Monday, July 30, 2012

City of Detroit Closes Community Access Centers

The City of Detroit Community Access Centers, formerly known as neighborhood city halls, and the 311 Call Center have closed effective June 30, 2012.  Four recreation centers will now provide the following services:
  • Organizing block clubs and community organizations ;
  • Notary services;
  • Dog licenses;
  • DDOT bus card/pass services;
  • Department referral for city services;
  • Referral to non-City agencies; and
  • City of Detroit job applications.
The closest of these 4 recreation centers to the Warrendale neighborhood is the Northwest Activities Center (18100 Meyers). The other 3 are the Butzel Family Center (7737 Kercheval), Williams Community Center (8431 Rosa Parks), and the Patton Recreation Center (2301 Woodmere).

In addition, City information and DDOT bus schedules will be posted at all recreation centers.

Tip of the Week: Compost

Stock Photo of Compost Bins by Colin Brough
The City of Detroit has announced that it will not collect any yard waste, such as grass clippings or leaves, for at least one more week. There is, of course, a chance that it will be even longer before they resume collecting them.

This is a good time for homeowners in the Warrendale neighborhood and throughout Detroit to think carefully about the idea of composting. This is the process of naturally converting yard and kitchen waste into an ideal fertilizer for gardens.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has a series of tips for indoor and backyard composting available here. Using these tips not only keeps the yard waste that isn't being collected from being an eyesore, it recycles it into something that you'll be able to use next spring.

Composting is your Warrendale Tip of the Week.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

7-Eleven is Hiring a Store Clerk

7-Eleven (6200 Greenfield Rd. in Dearborn) is hiring an experienced store clerk for their night shift. This location is almost across the street from the Warrendale neighborhood. Applicants should be available to work 5 nights a week.

Anyone who is interested in applying for this job should visit the store and request an application.

Butterfly Walk in Detroit's Rouge Park

The Friends of Rouge Park organized a butterfly walk this past weekend and I was lucky enough to be able to go on it. This was a great chance to not only see a few butterflies, but to see the area of Detroit's Rouge Park that has been restored to its natural habitat as a tallgrass prairie.

It's great to have something like this so close to our neighborhood. This is the latest in a series of Cool Warrendale Things.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Happy Birthday, Detroit

Stock Photo by Alessandro Paiva
The city of Detroit was founded 311 years ago today when Antoine Cadillac led a garrison of French troops to establish a fort at what is now Detroit.

Today offers us, as a community, a chance to remember all that we have lived through. Wars, race and labor riots, and military occupations are all a part of our story as are the birth and death of great industries.

We have encountered enormous challenges over the past three centuries and have always found a way to overcome them. I have no doubt that we will continue to do so.

Happy birthday to our fair city and to all Detroiters - both those who live among us and those who love us from afar.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Shocking News Out of California

In an absolutely shocking move, the City of San Bernadino, California voted yesterday to file for bankruptcy protection before the City of Detroit does. This was followed by officials from Compton, California confirming that they are considering a similar move.

Most pundits, of course, would have expected the City of Detroit to go into bankruptcy first.

Mayor Bing Moves Forward with Pay Cuts

Detroit Police - Same Beat for Less Pay.
Mayor Dave Bing moved forward yesterday with a series of cuts to the pay and benefits of the City's unionize workforce. While no one in Detroit seemed surprised by this move, I have to confess that I am more than a little disappointed that the Bing Administration did not consider any of the other options for reducing Detroit's budget problems that others, including myself, have proposed.

Quite frankly, it's very unlikely a workforce that has already made multiple concessions even before this, and was making less than their private sector counterparts even before this, will deliver top-notched services to Detroiters. Without those services, it is unlikely that Detroiters will stay in the city and continue to pay taxes that are almost double national averages.

And if/when those Detroiters leave, their tax dollars will go with them. That, in turn, will set the stage for yet another budget crisis in a few months from now. I'm going to go out on a limb and predict that Mayor Bing will want another round concessions from the labor unions then, too.

It's an absolute shame that no one in the Bing Administration is willing to listen to alternative solutions or, better yet, think of a few on their own.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Behind the Scenes at Gracie See Pizzeria

Gracie See Pizzeria has been in business at the same location in Detroit's Warrendale neighborhood for more than 40 years. Their food was named "Best Traditional Pizza in North America" at the 2008 International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas.

Their legendary owner, Gracie, takes us on a behind the scenes look at this landmark within the neighborhood.

Butterfly Walk Comes to Detroit's Rouge Park

Stock Photo by Felix Carreto
The Friends of Rouge Park will host a butterfly walk this Sunday, July 22, from 2 - 4 p.m. in Rouge Park. This event will be led by Doris Applebaum of the Oakland Audubon Society. Attendees will learn to identify the variety of butterflies in Rouge Park. This is also an excellent opportunity for visitors to experience the recently restored tallgrass prairie within the park.

Those interested in joining this butterfly walk are asked to meet on the west side of Outer Drive, south of Joy Road (map). This walk will be postponed if it is not sunny and a rain date to be announced on the Friends of Rouge Park website.

Long pants and covered shoes are strongly recommended for those going on this walk. This is due to the plants in the prairie as well as the possibility of encountering poison ivy.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

5701 Greenview - Featured Place to Live

The Featured Place to Live in the Warrendale neighborhood for this week is 5701 Greenview St., which is just north of Ford Rd. The thing that I love about this home is that it used to be two separate homes.

Built in the early 1950s, these were two separate bungalows. However, in 1991, the homeowner decided to merge the two homes into one. The result is a home with more than 2,000 square feet of living space, nine bedrooms, and four bathrooms.

More information about this home is available here.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Friends of Rouge Park to Meet this Wednesday

Derby Hill in Rouge Park
The next Friends of Rouge Park meeting will be held on Wednesday, July 18 from 6 - 7 p.m. They will meet inside of the Don Bosco Center (9357 Westwood at W. Chicago). This center is the former St. Suzanne Grade School, which is just north of the Warrendale neighborhood.

Everyone who is interested in preserving and improving Rouge Park is invited to attend this meeting.

The agenda for this meeting will include:

  • Update on the Buffalo Soldiers Heritage Association and their return to the barn that was formerly used by the Detroit Police Department's Mounted Division in Rouge Park;
  • Report on Rouge Rescue, which was held earlier this year; and
  • Additional updates and news about Rouge Park.
Additional information about the Friends of Rouge Park is available on their website.

Intro to the Third Season of Warrendale (Detroit) Blog

As I kick off the third season of the Warrendale (Detroit) Blog on, I wanted to give everyone a kick look at what is coming.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Krystal Crittendon's Lawsuit Thrown Out of Court. Again.

Judge William Collette of the Ingham County Circuit Court threw Krystal Crittendon's lawsuit out of court earlier today. This is the second time in less than a month in which the Corporation Counsel for the City of Detroit has seen her legal challenge to consent agreement between the City of Detroit and the State of Michigan dismissed.

The question on everyone's mind is: will she go for a 3-peat?

Common sense, not to mention a basic understanding of the law, would dictate that she end this. However, those issues have never been Ms. Crittendon's strong suits.

Update @ 2:01 p.m.
Jeff Wattrick posted his own commentary on Deadline Detroit regarding this shocking turn of events. He, however, was able to find the perfect gif image to go along with it. Read his work here.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Zombies Headed for Detroit? Maybe

Stock Photo by Andrew Beierle
There's a rather creative group of individuals who came up with an interesting, if at times controversial idea, about what to do with some of Detroit's vacant land; one that has gained media attention from across the globe. They want to create zombie theme park that they call Z World Detroit. They are still trying to raise the money for this project, but you can see the details here.

I didn't think much about this idea - until I started to hear people complaining about it. People outside of Detroit tend to like the idea. However, some of my fellow Detroiters are less than receptive to it.

Once upon a time, from 2004 - 09, I helped to coordinate a series of pub crawls for Detroit Synergy. The idea of a pub crawl is fairly simple: bring a few hundred of your best friends to a certain local, they pay a few bucks, get a t-shirt or wristband to identify them as being on the crawl, and then the group bounces from bar to bar throughout the night, usually enjoying drink specials along the way.

Each of the pub crawls brought several hundred people to Detroit from the suburbs. Some of those young people ended up moving into Detroit based, in large part, to the fun that they had on the pub crawl. The added business, as well as the new residents nearby, led to more bars and restaurants opening up in downtown Detroit, which created new jobs and tax revenue for a city that, quite frankly, is in desperate need of both.

Pub Crawlers from September, 2007
Yes, there was a lot more to the resurgence of downtown Detroit besides our pub crawls, not the least of which was a little thing called Super Bowl XL. However, the fact that some 20- and 30-somethings suddenly started moving to Detroit because of the work we did had at least some positive impact.

Anyway, my point in all of this is that back in 2004 - 07, I heard the same complaints about the pub crawls that I hear about Z World Detroit today. We were exploiting Detroit, some people told us. We were promoting Detroit as a place to do all of those things that you wouldn't do in your own neighborhood, others complained.

More than one person claimed that we weren't serious about doing anything to improve life in Detroit. We were just some party kids.

Of course, as more and more people who first came downtown for those pub crawls and other events began to move into the city and as more and more was spent in Detroit, those complaints eventually stopped. Today, downtown Detroit has a vibrant nightlife. Pub crawls have become a more or less commonplace occurrence and none of the problems that people worried about ever materialized.

As for the others who organized those pub crawls with me, each of us has moved on to other things, Most of us, though, are still active in Detroit.

Will Z World Detroit yield similar results? Maybe. Maybe not.

It's impossible to predict where this will lead, just as no one would have predicted that a bunch of recent college graduates would want to move into Detroit based on an experience that they had on a pub crawl. The only way that we'll ever know is to let people with a crazy idea give it a try.

Monday, July 09, 2012

Consumer's Guide to Preventing Identity Theft

Identity theft is an all too real threat in the 21st century. Anyone of us can be a victim of it at any time.

Luckily, McGruff the Crime Dog and the National Crime Prevention Council have lots of suggestions as to what you can do to protect yourself from identify theft. Their free booklet Preventing Identity Theft: A Guide for Consumers is available for download here as a PDF document.

Preventing identity theft is your Warrendale Tip of the Week. My thanks, of course, to everyone at the National Crime Prevention Council for making these materials available.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Krystal Crittendon Wants Detroit to Understand Vexatious Litigation

Stock Photo by Patrick Moore
Krystal Crittendon, a long-time associate of convicted felon Monica Conyers and the current Corporation Counsel for the City of Detroit, filed an appeal late this afternoon. She is challenging an earlier decision to throw her lawsuit against the State of Michigan out of court.

This is in addition to a separate lawsuit that was filed by 3 Detroit residents who similarly challenged the consent agreement between the City of Detroit and the State of Michigan.

It would appear that Ms. Crittendon and her associates want everyone in Michigan to understand the proper definition of vexatious litigation.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Happy 4th of July

I want to wish a happy 4th of July to everyone in Detroit's Warrendale neighborhood and to all my readers across the internet. Enjoy our Independence Day!

I look forward to sharing more with you tomorrow when I return.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Tip of the Week: How to Spot a Drowning Victim

Stock Photo by Afonso Limo
It's summer in Michigan and that means lots of people will again be taking to beaches across the Great Lakes State. While being surrounded by fresh water is a blessing, one should also be aware that drowning is always a danger.

This is especially important because, as boating and water safety expert Mario Vittone points out, drowning victims rarely look like they are drowning. For more information about what a drowning is really like, please take a moment to read his post here.

How to spot a drowning victim is your Warrendale Tip of the Week.

Sunday, July 01, 2012

17-Month Old Girl Found Dead in Her Home. Google Streetview Shows Assault Rifle at Her House

Ziya Turner, a seventeen month old infant, was found dead inside her home on Brinker Street on Detroit's east side. While Brinker Street may be on the other side of the city from the Warrendale neighborhood, any time an infant dies it is a tragedy that touches everyone. As the police and medical examiner continue to investigate her death, a look at her home on Google Streetview may well offer insight into her home life and her family.

This is a screen image of Ziya Turner's home on Brinker Street in Detroit. Google blurred the 4 young men and the young woman who are on the porch of this home. Regardless, one can clearly see that 1 of the young men is brandishing an assault rifle.

Google Streetview image of Ziya Turner's home. Click image for larger version
The fact that an assault rifle was clearly in this child's home offers an insight into her family that can only be called troubling. The fact that this has been visible on the internet all this time, as yet another reminder how ineffective local law enforcement is at securing illegal firearms, can only be called disappointing or worse.