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.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Chyna comes to Detroit this Friday

Chyna - Photo by Pinguino K
Actress and former WWE superstar Chyna will make a special appearance at the Toy Chest Bar (18728 Ford Rd.). The wrestling legend will be there this Friday evening, March 11.

Doors will open for Chyna's appearance at 7 p.m. A special meet and greet will happen for fans a little later with entertainment continuing until 2 a.m.

Chyna, of course, came to prominence with the WWE in 1997 as part of the D-Generation X. She later appeared on The Howard Stern Show, two episodes of Pacific Blue, and 3rd Rock from the Sun.

Since her retirement in 2011, Chyna has been teaching English in Japan. This Friday will be her only scheduled appearance in the Detroit area.

Toy Chest Bar is located on the north side of Ford Rd, approximately three blocks west of the Southfield Freeway, at the southern end of the Warrendale neighborhood.

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

My pick for President

Today is the day.

Today is the day that voters across Michigan go to the polls to choose their preferred candidate in the presidential primary.

Will it be Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders for the Democrats?

Among the Republicans, we can choose among luminaries like Donald Trump, who recently spent time in Detroit letting everyone know that his hands - and, by logical extension, his penis - are all of more than adequate size. (Side note: I really, really wish I could say that I was making this part up. Sadly, it's all true.)

Other worthy Republicans include U.S. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, and Governor John Kasich of Ohio.

Each of these candidates has their own set of pros and cons. However, in my opinion, there is one person who outshines them all.

One candidate with hands large enough to make Donald Trump's seem small and dainty.

One candidate with more experience than Clinton, Sanders, Cruz, Rubio, and Kasich combined.

One candidate who we can count on to lead us during our darkest hour.

One candidate who we can count on to lead us towards the light.

Ladies and gentlemen, I urge you to go to the polls today and choose Chewbacca. Let the Wookie win!

WCO meeting cancelled

The Warrendale Community Organization will not meet today, even though it is the first Tuesday in March. The group decided to cancel their meeting due to the presidential primary, which is today.

The next meeting of the Warrendale Community Organization will be on Tuesday, April 4 from 7 - 8 p.m. They will meet in the activities building at Ss. Peter and Paul Church (7685 Grandville).

Monday, March 07, 2016

Recycling expands in Detroit

Recycling container - Photo by Frank Nemecek
The City of Detroit offered free containers for the curbside pick-up of recyclables to all who attended a recycling workshop last month. Those containers are beginning to appear at local homes, including mine.

All of this, of course, is part of the City's on-going effort to expand curbside recycling in Detroit.

The next recycling workshop will be on Monday, April 11 at Ss. Peter and Paul Church (7685 Grandville). Full details for this workshop are available here.

As with the previous one, all residents who attend the upcoming recycling workshop will receive their own free containers.

Rest in peace Ray Tomlinson, inventor of email

Ray Tomlinson - Photo by Andreu Vea
Ray Tomlinson passed away this past Saturday at the age of 74 from an apparent heart attack. Back in 1971, he invented the modern system of email.

He was, according to those who knew him, a very kind, decent, and humble man; one who left his mark on the world, even if most people never knew who he was.

The passing of Ray Tomlinson brings me a certain extra sadness since most of the people who read this blog do so as a result of email alerts that they receive when I publish something.

Earlier this morning, I decided to pay tribute to him by simply sending an email to a few people that I haven't spoken to in awhile. I mention who he was and essentially used it as an icebreaker to say hello to a few souls where time and distance have gotten in the way of our friendship; all sent in a message to their Ray Tomlinson-invented in-boxes.

The responses that I have gotten back have been nothing but touching. Every one of them has brought a smile to my face.

Therefore, as a tribute to the man who invented email, I want to challenge everyone who reads this to send an email to someone who has slipped out of your life. Feel free to mention Ray Tomlinson and his story and just say hello to them.

Because everyone can use an extra smile or two in their day.

Tip of the week: 3 tips to prevent buglaries

Editor's note: this column was sent in by Commissioner Ricardo Moore, who represents the Warrendale and surrounding areas on the Detroit Police Commission. It was originally authored by Investigator Brian Fountain of the Detroit Police Department.

Being proactive is the key to preventing home break-ins. There are only two ways to enter the home - a door or a window.

Tip 1: Secure the doors
Photo by Brian Lary
First and foremost, all exterior doors should be made of solid wood or metal. Hollow doors can be punched out.

The best locks to attach on the doors are deadbolt locks with a one inch bolt. Shorter bolts can be pried out of the door jamb.

The strike plate and the hinges are the keys to your doors not being forced open or kicked in. The strike plate and hinge screws should be long enough to reach the wall studs (usually, three to four inches).

This will help to protect the doors against a forced entry attack.

Tip 2: Secure the windows
All windows should be alarmed or have bolt locking devices attached. Window bolt locks can be purchased for under $20 at the large home improvement stores.

You can put a nail between the two sashes on double hung windows or put a block of wood in the window to keep them from being forced open.

Security bars are an option, but keep in mind one set should be installed inside the home and a child should be able to unlock them and get out in case of a fire.

Basement windows should be alarmed or changed over to glass block windows.

Tip 3: Watch for suspicious people
Burglars will always knock on your door before they break in. Watch for suspicious persons or cars and report them to 9-1-1 as soon as you are sure they are casing the neighborhood.

IMPORTANT: Your safety is law enforcement's first priority!

Thursday, March 03, 2016

Detroit launches assistance program for water bills

Today, the new Water Residential Assistance Program (WRAP) launches to provide multi-tiered financial assistance to residential customers.

The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department, as part of a regional program, offers an innovative assistance plan to help low-income residents pay water bills. The WRAP will provide qualifying customers at or below 150 percent of the federal poverty level ($36,450 for a household of four) with help in paying current and past due water bills.

WRAP is a Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA) regional program offered in several counties including Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb. The program is administered by the Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency in Detroit.Water Residential Assistance Program (WRAP) Flier

The WRAP Benefits for Eligible DWSD Customers Include:

  • A $25 monthly bill credit for 12 months ($300 total);
  • Freezing customer's past due balance upon entrance into the program;
  • Customers who successfully make their monthly payments for one year will receive an additional credit of up to $700 applied toward the past due amount;
  • Households in the program with water usage exceeding 20 percent of the average household water consumption in the city are eligible for a free home water conservation audit;
  • Based on the audit, participating program customers may receive up to an additional $1,000 for minor household plumbing repairs; and
  • Participants may continue in the program for up to 24 months but must reapply annually.

The WRAP will provide Detroit residents with approximately $1.5 million of the $4.5 million allocated for 126 municipalities in seven southeast Michigan counties.

“This is a game-changer for the region,” said Gary Brown, DWSD Director who helped negotiate the terms of the contract and who sits on the six-member regional water authority board. “It is a very robust, comprehensive program that addresses all the issues I’ve seen in the past that caused people to fall out of a plan.”

Justin Wedes agrees. "The WRAP is a step in the right direction for a department that is showing positive signs of reforming itself,” said Wedes, a community activist with Detroit Workers and Builders and a vocal critic of the water shutoff program in the past. “I'm optimistic that this additional assistance for many Detroiters coupled with much-needed debt relief and wraparound services like plumbing assistance will help DWSD towards the urgent goal of providing clean, affordable water to all of Detroit."

To apply for the WRAP, DWSD residential customers must make an appointment with Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency at 313-386-WRAP (9727) or www.waynemetro.org/wrap. DWSD Customer Care Centers will refer residents to Wayne Metro who are eligible for the WRAP. If you do not meet the qualifications, you may contact DWSD at 313-267-8000 or visit a Customer Care Center to discuss your options, including the 10/30/50 Payment Plan.

Sinkhole on Tireman

Fox 2 Detroit reports that a large sinkhole has opened on Tireman Street, near Greenfield Road, in the Warrendale neighborhood. Crews are working to repair it.

Motorists are advised to seek an alternate route.