Dearborn police uncuff woman from bed

DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) — If you love something, set it free. And if you can't, call the police.

The Detroit Free Press reports police in suburban Detroit responded to a call Thursday by a man who handcuffed his wife to their bed but misplaced the key.
Dearborn police used a universal key to free the woman.
Sgt. Ray Patrick calls the situation "more of an intimate relationship than an unlawful imprisonment."
by Oakland Business Review

The following is a list of recent achievements by businesses in Oakland County:

• The law firm of Kupelian Ormond & Magy PC, with offices in Southfield and Ann Arbor, and Stephon B. Bagne, the shareholder supervising its formal condemnation practice, has enhanced its Web site by incorporating two practice area Web sites within its original Web site The new Web sites and provide expanded information about KOM's condemnation and eminent domain law and pipeline acquisition practice areas.

• The Detroit Chapter of the Turnaround Management Association, an international nonprofit association dedicated to corporate renewal and turnaround management, presented its 2007-08 Turnaround of the Year Award-Small Company (having revenue up to $50 million) to Fred Leeb & Associates LLC of Orchard Lake. The award is presented to the individuals or teams who orchestrated the most successful turnaround. The Turnaround of the Year Award was presented to Fred Leeb & Associates for its work to orchestrate the successful turnaround of Starfish Family Services, a nonprofit social services organization, located in Inkster.

• Bloomfield Hills-based Plunkett Cooney, one of the Midwest's oldest and largest law firms, was recently selected as a member of the "Century Club" by Michigan Lawyers Weekly for the firm's innovative recruitment and retention initiatives in the 21st century.

• The Troy Non-Profit Network, a group comprised of more than 35 nonprofit organizations within the Troy Chamber of Commerce, announced, for the second year in a row, Michigan Catholic Credit Union as the top donor for this year's "Change for the Better" fundraiser. The credit union's 60 employees raised a total of $1,036.56 for the group of nonprofits. Also, for the second year in a row, the award for the highest per capita donations went to Derderian, Kann, Seyferth & Salucci PC, whose 21 employees raised $584.03, for an average donation of $27.81 per person. Overall donations for "Change for the Better" reached a grand total of $2,696.
• For the second year in a row, Soil and Materials Engineers Inc. has been named one of "Metropolitan Detroit's 101 Best and Brightest Companies to Work For" by the Michigan Business and Professional Association.

• Amherst Partners, a Birmingham-based regional investment banking firm specializing in mergers and acquisitions and management advisory services, has been recognized with three awards: Inc. 5000 Fastest-Growing Companies in the Country, Finalist in Ernst & Young's Entrepreneur of the Year, Michigan 50 Companies to Watch.
Bhutan's measure of well-being attracts other nations
Don Duncan

THIMPHU, Bhutan In the thick of a global financial crisis, some economists have come to this Himalayan kingdom to study its unique economic policy based on Buddhist principles, Gross National Happiness.

"Happiness is very serious business. The dogma of limitless productivity and growth in a finite world is unsustainable and unfair for future generations," Bhutanese Prime Minister Jigme Thinley told foreign economists, educators and public policy consultants at a recent conference here.

Jon Hall, a project leader at the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) said he was receptive to the concept.

"We've been chasing gross domestic product for decades and now, societies are starting to say we need to look beyond GDP and start measuring well-being," Mr. Hall said.

Gross National Happiness, or GNH, was developed in isolation in Bhutan over centuries but was formalized an economic alternative in 1972 by then-King Jigme Singye Wangchuck in an attempt to address stagnation for one of the world's smallest economies, which is based mainly on agriculture and forestry.

At the time, the king shifted the focus of development from productivity to human well-being in four areas: sustainable economic development, preservation and promotion of cultural values, conservation of the environment and good governance.

Since then, government policy in Bhutan was guided by these principles in a succession of five-year plans, Mr. Thinley said.

But the term "happiness" often causes Western economists and development experts to not take Bhutan's economic approach seriously, observers say. And if they do, they tend to mask it with terms such as "human development" or "pluralistic growth."

"People are shy to use the word 'happiness,' " said Dasho Karma Ura, president of the Center for Bhutan Studies in the capital Thimphu, which launched the informational Web site last month.

"Defining happiness is not what is important. What is important is providing the conditions through which people can achieve happiness as they understand it," he said.
Between The Lines News

ROYAL OAK - Five15, an independent book, music, movie and gift store in Royal Oak launches its newly renovated Web site with an unprecedented gesture of good will.

Dubbed "The Gift of Affirmation" Five15 will donate 25 percent of all online proceeds to Affirmations in Ferndale for the month of December.

Online shoppers receive a minimum 15-percent discount on all items, including favorite books, music, calendars and videos. Rare or out-of-print LGBT books and merchandise can also be found at

FIVE15 is located at 515 S. Washington between Fifth and Sixth Streets in downtown Royal Oak, open seven days a week.

For more information, call 248-515-2551.
An intensive 3 day Enlightened Wealth Institute commercial real estate workshop ( will be held December 11th to 13th in Southfield, MI.

The location is at Embassy Suites Detroit-Southfield, 28100 Franklin Road and begins at nine a.m. EST.

In an online interview with Enlightened Wealth Insitute’s founder, Robert G. Allen, he said: "This Intensive Commercial Real Estate Workshop covers my NEW Real Estate Strategies. This special event is the first step to Enlightened Wealth for anyone who attends regardless of your credit and financial situation."

One of Robert Allens successful students who made over one million in her first year of real estate investing after taking the enlightened wealth institute worshops, Tammy Powell commented in an interview: "The enlightened wealth institute offers an incredible value for a free three day workshop and what is interesting in today’s real estate market right now, is the hunger for commercial real estate deals by foreign buyers. If you learn how to negotiate and contract a commercial real estate deal at a discount, you can assign that contract over to a foreign buyer for thousands of dollars and be on your way to financial freedom"

To learn more about Tammy Powell, visit her blog at:
The Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Solar technology company Hemlock Semiconductor has scheduled two events in Michigan and Tennessee on Monday to announce a multibillion dollar investment.

Company spokesman Jarrod Erpelding said Friday the Michigan-based company will hold a morning news conference in that state and an afternoon conference in Clarksville, Tenn., but declined to discuss details.

According to a company press release, the group will discuss investments "to serve the emerging solar technology industry" at Austin Peay State University with Gov. Phil Bredesen attending.

Michigan Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm is expected to attend the announcement at Saginaw Valley State University.

Hemlock Semiconductor is the world's largest maker of polycrystalline silicon for solar cells and semiconductor chips.
By Greg Robb

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) -- After hitting a 28-year low in November, consumer sentiment improved in early December, according to a survey by the University of Michigan and Reuters.

The consumer sentiment index rose to 59.1 in December from 55.3 in the previous month. The increase was unexpected. The consensus forecast of Wall Street economists had expected sentiment to drop to 55.

All of the increase came in the current conditions index, which rose to 69.4 from 57.5. Economists attributed the gain to the fall in gasoline prices. The expectations index dropped to 52.4 in December from 53.9.

November home sales in region rise from ‘07

Crain's Detroit

For the 11th straight month, home sales in Southeast Michigan have posted a year-over-year increase.
The 4,644 residential and condo sales posted for November 2008 represent a 20.5 percent increase over the 3,853 sales for the same month in 2007, according to data released today by Farmington Hills-based MLS RealComp II Ltd.
Year-to-date, the region showed an 18.1 percent increase.
Oakland County showed the biggest increase, posting a 31.8 percent increase in November compared to the prior year with 1,114 sales compared to 845.
Detroit showed a 27 percent increase with 918 sales compared to 723.
Livingston County had a 9.7 percent increase
Macomb increased 21.4 and Wayne increased 23.1.
The only decrease was in the St. Clair area with a 14.8 percent drop.
The overall increases are attributed to strong interest from first-time homebuyers, according to a statement issued by RealComp. Sales of starter homes, those under $125,000, are up by 60 percent from last year. Also cited for the increase is greater supply than demand in the area, thus pushing down
ANN ARBOR, Mich., Dec 11, 2008 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Three more Michigan start-up companies recently received investment commitments through the Michigan Pre-Seed Capital Fund: Arbor Photonics, Armune Bioscience and Aursos. To date, 28 Michigan companies have received a combined $6 million in critical seed funding through the Michigan Pre-Seed Capital Fund, a collaborative effort of Michigan's 12 SmartZones.

"The Michigan Pre-Seed Capital Fund has had consistent deal flow since its inception last year, highlighting the need for start-up funding in the state," said Skip Simms, Michigan Pre-Seed Capital Fund administrator. "Michigan's start-up economy is thriving and the Pre-Seed Capital Fund is an important catalyst in the success of the businesses choosing to call our state home. More than $6 million has been invested in Michigan's economic future through the Pre-Seed Fund."

Recent funding recipients are:

-- Arbor Photonics, sponsored by Ann Arbor SPARK, received $250,000. Arbor Photonics is developing a 3C optical fiber laser for the manufacturing sector, based on technology developed at the University of Michigan.

-- Armune Bioscience, sponsored by the Kalamazoo SmartZone, received $200,000. Armune's prostate cancer diagnostic test and prognostic test make significant advancements from current diagnostic and prognostic tests available on the market today. Armune is also developing a lung cancer diagnostic test and a lung cancer prognostic test.

-- Aursos, sponsored by the Kalamazoo SmartZone, received $200,000. Aursos specializes in parathyroid hormone (PTH) treatments for osteoporosis that increase bone formation and decrease bone degradation.

To date, 25 additional seed-stage companies have received funding through the Michigan Pre-Seed Capital Fund.

Fund recipients are:

-- XG Sciences, Inc., Lansing
-- Phrixus Pharmaceuticals, Ann Arbor
-- Hybra-Drive Systems, LLC, Deerfield
-- ParkingCarma, Flint
-- OTO Medicine, Ann Arbor
-- Pixel Velocity, Inc., Ann Arbor
-- SensiGen LLC, Ann Arbor
-- EADevices, Inc., Kalamazoo
-- MedElute, Inc., Kalamazoo
-- Danotek Motion Technologies, LLC, Ann Arbor
-- Saleztrack, Detroit
-- Compendia Bioscience, Inc., Ann Arbor
-- Avidimer Therapeutics, Inc., Ann Arbor
-- RazorThreat, Royal Oak
-- Functional Brands, Detroit
-- JADI, Troy
-- Venomix, Kalamazoo
-- Accord BioMaterials, Ann Arbor
-- Cielo MedSolutions, Ann Arbor
-- Afid Therapeutics, Lansing
-- ERT Systems, Ann Arbor
-- Emiliem, Kalamazoo
-- 3IS, Novi
-- Fulcrum Composites, Midland
-- Global Energy, Flint

To qualify for the Michigan Pre-Seed Capital Fund, a start-up company must have the sponsorship of its local SmartZone and have received grant, angel or venture capital funding greater or equal to funding requested of the Michigan Pre-Seed Capital Fund.

The Michigan Pre-Seed Capital Fund is an equity investment fund and will receive the same returns on its investment as the third party investor. The returns that the Michigan Pre-Seed Capital Fund receives from its investments will serve as seed money for the Fund's continuation.
By Jeremy Carroll
C & G Staff Writer
ROYAL OAK — Promoting local businesses and products is important to Lisa Berry and Sheryl Racey. And that’s why the two Royal Oak residents are proud that the product they sell is home grown.

“We produce everything here,” said Berry, as she sat inside the 2,200-square-foot Vintner’s Cellar wine shop in Royal Oak. “Everything that is on our racks, we made.”
Berry and Racey opened the store, 325 E. Fourth St., in mid-November and feature 20 varieties of wine along with the ability to alter any recipe for a custom batch. The store has varieties of white and red wines, along with four different types of fruit wine and two types of dessert wines.

The store has about 50 batches of wine in various stages of production on display. Making everything on-site has its advantages, like being able to customize a batch.

“If someone likes a Shiraz (a red wine), which is typically peppery, (and) if they want it a little more peppery, then we’ll throw in another handful and let it ferment that way,” Racey said.

The wine-making process takes four to eight weeks, which includes the wine’s fermenting, clarifying and being filtered for ideal flavor. Red wines need to be aged for several months before being opened. The white and fruit wines can be consumed sooner, Berry said.

“What is great is you can customize it,” she said. “You have a say in the process.”

To have the wine custom made, it must be bought in whole batches — a full batch makes 25 bottles of fruit wine, or 30 bottles of red or white wine. The batches range from $189 for the fruit wines and from $279 to $369 for the various red and white wines.

“The actual cost of your batch is less expensive per bottle than if you bought them individually,” Racey said.

Bottles run between $12.95 and $23.95 individually, and can be as low as $7.50 to $9 per bottle when purchased as part of a batch. The individual batches also come with custom labels.
All the wines are available for tasting before purchase, and the business is available for wine-tasting parties. They were approved for a Small Wine Maker’s license by the city and state earlier in the year.

Berry, 40, and Racey, 45, decided to take the plunge and open a business after they both took buyout packages from Nextel after it was bought by Sprint. The two worked together in marketing and sales for 10 years before the merger.

In addition to the wine, the shop also sells local artwork and locally made wine accessories.

The store is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday and Monday by appointment only.

For more information, visit them online at or call (248) 591-9463.

When Hurricane Katrina slammed into Louisiana and Alabama on Aug. 29, 2005, the automobile companies of Detroit did not harrumph that the Gulf Coast should have been better prepared.

They didn’t sit back and wait for New Orleans to submit a detailed plan for future repair of the ruptured levees.

General Motors Corp., on Aug. 30 donated $400,000 to the American Red Cross 2005 Relief Fund, pledged to match up to $250,000 more in employee contributions and sent more than 150 vehicles to the stricken area for use in relief work.

Ford Motor Co. and the UAW quickly made a joint donation of $100,000 to the Red Cross. The Chrysler Group gave $150,000 to the Red Cross and $200,000 to local New Orleans charities; DaimlerChrysler Services chipped in $200,000 for the Red Cross and pledged to match employee donations up to $50,000.

Between them, the three Detroit auto companies gave more than $18 million in cash and vehicles to the Katrina relief effort in the ensuing months. No strings attached.

U.S. Sen. David Vitter, R-Louisiana, should think about that before he casts his vote on a Senate bill to provide $14-billion in emergency rescue loans to GM and Chrysler.

Vitter said Wednesday that he plans to vote against the bill because, in his words, it is “ass-backwards” to give money to the distressed companies before Congress sees more detailed survival plans.

Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Alabama, should think about Hurricane Katrina, too. He has threatened a filibuster against the bill, calling it “a bridge loan to nowhere” and stating that Detroit’s automakers should undergo a fundamental restructuring before they ask Congress for money.
None of the logical arguments made by, or on behalf of, Detroit’s auto industry seem to resonate with certain congressional critics.

Not the fact that GM, Ford and Chrysler have slashed billions of dollars in costs. Not the fact that they have the nation’s top-selling pickup trucks and minivans. Not the fact that they have lots of high-mileage vehicles and more on the way. Not the fact an auto company bankruptcy would have a horrible ripple effect, wiping out scores of suppliers and make hundreds of thousands more U.S. workers jobless.

No, to resolute auto rescue opponents in the Senate, Detroit doesn’t make cars people wants. It’s a dinosaur not worth preserving.

Could the opinions of these senators be colored by the fact that the foreign-owned plants of Toyota, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, BMW, Nissan and Volkswagen – which compete against the Detroit Three – are located in their states?

Nah, let’s not even go there.

Let’s just say that if logical arguments don’t work, we should shame them into doing the right thing.

If you see a fellow American is drowning, gasping for air, do you quiz him for awhile about whether he’s drunk or why he never learned to swim better? Or do you throw him a lifebuoy and ask questions later?

That, it seems to me, is where we are with America’s car companies.
You can do nothing and watch them die, senators.

Or you can rush in immediately with emergency aid – as GM, Ford and Chrysler did in the case of Hurricane Katrina, and after the Sept. 11 terrorist attack, and during countless other disasters.

And you can hold their feet to the fire afterward, empowering a strong auto czar to make sure they do what’s needed to withstand future shocks.
As people come through the door at Dearborn's fresh, new Bistro 222, chef/proprietor Michael Chamas greets many of them by name.

They know Chamas from his original restaurant, L.A. Express, just up the street, or from his time as chef at La Dolce Vita in Detroit, and they are happy to see him back in the neighborhood.
It's a neighborhood dotted with restaurants of all stripes, none like the intimate 60-seat place with Spanish guitar music playing in the background and carefully chosen furnishings, artwork and table appointments against a background of polished wood and soft earth colors.
Can a quiet little restaurant that offers the niceties of linens, fresh flowers and handsome place settings make it on such an otherwise commercial strip?

Certainly there should be an audience for such amenities, as well as for carefully prepared cuisine that is a blend of California, France and Italy.

Chamas likes to work with wild mushrooms, roasted red peppers, fresh basil, parsley, cilantro, garlic and olives.

His appealing menu offers herb-lavished dishes typified by free-range chicken Marsala, a lighter version of the classic dish that includes mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes and is teamed with accompaniments of creamy risotto and fresh julienned carrots, zucchini and squash.

Almost every entree has a name -- the name of the regular who often ordered it in the past. There's the Albert eggplant tower, with fresh spinach, mushrooms, tri-color peppers and zucchini topped with fontina and Parmesan cheeses. And the Donna -- seafood risotto made with shrimp, scallops, asparagus and straw mushrooms.

One listing has an official trademark. It's the shrimp burger, a patty made of ground shrimp, red and yellow peppers and Panko bread crumbs, dolloped with herb mayonnaise and served on grilled ciabbata bread, with a green salad and a heap of shoestring fries.

Chamas devised it to wean his son away from Happy Meals when he was just a little boy. It worked. (The boy is now a Michigan State University student.) The shrimp burger is offered at lunch and dinner.

Other signature dishes include bacci (purse-shaped pasta) stuffed with Italian sausage in spicy marinara sauce, gnocchi in creamy tomato sauce, and lasagna made with chicken rather than beef, all served by a courteous and attentive staff.

Although there are several other desserts, including crème brulee and cheesecake, the apple bread pudding with creme anglaise, prettily served on one of the pure white plates, is a clear winner.

The only thing missing is wine, and he expects to remedy that in the near future. There are already wine racks in place to hold the personal selections of the regulars.

This is the kind of restaurant that offers an alternative, not just to Happy Meals, but to places with multiple TV screens and high-voltage atmosphere.
Owner hopes to add to venerable name with the Internet, a coffee bar and mini ice cream parlors

Maureen McDonald / Special to The Detroit News

CLINTON TOWNSHIP -- Inside the 1989-built Morley Candy Makers and Sanders Candy factory on Hall Road, Ron Rapson, 45, president of the combined companies, Morley Brands LLC, does his best to amuse children with tales of Willy Wonka and the Oompa Loompas, the candy-making dwarfs, by showing up with his own costume as Morley the Moose.

On a more serious note, Rapson strives to continue the top quality butter, cacao bean, cane sugar and secret recipes of Fred Sanders, founder of the 1875 candy maker, and the Morley family that launched its candy line in 1919. His children just call him the Candy Man.

"Everybody loves candy -- it's an affordable luxury," said Rapson. Sanders chocolate peppermint bark, cherry cordials and gooey caramel chocolates are mostly made the old fashioned way by 70 to 80 employees who cook caramel in 225 gallon kettles, fill Santa molds with chocolate by hand and oversee assembly lines with practiced skills. Workers offload 2,000 pounds of pecans a day to help produce 8,000 boxes of Sanders Pecan titans.

Candy sales rose to an anticipated $14 million in 2008, up from $12.5 million thanks to marketing strategies launched by Rapson and his new director of operations, Walter Pilon. Almost 75 percent of its annual sales occur during the winter holiday.

They hope to stretch business all year by tapping a strong Internet presence and by expanding retail sales. Rapson and Pilon concocted a $30,000-plus renovation of the gift shop, installing a coffee bar that serves Sanders caramel lattes and seasonal whipped cream and shaved chocolate atop the Sanders mocha drinks. The store opens at 7:30 a.m. to sweeten the morning traffic rush along Hall Road.

This spring, the team will offer high-end chocolate making courses, an appetite whetted by movies, exhibits and enduring appetites for candy.

Its products also are boxed and sold under private labels, including a Disney brand sold at its amusement parks. Pilon, 46, is market testing Coffee Beanery coffee and Sanders hot fudge combinations sold in crimson packages at Sanders and at Coffee Beanery stores.

The heart of traditional Sanders marketing was its retail stores, according to Rapson. Over the past five years, it has opened outlets in Birmingham, Grosse Pointe, Rochester, Eastpointe, Birmingham, Clinton Township, Livonia and Wyandotte and this spring opened a mini-parlor within Hiller's Market of Union Lake, all trading on the timeless ice cream parlor tradition of Detroit's best known candy brand.

"When the going gets tough, the tough get Sander's hot fudge cream puffs. Seriously, Sanders is a mainstay of a Michigan childhood and it's a brand that endures," said Jim Hiller, CEO of Hiller's Market, which carries a wide array of products because of the legacy -- and taste.

Sanders Candy

Specialty: Morley Candy Makers, a family held business in Clinton Township, purchased in 2002 the venerable Sanders name -- a Metro Detroit brand since 1875 -- and launched a major expansion of its brand.

Contact: Public tours occur at 10 and 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. Monday through Friday at the factory, 23770 Hall Road. Call (586) 468-4300 or visit

Family night tonight includes candy tasting, appetizers, music and special tours.
Laura Berman
Detroit News

Looking to save Detroit and give the perfect, yet inexpensive, holiday gift to your friends and relatives?

Me, too. Look no further than this column for my solution: The Save GM or Rescue Ford gift card.

While nobody has thus far tried to sell company stock by gift card, this moment of financial fear and trembling presents an opportunity.

The Ford or GM stock gift card could be a populist, immediate way for Americans -- and especially the millions in Michigan and other Great Lakes region states who really care -- to directly help the auto companies, while giving an unusual gift.

Consider this
For $25 or $30 a pop, you could, theoretically, give 10 shares of stock to everyone on your holiday list.

On Wednesday, as Congress waffled in its game of deal/no-deal, Ford stock closed at $3.25 a share, GM at $4.60. In this melt-down climate, anyone can be an auto financier.

Right now, the gift card idea is hypothetical, and everyone has objections, from the Securities and Exchange Commission to Ford to securities lawyers. "It's a great idea to help these American companies but people need to be aware that stock prices can go down ... they could be worthless," says David Foster, a Farmington Hills lawyer.

Well, all new ideas face opposition. GM didn't like the idea of hybrid technology five years ago, either.

So my suggestion is: Breathe deeply and consider it.

The gift card would act as a voucher, entitling its owner to redeem it for stock, in a stream-lined process arranged by Ford or GM and a broker. "Once you create a platform, and enough shares are involved, it would definitely be doable," says Gary Bice, a broker at Morgan Stanley in Birmingham.

Voila. Cleverly-devised, this plan could cut through the many hurdles to stock gift-giving: the commissions, transfer fees, and need for upfront personal information (Social Security number, address, date of birth) to register the stock.

One share at a time
A few companies sell Ford and GM stock, one share at a time, framed at hefty premiums. On Wednesday, the site was selling a single share of Ford stock, unframed, for $29.

Bice suggests the companies could create a separate, nonvoting stock whose owners could share in company growth without getting a lot of brokerage mail.

Many of us are looking for ways to show their loyalty and faith in the future of automotive America. This is one.

Have a better idea to help save the Big 3? Let me hear it.

Ferndale is often lumped in as one of Michigan's most enviable downtowns, filled with lots of things to do and a vibrant night life.

Although there isn't just one reason for its stunning rebirth, preservation is a big part of what makes Ferndale, Ferndale. Three recent redevelopment projects sum this up: The new Loving Touch pool hall, the Breckenridge Apartments rehabilitation and the offices of Foley Mansfield.

All three projects are either right in the middle of Ferndale's downtown or close to the city's center. The entrepreneurs and companies behind all three also took three historic structures and turned them into character-defining jewels for the Metro Detroit burb.

The Loving Touch was just an old, single-story commercial building next to the Woodward Avenue Brewers. It housed a popular book store for years but didn't have much else in the way of the history or defining architectural features.

Today the owners of the WAB have turned it into a stunning space that provides yet another vibrant downtown amenity. It also lets them resurrect the name of an infamous massage parlor that used to be the scourge of downtown. It's a tongue-in-cheek affectation that helps build the city's hip reputation.

Royal Oak-based Urbane Apartments is in the midst of restoring the Breckenridge Apartments building just northwest of the center of downtown. The 1930s-era building will provide more luxury rental spaces in the downtown, catering to young professionals and creative class types. Construction is expected to wrap up this spring.

The Foley Mansfield Building is the most impressive of them all. The law firm just held its grand opening this week for its new offices after relocating from Southfield. The Ferndale Schools Administration building had birds nesting in it when the developer transformed the historic structure just west of Woodward on 9 Mile. It now offers some of the best views of downtown Ferndale and an authentic loft-like Class A office space.
Largest Dealer Association in the Nation Is Standing Strong in the Motor City

DETROIT, Dec 11, 2008 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Standing strong in the Motor City is the theme taken on by Southeast Michigan's Chrysler Jeep Superstores in its no-holds-barred support of Chrysler LLC and the Detroit automakers. The Chrysler Jeep Superstores have ordered more than 5,100 new vehicles since October in a resounding message of confidence and support in Chrysler LLC and the cars they make.

The Chrysler Jeep Superstores Advertising Association is a group of 39 independently owned Chrysler Jeep Superstores throughout metro Detroit, from Monroe to Fowlerville and from Clinton to Port Huron. As a group, the Chrysler Jeep Superstores represent one of the largest dealer associations in the nation.

"Detroit is a city known for its strength and resilience. We're standing up and standing strong by Chrysler LLC," said Chrysler Jeep Superstores Advertising Association President James Schebil. "We have confidence in Detroit's automakers, and Chrysler LLC in particular."

"We're going all in here," Schebil said. "We, as an industry, create American jobs. We also create some incredible vehicles. We think our current customers know that, and that more people will rediscover what we have to offer in the near term."

Chrysler LLC makes vehicles for the Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge brands that are bought and sold by more than 3,300 dealers nationwide. Chrysler dealers employ more than 140,000 people.
About Chrysler Jeep Superstores: The Chrysler Jeep Superstores Advertising Association is a group of 39 independently owned Chrysler Jeep Superstores in Southeast Michigan from Monroe to Fowlerville and from Clinton to Port Huron.

To find out more, visit:
ROCHESTER HILLS, MI, December 11, 2008 /24-7PressRelease/ -- The Chase Away Foundation, a non-profit organization based in Michigan, and foundation advisory board member Mike Babcock, head coach of the Detroit Red Wings made a donation of $50,000 to the Children's Hospital of Michigan today.

"The unwavering support from organizations like The Chase Away Foundation is vital to helping us continue to offer the very best health care for the children of our community," says Herman B. Gray, M.D., M.B.A., president of Children's Hospital of Michigan. "Without this assistance we would not be able to continually improve our facilities, focus on research and simply help children live healthier lives. This gift is designated to renovate the 6 West treatment room which is used for medical procedures. We are very grateful to The Chase Away Foundation for this generous donation.

"The Chase Away Foundation was the result of the founders Brenda & Brendan Brosnan's son's, Chase, battle and survival from cancer and OMS (Opsoclonus-Myoclonus Syndrome).

A battle that lasted six long years and one that would not have been possible if it were not for the help of the doctors and so many others at the Children's Hospital of Michigan."This is a huge milestone for Chase Away," said The Chase Away Foundation President Brenda Brosnan. "Our goal is to help enrich the lives of children who are in treatment for cancer and OMS. This is just one step we have been able to take because of those who have helped the foundation. We are so thankful to the hospital, our board, our advisory members, like Mike Babcock and everyone who has supported our efforts to help these needy children."

"I am proud to support the Chase Away OMS Foundation," said Babcock. "Their commitment to making a difference in the lives of children and families battling cancer should be commended."

About The Chase Away Foundation
The Chase Away Foundation provides support, in a variety of ways, to children in Michigan who are in treatment for cancer. The foundations goal is to "chase away" the blues these children experience in this tumultuous time. These blues come from the unfathomable amount of hours, days, months and even years spending waiting.....waiting for the doctors, the nurses, the pokes to be over and the tests to be done. Waiting for the results to come back, the chemotherapy to be over and another hospital stay to end.

Please visit to learn more.
By Susan Kim / Detroit
Time Magazine
Walk through Detroit's Hamtramck neighborhood on any given day and you'll smell the intoxicating aroma of Polish sausages and perogis wafting down the street. In nearby Greektown, flaming cheese lights up cheery restaurant windows, and in Dearborn, Middle Eastern bakeries entice with flaky desserts dripping in honey.
These are everyday reminders that the Motor City boasts one of the most ethnically diverse populations in the country — thanks in large part to the U.S. automakers. Say what you will about the troubled corporate giants, but one accomplishment is undeniable: they gave countless immigrant families a sweet taste of the American dream.

"Detroit is truly a huge melting pot," says Alee Darwish, 53, a retired assembly line worker employed by Ford Motor Company for 32 years. "The car companies were no doubt responsible for that."
Like other Lebanese who flocked to the area in the early 1900's, Darwish's father immigrated to the U.S. seeking a job at Henry Ford's Model T plant, as the pioneering automobile entrepreneur was offering a large $5 a day. Following in his footsteps, both his sons ended up as career hourly employees at Ford, applying sealer to the seams of metal on the assembly line. "I worked hard, saved my money, and eventually opened a Coney Island diner and a pizzeria on the side while I worked full-time at the plant," says a proud Darwish, now married with two children. "Ford was good to us."

Metro Detroit's ethnic communities are wide and diverse. The city's population increased more than six-fold during the early 20th century industrial boom, fed largely by an influx of Irish, Germans, Scots, Poles, Italians, Greeks, Serbians, Turks, Armenians, Jews, Arabs and Lebanese.
In fact, "it is home to the largest concentration of Arab Americans in North America," says Warren David, founder of and president of David Communications, a public relations firm specializing in Arab-American and Islamic markets. "Many initially streamed in from Syria for economic reasons. The silk industry had collapsed there, and the U.S. car companies were actively recruiting for their factories," he explains. "In the 1940s wave called the 'Brain Drain,' Arabs came in search of better education. The third wave started in the late 1960's, where refugees fled here for political reasons or to escape homeland wars. Their villages were bombed out, and many already had relatives in Detroit. It was a safe haven."

"Working and living here made sense economically, and it gave us a better education and more stability that I would have had in Palestine," says Hasan Newash, a Jerusalem native who arrived in Michigan for college in 1960, fell into a summer engineering internship at Chrysler, and never left. Newash still bridles at the problems of Arab assimilation in America. "We're labeled terrorists." But, he says, the car companies were very fair, even encouraging, to new immigrants. In fact, some employers went as far as to protect them. "When the FBI was rooting out Palestinian 'activists' during the Nixon era, they were seeking me out for no reason," Newash states. "They followed my children down the street and even called my boss at Chrysler for information about me. He absolutely refused to cooperate with them. The company really valued and protected their employees."

Bill Zimmel agrees. The 95-year-old automotive veteran, who worked at Ford beginning in 1934 for 42 years, claims that Henry Ford was a paternalistic man. "Back then, companies really took care of their employees. Henry Ford had a relationship with the hospital so that his workers could have health care. He set up English classes for foreigners, and started a trade school to train uneducated workers into higher positions," he recalls. Zimmel, the son of Jewish immigrants, started on the production line making automotive parts, attended Ford's night school to become an electrician, and quickly rose through the ranks to become an electrical instructor. "I'm not sure what I would have become if I didn't get a job at Ford. I took the best I could get at the time and I grew into other things, one that I feel helped a lot of people. It was better than becoming a shoe salesman," he says with a chuckle.

In recent decades, African-Americans from the South, as well as Asians, Indians, and Pacific Islanders, added to the Motor City migration. All contribute greatly to the automotive community and the area's diverse cultural fabric. Ik Hyoun Kim, a Korea native who started with Chrysler's IT department in 1984, notes, "I could have provided a stable life for my family in Korea in my line of work, but the opportunities for my children's education were far better in the U.S." One of his two sons landed at Harvard University, to many immigrants the ultimate achievement of the American dream.

How does Detroit's immigrant autoworkers feel about the federal bailouts? Like most people in the Motor City, protective. "Why did the government bail out the banks and not the car companies?" asks Jerry Lelito, a General Motors plant manager for 23 years. "Those bankers make huge windfalls, and the executives walk away with golden parachutes. These are hardworking American workers who make up the industrial core in this country. So many other industries depend on the existence of the U.S. auto industry."
AP News

NEW YORK (AP) — Wall Street has regained some of its optimism and is rising on expectations that Congress will extend a lifeline to U.S. automakers and avoid a potential pitfall for the economy.

Lawmakers are believed to be close to approving a $15 billion bailout for Detroit. The move is seen as likely to save jobs.

Signs of fear in the Treasury market have eased somewhat. The four-week bill auctioned with a zero percent yield on Tuesday has seen that rate increase.

After a sell-off Tuesday, the Dow Jones industrials are up 100 at the 8,792. Broader indexes are showing similar advances.
Family and friends gathered at the home of Marge Wisniewski in Northville on Nov. 8 to celebrate Vincent York's Jazzistry's recent recognition as the recipient of the 2008 Arts Education Organization Guvvy Award.

The Guvvy is the nickname of the Governor's Award for Arts and Culture, presented each year in 10 categories by ArtServe Michigan. The award Jazzistry won is given to a Michigan educational organization or institution that has provided extraordinary student and educator support and advanced arts education in Michigan schools.

Vincent York's Jazzistry is a non-profit educational program that uses live presentations to teach children and adults the story of jazz music and its role in American history. Jazzistry expands how people view society, helps them cultivate a personal relationship with history, demonstrates the benefit and beauty of our multi-cultural heritage, and creates a whole new generation of jazz lovers.

The name Jazzistry is a combination of the words jazz, history and artistry.

Party guests enjoyed York's samplings from the Artist in Residence Visit component of the Jazzistry Educational Program featured in schools around Michigan.

"It was cold outside, but the atmosphere inside was warm and uplifting," said Wisniewski. "The stage was set and the mood was festive for this 'cocktail party with a cause.' Vincent was up close and personal with the audience who listened to him demonstrate examples from the eras covered in the Jazzistry Program.

He typically plays seven instruments to engage the audience in an interactive performance of songs. The crowd was as eclectic as the music, as people from all cultures and walks of life gathered to enjoy a taste of what Jazzistry is all about."

Jazzistry's musical journey spans 400 years. From work songs and ragtime, to spirituals and the blues, from New Orleans to Harlem; from bebop to hip hop, it's a history lesson that swings as it connects all kinds of American music and brings history to life, transforming auditoriums into audible time machines for students and adults. The Jazzistry six-piece band performed a sample of the Presentation component at the Chase Bar in Northville this summer to a packed audience in hopes of building bridges with Northville and its surrounding communities and school districts.
"While creating awareness for Jazzistry's wonderful program and facilitating its mission, funding is proving to be the greatest challenge because of the current economical climate in Michigan," said Wisnewski. She and her friends have taken up the cause and pledged to have more cocktail parties with a cause in their homes and turn the proceeds over to Jazzistry.

"Music is a universal language that can be used to transcend culture and race and unite people of all ages," said Wisnewski. "Everyone agreed it was a great way to start the holiday season."
Jazzistry has several projects on the horizon, including a possible fundraiser at the Tipping Point Theatre.

Want more?

If you would like to find out more about how you can be involved with Jazzistry visit the Web site at or call (734) 761-6024.

Marisa Schultz / The Detroit News

Michigan State University will be home to a $550 million federal nuclear physics facility, beating out a prestigious national laboratory for the one-of-a-kind project that promises to boost the state's economy and the university's prestige.

The U.S. Department of Energy announced today that MSU is its choice for the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams, or FRIB, the biggest nuclear physics upgrade ever at the university and one that will solidify its spot as a world leader in rare isotope research, leaders say.

"The Department of Energy's new Facility for Rare Isotope Beams at Michigan State University promises to vastly expand our understanding of nuclear astrophysics and nuclear structure," said Acting Associate Director of the Office of Science for Nuclear Physics Eugene Henry.

"This capability will allow physicists to study the nuclear reactions that power stars and stellar explosions, explore the structure of the nuclei of atoms and the forces that bind them together, test current theories about the fundamental nature of matter, and play a role in developing new nuclear medicines and techniques."

The facility would create $1 billion in economic activity in Michigan and 400 new jobs over a decade, as well as $187 million in taxes over 20 years, according to economist Patrick Anderson.
Michigan lawmakers were overjoyed at the decision, the product of years of lobbying.

"A massive effort to highlight Michigan State University's unique capability paid off for MSU, Michigan, and the nation," said Sen. Carl Levin, D-Detroit. It is the best news for Michigan in a long time."

"In Michigan we know that this will create good paying jobs for Michigan, provide outstanding educational opportunities for our next generation of scientists, and open the door for scientific breakthroughs," said Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Brighton, whose congressional district includes MSU's East Lansing campus.

Final design for the new facility will begin immediately, with construction beginning in 2013 and fully operating within a decade, according to MSU. The operating budget for MSU's National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory, which currently conducts rare isotope research, would grow from about $20 million annually from the federal government to about $50-$60 million, MSU President Lou Anna Simon has said.

"We are proud to have been selected and we look forward to partnering with the Department of Energy Office of Science to advance this important science," Simon said. "MSU is deeply committed to the success of this facility, which has been recognized by the science community as a critical priority for the nation's physical science research infrastructure."

Simon, scientists, students and state leaders had been lobbying hard for the facility. The university was in stiff competition with the U.S. Department of Energy's own lab, Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois. Both presented detailed plans to the U.S. Department of Energy selection committee. In October, committee members toured MSU's National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory.

"The selection of MSU would not have happened without the continued support of many people," Simon said. But, she said, "our work ... is not yet done."

"Winning the competition ... was just the first step in what will be a decade-long journey to make this project a reality," Simon said. "Michigan's congressional delegation will play a key role in supporting MSU and DOE in securing appropriations necessary to build the facility and ensure that America continues to be the leader in rare isotope research."

MSU's lab is currently considered a leader in rare isotope research. However, the technology used to conduct the research has become outdated, and MSU leaders feared that without the project MSU's lab would "drift into oblivion," said to Konrad Gelbke, director of MSU's lab. With FRIB, MSU would be home to a new high power linear accelerator, speeding up the time it takes to do experiments.

With rare isotope research, scientists use big instruments to study something minute -- the center of atom. Scientists create isotopes that are not otherwise found on Earth. The idea is that by studying these rare isotopes, scientists will have a better understanding of such things as how elements were formed and what happens inside the stars.

The research has practical applications for medical diagnostic equipment to treat cancer patients and for creating ways to test nuclear weapons without denotation.

Now faced with competition from labs around the world, the U.S. Department of Energy had ranked the FRIB project as the nation's third highest science facility priority.
DETROIT -(Dow Jones)- A group of 1,200 credit unions in the nation's Midwest will extend $10 billion in discounted auto loans to help spur sales for Detroit's auto makers.

Car buyers in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois can get discounted rates on General Motors Corp. (GM) vehicles under a deal announced Wednesday between the auto maker and consortium of credit unions. The group said it's working with Ford Motor Co. (F) and Chrysler LLC on a similar arrangement.

The plan is called Invest in America, according to a news release posted on the Michigan Credit Union League's Web site.
The league claims a membership of aboutg 12 million consumers. The program will be tested in the four states, possibly going nationwide early next year, the release said.

The program is effective immediately and will run through June 30. It offers eligible vehicles at a price discount to credit union members and their households. Members who buy cars under the program also are eligible to get an additional $250 bonus cash between now and Jan. 5.

"This new arrangement with Midwest credit unions creates a tremendous value for GM and for thousands of credit union members," said Mark LaNeve, GM vice president of vehicle sales, service and marketing. "We appreciate the credit unions' promotional support and are pleased to make this offer."

"Credit unions have a long history of helping hard-working Americans in troubled times," said Daniel Mica, CEO of the Credit Union National Association.

Credit union members can find details on the discounts at and obtain an authorization number to take to any GM dealership. The price discount applies to purchases of eligible new Buick, Cadillac, Hummer, Saab, Chevrolet, GMC, Saturn and Pontiac vehicles.
WASHINGTON -- Majority Democrats and the White House have finalized a deal to spend $15 billion on emergency loans for struggling U.S. automakers, congressional officials said Wednesday.
Here's a super twist on the ubiquitous gift basket: Send the spirit of Detroit with this signature pail packed with hometown products.

It's filled to the brim with goodies from past and present Detroit institutions -- Better Made chips, Faygo and Vernors, Rocky Peanut Co. nuts and candy, and Sander's fudge topping.

Available exclusively through Pronto! in Royal Oak for $65. Call the holiday hotline, (248) 549-1519 or visit to order.
(PRWEB) -- A new study shows that brainwave signals associated with feelings ( of happiness, love, satisfaction, gratitude, full awareness, mindfulness, peace, and the absence of stress, can now be measured. The study also showed that Transcendental Meditators with over 10 years experience could enhance this brainwave pattern associated with good feelings much more powerfully than subjects who did not meditate, although both groups learned to increase this pattern in just one session. The study established that the Neureka!

( brainwave biofeedback system, which is used in the Peak Brain Happiness Trainer (, is able to give users instantaneous, clear information about these brainwaves related to these positive feelings.

The Peak Brain Happiness Trainer is the first instrument that can teach users to directly enhance these very powerful feelings by increasing the brainwave output from the Prefrontal Pleasure Center, a part of the brain's pleasure system mediated by the neuromodulator, dopamine. The training begins by showing the user a very pleasant DVD, and then putting the DVD under the control of the user's Neureka! brainwaves. As the user becomes happier and the Neureka! output increases, the picture gets larger. The user soon begins to understand how to create the feelings that are necessary to keep the picture larger--directly, without the use of words or thoughts.

Dr. Beverly Rubik, the President of the Institute for Frontier Sciences, who conducted the study, will demonstrate the Peak Brain Happiness Trainer from NeuroTek, LLC,, on December 11, 2008 at 7:00 pm, at IFS, 4067 Watts St., Emeryville, CA. She will also show the MeditAider Protocol, a feature of the Peak Brain Happiness Trainer, which helps those who are having trouble meditating to keep calm and focused and enhance Neureka!

Dr. Rubik states, "From numerous studies in mind-body science and medicine, we know that happiness is a root cause of good health. Now you can choose to engage your brain in the Neureka! experience using the Peak Brain Happiness Trainer to elevate yourself mentally and physically."

Dr. Beverly Rubik, President and founder of the Institute for Frontier Science, a nonprofit organization, holds a Ph.D. in biophysics from the University of California at Berkeley. She has published over 80 papers and 2 books. Dr. Rubik presently serves on the editorial boards of Journal of Alternative & Complementary Medicine; Integrative Medicine Insights; and Revision. She is adjunct professor in Integrative Health at California Institute of Integral Studies; adjunct faculty member in Integrative Health at Saybrook Graduate School; and a holistic health practitioner to clients at Health Medicine Center in Walnut Creek.

Institute for Frontier Science, Mailing address: 6114 LaSalle Ave., PMB 605, Oakland, CA 94611.

Contact: Beverly Rubik, Ph.D., 510-531-5767 Office; 510-428-4084 Lab;

Royal Oak’s bond rating gets boost

By Jeremy Carroll C & G Staff Writer

ROYAL OAK — Standard & Poor’s recently upgraded Royal Oak’s bond rating two levels to AA+ ahead of a planned $11.8 million capital improvement bond issue.

The city plans to issue the bonds to pay for the purchase of two properties, parking improvements, water and sewer projects, and motor pool purchases. The rating is a jump from Royal Oak’s previous rating, AA-.

He said going into the process, the city wasn’t optimistic that they would receive an increase in rating, but after meeting with Standard & Poor’s, they had a good feeling the increase would be coming.

“I didn’t expect a double bump,” Johnson said.

The rating is the highest in the city’s history, and one step below the highest possible rating of AAA. There was a time when the city had bond ratings in the B area, Johnson said.

In its report, Standard & Poor’s said “strong management practices” and “general fund reserves” were main contributors to the increase in the bond rating.

“The rating is further supported by the city’s … healthy financial position, including very strong general fund reserves and good operating results despite dropping revenues,” the report said.
Standard & Poor’s also approached the subject of a possible tax increase on residents in its report.

“In the event that revenue projections do not improve, the city has several plans to preserve fiscal balance,” the report read. “Management is considering approaching the voters with a millage increase in order to address falling property tax revenues. On the expenditure side, plans include further reducing the staff through attrition as well as possibly decreasing city services.”

Standard & Poor’s also upgraded the city’s management practices to “strong,” its highest ranking. It’s the only rating agency that actually rates management.

The ratings for Moody’s and Fitch remained unchanged. The city has a rating of A1 from Moody’s and AA- from Fitch.

“This is very good news,” said Mayor James Ellison in a statement. “Better bond ratings mean lower interest cost on our bonds. We’ll be seeing the benefits of this rating upgrade every time we make an interest payment, for the next 20 years.”
Chrysler's Former Head of Leadership Development Teams Up with Renowned Entrepreneurship Experts

CHICAGO, Dec 09, 2008 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Get Stirred Up ( -- the innovation, brand strategy and design firm-announced today that it will be leading a two-day program on January 22nd and 23rd in the Detroit area for exiting auto executives who are interested in pursuing entrepreneurial career paths that hone in on their game-changing business ideas. The program, called "Shifting Gears: From Employee to Founder -- A Two-Day BootCamp for Activating BIG Ideas," will take place at the Troy Hilton and is structured as part seminar, part one-on-one coaching.

Teaming up with Chrysler's former head of leadership development, Katy Caschera, Get Stirred Up's roster of "Innovation Activists" will be taking a "bootcamp"-style approach, weaving together highly effective brainstorming techniques with candid entrepreneurial storytelling and tactical business planning activities. That roster includes Chic Thompson (author of What a Great Idea!), Ed Rogoff (author of Bankable Business Plans and The Entrepreneurial Conversation), and serial (and cereal) entrepreneurs David Roth and Rick Bacher (widely known for their retail venture, Cereality Cereal Bar & Cafe, which was sold to the parent company of Cold Stone Creamery).

Katy Caschera is one of the close to 5,000 white-collar employees at Chrysler who accepted the much publicized separation package. "I've been with Chrysler for more than nine years and have never lost my entrepreneurial spirit," says Caschera. "My role as manager of leadership development provided a wonderful platform to help my colleagues develop their 'intrapreneurial' skills while building a collaborative and supportive, corporate culture." She adds, "The 'Shifting Gears' format will allow me to continue supporting these individuals (and others within the industry) along these same lines, but in an even more hands- on, pragmatic way, as they make that seismic shift from 'employee' to 'founder.'"

Creativity expert Chic Thompson, who has consulted to more than 300 clients from Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, and non-profit organizations over the past 25 years, has been working with Chrysler's leadership team for the past two years as part of their "Leaders of Today and Tomorrow" initiative (designed and led by Caschera). He is particularly enthusiastic about this opportunity: "I know and really care for these people," shares Thompson. "I've been in the trenches with them as they've wrestled with how to improve the company's overall performance and efficiencies. Over the last two years we have come up with several creative approaches for improving vehicle reliability and energy sustainability. So now having the chance to build on that creative thinking and help them become entrepreneurs is truly rewarding and will be a boost for our struggling economy," he adds.

The two-day program is divided into a series of thematically-focused keynotes and breakout sessions on the first day, each led by a different "Innovation Activist," and revolving one-on-one coaching sessions with those same experts on the second day, where participants can drill down on their own, specific business ideas. Overall, they will learn how to brainstorm in a way that results in meaningful innovation, not just cleverness; champion their big idea with different constituents; find and structure deals with non-traditional funding sources; hook 'early adopters' and turn them into brand zealots; and keep focused, manage risk and make mid-course corrections.

"This is a program designed specifically for tomorrow's best innovators, not weary corporate folks who are pursuing the self-employment route out of default," explains workshop leader and nationally recognized expert on entrepreneurship, Ed Rogoff. He emphasizes: "It's geared to those individuals who will be the real fuel of economic change in America. With this new wellspring of excellent business leaders suddenly re-entering the job market in Detroit, the ones who possess real entrepreneurial promise require immediate and pragmatic support as they embrace their new roles in helping to turn around the economy: as founders of truly innovative companies."

Get Stirred Up's "Shifting Gears" program will be held at the Troy Hilton in Troy, Michigan on January 22nd and 23rd from 9am - 5pm. Information regarding the agenda, fees and registration procedures can be found at or by calling Niki Conrad at 312-596-3426.

About Get Stirred Up
Chicago-based Get Stirred Up is an innovation, brand strategy and design firm that helps entrepreneurs and organizations create game-changing solutions for enterprise growth, new product development or line extensions, channel expansion, and brand identity and (re)positioning. The firm was started by serial (and cereal) entrepreneurs David Roth and Rick Bacher, who've been the creative force behind a number of innovative businesses over the past twenty years. Get Stirred Up's roster of "Innovation Activists" also includes Chic Thompson, the leading business authority and author of the best-selling book on creativity, What a Great Idea! and Dr. Edward Rogoff, an expert on entrepreneurship who chairs the Department of Management at CUNY's Zicklin School of Business and is the author of Bankable Business Plans and The Entrepreneurial Conversation. For more information on Get Stirred Up, please visit
SOURCE Get Stirred Up
Associated Press

NOVI, Mich. - The residents a Novi retirement community have kicked in $130,000 in holiday thank yous for their caretakers.

The Detroit News reports Monday that more than 80 percent of the about 800 residents of the Fox Run community in the Detroit suburb donated. The money will be divided among 383 employees.

The newspaper reports that how much money each employee gets depends on a formula that takes into consideration how long they have been working at the facility and how many hours they work a week.

Eighty-one-year-old resident Howard Hilving says the collection "reflects the good service of the people" who work at Fox Run.
By JOSEPH SZCZESNY Of The Oakland Press

A California electric car company expects to move into its new technical center in Pontiac before Christmas.

Officials from Fisker Automotive Inc. of Irvine, Calif., a green, premium car company and a favorite project of former Vice President Al Gore, confirmed last week that the company is moving ahead with plans to open a new Engineering and Development Center on the southeast corner of Pontiac.

The new technical center will house up to 200 engineers and designers who will support the development and production program of Fisker Automotive’s first production car, the Fisker Karma.

The company unveiled the $87,000 car at the North American International Auto Show in January, Fisker representatives said.

Henrik Fisker, a former designer at BMW who organized the company from scratch, has said the firm has contracted General Motors’ Pontiac-based powertrain group to supply the gasoline engine that generates electricity when the driver exceeds the 50 mile electric-only range.

It is also considering the purchase of several additional GM vehicle components for the Karma, Fisker said.

“Given General Motors’ global leadership in the parts and accessories space, the fact that it is already engineering parts for extended range electric vehicles, and its commitment to helping the environment, it was clear that this was the right partner for us,” Fisker said.

Tom Stephens, executive vice president in charge of the GM Powertrain Group, said, “GM sees significant opportunity in working with Fisker Automotive, a visionary company developing products that embody both exciting vehicle design as well as technology friendly to our environment.”

Sylvania Lopez-Navarro, Fisker’s director of marketing, has transferred some employees to Michigan from California, and is beginning to hire local talent.

“The available talent, supplier base and infrastructure in Michigan will help us reach our production goal,” said Fisker Automotive Chief Operating Officer Bernhard Koehler.“While Fisker Automotive will continue to have its headquarters in Irvine, Calif., the new facility will allow us the opportunity to collaborate with our Michigan supplier base and have everyone under one roof,” Koehler said.

Last week, Lopez-Navarro said deliveries of the first Fisker’s cars are scheduled for November 2009 in both North America and Europe.

Fisker has contracted with Finnish company Valmet Automotive to build the vehicle. Valmet already builds the Cayman and Boxster for Porsche, Lopez-Navarro said.

Fisker’s annual production is projected to reach 15,000 vehicles by 2011.

The Karma, which will carry a retail price tag of $87,000, is described as a plug-in hybrid that can travel 50 miles on battery power. The car’s total range is 350 miles and it comes with its proprietary “Q-Drive” powertrain developed by Quantum Technologies of Irvine, Calif.

The Fisker is built around an aluminum space frame and will have the potential for a fuel economy of more than 100 miles per gallon on extended drives. In addition, it will have a top speed of 125 mph and 0-60 acceleration in less than 6 seconds. The Fisker Karma is poised to be the world’s first true luxury plug-in hybrid sports car, Lopez-Navarro said.

The opening of the new technical center in Pontiac comes on the heels of Fisker Automotive’s recent announcement that it prevailed in a lawsuit brought against the company by rival Tesla Motors.

Fisker has backing from Quantum, a leader in state-of-the-art clean propulsion technologies and lithium ion batteries developed by Quantum’s strategic alliance partner.

Another major investor in Fisker is Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, a legendary venture capital firm based in Silicon Valley.

Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers has made a major push into “Greentech” innovation and entrepreneurs including cars that emit less zero greenhouse gases. The firm’s partners include John Doerr — an enormously successful high-tech investor who was instrumental in the creation of companies such as Amazon, Google and Netscape — and Gore.

“Scientists agree the No. 1 trend on the planet is urbanization, as 4 billion people move from rural to urban living in the next 50 years. They all want clean water, clean power and clean transportation. At the same time we face climate crisis. Atmospheric CO2 levels are at an all-time high, with accelerating growth.

“We are addicted to increasingly expensive oil. Scientific breakthroughs in biology and materials technology mean there’s never been a better time to start and grow a great green venture. Greentech could be the largest economic opportunity of the 21st century,” the firm’s Web site said.
Five HMOs in Michigan are ranked in the top 50 commercial plans nationally, according to a report from U.S. News & World Report’s America’s Best Health Plans in 2008.

Three of the top five commercial plans are based in Southeast Michigan. They are Priority Health, Farmington Hills; HealthPlus of Michigan, Troy; and Health Alliance Plan of Michigan, Detroit. The other two are Grand Valley Health Plan and Physicians Health Plan of Mid-Michigan.

“This reflects well on our industry as a whole in Michigan,” said David Crosby, CEO of HealthPlus and chair of the Michigan Association of Health Plans, in a statement. “Our HMOs are well aware of the importance of making sure our patients are highly satisfied with the service they receive from their plan.”

The health plans were ranked according to clinical performance, member satisfaction and accreditation by the National Committee on Quality Assurance.

Two Michigan HMOs — HAP and HealthPlus — were ranked in the top 25 for Medicare plans. Four were in the top 25 for Medicaid plans: Priority Health, Health Plan of Michigan, Upper Peninsula Health Plan and Great Lakes Health Plan in Southfield.

Michigan ranked third among the states in the number of health plans earning recognition, behind only Massachusetts and New York.

“We are extremely proud of the performance record of Michigan’s health plans,” said Richard Murdock, MAHP’s executive director.

For more information, visit
Two Southeast Michigan suppliers were among the first to be named by Volkswagen AG as suppliers to its new plant in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Troy-based EMCON Technologies L.L.C. will supply cold end exhaust systems and Auburn Hills-based Saturn Electronics & Engineering Inc. will supply solid state electronics modules for a new mid-size sedan to be made at Volkswagen’s new plant.

“EMCON Technologies has a long history of delivering quality exhaust products to Volkswagen production facilities abroad and we are looking forward to bringing that environmentally-friendly technology to our new Tennessee plant,” Volkswagen’s Chattanooga CEO Frank Fischer said in a statement.

EMCON employs about 7,500 people at operations in 19 countries and posts about $4 billion in annual revenue, according to the company’s Web site. EMCON is owned by One Equity Partners, a New York-based equity and investment firm that manages about $8 billion in investments from J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. The company was formed in 2004 after One Equity Partners bought Troy-based ArvinMeritor Inc.’s exhaust systems business for about $310 million.

Saturn Electronics & Engineering, a certified minority-owned supplier, will develop the solid state electronics modules for Volkswagen’s new sedan from Saturn’s headquarters in Auburn Hills.

“Saturn presented us with exactly what we were looking for: an innovative and cost-effective module that is tailored to our U.S. consumer market,” Fischer said in the statement. “As a minority-owned business, we are pleased to have Saturn as a partner in the production of the vehicle.”
PRLog (Press Release) – Dec 08, 2008 – Milford, MI -- This Christmas give someone a gift they’ll never forget… a gift from their own personal “bucket list.”

What’s a bucket list? It’s the list people make of the things to do before they “kick the bucket” made popular by the Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman movie “The Bucket List,” include for many a hot air balloon ride.

“The movie is about getting the most out of life in the face of death. The movie stars Nicholson as a rich guy and Freeman as a working stiff, both diagnosed with terminal cancer, the duo teaming up to travel the world with a wish list of exotic adventures to squeeze in before kicking the bucket,” says David Germain in an Associated Press review.

“The list is not far from reality,” says Scott Lorenz of Westwind Balloon Company in Plymouth, Michigan. “I’ve flown thousands of people over the years and many say a hot air balloon ride was on their list of things to do before they… kick the bucket.” Its not often one can participate in an activity that so many people hold so high in anticipation. It makes it a very rewarding experience for me personally as well as my passengers,” says Lorenz.

“That’s why the "bucket list gift” is so popular, because people who have accumulated everything material they could want don't really need anything. The only things they want to collect anymore are experiences. A balloon flight is the ultimate experience and it allows them to cross off that item on their own bucket list.

What’s the best time to go? Hot air balloons fly in Michigan May thru October. Lorenz says “springtime is nice, but summer’s pretty cool too and you can’t beat the fall colors in October!”

Most balloon rides last about one hour and Lorenz flies over the woods and streams of Kensington Park. He and several other pilot friends meet at Park 'n Ride area off Milford Road and I-96 (exit # 155) about 2 1/2 hours before sunset.

What to wear? Lorenz suggests passengers wear tennis shoes and jeans. He says the air temp “upstairs” is within a couple degrees of ground temp so its not a factor. Cameras and video cameras are highly reccomended to preserve the once in a lifetime moments while flying over the countryside.

Flights cost $695 for a private ride which is two passengers and the pilot. All flights are pre-paid. Visa, MasterCard, AMEX, Discover and PayPal are accepted. Christmas gift certificates are available.

To schedule a flight call Westwind Balloon Company at 734-667-2098 or visit:

What’s on Lorenz’s bucket list? “I’d have to say white water rafting on the Colorado River, storm chasing tornados with a professional meteorologist, taking a zip line trip through the tops of a rain forest and flying balloons in Kenya,” says Lorenz.

About Scott Lorenz
Scott Lorenz, President of Westwind Balloon Company, has been a commercial balloon pilot since 1982, and has logged 1,450 + hours as pilot in command in a hot air balloon. Scott’s memorable ballooning experiences include: Flying over Niagara Falls, The Great Wall of China, Disney World, the Olympics in Calgary, St. Wolfgang, Austria, Saga, Japan, the Grand Prix in Spain, co-piloting one of two balloons for Mike Howard’s Guinness World Record ”balloon walk” flight at 19,000 feet, a 20 hour-361 mile Gas Balloon flight with Gordon Boring and handling media relations for Kevin Uliassi’s Round the World balloon flights. Lorenz and his balloon exploits have been featured by FOX-2 News, Hour Detroit and The Detroit Free Press. A balloon flight on Westwind Co. was named "most creative date" by It’s Just Lunch. Westwind Balloon Company is a member of the Detroit Chamber of Commerce, The Balloon Federation of America (BFA) and the Southeast Michigan Balloon Federation (SEMBA).

It's not serious transit on these party-style trolleys that seat 40 -- they will give free rides for six hours on just one night.

But plans for two rubber-tired trolleys to circle five cities in southeast Oakland County have city and business officials excited about everything from pumping up small downtowns to showing the value of mass transit.

The trolleys are to make 10 repeated stops, from 6 p.m. to midnight Saturday, in Berkley, Ferndale, Huntington Woods, Pleasant Ridge and Royal Oak. Stops include two city community centers, restaurants and a nightclub.

"We're hoping this will be as big a hit as it was when we did it in October" -- when Pleasant Ridge rented a trolley for a night just to run to Ferndale and Royal Oak, said Pleasant Ridge City Manager Sherry Ball.

"This time, we scheduled it to see Ferndale's ice sculptures," which will be on display after Saturday's daylong Ferndale Holiday Ice Festival.

Pleasant Ridge will pay $850 for each trolley for Saturday, but the five cities would share costs if the rides continue, Ball said.

As modest as the plan is now, there's hope to repeat it often in 2009, said Pleasant Ridge City Commissioner George Lenko.

"If we had a small bus loop like this all the time, it would help people ... sort of live locally," Lenko said.

The trolley riding comes as the Legislature is expected to approve a 12-stop light-rail system on Woodward in Detroit this week. Both are signs that metro Detroiters increasingly see the value of "getting out from behind their steering wheels," said Luke Forrest of the Michigan Suburbs Alliance.

People who rode the trolley in October not only enjoyed the convenience of not driving or parking, but they spent their money to help the local economy, said Christina Sheppard-Decius of the Ferndale Downtown Development Authority.

"There's networking and camaraderie and neighborly socializing. That's what's appealing to the consumer and gets people to step outside their usual spending patterns," such as buying on the Internet, from catalogs or at far-off malls, she said.

For Huntington Woods, joining the trolley plan was a byproduct of facing a tough economy and wanting to promote southeast Oakland County, said City Manager Alex Allie.

He said he expects Huntington Woods residents will enjoy seeing holiday lights, meeting their neighbors on the trolleys and going for a night out that doesn't risk drinking and driving.

"Obviously, we don't have our own downtown, but it's a way of showing off our neighborhoods," Allie said. The trolley plan also is a way for the cities to build toward more collaboration on other things, he said.

For details about Saturday's trolley stops, go to

Contact BILL LAITNER at 248-351-3297.

The Kresge Foundation's $50,000 Eminent Artist Award is the latest step in the Troy-based foundation's significant recent investment in local arts and culture.

The foundation has committed $8.8 million over three years, with more than $6 million in operating funds already flowing to large and small cultural groups in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties. In addition, the foundation will award 18 annual fellowships of $25,000 each to local artists beginning next spring.

Kresge's willingness to fund not just institutions but individuals suddenly makes metro Detroit a national leader when it comes to supporting artists in their studios.

Other foundations and government agencies around the country award grants to individuals, but the scale of Kresge's $500,000 annual commitment appears unique. Arts advocates said the fellowships could have a transformational impact, keeping artists anchored in metro Detroit rather than feeling compelled to leave for greener pastures.

Artist Jef Bourgeau, director of the Museum of New Art in Pontiac, said that the Kresge awards "now lie at the heart of Detroit's future contemporary culture, not only regionally but, in overall awareness, nationally as well."

While the Eminent Artist Award and fellowships are going to visual artists this year, later years will reward performing and literary artists.

Kresge president Rip Rapson said the fellowships were designed to make it possible for artists to concentrate on their work for at least a year without having to wait tables or something similar to pay the bills. The foundation's arts support -- a long-term commitment slated to continue far into the future -- is aimed at strengthening the overall ecology of culture in metro Detroit.

"We can't acknowledge the past or aspirations for the future without artists making daily contributions to life in Detroit," said Rapson.

Royal Oak named one of best cities to raise kids

By Megan Pennefather • MIRROR STAFF WRITER •

Royal Oak found a sunny patch amid all this regional gloom: BusinessWeek magazine recently deigned the city as one of the nation's best cities to raise children.

The magazine in November released its second annual roundup of the "Best Places To Raise Your Kids," and Royal Oak was one of only three Michigan cities named to the list. Ann Arbor was the top community in the state, while Royal Oak and Shelby Township were named runners-up.

The honor came as no surprise to City Manager Tom Hoover.

"We've got great neighborhoods, great services," he said. "We've got a very vibrant downtown. We've got it all, and we try to use it to our advantage."

School performance, affordability and safety were the top three criteria considered in compiling the list, but cost of living, air quality, job growth, diversity, local parks, museums and theaters were also factors. Towns with populations of fewer than 50,000 and median household incomes of less than $40,000 or more than $100,000 were not considered.

The honor came when the city is facing ever-increasing budget problems, as revenue continues to dwindle and costs of services inch up. Hoover said though economic times are tough in the city, Royal Oak is still a draw for many people. "All around, there are good places to live," he said.

Royal Oak school district Superintendent Thomas Moline said the honor says a lot about the quality of the city's schools. "That is a credit to the school district, and we continue to work hard on that," he said. "The community has put a lot into the schools in the last three years."

While teachers and staff certainly deserve part of the credit, he said, it's also important to look at the parents.

"Certainly, it's the instruction," he said. "But it's coupled with the high expectations by the parents, and when you have that, you have a vibrant community."

But is it vibrant enough for the superintendent himself to live there?
Of course, he replied. "I wouldn't live anywhere else."
By Megan Pennefather

A green energy funding program that takes a cue from the national Adopt-a-Highway model caught the ear of Ferndale city officials last week.

"This council is always looking at ways to be greener," said Mayor Craig Covey, after Royal Oak resident Tom Wither presented his Adopt-a-Watt initiative to council members at the regular meeting.

The council agreed to consider a resolution at a future meeting supporting the program, which would provide private sponsorship of solar-lighting devices that would be used by municipalities and other public entities. In exchange, a sponsor gets naming rights and/or public acknowledgment.
The point is to encourage private sponsorship through public cooperation, said Wither. "We're going to take a business-based approach to this."
Municipalities would permit use of public space for the project and help Adopt-a-Watt representatives scout highly visible locations that may be attractive to possible donors. As with Adopt-a-Highway, said Wither, there is no public money used to fund these energy-saving devices.

The point is to encourage widespread use of alternative energy sources, said Wither, adding he started the program at airports across the country, with donors investing money in the project through an online bidding process at

"That's what our mission is, is to make things better for the next generation," he said.
In July, the Royal Oak City Commission approved allowing private donors to sponsor energy-saving devices on city buildings and parks.

The initiative is getting support from members of the city's Environmental Impact Commission, according to Timothy Risk, a member of the commission. "This is the kind of environmental initiative the commission would like to see," he said.

For more information on the Adopt-a-Watt Program, visit
The Sunday Times

It seems right now that if you work in a so-called white-collar job, and your company is in trouble, you get a bailout. But if you work in a blue-collar job and get your hands dirty - like a car maker - you don't.

It's a tough time for the American auto industry. Once you lose a manufacturing giant like General Motors, Ford, Chrysler . . . it never comes back again. As an American, I know it has something to do with national pride - something about supporting the home team.

I know so many British enthusiasts who have mourned the total loss of Triumph, and the loss of ownership of companies such as Jaguar and other wonderfully proud British names.

If I were running things, I would give the auto companies the bailout money, but I would also say that no CEO could make more than the highest-paid federal employee, which happens to be the president of the United States.

The minute you pay the $25 billion back, you can go back to making your millions again. That doesn’t seem unreasonable.

Have US auto workers relied too much on making trucks? Yes. That's a huge mistake. But there are now some tremendous vehicles coming out of Detroit - the Chevy Volt, the new Ford F150, the Dodge Challenger.

These are all cars that people want to buy, and the reason they’re not buying them isn’t because they don't like American cars, but because they can't get the financing. You go down to the docks here in Long Beach, and you see that for the first time in history Mercedes-Benz is leasing 15 acres to stockpile cars it can't sell. So is Nissan, so is Toyota.

Because GM was so big for so long, the American media like to pick on it. That's not to say it hasn’t made some mistakes - it has, but mistakes no worse than those the others have made. And globally GM (Vauxhall) and Ford are making some edgy cars.

I have a new Dodge Challenger and I have a new Corvette; these are world-class vehicles that I’d put against anything in their price range or even anything a couple of thousand dollars above their price range.

Right now perception is everything. If people perceive that American cars aren't as good as they were, then the American car market is going to suffer. I think American cars are as good as anybody's, though. You have a situation where you have a vehicle such as the Hummer, which becomes the face of the American auto industry. One Hummer cancels out 100 little Chevy Cobalts. That's where Toyota was smart: it built the Prius, but also built those giant trucks. But nobody notices those because the Prius is out on the forecourt.

For almost a year now, I have been driving a GM hydrogen fuel-cell car. It shows that we have the technology to do that, but the problem is that nobody can get a car loan. Americans are used to getting a car for almost no money down, but all that money has dried up. When they can’t do that any more they make the mistake of thinking that the products are inferior, when in fact it's just the loan they're not able to get.

So, did those Ford, GM and Chrysler CEOs make a mistake flying into DC on their private jets? Yes. They should have bought an economy ticket and taken the shuttle bus in – à la Martin Luther with his sackcloth - and thrown themselves at the doors of Congress. Do what you gotta do.

I think this is a wake-up call, and unlike in other industries there is a precedent for this. Lee Iacocca, the greatest car salesman in the world, got the government to bail out Chrysler in the late 1970s. No one had ever done it before, and I think he paid the loan back five years early, with interest. It showed that it could be done. Let's hope it's not too late for history to repeat itself.