Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Police search for shooter

Police car | Photo by Gerd Altman/Pixabay
A 35-year old man was fatally shot yesterday afternoon and the Detroit Police Department is asking for the public's help in catching the shooter. The victim was standing in front of a house near Tireman and Pierson Streets at approximately 3:30 p.m. yesterday when someone pulled up in a blue Dodge Ram pickup and opened fire on him before speeding away.

Officers from the Detroit Police Department spent several hours yesterday searching for the shooter and the blue pickup that he drove. The shooter was described as a black male wearing all black clothing. While they didn't find him, they did recover shell casings from the weapon he used.

This is an ongoing investigation. Anyone who knows anything about this case is asked to call either the Detroit Police Department's Homicide Unit at (313) 596-2260 or Crime Stoppers of Michigan at 1-800-SPEAK-UP.

The name of this victim has not been released at this time. Also, no motive for this murder has been established.

Monday, January 27, 2020

GM makes $2.2 billion investment in Detroit

Governor Gretchen Whitmer speaks at press conference in Detroit | Photo courtesy of GM
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan were on hand with GM executives this morning to announce a $2.2 billion investment in the company's Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant. This plant will produce a variety of all-electric trucks and SUVs.

GM’s first all-electric truck will be a pickup with production scheduled to begin in late 2021. This will be followed soon after by the Cruise Origin, a shared, electric, self-driving vehicle unveiled by Cruise in San Francisco last week. Detroit-Hamtramck will be GM’s first fully-dedicated electric vehicle assembly plant.

“Through this investment, GM is taking a big step forward in making our vision of an all-electric future a reality,” said Mark Reuss, GM president, during a press event at the plant with Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and other local and state officials. “Our electric pickup will be the first of multiple electric truck variants we will build at Detroit-Hamtramck over the next few years.”

When the plant is fully operational, this investment will create more than 2,200 good-paying U.S. manufacturing jobs. GM will also invest an additional $800 million in supplier tooling and other projects related to the launch of the new electric trucks.

Since the fall of 2018, GM has committed to invest more than $2.5 billion in Michigan to bring electric vehicles to market through investments at Orion assembly, GM battery lab in Warren, Brownstown and today’s announced direct investment in Detroit-Hamtramck. 

The plant’s paint and body shops and general assembly area will receive comprehensive upgrades, including new machines, conveyors, controls and tooling.

GM’s joint venture with LG Chem – which is investing $2.3 billion to manufacture battery cells in Lordstown, Ohio – will supply battery cells for the electric vehicles manufactured at Detroit-Hamtramck.

A key driver behind GM’s decision to make the commitment to Detroit-Hamtramck was the support this project received from the state of Michigan.

“The support from the state of Michigan was a key element in making this investment possible,” added Reuss. “This investment helps ensure that Michigan will remain at the epicenter of the global automotive industry as we continue our journey to an electrified future.”

Detroit-Hamtramck currently operates on one shift of production and builds the Cadillac CT6 and the Chevrolet Impala. Approximately 900 people are employed at the plant. As previously confirmed, the plant will be idled for several months beginning at the end of February as the renovations begin.

The plant has built more than 4 million vehicles since opening in 1985. Hourly employees at Detroit-Hamtramck are represented by UAW Local 22.

Gas prices continue to fall across Michigan

Gas station at night | Photo by Sergio Souza/Pexels
Gas prices in the Great Lakes State are down 8 cents compared to a week ago, according to a report out this morning from AAA of Michigan. Drivers are now paying an average of $2.40 per gallon for regular unleaded. This price is 6 cents less than this time last month and 23 cents more than this time last year.

Motorists are paying an average of $36 for a full 15-gallon tank of gasoline. This is a discount of $8 from when prices were their highest in Michigan last July.

In its latest weekly report, the Energy Information Administration revealed that total domestic stocks of gasoline continue to grow. According to EIA’s data, stocks grew by 1.7 million bbl last week, bringing the current total to 260 million barrels. This current level is in line with the level seen in mid-January 2019. For gasoline demand, EIA estimates that it grew slightly from 8.56 million b/d to 8.66 million b/d last week, but the current demand level is lower than last year’s 8.87 million b/d at this same time.

"Increase stocks and low demand have helped push pump prices lower," said Howard Hughey, spokesperson, AAA - The Auto Club Group. "As these trends continue, motorists will likely see pump prices decline through the week."

Compared to last week, Metro Detroit’s average daily gas price decreased. Metro Detroit’s current average is $2.47 per gallon, about 5 cents less than last week’s average and about 34 cents more than this same time last year.

Fuel prices in the Warrendale neighborhood are a bit higher than local averages with the cheapest gas being Marathon (18142 W. Warren Ave) at $2.54 per gallon. Although, I expect that to fall soon to bring them closer to what other stations in the area are charging.

The most expensive gas price averages in Michigan are Ann Arbor with an average of $2.49, Metro Detroit with an average of $2.47, and Marquette at $2.43. The cheapest gas price averages in the state are Saginaw with an average per gallon prices of only $2.29, Grand Rapids  with an average of $2.30,  and Traverse City at $2.32.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Man wanted for carjacking in Detroit's Warrendale neighborhood

Carjacking suspect and his vehicle
According to a statement, officials with the Detroit Police Department are asking for the public's help to identify and apprehend a man wanted for a carjacking that happened this past Saturday in Warrendale. They released surveillance photos of the suspect, which is located above.

This crime happened on W. Warren Avenue, near Stahelin Street at approximately 3:10 pm. A woman was getting out of her black 2016 Dodge Journey when an unknown man approached her. The man produced a handgun, and demanded her personal belongings. The victim complied and the robber took her vehicle and  headed south on Stahelin.

According to police, the license plate for her stolen car is DZC 3891 They also say a black Cadillac followed behind the suspect as he fled the scene.

A nearby Project Green Light camera spotted the robber exiting this Cadillac around the time of the carjacking. The Cadillac is believed to be a 2005-11 model with a sunroof and a missing door handle on the driver’s side.

The suspect is described as a black male, approximately 5'9" with a heavy build, brown eyes, light complexion and freckles. He was seen wearing a mask over his face, with a dark jacket black hooded sweatshirt and armed with a black handgun.

Police ask that anyone who recognizes the suspect, has seen either vehicle involved in the carjacking, or has any information pertaining to this crime, to call the Detroit Police Department's Commercial Auto Theft Unit at (313) 596-2555 or Crime Stoppers of Michigan at 1-800-SPEAK-UP.

Detroit offers help for residents who can't pay their property taxes

Mayor Mike Duggan of Detroit joined other community leaders yesterday in announcing help for low-income residents who are having problems paying their property taxes. The full video from this event is embedded above this post.

Homeowners in Detroit who cannot pay their property taxes for financial reasons may be able to reduce - or even eliminate - their current year’s property tax obligation through what is called the Homeowners Property Tax Assistance Program. Those applying to this program must meet certain financial requirements. This includes both the family’s household income as well as their total assets.

Depending on one’s income, Detroiters may qualify to be exempt from 25%, 50% or even 100% of the normal property taxes on their home. The income guidelines for 2020 are listed below.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

District meeting schedule announced

Meeting - Photo by Free Photos/Pixabay
Earlier today, the City of Detroit's Department of Neighborhoods announced its schedule for district meetings for the year. These meetings will be hosted by staff members Mona Ali, the district manager, and Eric Fowlkes, the deputy district manager. They will provide residents and other community stakeholders with an opportunity to both learn about developments and share their concerns.

The first quarterly meeting for District 7, which includes the Warrendale neighborhood, will be on Wednesday, February 5 from 6 - 8 pm. The next three meetings will be:

  • Monday, May 6;
  • Wednesday, July 15th; and
  • Wednesday, October 14.

Each of these four community meetings in our district will start at 6 p.m. They will last until 8 p.m. All meetings will happen at the Adams Butzel Recreation Complex (10500 Lyndon Rd.), which is approximately four miles away from the Warrendale neighborhood in Detroit.

Also, each of these four community meetings will have a different topic. The agenda for each district gathering will be released before it.

Once those topics and agendas are released, I will report about it on the Warrendale Detroit Blog just as I have before.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Protect your whole house from power surges

Power lines at twilight - Photo by Nicole Kohler/Pixabay
Most of these Tip of the Week articles are the result of brainstorming and some research. This one, however, is purely the result of learning an important lesson and learning it the hard way.
The lesson is simple: every home these days should have a whole house surge protector. They cost around $100 plus a few dollars more if you want a professional to install it. They can save so much more, though.

A little more than a week ago, the power went out in my house. It came back on approximately three seconds later. When it did, though, it did more than $500 in damage.

This is because, when the power came back, there was a surge of electricity. I had a surge protector for my computer, modem, and router. I’ve had them for decades and thought I was covered.

However, I forgot that there is a computer inside almost every appliance these days. Televisions, washing machines, dryers – about the only appliance in my home that doesn’t have a computer inside of it is my toilet and I’m sure there will be one there before too long.

And the power surge that happened when my electricity came back after being off for approximately three seconds was enough to destroy that computer that was inside of my washing machine. With that out of commission, my machine was nothing more than a large hunk of metal in my basement.

Plus, most manufacturer’s warranties don’t cover damage done by a power surge, which is another fun fact that I learned the hard way.

I had to replace my washing machine and, with delivery, sales tax, and everything else, doing so cost me approximately $500. I also had a whole house surge protector professionally installed for $180 because there is a computer inside of almost everything these days and things could have been so much worse for me.

A whole house surge protector does a lot to protect you. My electrician recommended keeping the old surge protectors on my home computer and the most sensitive of my electronics as an extra layer of protection for them. For everything else, there is now a surge protector installed right next to breaker box.

Please learn from my mistake. Protect your appliances with a whole house surge protector. You can also use individual surge protectors for each appliance. However, there are so many of them that installing a whole house one really is your best bet.

Whole house surge protectors are available on Amazon as well as at Loewe’s, Home Depot, and most larger hardware stores. I cannot recommend getting one highly enough. Getting one is your Tip of the Week for the week of January 20, 2020.

These tips are brought to you by the Warrendale Detroit Blog as part of our Tip of the Week series. Please check back next week for more advice on your home, money, and life. The rest of the tips are are avilable here.

Please feel free to follow the author Frank Nemecek on Twitter and Instagram as @fnemecek for more great content