Rock band Foghat will heat up the stage on Friday, Aug. 21 for the fifth concert in the 2009 Rockin’ on the Riverfront concert series, sponsored by Andiamo Detroit Riverfront and in partnership with Detroit’s Classic Rock Station 94.7 WCSX-FM.

Foghat is the recipient of several awards including a platinum record for their Fool For The City album, which included their trademark song "Slow Ride" and cemented their place as one of the world’s top rock acts. Throughout the 70’s, they continued to hit the charts with hit singles such as "I Just Wanna Make Love To You", "I’ll Be Standing By" and “Stone Blue”. Today, Foghat is fronted by Detroit native and former Ted Nugent lead singer, Charlie Huhn.

Michigan-based guitar/harmonica duo Griff and John's Afterhours Experience will open the show at 8 p.m., and Foghat will perform from approximately 9 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.

Rockin’ on the Riverfront will continue to feature classic rock headliners every Friday through September 4.

Upcoming Rockin’ on the Riverfront concerts include:

August 28 – Edgar Winter
September 4 – Randy Bachman (performing the hits of his former bands the Guess Who and Bachman-Turner Overdrive)
Admission to the concerts is free and no advance tickets are necessary. Viewing space will be on a first-come, first-serve basis and people are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs and blankets. In addition, boaters on the Detroit River are invited to anchor near the riverfront and enjoy the view of the stage from the water.

Food and refreshment concessions from Andiamo Detroit Riverfront will be available at several locations on the plaza. Outside food, beverages or coolers will not be permitted. Andiamo Detroit Riverfront will accept dinner reservations before and after the concert and invites guests to take advantage of its gorgeous outdoor patio overlooking the Detroit River.

Convenient parking is available for $5 per vehicle at the GM surface lot at the intersection of St. Antoine and Atwater, adjacent to the GM Renaissance Center.

Jeff Seidel

Shaquille Coleman, 16, holds a boom microphone over the movie set in an alley behind the Children's Center of Wayne County in Detroit.

Vic Spicer, the project director, takes over.

"Are we ready?" Spicer asks. "OK. Quiet."

A few seconds pass.

"OK, roll camera," says Spicer, who owns his own production company in Detroit. "Action!"

Music starts to play. It is a catchy, foot-tapping, inspirational song these teenagers wrote, performed and recorded at Harmonie Park Studios, the same studio Aretha Franklin and Eminem use.

"Pursue your dreams," female voices sing sweetly.

The actors start to dance, as the song breaks into rap: "All it takes is a little dedication. Realization. Motivation. Don't stop! Keep chasing!"

Filmmakers have popped up around Michigan, making feature-length movies and TV shows, but this is different.

This group of 18 high school students from Detroit and Highland Park is filming its own short movie at a blazing pace - three weeks from start to finish.

The teens wrote the script and choreographed the dances. They're acting and doing most of the behind-the-scenes work under the guidance of several professionals through a program called artsJAM Detroit! WAY (Work Alternatives for Youth), which is introducing them to the film industry.

Titled "Dreams: The Musical," the movie's theme is about reaching for aspirations. It's broken into four vignettes and is being shot in and around the Children's Center. Organizers expect it to run about 30 minutes.

It's part of the three-week VSA Arts of Michigan summer program that is funded through grants and donations, including one from Detroit's Community Development Block Grant Neighborhood Opportunity Fund .

"We are hoping that these teenagers are going to learn skills that they can use later on, when they finish high school," says Ellene Corace, a program assistant. Each of the students has some form of disability, and Corace has been working with many of them for three years.

Corace says she has seen tremendous growth in the students.

"We have a strict structure here for discipline," she says. "We want to model what the working environment is going to be after they graduate. We don't let them get away with things. It's all about training them for the world of work."

It is the first real job for Sierra Burkes, 15, of Highland Park. Her dream is to become a nurse or a dancer.

"I've learned how to control my attitude," says Sierra. "When I first came, I used to be all talking back and stuff."

All of the students are being paid minimum wage.

"It's like a dream come true, actually," says Alphonso Mayberry, 17, who is set to graduate from Highland Park Community High School in 2011. He says he wants to become a disc jockey, a police officer and work at a recording studio.

"We are getting experience making movies and videos," Alphonso says. "It's the experience of having a job and getting a real paycheck. We are learning to work hard."

The film will make its premiere at the Boll Family YMCA .

"I think it will be cool," Sierra says. "It's going to be exciting. I want everybody to come and see me. I'll be happy."

We’ve mentioned the possibility of having ferry service for bicyclists and pedestrians wanting to cross between the U.S. and Canada without needing a car. (Yes, pedestrians can use the Transit Windsor tunnel bus.)

Now the Windsor Star has an article discussing this possibility.

North America’s largest private passenger ferry company is in discussions with Windsor and Detroit port officials to link the two border cities by boat.

NY Waterway, operator of the largest ferry fleet in the New York harbour, has participated in several meetings locally about launching a service across the Detroit River that would focus on transporting commuters, operating tours and carrying fans to sporting events such as Detroit Red Wings’ games.

Of course this is far from being a done deal according to the article. NY Waterway still needs to determine if this is economically feasible.

We sure hope it is.
Rick Aristotle Munarriz

General Motors is delivering good news.

The automaker is ramping up its production. It's adding overtime shifts to some of its plants to keep up with "Cash for Clunkers" demand for new, fuel-efficient vehicles. The end result should be 60,000 more cars produced by GM this year.

GM's spurt follows Ford's (NYSE: F) similar announcement last week. The steadier domestic manufacturer will boost its output by 26% during the second half of the year to keep up with the flurry of trade-ins.

This may be welcome news for the automaking industry, and encouraging news on the economic front, but it's downright spectacular for Sirius XM Radio (Nasdaq: SIRI).

GM and Ford have been early believers in factory-installed satellite radios. Sirius XM could use the infusion of new drivers, after losing 590,421 net subscribers through the first six months of the year.

The new buyers may not be an easy sell for premium radio. One could logically assume that folks driving older cars worth less than $4,500 as trade-ins -- the only subset of the market drawn to the "cash for clunkers" program -- don't make up the ideal satellite-radio target market. Some may shy away from modern dashboard conveniences. Many can't just afford the service. In its latest quarter, just 44% of car buyers with satellite receivers installed chose to become paying customers. The conversion rate should, in theory, be lower here.

However, many of these buyers are in rural areas, where terrestrial radio is threadbare. Since satellite radios come with free trial subscriptions, many of these first-time users will be blown away by programming options.

There's always the fear that GM and Ford are overestimating the marketplace's appetite. claims that "purchase intent" has fallen sharply in recent weeks. The first wave of "Cash for Clunkers" claims was naturally robust, but the pool of eligible participants thins out with every passing bucket of bolts that's surrendered for scrap.

I only fear that the rest of the potential buyers -- those without "clunkers" to hand over -- may be staying away, worried that dealers will be less reluctant to haggle their way down to great deals. As long as "Cash for Clunkers" is subsidizing drivers of stodgier cars, showroom bargains will be harder to find.

This will still be a net positive for companies such as Sirius XM, LoJack (Nasdaq: LOJN), and perhaps even Garmin (Nasdaq: GRMN), all of which feast on new car sales. However, investors will want to make sure that there's more to "Cash for Clunkers" than just the initial exhaust fumes of success.

World's Largest Cupcake Made in Detroit

A Detroit company has set a world record for the largest single cupcake as a fundraiser for a breast cancer charity.

Ryan Abood of said his company created the 7-foot-tall confection, which was certified by Guinness World Records as the largest cupcake ever made, with help from Merengue Bakery Cafe of California and Jensen Industries in Whitmore Lake, Mich., which donated the use of ovens normally used to bake airplane wings, the Detroit Free Press reported Monday.

Abood said the cupcake, created to raise funds for Passionately Pink for Cure, took 12 hours to bake and weighs 1,224 pounds. He said the cupcake's batter contained 800 eggs, 200 pounds of sugar and 200 pounds of flour.

"It's estimated to be around 2 million calories," Abood said

David Runk
Associated Press

Researchers at Michigan State University are working to turn the rutabaga into an oil-producing powerhouse that could make the turnip-like vegetable a better source of biofuel than other food crops.

The idea is that the rutabaga, which stores oil in its seeds like some other biofuel crops, could be genetically modified to churn out more oil and store it throughout the plant.

"If we could make it in the green tissues, like the leaves, stems or even underground tissues like storage roots, then we think we can make a lot more," professor Christoph Benning said.

The rutabaga hasn't had much presence on U.S. dinner tables, an advantage in using it for biofuel. The use of corn, soybeans and other food crops for fuel instead of food has raised the specter of shortages, and some blame the biofuel boom for pushing up food prices. Benning's research is one of many efforts nationally to get biofuel from sources other than major food crops.

Benning decided to focus on the rutabaga because the root vegetable already has the "machinery" of producing oil and it grows well in northern states. It's cold-resistant and, because of the way it flowers, he said, there's no threat of modified rutabagas becoming invasive.

Benning and his fellow researchers at Michigan State in East Lansing have inserted a gene into rutabagas to try to get them to accumulate oil instead of starch throughout the plant.

It took about a year to grow the first generation of genetically modified rutabaga in a university greenhouse, Benning said. The scientists will analyze seedlings from subsequent generations to see how oil production has been affected. Even if all works as expected, it could take 15 years before rutabaga biofuel becomes a reality, he said.

"It's not going to happen tomorrow, but the problem won't go away tomorrow," said Benning, who is part of Michigan State's Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

Dan Gustafson, director of the Washington, D.C. liaison office of the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization, said it's important for researchers to look at different sources for biofuel - in part because of the trade-off, for example, between producing corn for food and corn for fuel.

"Biofuel has some tremendous potential and opportunities for farmers, but there also are problems with food security," Gustafson said.

Scott Faber, a lobbyist for the Grocery Manufacturers Association, said it's important when looking at biofuel crops to examine how they will affect the cost of food. Even if rutabagas aren't widely grown in the U.S. for people to eat, rutabagas for biofuel could edge out other food crops.

"If you were to dedicate hundreds of thousands of acres to produce rutabaga for the biofuel sector, in all likelihood farmers would be changing what crops are currently being cultivated on those lands," Faber said. "That is one of the sort of hot-button issues, a central focus of the biofuel debate."

A goal, Benning said, is to grow rutabagas two or three times as efficient at producing oil as canola, a major biofuel crop. That could make it a "game changer" in the biofuel industry, he said.

The parts of genetically modified rutabagas that aren't harvested for oil could be used for animal feed, Benning said. He doesn't think the rutabagas would be unsuitable for human or animal consumption, but that would need to be studied. And the U.S. Department of Agriculture would have to approve their use.

Inc. magazine recently included Enovate in its annual Inc. 5000 list of the fastest-growing private companies in the United States. The list, based on percentage revenue growth from the last four years, is a comprehensive look at one of the most important sectors of the American economy--independent-minded entrepreneurs. The companies that share this year's list with Enovate include consumer electronics producer Vizio, Internet domain registrar GoDaddy and rental car service Zipcar.

"We feel honored to be recognized by Inc. as one of the fastest growing companies in the country. Our continued growth in a troubled economy is a testament to our talented and dedicated team," said Ron Sgro, co-founder and CEO of Enovate. "We are extremely exited about the future of the healthcare IT industry, as well as our role in the years to come."

Since 2003, Enovate has been providing mobile and wall mounted computer workstation solutions for the healthcare environment. Enovate's extensive list of clients includes The Johns Hopkins Hospital, the Cleveland Clinic, the University of Chicago Medical Center and Massachusetts General Hospital. Over the four years that Inc. 5000 used to calculate the results, Enovate experienced 84.5 percent growth, from $12.1 million revenue in 2005 to $22.3 million in late 2008.

Co-Founder and company President Fred Calero attributed Enovate's tremendous track record of growth to its internally designed, developed and assembled healthcare hardware solutions, as well as its continued effort to solicit customer feedback.

"We have found that many of the world's finest organizations realize the proven benefits of listening then adapting quickly to the customer's requirements," he said. "That is what ensures success in today's economy, and it's how we've been able to position ourselves as proven leaders in the healthcare IT market."

Anthony Brooks


Ryan Cooley, a Detroit native, thinks he's at the beginning of the city's renaissance.

An Urban Renaissance

Cooley grew up in Detroit but left to become a Chicago banker. Four years ago, though, he decided to come home and take a chance on Detroit real estate, and he bought three modest brick buildings in the Corktown neighborhood. Cooley, 33, said it cost only a couple hundred thousand dollars for all three buildings. Something similar in Chicago would have been four times as much.

He is so bullish on the city that he set up a real estate business in one of the buildings. In another he helped open a popular new restaurant. Slows Bar-B-Q has become the anchor of this mini-one block urban renewal.

A Family Affair

Cooley has partnered with his 31-year-old brother, Phil. Until recently, the younger Cooley was a fashion model working in cities throughout the world, but he says there is no place he'd rather live now than Detroit.

Phil Cooley says the city is wide open for new ventures and is tolerant of his mistakes and successes. "It's lovely to be able to afford to do that here, one, because the community is so forgiving. And two, because it's less expensive than other places. So it's affordable," he says.

Artists and Families

Music producer Chris Koltay was drawn to Detroit from Cincinnati by the vibrant music scene and the cheap real estate. He says he knew he could afford a whole building. He found one across the street from Slows for just $38,000. The recording studio is packed with guitars, keyboards and microphones.

Koltay has made a loft in the back of the building and for a year lived there without hot water. "It was gnarly, but whatever. Now I'm golden. And it's so wide open, and I think that's beautiful. I've never seen a city that has this kind of opportunity for growth, and I think that's beautiful," he says.

Stories of cheap real estate are becoming legend in Detroit. Mitch Cope and Gina Reichert bought a solid three-bedroom house in East Detroit for just $78,000.

And they didn't stop there.

They bought another house down the street for just $1,900. They're converting that one into a solar-powered artists retreat. Then, the self-proclaimed capitalists bought the house next door for just $500 — and sold it to fellow artists for a tidy profit of $50.

They've persuaded other friends to buy the house across the street for just $100. Together they are all hoping to build a budding artist community and revitalize their neighborhood.

Exodus Continues

But while others are moving in and taking advantage of fire sale real estate prices, many more people are leaving. Only post-Katrina New Orleans shed residents faster than Detroit.

Karen Edelson, a stepmother to four kids, says she loves the city for its art, music and culture but she just can't live there. "The schools are a mess. And I've had friends who moved to the city of Detroit and everything was out of bounds. If you don't go grocery shopping before the sun goes down, then you can't go out at night," Edelson says. She adds that friends who have moved into the city end up driving back to the suburbs on the weekends to do their shopping.

Renewal Gives Hope

Meghan McEwen, a magazine editor and mother of two small children, says you can find a family-friendly life inside the city of Detroit. Her husband is Ryan Cooley, the developer. She admits that the city lacks basic urban conveniences, but because she and her husband were able to find real estate so cheap, she's able to work part time.

And she says it's exciting to be part of an effort to rebuild a city.

That enthusiasm gives Lou Glazer, president of Michigan Future Inc., hope. He says the city will never return to its past vibrancy without young, talented professionals. Glazer says the brain drain from the city has been devastating.

It may not be a flood of artists, business owners and young professionals coming back to Detroit, but many in the Motor City say those trickling back in are giving many during these tough times something they haven't had for a long time ... hope.