Dan Armstrong

This year's 4th of July race in Frankenmuth will have a little extra star power. Amy Cremen from season six of NBC's "The Biggest Loser" is running her first competitive 10K. She's doing it at the Volkslaufe this Saturday.

She lasted 11 weeks with her mother on last year's season of "The Biggest Loser." Now, Amy Cremen is taking on the Volkslaufe in Frankenmuth with a much different mind set about the city than when she was nearly 240 pounds.

Amy says, "Coming up to Frankenmuth was like chicken dinners, butter noodles, going to candy shops, stuff like that. I would never in my life would ever think that i would run a race, never."

She recently completed a 5K in Clawson. "I really was afraid i was going to be last, but there were people behind me and in front of me, which was good."

Now, she's ready to double the distance. "I'm trying to make it in an hour and 10 minutes. That's my goal."

The 28-year-old from Royal Oak says you don't have to be a runner to be in shape, but that once she started, she couldn't stop. "It's like a natural high. I just think back to where I used to be and how I thought I could never do it. Now I'm running 3 miles, then 6 miles, then 13 miles, it's like making the impossible, possible."

Her size 22/24 jeans from May of last year reminds her of where she's been. And now, the mirror and the finish line, remind her of where she's going.

Michigan Fireworks has listed 404 Fireworks displays in Michigan for 2009. Very user friendly and easy to navigate. You can search by day and location.

Also, click HERE for tips on photographing fireworks this holiday weekend!
Greg Eno

It was in a fit of boosterism, some two years ago, when I took leave of my senses and banged out some tripe on this very blog about the bourgeoning third baseman of the Tigers, Brandon Inge.

I all but called him Mr. Tiger, declaring that he would never play for another big league team. Since his career would extend a dozen or so years in Detroit, why not go ahead and erect a statue of him in left center field at Comerica Park to join the other Tigers' greats in bronze?

Well, guess what? I stand by that boisterous tripe.

Inge, the catcher-turned-third baseman-turned-catcher-turned back into third sacker, is having a career year. He's about to obliterate his previous high in home runs (27 back in 2006) and has pumped his batting average above his norm, which means it no longer competes with his weight, but the weight of an NFL linebacker (.275 thru Wednesday).

The increased power and batting average, we're to presume, is a direct result of a new batting stance—something Inge worked on feverishly in the offseason, both with and without hitting coach Lloyd McClendon.The new stance—Inge stands straighter and points the barrel of the bat slightly toward the pitcher—hasn't done anything for his propensity to strike out. He's still fanning once every four at-bats, roughly. But he doesn't seem to be striking out in as many key situations.

In fact, Inge is becoming another kind of Mister, as in Mr. Clutch (with apologies to NBA star Jerry West).

Inge is, to me, the one Tiger I'd like to see at the plate in a late-inning, close game situation—with or without men on base. With his increased power (18 homers already), Inge places himself into scoring position simply by stepping into the batter's box.OK, but what's this jazz about erecting a statue?
Catherine Kavanaugh

Children missing meals they used to get from free or reduced-cost school food programs will be served by a new summer program offered by Forgotten Harvest and Gleaners Community Food Bank.

When the last dismissal bell sounds in June, as many as 250,000 students in the tri-county area as well as Monroe and Livingston counties go without breakfast and lunch until schools reopen in the fall, according to Gleaners spokesman Gerry Brisson.

"The summer is when we see the need. That's when we need to ramp up our services," added Monica Cheick-Luoma, spokeswoman for Forgotten Harvest, which is based in Oak Park and delivers perishable food to 150 providers in the tri-county area.

Ford Motor Co. is helping the two organizations get more food to hungry families with a donation of three delivery vans and $150,000 that will boost funding to Forgotten Harvest by $100,000 and Gleaners by $50,000.

The vans are on loan for the summer from Suburban Ford of Sterling Heights and Waterford, which partnered with Enterprise Car Rental.

"It's a short-term program but we hope to serve 575,000 meals," said Jim Vella, president of Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services.

The $100,000 donation will allow Forgotten Harvest to provide 425,000 more meal this summer than last summer, Executive Director Susan Goodell said. The contribution will cover the cost of shipping excess corn from Iowa and potatoes from Idaho, she added.

The money also will help maintain and fuel the fleet of 21 refrigerated trucks that go to 191 grocery stores almost every day, in addition to restaurants and catering businesses, to "rescue" nutritious food.

In the last year, Forgotten Harvest picked up 12 million pounds of foods that would have ended up in landfills instead of homes where people are hungry.

"Maybe it's milk that will expire in two days," Cheick-Luoma said. "We pick it up in the morning, take it to a pantry or directly to a neighborhood with our mobile pantry, and it's on the table for dinner."

Gleaners provides pantry supplies and food that can be prepared for shelters and soup kitchens to 420 agencies. For the summer, it will add 27 locations serving children lunch two to five times a week courtesy of the Ford van and cash donations.

The new summer lunch locations include four in Clinton Township, three in Madison Heights, and one each in Hazel Park, New Haven and Oak Park.

"We're trying to get more food to families when they need it," Brisson said.

The need is expected to grow. Currently, an estimated 600,000 people in Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties can't afford the minimum daily food requirements. This population could swell to 1.1 million people by 2013 depending on employment trends.

"Hunger is a real byproduct of the economic turmoil we've experienced in southeast Michigan," said Jason Vines, senior advancement director at Forgotten Harvest.

David T. Fischer, chairman and CEO of The Suburban Collection, said he is proud to use the business's resources and relationship with Ford to feed the hungry.

"We hope this initiative inspires others to join us," he said.

Darrell Clem

Plans are rolling along for a commuter transit system that is expected to start in late July for Canton residents who work in Ann Arbor.

Riders will park in Independence Park — off Denton Road between Cherry Hill and Geddes — and board Ann Arbor Transportation Authority buses that are expected to make two morning and two evening stops to pick up and drop off passengers, officials have said.

Neil Greenberg, AATA service development and communications coordinator, said Monday he hopes to release as early as next week more precise details about parking and bus schedules.

Greenberg said potential riders who want to receive updates by e-mail may contact AATA at mailto:atexpress.bus@aata.org.

The service is now tentatively expected to start on July 27 rather than July 20, as officials fine-tune details about the so-called A2 Express.

AATA officials approached Canton after piloting a program already in place with the city of Chelsea. The local proposal was approved last month by the Canton Township Board of Trustees, with Supervisor Phil LaJoy saying the transit authority's research “indicated a strong need for the service.”

Specifically, buses will take Canton riders to the University of Michigan Medical Center, U-M's campus and downtown Ann Arbor. Greenberg has said more than 3,000 Canton residents work for U-M, while another 1,000 have jobs elsewhere in the city.

Greenberg has indicated the service will be free for the first month, after which it is expected to cost $125 a month. Often, he said, employers will agree to split the cost with workers.

Township officials have agreed to provide up to 100 parking spaces at Independence Park from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. In return, the township will be paid $6,000 a year by AATA.

Jeremy Carroll

One week a year, when the South Oakland Shelter would come to her church, Big Beaver United Methodist, Diana Whitefoot would volunteer as a transportation director.

With husband Jerry, her job was to make sure everyone could get from one location to another. Along the way, the two began volunteering more by helping clients fill out Social Security forms and giving computer literacy classes once a week.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Whitefoot, a Troy resident. “It’s just an amazing program.”

SOS, a nonprofit organization that provides shelter, meals and case management support services for homeless families and individuals, was recently recognized as the Most Outstanding Volunteer Program by the state of Michigan.

“It’s definitely fitting for all of our volunteers,” said Kevin Roach, executive director of the Royal Oak-based group.

He said the group is honored and humbled by the distinction. They were named one of five finalists out of the 120 groups that were nominated, and were eventually singled out as the best. The distinction comes on the heels of their 25th anniversary as an organization, Roach said.

“We couldn’t have asked for a better way to celebrate our anniversary,” he said.

The organization has a partnership with 67 Oakland County churches and synagogues, each of which offers homeless people a warm bed to sleep in for one week out of the year. Roach said each church coordinates its own volunteer effort, and in the end, they have approximately 6,000 volunteers on an annual basis to help the program flourish.

Along with the volunteers at the individual churches, there are 30-40 regular volunteers who, like Whitefoot, help with the specific needs of the homeless population, from computer literacy and budget planning to job-hunting skills.

With the current economic troubles, Roach said they’ve seen demand for their services spike.

“We are seeing more women and children than ever before,” he said. “More than half of our clients are homeless for the first time in their lives.”

He said the response by volunteers and the community in the face of all this has been exceptional.

Through its participating churches, SOS provides shelter for 30 homeless people each week, and can serve up to 300 annually. They accept only people who are alcohol- and drug-free, and most end up with employment and/or a permanent place to stay at the end of their time with SOS, Roach said.

In addition to a great volunteer base, Whitefoot said the six full-time staff members and various part-time employees of SOS are exceptional.

“They work in a little building, and they utilize every resource they have,” she said. “They work really hard to make it happen.”


Coming to Ferndale Thursday, a brand new edition to the metro Detroit dining and nightlife scene: The new Inyo Restaurant and Lounge is all set to celebrates its grand opening.

Fresh and delicious sushi will definitely be served up as well as other modern creations, however Inyo is focused on being something different.

“We’re not really trying to do the Asian fusion,” says Service Manager Derek Rekar, “but it is Asian cuisine.”

Inyo, which is the Japanese symbol for circle and means weakness and strength, opened its doors in a soft opening June 4, but on Thursday, guests will be greeted with a full lunch and dinner menu that includes items like Bejing Duck, a newly-opened patio and sounds by Captn20.
Nightlife “is something we want to focus on,” Rekar says. “We do want the bar atmosphere but we want the lounge experience” too.

There’s no dance floor at Inyo, but with occasional DJs, a full bar, unique dishes like shabu shabu (thinly-sliced meat cooked at the table), this is a spot you’ll definitely want to keep watching on your after-dark radar.

8 p.m. Thursday, Inyo Restaurant and Lounge, 22871 Woodward Ave., Ferndale, 248-543-9500.

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

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

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

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


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Associated Press

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

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

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

Erin Galliher

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HBO Series 'Hung' Gives Detroit a Starring Role

Jessica Nunez

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

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

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

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

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

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