Monday, February 22, 2010

Detroiters Press for Real Renaissance -- Online

A small group of Detroiters have turned to the internet to galvanize support for a set of principles to reform Detroit. Many of those involved are small business owners and almost all of them had a role in the movement to elect Detroit's City Council by Districts.

Earlier today, their efforts got national recognition when an article about them showed up in The USA Today.

Detroiters press for real renaissance -- online -

For anyone who is interested, I'm proud to present a video that highlights the twelve principles that make up the Detroit Declaration.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Happy 900

I started a Facebook group for the Warrendale in August of 2008. At first, it was primarily to coordinate a monthly dinner party that a small group of us had at Gracie See Pizzeria (6889 Greenfield Rd.). However, it slowly evolved from there.

Along the way, it has also played a role in coordinating the plans to redevelop Kosciusko Elementary and promoted more than a dozen other events.

Today, however, something happened that I never really would've thought would happen: the Warrendale, Detroit group on Facebook welcomed its 900th member this evening.

In honor of this occasion, I want to present the world with this video that seems oddly appropriate.

If you're on Facebook, I invite you to join the Warrendale, Detroit group.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Cool Warrendale Thing: Soccer

There is a group of people who are trying to organize a coed recreational soccer league in Detroit; one that would represent some of the city's different neighborhoods. Personally, I think this is a really cool idea.

I would love to start such a team in the Warrendale neighborhood - even though most of what little soccer knowledge I have comes from watching Keira Knightley in Bend It Like Beckham.


Keira Knightley...

(Yes, I need a moment here.)

Okay - I'm good.

Back to the blog.

As I was saying before my fantasies got the best of me, I would love to work with the Detroit City Futbol League to start a soccer team in the Warrendale neighborhood.  I think it would be a lot of fun.

I draw the line at calling soccer "futbol." Regardless, I think this could be a lot of fun to get involved with.

If you would like to be a part of this effort in any way, please let me know. Anyone who is interested can reach me either on Facebook or by sending an email to frank [dot] nemecek [at] gmail [dot] com.

In the meantime, I hereby proclaim the Detroit City Futbol League to be my Cool Warrendale Thing of the Week.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Charles Pugh, Marvin Winans Square Off Over Strip Clubs

Charles Pugh, President of the Detroit City Council, made me proud today to have endorsed his candidacy.

Rev. Marvin Winans who lives in West Bloomfield, but presides over the Perfecting Church (7616 E. Nevada St.) on Detroit's east side, has long sought to eliminate strip clubs from the city of Detroit. His efforts have cost our City millions of dollars in litigation expenses, but haven't shut down any strip clubs nor have they done anything to improve the quality of life for Detroiters.

Thankfully, President Pugh, took Rev. Winans to task on the issue earlier today. The full text of their exchange can be found below.

Thank you, President Charles Pugh.  Thank you.

Charles Pugh, Marvin Winans square off over strip clubs | | The Detroit News

Monday, February 15, 2010

Tip of the Week: Paczki

Tomorrow is Fat Tuesday; the day before Ash Wednesday and the official start of the Lenten season. Our neighbors in Hamtramck are famous for their paczkis - those calorie laden Polish pastry treats that would certainly kill you if you ate them more than once a year.

Of course, in Warrendale, we don't have to travel as far to get them. Chene Modern Bakery (17041 W. Warren Ave.) provides what is generally regarded as some of the best in the Detroit. Every year, for example, Congressman John D. Dingell has several hundred of them shipped to Washington, DC.

The good folk at Chene Modern Bakery have paczkis available in a variety of filling flavors: apple, apricot, chocolate, custard, lemon, raspberry, and strawberry. They also have an option for plain paczkis for people who are concerned about the calories and sugar.

Chene Modern Bakery is open from 5 a.m. until 7 p.m. for all of bakery needs.

Looking for Volunteers

There is a small group of residents and community leaders who would like to have a neighborhood-wide open house, one day this spring.  It would be an event to showcase some of the housing opportunities that exist within the Warrendale neighborhood with the hope that we would be able to lure in a couple new resident to fill some of the vacant homes in our neighborhood.

In the interest of maximizing our impact this event would almost certainly focus on one specific area of Warrendale. We can build from there.

However, we would need more volunteer effort in order to make this possible. We'll need help indentifying who owns these properties, coordinating efforts among the various real estate agents and, finally, in promoting it.

If you are interested in being a part of this, please let me know. You can reach me at frank [dot] nemecek [at] gmail [dot] com or on Facebook.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Week Ahead

There are several things happening this week in and around the Warrendale neighborhood. I want to give everyone a quick look ahead at them.

Volunteers from AARP will offer income tax assistance to low income residents on Tuesday, February 16 at the Edison Branch of the Detroit Public Library (18400 Joy Rd.). This service will be available from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.

Detroit residents can learn how to protect themselves from scams and fraud and maintain homeownership at the Consumer Protection and Financial Fraud Workshop, hosted by the City of Detroit Senior Citizens Department, on Wednesday, February 17 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the Northwest Activities Center (18100 Meyers).

The workshop will inform attendees about assistance with energy bills and delinquent property taxes as well as products and services from HUD and the FHA.  Representatives will be in attendance from the Fannie Mae Foundation, Neighborhood Legal Aid, Wayne County Treasurer, United Housing Coalition, and the Department of Human Services.  Wayne County Legal Services will answer questions related to landlord/tenant and probate issues. The Detroit Police Department will speak about the latest scams.  While the workshop is focused on seniors, all residents are welcome.  

The event, including a continental breakfast and lunch, is free and open to the public.  Interested participants are requested to RSVP by Tuesday, February 16.  For more information, or to RSVP, call (313) 224-5444.

Finally, Do “U” Ceramics will lead a session of ceramic painting for fathers and children this Saturday, February 20 from 3:00 - 4:00 p.m. at the Edison Branch of the Detroit Public Library.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Snow Day

With a little over 6 inches of snow on the ground throughout the Warrendale neighborhood, and most schools closed, this video from our friends at Pure Michigan seems incredibly appropriate.

Bing Vows Again to Cut Union Pay

Mayor Dave Bing has once again made cutting the pay for the City of Detroit's unionize workforce a priority of his administration. He made a similar vow several months.

I'll refrain from commenting on union pay itself. I've reached the point where I almost think that's secondary.

Instead, I want to express my disappointment in the Bing Administration and their handling of the City's budget problems. Mayor Bing has been in office now for eight months. Cutting union pay was his first step in combating the $300 million deficit that he inherited.

And eight months later, we're still not finished with step one.

This is disappointing, in my opinion. It makes me wonder how many decades it will take to solve the remainder of Detroit's budget problems.

Bing vows again to cut union pay | | The Detroit News

UPDATE @ 1:17 p.m.
I did some quick, back-of-the-envelope calculations, with it taking the Bing Administration eight to nine months to address the issues surrounding union pay - and this only being enough to solve approximately 10 - 15% of Detroit's $300 million deficit - one can deduce that our 2009 budget problems will not be solved until sometime in 2017.

This is much too slow, in my opinion.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Detroit Police Seize $1.3 Million in Heroin

The Detroit Police Department, in cooperation with the Border Enforcement Security Team and Immigration & Customs Enforcement, seized a parcel at a vacant home on Detroit's west side that contained 715 grams of heroin.  These drugs would have had a street value of approximately $1.3 million.

The police declined to mention exactly where on Detroit's west side this happened. Reportedly, their investigation is still on-going.

Video from the press conference the other day is available below.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Detroit Police Unveil Text Based Crime Fighting Tool

The Detroit Police Department has introduced one more mechanism to make it easier to citizens to provide them with anonymous tips about criminal activity. One can now send an anonymous text message to "TIP 411" with "DPD" and then one's tip.

This service is free (notwithstanding any fees that your cell phone carrier charges) and it is completely anonymous. It's also something that has already proven its worth in the case that I blogged about below.

Police Chief Warren C. Evans explains it all in more detail below.

Of course, it could be that I'm extremely cynical, but I can't help wondering how long it will be before the various gangs and drug dealers in Detroit start using this as a tool to eliminate their competition. I know "no snitching" is supposed to be their mantra. However, it's only a matter of time before a profit motive takes over and one of them starts looking for any way possible to increase their share of the drug trade in Detroit.

Citizen Tips Pay Off

People often ask me if it's really worth it report information to the Detroit Police Department. Many people over the years have expressed their frustrations with the police not following up as expeditiously as one would like.

However, I'm pleased to report that in the case reported below, it was tips from the general public that made all the difference in the world.

Subscribe and Wave

I've been using Google Wave for a couple of months now. I believe it's a cool communications tool, but it's definitely one that gets better as more and more people use it.

Google Wave is currently in limited preview. This means that, if you want to try it out, then you need to be invited by someone who currently uses the service.

I currently have a dozen or so invitations that I can use. If you would like to be invited to use Google Wave then I simply ask that you do two things:

  1. Subscribe to my blog; and
  2. Leave a comment in this post indicating that you'd like a Google Wave invite.

If I don't have you email address already, please include it in your comment. (Please feel free to enter in a way that makes things harder for spam robots to pick up, e.g. name [at] domain [dot] com.)  I will send a Google Wave invite to your email address. Also, I will delete your comment after send your invite to further minimize the potential for spammers to pick up an email address.

For current subscribers to my blog, there's obviously no need for you to subscribe again.  Simply leave a comment below with your email address (if I don't already have it) and your invitation will soon arrive.

Also, if you're not currently familiar with Google Wave and why it's cool then I encourage you to take a moment to watch this video below.

Google Wave.

Tip of the Week: Charter Commission is Hiring

The City of Detroit is currently going through the process of revising its charter, which is its basic governing document. I had previously endorsed this process.

Therefore, I take no small amount of pleasure in reporting that the Charter Commission now has two job openings available.  They are hiring an executive director and a general counsel.

Both positions have an attractive compensation package.  More importantly, they allow one to be at the forefront of changing Detroit in a very fundamental way.

The full details of these positions are available here. I would be thrilled if someone with ties to the Warrendale neighborhood was hired in either position.