U.S. Senators Carl Levin (D-MI) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) today hailed news that the U.S. Department of the Treasury has awarded $2 million to Communicating Arts Credit Union in Detroit through the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund.

The funding will be used to expand lending and services in the Highland Park community.

“This federal funding will help Communicating Arts Credit Union fulfill its mission of providing Detroiters with affordable loans and other important financial services,” said Levin. “I am hopeful that this award will provide greater opportunities for entrepreneurs to expand and families to grow in Detroit and Highland Park.”

“Helping low-income families gain access to credit and affordable financial services is a necessary step to help get consumers back on their feet during these times,” said Stabenow. “Providing assistance to homeowners and small businesses is one of the most effective ways to stimulate the economy, and I am so happy this funding is going to good use here in Michigan.”

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Associated Press

A musical tribute to Michael Jackson is planned Tuesday night at Chene Park in Detroit, former home of the Motown label that launched his pop singing career.

The free concert will include performances by Serieux & Friends, HotSauce, Asiid and Velocity. Clear Channel is sponsoring the show.

Vigils celebrating his life and legacy have been held nightly at the original home of Motown Records. An estimated 2,500 people took part in a Sunday-night gathering at the Motown Historical Museum.

Erin Galliher

The film Cayman Went tells the story of a failing Hollywood actor, sent to the island Cayman Brac to help a real estate mogul acquire the land in exchange for a career boost. It had a red carpet premiere in Los Angeles, was released to limited theaters on June 5 and even got a review inThe New York Times. Despite being a full-length feature (the flick runs 88 minutes), Cayman Went wasn't created purely for entertainment; it's actually an extravagant promotional vehicle for the Cayman Islands.

With travelers staying closer to home this summer, cities, states and countries around the world--New York, Oregon and India among them--are rolling out attention-getting ads and promotions, some for the first time. Some aim to lure travelers seeking a respite from the stresses of urban life. The latest spot in a campaign for Michigan, for instance, beckons tourists "back to what's real and true."

Hoping to woo folks interested in a more raucous vacation, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, meanwhile, recently re-launched its "What happens here stays here" campaign, which was first rolled out in 2003.
ABC News

President Obama has scheduled three Town Hall meetings for July to discuss Health Care Reform. The third meeting will be held in Detroit on July 14th, after the president returns from a scheduled foreign trip to the G8 summit, Moscow for nuclear arms reduction talks, and Accra, Ghana, his first presidential visit to Africa..
Kelly Burris of Pleasant Ridge and a shareholder in the Ann Arbor office of Brinks Hofer Gilson & Lione, one of the largest intellectual property law firms in the U.S., and co-pilot Erin Recke of Atlanta, Georgia, were announced the First Place winners in the 2009 Air Race Classic, an all-female aviation race that dates back to 1929 and the era of famed woman pilot Amelia Earhart.

Burris was piloting her 1962 Beechcraft Debonair airplane, which is affectionately known as ‘The Deb.’ The race route, which started in Denver, Colorado and ended in Atlantic, Iowa, covered approximately 2,400 miles and was held from June 23-June 26, 2009. Winners were not announced until the evening of June 28th, however, because of the complexity of the scoring.

Ms. Burris and Ms. Recke will donate their $5,000 prize to Air Charity Network, a charity that matches people in need with free flights and other travel resources. They flew on behalf of Angel Flight Central, part of the Air Charity Network. Ms. Burris has been a volunteer pilot with Angel Flight Central Mid-Atlantic and Angel Flight Mid-Atlantic Central, members of the Air Charity Network, since 2004. In addition to the competition of the Air Race and the chance to experience the camaraderie of the other women pilots, Ms. Burris used the race as an opportunity to raise funds and awareness for the charity.

“I raised about $12,000 for Air Charity Network through the 2008 Air Race Classic and my goal was to raise more than $25,000 this year; I believe we are very near that goal,” says Ms. Burris, who enlisted the assistance of the Angel Flight Central member organization throughout the race route to promote the charity to communities along the route stops. Every dollar raised by Ms. Burris will be donated directly to Angel Flight Central; no donated monies will be used to offset the expenses Ms. Burris incurred to compete in the race.

HBO Series 'Hung' Gives Detroit a Starring Role

Jessica Nunez

The new HBO series "Hung" premiered last night, and while the premise of the show makes it intriguing enough alone (the main character becomes a male escort to solve his financial woes), as a Detroiter, the real anticipation was in finding out how much the city would be used in the plot.

At least in this respect, it did not disappoint. The pilot was shot entirely in Detroit, Birmingham, Livonia, Clarkston and West Bloomfield Township, as was part of the rest of the season (the rest was filmed in L.A.).

The opening sequence (which you can watch here) is jam-packed with familiar Motor City signposts, from the first shot of a barge gliding over the Detroit River, to Thomas Jane as Ray Drecker walking through Hart Plaza, below the People Mover and in front of the Joe Louis fist, Lafayette Coney Island and the abandoned Packard plant.

"Everything's falling apart," Thomas-as-Drecker narrates over shots of a crane tearing down Tiger Stadium. "And it all starts right here in Detroit, the headwaters of a river of failure."

The camera cuts away to shots of more Detroit ruins, including Michigan Central Station, while Drecker continues. "Good thing my parents aren't around to watch the country go to shit."

The rest of the first episode is full of exciting moments of recognition -- Drecker pulling up in front of Motor City casino to make his first "work call" and his teenage son going to see a show at Harpo's, for example.

Brandon Inge: All-Star On and Off the Field

John Parent

If you happened to be watching the telecast of the Tigers/Cubs game Tuesday night, either on WGN or FSN Detroit, you probably saw that Brandon Inge was sporting a new tattoo on his right forearm.

That was no tattoo.

It was an autograph signed by Tommy Schomaker, an eight-year-old boy, who is recovering from heart-transplant surgery at Mott Children's Hospital in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Inge, who regularly visits and donates to the hospital, had made a trip there a few weeks ago, and Tommy was excited about the possibility of meeting him. Tommy has battled heart conditions since birth, but doctors were able to find a new heart for him.

He was rushed into surgery just about the time Inge was making his visit. Tommy was unable to meet with Inge at that time.

Upon hearing of Tommy's disappointment, Inge made a return trip to the hospital, just to meet Tommy. He spent time in Tommy's room, signing several autographs and talking with the young boy.

Then Inge asked if he could have an autograph of his own. He had Tommy sign his name on Inge's arm, in a spot that he wore no arm bands, so it could be seen on television.

In the game that night, Inge hit a go-ahead two-run homer in the seventh inning. Although he didn't promise a home run to Tommy, the air-time that autograph got brought joy to Tommy and his family.

In July of last year, my wife and I were told that our son, Leyton, would be born with gastroschisis, a condition that affects the closing of the abdominal wall. He would face surgery shortly after he was born. Leyton was born on October 9, and was taken by ambulance to Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

Leyton had surgery one week later, and spent a total of 24 days in the hospital. I know first-hand how much the people at Children's Hospitals all over mean to the patients and the families they care for.

Leyton is now eight months old and his condition has been corrected. He should face no more difficulties than any other child going forward. The wonderful staff at Children's made that possible.

Many athletes, like Inge, donate their time and money to good causes. Like Inge, most do so behind the scenes. In a time when we spend so much energy discussion the evils of professional athletes, it's good to recognize those who give back.

Tommy Schomaker is progressing well in his recovery. His surgery was made possible in part due to monetary donations from large companies and extraordinary people like Inge.

He will continue his progress with a big smile on his face, and that is largely because Brandon Inge donated his time.
Los Angeles Times YouTube Channel

Comerica Cityfest Turns 21 and is Ready to Party

Comerica Cityfest 2009, formerly Tastefest, is setting the stage to deliver a festival that’s as big and bangin’ as ever, with the best tunes and tastes in Detroit from Wednesday, July 1 to Sunday, July 5. The five-day, FREE event is turning 21 this year and is of age to party for a great cause, raising funds for the development and beautification of Detroit’s Historic New Center.

Last year, hundreds of stoked and soaked festival-goers took cover in the Fisher Building when a torrential summer downpour cut the opening day short. Little did they know that Cityfest staff was already planning Rain Check Wednesday for 2009.

The festival plans for clear skies on Wednesday, July 1 for a belated kick-off performance by hip-hop veterans De La Soul, while local stars The Silent Years, Jazzhead, Magic Shop, The Dead Bodies and others will reprise their ’09 schedules on the Pure Detroit, Park and Jazz stages.

Five-time Grammy-award-winning blues guitarist Buddy Guy will close the festival on Sunday, July 5, with selections from his recent Grammy-nominated album Skin Deep and old favorites such as Damn Right I’ve Got the Blues, Feels like Rain and First Time I Met the Blues.

In addition to the great music, Comerica Cityfest 2009 will once again transform West Grand Boulevard into the area’s largest al fresco taste event, featuring cuisine diversity that is distinctlyDetroit.

Rounding out the returning Cityfest favorites are the2nd Avenue Street Market, Cityfest Gallery, Modern Skate course, and other Cool and Kids Stuff Galore.

Comerica Cityfest 2009 will maintain its extended hours offering a great time in New Center from 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday, and 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday.

The festival will also continue its green initiative that was announced last year, including banning Styrofoam, encouraging the use of green products such as Green Safe, selling 100% organic cotton festival t-shirts and drastically reducing water usage through better distribution practices.

Admission to Comerica Cityfest is free. “Taste” tickets are $10 for 16 tickets.

Red Wings' Steve Yzerman named to Hall of Fame

Ansar Khan

It's official: Former Red Wings captain Steve Yzerman has been named to the Hockey Hall of Fame's class of 2009. Jim Gregory, co-chairman of the board for the Hockey Hall of Fame just made the announcement on a conference call.

Two of Yzerman's former teammates, Brett Hull and Luc Robitaille, as well as former New York Rangers defenseman Brian Leetch, also were named to this year's class in the player category.

New Jersey Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello was named in the builders category. The induction ceremony will be on Nov. 9 in Toronto.

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The Wall Street Journal, Forbes Magazine, and New York Times are a-twitter about how businesses and individuals benefit by using social networking—also known as digital marketing—as a communication tool. But do all these social media opportunities leave you feeling overwhelmed? Help is here!

Scott Monty, head of Social Media for Ford Motor Company, kicks off this program with a presentation on how Ford has used social media and benefits they have received.

Following Scott's presentation a panel of experts will dive into the "how to's" of what you need to know to engage the world by building community around your brand and empower your audience to spread the word about your business just by clicking "tell a friend."

You'll hear tips and tactics to effectively use social media, digital marketing, search engine optimization, Google analytics, online brand building, and more to build your business and your personal brand.

Angela Wisniewski - Website Producer, WDIV-TV 4

Expert panelists and the topic they will address:

Terry Bean – Chief Networking Officer, Networked Inc and Motor City Connect

Charlie Wollborg - Chief Troublemaker, Founding Partner of Curve Detroit Advertising, Marketing and Design

John Hill – Director of Career Services, Michigan State University

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) & Branding
Catherine Juon – Co-Founder & Catalyst, Pure Visibility

Derek Mehraban – CEO, Ingenex Digital Marketing, and Instructor, Michigan State University

Why use social media?
Social media provides measurable results for your efforts! You can track your fans and followers, follow link traffic to see who is seeking more information about you, and measure the growth of your brand online. You can:
- Target your message
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- Lower cost than traditional marketing

Click here for a printable flyer

Inforum Member ticket: $50
Non-member ticket: $75

Thursday, June 25, 2009 7:30 a.m.-noon

7:30 a.m. - Noon
Hyatt Regency Hotel Dearborn
600 Town Center Drive
Dearborn, MI 48126


7:30 a.m. - Networking & Registration
8-9 a.m. - Breakfast & Presentation by Scott Monty

9:30 a.m.-Noon - Panel Discussion
Jonathan Oosting

London-based foreign direct investment publication fDi Magazine recently ranked Detroit as 10th in its annual list of large cities of the future.

FDi looked only at city stats (not the metro region), which dropped Detroit from the Major Cities category to the Large Cities category, where it managed to outperform the likes of Columbus, Albuquerque and Memphis.

The analysis included 128 North American cities and seven categories: economic potential, human resources, cost effectiveness, quality of life, infrastructure, business friendliness and promotion strategy.

Detroit also ranked third in large city infrastructure and fourth in economic potential.

Well, well, Detroit! Aren't we just coming into our own on the national scene?

First, we get some love for our fabulous Detroit-style pizzas from GQ. Then, MORE pizza-love (and a little bit of taco love, and love for this very blog) from the New York Post. And now--the one, the ONLY, Bon Appetit magazine has named not one but TWO Michigan restaurants as being the tops in "relatively new" BBQ joints.Of course, "relative" is relative--both Slows Bar BQ in Detroit and Zingerman's Roadhouse in Ann Arbor have been around enough years to no longer constitute as "new." (And hell, in restaurant years--at 4 and 5 years open, respectively--these places might as well have historic designations.)

However, I am certainly not about to look a gifthorse in the mouth, especially since I know horses bite.

I will conspicuously avoid speaking on Zingerman's as I continue to have myself convinced that Ann Arbor just simply isn't an extended part of metro Detroit, even though it is becoming increasingly obvious that indeed it really is.

So...Slows. Grats! While I do think this place is wonderful, I think it is wonderful in that "Gee I'm really glad we have a fun eclectic trendy popular place like this in Detroit" sort of way and not so much in that "This just might be some of the best BBQ food in all of North America" sort of way.

BUT. As far as fun eclectic trendy popular places go, this one is certainly on par with any such place you might find in more major-er cities, and in fact might even be hard-pressed to find such a fun eclectic trendy popular place as this in cities like the mysteriously meat-phobic L.A. or Manhattan, where "BBQ" might as well be a four-letter word. And while the food is good--perhaps even really good--I'd still bet a brisket that the whole of the giddy-up South does it better.

BUT. What makes Slows so great isn't necessarily the food--it is how quintessentially Detroit it is, right down to the Ghettoblaster on tap and the bar full of shaggy-haired Detroit hipsters (up to and including shaggy-haired hipster Phillip Cooley, the owner of the joint and a genuine Detroit booster, making a reputation for himself as the guy to go to for help when you want to start a business--just ask anyone who has started a business in the last two years). The music you'll hear will always be a mix of of indie rock, new and old--from Bob Dylan to the Hard Lessons and every bit of rock-and-roll randomness in between.

Trendy, yes. But in that anti-trendy trendy way that is so entirely Detroit. The beers on tap are a fine selection of boutique breweries, representing a number of Michigan brews as well as beer from Oregon, Pennsylvania, and even Sri Lanka.

The menu is a clever take on classic deep-South BBQ joint dishes, from the meat, meat, and more meat to the comfort food favorite mac-and-cheese (the one dish here that probably gets more lip service than the piles of meat).

The crowd is a revolving collection of hipsters, foodies and Tigers fans. The vibe is 100% Detroit, pure and simple.There might be better restaurants. And there might be better places for BBQ grub. But if this is the place that has been chosen to rep our city in the national media (presenting Detroit in an all-too-uncommon fun and trendy light), I think Detroit has done pretty well for itself.

Congratulations again, Slows, and thanks for making it work for the rest of us.

Editor's Note: Take a guess who's holding up the pint of ale in this photo :).
Associated Press

A Detroit student's portrait of President Barack Obama has earned her a second trip Washington, D.C.

The Detroit Public Schools district says Tangela Frazier's portrait is a winner in the 2009 Congressional Artistic Discovery Competition. The 17-year-old Pershing High School 11th grader and other winners will spend Wednesday in Washington.

Their work will be judged again at a reception, with the winner receiving a scholarship to the Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia.

The district says Tangela's art is on display at the Capitol. Tangela earned a trip in January to Obama's inauguration after winning a Detroit schools art contest.

The “Target Harmony in the Metroparks” concert will be held on Friday, June 26, beginning at 8 p.m.
The DSO will again perform a free family-friendly concert. The concert is free with a vehicle entry permit.

Concertgoers should arrive early for the best seating and should bring a chair or blanket. Picnic baskets are allowed, but no glass containers. Food will also be available at the park's concession area.

The Professional Bowlers Association has announced the Detroit area will host the inaugural World Series of Bowling (WSOB), a revolutionary festival of world-class bowling, begins Aug. 2and runs through Sept. 6.

With $2 million in prize money and seven ESPN telecasts planned as part of the WSOB, the event will focus the attention of the bowling world on the Detroit area unlike any previous event in bowling history. After kicking off the program with the Motor City Open at Taylor Lanes in Taylor, the WSOB will shift to at Thunderbowl Lanes in Allen Parkfor the duration. A complete schedule of events is available at a new dedicated website.

"For decades, Detroit has been the hub of bowling in the United States. It has produced dozens of hall of fame players and has contributed significantly to the history of our sport at all levels. For those reasons, it only made sense to bring the new World Series of Bowling to the community that has given so much to the sport," said Tom Clark, Deputy Commissioner of the PBA. "Nothing like the World Series of Bowling has ever been done before. Over a span of five weeks, the PBA will bring the world's best bowlers to the Detroit area to serve as a catalyst for economic impact and a rally point for the communities and businesses."

The PBA has selected Goodwill Industries of Greater Detroit as its official charity partner for the World Series of Bowling. Goodwill Industries is the only organization solely dedicated to helping unemployed Metro Detroiters overcome barriers and find jobs.
Click Here to Purchase Tickets and See the Schedule of Events
Jerry Garrett
The New York Times

For the next few hundred words, I am going to detail all the great attributes of the 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid and explain why you might want to buy such an economical car with so many cool features. Then I’m going to explain why you will probably ignore me and decide not to buy one.

First, let’s talk fuel economy: it is stellar for a car this large and useful. The Environmental Protection Agency rates the Fusion Hybrid at 41 miles a gallon in the city, 36 on the highway and 39 in combined driving. That is an incredible 8 m.p.g. better than the similar-size Toyota Camry Hybrid in city driving and 2 m.p.g. better on the highway.

The Fusion Hybrid is also refined and comfortable. Like most of today’s hybrids it combines a gasoline engine with electric motors, but it drives and performs pretty much like a conventional car, without many of the quirks — squishy brakes, abrupt power transitions, odd noises — that hybrid owners take for granted.

Indeed, the new gas-electric Fusion is not only a standout among hybrids, it may well share honors — with the redesigned 2010 Toyota Prius — as the most well-rounded hybrids yet. At last, consumers have a choice of no-excuses hybrids that leave little to be desired.

What message does this Detroit-bred standout send us about the American auto industry — you know, the one that reportedly can’t build high-mileage cars, the one that supposedly can’t compete with foreigners or take a lead in high technology, the one whose hybrids are routinely dismissed as years behind Honda’s and Toyota’s?

Perhaps the Fusion Hybrid suggests that Ford really can deliver the advanced fuel-saving technology that it has been promising for years.

The Fusion Hybrid and its mechanically identical cousin, the Mercury Milan Hybrid — which, for simplicity’s sake, I won’t mention again — sit atop the midsize hybrid segment. All right, that’s true only if you don’t count the redesigned 2010 Toyota Prius hatchback, which recently went on sale and is rated at 51 m.p.g. in the city. (The Prius is smaller, but because its interior volume has expanded a bit, the new model is classified as a midsize car by the E.P.A.) But beating the Camry Hybrid is what really matters to Ford.

The Fusion Hybrid is powered by a 156-horsepower 4-cylinder 2.5-liter Atkinson cycle gasoline engine mated to a continuously variable transmission without fixed gears. The electric boost from two battery-driven motors raises net horsepower to 191, compared with 187 for the Camry Hybrid.

The system is similar to the one in the Escape Hybrid, but is tweaked to produce 20 percent more power from its nickel-metal-hydride battery pack. Variable timing for the engine’s intake cam helps the system transition fairly seamlessly (no clunks!) between electric and gas modes.

While most hybrids can operate on electric power alone only up to about 25 miles an hour, the Fusion Hybrid can be coaxed up to 47 m.p.h. before the gas engine kicks in. But all-electric mode will take you only a mile or so before the batteries need a recharge.

In my test-driving, I was able to beat the mileage estimates for both city and highway by 3 to 5 miles a gallon. But the Fusion Hybrid proved less capable of racking up the hypermile-type numbers (65 to 70 m.p.g.) that I managed through careful manipulation of the new Prius and the 2010 Honda Insight. Ford seems to have engineered the Fusion Hybrid for consistent mileage in real-world conditions, rather than the stellar results that can be obtained only from gimmicky driving techniques.

Outside, to differentiate the Hybrid from other Fusions, there is a small road-and-leaf badge and multispoke 17-inch wheels. Inside, the Hybrid has distinctive displays meant to coach a driver toward better economy. Gauge-minders are rewarded with mileage, like mine, that can exceed E.P.A. ratings. But some people may tire of the driving style required to achieve the best results, reverting back to their old, fuelish jackrabbit starts and abrupt stops.

The gauge screens can be configured to show different levels of information, including fuel use, battery power, average economy and instantaneous m.p.g. There’s also an animation of vines that grow representational leaves as the driver’s efficiency improves.

But beyond the array of economy readouts, the Fusion Hybrid can masquerade as a regular car.
Despite its 3,805-pound curb weight, the car accelerates from a stop to 60 m.p.h. in a little more than eight seconds. Though the chassis is tuned toward providing a cushy, Crown Victoria-caliber ride, the Fusion Hybrid is reasonably responsive and still entertaining to drive. That is refreshing among hybrids, because most in the genre sacrifice driving fun on the altar of minimalism.

That reminds me: an eco-friendly fabric seat made from recycled materials is standard.
Heated leather seating is an option, but if you start adding upgrades like that, along with a sunroof, a powerful stereo and a navigation system, the price zooms from $27,995 to more than $33,000.

Detroit-based Carbon Credit Environmental Services said last week that it's partnering with the Detroit Windsor International Film Festival to make the event "green" through carbon offsetting.

The festival takes place Thursday, June 25 through Sunday, June 28, and is presented by Wayne County and hosted by Wayne State University.

This process will be achieved by a greenhouse gas and carbon dioxide energy audit performed by CCES, providing an estimate on how much CO2 will be emitted during the event. CCES estimates energy, water usage and paper/food waste used by the estimated 5,000 festival attendees as well as the charging of four GEM electric cars, on loan from Chrysler.

Based on those figures, CCES estimates it will offset approximately 5.2 tons of carbon emissions at DWIFF, including multiple buildings at Center for Creative Studies, Wayne State University, the Detroit Public Library and the University of Windsor.

“Carbon Credit Environmental Services is thrilled to partner with such a prestigious film festival as DWIFF and applaud festival management for their efforts to ensure that Detroit Windsor receives the full benefits of their commitment to be carbon neutral,” said Mike Dolkowski, CCES president. “With the movie boom hitting our great state, this event provides CCES a fabulous opportunity to show the entertainment industry the value that CCES can bring with the creation of green sets.”

CCES will provide offsetting DWIFF’s TechFair at CCS, which focuses on the production side of the business. The offset for the TechFair will focus on an alternative energy project with CCS.

"We are very excited to be working with Carbon Credit Environmental Services to create a film festival that is not only green, but actually benefits other creative projects around Detroit,” said Scott Paul Dunham, DWIFF vice president of community development. “The collaboration with our hosts and creative partners is further enhanced by ensuring the DWIFF has a minimal impact on our environment. We see carbon offsetting as a great way to bring organizations together to generate positive results in our creative community."

For more information about DWIFF, please visit,

CCES is located in TechTown, an internationally recognized high tech village in the city of Detroit affiliated with Wayne State University.

More at

A group of Detroit law school students is touring the country in a Winnebago-turned-law-office, helping low-income veterans obtain disability and pension benefits.

The University of Detroit Mercy School of Law students are traveling in what is believed to be the first mobile law office on wheels — a 31-foot converted recreational vehicle that was donated last year by General Motors Corp.

The Big Three auto giant retrofitted the $110,000 vehicle with built-in filing cabinets, computer desks and a wheelchair lift to help the law school launch its Veteran’s Law Clinic, officially known as the Project Salute program.

The program, which recently celebrated its one-year anniversary, has helped more than 2,000 veterans in 11 states and has an army of 740-plus pro bono attorneys lined up across the country, ready to help the veterans obtain benefits.

For more information on Project Salute, Click Here

Jennie L. Phipps

When we moved to Detroit 12 years ago from South Jersey, we thought the city was a waste – beat up, crime-ridden and inhospitable. A dozen years later, we proudly call ourselves Detroiters. And now new homesteaders are lining up for auction deals that are starting at $5.

This piece from, focuses on a young couple who bought a Detroit house for $100 to renovate and make it their home. The location is promising – Banglatown – on the edge of Hamtramck, a separate city within the borders of Detroit whose long-time residents, mostly Poles and Ukrainians, as well as Asian newcomers, have prevented the decline found elsewhere.

Like lots of other stories about Detroit, this one accentuates the misery and ignores the region's positives. Just for the record: Not everybody here works in the auto industry. Despite some decline in population, Detroit remains the 11th largest metropolitan area in the country with an estimated nine-county population of 5.4 million. Including Windsor, Canada, the population is about 5.9 million.

A 2005 PricewaterhouseCoopers study estimated that Detroit's urban area had a gross domestic product of $203 billion.

Suburbs surrounding the city include some spectacularly well-appointed communities. Every major sport has a stronghold here. The Detroit Institute of the Arts has one of the largest and most significant collections in the world, including the famed Detroit Industry fresco by Diego Rivera. The restaurant scene is vibrant. The horrific air and water pollution are gone, leaving the Detroit River and Lake Erie amazingly clean and a major fish hatchery. Boating is a popular pleasure. The state leads the nation in the number of boat registrations, most of them moored in the waterways of the southeastern part of the state.

Every time I read a list of the best and worst places to do almost anything, Detroit is at the top of the worst category and it makes me bristle. Most of the time, I don't think the people who compile those lists have ever been here. Maybe they've never been west of the Hudson.

Anyway, now that I've gotten that off my chest, back to the $100 house in Detroit. points out that investors are buying up thousands of homes for sale in Detroit. And reports a 30- to 50-percent year-over-year increase in searches for homes in Michigan.

The investors run the gamut from international speculators seeking a house or two to venture capital firms that buy bundles of homes for 25 cents on the dollar - most in need of renovation and some with substantial tax liens.

I hope the young couple with the $100 house has a long, happy and prosperous tenure there. And may their commitment and sweat equity help lead the way to better times for the Motor City.

By Rob Lever

Fifty years after the birth of Motown, the music lives on as a legacy for a city that has seen more than its share of hard times in the past decades.

The Motown record label launched in January 1959 by onetime auto worker Berry Gordy with a loan of 800 dollars from his family became a worldwide phenomenon that still influences today's music.

The Detroit label quickly became the largest producer of 45 RPM singles, with more than 180 number one hits, and grew into the largest black-owned business in the United States.

From a tiny studio in Berry's home on Grand Boulevard, Motown produced songs that became a virtual sound track for American baby boomers: from the Temptations' joyful "My Girl", to Marvin Gaye's landmark "I Heard It Through the Grapevine", to Smokey Robinson's soulful "The Tracks of My Tears".

Motown discovered 11-year-old Stevie Wonder singing on a street corner, and launched the careers of stars such as Diana Ross and the Supremes, the Four Tops and the Jackson 5 with its child star Michael Jackson.

The anniversary is being marked by a series of events this year at Detroit's Motown museum and elsewhere by Universal Music, which now owns the Motown label.

A half-century after its founding, Motown is still seen as a force in the music world and in Detroit that many say helped break down racial barriers.

"I think Motown is one of the most positive things the city has produced," says Suzanne Smith, a Detroit native and history professor at George Mason University who authored a book on Motown, "Dancing in the Street", named after the hit song.

"It's an African-American success story that continues to inspire people."

Gordy was inspired by his experiences, including his work on the assembly line at a Lincoln-Mercury automobile plant.

"Every day I watched how a bare metal frame, rolling down the line would come off the other end, a spanking brand new car," he said in a 2007 speech.

"What a great idea. Maybe, I could do the same thing with my music."
Motown, which drew mainly from home-grown Detroit talent, created music that crossed racial boundaries.

"The common denominator is the universality of the lyrics. The simplicity of the lyrics," says Audley "Kano" Smith, chief executive of the Motown Museum located in Berry's former home and studio.

He said Motown evolved with the times including a period of tremendous upheaval in American cities.

"I think that Motown was clearly one of the most important social movements that existed in tandem or parallel to political activism in the streets that as well as things that were happening," said Audley Smith.

"When you think about the lyrics of Marvin Gaye's (Vietnam War protest song) 'What's Goin' On?' or Steve Wonder's social anthems about the struggles going on in the cities, and the passion in which those lyrics expressed the concerns of everyone.

"By the same token when Martha Reeves sang 'Dancing in the Street', that was for everyone, and that kind of music resonated across racial and economic lines."

Some argue that Motown became a victim of its own success and that it lost its soul when it moved from Detroit to Los Angeles and became part of big music conglomerates.

"Motown is as symbolic of dreams frustrated as it is to great music," writes Nelson George in book "Where Did Our Love Go? The Rise and Fall of the Motown Sound."

"Motown is no longer about the specific accomplishments of a Detroit-based record label but about a musical moment in time," writes Suzanne Smith.

She said Motown logically grew out of Detroit, with its long music tradition in jazz, and the large black middle class that emerged from the auto industry.

"There was a configuration of things, the public school system was strong, music education was strong, so Detroit was uniquely able to produce this phenomenon," she said.

Now, she says, "the Motown sound primarily acts as a commercial trademark used by corporations to evoke a nostalgia for the 1960s."

Still, Motown veterans say the music lives on.

"Motown is a classic sound that has stood the test of time," says Dennis Coffey, a guitarist who played on many Motown recordings as part of largely white backup band "The Funk Brothers."

Adds Frances Nero, a singer who recorded on the Motown label from 1965 to 1967.

"It's a sound that's here to stay and will be appreciated, maybe for another 50 years."
Matvey Troitsky

Artist Village Detroit, located in the Northwest side of Detroit, is an extraordinarily vibrant cultural center for the arts that is gaining recognition nationally.

Chazz Miller is the art director for Artist Village and founder of the Public Art Workz (P.A.W.Z.) which functions within the Artist Village to promote cultural growth in the region.

Artist Village is a multi-faceted organization that supports art education for local youth. The Village offers summer art programs for children ages 8-18 looking to grow creatively and expand their knowledge of the arts. The summer art programs include writing, poetry, graphic arts, etiquette and arts & crafts.

The course offerings begin in July and are 6 to 8 weeks in duration. Alicia Marion is the general manager of Artist Village. Alicia passionately and tirelessly shares her efforts to help impact those who come to Artist Village. “The energy and the magic that is here comes from teachers, poets, artists and all the people who are a part of Artist Village,” she said.

Current volunteers at Artist Village Erica Faye, twenty two, and Alexias (Lexi) Toles, twenty-five, speak positively of their experiences at Artist Village. “I didn’t know how much talent I had until Artist Village really brought it out of me,” Erica said. Erica is a poet, writer and dancer who is joyfully sharing her talents and positive energy at the Artist Village. She enjoys reciting her personal writings and is interested in forming a dance team. Alexias (Lexi) is a writer, poet and lyricist who said she felt a little shy when she began to volunteer, but has developed her confidence in the supportive environment of the Artist Village. Watching her express herself passionately on the stage it was easy to see a remarkable performer emerge. Through her own personal growth she encourages artistic blossoming in others.

Any family looking to encourage and enhance the skills of their youngsters in the area of arts should contact the Public Art Workz (Artist Village) 313-334-2919 or download the registration form at Click on registration form download.

Artist Village hosts “Creative Juices” open mic night every Saturday night. “The poetry merged to artist village about a year after its inception. Many local poets migrated to the Village after the closing of Café Mahogany,” said Alicia. Now local poets have a place to congregate and share what inspires them.

Artist Village/Public Art Workz17405 Lahser Rd.Detroit, MI 48219313-334-2919
Dan Meisler
Michigan Business Review

A southeast Michigan credit union is the first financial institution in the state to install souped-up ATMs that include a video link to a live teller in a move that officials hope will improve workflow efficiency.

The personal teller machine was installed in May by Community Choice Credit Union at its Farmington Hills headquarters. The credit union is planning two more installations at its Milford branch by the beginning of July.

The machines can accomplish any transaction done by a live teller, said Community Choice CEO Rob Bava. They also offer the promise of a more flexible and efficient workforce, he said.

"It helps us in two ways. It helps our efficiency during the day because we can staff the PTMs with team members in remote locations," he said. "And it allows us to put these machines into remote locations from our branches, and beyond the traditional 9 to 5 hours."

For example, Bava said that if customer traffic at one branch is significantly higher than at another, tellers from the slower location can help out at the busier one through the PTMs.
"Under the traditional model, if we have three team members at every location, there's no possible way to help out a branch in a different city," he said.

For the moment, he said, the Farmington Hills headquarters will house the tellers that will staff the PTMs.

PTMs have been installed in a handful of other states, Bava said. The Legislative Assembly of Ontario is also considering a proposal from Health Minister David Caplan to allow a similar type of machine to distribute prescriptions in remote areas of the province.

"I really do believe it's the wave of the future," Bava said.

PTMs also are a significant part of Community Choice's new model of interior design and customer experience in place at its Farmington Hills branch. Instead of being confronted with a line to see a teller, customers are greeted by an individual team member when they come in the door, and are asked what kind of services they need. They then have several options to proceed, including completing the transaction in a private office, a one-on-one interaction with a teller in a pod rather than a traditional window, and a PTM.

Bava said the idea may be replicated at other of the credit union's seven branches.

"The whole branch is set up to promote more personal interaction with our members," he said. "We don't have a timeline, but based on the success of the Farmington Hills branch, we'll be retrofitting our other offices."


Boaters from across the state of Michigan exhibit their decorated sailboats and powerboats in the 3rd Annual DTE Energy Parade of Lights. Organized in partnership with the Detroit Yacht Club, this spectacular display of boats will light up the Detroit River beginning at 10 p.m., so guests and spectator boats should arrive early for a great viewing position. Trophies and first, second, and third place prizes will be awarded in three different categories.


Located along the RiverWalk just west of Rivard, this stage will feature some the nation’s best musical acts from classical to country, R&B, alternative rock and good ol’ fashioned rock ‘n’ roll during River Days.


Ultimate Air Dogs is one of the premier dock jumping organizations in the country. Ultimate Air Dogs puts on professional events that draw in thousand of spectators while maintaining a family friendly atmosphere. Long distance jumping is the main featured event. It is showcased in different rounds called “Splashes”. Another event is the Ultimate Vertical and it is a fast growing exhilarating sport that is becoming a crowd favorite. The Ultimate Air Dogs will be featured at the Detroit International River Days June 20-23, 2008.


Rivard Plaza will be the scene of excitement and laughter while the young and young at heart participate in interactive games, enjoy lively entertainment on the kid’s stage, and create fun make-and-take crafts. This year’s theme is Peace, Love and Happiness.

The Kids Zone, created by The Parade Company, will be open every day of the festival from 11am-9pm.


River Days is the perfect time to enjoy all the fun that the Riverfront has to offer. Fun on the Water events in 2009 include the DTE Parade of Lights, Tall Ship Friends Good Will, Coast Guard Days, J.W. Westcott Mail Delivery Ship, Diamond Jack’s Boat Tours, Detroit Open Bass Fishing tournament and much more!


The Parade Company and Target are excited to present the 51st Annual Target Fireworks, one of the nation’s most spectacular fireworks displays, on Wednesday June 24th along the Detroit International Riverfront in downtown Detroit.


Green is good. With the current focus on everything green, what better way to get up to speed with all the great green efforts happening locally than by checking out the River Days Environmental Exhibition.


Have you ever seen a really “tall ship”? River Days brings the Friends Good Will to the Detroit RiverWalk June 19-21, 2009! Docked at Rivard Plaza near the Kids Zone, the whole family can enjoy a FREE educational tour aboard this truly historic maritime vessel. Don’t miss this experience!


Explore the RiverWalk with your pet at the 3rd annual Pooch-a-Palooza, presented by Canine to Five, Detroit Dog Daycare! This year’s fun activities include a pet walk, dog fashion show, free pet portraits, pet massages and more!

Tales start to wag when registration begins at 8:30am on Sunday June 21st. Registration and all activities will take place the GM Plaza; right in front the WinterGarden on Atwater Street between Beaubien and Renaissance Drive.

You can walk with or without a dog, but please note that all pets must be on a leash. There is a small fee for entry per dog, and walk-up registration is accepted. Get a discount by registering prior to June 15th! Parking is provided for free for participants at the D1 lot at Beaubien and Franklin streets (entrance at Schweitzer Place).

Enter online at


The 3rd Annual Detroit River Open Bass Fishing Tournament will take place on Saturday, June 20.

This year’s entry fee is $150.00 and teams that sign up on or before June 1st are entered in a drawing for the early boat numbers. Registration and take off will take place on St. Jean’s Ramp.


Diamond Jacks River Tours will be docked at the General Motors Plaza during River Days! Festivalgoers will be able to take 1-hour tours and experience the sights along the newly refurbished RiverWalk from the Detroit River.

These tours will be presented at a discounted rate, with $10 tickets (regularly $15) for adults, and $5 tickets (regularly $11) for children. Children under 5 years of age are free with an adult. Tickets can be purchased upon boarding. Cash only please. Group reservations are NOT available. All passengers will board on a first come first served basis. Other discounts such as AAA, AARP will NOT apply.
Shawn D. Lewis
The Detroit News

Local family members of a security guard fatally shot at the national Holocaust museum in Washington, D.C., are preparing to attend his funeral Friday thanks to some help from U.S. Rep. John Conyers.

Conyers has donated nine airline tickets to the family of Stephen Johns, 39, of Temple Hills, Md., who was killed on the job June 10 when he opened the door for an elderly man armed with a rifle.

Vince Johns of Auburn Hills, who is Stephen Johns' cousin, said the nine tickets will take care of Vince Johns' mother, four sisters and other family members. Now he's trying to find a way to get plane tickets for himself; his wife, Veronica; his aunt Gloria Johns; and four more cousins from Michigan.

Vince Johns says his cousin Stephen had planned to visit Michigan over the upcoming Labor Day weekend. Vince and Stephen were the only sons born to their fathers, and they forged a special bond, more like brothers, when they were growing up, he said.

"Steve really loved Detroit, and he was excited about coming back," said Vince Johns, 33. "The last time he was in Detroit was in October when we celebrated my mom's 70th birthday."

Vince Johns already drove to Washington, as soon as he learned about the slaying, to help identify his cousin's body.

Johns said family in the Washington, D.C., area received numerous calls from U.S. congressmen offering condolences. "They also asked if there's something they could do to help, and a family member mentioned that Detroit relatives could use help getting to the funeral, and that's when Rep. Conyers heard about it and offered the nine plane tickets."

Johns said admired his cousin and wanted to emulate him.

"He became a security guard, and I wanted to go to Washington, D.C., and also work in security," said Johns. "But my wife had some concerns for my safety, and I respected that, so I chose another career."

Stephen Johns' funeral will be held Friday at Ebenezer AME Church in Washington, D.C. The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum will close to allow employees to attend.
Kelly Burris, a shareholder in the Ann Arbor office of Brinks Hofer Gilson & Lione, one of the largest intellectual property law firms in the U.S., is set to participate in the Air Race Classic, an all-female aviation race that dates back to 1929 and the era of famed woman pilot Amelia Earhart.

The race route covers approximately 2,400 miles and will be held from June 23-June 26, 2009. Ms. Burris, who competed in the 2008 Air Race Classic, will fly from her Oakland County base today to the race starting point in Denver, Colorado. The race will finish in Atlantic, Iowa, where the top ten winners will split a $15,000 prize.

Ms. Burris will be piloting her 1962 Beechcraft Debonair airplane, which is affectionately known as “The Deb.” 34 teams are registered to participate in the Air Race Classic and Ms. Burris is on Team #7 with co-pilot, Erin Recke of Bellingham, Washington.

Her participation in the Air Race Classic combines Ms. Burris’ love of flying and competition with the ability to raise money for Air Charity Network, a charity that matches people in need with free flights and other travel resources. She has been a volunteer pilot with Angel Flight Mid-Atlantic and Angel Flight Central, members of the Air Charity Network, since 2004.

“Since a very young age, I have had a passion for aviation and flying, and I have always been a serious competitor. I am thrilled to again be participating in such a historic event, experiencing the wonderful camaraderie that exists among women aviators and honing both my flying skills and the performance of my airplane,” offers Ms. Burris. “Adding to my enthusiasm is the unique fundraising opportunity the race allows me to pursue for Air Charity Network. It’s a terrific combination.”

Ms. Burris, who raised approximately $12,000 in the 2008 Air Race Classic for Air Charity Network, aims to raise more than $25,000 this year and has enlisted the assistance of the Angel Flight Central member organization throughout the race route to promote the charity to communities along the route stops. Every dollar raised by Ms. Burris will be donated directly to Angel Flight Central; no donated monies will be used to offset the expenses Ms. Burris incurs to compete in the race.

A pilot since 1984, Ms. Burris learned to fly at Western Michigan University while pursuing her bachelor’s degree in aeronautical engineering. Prior to attending law school, Ms. Burris worked for more than 11 years as an engineer in the aviation industry. As a practicing attorney, she has handled hundreds of patent issues involving aviation and often uses her plane for business purposes.

About Air Charity Network

Air Charity Network ( is a national network of several independent member organizations arranging free flights of hope and healing by transporting children and adults in need.

About Women’s Air Racing
Women’s air racing all started in 1929 with the First Women’s Air Derby. Twenty pilots raced from Santa Monica, CA to Cleveland, OH, site of the National Air Races. Racing continued through the ‘30’s and was renewed again after WWII when the All Women’s Transcontinental Air Race (AWTAR), better known as the Powder Puff Derby, came into being. The AWTAR held its 30th, final and commemorative flight in 1977. When the AWTAR was discontinued, the Air Race Classic, Ltd., (ARC) stepped in to continue the tradition of transcontinental speed competition for women pilots and staged its premier race. The Air Race Classic was reincorporated in 2002 into the Air Race Classic, Inc. This information courtesy of

Yearning for a well-deserved day out in Michigan that screams ‘summer is finally here’!? For outdoor enthusiasts (and who isn’t this time of year?) Milford is one of the state’s best kept secrets.

The Village boasts six parks within its boundaries, as well as a canoe launch and trail system for day hiking. Central Park, located on the banks of the Huron River, is a hit with children and teens thanks to a playscape, basketball courts, tennis court and volleyball court. Planning to dine while in town? For a picnic destination, Fairgrounds Park is perfect. Hubbell Pond Park is the site of a new YMCA and library. For cycling enthusiasts, there’s even a winding bike path that links to other communities.

Need some nudging? Try this itinerary: Start with a morning bike ride along the newly-connected Milford Trail, which opened May 30 and features scenic routes within village limits. Then rest and picnic in Central Park before getting to Heavner Canoe Rental for an after-lunch kayak or canoe jaunt on Proud Lake.

After dinner al fresco at a downtown eatery, complete your day with a sunset viewing in Kensington Park.

Outdoor activity not your thing? The village, located in southwest Oakland County, is home to many destinations offering the best of both worlds – fabulous family-owned shops and independent restaurants, in a downtown surrounded by green spaces and flowing rivers.

Just one relaxing stroll through the Village of Milford is enough to prove that small towns are often the greatest of destinations in this busy world. For more information, visit

Planning a day outdoors in Milford? Keep this hit list handy:

Milford Trail
The new 3.6 mile Milford Trail opened May 30 and offers bikers, walkers and runners a scenic route within the city limits. The trail runs from the YMCA on Commerce Road to the Kensington Park entrance, near the Dairy Queen, on Milford Road.

Heavner Canoe & Kayak Rental
Phone: (248) 685-2379
2775 Garden Rd.
Milford, Mich. 48381
Heavner hosts several canoe events throughout the summer, plus special discounts such as 50 percent off to all military, EMS, firefighters and police officers to thank them for their service.

Kensington Metropark
Phone: (248) 685-1561
Kensington Metropark is a 4,481- acre first-class recreational facility. Its wooded hilly terrain surrounds beautiful Kent Lake. The park features an 18-hole regulation golf course, a disc golf course, a nature center, a farm learning center, picnic areas, beaches, boat rentals and a paved hike-bike trail. The park is open until 10 p.m.

Milford Farmers Market
Thursdays from 3 p.m. – 8 p.m. through Oct. 29
The Milford Farmers Market is committed to showcasing local farmers, producers and artisans. Only product grown or made by Michigan vendors is considered for market.

For more information on the Village of Milford, visit

During the Red Wings' Stanley Cup run, fans raised $17,335 for the Detroit Red Wings Foundation during the 2009 Red Wings Beard-a-thon. In all, a total of 591 Red Wings' fans decided to “grow one for the team” and over 517 fans donated to the cause.

Patrick Maly was the top fund-raiser among Red Wings' fans. Maly raised $2,220 and for his beard heroics, he will be awarded a Red Wings' Winter Classic jersey. Rounding out the top five beard growers were local radio DJ Mike Bradley ($2,003); 30 Seconds From Mars guitarist Tomo Millcevic ($940); Todd Wills ($743.25) from Addison, Texas; and Kirk Reed ($655) from Arvada, Colorado.

“Hockeytown, once again, demonstrated their passion for the team and the sport of hockey," said Steve Violetta, senior vice president of business affairs for the Red Wings. "I would like to thank all of our beard growers and pledgers. While it may not have been pretty, the dollars raised through this promotion will make a positive impact in our community.”

The Red Wings Beard-a-thon was an opportunity for fans to grow their own playoff beard and raise money for charity. Additionally, fans could pledge a Red Wings' player, or build a virtual beard for themselves on the Web site.

About the Playoff Beard: A playoff beard is the superstitious practice of a National Hockey League player not shaving his beard during the Stanley Cup playoffs. The player stops shaving when his team enters the playoffs and does not shave until his team is eliminated or wins the Stanley Cup. It is believed that the tradition was started in the 1980s by the four-time Stanley Cup champion New York Islanders. In recent years, other sports have claimed the playoff beard tradition, but it is, and always will be, a hockey tradition.

About the Detroit Red Wings Foundation: The Detroit Red Wings Foundation, an affiliate of Ilitch Charities, provides funds and resources to worthy causes that help grow the sport of hockey.

Established in 2005, the foundation supports several initiatives and organizations, including the development of inner city youth hockey, the fight against cancer, a wide array of children’s health, educational and recreational activities and other needs of the community through the sport of hockey.

Through the Toast of Hockeytown, player appearances and other team-sponsored events, the Red Wings help raise over $1 million annually for various organizations in our community.

Does great design get you revved up? Then mark your calendars for the first of four evening lectures in support of Edsel & Eleanor Ford House’s new exhibit, “Different by Design: The Styling of Edsel Ford.”

“Automotive Design through the Lens of a Photographer” at 7 p.m. June 25 kicks off Ford House’s summer lecture series. The evening will feature New York photographer Michael Furman discussing his acclaimed book “Curves of Steel” and upcoming publication “Spirit of Competition.”

Furman appeared in a video with Jay Leno on the former talk show host’s Web site “Jay Leno’s Garage,” and has a zest for capturing what Furman calls ‘these great machines,’ revealing their personality to all.

He plans to share the creative process of looking through a lens to discover the features of automotive design and style, including proportion and purpose. Copies of “Curves of Steel” will be available for purchase both prior to the lecture and at the event. Furman will autograph the book.

Other lectures and dates include:

July 9
Curatorial Close Up: The Emergence of ModernismThe streamlined look associated with Modernism marked a conscious break with the past to become one of the dominant expressions of design practice, production and theory in the early decades of 20th century. Ford House curator Josephine Shea will explore the modernism movement and offer examples of its influence on Edsel Ford’s design of the buildings and grounds at Ford House, as well as in his automobile styling.

July 23
Streamlines and Dreamlines: The Design Inspiration of Aerodynamics for AutomobilesPhil Patton, automotive design writer for The New York Times, will discuss how streamlining served as inspiration for some of America’s iconic automobiles, focusing on how aerodynamic principles evolved into an aesthetic that persist today.

August 6
Streamline Synergies: The Automotive Give-and-Take of 1930s Industrial DesignThe streamline design revolution of the 1930s impacted consumer products—from aircrafts and cars to radios and telephones. Automotive author Terry V. Boyce utilizes period advertising and contemporary images to explore how streamlined automotive forms reflected popular mass-produced products manufactured during the 1930s and early 1940s.

“Our distinguished guest lecturers will explore the world of automotive styling from a variety of perspectives, connecting the inspirational and stylistic designs of Edsel Ford’s automobiles with an emerging international interest in modernism,” said Kathleen Mullins, president of Ford House.

All four lectures begin at 7 p.m. and are free and open to the public. Space is limited so reservations are recommended. Please for additional information.

Edsel & Eleanor Ford House opened its doors to the public in 1978. Since then, Ford House has shared Eleanor Ford’s vision of preserving and maintaining the house and grounds for future generations to enjoy through interpretive tours, family activities, lectures, exhibits, and gardens and grounds events.

For more information about Ford House, go to or call (313) 884-4222.

Ford House is located at 1100 Lake Shore Road in Grosse Pointe Shores.
David Landsel
New York Post

The city's most famous pizzeria is located at the corner of Conant and McNichols, deep in the heart of the East Side.

Buddy's dates back to Prohibition, when a man named Gus Guerra ran the joint as a speakeasy.

With money tight and a war on, he added pizzas to the menu, and by the end of the 1940s, everyone knew about his unique, Sicilian-style pies. Buddy's has been on this corner for more than six decades, which is a testament to the quality of the pizza.

There are many ways to get to Buddy's. Needing to find my way there from the eastern suburbs on an uncharacteristically warm and sunny late spring afternoon, I end up on Seven Mile Road, which, as far as the map goes, looks like a fairly direct route. The weather is fantastic.

Just as I'm about to admit to myself and my passenger, a fellow reporter from New York, that this was the Worst. Idea. Ever. and that we should probably just find the nearest freeway on-ramp and get back to civilization, there it is: Buddy's.

The former speakeasy still feels very much like a fortress. A couple of bocce-ball courts are surrounded by fences.

To enter, you walk down a long tunnel, lined with newspaper clippings that either discuss or honor the legend. Entering a windowless room, a server welcomes us warmly and invites us to take a seat wherever we'd like. We head down to the bar, take a booth and check out the menus.

Detroit-style pie is a cousin to the Sicilian slices you can get all over New York, but made with twice the attention to detail. After all these years, it remains elegant, a light, sugarless crust with not too much mozzarella and a fragrant tomato-basil sauce on top. The dearth of liquid around the edges allows the cheese to bake into the porous crust, a crispy little miracle that you never really lose a taste for once you've tried it. A small pie; four sizable squares, costs just a few bucks. It's pretty spectacular stuff; I eat a whole pie on my own.

"How'd you like the pizza," says our waitress, a gentle, middle-aged woman.

Hated it, we say, pointing to two empty pans. She laughs. On our way out, a couple more staff members stop us to say goodbye. They thank us for coming.

"I heard you hated our pizza," says one, smiling broadly. "Next time, we'll try harder."

Outside, I start snapping pictures, standing near a dark-green Range Rover, windows down, the bass thumping, unfamiliar snatches of hip-hop providing a rather nervewracking soundtrack as I make my way around the intersection. Out of the corner of my eye, I can see a man flying at me from across McNichols Road. He's waving something in his right hand.

Engine oil, he shouts, out of breath. The real deal. Can he hook me up?

Behind me, I notice that my colleague, Justin, has been drawn into conversation with a lanky young man in a long yellow T-shirt, his eyes hidden by sunglasses. Why are we here, he wants to know. Where are we from?

New York, we say. We're here for pizza.

Satisfied with this information, the young man insists that we take his picture in front of his car, which turns out to be the thumping Range Rover. It's parked up against the wall, on which they've painted a big sign denoting Buddy's status as one of the Food Network's favorite pizzerias in the United States. Our new friend sends the engine-oil man back across McNichols, where he came from, pulls Justin to him and grins for the camera.

"Now," he says, "you may get really drunk tonight and forget everything you saw in Detroit today, but you won't forget Buddy's."


It has now been nearly ten years since I first laid eyes on Detroit, and the one thing I learned almost immediately is that you never know who you are going to meet, where you are going to meet them, how it's all going to play out and how many other people you will be introduced to before the day is over. In other words, don't make a lot of plans.

Detroiters, quite simply, are people people. No visitor ever need be a stranger here, unless they want it that way. Stick around and, pretty quickly, you'll be longing for the day when you could just sneak around without being recognized.

Most of the time, you don't even need introductions -- simply showing up makes you part of the gang. Everyone wants to know how you got there. At times, you feel like you're in a small town in Japan, except there are fewer schoolgirls pointing at you and giggling.

I've crossed the Ambassador Bridge from Canada and gotten into a lengthy discussion with a customs agent about the latest special exhibition at the Detroit Institute of Arts. One time at the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel, I was chided by an official for staying in Windsor when my business was in Detroit. Were Detroit's hotels not good enough for me, he asked? (I wormed my way out of that by saying that the skyline view from the Canadian side of the Detroit River was just too perfect to pass up.)

Something as simple as going for coffee in the city's Mexicantown neighborhood once turned into a half-hour chat with the proprietor, who moved here recently from Barcelona. Each time I stop by, I'm not just getting a double espresso -- I'm going to see a friend.

Everywhere you go in Detroit, you automatically have one thing in common with the people around you: You're here and alive and making the best of a city that so many people long ago left for dead. As conversation starters go, it doesn't get much better than that.

Nicole Rupersburg writes about food, which, along with drinking, is one of the major local pastimes. Her blog, Dining in Detroit, covers the local scene, a scene that surprises most people when they first visit. I join her for a walk through Southwest Detroit, where she's working on a feature about taco carts in this predominantly Mexican neighborhood.

Rupersburg, a child of the suburbs, lives in a landmarked historic district designed by Mies van der Rohe, just steps out of the downtown core. She lives cheaply, like most young people do in the city, renting an apartment for a few hundred dollars a month, working a day job to support her writing habit.

Somewhere between the stellar carnitas taco from a truck off of Vernor and a tasty torta con chorizo served hot off the grill in the parking lot of a gas station, we start talking about how, even here, city life can be genuinely stimulating.

"At a certain point," says Rupersburg, "you stop getting riled up about what's wrong with Detroit and just start living."

You'll find people like her all over the city. People who didn't move into the city because they wanted to save it, but simply because it appealed to them. Then, of course, there are the people who grew up here, had the chance to move away, but came back. Torya Blanchard used to teach French in a local charter school. She's a lifelong Detroiter except for a stint in France. Today, she operates a small creperie out of a window on John R Street in the heart of the city's attractive Downtown, whose only real sin is being grossly underutilized.

I sit down with Blanchard on the rooftop deck of the Park Shelton building in Midtown, a former hotel across from the Detroit Institute of Arts. It was once owned by Gilda Radner's father. Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo lived here for a time. W.C. Fields also once slept here.

Blanchard is preparing to open a second location of her creperie, Good Girls Go To Paris, on the building's ground floor. A bookstore, Leopold's, is slated to take up residence next door, joining an existing Korean restaurant.

"People tell me I'm courageous, taking a chance like this," she says. "I'm not courageous at all. I'm fed up."

In Blanchard's opinion, the economic outlook for the region isn't all that worrying, even if she admits that she doesn't know whether or not she'll survive. Still, she knows this much: She's done talking about Detroit's future.

"I'm sick of talking about what we're going to do," she says. "Just do it."

Being happy hour at this point, we retire to the nearby Book Cadillac Hotel, the tallest in the world when it was built back in the 1920s, and today a proud beacon of Detroit's past greatness. Here, the elegant 24 Grille is currently offering a small plates menu, $5 each.

Blanchard orders a glass of champagne and, of course, introduces me to at least three different people, one of them a home owner in the city's historic Boston-Edison district, a collection of some of the most spectacular examples of residential architecture standing in the United States today. Henry Ford lived here in the early days of Model T production; Motown Records founder Berry Gordy lived just a couple of blocks over, decades after that.

As truffle macaroni and cheese arrives, the conversation descends into casual gossip, spiced with talk. I quickly secure an invitation for a house tour on my next visit. The evening ends with a friendly argument over who'll pick up the tab. (I win.)

Perhaps the lack of barriers and the subsequent connections you make here on a daily basis are all simply due to the fact that in a city this tormented, the locals have figured out a secret that many Americans never do: Community matters. You'll often hear Detroiters referring to their home as a small town trapped in the body of a big city.

The following evening, the downtown riverfront is swallowed up by the crowds attending the Movement festival, an annual celebration of electronic music in the city that created techno. The festival, which gets better each year, draws followers from around the globe. I ditch the car and walk down Griswold Street, past the exuberant Guardian Building and down to the Detroit River, where DJ Carl Cox is in the middle of a set loud enough to rattle the General Motors headquarters off its foundations. A gentle breeze is blowing off of the river.

Working on the first drink of the evening and caught up in the tornado of people and energy and color, I think to myself, as I always do when I'm here: If only people knew what they were missing.

Think you have Detroit figured out? 10 reasons to love the Paris of the Midwest

1) THE LOOK Detroit came of age in the Roaring Twenties, and it shows. Tour some of downtown's best buildings with Inside Detroit

2) THE SPACE The half-empty city can be a cyclists's dream; rent a bike from Wheelhouse Detroit and explore the ever-improving riverfront. Crowds? What crowds

3) THE BEER Michigan is brew heaven -- locally, it's all about Motor City Brew Works in Midtown. Must try: Ghettoblaster Ale (470 W. Canfield St.).

4) THE MARKET On Saturday mornings, the historic Eastern Market district draws followers from around the region for breakfast and a stroll throught the market halls and the old-school shops

5) THE PIZZA When GQ magazine recently named the top twenty-five pizzas in the U.S., four of the winning pies were from Metro Detroit. Start at Buddy's, the spiritual home of Detroit-style pie (17125 Conant Ave.).

6) THE MUSIC Detroit has a long list of musical success stories; the region remains a breeding ground for interesting talent. Find out who's hot, what's next and who's playing where at

7) THE ART The Detroit Institute of Arts is home to Diego Rivera's impressive Detroit Industry murals, plus a film theatre and a highly regarded permanent collection. For art lovers, this museum alone is worth a trip

8) THE TEAMS The Red Wings may have lost the Stanley Cup and the Lions are still in the hall of shame, but hey -- how about them Tigers?

9) THE NIGHTLIFE If you can't find a bar that suits you in the city, you've either recently quit drinking or have forgotten how to have fun.

10)THE PARK Detroit's Belle Isle Park is an Olmsted-designed island in the middle of the Detroit River. Make sure to hit the beach, where there's a spectacular (and affordable) water slide.