Thursday, December 15, 2016

Man gets 40-82 years for murdering a firefighter in Warrendale

David Madrigal - Photo from the Detroit Firefighters Association
David Madrigal was a resident of the Warrendale neighborhood who lived on Vaughn Street and served as a Detroit firefighter for 26 years. He was murdered in his sleep last December. I wrote about this crime previously here.

One of three persons charged in Madrigal's murder, Timmy Lynn Soto of Detroit, was sentenced yesterday to 40 - 82 years in prison for this crime. A second individual, Christian Rasnick of Trenton, is scheduled to be sentenced later today. The third and final individual allegedly involved in this murder, Nicole O'Neill of Detroit, is scheduled for trial in March.

The Detroit Free Press has more on this story here.

I pray that these convictions and long prison sentences help to bring peace to the family that David Madrigal was forced to leave behind.

Update @ 7:43 p.m.

The second of three individuals to be charged in David Madrigal's murder was sentenced today. Christian Rasnick of Trenton was sentenced to 10 - 30 years in prison for his connection with this killing.

A video from his sentencing is available below.



Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Halloween

Photo by creepyhalloweenimages/Flickr
I want to take a moment to wish a happy Halloween to everyone in the Warrendale neighborhood and beyond.

This is a great time of year and it is a pleasure to spend it one of the finest neighborhoods in Detroit. From the trick-or-treaters in our neighborhoods to the autumn leaves in Rouge Park to the spooky quality of the two churches in Warrendale with graveyards, this is a special time of year.

Please be safe and enjoy the spooky festivities, everyone!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Detroit responds to flash flooding. Again

Flooded street in Warrendale
Photo by Frank Nemecek
Southeastern Michigan was once again hit with heavy rainfall that flooded streets, stranded motorists and caused problems throughout the region. Mayor Mike Duggan released a report this evening that broke down how the city government has responded to this crisis.

The information below represents the City’s response as of 5 p.m. Agencies will continue to respond to flooding as long as needed. Residents who would like to report water and sewer emergency issues can call (313) 267-7401 or use the Improve Detroit - SeeClickFix” mobile app for Apple and Android devices.

More than 275 flooded street drains have been fully cleared by City agencies. The Mayor's Office released the following numbers to break down exactly how they have responded.

Detroit Water and Sewerage Department
Crews dispatched from West Yard: 5
Crews dispatched from Huber location: 24
          Sewer investigation crews: 3
          General crews: 21
Vactor Trucks dispatched: 8

Detroit Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management
Partially activated Emergency Operation Center
Coordinating efforts between Police, Fire, Public Works, General Services, Public Lighting and the Department of Transportation

General Services Department
5 crews reassigned to assist with flooding response
4 members per crew
Crews continue to canvass streets to identify and clean street drains

Department of Public Works
18 crews deployed
2 person crews
Crews continue to canvass streets to identify and clean street drains

Detroit Fire Department
Responded to and conducted 9 rescues in response to flooding

Detroit Department of Transportation
Through morning and afternoon hours, DDOT experienced minimal service interruptions. However, routes were behind schedule due to traffic and flooding issues.

For the evening commute, DDOT will have its normal deployment level on the road. They will work to keep delays to a minimum.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Detroit police officer dies after being shot

Sargent Kenneth Steil of the Detroit Police Department passed away this evening as a result of injuries that he received after being shot in the line of duty earlier this week. He served with the Department's 9th Precinct and had been a member of the underwater recovery team.

According to the police, Sgt. Steil and two other men were shot with a sawed-off shotgun by 21-year old Marquise Cromer of Detroit. Cromer reportedly shot two men during two separate incidents this past Tuesday - an attempted carjacking in Hamtramck and another carjacking later in Detroit.

Detroit Police later located Cromer in the vicinity of 7 Mile and Hayes on the city's east side. While attempting to apprehend this suspect, Cromer allegedly shot Sgt. Steil in the shoulder with a sawed-off shotgun. Officers managed to apprehend Cromer and transport their injured counterpart to St. John Hospital for medical treatment.

Doctors were initially positive about Sgt. Steil's prognosis. Unfortunately, his condition took a turn for this worse today and he succumbed to his injuries this evening.

The friends and family members of Sgt. Steil are in my thoughts and prayers today.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Road rage in Detroit

Road rage comes to an end in Warrendale - Photo by Frank Nemecek
Fair warning, people. If you get into a case of road rage on the streets of the Warrendale neighborhood, the Detroit Police Department will arrest your dumb ass and impound your car.

I know this will happen because one particular road rage came to an end in front of my house this past Saturday evening. The police were quick to respond and, after a thorough investigation by the officers, the offending driver was arrested. His car was also impounded.

In other news, looking at the photo from Saturday, it's also clear that I need to mow my lawn.

But that's another story altogether.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

DTE launches residential energy efficiency program

DTE Energy has launched a residential energy efficiency program. It is designed to help many consumers across southeastern Michigan, including those in and around the Warrendale area, use energy more efficiently and save money on their utility bills.

The DTE program includes a FREE home energy consultation, FREE products like LED light bulbs, and insulation. There are also a series of other potential benefits that may be available for certain income qualified customers.

For additional details about this residential energy program, or to schedule an appointment for your free consultation with one of their representatives, please call DTE at (866) 796-0512. Consumers can also log onto dteenergy.com/hec. If one calls, please be sure to mention "home energy consultation plus."

A free residential energy consultation from DTE: your Warrendale Tip of the Week.

Monday, August 01, 2016

Guest commentary: Human trafficking (sex and labor)

Human trafficking - Photo by Imagens Evang√©licas
Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery in which traffickers use force, fraud, or coercion to control victims for the purpose of engaging in commercial sex acts or labor services against his/her will.

Sex trafficking is the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for the purposes of a commercial sex act, in which the commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such an act has not attained 18 years of age, (22 USC § 7102). Sex trafficking has been found in a wide variety of venues within the sex industry, including residential brothels, escort services, fake massage businesses, strip clubs, and street prostitution.

Labor trafficking is the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purposes of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery, (22 USC § 7102). Labor trafficking has been found in diverse labor settings including, domestic work, small businesses, large farms, and factories.

Traffickers use violence, threats, blackmail, false promises, deception, manipulation, and debt bondage to trap vulnerable individuals in horrific situations.

For more information, please call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center: 1(888)373-7888.

Today's guest commentary comes to us from Ricardo Moore, who represents the Warrendale and surrounding neighborhoods on the Detroit Police Commission.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

The future of mass transit in Detroit

Transit station - Photo by Ted C/FreeImages.com
Earlier this afternoon, representatives from Macomb and Oakland Counties blocked a key vote that would have allowed voters in southeastern Michigan to decide on a millage to improve mass transit in the region. This is the 27th time that funding for a regional transit authority has been blocked due to parochial interests.

There are many across Michigan who a disappointed by this news. Many are even confused since the bulk of new transit options that would have been created under this plan would have been in Macomb and Oakland Counties.

While I join the echo of disappointed Detroiters, I must admit that I am not surprised by this development. Many in the northern suburbs, particularly the more distant suburbs, have long been hostile to public funding for mass transit.

The question that I believe all Detroiters must ask now is: where do we go from here?

There are no doubt those who will simply give up. Others will attempt to appease Macomb and Oakland Counties with an even greater share of transit benefits, most likely at the expense of those who live Downriver and in Western Wayne County.

I, however, advocate for a different option. The City of Detroit as well as Wayne and Washtenaw Counties are the three entities that were eager to move forward with improving mass transit in southeastern Michigan. There are also a few communities in our northern suburbs, such as Ferndale, who are also eager to see a better transit system in place.

Bus stop - Photo by Andre Montejorge
Rather than continue down the same path that we've been on for decades - of constantly trying to convince our holdout neighbors that this is in everyone's best interests and constantly being rebuffed - I believe it is everyone's best interest for those communities who see the value in transit to move forward on our own rather continuing to spend more time and resources convincing the holdouts that they're wrong.

By moving forward without these skeptics, we could improve upon the QLine and take it to 9 Mile. Build upon the walkable communities in Ann Arbor, Dearborn, and Ypsilanti. Provide coordinated support to the DDOT and AATA systems in Detroit and Ann Arbor.

Based on what we've seen in other parts of the country, people and business will likely flock to those parts of our region where transit is improved. (For a detailed accounting of this trend, please see Transit-Oriented Development in the United States: Experiences, Challenges, and Prospects by Robert Cervero available for free here.)

The holdouts will likely circle behind once they see the progress and realize that they cannot extract even more from the people of Wayne County. If they don't, it's more their loss than anyone else's.

The bottom line is that I believe it is time to stop allowing a relatively small group of individuals to hold the transportation needs of more than 2.1 million Michigan residents hostage. It's time for us to move forward, with or without the holdouts.

Monday, June 06, 2016

Triple murder on the west side of Detroit

Police officers respond to shooting - Photo by Frank Nemecek
There was a shooting this morning at 6523 Brace St. that resulted in three people being killed. The location is a known drug house, according to published news reports.

Police officers stress that they are very early into their investigation. However, it appears that an unknown individual or individuals entered the home at approximately 5:30 this morning through a basement window in the backyard of the home. The shooter then executed two individuals who were asleep before fatally shooting a third man who was standing outside in the driveway.

After word spread through the neighborhood of this shooting, a crowd of more than 100 people began to congregate outside of this home. The Detroit Police Department, with assistance from the Michigan State Police, managed to maintain order. People were allowed to watch from a distance, but had to had to stay behind a taped-off area to preserve evidence.

This investigation is still on-going. Anyone with information about this case is asked to call the Detroit Police Department.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Minority Business Development Agency invests $1.5 million in Detroit

The U.S. Department of Commerce Minority Business Development Agency today announced that the Michigan Minority Purchasing Council will receive a grant to operate an MBDA Business Center in Detroit.

This federal funding will be distributed annually during a five-year period with a start date of April 1, 2016.  The agency intends to release $301,225 per year for each of the next fives for the center in Detroit.

This grant program is designed to help minority-owned firms across the nation create jobs, develop their business, and compete in the global economy.  A key component of MBDA’s Business Center Network is providing minority firms with access to technical expertise and resources to grow their businesses.    

According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2012 Survey of Business Owners, minority-owned firms in the United States increased from 5.8 million in 2007 to 8 million in 2012, and employed 7.2 million people in 2012. In Michigan, there are currently 158,946 minority-owned firms, that contribute more than $23.6 million annually in economic output.  These firms employ more than 147,000 local residents.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The need for change within the Detroit Police Department

Mayor Mike Duggan and Chief James Craig have made a lot of progress bringing improvements to the Detroit Police Department. There are, however, moments that show just how much work needs to still be done.

One particular resident of the Warrendale neighborhood, who lives on Tireman Street near Rouge Park, discovered that two men were burglarizing her home on the morning of Wednesday, January 27. She called 9-1-1 to report this a total of three times, with her final call being logged at 9:47 a.m.

At 9:49 a.m., records from the Detroit Police Department show that her complaint was routed to police dispatching. The problem is that there weren't any police officers available to respond to her call.

And so her plea for help sat in their system.

Three Detroit Police vehicles drove past her home and this resident tried to flag each of them down to let them know that these intruders were still in her home stealing her belongings. Unfortunately, none of them stopped.

Each of those police cars were already en route to another call where someone else desperately needed them.

It wasn't until 12:06 p.m. - almost two and a half hours after her last call to 9-1-1 - that police officers with Scout 6-2 finally arrived at the scene. By that time, the perpetrators had already fled the scene. The burglary on Tireman Street has become another in a long series of unsolved felonies in Detroit.

Mayor Mike Duggan and Chief James Craig have made a lot of progress bringing improvements to the Detroit Police Department. Moments like this, however, show just how much work still needs to be done.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Attempted robbery at Chase Bank in Detroit

Chase Bank - Photo by Frank Nemecek
There was an attempted robbery at the Chase Bank (17733 W. Warren Ave.) located at the southeast corner of W. Warren Avenue and the Southfield Freeway. This incident happened at approximately 1:15 p.m.

Luckily for everyone who was in the bank at the time - except of course the robber - there was an off-duty Wayne County Sherrif deputy in the branch when this happened. Wally Beydoun of the Wayne County Sherrif's Department managed to stop the crime without incident.

The Arab American News has complete coverage of this attempted robbery on their website here.

I commend Beydoun for remaining calm during a difficult situation and thinking so quickly.

Friday, March 11, 2016

3 charged in murder of Detroit firefighter

David Madrigal was a 26-year veteran of the Detroit Fire Department who lived on Vaughn Street in the Warrendale neighborhood for years. This past December, though, he was found murdered in his home on Vaughn near Tireman.

After almost three months, the Detroit Police Department has made three arrests in connection with this crime. Timmy Lynn Soto, age 32, of Detroit; Nicole O'Neill, age 33, of Detroit, and Christian Rasnick, age 19, of Trenton will all face felony charges in connection to Madrigal's murder.

The Detroit Free Press has more on this story here. My deepest gratitude goes out to each of the police officers who worked to bring these three individuals to justice.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Detroit to crack down on scrappers

Scrapped house - Photo by Frank Nemecek
Last night, during his annual State of the City address, Mayor Mike Duggan promised that if residents called 9-1-1 to report a vacant property where scrapping was in progress then the Detroit Police Department would respond. More importantly, he promised that they would arrest the scrappers.

Quite frankly, I would like to see the Warrendale neighborhood take Mayor Duggan up on this. Therefore, I ask everyone that if you see a home or business being scrapped in the Warrendale neighborhood, please call 9-1-1 to report it immediately.

Also, please leave a comment here or send me an email. I would like to let everyone know what kind of response you saw from the Detroit Police Department.

I'm excited by the Mayor's announcement. I believe it's an important step forward for Detroit.

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Recycling workshop comes to Warrendale

I previously posted about a recycling workshop that will happen at Don Bosco Hall this Friday from 1 - 2 p.m. Since many people cannot attend due to work obligations, a second one has been added for Monday, April 11 from 6 - 7 p.m. in the Activities Building of Ss. Peter & Paul Church.

Eligible residents who attend either workshop will receive a free recycling bin. This will enable them to participate in the City of Detroit's curbside recycling program.

A flyer for this workshop is located above. Please share it with your neighbors.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

My final visit to Gracie See Pizzeria

Last time at Gracie See from Frank Nemecek on Vimeo.

Gracie See Pizzeria has been an institution in the Warrendale neighborhood since they opened in 1969. For almost half a century have been what sociologists like Ray Oldenburg call "the third space" - places that are neither work nor home; places where neighbors can gather to catch up on each other's lives and share stories.

Places like this are part of what makes Detroit - or any other city - a truly livable community. For the past few years, it has been an honor to have Gracie See Pizzeria as a sponsor of this blog and a joy to host a monthly pizza party there.

It was with no small amount of sadness, therefore, that I walked into Gracie See Pizzeria for the final time before they closed. I will miss them. I will miss every single one of the people who made it a special place for decades.

While it doesn't diminish my sadness about losing Gracie's, I also remain thankful for Chick's Bar, Tijuana's Mexican Kitchen, Nick's and the dozens of other such places that remain in the Warrendale neighborhood.

The Warrendale (Detroit) Blog will return in earnest on Monday, February 1.