Friday, October 18, 2019

Concert series comes to SS Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Warrendale

The Sacred and Spiritual Concert series will continue tomorrow with a concert of music for the organ and tenor. This event will happen at SS. Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Church (7685 Grandville Ave.) in Detroit’s Warrendale neighborhood on Saturday, October 19. The concert will begin at 6 p.m.

The organist for this concert will be Johnny Kash. He is the music director at SS. Peter and Paul Church in Detroit. He will be joined the accomplished tenor Matthew Moore.

This concert will be performed from the front of the church. A Viscount Digital Organ will be installed on the altar for this occasion.

There will also be a light reception prior to this concert, which is complimentary for all attendees. The evening will begin a celebration of Mass that will start at 4:30 p.m. The reception will last from the conclusion of Mass until the concert starts at 6 p.m.

I would like to add that even though this concert is happening in a Catholic Church and it is happening shortly after the celebration of a Catholic mass, one does not have to attend the religious service in order to attend either this concert or the reception that precedes it. The organizers understand that not everyone in Detroit is Roman Catholic.

There will not be an admission charged for this concert or for the light reception prior to it. All families and individuals in Detroit who enjoy classical and sacred music are invited to attend it.

This post is a part of the Warrendale Detroit Blog's semi-regular Friday Focus series. The series endeavors to highlight news, events, and opinions that, in the view of this blog's publisher, don't get as much attention from the news media as they deserve.

Please follow this blog on Facebook for more great content. I'm also on Twitter and Instagram as @fnemecek.

Thinking about Rimah Fakih

Rimah Fakih-Slaiby at Wrestlemania Fan Axxess - Photo by Simon Q/Flickr
I wrote a series of posts about Rimah Fakih back in 2010 after she became the first Muslim Miss USA as well as the first Miss USA from Michigan in almost 20 years. It seemed appropriate because she grew up only a couple of miles from the Warrendale neighborhood and was gaining national and international prominence.

If you're curious, you can see my five posts about her by clicking here to see them in the archives of this blog. I wrote four posts about her in 2010 and a fifth in December, 2015.

Even though I haven't written a word about Rimah Fakih in several years, Google Analytics tells me that a couple of people visit the Warrendale Detroit Blog every day after searching for her in one of the various internet search engines.

The same software package also tells me that the southern United States is the most common place for this traffic to come from. I don't know why southerners in particular are so fascinated by her. I find this part of the data to be mildly odd because I thought she would be more popular in the Midwest.

Anyway, since there are so many people who are coming to my blog looking for information about Rimah Fakih, I figure that I may as well give those individuals are few quick details. After all, I always aim to please by readers.

Since completing her time as Miss USA 2010, Rimah Fakih converted to Maronite Christianity in April of 2016. This, by the way, is a branch of the Eastern rite of the Catholic Church. Her conversion to Christianity happened shortly before her marriage to Wassim "Sal" Slaiby, who is a Lebanese-Canadian music producer and is also The Weeknd's manager.

The Weeknd even performed at their wedding. I imagine this to have been one of the coolest wedding performances of all time.

I mention Rimah Fakih's conversion to Christianity because Google Analytics again tells me that many of those searching for information about her include Muslim somewhere in their seach terms.

Rimah Fakih-Slaiby and her husband Sal currently have two children, a son and a daughter. The couple is also expecting their third child soon.

For those who are still interested in what's going on in her life, I recommend checking out Rimah Fakih-Slaiby's Instagram account.

Anyway, I wonder what weirdness I will discover as I continue to dig through the analytics data. To find that out, I suppose you will just have to subscribe to this blog by entering your email in the box at the top of this blog's righthand column or by adding it to your favorite RSS feed..

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Halloween coming to Rouge Park

Halloween - Illustration by Myriam Zilles
As previously reported on this blog, Detroit’s Halloween in the D program is coming to Rouge Park. Children across Warrendale and the surrounding neighborhoods are invited to the Brennan Pools Building (22340 Plymouth Rd.).

Volunteers will be on hand to help make sure that the youngest Detroiters have a spooky good time. Trick-or-treating will happen there from 5 - 8 p.m.

This, of course, leads directly to my second announcement that is related to Halloween in the D.

The nonprofit group Friends of Rouge Park is looking for volunteers to help make this event a safe and fun time for the children of Detroit. The more people who help out, the easier this will be on everyone. There are two different times next week when they will need people to help them with the Halloween program.

Volunteers are needed to help pack bags of candy for the children on Wednesday, October 23 from noon until approximately 5 p.m. Anyone who is willing and able to help should sign up via the link below and then come to the Brennan Pools Building that day.

The group will also need lots of help on Thursday, October for Halloween itself. From noon until 6 p.m., the group is looking to help with people who can help setting up for this event and staffing it. They will also need help that day with staffing this event and then breaking everything down later at night. This will needed from 4:30 - 10 p.m.

Anyone who is willing to volunteer to make Halloween in the D a safe and fun evening for the children of Detroit is asked to sign-up by clicking this link.

For more information, please contact Erica Hill, manager of special events and programming for Detroit’s Parks and Recreation Department. She can be reached at (313) 628-4203.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Warrendale gets ready for Halloween

Home decorated for Halloween - Photo by Frank Nemecek
Halloween is only 15 more days away. While I'm still not ready for it, I'm thrilled to see that so many of my neighbors in Warrendale certainly are.

I started to notice homes being decorated for Halloween a week or so ago. Every day since then, it seems like more and more homeowners in the Warrendale neighborhood of Detroit are getting in on the holiday swing.

This makes me happy. Detroit has gone through some really tough times in recent years. Seeing all of these homes decorated for Halloween gives me this feeling that we are returning to a general sense of normalcy.

Home decorated for Halloween - Photo by Frank Nemecek
Some people are going all out for their Halloween decorations. Others prefer a more minimalist approach to the season. No matter which approach any given homeowner takes,

Again, it makes me happy to see all of these homes decorated for Halloween.

In fact, it makes me happy enough that I am hereby proclaiming these decorated homes to be the Cool Warrendale Think of the Week for the week of October 16, 2019.

Keep it up, Detroiters.

The Cool Warrendale Thing of the Week is a semi-regular feature that is brought to your by the Warrendale (Detroit) Blog. Please check back every Wednesday glimpses into more of the things that make this such a great neighborhood.

Also, be sure to follow the author, Frank Nemecek, on Twitter and Instagram as @fnemecek for more great information.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Detroit seeks contractors

Guard services are one of the areas where the City of Detoit is seeking conractors - Photo by Ryan McGuire/Pixabay
The City of Detroit is looking for Detroit-based or Detroit-headquartered businesses to fill various roles in its chain of supply contractors. Each of these business selected would provide a certain service to the municipal government.

The City is specifically looking for local businesses that are able to provide guard services as well as

  • Ground maintaince services;
  • Janitorial/custodial services
  • Uniforms; and
  • Facilities management.
In order to attract as many Detroit-based and Detroit-headquarters businesses into their contracting process, the Office of Contracting & Procurment will host an information workshop tomorrow morning from 8 - 11 a.m. at the Adams Butzel Recreation Center (10500 Lyndon St.). This center is approximately five miles from the Warrendale neighborhood and is near Fenkell and Myers Rds.

During this meeting, representatives from the City of Detroit will discuss many elements about how to contract with the local government. They will discuss connection local businesses to resources, the pre-qualificatin process, BidSync, licensing, and performance expectations. They will explore how how local business owners can certify their business with the City of Detroit.

This event is presented by Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones, Council Member Janee Ayers, and Council Member Gabe Leland. Leland, of course, represents the 7th District on the City Council, which includes the Warrendale and surrounding neighborhoods. Jones and Ayers were elected on a citywide basis to represent everyone.

Detroit-based and Detroit-headquartered business who would like to take advantge of this opportunity are asked to confirm their attendance via this page on Eventbrite.

Anyone with questions about this workshop is asked to contact Yolanda Gaines by emailling gainesy [at] detroitmi [dot] gov or by calling her at (313) 224-3595.

Detroit Pistons fans can win a new Jeep

2020 Jeep Gladiator Rubicon - Photo by FCA US LLC
Detroiters will have a chance to experience the new Jeep Gladiator Rubicon at five upcoming Detroit Pistons home games. This will include a complementary gift as well as a chance to win $70,000 towards the purchase of a new Jeep.

The first of these five events will be on Thursday, October 24 when Blake Griffin, Andre Drummond, and the Detroit Pistons will host John Collins, Trae Young, and the Atlanta Hawks.

Fans will be able to experience the all-new 2020 Jeep Gladiator Rubicon, the most off-road-capable mid-size pick up ever, at five Detroit Pistons home games during the 2019-2020 season. Also, at the Jeep brand space near the Meijer entrance, they will be able to speak to an experienced product specialist and enter to win autographed Detroit Pistons merchandise while supplies last.

Detroiters who complete a vehicle tour and visit the Jeep brand space will receive a complimentary gift while supplies last and enter for a chance to win the 2019 FCA US LLC Sweepstakes where one grand prize winner will receive a vehicle credit in the amount of $70,000 valid toward the winner’s choice of an FCA US LLC vehicle from the Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram Truck or Fiat brands.

After next Thursday, the next time when fans will have this opportunity will be on December 1 when the Detroit Pistons take on Nikola Vucevic, Aaron Gordon, Terrance Ross, and the Orlando Magic at the Little Caesars Arena followed by:

  • Marques Bolden, Kevin Love, and the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday, January 9, 2020;
  • R.J. Barrett, Julius Randale, and the New York Knicks on Saturday, February 8, 2020; and
  • Klay Thompson, D’Angelo Russell, Draymond Green, Stephen Curry, and the Golden State Warriors on Saturday, March 22, 2020.

Promotions like this, of course, are only one of the main reasons for fans to go watch the Detroit Pistons at Little Caesars Arena. The main, of course, is always some Detroit basketball.

Go Pistons!

Monday, October 14, 2019

Detroit introduces a plan to cut the number of home foreclosures

An Anmerican Home - Stock photo by Pexels
Wayne County Executive Warren C. Evans, Mayor Mike Duggan, and Wayne County Treasurer Eric Sabree called on the Michigan Legislature to implement a sweeping new approach to assist tens of thousands of Detroiters and Wayne County residents who owe back property taxes avoid foreclosure. The plan builds on steps the City and County have already taken to reduce occupied home foreclosures by 94% since 2015.

Michigan State Representative Wendall Byrd (D-3) has introduced legislation that will facilitate this proposal. They call this proposal to minimize foreclosures Pay As You Stay or PAYS. This proposal aims to reduce tax foreclosure for Detroit homeowners who live in poverty and who are struggling to make payments.

According to data from the City of Detroit, this plan would help approximately 31,000 homeowners stay in their homes by dramatically reducing the amount they owe on their back taxes and lowering their monthly payments.

This payment plan is available to all those eligible for the poverty tax and disabled veteran exemptions. It will remove interest, penalties, and fees so only back taxes or 10% of taxable value is owed whichever is less. This will include any past due balance on the City of Detroit’s solid waste fees.

Pay As You Stay is a simple, three-part plan:
  1. Once you enroll, all interest, penalties and fees would be eliminated;
  2. To reduce an undue burden on homeowners, the balance due would be limited to back taxes only or 10% of a home’s taxable value – whichever is less; and
  3. The remaining balance would be paid back over three years at zero percent interest.
Homeowners who qualify for a full or partial Property Tax Exemption and enroll in future years would be eligible for the program. To be PTE-eligible, a household with 1 person could not make more than $19,303 per year; a household with 4 people could not make more than $28,671.

“Since 2015, we’ve been able to reduce the number of occupied foreclosures by 94%, but far too many Detroiters still are at risk of foreclosure,” said Mayor Mike Duggan. “Pay As You Stay would help more than 31,000 Detroit homeowners stay in their homes by eliminating interest, penalties and fees and making payment plans affordable for those who need them.”

Detroit City Council Member Janee Ayers added in a statement on Facebook, “Our city can only thrive if we work with our most vulnerable residents who have stayed here through the hardest times.”

More information about this Pay As You Stay proposal is available on the City of Detroit's website.

The Warrendale Detriot Blog will continue to follow this story as it develops and the PAYS legislation moves throught the Michigan Hosue of Representatives.

Vacation homes: How to transform your home into a destination

Venice Beach - Photo by David Mark
Vacation homes can be great investments, but they can also be a lot of work to maintain. That’s why it’s so important to make sure you understand the ins and outs of turning your home into a getaway before you make any decisions. Whether you want to create a space solely for renters or simply turn your home into a beautiful stopover for travelers a few months out of the year, it’s crucial to think about how to make the most of what you have and how to save money when it comes to updating and upgrading.

Many homeowners don’t realize that you don’t have to spend a ton of money to transform a home into a gorgeous getaway. If your house already has good bones, it’s possible to make some simple, DIY updates and fill the space with little luxuries, such as soft bedding and a stocked kitchen. It’s often the little things that help a visitor feel at home, and this will help you keep costs down as you go.

Keep reading for some great tips on how to turn your home into a vacation spot anyone would love.

Keep location front and center
The location of your vacation home will depend on many factors; some homeowners want to transform a property they already own into a rental, while others are on the lookout for a place to transform from scratch. No matter what your plans are for your vacation home, keep the location in mind first and foremost, since this is crucial when it comes to figuring out what kind of investment you should make.

When choosing a location for your home, you need to take into account how you’ll manage your vacation rental. If your vacation home is a long way from your current home, your best bet will be hiring a rental management company to handle any day-to-day issues. In addition to providing local support, a property manager can handle housekeeping services and online booking for your guests.

Work out the financials
One of the most difficult parts of owning a home is working out the financial end of things, and when you’re going to be renting out the space, you need to make sure that you’ll get a nice return on your investment. That’s why it’s crucial to keep track of your spending and to plan carefully when it comes to what sorts of upgrades you should add. For example, a hot tub can be a great addition to some homes, but it may not guarantee as many renters as adding extra beds or updating the kitchen appliances will.

Don’t forget the details
Sometimes, it’s the little things that make a big impression. For renters who want to have a home-away-from-home while they’re on vacation, turning each room into a comfortable living space will be crucial. Keep in mind that if you’re transforming your own home into a rental, it will be a good idea to take down personal photos and decor to make the rooms more neutral, the same as you would if you were trying to sell your home. You can also add some curb appeal by painting the front door, sprucing up the mailbox, and adding some flowers or shrubs to the front yard.

Add some security
When someone rents your home as a place to stay during their vacation, they want to feel safe and secure while their family relaxes. This means you should look at different security system models, price them, and research the neighborhood to find out how common crime is in the area and what other homeowners use to protect their property. Think, too, about how you’ll keep everything safe when you can’t be there yourself, especially if your year-round home isn’t close by.

Vacation homes can take a lot of work to set up and maintain, but if you have the means and are ready to tackle it all, turning your house into a vacation getaway can also be a wonderful investment that gives you the ability to earn extra money throughout the year. By making thoughtful decisions, you can ensure that the process goes smoothly, and that you and your family are set up with a source of income for a long time.

These tips are brought to you by the Warrendale (Detroit) Blog as part of our semi-regular Tip of the Week feature. Please check back every Monday for more advice on your home, money, and life.

Also, be sure to follow the author, Frank Nemecek, on Twitter and Instagram as @fnemecek for more great information.

Review: Wonderland

I've always like it when modern authors are able to put their own unique spin on classic characters. This is why I was excited when Wonderland hit bookstores a couple of weeks ago. This book is an anthology of works that were inspired by Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, edited by Marie O'Regan and Paul Kane.

There is a total of 19 short stories in this 363-page book. Each one offering their own very unique down the rabbit hole or through the looking glass. O'Regan and Kane did a very good job, in my opinion, of keeping enough of Lewis Carroll's imagination to keep the characters and scenses recognizable while still allowing the various writers to introduce their own interpretation.

Theses 19 adventures through one's imagination range from horror to historical. While the original novel from 1865 was largely intended for children, this anthology is written with adult readers in mind. On the back cover, for example, there is promise that the authors will take readers from the nightmarish reaches of their imagination and beyond with tales that will shock, surprise, and tug at one's heartstrings.

The one criticism that I have of this collection is that, in my opinion, it draws a bit too much from the nightmarish horror genre and doesn't quite keep enough of the original child-like innocence of Carroll's 19th century creation. However, since this book does come out rather close to Halloween, i suppose that one should overlook this fact.

Even if one has never read Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, the basic story is so widely engrained in Western culture that I believe anyone could enjoy the collection that O'Regan and Kane put together regardless of whether or not one has reader the original work. This, of course, is one more thing that I like about these stories - they draw on a mythos that is widely understood yet instill within it each other's particular take on it.

Wonderland, an anthology edited by Marie O'Regan and Paul Kane, is currently available at, Barnes & Nobel, and in fine bookstores everywhere.

Remembering the hoarder who came to Warrendale

Reflecting on Detroit - Photo by Garrett Lee Davis/Pixabay
Detroit is a city where every block is filled with memories; filled so thick at times that one doesn’t need to have ever lived or even visited here in order to sense their lingering presence. This now vacant lot on Artesian Street is one of those memories for me.

For several years, the house that was once on this lot only a few hundred feet north of the border between the cities of Dearborn and Detroit was an exceptional eyesore. The gentleman who lived there was both a squatter and a hoarder.

He clearly had mental health issues. The Warrendale Community Organization, the City of Detroit, and others all tried to get him some type of counselling.

Photo by DeeDee86/Pixabay
This individual, who I will call by the obvious pseudonym of Henry T. Hoarder, had no interest in any type of therapy. He simply wanted to be left alone with the trash that he collected.

The fact that his collection of scrap lumber, twisted metal, and odd pieces of plastic attracted rats and other vermin was of no concern to him. The rats, he figured, didn’t bother him or his treasured collection of trash. It seemed obvious to him, therefore, that he shouldn’t bother them.

The fact that he didn’t own this home in Detroit and wasn’t paying any property taxes was of even less concern to Henry still.

Every week that went by, more and more junk was accumulated around this Detroit property. It wasn’t long before one couldn’t even see Henry’s house from the street. All that was there was the mountains of trash that he collected.

Neighbors asked him to at least move everything inside the house that he was squatting in. He replied that he couldn’t do that. He had too much other stuff that he was hoarding that no more could fit inside.

Photo by Ania Klara
As the weeks dragged on, it was collectively decided by the powers that be that they would leave Henry alone for a little while. Winter was fast approaching and the thinking at the time was that, since this home had neither gas nor electricity, the cold would drive Henry from this property faster than the Detroit Police Department could and with less risk of anyone getting hurt in the process.

I still don’t know how Henry did it but he made it through the winter. I know that he didn’t burn any of the trash he was hoarding. This trash was, after all, much too important for him to burn even if the alternative was freezing.

As warm weather returned to Detroit, Henry’s collection continued to get larger and larger. He promised repeatedly that he would do something to contain it but he never did. Instead, Henry’s hoard of trash would soon begin to spill over into the adjacent lots of his neighbors.

The weather continued to get hotter that summer and so did tempers at the southern end of the Warrendale neighborhood. Henry’s hoarding was only getting worse and this expanding raft of refuse was causing ever increasing problems. Neighbors no longer had to worry about the hoarder’s trash being an eyesore next door. It was a problem that had spilled, rats and all, into their own yards.

Henry T. Hoarder was eventually evicted from the house on Artesian Street that he was squatting in. I shudder to think, though, how many truckloads of trash the City of Detroit must have hauled away from that house.

Once Henry and his collection were removed, the house returned to its vacant state - a condition that it would remain in for another year or two as the city of Detroit continued to work its way forward after bankruptcy.

Eventually, the neglect reach a point where it was determined that this once sturdy house had become structurally unsound. It was demolished a couple of weeks ago. All that remains of Henry T. Hoarder’s life in Warrendale is a vacant plot of land and some memories.

The lot where the hoarding house one stood - Photo by Frank Nemecek

Friday, October 11, 2019

Review - Hex Life: Wicked New Tales of Witchery

A new compilation of short dark fantasy or paranormal stories about witches and witchcraft has hit bookstores in time for Halloween. This anthology is called Hex Life: Wicked New Tales of Witchery. The book features 18 original stories of wickedness, evil, and cunning.

Each of the all-women authors who contributed stories to this book is a bestselling fantasy author. Kat Howard, for example, has a brilliant story in it called “An Invitation to a Burning.” Howard, of course, previously wrote a novel entitled An Unkindness of Magicians, which NPR named as the best book of 2017 and won the Alex Award in 2018. Her collection of short stories, A Cathedral of Myth and Bone was nominated for the World Fantasy Award.

The witches in these 18 stories might be monstrous or they might be heroes depend on their own definitions. Even the kind hostess with the candy cottage in a legendary fairy tale thought of herself as a heroine. After all, she no doubt reasoned, a woman has got to eat.

My personal favorite story in this book was the spooky yet thrilling “How to Become a Witch-Queen” by Theodora Goss. As I read it, I was impressed by how it walked the line between reality and imagination. It’s no wonder why she has been nominated for almost every major award in science-fiction including the Nebula, Locus, Mythopoeic, World Fantasy, and Seiun Awards.

Hex Life was edited by Christopher Golden and Rachel Autumn Deering. Golden is prolific author of science-fiction and fantasy. His previous work includes editing the horror anthology Dark Cities as well as co-authoring Ghosts of Albion, Hidden Cities, and The Secret Journeys of Jack London.

Deering not only co-edits this volume with Golden, she also wrote a story in it entitled “Where Relics Go to Dream and Die”. Her previous work has been nominated for the Eisner and Harvey Awards.

The remaining 15 authors and their respective stores are “Widows Walk” by Angela Slatter as well as:
  • “Black Magic Momma: An Otherworld Story” by Kelley Armstrong;
  • "The Night Nurse” by Sarah Langan;
  • "The Memories of Trees” by Mary SanGiovanni;
  • “Home: A Morganville Vampires Story” by Rachel Caine;
  • “The Deer Wife” by Jennifer McMahon;
  • “The Dancer” by Kristin Dearborn;
  • “Bless Your Heart” by Hillary Monahan;
  • "The Debt” by Ania Ahiborn;
  • “Toil and Trouble: A Dark-Hunter Hellchaser Story” by Sherrilyn Kenyon and Madaug Kenyon;
  • “Last Stop on Route Nine” by Tananarive Due;
  • “This Skin” by Amber Benson;
  • “Haint Me Too” by Chesya Burke;
  • “The Nekrolog” by Helen Marshall; and
  • “Gold Among the Black” by Alma Katsu.
Hex Life is an impressive 400 pages of short dark fantasy or paranormal stories. The witches in it will undoubtedly keep you sufficiently spooked out until Halloween is behind us.

Hex Life: Wicked Tales of Witchery is currently available online from and at fine booksellers everywhere.

This review is bought to you by the Warrendale Detroit Blog. By clicking on any of the links above to purchase a book, you help us keep our journalistic focus on the Warrendale and surrounding neighborhoods.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Friends of Rouge Park to meet this Tuesday

Friends of Rouge Park - Photo by Frank Nemecek
The nonprofit advocacy and service group Friends of Rouge Park will have a general membership meeting this coming Tuesday, October 15. It will start at 7 pm in the Westside Christian Academy (9540 Bramell St.) in Detroit.

Items likely to be on their agenda include the cleanup of the park's bike trail that members of RAI did earlier this month as well as:

  • Upcoming tree planting on Saturday, November 2;
  • Upcoming community conversation meeting next month; and
  • Additional updates and discussion of Rouge Park.
Anyone who is interested in makig the largest park in Detroit an even better place is welcome to attend.

Michigan has one of the lowest rates of uninsured residents

Lighthouse in Manisteque, Michigan - Photo by David Mark/Pixabay
There is some good news on the healthcare front for those of us in the Detroit area.

According to a new report from the online financial service WalletHub, Michigan has one of the lowest rates of uninsured residents of any state. 5.41% of residents in the Great Lakes State currently lack health insurance. This is in contrasts to 8.5% of all Americans, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

This means that Michigan ranks in ninth place on the list of states with the lowest percentage of uninsured residents. Only Massachusetts, Vermont, Hawaii, Rhode Island, Minnesota, Iowa, Connecticut, and New York have a smaller percentage of residents who lack health insurance.

In addition to that bit of good news, there is also the fact that Rochester Hills – a northern suburb of Detroit – has one of the lowest uninsured rates of any city in the United States. A mere 1.979% of its residents lack health insurance, which gives it the ninth best ranking of any city in the United States. The cities of Livonia, Ann Arbor, and Troy also each had uninsured rates that are dramatically better than the national average.

Looking at the inner city, Detroit is also better than average for large cities. 7.79% of all Detroiters currently lack some form of health insurance and only 4.23% of children in the city are uninsured.
The one bit of disappointing news is that 9.397% of adults in the city of Detroit currently lack health insurance.

There is no data readily available that shows how the Warrendale neighborhood compares with the rest of Detroit. However, on an anedotal basis, it would appear that it is at least somewhat better than other parts of the city.

Wednesday, October 09, 2019

Rouge River in Detroit caught fire 50 years ago today

Fire - Phote by Hans Braxmeier
It was 50 years ago today, on October 9, 1969, when a spark from an acetylene torch lit some debris along the Rouge River in Detroit. From there, flames spread quickly to the surface of the river.

Back then, the Rouge River regularily ran thick with industrial waste just like other bodies of water did in the Detroit area. Within seconds of the initial spark, the Rouge Rive was soon on fire.

Flames shot 50 feet into the air, according to some observers at the time. News reports from the era tell us that It took a total of 65 firefighters and ten pieces of firefighting equipment to extinquish the blazes on the Rouge River.

The Rouge River has come a long way since that day 50 years ago. Changes in environmental regualtions have made it so that it's no longer acceptable to dump industrial waste into our rivers. This has done much to make our rives a safe habitat for fish and birds and to make them a place that humans can enjoy as well.

Plus, in the intervening decades, the Rouge River has not caught fire one.

Regardless, I believe it's important for Detroiters to take a moment to remember the day when the Rouge River caught fire.

Best time to sell your home in Detroit

House for sale in Detroit - Photo by T. Koch/Pixabay
Navigating the housing market can be tricky and so much of it depends on timing. Knowing when you should list your home can mean the difference between making a significant profit or simply getting out the door - and often that timing changes on a dime. With a little research and some time on your side, you can determine the best time to sell in Detroit, MI.

One size doesn’t fit all
A quick internet search will bring up generalized suggestions for selling from top real estate agents around the country. The general consensus of when the best time to sell your home is appears to be spring, or more specifically, March. Let’s take a moment and consider the weather in Detroit, MI in March.

I’m sure that shuffling around looking at prospective homes in slush doesn’t top your list of favorite things to do, which is why a “one size fits all” approach to listing your home isn’t ideal. With the market dependent upon things like weather, temperature, and hours of daylight, March is not a good time to sell in Detroit, unless you’re okay with having your home sit on the market for a bit.

Best time for you and your family
What’s motivating your move? Are you relocating, downsizing, upgrading? These factors will help determine the best time for you to sell your home. Be aware of the amount of time involved in getting your home ready to list and then the time you’ll need to have your home in show-ready condition before you receive an offer. If you’re in the middle of an insanely busy time at work and you’re not pressed for time to relocate, consider holding off until you have the time to devote to prepping your home for sale.

Best time to sell quickly in Detroit, MI
Let’s be honest, no one wants their home to sit on the market, especially when a job relocation sets the clock ticking. The longer a house sits on the market, the more likely the selling price will plummet (and the opposite is true -- houses that sell fast typically sell at or over asking price). The best time to sell in Detroit, MI -- and to sell quickly -- is June. Be aware that June is the ideal closing date and that the average time it takes, from listing to closing, is three months. In this case, you want to be prepared to list your home in March to sell in June.

Best time to sell for a profit in Detroit
If time is on your side and you’re in a rush to sell your home, consider timing your sale for the most profitable time of the year. This will be especially helpful if you’re upgrading your home on your timeframe.

You could potentially make 20% more off of the sale of your home if you sell your Detroit, MI home in July. The sun’s shining, the temperatures are nice and warm -- people are happy and ready to buy, especially those families with school-aged kids. So, if you want to make more money from the sale of your home, you want to look at listing in April for a July settlement.

While the best time to sell in Detroit will differ slightly, depending on your situation and goals, it’s best to work directly with a top agent in your area to determine the timing. However, if time is on your side, you’d be better served by taking the time to get your house prepped for listing and researching the best agent for you.

Tuesday, October 08, 2019

Halloween in the D

Detroit is gearing up for a spooky and fun Halloween, Mayor Mike Duggan outlined in his announcement last week at the 8th Police Precinct, which services the Warrendale neighborhood. The Department of Neighborhoods is the lead agency for making this happen. However, there will be a variety of partners supporting these programs.

In and around the Warrendale neighborhood, Rouge Park will be transformed into a Haunted Park for visitors on Thursday, October 31. D-DOT will also bring back its popular Haunted Bus There will also be Trick Or Treating at police stations, fire houses, and recreation centers across Detroit.

More information about Halloween in the D activites is available in the video embedded above.

Monday, October 07, 2019

Review - Blood Sugar

New York Times-bestselling author Daniel Kraus has a new novel hitting stores tomorrow. This novel, in my opinion, is the perfect Halloween crime story. It's smart, sexy, and a heck of a lot of fun to read.

Blood Sugar starts in a ruined house where an angry outcast hatches a scheme to extract vengeance upon his community for a lengthy list of wrongs committed against him. With the help of three equally alienated children, our villain intends to poison, maim, or kill every child in his neighborhood on Halloween night.

I like the fact that Kraus used one of the children to act as his narrator in this novel. Imagining that much pure evil from the perspective of one of the supporting characters enabled me to imagine both the horrifying madness of our villain and the complexities that enabled him to recruit his young co-conspirators.

Prior to writing this piece, Kraus worked with Guillermo del Torro to co-author The Shape of Water in 2018. While Blood Sugar deals with a very different subject matter than his previous project, there can no denying that the ink flowing through Kraus's veins is just as powerful today as it ever was.

Megan Abbott, who wrote Give Me Your Hand and The End of Everything amongst other great novels described Blood Sugar as, "a twisted little miracle with a sneaking, beating heart."

On a related note, I know now why Abbott is acclaimed by so many critics. She packed more of a punch into her nine word description than many critics could produce in a dozen reviews.

Anyway, back to Blood Sugar.

I recommend this book for anyone who loves a powerful thriller or a crime drama. The fact that this novel comes out so close to Halloween - a holiday that figures prominent in this story - makes everything that much better, in my opinon.

Blood Sugar by Daniel Kraus goes on sale tomorrow. It's currently avaiable for presale on and at booksellers everywhere.

Rouge Park offers 2 for 1 golf special for Detroit residents

Golf - Stock hoto by C. Flark
From now until October 13, residents of Detroit can enjoy 2 for 1 golfing at the Rouge Park Golf Course (11701 Burt Rd.). This offer is valid anytime except weekends before noon and includes both cart and green fees.

This is a great opportunity to explore the Rouge Park Golf Course, which is one of the great underappreciated gems of the Warrendale area and Detroit as a whole. There is also a similar deal at Chandler Park Golf Course for eastside neighbors.

In order to collect on this offer, Detroiters will have to present their drivers license or government-issued identification to confirm their residency. Only one of the two golfers needs to be a city resident for both to enjoy this 2 for 1 special.

For those who don't live in the city of Detroit, don't worry. The Rouge Park Golf Course has you covered as well. There is a $5 off coupon that is available on their website for our suburban neighbors.

Golfers can reserve their tee time by visiting this website. When you get to the course, please be sure to mention that you heard about this from the Warrendale Detroit Blog.

Now that there's this 2 for 1 special going on, I suppose this means all that's left for me to do is to somehow convince Paige Spiranac to join me on this golf outing.

I know it's an incredible long shot for me to convice Paige Spiranac to join me on a golf outing. However, she has retired from professional golf and she did say how much she enjoyed visiting Detroit this past summer.

I know, long shot but a man can dream. Until then, I still have my discount on cart and green fees.

Friday, October 04, 2019

Jones to host Infinite Scholars Fair in Detroit

Council President Brenda Jones at a Warrendale meeting - Photo by Frank Nemecek
On Thursday, October 10, City Council President Brenda Jones will host the 3rd annual Infinite Scholars Fair in Detroit. This event will happen from 4 - 8 p.m. in Shed 3 at Eastern Market (2934 Russell St.) and will feature representatives from more than 40 colleges. Some of these schools will offer on-site acceptance for students as well as an onsite scholarship awards.

At the event last year, Detroit students were awarded more than $11 million is scholarships onsite.

The Infinite Scholars Fair is focused on students who are currently in the 12th grade. Those in the 9th through 11th grades, however, will still be welcomed. Students should bring up to 20 packets with them containing a copy of the transcript, ACT/SAT scores, recommendation letters, an essay on why they want to attend college, and a resume.

There is no cost to attend this event in Detroit. Regardless, interested students are still asked to RSVP online.

Update @ 5:17 p.m.
On the subject of preparing for college, I believe students should consider the question of safety when selecting a collee or university.

It was fortuidous, therefore, that a representative from reached out to me today. They released a study on the Safest Cities for College Students to determine the safest colleges nationally and in each state. The rankings were determined using the most recent data from the U.S. Department of Justice, FBI, and U.S. Department of Education from colleges with at least 10,000 students in nearly 150 U.S. cities through 2017.

Western Michigan University was ranked as the least safe college or university in the Great Lakes State. In contrast, Lansing Community College was shown to be the safest. The full report is available online here.

My rant about publicists

WTF cat - Image from somewhere deep in the bowels of the Internet
I feel a need to rant about something related to this blog. To be specific, I feel a need to talk about publicists.

The Warrendale Detroit Blog has gained a reputation an influential social media site over the past 14 years. As a result, I receive multiple emails from one publicist or another pretty much every day who is looking for me to cover one thing or another for them.

These requests or pitches from publicists in the Detroit area as well as nationally and even internationally from time to time. Most of these contacts are professional and are appreciated, even if I don't always feel like they are the best fit for this blog.

However, I was contacted by two publicists today who possessed a level of dumbassitude that was simply on another level.

I had to tell one particular publicist this afternoon that the Warrendale Detroit Blog does not normally cover community events in Chula Vista, California. I suppose if it were a big enough story that Detroiters would be interested in it, I might cover it. However, a community health fair that is held more than 2,300 miles away does not even come close to meeting such a threshold.

This, by the way, was right after having to tell a different publicist from New York that Detroit, Michigan and Des Moines, Iowa are not in the same time zone. Not. Even. Close.

Anyway, I mention all of this purely in hope that others will see the comedy in this stupidity.

Wednesday, October 02, 2019

German Shepard goes missing in Warrendale

Joe - Family photo
A male German Shepard dog by the name of Joe was reported missing in Warrendale recently. He was last seen in the vicinity of W. Warren Ave. and the Southfield Freeway.

Anyone who has seen Joe or has information about his current whereabouts is asked to call (248) 747-2780. His family is offering a cash reward for the safe return of Joe.

Orthodontist holds screening day and donate $300,000 in braces for kids in need

Dr. Jamie Reynolds of Spillane and Reynolds Orthodontics, with offices in Novi and Rochester, Michigan, is donating braces to kids in his community through the nonprofit Smiles Change Lives.  On October 5, 2019, he will be holding a screening day to screen all the children in the Detroit area that are waiting to receive braces through this nonprofit program.

Smiles Change Lives is a national nonprofit that helps kids get braces who could not otherwise afford them. On average, braces cost $6,000 per child, making them out of reach for many hard working families. Further, orthodontic treatment has long been considered cosmetic by insurance companies, providing little assistance, even for those that are insured. As a result, many children and teens suffer unnecessary discomfort and embarrassment from their misaligned teeth. Smiles Change Lives’ mission is to provide these families with the opportunity to provide their children with braces through its network of more than 800 volunteer orthodontists in the United States and Canada.

Dr. Reynolds has been treating kids through Smiles Change Lives since 2016. This is not the first time he has gone above and beyond to help kids in his community. On average, Dr. Reynolds donates orthodontic treatment to 8 kids per year through Smiles Change Lives.  With approximately 100 kids on the waiting list to be treated through the Smiles Change Lives program, Dr. Reynolds has committed to help clear out the wait list by agreeing to treat at least 50 qualified children, which is approximately $300,000 in donated services.

“The demand for our program in the greater Detroit area has far exceeded the number of orthodontists we have in our network,” stated Alexis Barclay, director of provider services for Smiles Change Lives. “Dr. Reynold’s dedication to treat at least 50 of the children waiting to receive braces is truly life changing for these kids.”

In the words of a mother whose daughter recently completed treatment, “On behalf of myself and daughter, please accept our deepest thanks for a life changing experience for my daughter. She smiles all the time now and has a sense of confidence I've never seen before. To everyone responsible, please know that you have helped another child regain a huge part of herself back. She may go on to change the world in a better way now; just like Smiles Change Lives did for her.”

To qualify for the program, a child must be between the ages of 7-21, have good oral hygiene, not be wearing braces currently, have a moderate to severe need for braces, and meet certain financial guidelines (e.g., for a family of 4, their household income must be below $61,500, however household income limit varies based upon family size; the financial requirement is waived for children in foster care). The family must also be willing to submit an application fee of $30, and if accepted for treatment, a program fee of $650.  The full program guidelines can be reviewed at Families interested in the event should contact info [at] smileschangelives [dot] org to learn more.

To date, Smiles Change Lives and its network of orthodontists have helped more than 13,000 kids receive braces in the United States and Canada.

Tuesday, October 01, 2019

Community meeting next Wednesday

Home in Warrendale - Photo by Frank Nemecek
The City of Detroit will host the community meeting for District 7 next Wednesday, October 9. This event will take place in the Adam Butzel Recreation Center (10500 Lyndon St.) from 6 - 8 p.m. District 7, of course, is the section of Detroit that includes Warrendale and its surrounding neighborhoods.

Items on the agenda for this meeting include the Detroit Water & Sewage Department as well as Halloween in the D. Representatives from all of the other departments in city government will also be on hand. This is an excellent opportunity for residents to express any concerns about city city services because the people you need to talk to will be right there.

I look forward to seeing lots of Warrendale residents at this meeting on Wednesday, October 9.

Vote for me

The Roswell Chronicles - Novel by Frank Nemecek
I have a favor to ask of everyone.

Besides this blog, I also wrote a science-fiction novel entitled The Roswell Chronicles. My book, as it turns out, has been nominated in the Cover of the Month contest.

Would everyone who enjoys my blog please take a moment to click this link and vote for my novel in this contest?

Thank you, everyone! I appreciate your support.

October is Liver Awareness Month

Peter Ganucheau - Press photo
October is Liver Awareness Month, which is the month created by the American Liver Foundation to raise awareness about liver health. More than 30 million Americans have some form of liver disease

This October an Alabama transplant family is thrilled to be celebrating their son’s now healthy liver and his second chance at life. Brigitte and Adam Ganucheau of Mobile, Alabama, who were parents of three boys, were excited to find out they were pregnant with their fourth child. Brigitte shares this memory.

Peter Ganucheau was born in July 2016. The pregnancy and birth had no major issues, Brigitte and Adam were thrilled to bring him home and start their new life as a family of six. They did notice, however, that Peter was a little jaundiced but they thought it would clear up with some sunshine.

At Peter’s two-month checkup the family’s pediatrician was concerned about his jaundice and distended stomach so she sent them to the University of South Alabama Children and Women’s Hospital for blood work. After multiple days of testing to rule out a number of possible causes for the jaundice and distended stomach, Peter was diagnosed with biliary atresia.

Biliary atresia is a rare liver disease that impacts one in every 12,000 children. Patients are born with this disease and doctors do not know what causes it. Peter underwent his first round of surgery in September 2016.

“Even though at first we were encouraged that our baby’s jaundice was slowly clearing up," Brigetter explain, "it became apparent the surgery was not as successful as hoped. The reality was that a liver transplant was our only hope to save Peter’s life and he would need a new liver very soon.”

In December 2016, Peter and Brigitte travelled nearly 550 miles to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston while Dad and Ganucheau boys John Paul, Luke, and Kolbe remained at home in Mobile.

Peter was listed for a new liver at the end of December 2016. It was decided Brigitte would remain in Atlanta while Adam and Peter’s brothers would stay at home in Mobile. Brigitte said, “It was a challenging time for our family and our marriage.”

During these days, Brigitte journaled and shared the following with their friends and family, “The doctor has told us Peter is listed and eligible to receive a partial or whole liver. We are simply waiting for a match. Transplant can truly happen at any time. The surgery itself could take up to 10 hours and we are praying a match will present itself soon.”

The family relied on FaceTime and text messaging to stay in touch. Regardless, Brigitte desperately wanted to be home in Mobile and to be Mom to their four boys. Adam’s work in ministry was in a very busy time during January and February so he was struggling to keep his work, their home and the boys’ lives held together. With the help of supportive friends and family, Adam was able to make short visits to Atlanta.

It quickly became apparent to Adam and Brigitte that transplant-related expenses were going to be staggering, including the family’s travel expenses, Atlanta lodging and living expenses and Peter’s inpatient stay with no real idea of when a new liver would be available. A transplant social worker at Egleston suggested Brigitte reach out to the Children’s Organ Transplant Association to learn more about fundraising for transplant-related expenses.

COTA uniquely understands that parents who care for a child or young adult before, during and after a life-saving transplant have enough to deal with so their model shifts the responsibility for fundraising to a community team of trained volunteers. This group of family members and friends, quickly got to work organizing fundraisers to help with mounting transplant-related expenses.

“Once the COTA fundraising began the overwhelming outpouring of support provided our family so much hope,” Brigitte added. “So many people hundreds of miles away back home were making gifts to COTA and were attending fundraising events. It was truly difficult to not have hope once we learned how many people cared about Peter and about our entire family.”

Brigitte regularly journaled throughout January to share Peter updates with the many friends and family members who were hours away and wanted to read about Peter and Brigitte’s days in Atlanta. On January 12th Brigitte wrote, “Peter is becoming increasingly more uncomfortable every day … his breathing is more labored and he is not his usual happy self. His stomach is extremely distended because his liver and spleen are extremely swollen. Our little boy has been such a fighter. We hope the right liver makes its way to us soon.”

On January 16th she wrote, “Adam is on his way back to Mobile. Peter and I were very sad to see him go, but we had a great weekend together. Thank you again for all the prayers and for anyone who has made a donation to COTA in Peter’s honor … we are beyond blessed to have the love and support of so many people.”

On January 21st, “Doctors have come by today and still no liver. Today is going to be a dreary day. It has started thundering and lightning here so we do not have our walk outside to look forward to. No good news. No bad news. Just blah.”

Just when it seemed like Peter would be on the liver waiting list forever and their family would be separated by hundreds of miles, Brigitte received word that a new liver was available for Peter. Arrangements were made for Adam to fly to Atlanta so he could be with Brigitte throughout the transplant surgery.

On February 2, 2017, Peter received a whole organ that immediately began working correctly. His jaundice vanished overnight and he started on the road to recovery from liver disease. Peter remained in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Egleston for a few days and was then moved to the transplant floor. Eventually he and Brigitte were relocated to the Ronald McDonald House so they were close for blood work, tests and checkups.

In late February, coinciding with a school break for Mardi Gras, Adam and Peter’s brothers traveled to Atlanta and the family of six was together for the first time since Christmas. Adam and the boys returned home to Mobile, and Brigitte and Peter followed just a few days later. Once home Brigitte and Peter have periodically returned to Atlanta for clinic visits. After more time had passed Peter’s blood work was drawn in Mobile and shared with the Atlanta team to keep some of the travel to a minimum.

Brigitte recalls these days with gratitude. She wrote, “We knew we were not out of the woods yet. Every little ear infection or fever can be a cause for concern. With a compromised immune system, Peter is more susceptible to other illnesses and allergies. However, after the long journeys we have travelled … we are confident we can handle things like a dairy allergy or a double ear infection.”

One year post-transplant, Adam looked back and journaled on COTA’s Team Peter G website. “This year has certainly had some ups and downs. To celebrate finally coming home, to be present at family functions, to even just see him on his first birthday … but the nervousness of any little virus or infection, to navigating the maze of medical care and medicines, even this week going to the Emergency Room for a high fever. Life with a toddler who has a major medical issue and a compromised immune system is anything but boring. There are times when I am amazed we even did it at all with Brigitte in Atlanta and me with the boys in Mobile. Thank you to everyone who prayed, sent well wishes and supported COTA in Peter’s honor over the past year. We are so grateful. We are appreciative to be a COTA family. There is so much anxiety when it comes to your child needing a life-saving transplant. The financial peace of mind COTA provides is such a blessing. Right now Peter can only say a few words like ‘mama’ and ‘dada’ and ‘cookie,’ but if he had a more extensive vocabulary I am sure he would join us in thanking everyone and celebrating just how far we have come in just one year!”

Today, three-year-old Peter is terrific. His liver seems to be doing very well. Barring any unforeseen illness or hospitalizations, Brigitte and Adam are happy to report they do not need to return to Atlanta for a whole year. Peter’s lab draws are down to every three months. He is doing very well developmentally -- talking a lot more and working on potty training. Peter continues to grow and has become a very active little boy who loves playing outside with his brothers.

According to Brigitte and Peter, “Peter remains a bright light in our lives … he is full of smiles and always able to provide a laugh for our family. We are simply not sure how we would have gotten to this place without being part of the COTA Family.”

 “The Children’s Organ Transplant Association gave our family hope by helping us handle the immense financial burden that comes with a life-saving transplant. Even with health insurance, we were receiving more and more medical bills each day. Our transplant social worker referred us to COTA and with their support and guidance, and through generous financial contributions from friends and family, we have been able to cover all of the transplant-related costs associated with Peter’s diagnosis and liver transplant. Without COTA, Peter’s transplant, his recovery and our ability to support the rest of our family would have been nearly impossible. The peace of mind COTA provides is truly invaluable and lasts … for a lifetime,” they said.

Friday, September 27, 2019

Bridging Neighborhoods brings its 20th homeowner to Warrendale

It was a bright sunny day when neighors, dignataries, and TV cameras joined together to welcome the 20th Bridging Neighborhoods familty to Warrendale. Mayor Mike Duggan and Council Member Gabe Leland, who represents Warrendale and the surrounding neighborhoods in Detroit, were both on hand for this event.

I wrote about the Bridging Neighborhoods program back in December of last year. The program is a simple yet powerful idea.

Homeowners who are impacted by the new Gordie Howe International Bridge in Del Ray to move to more stable neighborhoods in Detroit like Warrendale. Those who participate trade their existing home for a completely renovated, energy-efficient one in a better neighborhood. The City even provides them with a stipend to cover their moving expenses.

Detroiters who partiicipate in the Bridging Neighbors program benefit from a better home in a better neighborhood. Residents in neighborhoods like Warrendale because it means that a few previously vacant homes are renovated and occupied by a new owner.

The city as a whole benefits because greater population density in the neighborhoods makes it easier to attract new residents and businesses. A more dense population also makes it easier for the local government to provide city services to all who need them.

I'm glad that this program is continuing. I join many others in welcoming these Detroiters to Warrendale.