Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Polish Dance Group to Sell Pierogi

Pierogi - Photo by Renata Szar
The Polish Alliance Dancers, who practice at Ss. Peter and Paul Church in Warrendale, along with the Gen. Polaski Polish Language School and the POLANIE Song & Dance Ensemble, are kicking off their annual pierogi fundraiser. They offering a dozen homemade pierogi for only $7 with a different flavor available each week.

The group will make potato and cheese pierogi this week. Those ordering them can pick them up at the SSPP Activities Building on Saturday, November 3 or they will deliver them. Next week, they will make kraut pierogi, which will be available for pick up or delivery on Saturday, November 10. Potato and onion pierogi will follow after that, with a pick up or delivery date of Saturday, November 17.

Orders for pierogi may be made by calling Donna Kutylowski at 313.505.0057 or emailing her at donnakutylowski [at] gmail [dot] com. Checks, payable to the Polish Alliance Dancers, may also be mailed to 4542 Korte Street in Dearborn, Michigan 48126-2804.

Happy Halloween

Halloween Night - Illustration by N. Vadim

I want to take a moment to wish a happy Halloween to everyone in Detroit's Warrendale neighborhood and beyond. Enjoy the candy, my friends. (And make sure you leave some for the kids, too.)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

ATF and FBI Increase Reward to $102,000 in I-96 Shootings

Special Agent in Charge David L. McCain of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Detroit Field Division, and Special Agent in Charge Robert D. Foley III of the Federal Bureau of Investigation Detroit Division announced today that each agency is contributing $50,000 to the reward being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the individual responsible for the I-96 corridor shootings, which are north and west of the Warrendale neighborhood.

Since October 16, there have been 25 shooting incidents, with the most recent shootings occurring on Saturday October 27. Saturday’s shootings resulted in a non-life threatening injury to a man driving eastbound on I-96 from the Kalamazoo area to attend the World Series game in Detroit. This is the first injury associated with the string of shootings.

In addition to the ATF and FBI reward, Crime Stoppers is offering an additional $2,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the individual responsible for the shootings, bringing the total reward up to $102,000.

Mr. McCain said in a prepared statement, “These senseless shootings must be stopped. This individual has no regard for public safety and is attempting to cause injury and fear to citizens that utilize I-96 on an everyday basis. The danger and burden these shooting incidents place on our citizens is unacceptable. These shootings are now one of ATF’s Detroit Field Division’s top priorities. I have authorized additional personnel and resources to the task force, and we will continue to work with our local, county, state and federal law enforcement partners to bring this individual to justice”

Mr. Foley added, "The person or persons responsible for these random, violent shootings has demonstrated a reckless disregard for human life. These acts of violence pose a serious threat that is being answered by numerous law enforcement agencies including the FBI. The FBI continues to provide resources in order to facilitate apprehension and remains committed to supporting the task force."

The FBI is also putting forward $50,000 towards the reward, and together with ATF’s contribution, brings the total amount of the reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the responsible person or persons to $102,000. All tips will remain confidential.

These shooting incidents are being investigated jointly by the Wixom Police Department, Oakland County Sheriff’s Office, Ingham County Sheriff’s Office, Livingston Sheriff’s Office, and Walled Lake Police Department, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Michigan State Police, ATF, US Marshall Service, and the FBI.

ATF, FBI and Crime Stoppers are seeking the public’s assistance in identifying the individuals responsible. Anyone with information is encouraged to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-SPEAK-UP.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Mayor Bing Threatens to Arrest Anyone at the Old Tiger Stadium Site

Screengrab from the MLB web site
My friends at are reporting on a Detroit Tigers viewing party that was originally scheduled to be held on the Old Tigers Stadium site. According to them, a group of dedicated Detroiters came up with the idea to put a giant screen at the site during the World Series, invite everyone to come out and watch it for free on the hallowed ground of The Corner. They would have DJs play between innings and everyone thought it was a great idea.

Our neighbors in Corktown loved it. MLB threw its support behind it, granted a broadcast license, and promoting it on its website. Fans were pumped. Fox News reported on it. Organizers even got insurance just in case someone was injured during this event.
Everyone thought it was a great idea, except for the City of Detroit, which officially pulled the plug on the party this morning. They reportedly threatened to arrest anyone on the field for trespassing.

Yes, the same city government that brought you a giant empty field instead of a preserved National Historic Landmark and field for youth baseball has said no one is allowed on the field. The public is welcome to prance on any of the tens of thousands of other vacant, city-owned lots, but not the Old Tiger Stadium site. People would be arrested for that.

Mayor Bing's argument is that the site is not a park.

I, for one, am more than a little upset with this development.

Nothing is happening at the Old Tiger Stadium site other the occasional amateur baseball game. When actual felonies happen in the Warrendale neighborhood, my neighbors and I cannot get the Detroit Police Department to show up. In spite of this, when some folks want to watch television at the corner of Michigan Avenue and Trumbull, Mayor Bing and his Administration respond by threatening to arrest them.

Update @ 1:32 p.m. The organizers of this event have decided to move it to the nearby Imagination Station (2236 14th Street). This is a much smaller venue - basically, it's a pair of vacant houses near the old Michigan Central Station that have been converted into an art venue. Regardless, I'm glad to hear that this will move forward.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Barack Obama vs. Mitt Romney: Who Wins?

The guys who do Epic Rap Battles of History have now brought us a rap battle between President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney. And since it's the internet, they even threw in a special guest appearance from former President Abraham Lincoln.

Quite frankly, their version was more entertaining than any of the presidential or vice presidential debates.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Last Call Bar Re-Opens in Detroit's Warrendale Neighborhood

Last Call Bar - Photo by Dorn Zurawski
The Last Call Bar (19432 W. Warren Ave.) had a soft opening yesterday, just in time for patrons to enjoy game 1 of the World Series. There is still a little work that needs to be done. However, this place is shaping up to be a classic neighborhood bar and a good one at that.

Their drinks are cheap, their service is good, and the crowd is friendly. What else could one ask for?

Parking is available in a lot behind the bar (enter through the alley). For those who rely on mass transit, the Crosstown bus stops right by the Last Call as well.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Eat 'Em Up, Tigers!

Photo by Ned Horton/Horton Group
Tonight is the big day - game 1 of the World Series - and our Detroit Tigers are ready to play some of their best baseball of the season. Justin Verlander is expected on the mound, Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder have their bats ready, and everyone else is primed for a great evening. Tonight should be a great game.

Throughout the Warrendale neighborhood, all of the bars and restaurants, will have our Detroit Tigers on television  Most of them will have some great specials on food and drink as well. This, my friends and neighbors, is the start of really great day.

Needless to say, it doesn't take much effort to think of a Cool Warrendale Thing of the Week for this week. There are 9 innings of great baseball in store for us this evening and lots of places to watch them.

I will probably start with the Detroit Tigers at the Hurry Inn and then make it down to either Last Call or Chick's before ending the night at Gracie's. I look forward to seeing everyone at the bars tonight.

Go Tigers!

Monday, October 22, 2012

You're Doing It Wrong! (How to Use a Paper Towel and Save the Earth)

You might not think of a paper towel as anything special. However, in this TED video, Joe Smith shows that by changing how you use one, you can help to save 571,230,000 pounds of paper every year.

This is your Warrendale Tip of the Week.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Belle Isle to 8 Mile: An Insider's Guide to Detroit

Three awesome Detroiters, siblings Andy, Emily, and Robbie Linn, are launching the first comprehensive guide to Detroit to be released in a generation. They entitle it Belle Isle to 8 Mile: An Insider's Guide to Detroit. It focuses on every neighborhood in Detroit and has several entries from the Warrendale area.

Their book is written; now they are launching a Kickstarter campaign to help raise the funds they need to get it printed. The video above explains their project in detail. If you have a few dollars to contribute, I recommend it. ($25 gets you a copy of the book, mailed to your home.) Check it out here.

I was one of the contributing writers on this project. I can attest to the fact that the research that went into this book is simply outstanding.

5 Things Governor Snyder Should Do to Help Detroit

Governor Rick Snyder - Official Press Photo
Governor Rick Snyder has been an integral part of 3 initiatives that were intended to improve the lives of everyday Detroiters while stabilizing the City's budget. He has pushed for a regional transit authority, a new authority to upgrade and manage Detroit's street lights, and he tried to have Belle Isle managed as a state park.

Each of those 3 things has provoked a certain amount of controversy and none of them have been enacted. I won't discuss the merits of those 3 initiatives, at least not in this post.

Instead, I want to take the time to highlight 5 things that Gov. Snyder should do to help Detroit, which would not provoke the political stalemate that his other ideas have encountered.

It has never been more important to turn things around in Detroit. A recent poll by the Detroit News shows that 40% of Detroiters intend to leave the area within in the next 5 years. Crime, and the Detroit Police Department's inability to respond effectively to it, is the prevailing reason for their intended departure.

Detroit simply cannot afford to see that many residents leave that quickly. A 25% loss in population over 10 years is largely responsible for our current financial condition. A 40% drop within 5 years will drive both the City of Detroit and the Detroit Public Schools into bankruptcy, which will set off a series of events that will likely prove detrimental to all of Michigan.

If that happens, even if we do get those 3 things that the Governor is currently working on, the loss of residents and tax revenue and corresponding bankruptcy will mean wide-scale credit downgrades for cities and counties throughout the region. It will be harder for them to borrow the money they all need to borrow from time to time and it will cost them a lot more when they are able to borrow. That, in turn, will make many of the problems those communities are facing much worse.

With all of that in mind, I present 5 things that Governor Snyder should do to help Detroit. I believe an overwhelming majority of Detroiters will support these initiatives.

#1. Find a Buyer for the Rackham Golf Course
Stock Photo by C. Flart
The City of Detroit owns the Rackham Golf Course in Huntington Woods. It's a fantastic course; often ranked as one of the best public golf courses in the United States. However, because it's in the suburbs, very few city residents use it.

Kwame M. Kilpatrick tried to sell the Rackham Golf Course to private developers when he was Mayor of Detroit. No one in Detroit rallied in opposition to the sale nor complained that our jewels were being taken from us. Pretty much everyone in Detroit seemed okay with the idea of selling the course to private developers.

The courts, however, ruled that a deed restriction from the Rackham family prevented the City of Detroit from selling it to anyone other than another unit of government. The deal to sell the course died shortly after that ruling came down and the City of Detroit continues to own a valuable asset that does little for city residents.

Gov. Snyder could use his influence to persuade either the City of Huntington Woods or Oakland County to buy the Rackham Golf Course for a price that ideally is at least somewhat close to what those developers were willing to pay a few years ago. Failing that, the State of Michigan could step in to buy it. The purchase could be financed with the sale of bonds and those bonds repaid with revenue generated by the golf course.

As for how this would benefit Detroiters, the proceeds from such a sale would be enough to:
  • Replace our current fleet of ambulances that are simply beyond their serviceable life;
  • Reopen at least one of our closed police stations; and
  • Buy a couple hundred squad cards for the Detroit Police Department.
Being able to say that we own that golf course is nice. However, I think most Detroiters would vastly prefer the benefits of selling the thing.

#2. Takeover the Operations of Detroit's 9-1-1 Call Center
Officially, it takes the Detroit Police Department an average of 37.6 minutes to respond to an emergency, which is the worst response time of any major police department in the industrialized world. Most people who have had to make one of those calls, however, can attest to the fact that its true response time is much higher. Individual police officers have told me that they are on scene within a few minutes of getting a call, it just takes much longer for DPD to route those calls for service than it would for other departments.

Officials within DPD love to offer one excuse after another for their response time. None of them, in my opinion, hold any water.

No small part of the department's response time has to do with how those calls for service are routed within DPD's call center and dispatching. Therefore, I believe it would be prudent for either the State of Michigan or Wayne County to takeover management of Detroit's 9-1-1 call center and police dispatching.

Moreover, if Detroit were to combine its call center operations with the Cities of Hamtramck and Highland Park, the cost to each community would likely be lower than it is now. Faster response times at a lower cost is powerful thing that will do a lot to stem the exodus from Detroit.

#3. Takeover the Policing of Downtown Detroit
Detroit Police Officer on Patrol During Super Bowl XL
The unfortunate reality is that the Detroit Police Department has been mismanaged for so long, and is in such bad condition right now, that money cannot solve its problems.

It will take time to recruit, train, and deploy new police officers. Once new officers are deployed, they will still be rookies who will need mentoring and experience before they are able to maximize their effectiveness. Those things take time and, with the rate that Detroit is losing population, we simply do not have enough time.

Therefore, I believe that the best possible course of action at this time would be for the Detroit Police Department to hand the task of policing our central business distinct over to either the Wayne County Sheriff or the Michigan State Police. If those agencies are able to handle adjacent areas also, such as Brush ParkLafayette Park, or the New Center, that would be fantastic.

By doing this, we could redeploy hundreds of Detroit police officers into the neighborhoods where their presence is essential to stem our population loss and avoid a bankruptcy. Moving police officers into the neighborhoods is something that residents have been begging for for years.

As for the costs that the Michigan State Police and/or the Wayne County Sheriff would have to incur, at least a portion of them could be paid by asking the Detroit Tigers, Lions, and Red Wings to reimburse those agencies for the costs associated with directing traffic during their games.

The idea of professional teams paying for police services, by the way, is nothing new. It is something that former Mayor Kilpatrick proposed shortly before his scandals became public and he was ousted from office. No one voiced any objections to it then. It's doubtful that anyone would object today.

#4. Takeover the Collection of Detroit's Income Taxes
The City of Detroit is one of the few local governments that has an income tax for residents and non-residents alike. Unfortunately, Detroit does a really bad job at collecting on those taxes. Mayor Dave Bing has sent out thousands of letters to people who money, but has had only limited success.

When Ken Conkrel, currently the President Pro Tem of the Detroit City Council, was mayor on an interim basis, one of the reforms that he proposed was to have the Michigan Department of Treasury takeover collecting that tax revenue. It is one of many reforms that have been discussed in this town without being enacted. Regardless, there were very few people who spoke against that move back then and it's doubtful such a proposal would stir much controversy today.

Since this would likely generate more than enough money to wipe out Detroit current $40 million deficit, I believe it is something that should be done expeditiously.

#5. Takeover Billing for the Detroit Fire Department
Stock Photo - Jakub Krechowicz
The Detroit Fire Department bills for a variety of services. For example, insurance companies, as well Medicaid and Medicare, are billed for patients who need service from our EMS, DTE is billed when they have to guard a downed power line, and so on. The problem is that the fire department only collects on 52% of those invoices.

Very few enterprises ever collect on all of their invoices. Regardless, a 52% collection rate is really low. If one were able to bring it up to 2/3 of all invoices being collected, that would mean millions more in revenue for a fire department where, quite frankly, a lack of adequate funding is costing lives.

Since the State of Michigan does a much better job at collecting on moneys owed to it, I believe it would be appropriate for them to take this task over as well. The administrative costs associated with their collections could be deducted from funds they receive. It would still mean a substantial boost in additional revenue for the Detroit Fire Department.

These, of course, are my thoughts: 5 relatively simple and not very controversial things that Governor Snyder could to help the City of Detroit and minimize the chances that it will go into bankruptcy within the next 5 years. Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Cool Thing of the Week: "Sound of Mexico" at Tijuana's Kitchen

Stock Photo by Sebastian Danon
Guitarist Pablo Miranda will perform a special concert at Tijuana's Mexican Kitchen (18950 Ford Rd.) on October 20 entitled Sound of Mexico. His performance is expected to last from 7 - 10 p.m. as guests enjoy music and dinner.

Seating for this event is limited and reservations are encouraged. Please call the restaurant at (313) 982-1455 for more details.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Detroit's Founder Died 282 Years Ago Today

Elizabeth Grutza with Antoine Cadillac - Photo by  David Yee
Antoine Laumet de La Mothe, sieur de Cadillac passed away 282 years ago today in Castelsarrasin, France. During his 72 years on this Earth, he fathered 13 children with his wife Marie-Thérèse, served as the third French governor of Louisiana, and, in July of 1701, founded Fort Pontchartrain du Détroit, which later became the city of Detroit that we know and love today.

A statue of Cadillac stands today in Hart Plaza to commemorate his landing in Detroit. If he could see it, I think he would enjoy the photo that David Yee took of Elizabeth Grutza at his statue. I know I did.

Featured Place to Live: 19100 Tireman St.

19100 Tireman St. - Featured Place to Live
19100 Tireman Street is a beautiful historic home in Detroit's Warrendale neighborhood. This 5 bedroom, 3 bath colonial brick home was built in 1926. It is currently being used as an adult foster home, but is for sale.

With 2,600 square feet of living space, this home is flanked by a pair of mature evergreen trees. It features an original wood-burning fireplace in the living room. Additional details about this home are available here.

19100 Tireman Street is your Featured Place to Live in Warrendale for this week.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Friends of Rouge Park to Meet Tomorrow

The next Friends of Rouge Park meeting will be held tomorrow, Tuesday, October 16, from 6 - 7 p.m. This meeting will happen at the Don Bosco Center (19321 W. Chicago).

The agenda will for their meeting include:

  • New offer for assistance in developing a master plan by Lawrence Technological University;
  • Report from the Buffalo Soldiers Heritage Association; and
  • Update on the amphitheater and October 21 event.

This meeting may also include additional updates and news about Rouge Park. Anyone interested in preserving and promoting Rouge Park is welcome to attend this meeting.

Protect Your Cell Phone from Malware

Stock Photo by Flavio Takemoto
The Internet Crime Complaint Center, which is a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National White Collar Crime Centerwarned last Friday that new types of malware have appeared that attack Android operating systems. Some of the latest known versions of it are Loozfon and FinFisher.

Loozfon is an information-stealing piece of malware. Criminals use different variants to lure the victims. One version is a work-at-home opportunity that promises a profitable payday just for sending out email. A link within these advertisements leads to a website that is designed to push Loozfon on the user's device. The malicious application steals contact details from the user’s address book and the infected device's phone number.

FinFisher is a spyware capable of taking over the components of a mobile device. When installed the mobile device can be remotely controlled and monitored no matter where the Target is located. FinFisher can be easily transmitted to a Smartphone when the user visits a specific web link or opens a text message masquerading as a system update.

Loozfon and FinFisher are just two examples of malware used by criminals to lure users into compromising their devices.

In order to protect yourself from these threats, authorities recommend:
  • When purchasing a Smartphone, know the features of the device, including the default settings. Turn off features of the device not needed to minimize the attack surface of the device;
  • Depending on the type of phone, the operating system may have encryption available. This can be used to protect the user's personal data in the case of loss or theft;
  • With the growth of the application market for mobile devices, users should look at the reviews of the developer/company who published the application;
  • Review and understand the permissions you are giving when you download applications;
  • Passcode protect your mobile device. This is the first layer of physical security to protect the contents of the device. In conjunction with the passcode, enable the screen lock feature after a few minutes of inactivity;
  • Obtain malware protection for your mobile device. Look for applications that specialize in antivirus or file integrity that helps protect your device from rogue applications and malware;
  • Be aware of applications that enable Geo-location. The application will track the user's location anywhere. This application can be used for marketing, but can be used by malicious actors raising concerns of assisting a possible stalker and/or burglaries;
  • If you decide to sell your device or trade it in, make sure you wipe the device (reset it to factory default) to avoid leaving personal data on the device;
  • Smartphones require updates to run applications and firmware. If users neglect this it increases the risk of having their device hacked or compromised;
  • Avoid clicking on or otherwise downloading software or links from unknown sources.
Stock Photo by Andrej Troha
Experts also caution that jailbreaking or rooting is used to remove certain restrictions imposed by the device manufacturer or cell phone carrier. This allows the user nearly unregulated control over what programs can be installed and how the device can be used. However, this procedure often involves exploiting significant security vulnerabilities and increases the attack surface of the device.

Anytime a user, application or service runs in "unrestricted" or "system" level within an operation system, it allows any compromise to take full control of the device.

Finally, users are advised to not allow their device to connect to unknown wireless networks. These networks could be rogue access points that capture information passed between your device and a legitimate server.

If you have been a victim of an internet scam or have received an e-mail that you believe was an attempted scam, please file a complaint at

This has beeen your Warrendale Tip of the Week.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Chene Modern Bakery in Detroit to Create Jesse Jackson's 71st Birthday Cake

Photo by Eric Bridiers/United States Mission Geneva
The Rev. Jesse Jackson will celebrate his 71st birthday on October 8 and the folks at Chene Modern Bakery (17041 W. Warren Ave.) in Detroit's Warrendale neighborhood have been selected to create his birthday cake, according to a post on the bakery's Facebook page. This is the second time that this Detroit bakery has created a custom cake for Rev. Jackson's birthday.

Rev. Jesse Jackson could conceivably get his birthday cake from any bakery in the free world. The fact that he has chosen to get it from here only confirms something that those in Detroit's Warrendale neighborhood have known for decades - Chene Modern Bakery is an amazing institution and a local treasure.

I hope that Rev. Jesse Jackson has an amazing birthday next week. I also hope that he and his guests enjoy every bite of their cake.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Sex Scandal Brewing with Detroit Police Chief Ralph Godbee at the Center

Stock Photo by Michal Zacharzewski
WXYZ-TV is reporting that a major sex scandal is brewing within Detroit city government and that Chief Ralph Godbee of the Detroit Police Department is at the center of it. Their full report is available on-line here.

The big question, in my opinion, is whether this is a purely organic thing or if those in Mayor Dave Bing's inner circle have realized that they don't have a snowball's chance in hell of keeping their jobs past next November unless they make drastic changes within DPD?

If it's the later option then that means they've likely planted this story, which, in turn, makes me wonder wonder what Chief Godbee will do in retaliation. He does not seem like the sort to go quietly into that goodnight, unless he collects a payoff that Mayor Bing's crew probably can't afford to pay him at the moment.

It will be interesting to see who backs off first. Do those in Mayor Bing's inner circle find a way to muscle him out in order to save their own jobs? Or does Chief Godbee manage to hold on for a few more months?

Update @ 4:28 p.m.
The Detroit Free Press is reporting that Chief Godbee has been suspended for 30 days pending the outcome of an investigation into his affair with another police officer under his command. Assistant Chief Chester Logan will assume the responsibilities of chief of police during the interim.

Monday, October 01, 2012

Text Your Bus for Arrival Times

The Detroit Department of Transportation recently introduced a new service to help riders find the arrival time of their buses. It's called Text My Bus and it was developed in conjunction with the Detroit Public SchoolsCode for America, the Federal Transit Administration, the White House’s Strong Cities, Strong Communities initiative, and Knight Foundation.