Thursday, June 29, 2006

Warrendale (Detroit) Blog Gets Updated

As soon as you logged on, you probably noticed that there have been a few changes to the Warrendale (Detroit) Blog. I thought I'd take a moment to run through all of those changes and outline why I made them.

The first that you'll likely to have noticed was the change in color scheme. With all of the other changes that I made, changing the color scheme - more than anything else - served to alert my readers that a lot of stuff has changed.

The column where my posts appear is now a bit wider as well. This will enable me to post photos that are slightly larger.

Along the right-hand column you may notice that there are now a total of 21 sites that are hyper-linked. All of them are related to Warrendale, Detroit or our neighbor, Dearborn. I also have a link in there for O'Halloran's Tippery Pub. If anyone knows of another Warrendale business that has a web site, please let me know. I'll add a web site for them as well.

Continuing down the right-hand column, you'll see links to my previous articles and archives that go back to my first post on this blog - way back in December of 2005.

If you're looking for information about something in particular, right beneath the link to my archives is a search field that is powered by Google. You can use it to find anything - either on this site or elsewhere on the web.

Beneath that is a link to where you can download the Google Pack for free. It contains a lot of cool software for Windows that I've found to be quite useful.

Right below the Google Pack link is a Technorati link. This enables you to see the other blogs that link themselves to the Warrendale blog. As of right now, there are three of them but I'm sure that more will show up soon.

The final thing that you'll see in the right-hand column is a subscription form from Bloglet. If you're interested, you can enter you email address in that field and you'll get an email alert every time I post something to this blog. You don't have to do if, of course, but I think it's a nice option to have.

Last but not least, I added a license to this blog from Creative Commons. You'll see at the very bottom of this page. It means that if someone would like to use copywritten text or photos from this site, they are welcome to do as long as it's for a non-commercial purpose and I'm given credit for my work. (If you want to use anything on here for a commericial purpose, please let me know and we'll work somekind of an arrangement out.)

Thank you for visiting the Warrendale (Detroit) Blog.

NEXT Detroit: Clean Downtown

I was downtown for the annoucement about the Book-Cadillac Hotel's redevelopment. After it was done, I noticed all of the people who were cleaning up around downtown. Litter was being picked up. Bus stops were being power-washed.

I was thrilled to see so many people working to keep downtown Detroit clean. The kind of image of downtown for visitors has an impact on all of Detroit, including the Warrendale neighborhood. I'm grateful to Roger Penske, the Downtown Detroit Partnership and everyone who helped make Clean Downtown a reality.

However, with all of that cleaning going on, I can't help but wonder what we can do keep our parks from looking like this all of the time...

Or to deal with stuff like this getting dumped in our neighbor in the dead of night...

Bomb Threat at Chase Bank

There was a bomb threat at the Chase Bank branch in Warrendale. According to a witness inside the bank when it happened, a man tried to cash a check there yesterday morning. When the teller informed him that she wouldn't be able to cash it because he didn't have enough money in his account to cover it, he allegedly said, "Either you cash that check or I'm going to blow this place up."

At that point, the bank went into a "lock-down" mode where no one was allowed in or out of the bank and the Detroit Police Department was called in. A search conducted by DPD of the man who made this threat, his truck that was in the parking lot and another gentleman who was in the truck revealed that there was no bomb or any other weapons present.

The photo above shows police officers searching the gentleman who was waiting inside a truck belonging to the man who made this bomb threat. I took this photo through my car's windshield and - yes - I do need to clean my car windows.

It wasn't clear what charges, if any, would be filed against the man who made this bomb threat. Regardless, I'm glad that DPD got there so quickly and that there wasn't a bomb for them to deal with.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Building Demolished in Warrendale

The previous home of Goodfella's Wear (and before that - the home First Edition Bar) was demolished over the weekend.

No news on what will be built there, but I'm hearing unconfirmed reports of the site being used for parking.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Mail Bag: Warrendale Community Organization

Nocturnalicious wrote in to ask:
Where and when does the WCO meet?
I bought a house in warrendale in Nov. '94. I've been trying to get info on the WCO since then.
The Warrendale Community Organization is taking a break from its summer meeting schedule. They normal meeting schedule, however, is the first Monday of each month at 7 p.m. in the Activities Building of Sts. Peter & Paul Church.

They will resume their regular monthly meeting schedule in either August or September (I can't remember which). I'll post a reminder about it a week or so before their next meeting.

Update: Papa Joe's & Credit Cards

Back in March of this year, I wrote a piece about one of Warrendale's newest restaurants - Papa Joe's Family Restaurant & Buffet (19305 W. Warren Ave. - 313-271-0959). At that time, I said that there were only two things that I didn't love about the place - their lack of parking and the fact that they didn't accept credit cards.

They're still limited to street parking - and, frankly, I can live with that - but they have solved their other problem. I was in there today for lunch and Papa Joe's now accepts Visa and Mastercard.

I'm thrilled because I'm one of those people who would much rather hand over my ATM/debit card than keep having to make trips to the ATM.

Lake Greenview

I'm a bit tardy in reporting this one, but Warrendale got hit with an impressive amount of rain last Wednesday. The result was Greenview, between Kirkwood and Ford Road, was pretty much flooded with water that went up to the curb in spots.

Somewhere under all of that water was a pair of storm drains that were presumably clogged with debris.

After taking the picture, I actually spent a moment trying to find the drains so I could unclog them. Of course, I then realized the one good thing about a flooded street - it forces folks to walk on the sidewalk instead of in the street.

Plus, drivers were slowing down instead of racing along that stretch of road. It was then that I decided to leave it be for awhile.

When I returned later in the day, the water had drained away. Apparently, someone else had decided to unclog the storm drain.

1,000 Applications

WDIV-TV (Channel 4) reported this morning that residents were lining up for hours at a time to get an application for one of the 126 job openings as a D-DOT bus driver. They claim the overwhelming demand for applications had something to do with Detroit's poor job market.

But let's face facts - the real reason is that it was first reported in the Warrendale Blog.

Behold! The power of the blog!


(Yes, I know I'm deluding myself. Everyone needs a hobby.)

Ryan Playground (It's a jungle out there)

I posted earlier about how the grass at the Lloyd H. Ryan Playground (Greenview and Kirkwood) wasn't getting cut. The next day, it was cut - but very sloppily. It was obvious that whoever did it was in a huge rush because there was so much grass that didn't get cut by the swings and slides.
Since then, the grass still hasn't been cut. Quite frankly, the place is looking more and more like a jungle.

I saw a pheasant nesting there yesterday. It was not too far from some trash that someone had dumped at the playground - almost invisible until you got right next to it, which makes hiding trash the only real benefit of the tall grass.

Bridge Construction

Work is still moving along briskly on the Tireman and Paul brdiges over the Southfield Freeway (M-39). The construction crews now have even more of those orange barrels and barricades up to prevent folks from cutting through and turning onto Whitlock from the service drive. (It was one thing when neighborhood residents were doing it, but there were a whole lot of other folks doing and traffic along Ashton and Rosemont was starting to get out of hand).

The construction crews seem to be making pretty good time. It looks like they have the center support beams pretty much in place. Based on how everything progressed at the W. Warren bridge, I presume this means that we should see the skeleton of the bridge itself emerge within the next week or so.

They already have lots of equipement and supplies in place to move everything forward rather quickly. It's still early in the project but (* knock on wood *) they should be able to get it done on time.

I know those two bridges really needed to be redone, but at the same time - I'm looking forward to fewer detours in my commute.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Beat the Summer Heat

Detroit Fire Department officials want to remind City residents looking for ways to cool off-opening fire hydrants is not an option.

"We understand the weather for some lately has been unbearable, but opening fire hydrants is not a good way to cool off," said Detroit Fire Commissioner Tyrone Scott. "Opening hydrants causes low water pressure, which affects our ability to fight fires."

Illegally turning on a fire hydrant is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine up to $500 or 90 days in jail. To report an illegally turned-on hydrant, residents are asked to call City Hall by dialing 311 or the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department at 267-7401

The Comment Thread

My previous post about the Richard & Sandy Dauch campus, which is where they're building the new NFL/YET - Boys & Girls Club, drew a heated exchange between CanoeCarver and an anonymous reader. CanoeCarver did a pretty good job of refuting the personal attacks made against him, but I did want respond to a couple of points that the anonymous reader said.

For everyone except this anonymous reader, please excuse the rant below.

If you have a problem with the very concept of naming a building or a project after someone who donated a significant amount of money to make it happen then you are obviously entitled to your opinion. However, I would greatly appreciate it if you would express your opinion without referring the donors as "egomaniacs." If all they wanted to do was have their name on something, Mr. and Mrs. Dauch could have rented a couple dozen billboards for a lot less then what they gave to the Boys & Girls Club of Southeastern Michigan.

I believe they have a geniune interest in seeing some great things happen on that site. I welcome their name being attached to it. That isn't an insult to anyone who lived there. It's a simple recognition that naming a building or project is a common way of saying "Thank you" to the people who financed the project.

This is hardly a new phenomena. When the City of Detroit was originally founded in July of 1701, it was named Fort Pontchartrain du de Troit (French for Fort Pontchartrain by the Straights). Pontchartrain was the Minister of the Marine under King Louis I of France and, more importantly, the man who commissioned Cadillac to set up the city.

Prior to being bought by the City of Detroit, the structure we now know as "Tiger Stadium" had always been named after whoever it was that owned the team (e.g., it was called Bennett Park, Navin Field and Briggs Stadium under succession of owners with the same names).

You finance something; you get to have your name on it. It's a simple, centuries old way of recognizing the people whose money makes everything possible. It does not make anyone an "egomaniac."

As for the other comments that the anonymous reader made, like this one:
My point was don’t play coy with me, all the good old boys from Warrendale know good and well that if the city of Detroit and State allowed you all get away with breaking away from the city with that b.s story yawl ran around with for years about being leased from Dearborn Height/twp/city until 2000 or what every that nonsense was about while Herman Gardens was full of poor black people you would not have laid claim Herman Gardens was part of the new city of Warrendale. I am alleging that all of this talk about Herman Gardens being part of Warrendale is self-serving and comes at a might convenient time. I am saying it’s funny how people over here have flipped the script now that the undesirables are gone.
I wasn't being coy. I was being polite and not pointing out your ignorance. However, since you keep pushing the matter, I'll set my manners aside for the moment.

Let's start with the most obvious part. The rumor from the late-1990s about Warrendale reverting to Dearborn or becoming it's own city wasn't started by anyone living in Detroit. In fact, I never even heard a Warrendale resident repeat it.

That rumor came from a handful of suburban real estate developers who were looking to drive up property values in the area. Dearborn already had much higher property values than Warrendale did. They tried convincing folks that if they bought now, they would make a huge windfall when Warrendale left Detroit.

It was the Warrendale Community Organization - the folks that you accuse of being "packed full of old racist Poles" - who were refuting that rumor at every turn. They sent out mailings to everyone in the community and in the news media to let everyone know that the rumor was false. They talked about it at meetings and everywhere else they went.

In short, they did everything within their power to put an end to that rumor. For you to use it as an example of racism only goes to show your own bigotry and stupidity.
The Warrendale community groups are well know for being packed full of old racist Poles who say things like: “I lived here my whole life, as have my parents and grandparents.” and “it's a disgusting shame what has happened to this once tight-knit Polish community”. Being a new school racist your more refined so you will stop short of blaming them damn Negros for “ruining” the community but once and a while you all slip up and show you’re a** and spray paint a swastika a school.
Your bigotry is exceeded only by your ignorance.

I invite you to stop by a meeting of the Warrendale Community Organization. Not only would you find an absence of "old racist Poles" but if you opened your eyes, you would see a racially diverse group of people who care deeply about their neighborhood and like the fact that Warrendale is currently one of the most ethnically diverse neighborhoods in southeastern Michigan.

It might not be as much fun as anonymously hurling insults on an internet message board, but I guarantee that it would a lot more productive.

Okay - rant over.

Back to the regular blog.

D-DOT to Hire 126 New Bus Drivers

Mayor Kwame M. Kilpatrick and the City of Detroit's Department of Transportation (DDOT) announced today they will begin the process of hiring 126 bus drivers on Monday.
Applications will be distributed to interested parties beginning Monday, June 26 through Wednesday, June 28 between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. at the in room 107 of the DDOT headquarters, which are located at 1301 E. Warren Ave. 

"We are beginning to lose our seasoned drivers to retirement," said Norman White, DDOT director. "Being a DDOT bus driver can be a fulfilling career of service. We are looking for 126 good men and women that can drive us into the NEXT Detroit."

Requirements to apply for a bus driver position with DDOT are as follows:
  • Must be 18 years of age with a valid drivers license;
  • Two years of driving experience;
  • Must have a Temporary Instruction Permit, which indicates you have applied for a Commercial Drivers License;
  • No more than three points on driving record;
  • Must be drug free and pass a drug test prior to hiring;
  • High school diploma required; and
  • Must qualify for federal Department of Transportation medical card.
Individuals interested in applying for a bus driver position, but can call 311 if they are a SBC customer or 224-INFO for more information.

Southfield Freeway Moving Along

I snapped a couple of photos the other day of all the work being done on the Southfield Freeway (M-39). The original press release from the Michigan Department of Transportation said that they weren't even going to begin work on the Paul and Tireman bridges until July.

However, it's still June for another week or so and they already have both of the old bridges fully demolished. You can see them starting to make progress on building the new ones.

For what it's worth, here's hoping this next phase of bridgework goes as smoothly as the W. Warren bridge did. (Knock on wood.) It would be really nice to get this project done a month or so ahead of schedule.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Mail Bag: NFL/YET-Boys & Girls Club

An anonymous reader wrote, in response to my post about the NFL/YET - Boys & Girls Club, to say:
Funny how Herman Gardens is welcomed back as part of Warrendale now that the undesirables have been relocated. I never heard anything of this Herman Gardens is part of Warrendale, especially during the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and 90’s.

I seriously doubt that when some Warrendale residents went around claiming that Warrendale was leased by the city of Detroit from Dearborn/Heights/Township? and would return to Dearborn at some point in the future they would have laid claim to Herman Gardens as part of their new “City of Warrendale”.

Who in the hell is Richard and Sandy Dauch? The site needs be named after Judge Greg Mathis or Ms. Ruth Williams not some fly by night egomaniacs.
The anonymous reader raises a couple of issues.

The boundaries of "Warrendale" have changed over the years, a fact that I addressed in some of the earlier posts on this blog. Some folks believe that Warrendale's eastern boundary is the Southfield Freeway, because that's the boundary for the Warrendale Community Organization.

For purposes of this blog, I pretty much disregard that notion and include everything south of Joy Road that's in the City of Detroit. From what I understand, at one point in time, that was Warrendale's original boundaries. The Warren Avenue Community Organization split away from the WCO because they thought the neighborhood could get twice as much block grants by splitting in two.

(Full disclosure: this is only what I was told by a pair of long time residents. I haven't seen any official records that would prove this. If I'm wrong, please feel free to correct me.)

Anyway, there are more than a dozen different businesses on east side of the Southfield Freeway that are named Warrendale (e.g., the Warrendale Bar, Warrendale Dental Center and so on). Based on that, I include all of Detroit on both sides of the freeway and always have. People living on Archdale are just as much my neighbors as folks living on Faust.

As for Richard and Sandy Dauch and why the campus is named after them, Mr. and Mrs. Dauch were generous with their wealth. It's their generousity that will enable the NFL/YET to build an ever bigger and better facility in Warrendale. I have absolutely no problems with naming the campus after them and object to referring to them as "fly by night egomaniacs."

Mail Bag: Ryan Playground

CanoeCarver also wrote in to say:
I just drove past Greenview Park AKA Lloyd Ryan. The grass is two feet high. Do the citizens also have a right to declare war on the administration's neglect of our parks? Even the racist criminal, Coleman A. Young, still was able to provide an aesthetic upkeep to our communities while lining his pockets. The hypocracy of instituting this task force against residents, while having the nerve to take away services and to not even supply basic mowing to the parks speak volumes about our current administration. What will it take for Detroiters to stop shooting themselves in their collective feet?
You are correct - the grass at the Lloyd Ryan Playground went quite some time without being cut. I'm not sure exactly how long they went without cutting it, but they obviously let it slide for way too long.

I snapped this photo earlier in the week. It shows grass that would be long enough for a homeowner to get a ticket from DAH if it were a private home.

A day later, someone came by and mowed the grass. However, in my opinion, they did a rush job on it and just didn't do it right.

Notice all of the tall grass by the slide?

If my front lawn was like that, the City would still give me a ticket for not having it mowed properly.

Mail Bag: Trash, Trash & More Trash #5

CanoeCarver wrote in to say:
I thought I had either heard or read that City Council had accepted Kilpatrick's budget, with the addition of reinstating bulk pick-up quarterly, with an assessed fee of 75 dollars per quarter. Has this passed? Or, is the city still in the debating stage? I would gladly pay this fee to have the convenience of only taking yard debris and other cast-offs to the curb. Taking away this service is what really escalated the dumping. I would think that instead of declaring war on his constituency, Kilpatrick would prefer to aide in providing services to the city's residents. I think this war mentality will only divide the city, and probably hurt him in the long run, but then again, would that be such a bad idea?
I've heard a lot of contradictory information out of news media on the monthly fee for the trash collection, bulk trash collection and everything else. I called Mayor Kilpatrick's office, spoke with one of his staff members and this is what I was told.
  1. The City of Detroit will indeed start levying a monthly fee to pay for weekly trash collection. That fee only covers the weekly collection of our Courville containers.
  2. Now that the monthly fee is in place, the City is eliminating the 3 mils that are assessed onto everyone's property taxes for trash collection. This minimizes the actual cost to homeowners somewhat.
  3. The City Council and Mayor Kilpatrick worked out a plan to squeeze another $9 million out of the budget to reinstate the pick-up of bulk trash. However, those pick-ups will not resume until this November. Anyone placing bulk trash out for collection between now and November could face a fine from the City.