Have you ever dreamed of getting married on the bridge of Star Trek’s U.S.S. Enterprise? This Valentine’s Day (Saturday, February 14, 2009) visitors to STAR TREK THE EXHIBITION at the Detroit Science Center will have a chance to win this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Any couple who attends STAR TREK THE EXHIBITION and becomes engaged in the exhibit on February 14, 2009 will be entered into an on-line contest to win a June wedding to be held in the exhibit.
Couples will receive a complimentary photo in the exhibit, which will be posted on from February 16 – March 16, 2009, where site visitors will have an opportunity to vote on the couple they wouldlike to see married in the exhibit.
The STAR TREK THE EXHIBITION Ultimate Wedding Package includes private use of the exhibition, reception space at the Detroit Science Center for 200 guests and two night’s accommodations for the wedding couple at the Star Trek Suite at the MGM Grand Detroit Hotel and Casino.

STAR TREK THE EXHIBITION will make its Midwest debut at the Detroit Science Center on February 14 - September 7, 2009. This multi-city touring exhibition contains the world’s most comprehensive collection of authentic Star Trek ships, set re-creations, costumes and props from five television series and 10 films over the last 40+ years.

Highlights of STAR TREK THE EXHIBITION include:
• A detailed recreation of the bridge from the USS Enterprise NCC-1701 as featured in the original Star Trek television series. Visitors can stand on the bridge and have their photo taken superimposed with images of the original cast – including Mr. Spock, Dr. McCoy and Mr. Scott – to look as if the Enterprise crew is standing right next to them.
• Re-creations of original sets from Star Trek: The Next Generation, including Captain Picard’s quarters and command chair.
• A chance to ride through a Star Trek adventure in a full-motion flight simulator.
• A full-scale recreation of the Transporter Room from Star Trek: The Next Generation.

For all your Bridal Jewelry needs, contact locally owned and operated Chantelle Jewelers:
(ask for Randy)
30573 Dequindre, Madison Heights, MI 48071
In the Madison Avenue Shopping Center, one Block South of 13 Mile
Phone: (248) 589-0027
Mike Greenspire
Fox Sports

Today I'm going over a, more than likely, never before discussed topic. Which last place 2008 MLB team has the best chance of winning their division in 2009? We'll start with the AL East. Now, keep in mind, I am NO baseball expert, whatsoever. But, I'm gonna give it a shot, so don't ridicule me when none of my predictions go right. LOL Thanks!

Baltimore Orioles
The Orioles have a couple really good players on their team. Nick Markakis had a pretty solid 2008, which kept this team from going even farther below .500. He really was the only bright spot I saw on this team in 2008.

However, a relatively good off-season may prove to be just what the Orioles need to get back to their winning ways once again.

The closest team to Baltimore in 2008 in the standings was Toronto, however, I still do not see them overcoming the Blue Jays. With AJ Burnett going to the Yankees and Shaun Marcum being out for all of 2009, pitcher Roy Halladay is going to have to pick up most or all of that work if the Jays hope to steady the ship that has been decimated by loss of high-caliber pitchers.

Prediction: 70-75 wins, 5th place in AL East. So, no improvement

Detroit Tigers
The Tigers, after I picked them to win the World Series at the beginning of the 2006 season, went all the way there, only to come up short to the St. Louis Cardinals. Oh, the agony.

So, at the beginning of the 2007 season, I picked them to come in second, only to Boston in the American League. They missed the playoffs, losing the division to the Indians.

In 2008, the collapse became complete. I honestly don't know how, because they have two of the best young pitchers in the AL Central in Justin Verlander and Armando Galarraga. Tey also had some of the better hitters in the division, but still came up way short of the bar I set for them, which was either 2nd or 3rd in the division.

I do see them improving, however. When you think about it, they're not worse than the Royals, and I think that right now, they are better than at least Kansas City and Cleveland. The obstacle is overcoming the White Sox. The Twins, when it gets down to the final 30-40 games, won't and can't hold on, so the only real challenge the Tigers need to overcome is the Chicago White Sox, who have the ebst group of players in that division.

Prediction: 80-85 wins, 2nd in AL Central. BIG improvement

Seattle Mariners
Sheesh, if it weren't for ONE player in Feliz Hernandez, I wouldn't even consider this team a professional club anymore. Forgget Ichiro, I have always thought that he was highly overrated, and he's still got a lot to prove to me before I pick their offense to improve at all.

I don't have much to talk about concernign the Mariners, seeing as I never hear about them. I think that Felix can give them a good 17-25 wins this season, despite how horrible the batters are on that team.

Prediction: 55-60 wins, 5th place in AL West. No improvement. When does Felixxxxxxxxx become a free agent?

Washington Nationals
All I have to say to the Natsv is, hope that Manny starts taking some sort of delusional drug that makes him think he can win here and that he signs with you. The real problem is that the citizens of the surrounding areas of Washington D.C. just aren't baseball fans. Maybe if their local team started winning, they would show up. Maybe if their fans started paying the Nats money, they would win games. It's a Lose-Lose stand-off, and nobody will ever win.

Sorry, Washington, at least ya got the Caps and 'Skins, right?

Prediction: 40-45 wins, 5th place in NL East. They get worse, if that's possible.

Pittsburgh Pirates
Oh, jeez. Can we just skip the Buccos? Kidding, of course.

I actually have high hope for this team, so try not to shoot them down, please. The Pirates will probably do that for me by mid-April, so just leave it alone.

I think that our pitchers are better this year than last. Paul Maholm is a real bright spot with a good future ahead of him. Jeff Karstens is a strong competitor, and should be a real problem for NL Central hitters in 2009.

We also signed two Indian kids, who, guess what!, have never thrown a baseball before. My grandfather is about ready to forsake the Pirates.

I, however, am holding out hope for them. I see the batters doing really good, and I think we'll get 2-3 All-Stars out of 'em this season. Nate McLouth, Ryan Doumit, Brandon Moss, the LaRoche brothers, and Jason Michaels are all strong hitters. Watch out for these guys, opposing NL Central pitchers.

Prediction: 80-85 wins. 4th place in NL Central. The 16 straight losing seasons are over (in my eyes)

San Diego Padres
Jake Peavy should GTFO of there while he still has time in his career left. I never hear anything about the Pads, except from BoltBacker, who, like me, is stuck with a horrible team. Not for long, though, for at leats one of us.

Prediction: 65-70 wins, 5th place in NL West. Sadly, no improvement. I'm cheerin' for 'em, though! Myabe if they win, BoltBacker will lose in our Fantasy Baseball thing. blue@orange would appreciate that for a change.

So, by my predictions, the Detroit Tigers will be the closest to winning their divison in 2009 of all 6 last place 2008 teams. GO TIGERS! (I like them, too, by the way)
Associated Press

Abdul "Duke" Fakir cried joyful tears when he learned that the Four Tops will receive a lifetime achievement award Sunday at the 51st annual Grammy Awards.

He's also been on an emotional high as Motown Records, the label that recorded and released his group's biggest hits, celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.

But the banner year is bittersweet, as the 73-year-old entertainer marks the occasions and accolades without his longtime bandmates of more than four decades. He became the Four Tops' lone surviving original member in October, when frontman Levi Stubbs died, following the death of Renaldo "Obie" Benson in 2005 and Lawrence Payton in 1997.

"I just wish my partners were here to see the acclaim the world has given us," he said recently from the room at the Motown Historical Museum that served as the label's studio from 1959 until 1972, when the company moved to Los Angeles.

Fakir was at the Detroit museum last month to help kick off a year of festivities for the label that also spun out chart-topping hits by the Temptations, Stevie Wonder, The Supremes, the Jackson 5, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles and many others.

The Four Tops, whose hits included "Reach Out (I'll Be There)," "I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)" and "Baby I Need Your Loving," held a distinction unmatched by most of their peers — the original lineup lasted well into the 1990s. The group signed with Motown Records in 1963 after nine years together and produced 20 top-40 hits during the next decade.

Fakir said the quartet shared many honors over the years, including being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990 and securing a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. But the group never won a Grammy and was nominated only once, for "It's All in the Game" in 1970.

"I was talking to my son just before Christmas," said Fakir, who learned about the award by phone from Recording Academy President Neil Portnow. "I was saying ... 'We've done everything possible you can do in this business. But one thing slipped away from us, and that's a Grammy.'

"About a week later, I got that call. I broke out in tears. To me, there was a little hole that was missing. Not that I wasn't grateful for what we have. But from the recording industry, we really didn't get the award that's the highest acclaim."

Fakir will be performing Sunday as part of a Four Tops tribute with Robinson, Ne-Yo and Jamie Foxx. He arrived in Los Angeles on Wednesday and was scheduled to rehearse every day before the show.

Working with Robinson, whom he described as a longtime competitor and a close friend, was a thrill.

"It kind of takes you back quite a few years," he said by phone Thursday morning, after the first run-through the day before. "All we did was laugh and joke. We talked about golf the whole time."

Fakir hasn't let up despite the loss of his mates or the lure of the links. He plays about 100 shows a year with the reconstituted Tops, which includes Payton's son Lawrence Payton Jr., Ronnie McNeir, a former Motown singer and Benson's co-writer, and Theo Peoples, a one-time member of the Temptations in the 1990s.

"It's almost like an extension of the Four Tops," Fakir said.

Some artists scoff at lifetime awards, considering them consolation prizes for days gone by. Not Fakir, who sees it as a way to celebrate an enduring career forged by four high-school friends in Detroit during the 1950s.

"To me, (it's) greater than one Grammy, two or three," he said. "It says for your life ... you've done well. I just wish again, the guys were here to accept that."

The Grammy Awards will be presented live from the Staples Center on CBS.

In her State of the State address Tuesay, Michigan's Governor Jennifer Granholm announced sweeping changes that could make Michigan a leader on clean, alternative energy.

The Governor's new plan will effectively put the brakes on Michigan's new coal plants, while also spurring renewable energy and efficiency for homes and schools.

Some specifics of the plan include:
Reducing dependence on fossil fuels 45% by 2020
Requiring all new coal plant developers to go back to the drawing board and consider clean energy alternatives
Weatherization of at least 100,000 homes and 1,000 schools
Promotion of distributive generation, including wind and solar on schools
Under this proposal, Michigan would dramatically expand the use of in-state renewable resources--both through utility-scale applications as well as through a proposed "feed-in tariff" for residential and business customers.

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) commended Granholm for the "bold" proposal.

"If fully implemented, this bold proposal would jump Michigan into the front row among states," ACEEE Utilities Program Director Dr. Martin Kushler, said.

The latest metro Detroit community to jump on the movie bandwagon by establishing a film office is -- the envelope, please -- Sterling Heights.

Filmmakers will be able to look up information about shooting in the city, such as policies and procedures, quickly and easily online. Any applications they need to fill out and any unique locales, such as the Clinton River and Upton House, will also be outlined on the site.
Officials started work on the project about six months ago and borrowed ideas from other cities in the region and state

A Michigan Film Industry Networking Event February 19 will kick off the establishment of
The announcement follows Pontiac's news that it landed a $54-million film studio and Utica Mayor Jacqueline Noonan last week saying she would like the film industry to bring jobs and money to her city, which borders Sterling Heights.

7th annual Orchid Festival: Featuring mini phalaenopsis and Bull Dog Paphiopedilum. Orchid growers will discuss new varieties and growing techniques on Sat. and Feb. 14. 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Mon.-Sat., 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Sun. Through Feb. 24. At all seven English Gardens locations. 800-335-4769. for locations.

The Refined Native Plant Garden: 18th annual Winter Gardening Seminar, Gardening Smarter in 2009. Lecture and demonstration by Karen Bovio and Celia Ryker. 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Sat. Historic Trinity Lutheran Church, 1345 Gratiot, Detroit. $25. Detroit Garden Center: 313-259-6363.

Introduction to Orchids and Repotting Demonstration: Part of the 7th annual Orchid Festival. With local Orchid Society members. 1 p.m. Sat. At all seven English Gardens locations. 800-335-4769. for locations.

Royal Oak Garden Club: 11 a.m. Mon. Telly's Greenhouse, 3301 John R, Troy. Free. Penny Vansen: 313-861-6579.

Rain Gardens: Seminar for ecological gardeners working with clay soil sites. With Lillian Dean, Southeastern Oakland County Water Authority. 6:30 p.m. Mon. Southfield Public Library, 26300 Evergreen, Southfield. Free. Register. Karen Bever: 248-288-5150.

Community House Garden Club: "Let's Grow Vegetables," presented by Marlene Uhlianuk, Coon Creek Farms. Tips on growing vegetables in garden beds and containers. 7 p.m. Mon. The Community House, 380 S. Bates, Birmingham. $5 donation, or $20 for Garden Club membership. 248-594-6410.

North Farmington Garden Club Meeting: Kathlyn Rosenthal, owner of KR concepts, will speak on "Using Native Plants for Sustainable Landscapes." New members welcome. Noon Tue. Farmington Community Library-Main Library, 32737 W. Twelve Mile, Farmington Hills. Lutie Moore: 248-553-2368.

Valentine Tea Party: Hosted by Evening Primrose Garden Club. Patricia Sagert, a member of the Herb Society of America and certified tea etiquette consultant by the Protocol School of Washington, will discuss "The History of Tea: Growing and Making Your Own." 7-9 p.m. Tue. Cathedral of Praise Church of God, 1285 E. Wattles, Troy. Free. Reservations. Jan: 248-528-1919.

Troy Garden Club Branch of the WNF&GA: With guest speaker George Papadelis, owner of Telly's Greenhouse, presenting a slide show featuring new flowers for 2009. Noon Wed. Big Beaver United Methodist Church, 3753 John R, Troy. $5. Refreshments will be served. 248-879-7488.

Butterflies ... Plant and They Will Come: Brenda Dziedzic will talk about host/larva plants, nectar plants and other components needed for a butterfly garden. 7 p.m. Wed. University of Michigan-Dearborn Environmental Interpretive Center, 4901 Evergreen, Dearborn. Free. 734-786-6860.

Postage Stamp Gardens: Michael Saint, certified master gardener with Good Earth Landscape Institute, will give instructions on creating a garden in a small space. 7-8 p.m. Thu. Waterford Kettering High School, 2800 Kettering, Waterford. $19. Register: 248-682-1088.

Growing Beautiful Orchids and Repotting Demonstration: Part of the 7th annual Orchid Festival. With local Orchid Society members. 1 p.m. Feb. 14. At all seven English Gardens locations. 800-335-4769. for locations.

Michigan Orchid Society's Meeting: With Jim Heilig discussing multiflora phalaenopsis. 2:30 p.m. Feb. 15. First Baptist Church of Birmingham, 300 Willits, Birmingham. Free. 586-416-1496.

Learn to teach gardening to children: Participants will learn hands-on, age-specific teaching methods. Must be at least 16 years old and want to garden with youths ages 8-14. 6-9:30 p.m. Feb. 19. Macomb County MSU Extension, 21885 Dunham, Suite 12, Clinton Twp. $35. Register. 586-469-6431
Associated Press

This Friday a special cocktail party will heat up Detroit's night life, as well as the needy.

"Cocktails for a Cause: The Mix Masters" will be hosted by D. Ericson & Associates Public Relations, Pulse Detroit Martini Lounge,, Fusion Detroit and

Guests will party from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. at Pulse Detroit Martini Lounge as local celebs showcase their mixology skills with Pulse's bartenders, battling to mix the most creative and tasty drinks.

"Cocktails for a Cause," back for its fourth year, is working with WWJ Newsradio 950 and their 30-hour radiothon to help raise money for The Heat And Warmth Fund. THAW is an organization that helps those who cannot keep up with the pace of rising heating bills during the winter months.

A few of the celebrity Mix Masters behind the bar will be USA Olympic gold medal swimmer Peter Vanderkaay, urban-hip-hop-rock artist Hush, boxer from the NBC reality show 'The Contender' Tarick Salmaci, State of Michigan Senator Buzz Thomas and Live 97.1 F.M. sports reporter Tom Mazawey.

The event is 21 and over.
Pulse Detroit Martini Lounge is located at 156 Monroe Street in Detroit.

In just one week, Detroit's Greektown Casino will open its 400-room hotel after a decade of ups and down on Feb. 13.

Greektown Casino is finishing up the final touches and easing about 250 new employees into their jobs.

After being granted the first installment of a $46 million loan in bankruptcy court to finish the project and pay the contractor, casino spokesman Marvin Beatty said it's a new day in downtown.

"Greektown Casino is number one, alive, we're not going out of business," he said. "Our construction is moving out of the streets and people can feel comfortable about coming back to Greektown once again."

The hotel's completion does a number of things. It allows Greektown to reduce tax payments to the city and state by four percent, which will mean millions for its bottom line this year.

And, it will enable the casino to offer more amenities so it can try and close the competitive gap. Greektown's December numbers were a little more than half of Detroit's MGM Grand Casino.

"We did not have a parking structure, we didn't have a buffet and we didn't have all the things we needed," Beatty said. "We've got those things now."

You would never know Greektown is in bankruptcy court, the casino filed last May, by the business it's doing -- more than $300 million dollars in 2008.

But still, it's taken a decade to fulfill the contract with the city.

"It's been a dream deferred, but we now know that we are coming to a point of reality and Greektown is going to be exactly what we had promised to the community over the years," Beatty said.

New Las Vegas management has been brought in to help manage the process.

Eye Spy George Clooney and Hilary Swank in The D

Free Press Business Writer

George Clooney and Hilary Swank, two of Hollywood’s biggest box office draws, are expected to film movies in the newly starstruck Detroit area in the next two months.

Clooney is set to star in the Paramount film “Up in the Air,” part of which is set to be filmed at the Berry and McNamara Terminals at Detroit Metro Airport likely for a week in late February.

The producers of “Betty Anne Waters,” starring actress Swank of “Million Dollar Baby” fame, have been granted permission by Livingston County Commissioners to film March 4 outside the historic county courthouse in Howell.

Scott Wintner, a spokesman for the Wayne County Airport Authority, said the airport does not have a contract signed yet with the movie studio but that typically is done at the last minute. The studio will have to pay the airport to film there -- fees for a production involving 16 or more people start at $4,400 for four hours and $600 for each additional hour.

Janet Lockwood, director of the Michigan Film Office, said the Clooney film “fell into our laps” because the airport has an empty terminal -- the Berry building, which was decommissioned after the North Terminal opened in September. It is now vacant, save for a few authority offices.
Clooney is expected to star as a professional who specializes in career transition counseling (a euphemism for firing people). He is looking to accomplish his two main goals in life: to accumulate 1 million frequent flier miles, and to land a job at a mysterious management company called MythTech, according to the Web site IMDB, which catalogs movie information.
The movie is expected to be directed by Jason Reitman, who was nominated for an Oscar for his work on the 2008 movie “Juno.” It is based on a book by the same name, written by Walter Kim.

For movie starring Swank, the Livingston commissioners unanimously approved a resolution Monday for Ann Arbor-based Innocence Productions, Inc., to use the west side of the county courthouse grounds for filming from 5 a.m. to 1 p.m. on that date. The movie is expected to be filmed at multiple locations in Michigan over several weeks.

“It’s definitely a positive event for the community and something to be upbeat about during these difficult times,” said Maggie Jones, chairperson of the Livingston County Board of Commissioners, who added that the production company also donated $1,000 to a community foundation.

The film, based on a true story, is about a single working mother who puts herself through law school in order to represent her brother, who was wrongly convicted of murder and has used up his attempts to appeal his conviction.

Residents and Small Business Owners from Berkley, Michigan will learn strategies and techniques to raise their Google rankings and increase traffic to their websites during an interactive workshop on February 10, 2009, from 6:00-8:30pm (Networking begins at 5:30pm) at the Berkley High School Collaborative Center in Downtown Berkley.
Perlman calls his workshop the eBoot Camp because in a short amount of time, people increase their knowledge of Internet marketing in drastic measures. The workshop provides business owners low cost strategies such as using online newsletters, press releases and blogs to create more buzz about their business and bring more visitors through the door.

The workshop is conducted in a simple, easy-to-understand presentation that Perlman promises to be fun, entertaining and jam-packed full of valuable information. Perlman has conducted numerous Small Business eBoot Camps throughout the country and has received a 90% or higher exceeded expectations rating for every event.

His most recent workshop was for businesses in the city of Plymouth, Michigan. Plymouth DDA Director Sherrie Pryor states, “The workshop was a complete success; Corey taught us free techniques that we could do ourselves to make our Web site more search-engine friendly. The response from our merchants was off the charts.”
Perlman will also have on hand his recently published book, aptly titled eBoot Camp, which has become a #1 bestseller on and is in bookstores nationwide. “The eBoot Camp workshop was absolutely incredible,” said Preston Smyth, an eBoot Camp graduate. “I personally gained knowledge that will help grow my business. Getting the info on sending out articles, wow! All I need now is to apply!”
If you are interested in learning more about the upcoming Berkley eBoot Camp, contact Alan Semonian at 248-584-1040.
For more information on Corey Perlman or to purchase a copy of his book, go to

More than 150-thousand people will have a hip replacement this year. Most are living in so much pain they have trouble walking. Current hip implants only last 20 years, leaving many people needing more surgery.

Now, researchers are working to create longer lasting hips.

Paul Giles twists and lifts and bends in ways most of us think would be difficult, but just a few months ago this was impossible for Paul.

“No running. No bike riding. I'm a young father and I can't participate."Paul is one of the growing number of 40-year-olds who needs hip resurfacing, ora hip replacement. The trouble is hip implants are made to last only 15 years.

Doctor Donald Knapke, an orthopedic surgeon at Beaumont Hospital in Troy, Michigan, says, “Probably two or three times a week I'm re-doing something that's worn out."Dr. Knapke performs 600 hip replacements a year at Beaumont Hospital. It's one of the only health care facilities in the country using a 12-station hip simulator to measure wear and tear on the implants. Jacob Shorez is a research engineer.

“When we take this apart we can see if there's any wear marks in them."The results are recorded daily on a computer, showing the effects of five yearsof walking. That's five million steps, and it does it all in just three months.

Shorez says, “What we are going to get out of this data is how long the hip is going tolast, how long it's going to wear, and what the potential effects are to the patient by having this in the body.

"Because of research like this, implants have moved from plastic to longer-lasting ceramic and metal. Doctor Knapke says, “If we have new ideas, we'd rather try them on a hip simulator rather than just put them into a patient and find out later that it wasn't a good idea.

"Paul's hip surgery was a success. “It's my goal to be a better athlete at 50 than I was 20 years ago."

Hopefully his hip will keep up with him.In the next phase of the study, four out of 12 implants tested by the simulator will be tested in people.

The latest study out of Rush University Medical Center in Chicago says complications from hip implants were more frequent in women of all ages and in men over 65.

For more information, please contact:
Brian Bierley, public relationsBeaumont Hospitals(248) 551-0740
PR Newswire
Mark Parent, President and CEO, SugarBush Media Solutions announced the launch of a new Web 2.0 for Executives seminar.

This executive-level seminar, "Web 2.0 for Executives" is scheduled for one time only on February 17, 2009 at Automation Alley in Troy MI, with registration to begin at 12.30 p.m.
The two and a half hour presentation will be open to all Michigan based businesses and Automation Alley members.
This "FREE" high value seminar is geared for executives said Parent. Executives know they need to add value to the organization and this seminar will give that to them; this non-geek Web 2.0 seminar will focus on strategies and new tactics that companies are employing to move rapidly to Web 2.0.

Typically we have found that Web 2.0 seminars focus on the value of Social Networking, but the fact is many companies are not ready for that said Parent. Companies need short and long term goals to maximize ROI and there are a number of things that Web 2.0 can do for them. This session will layout the details executives need for consideration.

Topics to be covered include new tools and methods to capture insights and information on clients, alignment of the sales and marketing initiatives, eliminating unnecessary costs out of the sales and marketing function and driving down overall costs of managing the web.

Customer behavior is changing rapidly, and we need to understand and leverage best practices to properly interact with our customers on the web. Customers are more educated then ever before, and the sales interaction is taking place much later on in the buying cycle. How do we interact with our clients in the evaluation of options stage? Companies need to create consideration for their products and services earlier on in the buying cycle to minimize competition and learn ways to compete later on when the competition is fierce.

Businesses interested in attending can register at , or contact Michelle Bliszack at 1-248-373-8888.

Download our recent white paper "The Power of Web 2.0" at

Mark Parent has spent the last five years analyzing how the latest digital methods and technologies can increase the effectiveness of marketing materials used by B2B and companies.
His growing expertise is widely recognized by PODi, a not-for-profit consortium of companies specifically formed to foster the growth of digital technology through market and standards development activities. Parent frequently speaks before national organizations around the country.

SugarBush Media Solutions, helps marketers better quantify and measure the value of their marketing programs. SugarBush Media Solutions leverages Relevant Marketing, Process Automation and Multiple Media to deliver innovative marketing programs designed to drive better results.

Colorful prints can be a great way to start an art collection. And for Michigan eyes weary of whites and grays, they can be a treat to gaze upon. Just in time, two richly hued exhibits of fine prints and mixed media artwork open on Feb. 13 at the Birmingham-Bloomfield Art Center.
Concurrent exhibits run at the BBAC from Feb. 13 to March 6. They are "Near and Far: Contemporary Fine Prints" and "Inside the BBAC." There is no charge.

Of note at the BBAC are the free opening night receptions - "where the arty party." Visitors to the center mingle with artists, students, teachers and fans over light hors d'oeuvres and refreshments. The opening reception takes place from 6 to 8 p.m. Feb. 13.

"Near and Far: Contemporary Fine Prints" is curated by Norm Stewart of Stewart and Stewart, a Bloomfield-based printer and publisher of fine art prints, specializing in screen printing. The exhibit includes prints by both local and national artists.

"Inside the BBAC" is a juried exhibit of the artwork of the center's adult students.

Students at the BBAC study with professional artists in multiple disciplines including drawing, painting (oil, acrylic, mixed, watercolor, encaustic), sculpture, printmaking, jewelry/metalsmithing, ceramics, and fiber (including one of the last hand weaving programs in this part of the state).
Savvy collectors of original art at modest prices always look forward to this show, with selected works available for purchase.

The BBAC is located at 1516 S. Cranbrook Road in Birmingham between 14 and 15 Mile Roads. More information is available by calling 248-644-0866 and visiting is one of those businesses that is going against the grain in Michigan. The Ferndale-based start-up bought a California-based Internet company and moved it here to grow.

Michael Solarz, the company's CEO, and his partner, Jeff Resnick, were both born and bred in Michigan. They liked living here and wanted to find a way to do it that wasn't tied to the auto industry, so they bought from San Francisco.

"Within 24 hours we were doing business on the Internet," Solarz says.

And business has been going well. did more than $1 million in sales in its first year. It expects to reach $10 million per year within 12-24 months. The six-person firm expects to hire another 3-4 people once it hits that mark.

Right now the duo is looking for the capital to make that happen. The firm is looking for venture capital or an equity partner with a couple million dollars and Internet expertise that will enable the company to reach its growth goals."We need someone with experience in Internet marketing," Solarz says.

The most recent Guinness World Record for the longest concert by multiple acts was reportedly set by a bunch of Hungarian musicians in June at a summer resort on Lake Balaton. More than 1,000 musicians participated, playing for 216 hours.
Today I got an e-mail via the Detroit Blues Society informing me that Ferndale coffee shop owner AJ O'Neil — the same fellow behind the 50-hour "Danny Boy" marathon in 2008 — is hoping to break that record with a 10-day concert beginning March 20. Maintaining 240 hours of continuous music is obviously going to require a lot of participants, and organizers are currently signing up bands interested in providing 55-minute sets.

The Assembly Line Concert is being billed as "musical tribute to the American auto industry." During the hoopla when congress was debating whether to give bridge loans to the Detroit automakers, O'Neil offered a free cup of coffee to anyone who promised to make their next car an American-made car. The promotion generated a lot of online interest, even spawning its own social networking site, and this concert is apparently an outgrowth of that.

The Assembly Line concert will bring the two worlds together as the music marathon pays tribute to American workers, products and automobiles. The Danny Boy marathon attracted singers ranging from local business owners to the governor of Michigan. The Assembly Line will also call on musicians from all segments of society to come together in the heart of hard-hit Main Street America and help pay tribute to the down, but not out, American worker.

"We call on every manufacturing plant, every car dealership, garage mechanic to join us," O'Neil said. "We call on politicians, loan officers, credit agencies, builders to join us. We call for music to heal us in these trying times.

"We call on the corporate world to join us to help us in our Main Street solution to this American challenge."
The Assembly Line Concert will feature at least 240 acts, performing for 240 hours, nonstop, at AJ's Cafe, 240 Nine Mile Road, Ferndale, Mich.

Each of the 10 days will highlight different aspects of the American partnership between workers, employers, politicians and the media. One day, political leaders will play 24, one-hour sets; another day, auto workers; and another day, local Detroit bands. Even members of the media will have their own day to play and be a part of the big news event. [via]

There is a lot of information for interested bands online at, including stage rules and a mail-in sign-up sheet. You also can send an e-mail to with a description of your band, links to examples of your music, a contact phone number and which days you'd be available to play.

Keep in mind that since this is a non-stop concert, they'll need people to do sets at 4 a.m. Luckily, it's taking place at a coffee shop.
Hugh Gallagher

Gov. Jennifer Granholm offered an optimistic view that things will improve during her State of the State address Tuesday.
State Sen. Glenn Anderson, D-Westland, who represents Redford Township, understands the governor's approach.

"It was good speech," he said Wednesday in a call from the Senate floor. "One thing we have to do is assure people that things will get better.

Anderson said his fellow legislators seemed more open to her ideas.

"I was really taken by the reaction to the speech by folks on both sides of the aisle, how many times they applauded her," he said. "What she said had more bipartisan support than I have seen since I've been here."

The governor looked mostly to the future, emphasizing Michigan's prospects as a producer of green energy technology from solar panels to wind turbines. She marked a goal of reducing electricity generated from fossil fuels by 45 percent by 2020.

"Certainly we'll never get close to that unless we set goals," Anderson said. "Renewable energy from wind turbines and solar panels is exciting. We are in a position to be a leader in the country and certainly in the region."

Granholm also pointed to the film industry's continued interest in Michigan since special tax incentives were approved last year. She announced major film production facilities for Detroit and Pontiac and a digital games manufacturer for Plymouth.

"There was a lot of good news about the film studios. Livonia has done a lot to be a one-stop source for the film industry," Anderson said.

The other major initiative announced by Granholm was a major shrinking of state government under the leadership of Lt. Gov. John Cherry.

"It's very ambitious to go from 18 down to eight (state departments)."

Anderson said he will need to see the details outlined in the governor's budget report in a couple of weeks.

"This is just the broad outline. We have to wait for the nuts and bolts," he said.

Stardock Sytems, a PC software publisher whose games made several best-of lists in 2008, will expand it's headquarters in Plymouth, Mich., according to Gov. Jennifer Granholm, who trumpeted the news Tuesday in her State of the State address.

Michigan's aggressive film incentive package also applies to the gaming industry, making it one of only two states to offer enticements to the rapidly-growing industry.

Stardock SystemsScreenshot from Sins of a Solar Empire, winner of IGN's 2008 PC Gamer of the Year and published by Stardock Systems.

"The fact that these jobs exist in Michigan today is no accident," said Granholm. "These jobs are here because we put a strategy in place to bring them here - often by beating out other states and other countries to get them."


US music, movie and gaming revenues for 2006-2007:
Gaming industry: 28.4% growth
Movie industry: 1.8% growth
Music Industry: -1.8% growth
2007 sales figures:
Movie industry: $9.66 billion
Gaming industry:$18.85 billionGames: $9.5 billionConsoles: $9.35 billion
Total games sold: 267.8 million
Source: Ars Technica

Granholm's good-news announcement was made possible by the Michigan Economic Growth Authority, which Tuesday approved tax credits for Stardock and nine other businesses.

Detroit Free Press, February 3: The state also approved tax credits for Stardock Systems Inc., a software developer and publisher in Plymouth Township. The company will invest $900,000 to expand to allow for the development and implementation of a new PC game.

Stardock worked with developer Ironclad Studios to publish IGN's 2008 PC Game of the Year, Sins of a Solar Empire.

IGN, Best of 2008: This is the game that we may have easily played the most in 2008. It's that much fun. It's also a game that has had incredible post-release support in the form on free enhancements and additions from developer Ironclad Studios, which proved to be the little studio that could. Thanks to its wildly original and fresh take on RTS and its compelling gameplay that kept us up late at nights, this is our PC game of the year.

But Stardock is best known for their work on graphical user interface (GUI) customization, particularly Object Desktop, a software package that allows PC users to change the way Windows XP and Vista look, feel and function.

Their expansion is expected net 55 jobs, according to the Detroit Free Press. And these jobs could mean more to the state than those being created in the film industry., Nov. 6, 2008: Among the reasons is that video game studios operate differently from film production companies. They're permanent businesses. They hire full-time people who work in offices, buy houses and send their children to school where they live, he (Tony Wenson, COO of the Michigan Film Office) explained.
Sven Gustafson
Michigan Business Review

Southfield-based IT firm Secure-24 Inc. is building a $5 million state-of-the-art data center in Plymouth Township, capitalizing on what the company says is a trend by companies to save money by outsourcing the hosting of business-critical applications.

The new center is slated to open in March in a 16,609 square-foot facility in the Metro West Industrial Park near Sheldon Road and M-14.

The building, which is undergoing extensive interior renovations, will include a data center with servers, offices, conference space and a command center for customers.

"We're anticipating (investing) $10 million over the course of the next couple of years," said Cheryl O'Brien, marketing manager.

While the data center - the company's fourth - will not house a large number of new employees, Secure-24 has seen steady growth since its founding in 2001.

The company appeared on the Inc. 500 list of the fastest growing, privately held companies in the U.S. in both 2007 and 2008. The latter list placed it as the fastest-growing firm in Michigan with a growth rate of more than 1,400 percent.

The company, which has 105 employees, finished its most recent fiscal year with $11.8 million in revenue. It expects its growth to continue in 2009.

"What we're expecting to do is to add high-end technical jobs," including network and application specialists and database administrators, O'Brien said. "These are high-end jobs and we hire locally. And all of our people, aside from a couple sales offices on the East Coast, all these people work in Michigan."

Secure-24 targets its managed hosting, disaster recovery and managed services to mostly middle-market companies of roughly $25 million-$1 billion in revenue. It hosts and manages critical enterprise resource planning software such as Oracle, SAP and QAD.

By outsourcing those services, companies avoid the need to build their own data centers and can instead focus their IT efforts on improving products or services, O'Brien said. Secure-24 also helps customers in financial, health care, government agencies and automotive industries deal with compliance issues that arise with regulations, such as Sarbanes-Oxley and the Health Information Portability and Accounting Act.

"We secure the infrastructure for them," O'Brien said. "That helps them meet that compliance. That's huge. That's just getting more and more complex all the time."

The design of the new facility, which was pushed by CEO Matthias Horch and Farmington Hills-based Biddison Architecture + Design, focuses on energy efficiency and is a departure from the company's other data centers.

The facility, which is being constructed by Royal Oak-based Ronnisch Construction Group, will feature a custom-designed cooling management system centering on an exaggerated raised floor. That allows for more precise control over cold-air flow, and it includes a system to keep hot air emitted by servers from re-circulating, O'Brien said.

The facility will also feature next-generation server and data storage technology, such as servers with adaptive cooling, 91-percent efficient server power supplies and blade technology that boost the efficiency of servers while decreasing their physical size.

It also will rely on virtualization technology, which partitions one physical computer server into multiple "virtual" servers to allow the server to run several operating systems and applications simultaneously. That helps boost server capacity, drive down energy usage and reduce the need for hardware, ultimately lowering costs for customers, O'Brien said.

The township welcomed the new facility and worked with Secure-24 to navigate zoning changes necessitated by the presence of backup generators on the site, said Richard Reaume, Plymouth Township supervisor.

"It's not a great number of jobs, but they're the right kind of jobs, they're the high-tech information jobs that Michigan needs," he said.
Isakson amendment gives $15K tax credit to homebuyers

Atlanta Business Chronicle

The U.S. Senate on Wednesday February 4th unanimously approved an amendment to the economic stimulus bill by U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., that gives a $15,000 tax credit to anyone who buys a home in the next year.

Isakson’s amendment would provide a direct tax credit to any homebuyer who buys any home. The amount of the tax credit would be $15,000 or 10 percent of the purchase price, whichever is less. Purchases must be made within one year of the legislation’s enactment, and the tax credit would not have to be repaid.

The amendment would allow taxpayers to claim the credit on their 2008 income tax return. It also seeks to prevent misuse by only allowing purchases of a principle residence and by recapturing the credit if the home is sold within two years of purchase. The amendment would sunset the current $7,500 housing tax credit on the date of enactment.

“It is rare that we have a road map to success in times of difficulty, but this country has once before realized a housing crisis every bit as bad as the one we have today and economic troubles every bit as dangerous,” Isakson said. “We have a pervasive housing problem, and we have a historical precedent that works. I am proud this Senate has joined together, learned from history and repeated a method that worked by adopting this amendment.”

In the mid-1970s, America faced a similar housing crisis when a period of easy credit and loose underwriting flooded the market with new construction. Interest rates rose, the economy slowed and America was left with a three-year supply of vacant homes. Congress responded by passing a $2,000 tax credit for anyone purchasing a new home for their principal residence. Isakson said he believes the results were clear and swift as home values stabilized, housing inventory dropped and the market recovered.

Isakson has not made a decision about his vote on the overall economic stimulus legislation.
Cupcakes are featured on the February covers of Martha Stewart Living and Better Homes & Garden magazines.
Even the February edition of Oprah's O magazine has a recipe for Red Hot Velvet Cupcakes with a not-so-traditional Cinnamon Buttercream frosting.

Kerry Johnson, co-owner of the Cupcake Station in Birmingham, doesn't see the cupcake trend cooling anytime soon. He and Tom Holleman opened another Cupcake Station in Ann Arbor in September.

"Our business is booming more after Christmas than before Christmas," says Johnson. People "seem more comfortable spending a couple dollars on a cupcake. It's an inexpensive way to make people happy."

Even the governor is getting in on cupcakes.

Johnson and Holleman wrote to Jennifer Granholm a month ago to tell her about their business expansion in Michigan and plans for further growth.

Johnson says he'll deliver cupcakes to her office Thursday. "We are going to surprise her with the flavors."

And these days, cupcake flavors have evolved. The Cupcake Station, for example, offers 20 flavors daily, including carrot cake, Michigan Bumpy Cake and Cookies and Crème. Cupcakes are popular for wedding receptions, wedding showers and baby showers -- and not just because they're cute and easy to handle.

"What we're finding is if you bring a cake to a shower at a restaurant, they may charge you a cutting fee," says Pam Turkin of Just Baked in Livonia. "My customers are telling me that they can get four to five different flavors and everyone can get what they like instead of one cake flavor."

Today, we're featuring cupcake recipes that transcend the usual: Brown-Sugar Pound Cupcakes with Brown-Butter Glaze; Banana Cupcakes with Caramel Buttercream Frosting and Chocolate Cupcakes with Raspberry Filling.

My personal favorite:
What Up Doc? Carrot Cake Cupcake sprinkled with chopped walnuts. Yummy!
Oakland Press

One local entrepreneur has turned his passion into a second career.
Steve Feldman is the owner of Yoga Shelter, a chain of four studios created in 2004, which teach an in-the-moment form of yoga that empowers students with tools to achieve harmony of mind, body and spirit.
Feldman believes in a holistic, healing perspective. His message at the Yoga Shelter is that everyone is accepted, and encouraged to accept themselves and others without judgment.
“Our goal is to create a space that’s welcoming for all people – the physical expression is a vehicle we use to connect with ourselves,” Feldman said.
As CEO of Yoga Shelter and YogaMedics, a medical-focused sister business, Feldman manages four local studios, which serve more than 11,000 people monthly.
Hundreds of weekly classes are offered in West Bloomfield Township, Birmingham, Grosse Pointe and Royal Oak.
Feldman believes it’s imperative to offer a way to minimize stress, improve physical and mental health and find acceptance.
“Throughout my career, I worked in industries that were all about generating profit,” Feldman says. “I never gained personal fulfillment from my work. Thankfully, I have found a way to build a career beyond mere commerce — one that inspires connection with others and with something greater than all of us.”
To learn more about the Yoga Shelter, call (248) 538-0200.
PR News Wire

Peter Vanderkaay, Michigan's own 2008 and 2004 Olympic gold medal swimmer, today unveiled a dental health education campaign during an event at a Royal Oak Elementary School in conjunction with Children's Dental Health Month, which is designed to raise awareness about the importance of good oral health habits.

"Since I was a child, right around the age of the students I visited with today, I understood the importance of oral health and its link to overall health," said Vanderkaay. "My dad's a dentist, my mom is a dental hygienist and I was taught at an early age about how vital it is to maintain a gold medal smile."

Vanderkaay kicked off the education campaign by distributing a life-sized growth chart and poster, featuring the Olympic swimmer, to a crowd of 400 students at Northwood Elementary in Royal Oak. After passing out the posters to the children, he administered the "Oath to Oral Health" to the packed gymnasium.

"The oath taken by the kids today is all about getting them to recognize the significance of brushing and flossing daily, eating healthy, getting enough exercise and, of course, visiting their dentist regularly," Vanderkaay added. "Following those guidelines has helped to get me to the level I'm at today."

Vanderkaay was accompanied by Dr. Joanne Dawley, a general dentist from Southfield and president of the Michigan Dental Association.

"Today's landmark event is the official kick-off of a statewide public education campaign that we're launching this month in honor of Children's Dental Health Month," said Dawley. "MDA member dentists throughout Michigan will be receiving the poster featuring Peter in the coming weeks. They'll be able to proudly display it in their office in an effort to drive home the importance of oral health to their youngest patients."

Vanderkaay said he hopes that children will take his message and incorporate it into their daily routine, remembering the link between oral health and overall wellness.

"Wellness begins with strong oral health -- that's the bottom line," he emphasized. "It takes a lot to be an Olympic athlete, including a commitment to a healthy lifestyle and solid dental hygiene habits."

Headquartered in Lansing, the Michigan Dental Association has more than 5,600 members in 26 local dental societies and two dental schools. Since its founding in 1856, the MDA has sought to educate the public, enhance its members' ability to provide high quality care and to promote the science and art of dentistry. For more information call (800) 589-2632 or log on to
Maureen Francis, SKBK Realtor

I hate to say I told you so, but I did.

Creative thinking pays off in today’s real estate market. Two weeks ago, I told you about one Birmingham MI home owner who decided to offer very attractive land contract terms to promote interest in a luxury home he was trying to sell.

Guess what? Within two weeks of offering seller financing, he had an accepted offer! Not bad, I would say. The buyer loved not only the house, but the availability of seller financing.

Sellers, if you can offer this hook, think about doing it! After all, seller financing is the new black. If you need to know how to go about it, give me a call.

Buyers, if you are having trouble finding traditional financing, a land contract might be the answer for you. You can give me a call too, so I can show you what is out there for you.

While NYC will be celebrating the departed, Detroit will be fighting along side Jim Shaw in his battle against cancer.

That benefit concert is on Saturday, February 7 at the Magic Stick in the Motor City. As you can see from the flyer, there's no shortage of talent to entertain and uplift Jim & Sandy's spirits.

Following is info from their Facebook page, peppered of course, with photos of related persons...As many of you have likely heard, Jim Shaw was recently diagnosed with cancer.

What at first seemed like a semi-manageable diagnosis has, unfortunately, become considerably more dire. That being said, both he and his wife Sandy Kramer Shaw are staying positive and they are going to FIGHT. We should too.

On Saturday, Feb. 7 Jim's brothers will host a fundraiser at the Magic Stick (4120 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-9700) There will great bands and an art auction.

Please come and support one of the kindest, most generous souls Detroit has ever known.

Event details include: Saturday, Feb. 7th
The Magic Stick (4120 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-9700)
$10 minimum donation at the door
Lauren Bjerk
The South End

Whether in search of family-oriented entertainment, a wild night out or just a great meal, Detroit’s Winter Blast, located at Campus Martius Park Feb. 6-8, is poised to have something for everyone.

The Winter Blast will be introducing two new attractions this year. The first is the Arctic Blast, a brand new ice slide that reaches 150 feet in height. The other is the Winter Carnival, featuring six family-friendly amusement park rides.

“The Winter Carnival is a great addition to the overall Winter Blast festival experience,” said Jon Witz, event producer. “Families will enjoy another budget conscious attraction that will entertain and delight our youngest festival guests. It’s just one more reason to come out and enjoy metro Detroit’s favorite winter-themed event.”

In addition to the carnival rides, the Winter Blast has kid-friendly fun down to a T, with attractions like arts and crafts, jugglers and comedians.

Since ice is Michigan winter’s trademark, it is no wonder that the Winter Blast has several ice-oriented attractions.

There will be free ice skating at Campus Martius and also local professional and amateur figure skaters performing.

Additionally, an ice garden that features sculptures of “Kung Fu Panda” and “SpongeBob” will be present. Not only will viewers get to see the sculptures, but also Friday will be ice carving day, when they will be able to watch the artists as they transform a block of ice into a piece of art.

There will also be attractions for music lovers. With three different stages and DJ booths, the Winter Blast offers an eclectic program of music, ranging from bluegrass to reggae.
Because times are tough, over 60 of Detroit’s fanciest restaurants are offering a 15 percent discount over the weekend to encourage patrons during this difficult financial time.

“This year, I think restaurateurs were particularly compelled to participate,” Witz said. “They know times are challenging. This is a win-win for both the restaurant owners and festival patrons. [It offers] top-notch food at rarely seen prices for festival visitors and increased foot traffic for restaurants.”

The community will also benefit from this event. The restaurants vow to donate up to 10 percent of each sale to The Children’s Center in Detroit, Witz said.

The Winter Blast is also accommodating those who want to celebrate long after the festivities are over by having the Monroe Street Blast and the Bar Blast.

The Monroe Street Blast takes place on Friday night, where many hangouts in Greektown offer no cover charge and drink specials all night.

On Saturday night, a bus will take participants to several drinking establishments that are participating in the Bar Blast.

Many of Detroit’s finest hotels are also offering discounts for those who want to make the Winter Blast into a winter vacation. Hoteliers anticipate that with all these events packed into three days, some people may want to relax after all of the festivities.
Bree Fowler
Associated Press

GMAC LLC, the auto and home lender that received a $6 billion government bailout, posted its first profit in six quarters after recording gains from a debt swap that helped avert default.

The company’s fourth-quarter profit of $7.46 billion compares with a loss of $724 million a year earlier, the Detroit- based company said today in a statement. Extinguishing debt in the bond exchange produced an $11.4 billion gain. The auto finance unit swung to a $1.31 billion deficit from a $137 million profit, and home lending’s loss widened to $981 million from $921 million a year earlier.

GMAC won permission from the Federal Reserve in December to become a bank and gain access to the Treasury’s industry rescue fund as part of an effort to save General Motors Corp.
Brian Warmoth

"Spider-Man” franchise director Sam Raimi will be bringing a few cameras back to his home state of Michigan for “Spider-Man 4″ next year.

“I’ll be looking at Michigan for our second-unit photography on the new ‘Spider-Man’ film,” Raimi told The Oakland Press.
Born in Royal Oak, Michigan, Raimi also has plans to shoot his new thriller “Room 205″ in Michigan during 2009. However, “second-unit” photography likely won’t bring along any of the upcoming Spidey cast members, such as the mystery “Spider-Man 4″ villain.

Raimi is producing “Room 205,” which is a remake of a Danish horror film coming out from his company Ghost House Pictures. He has a stacked schedule ahead of him before shooting begins on “Spider-Man 4.”

Nevertheless, Spidey fans everywhere will have their ears open in 2009 awaiting story details. Raimi has remained mum thus far, brushing aside speculation that Dylan Baker’s character Curt Connors may transition into becoming The Lizard and take center stage.

Are you a Michigan native looking forward to some spotlight time for the state in “Spidey 4″? Which villains do you want to see get some screen time in Raimi’s next Spider-Man sequel? Chime in below!

Bill Shea
Crain's Detroit

The vacant Detroit building formerly used as MGM Grand’s temporary casino will be transformed this year into an $86 million Hollywood-style digital animation and visual effects studio directly employing more than 400 people.

The Detroit Center Studios is a partnership between Wonderstruck Studios L.L.C. owned by film and video game deal-maker Michelle Richards, a Detroit native, and Los Angeles-based real estate developers SHM Partners.

The state today awarded the project a 12-year, $16.9 million Michigan Economic Growth Authority tax credit and an $11.7 million infrastructure credit under the state’s new film incentive laws.

Detroit also is considering property tax abatements. The deal calls for the studio to begin operation this year, with 413 direct and 287 indirect jobs. Terms and financing were not released. The site is owned by MGM, but it’s unclear if the film studio will buy or lease the facility, which will include sound stages, offices, screening rooms, a commissary, editing bays and other film infrastructure.

“It will be everything a filmmaker needs to come to Michigan and be well taken care of,” Richards said, adding that the project expects to use “every square inch” of the MGM site.

MGM bought and extensively renovated an old 75,000-square-foot Internal Revenue Service building along the Lodge Freeway to house its temporary casino until the new gaming facility opened in October 2007.

The film facility is being modeled on Los Angeles Center Studios, a SHM Partners project that turned an old Unocal headquarters into a modern studio, she said. “It’s a very similar model, where you take a building not in use with similar infrastructure and some land that works just well enough,” she said.

The Detroit studio will be used for Wonderstruck’s digital animation and graphics work and for outside projects that need film production facilities. The effort also will include a workforce training program aimed at engineers, artists and others already familiar with 3-D software applications, Richards said.

The studio also will bring in veteran Hollywood professionals with experience at Dreamworks, Warner Bros. and Walt Disney, she added.

Richards said she was involved in the worldwide marketing and distribution of the popular “Guitar Hero” video games, and a number of straight-to-video animated features.

Not involved in the effort is Richards’ husband John, who is head of worldwide creative for Warner Home Entertainment. She declined to name the other principles, but said none at this point are from Michigan.

About a dozen other sites were considered by settling on the MGM property, she said, without naming any of the locations. “We felt like most of them would take a long time to bring to market,” she said.
Sven Gustafson
Oakland Business Review

County Executive L. Brooks Patterson on Tuesday unveiled plans for a first-ever Oakland County Film Festival in 2010 and named his choice to represent Oakland on the five-member authority overseeing the expansion of Detroit's Cobo Center.

Mike Carroll, CFO and secretary-treasurer of the Pontiac-based general contractor George W. Auch Co., will serve as Oakland's representative on the five-member panel, Patterson announced during his annual state of the county speech in Troy.

But in a copy of his prepared remarks, Patterson signaled his new charge to the panel, which must vote unanimously for any proposal to move forward, may hold the line on any expansion of the aging facility. Patterson argued that the 700,000 square-foot building is in greater need of technology and other upgrades than a $288 million expansion.

"With the North American International Auto Show losing many exhibitors, including Nissan, Mitsubishi, Land Rover, Porsche, Ferrari, and Suzuki, expanding Cobo Hall now makes about as much sense as adding more seats to Ford Field," Patterson said in his prepared remarks. "With the auto show contracting, there is not a good argument at this point in time to expand the facility."

The expansion of Cobo has been a continuing source of contention among Detroit's regional leaders. Organizers of the auto show, the facility's top attraction, have for years argued for the need to enlarge the convention center to ensure Detroit remains a premier showplace on the global auto show circuit.

Patterson's announcement of the film festival coincides with the announcement earlier Tuesday that two Hollywood film-industry companies plan to open a $70 million production studio at a former General Motors Corp. site in Pontiac. The studio, which is being backed by real estate moguls Alfred Taubman and Gary Sakwa, is forecast to create up to 3,600 direct jobs.

The idea for the festival came from state Rep. Gail Haines of Waterford Township, Patterson said. His speech offered few concrete details other than to say officials were forming a committee to assess the scope of the project and how it would be funded.

Patterson also used the speech to launch a number of other new initiatives, including:

• Moving from a two-year to a three-year budget planning cycle to provide more long-range planning. "Contrast this with the state of Michigan and most municipal governments: They budget on a year-to-year basis," Patterson said. "No lookout, no opportunity to engage in deficit avoidance, certainly no room to implement a long term strategy."

• Expanded assistance to displaced autoworkers by teaming with local community colleges and universities and a recently conducted survey of the skill-set needs of hundreds of employers.

• And a new, free subscription service allowing residents to receive via e-mail or text messaging specific information on government services, such as severe weather conditions or boil-water alerts. Patterson said the county is working through its vendor to integrate the service into the Web sites of each of the county's local units of government at no cost.

Patterson also used his speech to highlight the accomplishments of the county's Emerging Sectors program in creating jobs, and he highlighted efforts to grow health care jobs through his "Medical Main Street" (formerly Oakland Medical) initiative.

Patterson said the county is challenged by uncertainty regarding funding from the financially strapped state, declining property values and 9,200 home foreclosures in the county in 2008.

"I want to make it very clear tonight that Oakland intends to do more than just ride out the storm," Patterson said. "We confidently accept the challenge of leading this state out of these dark and desperate days into the sunlight of new growth, opportunity, and prosperity."

Patterson, a Republican, recently threw his name into the list of possible candidates for governor in 2010. He acknowledged Tuesday he was struggling with the decision but asked supporters to "give me max six to eight weeks" to make a final decision.
Steven P. Oberholtzer, shareholder and managing partner of the Ann Arbor office of Brinks Hofer Gilson & Lione, one of the largest intellectual property law firms in the U.S., was interviewed January 5th on the public affairs program Detroit Today, which airs on public radio station WDET (101.9fm).

The topic of the interview was what Mr. Oberholtzer refers to as the “Arsenal of Innovation” - the tremendous talent and success the region and the state of Michigan have known with Research & Development and innovation as a direct result of the domestic auto makers.

According to Mr. Oberholtzer, the innovation impact of the domestics was conspicuously absent from the automaker bailout discussions in Washington in November and early December.
“The level of innovation centered in Michigan as a result of the domestic auto industry has not been talked about broadly enough on a local, regional or national level,” says Mr. Oberholtzer.

“There has great emphasis on where automotive component are assembled and various union/management issues, yet the strategic advantage that our nation has with such a depth of R&D and true innovation has been relatively ignored. As both a mechanical engineer and an intellectual property attorney, I see innovation in Michigan at its earliest stages, and it is incredibly impressive. It is imperative that we further the discussion on our innovation advantage, our “Arsenal of Innovation”, before more high caliber jobs and discoveries are lost not only to our region but to our nation,” concludes Oberholtzer.

Mr. Oberholtzer focuses his practice on patent and trademark counseling, corporate intellectual property policy development, technology licensing, joint development and joint venture relationship agreements, United States Patent and Trademark Office administrative proceedings, including interferences, re-examinations, re-issues, trademark oppositions, patent application preparation and prosecution, providing opinions regarding infringement risks, design-around projects and patentability and administration of corporate intellectual property portfolios.

He has extensive experience in the mechanical and electro-mechanical disciplines, with particular emphasis on automotive industry issues, and has additional significant experience in technology areas, including medical devices, lasers, fiber optics, optical devices and heavy industrial equipment. Mr. Oberholtzer is the author of a primer on intellectual property entitled, The Basic Principles of Intellectual Property Law.

Mr. Oberholtzer is involved with many civic and professional activities, including the Washtenaw County Bar Association, where he serves as Chair of the Intellectual Property Law Section, the Technology Transfer Society, the Licensing Executives Society and the Original Equipment Suppliers Association.

Founded in 1917, Brinks Hofer Gilson & Lione is based in Chicago with five additional offices across the country, including Ann Arbor, serving the intellectual property needs of clients from around the world. The firm is one of the largest IP law firms in the country, with more than 170 attorneys, scientific advisors and patent agents specializing in intellectual property litigation and all aspects of patent, trademark, copyright, trade secret, unfair competition, intellectual asset management, and technology and licensing agreements. Brinks routinely handles assignments in fields as diverse as electrical, chemical, mechanical, biotechnology, pharmaceutical, nanotechnology, Internet and computer technology, as well as in trademarks and brand names for a wide variety of products and services. For more information, visit
Mark Hicks
The Detroit News

PONTIAC -- Gov. Jennifer Granholm is expected to announce today plans for a $54 million film studio project that could bring about 5,000 new jobs to the state, her spokeswoman confirmed Monday.

"This is the direct result of the aggressive film incentive that the governor called for in her State of the State in 2008," Liz Boyd said late Monday. "The film incentives were designed to not just bring new film projects to Michigan ... but also to grow an industry that will provide long-term job growth for the state."

The project is pending approval of incentives during a Michigan Economic Growth Authority board meeting scheduled for this morning, Boyd said.

The state is not expected to fund construction, but is offering about $15 million in film-related tax credits, plus as much as $101 million in state tax credits over 12 years, if criteria are met, according to the Wall Street Journal.

If approved, Motown Motion Picture LLC could be operational this year in an estimated 600,000-square-foot space at General Motors Corp.'s former Centerpoint truck plant, she said, adding that the complex could create about 3,600 direct jobs and more than 1,500 indirect jobs.

Since Michigan approved aggressive tax incentives last April to lure Hollywood filmmakers to the state, 71 projects have been approved, with 37 films already completed, Tony Wenson, chief operating officer of the Michigan Film Office, told The Detroit News last week. Nearly 3,000 direct jobs have been created, with total wages reaching $57 million, he said.
Bill Shea
Crain's Detroit

Detroit NBC affiliate WDIV-Channel 4 sold the last of its dozen local spots for Sunday’s Super Bowl by the end of last week, said Marla Drutz, the station’s general manager.
NBC last week said it sold its 65 in-game spots to 32 advertisers for a record $206 million, along with another $55 million for pre- and post-game advertising.
Drutz declined to say how much local spots cost. Thirty-second advertisements on the network broadcast cost between $2 million and $3 million, NBC said.
About a dozen spots were $3 million, NBC Universal Sports & Olympics chairman Dick Ebersol said in several trade publication stories.
The dozen spots are the most expensive of the year for WDIV, Drutz said.
Micci Lasser, a senior media buyer at Birmingham-based Brogan & Partners Convergence Marketing, estimated a local 30-second spot probably ran about $20,000. Her agency didn’t have any spots during the game.
The game averaged a 42.1 rating in the Detroit market. Each ratings point is about 20,000 households, meaning the telecast dominated the local market of about 1.9 million households on Sunday.
The local ratings were down slightly from last year’s game between the eventual champion New York Giants and the then-undefeated New England Patriots. That game had a 44 rating locally.
The highest ratings period during Sunday’s game came from 10 p.m. to 10:15 p.m., which was the Pittsburgh Steelers’ game-winning drive in the fourth quarter, Drutz said. That time period was a 48 rating.
“The fact that it was close generated that rating,” she said. “(The Super Bowl) is about as big as it gets in our world.”
The evening’s other local sporting event, the Detroit Pistons’ 90-80 loss to the visiting Cleveland Cavaliers on WXYZ-TV, drew a 7.8 rating, Drutz said.
Super Bowl XL at Ford Field in 2006 drew a 54.5 rating locally, Drutz said, noting that the market that hosts the game typically has a higher rating than the national average.

Curtis Granderson is more than just a popular center fielder for the Detroit Tigers. He's now a author as well.
Granderson, author of the children's book All You Can Be, wants Michigan fourth graders to provide illustrations through a contest.

With help from the Michigan Department of Education, the Grand Kids Foundation and Triumph Books are holding a contest, inviting fourth graders across the state to submit their artwork through their school for consideration to be included in the book.
The contest will be conducted in classrooms at Michigan grade schools, each of which received an information packet.

The theme for submissions is simple: How do you see yourself when you are in high school, and how is education important in helping you become that person?
Click here for more details. Deadline for submission is Monday, Feb. 9.
Entries from each class should be submitted to Triumph Books, c/o Curtis Granderson, 542 S. Dearborn St., Suite 750, Chicago, IL 60605.

Three of the top songwriters of the Great Lakes region of the United States and Canada will share the stage on Saturday, Feb. 7, at the Trinity House Theatre.

The three winners' songs were selected from more than 600 entries in the 2008 Great Lakes Songwriting Contest.
Allister Bradley, songwriter and keyboardist from Kitchener, Ontario, will perform his first-place winning song, 'What A Day.' Allison Downey of Kalamazoo, MI, will perform her second-place song, 'All That Matters.' Detroit's own Julianne will perform 'Whiskey on My Breath,' which won third place.

And the 'singing emcee' for the evening will be Dan Hazlett, a songwriter from Waterford, MI, who has been a multiple winner in the contest for several years running.

The theater is located at 38840 W. Six Mile, just west of I-275 in Livonia, MI. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. and the concert starts at 8 p.m.
Tickets are $15 in advance and at the door. Reservations can be made by phone at (73... or on-line at )

Based in Ann Arbor, MI, the Sixth Annual Great Lakes Songwriting Contest will open for entries later this spring. Details on prizes and entry materials are available at the website

First-place winner Allister Bradley left behind a senior corporate job several years ago to devote himself to music full time. Two albums and many accolades later, he's definitely not looking back. His latest release, 'Too,' has been described as, "Sting having cocktails with Norah Jones, while Billy Joel and Bruce Hornsby argue over the check."
Piano-dominated arrangements play in and out of various styles, from '70s R&B through emotional ballads and cheeky jazz-inspired pop, underneath lyrics ripe with emotion, social consciousness and occasionally a sense of humor. In addition to writing and performing his own songs, Allister keeps busy as a producer and sound engineer, session musician, web developer, film composer and songwriting mentor. More information on Allister can be found at

Allison Downey has been described as a 'masterful performer with a commanding, yet genuine and open, stage presence,' her voice reminiscent of the stylistic range and quality of Natalie Merchant. She will be joined on stage by her partner in music and life, John Austin, with whom she has been performing since 2004.
Songs from Allison's newest recording, 'Across the Sea,' produced by Michael Crittenden, have already won accolades, including the People's Choice Award for Texas' 2007 Wildflower! Arts & Music Festival Performing Songwriter Contest. The album has received airplay across the US and four other countries. 'Please Help' was aired on XM Radio's '2008 Music to Life Top 40,' a contest honoring songs for social justice. This recording, as well as Allison's 2002 debut CD, 'Wind at Your Back,' are available at a variety of stores, on iTunes, and on her website,

The Detroit area's Julianne hails from a musical family whose roots extend down from the famous Tubbs family of Tennessee . "Nearly everyone in my family played an instrument, from piano to fiddle, guitar, accordion, mandolin, and banjo,' says Julianne. 'Every night when my dad would come home from work, he'd spend the first ten to fifteen minutes playing the piano to unwind. My family's love of music was very influential to my career."
Julianne is the lead vocalist for the country band REDHILL, which won the 2007 Detroit Music Award for Outstanding Country Album and has received 10 nominations over the last three years, including Outstanding Country Vocalist two years running. The upcoming REDHILL sophomore CD (to be released in March) will feature four of Julianne's songs, including 'Whiskey On My Breath.' "'Whiskey' was one of those songs that was a gift to me - it just came to me while driving one day, and I wrote the whole song in ten minutes.' More information about Julianne and Redhill is available at

Emcee Dan Hazlett has written songs that roam from the outlandish to the sublime, over a career spanning more than 30 years. He has received second- and third-place awards and several honorable mentions in past years of the Great Lakes Songwriting Contest, and an honorable mention in The Billboard Songwriting Competition.
He has been nominated for several Detroit Music Awards and was a finalist in both The KRCL Performing Songwriter Showcase in Park City Utah and the Big Top Chatauqua Songwriting Contest. He has been a guest on the nationally syndicated radio shows 'Albom In The Afternoon' (Mitch Albom) and 'River City Folk' (Tom May). One of Dan's songs was featured on the NPR's 'Car Talk.' A prolific songwriter, Dan Hazlett has recently released his seventh full length CD, 'Just a Guitar,' while doubling as a producer, engineer and session musician for many local artists.

The Great Lakes Songwriting Contest is the creation of a group of southeast Michigan songwriters. In 2008, it honored 11 winners with a combination of cash prizes, publicity packages, and musical gear. Its longest running sponsor is Elderly Instruments of Lansing (MI).
In 2008, other sponsors were The CD Seller of Minneapolis; Lamb's Retreat for Songwriters of Royal Oak, MI; The Songbridge of Ontario, Canada; of Indianapolis; and Broadjam of Madison, WI.
The contest is accredited by the Better Business Bureau.
Interested persons can contact the contest organizers by e-mail