Thursday, April 30, 2015

Fire on Montrose

Fire on Montrose - Photo by Frank Nemecek
A fire broke out this afternoon on Montrose Street in the Warrendale neighborhood. The fire started shortly after 2 p.m. at a home just south of W. Warren Ave.

The Detroit Fire Department responded promptly to the scene. It's not clear, though, whether or not this home was occupied at the time of the fire.

Smoke clouds from this fire could be seen from almost three miles away. I was at Ford Rd. and Evergreen this afternoon when I saw it and decided to investigate.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Remembering a baker

One of the owners of Chene Modern Bakery (17041 W. Warren Ave.), Vasko Maksimovski, passed away at the age of 60 following a heart attack. The family-owned bakery closed for approximately two weeks but re-opened on March 30.

The life of Vasko Maksimovski and his impact on the Warrendale neighborhood was by the Detroit Free Press here. I invite everyone to take a moment to read it.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Interview with Detroit Public Television

Being interviewed - Photo by Frank Nemecek
The folks at Detroit Public Television are currently doing a special on life in Detroit's neighborhoods. At least a portion of this show will include the Warrendale neighborhood.

I had the pleasure to be interviewed by them as part of this program. We talked about the past, present, and future of the neighborhood; its challenges as well as its opportunities for greatness.

Detroit Public Television is continuing to shoot this special. I don't know when it will air. As soon as that information is available, I will share it with everyone.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Accident on Southfield service drive

Collision on the service drive - Photo by Frank Nemecek
There was a traffic accident on the southbound Southfield Freeway service drive at Paul St. A white van and a gray two-door car collided shortly after 4:30 this afternoon. Detroit Police and EMS are both on the scene.

While the cause of this collision is unknown at this point, both the service drive and Paul St. are currently closed to traffic. Alternate routes are strongly suggested.

Friends of Rouge Park meet tomorrow

Rouge Park - Photo by Frank Nemecek
The local non-profit advocacy group Friends of Rouge Park will have their next meeting tomorrow, April 21, from 6 - 7 p.m. at the Don Bosco Center (9356 Westwood St.), which is 1.5 miles north of Warrendale at W. Chicago in Detroit.

There will be three key items on the agenda for this meeting in Detroit tomorrow evening.

  • Report on the National Park Service progress on developing a new Nature Trail for Rouge Park;
  • Discussion of the Keen grant; and
  • Planning for Rouge Park Appreciation Day on May 30.
Anyone who has a passion for preserving, promoting, and protecting Rouge Park - the largest park in Detroit - is welcome to attend this meeting.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Police raid house on Rosemont

Officers from the Detroit Police Department raided a home at 6255 Rosemont Ave. in the Warrendale neighborhood at approximately 5 p.m. this evening. Four squad cars are on the scene.

While it's not clear what happened, Rosemont is closed down by the police near this home.

More updates as this story develops.

Update @ 6:14 p.m.
In one interesting development, an agent from U.S. Customs and Border Protection is also currently on the scene.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Pizza party next week

Gracie See Pizzeria - Photo by Frank Nemecek
Please join current and former residents of the Warrendale neighborhood, as well as some good people who just like good pizza, for our monthly pizza party. It will be on Wednesday, April 22 from 6:30 - 9:30 p.m. at Gracie See Pizzeria (6889 Greenfield Rd.)

As always, the first pizza will be on me. After that, we simply order from the menu and split the check when it arrives. In addition, the staff at Gracie's will also have some great drink specials all night long.

Please take a moment to RSVP on either the Facebook or Google Plus pages from this blog.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Crime prevention tips

There are several things that ordinary residents can do to prevent crime in our neighborhood. Detroit Police Commissioner Ricardo Moore offers these suggestions on how to keep Detroit safe.

Make sure neighborhoods are clean
As someone who lives in Warrendale, I know how much of a pain in the butt to keep cleaning up all of trash that blows onto your lawn. The consequences of not doing it, though, are far worse.

Not only does it make things look bad, it also sends a message to would-be criminals that this is an area where they are free to operate.

Remove blight
City Councilman Gabe Leland has a lot of great tips for dealing with blight.

Illegal dumping should be reported to the Ombudsman by calling (313) 224-6000. Please provide them with the location of the dump site as well as any information you might have about the day and time trash was last dumped there. Also, if you have any information about who was doing this dumping, please share that as well.

More information about removing blight is available on the City of Detroit's website here.

Ensure vacant lots are clean and free of debris
This is simply an extension of keeping the neighborhood clean.

Street lights should be working
Most of the streetlights in Warrendale are currently working, since the City replaced them last year. However, if you find one that isn't in working order, please report it by calling (313) 324-8290.

Good lighting deters crime.

Lighting should be in alleys
In the Warrendale neighborhood, this mostly applies to commercial properties, such as those along W. Warren Avenue.

Again, good lighting deters crime.

Jason Bourne had situational awareness
Cell phone usage should be kept to a minimum in public places
This relates to monitoring one's surrounding, which I'll discuss in more detail below.

Monitor your surroundings
In the military, we called this "situational awareness." Whether you're dealing with Soviet troops from way back in the day who want to kill you or simply some guy who wants to steal your stuff, it's a lot harder to do if you are paying attention to your surroundings at all times.

My friends at the Art of Manliness have a few tips on maintaining this level of awareness available here. They talk about keeping things at Jason Bourne levels, but there is a lot of good advice in it.

Know your neighbors and learn their habits
There are so many reasons to get to know your neighbors. From a crime prevention standpoint, though, it makes it easier to watch out for one another.

Shrubbery should be trimmed
Tall shrubs provide a place for criminals to hide. This is especially true when the shrubs are close to the home. Denying criminals a place to hide makes it harder for them to prey upon us, which make it less likely that they'll do so.

My thanks go out to Commissioner Ricardo Moore for sharing this tips.

Monday, April 06, 2015

Mayor Duggan announces district meeting

Mayor Mike Duggan - Press Photo
The annual district meeting with Mayor Mike Duggan will happen on Thursday, April 23 from 7 - 8:30 p.m. This meeting will happen at Straight Gate International Church (10100 Grand River Ave.). which is approximately six miles from the Warrendale neighborhood.

The purpose of this meeting is to allow residents to bring their questions, concerns, and problems directly to the mayor in a public setting.

Parking is available in the parking lot adjacent to the church. Doors will open at 6 p.m. and this meeting will adjourn promptly at 8:30 p.m.

This is the second in a series of community meetings as outlined in the 2012 Detroit City Charter. The Charter mandates that the mayor have at least one of these meetings each year in each of the City Council districts. This is the annual meeting for the 7th District, which includes the Warrendale neighborhood.

If you need more information, you may contact Linda Vinyard at (313) 224-3876. There is also a flyer regarding this meeting that available for download from the City of Detroit's website here.

Detroiter charged with robbing Iraqi diplomat

A Detroit resident was sentenced yesterday in federal court to more than eight years in prison for his role in an armed robbery of an Iraqi diplomat and his wife, U.S. Attorney Barbara L. McQuade announced this afternoon.

McQuade was joined in the announcement by Special Agent in Charge Paul M. Abbate of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Detroit Division as well as Special Agent in Charge David R. Eberhardt of Diplomatic Security Service, and Chief Michael Patton of the West Bloomfield Police Department.

U.S. District Judge Paul D. Borman imposed sentence on James Frederick Dubose, 24, to a mandatory minimum sentence of 84months in prison for using a firearm during a crime of violence and a consecutive sentence of 20 months in prison for assault of a foreign official using a deadly weapon. Dubose had pleaded guilty to these two offenses in December. At sentencing, Dubose was also ordered to pay $4,150 in restitution to the victims.

According to the documents filed in this case, on November 11, 2012, the defendant and his co-defendant targeted the victims, an Iraqi diplomat and his wife, as they were shopping at the Meijer store in Southfield, Michigan. The defendants then followed the victims to their residence. Dubose and his co-defendant approached the victims inside the garage after the victims had exited their vehicle. Dubose held the victims at gunpoint, threatened to shoot them and stole their jewelry. Dubose and his co-defendant then ran from the garage and fled the scene. Dubose was arrested by Southfield Police on November 23, 2012, in possession of the same firearm used in the armed robbery.

The investigation of this case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Department of State Diplomatic Security Service, and the West Bloomfield Police Department. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ronald W. Waterstreet and Cathleen M. Corken.

Friday, April 03, 2015

Friday Focus - Find your park

This past Tuesday the National Park Service publicly unveiled its Find Your Park campaign. The program is intended to encourage more Americans to discover their national parks. It also ties in with an initiative that President Barack Obama announced in February to offer every fourth-grader free admission to our national parks as a way to encourage more families to experience them.

The Find Your Park initiative part of a two-year celebration of the National Park Service's centennial anniversary in 2016. From the Motor Cities National Automotive Heritage Area to the Great Smoky Mountains, Grand Canyon, Statue of Liberty, and Mt. Rushmore, the NPS includes more than 400 parks that preserve landscapes, history, and culture for future generations.

I had a chance to talk with Michael Liang of the National Park Service recently. He is one of five Centennial Ambassadors and a native of the Detroit area. Liang is currently a ranger at the Santa Monica National Recreation Area in Topanga, California.

Find Your Park, he pointed out, allows people a better chance to discover all that national parks have to offer. The newly launched website enables visitors to see videos and photos of parks across the country as well as a link to individual parks that they intend to visit.

I asked him what a greater interest in national parks would mean for state and local parks, such as Rouge Park here in the Warrendale neighborhood. “I'm a firm believer that a rising tide lifts all boats,” he said. “As people discover the wonders that exist in their national parks, that can only translate into a greater interest and usage of local parks at home.”

More on Michael Liang and the Find Your Park campaign is below. The closest national park to Detroit is the River Raisin National Battlefield Memorial in Monroe.