Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Mailbag: Gun Buy Back

In response to my post on the Detroit Police Department and their gun buy back program, Bigbone wrote in to say:
Yea, right. They'll just take the money and try to find a better gun than they had.

Again I ask, why can't something be done about all those panhandlers on the corners of Warren and Southfield. They're not helping the area one bit.

By the way, does anyone know what happened to the ATM machines at the Chase Bank?
First, the program only pays $50 for a firearm that's in operating condition. If someone did get another gun, I don't think it would be much better than the one they turned in if they only have $50 to spend.

As for the panhandlers, I agree that they do not help the area. Unfortunately, the options for what we can are very limited. Legally, there is only so much that one can do.

They are obviously organized, because there's usually only one of them working the corner of W. Warren and Southfield at any given time. However, they don't block traffic or interfere with pedestrians. They also don't intimidate people into giving money. Finally, there isn't anything - at least that I know of - linking them to any crime other than panhandling.

With all of that being true, there really is very little that can be done. Detroit, like most cities, has an ordinance against panhandling. However, the police and prosecutors are very reluctant to get involved because they see it as such a low-priority item.

As for the ATMs at Chase Bank, I don't know anything about them. If anyone else does, please feel free to post about it in the comment section below.

The Web Is Dead

The cover of Wired magazine this month proclaims, "The web is dead." At first, I thought these guys were nuts.

How could the world wide web be dead?

"The Web Is Dead" - Wired Magazine
The accompanying article points out that actual web traffic across the internet has plummeted. The bulk of that traffic is driven by applications and peer-to-peer file sharing.

I didn't believe it. I thought this was nonsense.

And then I took a closer look at some of the reports from Google Analytics. It turns out that 53% of all the traffic for this blog comes from apps and various RSS feeds. More importantly, the number of people who find my blog via the world wide web has been dropping fairly consistently for a couple of years now.

The trend is definitely away from bookmarked webpages and towards apps. Those who find my site via the web, I also learned, had a tendency of visiting for one specific article and did not return. People who read via apps tend to be dedicated readers.

I want to thank everyone at Wired for reporting on this. It opens my eyes to something that I should have known already, but just wasn't paying attention to.

The Web isn't quite dead. However, it is definitely shrinking and changing.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Gun Buy Back

The Detroit Police Department is launching a gun buy back program, in the partnership with Continental Management, on Thursday, September 2 from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. This will happen at the Second Ebenezer Church (14601 Dequindre), which is approximately five miles away from the Warrendale neighborhood.

Anyone may turn in an un-loaded weapon. The police will buy operating guns for $50 each. Non-operating ones will be bought for $25 each. Individuals will be paid in cash with no questions asked.

This is a very effective way of getting illegal guns off the streets.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Tip of the Week: Plan for School Expenses

The kids are heading back to school soon. For families across the Warrendale neighborhood, as well as families in general, this means a multitude of back to school expenses.

Luckily, our friends at WXYZ-TV have a few tips as to how families can better manage those back to school expenses.

Managing back to school expenses is your Warrendale Tip of the Week.

Kwame Kenyatta Takes Leave of Absence from the City Council

Council Member Kwame Kenyatta
Council Member Kwame Kenyatta has taken a leave of absence from the Detroit City Council, according to published news reports, due to health concerns. He recently underwent gall bladder surgery and is expected to make a full recovery.

The City Council is traditionally on recess throughout the entire month of August. However, it's not clear exactly when Mr. Kenyatta will return to his full duties.

I wish Mr. Kenyatta a speedy recovery.

Best of Luck, Rima

Rima Fakih, Miss USA 2010
In a few hours from now, Miss USA Rima Fakih, who grew up in nearby Dearborn, will compete in the 2010 Miss Universe pageant.

There is already a certain amount of buzz around town. Photos and stories about Ms. Fakih were on the front page of the Detroit Free Press this morning. I'm sure there will be more buzz on the evening news as well.

With all of this going on, I just wanted to take a moment to wish Rima Fakih the best of luck this evening. I'm confident that she will make all of us proud.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Rima Fakih and the Ground Zero Mosque

I posted before when Rima Fakih, who grow up just a couple of miles from the Warrendale neighborhood, became Miss USA 2010. I posted again when she found herself embroiled in controversy within twenty-four hours of winning this title.

Miss USA 2010 Rima Fakih
Since then, Ms. Fakih has found herself in the news again. There is a considerable amount of controversy as to whether or not a mosque and Islamic cultural center should be built two blocks away from Ground Zero in New York City.

Rima Fakih is the first Muslim woman to hold the title of Miss USA. As a result, she was asked her thoughts on the subject by Inside Edition yesterday. I think she gave the perfect answer.

She said that she agrees with President Barack Obama that the group in question certainly has the right to build such a mosque at that location. However, Ms. Fakih went on to say that it was simply not a good idea for it to be built there.

"It shouldn't be so close to the World Trade Center," Rima Fakih explained. "We should be more concerned with the tragedy than religion."

Friday, August 20, 2010

Happy Birthday to Me

Chanel Ryan is Better than Birthday Cake
Today, I am celebrating my 34th birthday.

I'm not actually turning 34 today. However, that's the one that I'm celebrating.

Pure chronological order can be boring at times. Birthdays, in contrast, should never be boring.

As for the photo to the left, that is eternally awesome Chanel Ryan. I think she's better than birthday cake, so I'm posting one of her photos here instead.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Summer in the City Comes to Warrendale

Summer in the City
The crew from Summer in the City came do a series of wonderful projects every summer. This time around, they painted an amazing mural at 20900 Tireman St., which is an abandoned apartment complex near Rouge Park.

Four hundred volunteers transformed a blighted property into a work of art.

Summer in the City is a service base non-profit that creates and maintains asset-based urban revitalization projects throughout the city of Detroit.

Throughout the summer time, Summer in the City offers nine weeks of volunteer opportunities aimed at high school aged teens from throughout southeastern Michigan.

Volunteers Transform Blight into Art in Warrendale

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Reshaping Detroit

Mayor Dave Bing announced today that he is appointing a 55-member advisory panel that will help in reshaping Detroit as part of efforts to attract new residents and businesses and better manage the city's economic and physical footprint. This advisory panel will have a series of five community forums where residents and other stakeholders can express their concerns. In a related announcement, Mayor Bing also announced that no one will be forced to move as part of this reshaping effort.

I like the fact that there will be extensive community input and that eminent domain will not be used. However, I'm concerned about how slowly all of this is moving.

Detroit is now fifteen months into the Bing Administration. In spite of that, we're only now getting an advisory panel appointed. One has to ask: how long before we get any of this implemented?

One of the issues that concerns me is that we live in a dynamic world. Things change and can change rapidly. There is a very real possibility that any decision that is made through this process could be based on data that is outdated by the time implementation happens.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Fight on Ashton

A fight broke out at the corner of Ashton and Whitlock Streets this afternoon.  There were approximately one dozen individuals involved in it.

Raw video from it is available below.

Thankfully, there did not appear to be any serious injuries from this fight. It's not known at this time what started the confrontation. (I would've asked by none of the individuals involved appeared to be interested in talking.)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Detroit Headed for Bankruptcy?

DetroitUncovered.com is reporting that the City of Detroit will likely enter receivership, if not outright bankruptcy, shortly after the general election this November. The site reports that the City has borrowed heavily against its expected 2011 tax revenue and is unlikely to be able to continue paying its bills.

I have argued for quite sometime that there is no realistic chance for the City of Detroit, or the Detroit Public School system, to avoid bankruptcy. I believe its best for us to file for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection on a preemptive basis and get it over with. The sooner we go into bankruptcy, the sooner we can emerge from it and move on.

As a result, I hope that these reports prove to be true.

Another Text Messaging Scandal?

Kitty Wants the Texting to Stop
Just when I thought we were done with all thing Kwame Kilpatrick-related, it turns out that we have another text message scandal to deal with in Detroit.

Interim Police Chief Ralph Godbee is the latest person to discover that text messages don't disappear after one sends them - even though he really should have known that by now.

Chief Godbee apologized yesterday for sending text messages of a "personal nature" to a colleague. This person then allegedly tried to "misuse these text messages to strike a deal with the City of Detroit."

According to WXYZ-TV, attorneys for former Police Chief Warren Evans tried to get his job back recently by sharing the texts sent to his girlfriend, Lt. Monique Patterson, by Godbee.

In late July, Evans' attorneys met with Deputy Mayor Saul Green, who oversees public safety for Mayor Dave Bing, and shared the messages sent by Godbee to Patterson using personal cellular telephones, according to WXYZ-TV. The content of those messages haven't been released publically. Patterson's texts to Godbee's phone were not included.

I just want to know: is another round of removal hearings, recalls, and such in our near future?

If so, I'd like to be the first to start negotiating a book deal on this one.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Congrats to Me

I mentioned this on Twitter as soon as it happened, but I never mentioned it here.

I was thrilled to accept the Spirit of Detroit Award from the Detroit City Council last month in recognition of my efforts around the Warrendale neighborhood.

Spirit of Detroit
It's kind of cool to be recognized.

Open House for Southfield Plans

The Michigan Department of Transportation will host an open house next week to showcase their plans for a redeveloped Southfield Freeway (M-39).

As always, I will have more about this on the Warrendale (Detroit) Blog.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Tip of the Week: Edible Estates

Everyone talks about urban gardening as a way of utilizing some of the vacant land in Detroit.

And by everyone, I really do everyone. I can't think of a single media outlet that hasn't published a piece on it, either pro or con, in recent years. Urban garden won't solve all of Detroit's problems, or even in the majority of them, but I believe it has the ability to put a dent in them.

Anyway, one of the best books about gardening an urban plot of land is Edible Estates: Attack on the Front Lawn. The second edition of this book was just recently released. I highly recommend it.

Edible Estates is your Warrendale Tip of the Week.

The Book of Warrendale

I was the local Borders (5601 Mercury Dr. in Dearborn) this past weekend. I couldn't help but notice all of the local history books.

More importantly, I couldn't help but notice that weren't any such books about the Warrendale neighborhood - even though we're larger than many of the communities that have had books published about them.

I guess this is one more thing for us to work on.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Come to Dinner at Gracie's

Dinner at Gracie's Pizza
The Warrendale, Detroit group on Facebook will have their monthly dinner party at Gracie See Pizzeria (6889 Greenfield Rd.) tomorrow at 6 p.m.

Everyone is invited to join us, even if you're not on Facebook.

Detroit Police Make $1 Million Drug Bust

The Detroit Police Department announced a major narcotics arrest this afternoon, taking more than $1 million in illicit drugs off the streets of Detroit. While it did not happen in the Warrendale neighborhood, it is still a significant development for all Detroiters. This arrest was made possible by the combined efforts by the members of the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Investigations, Detroit Police Department, and Drug Enforcement Administration. These law enforcement officers are assigned to Detroit Border Enforcement Security Task Force (B.E.S.T.).

A B.E.S.T. member received information that a package containing several wooden hangers had suspected drugs hidden inside of them and was to be delivered to a party store located on W. Grand Blvd. The task force members intercepted the parcel that was about to be delivered on Tuesday.

The task force then set up surveillance and, once the package was delivered, a search warrant was executed to retrieve the parcel. Officers seized the package, along with brown paperbags containing 300 hydrocodone pills and a vial of 120 xanax pills with an estimate street value of $4,260. Officers also recovered additional heroin from inside of the business, making it a total of 799.5 grams of heroin with a street value of approximately $1.4 million

They also recovered over $18,000 in suspected drug proceeds, six hand guns, two long guns, as well as two vehicles (2008 Chevy Suburban and 2010 Audi). Three suspects have been identified and not-in-custody warrants will be issued. Since January, 2010, the Detroit Police has confiscated 23,213 grams of heroin, with an estimate street value of over $ 41 million.

"Due to the support and collaborative efforts with ICE and the DEA, we will continue to rid our neighborhoods of these drugs which can be linked to the majority of violence within our communities,” Chief Ralph Godbee said in a written statement.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Cool Warrendale Thing: Bikini Car Wash

The folks at the Toy Chest Bar (18728 Ford Rd.) are having their annual bikini car wash this afternoon. It runs until 5 p.m.

All funds raised at the bikini car wash go directly to charity.

The bikini car wash at the Toy Chest Bar. It's your Cool Warrendale Thing of the Week.

Fire on Artesian Street

The Detroit Fire Department responded to a fire in a vacant house on Artesian, just north of Ford Rd., at around midnight last night. The fire was largely out by the time I got there. This video shows some of the aftermath.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Featured Place to Live: 7706 Heyden

7706 Heyden - Featured Place to Live
7706 Heyden is a three-bedroom, one and a half bath bungalow with a detached garage and a partially finished basement.

The asking price for this home is only $10,000. The  real estate agent estimates that it would take an additional $6,000 in improvements before the place is ready to be a home.

This is a tremendous bargain. More details, and additional photographs, are available here.

7706 Heyden is your Featured Place to Live for this week.

National Night Out

National Night Out
I haven't heard much about it, but tonight is National Night Out. This is a national crime/drug prevention event, which is presented by the National Association of Town Watch.

Detroiters are asked to turn on their porch lights as a show of support.

There are also a few events happening around Detroit for this event. Unfortunately, none of them are near the Warrendale neighborhood.

More details about what is happening is available at the Detroit News.

Lessenger to Become Dixon

Lessenger to Become Dixon
Lessenger Middle School (8401 Trinity St.) was closed a few years ago as part of the consolidation within the Detroit Public Schools. However, I can now confirm that it will re-open on September 8, 2010 as Dixon.

The former Dixon Elementary School (19500 Tireman St.) closed this past year as part of that same consolidation. The new school will offer classes from pre-kindergarten through the eighth grade.

The old building that Dixon used to occupy is currently for sale by the Detroit Public Schools.

Vote Today

There is a primary election today throughout Michigan. While the field of candidates isn't the most inspiring, I believe it's still important for everyone who is eligible to get out there and vote.

I was voter number 8 at my local polling place this morning. My brother/roommate, Mark, was number 7. Because the family that votes together, gets nachos together.