Thursday, September 20, 2018

District 7 fall meeting announced

Meeting - Stock Photo courtesy of Pixavy
The fall meet and greet for the District 7 area, which includes the Warrendale neighborhood, has been scheduled for Wednesday, October 3. This meeting will happen in the Adams-Butzel Recreation Center (10500 Lyndon) at 6 p.m.

This meeting will consist largely of general updates from the District 7 staff.

Those interested in attending are asked to RSVP by phone or email to the District 7 manager Ray Solomon at (313) 236-3516 / solomonr [at] detroitmi [dot] gov or the deputy manager Mona Ali at (313) 236-3540 / alim [at] detroitmi [dot] gov.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Friends of Rouge Park to meet tomorrow

Rouge Park on a foggy day - Photo by Frank Nemecek
The non-profit advocacy and service group Friends of Rouge Park will have their next meeting tomorrow evening. They will meet at the Westside Christian Academy (9540 Brammel St.) from 6 - 7 pm on Tuesday, September 18.

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

FBI warns about cyber risk to students

Cyber-threats - Stock image by Pete Linforth/Pixabay

The Federal Bureau of Investigation released a statement recently encouraging public awareness of cyber threat concerns related to K-12 students. The US school systems’ rapid growth of education technologies, which is also known as EdTech. This technology has led to the widespread collection of student data could have privacy and safety implications if compromised or exploited.

EdTech can provide services for adaptive, personalized learning experiences, and unique opportunities for student collaboration. Additionally, administrative platforms for tracking academics, disciplinary issues, student information systems, and classroom management programs, are commonly served through EdTech services.

The types of data that are collected can include personally identifiable information as well as:
  • biometric data;
  • academic progress;
  • behavioral, disciplinary, and medical information;
  • Web browsing history;
  • students’ geolocation;
  • IP addresses used by students; and
  • classroom activities.
Malicious use of this sensitive data could result in social engineering, bullying, tracking, identity theft, or other means for targeting children. Therefore, the FBI is providing awareness to schools and parents of the important role cybersecurity plays in the securing of student information and devices.

Sensitive Student Data
The widespread collection of sensitive information by EdTech could present unique exploitation opportunities for criminals. For example, in late 2017, cyber-actors exploited school information technology systems by hacking into multiple school district servers across the United States. They accessed student contact information, education plans, homework assignments, medical records, and counselor reports, and then used that information to contact, extort, and threaten students with physical violence and release of their personal information. The actors sent text messages to parents and local law enforcement, publicized students’ private information, posted student PII on social media, and stated how the release of such information could help child predators identify new targets. In response to the incidents, the U.S. Department of Education released a Cyber Advisory alert in October 2017 stating cybercriminals were targeting school districts with weak data security or well-known vulnerabilities to access sensitive data from student records to shame, bully, and threaten children.

Cybersecurity issues were discovered in 2017 for two large EdTech companies, resulting in public access to millions of students’ data. According to security researchers, one company exposed internal data by storing it on a public-facing server. The other company suffered a breach and student data was posted for sale on the Dark Web.

Inter-connected Networks and Devices
EdTech connected to networked devices or directly to the Internet could increase opportunities for cyber actors to access devices collecting data and monitoring children within educational or home environments. Improperly secured take-home devices (e.g. tablets, laptops) or monitoring devices (e.g. in-school surveillance cameras or microphones), particularly those with remote-access capabilities, could be exploitable through cyber intrusions or other unauthorized means and present vulnerabilities for students.

Recommendations
The increased use of connected digital tools in the learning environment and widespread data collection introduces cybersecurity risks of which parents should be aware.

The FBI recognizes there are districts across the United States who are working hard to address cybersecurity matters in their schools to protect students and their data. For districts seeking assistance, there are numerous online resources, consortiums, and organizations available that can provide support on data protection matters and cybersecurity best practices.

The FBI encourages parents and families to research existing student and child privacy protections of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, the Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment, the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, and state laws as they apply to EdTech services.
Discuss with their local districts about what and how EdTech technologies and programs are used in their schools.

Families should also research parent coalition and information-sharing organizations that are available online for those looking for support and additional resources as well as school-related cyber breaches which can further inform families of student data vulnerabilities. The FBI also recommends that families consider credit or identity theft monitoring to check for any fraudulent use of their children’s identity. Parents should also regularly search the Internet for their children’s information to help identify the exposure and stop it from spreading.

If you have evidence your child’s data may have been compromised, or if you have experienced any of the Internet crimes described in this PSA, please file a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov.

Protecting your children from the latest EdTech cyber-risks is your Tip of the Week for the week of September 17.

These tips are brought to you by the Warrendale (Detroit) Blog as part of our semi-regular Tip of the Week feature. Please check back every Monday for more advice on your home, money, and life. In the meantime, please feel free to check out the author, Frank Nemecek, on Twitter and Instagram for more great content as @fnemecek.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Miss Michigan is my new hero

Emily Sioma, Miss Michigan 2019 - Photo by Yachin Parham/Miss America Foundation
Nia Franklin of New York was crowned Miss America at the pageant in Atlantic City, New Jersey. However, it was Miss Michigan Emily Sioma whose introduction caused the most stir and excitement.

At the beginning of the Miss America pageant, each of the 51 contestants took center stage to introduce herself briefly to the audience. "From the state with 89% of the U.S. freshwater but none for its residents to drink," she began, "I am Miss Michigan Emily Sioma."

To say that the internet exploded with comments regarding Emily Sioma and her comments at the Miss America pageant is an understatement. Everyone seemed to understand that she was referring to the ongoing water crisis in Flint, Michigan. Unfortunately, though, her comments could also apply to Detroit public school students and others around the Great Lakes State who lack a reliable source of clean drinking water.

I am incredibly proud of Emily Sioma for using her platform at the Miss America pageant to keep the problems of clean drinking water in Michigan in the public consciousness. There are a lot of people in this state, particularly in Lansing, who would like the issues associated with our water to go away so they can go back to cutting taxes and regulations. However, when people like her keep water at the forefront of everyone's mind, it makes it hard to impossible for this issue to die a quiet death without someone finally fixing the problem.

I feel like I should mention a few other things about Emily Sioma to put her life thus far into perspective. She was born and raised in Grass Lake, Michigan, which is along the I-94 corridor between Ann Arbor and Jackson, but closer to Jackson. She is also a graduate of the University of Michigan where she received a degree in women's studies.

Emily Sioma is a survivor of a sexual assault. She used her personal experiences and her education to further the "I Believe You" initiative as part of her reign as Miss Michigan. Its mission is to support those who also survived a sexual assault.

It is for all of these reasons that Emily Sioma, Miss Michigan 2019, is my hero.

One of the things that I normally do on this blog is to publish a Tip of the Week feature; something to make someone's life a little easier or better. This Monday, my tip of the week is simple: be more like Emily Sioma.

I want to be more like her. I want everyone in Michigan to be more like Emily Sioma. That's why it gives me great pleasure to make "be more like Emily Sioma" this blog's Tip of the Week for September 10, 2018.

These tips are brought to you by the Warrendale (Detroit) Blog as part of our semi-regular Tip of the Week feature. Please check back every Monday for more advice on your home, money, and life. In the meantime, please feel free to check out the author, Frank Nemecek, on Twitter and Instagram for more great content as @fnemecek.

Monday, September 03, 2018

How to take out of this world selfies

Visiting the Christmas Tree Cluster - Photo by Frank Nemecek (with help from NASA)
In an era that is truly dominated by social media, there's no getting over the fact that selfies are a ubiquitous part of Facebook, Instagram, Snap Chat, and Twitter. This creates a certain amount of pressure for people to take a truly spectacular selfie.

A selfie that is, to put it either figurately or in this case literally, out of this world.

To help with such a selfie, my dear readers, I would like to introduce you to the NASA Selfies app. This free app, which is available from either the App Store or the Play Store, takes a selfie like the one that I featured above.

My friends may have posted selfies from the beach or some music festival. I, however, got to post a selfie from the Christmas Tree Cluster - a group of new stars in the Monoceros constellation this is located approximately 2,600 light years from Earth. I don't think anyone can top an out of this world selfie like this.

The NASA Selfie app is incredibly easy to use. Besides the Christmas Tree Cluster, one can also take a photo of one's self at the Triangulum Galaxy as well as:

  • Andromeda Galaxy;
  • Antennae Galaxies;
  • Arp 142 Galaxies;
  • Cassiopeia A;
  • Cigar Galaxy;
  • Crab Nebula;
  • Eta Caninae Star Forming Region;
  • Galactic Center;
  • Helix Nebula;
  • IDCS J1426 Galaxy Cluster;
  • Large Magellanic Cloud;
  • Meisser 78;
  • Meisser 81;
  • Milky Way;
  • Mountains of Creation;
  • North America Nebula;
  • Orion Nebula;
  • Perseus Nebula;
  • Pleiades Star Cluster;
  • RCW Star Forming Region;
  • Rho Ophiuchi;
  • Serpens Cloud Core;
  • Sombrero Galaxy;
  • Spider Nebula;
  • Spitzer Space Telescope;
  • Trifid Nebula;
  • W33 Star Forming Region; and
  • W5 Star Forming Region.
All of this makes the NASA Selfies app a really cool thing to have on one's smartphone.

The NASA Selfies app, therefore, is your Tip of the Week for the week of September 3, 2018. Please check back next week for another tip on making your life just a little bit better.

These tips are brought to you by the Warrendale (Detroit) Blog as part of our semi-regular Tip of the Week feature. Please check back every Monday for more advice on your home, money, and life. In the meantime, please feel free to check out the author, Frank Nemecek, on Twitter and Instagram for more great content as @fnemecek.

Friday, August 31, 2018

Warrendale bakery coming to the Food Network


The Food Network will premiere a new series on Monday, September 3 that focuses on bakers, bakeries, and the art of baking. The show is called Baked and one of the first bakeries that they will feature is the Chene Modern Bakery (17041 W. Warren Ave.) for the Warrendale neighborhood in Detroit.

The Warrendale neighborhood is home to some of the best bakeries in the Detroit area, in my humble opinion. I'm glad that the national media is paying attention to this treasure.

Baked will premiere on the Food Network channel at 10 p.m. on Monday, September 3.

My Aretha Franklin story

Aretha Franklin - Photo by Joe Ortuzar/Flickr
The funeral service for the Queen of Soul herself Aretha Franklin was on the television when I went to lunch today. There was an elderly gentleman in the diner who spent his time complaining about how Aretha Franklin wasn't that great of a person.

The worst example that this man could think of as he struggled to make his argument had to do with a property tax dispute Aretha Franklin was involved with back in 2015. That was it. A property tax dispute.

I mention this because if - at the end of a long life - the worst thing your harshest critic can think to say about you is a property tax dispute then - as far as I'm concerned - you are a wonderful person who lived an amazing life. I hope and pray that Aretha Franklin was able to hear his rant from Heaven and was laughing her butt off.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Warrendale Community Organization to meet on Tuesday


The next meeting of the Warrendale Community Organization will be this coming Tuesday, September 4. The neighborhood group will meet from 7 - 8 p.m. in the Activities Building of Ss. Peter and Paul Church (7685 Grandville).

Everyone who lives, works, or plays in the Warrendale neighborhood of Detroit is welcome to attend.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

John McCain dies at the age of 81

U.S. Senator John McCain of Arizona - Photo by Dave Davison/Pixabay
The distinguished Republican Senator from Arizona John McCain passed away earlier this evening. He was 81 years of age at the time of his death. While I disagreed with McCain on a multitude of issues, I respected him a lot.

I pray this evening, therefore, that all of angels and saints in Heaven join in welcoming him home. I also pray that his family and friends come to know comfort and peace in the days to come until they are reunited with him.

Good night, Senator McCain.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Detour to Warrendale

Warrendale - Photo by Frank Nemecek
Detour is a new email newsletter that covers a lot of stories about Detroit that other, larger publications miss. They recently launched a Neighborhood Ambassador program where a local resident will highlight stories in one of four given neighborhoods. I am honored to be their representative for Warrendale.

There will now be a new monthly column about Warrendale in their newsletter alongside my counterparts from Highland Park, Southwest, and Northwest Detroit.

As an aside, I sent the editor of Detroit four different photographs that she could use as a headshot in her introduction for me. Naturally, she used the goofiest of them.

Their latest newsletter can be seen here. It's complete with the goofy photo in question from a recent trip that I took to Frankenmuth, Michigan.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Voices of Rouge Park

Save Rouge Park - Photo by Frank Nemecek
The folks at Model D Media published a write-up on Rouge Park in Detroit. Their article primarily focused on the groups of ordinary citizens who put so much effort into preserving, protecting, and promoting the largest park in Detroit.

One can read their full article online here.

Personally, I'm thrilled that this article is one more example of people finally recognizing that Rouge Park is indeed the largest park in Detroit. (Sorry, Belle Isle - but Rouge Park is much bigger, even without factoring in the golf course.)

Full disclosure: I used to write for Model D Media several years ago. I haven't had any business relationship with them in years, however.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Mayor Duggan to meet with the neighborhood

Mayor Mike Duggan of Detroit - File Photo

The City of Detroit recently announced that Mayor Mike Duggan will have his annual District 7 Community Meeting on Monday, August 20. This event will start at 7 p.m. at the Straight Gate International Church (10100 Grand River Ave.) and is expected to conclude at 8:30 p.m.

This meeting is an opportunity for residents, business owners, and other interested parties in Warrendale and the surrounding neighborhoods to bring any questions or concerns they might have directly to Mayor Duggan in a public setting. Representatives from the various City departments will also be on hand.

The annual meeting is required by the Charter for the City of Detroit, which mandates that the Mayor hold at least one of these meetings each year in each of the seven City Council districts.

Anyone with any questions or concerns about our local government is invited to attend this meeting.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Open Streets comes to Rouge Park

Detroit Grand Prix exhibit car - Photo by Frank Nemecek
An estimated 1,400 people came out for the inaugural edition of Open Streets Rouge Park this past Saturday. A three-mile loop of roads was closed inside Rouge Park from 1 - 5 p.m. to allow a coalition of non-profits, government agencies, and businesses to showcase all that the largest park in Detroit has to offer.

This included everything from tours of the newly redeveloped Scout Hollow as well as:

  • Archery demonstrations from Elite Archery, which is the company that maintains the Rouge Park Archery Range;
  • Lacrosse demonstrations from Detroit City Lacrosse;
  • Hiking on the miles of park trails;
  • Bike rentals from Wheelhouse Detroit and cycling events; and
  • Race car exhibit by the Detroit Grand Prix.
All of this was in addition 28 other events, displays, and information tables.

Bike rentals by Wheelhouse Detroit - Photo by Frank Nemecek
"There are so many wonderful amenities in Rouge Park, and this was a great way to highlight the natural beauty that exists in Detroit’s largest park," explained Lisa Nuszkowski, one of the event organizers. "We hope that Open Streets gives more Detroiters the opportunity to experience the city’s public spaces on foot and by bike."

How to get a felony removed from your record

Jail cells - Stock photo by TryJimmy/Pixabay
I'm always amazed at how many people - who seem like model citizens at first glance - have a felony conviction on their record. Usually, it's for something that they did in their younger days. Since then, they've learned from their mistakes and have become better people.

It's frustrating, therefore, that these folks are still haunted by something they did years or even decades ago when they were a very different person. They have trouble getting a job, renting a home, or receiving credit because of their criminal history.

Luckily, it is possible to get a felony removed from your record under certain conditions. My advice here is specifically for people who live in Michigan. Individuals in other states should contact an attorney in their home state.

In order to begin the process, an applicant must have completed serving any sentence connected to their felony conviction. This includes probation and parole, if applicable.

Once that is completed, one can submit an application for pardon to the Pardon and Commutation Coordinator at the Michigan Department of Corrections. This application must be completed in full and notarized before sending it in. The form itself is available online here.

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

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

A few thoughts on the Michigan primary election


The primary elections are over. My friends Sylvia Santana and Karen Whitsett will soon represent Warrendale and the surrounding neighborhoods in the Michigan Senate and House respectively. My friend Marshall Bullock will also represent the area north of Warrendale in the Michigan Senate. Rashida Tlaib will soon be my Congresswoman and I have so much to talk with her about as it relates to Warrendale.

While they didn't win yesterday, I admire the way my friends Jeffrey Nolish and Rico Razo campaigned for the Michigan House in districts east of Warrendale. I look forward to great things from both of them in the near future.

In the governor's race, Gretchen Whitmer is going up against the Jihadist Bill Schuette. After Schuette's stint as Michigan's Attorney General - where he stood against Internet freedom for consumers; refused to protect the Constitution when it came to the Emoluments Clause but still found time to blur the boundary between church and state - I cannot stress enough how important I believe it is for Whitmer to beat this troglodyte.

Also, I would be remiss if I didn't mention how important I believe it still is for all of us to support Matt Clayson for MSU Trustee. I believe he is uniquely qualified to help Michigan State University rebuild in the wake of sexual scandals that have rocked the school.

Sunday, August 05, 2018

Anecdotal thoughts on the governor's race

A friend of mine, who I've had the pleasure of knowing for more than a decade, Brenna Lane posted some anecdotal thoughts on the race for governor of Michigan on her personal Facebook page. She addressed some things that she had seen about Democratic candidates Shri Thanedar of Ann Arbor and Abdul El-Sayed of Detroit.

With her permission, I wanted to share her thoughts with everyone as a guest commentary. The following are her observations on Shri Thanadar's campaign as well as her personal experiences with Abdul El-Sayed, which I publish here with only minor editing.

Stock photo by Sanja Gjeneor/Pixabay
Some anecdotal thoughts on the Governor's race here in Michigan:

Story #1
In my economically distressed neighborhood in Highland Park, there are Shri Thanadar signs everywhere. While driving home yesterday, I saw a van in the parking lot at Dean's liquor store at McNichols and Second. It was unmarked, but two men stood at the open back doors, one handing bundles of Shri signs to the five or six men waiting in line to receive them while the other counted cash and gave it to a man who had a bundle of signs under his arm.

I later saw my neighbor go by carrying a Shri Thanedar sign. I asked him if he was pulling it out and he said, "no, I'm putting them in all up and down the block." I asked, "Willie, why are you supporting this guy?" and he replied, "because they gave me $20 if I put out 20 signs."

Story #2
During my junior year of high school, I attended Andover High School in Bloomfield Hills. Abdul El-Sayed was in my grade. We had Calculus and AP Physics together. He was generally kind, humble, and very smart.

One time, I was waiting for our bus with my girlfriend who had presented a paper in one of her classes that day. She was dressed up for the occasion - wearing a skirt (out of character for her) and it was the first day she had ever worn makeup to school (the first time her mother ever allowed it). She was heavy handed with the makeup, and her look that day was a stark contrast to the way she normally dressed, which was a much more conservative, nerdy-bookish look.

Four guys on the basketball team, all seniors, approached us and asked my friend if she was planning to "go to 8 Mile" (that is, become a prostitute). They continued by asking her how much she would charge, making hand signs mimicking oral sex and thrusting their hips as they laughed. She was trying not to cry, I was telling them to fuck off.

Abdul El-Sayed was walking down the hall, saw what was happening and got between us and the guys. He asked them if that's how they thought men behaved. He asked "do you feel proud right now? getting laughs from your friends at the expense of her feelings?"

I don't remember everything Abdul El-Sayed said that day in high school, but it was basically like "you guys are seniors, this girl is a sophomore, pick on someone your own size or better yet, don't be the kind of man who picks on anyone."

The called him a f****t, and her a whore again a few times and then left. Abdul El-Sayed apologized to both of us. He said that things will be different when we were out of high school and the boys grew up to be adults.

Although I'm still not sure he was right on that last part, Abdul El-Sayed was standing up to bullies that were bigger than him and pushing back against toxic masculinity when he was 16 years old. Even if I didn't love his politics, I would still vote for this guy because of his character. He truly is a servant leader.

This is a crucial primary. Please - get out and vote. And if you employ people, please give them the time to vote.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Nike Community Store to give $50,000 to nonprofits in Detroit

Nike Community Store in downtown Detroit - Press photo by Nike
Nike has announced that applications for the next round of funding through the Nike Community Impact Fund (NCIF) are now being accepted through July 31, 2018. With the goal of building stronger communities and giving kids positive experiences with sport, play, and physical activity, the Community Store in Detroit will award a total of $50,000 via grants of $5,000 to $10,000 each to local organizations that are focused on getting kids active.

Six Community Stores throughout the nation will award a total of $300,000 in grants—ranging from $5,000 to $10,000 each—in Detroit, Chicago, New Orleans, Ivy City in Washington D.C., East Los Angeles and the Flatbush neighborhood in Brooklyn. NCIF is administered with the support of the Charities Aid Foundation of America and funds projects that help kids unleash their potential through physical activity, sport, and play.

NCIF is an innovative approach to grant-making that engages a committee of Nike employees to advise where grants are awarded to support the work of local organizations in the communities where they live and work. Since its launch in 2010, NCIF has awarded more than $4.97 million in grants to 502 nonprofit organizations in the United States: This includes 401 grants in Oregon and Southwest Washington, where NCIF began; nine grants in Memphis, where the Nike North America Logistics Campus is located; and 92 grants in communities where Nike has Community Stores: downtown Detroit; South Chicago; New Orleans; the Ivy City neighborhood of Washington, D.C.; East Los Angeles; and Brooklyn.

“We know that active kids do better--at school and in life. That’s why the Nike Community Impact Fund supports grassroots organizations that are focused on getting kids moving, “said Caitlin Morris, General Manager of Nike Global Community Impact. “We’re proud to support the important work of our community stores’ neighboring nonprofits, schools, and community centers as they bring positive experiences in play, sport, and physical activity into kids’ lives to help them reach their potential.”

At the Barney McCosky Baseball & Basketball League in Detroit, the NCIF grant in 2017 went toward equipment and uniforms for multi-sport activities that allow youth whose family may not be able to pay for traditional league play to find their place in a program that will help them to develop and build safe relationships while learning the basics of the game.

According to Barney McCosky Baseball & Basketball League President Isaac Orton, V, “We’ve been constantly growing over the past two years, and this grant has allowed us to have the proper equipment and uniforms we need, while maintaining our practice fields and gyms, so we can continue to grow the program and reach more kids. We’re thankful to Nike for this grant that has allowed us to continue to support these efforts.”

Applications for Detroit, Chicago, New Orleans, Ivy City in Washington D.C., East Los Angeles and the Flatbush neighborhood in Brooklyn are due July 31, 2018. All grant awards will support projects that deliver impact through the lens of sport and physical activity.

The online grant application along with the required information can be accessed at nike.com/ncif.                 

Monday, July 02, 2018

5 tips to get more things done


I find some great advice as I go about my work and life. One of the more powerful ones was a compilation of five hacks that will enable you to get more stuff done in your day.

The video above was created by Antonio Centeno of Real Men. Real Style and writer Thomas Frank. I have tried each of these things in my own work and my personal life. I can vouch for the fact that each of these five tips goes a long way towards reducing procrastination and getting more things done in your day, without adding much stress to your life.

It's my pleasure, therefore, to present "5 HACKS to Get Things Done!" as my Tip of the Week for the week of July 2. Please check back next week for more advice on your money, home, and life.

Hundreds gathers to celebrate church's history

Luncheon at SS Peter & Paul lower event center - Photo by Frank Nemecek
Hundreds of current and former parishioners at SS. Peter & Paul Catholic Church (7685 Grandville Ave.) attended special mass yesterday at the church. This service was celebrated by Bishop Donald F. Hanchon. It commemorated both the Solemnity of SS Peter & Paul, which is a special day set aside each year in the Catholic Church's calendar to remember the two apostles, as well as the 95th anniversary of this parish.

This special mass with the bishop was immediately followed by a celebratory luncheon in the lower level event center of the church. Those who have been familiar with the church building for some time may recall the days when the lower level facility housed a second worship area so that two services could be celebrated simultaneously.

The church now looks forward to celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2023.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

SS Peter & Paul celebrates its 95th anniversary

SS Peter and Paul Church - Photo by Frank Nemecek
One of the oldest establishments in Detroit's Warrendale neighborhood, SS Peter & Paul Catholic Church (7685 Grandville Ave.), will celebrate its 95th anniversary this week. The church will have a special anniversary mass at 11 a.m. on Sunday, July 1, which will be presided by Bishop Donald F. Hanchon.

To commemorate the Polish-American heritage of the parish, this special mass will be celebrated in both English and Polish. Everyone is welcome to attend, especially those who used to be a part of the SS. Peter and Paul community.

This mass will also celebrate the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, which is the special feast day for the patron saints of this parish. The actual feast day for the Apostles Peter and Paul will be on Friday, June 29 in accordance with the liturgical calendar. However, the parish will celebrate this feast day and their 95th anniversary on the following Sunday.

More information about this special event can be found on the Facebook page for SS. Peter & Paul Catholic Church or their website.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Ford announces their plans for Michigan Central Station

The crowd as Ford Motor Co. announces its plans for Michigan Central Station - Photo by Frank Nemecek
Ford Motor Company officially announced its intentions to renovate the long-vacant Michigan Central Station in Detroit's Corktown neighborhood this morning. Company chairman Bill Ford declared that the train station will once again be a place of possibility; a crucial part in their strategy to ensure that Detroit remains the "mobility capital of the world."

There will be a lot more details coming in the weeks and months to follow. The key takeaway, though, is that Ford Motor Company will continue to have a strong presence in Dearborn while expanding its foothold in Corktown, where it already has offices.

This, in my opinion, is huge news. With Ford making large investments in Dearborn and Corktown, it can only mean good things for adjacent neighborhoods like Warrendale.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Open Letter to Keith Crane

The editor-in-chief of Crain's Detroit Business, Keith Crain, published an op-ed recently that was highly critical of dedicated bicycle lanes in Detroit. I wrote a response to him, which my readers will find below.

If Mr. Crain responds to me, I'll be certain to include his rebuttal in a future post. Without further ado, I present my open letter to Keith Crain.

_________________

Dear Keith Crain:

You seem confused by the City of Detroit's decision to install bike lanes in many parts of the Motor City. You even asked whose idea it was and why you didn't hear about it before those municipal bureaucrats began implementing it.

Since you asked, I'll answer.

The idea of adding bike lanes was discussed extensively when Detroiters began debating the future of our city. There were several meetings about this back in 2011 - 12 where residents, business owners, and other stakeholders came together to consider our options as part of the Detroit Works Project and, later, the Detroit Future City project.

Adding bike lanes and offering residents and visitors multiple options to get where they need to go were one of the many principles that were discussed and agreed to.

I'm not surprised that you weren't familiar with this, though. Crain's Detroit Business was the only media outlet in southeastern Michigan that didn't cover those meetings. In order to avoid confusion like this in the future, I suggest that you pick up a subscription to the Detroit Free Press.

Your pal,
Frank

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

5 Reasons to move the Detroit Grand Prix

Helio Castroneves races in Detroit
Photo by Nic Redhead/Flickr
The Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix will return to Belle Isle this weekend. This year, like every year, there have been protests from those who want to the island park to be a more tranquil refuge.

While I love the Grand Prix and all that it contributes to Detroit, I believe that the best of course of action is to build a permanent, municipally owned facility for auto racing within the city of Detroit. The Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix should, of course, remain on Belle Isle while a new facility is being designed and constructed. However, there should be no doubt that it is time for the race to move.

I have five reasons for why I believe this should be done.

Reason 1: Money
Red Bull Rallycross on Belle Isle
Photo by Frank Nemecek
The Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix brings an impressive amount of money into Detroit. However, I believe that we are getting a tiny fraction of its potential from a permanent racing facility.

We have the Grand Prix for three days each summer. However, Detroit is no longer a stop on the Red Bull Global Rallycross series, at least in part due to the challenges of having another temporary racetrack on Belle Isle during the summer months.

In addition, Detroit is not a stop on the MotoAmerica racing circuit for motorcycles nor do we have any snowmobile racing events here in the winter.

It's almost impossible to have temporary facilities for all of these races. By opting to only have a temporary racing facility on Belle Isle, we are missing out on the potential revenue from having multiples races on several different weekends throughout the year in a permanent facility.

Reason 2: More Money
Weddings are currently a $72 billion dollar industry in the United States, according to industry data. Belle Isle is already a somewhat popular destination for weddings. The Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory, the Belle Isle Casino, and the Detroit Yacht Club are all popular wedding venues. The Detroit Boat Club has also hosted weddings in recent years and, with more renovations, has the potential for even more.

Wedding Cake - Photo by Cleiton Isoton
Moreover, May and June are two of the busiest months for weddings. This is important because the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix keeps much of Belle Isle tied up for most of May and June. Sometimes, the teardown for it even stretches into early July.

May, June, and July, by the way, are peak wedding season.

I, therefore, have to ask the question: why in the world would anyone in their right mind want to keep a popular wedding destination tied up during the busiest time for weddings?

This is like owning a toy store and closing it in November and December when everyone is looking for Christmas presents for their kids.

This is like owning a costume shop and closing it in October when everyone is looking for Halloween costumes.

This is like owning a bar and closing it down when Charlie Sheen comes to town.

Okay - that last one might actually be a good idea. Charlie Sheen does have a reputation for getting a little too wild when he drinks.

Anyway, the point here is that weddings are a $72 billion industry, Belle Isle is a popular wedding destination, and we're closing it during peak wedding season. All of that money, therefore, has to be spent elsewhere and it's usually not within the Detroit city limits.

And forcing people to spend lots of money outside of Detroit is simply not a good idea.

Reason 3 - Still More Money
Music festival - Photo from Pixabay
When a permanent racing facility isn't hosting a race, it is routinely used to host music festivals and other events - all of which generate more money for the local economy. The Daytona International Speedway hosts the Country 500 Music Festival on Memorial Day weekend. The Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan hosts the Faster Horses Country Music Festival in July. The Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California hosts the HARD Summer Music Festival in August.

The list goes on and on. Hosting a music festival at a speedway is an established business model that event producers have down to a science. All of these events pump large amounts of cash into the local economy, with attendees traveling from out of state or even from outside of the country to attend.

As a related sidenote, now that the WYCD Hoedown has abandoned its traditional location in downtown Detroit for the DTE Music Theatre in Clarkston, I would love to see something like a speedway lure them back.

Regardless, the point stands: a speedway is a well-established location for a music festival. Detroit is missing out on yet another driver for our local economy.

Reason 4 - Did I mention money?
Beach volleyball - Photo from Pixabay
By keeping Belle Isle tied up with the Chevrolet Grand Prix for so much of the year, not only are we as a community missing out not only a significant slice of the wedding industry, we are also missing out on the opportunity to have other, smaller events on the island during that time period as well. Purely from a logistical and operational standpoint, it's extremely difficult to have other events on the island when half of it is taken up for the race.

We are missing out on a chance to have beach volleyball tournaments on the Belle Isle Beach. Even smaller tournaments will bring in a few thousand dollars. Larger ones, like any of the AVP Beach Volleyball Tournaments, have an economic impact that rivals the grand prix.

We are missing out on a chance to re-open the Remick Band Shell and have a series of smaller concerts there.

We are missing out on fishing contests at the island's South Fishing Pier and elsewhere.

We are simply missing out on so many other events that could happen on Belle Isle during those months.

Reason 5 - Detroit's Image
I mentioned above that moving the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix to a municipally-owned speedway would allow for more than just one race per year. This, I believe, is important for Detroit's image.

Detroit is a city that is synonymous with the automobile. We aren't called the Motor City for nothing. And one of the best ways to show off cars is by racing them.

Auto racing - Photo from Pixabay
In spite of this connections between cars and racing, the city built on cars only has one auto race per year. Meanwhile, Atlanta, Georgia; Kansas City, Kansas; and St. Louis, Missouri all have multiple professional auto races every year. Besides not having an obvious connection to the automobile industry, each of those four cities also has a smaller population than Detroit, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

I don't mean any disrespect to any of these communities. I'm just going to say that if you went to any place in the world and asked random people what was that they associate with Kansas City, Kansas, there aren't very many people who would say "cars."

In spite of that, Kansas City, Kansas (population 151,709) can put together three professional auto races every year in comparison to Detroit, with its population of 672,795 car-loving people, which can only pull off a measly one race per year.

This is embarrassing.

Embarrassing.

This is why, I believe, Detroit needs to build a municipally-owned speedway.



Monday, May 28, 2018

Remembering

Ss. Peter & Paul Catholic Church (as seen from the rear) - Photo by Frank Nemecek
This spectacular day in the Warrendale neighborhood is brought to you by the more than one million souls who have made the ultimate sacrifice in support of our nation. The lives that they lost have made the lives that we enjoy today possible.

As we enjoy this day with our friends and family, I pray that each of us lives a life that is worthy of their sacrifice.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Mayor Young's 100th birthday

Mayor Coleman A. Young rallies in Detroit (circa 1981) - Creative Commons photo from Wikicommons
Mayor Coleman A. Young of Detroit would have turned 100 years old today if had lived this long. As one reflects on his life, I believe that both his critics and devotees will agree that Mayor Young had more of an impact on the city of Detroit than anyone else in the 20th century.

I had a part-time job working in his Administration while going to college. While my duties were exceedingly low-level and I rarely interacted with him, I must admit that I learned more from Mayor Young than I did some of my professors.

While the Warrendale neighborhood in Detroit was at the heart of the ABC Vote (as in Anybody But Coleman) during the 1970s and 80s, I would feel remiss if I didn't make note of the anniversary today. As a young boy growing up in the neighborhood, I remember almost all of my elders complaining about Mayor Young.

There is no doubt that Mayor Young had more than a few flaws. However, I believe that history remembers him much more kindly than any of the ABC voters of my youth did.

Monday, May 21, 2018

A calling in its self

Ss. Peter & Paul Catholic Church (Westside) - Photo by Frank Nemecek
Mark Mroz has served as an altar server at Ss. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in the Warrendale neighborhood of Detroit for the past 28 years. He started doing it as an opportunity to volunteer and later discovered that being an adult altar server is a calling unto its self.

Mroz and other adult altar servers at churches in the Detroit area were featured in The Michigan Catholic this week. The full article is available online here.

I join other Catholics in the Warrendale neighborhood and across the metropolitan Detroit area in expressing my gratitude to Mroz for his 28 years of dedicated service. I'm also thankful to The Michigan Catholic for highlighting him in this fashion.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Friends of Rouge Park Meets Tonight

Friends of Rouge Park - Photo by Frank Nemecek
The non-profit community group Friends of Rouge Park will have a general meeting this evening at 6 p.m. This meeting will happen at Westside Christian Academy (9540 Bramell St.), which is near Outer Drive and West Chicago.

This meeting will include:

  • Update from the City and discussion on the coming new Brennan Pools Splash Pad, Sports Field at Joy & Spinoza;
  • Update on the Sorensen Recreation Area improvements (historical signage);
  • Update on the Scout Hollow Camping Initiative; and
  • Update on Detroit Open Streets Event coming to Rouge Park in July.

Everyone who is interested in the future of Rouge Park is welcome to attend. This is the largest park in Detroit and a tremendous asset for the Warrendale neighborhood.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Getting a discount on Amazon Prime

Colorful dimes - Creative Commons photo by Billy Frank Alexander
There are, unfortunately, more than a few low-income households within the Warrendale neighborhood and in the rest of the city of Detroit. I was excited, therefore, to learn that Amazon has rolled out a new program whereby anyone who gets either Medicaid or food stamps can also get a discounted membership on Amazon Prime.

This discount enables low-income households to save on everything from clothes, diapers, furniture, and everything else that Amazon currently sells. (Sidenote: I'm old enough to remember when Amazon only sold books. These days, it's hard to think of any legitimate product that they don't sell.)

Amazon is already the go-to online shopping destination for upper-income households. This discount program is part of the company's strategy to pull lower-income shoppers away from their main competitor, which is Walmart.

Prospective shoppers should simply sign up by clicking here to get their discounted membership in Amazon Prime and start saving money.

Also, while my readers are shopping on Amazon, I also want to mention that with the Amazon Smiles program, everything that you buy on the site can also mean a donation for Preservation Detroit and other great Detroit-based charities.

Discounted membership on Amazon Prime is your Tip of the Week for the week of May 14 as part of this blog's semi-regular Tip of the Week feature. Please check back next week for more tips on money, home, and life. Please follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for more great content.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Aerial view of Rouge Park


Millard Berry shared a video to YouTube recently that shows aerial footage from a drone as it flies over Rouge Park in Detroit. This video clip is only one minute and 22 seconds long. However, it shows some spectacular views of the Scout Hollow campsite and the Rouge River.

This video is one more reminder, I believe, of how lucky we are in the Warrendale neighborhood to have Rouge Park so close to us.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Detroit to spend $58 million on roads this year

Road construction - File photo by Frank Nemecek
The City of Detroit announced plans this week to $58 million this year resurfacing a total of 88 miles of roadways. Included in this proposal is the resurfacing of Artesian Street between Ford Rd. and Paul St. at the southern end of Warrendale.

There will also be several other residential side streets that will be worked on this year that are in or around Warrendale. Crain's Detroit Business has more on this story here.


Paintball shooters target Warrendale


A pair of shooters armed with paintball guns have been targetting residents and business owners in the Warrendale neighborhood, according to a report from Fox 2 Detroit. The shooters are described by one victim as two Arabic speaking men, one with long black hair that is tied in a ponytail while the other has blonde hair.

The pair attack from a moving vehicle, often hitting businesses or pedestrians with paintballs. According to one victim who was shot while walking his dog on Plainview Street, the paintballs hit hard enough that he thought he was hit with real bullets at first.

Anyone with information about these shooters is asked to call the Detroit Police Department's 6th Precinct at (313) 596-5600.

Detroit church to host free Memorial Day concert

Interior of SS Peter & Paul Catholic Church - Photo by Frank Nemecek
Ss. Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Church (7685 Grandville) will present a free Memorial Day concert on Saturday, May 26 at 6 p.m. in the church. It will feature vocalists Gabriela Kash and Paula Steele, violinist and vocalist Stacy Mason, Frank Urbiel on the accordion as well as organists Johnny Kash and Dave Calendine.

There will be a reception and music by Dave Calendine that begin after the 4:30 p.m. Mass that day and continue until the concert starts. Everyone is invited to attend this free concert.

Monday, May 07, 2018

On changes in the Boy Scouts

Boys and girls as scouts in Thailand - Creative Commons photo from Pixabay
Last week, the Boy Scouts of America announced that they will change their name to reflect the fact that girls are now allowed to be members of the 108-year old organization. Their new name will be Scouts BSA and, quite frankly, I need to get a few things off my chest.

Ever since this happened, my social media feeds on Facebook and Twitter have been blowing up with people reacting negatively about this. I've heard referred as "snowflakes taking over the world", "trying to destroy boyhood", and a slew of disparaging remarks.

In fact, if I had a dollar for every time that I have heard or read complaints about the Boy Scouts accepting girls as members and changing their name to Scouts BSA, I would be writing this blog post from my new oceanfront villa in Tahiti as a half dozen or so Victoria's Secret supermodels feed me grapes and rubbed themselves all over me.

You're welcome for the imagery, by the way.

I should start out by mentioning that I started as Cub Scout, went on to the Webelos, and eventually became the senior patrol leader at Boy Scout Troop 525, which was based right here in Detroit's Warrendale neighborhood. As a scout, I did all of the usual Boy Scout things. I also went to the national jamboree and served as a Boy Scout guide on Mackinac Island. I later left the Boy Scouts during my high school years and joined the Civil Air Patrol.

I personally don't think either the name change or allowing girls into the Boy Scouts is all that big of a deal. For those who wish to disagree with me, I would simply like to remind you of a few things:
  1. Both Scouting organizations have had a drop in membership over the years;
  2. Some girls want to do more than sell cookies;
  3. Most Scouting parents have both sons and daughters. This change is a lot more convenient for them;
  4. Explorers, Sea Scouts, and Venturers/Voyagers are all a part of the Boy Scouts of America and all have been coed since their inception; and
  5. Scouting has been coed internationally for years.
As for the repeated-so-often-that-I-want-to-vomit meme that this will lead to the Boy Scouts becoming some sort of hedonistic orgy whenever they go camping, I will simply say that most other organizations for teens are also coed. This includes band camp, Civil Air Patrol, and most of your summer camps.

I was at either summer camp or a Civil Air Patrol encampment for most summers during my teen years. As a former teenage boy, I regret to inform everyone that no matter how much I wished it had been true, youth camping was absolutely nothing like what some people imagine the new scouting program will be. I'm pretty sure, therefore, that the virtue of everyone's lovely teenage daughter is as safe in the Scouts as it is in your own home.

Heck, as I think about some of the things that used to happen in someone's basement during my high school days when their parents were right upstairs, I think there will even be less debauchery at a Scouts BSA camp than in the homes of some parents.

And there you have it - my reasons for why allowing girls into the Boy Scouts and the organization's subsequent name change is no big deal at all. It might even turn out to be a positive.

For now, though, I simply sick of hearing people complain about this and me not getting the $1 that I need from each of them to make the Victoria's Secret supermodels in Tahiti thing a reality.

Friday, May 04, 2018

Wildflower walk in Rouge Park


The Friends of Rouge Park and the Michigan Botanical Society will host a Wildflower Walk this coming Sunday, May 6. It will start at 2 p.m. at the Stone Bridge Nature Trail.

This event will highlight some of the native flowers that grow wildly inside the largest park in Detroit. It's a great chance for families to get back to nature for an afternoon.

The Stone Bridge Nature Trail is located off of Tireman inside Rouge Park. The entrance is in between W. Outer Drive and Spinoza Drive. A map to the trail is available here.

More information, as well as the ability to register for this event, is located on the group's Facebook page here.

Thursday, May 03, 2018

50 years ago today

Nancy and Frank Nemecek on their wedding day (May 3, 1968)
50 years ago today, a dashing young carpenter from the Corktown neighborhood in Detroit declared, "You know what this world needs? A loud mouth idiot who is crazy enough to try to make the world a better place."

"That sounds like a good idea," a beautiful young bookkeeper from the nearby suburb of Redford agreed. "But do you think one will be enough?"

"You're right! There should be four of them - each an improvement on the one who came before."

It was then that a wise priest overheard them and interrupted this couple by saying, "By the power vested in me by the State of Michigan and the Holy Roman Catholic Church, I hereby pronounce you husband and wife. Go forth and create those four loud mouth idiots."

And the rest, as they say, is history.

Happy 50th wedding anniversary to my Mom and Dad from the loudest of your four loud mouth idiots.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Spring arrives in Warrendale

Ice cream truck - Photo by Susan McCaleer/Pixabay
Spring has arrived in Detroit's Warrendale neighborhood.

I know this not because of the calendar on my wall, the robins singing in the tree outside my house, or the fact that I no longer need a jacket when going outside. I know that spring has arrived in Detroit because yesterday afternoon, on my street in the Warrendale neighborhood, there were three ice cream trucks simultaneously on the same block.

Ice cream trucks: the true sign of spring in Warrendale.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Police community relations meeting this Wednesday

Detroit police officer walks a beat - Photo by Frank Nemecek

The 6th Precinct Community Relations Organization will meet this Wednesday, April 25 in the Activities Building of Ss. Peter & Paul Church (7718 Westwood St.). This meeting will happen from 7 - 8:30 pm.

Everyone from in or around the Warrendale neighborhood is invited to attend this meeting.

Future meetings of the group will happen on the last Wednesday of each month until June.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Rouge-A-Thlon returns to Detroit


Tour de Troit's second annual Rouge-A-thlon will return to Rouge Park in Warrendale tomorrow to raise funds for the Friends of Rouge Park. The event is a duathlon, which combines running and cycling into one race.

Proceeds from this event go towards Friends of Rouge Park to maintain its active infrastructure. Registration includes the duathlon, which is chip-timed, as well as a beer provided by Batch Brewing Company, Amicci's Pizza that will be baked on site, and a finisher medal.

Registration and additional information is available at http://www.tour-de-troit.org/rouge-a-thlon

Teen prodigy Anastasia Rizikov to perform in Detroit area

Anastasia Rizikov - Press photo

Canadian classical pianist Anastasia Rizikov will perform at The Berman Center for the Performing Arts (6600 W. Maple Rd. in West Bloomfield) at 3 p.m. Sunday, April 29. Rizikov made her orchestral debut at the tender age of seven and has since appeared as soloist with major orchestras in North America and Europe.

The launch of Anastasia Rizkov's career was when she placed first at the Vladimir Horowitz International Piano Competition in Kiev, Ukraine. From there she was invited to perform with the National Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine conducted by Mykola Diadiura.

Following those performances, Anastasia Rizikov stepped on to the international circuit competing with musicians twice her age. In 2011, she became the youngest person to compete and win in history at the Rotary International Piano Competition (Palma de Mallorca, Spain, 2011). She won in other major competitions including:

  • Ettore Pozzoli International Piano Competition (Seregno, Italy, 2015);
  • Jaén International Piano Competition (Jaén, Spain, 2015); and
  • 13th Giuliano Pecar International Piano Competition (Gorizia, Italy, 2013).

“Ms. Rizikov is an extraordinary virtuoso, with abundant technical prowess,” said Renée Silberman at The Beat Magazine. “But she is more than the sum of ten fingers – she is a consummate artist, born to play, to love the art and act of music-making...” he continued.

Now 19 years old, she is being lauded as the “one to watch.” With more than 30 orchestral performances and 20 concerti in her repertoire, Anastasia Rizikov has already played with such major orchestras as Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Symphony Nova Scotia, and the City of Granada Orchestra. She has worked with conductors such as Peter Oundjian, Alain Trudel, Bernhard Gueller and more.

Anastasia Rizikov’s concert schedules have taken her around the globe. She has played in such prestigious spaces such as Carnegie Hall, Roy Thomson Hall, Fazioli Hall, Hong Kong City Hall and the Kremlin. With a curiosity for diverse and exciting projects, she recorded a CD with NAXOS and performed at the prestigious Verbier and Orford Festivals (2015). In 2014, she tackled Rachmaninoff’s immense Piano Concerto No. 3 with Laval Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Alain Trudel; while in the fall of 2013,  and gave 20 performances over two weeks throughout all the Atlantic provinces of Canada as the winner of the prestigious Debut Atlantic Award.

Adept in English, Russian, and Ukrainian languages (and working towards mastering her French), Rizikov began studies at École Normale de Musique de Paris with Professor Rena Shereshevskaya. From 2003-2017 she studied with Professor Maia Spis at the Nadia Music Academy, Toronto. She has played in master classes for Sergei Babayan, Arie Vardi, and Robert Levin, and has worked with András Schiff, Emanuel Ax, Menahem Pressler, and Olga Kern.

Being a person who loves and understands her audience, she dreams of being able to share her unique musical voice with the entire world, including audiences in Detroit.

To purchase tickets, please visit theberman.org or call 248.661.1900 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

This post is a part of this blog's semi-regular Friday Focus series, which endeavors to highlight news and opinions that, in my opinion, don't get as much attention as they deserve. Please follow this blog on Facebook for more great content. I'm also on Twitter and Instagram as @fnemecek.