GM's Rebirth Begins Now

David Olive
Toronto Star

In the weeks leading up to the expected bankruptcy of this century-old icon, majority sentiment in the U.S., and to a lesser extent here, has been hostile about rewarding a chronically incompetent enterprise with a taxpayer-funded bailout.

So should Washington, Ottawa and Queen's Park pony up some $60 billion (U.S.) to finance GM's restructuring under bankruptcy?

Yes. A humbled GM can change.

Post-bankruptcy, a leaner and much healthier GM will continue to put bread on the table for tens of thousands of employees, about 4,000 suppliers, and several thousand dealership employees that often are the business mainstay in small-town North America.

GM remains the U.S.'s biggest manufacturer, still a powerhouse of engineering and technological breakthroughs, most visibly with its all-electric Chevrolet Volt. GM is America's biggest purchaser of information technology.

Entire states in the industrial Midwest and Canadian cities such as Oshawa, Oakville, Windsor and St. Catharines rely on GM and its employees for an outsized portion of their property and income-tax revenue.

All of which is moot, if GM is ultimately destined, as many believe, for the scrapyard in the sky. Somehow, I don't think so.

GM will emerge from bankruptcy with only one-quarter or so of the debt it held earlier this year.

GM's hourly wage costs, after enormous concessions by the Canadian Auto Workers and the United Auto Workers, are now in line with wage rates at "transplants" – the U.S. and Canadian factories operated by foreign-based automakers. The UAW has given up its right to strike until 2015.

GM will have cut its fixed costs to levels enabling it to compete on price with foreign-based rivals.

CEO Fritz Henderson told reporters last week,"We will come out of this rid of some of the historic legacy costs that have been dragging us down for the last 20 years or so," Bob Lutz, GM vice-chairman, said in a Thursday speech. "We will come out of it with an all-new focus on product development."

In an off-the-record briefing of reporters that same day, an Obama administration official said: "GM should be highly, highly profitable given the new cost structure that is being put in place, given the vast reduction of liability that has been achieved."

Fact: "Auto companies rarely die," CEO Henderson reminded reporters last week.

He's not whistling in the dark, having overseen in the past few weeks the drastic makeover of GM that critics have demanded for decades. And he's right – out of national pride, France, Germany, Japan, China, Russia and others routinely subsidize profit-challenged local automakers.

Focused on just four brands rather than eight, Buick and GMC will no longer be deprived of new-product development funds. For the first time, Buick will have close to a full line of models. And GM will have a $1.3-billion annual marketing budget for each of Chevrolet and Cadillac, double the current ad spend, and close to what Toyota commits to its namesake and Lexus brands.

That's crucial, because GM quality and reliability have vastly improved in the past decade (Buick typically tops or is near the top of J.D. Power quality surveys), but GM has lacked the money to tell that story to potential customers that first turned away from GM decades ago. A clean-slate GM has a decent shot at winning customers among Gen Y motorists (ages 22 to 32).

At 70 million people, that group is larger than either Gen X or the baby-boom generation.

Certainly GM has the J.D. Power- and Consumer Reports-acclaimed vehicles for making converts, including the Chevy Malibu, Impala, HHR and the Cadillac STS sedan.

One of the nice things about not being No. 1 is that rivals aren't all gunning for you. With half the market, GM had the most to lose over the past three decades. Now everyone from Kia Motors to Ford Motor Co. will have Toyota in their sights, instead.

And Detroit has a spokesman in Barack Obama, who at a news conference two weeks ago sang the praises of the Ford hybrid parked in his Chicago garage.

"A year or two of Obama emphasizing the restructured GM and Chrysler," U.S. marketing consultant Dennis Keene told Business Week recently, "which he has staked his reputation and taxpayer money on, and you could start to see Gen Y take a lot more interest in these brands and looking at them in a new light."

Alluding to some of the unexpected roles he has taken on as President, Obama joked at the annual White House Correspondents' Dinner a few weeks ago that Car & Driver had named him its "CEO of the Year."

We can only hope.

Our Detroit musical heritage is legendary. Let's face it ... you don't become known as"Motown" for tying your shoes. A song like "Detroit Rock City" wasn't written because Detroit is a lousy venue for a concert. And nobody is going to write a song titled "Detroit City (I Wanna Go Home)" if the place sucks.

People all over the "metro-Detroit area" consider themselves Detroiters. Think about it ... if you're out of town, you describe your general location in terms of Detroit. You are either from Detroit, just north of Detroit, south of Detroit, but it's always Detroit ... the professional sports teams we root for are all about Detroit. The Detroit Red Wings, Detroit Pistons, Detroit Tigers, Detroit Lions ...

It's Sunday. Relax, enjoy some original Detroit music and remember, we all have a lot more in common than we have in differences.

Justin Verlander Draws Comparison to Nolan Ryan

Steve Kornacki

Justin Verlander reminds Detroit Tigers radio analyst Jim Price of a Hall of Fame pitcher he faced as a catcher for the Tigers.

"When we signed him, Dave Dombrowski asked me who Justin reminded me of," Price said, recalling a conversation with the Detroit general manager after Verlander was the second overall pick in 2004 draft. "I said Nolan Ryan because of his power fastball and power curve."

And there's something else he has in common with Ryan.

"How many guys throw harder as the game goes on?" Price asked. "Not many. The only two I can think of are Nolan Ryan and Bob Veale, when he pitched for Pittsburgh."

Veale led the majors with 250 strikeouts in 1964 for the Pirates, and Verlander currently leads the American League with 85 strikeouts. Only Johan Santana of the New York Mets has more in the majors with 86.

"And it isn't just the velocity," Price continued. "He's putting it where he wants. He is a power arm showing everybody the art of pitching. He's like Zack Greinke of Kansas City that way."

Verlander, who starts at tonight against the Baltimore Orioles, said gaining velocity late in the game is something always has done.

"I can throw as hard in the first inning as the last inning," he said. "It's important to establish a rhythm to maintain the higher velocity later."

Verlander often throws some of his hardest pitches at 98 and 99 mph in his final inning. He was doing that on the final pitches of his 1-0 shutout of the Cleveland Indians on May 8, when his 112th pitch was 98 mph.

Tigers catcher Gerald Laird shook his head and smiled.

"Most guys tend to wear down," Laird said. "But his fastball gets better as the game goes on. It's exploding more out of his hand as the game goes on. That's pretty special."

Verlander is 5-0 with a 0.85 ERA in his past six starts, and is 5-2 with a 3.55 ERA for the season. He couldn't consistently find a groove in early starts, but now he's on a roll that has many grouping him with Toronto's Roy Halladay and Greinke as the best pitchers in the league.

John Kruk, on ESPN's "Baseball Tonight," pointed to video of Verlander dealing and said, "Look at the confidence now. There's just an air about him."

'One from Six Minute Men on Vimeo.

J.Mills and Matt Dibble

In the shadows of an abandoned store front we find an amazing
blueprint for life. After months of unemployment and the
responsibility of caring for multiple people, including a mother with
MS, ‘One had no choice but to go out and make a job. He lives a life
fit to tell us that “…the world clearly needs music.”

Sean Halpin, after graduating from UCLA, worked for 6 years in aerospace manufacturing, operated for many years in design and engineering for the Big Three automakers, used reverse engineering for the restoration of classic automobiles and Chicago historical buildings, and fulfilled the dreams of small business owners by satisfying their product requests. Sean has been a small business owner since 1995. Halpin Design (established in 2001) has become a much respected design firm among the automotive leaders and many full-service supply companies.

Sean was taken aback one day when a woman named Mary walked through his door looking very serious, and asked to speak with him about a special project. She needed a specific prosthetic device. She wanted a prosthesis she could wear in her bra, designed to have all the comfort she once had before her life changed with breast cancer. Sean's heart immediately poured out to her. He offered her a chair and replied, "let's talk".

Halpin says: "I lost both my mother and father to cancer within 90 days of each other in 2007. The experience changed my life forever. I realized that I have the gifts, talents, and manufacturing experience to deliver the most incredible, natural, symmetrical prosthetic a women could ever want." Sean believed he could take two elements of manufacturing and design and implement them to create the perfect prosthesis.

White light scanning is a state-of-the-art technology that Halpin discovered while designing cars for Saturn in 1993. The scan machine, with its gentle projector-like bulbs, provides safe scanning and very accurate digitized data to develop an image with the most intricate detail.

The surface design process that Sean developed led him to be high above his competitors and produce the highest quality surface products in the automotive and retail markets.

When he combined the white light scanning and surface design process, Sean realized he had something special.

Sean entered the prosthetic market with a staff of passionate professionals committed to delivering the highest quality post-mastectomy product to each individual that walks through his door. The team has dedicated their research to help women lead fuller lives after breast surgery.

After what his mom endured with her cancer, Sean wanted to make a difference for women going through the same pain. Sean knew his product would give women around the world an exciting choice for themselves, and he knew instinctively what to call this vibrant company...

For more information on Proud Mary Prosthetics, click here
Judy Keen

Excerpts from "Detroit Community Groups Work for City's New Glory Days"

There is something more in the City of Detroit: HOPE.

"There's fire in the ashes and good things happening everywhere," says Jerry Smith, a Capuchin friar who runs two soup kitchens that serve 2,000 meals a day and have seen a 10% increase in demand. "There are reserves of life and strength in us that we never imagine are there until we absolutely need them."

The bleak statistics saturating the headlines motivate rather than discourage the individuals and non-profit groups trying to revive the American dream here. They are training displaced workers, feeding the poor, providing medical care, planting vegetable gardens on vacant lots and planning a new Detroit that's smaller, greener and less dependent on the auto industry.

"It's never going to be the same city that it was, but maybe it will be a better city," says Mary McDougall, a Detroit native and executive director of Operation Able, a group that trains older displaced workers.

The city's believers say Detroit has resilient residents who will work hard and make changes to help it rebound. "Detroit isn't dying," says Harold Schwartz, 60, who was laid off by an auto-parts supplier. "Too many people love the city to let that happen."

Officials and activists see this time as an opportunity to remake the city and shift its manufacturing workforce from cars to emerging industries. "We've always dealt with adversity," says Olga Stella, vice president for business development at Detroit Economic Growth.

A car town
Since Henry Ford founded the company that bears his name in 1903, this has been a car town. The auto industry's promise of steady jobs with good pay attracted European immigrants and workers from the South, and by 1950 Detroit was the USA's fourth-largest city.

"We need to work together to get the city from where it is to where everybody wants it to go," Mayor Dave Bingsaid after being elected this month.

Detroit's population remains loyal. Peggy Jones, 59, has lived here 32 years and won't leave, Jones is enrolled in Operation Able, which teaches computer skills to displaced workers 40 and older. With a $650,000 annual budget, it trains about 150 people a year. Students get eight weeks of training, followed by four weeks of help with job searches. If they don't find jobs during that month — and these days, they often don't — the organization works with them until they do. The success rate is about 75%.

To prepare them for jobs in other fields, the program has increased its emphasis on customer-service skills and plans to add training in "green" office practices.

Jones says Operation Able restored her confidence. She has had a couple of job interviews already.

Andrew McCray, 59, a Detroit native and Operation Able client, drove trucks that delivered cars to dealers before being laid off. He's hopeful about his future — and the city's. "I really do believe that we have to hold on and believe that things are going to get better," he says.

Focus: Hope, which was founded a year after 1967 riots and works to improve civil and human rights, is retooling its education and community programs to respond to urgent needs.

With a $25 million annual budget, the organization distributes food commodities to 41,000 people every month; trains machinists and information technology specialists; rehabilitates neighborhoods; and offers youth arts programs and preschool education.

CEO William Jones Jr. says Focus: Hope plans to shorten its machinists program so students can get into the workforce faster, expand its hours so classes are more convenient and create after-school programs.

"We get to do more than read the paper, read all the doom and gloom," Jones says. "We work with people who are determined to better their situation."

Changing cityscape
For two decades, The Greening of Detroit has been planting trees and gardens and cleaning up vacant property. Now the group is helping to lead discussions about a dramatically changed cityscape: allowing large swaths of the city to "naturalize" and become rural again, creating a natural corridor to give wildlife access to the Detroit River and encouraging urban farming.

Abandoned factories, Witt says, could be used to build wind turbines, solar cells and geothermal equipment. "This is no time for cowardice," she says. "We need to be brave, and we need to buy into a big vision collectively."

Bing, the new mayor, said during the campaign that he wants to reshape neighborhoods by asking residents of mostly empty parts of the city to move to areas with fewer vacant homes. Such a move would make providing city services, including police patrols, cheaper and more efficient.

Many neighborhoods already are blooming. In 2008, The Greening of Detroit supported 603 vacant lot, school and family gardens. This year, applications from individuals, community groups and schools quadrupled.

Besides soup kitchens, a food pantry that also distributes clothing and appliances, and a new bakery, the Capuchin friars give away 100,000 plants each year and operate Earthworks, an urban farm that last year grew 6,000 pounds of organic produce.

The city is working to attract new development and more diverse manufacturers. It is replacing old infrastructure such as roads and sewer and water lines in parts of downtown, Stella says. She believes the city can attract new employers to use auto industry facilities and workers to manufacture wind turbines, medical devices and other products.

"This is a difficult time, but we'll get through it," Stella says. "We always seem to."

Stepping up
People here are stepping up to help one another. Two years ago, Julie Kennedy-Carpenter created a website, Julie's List, as a hobby. Now it's a popular resource for laid-off workers who need financial, medical and emergency help. There are links to groups that give away clothing and food and to low-cost car repair and credit counseling.

Kennedy-Carpenter, who works for a Detroit-area community action agency, wanted to help people who didn't know where to find assistance or were too proud to ask. "A lot of people don't realize there's so much help out there," she says. She has never advertised, but people are spreading the word, and the site has gotten 50,000 hits.

Kennedy-Carpenter has no doubt that Detroit will rebound. "We're survivors here," she says.

Chris Vitale also went online when he was laid off — temporarily, he hopes — by Chrysler. His website,, explores how U.S. trade and energy policies affect the auto industry.

Vitale meets regularly with about 10 laid-off auto industry workers and retirees and tries to spread the message that U.S.-made vehicles and American workers are not inferior to those in Japan and South Korea.

"A lot of my co-workers and friends, they're just feeling hopeless," Vitale says, and the website is a way to channel his frustration into something positive. He hasn't given up on Detroit or Chrysler, where he has worked for 15 years. "We can come back," he says.

Help also is coming from outside Detroit. Children's Health Fund, a national health care provider and advocacy group, last month launched Kids Can't Wait here. The program will spend about $1.5 million to offer free medical and dental services to Detroit children with a mobile clinic that will make weekly stops.

Irwin Redlener, Children's Health Fund president and a professor at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health states, "There seems to be an inherent cultural optimism that I found very engaging and uplifting." The attitude here, he says, is "we're down, but we're going to get back on our feet."

That's what Doreen Benguche, 33, is doing. A mother of three, she decided to go back to school after she was laid off from her bank-teller job in January. She's in a "fast-track" basic skills program at Focus: Hope and will soon start IT courses there.

Tears fill her eyes as she describes how the heartbreak of being laid off led to hope. "I was disappointed and distraught, but I had to turn it into a positive outcome," she says. "I can see the road ahead now."

Summer is approaching, which means that more than 250,000 kids in southeast Michigan who rely on free or reduced-fee meals in school will no longer be getting those meals.

Gleaners wants to keep child hunger at bay this summer by providing an additional 2 million nutritious meals, but we need your help.

Over the summer, we will be asking residents in specific communities to place a bag of food on their porch to help their hungry neighbors. Volunteers will collect the food and bring it back to a central site where a Gleaners truck will be loaded to take the food back to our warehouse for sorting and distribution to our partner soup kitchens, food pantries and other agencies.

You can get involved by joining a Hunger Hero Neighborhood Food Drive volunteer team, or by leaving food on your porch on the designated day for your neighborhood.

The dates and areas are:

May 30 Grosse Pointe area
June 13 S. Oakland County (Ferndale, Oak Park, Pleasant Ridge, Berkley)
July 18 Farmington, Farmington Hills in conjunction with Founders Festival
July 25 Birmingham, Royal Oak, Bloomfield

Maps will be available shortly before the drives so you can confirm whether your block is included in the food drive.

Join a Neighborhood Food Drive Team!
We are looking for individuals and groups to help us canvass neighborhoods on the dates above. Volunteers will work in groups of 6: 2 cars with drivers and 4 walkers. Check-in begins at 9:30 a.m. and volunteers will collect food from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., including lunch and breaks. We will have a central location with a registration table, volunteers to help unload the food and a Gleaners truck to transport the food.

Drivers must be 18 or older and each group must have at least one cell phone. Each volunteer group will be given a map with specific streets they need to canvass. One car will drive down the street while walkers collect food off of porches and load it into the car. When the car is full, it will drive to a drop off site in the area while the other car is being filled. Walkers will be given safety vests and cars will have magnetic signs and green flashing lights for the roof to identify them as Gleaners volunteers.

Use our convenient online registration to volunteer for one or more of the neighborhood food drives. You will be contacted about your participation. If you have questions, please contact Stephanie Melnick by phone at 866-GLEANER (453-2637), ext. 270 or e-mail at
Kelli B. Kavanaugh
Model D

Old buildings. Detroit is chock full of 'em. People tend to view their value in architectural or historical terms, not environmental. After all, it’s eas(ier) to build a new building that is highly insulated and has a solar hot water heater than it is to take a drafty manse and make it efficient.

At least at a surface glance, it is.

But more Detroiters are ignoring conventional wisdom, taking matters into their own hands and going green within the city’s existing building stock. And many will point out rightly that that is actually greener than new construction -- as green renovations use all 3 Rs: reduce, reuse and recycle.

Here are some of their stories.

City Hall? Really.

Considering that Detroit is just getting a pilot curbside recycling program off the ground, one would be forgiven for thinking that the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center has open windows in the winter, old-school space heaters tucked under desks and buzzing florescent bulbs that get left on all night.
You'd be way wrong.

For the third consecutive year, the building has received the Energy Star label from the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy for its overall efficiency.

The building, which is owned and operated by the Detroit Wayne Joint Building Authority, has gone so green that it has saved taxpayers a bundle: $3 million over the past three years.

What's been done? Simple things like modifying building hours of operation to reduce electricity needs (implementing daytime cleaning and maintenance, for example, so lights aren't on all night), improving thermostatic controls and upgrading lighting by adding 18,000 high-efficiency lamps and electronic ballasts.

On top of that, heating and cooling systems have been upgraded and -- in what might be most progressive measure of all -- the flow of the Detroit River is used to chill computer systems.

Gregg McDufee, the building authority's general manager, estimates that this alone saves more than $700,000 per year in water charges.Overall utility consumption has been reduced by 50 percent, which has reduced tenant rent paid by the City of Detroit and Wayne County and allowed reinvestment in capital improvements such as the Spirit of Detroit statue restoration, renovation of the City Council auditorium and improvements to the Center’s automation system that will further reduce electrical consumption.

The authority's plans call for continued greening efforts, with the ultimate eye toward LEED certification for the building, the gold standard in building sustainability ratings.
PR Newswire

Detroiters have shown time and again their generosity and support for others is heartfelt and unwavering.

At a period when most headlines across the nation and world paint a somewhat bleak picture of Detroit and its future, nowhere do we feel a more determined spirit to rise above these challenges than right here in the Motor City.

Just ask any of the 30,000 plus participants and the more than 100 local sponsors and underwriters who will take part in the 2009 Susan G. Komen Detroit Race for the Cure, on Saturday, May 30, at Comerica Park, in Detroit.

The Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute has been the local presenting sponsor of the Komen Detroit Race for the Cure for the past 17 years. Together, our community has rallied the support of family, friends, neighbors and coworkers to raise nearly $2.3 million in 2008 alone in the fight against breast cancer. As a result, a record $1.58 million funded breast health education, breast cancer screening and treatment programs in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties, allowing the uninsured and underinsured to receive the needed services they might not otherwise get.

Additionally, $676,000 was contributed to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Award and Research Grant Program, with much of this funding benefiting Michigan Scientists. Thanks to Race funds, Komen Detroit provides year-round resources toWayne, Oakland and Macomb counties.

Since 1992, the Detroit Race has raised a total of $15.4 million in the fight against breast cancer.

Detroiters are stepping up to the challenge to help end breast cancer. This year more than ever, we need everyone's support.

18th Annual Susan G. Komen Detroit Race for the Cure 5K Run/Walk and 1-Mile Walk Locally presented by the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute

Saturday, May 30, 7:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
WHERE: Comerica Park

To help save lives and end breast cancer forever.


There is something for participants of all ages at the Race. Ten thousand pink ribbons will decorate the Race route along Woodward; 20 bands and entertainment groups will perform for the walkers and runners; a variety of sponsors will have giveaways and offer exciting interactive activities for participants.

Children's Activities Area 10,000 Pink Ribbons 20 bands/entertainment groups Pink Carpet - Runway for Survivors Ford's Warriors in Pink Drummers Ford's Warriors in Pink interactive Trailer and Pace Car Survivor Cafe Survivor Trolley Numerous sponsors, giveaways, items to buy Shop for a Cure Awards Ceremony Many

Register: Online registration continues through 5 p.m., May 28.
Be a Sponsor: Sponsorships range from $1,000 and up and are still welcomed.
Volunteer: There is still a need for volunteers to help with Race duties.
Make a Donation: Perhaps you can't join us in person on May 30 but you want to help. Donations of all amounts are appreciated.
Sam Abuelsamid

Since our first encounter with General Motors' HCCI (homogeneous charge compression ignition) engines in August 2007, the powertrain research engineers at GM's Tech Center in Warren, MI have continued plugging away at the technology, trying to turn it into a marketable reality. The basic premise of compression ignition is simple.

Based on the Ideal gas law (PV=nRT), if you decrease the volume of a particular quantity of air, the temperature rises to the point where fuel will spontaneously combust. The hard part is controlling the pressure, temperature and air/fuel mixtures precisely enough to manage that combustion without causing excess noise and engine damage.

When we first tried the HCCI prototypes a couple of years ago, the engines had a fairly narrow band of HCCI operation with the engine running in basic spark ignition mode the rest of the time.

Thanks to a newly developed mixed-mode HCCI feature and external EGR, the engines can now run in HCCI from idle all the way to 60 mph.We had a chance to drive a Saturn Aura with an HCCI engine based on the 2.2-liter EcoTec four-cylinder around the streets near the Tech Center. The engine ran smoothly and transitions between HCCI and spark ignition really couldn't be felt.

The only indication of a transition was a slight ringing sound over the first couple of power cycles after transition.The basic hardware for a production HCCI engine is in place now, with the only new piece of hardware being a combustion chamber pressure sensor. GM is continuing to work on the control software to make this a robust system and even adapting the homogeneous charge and pressure sensors to diesel engines to reduce NOx emissions.

GM says that HCCI engines can achieve about a 15% improvement in fuel efficiency compared to a similar spark ignition engine – at a much lower cost than a hybrid. The automaker hopes to have HCCI engines in production in about five years.

A group of state legislators is urging that stunning Michigan Central train station be left standing, instead of being dynamited as the Detroit city council ordered last month.

The historic depot, an encore project from the team of architects who created Grand Central Station in NYC nearly a century ago, remains structurally sound but is in rough shape in all other respects after two decades of vandalism and neglect.

With more than 500,000 square feet of space on nearly 14 acres in proximity to critical state, regional and international infrastructure facilities, the Central Depot property has great potential to house a complimentary set of homeland security, intermodal transportation and economic development-related functions,” write the five state senators. “The property is ideally located in an area of unique intermodal convergence that includes the Ambassador Bridge, the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel, connections to three interstate highways, the Detroit-Wayne County Port and several freight lines."

The Detroit city council–which seems to have no clue on how to protect the remaining gems in that afflicted place–has yet to respond to the proposal.

The timing of the senators’ plea, though, is interesting. Just last week, the Michigan Messenger reported that the Canadian Pacific Railroad is seeking $400 million to build a new freight rail tunnel under the Detroit River and likely emerging in the middle of Michigan Central’s rail yard.

While building the tunnel would not necessarily save the structure, the proposal does seem to buttress the case made by preservationists that the complex still has economic value and is worth rehabilitating.
Voices of Detroit with Larry Henry and David Benjamin make a point of not only telling the great stories of Metro Detroit entrepreneurs and community leaders, but also doing the show at many locations around the area to highlight them.

This time we do both, as we visit the Whistle Stop Restaurant and Bakery in Birmingham and chat with owner Matt Rafferty.

And being "positive" people, how could Voices of Detroit not talk with Erin Rose who is the energy behind PositiveCities dot com.

Both Erin and Matt have a lively discussion with Larry and David in this edition of Voices of Detroit.

Click Here to Listen

Love and Laughs on Thursdays in Ferndale

Donald V. Calamia

Ferndale's newest hotspot is on a roll. Recently named Best Comedy Club by both Metro Times and Real Detroit Weekly, Go Comedy! Improv Theater has quickly become the region's home for quality improvisational comedy.

With unbridled enthusiasm and bucketloads of talent, Go Comedy's locally based improvisers prove time and again that every imaginable topic is subject to scrutiny, and that major laughs can be mined from the mundane to the uncomfortable - and everything in-between.

It's a philosophy that serves the theater well, especially on Thursday nights. Once filled with back-to-back, make-it-up-as-you-go improv shows, Go Comedy! is now devoting much of the evening to original scripted comedies created by some of the area's best and brightest talent. That certainly describes the cast and creators of its very funny second effort, "Love and Other Urban Legends," that had its official premiere May 14.

A revue-style comedy, "Love and Other Urban Legends" explores the trials and tribulations of love and dating as seen through the eyes and lives of three long-time, 30-something friends who meet weekly for breakfast to catch up on each others' lives. Each is scarred from a lifetime of experience: Beautiful Liz (Anne Faba) chases all the wrong men (and could be pregnant by one of them); "big-boned" Shannon (Suzie Jacokes) settled for her geeky, unpopular high school boyfriend; and still-single Craig (Marke Sobolewski) relates to romance and relationships through his favorite movies.

As the three catch up on their most recent escapades, flashbacks reveal the defining moments of their lives - from an eighth grade dance where a clueless Shannon tries to profess her love to a totally uninterested Craig (who's still safely ensconced in the closet), to the heart-to-heart talk Craig has with his mother that reveals far more family history than he wants - or needs - to hear. And what they discover is this: that their actions in the past have serious consequences in the present, yet it's never too late to change the future.

"Love and Other Urban Legends" is yet another fine example of what Detroit's improv community does best: It tells compelling human interest stories, but from a unique and funny perspective. And while their topics and dialogue might be a bit raw or shocking to those weaned on the more polished or cerebral works of established mainstream playwrights, comedies such as this offer a much-needed platform to a street-level generation of young and energetic artists. They, too, have equally important things to say - particularly about their lives in the turbulent 21st century - and as a result, some of the most creative, innovative and refreshing (although rarely the slickest) works in the area are happening these days on the stages of theaters such as Go Comedy!

The script, written by Faba and Jacokes with Sobolewski, calls upon all three actors to play multiple roles. While each is fine with their primary role, Jacokes, a graduate of Wayne State's theater program, is especially skilled at creating believable secondary characters, most notably as Jack, Liz's undesirable boyfriend. And a powerful scene in which Shannon and her soon-to-be ex-husband finally have an honest discussion proves her range and versatility as an actress.

The director of the annual Movement techno music festival says the Detroit event enjoyed a strong first day with increased attendance.

Festival director Jason Huvaere told The Detroit News he estimates more people attended Saturday's start of the Memorial Day festival than opening day 2008, likely due to nice weather and increased marketing.

"It's the weather, it's word of mouth -- people are really excited about the festival this year," Huvaere said. "We're able to market the event all year long now, and it's really a natural evolution for the festival."

Festival attendee Illiana Falkenstern of Ann Arbor, Mich., said this year's crowd seemed more energetic than in previous years.

"There seems to be more energy and better crowds," the 21-year-old said of the festival, which is in its 10th year. "I just love the music. I wait all year for this."

The Detroit News said the three-day festival offered performances Saturday from noted house disc jockey Carl Cox and the musical trio, the Glitch Mob.

Park West Gallery recently launched three website featuring the Park West Salvador Dali Collection of artwork, Rembrandt etchings and Picasso graphic works.

This collection is one of the most thoroughly documented and authenticated collections of Dali artwork in existence and the other two websites feature the works that make up the Park West Rembrandt and Picasso Collections.

Site visitors can learn about Salvador Dali’s Biblia Sacra, Divine Comedy and Albaretto Editions - sought-after collections of works created by the Surrealist master. Collectors of Park West Dali artwork can visit the site at to gain a better understanding of the history behind the works they have acquired. “

There is a rich history behind these works,” said Morris Shapiro, Gallery Director for Park West. “This information allows past, present and future collectors to understand the lineage of these works. This type of historical information greatly enhances the experience of fine art collecting.”

Salvador Dali aficionados and collectors alike will enjoy visiting the site and learning more about the master, his life and his work. Through this new website, Park West Gallery has made Dali’s fine artwork viewable worldwide and continues its mission of bringing fine art to people everywhere.

The Rembrandt website, found at, features extensive information on the Millennium Edition, a limited edition of posthumous impressions printed by master printer Marjorie Van Dyke. The site also features many other Rembrandt works available through the Park West Collection.

In addition, information can be found on the provenance of Rembrandt’s copper plates, the etching process, a timeline of Rembrandt’s life and work, and the market for Rembrandt etchings.

The Picasso website, found at, features extensive information on the 347 Series, 347 works that were created over a seven month period and became the last hand-signed etchings and engravings Picasso ever produced, and the Suite Vollard, 100 Picasso etchings, aquatints and drypoints that are regarded as some of Picasso’s greatest graphic achievements.

Park West Gallery holds the world’s largest collection of works from the 347 Series and one of the largest collections of Suite Vollard etchings.
Siobhan O'Connor

Interesting news coming from Detroit:

Two official plans are being proposed to City Council to turn swaths of the city—we’re talking acres upon acres—into the world’s largest urban farms.

Seems like a smart idea.

One proposal would bring a commercial farm to the city center, and be among the most ambitious urban farms we’ve ever heard of.

The other would function similarly, but would train and employ former drug addicts, giving them work, earned income, and skills.

A social venture of sorts.

Birmingham Rotary's seventh annual Korks for Kids wine tasting attracted 200 to The Reserve on May 8 in Birmingham.

They sipped, supped and socialized.

The hot topic was the closing of this newspaper at the end of the month. The event netted $15,000 for Childhelp Michigan, Orchard's Children Services and a Rotary International project in the Philippines.

The 800-pound granite stone portrays etchings representing the Pyramids of Giza, the Pyramids of Chichen Itza and wigwams, each representing the African American, Hispanic American, and Native American roots of this west side neighborhood.

The placement of the sculpture — on the grassy median at West Warren and West Grand — had additional significance: just steps away was the row house where Charles H. Wright first started the African American museum before it was moved to its current location on East Warren and Brush.
Matt Jachman
Observer Staff Writer

Amid the bustle of the Memorial Day holiday, Vivian Biegun doesn't want people to forget Michigan's ailing and needy veterans — or what her Plymouth Elks do for them.

In 2008, for example, folks at the Plymouth Elks Lodge 1780 raised over $4,500 to buy Christmas gifts for veterans in the Detroit, Ann Arbor and Battle Creek Veterans Administration hospitals, and at three homeless shelters; donated more than 230 bags of clothing to the Michigan Veterans Foundation; sponsored regular game days and ice cream socials for hospitalized and homeless veterans; hosted steak lunches for veterans who are bused to the Elks lodge from around the region; and donated deer hides used to make gloves given to veterans who use wheelchairs.

The work last year meant 2,124 man-hours and more than 22,000 miles of travel by participating Elks, said Biegun a Plymouth Township resident and an Elk for three years. Their service reached nearly 6,300 veterans, she said.

“I feel like it's giving something to people who helped our country,” Biegun said.

Biegun said the Plymouth Elks have won state and national honors for their work with the veterans.

“I don't think people know exactly what the Elks do for the veterans,” she said.

Can we talk? Buddy's. Six Mile and Conant. One of the many mysteries of Detroit is that its own home grown version of a Sicilian pie, also known as Detroit-style pizza, never hit the big time.

People crowd into Chicago to cram leaden slices of deep dish pie down their gullets because Chicago is famous for it, even if they really should be eating instead the wonderful thin crust pies you can get all over town.

I happen to think that Buddy's pies are marvelous. Light crust, no sugar in the dough and little to none in the fragrant tomato-basil sauce; the cheese isn't exactly fresh mozzarella but it is not the plastic mess that New Yorkers have begrudgingly become accustomed to.

In a word, this pizza is interesting. If you're not from around here, well, it isn't like lots of other pizzas you have had.

The original Buddy's, a former speakeasy, is in one of the more desolate parts of the East Side, and yet inside it's all smiles...

...outside, too -- this guy was out in the parking lot waiting for his order to come up and told us we had made the right decision to drive all the way over here. He wanted to pose with my friend Justin in front of his Land Rover. "You may forget everything you saw in Detroit today," our new pal said, "But you won't forget Buddy's."
The Boston Globe

VisionIT is the winner of the Top Minority-Owned Company of the Year on the 2009 Inner City 100, an annual list that ranks the fastest growing inner city businesses nationwide.

The announcement was made by the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City, or ICIC, a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to promote economic prosperity in America’s inner cities, together with the Staples Foundation for Learning, a private foundation created by Staples Inc., the Framingham-based retailer of office supplies.

"Ranked first on the overall 2009 Inner City 100 list, VisionIT is a national provider of information technology outsourcing, staffing and vendor management for Fortune 500 corporations and government organizations," ICIC and the Staples Foundation said in a press release. "The company has 850 employees and reported 2007 revenue of more than $100 million."

The press release included a statement from Harvard Business School professor Michael Porter, founder and chief executive officer of the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City, which publishes the Inner City 100 list.

“Minority-owned businesses like VisionIT that continue to thrive serve as an inspiration to entrepreneurs everywhere, but particularly those within our nation’s inner cities,” Porter said.

“Vision IT’s CEO David Segura, has demonstrated that hard work and determination are key to growing a successful business, and he serves as a positive role model for business owners throughout the country.”

To see a list of this year's winners, please click here.

Be A Tiger for Kids, August 18, 2009

On Tuesday, August 18th at Comerica Park for the 4th Annual Rock-N-Roar tailgate picnic and the Be A Tiger For Kids ballgame. This fun-filled family event will bring together our broad and beloved community of friends who support the children of Cornerstone and make possible an excellent education that prepares them for life and leadership. You can make a difference in the life of a child by providing an excellent education; donate today and Be A Tiger For Kids!

The fun begins at 4:30 p.m. at the Rock-N-Roar tailgate picnic at Ford Field. A variety of food, entertainment, face painting, balloons and games for children of all ages will be provided at this exclusive pre-game picnic. At 6:30 p.m., picnic goers will collectively make their way to Comerica Park to see the Cornerstone Honors Choir perform the Star Spangled Banner. Feel the energy and enthusiasm of Cornerstone’s community of friends when they cheer on the Detroit Tigers as they play the Seattle Mariners. Game time is 7:05 p.m. Seats are limited so reserve yours today by donating to Cornerstone Schools.

In a city with the lowest high school graduation rate in the nation, Cornerstone achieves a 95% high school graduation rate. Your donation to Cornerstone Schools will make a difference in the life of a child and allow us to continue with our mission of, “Changing Detroit One Child at a Time” through urban education. Due to today’s economic climate, the children of Cornerstone need your help more than ever. Many of our families are unable to pay their modest tuition. The children of Cornerstone need your help today more than ever. Be a Tiger for Kids on August 18th and you will provide a child with an excellent education that prepares them for life and leadership.

There are several donation options available:

Ultimate Fan Package For a $250 donation you will receive, as a thank-you, one premier game ticket (best seats available on a first-come, first-served basis), entry for one to the private pre-game Rock-N-Roar tailgate and a commemorative event tee shirt. As an ultimate fan, you will be eligible to win a special opportunity to take the field with the Tigers during batting practice!
Fan Package For a $100 donation you will receive, as a thank-you, one premium game ticket, entry for one to the private pre-game Rock-N-Roar tailgate, and a commemorative event tee shirt.

Stadium Package For a $50 donation you will receive, as a thank-you, one game ticket, entry for one to the private pre-game Rock-N-Roar tailgate, and a commemorative event tee shirt.

Tailgate Package For a $20 donation you will receive, as a thank-you, entry for one to the private Rock-N-Roar tailgate and a commemorative event tee.

Souvenir Package For a $15 donation you will receive, as a thank-you, a plush Tiger Tail Growler (a must have souvenir) and a commemorative event tee.

For more information regarding this event please call 1-800-343-0951 or click here for a list of Frequently Asked Questions.
New York Times


At one time or another, most American males must reckon with the necktie. Some embrace it, some grudgingly acquiesce to it and plenty reject it. That the necktie seems to have no practical purpose is of course the very source of its potency. Over the past decade or two, a rising wave of tech billionaires have made even its absence a powerful signal. This is why a tie pattern that incorporates an image of the swine-flu virus is such a snug fit: while the necktie sounds like an unlikely canvas for dark humor or subversive sentiment, it is actually an ideal one.

Terminal Illness” is the name of one of the most recent designs from Bethany Shorb, a Detroit artist, and the fact that it has a title is a good indicator that it is not a traditional tie. What at first glance resembles an abstract pattern well within the vernacular of the necktie aesthetic is, rather, a repeated image of the swine-flu virus connected by shapes based on international-airport-terminal diagrams. A tie called “Snoutbreak!” features a simpler graphic that clearly suggests a pig’s nose; if you order this tie, you get a matching surgical mask free. These offerings from Shorb’s Cyberoptix Tie Lab were made available in early May, when the swine-flu freakout was at its height and the director general of the World Health Organization had recently warned that a pandemic had the potential to threaten “all of humanity.”

An appropriate topic for a design riff? “I think paranoia is really­ fascinating,” Shorb says, noting that she was struck by the intense disease-related warning graphics while going through customs on a trip home from Italy. She had already been thinking about making a design involving airport-terminal diagrams — “They’re really beautiful” — before the swine-flu scare gave her an epiphany: “What if I put a disease in there!” Soon she had uploaded the design to her Flickr account, where, she says, it was almost immediately linked in a Twitter comment (“O.K., now that’s a contemporary tie”), by Bruce Sterling, the science-fiction novelist, leading to a first wave of orders.

The truth is that Shorb is hardly the only person to find creative inspiration in the virus. Search make-your-own products sites like CafePress and, and you’ll find scores, if not hundreds, of jokey commodity responses to the spread of this strain of influenza, technically called A(H1N1). Most are forgettable or worse, but still. More impressive are the images collected of Mexicans wearing decorated masks, to guard against the virus “with style.” The point is that both sets of examples probably have something in common with Shorb’s creations. “The best way to take ownership of something scary is to kind of subvert it,” she says.

This is not far from the general mission of her Cyberoptix tie line. After finishing her M.F.A. at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in 2001, Shorb moved to nearby Detroit and balanced a part-time job against design work, art projects and music-making. She started silkscreening on neckties in 2006, releasing new designs whenever she had a new idea. The 60 or 70 she has come up with have included “Plaid Habit,” an intricate crisscross pattern that turns out to be made up of syringes, and “Fried Brains,” which arranges overstimulated axons and dendrites into a pleasing abstraction. These sell for $30 to $40 online and through some galleries and museum shops; she quit the part-time job in 2007.

According to Anne Hollander’s insightful book “Sex and Suits,” ties were firmly established as an element of the “modern masculine image” we know today by the early 19th century: along with coats and trousers, “the brilliantly colored necktie asserted itself, to add a needed phallic note to the basic ensemble.” Shorb is of course catering to forms of tie resentment — boredom with traditional patterns, the appeal of disturbing imagery disguised in a workplace-ready design, distaste for sartorial uniformity. But, as Hollander pointed out, subverting fashion often requires deeper participation than merely conforming would. Shorb’s customers tend to be artists, designers, creative professionals and others who are tuned in to the expressive possibilities of even the most conformist of garments. A design inspired by pandemic paranoia is one way for style rebels to reject the traditional necktie, with panache.
Movement: Detroit Electronic Music Festival

May 23 - 25 Detroit, Michigan

The The Detroit Electronic Music Festival (DEMF) festival is on again in Detroit.

Also known in its previous incarnations as Fuse-in Detroit: Electronic-Soul Movement and Movement, the festival has been handed off from techno pioneer Derrick May to his protege Kevin Saunderson, and finally to detroit-based electronic music promotion company Paxahau.

The gathering is still considered to be one true to its roots and the history of electronic music in Detroit, widely considered to be the the birthplace of techno. This year's lineup has a diverse roster of established acts alongside up-and-coming artists.

The Memorial Day holiday weekend includes numerous parades and ceremonies to honor those who have served in the United States Armed Forces.

Most events are Monday. However there are a couple events Friday, May 22nd.

The city of Southfield will commemorate Memorial Day at 9 a.m. on the front steps of Southfield City Hall with a program featuring Mayor Brenda Lawrence, Colonel Henry Cason, Jr. from the Michigan Army National Guard and Daniel Brightwell from the Southfield Veterans Commission.

The ceremony will include a presentation of colors; 21-Gun Salute and playing of "Taps."

An 11 a.m. ceremony is planned in Lathrup Village in the Veterans Memorial Groove behind City Hall.

The mayor, Frank Brock, will give Memorial Day comments and there will be a dedication of memorial bricks purchased or donated honoring those residents who have served in the Armed Forces.

Specially honored will be Cpl. Nicholas Manoukian who was killed in Iraq and SFC Matthew Hilton, a Lathrup Village Police officer killed in Afghanistan while serving with the Michigan Army National Guard.

Here is a list of parades. All parades are on Monday unless otherwise noted.

Oakland County Parades:

Auburn Hills- Memorial Day Parade, which starts at at 11 a.m. at the corner of Auburn and Squirrel.

Beverly Hills- Starts at 11:30 from Groves High School parking lot located on 13 mile.

Birmingham- Memorial Day Ceremony 10 a.m. at the Memorial Plaza on 151 Martin.

Brandon Twp- Starts at 9:30 a.m. at Mill and Church streets, military fly over around 10:25 a.m.

Clarkston/Independence Twp- Starts at 10 a.m. on Church and Main streets

Farmington Hills/Farmington- Starts at 10 a.m. at the Farmington Plaza on Grand River and Mooney streets.

Fenton- Starts at 10 a.m. on Leroy and River streets

Ferndale- Starts at 10 a.m. on Livernois and West Breckenridge.

Hazel Park- Starts at 10 a.m. on Eight mile and John R.

Village of Holly/Holly Twp- Starts at 10.a.m. at the VFW Hall on Airport street.

Keego Harbor- Starts at 10 a.m. at Memorial park on Orchard Lake and Cass roads

Lake Orion/ Orion Twp.- Starts at 11 a.m. at Blanch Simms School located on Florence and Flint roads, 11:30 a.m. military fly over

Madison Heights- Starts at 10 a.m. on 12 mile and John R.

Milford Twp./ Village- Starts at 11 a.m. at the American Legion on Commerce Road.

City of Northville- Starts at 10 a.m. in Downtown Northville in close to Northville Downs Race Track on Griswold and Main Streets.

Novi- Starts at 10 a.m. on 10 mile and Karim Boulevard.

Pleasant Ridge- Starts at 8:45 a.m. on Oakland Park and Ridge Roads.

Rochester Hills/ Rochester- Starts at 10 a.m. in Mt. Avon Cemetery.

Royal Oak- Memorial Day Parade, which starts at 9 a.m. at Main and Fourth streets.

South Lyon- Starts at 10 a.m. at Bartlett Elementary School on 350 School Street.

Walled Lake- Starts at 11 a.m. on Pontiac Trail and Walled Lake Drive.

Waterford- Starts at 10 a.m. in front of Burke's Lumber Store.

Wayne County Parades:

Brownstown Twp.- Starts at 10:30 a.m. at Royal Canadian Legion on Telegraph between West and Van Horn.

Belleville- The Brown Funeral Home and Brown Family Center will sponsor “Thunder Rolls in Belleville.” This Memorial Day tribute will honor the memory of veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice, giving their lives to protect our nation. Participants can register and line up for the ride starting at 11 am in Wayne County Community College’s front parking lot, located off of Haggerty and I-94 (take exit 192 and then proceed north on Haggerty).

Dearborn- Memorial Day Parade, which begins at 10 a.m. on Michigan Avenue from Firestone to Schaefer in east Dearborn.

Detroit- At Fort Wayne Park on 6325 West Jefferson

Flat Rock- Starts at 10 a.m. at the American Legion Post 337 on Hall and Division Streets.

Inkster- Starts at noon in the Cherry Hill Plaza on Inkster and Cherry Hill.

Plymouth- 7:30 a.m., parade starts at Harvey and Wing streets and features the Plymouth-Canton High School marching band and veterans. They will proceed to the new Memorial Park on Main Street downtown.

Redford Twp.- Monday May 31st: Starts at 2 p.m. Six Mile and Beech Daly Roads.

Rockwood- Starts at 10 a.m. at Chapman Elementary School on Olmstead between Huron River Drive and Woodruff.

Trenton- Starts at 10 a.m. on West Road and Fort Street.

Washtenaw County:

Ann Arbor- Saturday: Starts at 11 a.m. at at 2609 Yost St. (at Eli Drive) neighborhood parade for any child who wants decorate his or her bicycle, with the opening of the Forestbrooke neighborhood pool to the general public. Monday: 10 to 10:15 a.m. parade of the Glacier Area Homeowners Association, along Frederick, Middleton, Bardstown, Windemere and Barrister streets, ending at Glacier Highlands Park.

Chelsea- 10 a.m. American Legion parade. Begins behind the police station on Middle Street.

Dexter- 10 a.m. parade on Main Street in downtown Dexter.

Manchester- 1 p.m. parade on the Main Street bridge.

Milan- Starts at 9 a.m. parade at the American Legion, 44 Wabash St..

Saline- 10 a.m. parade at the fire station on Harris Street at Michigan Avenue.

Ypsilanti- Starts at 9 a.m. procession begins at Huron Street and Michigan Avenue.

Livingston County

Brighton-Parade begins at 10 a.m., Starts at West Main Street from Brighton High School to the Mill Pond.

Fowlerville-Parade starts at 10 a.m. at the corner of Veterans Drive and Grand River Avenue.

Hamburg-The parade starts at 10 a.m. at Hamburg Road and M-36.

Hartland-Sunday: Luminary walk at dusk at Hartland Cemetery on Avon Street. Monday:The parade begins at noon from Ore Creek Middle School.

Howell-Parade begins at 10 a.m. at the Howell Carnegie District Library courthouse.

Pinckney-Parade starts at 1 p.m. at Pinckney Elementary School on 935 W. Main St.

Macomb County Parades:

Eastpointe- Starts at 11 a.m. at city hall 23200 Gratiot Ave.

New Baltimore- Starts at 10 am at Walter and Mary Burke Park on Front and Washington Streets.

New Haven- Starts at 9 a.m. at Haven Ridge and Division Street.

Richmond- Sponsored by Richmond VFW Post, starts at 10 a.m. on M-19 ( Main Street) and 32 Mile Road.

Romeo- Starts at 10 a.m. on 32 mile and Van Dyke ( St. Clair and Main in Romeo).

Roseville- starts at 10 a.m. on Gratiot just south of Best Buy by 13 mile road.

Sterling Heights- Starts at 9 a.m. on Dodge Park and Utica Roads.

St. Clair Shores- Sunday:Starts at 1 p.m. on Jefferson Ave and Nine Mile.

Monroe County Parades

Dundee- Starts 9:45 a.m. in Wolverine Park.

Lambertsville- Starts at 10:30 a.m. at the Fire Station on the corner of Dean and Monroe Roads

Monroe- Starts at 2 p.m. on Jones Avenue and North Monroe Street.
Introducing and featuring Michigan-made products, Westborn Market is inviting the public to attend the Grand Opening of its new Cherished store, located within Westborn at 27659 Woodward in Berkley. The celebration will be held from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, May 23, 2009.

"We have created a 'store within a store' to feature Michigan-made favorites that offer consumers great value," said Mark Anusbigian, president of the family-owned gourmet grocer. "Our new Cherished store is well stocked with Michigan munchies and showcases how much we have to be proud of in Michigan."

Visitors to the Grand Opening will be treated to free hot dogs compliments of Dearborn Sausage Company, free ice cream compliments of Michigan's Hudsonville Creamery and Ice Cream Company, free Better Made potato chips, and samples of other unique Michigan products from salsas to cherry sodas.

Attendees will also have an opportunity to enter a free drawing to win great prizes including free passes for a family of four to visit The Henry Ford and Greenfield Village; two Detroit Tiger baseball tickets, compliments of Comcast, to watch the Tigers play the Blue Jays; two tickets to attend the musical "Grease" at the Fisher Theatre, compliments of WOW!; a family four-pack to attend Cedar Point, provided by WDIV TV; and more. The drawing will be held at 5 p.m. concluding Saturday's Grand Opening, and entrants do not need to be present to win.

According to Anusbigian, the Berkley market was selected as the site of the Cherished store because of the space available in its unique conservatory that was added during the store's renovation in 2006.

It Came From Detroit

Marzipan Moxley

Last night i saw “It Came from Detroit” at Brew & View in Ferndale. For the ignorant Detroit music fan (in this case, me…) this Rock Doc reignited a lot of pride that i had let stew underneath for the Detroit music scene. Honestly, i had little clue about the bands who were interviewed, besides seeing their names in Ads for weekend shows at the Magic Stick, or in Hamtramck. i really had only listened to the White Stripes and the Von Bondies. After realizing what creativity and passion the bands unbeknownst to me have put into their music, my respect if miniscule before, is now immense.

This “garage band scene” roughly from the period of the mid 1980s to the early 2000s, bred some fiesty creativity and characters. The Documentary tells it like it is, letting the gritty Underbelly of the Detroit Rock scene bask in the sunlight, getting a more attractive bronze. By the end you are glorifying the grit in your mind, wanting more passion and inspiration to be seen at any venue, so you can at least TRY to capture a snipet of energy the movie reveals to you. This energy was not born out of greed. It is clear in the docuementary that the incentive “to rock” is to find the nirvana one attains in the creative process, with other like minded, supportive folks.

It is nice to see the positive people and ideas that have come, and continue, to come from Detroit, since we are in a time when the great majority of media focuses constantly on the negative.

You can still see this doc at Brew & View TONIGHT, THURSDAY doors open at 8 and the filmstarts at 9.30.


Michigan is attracting stars and movie studios. Now, a local production company wants to make a movie that is 100-percent made in Michigan.

Do you think you could be a superstar? If you believe you have what it takes, then you must take advantage of a casting call at Radish Creative Group in Royal Oak.

"I believe we have a talented state," said director Amy Weber. "I'd love to say that we're on this huge mission, but the bottom line is it really is about bringing a community together to expose the talent that we have here."

Radish Creative Group is a Royal Oak-based production company and it's best known for its award winning commercial work. Now they're going from commercials spots to the big screen, and Weber needs you. "We will find a role for people. There's no doubt about it," she said.

They also need production assistants, wardrobe and makeup pros and people who know a thing or two about props and art. Weber wants the entire cast and crew to be people who call Michigan home.

"Opens the door of an opportunity for us to kind of shine and show what we're made of," Weber said.

The movie at the center of it all is called "Annabelle & Bear". Weber says it's about "the healing of a broken family."

The film will be shot in metro Detroit and in other locations across the Great Lakes state.

Want to be part of the production?

An open casting call is being held at the Radish Creative Group on Wednesday, May 27.

They are located at 326 East Fourth Street in Royal Oak.

You need to call or e-mail the producer to setup an audition time.

Call (586) 855-2626 or (248) 629-7294 for more information.
Jennifer Lethbridge

If you have any interest in art that involves clay, glass, or metal, you won't want to miss the show in Royal Oak on the weekend of June 12th through 14th 2009. Of course, art isn't all they have. They've tried to have something for everyone at the art show, with music, food, and activities for children. Atop that, select artists often give demonstrations of their techniques for those who want to learn.

The show runs Friday night from 5pm to Midnight, but the real show starts Saturday. From 10am to 7pm, over 120 artists will be displaying their wares for sale and judging. If you're interested in anything from jewelry to gifts, decorative art, or even architecture, you'll surely find something you like.

If you're familiar with the Royal Oak area, the show will be on Washington Avenue and 5th Street, with local restaurants on 5th Street supplying the food and beverages for the show.
If you're coming with children, you'll want to check out the Creative Arts Studio tent for activities.

If you'd like more information on the Clay, Glass, and Metal Show, or would like to figure out how to get there, feel free to visit their website.

Originally uploaded by g. s. george

The St. Mary's 37th Annual Polish Festival will be held throughout Memorial Day Weekend on the campus of the historical Orchard Lake St. Mary’s Preparatory in Orchard Lake, Michigan.

The St. Mary’s Polish Country Fair is the nation’s largest high school fair. Originated in 1972, this Memorial Day event is an annual tradition for hundreds of Detroit-area families and attracts upward of 110,000 people.

In conjunction with Mid-America Shows, the amusement ride partner of the Polish Country Fair, the event offers 50 carnival rides for all ages. The Carnival Midway is second in size only to the Michigan State Fair.

Due to its amazing success last year, The Polish Country Fair will feature again this year the Crazy Mouse Spinning Roller Coaster - an 80 ft.-high roller coaster!

Polish food is center stage at the St. Mary’s Polish Country Fair. The Polish Combo Meal is a great selection of Polish favorites including a variety of pierogi, stuffed cabbage, kielbasa and sour kraut.

Fair patrons consumed over 20,000 pierogi (cheese, potato, mushroom or sauerkraut filled dumplings) at last year’s festival!

Bozek Market is the official pierogi sponsor and will supply an estimated 25,000 Polish Harvest brand pierogi for this year’s Fair.


Ride the Rides! 50 rides -- including the only spinning Roller Coaster in Michigan.
Expansive Kidzone and fun crafts for the kids.
Play Games & Win Prizes on the Carnival Midway
Indulge in a Variety of Great Foods Including the Authentic Polish Combo Meal
Strike it Rich in the OLSM Raffle – Win $10,000!
Try Your luck in the Vegas and Bingo Tents
Dance the Night Away to Live Music or Just Enjoy the Bands – Rock & Roll, Jazz, Easy Listening and Country
Shop Local Crafters and vendors


Authentic Polish food including pierogi, stuffed cabbage, kielbasa and sauerkraut.
All-American hamburgers, corn dogs, hot dogs, French fries, cotton candy, popcorn, candy apples, elephant ears, snow cones, ice cream, baked goods and much more.
A Fresh, hot pancake breakfast will be served in the food tent right after Sunday Mass at 9 a.m. on the Fairgrounds.
Thirsty: Enjoy soda-pop, smoothies, snow-cones, beer and wine. Powers Distributors (Molson & Coors) is the official Beer Sponsor of the Polish Country Fair.

Ride-All-Day Passes are $22 at the Fair or $19 if purchased in advance at Meijer, the official Polish Country Fair Midway Sponsor. Admittance is free. Parking is $7.00.

Fair Hours

Memorial Day Weekend, Friday May 22nd – Monday May 25th 2009.

Friday, May 22 - 5:00 p.m. - 11:00 p.m.

Saturday, May 23 - 11:00 a.m. - 11:00 p.m.

Sunday, May 24 - 11:00 a.m. - 11:00 p.m.

Monday, May 25 - 11:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.

Vegas Hours

Friday, Saturday and Sunday 5 p.m. - 1 a.m.

Monday 3 p.m. - 9 p.m.


Orchard Lake St. Mary’s is located at 3535 Indian Trail in Orchard Lake, Michigan, at the intersection of Orchard Lake and Commerce Roads.

For a Complete Listing of Fair Events and Entertainment Visit: or call the Fair Information Line at (248) 706-6775

NASCAR's most popular driver, Dale Earnhardt Jr., is following Jay Leno's lead in showing his support for Detroit with a fan visit on Thursday May 28 to the Motor City Casino.

Tickets to the event where Earnhardt will meet, greet and answer questions from an intimate crowd of about 1,500 in the casino's Sound Board theater are being distributed to General Motors employees and members of the Michigan National Guard.Tickets also are being given away this week to listeners of WRIF, 101.1 FM.

"It's about supporting our auto workers and soldiers from this area," said Michigan International Speedway spokesman Dennis Worden. "It's like when Leno came here to put on a show because he cares about cars and the people who make them. This is a way to show some support."

Leno did two free stand-up comedy concerts last month at the Palace of Auburn Hills for laid-off auto workers. Earnhardt will participate in a fan forum with soldiers and the folks who build Chevrolets like the one he dives in NASCAR's Sprint Cup races.

WRIF's morning air personality, Meltdown, will host "Dale in the D" from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m."We will be giving away 100 tickets on air this week and at upcoming events," said Carly Ierman, marketing director at WRIF.

"We've got the only tickets, unless you are a soldier or you work for General Motors."Earnhardt is likely to be fielding questions about a couple of hot topics, including concerns about his flagging on-track performance despite last season's move to the dominant Rick Hendrick Motorsports team -- and the meteoric rise of Brad Keselowski, the young driver from Rochester Hills who drives Earnhardt's JR Motorsports entries in NASCAR's Nationwide series.

Keselowski, who has a development contract to drive a limited number of Cup races for Hendrick this season was seen as the future replacement in the car Mark Martin drives for Hendrick. But, now that Martin has signed for another full season and Keselowski won the Cup race at Tallegeda, where Kez winds up next season has the garage buzzing.

Earnhardt recorded his last victory a year ago at Michigan International Speedway. It was his first win in a 76 race winless streak and this season has been tough again. Earnhardt is in 18th place in points, far from the top 12 needed to be in the season ending chase for the championship.But the loudest applause in introductions for Saturday night's All-Star race at Lowes Motor Speedway came for Earnhardt.

WHAT: "Dale in the D"Dale Earnhardt Jr. to participate in Fan Forum with auto workers and soldiers.

WHEN: Thursday, May 28TIME: 3:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.

WHERE: Motor City Casino's Sound Board Theater2901 Grand River Ave.Detroit, Mich.Parking is available in the free parking garage at Motor City Casino. (NASCAR)

The Detroit Edison Co. has entered into a $90 million, 20-year agreement with a Michigan-based wind power company to purchase wind power and renewable energy credits, reports Crain’s Detroit Business.

The agreement with Heritage Sustainable Energy is the first that Detroit Edison has signed, following the passage of Michigan’s energy law last fall that requires electric utilities to provide 10 percent of their power from renewable sources by 2015, says the company.

Heritage Sustainable Energy, which is headquartered in Traverse City, plans to install seven or eight large-scale wind turbines at a wind farm near Cadillac. Detroit Edison says the wind turbines will be capable of producing about 15 megawatts of renewable energy, and are expected to be operational by late 2009.

To meet the state’s renewable portfolio standard, Detroit Edison expects to add about 1,200 megawatts of renewable power. The company also says it plans to contract with third-party producers, like Heritage, for half of that capacity, and to own renewable energy projects to meet the remainder.

DTE Energy, parent company of Detroit Edison, expects the majority of its renewable energy to come from wind resources. The company has acquired easements on more than 60,000 acres of land in Huron County in Michigan’s Thumb region for development of large-scale wind farms. It also has proposed two solar energy pilot projects that could produce about 20 megawatts of power.
Pierre LeBrun

Long after most reporters had left the Red Wings' dressing room Tuesday night, Daniel Cleary was still sitting there with most of his equipment on, chatting with a handful of reporters.

An introspective Cleary was contemplating what made this club so special. Again, take a second to consider that this team has had eight conference finals appearances in 14 seasons, including three straight in the salary-cap era, not to mention four Stanley Cups in 11 seasons. Much has been written on why that is, but it was interesting to hear it from a player.

"It just starts with the core, you know: Lidstrom, Drapes, Malts, Tommy [Holmstrom]," Cleary said. "We had Stevie [Yzerman] here, and Z and Pav learned from Stevie. Kronwall learns from Lidstrom. We bring in Raffy from Jersey, who's really solid. Once you've established a core, you bring in guys like Franzen. … I mean, me, Franzen and Sammy were the fourth line four years ago. Franzen's an All-Star now, and Sammy's been huge for us."

Oh, and Cleary hasn't been too shabby himself. Plucked off the scrap heap by the Wings coming out of the lockout (meaning any other team also could have had him for nothing), Cleary had back-to-back 20-goal seasons in 2006-07 and 2007-08 and posted a 14-goal, 40-point campaign this regular season. He's been Mr. Clutch in the playoffs with six goals in 13 games. Penalty killer? Shot-blocker? Power-play guy? Goal scorer? He can do it all.

But one of the reasons Cleary went from unwanted free agent to quality veteran on a Cup champion team is the culture he walked into four years ago.

"The big thing is the work ethic we have off the ice," Cleary said. "The guys are always in the gym working."

Then there's Detroit coach Mike Babcock, who figured out the new NHL before many other coaches coming out of the lockout.

"We play a system that Babs instills in us that's defense, pressure and skating," Cleary said. "Everybody buys in. When your best players are your best defensive players, everyone has to buy in. If not, I don't know, you probably won't play."

Hart Trophy nominee Pavel Datsyuk is the reigning Selke Trophy winner, and he's up for the award again this season. Enough said on that front.

And if people are waiting for the Wings to grow old and go away, forget it. GM Ken Holland and assistant GM Jim Nill are the best in the business and ensure that there's young blood coming up the Wings' food chain. One of the best Red Wings players I've noticed so far in the six Detroit playoff games I've covered? Darren Helm.

"Young players that get drafted by Detroit, they're not rushed into the NHL," Cleary said. "You go down, you get some seasoning in the minors, you become a good pro, and when your time is right, you come up. We've got good examples of that. Ericsson is a great example, Helm, Abdelkader, Filppula, Hudler -- these are all guys who played in the minors for a long time, who came up and we're better pros because of it.

"And each guy here, there's no egos. No matter how much you get paid or how many goals you score, everyone is even keel, and that, along with the work ethic, makes us a good team."

That's why guys such as Henrik Zetterberg and Franzen take discounts to stay in Detroit. It's why Marian Hossa might do the same after this season. The buzz is in Washington, Pittsburgh and Chicago, where wonderful young stars are playing some exciting hockey. But Hockeytown is still printing Stanley Cup banners.