Justin Verlander Draws Comparison to Nolan Ryan

Steve Kornacki

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tigers catcher Gerald Laird shook his head and smiled.

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

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

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

'One from Six Minute Men on Vimeo.

J.Mills and Matt Dibble

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The dates and areas are:

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

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

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

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

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

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

At least at a surface glance, it is.

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

Here are some of their stories.

City Hall? Really.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To help save lives and end breast cancer forever.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Click Here to Listen

Love and Laughs on Thursdays in Ferndale

Donald V. Calamia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Interesting news coming from Detroit:

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

Seems like a smart idea.

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

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

A social venture of sorts.

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

They sipped, supped and socialized.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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