that metal thieves really and truly will still anything if they think they can sell it for scrap.

Someone decided to steal a large chunk of the chain-link fencing that used to be at the northern end of the playground. I'm not sure how much they'll get for stolen fencing when they try to sell it for scrap metal. Still, they stole it.


Not to be outdone, someone also tried to steal this climbing set that has been in the playground for decades. I remember climbing on this thing as a kid way back in the 1970s.


I have to admit that I am more than a little frustrated with people who steal all of this stuff. If anyone knows anything about who stole these things, please call the Detroit Police Department and then reach out to me.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Detroit Tigers Foundation is hiring event staff

The Detroit Tigers Foundation is hiring ten new event staff members on a seasonal basis. Staffers will work at Comerica Park for the duration of the 2014 baseball season.

These staff members will be responsible for selling 50/50 raffle tickets before each Detroit Tigers home game on Fridays and Saturdays. They will also assist with other related events on other days, both at Comerica Park and elsewhere.

More information about this job is available here. Event staff for the Detroit Tigers Foundation is your job of the day for Monday, April 21.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Report dog fighting. Collect $5,000

There is a dog fighting operation in or around the Warrendale neighborhood in Detroit. I don't know much about it, except that dogs used in it have been dumped inside Rouge Park.

This is why I'm glad that the Humane Society of the United States is offering a $5,000 reward for information regarding dog fighting operations, such the one that has apparently set up shop in our neighborhood. I'm confident that $5,000 will unlock someone's lips - especially since you can collect it anonymously.

Anyone with information about dog fighting in Detroit or elsewhere is asked to call the Humane Society at 1-877-TIP-HSUS. Your identity will be protected and you can collect $5,000 for turning these people in.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Obama's chemtrails keep Detroit from record-setting snow

The snow that was supposed to hit Detroit today isn't coming after all. As one looks at the extended weather forecast, it becomes clear that Detroiters aren't likely to have anymore snow this season.

This, of course, means that Detroiters will not cross the proverbial threshold. We will not beat the all-time record for snowiest year in recorded history.

Multiple chemtrails - Photo by NOAA

I think we can all agree that this is the fault of President Barack Obama. He had the guys doing chemtrail spraying work overtime in January and February to get us close to this record. But then, being the tyrant that he is, he had them stop just short of the record.

Curse you, President Obama! Curse you.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Man shot in Wendy's parking lot


WXYZ-TV is reporting that a 34-year old man was shot in the abdomen in the parking lot of a Wendy's (18430 Ford Rd.) at the southern end of the Warrendale neighborhood in Detroit. The victim is reportedly in serious condition at Sinai-Grace Hospital, where he will likely require surgery. The shooter, according to witnesses, fled the scene on foot.

It's not clear what the motive for this shooting was. The Detroit Police Department along with officers from the Dearborn Police Department since this happened on the border. Detroit police will continue to investigate this matter.

Anyone with information about this shooting is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-SPEAK-UP. There may be a reward available if your information leads to an arrest.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Detroit police officer hit by van

WDIV-TV is reporting that a Detroit police officer was hit by a van earlier today. This happened on Mansfield Street, approximately one block north of W. Warren Avenue in the Warrendale neighborhood.

The officer was reportedly transported to a local hospital. The current condition, as well as the identity, of this officer are not known.

More updates as they become available.

Icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa visits Warrendale

The Icon of Our Lady of CzÄ™stochowa (more commonly referred to as "The Black Madonna") has been credited by Catholics with a multitude of miracles and healings – both of a spiritual and physical nature. Now, after traveling 40,000 miles from Vladivostok in Russia through 24 countries in Europe, she is in North America and will be visiting the Warrendale neighborhood

This visit will happen at Ss. Peter & Paul Catholic Church (7685 Grandville Ave.). The church has released a schedule of events for this visit.

Wednesday, March 26
  • 5 p.m. - Arrival of the Icon;
  • 5:15 p.m. - Divine Mercy Chaplet;
  • Confessions until 6:45 p.m.;
  • Private Adoration until 7 p.m.;
  • 7 p.m. - Holy Mass (English and Polish) - Father Peter West, Celebrant;
  • Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament following Holy Mass
  • Perpetual Help Devotion, Holy Rosary in Defense of Life (English and Polish), Litany of Loreto (Sung in Polish), Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament
  • 10 p.m. - Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament
Thursday, March 27
  • 9 a.m. - Holy Mass. Father Peter West, Celebrant;
  • Divine Mercy Chaplet following Holy Mass
  • 10 a.m. - Departure of the Icon
For more information on SS. Peter and Paul Parish please visit www.ssppdetroit.com.

Fore more information on the Icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa, please visit www.fromoceantoocean.org.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Rally in Rouge Park over dead dogs



After three dead dogs have been found disposed of in Rouge Park within the past two days, the Friends of Rouge Park are organizing a rally to stop it. This will happen tomorrow, Saturday, March 22, at noon at the Brennan Pool.

Everyone is invited to attend. Members of the news media are expected to be present.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Scrapping bill closer to passage


For years, those who steal things for scrap metal have plagued every development in Detroit.Various efforts have been made at legislation to stop it. None of those proposals, however, have ever made it out of the Michigan Legislature.

Now, though, it looks like something productive might actually happen.

Mayor Mike Duggan made tougher regulations on those who buy potentially stolen scrap metal a priority when he took office earlier this year. Now comes word that a deal is likely.

It won't prohibit scrap yards from buying stolen metal. It will, however, require them to create a paper trail that the police can use to track those who steal from us.

I hope this bill actually comes to fruition. I congratulation everyone who has played a role in making it happen.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Public hearing for Rouge Park funding

The Detroit Recreation Department will hold a public hearing to discuss its application for funding from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Trust Fund.  This will happen tomorrow, March 20, at 5:30 p.m. at the Crowell Recreation Center (16630 Lahser).

The Detroit Recreation Department is seeking $600,000 from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Trust Fund for the improvements at Brennan Pool and In Town Youth Camp inside Rouge Park. The Recreation Department will add $250,000 to that amount for a total project cost of $850,000.

The Recreation Department is requesting funds for:

  • Renovate bathhouse at Brennan Pool in Rouge Park;
  • Remove platform diving boards at Brennan Pool in Rouge Park;
  • Renovate and repair Brennan Pool itself;
  • Replace damage picnic tables;
  • Replace damaged metal slide in playscape area; and
  • Upgrade gravel in the walking path.
The public is invited to attend and provide suggestions or ask questions regarding the proposed project. Additional information on the project may be obtained by calling (313) 224-1155.

Sunday, March 09, 2014

William Clay Ford passes away and internet erupts

Earlier this morning, it was announced that William Clay Ford passed away. He was 88 years old and the last surviving grandchild of Henry Ford.

He has been dead for less than 12 hours. No matter what else he was, William Clay Ford was someone's Dad, grandpa, and friend.

After reading my Facebook news feed and listening to talk radio, I have to ask: is it really too much to ask that we wait until after his funeral before ripping apart his legacy as owner of the Detroit Lions?

I mention this as a special commentary because, almost immediately after the news of Ford's passing became public, I have seen a steady stream of people making disparaging comment about it already. None of these people have added a single thing that hasn't been said hundreds of other times in hundreds of other places.

There will be plenty of time to comment on William Clay Ford and has tenure as owner of the Detroit Lions again after his funeral. For now, I submit that it's time for us to demonstrate that we as a community still have some semblance of humanity left.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Demolishing homes isn't the same as eliminating blight

Frank Nemecek of Warrendale - Photo by Jessica J. Trevino/Detroit Free Press
Mayor Mike Duggan and Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr unveiled a plan this past week to spend $520 million battling blight in Detroit's neighborhoods over the next five years. The Detroit Free Press was kind enough to let me share my thoughts on the matter in the last section of their article about it, which is available here.

There haven't been a lot of details regarding this plan released yet, beyond its price tag. However, one of the things that I hope happens is that we shift our focus from demolition to deconstruction. Doing so would create thousands of new jobs for Detroiters as well as divert thousands of tons of debris away from landfills.

I would also like to remind everyone that demolished a building that has become an eyesore isn't always the same as eliminating blight. If there isn't a plan for what to do with the land once the building is removed, or if that plan isn't executed properly, then it will soon become a vacant parcel of land with waist-high grass and weeds; likely overflowing with trash. In doing so, we are simply trading one form of blight for another.

The way for us to avoid that, I submit, is to have a plan as to what to do with that land once the building is removed. The Detroit Works Project has a framework plan for doing this sort of thing. I simply hope that efforts to remove vacant buildings is fully integrated into that.