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.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Vacant lots transformed into playground

vacant lot transformed into playgound in detroit
Playscape at the Minock & Whitlock Park - Photo by Frank Nemecek
It wasn't long ago that a series of vacant homes occupied a small stretch of land on the southeast corner of Minock and Whitlock Streets in the Warrendale neighborhood. The City of Detroit eventually demolished those abandoned structures; leaving empty land in its spot instead.

While everyone in Warrendale seemed to prefer the empty land to the burned out houses that once stood there, its emptiness still haunted the neighborhood.

After years of being occupied by nothing more than assorted pieces of trash that were deposited there by the wind, a group of voluneters from the In Memory Of Community Garden managed to raise the money necessary install playscapes at that location. What was once nothing more than an eyesore on the westside of Detroit, is now a safe and fun place for children to play.

This transformed land has been christened the Minock & Whitlock Park after the intercection where it sits. It joins the nearby In Memory Of Community Garden and the In Memory of Orchard as public green spaces in the neighborhood.

One more reason to build a municipal speeedway in Detroit

Ferrari 458 Spider - Photo by Toby Parsons/Pixbay
In May of last year, I published an article that argued for five different reasons why the Detroit Grand Prix should be moved off Bells Isle and over to a municipally-owned speedway. Those reassons boiled down to money, more money, even more money, still more money, and Detroit's image.

I still stand behind every one of those reasons. They are just as true and just as important today as they were in 2018, if not more so. Regardless, I would like to add one more reason why Detroit should build a municipally-owned speedway and move the Grand Prix to it: saefty on our residential streets and in the parks.

If there's one thing that everyone soon realizes living outside of the more gentrified neighborhoods of Detroit, it's that this city has a huge problem with thrill-seeking speeders. Whether they are in cars, on motorcycles, or anything else that moves, there is a large section of the (almost always) male population in Detroit who have a strong desire to drive really, really fast.

Right now, those individuals drive through our residential streets or, ocassionally, through Rouge Park and some of the other larger parks in Detroit. In doing so, these thrill-seeking motorists not only put themselves in danger but also everyone else who share those same roads. Plus, they create one heck of a nuisancee as they tear through neighborhoods at all hours of the night.

If there was location where they could safely do all of this - like, for example, a municipally-owned speedway - then they would have a much better alternative to speeding through residential streets in Detroit. The speedway could charge them few bucks for the privilledge to cover their costs. I'm sure most of these guys would rather pay a few bucks to some speedway than risk having to pay a few hundred dollars in fines for reckless driving; not to mention having their ride impounded by the police.

And with them elsewhere, the residents of Detroit's neighborhoods can enjoy a quieter, safer community.

So, there it is.

My now six reasons why Detroit should move the Grand Prix off Belle Isle and over to a municipally-owned speedway are money, more money, even more money, still more money, Detroit's image, and safer neighborhoods.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Rouge Park tree planting needs volunteers


Volunteers are needed for a tree-plantting in Rouge Park on Saturday, November 2 from 9 - 11 am. It will happen at the northern end of the park, near West Chicago and Trinity in Detroit. The exact location for volunteers to meet is still to be determined but all volunteers who register will get an update about this point.

This tree-planted effort is being coordinated by the Greening of Detroit and the Friends of Rouge Park. The groups are looking for a total of 20 volunteers who are available to help for two hours that day.

Any volunteers who are interested in planting trees in Detroit's largest park are asked to register online by clicking here.

IT in the D

I was on the IT in the D podcast not too long ago to talk about my science-fiction novel, The Roswell Chronicles. It was a great experience and I cannot wait to do something like thi again.

The only problem was that my novel was one of four segements they did in that podcast. As a result, there were a few poeple how wanted an excerpt about The Roswell Chronicles.

With that in mind, it's my pleasure to embed an excerpt of the podcast above. It was great to be on one of the most exciting podcasts in Detroit to talk about my writing. I look forward to doing something like this again.

Friday, September 20, 2019

Body found along Dearborn - Detroit border

Crime scene - Image by Gerd Altman/Pixabay
Police officers found the remains of a 34-year-old deceased woman from Taylor, Michigan at 7:45 a.m. this morning. Her body was discovered in the vicinity of Paul Street and the Southfield Freeway, which is near the border between Dearborn and Detroit's Warrendale neighborhood.

Everyone who lives in that area is asked to check their security cameras for any images that might be useful to the police in their investigation.

Anyone with information about this crime is asked to called the Dearborn Police Department at (313) 943-2241.

The identity and exact cause of death of this woman is currently being withheld by police officers, pending notification of her family.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Warrendale resident plays in the NFL

Desmond King of the Los Angeles Chargers - Photo by Jeffery Beall/Wikimedia
I learned today, thanks to a Google news alert, that Desmond King grew up in the Warrendale neighborhood in Detroit. King is currently a cornerback for the Los Angeles Chargers where he wears the number 20.

All of this means that it will be a homecoming of sorts when the Los Angeles Chargers take on the Detroit Lions at Ford Field this Thanksgiving. According to published news reports, more than 100 of King's family and friends are expected to be in attendance to watch him play that day.

I would probably be even more excited about this if King played for the Detroit Lions. However, I' have learned to take my happiness where I can find it.

Besides, I think everyone can agree that Desmond King has a better chance at getting a Super Bowl ring playing for the Los Angeles Chargers than he ever would playing for the Lions.

Desmond King of the Iowa Hawkeyes - Photo by Jeffrey Becker/USA TODAY Sports
In his teen years, Desmond King played for the East English Prepartory Academy in Detroit. It was there that he set a Michigan high school record with 29 interceptions. He also set a school record for career rushing yards. He had 2,360 yards during his senior year alone.

Desmond King played for the University of Iowa during his college career. He had 263 tackles in 53 games as a Hawkeye. This was in addition to 14 interceptions.

He was named an All-American during his junior year and received the Jim Thorpe Award in 2015 as the best defensive back in all of college football. This, of course, led to Desmond King being drafted by the Los Angeles Chargers in 2017.

It's always been a dream of mine to watch the Detroit Lions play in the Super Bowl. I will happily settle, though, for watching a player from Warrendale on the NFL's biggest stage.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Moore surveys Detroit about its futrue

Survey - Stock photo by Adnreas Breitling
My friend Ricardo Moore, who used to represent the Warrendale and surrounding neighborhoods on the Detroit Police Commission, has created a survey about the future of Detroit. He is looking for Detroiter's thoughts on things like whether or not people feel included in our city's resurgence as well as our thoughts on different proposals for what comes next.

It should take approximately two minutes for your to complete this short survey. Please share your thoughts over on his website, which one can access by clicking here.

Thank you.

Follow me, please

Follow - Illustration by I.J. Maki/Pixabay

I love the fact that, according to Google Analytics, hundreds of people visit the Warrendale Detroit Blog every day. This includes readers from around Michigan as well as from more than 50 countries. A great way to keep up to date with this site is to subscribe to it, in whatever fashion best suits your preferences.

One of the best ways to keep up with this blog is to subscribe to it via email. At the top of the right-hand column on this page is a section labelled "receive email alerts." If you enter your email address in the marked field and hit "subscribe me" then you will get an email alert from my friends of FeedBlitz when I publish a new article. Your email address will remain private and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For those who prefer to follow multiple blogs simultaneously, RSS aggregators such as atom, Netvibes, and My Yahoo are a great options. For the other RSS feeds that are available, simply select your preferred RSS feed from the drop down menu under "Subscribe to RSS Feed" in the right hand column.

Also, I would be remiss if I didn't mention the Facebook page that exists for the Warrendale Detroit Blog. More than 1,100 other people have liked and followed it. If you use Facebook on a regular basis, I invite you to like the page by visit it here on Facebook.

Finally, I would like to also mention that you can find lots of other great content by visiting my personal pages on Instagram and Twitter. My handle is @fnemecek on both.

As always, you can bookmark this blog and visit the site periodically. The other options simply automate things for you nicely.

Monday, September 09, 2019

7 things you should do immediately after a roof leak

Damaged roof - Photo by Monsterkoi/Pixabay
At first, a leaky roof is inconvenient. You need to place tarps to block the water, grab pots and pans to catch drips, and move your belongings out of the way of moisture. Afterward, fixing or replacing your roof becomes even more of a headache. The good news is that there are seven things you can do immediately to minimize damage and preserve your home.

Prevent Further Leaks
Your first step when finding a roof leak is to cover the spot where water is coming in. Blocking the water with tarps, plastic sheets, or another watertight material will slow the flow of water. If you know where the leak is, you can also perform a temporary patch job with roofing tar and shingles or plywood. Hopefully, covering the affected area will keep more water from getting in.

Start Drying It Out
Once the water comes in, it can settle and sit all over your house — Inside walls, underneath flooring (including subfloors), and even in appliances. Therefore, you need to begin drying your home out before you can begin to seek potential solutions.

Consider staging fans around your home to dry it from the inside out; open windows when possible or use your oven to warm the air when it’s cold outside. If you have puddles or sopping wet spots, use a wet/dry vacuum to remove moisture.

Find the Cause
Unless a tree fell on your home and created a gaping hole, it might be challenging to find where water is getting in. Common reasons for roof leaks, according to SF Gate, include aging shingles or roofing materials, unsealed vents and piping, and debris. If your roof’s pitch is too shallow, water can also pool on top of the home, seeping in over time instead of running off.

When it’s safe to do so, inspect the surface of your roof for damage. Check the caulking and flashing to ensure no water is getting in between cracks. Look for areas of excess moisture or even small holes to determine where the water is traveling.

Don’t Cover Over Damage
It’s tempting to paint over visible water damage in your ceiling or walls. But by covering up the external spots, you may be locking in internal damage, too. It may look like everything is fine — except for the cosmetic blemishes — but water can cause serious issues within your walls.
Roof leaks can cause a variety of problems, including:

  • Attic and ceiling damage;
  • Mold and mildew growth;
  • Health issues from mold;
  • Fire hazards from electric complications;
  • Slip hazards;
  • Structural issues; and
  • Wasted energy on heating and cooling.

Get Expert Diagnostic Help
Because unseen complications from roof leaks can compromise the structural integrity of your home, it’s essential that you seek expert help. Diagnosing electrical troubles or drywall rot are jobs for professionals, not homeowners. Even walking on the roof could cause a cave-in, pushing your repair costs to incremental heights. Minor roof repairs start at a few hundred dollars, but serious repairs can range into the thousands.

Seek Professionals for Repairs
A DIY patch job might stop water from continuing to ruin your roof. However, a professional repair will last longer and address the problem the right way. Plus, if you need electrical, plumbing, or structural repairs, you risk injury or further harm to your home’s structure if you go the do-it-yourself route. Professional plumbers, electricians, and contractors have licenses, insurance, and the know-how to do each job safely. As a homeowner, you should find someone you trust and leave them to the job.

Consider a Full Roof Replacement
A less-than-perfect roof affects more than your enjoyment of your home. Poor roof quality can impact your home’s selling price if you decide to move. Keeping tabs on your roof’s performance ensures your home will be ready to go once you list it.

If roof issues continue to crop up even after you fix the leak, you may want to look at replacing it completely. You can increase your home’s value with a new roof, per Home Advisor. It could help both your bottom line and your timeline — houses with well-maintained roofs tend to sell for a higher price and get off the market sooner.

A leaky roof isn’t something to ignore. If you notice signs that your roof has issues, then it’s time to do something about it. Whether it’s simple repairs or an entire replacement, addressing the problem sooner rather than later can make all the difference in the world.

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.

Book review: The Triumph of the Spider Monkey

The Triumph of the Spider Monkey - Cover by Robert McGinnis
For the first in more than 40 years, The Triumph of the Spider Monkey by Joyce Carol Oates is once again available in print. The folks at Hard Case Crime brought this novella back to us earlier this summer and I'm grateful that they did.

In The Triumph of the Spider Monkey, Oates crafts the story of Bobbie Gottenson - a man who was abandoned as a baby in a bus station locker; who grew up being shuttled between a series of abusive foster homes and juvenille detention facilities. As an adult, this character yearns for success as a musician. Besides carrying his guitar, though, he also brings with him seething rage, paranoid delusions, and a capacity of shocking violence.

What results from this is a seductive and powerful take that Gillian Flynn, author of Gone Girl called "innovative, brilliant, curious, and creative."

In short, I recommend this book highly for anyone who enjoys dark thrillers. The Triumph of the Spider Monkey is available on as well as at most major booksellers.

Speed trap near Warrendale

Speed trap along Mercury Drive - Photo by Frank Nemecek
For the benefit of anyone driving near the Dearborn/Warrendale border, the Dearborn Police Department has a speed trap set up on Mercury Drive. Officers are in a marked vehicle between Ford Rd. and the Southfield Freeway. Their presence is partially concealed by the long construction trailer on the south side of the road.

I don't have a problem with the police setting up and watching for speeders. In some of the more severe cases, I'm profoundly thankful for when they do. I only like to level the proverbial playing field by letting people know where they are.

Monday, September 02, 2019

Happy Labor Day, Detroit!

Labor Day - Illustration by Mohamed Hassan/Pixabay
I want to take a moment to wish a happy Labor Day to everyone in Detroit's Warrendale neighborhood and beyond.

Besides being the unofficial end to summer, Labor Day is also to remember the social and economic conditions of the American worker. My father was a union carpenter. My paternal grandfather helped to organize the Pennsylvania coal mines for the United Mine Workers of America. The experiences and stories that have been passed down to me from these two men have made me more than a little sympathetic to the labor movement.

Local 2280 of the United Auto Workers will once again have a parade along Michigan Avenue in the nearby Corktown neighborhood. More details about this event can be found on their Facebook page.

Happy Labor Day, Detroit!