Voices of Detroit with Larry Henry and David Benjamin once again visited Goldfish Tea in Royal Oak for their latest show.

In this podcast, we talk to Menachem Kniespeck who is co-founder of Operation: Kid Equip and Lisa Meloche, President and Massage Therapist of Bodywork Alternatives.

During the show, Voices of Detroit brings the two together in what might be the start of another great non-profit organization benefitting everyone!

Click Here to Listen
Associated Press

A Detroit-area gas station is offering $20 in gas to people who buy a new Ford Motor Co., Chrysler LLC or General Motors Corp. vehicle from one of three local auto dealers.

Albert Abbas, who manages Tel West Fill-Up Citgo in Wayne County's Brownstown Township, tells The Detroit News for a Friday story that the offer that started in January runs through the end of February.

Abbas says he hopes to encourage sales of Detroit Three vehicles and support local businesses.

The promotion is good for vehicles bought at Taylor Ford and Telegraph Chrysler Jeep in Taylor, or Rogers Chevrolet in Woodhaven.

Buyers will get a voucher for gas at the Tel West Fill-Up station.
Associated Press

Rosie O'Donnell says she hopes to film again in Detroit on the heels of her new Lifetime movie "America," which was shot last year in the Motor City.
The nation's foster care system provides the backdrop for the movie, which premieres Feb. 28.
O'Donnell says she's been so moved by Detroit's plight that she bought a Buick Enclave, made by Detroit-based General Motors Corp.
O'Donnell tells the Detroit Free Press by phone that "whatever movie we do next, we're going to do there."
Based on E.R. Frank's book, "America" centers on 17-year-old America, a boy played by Philip Johnson who has been in foster care since infancy. He's a patient of Dr. Maureen Brennan, played by O'Donnell.
Johnson got the role after being spotted by O'Donnell at a Detroit restaurant.

Hour Detroit is proud to announce Forest Grill as its 2009 Restaurant of the Year.
Located in Birmingham, Forest Grill is a self-proclaimed "neighborhood bistro" that serves seasonal fare with an emphasis on fresh, high-quality, local ingredients.

Forest Grill seamlessly integrates Old World dedication and authentic preparation with a contemporary and environmentally conscious setting.

Hour Detroit's story includes five pages of appetizing photographs that capture the cuisine, atmosphere, and spirit of this metro Detroit newcomer.

Owner and Executive Chef Brian Polcyn, a veteran restaurateur with 34 years of extensive experience in the business, opened Forest Grill in August 2008.

Guided by a spirit of collaboration, Polcyn and Executive Chef David Gilbert lead a crew of talented staffers, teaching "care, passion, and the sound principles of good cooking," Polcyn says. "Good cooking comes from the soul; you have to feel it."

The menu offers dishes with dynamic interpretations of "nature's provisions." An eclectic wine list pairs beautifully with the cuisine. Forest Grill's signature is the charcuterie platter, which combines a trifecta of cured meats including soppressata, salami, and prosciutto di Parma with a choice of three accompaniments that range from marinated olives to heirloom beets to carrot-and-garbanzo salad. Featured items such as lobster bisque topped with golden puff pastry and house-smoked salmon with crème fraîche are rich and unexpected.

This combination of traditional and contemporary elements distinguishes Forest Grill as a unique dining experience, one that fuses elements of charm, innovation, and surprise.

Hour Detroit's Restaurant of the Year is located at:
735 Forest Ave., Birmingham

With this announcement, Forest Grill joins a class of distinguished winners. The coveted Restaurant of the Year title has been awarded to Mon Jin Lau in 2008, The Lark in 2007, Il Posto in 2006, Bacco Ristorante in 2005, BooCoo in 2004, Café Cortina in 2003, Hong Hua in 2002, The Hill Seafood & Chop House in 2001, and The Rugby Grill in 2000. The Lark and Tribute were co-honorees in 1999.

To read Hour Detroit's 2009 complete Restaurant of the Year story, be sure to pick up the March issue on newsstands March 3.

M-59 would be widened to six lanes from four between Crooks and Ryan roads -- a chronic choke point for commuters in Oakland and Macomb counties -- under the state’s proposed plans to spend about $850 million in federal stimulus money Michigan will receive.

The long-sought, $60-million project would be fast-tracked to begin this year, possibly in September, according to a list of projects statewide that the Michigan Department of Transportation said are most likely to meet federal requirements for economic stimulus spending.

Gov. Jennifer Granholm told an audience of regional leaders this afternoon that the spending on infrastructure is expected to create about 25,000 construction-related jobs.

Under President Barack Obama’s stimulus plan, Michigan will get another $135 million for transit systems, Michigan Department of Transportation Director Kirk Steudle told the gathering at the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments offices downtown.

Steudle said the federal government will make additional money available for roadwork and high-speed rail, which could help efforts to build a high-speed route between Detroit and Chicago.

“This is about job creation and putting people to work," Steudle said. “This is a great opportunity for us.”

Granholm said the emphasis will be on speed to meet federal requirements to get the projects rolling within the timeframe the stimulus plan requires.

MDOT said many of the projects will have to be approved by regional planning agencies statewide, a process the state said it’s working to finish quickly. The Legislature also must approve the additions to the roadwork budget.

Other major projects in metro Detroit that would be paid for with stimulus money include $15 million in major bridge repairs on I-96 in Wayne County; $10 million to resurface Michigan Avenue between Livernois and Rosa Parks Boulevard in Detroit; $13 million to resurface M-8 between Oakland and Conant in Detroit; $18 million to rebuild I-94 between St. Clair Highway and Allington Road in St. Clair County; and a $12-million reconstruction of northbound Telegraph Road between Square Lake and Orchard Lake roads in Oakland County.

Steudle said the state’s top priority with transportation stimulus money is to fix existing roads, but some of it also will address congestion relief.
Associated Press

The National Federation of the Blind is preparing to hold its 2009 convention this summer in Detroit.

The Baltimore-based group's convention is scheduled for July 3-8 at the Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center.

The Detroit News reports that more than 3,000 people could attend the convention.

Events are expected to include a fundraising walk for braille literacy programs.

Michigan’s Fab Five will reunite publicly April 4 in Detroit for the first time since their final game 16 years ago.

The event, which has no affiliation with the Final Four, will act a fund-raiser for the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History.

Because it is being held at the Motor City Casino and was initiated by the five players themselves, the NCAA has no connection to it.

But the basketball players -- Chris Webber, Jalen Rose, Juwan Howard, Jimmy King and Ray Jackson -- chose the setting because the attention focused on the Final Four would provide a chance to raise money for the museum that has a history of contributing to the city’s youth.

While the Michigan athletic department has a longstanding relationship with a few of the players -- Rose was honored at a game last year for his charity work, King is a U-M broadcaster, and Howard has made appearances at the U-M basketball summer camp -- there are no Fab Five-era records nor banners at Michigan, and a similar reunion could not occur on campus because of Webber’s association with booster Ed Martin.

That, along with the later involvement of three other U-M players, drew sanctions for the basketball program. Webber, who accepted a loan of $280,000 from Martin while still in high school, is not allowed to formally associate with the university until 2013.

“It’s no shame, what was said was said, what was alleged was alleged,” Rose said when he was honored by U-M last February. “But ultimately, with everybody, time heals all wounds. In my opinion, it’s going to be time to move on eventually.

"That’s how life happens, that’s how situations happen. I just hope I’m not in a wheelchair walking with a cane or in a gravesite when it happens (at Michigan). I want to be here to see it.”
The Fab Five phenomenon -- having five freshman starters reach the NCAA title game in 1992 and do it again as sophomores in 1993 -- was sullied by the scandal.

The museum’s association is not a surprise, given its relationship with Webber. It hosted his extensive collection of African-American historical artifacts and documents in 2007.

The players have reunited yearly, but in private. This will be a public opportunity for fans to connect with the group.
Jason Barger

The two-minute stroll between Detroit’s Concourse A and C is a cosmic departure from the airport norm.

The tunnel between terminals has motorized walking paths on both sides and a wide-opened space right down the middle, for those with the energy to walk the stretch at a normal pace. The curved-in walls are decorated with slightly raised images of different countries around the world and flashing rainbow colored lights synchronized with the pumped in sounds of nature.
As I came to the end of the tunnel after a recent flight, I couldn’t help but wonder how passengers were reacting to the walkway.

Would the tunnel be embraced? Would they be annoyed by it? Would the flashing lights be enough to break their autopilot trance?

I stopped right at the base of the escalator leading up to Concourse A and witnessed the spattering of smiles as person after person emerged out of the fairytale tunnel.

One woman that looked to be in her late-sixties turned to her partner and said simply, “Wow, that was cool!”

With the recent rise of massage kiosks, oxygen bars, and even karaoke bars — all aimed to reduce traveler stress — the cosmic tunnel is perhaps an image of another creative approach for airports looking for a cultural makeover.

It’s a fact: The way we “feel” in an environment affects the way we “live” in that space.

And in Detroit, the feeling is evidently cosmic.

Start Up Weekend Comes To Detroit


Last week Craig Sutton, someone I know from Twitter, posted an interview with me on his blog about some of my various endeavors. One of the questions in particular related specifically to Startup Weekend Detroit:

Q: You are organizing the upcoming Startup Weekend Detroit (Mar. 27-29). Can you explain what that is, and why other cities would benefit from doing the same?

A: The Startup Weekend organization was founded by Andrew Hyde in Boulder, Colorado. There have been several Startup Weekends in cities across the country and even in Europe.

Basically the event gathers together creatives and people with technical skills to launch new companies within a single weekend. Each event is different since the direction is largely determined by the people who show up.

I live in Detroit and I was raised here. I really believe that the future of this city lies in the ability to bring people together to get great ideas off the ground. Nobody becomes successful in a vacuum. We need each other. Events like Startup Weekend help bring people together with a variety of skills to roll up their sleeves, work side by side and get things done.

I attended Startup Weekend in Ann Arbor, Michigan last year. What struck me most about the event was the fact that so much was accomplished in a single weekend. This experience leaves people who attend with the feeling that anything really is possible if you work together. What city couldn’t benefit from a little of that?

Elizabeth Cohen

It's 7 a.m. at Henry Ford Hospital, and surgeons are preparing to remove a cancerous tumor from a man's kidney.

It's potentially a risky surgery, but everything's ready: The doctors and nurses are in the operating room, the surgical instruments are sterilized and ready to go, and the chief resident is furiously Twittering on his laptop.

That's right -- last week, for the second known time, surgeons Twittered a surgery by using social-networking site Twitter to give short real-time updates about the procedure.
Following the February 9 operation online were other doctors, medical students and the merely curious.

"Here's something different: HenryFordNews is live tweeting surgery today, getting some buzz, too," wrote one Twitter participant from Massachusetts.

"I find this fascinating!" tweeted another Twitter user from Swansea, United Kingdom.
"It's an interesting use of technology, but I can't help but feel a bit 'eeewww!' about this," wrote a third tweeter from New York.

Why twitter a surgery?

Whether it's new and cool or merely yicky, observers say there's no question that more and more doctors -- and patients -- will be sharing the blow-by-blow of medical procedures on sites like Twitter and Facebook.

Dr. Craig Rogers, the lead surgeon in the Henry Ford surgery, said the impetus for his Twittering was to let people know that a tumor can be removed without taking the entire kidney.

"We're trying to use this as a way to get the word out," Rogers said.

Observers say Twittering about a procedure is a natural outgrowth of the social networking media revolution.

"Doing this removes a real communication barrier. It helps make something scary much more comprehendable," said Christopher Parks, co-founder of the Web site changehealthcare.com. "It brings us closer together and makes us more engaged."

Four months ago, Park's colleague, Robert Hendrick, tweeted his own varicose vein removal surgery here as it was happening (he was, obviously, under local anesthesia).

"It redirected my attention and allowed me to minimize some of the nervousness around what was going on. It felt like I had family and friends there to support me," Hendrick wrote in an e-mail.

"I wanted a record for other people who might be interested in the same surgery," added Hendrick, who also posted photos and video of his surgery. "It later allowed me to connect with others with the same issues."

As time goes by and the younger generation moves into medicine, expect even more sharing online of private medical procedures, Parks says.

"Newer and newer generations are used to putting their life online," he said. "This generation shares everything."

"Gosh, this is big"

Twitter users -- those "tweeple" -- who kept up with the Henry Ford procedure online got to share some medical drama in real time. (You can read the "Tweetstream" or watch video of the tumor removal on YouTube).

As Rogers got closer to the tumor, he realized it was far larger than it had appeared on a CT scan, and he wondered out loud whether he would have to remove the entire kidney -- something he'd been trying to avoid.

"Gosh, this is big," he said to his colleagues in the operating room. "Could I have picked a harder case for this?"

As Rogers worked away on his robotic machinery, the chief resident, Dr. Raj Laungani, Twittered: "Dr. Rogers is saying because the tumor is so large he may have to do a radical (total) nephrectomy."

After conferring with Laungani and others in the operating room, Rogers decided he could remove just part of the kidney. Then came another challenge: In a surgery like this one, doctors have to restrict blood flow to the kidney with clamps while they remove the tumor.

Those clamps then have to be removed within 30 minutes so the kidney isn't damaged by the lack of blood.

"The goal is to keep the clamp time below 30 minutes," Laungani Twittered. "25 minutes left!!!"
Approximately 25 minutes later, Laungani shared his relief with all of Twitterville: "Tumor is excised, bleeding is controlled, we are about to come off clamp," he wrote.

In the end, Rogers had the last tweet. "The robotic partial nephrectomy was a success," he wrote. "Thank you for joining us today."

CNN's Jennifer Pifer-Bixler and Marcy Heard contributed to this article.

Every time she pulls into the driveway of her three-bedroom ranch-style home on Detroit's east side, Beatrice Coleman says she still can't believe it.

"Sometimes I just sit here and look and say to myself, 'This is my house,' " Coleman, 55, said. "It's a good feeling."

Her dream of a home for her family began with the annual Habitat for Humanity Detroit Homeownership Fair, where the nonprofit group got the ball rolling. On Wednesday, the group is to host its annual fair at Samaritan Center, 5555 Conner in Detroit.

Habitat for Humanity Detroit is looking to make 20 families homeowners this year, said Traci Odom, family services director. Even if a person has gone through foreclosure, depending on the circumstances, that would not necessarily disqualify him or her from getting a Habitat home, Odom said.

"If it's due to predatory lending, we may be able to work with them," she said.
Twenty homes worth $75,000 to $85,000 will be constructed on Wayburn, Maryland and Lakepointe in the Morningside neighborhood, roughly within a 15-block radius of Alter Road between Warren and Mack, Odom said.

U-Snap-Bac Housing Corp. and Habitat's Detroit chapter are building the homes as part of a joint venture that plans to erect 100 homes in the area, Odom said. Applicants will be required to spend 250 to 400 hours building the homes with volunteers in order to receive a 0% interest mortgage.

The mortgage payments, which include insurance and taxes, range from $600 to $650 a month, Odom said. The area is within a Neighborhood Enterprise Zone, which allows for a 15-year tax break.

Coleman, who moved into her home with her grandson in December 2007, said she's pleased with how Habitat has helped to revitalize the neighborhood.

"I'm just so grateful for Habitat." Coleman said.

Additional Facts
What: Habitat for Humanity Detroit Homeownership Fair
When: 5:30-7:30 p.m. Wednesday
Where: Samaritan Center cafeteria, 5555 Conner, Detroit
Some qualifications: Prospective participants must have a minimum household income of $22,000 a year, no bankruptcies discharged within the past two years, and must not have owned a home within the last year.
What to bring: Tri-merged credit report; copy of current driver's license or state ID; W-2s and federal tax returns (1040) for 2006, 2007 and 2008, and a $25 money order payable to Habitat for Humanity.

A brewer headquartered southeast of Lansing is getting a tax credit to produce a new line of beer for Kid Rock.

The tax credit for the Webberville-based Michigan Brewing Company was approved by the Michigan Economic Growth Authority. It's valued at $722,957.

The company plans to invest $7 million in the project, which is expected to create about 400 jobs in the state. In order to help with the project, the village of Webberville is also considering an abatement.

The Michigan Brewing Company is owned by Bobby Mason. He says he hopes to have the Kid Rock branded beer in stores sometime in the spring.

The beer's name, style and pricing have yet to be determined, and Kid Rock is working closely with the company to make those decisions.

The brewery currently employs about eight people, and produces about 100,000 barrels a bear a year.

Mason says he hopes to double production because of the new Kid Rock beer, and hopes to hire more than 150 employees over the next five year.

Those jobs are expected to be in the sales packaging and production department.

Positive Detroit Editor's Note: I will donate my taste buds for the greater good of ensuring the best tasting beer is made in Michigan. Please click the tiny envelope below if you would like me to partake in any taste tests. My liver is at your service.