Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Speed bumps come to the Warrendale neighborhood

Speed bumps on Artesian Street - Photo by Frank Nemecek
Some people love speed bumps. Others hate the things. Regardless which side of the divide you are on, speed humps have come to the Warrendale neighborhood.

Regular readers of the Warrendale Detroit Blog may recall that I reported back in May of this year about how the Department of Public Works was introducing speed humps as a means to combat excessive and dangerous speeders.

I even included details in my original post about how residents could request one of these speed bumps on their street. That information, by the way, is still available on the City of Detroit’s website.

Earlier this month, Artesian Street from W. Warren Ave. to Ford Rd. became the first street in the Warrendale neighborhood to get these speed humps. They are installed in regular intervals along this mile-long stretch of road.

Artesian, of course, is one of only four residential streets that connects from W. Warren Ave. in the north to Ford Rd. at the southern border between the cities of Detroit and Dearborn. Most of the residential streets in Warrendale come to a dead end somewhere near Kirkwood Ave, which is just north of Ford Rd. This makes it a more attractive stretch of road for speeders.

Artesian is also the only place that has a licensed day center. One is located at the southeast corner of Artesian and Whitlock Streets.

It’s not clear at this time if any other residential streets in Warrendale will get speed humps in the next few months. The one thing, however, that is abundantly clear is that speed bumps do cause motorists to slow down.

While photographing the new speed humps on Artesian Street, I witnessed several people drive over them. No one appeared willing to do so any faster than 5 m.p.h.

Now that we have one of the speed bumps in our neighborhood, I believe we as a community will have lots to talk about in the coming months about the pros and cons of having speed humps on our residential streets. As always, those conversations will be reported on by the Warrendale Detroit Blog.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Grand opening of the Minock-Whitlock Park in Detroit

It was a cold and rainy autumn day in Detroit this past Saturday; the sort of day when many souls wouldn’t think about venturing off the couch if they didn’t have to. However, for one group of Detroiters who have spent years of their lives preparing for this past Saturday, no amount of rain could possibly keep them away.

It shouldn’t be surprising then that more than 100 Detroiters came out to partake in the official opening of the Minock-Whitlock Park in Warrendale. They were joined by County Commissioner Alisha Bell, Mayor Mike Duggan, Councilman Gabe Leland, State Senator Sylvia Santana, and Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib were there to cut the ceremonial ribbon and celebrate this moment.

A couple of years ago, a series of three vacant and blighted houses sat on this stretch of land at the northeast corner of Minock and Whitlock Streets. The City of Detroit managed to demolish the dilapidated houses but that still left empty land in its place.

The crew of volunteers who have spearheaded the In Memory Of Community Garden across the street decided to intervene. With support from the City of Detroit, the Land Bank Authority, and corporate sponsors, they were able to transform this vacant land into a safe and fun place for neighborhood kids to play.

This same group of volunteers also worked with the City of Detroit to establish the In Memory Of Orchard, which is near the garden at the southeast corner of Auburn and Whitlocks Streets.

The group plans to expand the existing playscape to include monkey bars once additional funds can be raised.

The Minock-Whitlock Park is open every day from dawn to dusk.

Housekeeping for this blog

Housekeeping - Image by Tumisu/Pixabay
I want to take a moment to talk about a few housekeeping points as they relate to the Warrendale Detroit Blog. I spent much of this past weekend making a few changes to this site to make sure that it functions better. My hope, though, is that these changes will not be noticeable to most of my readers.

The first change that I made is that I archived all of the articles on this blog from prior to 2018. In January of next year, I will probably also archive the ones from 2018.

When there are a few thousand pages online representing almost 15 years worth of content, search engines like Google, Bing, and others have trouble keeping all of them straight. This is made even worse by the fact that much of the content is already outdated, is filled with links that no longer work, and is formatted in a way that is not optimal for the search engines of 2019.

If anyone ever needs to see any of the old content, please drop me a line and tell me what you’re looking for. I will do my best to retrieve if for you manually.

The second change that I made is to update some of the sites that I link to in the right-hand column of this blog. Back in 2005, for example, St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Christopher were two separate parish communities. Since then, they have merged into one and only have one website.

If there are any websites that you think I should link to, please feel free to leave a comment below. I always appreciate a little feedback.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

WXYZ-TV features a Warrendale community garden in a news segment

WXYZ-TV featured the In Memory Of Community Garden (6551 Minock St.) in a news segment yesterday evening.They mentioned the impact that it has had on our portion of Detroit; transforming a series of vacant lots into an asset for the Warrendale neighborhood. The best part, in my opinion, is that they also highlighted one of the things that makes this community garden different from any of the other ones.

The In Memory Of Community Garden is the first, and so far only, garden to partner with the Detroit Detroit Police Department on their Project Greenlight campaign. This means that there are surveillance cameras on the property that silently monitor the streets around it. The video feed from those cameras, of course, is monitored by DPD headquarters.

This enables the garden to act as both a deterrent to crime and also as a tool for police to identify any situations that they need to respond to. This is one more thing to help keep Warrendale safe.

Prior to this, the Project Greenlight locations have mostly been gas stations, liquor stores, and other commercial structures along the main corridors. This leaves the residential side streets vulnerable and its a vulnerability that is only made worse when criminals who want to avoid the Greenlight cameras start cutting through side streets.

The hope is that with more of these participating locations coming onto residential side streets, there will be fewer criminals cutting through to avoid surveillance on the main strips.

I, for one look forward to seeing more of these cameras in residential areas.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

The state of Detroit's real estate market in 2019

The internet is losing its mind - Photo by Mandyme27/Pixabay
I posted an article to this blog yesterday pointing out that a home on Greenview Street was up for sale. This was part of my Featured Place to Live series where I highlight some of real estate opportunities in Warrendale neighborhood in Detroit. The asking price for this home I reported, was $79,900.

And the internet promptly lost its mind.

Within minutes of that article going online, my social media notifications started to blow up as one person or another wanted to comment on how delusional it was for a home in this part of Detroit to command such a price. Even asking for such a price, some individuals argued, was preposterous.

There were a few people who took this news in stride. They may have expressed a healthy amount of skepticism or been cautious in their optimism. What they did not do, though, was argue that homes in Detroit aren’t worth anything, that no one wants to live here, or any other such thing.

At this point, I should say that I had a completely different article planned for today. I was going to talk about some of the best places to go trick-or-treating since we are so close to Halloween at the moment. However, with so many people reacting so strongly to the idea of a home in the Warrendale neighborhood of going on the market with an asking price of $79,900, I felt it best to put original article aside for a moment and focus on this.

In the space below, I will provide some of the various reasons why one person or another was indignant at the such real estate pricing. While my comments are about the Warrendale neighborhood in particular, I feel that most of this applies to much of Detroit as a whole.

The comments in bold below are summary of a point that someone tried to make yesterday. Those comments are followed by my rebuttal.

The neighborhood is nothing like it was at some point in the past.
While it’s true that Warrendale and the other neighborhoods in Detroit have declined since their heyday, it’s also true that there have been substantial improvements in the quality of life here in recent years and that all signs point towards this trend continuing.

To put this in perspective, 20 years ago, a three-bedroom home in Warrendale would go for what in today’s dollars is roughly $140,000. Detroit still had a multitude of problems in the late-1990s and homes in the area were still able to command a six-digit price.

While the area was hit hard during the mortgage crisis of 2007-2008 and hasn’t fully recovered, I have to ask: is it really unreasonable that a house today should command a price of half of what it was prior to the mortgage crisis?

Personally, I don’t think so.

Detroit isn’t as good as [fill in the blank with some other city]
Again, Detroit has its problems. A piece of real estate in much of the city isn’t as valuable as a similar property in other parts of the country or even other parts of Michigan. However, I feel I should point out one key detail: the median selling price of a single-family home in the United States is $240,000, according to the January 2019 edition of Kiplinger.

If the outlying neighborhoods of Detroit were as good of a purchase right now as some of your other communities then that house on Greenview would have an asking price around $240,000; not $79,900.

[Fill in the blank crime] happened recently at a location nearby
First, crime happens everywhere.


The only communities that don’t have a certain level of crime present are the ones who don’t have a certain number of people present.

Second, while crime is still a very serious issue in Detroit and the city is still one of the most dangerous in the United States, the crime statistics do show a slight slowdown. I would also say that this community’s current levels of crime and poverty are a large part of why that home on Greenview is asking $79,900 and not a figure much closer to national averages.

Warrendale is still a part of Detroit
Yes, it is. And you know what?

This home nine miles away in the Midtown neighborhood that’s selling for $319,900 and this one 11 miles away in downtown that’s selling for $430,000 are both also in Detroit. Oh, and this one eight miles away in the Corktown neighborhood that’s selling for $364,900? Yeah, that one is in the city of Detroit as well.

Does this mean that homes in Warrendale will soon be selling for $300 - $400,000 anytime soon?

Probably not.

It does, however, establish that the mere fact that a home is within the Detroit city limits does not mean that it’s worthless.

Oh, and then there’s my favorite criticism of all. The one that I deliberately saved for last.

It’s just not worth it
There are a thousand or so homes in the Warrendale neighborhood that are currently occupied on a rental basis. The landlords, generally speaking, have relatively little trouble finding people to rent those houses. They have, in fact, been getting around $850 per month for those homes and they’ve been getting that price for several years now.

And here’s why that is important.

If someone bought a home in Detroit for $102,250 and financed it entirely with no money down then, between his or her mortgage payment, property taxes, and homeowners insurance, he or she would pay approximately $850 per month, according to the mortgage calculator at Quicken Loans. It stands to reason, therefore, that home is this area should be selling for somewhere in the vicinity of $102,250.

detroit mortgage
Screengrab from Quicken Loans by Frank Nemecek
But the purchase of a home in the area for $79,900 is preposterous? I don’t think so.

Time will tell whether or not the home on Greenview really does sell for $79,900. I believe that it’s more than worth it and there are programs out there to help with the financing of such a purchase.

For now, I simply wish that folks were better able at accepting a little bit of good news every once in awhile.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Featured Place to Live: 6516 Greenview

house home
6515 Greenview - Photo by Century 21

The housing market in Warrendale is not only improving, but improving dramatically. This point has been documented in a recent article in Hour Detroit as well as at Realtor.com and elsewhere. More importantly, in my opinion, the rate at which our local market is improving seems to be accelerating.

For all of those reasons, I have decided to bring back my weekly series the Featured Place to Live for this blog. This was one of my most popular features before the city’s bankruptcy and other local problems. With significant progress made on all of those fronts, I’m bringing it back and will highlight a residential property in our corner of Detroit every Tuesday.

The Featured Place to Live for this week is 6515 Greenview St, which. is a four-bedroom colonial that on the market and priced at $79,900. This home has a large living room and hardwood floors underneath its carpeting. It also has a newer furnace and central air conditioning as well as two full bathrooms and a finished basement.

One of the details that I personally like the most about this home is that there is a balcony off each of the two upper bedrooms. While having a balcony attached to one’s bedroom might be common place in Bel Air or Beverly Hills, California, there are very few homes for sale in Detroit that offer such an amenity.

This home was originally built in 1928 and was remodeled in 2015. It has a total of 2,624 square feet across its two stories.There is also a detached garage at the rear of the property.

6515 Greenview is located on Greenview Street in between Whitlock and Paul in the Warrendale neighborhood of Detroit. This is rather popular area with very few vacant homes on the block.

This home is offered by Ali H. Saad of Century 21 Curran & Oberski in Dearborn Heights. There aren’t any open houses currently scheduled for this property. However, private viewings are available by contacting Sadd; his contact information is available on his website.

Financing for this purchase is available through the Detroit Home Mortgage program if the buyer intends to make this his or her primary residence. For those who are looking at this home as an investment property, the seller is willing to finance its sale through a land contract.

For all of these reasons, 6515 Greenview is your Featured Place to Live in Detroit for this week. Please stop by next week when I highlight another of the fantastic real estate opportunities in the Warrendale neighborhood.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Ribbon cutting at Minock Whitlock Park this Saturday

ribbon cutting stock image
Ribbon cutting - Stock illustration courtesy of Needpix.com
After months of construction and preparation, it is finally time for the Warrendale neighborhood to join together and celebrate the new Minock-Whitlock Park (6548 Minock St.) with an official ribbon cutting celebration. We will have one this Saturday, October 26. Several Detroit dignitaries are expected to be on hand for this event that starts at 2 p.m. at the park.

The Minock Whitlock Park is a series of three lots in our Detroit neighborhood that were previously vacant and a blight to the community. With thousands of volunteer hours and funding from several different sources, this land has been transformed into a pocket park that is complete with a playscape for local children.

This transformation was spearheaded by Barb and Joe Mattney who also led the In Memory Community Garden (6551 Minock St.), which is directly across Minock Street from the playground, and the In Memory Of Orchard (6700 Auburn St.), which are nearby. They were not alone in their efforts to bring this park to life. Building it was a community effort that numerous community members took part in.

Everyone in Detroit is invited to attend the ribbon cutting this Saturday. Children, in particular, are invited to wear their favorite Halloween costumes to the park.

After the ribbon cutting ceremony, there will be cider and donuts as well as a pumpkin patch at the In Memory Of Community Garden. Again, everyone in Detroit is invited to attend this as well. It will be a celebration of dreams and sweat that made this happen for our neighborhood.

The park is located at the northeast corner of Minock and Whitlock Streets; hence its name. It will be open from dawn to dusk every day throughout the foreseeable future. There is no charge to use this park and the public is welcome.

Governors in Detroit to talk infrastructure + cybersecurity

Detroit is hosting a series of high-profile meetings that revolve around infrastructure and cybersecurity. The first of these meetings happened this past Thursday and Friday when the National Governors Association met at the Westin Book-Cadillac (1114 Washington Blvd.) downtown.

During this meeting in Detroit, Governors from across the United States as well as infrastructure policy and technology experts discussed emerging trends and best practices for securing vital infrastructure against man-made and natural threats. This is the second of four National Governors Association stakeholder summits in support of Maryland Governor Larry Hogan’s 2019-20 NGA Chair’s Initiative.

“While no public policy can prevent all disasters, governors and leaders across America can show real leadership, and work together to find innovative new ways to withstand disasters better, and to respond and recover more quickly,” Governor. Hogan said. “Throughout this bipartisan summit, we discussed the most effective measures that governors can take to fulfill our most important responsibility: protecting our states and our citizens.”

Governors Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan and Bill Lee of Tennessee joined Governor Hogan in Detroit for this meeting.They were joined by other state officials as well as executives of energy, transportation and water companies. This group explored ways to reduce threats of cyberattacks and to deal with challenges posed by extreme weather.

“As the climate changes, we must continue the work to mitigate the effects of natural disasters on our infrastructure and our communities,” explained Governor Whitmer. “Michigan is home to tough, innovative people who are stepping up and helping prepare our state for the future, whether it’s by joining in on efforts to combat climate change or keeping us safe from cyberattacks. I’m proud to work together with my fellow governors and leaders from across the country who are taking bold steps to protect us from harm.”

Climate change, the nation’s governors discovered, poses a threat to America’s critical infrastructure. Energy systems, water and stormwater facilities, and the transportation sector are all vulnerable to increasingly large and more frequent storms.

“Infrastructure connects everyone in our states,” stated Governor Lee. “From roads, to water, to electricity, to cybersecurity, we need a comprehensive and thoughtful approach to addressing these many challenges. Thanks to my colleagues Governor Hogan and Governor Whitmer for hosting this event and helping us continue to find ways to help our states solve our most pressing infrastructure needs.”

This summit was the second of four planned U.S. convenings in support of Governor Hogan’s NGA Chair’s Initiative, Infrastructure: Foundation for Success. He was joined by fellow governors and experts in Boston this past September to study measures to relieve traffic congestion. He also a study tour in Australia later that month to explore innovative funding models.

The next high-profile meeting regarding infrastructure to happen in Detroit will be the North American International Cyber Summit, which happens Monday, October 28. This will be followed by the U.S. Army Autonomy and Artificial Intelligence Symposium that will meet November 20-21. Both of these events will happen at the TCF Center (1 Washington Blvd.) downtown.

Best place to get Halloweeen candy cheap

As of today, Halloween is only 10 days away. It won’t be long before trick-or-treaters swarm through our neighborhood streets in their annual extravaganza of candy-induced spookiness.

If you’re ready for the trick-or-treaters and Halloween in general than, well, congratulations. You are better than me.

I’m the guy, after all, who finished his Christmas shopping at 6 p.m. on December 24th last year.

Anyway, while I’m not normally Mr. Super Well-Prepared for the Holidays, there is one tip that I have to share that might be helpful for some folks. You can get some really good deals on Halloween candy online.

For example, I found a carton of 150 fun-sized packs of M&M’s over on Amazon for prices starting at $21.59. Plus, if you order multiple cartons, you can get that candy for as cheap as $19.59 per carton.

This is a much better deal on Halloween candy than I have seen in any of the grocery stores or even the bulk food stores.

This will give me 150 packs of M&M’s candy for the neighborhood kids plus another 150-300 of them for me to eat over the next few weeks. Because when you can get Halloween candy this cheap, it’s insane not to get some for yourself as well.

And if you don’t like M&M’s then there’s a lot of other great deals on bulk candy online as well. You can get Swedish Fish, Jolly Ranchers, Tootsie Rolls, and an assortment of other cheap Halloween candy that doesn’t taste cheap.

Plus, if you place your order today you can still get your cheap candy delivered to your home in plenty of time for Halloween.

Cheap Halloween candy. It’s your Tip of the Week for the week of October 21, 2019.

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. In the meantime, please feel free to check out the author, Frank Nemecek, on Twitter and Instagram for more great content as @fnemecek.

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
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 witch
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 escalator
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
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 Amazon.com, 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.

winter detroit
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.

detroit land warrendale
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 Amazon.com 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

detroit warrendale rouge park
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.