Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Controlled Burn to be Discussed at the Next Friends of Rouge Park Meeting

Stock Photo by Bill Silvermintz
In lieu of their regular monthly membership meeting, the Friends of Rouge Park will host a community informational meeting on the controlled burn that is planned by the Alliance of Rouge Communities for Rouge Park and Eliza Howell Park this spring. This meeting will be held on Wednesday, February 15 from 6 - 7 p.m. at Don Bosco Hall's Community Resource Center (19321 West Chicago).

Everyone who is interested in Rouge or Eliza Howell Parks is invited to attend this meeting.

The Friends of Rouge Park have a detailed flyer regarding the controlled burn and this meeting, which is available here.

Featured Place to Live: 6776 Stahelin Ave

6776 Stahelin Ave.
6776 Stahelin Ave. is a three bedroom, 1.5 bath brick bungalow in Detroit's Warrendale neighborhood that is available for an asking price of $75,000. This charming single family home, which was built in 1953, features a one car detached garage as well as a full basement.

This property is represented by Darryl Sanders of Treasure Homes Realty in Southfield. More information about the 876 square foot, 1.5 story home is available here.

6776 Stahelin Ave. is your Featured Place to Live in the Warrendale neighborhood for this week.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

House Explodes in Detroit's Warrendale Neighborhood

The Detroit Fire Department and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms is currently investigating a house that exploded this afternoon in Detroit's Warrendale neighborhood. The explosion also reportedly set two neighboring houses ablaze. According to WXYZ-TV, crews from DTE Energy have already ruled out a gas leak as an apparent cause of this explosion at 7834 Faust.

All of the homeowners affected by this explosion, and the accompanying fires, are being helped by the American Red Cross.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Michigan Community Resources Posts a Job Opening

Michigan Community Resources seeks a self-directed, enthusiastic and energetic candidate to fill an immediate vacancy for the position of Program Manager. We provide free legal, educational, and technical services to nonprofits and community organizations in Michigan. Since its inception in 1998, we have secured legal representation for over 900 non-profit organizations. The estimated market value of these services exceeds $10 million. Michigan Community Resources is also leading an effort in Detroit called the Detroit Vacant Property Campaign to address the foreclosure and vacancy crisis.

The Program Manager will report to the Director of Education and Outreach programs and will be responsible for managing Education and Outreach Initiatives, which could include the direction, coordination, and implementation of Michigan Community Resources’s education workshops, seminars, publications, the Community Resource Library, and various outreach andcommunity engagement activities. Qualified candidates will be pro-active, able to manage multiple projects at once, possess excellent written and communication skills, and work well with diverse groups. The Program Manager will work closely with the other Program Managersand will coordinate work flow both internally and externally in order to meet time-sensitive project goals.

Specific Responsibilities Include:

  • Promote Michigan Community Resources’s mission, purpose, values and provide value to our clients;
  • Build community relationships and networks of support for Michigan Community Resources with the nonprofit, legal, community development, government, and philanthropic communities;
  • Promote our products and services and recruit new clients;
  • Facilitate the execution of Education and Outreach Initiatives, which includes helping to design scope, goals and deliverables of specific projects;
  • Analyze the systems in place that affect neighborhood quality of life (i.e., vacant properties, foreclosure process, tax reversion, nuisance abatement, code enforcement, repair/rehab resources, property disposition, etc.) and offer ideas for program offerings;
  • Identify innovative and comprehensive strategies to connect communities to program resources as well as public decision making processes;
  • Assist in the continued development of the Education Series and the development of a Community Resource Library;
  • Manage distribution of education materials;
  • Track program deliverable using appropriate tools;
  • Develop reports defining program progress, problems, and solutions;
  • Write technical reports and other communications;
  • Assist with writing educational publications on relevant community issues;
  • Support the Director of Education and Outreach in identifying program needs and opportunities and raising funds to support the education and outreach programs; and
  • Other duties as assigned by Program Director or Chief Program Officer

Skill Requirements and Preferred Qualifications:

  • Master's Degree in Education, Social Work, Nonprofit Administration, Political Science or a related discipline;
  • Highly proficient with Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel. Microsoft Access, and Adobe Creative Suite, strongly preferred;
  • Exceptional project management skills, qualification or certification in project management a plus;
  • Strong analytical and problem-solving skills;
  • Direct work experience in project management capacity;
  • Proficient in project management software a plus;
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills in multiple, diverse settings;
  • Exceptional organizational and time management skills;
  • Ability to work effectively in a dynamic, highly-productive, team environment;
  • Enthusiasm for Michigan Community Resources mission to serve non-profits and low-income communities; and
  • 3-5 + years relevant experience, preferred.

Michigan Community Resources is an equal opportunity employer and offers a full range of benefits, including paid vacation, health, dental and optical insurance, short term and long term disability insurance, and basic term life insurance. Annual salary starts at $40,000 and is commensurate with experience and credentials. Interviews begin immediately. Interested persons should send a cover letter, resume, and contact information for three references to Shamyle Nesfield, Director of Education and Outreach of the Michigan Community Resources at 615 Griswold, Suite 1805 in Detroit, Michigan 48226 or via email to snesfield [at] clronline [dot] org.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Ruin Porn Goes to the Sundance Film Festival

I don't usually do movie reviews on this blog. However, I've seen enough conversation about Detropia on Facebook and elsewhere that I feel compelled to opine, especially since the Warrendale neighborhood has been hit by the scrappers that are the subject of this movie.

For those who aren't familiar with Detropia, it's a new documentary by Academy Award nominated filmmakers Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady. Ostensibly, it looks at the "scrappers" who make a living by illegally tearing down vacant buildings in Detroit; selling the scrap metal that they find. A preview of it is available here.

Quite frankly, from the preview that was shown, it's clear that this movie could have been done entirely with stock footage and no one would know the difference. It rehashes the old "lots of people have moved out of Detroit and - look - some folks are tearing down the old buildings" shtick that has been played over and over for decades in this town.

Another look at this subject wouldn't have been so bad, if only Heidi Ewing or Rachel Grady introduced something original into their movie. But they didn't.

There's a portion in the preview where some of the scrappers talk about how the police don't bother them, which is a quote that I've heard dozens of times. It would have been nice if the filmmakers asked why this is or talked to the police. That would have been something original.

But they didn't do that.

There's a portion in the preview where one of the scrappers revealed that he came from Kentucky to tear down buildings illegally in Detroit. It would have been nice if Heidi Ewing or Rachel Grady asked him why he chose to travel more than 300 miles - and go past thousands of other vacant buildings in the process - in order to tear down the ones in Detroit. That would also would have been something original.

But they didn't ask that question.

Instead, all we have is yet another film that is shockingly like the thousands of others that have been done on this subject. In the meantime, we still have Detropia - a film wastes the filmmakers time and, more importantly, it wastes the audiences's time.

There's a part of me that simply cannot believe that a boring, derivative monstrosity like this made it into the Sundance Film Festival. Unfortunately, there's an even larger part of me that find it all too easy to believe. Making boring and uninspired movies about Detroit is one of those things folks living in New York or Los Angeles simply can't stop themselves from doing.

It is, however, sad that ruin porn has made it to the Sundance Film Festival - and sadder still that this was almost inevitable. I simply hope that someone somehow manages to bring some semblance of originality and authenticity to the story.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Guest Commentary: Virtual Precincts Don't Address Real Problems

I have to admit that I'm torn in regards to the "virtual police precincts" that Detroit's Police Chief Ralph Godbee announced yesterday. I've advocated cutting administrative jobs within the police department for years. However, what I've advocated for was to cut the jobs at headquarters, rather than the ones in the precincts.

I'm still not sure about these "virtual police precincts." That's why I'm glad to have a retired police sergeant, and longtime resident of the Warrendale neighborhood, David L. Malhalab available to share his thoughts. The comments below are his own, with only minimal editing from me.

Detroit Police Chief Ralph Godbee has foisted the most outlandish reorganization plan on the residents of Detroit - one that will put the lives of Detroit Police Officers and residents in danger.

He will close precincts - a necessary public building that should be kept open, at all costs. Close City Hall, cut the City Council staff and budget, but keep police precincts open 24/7. Detroit is not Boston or Lansing, it is Detroit - a deeply troubled city with very serious crime problems. Say goodbye to Detroit's false claim of "community relations."

Godbee, the Chief that shouldn't have been, and with the apparent approval of Mayor Dave Bing, will close the precincts between 4 p.m. - 8 a.m. (16 hours) to the public. Precincts have been an essential safe haven, crime reporting, and contact point between the community and the police. It is outrageous and simply, defiantly wrong to close any Detroit Police precinct for any time.

There needs to be some restructuring  within the police department - some inside police duties should be shifted to sworn civilians - but to denigrate and deceive Detroit residents, into believing that police officers don't serve the needs of residents by working inside the precinct stations - is a damnable lie - and Chief Godbee comparing officers who work inside to "Maytag repairman - waiting for a crime to happen" is insulting, and clearly dim witted. Godbee has insulted all police officers in Detroit and throughout the nation, with this clear misrepresentation of what police officers do - while assigned to inside duties.

Detroit needs more police officers on the street patrolling, but officers are needed to take thousands of police reports that citizens make inside the station - that patrolling officers can't take - which frees officers to keep patrolling.

Detroit needs police detectives in the precincts - to investigate the crime that patrolling officers and desk officers take. They need to be the contact point for residents who can't figure out where to go to get follow up information on their reported crime.

Crisnet, the primary crime report system for DPD has been a mistake and a ball and chain around the ankles of police officers since former Police Chief Ella Bully-Cummings approved using it - it keeps police officers from properly patrolling the streets - I have complained about it for years - former Assistant Police Chief Ronald Haddad (now Dearborn Police Chief) wrote an infamous memo, confirming my criticism of Crisnet.

Every police chief since Cummings has said that Crisnet would be dropped. It has not been - so police officers continue to be burdended by a slow crime report system.

Councilman Gray Brown has said that he could save the Detroit Police Department $8 million dollars, but has failed to put his suggestions on the table. He continues to try con Detroit residents with his ignorant blather - rather that putting a concrete proposal out so it can be discussed.

Bing put his faith and the lives of Detroit police officers and residents in the hands of Godbee - and we have got nothing good from him.

I have complained about the low hiring standards, lack of training and lack of equipment in the Department, and for years about the nepotism, favoritism, and cronyism that has corrupted and destroyed the Detroit Police Department.

I have said for years that Detroit police officers and residents deserve better from its political leaders and it police executives - Godbee's 'virtual precincts' and his lack of real, solid, and creative solutions to the Departments problems and Mayor Bing's support of him - shows that both Bing and Godbee need to be replaced, and the sooner the better - for the safety of officers and residents.

What do you think ???


Thursday, January 05, 2012

Council and Mayor to Discuss Budget Plan

The Detroit City Council will meet with Mayor Dave Bing at 2 p.m. this afternoon to discuss his budget reduction plan. Comcast customers in Detroit can watch this meeting live on channel 22. Everyone else can watch it online here.

I will, of course, have much more to say about the City of Detroit's finances after this meeting.