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 camping and 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.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

I have a favor to ask of my readers


I have a favor to ask of everyone who reads the Warrendale (Detroit) Blog.

It has long been a dream of mine to travel Route 66 from beginning to end and now the National Trust for Historic Preservation has a program that will help me do just that. If I'm one of the people who are selected to be a part of it, I will spend a week traveling Route 66; posting to social media channels along the way.

As part of the application process, I'm asked to provide the National Trust for Historic Preservation with links to my social media channels. I think it would look a lot better if I had more people following me and that's where you come in.

I have three related social media channels. I would appreciate it if everyone reads this liked/followed me on one or more of them. The first channel is the Warrendale Detroit Blog page on Facebook, which is available here. Readers cans also find me on Twitter and Instagram as @fnemecek.

I thank everyone for their help with this.

Friday, March 09, 2018

Warrendale on SciTech Now

Back in October of last year, I reported that a crew from the show SciTech Now on PBS was coming to Warrendale. They did a report on how some of the vacant lots in our part of Detroit are being used bioretention gardens as well as the impact that these garden have.

Detroit Public Television interviewed Barb Matney of the Warrendale Community Organization and myself on behalf of the show. They also spoke to several other people in the area and included lots of footage from our neighborhood.

I'm thrilled that this episode of SciTech Now has aired on PBS. It is available to watch on Detroit Public Television's website or by clicking the embedded video above.

As cities around the nation continue to look for better ways to meet environmental challenges, I'm excited that Detroit is able to showcase one solution. I'm also grateful to Detroit Public Television and the rest of the PBS family for shining such a positive spotlight on the neighborhood.

I was only featured in this episode very briefly. However, SciTech Now also used several photos that I provided them that showed what my basement looked like after Detroit was hit with record rainfall in August of 2014.

That flood was a painful - and expensive - moment for everyone in Detroit. I'm glad that it seems to have served as an impetus for improvements to our water and sewage system. 

Thursday, March 01, 2018

Job fair this Saturday in Warrendale

Job opening - Photo by Frank Nemecek
The City of Detroit will have a job fair this coming Saturday, March 3 at the Edison Branch of the Detroit Public Library (18400 Joy Rd.). This event will run from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. The City is hiring seasonal workers to maintain our parks during the warmer months. They have two categories that they will hire for this Saturday.

The first job category this is open is Laborer A/Park Maintenance Helper, which pays a starting wage of $10.04 - $10.40 per hour. Applicants must have the ability to understand and follow oral directions as well as a valid drivers license, Michigan identification card, or an identification card issued by the City of Detroit.

The second job category is Vehicle Operator I, which pays a starting wage of $14.35 - $17.12 per hour. Applicants must have a valid commercial drivers license with an air brake endorsement as well as a valid medical examiner's certificate that certifies the applicant's physical fitness for driving.

In order to attend this job fair, all applicants must do the following:

  1. Apply online before the fair for the job that they wish to be considered for. Start here for vehicle operators and here for park maintenance helpers. For both jobs, click the green "apply" button in the upper right corner.
  2. RSVP ahead of time by visiting Eventbrite here and selecting "register."
  3. Come dressed for success. Interviews will happen on site.
Additional job openings within the City of Detroit are posted at detroitmi.gov/employment.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Burton Leland passes away at the age of 69

Burton Leland
Burton Leland, who represented the Warrendale neighborhood in both the Michigan House of Representatives and Michigan Senate for 26 years, passed away this morning. He was 69 years of age at the time of his passing. In later years, Leland represented Wayne County's 6th district on the County Commission.

During his time in the Michigan Legislature, Burton Leland was a tireless advocate for consumer rights. In 1986, while serving the state house, he sponsored Michigan's Lemon Law that protected buyers from defective automobiles.

Burton Leland was also a relentless public servant for the Warrendale neighborhood. Whenever the Warrendale Community Organization needed something during his almost three decades of representing us, he was one of the few elected officials that residents could consistently count on.

Burton Leland's son Gabe Leland continues to represent the Warrendale and surrounding neighborhoods on the Detroit City Council.

Burton Leland was also proud of his Jewish faith. I attended a meeting of the Wayne County Commission a few years back when, at Leland's urging, a Jewish rabbi delivered the invocation. The invocation is normally held before the start of each meeting and his lead by a local religious leader. However, that was the first time in Wayne County's more than 200 year history that a rabbi was invited to perform this ceremonial role.

Details for Burton Leland's funeral are not currently available. When they become public, I will share them here.

On a personal note, I want to add that I write this post with a tremendous amount of sadness. I have spoken with Burton Leland on more occasions than I can remember over the past 30 years - going all the way back to my days as a high school student in a government class. I was always impressed with his intellect, his dedication, and a love for Michigan and its people that will continue to live on with every person that he ever met.

Update @ 10:48 p.m.
I have learned that the funeral for Burton Leland will be at 2 p.m. this Tuesday, February 27. The service will be at the Ira Kaufman Chapel (18325 W. Nine Mile in Southfield). More information is available here.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Campground to re-open in Rouge Park

Rouge Park on a foggy day - Photo by Frank Nemecek
Scout Hollow, a 17.4-acre campsite that is located inside Rouge Park, will re-open this spring, the City of Detroit announced this morning. This re-opening of the only campground within the city limits is the result of a new initiative called Outdoor Detroit, which is designed to encourage our youth to understand and appreciate the great outdoors.

Once re-opened, Scout Hollow will be able to accommodate up to 30 campers at a time at each of the three campsites. The project's goal is to host 250 campers in 2018 and to reach 1,000 campers per year by 2020.

The re-opening of Scout Hollow is made possible by grants of $200,000 from the Kresge Foundation and $20,000 from the Sierra Club. The City of Detroit's Department of Parks & Recreation, as well as the YMCA of Metropolitan Detroit, made a significant buy-in to this project.

Any youth group will be allowed to use Scout Hollow. However, priority will be given to groups from Detroit and the surrounding communities.

Warrendale celebrates National Margarita Day

National Margarita Day - Stock photo from Max Pixel
Today is National Margarita Day, a special moment to celebrate one of the most popular cocktails in the world. Millions of people enjoy this blend of tequila, triple sec, and lime every day. There's even a page on Facebook that is devoted in large part to numerous different variations on the margarita recipe.

To celebrate National Margarita Day, the Chili's Bar & Grille (5707 Southfield Rd.) at Ford Road and the Southfield Freeway has margarita specials today. Several other bars and restaurants in the area have good options for them as well.

My personal favorite, though, is the food and margaritas at Tijuana's Mexican Kitchen (18950 Ford Rd.) I cannot say enough good things about them.

For those who read this from outside of the Warrendale neighborhood, WDIV-TV has a list places across the Detroit area who have specials for National Margarita Day on their website. USA Today information about specials and other events across the country today over on their website.

National Margarita Day is one of those great unofficial holidays. It was founded by Todd McCalla to celebrate his personal love for this classic cocktail as well as the good times, special friends, and warm memories that the drink inspires. His idea has spread from there across social media.

I hope everyone has a chance to enjoy National Margarita Day. Please drink responsibly, though.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Community meeting this Wednesday

Outside a community meeting - Photo by Frank Nemecek

The City of Detroit will host a community meeting for District 7, which includes Warrendale and the surrounding neighborhoods. This meeting will happen this Wednesday from 6 - 8 pm in the Adams-Butzel Recreation Center (10500 Lyndon).

This meeting will focus on financial literacy and housing. There will also be a dinner, which is sponsored by City Councilwoman Janee L. Ayers.

Everyone who lives in Warrendale or the surrounding neighborhoods of Detroit is invited to attend. Attendees are asked to RSVP by sending an email to alim [at] detroitmi [dot] gov.

Follow me, please

Blog - Stock photo courtesy of Pixababy
When I started blogging way back in 2004, pretty much the only way to read blog content was to visit the website. Today, however, things have evolved. People can read this material in any number of different ways.

In fact, of the more than 800 people who read this every day, there are now five different avenues of getting this material.  With that in mind, I'd like to take a moment to recap each of them.

Some folks prefer to have blog posts delivered to their email inbox every morning.  If this sounds like something that you would prefer, simply enter your email address into the "receive email alerts" box at the right, click the "subscribe" button and my friends at FeedBlitz will send my posts to you via email every morning for free.

For avid Facebook users, I invite you to join the 804 other people who follow the Warrendale (Detroit) Blog there. If you're interested, simply visit this blog's Facebook page and click the "follow this blog" hyperlink. My posts will then appear in your Facebook news feed.

My personal favorite is to use an RSS reader, which enables you to follow any number of blogs and then read all of them all on one consolidated page, instead of having to visit each site individually. If you would like to try this, simply your preference from the "Subscribe to RSS feed" pull-down menu at the right.  One can then add this to an Atom, Netvibes, or Yahoo feed.

Of course, if you prefer to keep things simple, you can always simply bookmark this site in your web browser of choice and visit my site periodically. This is the original method of doing things. Quite a few people still do it this way.

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, February 14, 2018

Warrendale bakery featured in Detroit News

Paczki - Stock photo
It seemed like everyone else in the Detroit area was in Hamtramck getting their authentic paczki or at some supermarket getting paczki of generally lesser quality. Those of us in Warrendale, however, knew that the best paczki came from our neighborhood. Whether it was Chene Modern Bakery, Sisters Cakery, or West Warren Bakery, all of them produced some of the best pasties in the metropolitan area.

One of our local bakeries, Sisters Cakery (15730 W. Warren Ave.) was featured in an article from The Detroit News. You can find their story here.

I love it when the local news media show Warrendale businesses a little love.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Let's go skiing in Rouge Park

Official Warrendale Snow Gauge - Photo by Frank Nemecek
The far west side of Detroit got 6.5 inches of snow last night and early this morning, according to the Official Warrendale Snow Gauge. More is continuing to fall. Moreover, the snow is expected to continue through tomorrow as well.

For those who are interested in enjoying this winter wonderland, the Friends of Rouge Park are hosting an impromptu cross-country ski event this afternoon. Anyone with their own skies is invited to join them. There is no cost to join this event.

The group will meet at 1 pm in Rouge Park at the south prairie trailhead on Outer Drive at Tireman. They intend to ski through the prairie trail then possibly onto some others.

Rouge Park is one of the few places within the Detroit city limits where one can do a lot of cross-country skiing. This is a great opportunity for those enjoy the sport.

Friday, February 09, 2018

Snow plows to hit residential streets in Warrendale

Snow plow in action - Photo courtesy of the U.S. Air Force
The City of Detroit's Department of Public Works has announced that their contractors will soon begin plowing residential side streets in the Warrendale neighborhood as well as the rest of Detroit. The snow plows are expected to clear a 10-foot wide path along each of the 1,880 miles of residential streets in the city beginning at 6 a.m. tomorrow.

Under the terms of their contract with the City, each of the four private contractors has until 6 a.m. Sunday morning to complete the job.

In order to avoid being plowed in and to make work easier for snow removal crews, Mayor Mike Duggan urges residents to not park their cars on side streets, if possible.

With additional snow in the forecast over the next few days, DPW will continue to monitor the weather and our road conditions. If conditions change, they will supply updates throughout the day as deemed necessary.

Many area residents have already responded on Facebook to news of snow plows on residential streets by saying "I'll believe it when I see it." As a result, readers of this blog can look forward to a special report on how effective the snow plows were on Sunday afternoon.

Monday, February 05, 2018

Greening of Detroit seeks volunteers to plant trees

Trees in Rouge Park - Photo by Frank Nemecek
The Greening of Detroit seeks help from volunteers to plant 1,500 saplings in Rouge Park's Meyers Nursery. They are also looking for people willing to train to become Citizen Foresters to lead groups of volunteers in planting. 

To become a Citizen Forester, volunteers are required to their field training session on Saturday, April 7 at 9 am. This training session will take place at the Meyers Tree Nursery, which located on W. Outer Drive inside of Rouge Park.

The upcoming volunteer planting dates for the Greening of Detroit will be:
  • Saturday, April 21;
  • Friday, April 27;
  • Friday, May 4; and
  • Saturday, May 19.
More information the Greening of Detroit, their Citizen Forester program, an opportunity to sign up are all available on their website.  

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Inspiration for the Lone Ranger

Company D of the Texas Rangers, Ysleta, Texas, 1894
I wrote yesterday about the 85th anniversary of The Lone Ranger radio show first airing on WXYZ here in Detroit; how the character captured imaginations and went from being a simple local radio show to being an international icon. I thought, therefore, that I would take a moment to discuss the possible inspiration for this legend: the life and career of Captain John Reynolds Hughes of the Texas Rangers.

In the photo above from 1894, Captain Hughes is seen seated on a stool with a rifle in his hand at the far right. An unknown Mexican prisoner is seen seated at the far left of this photo. The remaining men in this photograph are the Texas Rangers that Captain Hughes led.

Writer Fran Striker and radio producer George W. Trendle never publicly discussed their inspiration for their the Lone Ranger character in great detail. Trendle's obituary in The New York Times stated that he wanted to enliven the Great Depression with a mix of folklore's Robin Hood and pulp fiction's Zorro; the latter of which also rode a horse and wore a black mask.

However, over the years, it has been theorized by some historians and authors that Captain Hughes may have played a significant role in inspiring the character.

Captain Hughes, of course, was a real-life Texas Ranger who brought law and order to plains from August of 1887 until his retirement in 1915. Novelist Zane Grey dedicated his book The Lone Star Ranger to Hughes in 1914. More importantly, Hughes led an investigation into an ambush on a group of Rangers in 1893 that was very similar to the one depicted in the Lone Ranger's origin story.

Hughes also reportedly told relatives that he believed the character of the Lone Ranger was inspired, at least in part, by him.

In 1940, Captain Hughes became the first recipient of the Certificate of Valor. He was also inducted into the Texas Rangers Hall of Fame. He passed away on June 3, 1947, at the age of 92.

More information about Captain John Reynolds Hughes is available on the official website of the Texas State Cemetary, where he is buried, as well as from the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Lone Ranger debuted 85 years ago in Detroit

Lone Ranger publicity photo from July 30, 1965/Wikimedia
It was 85 years ago that The Lone Ranger rode into the hearts and imaginations of Detroiters on a fiery horse with the speed of light, a cloud of dust, and a hearty "Hi-yo Silver!"

The Lone Ranger began as a radio program that first aired on WXYZ in Detroit on either January 30 or 31, 1933. The records aren't clear as to which one of those two days was the first airing of the show. It's also not completely clear whether it was radio station owner George W. Trendle or writer Fran Striker first conceived that masked rider of the plains, according to On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old Time Radio by John Denning.

The one thing that is abundantly clear is that this legend started right here in Detroit and soon became a global cultural icon. A total of 2,956 episodes The Lone Ranger aired from our local radio waves. Dozens of books, comic strips, and comic books soon followed as well as The Long Ranger Magazine and several animated short films.

All of this culminated in The Lone Ranger television series, which aired on ABC and produced 221 episodes during its five-season run from 1949 until 1957. There were also a series of movies that began with The Lone Ranger (1956) starring Clayton Moore and Jay Silverheels from the television series and continuing on to the 2013 version that starred Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer, which was nominated for two different Academy Awards.

It's moment like this that one feels a need to step back and marvel at the legacy that was born here in Detroit and that continues on 85 years later with a global audience.

Hi-yo Silver! Away!

Friday, January 12, 2018

Warrendale Community Organization releases meeting schedule

Ss. Peter & Paul Catholic Church - Photo by Frank Nemecek
The Warrendale Community Organization recently released their schedule of general membership meeting in 2018. The nonprofit neighborhood association will have their next meeting on Monday, February 5. Additional meetings will happen on:

  • Monday, March 5;
  • Monday, April 2;
  • Monday, May 7;
  • Monday, June 4;
  • Monday, August 6;
  • Tuesday, September 4;
  • Monday, October 1;
  • Monday, November 5; and
  • Monday, December 3.
The organization will not have any general membership meetings in either January or July.

In addition, their December meeting will be their annual holiday pot-luck.

All of these meetings will happen in the Activities Building of Ss. Peter & Paul Catholic Church (7685 Grandville St.). Anyone who lives in or has an interest in promoting Detroit's Warrendale neighborhood is welcome to attend these meetings.

Wear Pajamas to Work Day


I was reviewing my calendar for 2018 recently. One of the things that I noticed is that April 16 is designated as Wear Your Pajamas to Work Day.

I'm not making this up, Detroit. April 16, 2018 will be Wear Your Pajamas to Work Day.

I don't know who created this holiday nor do I know how it made it onto my calendar. The only thing that I do know is that I absolutely love this idea.

If your personal calendar doesn't already recognize April 16 as Wear Your Pajamas to Work Day then please do add it. I think this will be a lot of fun - so much so that I felt compelled to blog about it here.

Get ready, Detroit! Wear Your Pajamas to Work Day is going to be epic this April.

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.

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Fire strikes West Warren Ave

Fire trucks on West Warren Ave. - Photo by Frank Nemecek
The Detroit Fire Department responded to a fire at West Warren Auto Repair (19020 W. Warren Ave), which is between Warwick and Artesian Streets. A total of eight fire trucks, two fire chiefs, and an ambulance were on site.

The Detroit Police Department has W. Warren Ave. shut down to vehicular travel while firefighters finish their work.

The cause of this fire is not known. More information as this situation develops.

Review - The Will to Kill

One of the advantages of the cold snap that hit Detroit last week is that it provided me with an incentive to stay indoors and catch up on all of the books that I've been meaning to read. This included Erle Stanley Gardner's Turn on the Heat, which I reviewed last week, as well as The Will to Kill by Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins.

The Will to Kill is one of the last Mike Hammer novels that were left unfinished when Mickey Spillane passed in 2006 at the age of 88. Before he left us, Spillane designated Max Allan Collins as the author that he wanted to finish his projects.

The Will to Kill begins with iconic private detective Mike Hammer taking a midnight stroll along the Hudson River. He pensive moment, though, was interrupted when he discovers a partial corpse on an ice flow.

The body, we soon learn, is that of a butler who spent the last years of his life working for a millionaire - now also deceased - and his notoriously privileged children.

Were both master and servant murdered? Mike Hammer's friend Captain Pat Chambers of the New York City Police Department thinks so. However, to prove it Hammer must travel upstate to investigate the dead man's family, all of whom have a motive for murder.

Like all Mike Hammer mystery novels, there are a number of twists and turns in every chapter - perfect to keep the reader exciting and guessing. More importantly, the story comes across with the same gritty eloquence from Collins' pen that millions of fans came to love from Spillane.

The Will to Kill is a wonderful detective story that is a joy to read. It is currently available in hardcover at finer bookstores and for the Kindle. It will be available as a paperback from Titan Books on February 27. The paperback can be pre-ordered by clicking here.

Please come next week when I will have a review of Help, I am being held prisoner by Donald E. Westlake.

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Michigan State Police sets up aggressive enforcement on Southfield Freeway

Michigan State Police patrol car - Photo by Joe Ross/Flickr
The Michigan State Police announced this morning that they will begin a more aggressive enforcement of speeding on the Southfield Freeway effective immediately. Their Special Enforcement Section has been assigned to patrol the freeway.

This action is the result of complaints of excessive speeding along on the Southfield Freeway. The Special Enforcement Section will continue their patrol activity until more motorists observe the posted speed limit carefully.

Motorists are cautioned that there is a posted speed limit of 55 m.p.h. on the freeway. Slow down or get a ticket.

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

South Warrendale Radio Patrol reflects on 2017

Warrendale Radio Patrol
Photo by Frank Nemecek
With 2017 now in the history books, the South Warrendale Radio Patrol released a few figures about their year. This group of neighborhood residents volunteered more than 2,000 hours over the past 12 months and drove 6,839 miles patrolling Detroit.

To put those numbers in perspective, the 6,839 miles that the South Warrendale Radio Patrol drove on their patrols is the equivalent of driving from Detroit, Michigan to Beijing, China - with 198 miles left over.

As if that wasn't enough, the group also issued approximately 50 You Make a Difference certificates as well as:

  • 60 Halloween decoration certificates;
  • 60 Christmas Decoration Certificates;
  • A Halloween trophy;
  • Two Christmas trophies;
  • Worked hard doing multiple community cleanups/board ups;
  • Installed 16 new neighborhood watch signs;
  • Posted almost 200 "This house is being watched signs" on vacant houses, and
  • Attended more meetings/media events and gatherings than anyone cares to count.
I am extremely proud of the work that this dedicated group of volunteers for our neighborhood as well as all of Detroit.