Thursday, July 13, 2017

Remembering the Twin Pines Dairy

The Twin Pines Farm Dairy used to have one of their main production facilities near Warrendale. It was on Greenfield Rd., just north of Tireman, in Detroit.

I was intrigued, therefore, when I found a video from 1957, which I embedded above. It documents both the work that the City of Detroit Department of Health used to do as well as Twin Pines Farm Dairy itself.

This was produced more than a dozen years before I was even born. Regardless, I remember my parents, grandparents, and other older Detroiters talking about many of the things that were discussed in this documentary film.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Shooting on Ashton

The Detroit Police Department is investigating a shooting that happened on Ashton, near Tireman, at the northern end of the Warrendale neighborhood, early this morning. This shooting reportedly happened at approximately 4 a.m. this morning.

According to published news reports, Detroit police officers were in the area when they heard a series of gunshots. After racing to the scene, responding officers discovered an unidentified individual shot inside of an automobile. Two individuals were seen fleeing from that location as police approached.

An investigation into this shooting is ongoing. The two individuals who fled from the scene are wanted for questioning in connection to it. Anyone with information about this tragedy is asked to contact the Detroit Police Department.

Fox 2 Detroit has more in their story, embedded above.

One day in Detroit

Detroit skyline, seen from the Detroit River - Photo by Frank Nemecek
A friend of mine posted a question on Facebook that I wanted to repeat here. He asked, "What's your pick for most essential experience to have in Detroit if you're here for just one awesome day?"

Most people responded things like Eastern Market, the RiverWalk, Campus Martius Park, and so on. A few people suggested experiences like taking in a Detroit Tigers. Lions, Pistons, or Red Wings game (depending on the season when this awesome day is supposed to happen).

Quite frankly, I told my friend, I was reminded of what a park ranger replied when someone asked what he would do if he only had one day at Yosemite National Park.

According to legend, the park ranger thought for a moment before declaring, "if I came all the way here and could only stay for one day, I'd probably just sit right down on that bench over there and cry."

But, yeah - any of those other responses work. too.

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Happy 4th of July

U.S. flag aboard the International Space Station - Photo from NASA
I want to take a moment to wish a happy 4th of July to everyone in the Warrendale neighborhood and beyond.

Fireworks are bursting across Detroit (perhaps too frequently). Barbecues are warming up. Parks like Rouge Park, Belle Isle, and others are busy. Flags are waving, including aboard the International Space Station.

Detroiters, without question, are busy celebrating the 241st birthday of this great nation.

Happy 4th of July, everyone!

Monday, July 03, 2017

Rooster in Warrendale?

The rooster in question
Photo by Paula Sharpe
Is anyone in the neighborhood missing a rooster?

I ask because one has shown up in the vicinity of Paul and Warwick Streets. It does seem a bit odd.

Yes, I did say a rooster. Yes, it is here in Detroit.

This, by the way, isn't the first time that a rooster has been seen in the Warrendale neighborhood of Detroit, although the last time was almost 11 years ago. The folks over at Animal Corner tell me that the average lifespan of a chicken is only 5 -7 years so I doubt it is the same bird returning for another photo op.

Still, it is most unusual to see a rooster wandering free in the streets of Detroit. I'm just glad that someone sent me a photo of it while he's here.

Saturday, July 01, 2017

Summer reading

"Wychwood" by George Mann - Photo by Frank Nemecek
The long holiday weekend is upon us. While others flock to the beach or leave town altogether, I'm in my backyard reading an advanced copy of Wychwood by The Sunday Times bestselling author George Mann.

I'm only a few pages into this novel, but like it a lot so far. I will have a full review on this blog soon.

Until then, I hope that everyone is having an amazing 4th of July weekend no matter what it is you do.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

City of Detroit releases water quality report

The City of Detroit released their annual water quality report for 2016 earlier today. It documents that the water coming out of our taps meets or exceeds all state and federal standards. A copy of this eight-page report is available on-line here.

Copies of their previous water quality reports from 2008 - 2015 2006 are also available on-line as is their report from 2007. All of these reports can be viewed or downloaded here.

These reports document the quality of tap water throughout Detroit and its surrounding suburbs that are serviced by the Great Lakes Water Authority.

Update @ 2:53 p.m.
After I posted this article, I realized that this is the 2,000th post that I have published on the Warrendale (Detroit) Blog since its inception in December of 2005.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

What is next for the Dixon site?

The site of Dixon Elementary
This is what the site of the former Dixon Elementary School in Detroit looked like this afternoon. The remaining debris is being cleared away. Soon all that remains will be a large vacant parcel of land where neighborhood children used to go to school.

While the ending of one chapter can be painful for many, I would like to start a conversation about what should happen to this site next. What do you think should happen to this parcel of land next?

Please feel free to leave your thoughts in a comment below or on Facebook.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Tip of the week: Get renters insurance

A friend of mine, who happens to be a building inspector for the City of Detroit, shared a few thoughts on his personal Facebook page. With his permission, I want to share it here as my tip of the week feature.

He posted:
For all renters in Detroit, please do yourselves a favor and get renters insurance. I have inspected three houses this week alone where a fire started. The tenants lost everything and have nothing but the clothes on their backs. Please consider this a public service announcement; get renters insurance.
 For anyone renting a home in the Detroit, you can get a free quote on renter's insurance online here.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Dixon is demolished

Remnants of Dixon Elementary School - Photo by Frank Nemecek
All that is left of the long-shuttered Dixon Elementary School is a large pile of rubble and overgrown grass. The building itself has been demolished.

The demolition crews will remove the remaining rubble in the coming days. Hopefully, the grass will also get cut sooner rather than later.

The bigger question is: what will happen to this property once demolition is completed?

Whatever happens, it will be covered in this blog.

Additional photos of the site are below.

Some of the remnants of Dixon Elementary - Photo by Frank Nemecek

Tall grass at the site of Dixon Elementary - Photo by Frank Nemecek

Monday, June 19, 2017

Your children and their smile

Dr. Jamie Reynolds
Braces are often a rite of passage for middle school students with overbites or crooked teeth. However, the oral problems those braces are solving likely started way back in elementary school – possibly as early as the first or second grade.

So perhaps it shouldn’t be a surprise that the American Association of Orthodontists recommends children make their first visit to an orthodontist no later than age 7.

“That doesn’t mean they are going to get braces,” says Dr. Jamie Reynolds, an orthodontist, national and international lecturer and author of World Class Smiles Made in Detroit. “In fact, it’s pretty unusual to put braces on a child that young.”

But with those early visits, the orthodontist might be able to head off problems before they get worse. Reynolds says these are a few of the things an orthodontist would be checking with your child:

  • Are the jaws growing properly? You would think the upper jaw and the lower jaw grow pretty much in tandem, but you would be wrong. The upper jaw stops growing around age 8 while the lower jaw keeps on growing like the rest of the body. That means orthodontists can spot problems with the upper jaw earlier and recommend treatment if it’s needed, Dr. Reynolds explains.
  • Is there enough room for the teeth to grow in? Sometimes permanent teeth don’t have enough room to grow in properly, possibly because a baby tooth is in the way. Generally, baby teeth fall out on their own, but occasionally a stubborn one needs to be pulled so that the permanent tooth doesn’t start growing in an awkward direction and become impacted. “Removing a misbehaving baby tooth is often the simplest and best solution to a problem that could become much bigger,” Dr. Reynolds adds.
  • Are there too few or too many teeth? One of the things an orthodontist would do when examining a young child is to make sure the correct number of permanent teeth are forming. Extra teeth can be removed, but if a child is a tooth or two short the orthodontist will wait until all the permanent teeth are in before starting any treatment. “Before I went to dental school, I assumed everyone had the same number of teeth – 32,” Reynolds says. “But it’s not unusual at all to see people with missing teeth or with extra teeth.”
  • Does the child snore?  Snoring is a potential sign of sleep apnea, a condition in which a person stops breathing while sleeping. It can cause serious health problems and has been diagnosed in children as early as 4 or 5 years old. One common and treatable type of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea, in which the airways become partially or completely blocked by the tongue or fatty tissues of the throat. An orthodontist can widen the child’s palate so the upper jaw expands, and that expands the nasal passages. It also provides more room for the tongue so it rests on the roof of the mouth and not the bottom.

“Usually, orthodontists offer complimentary exams so it really is a good idea to have your child checked out by an orthodontist at age 7,” Reynolds says. “The odds are that no treatment will be necessary. But if problems are starting to develop, early detection could make a big difference.”

Dr. Jamie Reynolds is recognized on an annual basis as one of the top orthodontists in metro Detroit. His book, World Class Smiles Made in Detroit, puts an emphasis on the many benefits of having a great smile. Reynolds – who is a national and international lecturer on high-tech digital orthodontics and practice management – attended the University of Michigan for both his undergrad education and dental studies, and did his orthodontic residency at the University of Detroit-Mercy.

Friends of Rouge Park to meet tomorrow

The nonprofit advocacy group the Friends of Rouge Park will meet tomorrow from 6 - 7 pm at the Don Bosco Center (9356 Westwood St.). This center is located north of the Warrendale neighborhood at West Chicago.

The group will discuss upcoming events and other developments within the park. Upcoming events in Rouge Park include:

  • July 21 Splash Party and Movie;
  • July 22 Stay Fit for Health Run/Walk;
  • July 23 Joga and Jazz; and
  • July 30 2 pm Butterfly and Prairie Walk.

Everyone who is interested in the future of the largest park in Detroit is welcome to attend.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Rollover accident on Southfield Freeway

Rollover accident on the Southfield Freeway
Photo by Frank Nemecek
There has been a rollover accident on the southbound Southfield Freeway at Paul Street. The Detroit Police Department and the Michigan State Police are on the scene. They have the freeway blocked to only one lane on the southbound side.

While the northbound side is open, there are gawker delays in both directions of the freeway. These delays appear to stretch for at least half a mile and include the service drive.

Motorists are advised to avoid the area.

Update @ 4:38 p.m.
It appears that there were at least two vehicles that were involved in this accident. Only one of them rolled over, however. The injuries involved do not appear to be life-threatening as people were seen calmly removing belongings from both cars while police officers looked on.

Update @ 8:36 p.m.
The accident has been cleared. Traffic is now moving as normal in both directions.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Demolition begins on Dixon Elementary

Demolition work on the former Dixon Elementary School
Photo by Frank Nemecek
Demolition work has begun on the former Dixon Elementary School on Tireman at Minock Street in the Warrendale neighborhood in Detroit. The long-vacant school building will be entirely gone in the coming days.

As of right now, it's not clear what will happen to the underlying land once the vacant school is removed.

TARDIS comes to Detroit

Will the Doctor mind if I borrow this?
Photo by Dan Zemke
The TARDIS has landed in Detroit. It's currently in the Woodbridge neighborhood - at the northeast corner of Vermont St. and W. Warren Ave. - not far from Warrendale at all.

Fans of Dr. Who already know that the TARDIS is time machine/spacecraft that allows the Doctor to travel to any point in space or time in the universe. Its exterior appearance merely resembles a British police call box from the 1960s.

What many don't already know is that the TARDIS is also a free lending library that serves Detroiters. Anyone in the area is welcome to stop by and open its doors. One can then either take any of the books inside or leave a book for others to enjoy.

There are more than 100 books inside the TARDIS already. These titles range from non-fiction to most genres of fiction. Anyone could find a book they might enjoy inside of it.

TARDIS, of course, is an acronym for Totally Awesome Reading Dispensary In Society. There are some fans of the Dr. Who show believe that it stands for something utterly ridiculous like Time And Relative Dimension In Space. However, as I have already alluded to, such theories are utterly ridiculous.

Interior of the TARDIS
Photo by Frank Nemecek
I have been authorized to reveal that the current Time Lord who pilots this particular TARDIS uses the name Dan Zemke while he is occupying our current segment of time/space. His precise relationship to the Doctor is not known at this time.

For those who are interested in making a road trip this fall, the TARDIS is scheduled to make an appearance at ArtPrize in Grand Rapids. If all goes according to plan, it will land at the corner of Monroe and Pearl Streets in front of the PNC Building.

Of course, knowing how the TARDIS moves through time and space, it may already be there. That, however, is a subject for another blog post.

Anyway, more information is available on the Time Lord-approved Facebook page for this library here.

I simply want to add that the TARDIS is the Cool Warrendale Thing of the Week, even those it's located outside of the Warrendale neighborhood. After all, anyone who has ever watched an episode of Dr. Who knows that time and space are relative concepts.

Monday, June 12, 2017

City of Detroit opens cooling centers

As summer temperatures begin to climb, the City of Detroit has opened four cooling centers for those who need it. Each of them will be open from noon to 8 p.m.

The closest one to the Warrendale neighborhood is the Northwest Activities Center. It is located at 18100 Meyers, which is near McNichols and Wyoming Aves. - approximately five miles from Warrendale.

This simple and free way to beat the summer heat is your Warrendale Tip of the Week.

Monday, June 05, 2017

Mayor Duggan joins in supporting the Paris Accord

Mayor Mike Duggan of Detroit
File photo
In response to President Donald J. Trump's decision to pull the United States out of the Paris Climate Agreement, a total of 211 mayors of American cities - representing a combined population of 54 million Americans - have pledged publicly to meet the environmental goals of the accord in their respective cities. Mayor Mike Duggan of Detroit was one of 11 Mayors from Michigan to join this coalition.

Mayor Duggan is joined by fellow Michigan Mayors Christopher Taylor of Ann Arbor, Brenda Hess of Buchanan, David Coulter of Ferndale, Karen Weaver of Flint, Rosalynn Bliss of Grand Rapids, Karen Majewski of Hamtramck, William Sprague of Lapeer, Daniel Guzzi of Rockwood, Jim Carruthers of Traverse City, and Amanda Maria Edmonds of Ypsilanti. The full list of mayors from across the United States who have made this pledge is available on-line here.

The fact that Mayor Duggan has joined in supporting the Paris Acord should not be surprising given his overall record of accomplishments as Mayor of Detroit. During his first term of office, he established a citywide curbside recycling program - something that Mayors of Detroit dating back to Coleman A. Young have talked about but failed to implement. He also:
  • Oversaw a citywide installation of new LED streetlights that are brighter and more energy efficient than the old ones;
  • Made significant improvements to mass transit in Detroit;
  • Included dedicated bike lanes for many streets in Detroit;
  • Worked with DTE Energy to bring a solar energy facility to Northwest Detroit; and
  • Supported bioretention gardens in Warrendale that capture excess stormwater before it enters our sewer system.
I want to thank Mayor Duggan and the other 10 mayors from Michigan for their leadership on this issue. I hope that as the days and weeks go on, more mayors will join them.

Update @ 4:25 p.m.
Since sharing this post on social media, I have received several comments about what the Paris Agreement does or doesn't do. Almost none of them are accurate.

Therefore, in the interest of promoting an intelligent, civil dialogue, I want to add that the full-text of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change is available here.

Monday, May 29, 2017

A prayer on Memorial Day

Remembering those who gave it all - Photo courtesy of the U.S. Air Force
Today is Memorial Day. Today we pause 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.

That is 1.3 million Americans whose lives ended well before their time. 1.3 million Americans who missed out on sunsets, barbeques, and watching their children grow up. 1.3 million Americans who gave their last breath for us.

Because of their service and sacrifice, those of us who remain are able to live the lives we currently enjoy. We can do those things that destiny denied to them.

Today, I pray that each of us lives a life that is worthy of their sacrifice.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Cash reward for missing dog

Koda - Photo by Gerardo Garza
Koda (pictured right) is a male Siberian Husky who has been missing since April 12. He is two years old, has black and white coloring, brown and blue eyes, and was last seen wearing a black and gray harness. Koda is missing from the area around Plainview and W. Warren Ave.

Koda's owner, Gerardo Garza, is offering a cash reward for his safe return.

If anyone knows anything about Koda's current location, please reach out to Gerardo Garza. His phone number is (313) 648-9380 and his email is Ggarza1997 [at] Gmail [dot] com.

Please feel free to share this information.

House explodes in Detroit

A vacant house in the Warrendale neighborhood exploded early this morning; no injuries were reported. The house was on Evergreen, between Whitlock and W. Warren Ave. in Detroit.

This explosion happened at approximately 3 a.m. this morning. According to sources within the Detroit Police Department, the explosion was caused by gas lines that were left open after someone stole the furnace from this vacant home.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Stay sober this Memorial Day weekend

Tequila - Photo by Miguel Prado
Here comes the summer drinking season—Memorial Day, June graduations and weddings, Fourth of July, the beach, and barbecues!

What could go wrong?

Plenty, if you don’t have a plan for getting through the summer sober.

In Alcoholics Anonymous, we call the period from Thanksgiving through Christmas and New Year the "Bermuda Triangle" of sobriety—many alkies come in, but not all make it through.

If anything, summer is more dangerous for people in recovery, because there are so many social cues to drink.

What’s a recovering alkie or addict to do?

Here’s some kitchen-tested advice that gets passed along the Twelve Step meetings as holiday periods approach.

No. 1: Have an exit strategy.

Even before you get to the event, whether it’s a barbecue, a wedding, or holiday party, have a plan for leaving as soon as you feel uncomfortable. When everybody’s drinking, the pace of conversation and behavior, in general, seems to suddenly accelerate.

This is an extremely uncomfortable moment for people newly in recovery, and sometimes for people who have been clean and sober a long time.

When that moment arises, you want to have a plan for leaving. Did you come in your own car? Can you call an Uber or a cab? Will public transportation work? Or can you just walk out of there? Determine your exit strategy even before you enter. Don’t stick around once the drinking heats up. You won’t be missed. Everyone else will be too drunk to remember whether you stayed or left.

No. 2: Get a drink.

As soon as you get to the event, go to the bar or beverage area and get yourself a soft drink or juice—and carry it with you everywhere. People are far less likely to offer you a drink, or force a drink on you if you’re already holding a drink.

If people ask you what you’re drinking, tell the truth. The more insistent they get that you should be drinking, the more likely it is that they need a program, too.

If you put your drink down, even for a microsecond, it’s no longer your drink. Go back to the bar or beverage area and get a new one. That’s because alkies have this very slick trick of switching out their beverage "accidentally on purpose."

"I thought it was my Coke!" we exclaim pitifully. "How could I have known that it was actually someone else’s rum and Coke?"

It doesn’t even matter if you are maintaining visual contact with the drink—once it hits the table, it’s no longer yours. Go back and get a fresh one.

No. 3: Remain anonymous.

You don’t have to tell people that you are now sober in Alcoholics Anonymous or clean in another Twelve Step program. It’s nobody’s business. Sometimes, the newly sober tend to "overshare" with people in our lives. You are not in a Twelve Step meeting when you are at a party featuring alcohol (or other substances). You are out in the big, bad world, where no one cares that you are clean.

You do not owe anyone an explanation for your choice not to drink. Your sobriety is, in fact, none of their business. You do not need to share that vital information with anyone. Remember that the last name of every Twelve Step program is "Anonymous."

No. 4: Stay home.

There is no law that says that newly clean and sober people must test their sobriety or abstinence at every family or social event that comes along. If you’re feeling shaky about your recovery, don’t tempt fate. We love to do it, but ultimately, it could be a self-defeating choice.

If you feel that a particular event may be too much of a test for your recovery, make up an excuse and go to a meeting instead. Give your own sobriety a chance.
So there you have it—four ways to stay clean and sober through the often treacherous summer holiday season. Come Labor Day, you’ll be sober as a judge…instead of having to appear in front of one!

Publisher's note: This guest commentary is presented by New York Times bestselling author Michael Graubart has published Sober Dad: The Manual for Perfectly Imperfect Parenting (Hazelden).

A brief historical note

Historia Anglorum by an unknown artist
British Library (circa 1250)
The English historian Henry of Huntingdon (1088 - 1157) wrote one of the earliest histories of the British Isles, a book entitled Historia Anglorum, which was published circa 1129.

My brothers and I have been researching our family history for several months now. Building on the work of others in my family, we have traced parts of my family tree back more than 1,000 years.

It was this research into my ancestry that led me to Henry of Huntingdon and his opus.

In Historia Anglorum, the historian had a few choice words to describe my 29th great grandfather John Marshal (c.1105 - 1165). The chronicler referred to this minor nobleman, who happened to be one of my ancestors, as "that child of hell and the root of all evil."

So, you see, my dear readers, one must conclude that I am no ordinary troublemaker in Detroit. Instead, I come from a long line of troublemakers - including "that child of hell and the root of all evil."

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Children's book fair comes to Rouge Park

Children listening to a story - Joint Base San Antonio
A children's book fair will come to Rouge Park in Detroit on Saturday, June 3. This event will happen in the Brennan Pool Pavillion (map available here) from 11 am - 4 pm.

This Celebration of Children's Literature is presented by the Pearl SMART Network. It is sponsored by the Friends of Rouge Park, the University of Detroit-Mercy, and others.

Free children's books will be available during this event. There will also be food, music, games, and more.

Families from across Detroit are invited to attend this event.

Monday, May 22, 2017

A prayer for Manchester

Manchester, England, Photo from Wikicommons
As I watch the evening news and see the reports of people killed and injured at an Ariana Grande concert, my heart aches for the people of Manchester, England this evening.

May all of the angels and saints in Heaven join in welcoming home those 22 souls who had to leave this world before their time. May the families and loved ones that they were forced to leave behind know comfort and peace during this troubling hour.

May Saint George the Dragon Slayer and Martyr, Patron Saint of all England, watch over and guide those affected by this horrific act of terrorism. May God's eternal blessing be upon those who are opening their hearts and homes to help others during the darkest night that many will ever know.


Volunteers needed to help Detroiters avoid foreclosure

Home in Warrendale - Photo by Frank Nemecek
Each year thousands of Detroit residents face property tax foreclosure. The United Community Housing Coalition (UCHC) will conduct door-to-door outreach for those Detroit residents facing foreclosure to direct them to resources, payment plans, and counseling services designed to save their home.

We are asking for volunteers to join UCHC and commit to five hours of door to door canvassing to help at risk Detroiters save their home. UCHC will provide all volunteers with training to be able to go out and canvas according to their own schedules.

Previous canvassing experience is preferred, but not required to volunteer. Interested candidates should email Michele Oberholtzer at by May 26 to sign up.

For more information on UCHC, please visit

3 Tips for troubleshooting your "sugar belly"

Poor wheat.

It seems the golden grain has lost much of its luster, thanks to the gluten-free movement (now a $16-billion-dollar-a-year industry) and a broad-brush bashing that has painted it as the latest food demon.

“Wheat has been found guilty without a fair trial,” says Dr. John Douillard, a former NBA nutrition expert and author of “Eat Wheat: A Scientific and Clinically-Proven Approach to Safely Bringing Wheat and Dairy Back into Your Diet” (

“The grains you choose are critical to keeping your blood sugar stable, your weight down and your heart healthy.”

There’s plenty of evidence that wheat isn’t the monster that best-selling books like “Grain Brain” and “Wheat Belly” make it out to be, Douillard says.

“Whole wheat extends life, reduces the risk of dementia by 54 percent, and in study after study prevents the onset of Type 2 diabetes,” he says. “The science shows health risks only with refined and processed kinds of wheat.”

Other culprits include artificial sweeteners and a culture that encourages constant snacking, Douillard says, which can lead to what he calls “sugar belly.”

“In general, processed foods are quicker to be broken down into sugar, or glucose, which enters the bloodstream faster than whole foods,” he says. “Excess sugar in the blood will trigger the release of excess insulin, which converts and stores the sugar in the form of unwanted fat and damaging cholesterol particles.”

It’s leading to the “world’s next great epidemic,” Douillard says, a combination of diabetes and obesity he calls “diabesity.”

A balanced and rebooted digestive system should be able to easily process foods like wheat and dairy, Douillard says. Here are his tips for troubleshooting your sugar belly:

  1. Monitor your blood sugar. If you have a sweet tooth, carry extra weight around the hips or belly, or you’re finding that you’re becoming intolerant to certain foods, try using an over-the-counter glucometer. It could help you determine which foods or stressors are spiking your levels.
  2. Start checking labels. The “Nutrition Facts” will tell you the amount of sugar that is naturally occurring in that food, plus any sugar added in processing. Get in the habit of comparing the sugar content in the products you purchase.
  3. Stop grazing. Between-meal snacks have become a must for kids, and many adults believe eating six small meals a day is a metabolism booster that will help them lose weight. Neither is true, Douillard says. Fat burns efficiently, given a chance, and grazing actually gets in the way.

Douillard isn’t downplaying the devastation of celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder in which the ingestion of gluten leads to damage in the small intestine. But, he says, the push for gluten-free products and diets has gotten out of hand.

“Yes, some people feel bad when they eat wheat,” Douillard says. “But in most cases, it’s because of a breakdown of the digestive system as a result of a diet of processed foods and pesticides. Taking foods out of the diet won’t fix that, it just kicks the real problem down the road, leaving folks at risk for more serious health concerns.”

These tips on nutrition are brought to you by Warrendale (Detroit) Blog as part of our Tip of the Week feature. Please check back next week for more advice for your home, money, and life.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Clean up Warrendale on May 20

Motor City Makeover, 2008 - Photo by Frank Nemecek
The annual Motor City Makeover project will come to the Warrendale neighborhood on Saturday, May 20 from 10 am - 2 pm. This is part of an ongoing effort to clean up Detroit
This event is organized by the Warrendale Community Organization, the Warrendale South Radio Patrol, and Warrendale Warriors Radio Patrol. It will focus on Stout between Tireman and Belton.

Onsite registration will happen across from 8059 Stout. A light lunch and water will be provided for volunteers.

Everyone is invited to come out and participate. The more volunteers there are, the more can be accomplished.

Is it time to convert to a Roth IRA?

Financial markets
Illustration by Silven Milev
Retirement can open up a whole new way of life for Americans ready to bring their working years to an end, but at least one thing doesn’t change. The IRS keeps a watchful eye on your income – including whatever amount you’re pulling from the IRA or 401(k) that you spent decades building into a nice, hefty nest egg.

Uncle Sam has been waiting for years – possibly decades – to tax that money because the deposits you made were pre-tax, meaning you weren’t taxed on the income you contributed to the accounts.

That tax-deferral system works well – until retirement time arrives and you need the money.

 “When you defer taxes, eventually it catches up with you,” says Gary Marriage Jr., chief executive officer of Nature Coast Financial Advisors. “Suddenly, your IRA or 401(k) isn’t worth as much as you thought because every withdrawal you make potentially can be taxed.”

But there’s an answer and, with President Donald Trump and Congress looking at tax cuts, now would be the time to take advantage, Marriage points out.

Those traditional IRA and 401(k) accounts can be converted to a Roth IRA, which isn’t taxed when withdrawals are made. That doesn’t mean you’ll avoid the taxes, Marriage says because you’ll pay them when you make the conversion. But when you reach retirement, you’ll be able to make withdrawals the rest of your life tax-free.

“Taxes are about to be on sale,” Marriage says. “Over the next four to five years, your tax bracket is probably going to be as low as it ever will be.”

He says some facts worth knowing about Roth conversions include:

  • Space out the conversion. Most people wouldn’t want to take the tax hit all at once, and you don’t have to. You can transfer the money into a Roth in increments over the course of a few years. So if, for example, you space out the conversion over five years, then the tax is spaced out over five years as well. A few factors determine how much you can convert the first year, but Marriage says about 40 percent of the people he has worked with were able to convert half of it in the first year.
  • The age to do it. A conversion can be done regardless of the account holder’s age, but Marriage says it’s his experience that people 59 ½ to 74 benefit the most.
  • Start with a Roth if possible. Some employers now offer a Roth 401(k) as an option. Employees should take advantage of that, Marriage says. They won’t get to defer their taxes on the portion of their income they contribute to the account, but the interest grows tax-free and they’ll avoid taxes come retirement time.
Marriage says he recently did a conversion for a client where he had calculated that if the client lived to be 90, they would have paid nearly $1 million in taxes on IRA withdrawals.

“Switching to a Roth lowered that to $200,000,” he says. “I know that still sounds like a lot, but I’d rather pay $200,000 than nearly $1 million.”

These tips on a Roth IRA conversion are brought to you by Warrendale (Detroit) Blog as part of our Tip of the Week feature. Please check back next week for more advice for your home, money, and life.

Upcoming events for Detroit's Rouge Park

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

During this meeting, the group will discuss a variety of items impacting Rouge Park. Anyone interested in the future of the largest park in Detroit is welcome to attend.

In addition, there are a series of other events coming up soon in and around Rouge Park in Detroit. This includes an annual cleanup effort known as Rouge Park Appreciation Day/Rouge Rescue on Saturday, May 20 from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. as well as:

  • Scout Hollow Bird Walk on Sunday, May 21 at 8 a.m.
  • Scout Hollow Teacher Workshop on Saturday, June 10;
  • Splash party and movie night on Friday, July 21;
  • Stay fit for health run/walk on Saturday, July 22;
  • Joga and jazz on Sunday, July 23; and
  • Butterfly and prairie walk on Saturday, July 30 at 2 p.m.
Additional details about each of these other events will be posted on this blog as they draw closer.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Study shows minorities pay higher insurance premiums

Lloyd's of London - Photo by Charis Tsevis
A recent study has shown that consumers in predominantly minority neighborhoods pay as much as 30% more for auto insurance as do others in similar accident costs. This study was published by ProPublica, an independent, investigative journalism outlet that has won multiple Pulitzer Prizes.

In conducting their research, ProPublcia looked at premium and claim payouts in California, Illinois, Texas, and Missouri. They identified insurance claims in different areas.

Once they identified predominately white neighborhoods that had ones that had the same level of insurance claims as predominately black or Latino neighborhoods, they compared the premiums that consumers in those neighborhoods were charged. In each instance, the predominately white neighborhoods paid less for auto insurance than their minority counterparts with the same claims history.

The full text of this report on the auto insurance industry is available here. The methodology and source of information behind this study are explained in more detail here.

The Insurance Information Institue, a trade group for the insurance industry, disputes the findings from ProPublica in an op-ed available here. The insurance industry argues that ProPublica did not use the correct information in their analysis. This is true.

Of course, it's also true that the data that the insurance industry says that should be used for an analysis like this is not publicly available. ProPublica used the closest proximity to the ideal information from that data is available.

This brings me to two important conclusions.

  1. More information ought to be available publicly. It's impossible for any discussion or debate to happen when only one party in the conversation has reliable data. As it currently is, with only the insurance industry have detailed data, it creates an environment that is ripe for abuse.
  2. There needs to be more review done on an independent basis. The fact that a difference in prices paid among predominately white and predominately minority neighborhoods is this consistent across states and insurance carriers clearly demonstrates in my mind that something is amiss and someone needs to look into independently.

People have argued that auto insurance premiums had a racial component to them for years. This adds at least a little bit of additional credibility to those arguments.

Thursday, April 06, 2017

1 dead, 2 injured after shooting on Ashton

The Detroit Police Department is investigating a shooting that happened late Wednesday night on Ashton Ave. in the Warrendale neighborhood. One victim was killed in what police describe as an apparent carjacking. Two other victims were injured and transported to a nearby hospital.

This shooting happened on Ashton, between Whitlock and W. Warren Ave.

According to a report from WDIV-TV, the three victims were in a silver car when two gunmen approached their vehicle. Words were reportedly exchanged and then the gunmen opened fire of the occupants of that car.

Officers from the Detroit Police Department have interviewed the surviving victims as well as neighbors in the area. They are also seeking surveillance video from a nearby home.

Anyone with information this shooting is asked to call Crime Stoppers of Michigan at 800-SPEAK-UP. Callers can remain completely anonymous. A cash reward is being offered for information leading to an arrest in this case.

Gabe Leland kicks off re-election campaign

Leland kicks off re-election - Photo by Frank Nemecek
Earlier this evening, Gabe Leland, who represents the Warrendale and surrounding neighborhoods on the Detroit City Council, kicked off his re-election campaign. If re-elected, this will be his second term representing District 7 on the Council.

A large group of residents and business owners were on hand to lend their support.

Leland has kept the neighborhoods at the forefront during his first time on the Detroit City Council. He pledged to continue doing that if re-elected.

I supported Gabe Leland in his previous 2013 campaign. I've been proud of his work over the past four years. It is my pleasure to endorse and support his re-election efforts this year.

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Running and biking event coming to Rouge Park

Tour de Troit will present a duathlon, which features cycling and running portions of the event, in Detroit's Rouge Park. This event, billed as the Rouge-A-thlon, will begin at 9 am with a 5K run. It will be followed by a 10K bike ride and then followed by a second 5K run. The entire event will be chip-timed, to the finish line.

This will be a total of 20 kilometers around the largest park in Detroit, with stunning paved pathways and winding roads.

This inaugural race will be limited to 250 participants. There are 50 slots available for VIP registration which will include priority placement in the transition station, a premium t-shirt, and a TDT branded running towel. The VIP option may be selected at checkout during the online registration process.

This event is not sweeper supported, which is important for the cycling portion of this race. Participants are encouraged to bring their own bicycle tools, tubes, pump, and other equipment. Registration will include the duathlon, a beer, Amicci's Pizza baked on site, and a finisher medal. Proceeds from this event go towards Friends of Rouge Park.

This race is a partnership between Tour de Troit, the Kidney Foundation and the Friends of Rouge Park. More details and on-line registration are available here.

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Fatal Music - Review

The twists and turns in Peter Morfoot’s “Fatal Music” make this crime novel an enjoyable read. The book is the latest in a series following Homicide Captain Paul Darac of the Brigade Criminelle as he uncovers clues to catch a killer.

At first, this at-home death of an elderly woman looks as cut and dry as a heart attack in a hot tub but deeper exploration from Darac (and brilliant intuition) prove there is more to this investigation than meets the eye. Set in France, the author wastes no time in setting the tone for a compelling story that not only heightens your imagination but also provides a smooth soundtrack along with it.

Forget the basics in this soundtrack though, Morfoot gives us an advanced lesson in some of the greats of Jazz. Being sure to mention names like Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, and Thelonious Monk, Morfoot exposes readers to the tone of his novel through the music Darac is mesmerized by. Whether playing a club, listening to it, or admiring it, Jazz is clearly Darac’s first and longest love.

Aptly named “Fatal Music” for the obvious ode to Jazz, the arts do not stop there. Morfoot ties in the high-profile world of France’s art scene where Darac finds himself in the quarters of famed art collectors and curators piecing together how a famous painting could have anything to do with the murder of his jazz queen. From the seedy streets and Jazz clubs of the Babazouk to the cultured world of art lovers this investigation has Darac (and his team) scrambling to find answers and as each clue is revealed, more action unfolds.

Suspense, drama, and action make each page turn quicker than the last and your heart strings to pull more than the strings on Darac’s guitar. With so many opportunities for motive, means and just plain hatred, figuring out who is the culprit will leave readers blown away by jazz and crime.

Publisher's note: This review of "Fatal Music was written by Shalen Franchini. It is the first in a series of book reviews that will appear on this blog in the coming weeks.

"Fatal Music" by Peter Morfoot went on sale today from Titan Books.

Rouge Park clean up this Saturday

Spring cleaning - Photo by Oliver Gruener
The public is invited to join students from Wayne State University and the Friends of Rouge Park in a cleanup for Rouge Park this Saturday. April 8. This cleanup effort will focus on the barn that is used by the Buffalo Soldiers in Rouge Park as well as the area along Joy Road.

Those who are interested in helping are asked to meet at the barn at 10 am. The Buffalo Soldiers barn is located at 21800 Joy Rd. at Lahser Rd. in Rouge Park.

In addition to this cleanup effort, the Friends of Rouge Park will also host Rouge Park Appreciation Day, which is another large cleanup and improvement effort in the park. That event will happen on Saturday, May 20.

Monday, April 03, 2017

Help for sexual assault victims

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month - a national campaign to raise awareness of sexual assault and educate communities and individuals on how to prevent sexual violence.

It's about time - Photo by Leticia Bertin/Flickr
Each year during the month of April, state, territory, tribal and community-based organizations, rape crisis centers, government agencies, businesses, campuses and individuals plan events and activities to highlight sexual violence as a public health, human rights, and social justice issue and reinforce the need for prevention efforts.

To kick this campaign off locally, Ricardo Moore, who represents the Warrendale and surrounding neighborhoods on the Detroit Police Commission, sent along a list of resources for victims of sexual assault.

Resources for sexual assault victims include:

The National Domestic Violence Hotline (NDVH)
800-799-SAFE (800-799-7233)
800-787-3224 (TTY)

The Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN)
800-656-HOPE (800-656-4673)

National Teen Dating Abuse Hotline Number - Just for teens. You can talk one-on-one with a trained advocate 24/7 who can offer support and connect you to resources.
866-331-8453 (TTY)

This list is presented as this blog's Tip of the Week - a semi-regular feature to highlight ways to make life better for readers or for the community as a whole.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Police chase ends tragically in Detroit

Michigan State Police investigate a crash on Ashton
Photo by Frank Nemecek
What appears to have been a chase involving the Michigan State Police in the Warrendale neighborhood of Detroit has ended badly this evening. A white Chrysler 300 sedan hit two parked vehicles and crashed into a tree on Ashton, just north of Paul, at approximately 6:30 this evening.

Police officers on the scene declined to comment due to their on-going investigation. However, neighbors in the area reported that two individuals in a car being chased died in this crash.

Michigan State Police have Ashton, between Whitlock and Paul Streets, closed for their investigation. State troopers have canvassed the block asking residents about they might have seen and if they have any camera footage that might show details of the chase.

More news as this story develops.

Police cars block off Paul St at the Southfield Fwy.
Photo by Frank Nemecek
Update @ 9:14 p.m.
According to neighbors, it would appear that the Michigan State Police broke off their pursuit as soon as it headed into a residential neighborhood. The individuals that they were chasing, however, continued to flee and subsequently hit two other vehicles before slamming into a tree.

More news as this story develops.

Update @ 10:21 p.m.
This pursuit reportedly started on the Southfield Freeway when Michigan state troopers noticed that the driver was not wearing a seat belt and had tinted windows. They attempted to pull the driver over to issue a citation.

Unfortunately, the driver attempted to flee rather than pull over.

More news at this story develops.

Update @ 10:32 p.m.
The Detroit Fire Department is currently at the scene. They are cutting the mangled sedan open so the remains of the driver and passenger can be removed from this vehicle.

Update @ 10:39 p.m.
According to a neighbor who lives near the crash site, the impact was severe enough that the engine block of that car dislodged from the vehicle. It then continued traveling for a few more feet before landing on the ground.

Any additional updates will have to wait until tomorrow morning.

Update - Saturday, April 1 @ 10:59 a.m.
The crash site as of this morning - Photo by Frank Nemecek
The wreckage from this crash is largely cleared at this point. The yellow police tape has been removed. Ashton is once again open to vehicular traffic and residents are going about their daily routines.

The tree that the fleeing vehicle slammed into, however, still stands with obvious damage to its trunk - a reminder of the spot where two foolish individuals lost their life.

Debris is still littered along the road and sidewalks. I found pieces of the destroyed Chrysler 300 sedan as far as 60 feet from the crash site.

I suspect that residents who live near this spot will continue to find small pieces of that car for days or weeks to come.

Debris from the crash - Photo by Frank Nemecek
All of this will be a lingering reminder of why it's a terrible idea to flee from the police, especially over something as minor as a traffic ticket. The driver probably had some other reason for wanting to run - a warrant for his arrest, a suspended license, or some other reason that probably made sense to him at that moment.

The tragic reality, though, is that none of those things are worth losing one's life over nor are they worth jeoparding the lives of others for.

This, I'm afraid, is a lesson that the ill-fated driver learned too late.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Vietnam Veterans Day

Vietnam Veterans Memorial/ Washington, DC
Photo by Jim Bowen/Flickr
The Vietnam War ended 44 years ago today, with the last American troops leaving by helicopter. President Richard M. Nixon later declared that March 29 was to be known as Vietnam Veterans Day.

President Barack Obama issued a similar proclamation in 2012 on the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War starting.

Along the way, 45 of the 50 states as well as Peurto Rico have passed similar resolutions to establish a Vietnam Veterans Day as a way of welcoming home those who were scorned decades ago. Michigan, unfortunately, is one of the few states that have not adopted such recognition.

I want to take a moment to welcome home all of the Vietnam Veterans. Thank you for your service.

And for any of the elected officials who read my blog from time to time, we really ought to talk about the fact that Michigan is one of only five states in the Union that doesn't formally recognize Vietnam Veterans Day as a holiday.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Iveagh Gardens in Dublin, Ireland - Photo by William Murphy
I want to take a moment to wish a Happy St. Patrick's Day to everyone in Warrendale neighborhood and beyond. This is one of those instances when everyone is at least a little bit Irish, even if there isn't a drop of green blood in your veins those other 364 days of the year.

There are almost a dozen different bars in Warrendale neighborhood; almost all of them are doing something special for St. Patrick's Day. Whatever you do, I hope your holiday is a full-filled and safe one.

Happy St. Patrick's Day, everyone!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Two Detroit police officers shot in the line of duty

Raymond Durham
Two Detroit police officers were shot this evening in Southwest Detroit. They have been taken to Detroit Receiving Hospital for treatment. However, their names and current condition are not known at this moment.

The Detroit Police Department and Michigan State Police have an active manhunt underway. The shooter has been identified as Raymond Durham, a 60-year old man with a history of breaking and entering convictions.

Additional information about this shooting is available from WXYZ-TV here.

Coming soon: book reviews

Sample books from Titan - Photo by Frank Nemecek
The folks at Titan Books recently sent me a series of books to review. They sent me a series of five crime and espionage novels in this shipment. As a result, I'm pleased to announce that there will be a series of book reviews coming to the Warrendale (Detroit) Blog, starting early next month.

The first book that I will review will be Fatal Music by Peter Morfoot. In this mystery novel, Captain Paul Darac of the Brigade Criminelle is called to investigate an elderly woman found dead in her hot tub. At first, is assumed that she died of natural causes. However, as he digs deeper, Darac discovers a motive for murder with no shortage of suspects.

Fatal Music is a follow-up novel to Morfoot's debut novel Impure Blood. The Crime Review called that previous novel "a vibrant, satisfying read." Library Journal declared in its review, "Morfoot introduces a delightful example of the disenchanted French boulevardier."

Fatal Music will go on sale Tuesday, April 4, 2017. I expect to have my review on-line the day before.

Pocket park moves toward goal

Plans to create a pocket park on Auburn Street in the Warrendale neighborhood of Detroit are moving forward. The dynamic duo behind this plan was featured on Fox 2 Detroit with Taryn Asher last week.

Their GoFundMe page also continues to move towards its $10,000 goal. They are currently a little more than 20% of the way to their target.

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Fake cops shoot Warrendale resident

Three individuals who were dressed as police officers, but weren't really affiliated with law enforcement, broke into a home on Mettatal Street in Detroit's Warrendale neighborhood early this morning. A 35-year-old man who lived in that home was shot during the robbery.

The victim was originally listed in critical condition. However, updates indicate that he is expected to make a complete recovery.

According to investigators within the Detroit Police Department, this was not a random event. Detectives believe that this individual was targeted as a result of dispute that happened earlier in the week.

The mother and young child who were in this Detroit home at the time were not physically harmed. Obviously, they are emotionally shaken by this event.

Monday, March 06, 2017

Pocket park project coming to Warrendale

Area targeted for a pocket park - Photo by Barb Matney
Barb and Joe Matney, the dynamic duo behind the In Memory Of community garden here in the Warrendale neighborhood and key members of the Warrendale Community Organization, have launched a new project. They are working to create a new pocket park in our area.

The project will take vacant land in Warrendale and allow it to be used for recreation. They are trying to raise $10,000 through a GoFundMe campaign.

 Additional information about this project is available here.

Tip of the week: Nine common filing errors to avoid

It's tax season and the Internal Revenue Service has release their list of the nine most common errors in tax returns. It's my pleasure to share this with my readers as part of this blog's semi-regular Tip of the Week feature.

Without further ado, here are nine common errors to avoid when preparing a tax return:

1. Missing or inaccurate Social Security numbers. Be sure to enter each Social Security numbers on a tax return exactly as printed on the Social Security card.

2. Misspelled names. Spell all names listed on a tax return exactly as listed on that individual’s Social Security card.

3. Filing status errors.  Some people claim the wrong filing status, such as Head of Household instead of Single. The Interactive Tax Assistant on can help taxpayers choose the correct status. E-file software also helps prevent mistakes.

4. Math mistakes.  Math errors are common. They range from simple addition and subtraction to more complex items. Transactions like figuring the taxable portion of a pension, IRA distribution or Social Security benefits are more difficult and result in more errors. Taxpayers should always double check their math. Better yet, tax preparation software does it automatically, so file electronically.

5. Errors in figuring tax credits or deductions.  Filers can make mistakes figuring their Earned Income Tax Credit, Child and Dependent Care Credit, the standard deduction and other items. Taxpayers need to follow the instructions carefully. For example, if a taxpayer is age 65 or older, or blind, they should be sure to claim the correct, higher standard deduction. The IRS Interactive Tax Assistant can help determine if a taxpayer is eligible for tax credits or deductions.

6. Incorrect bank account numbers.  The IRS strongly urges all taxpayers who have a refund due to choose direct deposit. It’s easy and convenient.  Be careful to use the right routing and account numbers on the tax return. The fastest and safest way to get a refund is to combine e-file with direct deposit.

7. Forms not signed.  An unsigned tax return is like an unsigned check – it’s not valid. Both spouses must sign a joint return. Taxpayers can avoid this error by filing their return electronically. Sign an e-filed tax return digitally before sending it to the IRS.

8. Electronic filing PIN errors. When e-filing, the taxpayer signs and validates the tax return electronically with a prior-year Self-Select Personal Identification Number. If they do not have or know their PIN, they should enter the Adjusted Gross Income from their 2015 tax return originally filed with the IRS. Taxpayers should keep a copy of their tax return.

Beginning in 2017, taxpayers using a software product for the first time may need their Adjusted Gross Income amount from their prior-year tax return to verify their identity. Taxpayers can learn more about how to verify their identity and electronically sign tax returns at Validating Your Electronically Filed Tax Return. Do not use the AGI amount from an amended return or a return that the IRS corrected.

9. Filing with an expired ITIN. A tax return filed with an expired Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) will be processed and treated as timely filed, but will be processed without any exemptions or credits claimed. Taxpayers will receive a notice from the IRS explaining that an ITIN must be current before any refund is paid. Once the ITIN is renewed, exemptions and credits are processed and any allowed refund paid. ITIN expiration and renewal information is available on 

Avoiding these common filing errors on your tax return is your Warrendale Tip of the Week.