HBO Show 'Hung' based in Michigan

Reuters UK

LOS ANGELES - HBO is hung up on "Hung."

The pay cable network has picked up the dark comedy pilot starring Thomas Jane to series.

The order for the project, from "The Riches" creator Dmitry Lipkin and Colette Burson, is said to be for 10 episodes, with the launch eyed for June.

Jane ("The Punisher") plays Ray, a well-endowed struggling high school basketball coach who figures out a way to use his best asset.

The sexual aspect will be a major source for comedy but not the main focus of the series, said Lipkin and Burson, who are already writing Episode 5.

"It has its sexual moments, but the show is very much about what's happening in the country, how people are trying to survive using what God had given them," Lipkin said.

Burson noted that the theme is even more relevant now, with the worsening economy, as is the Michigan setting for the show, picked long before the state became a focal point for the economic crisis as the home of the struggling Big Three automakers.

Most of the actors in the pilot, including Jane, Jane Adams, Sianoa Smit-McPhee and Charlie Saxton, will continue on the series, slated to begin production early next year.

"Sideways" director Alexander Payne, who shot the pilot, will stay on as an executive producer. "It was fun to do, and I am happy it is being picked up," Payne said.

"Hung" has enjoyed a dream ride at HBO in one of the fastest turnaround for a series.

Lipkin and Burson's spec script was the first major purchase by the network's new entertainment president Sue Naegle in April; then it was her first pilot pickup and now her first series order.

Additionally, Lipkin and Burson, who originally conceived the show a year ago as a comedy with the feel of a Payne movie, were able to get the Oscar winner to direct the pilot.
Opening on Black Friday at 6am gave Macy's a shot of adrenaline, so the retailer is going to try it again.

Several Macy's stores will be open for 24 hours-a-day on the lead-up to Christmas Day, including locations in Troy, akin to what the store did last year, but bigger.

The Troy Macy's locations will open for a four-day stretch. There's a 108-hour marathon from 6am on December 20 to 6pm on Christmas Eve.
Steve Pardo / The Detroit News

DEARBORN -- A year ago, Jennifer Sharpe made national headlines when she shattered the single-season record for selling Girl Scout cookies.

Now, the 16-year-old junior has set her sights on becoming the most prolific cookie seller of all time.

Sharpe shattered the single-season record by selling 17,328 boxes last year, about 3,000 boxes more than the previous record. The year before, she sold about 12,000 boxes. She was featured on NBC's "Today Show," and her story was picked up by dozens of other media outlets.

Now she's gunning for the all-time Guinness World Record. She figures she'll need to sell about 11,000 boxes in order to top the existing 60,000-box record.

She's got two more selling seasons left -- Girl Scouts can sell cookies until they're out of high school. But she's planning on breaking the record this season so she doesn't have to sweat her senior year. "It was hard last year," she said. "But this year with my goal of only 11,000, it should be pretty easy."

Today is the kickoff of the 2008-09 Girl Scout cookie season. Girls 5-17 get their order forms today. The scouts will sell the varieties at cookie booths throughout southeast Michigan from Feb. 27 through March 22. Prices are the same as last year, $3.50 a box.

Scouts get 60 cents commission per box to be used by the troop. They earn 85 cents a box when they sell 1,000 or more.

Sharpe's efforts netted $14,730 for her troop last year.

Nine troop members plus parents will leave for Europe on Dec. 27. The trip is paid for by the troop's last season cookie sales.

"We will be spending New Year's at the Eiffel Tower," said Jennifer's mother, Pamela, who helps Jennifer during cookie season and is active in her troop.

Her secrets: staying positive, being out there selling every day "with a smile on your face," Sharpe said. And never giving up.

Come February, Sharpe and family members will be outside a site in Dearborn. Like thousands of others, they'll sell the cookies from makeshift stands.

This season's upcoming proceeds are already spoken for. Jennifer's troop plans on going to Europe in 2010.

NEW YORK (Associated Press) - A growing group of credit unions in the Midwest and South is pledging another $12 billion in low-cost auto loans and joining with Chrysler LLC to offer rebates to lift auto sales.

The 2,500 credit unions in 12 states said Tuesday that their members will be eligible for rebates of $500 or $1,000 on nearly all Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge vehicles financed through the unions until June 30.

"Our credit unions are already seeing a surge for loan demand for auto loans in particular," said Dave Adams, president and chief executive of the Michigan Credit Union League. "This just gives them another tool to promote credit union financing."

Last week, about 1,200 credit unions in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois set aside $10 billion to finance auto purchases and teamed with General Motors Corp. to offer discounts on GM vehicles.

With Tuesday's announcement, another 1,300 credit unions in Oklahoma, Texas, Kentucky, Arkansas, Tennessee, Louisiana, New Mexico and Mississippi are joining the "Invest In America" program, bringing the total sum pledged to $22 billion.

The Chrysler rebates will be available to 25 million credit union members in all 12 states, Adams said. The GM discounts are still only available to credit union members in the four original Midwestern states, he said.

Adams said the program's intent is both to send the message that auto loans remain available and to prop up sales at domestic manufacturers.

"Affordable point-of-purchase financing is critical for auto sales, and credit unions have money to lend," he said in a conference call with reporters.

Adams said the credit unions are in talks to partner with Ford to offer similar discounts. While the $22 million the credit unions have pledged is available to purchase any vehicle, the unions do not plan to partner with overseas automakers to offer discounts, he said.

Credit unions are different from banks in that they are not-for-profit cooperatives and do not have shareholders. Therefore, they are able to offer loans at lower rates than conventional banks, Adams said, and to customers who might not qualify for loans elsewhere.
Credit unions' "Invest in America" program:
PRLog (Press Release) –ROCHESTER HILLS

COLLEX COLLISION OF ROCHESTER was recognized as a 2008 AutocheX Premier Achiever for outstanding customer satisfaction at the seventh annual AutocheX Premier Achiever Awards ceremony and reception on November 6, 2008. The event was held in Las Vegas in conjunction with the International Autobody Congress and Exposition (NACE).

The Premier Achiever Award recognizes collision repair facilities that consistently demonstrate their commitment to customer care as reflected by their superior customer satisfaction scores. Based on the hundreds of thousands of customer satisfaction surveys AutocheX performed throughout 2008, COLLEX COLLISION OF ROCHESTER has been recognized as one of the top-performing collision repair facilities in North America for customer service and satisfaction.

The Class of 2008 Premier Achievers attained customer satisfaction scores in the top five percent of facilities that use the AutocheX service throughout the United States and Canada.

They include collision repair facilities of all sizes, from small, family-run businesses to large consolidators, and represent 32 states across the U.S, as well as British Columbia. Canada.

AutocheXTM a division of Mitchell International is a leading provider of customer satisfaction measurement and performance management solutions to the collision repair industry. AutocheX and the participating insurance companies present the Premier Achiever Awards each year as a way of honoring collision repair facilities that have proven their devotion to quality, service, and customer satisfaction.

"We are delighted to recognize these exceptional facilities with the Premier Achiever Award," said Jason Bertellotti, Vice President of Mitchell Repair Solutions. "Clearly, they go the extra mile for their customers. Their high satisfaction scores reflect their ongoing commitment to customer care, and we want to congratulate them on their outstanding accomplishment."

Award-winning radio journalist and Michigan native Mary Ellen Geist will sign copies of her book beginning at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 16, at Borders in Rochester Hills.

Customers can now book convenient nonstop flights between Detroit Metro Airport and Rome's Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport for service beginning on June 4, 2009*. The flight will make travel to the Eternal City more accessible through Detroit's 115 easy connections and will complement Delta's existing nonstop daily service between Rome and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and twice daily nonstop from New York's John F. Kennedy-JFK International Airport.

"As the leading U.S. carrier to Italy, Delta is pleased to add nonstop connections for customers in Detroit and across the United States to Rome -- Italy's leading destination," said Bob Cortelyou, Delta's senior vice president-Network Planning. "We have strategically scheduled flight times between our Detroit hub and Rome to ensure optimal connections."

Delta's subsidiary Northwest will operate the service in cooperation with Northwest's joint venture partner, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, using Airbus 330 aircraft with 298 seats -- 34 in business class and 264 in economy. The airline's A330s are equipped with World Business Class lie-flat seats featuring a privacy canopy, 60 inches of space between seats, and personal laptop computer power. Customers traveling in both the A330's business and economy cabins enjoy on-demand in-flight entertainment with a wide selection of movies, games and on-board shopping.
Delta's new service between Detroit and Rome will operate as follows:
Flight Departs Arrives Effective Frequency
NW50 Detroit at 7:45 p.m. Rome at 11 a.m. June 4, 2009 Daily
(next day)
NW49 Rome at 1 p.m. Detroit at June 5, 2009 Daily
5:50 p.m.
To celebrate the new flight between Detroit and Rome, Delta is offering a one-way special fare of $699 from Detroit to Rome (based on a round-trip purchase) for travel through July 3, 2009. Special-fare tickets must be purchased by Dec. 24, 2008. **Additional taxes, fees, baggage charges and restrictions apply. See below for details. Fares are available immediately via

Cargo customers also can book cargo shipments online at the new

Delta offers more service between the United States and Italy than any other airline. During the peak summer 2009 season, Delta plans to offer 59 weekly nonstop flights to and from Italy -- 14 between Milan and New York-JFK and Atlanta; 28 between Rome and Atlanta, Detroit and New York-JFK; 11 between Venice and Atlanta and New York-JFK; and six between Pisa/Florence and New York-JFK.

Delta Air Lines is the world's largest airline. From its hubs in Atlanta, Cincinnati, Detroit, Memphis, Minneapolis-St. Paul, New York-JFK, Salt Lake City and Tokyo-Narita, Delta, its Northwest subsidiary and Delta Connection carriers offer service to more than 376 destinations worldwide in 66 countries and serves more than 170 million passengers each year.
Delta's marketing alliances allow customers to earn and redeem either SkyMiles or WorldPerks on more than 16,000 daily flights offered by SkyTeam and other partners. Delta and its 75,000 worldwide employees are reshaping the aviation industry as the only U.S. airline to offer a full global network. Customers can check in for flights, print boarding passes, check bags and flight status at or

* Subject to foreign government approval.
Restrictions: Fare shown is available at Tickets cost $20 more if purchased from Delta or Northwest over the phone, $35 more at a Delta or Northwest ticket counter or ticket office, and these amounts are nonrefundable. Tickets are non-transferable. Seats are limited. Tickets: Fare shown is one-way; round trip purchase is required. Tickets must be purchased within 72 hours after reservations are made and no later than December 24, 2008. Travel Period: Travel may begin on/after June 4, 2009 and must be completed by July 4, 2009. Blackout Dates: None. Fare Validity: Fares are valid only in the Economy (Coach) cabin via nonstop flights operated by Delta Air Lines. Minimum Stay: Saturday night. Maximum Stay: 1 month Taxes/Fees: A $3.50 Federal Excise Tax, Passenger Facility Charge(s) of up to $4.50 for each flight segment, and the September 11th Security Fee of up to $2.50 for each flight segment are not included. Fares do not include U.S. International Air Transportation Tax of up to $30.80 and U.S. and foreign user, inspection, security or other similarly based charges, fees or taxes of up to $299, depending on itinerary. Taxes and fees must be paid when the ticket is purchased. Baggage Charges: For travel within the United States/PR/U.S. Virgin Islands, $15 for 1 checked bag and $25 for second checked bag. For all other travel, no fee for 2 checked bags and $200 fee for third checked bag. Allowances subject to size/weight limits. Contact a delta agent or visit for details. Cancellations/Refunds/Changes: Tickets are nonrefundable except in accordance with Delta's cancellation policy. Fees may apply for downgrades/reissues and itinerary changes. Contact a Delta agent or visit for details. Miscellaneous: Fares, taxes, fees, rules, and offers are subject to change without notice. Other restrictions may apply.
This news release was distributed by GlobeNewswire,
Industry Demand for Affordable Performance Management Solutions and Increase in Customers Keys to Growth

TROY, MI--(Marketwire)- iDashboards, the leader in Business Intelligence (BI) dashboard software, today announced it has recorded year-to-date revenue growth of 55% over 2007.
This growth was fueled by a significant increase in the number of customers across various industries.

New client acquisitions for iDashboards not only span industries, but also the globe, including the UK, Middle East, Mexico and the US. The worldwide reach of iDashboards further demonstrates the value and power of enterprise-class dashboards.

Today, new customers like Darley Stud Farms, a prominent stallion breeder, and Dubai Holding, an investment institution, are using dashboard technology to monitor key performance indicators (KPIs) and track the health of their organizations. With iDashboards, they are able to drill down into the information that resides in various complex data sets, enabling executives to make intelligent decisions quickly.

iDashboards' OEM partner channel has also grown over the course of the year. New partners include Parallax Technologies, a corporation specializing in Systems Integration and Contact Center Solutions, and Advanced Solutions International (ASI), the leading global provider of software for non-profits. Working with software integrators enables iDashboards to expand its reach and provide organizations with data visualization needed to ensure success in 2009.

Due to its growth, iDashboards moved its headquarters to a larger space. The company now occupies a 5,100 square feet office that is centrally located to Troy's high-tech corridor.
Additional 2008 successes include:

-- Product Launch: Release of iDashboards 6.0, an innovative software solution used to design the well-received demo consumer-facing dashboards of the 2008 Olympic Games and this year's Presidential election

-- Thought Leadership: Shadan Malik, CEO of iDashboards, was featured and quoted in many industry sources such as Inc., InternetNews, FundRaising Success, BeyeNETWORK, GO, DM Review, ebizQ, Tech Republic, CRM Magazine and Processor

-- Accolades: Recognized as one of the "Michigan 50 Companies to Watch" through an awards program sponsored by the Edward Lowe Foundation

"We are thrilled with the tremendous growth the company experienced this year," said Shadan Malik, CEO, iDashboards. "In today's economic climate, it is imperative that businesses use data visualization of their assets to determine performance metrics at every level of the organization. We anticipate that the need for affordable BI tools, specifically those for visual reporting, will continue to increase in 2009."

About iDashboards

Through its award-winning engineering and patented software, iDashboards helps companies leverage information assets through visually rich, real-time and personalized business intelligence dashboards to analyze, track, and drill down through a wealth of information. iDashboards' global customer base consists of organizations ranging from large, fortune 500 companies to small and medium-sized businesses, all of which are making quicker, well-informed business decisions with the help of iDashboards.
The company is privately held and headquartered in Troy, Michigan. To find out more about iDashboards' solutions, please call (248) 952-0840 or visit
Logicalis employees choose holiday giving over holiday parties

Bloomfield Hills, MI (PRWEB)-- During this holiday season Logicalis employees are choosing to help local charities instead of holding holiday luncheons as in years past.

"It just seems like the right thing to do," said Logicalis U.S. President, Terry Flood. "We are all so fortunate and we wanted to give back to the communities where we do business. The feedback from employees on the idea was incredibly positive right from the start. It makes me proud to be a part of an organization that is filled with people who care enough to make a difference."

The company looked to its employees for recommendations on the local charities it would support. There are 21 organizations that will receive a portion of the total $25,000 former holiday party budget.

"We had a wide range of ideas from employees with many focused on food banks, homeless shelters and children's services. Everyone really valued the opportunity to make recommendations and provide help right in their local communities. Logicalis employees in each locale will deliver the donations directly to the charities. It's an occasion to feel just a little like Santa Claus."

"I was very excited about the decision to donate to local charities versus holding a company party. This is a great way to remind us all of the good fortunes we have working for Logicalis and at the same time a way to give back to our local communities and provide support for families who are in crisis," said Pat Lockwood, Area Sales Director, Indianapolis, IN.

"I've always enjoyed the yearly holiday parties at Logicalis, however, this year it feels appropriate to give to those less fortunate than ourselves," concludes Kim Haverstick, Customer Support Representative, Bloomfield Hills, MI. "We are blessed to have jobs so we can provide for our families. Many are not so fortunate. So at this time, let us give thanks for what we have and share with those less fortunate."

"With over 30 offices across the U.S., the biggest challenge was narrowing in on the charities to support," said Mark Jenkins, Director Human Resources. "We had a wide range of ideas from employees with many focused on food banks, homeless shelters and children's services.

Everyone really valued the opportunity to make recommendations and provide help right in their local communities. Logicalis employees in each locale will deliver the donations directly to the charities. It's an occasion to feel just a little like Santa Claus."

The list of supported organizations includes:

Children's Healthcare of Atlanta
The Home for Little Wanderers of Boston
Greater Chicago Food Depository
Journeys from PADS to HOPE in Chicago
City Gospel Mission of Cincinnati
Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center
Gleaner's Food Bank of Detroit
God's Helping Hands of Michigan
Capuchin Soup Kitchen of Detroit
Lighthouse of Oakland County, MI
Paul's Pantry of Green Bay
Houston Food Bank
The Julian Center of Indianapolis
Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis
Food Bank of New York City
Community Food Bank of New Jersey
Connecticut Food Bank
Hospice of the Valley in Phoenix
National Multiple Sclerosis Society of Greater Washington
Children's Hospital of Orange County
Community Campership Council of San Diego

About Logicalis, Inc.Logicalis is an international provider of high-performance technology solutions. With over 1,500 people worldwide, Logicalis delivers smart solutions based on specific needs, not the latest IT trend. Logicalis provides options, direction and support to more than 6,500 corporate and public sector customers. The company attributes its success to the everyday positive experiences with its customers and strategic partners such as IBM, HP, and Cisco.

Logicalis has annualized revenues in excess of $1 billion, from operations in the UK, US, Germany and Latin America. Logicalis is a division of Datatec Limited (LSE/JSE:DTC), a $4 billion multi-national organization listed on the AIM market of the LSE and the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. With over 30 offices in the United States, the company's U.S. headquarters are in Bloomfield Hills, MI.

For more information about the Logicalis experience, visit
(WXYZ) Governor Jennifer Granholm announced Monday that 20 new projects in Michigan will create thousands of jobs in the state.

Granholm says 7,350 new jobs are planned for the state. The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) is helping companies grow which in turn generates $2.3 billion in new investment for Michigan.

“We are working every day to diversify our economy and bring new jobs to Michigan,” Granholm said. “These company expansions and community redevelopment projects highlight that despite our challenged national economy, our comprehensive and aggressive economic plan and ‘go anywhere, do anything’ approach to bring jobs to Michigan is having a positive impact on communities throughout the state.”


• Hemlock Semiconductor Corporation (HSC) – The world’s leading producer of polycrystalline silicon, a component of photovoltaic cells used to produce solar energy and various electronic devices for the semiconductor industry, will invest up to $1 billion to expand its manufacturing facility in Hemlock. In addition, Dow Corning announced today it will begin manufacturing high purity monosilane, a key specialty gas used to manufacture thin-film solar cells and liquid crystal displays (LCDs). This investment includes construction of a new monosilane manufacturing facility adjacent to HSC’s polysilicon manufacturing site.

The HSC expansion is expected to create 576 new jobs, including 190 directly by the company. Based on the MEDC’s recommendation, the Michigan Economic Growth Authority (MEGA) board today approved a state tax credit valued at $8.4 million over 20 years to win the company’s investment.

The HSC project is the first to be designated for Anchor New Jobs and Anchor District incentives created by legislation signed into law by Governor Granholm in April. Under the designations, a company that attracts or influences a supplier or customer to locate or expand in Michigan (Anchor New Jobs) and a company that encourages a customer or supplier to locate within a 10-mile radius (Anchor District) can qualify for tax credits.

Additional state and local support will include tax abatements from Thomas Township, job-training assistance program, and funding for infrastructure improvements. • Faurecia – The world’s eighth-largest Tier 1 supplier of automotive components will invest $8.8 million to expand its operations in Fraser.

The expansion is expected to create 281 new Michigan jobs, including 82 directly by the company. Based on the MEDC’s recommendation, the MEGA board today approved a state tax credit valued at $704,000 over eight years to help convince the company to expand in Michigan over a competing site in Ontario. The city of Fraser is considering a tax credit to support the project.

• Northern United Brewing LLC – The start up microbrewery plans to manufacture and bottle beer, distilled spirits and wine in Ann Arbor, Dexter and Peninsula Township.

The company will invest approximately $5.8 million in the project, which is expected to create 398 new Michigan jobs, including 158 directly by the company. Based on the MEDC’s recommendation, the MEGA board today approved a state tax credit valued at $931,000 over seven years to help convince the company to expand in Michigan over competing sites in Ohio and Indiana.

Ann Arbor SPARK and the Traverse City Economic Development Corporation have proposed administrative assistance.

• White & Green Motors – The company plans to manufacture electric and recoil starters for gas engines in Eaton Rapids. Based on the MEDC’s recommendation, the MEGA board today approved a state tax credit valued at $1 million over seven years to convince the company to choose Michigan over a competing site in Mexico.

White & Green Motors anticipates creating up to 60 jobs initially and up to 122 over the term of the tax credit. An economic analysis conducted by the MEDC estimates the project will create 157 indirect jobs. The city of Eaton Rapids is considering a 12-year abatement to support the project.

• ZF Group – The manufacturer and assembler of automotive components and systems sold to various OEMs plans to lease part of the facility that Chrysler has under construction and invest $143.4 million to expand its operations in Marysville. The expansion is expected to create 1,657 new Michigan jobs, including 475 directly by the company.

Based on the MEDC’s recommendation, the MEGA board today approved a state tax credit valued at $5.8 million over 10 years to help convince the company to expand in Michigan over competing sites in other states. To support the project, the city of Marysville is considering a tax abatement to support the project.

• Fisher Coachworks LLC – The producer of ultra light-weight hybrid vehicles plans to invest $7 million to establish a Livonia facility to produce an innovative, fuel-efficient “plug-in” series mass transit bus.

The project is expected to create 1,955 new Michigan jobs, including 539 directly by the company. Based on the MEDC’s recommendation, the MEGA board today approved a state tax credit valued at $11.3 million to help convince the company to expand in Michigan over a competing site in Tennessee.

The city of Livonia is considering a 12-year tax abatement to support the project.

• FKA Distributing, d/b/a HoMedics – The world’s leading wellness brand specializing in high-quality home healthcare products plans to invest $11 million to establish a Commerce Township facility to develop new wireless-charging device technology.

The project is expected to create 127 new Michigan jobs, including 62 directly by the company.

Based on the MEDC’s recommendation, the MEGA board today approved a state tax credit valued at $1.1 million to help convince the company to expand in Michigan over a competing site in New Mexico.

Granholm met with company executives in Israel during her investment mission to the country in November to encourage them to expand in Michigan. Oakland County will support the project with workforce-training funds valued at $30,000, and Commerce Township will support the project with a tax abatement.

• Global Wind Systems Inc. – The start-up wind turbine generation system OEM will invest $32.3 million to locate its first facility in Novi. The project is expected to create 807 new Michigan jobs, including 356 directly by the company.

Based on the MEDC’s recommendation, the MEGA board today approved a state tax credit valued at approximately $7.3 million over nine years to help convince the company to expand in Michigan over competing sites in Ohio, Iowa and Nebraska. Oakland County Michigan Works! will provide employee-training assistance to support the project, and the city of Novi will partner with the Oakland County Road Commission on future upgrade and widening of Twelve Mile Road to support Global Wind Systems operations.

• Hart & Cooley Inc. - A leading manufacturer of air distribution and vent products for heating, plumbing and air conditioning systems whose product lines include grilles, registers, diffusers, flexible duct, gas vent, chimney system and duct system components plans to invest $3.9 million to consolidate a portion of its U.S. and Canadian operations to its Grand Rapids facility.

The project will create 98 new Michigan jobs, including 48 direct jobs. Based on the MEDC’s recommendation, the MEGA board today approved a state tax credit valued at $1.3 million over 10 years to help convince the company to expand in Michigan over competing sites in Texas, Colorado, Illinois and Ohio. Cascade Charter Township will support the project with a 12-year tax credit.

• Kongsberg Automotive – A global leader in the design, validation and manufacture of motion control and seat systems, arm rests and head restraints for the automotive industry plans to invest $4.4 million to expand its technical center in Novi. The project is expected to create 113 new Michigan jobs, including 58 directly by the company.

Based on the MEDC’s recommendation, the MEGA board today approved a state tax credit valued at $875,000 to help convince the company to expand in Michigan over a competing site in Texas. Oakland County has offered employee-training assistance to support the project.

• Novixus LLC – Novixus will build the first national distribution and services center using automated processing of prescriptions for central fill and home delivery, to be located in Novi.

The company will invest approximately $3.4 million in its Novi center and will create 428 new Michigan jobs, including 192 directly by the company.

Based on the MEDC’s recommendation, the MEGA board today approved a state tax credit valued at $3.1 million over seven years. Through the Economic Development Job Training (EDJT) fund, the MEDC will provide an employee-training grant valued at $63,750. Oakland County and the city of Novi also will support the project with job-training and other assistance.

• Golden Rectangle LLC – State brownfield tax credits totaling $4.7 million will support the Ten Fifteen Spruce project, which entails the redevelopment and conversion of the Detroit Creamery building and surrounding areas into a luxury residential and retail complex. The project will generate $38 million in new capital investment and is expected to create 50 new jobs.

• Scripps Park Associates LLC – The development team will partner with the city of Detroit and the Detroit Housing Commission to invest $35 million to redevelop an abandoned public housing development into 180 affordable townhouses. State brownfield tax credits totaling $5 million will support the project.

• Severstal North America Inc. – The fourth-largest steelmaker in the U.S. plans to invest $700 million to rehabilitate, modernize and enhance aging facilities in Dearborn to improve its steel mill. The project is expected to retain 76 Michigan jobs. State brownfield tax credits totaling $40 million will support the project.

• Grand Traverse County/Pine Street One Development LLC – State brownfield tax credits totaling $1.6 million and state and local tax capture valued at $5.6 million will assist developers with the River West project, which consists of the construction of a 140,000 square-foot, mixed-use building, including a multi-screen cinema, in Traverse City.

The project will generate $33 million in new capital investment and is expected to create 175 new jobs.

• Washtenaw County/601 Forest LLC – Green Urban Living – State brownfield tax credits totaling $10 million and state and local tax capture valued at more than $4.7 million will support a proposed redevelopment project in Ann Arbor.

The development will include a 14-story, mixed-use building with up to 180 apartments and will incorporate alternate energy sources such as geothermal heating and cooling and solar panels. The project will generate $82.8 million in new capital investment and up to 80 new jobs.

• City of Detroit – State and local tax capture valued at more than $1 million will support a proposed redevelopment of the former Greater Detroit Hospital. The development will include a modern medical office and assisted living facility.

The project will generate $8.9 million in new capital investment and up to 251 new jobs.

• City of Grand Rapids – State and local tax capture valued at $364,050 will support a proposed redevelopment project in Grand Rapids. The development will include a three-story, mixed-use building with a green design, and the goal of the building is to be west Michigan’s first zero carbon-footprint project

The project will generate $3.1 million in new capital investment and up to 30 new jobs.

• Grand Traverse County – State and local tax capture valued at $215,645 will support the proposed commercial and parking construction project on Front Street in Traverse City.

The new site will address historical contamination issues and provide a new office building for a variety of medical professionals.

The project will generate $4.9 million in new capital investment and up to 15 new, full-time jobs and will retain 20 jobs.

• Washtenaw County – State and local tax capture valued at $589,269 will support a proposed redevelopment project in Ann Arbor.

The development will include an Aldi Food Center and additional retail shops with associated parking, rain gardens, and extended sidewalks. The project will generate $8 million in new capital investment and up to 30 new jobs.
Every dollar brings the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy closer to its target of $140 million in funding for the East Riverfront.

Its latest announcement is $1 million that Wayne County is donating to their efforts, bringing the total to $102 million.The money is intended to support public safety and wellness efforts at the Riverfront and comes from the county's departments of Homeland Security/Emergency Management and Health and Human Services.

No county general fund dollars were used; the money was raised through grant-writing efforts of county employees.Through the winter, construction will continue on the Detroit/Wayne County Port Authority public dock and terminal and the expansion of Tricentennial State Park.

The Conservancy will take over operation and maintenance of the Dequindre Cut when its construction is complete, which is expected to occur this winter.

Source: Carly Strachan, Lovio George, for the DRFC
Associated Press

OAK PARK, Mich. -- Several thousand dollars have rolled in for a Michigan family who feared they were going to lose the home whose renovation was seen by millions of television viewers in 2004.

Judy and Larry Vardon said that the money should help them avoid foreclosure on the Oak Park home that was refurbished to better accommodate their blind, autistic son, Lance.

The deaf couple was featured on "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition."

The Macomb Daily and The Daily Tribune reported Sunday the couple didn't request money, but donations started coming after media outlets this month reported on their plight.
"I'm afraid I'm going to lose my house now," Judy Vardon, using sign language through an interpreter, told The Macomb Daily. "This house really belongs to Lance. This is his environment. He can't speak out for himself, and I hope we can save this house."

ABC said 20.5 million viewers saw a crew led by host Ty Pennington rehabilitate the Vardons' 980-square-foot house in suburban Detroit from the inside out, including installing cameras and flat-screen monitors allowing the Vardons to monitor Lance.

The Vardons said they were weighed down by a mortgage payment that has almost doubled since the makeover and medical insurance that hasn't covered autism treatment for Lance, who is now 16.
by Associated Press

LANSING -- A solar power technology company is getting ready to announce an investment of up to $1 billion in Michigan that would create about 190 jobs for people directly employed by the company.

Hemlock Semiconductor Corp. told the Michigan Economic Growth Authority about its plans Monday morning, and the economic development panel formalized tax breaks for the project.
The company was expected to make jobs-related announcements in both Michigan and Tennessee later in the day.

Hemlock is the world's largest maker of polycrystalline silicon for solar cells and semiconductor chips. The Michigan-based company is a joint venture between Dow Corning Corp. and two Japanese companies.

Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm signed legislation in August that would authorize tax breaks for Hemlock.
Revitalization Project Marks Downtown Return Of First Full-Service Hilton Family Hotel In Three Decades With Stylish, Upscale, All-Suite Hotel Product

DETROIT, (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Doubletree Hotels is proud to announce that a legendary landmark has re-opened its doors to welcome local residents and the world's travelers to downtown Detroit with a 204-room Doubletree Guest Suites hotel.

Located at the intersection of Lafayette Boulevard and First Street, the Doubletree Guest Suites Fort Shelby / Detroit Downtown is a modern reinvention of the former Hotel Fort Shelby, which first opened its doors in 1917 and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The $90 million, multi-year renovation project combined painstaking preservation and recreation of historic details and materials with ultra-modern amenities and infrastructure to create an all-suite hotel that celebrates Detroit's rich history, while providing guests with a state-of-the-art environment for business or leisure travel.

As the team continues to put the finishing touches on the hotel, today's opening of the Doubletree Guest Suites Fort Shelby/Detroit Downtown marks the return of the first Hilton Family full-service hotel to the city center in more than 30 years. The Doubletree Guest Suites hotel, which will be managed by Hilton Hotels Corporation, is owned by MCP Development, LLC.
"Doubletree is honored to represent the return of the first full-service Hilton Family hotel to the heart and soul of the Motor City with an outstanding all-suite hotel experience," said Dave Horton, senior vice president - brand management for Doubletree Hotels. "From Minneapolis to London and now Detroit, this is the third center city property this fall we've added to our Doubletree collection where historic architecture and design has been preserved and contemporary style has been incorporated to create a refreshingly unexpected hotel experience that celebrates a major city's downtown district. The transformation of the Hotel Fort Shelby into one of the jewels in the Doubletree portfolio reaffirms our commitment to providing attractive and comfortable, upscale hotel experiences wherever our business and leisure customers travel."

The Doubletree Guest Suites Fort Shelby / Detroit Downtown is one of the only all-suite hotels in downtown Detroit. The 203 spacious suites at the hotel include a separate living room with sleeper sofas and a connecting sleeping room filled with the inviting Sweet Dreams by Doubletree sleep experience and a variety of residential-style amenities. Wired and wireless high-speed internet access; flat-screen TVs in both the bedroom and living rooms; MP3-compatible, stereo clock radios; Wolfgang Puck in-room gourmet coffee service; Neutrogena bath and body products and upgraded lighting and granite counters in the bathroom complement all of the hotel's comfortable guest room experiences.

The Doubletree Guest Suites Fort Shelby / Detroit Downtown also brings a new quality of business meeting space to downtown Detroit. The hotel is awaiting a pending certification to become the only hotel in Greater Detroit to have a conference center that is certified by the International Association of Conference Centers. Unlike other meeting spaces that repurpose banquet facilities, the 21,000 square feet of conference and event space at the Doubletree Guest Suites will offer dedicated business-class amenities such as hard-surface meeting tables; ergonomic conference seating; built-in audio/video and computer networking systems; all-day refreshment centers; a comprehensive business center with Internet-connected computers and copy/print capabilities and other top-end features required by business meeting planners.

These updated amenities combined with a professional staff that is available to assist with all aspects of conventions, business meetings, seminars, weddings and other functions make the Doubletree Guest Suites Fort Shelby / Detroit Downtown an ideal location for any event.

One of the most exciting additions to the Doubletree Guest Suites Fort Shelby / Detroit
Downtown is the new Finn & Porter restaurant, which gives surf & turf a contemporary twist. At Finn & Porter, USDA prime steaks and seafood from around the world are brought together in a hip and inviting atmosphere to create a new dining experience.

In addition to the restaurant, the Finn & Porter Sushi Bar and Finn & Porter Round Bar lounge will offer lighter fare in an upscale environment with floor-to-ceiling windows looking out on Detroit's skyline. For guests on the go, a Bearclaw Coffee shop offers coffee, pastries and other quick options.

For guests who want to keep their workout program on track while traveling, a state-of-the-art fitness facility equipped with the latest in cardio and weight training equipment by Precor Fitness is available.

Members of the Hilton HHonors guest reward program can Double Dip and earn both airline miles and hotel points for every qualifying stay at the Doubletree Guest Suites Fort Shelby / Detroit Downtown. Hilton HHonors is the only guest rewards program that allows members to earn Points & Miles for the same stay and redeem points for free nights with No Blackout Dates. With No Blackout Dates, as long as a standard room is available, members can confirm that room using their Hilton HHonors points.

"The 135 team members of the Doubletree Guest Suites Fort Shelby / Detroit Downtown are excited to represent a new chapter of hospitality in this strong, resilient and proud city," said Shannon Dunavent, hotel general manager. "We look forward to welcoming the world's travelers to enjoy our combination of historic elegance and contemporary convenience, our unparalleled conference center and event space and our enticing food and entertainment options that all begin with the warm signature welcome of our legendary chocolate chip cookie at check-in."

The Doubletree Guest Suites Fort Shelby / Detroit Downtown is a short walk from business and leisure centers such as the Cobo Center convention center (home of the North American International Auto Show) ; Joe Louis Arena (home of the defending Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings); General Motors World Headquarters and Hart Plaza (home of internationally-recognized events such as the Detroit Electronic Music Festival, the International Freedom Festival and the Detroit International Jazz Festival).

The hotel also provides a complimentary shuttle service within a two-mile radius of the hotel, upon request.

Located just 25 minutes from Detroit/Wayne County Metropolitan Airport, the Doubletree Guest Suites Fort Shelby / Detroit Downtown is located at 525 West Lafayette Ave., Detroit MI 48226. For more information, visit the hotel's website at, call l-800-222-TREE in the U.S. and Canada or contact the hotel directly at 313-963-5600.

To make reservations at any Doubletree hotel, travelers can visit our website at, contact their preferred travel professional or call 1-800-222-TREE in the U.S. and Canada.

Hilton HHonors membership, earning of Points & Miles, and redemption of points are subject to HHonors Terms and conditions. 2008 Hilton Hotels Corporation
by Sven Gustafson Oakland Business Review

A Troy-based company that has developed a plug-in hybrid electric transit bus will move forward on plans for a $7 million manufacturing facility in Livonia after winning approval of state tax credits Monday.
Fisher Coachworks LLC was one of 16 companies and four brownfield redevelopment projects approved for tax incentives today by the Michigan Economic Development Corp. Four of the companies were approved for projects in Oakland County.

Fisher received a tax credit valued at $11.3 million to establish manufacturing operations for its ultra-lightweight plug-in bus. The company hopes to begin limited production about a year from now, pending approval of federal certification testing, said John Van Alstyne, vice president of marketing.

"There's a couple of properties that we're looking at that we're in the final negotiating stages on," he said, adding that officials expect to finalize the location within 30 days.

The company has developed a 40-foot transit bus with a nitrogen-strengthened stainless steel unibody and chassis and a diesel-electric hybrid powertrain. The vehicle reportedly weighs half as much as conventional transit buses and boasts twice the fuel economy.

The company told the state it expects to create 539 new jobs at the manufacturing facility, and Van Alstyne said it plans to begin hiring "almost immediately." The company last week closed out on its second round of equity financing, a notable achievement given the problems many companies are having finding financing.

"We're making good progress here, we're quite happy," Van Alstyne said.

The company eventually plans to centralize all operations in the new Livonia facility, he said.

On November 11, 2009, CEO, Tasha Hawkins and her family announced the grand opening of Sweety Pies Bakery and Catering, Inc. located in Northville.

Joel Kotkin's recent commentary "In Ethnic Enclaves, the U.S. Economy Thrives" gives several examples of families with an entepreneurial spirit pulling together to capture the American Dream.

On November 11, CEO, Tasha Hawkins and her family announced the grand opening of Sweety Pies Bakery and Catering, Inc. located at 8946 Napier in Northville.

Mrs. Hawkins stated, "Our family has always possessed a passion to cook and serve a tasty and healthy product that is not only good for the soul but gives back to the community. It's the first of several locations being opened in the next several months.

We promise that our business will continue to support our communities by supporting the local meals on wheels programs, food banks and homeless shelters."

Sweetie Pies is a family-owned business comprised of six family members: James H. Bullock, Evan Reynolds, Marcell Reaves, Amyre Bullock, Tasha Hawkins and Sonya Hawkins.

The idea began five years ago in a small kitchen in Royal Oak, from which the family catered various school and social events.

After years of success, the family made a decision to open a storefront location named Sweety Pies, after their mother. Their mother was known throughout the community and family church for her in-kind services, often preparing meals to raise funds for others.

Chef Marcell Reaves, an award-winning nutritionist, takes the health of Michigan's citizens into consideration when developing menu items. Extensive diabetic, vegan and gluten-free menu options are available at the bakery as well as through Sweety Pies catering services.

Sweetie Pies uses only the finest ingredients from local growers and markets. They only use organic flours and never use preservatives, artificial flavors, fillers, sugar alternatives, corn syrup, flavor enhancers, lard or pork products. All of the products made at the bakery are made from scratch right down to the marshmallows used in the gourmet hot chocolate.

Menu items include: cakes, cookies, pies, cobblers, yeast rolls, breads, cornbread muffins, gourmet sandwiches, wraps, baked pastas, spinach pies, corporate lunch boxes, as well as 'take-and-bake' meals.

For more information or visit
President-elect Barack Obama is considering making a major foreign policy speech from a Muslim capital during his first 100 days in office, according to an analysis in the New York Times written by Helene Cooper last week.

The article suggests Dearborn as a possible location for the speech, but "Clearly it would be cheating for Mr. Obama to fly to Detroit, talk to Dearborn’s 30,000 Arab residents and call it a day," Cooper says.

Citing Obama aides, diplomats and foreign policy experts, the article examines several cities as possibilities, calling Islamabad too dangerous, Ankara too safe, Jakarta too easy, Beirut too Christian... and it's too early for Damascus or Tehran, Cooper says.

"It’s got to be Cairo. Egypt is perfect. It’s certainly Muslim enough, populous enough and relevant enough. It’s an American ally, but there are enough tensions in the relationship that the choice will feel bold."

Dearborn has the highest concentration of Arab Americans in the country, with about 30,000 of its 97,000 residents being of Arab descent, most of them Muslim.

Many Detroit-area Arab American leaders were vocal about frustrations that Obama didn't visit Dearborn during his presidential campaign, but a majority in the community still voted for him.
President George W. Bush spoke in Dearborn on several occasions during his 2000 campaign.

U.S. President-elect Barack Obama talks to the media in his transition office in Chicago.

By Megan Pennefather

OK, so the 1970s had Watergate and Gary Glitter, but don't write it off entirely.

The decade also gave rise to David Bowie and Queen, and what about your trusty old pet rock?

The 1970s had its virtues, most of which are on display in vivid color at the new Royal Oak store, Bohemian Rhapsody.

Co-owners Pam McLenon of Farmington Hills and Marianne Petrus of Royal Oak opened the unique boutique Nov. 8 with the goal of offering accessories, home decor, personal care products and art that's heavy on kitschy fun and low on price. Pick up a funky pillow and some handmade soap or some jewelry, a Superball and a Russian nesting doll. Like the 1970s itself, it's a potpourri of colors, tastes and moods.

The women own their own side businesses as well: Petrus started Girls in the Studio with Angie Yaldoo; McLenon owns the Forever Mick and Keith line of greeting cards and art. Many of those items are for sale in the store.

McLenon and Petrus talked to the Mirror last week about their new business endeavor.
Far out.

Mirror: Tell us about your store.

McLenon: It's got a '70s feel. We liked the things we grew up with. It's reminiscent of our childhood growing up in the '70s. ... I think the store has a real bohemian, gypsy feel. It's a rhapsody of bohemian and modern styles. We have a mix of everything. ... We carry name brands like Marimekko. We also carry Jonathan Adler and Pacifica (brands).
Mirror: Why the 1970s?

Petrus: I just remember a real happy time. Cool music. Everything was bright and really colorful.

McLenon: I think we stay true to that. Everybody when they come in here says it really makes them smile. And that was one of our goals in putting this together, to make people feel good.
Mirror: What will customers find when they come to Bohemian Rhapsody?

Petrus: What they can expect from shopping here is really great price points. (There are items) to buy for under $20. We just really paid attention to detail. We're ever-changing.
Mirror: Why open a business in this tough economy?

McLenon: We've been talking about this for a couple years. We just really had a dream and no matter what, we were going to do it.

Petrus: We really wanted change within ourselves.

McLenon: It was really challenging in this economy, but they say, "No guts, no glory." We just had to take the chance. ... (The bad economy) makes you have to be on top of everything as far as customer service and what you're carrying.

Mirror: Are you thinking ahead yet?

Petrus: We're hoping to take it online at some point and maybe franchise it sometime in the future.

Mirror: So how much of the store is modeled after your old bedroom?

Petrus: I think all of it, actually.

Bohemian Rhapsody is at 110 W. Fourth St. in downtown Royal Oak. Holiday hours are noon to 5 p.m. Sundays; 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays and Tuesdays; 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesdays; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursdays; 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

For more information, call (248) 336-2260.
Brownstones at the Park condos create urban feeling

Project: Brownstones at the Park, condominiums that range from 1,600 to 1,610 square feet and are base priced from $176,990 to $191,990.

Place: Grosse Pointe Park. Condos are on Lakepointe between Jefferson and St. Paul.

Builder: Robertson Brothers, James V. Clarke, president. Members of the Building Industry Association of Southeastern Michigan and 2008 Spring Parade of Homes blue ribbon winner for Brownstones building elevation. Also SAM Awards Gold Winner 2008 Best Builder Web site.
Other Robertson Brothers projects: Tribute at Wixom, condominiums from $99,990; Middlesboro at Oakhurst, Clarkston, single-family homes from $274,990; Robertson In-Town, Birmingham, single-family homes from $595,900.

Appeal: The plan includes a cozy community of 22 condos surrounded by a generous-size courtyard centered by a water fountain facing Lakepointe Avenue. Enter from a den at garage level, then climb steps to the main level that includes a great room, dining area, kitchen and bathroom. Bedrooms are another level up. Lots of windows (interior units don't have as many) and nice-size great room. Overall ambience creates an urban feel in a suburban neighborhood.
Base price per square foot: $110.

Included: Brick exteriors with low-maintenance vinyl siding accents, deck and courtyard, concrete sidewalks from driveway to private front entries, Whirlpool kitchen appliances, Merillat maple cabinets and Wilsonart laminate countertops in kitchen and baths, ceramic tile flooring in master bath and hall bath, pressure balanced, anti-scald shower controls.

Insulation: R13 fiberglass sidewall insulation, R30 roof insulation, 40-gallon gas-fired, glass-lined hot water tank, central air-conditioning, gas furnace, electronic smoke detectors on each floor and in each bedroom, 100-amp electrical service, separation walls for fire resistance and added sound barriers.

Add-ons: Granite kitchen counters ($1,675); stainless steel appliances ($895); hardwood flooring in kitchen, nook and living room ($3,825).

Association fees: $134 monthly covers exterior maintenance, landscaping, snow removal, waste management, common element replacement.

Schools: Grosse Pointe Public Schools; MEAP scores are 14.4% above state average.
Taxes: $43 per $1,000, which means that a condominium priced at $200,000 with a taxable value of $100,000 would cost $4,300 annually.

Comments: This infill project is surrounded by established homes in a nice neighborhood near the city office complex and public library. Robertson Brothers is offering $15,000 off the next two homes sold.

For more information: Call 248-640-4274, noon to 6 p.m. Friday through Monday.