Thursday, January 23, 2020

Man wanted for carjacking in Detroit's Warrendale neighborhood

Carjacking suspect and his vehicle
According to a statement, officials with the Detroit Police Department are asking for the public's help to identify and apprehend a man wanted for a carjacking that happened this past Saturday in Warrendale. They released surveillance photos of the suspect, which is located above.

This crime happened on W. Warren Avenue, near Stahelin Street at approximately 3:10 pm. A woman was getting out of her black 2016 Dodge Journey when an unknown man approached her. The man produced a handgun, and demanded her personal belongings. The victim complied and the robber took her vehicle and  headed south on Stahelin.

According to police, the license plate for her stolen car is DZC 3891 They also say a black Cadillac followed behind the suspect as he fled the scene.

A nearby Project Green Light camera spotted the robber exiting this Cadillac around the time of the carjacking. The Cadillac is believed to be a 2005-11 model with a sunroof and a missing door handle on the driver’s side.

The suspect is described as a black male, approximately 5'9" with a heavy build, brown eyes, light complexion and freckles. He was seen wearing a mask over his face, with a dark jacket black hooded sweatshirt and armed with a black handgun.

Police ask that anyone who recognizes the suspect, has seen either vehicle involved in the carjacking, or has any information pertaining to this crime, to call the Detroit Police Department's Commercial Auto Theft Unit at (313) 596-2555 or Crime Stoppers of Michigan at 1-800-SPEAK-UP.

Detroit offers help for residents who can't pay their property taxes

Mayor Mike Duggan of Detroit joined other community leaders yesterday in announcing help for low-income residents who are having problems paying their property taxes. The full video from this event is embedded above this post.

Homeowners in Detroit who cannot pay their property taxes for financial reasons may be able to reduce - or even eliminate - their current year’s property tax obligation through what is called the Homeowners Property Tax Assistance Program. Those applying to this program must meet certain financial requirements. This includes both the family’s household income as well as their total assets.

Depending on one’s income, Detroiters may qualify to be exempt from 25%, 50% or even 100% of the normal property taxes on their home. The income guidelines for 2020 are listed below.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

District meeting schedule announced

Meeting - Photo by Free Photos/Pixabay
Earlier today, the City of Detroit's Department of Neighborhoods announced its schedule for district meetings for the year. These meetings will be hosted by staff members Mona Ali, the district manager, and Eric Fowlkes, the deputy district manager. They will provide residents and other community stakeholders with an opportunity to both learn about developments and share their concerns.

The first quarterly meeting for District 7, which includes the Warrendale neighborhood, will be on Wednesday, February 5 from 6 - 8 pm. The next three meetings will be:

  • Monday, May 6;
  • Wednesday, July 15th; and
  • Wednesday, October 14.

Each of these four community meetings in our district will start at 6 p.m. They will last until 8 p.m. All meetings will happen at the Adams Butzel Recreation Complex (10500 Lyndon Rd.), which is approximately four miles away from the Warrendale neighborhood in Detroit.

Also, each of these four community meetings will have a different topic. The agenda for each district gathering will be released before it.

Once those topics and agendas are released, I will report about it on the Warrendale Detroit Blog just as I have before.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Protect your whole house from power surges

Power lines at twilight - Photo by Nicole Kohler/Pixabay
Most of these Tip of the Week articles are the result of brainstorming and some research. This one, however, is purely the result of learning an important lesson and learning it the hard way.
The lesson is simple: every home these days should have a whole house surge protector. They cost around $100 plus a few dollars more if you want a professional to install it. They can save so much more, though.

A little more than a week ago, the power went out in my house. It came back on approximately three seconds later. When it did, though, it did more than $500 in damage.

This is because, when the power came back, there was a surge of electricity. I had a surge protector for my computer, modem, and router. I’ve had them for decades and thought I was covered.

However, I forgot that there is a computer inside almost every appliance these days. Televisions, washing machines, dryers – about the only appliance in my home that doesn’t have a computer inside of it is my toilet and I’m sure there will be one there before too long.

And the power surge that happened when my electricity came back after being off for approximately three seconds was enough to destroy that computer that was inside of my washing machine. With that out of commission, my machine was nothing more than a large hunk of metal in my basement.

Plus, most manufacturer’s warranties don’t cover damage done by a power surge, which is another fun fact that I learned the hard way.

I had to replace my washing machine and, with delivery, sales tax, and everything else, doing so cost me approximately $500. I also had a whole house surge protector professionally installed for $180 because there is a computer inside of almost everything these days and things could have been so much worse for me.

A whole house surge protector does a lot to protect you. My electrician recommended keeping the old surge protectors on my home computer and the most sensitive of my electronics as an extra layer of protection for them. For everything else, there is now a surge protector installed right next to breaker box.

Please learn from my mistake. Protect your appliances with a whole house surge protector. You can also use individual surge protectors for each appliance. However, there are so many of them that installing a whole house one really is your best bet.

Whole house surge protectors are available on Amazon as well as at Loewe’s, Home Depot, and most larger hardware stores. I cannot recommend getting one highly enough. Getting one is your Tip of the Week for the week of January 20, 2020.

These tips are brought to you by the Warrendale Detroit Blog as part of our Tip of the Week series. Please check back next week for more advice on your home, money, and life. The rest of the tips are are avilable here.

Please feel free to follow the author Frank Nemecek on Twitter and Instagram as @fnemecek for more great content

Friday, January 10, 2020

TV series seeking historic homeowners in Detroit

A television production company is looking for owners of historic homeowners in the Detroit metropolitian area who are overwhelmed with the restorations that they need.

This is an incredible opportunity to get expert help from a seasoned professional and to be featured in an all-new television show on a major cable network.

Historic homes should be at least 50 years old or older and be in the metro Detroit area. Clients should have a budget in place and be interested and ready to restore their home within the next three months.

Interested homeowners should email tvhomecasting [at] gmail [dot] com. With the following information:

  • Full name(s)
  • Location (Must be in the Detroit area)
  • Contact information (Email & Phone)
  • Brief bio explaining why you need/deserve help restoring your historical home
  • Several photos of yourselves and the property

I look forward to seeing some of my readers on television soon.

Monday, January 06, 2020

Gas prices drop in Detroit

Refueling a car - Photo by Andreas160578/Pixabay
Gas prices across Michigan are down an average of 7 cents compared to last week, according to research compiled by AAA of Michigan.  Michigan drivers are now paying an average of $2.53 per gallon for regular unleaded. This price is 8 cents cheaper than this time last month but 44 cents more than this time last year.

Gas prices in the Warrendale area range from $2.39 per gallon for regular unleaded to $2.47 per gallon. This includes both the stations in the Warrendale neighborhood of Detroit as well as those nearby in Dearborn and Dearborn Heights.

Motorists are paying an average of $38 for a full 15-gallon tank of gasoline. This is a discount of $6 from when prices were their highest last July.

“Many motorists across the nation saw gas prices increase last week as a record number of travelers hit the road for the year-end holidays,” said Adrienne Woodland, spokesperson, AAA-The Auto Club Group. “Michigan drivers are now seeing a decrease in prices following the holidays.”

Compared to last week, Metro Detroit’s average daily gas price decreased slightly. Metro Detroit’s current average is $2.57 per gallon, 3 cents less than last week’s average and 53 cents more than this time last year.

The most expensive gas price averages are in Ann Arbor ($2.60), Metro Detroit ($2.57), and Flint ($2.50). Meanwhile the cheapest gas price averages are in Traverse City ($2.34), Jackson ($2.42), and Grand Rapids ($2.45).

Friday, January 03, 2020

Tech training in Detroit

Computer technology - Photo by Daniel Agrelo/Pixabay
Early this morning, the folks at WalletHub released a report that named Detroit the worst city in America to find a job in. I posted my analysis and commentary about it over here. A few minutes after that post went live, I received an email announcing that one of the country’s largest free tech training programs, NPower, is launching in Detroit this month.

NPower providing free tech work training to minorities, former felons and veterans right from their location in the New Center area.

They have already empowered neglected communities in Baltimore, Harlem, Brooklyn, Jersey City, St. Louis and Dallas. They offer programs that teach basic coding skills, cyber security, and tech fundamentals. The nonprofit has had so much success in these cities, they’ve now launched in Detroit.

In Detroit and Southeast Michigan, NPower will connect young adults from some of the most dangerous and impoverished neighborhoods to the fast-growing companies in the area who are in urgent need of tech workers. Equipping these students with tech skills will also help bring new business into the city.

NPower’s new Executive Director - Camille Walker Banks - is a Detroit native. She has more than 20 years of experience creating 5,000 new jobs and generating $5.5B in capital investment for the city.

Anyway, the fact that all of this happened right after that other was report was released about the job market in Detroit’s inner city. Quite frankly, I think this re-enforces my earlier point that Detroiters need to keep plugging along. If we do that, I’m confident that the improvements that we need to happen will happen.

Detroit named worst city to find a job

Landing a job - Photo by FotografieLink/Pixabay
As national unemployment figures continue to be at historic lows, the personal finance website WalletHub ranked Detroit to be the worst city for one to find a job in. This was the result of their researching into a total of 182 American cities and the labor market in those communities.

According to statistics from the Labor Department, the unemployment rate is 3.5% at the national level. Michigan meanwhile ranks 38th with a statewide unemployment rate of 4% and Wayne County has an unemployment rate of 4.5%. Detroit is clearly still behind the rest of Michigan and the rest of the nation.

For their rankings, the staff at WalletHub looked at nine different areas related to finding a job. They compiled data from government and other sources related to those nine areas to determine a ranking in each category. Detroit’s status as the worst place to find a job is a composite of those nine areas.

Rankings in the individual categories did, however, show some positive signs for Detroit. For example, Detroit ranked 23rd out of 182 cities in terms of employment growth. The problem, of course, is that even though Detroit is growing faster than the national average, our city still has a long way to go.

The nine areas that researchers from WalletHub looked at for this ranking are:

  • Average work and commute time where Detroit ranked 40th;
  • Employment growth where we came in with the 23rd fastest growth;
  • Housing affordability where the Motor City ranked 33rd most affordable;
  • Industry variety where the city ranked 165th least;
  • Job opportunities where Motown ranked 179th lowest;
  • Median annual income where we ranked 178th lowest;
  • Monthly average starting salary where we came in 72nd;
  • Percent of workforce living in poverty where Detroit was the 181st highest; and
  • Unemployment rate where we are the 180th highest of the 182 cities.

Taken together, this means that we ranked as better than average in four of the nine categories. It really is the remaining five areas where we are doing so badly.

The key takeaways from all of this, in my opinion, are two points. First, Detroit has made a lot of progress in recent years, particularly in the area of overall employment growth. The strategic neighborhood initiative has been showing some real progress, which I discussed earlier.The housing market is continuing to improve as previously reported. However, we still have a long way to go on our journey to recovery.

Anyone who is interested can download the full report from WalletHub is available for free from here. As for Detroit and its job market, I believe the best thing for us to do is to keep doing what we’ve been doing since leaving bankruptcy. It took us almost half a century to hit rock bottom. It will take several more years for our community to recover.

As always, each step along this journey will be chronicled in this blog. Please subscribe to get regular updates by entering your email address in the upper right corner of this site or by subscribing to one of the RSS feeds. You can also follow along via the Facebook page for this blog.

Wednesday, January 01, 2020

From Detroit to Israel

Israeli flag - Photo by Eduardo Castro/Pixabay
I don't know what exactly is going on in Israel right now. However, according to Google Analytics, 1,400 Israelis have visited the Warrendale Detroit Blog in the past 24 hours.

To put this in perspective, this blog normally gets anywhere from 5,100 - 5,600 unique visits per month. 1,400 visitors within one day is simply off the charts. For them to all be from Israel on top of that is confusing as heck.

Anyway, on behalf of all of my normal readers in the Detroit area to all of my new readers from Israel, welcome to the party.

Update @ 7:23 p.m.
I'm looking at news stories from Israel. I see that their Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has requested immunity from corruption charges.

Did someone somewhere mention Benjamin Netanyahu and Kwame Kilpatrick in the same sentence?

I don't know if that actually happened. It's just the only thing that I can think of that might send that much traffic from Israel to this blog.

If anyone else has an idea as what would get that many people from Israel to visit a blog about life in Detroit's Warrendale neighborhood all of a sudden, please feel free to leave a comment below.

Happy New Year, Detroit

2020, Happy New Year - Image by Annalise Batista/Pixabay
2020 is only about 90 minutes old as I'm typing this. Regardless, I want to take a brief moment to wish a very happy New Year to everyone in Detroit's Warrendale neighborhood and beyond.

2019 was a really good year for me personally and for this blog. I look forward to a 2020 that will be absolutely amazing.

Most importantly of all, though, I look forward to sharing everything that this new year has to offer - the good things, the bad things, and all of the things in between - with all of my neighbors and readers.

Happy New Year, everyone!