Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Breaking News: Shooting at W. Warren/Southfield

I heard the gun shots. A few minutes later, I heard the news choppers overhead.

Earlier this afternoon, two people wearing masks pulled up in a green minivan to the Shell gas station (17720 W. Warren) and started shooting. When it was all done, at least 5 teenagers were shot, although some reports have put the number of victims as high as 7.

No one is in custody at this moment.

More on this as the story develops.

UPDATE @ 3:59 p.m.
WXYZ-TV is reporting that each of the shooting victims have been identified and the Detroit Public Schools are notifying their parents. The victims range in age from 14 - 17.

UPDATE @ 5:38 p.m.
Both WDIV-TV and WXYZ-TV are reporting that both of the shooters in this case were dressed in black t-shirts and black pants. Assuming that they also wore black shoes, this would likely indicate that they were members of one of the drug gangs that have been operating in Warrendale for several months.

Also, the Detroit Police Department has confirmed that there were a total of 7 victims in this shooting - 3 males and 4 females. 5 of these individuals are students. All of them have been taken to area hospitals for treatment.

There are still news choppers overhead.

UPDATE @ 7:51 p.m.
The news choppers are gone now. WDIV-TV still has one of their vans parked across the street from the crime scene. The police are gone as well.

Other than that one news van, the corner looks so much like it did this morning that it's actually a little eerie. I feel like the place should look different now that 7 teens have been shot at that spot.

The one bit of good news that I can share is that the Detroit Police Department has reportedly found the green minivan that was used in this shooting. It was almost certainly stolen. Hopefully, they'll be able to find a few clues in it to find and convict those responsible for this atrocity.

UPDATE @ 10:58 p.m.
Since my most recent update, I have learned that 5 of the 7 victims in this shooting were students in the summer school program at Cody High School's 9th Grade Academy (7350 Southfield Fwy.). The other 2 teens reportedly were not students.

The Detroit Police Department has reportedly obtained the security tapes from the Shell gas station near where this shooting took place. They hope to find some clues as to the identity of the shooters, their motive for a shooting or both.

Finally, there is at least a rumor in the neighborhood as to the motive for this senseless shooting. I have heard reports that an argument of some sort happened between two of the female victims of the massacre this afternoon and another woman. This other woman than reportedly made a phone call to her boyfriend. That boyfriend then drove to where he knew the two victims would be so that he could settle this grudge with gunfire.

The other 5 victims in this shooting were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The Detroit Free Press is reporting a similar version of events, where the shooting was the result of a fight that happen yesterday at the school.

Fast Company: James Canning of Canning Communications

Warrendale resident - and a long-time friend of mine - James Canning has been featured in this week's issue of Model D for the public relations firm that he started, Canning Communications.

Congrats to James Canning and the Canning Communications team.

Questionable Priorities

The City of Detroit announced late last week that they intend to spend a little more than $1.4 million to demolish the historic Lafayette Building (144 W. Lafayette) in downtown Detroit. Meanwhile, thousands of vacant and burned out houses continue to rot in Warrendale and other neighborhoods with very little response from Mayor Dave Bing.

Just to clarify, Mayor Bing and his staff were able to find $1.4 million of our tax dollars to demolish this building downtown:

But they can't do anything at all about thousands of buildings like this one in our neighborhoods:

Priorities, people. Priorities.

I believe that the leadership of this great city needs to re-examine their priorities in a very fundamental way. If they don't then I believe we as residents need to start asking why we keep them in office.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Blogging Away the Blight

I love it when any of my fellow bloggers get the recognition they deserve. A classic example is the article below, which focuses on the Going Home blog.

Congrats go out to Michael Happy and everyone else at the Going Home blog.

Blogging away the blight - Detroit Make it Here

Shared via AddThis

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Cool Warrendale Thing of the Week: Film Discussion Group

I am a film buff. I love movies, especially some of the really great ones that are both entertaining and have some strong artistic value.

I also love Detroit's Warrendale neighborhood.

If you combine those two things, you have something that puts me in a state of near Nirvana.

And that is exactly what is happening at the Edison Branch (18400 Joy Rd.) of the Detroit Public Library next week. They are launching a film discussion group that will watch the critically acclaimed film Frozen River. An informal discussion of the film will follow.

This special event will happen on Wednesday, June 24 at 5:30 p.m. in the library.

Frozen River takes place in the days before Christmas near a little-known border crossing on the Mohawk reservation between New York State and Quebec. Here, the lure of fast money from smuggling presents a daily challenge to single moms who would otherwise be earning minimum wage. Two women - one white, one Mohawk, both single mothers faced with desperate circumstances - are drawn into the world of border smuggling across the frozen water of the St. Lawrence River. Ray and Lila - and a New York State Trooper as opponent in an evolving cat-and-mouse game.

Frozen River was nominated for two Academy Awards (Best Actress and Best Screenplay).

Breaking News: Roseville PD Saves the Day

Shortly after 4 p.m. this afternoon, a green Ford Taurus was seen speeding along Whitlock St. in the Warrendale neighborhood with a black Chevy Avalanche close behind it. Both vehicles went through several stop signs at a high rate of speed (my eyeball estimate would be approximately 50 mph) before turning south onto Minock St., where the Ford Taurus hit a parked vehicle. That driver and his passenger promptly fled the scene on foot.

The interesting thing is that a K-9 police officer from the Roseville Police Department was on the scene in less than a minute.


That's approximately 20 miles away from the Warrendale neighborhood.

Please don't get me wrong. I'm thrilled to see an officer from the Roseville Police Department in the neighborhood. Heck, I'm thrilled to see pretty much any police officer in the neighborhood.

I'm just wondering what it is that brought the Roseville police all the way over here. More importantly, I'm wondering what it is that we could do to bring them here more often.

Detroit May Crack Down On Strip Clubs

WDIV-TV is reporting that the Detroit City Council will consider a proposal to ban alcohol from strip clubs in Detroit. The proposed rule changes would also stop lap dancing, close VIP rooms and force topless dancers to wear opaque pasties. It would also require the topless dancers to remain 6 feet from the patrons and on a stage at all times.

Rob Katzman, owner of the Toy Chest Bar and Grille (18728 Ford Rd.) in the Warrendale neighborhood, told WDIV that these potential changes would put nearly all of the clubs out of business. The Toy Chest is 1 of approximately 30 strip clubs in Detroit; meaning that we have 1 strip club every 4.6 square miles on average.

Quite frankly, I think this is an incredibly stupid idea from an urban planning perspective. Vibrant cities have a variety of entertainment options, even ones that some people might think of as morally objectionable.

More importantly, if all of the legal strip clubs in Detroit are driven out of business by excessive regulation then that will simply create a tremendous opening for the illegal strip clubs who will inevitably set up shop. No matter what one might think of the current, legal strip clubs in Detroit, there can be little argument that the illegal ones that appear from time to time are much worse.

These problems, of course, are compounded by the fact that the Detroit Police Department currently has a shortage of police officers to handle their existing case load. There is simply no way that they will be able to respond effectively to the scores illicit strip clubs that we will soon have in our neighborhoods.

I have to admit, though, that I don't think that the Detroit City Council would be entertaining this proposal if it wasn't for the fact that at least one member of the council will soon be under federal indictment on corruption charges. This, of course, puts every member of the council under a cloud - forcing them to appear as upright Christians who can be trusted for another term of office during an election year.

Monica Conyers Could Be Indicted Today, DEMANDS People Pray For Her

Detroit City Council President Pro Temp Monica Conyers will likely be under federal indictment soon. Quite frankly, I'm looking forward to this. This matter has been dragged out in the news media for way too long.

In the meantime, The Wonkette has already picked up this story - complete with their own delightful commentary.

Wonkette : Hilarious Monica Conyers Could Be Indicted Today, DEMANDS People Pray For Her

Monday, June 15, 2009

Tip of the Week: Foreclosure Assistance

One of the unfortunate realities to life in Warrendale today is that most residents know someone who is danger of foreclosure. Luckily, there is at least some help that's available. It's not a magic solution, but it can still make all the difference in the world to someone facing foreclosure.

The Joy-Southfield Community Development Corporation (18917 Joy Rd.) currently offers free foreclosure prevention assistance. If you, or anyone in the area that you know, is at risk of losing their home then please encourage them to call (313) 841-9641 to make an appointment with a specially trained foreclosure assistance counselor.

Additional information about foreclosure prevention as well as application packets are available at the Joy-Southfield Health & Education Center. The Center is located at 18917 Joy Rd. - between Artesian and Stahelin.

Town Hall Meeting on the Housing Crisis

State Representative Gabe Leland will host a town hall meeting regarding the housing crisis, which affects Warrendale and many other neighborhoods in Detroit. There are currently 1 in 8 families in the area who are at risk of losing their homes to foreclosure. This event will happen on Saturday, June 20 from 10 a.m. until noon at the Boys & Girls Club (16500 Tireman).

Special guests at this event include:
  • Government officials;
  • Neighborhood planners;
  • Financial counselors; and
  • Legal experts.
This town hall meeting will include 1-on-1 sessions with counselors for residents who are facing foreclosure or are currently in foreclosure.

Community action resources will also be available.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Get Outdoors

Today is National Get Outdoors Day, which is sponsored by the U.S. Forest Service. This event is intended to encourage healthy, active outdoor fun at sites across the nation.

Unfortunately, there aren't any official GO Day sites within the Warrendale neighborhood. (Yeah, I know. We'll have to work on getting something for Rouge Park next year.)

In the meantime, the closest location to us is at the Miller School in Greenfield Village at The Henry Ford (20900 Oakwood Blvd. in Dearborn). Visitors will be able to try fly-casting, count tree rings to learn the age of a tree and find directions with a compass. Younger children will have an opportunity to become Junior Forest Rangers and meet Smokey the Bear.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Digital TV Arrives Tomorrow

The big switch to digital television takes place in the Warrendale neighborhood, and the rest of the nation, tomorrow. If you are still watching television on an older, analog television set that isn't hooked up to a cable or satellite provider then you will need to have a converter box in order to watch anything starting tomorrow.

There has been a group of people canvassing Warrendale and some of the surrounding neighborhoods these past couple of days; reminding people of the switch and what they need to do. One of the important fact that I learned from them is that 1,233,650 people in the Detroit area have ordered coupons for their converter boxes but only 627,221 have been redeemed as of June 6. If you have one of these coupons, or if you have a television set that isn't ready for the big switch tomorrow, you need to act on this quickly.

You can find a lot of information about what you need to do at DTV.gov. The Edison Branch (18400 Joy Rd.) of the Detroit Public Library also has some information available, too.

The switch to digital will reward most viewers with better sound, a better picture, more channels and more programs. The transition will also help save lives by clearing airwaves for better first-responder radio service. It also makes room for the future by clearing airwaves for advanced mobile Internet services.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Rouge Park 5K Run Planning Meeting Tomorrow

The Friends of Rouge Park will have their next 5K Run planning meeting tomorrow, Wednesday, June 10 at 5:30 pm. This meeting will happen at Mary's Grill One (20804 Plymouth), which is at Plymouth and Burt Rds.; one block east of Rouge Park.

The 5K Run is a big event to plan and they only have three or four people coming to their planning meetings. A successful 5K Run will raise funds to make improvements to the park, and raise awareness of the value of Rouge Park. Please consider attending this meeting.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Concerning the Criminal

I see a lot of criminal activity as I walk through the Warrendale neighborhood.

For starters, there's the group of 4 gang members that I saw this evening at the corner of W. Warren and Minock.

Then there are all of those drive-by drug deals that happen on our residential streets. I've written about this a few thousand times since I started this blog.

While it's not a criminal matter, there's also the fact that Warrendale - like most of Detroit's neighborhoods - has hundreds of vacant homes with grass that reaches up to one's waist because no one has cut it in over a year.

In most cities, these things would be dealt with expeditiously. In Detroit, we've suffered an onslaught of inept leaders who have made one excuse after another as to why we can't afford to hire enough police officers but can afford a litany of blatantly stupid things.

Luckily, there is an election in a few months. We will deal with those matters then with our mayoral and city council candidates.

In the meantime, I feel suddenly compelled to comment on another scenario that is completely different. I feel compelled to discuss crimes against fashion, of all things.

If you weigh more than 300 lbs. then you really, really should not ever allow yourself to be seen in public in an outfit that consists entirely of leather and chains - especially when this aforementioned ensemble covers less than 50% of your torso.

I'm just saying.

Unfortunately, I saw someone who needed this reminder. He was on his way into Diamond Jim's Saloon (19650 W. Warren). I was getting cash from the Comerica ATM next door to it and could not help but see him as I left.

And now, if you'll excuse me, I have to head back out. I need to drink enough alcohol to erase this mental image from my mind.

This has been a public service announcement from the your friendly neighborhood Straight Guys Division of the Fashion Police.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

More Vision, Less Demolition

It's late. I got home not too long ago from the protest at the old Tiger Stadium in the Corktown neighborhood. Coverage of the event is available here at the Detroit Free Press.

One of the nuggets of information that I gleaned at this event is that, according to reliable sources, George W. Jackson, president of the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, called at least two representatives of the Old Tiger Stadium Conservancy at home at 1 o'clock in the morning. He was reportedly profane, insulting and threatening to those who are leading the efforts to preserve the Navin Field portion of this historic stadium.

Keith Olbermann proclaimed George Jackson to be the third worst person in the world on his show the other day. Based on the phone calls that he made the other evening, it would appear that Mr. Jackson is trying for a first place finish in at least one contest.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

The Stupidity of Detroit

The City of Detroit has decided to proceed with demolition of Tiger Stadium in Detroit's Corktown neighborhood and they are moving rather rapidly to bring this historic stadium down. They are doing this even though there is a viable plan to restore Tiger Stadium to its Navin Field configuration and there aren't any other developers interested in doing anything else with the site.

Given the City of Detroit's track record for maintaining vacant property, the most likely outcome of this demolition is that Detroit will soon have one more large, empty parcel of land with overgrown weeds and trash that never gets picked up. Regardless of how one feels about the Navin Field plan, I seriously doubt any sober individual could say that this is a better alternative.

It was facts such as these that prompted Keith Olbermann to proclaim George W. Jackson of the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation one of the "Worst Persons in the World" on his show yesterday.

There is currently demolition equipment at the site. It would appear that like this demolition will begin within the next 24 hours, in spite of appeals from U.S. Senator Carl Levin and others.

The Old Tiger Stadium Conservancy, Preservation Wayne and other are staging an event at the site this evening. There will be television news crews on hand. If you are available to come out this evening at 11 p.m., please do so.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Welcome to the Rabbit Range

One of the side effects of having so many vacant homes in the Warrendale neighborhood is there are hundreds of lawns that aren't getting mowed, taking this portion of southeastern Michigan back to its natural - pre-human settlement - state.

In the past two weeks, I've seen a deer near St. Thomas Aquinas Church (5780 Evergreen Rd.) and a snake in the tall, hasn't been mowed all year grass around Rouge Park. My next door neighbor saw a possum in my garden on Friday night.

Most notably, though, I have seen lots and lots of rabbits. Over the weekend, in fact, my niece and I saw 12 rabbits within an hour - all without leaving my front porch.

It's possible, of course, that we actually saw the same rabbit 12 times. After all, we never saw the more than one rabbit at a time.

Regardless, it's clear that the combination of vacant housing and non-existent code enforcement is having a significant impact on the neighborhood.