Brandon Inge: All-Star On and Off the Field

John Parent

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

That was no tattoo.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Comerica Cityfest Turns 21 and is Ready to Party

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Red Wings' Steve Yzerman named to Hall of Fame

Ansar Khan

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

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

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

Jump Start! Social Media Event is a user friendly, unique, high impact/low fear approach to all aspects of Social Media.

From Facebook & LinkedIn to Twitter & Search Engine Optimization we provide the foundation and practical application you need to Jump Start your use of Social Media today!

Join us and begin your journey to Social Media Dominance!

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

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

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

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

Angela Wisniewski - Website Producer, WDIV-TV 4

Expert panelists and the topic they will address:

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

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

John Hill – Director of Career Services, Michigan State University

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

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

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

Click here for a printable flyer

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more information about DWIFF, please visit,

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

More at

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

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

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

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

For more information on Project Salute, Click Here

Jennie L. Phipps

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Rob Lever

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Still, Motown veterans say the music lives on.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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