Monday, April 24, 2006

Mail Bag: Cash Advance

Regarding a cash advance place moving into the "Little Castle", an anonymous reader wrote in to say:
Well it is something, but i can't help but see this as a bad thing. Cash advance places are nothing but a BAD sign for a neighborhood. They are notorious for preying on on low income families.
You are correct that cash advance places are notorious for preying on low-income families. However, I do think that we need to keep this in perspective and not start thinking that this is the end of Warrendale as we know it.

We're not the only place to have one of these businesses move in. Clinton Township, a fairly affluent suburb, has 3 of them. Waterford, another affluent suburb, has 4 of them. Livonia has 2 of them. Auburn Hills has the Palace of Auburn Hills, the Detroit Pistons - and a cash advance store.

If all of those communities can handle having of these stores in their neighborhood, so can Warrendale. For the time being, at least we have one less vacant storefront on W. Warren Ave. and another business paying taxes into the City.

I simply hope that they hire a couple of Warrendale residents to work there. The way I see things, they'll be less likely to truly abuse folks if some of their employees actually live here.

Mail Bag: Trash, Trash & More Trash #4

An anonymous reader wrote in regarding the car that was stripped and dumped earlier this month to say:
hello ,,, i have a problem with the dumping near this corner where the veh was,, i clean this area ,, and lately someone comes by and drops carpets and black bags
and so tired of cleaning and cutting the grass ,, just to have someone dump there trash there every month
what can i do to stop this
word just cant explain ,,, i spent 2 days after getting of work cleaning a city lot street ,, where this red car was abandoned,,, finall finished , i leave my home between 10pm and 11pm to come back to find after spending 2hours a day after 5pm cleaning this street,, that someone again dumped a black bag and carpet , again for the second month or in as many weeks, i dont know what to do now ,, with this trash help !
Dumping is unquestionably a huge problem in Warrendale and throughout Detroit.

If I understand you correctly, you were cleaning a certain city lot near where the car was dumped and, after were done, someone came along and dumped even more trash at that spot.

Two thoughts come to mind.

First, you might want to talk with your neighbors. You weren't home when this happened, but maybe one of them saw the dumping. Illegal dumping is a crime and any details we can track down about who is doing it is useful.

Second, you should call 3-1-1 and let them know what has happened. They'll need to know what's been dumped and where.

Please let me know if they were of any help to you.

Mail Bag: A Bunch of Questions

Canoe Carver wrote in to say:
Just a couple of comments from a long time resident...First, it was a Dawn Donuts at Evergreen and Warren, I worked there when I was 15. Second...That stripped car was removed yesterday, April 17, finally...Although I am impressed by the fast response, and by fast I mean Detroit standards. Which brings me to a question...Who do we harrass to get the (at least) three burnt out houses torn down? One is on Brace and two are on Faust. There may very well be more. PS I am also interested in a Warrendale Newsletter, is there an E version? Thanks for the info, and the blog.
First and foremost, thank you for correcting me about the donut store. Dunkin' Donuts. Dawn Donuts. I get them mixed up sometimes.

As far as those houses go, your best bet is to call 3-1-1 and let them know that the house is vacant and open to trespass.

As a side note: "vacant and open to trespass" is the second highest priority the City has when it comes to demolishing a home. Their highest priority is those that are in imminent danger of collapse. If you have a background in construction or engineering and you think that this the case, please mention it to the 3-1-1 operator instead of simply saying that it's "vacant and open to trespass."

Oh, and the Warrendale Community Organization doesn't have an electronic version of their newsletter. Although, there have been one or two people who have suggested that this blog become their newsletter.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Update: The Abandoned Car Is Gone

I had written about a car that had been stripped and dumped in Warrendale a couple of weeks. A week later, I wrote another posts critical of the fact that it was still there - a week after I reported it to the Northwestern District of the Detroit Police Department.

Since then, I'm pleased to report that it has been hauled away. Nothing is in that spot but the street itself.

Canoe Carver reports that it was hauled away this past Monday, but I didn't notice it until the next day.

Thanks, DPD.

Progress on the Southfield Fwy.

It looks like M-DOT is making progress on the W. Warren Avenue bridge over the Southfield Freeway (M-39) slowly but surely. Their work is actually moving rather quickly when you think about all of that is involved with it. However, it seems like it takes a lot longer when it's your morning commute that is messed up by the detours.

M-DOT's media advisory says that the project is supposed to last until July. However, given the rate at which they're moving, I wouldn't be suprised if they finished it a couple of weeks early.

And if I'm not mistaken, it looks like they've concrete barricades already lined up at the southeast corner of Paul and the Southfield Freeway. I presume that they're in anticipation of the next phase of the project - rebuilding the Paul Street and Tireman Road bridges over the freeway.

I'm actually looking forward to that part of the project - construction detours and all. The Paul bridge really needs to be rebuilt.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Pittsburgh Shows Some Warrendale Love

I was surfing the web the other day at work. I came across an article from the (Pittsburgh) Post-Gazette that made a reference to Steve's Three Brothers Restaurant (17820 W. Warren Avenue - (313) 271-1227).

Two of their reporters, Jeff Ivey and Rich Rudek, were in town for Super Bowl XL this past February. Jeff and Rich wrote an article about their experiences in Detroit that week - including a stop at Steve's Three Brothers.

They refered to it as "the greatest breakfast of our lives."

Quite frankly, I was flabbergasted when I read that.

I mean, I've always known that Steve's Three Brothers serves up some good food. I remember my Mom and Dad taking me there as a kid. But to hear a pair of reporters from another city talk about it so highly still took me by suprise.

Knowing that you've got a great restaurant in your backyard is one thing. But having a pair of reporters from another town tell you that it was "the greatest breakfast of our lives" just takes that sense of pride to a whole new level.

I grabbed a copy of a photo that they took off of their web site. (That's Rich Rudek of the Post-Gazette posing in front of Steve's Three Brothers).

Oh, and if anyone from the P-G finds this blog and is annoyed with me grabbing a photo from your site - just say the word and I'll remove it.

For everyone else, you can see the orginal article at

New Businesses in Warrendale

There really can be no denying that the economy in southeastern Michigan is far worse off than it could or should be. Morever, Detroit seems to be doing even worse than some of our suburban neighbors - and the City's current budget crunch isn't helping matters. All of this is why I am especially trilled to see new businesses opening up in Warrendale.

Each one brings jobs and tax revenue to a community that, quite frankly, is in desperate need of both.

Each one means one less empty storefront in our community; adding health and vitality to the neighborhood.

The gas station/old Dunkin' Donuts location at the southwest corner of W. Warren Avenue and Evergreen has sat vacant for years. (I think it closed in 1999, but I could be wrong about that one). Anyway, there is currently a crew there getting it ready to reopen.

The former location of the Warrendale Community Credit Union, which went out of business a couple of years ago, is now reborn as the Serv-U-Well Pharmacy.

Speaking of pharmacies, there was a work crew at the old Novack Drugs location today. This is another storefront on W. Warren Avenue that has been sitting empty for years. I couldn't tell exactly what they were doing there and didn't grab a photo of the place. (Sorry, the batteries died on my camera - I keep forgetting my spare set at home).

Last, but not least, we also have Dura Metro coming soon to a location in Warrendale. I don't know when they're opening; just that they have a "Coming Soon" banner hanging from a building on W. Warren Avenue.

I know absolutely nothing about Dura Metro. I think I saw an ad for them somewhere at some point because their name sounds vaguely familiar. However, I couldn't find anything for the company when I searched that name under both Google and Yahoo!.

Regardless, it's great to see this many new businesses coming to Warrendale.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Update on the "Little Castle"

In January of this year, and again last month, I wrote about the possibility of someone doing something at the "Little Castle" (that one-story, castle-like building at the northwest corner of Ashton and W. Warren Ave.).

Now it looks like we know what will happen on that location. Someone is opening a cash advance store there.

I'm not overly thrilled with this kind of development. After all, a cash advance store doesn't exactly scream, "Hey - Warrendale is an up-and-coming neighborhood that you should move into."

But this does mean one less empty store front. It does mean some more jobs in our neighborhood and more tax revenue for a City that, quite frankly, really needs it.

As a result, I think this is a step forward for Warrendale but not as big of a step forward as it would've been if it had been some other kind of retail store that moved in to that spot.

For what it's worth, here's hoping that they hire folks from the neighborhood to work there.

Update: Still Dumped in Warrendale

A little over a week ago, I wrote about a car that had been stripped and dumped in Warrendale. I reported it the Northwestern District of the Detroit Police Department that same day. The next day, DPD put their orange sticker on it.

Unfortunately, the car is still sitting there a week later. I'm mildly annoyed that it's taken them this long to have it carted away since it's so obvious that it's been stripped and dumped (most of the engine gone, 2 of its 4 tires gone, etc.). I'll give DPD another couple of days to have this one towed before I start raising hell.

Al's Barber Shop Is Now Undefeated Cuts

I wrote a post last February about Al's Barber Shop closing. I'm thrilled to announce that a new barber shop has opened in that location. The new owner has renamed it Undefeated Cuts.

I was in there for a hair cut this morning. They only had one barber working, instead of the two that the previous owners had, but the service was still quick and professional. I didn't have to wait at all and the gentleman who came in after me only waited a minute or two.

First-class service all the way around. I'll definately be back.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Project Clean Comes to Warrendale

One of the things that was announced at the monthly meeting of the Warrendale Community Organization this week is that this year's edition of Motor City Make Over is tentatively slated for Saturday, May 13. We will clean the southbound Southfield Fwy. service drive - starting at Joy Road and going south from there.

What makes this year's event different is that this time we will get some extra help from Detroit Synergy and their Project Clean. This means that there will be an extra dozen or so volunteers at this year's clean up.


However - this does come with one small problem. At last year's clean up, there was only a half dozen or so people at the Warrendale clean up. I can't help but think that it would really suck if there were more people from outside of the Warrendale area who came to clean our neighborhood then there were from Warrendale.

Therefore, I really hope that a bunch of us will come out to help clean our neighborhood.

Save the date - Saturday, May 13. I'll post the time once it's confirmed.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Warrendale As A Cool City

The Warrendale Community Organization put in a bid last month to have the portion of Warrendale that is west of the Southfield Freeway designated as a Cool City by the Granholm administration. (WCO's by-laws say that is their turf; the other side is the providence of Warren Avenue Community Organization).

The State of Michigan announced late last week that Warrendale made it past the first round in the approval process. We have until 5 p.m. on Friday, May 5 to submit a more detailed application to the State.

If Warrendale is selected, we'll be eligible for up to $100,000 in funding for a catalyst project as well as priority access to 178 different programs from the State of Michigan (e.g., a crime prevention program through the Michigan State Police, funding for a scrap tire removal program, etc.). Quite frankly, its the priority access to those 178 programs that interests me the most.

More details will follow as this story develops.

Dumped in Warrendale

I noticed an abandoned car in Warrendale today. Unfortunately, abandoned cars are nothing out of the ordinary in Detroit. However, this one was a bit unusual in terms of how obvious it was that that this one had been stripped and dump here.

It's pretty obvious that the entire front end had been stripped away, making this more than just another car parked on the side of the road. In fact, not only has most of the front end been stripped, the engine is gone as well.

Nothing but leaves where the engine used to be (along with a couple of hoses that whoever dumped it didn't feel like taking). The fact that there are leaves in the engine compartment indicates that the car has probably been there for a few days. It takes awhile for that many of them to blow in to the empty engine compartment.

The VIN has also been removed from the vehicle:

Along with its license plate:

And the tires on one side of the car:

I reported this one to the Northwestern District of the Detroit Police Department this afternoon. We'll have to see how long it takes DPD to respond to this one.