Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy New Year


In a matter of hours, we will say good-bye to 2015 and hello to 2016. I want to wish a Happy New Year to everyone in the Warrendale neighborhood and beyond.

May the coming year bring the best of everything to each of us and to our neighborhood.

The Warrendale (Detroit) Blog will return in earnest on Monday, February 1.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas


I want to wish a very Merry Christmas to everyone in the Warrendale neighborhood and beyond. I hope that this holiday season brings the best of everything you and yours.

The Warrendale (Detroit) Blog will return in earnest on Monday, February 1.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Longest night in history


Tonight marks the Winter Solstice. Interestingly enough, not only will this be the longest night of 2015 but - because the Earth's rotation has been gradually slowing for eons - it will also be the longest night in the history of our planet.

Granted, it will only be longer than any other Winter Solstice night by a tiny fraction of a second; not something that anyone would even notice. I still think it's cool to think about, though.

The Warrendale (Detroit) Blog will return in earnest on Monday, February 1.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

100 days until spring


I want to take a moment to let everyone that, as of this morning, the first day of Spring 2016 is only 100 days away. The warmth of spring may feel like a distant memory at times, but it will be with us once again very soon.

The Warrendale (Detroit) Blog will return in earnest on Monday, February 1.

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Warrendale on Detroit Public Television


Back in May of this year, I was interviewed by a crew from Detroit Public Television about life in the Warrendale neighborhood. This was part of a larger series that DPTV did on Detroit's neighborhoods post-bankruptcy.

The clip on Warrendale aired on the American Black Journal recently. It is currently available on Detroit Public Television's YouTube channel and is embedded above.

I couldn't help but notice that the segment on Warrendale has received more YouTube views than anything else that DPTV has posted. I think that is a good indicator of the fact that there is an audience that wants to see more of the Warrendale neighborhood.

This blog will return in earnest on Monday, February 1.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving

I want to take a moment to wish a happy Thanksgiving to everyone in the Warrendale neighborhood and beyond. I pray that this day brings the best of everything to you and your family.

The Warrendale (Detroit) Blog will be back in earnest starting Monday, February 1, 2016.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

I will return in February

Open enrollment season - Photo by Frank Nemecek
For anyone who didn't know, my day job is as an insurance agent. Specifically, I help consumers and small businesses with life and health insurance.

The entire nation is currently in the middle of both Medicare Annual Enrollment (through December 7) as well as open enrollment for everyone under age 65 who gets their insurance through the federal marketplace. This means that I'm currently working 12 - 14 hours a day, six days a week and have been for a few weeks now.

This schedule really does not permit me to blog with any degree of frequency. Therefore, I am putting this blog on hold until February. I look forward to being back then with lots of news and analysis about the Warrendale neighborhood.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Dr. Ben Carson from Detroit

Dr. Ben Carson - Photo by Michael Vadon
Retired brain surgeon and Republican presidential candidate, Dr. Ben Carson, has been at the center a media firestorm in recent weeks. Much of it centers over details from his past, such as questions as to whether or not the story that he once stabbed a man as a teenager is true.

I don't normally discuss presidential politics on this blog. While Dr. Carson isn't from the Warrendale neighborhood, he is from Detroit. There is at least one portion of this scandal that I feel an overwhelming urge to opine about.

That is this: You know someone is from Detroit when them not stabbing another person is the basis for a presidential scandal.

And that, quite frankly, is all that I feel needs to be said about this matter.


Thursday, October 15, 2015

Friends of Rouge Park to meet on Tuesday

Rouge Park - Photo by Frank Nemecek
The next membership meeting for the Friends of Rouge Park will be on Tuesday, October 20 from 6 - 7 p.m. at the Don Bosco Center (9356 Westwood St.). The center is approximately a half mile north of the Warrendale neighborhood at West Chicago Street.

The agenda for this meeting will include:

  • Presentation on the Green Infrastructure Project in Warrendale by Professor Natalie Sampson from the University of Michigan-Dearborn's College of Education, Health, and Human Services;
  • Presentation on the Tireman Bioswale project that started on October 12;
  • An interest in signage and walkability from the National Kidney Foundation and the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services;
  • Restoration of the canceled Combined Sewage Overflow project site at W. Warren Avenue and Outer Drive;
  • Offer of assistance from Christ the King Service Corps; and
  • Plans for camping area restoration and programming at Scout Hollow.
 Additional items may be added to the agenda as needed.

Thursday, August 06, 2015

Dog found on Rosemont

Found on Rosemont at Kirkwood
A stray dog, pictured above, was found on Rosemont at Kirkwood this past Saturday. He is a 50 pound male German Shepherd mix, probably some Chow or Husky in him.  This animal was not neutered; is very friendly with people but reactive to dogs. Those who found him are pretty sure that he was attacked by another dog.

He was found wearing a blue collar with no tags and a black leash. He was not microchipped.

If this is your dog, or you know who he belongs to, please call (734) 731-1182. The owner will be asked to confirm his or her claim with veterinary documents or other papers.

Looking back on the Ransom Gillis House


The Ransom Gillis House has stood vacant in Detroit's Brush Park neighborhood for decades. Various attempts have been made to save this historic home over the years, but it looks like Nicole Curtis is going to be the one to make it work.

Nicole Curtis, of course, is the hostess of Rehab Addict on HGTV. She has rehabbed historic homes across the country but has concentrated on Detroit. The Ransom Gillis House is one of her latest projects.

Her work on this historic home has garnered a significant amount of media attention. Curbed Detroit, Detroit Free Press, Detroit News, MLive, and WXYZ-TV are just some of the media outlets that have covered the redevelopment of this house. I'm excited to see this home come back to back to life and am grateful to Nicole Curtis for all of her hard work.

The media attention, though, does make me want to share a documentary short that I made with former Warrendale resident Lee Runchey back in the summer of 2007. Our film Held for Ranson is embedded above.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Detroit Police Commission issues annual report

The Board of Police Commissioners, which is a civilian board mandated by the City Charter to oversee the Detroit Police Department, released their 2014 annual report. This report includes statistics regarding complaints that citizens have registered against police officers or the department in general. More importantly, it documents a 20% increase in the number of complaints filed

Of the 6,461 complaints filed against the Detroit Police Department in 2014, 3,838 - or approximately 59% of the total - were related to allegations that an officer did not follow established procedures or allegations related to his demeanor. The remaining 41% related to arrests made, entry into a property, damages made to property, searches, use of force, or general harassment.

I spoke with Ricardo Moore, who represents Warrendale and the surrounding neighborhoods on the commission, about this spike. He believes a large portion of this spike in complaints has to do a similar increase in news stories and social media posts about the police. He went on to add that body cameras will soon come to the Detroit Police Department.

The full text of this 58-page report from the Detroit Board of Police Commissioners is available below.



The report itself is fine. However, I believe it would have been useful if they provided some comparison with other departments of a similar size to Detroit.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Santana scares teens straight


For all the haters out there this special message is for you. Several months ago myself and my homie Raphael B. Johnson...
Posted by Harvey Santana on Tuesday, July 21, 2015
State Representative Harvey Santana posted this story to his Facebook page the other day. Please click "see more" to see the rest of this story. I think it is a great example of the power that we have to help teens turn their lives around.

My thanks go out to Santana and Johnson for doing their part.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Friends of Rouge Park to meet tomorrow

Rouge Park - Photo by Frank Nemecek
The nonprofit community group Friends of Rouge Park will hold their next general membership meeting tomorrow, Tuesday, July 21. This event will happen from 6 - 7 p.m. at the Don Bosco Center (9356 Westwood St.), which is just north of the Warrendale neighborhood.

The agenda for this meeting will include:

  • Updates from the City on the coming improvements to the Brennan Pools area and the National Park Service development of the new Stone Bridge Nature Trail;
  • Report from the latest meeting of the Detroit Parks Coalition;
  • Report on the ELCA Youth Projects in the park July 15-17;
  • Student Conservation Association nature trail and invasive removal projects in the park;
  • Updates on the DWSD bioswale project as well as the Tireman swale project; and
  • Report on the Butterfly Prairie Walk.
Everyone who is interested in the future of the largest park in Detroit is welcome to attend this meeting.

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Work continues at Ryan Playground

Workers at Ryan Playground - Photo by Frank Nemecek
Workers installed new picnic tables and benches at the Lloyd H. Ryan Playground (5741 Faust St.) earlier today. This is part of the continuing efforts to improve a park at the southern end of the Warrendale neighborhood.

Trash cans and additional park benches are also being added throughout the playground.

This, in my opinion, is an important set of improvements to the Warrendale neighborhood.

Monday, July 06, 2015

Shooting at Auburn and Sawyer

Detroit Police on the scene - Photo by Bradley Alvin
According to the residents in the area, there was a shooting in the Warrendale neighborhood on Auburn Street, north of Sawyer Street, yesterday. The Detroit Police Department reportedly had the area cordoned off while they investigated this incident.

It's not clear whether or not there were any fatalities in this shooting.

Additional details will be posted as they become available.

Re-purposing scrap tires

Scrap tire planter - Photo by Frank Nemecek
It's frequently a challenge as to what one should do with all of the scrap tires that get dumped in our neighborhood. There's lots of them.

However, I love what one homeowner on Brace Street did with a half dozen scrap tires and some paint. With a little bit of innovation, these scrap tires went from yet another eyesore to an attractive flower bed on their front lawn.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Land bank to auction 17 Warrendale homes

Warrendale home - Photo by Frank Nemecek
The Detroit Land Bank Authority will soon place 17 vacant home in the Warrendale neighborhood up for auction. There will be an open house at Ss. Peter and Paul Church (7685 Grandville Ave.) this coming Sunday, June 28 from 1 - 5 p.m. to showcase these homes as well as the auction process.

If you are not familiar with the DLBA auction, a few basics are that bidding on each house starts at $1,000 and is open for one business day. Three homes are auctioned per day.

The 17 homes in Warrendale that will be placed for auction at:

  • 6330 Abington Ave;
  • 6481 Mansfield;
  • 6594 Forrer;
  • 6717 Longacre;
  • 6720 Grandmont;
  • 6759 Rutland;
  • 7318 Woodmont;
  • 7421 Mettetal;
  • 7425 Rutherford;
  • 7450 Woodmont;
  • 7498 Rutland;
  • 7501 St Marys;
  • 7530 Forrer;
  • 7537 Abington Ave;
  • 7771 Memorial;
  • 7811 Memorial; and
  • 6315 Archdale.
Open House Tours are free and open to the public and gives folks an opportunity to see the house before bidding and get a sense of the rehab work needed. More information is also available on their website, which is www.buildingdetroit.org. On the website, one can also view the homes that are included in the auction.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Friends of Rouge Park to meet

The next Friends of Rouge Park meeting will be held Tuesday, June 16 from 6 - 7 p.m. at the Don Bosco Center (9356 Westwood St.), which is approximately half a mile north of the Warrendale neighborhood. The group plans to end their meeting promptly so people can attend the District 7 City Council Community Evening Meeting at 7 p.m. at Third New Hope Baptist Church (12850 Plymouth Rd).

The agenda for this meeting includes:

  1. Rouge Park Appreciation Day wrap-up and report;
  2. Updates from the City on the coming improvements to the Brennan Pools area;
  3. ELCA Youth Projects in the park July 15-17;
  4. Upcoming Student Conservation Association projects in the park; and
  5. DWSD bioswale project and plant list for Tireman swale
Everyone who is interested in preserving, protecting, and promoting the largest park in Detroit is invited to attend this meeting.

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Red Bull Grand Rallycross comes to Belle Isle

Alejandro Fernández at the Red Bull Global Rallycross - Wikimedia Commons image
It was confirmed today that the Red Bull Global Rallycross will come to Detroit next month. They will have a double header race on Belle Isle, July 25 -26.

This will be the first of three doubleheaders on the 2015 Red Bull GRC schedule, Detroit’s second round of race action will likely be one of the most intense races of the year, according to race organizers. Hot tempers heading into the second leg of a back-to-back event and all eyes on the action will combine for an all-out war.

More information about this race is available here. Their 2015 spectator guide, which race information and driver biographies, can be downloaded for free here.

Detroit Futbol comes to Warrendale

Ryan Playground - Photo by Frank Nemecek
The Detroit City Futbol League will hold four matches this coming Tuesday, June 9 at the Ryan Playground in Warrendale. The DCFL brings together adults from various neighborhoods around Detroit to play soccer.

Ryan Playground is currently being renovated. Included in those upgrades are two regulation-sized fields at the southern end of the playground.

For the first set of matches, Eastern Market will take on Hamtramck, while Corktown will take on Grandmont/Rosedale, at 6:30 p.m. After those two matches, Cody Rouge will take on Boston Edison while Patton Park takes on Warrendale at 7:30 p.m.

Everyone is invited to attend these matches.

Monday, June 01, 2015

20 Summer safety tips


Detroit police commissioner Ricardo Moore offers this list of 20 summer safety tips.
  1. Drink water;
  2. Visit elderly people who live alone;
  3. While vacationing, have mail and newspaper deliveries stopped;
  4. Ladies: have a used pair of men's work boots on your porch;
  5. Call your local police department and have your home placed on special attention when vacationing
  6. Place an alarm company sign in the front yard;
  7. Surveillance cameras are helpful on the home;
  8. Cut shrubs, trees and grass on a regular basis;
  9. Introduce yourself to neighbors and tell them what you want them to know (i.e. my nephew is a police commissioner);
  10. Have your lighting/sprinkler system on a timer;
  11. Fireworks are dangerous;
  12. Basketball hoops and illegally opened fire hydrants should be reported immediately;
  13. Squatting is illegal, call the police;
  14. Don't get directly involved in police matters...be a good witness instead;
  15. When throwing away boxes from expensive purchases, reduce boxes to fit in trash cans;
  16. Get a shredder for old paperwork to reduce identity theft;
  17. Change up your travel pattern, including times of departure and arrival times;
  18. Stop telling people all of your business;
  19. Don't volunteer information over the telephone; and
  20. Don't leave items you care about to be kept in open view for all to see.
These 20 summer safety tips are your Warrendale Tip of the Week.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Rouge Park Appreciation Day is this Saturday

A quick reminder that Rouge Park Appreciation Day is this Saturday. Please join the Friends of Rouge Park and others in cleaning up the largest park in Detroit.

Registration begins at 8 a.m. at Joy Rd. and Spinoza St. Volunteers are asked to wear long sleeves and long pants as well as sturdy covered shoes.

There might have some rain so bring a raincoat. This event will go on, rain or shine.

Lunch will be served after for all volunteers.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Water deal on the line

The deal to create a regional water authority for southeastern Michigan is in trouble, according to published news reports. The City of Detroit's bankruptcy plan called for such an authority to be created no later than June 14. Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel doesn't appear inclined to go along with it.

If Hackel doesn't like the deal, that's between him and the people of Macomb County. I'm okay with this deal falling apart.

If there is no deal on a regional water authority then there is nothing to prevent the City of Detroit to retain ownership of that portion of water system that is within its city limits but sell the suburban portion of it. Such a sale would not only remove the water system's debt from the City's books, it would likely also leave us with more than $1 billion in cash.

The cash from such a sale could then be used to pay down some of the other debt that Detroiters carry - either debt from the City of Detroit itself or from the Detroit Public Schools. Either way, paying down our debts would enable us to lower our property taxes.

And lower property taxes - either as reduction in debt service levied by the City of Detroit or a reduction in what the Detroit Public Schools levy - would be welcome in a city like Detroit which has the highest taxes in Michigan.

If Hackel isn't happy with the regional water deal, that's between him and the people of Macomb County. I simply hope that Mayor Mike Duggan, Councilman Gabe Leland, and the other members of the City Council use this opening as a chance to advance the interests of our residents.

Let the deal fall through, if Hackel continues to object.

Sell the portion of our water system that is in the suburbs to any number of private investors.

Use the proceeds from such a sale to pay down debts - for either the City of Detroit or the Detroit Public Schools.

Once the debt is paid down, lower the debt service levy on Detroiter's property taxes.

The choice is clear. The only question that remains is: what will Detroit's leadership do?

Monday, May 25, 2015

Remembering more than a million on Memorial Day

Soldier guarding the Tomb of the Unknowns
U.S. Navy photo
We pause today to remember the estimated 1.3 million Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen who have sacrificed their lives since the founding of this nation. Because of their sacrifice, those of us who remain are able to live the lives we currently enjoy.

May we each live lives that are worthy of their sacrifice.

Happy Memorial Day, everyone!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Suspect wanted after shooting on Westwood Street

Christopher Lamar - Detroit Police photo
A critical shooting occurred in the 7800 block of Westwood, which is just south of Tireman Street in the Warrendale neighborhood. The crime reportedly happened Sunday at approximately 2:00 a.m.

The victim was able to make a positive photo identification of the suspect, a Christopher Lamar, black male, with the date of birth of February 6, 1979. The suspect has a violent criminal history. This person is to be considered armed and dangerous. The weapon used in this crime has not been recovered at this time.

A photo of the suspect wanted is above. During the investigation, there was speculation that the suspect has possibly cut his dreadlocks off.

If anyone has seen this individual, know of his whereabouts or have any information pertaining to this crime please call Detroit Police at (313)596-5646, or email the investigator directly at tanguayj181 [at] detroitmi [dot] gov. Citizens can remain anonymous as always by leaving a tip on our app, DPD Connect, or contacting Crimestoppers at 1-800-SPEAK-UP.

Detroit Police step up traffic enforcement

The Detroit Polic Department appears to be stepping up traffic enforcement in and around the Warrendale neighborhood. There was a period of heavy enforcement on Paul Street, west of the Southfield Freeway, late on Friday afternoon that lasted into the early evening.

Several tickets were issued and at least two vehicles were impounded by police during this time period. It's not clear whether or not any arrests were made in connection with those impoundments, although there didn't appear to be any from where I watched everything happen.

Portion of Ford Road renamed for fallen firefighter


Governor Rick Snyder signed legislation on Friday to rename a portion of Ford Rd. in the communities of Wayne and Westland the Firefighter Brian Woehlke Memorial Highway. This renaming honors a firefighter who died in the line of duty there in 2013 when a burning building collapsed on him.

The governor was joined at this signing by State Representatives Robert Kosowski and Julie Plawecki as well as Wayne/Westland firefighter David Polite and his son Tyler. Polite lives in the Warrendale neighborhood.

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

House fire on Ashton

Detroit Fire trucks on the scene - Photo by Frank Nemecek
The Detroit Fire Department responded to a fire at a vacant house on Ashton Ave. this evening. The fire broke out at approximately 10 p.m. at a house between W. Warren Ave. and Whitlock St.

The crew promptly extinguished the blaze. There were no injuries during this incident. In addition, the occupied house that is next door to the one that caught fire was not damaged in the blaze.

Interview with Detroit Public Television

I was interviewed again last week for a special that Detroit Public Television is doing on life in our city and its neighborhoods. Instead of a standard, sit-down interview, this time I got to show their camera crew some of the interesting parts of Warrendale.

One of the places that I showed them was the Lloyd H. Ryan Playground at the southern end of Warrendale. The playground is currently undergoing renovations that will make it a much stronger asset to the neighborhood, in my opinion.

When work is done there will be a brand new playscape for young children as well as two soccer fields at the southern end of it. There will also be a covered picnic area.

Another thing that I showed them was the horse barn that the Buffalo Soldiers Heritage Association maintains inside Rouge Park. This is a great resource to the have in our neighborhood, I believe, and I'm always surprised by how few people know about it.

The team at Detroit Public Television is still working on this special. As a result, they do not have a definite day or time as to when it will air.

However, as soon as that is finalized, I will report it on this blog. I will also schedule a viewing party to watch it somewhere in the neighborhood.

In the meantime, I invite everyone to follow me on Instagram to see more photos like the ones that I have showcased in this blog post.

Motor City Makeover comes to Warrendale

Volunteers from the Warrendale Community Organization will clean up the some of the vacant houses that are near the Carver STEM Academy (18701 Paul St.). This event is part of the annual Motor City Makeover initiative. It will begin on Saturday, May 19 from 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. near the school.

Anyone who is interested in helping clean up a portion of the Warrendale neighborhood is encouraged to lend a hand that morning.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Fire on Montrose

Fire on Montrose - Photo by Frank Nemecek
A fire broke out this afternoon on Montrose Street in the Warrendale neighborhood. The fire started shortly after 2 p.m. at a home just south of W. Warren Ave.

The Detroit Fire Department responded promptly to the scene. It's not clear, though, whether or not this home was occupied at the time of the fire.

Smoke clouds from this fire could be seen from almost three miles away. I was at Ford Rd. and Evergreen this afternoon when I saw it and decided to investigate.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Remembering a baker

One of the owners of Chene Modern Bakery (17041 W. Warren Ave.), Vasko Maksimovski, passed away at the age of 60 following a heart attack. The family-owned bakery closed for approximately two weeks but re-opened on March 30.

The life of Vasko Maksimovski and his impact on the Warrendale neighborhood was by the Detroit Free Press here. I invite everyone to take a moment to read it.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Interview with Detroit Public Television

Being interviewed - Photo by Frank Nemecek
The folks at Detroit Public Television are currently doing a special on life in Detroit's neighborhoods. At least a portion of this show will include the Warrendale neighborhood.

I had the pleasure to be interviewed by them as part of this program. We talked about the past, present, and future of the neighborhood; its challenges as well as its opportunities for greatness.

Detroit Public Television is continuing to shoot this special. I don't know when it will air. As soon as that information is available, I will share it with everyone.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Accident on Southfield service drive

Collision on the service drive - Photo by Frank Nemecek
There was a traffic accident on the southbound Southfield Freeway service drive at Paul St. A white van and a gray two-door car collided shortly after 4:30 this afternoon. Detroit Police and EMS are both on the scene.

While the cause of this collision is unknown at this point, both the service drive and Paul St. are currently closed to traffic. Alternate routes are strongly suggested.

Friends of Rouge Park meet tomorrow

Rouge Park - Photo by Frank Nemecek
The local non-profit advocacy group Friends of Rouge Park will have their next meeting tomorrow, April 21, from 6 - 7 p.m. at the Don Bosco Center (9356 Westwood St.), which is 1.5 miles north of Warrendale at W. Chicago in Detroit.

There will be three key items on the agenda for this meeting in Detroit tomorrow evening.

  • Report on the National Park Service progress on developing a new Nature Trail for Rouge Park;
  • Discussion of the Keen grant; and
  • Planning for Rouge Park Appreciation Day on May 30.
Anyone who has a passion for preserving, promoting, and protecting Rouge Park - the largest park in Detroit - is welcome to attend this meeting.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Police raid house on Rosemont

Officers from the Detroit Police Department raided a home at 6255 Rosemont Ave. in the Warrendale neighborhood at approximately 5 p.m. this evening. Four squad cars are on the scene.

While it's not clear what happened, Rosemont is closed down by the police near this home.

More updates as this story develops.

Update @ 6:14 p.m.
In one interesting development, an agent from U.S. Customs and Border Protection is also currently on the scene.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Pizza party next week

Gracie See Pizzeria - Photo by Frank Nemecek
Please join current and former residents of the Warrendale neighborhood, as well as some good people who just like good pizza, for our monthly pizza party. It will be on Wednesday, April 22 from 6:30 - 9:30 p.m. at Gracie See Pizzeria (6889 Greenfield Rd.)

As always, the first pizza will be on me. After that, we simply order from the menu and split the check when it arrives. In addition, the staff at Gracie's will also have some great drink specials all night long.

Please take a moment to RSVP on either the Facebook or Google Plus pages from this blog.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Crime prevention tips

There are several things that ordinary residents can do to prevent crime in our neighborhood. Detroit Police Commissioner Ricardo Moore offers these suggestions on how to keep Detroit safe.

Make sure neighborhoods are clean
As someone who lives in Warrendale, I know how much of a pain in the butt to keep cleaning up all of trash that blows onto your lawn. The consequences of not doing it, though, are far worse.

Not only does it make things look bad, it also sends a message to would-be criminals that this is an area where they are free to operate.

Remove blight
City Councilman Gabe Leland has a lot of great tips for dealing with blight.

Illegal dumping should be reported to the Ombudsman by calling (313) 224-6000. Please provide them with the location of the dump site as well as any information you might have about the day and time trash was last dumped there. Also, if you have any information about who was doing this dumping, please share that as well.

More information about removing blight is available on the City of Detroit's website here.

Ensure vacant lots are clean and free of debris
This is simply an extension of keeping the neighborhood clean.

Street lights should be working
Most of the streetlights in Warrendale are currently working, since the City replaced them last year. However, if you find one that isn't in working order, please report it by calling (313) 324-8290.

Good lighting deters crime.

Lighting should be in alleys
In the Warrendale neighborhood, this mostly applies to commercial properties, such as those along W. Warren Avenue.

Again, good lighting deters crime.

Jason Bourne had situational awareness
Cell phone usage should be kept to a minimum in public places
This relates to monitoring one's surrounding, which I'll discuss in more detail below.

Monitor your surroundings
In the military, we called this "situational awareness." Whether you're dealing with Soviet troops from way back in the day who want to kill you or simply some guy who wants to steal your stuff, it's a lot harder to do if you are paying attention to your surroundings at all times.

My friends at the Art of Manliness have a few tips on maintaining this level of awareness available here. They talk about keeping things at Jason Bourne levels, but there is a lot of good advice in it.

Know your neighbors and learn their habits
There are so many reasons to get to know your neighbors. From a crime prevention standpoint, though, it makes it easier to watch out for one another.

Shrubbery should be trimmed
Tall shrubs provide a place for criminals to hide. This is especially true when the shrubs are close to the home. Denying criminals a place to hide makes it harder for them to prey upon us, which make it less likely that they'll do so.

My thanks go out to Commissioner Ricardo Moore for sharing this tips.

Monday, April 06, 2015

Mayor Duggan announces district meeting

Mayor Mike Duggan - Press Photo
The annual district meeting with Mayor Mike Duggan will happen on Thursday, April 23 from 7 - 8:30 p.m. This meeting will happen at Straight Gate International Church (10100 Grand River Ave.). which is approximately six miles from the Warrendale neighborhood.

The purpose of this meeting is to allow residents to bring their questions, concerns, and problems directly to the mayor in a public setting.

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

This is the second in a series of community meetings as outlined in the 2012 Detroit City Charter. The Charter mandates that the mayor have at least one of these meetings each year in each of the City Council districts. This is the annual meeting for the 7th District, which includes the Warrendale neighborhood.

If you need more information, you may contact Linda Vinyard at (313) 224-3876. There is also a flyer regarding this meeting that available for download from the City of Detroit's website here.

Detroiter charged with robbing Iraqi diplomat

A Detroit resident was sentenced yesterday in federal court to more than eight years in prison for his role in an armed robbery of an Iraqi diplomat and his wife, U.S. Attorney Barbara L. McQuade announced this afternoon.

McQuade was joined in the announcement by Special Agent in Charge Paul M. Abbate of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Detroit Division as well as Special Agent in Charge David R. Eberhardt of Diplomatic Security Service, and Chief Michael Patton of the West Bloomfield Police Department.

U.S. District Judge Paul D. Borman imposed sentence on James Frederick Dubose, 24, to a mandatory minimum sentence of 84months in prison for using a firearm during a crime of violence and a consecutive sentence of 20 months in prison for assault of a foreign official using a deadly weapon. Dubose had pleaded guilty to these two offenses in December. At sentencing, Dubose was also ordered to pay $4,150 in restitution to the victims.

According to the documents filed in this case, on November 11, 2012, the defendant and his co-defendant targeted the victims, an Iraqi diplomat and his wife, as they were shopping at the Meijer store in Southfield, Michigan. The defendants then followed the victims to their residence. Dubose and his co-defendant approached the victims inside the garage after the victims had exited their vehicle. Dubose held the victims at gunpoint, threatened to shoot them and stole their jewelry. Dubose and his co-defendant then ran from the garage and fled the scene. Dubose was arrested by Southfield Police on November 23, 2012, in possession of the same firearm used in the armed robbery.

The investigation of this case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Department of State Diplomatic Security Service, and the West Bloomfield Police Department. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ronald W. Waterstreet and Cathleen M. Corken.

Friday, April 03, 2015

Friday Focus - Find your park


This past Tuesday the National Park Service publicly unveiled its Find Your Park campaign. The program is intended to encourage more Americans to discover their national parks. It also ties in with an initiative that President Barack Obama announced in February to offer every fourth-grader free admission to our national parks as a way to encourage more families to experience them.

The Find Your Park initiative part of a two-year celebration of the National Park Service's centennial anniversary in 2016. From the Motor Cities National Automotive Heritage Area to the Great Smoky Mountains, Grand Canyon, Statue of Liberty, and Mt. Rushmore, the NPS includes more than 400 parks that preserve landscapes, history, and culture for future generations.

I had a chance to talk with Michael Liang of the National Park Service recently. He is one of five Centennial Ambassadors and a native of the Detroit area. Liang is currently a ranger at the Santa Monica National Recreation Area in Topanga, California.

Find Your Park, he pointed out, allows people a better chance to discover all that national parks have to offer. The newly launched website enables visitors to see videos and photos of parks across the country as well as a link to individual parks that they intend to visit.

I asked him what a greater interest in national parks would mean for state and local parks, such as Rouge Park here in the Warrendale neighborhood. “I'm a firm believer that a rising tide lifts all boats,” he said. “As people discover the wonders that exist in their national parks, that can only translate into a greater interest and usage of local parks at home.”

More on Michael Liang and the Find Your Park campaign is below. The closest national park to Detroit is the River Raisin National Battlefield Memorial in Monroe.
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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

St. Patrick's Day in America

St. Patrick's Day Parade in Detroit - Photo by Frank Nemecek
St. Patrick's Day.

Here in America, St. Patrick's Day has become a holiday where we celebrate Irish heritage - regardless of whether or not one is of Irish decent - with Czech and German beers as well as food first cooked by a Jewish guy. All of which is done on the feast day of a saint who was born in Scotland to Italian parents.

And that, I believe, says a lot about the Irish American experience.

It all started on the Emerald Island. However, it has been heavily influenced by everyone that the Irish have encountered along the way.

Happy St. Patrick's Day, everyone! As someone whose family traces its roots, at least in part, back to Ireland, I hope you have a blast no matter how you celebrate it or with whom.

Volunteers needed for Rouge Park water quality testing

The Friends of Rouge Park are looking for volunteers to assist in leading 4th-8th-grade students. No experience is necessary; all information will be provided.

The Greening of Detroit's Our LAND Program will take 10 Detroit Public School classes, grades 4th - 8th, to test water quality at Rouge Park.  

Field trips are from 9:30 am-1:30 pm for the dates below.  The first groups are a high priority because more help is needed. However, any and all dates that volunteers are available for will be extremely helpful.

The priority dates, with the highest need for volunteers, are:

  • Friday, March 27;
  • Monday, March 30;
  • Tuesday, March 31; and
  • Wednesday, April 1.

Volunteers are also needed on:

  • Thursday, March 19;
  • Friday, March 20;
  • Tuesday, March 24;
  • Wednesday, March 25; and
  • Thursday, March 26.

Volunteers will need to be able to pass a background check.  Interested volunteers can contact Jac by emailing Jentringer [at] greeningofdetroit [dot] com. One may also leave a message at (313) 285-2253.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Environmental meeting this Wednesday

The Detroit Climate Action Collaborative, an initiative of Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice, will have a meeting this Wednesday at the Edison branch library (18400 Joy Rd.) from 1 - 3 pm. The group intends to develop a plan to address pollution and other environmental issues. They would like input from residents in the Warrendale and surrounding neighborhoods.

The group is hosting meetings in each of the City Council districts. Their goal is to have a plan that is truly representative of Detroit residents. This Wednesday will be for the 7th District, which includes Warrendale.

All residents are invited to attend these meetings.

Friends of Rouge Park to meet tomorrow evening

The Friends of Rouge Park will hold their next general membership meeting tomorrow, Tuesday, March 17 from 6 - 7 p.m. This meeting will happen at the Don Bosco Center (9356 Westwood), which is just north of the Warrendale neighborhood in Detroit.

Their meeting will focus on planning for the upcoming Rouge Park Appreciation Day. This is an annual clean up event that the group puts on. The 2015 installment will happen on Saturday, May 30.

Anyone who is interested in the future of Detroit's largest park is invited to attend this meeting.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Warrendale Radio Patrol returns to duty

Warrendale Radio Patrol - Photo by Frank Nemecek
A group of concerned residents is resurrecting the long-dormant Warrendale Radio Patrol. This group of volunteers acts as the eyes and ears of the Detroit Police Department, patrolling the neighborhood and reporting what they see.

If you would like to help them protect our neighborhood, either as a volunteer or with a donation to cover their gas and other expenses, please reach out to them. They can be contacted via their Facebook page or by calling David Brierley at (734) 560-4953.

I appreciate the work that these volunteers are doing in our neighborhood. I wish them the best.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Champps to host benefit for Beaumont Children's Hospital

As part of this blog's Friday Focus series, Champps in West Bloomfield is teaming up with the Student Heart Check program at Beaumont Children’s Hospital  to support free heart checks for high school students.  Champps, located at 7410 Orchard Lake Road, will host a celebration to benefit Beaumont Student Heart Check on Thursday, February 26.

Champps will donate 10% of sales for the entire day and night of Thursday, February 26 to the Beaumont Student Heart Check program, which offers free heart checks to high school students to help detect young people who may be at risk for sudden cardiac arrest.

The party begins at 6 p.m., when guests are invited to enjoy a complimentary sampling of Champps’ signature dishes, including Champps Americana Chopped Salad, Chipotle Burger, Pepper Seared Ahi Tuna Tacos and Calamari Fritti.

Featured signature cocktails include Grand Sangria, Island Rum Punch and Champps Long Island Tea for $4 each; draft beer will be available for $2 each. In addition, Michigan’s own Latitude 42 Brewing Company will be hosting a “Tap Takeover,” where they will feature six of their beers on tap, including favorites Schoolhouse Honey Amber Ale and Lucifer's Cuvee-Double Chocolate Rye Stout.

"We are thrilled to be partnering with Champps for their celebration event and are so grateful they have chosen to support our efforts,” said Jennifer Shea, Event Coordinator for Beaumont’s Student Heart Check program.  “We are looking forward to a fun and festive event.  We invite everyone to come and join us on February 26!"

Champps in West Bloomfield offers 31 High Definition TVs; nearly 50 kinds of beer, including 24 beers on tap, 15 of which are craft and 11 of which are local; and a deliciously crafted menu for sharing, snacking and dining.

Champps in West Bloomfield is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 12 a.m. Sunday – Wednesday and 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Thursday – Saturday.   For more information, reservations or to book a private event, call Champps at (248) 538-6333, or visit us at www.champps.com on Facebook and Twitter.

The Friday Focus is an occasional feature to draw attention to stories outside of the Warrendale neighborhood that the publisher believes is worthy of an extra dose of attention.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Uber to deliver Paczki from Warrendale

Paczki - Photo by Leslie Seaton
The social media-driven ride sharing service Uber confirmed this morning that they will deliver paczki to customers across metropolitan Detroit who request them tomorrow. Their exclusive source for all of these paczki will be the West Warren Bakery (15708 W. Warren Ave.) in the Warrendale neighborhood of Detroit.

In order to get these paczki delivered, all that users need to do is open the Uber app on their smartphone starting at 7 a.m tomorrow and select "pazcki" from the far right side. Users can then:

  • Set their delivery location and submit their request;
  • Meet their driver outside upon arrival to pick up their tasty treats.
  • No cash is needed. They'll charge the card on the users Uber account. 

I'm thrilled that Uber is turning to one of the bakeries in the Warrendale neighborhood as their source for paczki this year. I hope people across the Detroit region enjoy them.

Investigation into Wayne County completed

U.S. Attorney Barbara L. McQuade announced last week that the federal corruption investigation of Wayne County government was now complete. Joining her in this announcement was Paul M. Abbate, Special Agent in Charge of the Detroit Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The investigation, which began three years ago, resulted in the convictions of five individuals, including Wayne County’s Chief Information Officer and an Assistant Wayne County Executive who served as the Director of HealthChoice of Michigan. The United States will not seek any additional charges in connection with the investigation.

“I would like to thank and commend the officials and staff of the Wayne County Executive and the Wayne County Corporation Counsel for their cooperation during this investigation,” said McQuade in a prepared statement. “Their assistance and openness allowed federal investigators to carefully review and assess a number of complex issues regarding the operation of county government.”

36th district court officer charged with extortion

An indictment was unsealed last week charging a former court officer for the 36th District Court in Detroit with extortion, mail fraud and theft, said U.S. Attorney Barbara L. McQuade in a prepared statement.

Joining in the announcement was Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette and Paul M. Abbate, Special Agent in Charge of the Detroit office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Marlon Cleveland, 33, of Westland, was charged with misusing his position as a Court Officer for the 36th District Court to steal and extort thousands of dollars from defendants in civil cases over the course of more than a year. The crimes are alleged to have occurred in 2013 and 2014.

McQuade added, “Anyone who abuses a position of trust to steal from our courts or to extort money from members of the public should expect to face serious penalties under the law.”

“We must weed out corruption at all levels of government to ensure the public is served,” said Schuette. “Nobody will get a free pass when they break the law.”

“Preventing the abuse of power to conduct criminal activity remains among the highest priorities of the FBI,” added Abbate. “FBI Detroit, in concert with the Michigan Attorney General’s Public Integrity Unit and the U.S. Attorney’s Office, will continue to investigate these types of crimes and bring to justice those who abuse the public’s trust.”

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in collaboration with the Michigan Attorney General’s Public Integrity Unit.

An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. Every defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Once



As we get another day closer to Valentine's Day, I will continue with my theme of romantic indie movies that never got the respect that I feel they deserve, I give my readers Once. This movie stars Glen Hansard as a street musician and Markéta Irglová as a flower vendor in Dublin.

Their love is so messed up yet so perfect at the same time. I think that's why I love this movie so much. It just feels real.

As a bonus, Once has one of the best soundtracks of any film in recent years. The filmmakers also photographed Ireland beautifully.

Monday, February 09, 2015

TiMER


Valentine's Day is fast approaching. Since I'm a) a major film buff and b) currently single, I thought I'd commemorate the holiday by highlighting a series of independently made romantic movies that never got the kind respect that I think they deserve.

First up is Timer from 2009. It stars Emma Caulfield from Buffy The Vampire Slayer and is one of the few films to blend romance and science fiction beautifully.

Imagine, if you will, having a device implanted on your arm that counts down continuously to the day when you will meet your soul mate. One where each of you are alerted the very second you meet each other so there's no guessing involved.

That's the world of Timer.

And the implications of taking that guess work out of meeting that special someone are rather far-reaching. I cannot recommend this movie highly enough. I loved it.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Friends of Rouge Park to meet tommorow

Rouge Park on a foggy day
Photo by Frank Nemecek
The Friends of Rouge Park will hold their next meeting tomorrow, Tuesday, January 20. This meeting will start at 6 p.m. and is expected to last until 7 p.m. They will meet at the Don Bosco Center (9356 Westwood), which is half a mile north of the Warrendale neighborhood at West Chicago.

The agenda will include:


Additional updates and news about Rouge Park will also be included at this meeting. The minutes from their most recent meeting are available here.

Anyone who is interested in the future of Detroit's largest park is invited to attend this meeting.