Danny Glover to Star in Highland Park Library Film

The Associated Press

Actor Danny Glover will star in a movie that could help revive a shuttered library in the impoverished Detroit enclave of Highland Park.

The film project titled "Highland Park" was announced Monday at a news conference at the McGregor Library.

The story line will mirror the ongoing struggle to reopen the library, which closed in March 2002 because the city could not afford to keep it open.

Producer Chris Panizzon says Glover will star in the film.

Lt. Gov. John Cherry Jr. was on hand for the announcement.

Highland Park Mayor Hubert Yopp tells the Detroit Free Press the library will undergo significant restoration and the movie will be a "steppingstone" to its reopening.

Jack White may have moved from his hometown of Detroit, but he’s definitely not leaving behind his old stomping grounds. The White Stripes, Raconteurs, and Dead Weather rock star is trying his hand at philanthropy.

The Detroit News reports that White covertly donated $170,000 towards the restoration of Clark Park field, a baseball diamond where White played ball as a kid. “He was good,” said Mo Blackwell, former brother-in-law to White and father of Dirtbombs drummer, Cass Records founder, and Jack’s right-hand man at Third Man Records, Ben Blackwell. “Smooth left-handed swing.”

Jack has always kept in touch with the volunteers at the park, including Deb Sumner, who recalled meeting once-girlfriend “Rene Wellzinger, or however you say it.” Sumner had been imploring Jack to do a charity concert for years when an LA lawyer called on behalf of a then-anonymous donor. White’s donations paid for restorations that include new dugouts, grandstands, and a revamped infield.

Aww. I can tell that we’re going to be friends, Jack.

Michigan credit unions are riding high in the auto-lending market with an 8.5-percent increase in new loans in the second quarter, totaling $2.2 billion in auto-loan balances as of June 30, 2009.

This represents a record 32 percent increase in new vehicle loans from June 2008 to June 2009.  The record-breaking growth coincides with the launch of the “Invest in America” program in December which offers credit union members discounts on select General Motors and Chrysler products and low-cost financing.  The “Invest in America” member discounts are helping the domestic automakers during a critical time when credit is tight and encourages “buy American”.

“More than 200 credit unions statewide have stepped in to fill the void in auto lending,” said David Adams, MCUL CEO.  “Credit unions are financially stable, increasing members’ savings deposits and supporting their members and Michigan’s auto companies by making the loans that put new and used cars on the road. The ‘Invest in America’ program has strengthened credit union relationships with auto dealers and shown the importance of buying American.  This is not just about market share.  It’s about credit unions helping the auto industry, jobs and our economy.”

“Invest in America” has facilitated more than 190,000 new vehicle purchases for GM and Chrysler nationwide since January.  The program has resonated with Michigan car buyers as the Detroit automakers work to reestablish market share.  By offering a significant discount on a new GM or Chrysler vehicle, the program encourages Michigan’s 4.4 million credit union members to buy American-made products and support local jobs.  By offering lower rates than competing lenders, the program prompts members to finance their purchase through their credit union.  The average new car loan rate from a credit union is significantly lower, at 5.8 percent, than bank rates at 7.0 percent, according to Datatrac July 2009 data.  

 New auto loans are not the only bright spot for credit unions. Used car loans increased 14 percent from June 2008 to June 2009 and small business loans grew 17 percent over the same time period. And the momentum continued into the third quarter of 2009, as Michigan credit unions increased their market share of new and used car loans from 23 percent July 31, 2008 to 36 percent July 31, 2009.  This is the highest market share increase of the 20 most populous states.

Reflecting the trend in the broader economy, credit union savings deposits grew by 2.5 percent in the second quarter.  This represents the strongest growth rate in six years. Overall credit union loans are also on the rise with an increase of 1.6 percent in the second quarter.  This represents a 12-month growth rate of 5.8 percent; the highest since 2005.

Dear Fans of Positive Detroit,

The website expansion of the Positive Detroit Blog, Positive Cities, has been selected by Kickstarter as its newest funding project.

Kickstarter aims to let creative people of all kinds -- journalists, artists, musicians, game developers, entrepreneurs, bloggers -- raise money for their projects by connecting directly with fans, who receive exclusive access and rewards in exchange for their patronage.  Kickstarter has received recent press from NPR and The New York Times.

All projects selected for the site are by invitation only.  It is an honor and privilege to be granted this opportunity.

Kickstarter has already help fund $500,000 in projects and the site has only been in existence since April 2009.

Positive Cities' goal is to raise $41,700 by October 20, 2009. Because a pledging program is not complete (or fun) without giveways, there are several prizes I am handing out based on a tier of pledges.

Make sure to follow Positive Cities on Twitter and Facebook. New giveaways will be randomly announced throughout the pledge drive that are not currently listed on my Kickstarter page.

Curious? I bet you are.

Click Here for more details and to make a pledge.

I appreciate your continued support in helping further my mission to create a platform for communities, starting with Detroit, to interact, engage, and rediscover the love and pride within one's own backyard.

Please spread the word.

Thank You Kindly,

Detroit Fashion Pages, Detroit's digital lifestyle magazine, has been invited to attend the renowned fashion event of the season- Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in New York from September 10 through September 17, 2009.

Detroit Fashion Page's fashion journalists, Asia Willis and Shelby Davis were selected to get an inside look of the infamous fashion tents at Bryant Park. Media coverage will include show reviews, feedback from attendees and up to the minute coverage on social media sites such as, Facebook and Twitter.

"We are extremely excited to be a part of the most prominent and distinguished fashion event of the year," said Niki Johnson, publisher of Detroit Fashion Pages. "Asia and Shelby are anxious to cover fashion week and I'm confident they will do an exceptional job."

New York Fashion Week, recently branded Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, is a semiannual fashion spectacle held in New York City. It serves as the pinnacle for fashion insiders and industry makers for previewing next season's fashion, attracting over 100,000 visitors across the globe.

Fashion shows are attended by journalists, editors, buyers, celebrities and social types. The fashion week shows are invitation-only and each fashion designer is responsible for the guest list.

Over 60 designers will showcase their 2010 Spring Collections including; Anna Sui, BCBG Max Azria, Donna Karan, Derek Lam and Nicole Miller.
As American Express expands its presence in Detroit as the official credit card provider for the newly merged Delta and Northwest Airlines, the company is enhancing its long-standing commitment to the metro Detroit area through the launch of a year-long philanthropic program.

The program, entitled “Travel with Your Mind,” is designed to help revitalize Osborn College Preparatory Academy, located in Detroit, through a series of transformational projects and multi-cultural initiatives. The first project at Osborn will take place on Friday, Sept. 11, 2009 from 3 to 7 p.m.

American Express will work with the United Way for Southeastern Michigan, an affiliate of HandsOn Network, the largest volunteer network in the nation, to implement the organization’s signature HandsOn Schools program, which aims to reestablish schools as the focal point of the community. Throughout the school year, American Express will engage its employees, Delta and Northwest employees, as well as the broader community to perform a series of “Travel with Your Mind” projects at Osborn College Preparatory Academy, a Detroit Public School. The “Travel with Your Mind” theme was selected to help expose students to the new possibilities travel creates through a series of travel-related projects and multicultural initiatives – without the students ever leaving their own backyard.

For the first project, volunteers will help perform a variety of transformational activities at Osborn from painting travel-related murals and classrooms to putting together book shelves and outdoor beautification.

“As we focus on turning around local high schools that have graduation rates of 60 percent or less, we know lasting change will only be possible through powerful partnerships,” said Mike Tenbusch, vice president of Educational Preparedness at United Way for Southeastern Michigan. “We are excited about the spark of imagination that the ‘Travel with Your Mind’ projects will give the students of Osborn.”

The projects for Osborn were decided upon in advance at a “Design Day” meeting at which key community members discussed and selected proposed revitalization projects based on the school’s needs. Two additional projects are scheduled to take place at Osborn during the winter and spring semesters, which will be announced in early 2010.

In addition to Detroit, American Express is also working with HandsOn Network to bring the “Travel with Your Mind” program to Memphis, Minneapolis and Seattle, where similar projects will be executed throughout the year.  Overall, American Express’ “Travel with Your Mind” program in all four cities is expected to deliver more than 500 volunteers, 1,500 volunteer hours and contributions totaling more than $350,000.

Anyone interested in volunteering for the first project at Osborn College Preparatory Academy on Friday, Sept. 11 can register at http://volunteer.united-e- way/uwsem/volunteer.
 The Detroit chapter of Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW Detroit) is pleased to announce the winners of its 8th annual IMPACT Awards.

 The IMPACT Awards are considered to be among the most prominent honors in the Detroit area commercial real estate community and recognize three recently completed, multi-disciplinary projects in Southeast Michigan that demonstrate a significant, positive impact on the region. The 2009 IMPACT winners and their corresponding categories are:

·         New development:  Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital

·         Redevelopment: The Westin Book Cadillac Hotel

·         Special Impact:  The Marquee of Redford Township

Judges for the 2009 Impact Awards entries were: Lawrence Marantette, Taktix Solutions,R.J. King (DBusiness Magazine), Helen Dennis (CBRE), Bob Washer (MICCO), Susan Harvey (Ashley Capital), Delia Rodi Barczys (Niagara Murano), and Katherine Banicki (Testing Engineers & Consultants).

 The LEED Silver Registered Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital, the winner in the New Development category, is a full service hospital serving the people of Oakland County and beyond.  It originally began as a 270,000 sq. ft. medical office building/clinic in the 1970’s and was expanded in 2009 to become an 830,000 sq. ft. medical and surgical facility. IMPACT judges lavished high praise on the hospital, citing it as “a game changer” with “iconic impact,” a focus on “giving back to the patient,” and “attracting physicians and practitioners from around the world to learn about first class healthcare.”

 The Westin Book Cadillac Detroit, the winner in the Redevelopment category, opened in October 2008 following a massive $200 million historic renovation.  The Italian Renaissance-style hotel originally opened its doors in 1924 on what was called “The Fifth Avenue of the Midwest,” earning distinction as the tallest hotel in the world. The spectacular property, which is a member of the National Registry of Historic Places, now features 453 elegant rooms and more than 60 branded residences, as well as 30,000 sq. ft. of meeting and banquet space.  The judges all lauded the beauty of the Book. One judge deemed it the best redevelopment project in the metropolitan community in years, while another applauded its efforts to maintain a spot on the historic registry.  Several noted they had been following talk of redevelopment plans for the hotel since the 1980’s.

 The Marquee of Redford Township, the winner in the Special Impact category, is located at Five Mile and Beech Daly and is built on the site of the former Redford Township District Library, which was vacated in 2004 following the new construction of the current Redford Township District Library. The Marquee, owned by Redford Township, was completed in the summer of 2008 and revitalized the downtown district into a vibrant, central gathering area with an open-air, tent-like structure and an adjacent 250 seat amphitheater. The Marquee allows for community events such as farmers’ market, craft shows, concerts, plays and community movie nights.  IMPACT judges hailed the Marquee as a positive community gathering space that complimented the neighborhood; “the little engine that could” in terms of its creative re-adaption from one community landmark to another.

According to CREW Detroit member and IMPACT Awards Chair Susan Cook, a Senior Project Manager with ATC Associates Environmental Services in Novi, this year’s awards experience was particularly rewarding.

 “The 2009 IMPACT Award entrants included some of the most prestigious names in Southeast Michigan and reflected a deep commitment to long-term investment here, despite the region’s economic challenges,” notes Ms. Cook.  “Plus, whether it was the redevelopment of historic hotel properties to their former glory or the adaptive re-use of once industrial sites into unique corporate offices, the IMPACT submittals all reflected a dynamic commercial real estate approach where environmentally sound principles are in harmony with form and function.”

Lawrence Marantette has served as a judge since the IMPACT Awards were established in 2001 and agrees that this year was a challenging one for the judges.

“Given the lack of significant development in southeastern Michigan, there was a surprisingly strong set of quality submittals for this year’s Impact Awards Program. The entries ranged from healthcare to housing to higher education, with a couple great community facilities projects. It shows the depth of CREW members in all aspects of real estate development,” offers Mr. Marantette.

The IMPACT Award winners were selected from an outstanding pool of eleven contenders.  To be considered for inclusion, all projects entered for consideration had to involve at least one company with a CREW Detroit member and had to have been completed between January 1, 2008 and June 29, 2009. Project criteria was broad and included innovative design and/or construction, environmental consciousness, creative use of existing materials, sensitive land use and social/economic significance.  In addition to Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital, The Westin Book Cadillac Hotel, and the Marquee of Redford Township, the other IMPACT award submissions were:  Providence Park Hospital, Novi;  The Courtyards, Ann Arbor;  University of Michigan Ross School of Business, Ann Arbor ; The Water Wheel Centre, Northville;  PM Environmental/Strategic Energy Solutions, Berkley; Fort Shelby (hotel/apartments/restaurant) Detroit;  eTitle Building, Troy; and DTE Energy, Detroit.

Detroit: City of Neighborhoods

Bureau of Urban Living

Detroit has long been a city famous for making things, and neighborhoods are what make Detroit. From Warrendale to Indian Village, Delray to Sherwood Forest, we each do our part to honor Detroit's heritage as we write the next chapter of Detroit's story.

Now, inspired by neighborhood maps made for other cities, Detroit finally has its own. Introducing the Detroit Neighborhood Map, designed by Allied Fabrication Systems.
This snapshot of our changing city is a must-have for every Detroit lover.

Available at Bureau of Urban Living
Colors: Navy Blue/Orange
$25 Flat, $50 Framed

Making their debut at Crain's House Party
Thursday, September 10, 5-7 PM
Bureau of Urban Living
460 W. Canfield Street
Midtown Detroit
The multi-instrumentalist and rock, pop and blues music pioneer Edgar Winter will heat up the Detroit Riverfront Plaza on Friday, September 11 for the sixth 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.

Winter is still jamming as hard and heavy as ever and has been for more than 35 years. His hits “Frankenstein” and “Free Ride” captured an era in pop history by fusing blues with rock. He continues to defy musical trends with his latest CD, Rebel Road.
Mark “The Paz Man” Pasman, host of 94.7 WCSX’s “The Motor City Blues Project” and guitarist for some of Detrot’s top bands, will open the show at 8 p.m. Edgar Winter will take the stage from approximately 9 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.

To celebrate the end of this year’s free Rockin’ on the Riverfront concert series, Andiamo and WCSX are asking concert goers to make a donation to the Capuchin Soup Kitchen as they enter the Detroit Riverfront Plaza. Every $2 donated will feed one meal to a person in need.

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.

Michelle Martinez
Crain's Detroit

For decades, the food that hospitals served their patients and visitors was a practice in irony. Hospitals advised patients to change their diet to help treat chronic illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension and heart disease, but served up bland, salt- and fat-laden foods bedside or in their cafeterias.

But new food programs are allowing hospitals to practice what they preach, serving fresh, healthy and — increasingly — locally sourced foods to patients, visitors and even staff.

The change is a chance for hospitals and Michigan communities to get “multiple outcomes,” said Michael Hamm, a professor of sustainable agriculture at Michigan State University, “a public-health impact, an economic impact and a land-preservation impact.”

Hamm in March co-wrote an article in the Journal of Hunger and Environmental Nutrition that estimated if Michigan residents ate the recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables and bought them from local, seasonal sources, it could add nearly 2,000 jobs and $200 million to the state's economy.

Henry Ford West Bloomfield Executive Chef Frank Turner puts it another way: If more residents were to spend “just $10 a week on locally grown food,” tens of millions of dollars would be put back into the state's economy, he said.

“We want to set the example for the community,” he said.

Henry Ford Health System isn't the only one. Locally, Warren-based St. John Health, Detroit-based Detroit Medical Center and Royal Oak-based William

Beaumont Hospitals are all finding new ways to offer healthy choices to everyone who passes through their doors. The Michigan Health & Hospitals Association last November started a campaign to get hospitals to eliminate trans fats from their vending machines, cafeterias and patient menus by January.

Nationally, Arlington, Va.-based Health Care Without Harm, a global coalition of health care providers, labor unions and environmental groups challenged hospitals to overhaul their food systems to healthier and locally sourced models.

That group in June hosted its FoodMed conference in Detroit, addressing strategies and benefits of instituting a healthy, sustainable food plan in health care settings.

More than 250 hospitals nationwide have signed that organization's pledge, Henry Ford West Bloomfield and Chelsea Community Hospital among them.

The practices are more important to recession-worn residents, who may want to support Michigan economies, and to those more interested in where their food comes from in light of recent peanut butter, spinach and meat recalls, said Elaine Brown, executive director of Michigan Food and Farming Systems, a nonprofit that promotes sustainable agriculture.

In 2003, there were 90 farmers markets statewide, she said. Today, there are 200 — including weekly markets at Henry Ford West Bloomfield, Beaumont Hospitals and St. John Health.

Henry Ford West Bloomfield President and CEO Gerard van Grinsven sees it, too.

The healthy and sustainable communities concept is “the whole theme behind what we're doing,” he said.

Van Grinsven in 2006 was hired to head Henry Ford's new West Bloomfield hospital from his post as vice president and area general manager of the Chevy Chase, Md.-based Ritz Carlton Co. The hospital has become a lab for the seven-hospital system, where holistic health care and fresh, local food preparation are tested for systemwide viability.

Van Grinsven tapped Matt Prentice, the chef behind such restaurants as Coach Insignia and Shiraz, and Prentice's executive chef, Frank Turner, to develop menus that included fresh local foods. Instead of institutional food workers, the pair hired 20 chefs, half of them culinary students, to serve about 800 meals a day in the hospital.

West Bloomfield cooks patient meals on demand from a large menu. It has no deep fryers or freezers. Its projected $100,000 annual food spending goes mainly to regional farms and vendors such as Maple Creek Farms, a community-supported organic farm in Yale, in the Thumb; or Chef's Garden, an organic farm in Huron, Ohio.

A demonstration kitchen is on hand for healthy-cooking classes, drawing residents each week for classes such as vegetarian cuisine or healthy tailgate food, featuring Michelle Bommarito, a TV chef who has appeared on TV with Martha Stewart and on the Food Network.

Henry's, the hospital café, serves up dishes such as carrot bisque and salmon burgers to about 200 people a day who show up at the hospital for no other reason than to eat, van Grinsven said.

Two months ago, a farmers market was added, drawing another 200 to 300 people to the hospital every Wednesday.

Not everyone is throwing out their fryers, but other local hospitals are moving toward more healthy offerings.

Beaumont Hospitals has been free of trans fats since May, said Maureen Husek, director of nutrition and retail services. The three-hospital system's “My Healthier Choice” program labels cafeteria items that meet American Heart Association guidelines, Husek said.

Detroit Medical Center's Harper University Hospital labels each cafeteria item with its nutritional content and provides the Weight Watchers “point count” of certain items, said Thomas Malone, hospital president and CEO.

Signs posted around the hospital indicate calories burned by taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or walking around the DMC's Midtown “quad.”

St. John is trans-fat free and is revamping its cafeteria menu to be heart healthy, said Dina Ciaffone, a district manager with global food service company Sodexo Inc. posted at St. John and a former director of the system's Detroit Riverview hospital. The system has rewritten its patient menus along similar guidelines and alerts patients when they're butting up against dietary restrictions with each meal.

St. John has bought from local growers and vendors for the past 15 years, Ciaffone said, spending about $2.3 million a year for produce and dairy products alone to prepare nearly 4 million meals for patients and visitors a year.

“We really believe that the less distance food travels, the fresher it's going to be, and (it) cuts down on emissions,” she said.

The trend isn't happening only at hospitals. Skilled nursing homes are overhauling their food plans as well.

Nabil Hawatmeh, executive director of food and nutritional services at MediLodge of Sterling Heights, swapped the bland gravy-colored entrees being served several years ago for what he calls “upscale dining” options.

Now the residents are served from a colorful buffet that features five homemade entrees, healthy panini sandwiches, and fresh fruit and salads.

If they get hungry during the night, they can order room service from a 20-item menu, Hawatmeh said.

Medilodge relies on Medicare and Medicaid for the majority of its revenue, but Hawatmeh said the changes have made the Sterling Heights location a coveted place for prospective residents and drawn residents out of their rooms to socialize more.

The $1 to $2 in extra food costs per patient per day (the industry average is about $6 or $7, Hawatmeh said) is offset by creating efficiencies in other areas, or accepted by the administration because of the program's benefits.

“The No. 1 concern people have when they come here is the food,” he said.

Health care industry food giants are taking notice.

“We've definitely changed our buying patterns to accommodate (the increased demand),” said Diana Bott, senior director of multiunit and health care sales for Sysco Detroit, the local branch of Houston-based Sysco Corp., boosting local produce buys and increasing business with companies such as Cadillac Coffee and Achatz Handmade Pie Co.

But making paying cafeteria customers or wary patients warm up to healthier food choices has been a hurdle, Ciaffone said. DMC's Malone agrees.

Hospitals depend on revenue from cafeterias and retail food chains as part of their budget, Malone said. The biggest money producer on Wednesdays at Harper Hospital's cafeteria? Fried chicken wings.

Offsetting cost is another issue.

National healthy-food model Oakland, Calif.-based Kaiser Permanente started buying local and healthy foods for its hospitals in 2006 and saw an increase in its total food spending of about 1 percent, said Jan Sanders, director, national nutrition services procurement and supply. But it offset that cost with measures such as buying in-season produce, reducing the number of times high-cost items appear on hospital menus, or replacing beef or poultry with vegetarian options.

Preston Maring, the Kaiser Permanente physician who spearheaded the system's farmers markets and healthy-food programs, said most of its programs paid for themselves and did boost the amount of fresh fruits and veggies hospital visitors and staff ate, he said.

“It's difficult to say that someone healed a little bit faster because they had healthy food on their tray, but we do know that increasing overall consumption of fruit and vegetables is good for people and puts money into local farm economies.”

Van Grinsven said that a condition of West Bloomfield's radical approach was that it didn't cost more than conventional food service might.

The common-sense approach to serving patients food they want to eat when they want to eat has cut down on waste, Taylor said.

“You could feed a village from the amount of food hospitals throw away,” van Grinsven said.

Revenue from Henry's Café, cooking classes and the upcoming culinary institute will go to offset any increase from buying organic or local food, he said, but added that hard numbers on the cost of West Bloomfield's expansive food programs won't be tallied until the end of the year.

The hospital opened in March and has only 113 beds of its eventual 300 on line, with 192 scheduled to be available by the end of the year.

But early, small indicators are pointing in the right direction. Henry's Café is grossing $5,000 a day, matching early projections. They aim to double it when they expand their dinner service later this year, said Sven Gierlinger, hospitality services administrator at West Bloomfield.

Miss America 2008 and Farmington Hills native, Kirsten Haglund will return home Wednesday, September 16th 2009 to host “A Celebration of Life” fundraiser to support the Kirsten Haglund Foundation.

The fundraiser seeks to celebrate Kirsten’s 21st birthday by raising $21,000 to benefit the Foundation’s mission to provide hope and resources for those seeking recovery from an eating disorder.

The Kirsten Haglund Foundation (501 c3) is dedicated to providing hope and resources for those seeking recovery from an eating disorder.  Our goal is to provide education about the illness and scholarships to help patients receive the treatment needed to achieve recovery – treatments that are often not covered by health insurance.
The event will feature wine tasting, strolling hors d’oeurves, a silent auction and entertainment by Kirsten Haglund. Tickets are $80 and can be purchased through Paypal at http://kirstenhaglund.org.

 Where:            Andiamo Novi

                        42705 Grand River Avenue (Southeast of Novi Rd.) Novi, MI 48375

When:             Wednesday, September 16, 2009; 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.


Photo by Gregory Shamu

Anthony Brooks of National Public Radio (NPR) interviewed the following Detroiter's for a segment about The Detroit Suburbs:

Matt Rafferty, Owner of the WhistleStop Restaurant and Diner in Birmingham

Steve Trachsel, Owner of the Barber Pole in Birmingham

Professor Margaret Dewar, Urban and Regional Planning Program, University of Michigan

L. Brooks Patterson, Executive, Oakland County, Michigan

Mr. Lou Glazer, President, Michigan Future Inc.

Carrie Zarotney, President, Chamber of Commerce, Birmingham
Panera Bread of Southeast Michigan has debuted five new fall-inspired menu items. To celebrate the new tastes of the season, all 41 metro Detroit bakery-cafes will give out free samples of new items during a Share the Dough event on Thursday, Sept. 10.

The samples given away throughout the day will include bite-sized portions of the new BBQ Chicken Chopped Salad, Napa Almond Chicken Salad Sandwich, Breakfast Power Sandwich, Fudge Brownies and Macadamia Nut Blondies.

In addition to the samples, Panera Bread will donate a portion of proceeds from all loaves of bread and half dozen or more bagels purchased to Children’s Hospital of Michigan, its local Operation Dough-Nation partner.

This is one way Panera Bread joins with its customers to support local communities. In 2008, Panera Bread bakery-cafes collectively donated a retail value of more than $50 million worth of bread and baked goods to charitable organizations helping to address the need for food distribution in its local communities.

“We encourage all customers to stop by their local bakery-cafe, sample our new products and join us in supporting Children’s Hospital of Michigan,” said Lee Carmona, area director of Panera Bread of the Great Lakes Region.

To find the Panera Bread bakery-cafe nearest you, visit www.panerabread.com

Drew Barrymore wants all movie and/or roller skating fans to join her in suburban Detroit next week for a get-together in support of her new movie.

Barrymore is making her directorial debut with next month's "Whip It," which filmed scenes in Michigan and is centered around the world of roller derby.

The 34-year-old actress and filmmaker will walk the red carpet and host the skating event Sept. 11 at Bonaventure Skating Center in Farmington Hills.

Attendees are encouraged to bring their own skates, or they can rent them for a fee.

Barrymore also produced and appears in "Whip It," which stars Ellen Page as a small-town Texas teenager who becomes a roller derby star.
To celebrate Labor Day and to salute workers who support our Michigan-based automotive brands, participating Dunkin' Donuts restaurants statewide are offering these employees a free cup of fresh coffee all day on Monday, September 7.

The offer for a free medium hot or iced coffee is good for any worker employed by the three domestic automakers, their vehicle dealerships and their automotive suppliers. Individuals must present a valid company ID, business card or other form of proof of employment at point of purchase to receive the free cup of coffee. No additional purchase is necessary.
 Performing hits from from his two legendary bands, The Guess Who and Bachman-Turner Overdrive, Randy Bachman will hit the Detroit Riverfront Plaza for 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.

Born in Winnipeg, Canada, guitarist, songwriter, performer and producer Randy Bachman has become a legendary figure in rock and roll, earning more than 120 gold and platinum albums/singles worldwide for performing and producing.

 Bachman first scored Billboard success with his band, The Guess Who, in 1965 with the song, “Shakin' All Over”. By 1970, The Guess Who had sold more records than the entire Canadian recording industry with their hits, “These Eyes”, “Laughing”, “Undun”, “No Sugar Tonight” and “American Woman”.

In 1970, Bachman formed Brave Belt – a country rock group experimenting with new musical styles, which eventually evolved into Bachman-Turner Overdrive, known for their hits such as “Let it Ride”, “Roll on Down The Highway”, “Takin' Care of Business” and “You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet”.

Bachman will perform from approximately 9 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Backstage Pass will open the show at 8 p.m. Edgar Winter will play in a rescheduled concert on Sept. 11 to officially conclude the series.

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.
Known for decades now as Fashionable Ferndale, the dynamic burg fronting Historic Woodward Avenue will soon host the Ferndale Film Festival that promises to be a signature event for the summer season.

The Ferndale Film Festival, dubbed in hipster lexicon as F3, will take place September 3-7, 2009. F3 will include several screens dotted about the city, "Drive-In" theatres, workshops, exhibitions, VIP events and more.....

Ferndale is identified through the Michigan Film Incentives as a core community and has served as locations for several films over the past year including "Youth in Revolt" and "Prayers for Bobby"

Drive Ins, Classes and of course Movies can be found in Ferndale over the labor day festival.

For a complete list of movies and classes check out the movies page.

Tickets are $5 and proceeds from the festival go to local charities, Michigan Aids Coalition, MDA, D-Pan, and Ferndale Youth Association.

Movies under the Stars

"Monsters, Inc" at Martin Road Park on Saturday, September 5th, starting at dusk. Click here to register for free

"Army of Darkness" in the Ferndale Public Libraries west parking lot, right off the corner of Nine and Woodward on Saturday, September 5th, starting at dusk, Click here for free registration.
Clare Pfeiffer Ramsey
Model D
Featured in the Fall issue of Next American City

Karen Gage says the best way to travel Detroit is by bike. The entrepreneur and community development star isn't just saying that because she started the city's first bike rental business a year ago. Karen's bike is her main mode of transportation. She says the city's flat, wide streets and sparse traffic make for great conditions for those who prefer two wheels to four.

"People ask me all the time if I feel safe, and I just want to be like, 'No. No I don't. And it sucks. That's why I ride my bike every day,'" Karen says, with an ironic deadpan.

So where does the biking businesswoman and urbanist pedal to in Detroit?

Everywhere. By day, she uses her urban planning background in her role as vice president of the New Center Council, a community development corporation in a busy neighborhood at the northern edge of Detroit's downtown. By evening and weekend, she is co-owner of Wheelhouse Detroit, the bike shop that opened last year on the city's recently developed RiverWalk along the Detroit River. A day in Detroit for Karen is never the same, but wild variety and randomness are why she loves this city.

Karen's day in Detroit:

9:30 a.m. Coffee for breakfast at Stella International Café in the Fisher Building lobby. The small but chic coffee shop serves Illy brand brews and makes a mean Americano, Karen's favorite. It's owned by the same people behind the Pure Detroit t-shirt shop, which is also in the same, glorious, art deco, iconic Albert Kahn building, along with her New Center Council headquarters.

10 a.m. Meetings and phone calls at New Center Council. She and the team are working on big projects, including revamping an old, admittedly creepy viaduct with new lighting and public art. The project "is going to be a nightmare, but I love it," Karen says. Then there's the massive rehabilitation of the Argonaut Building, a coup for New Center. The city's art and design school -- College for Creative Studies -- is putting $145 million into the redevelopment of the 760,000-square-foot, 11-story Argonaut. The former General Motors '20s office building once was home to the auto company's designers but has been vacant for five years. Starting this fall, it will house a new generation of creatives in the art school's dorms and classrooms, plus a new charter school for the city's youth. The neighborhood is already feeling the impact from the project, even before the kids move in. "All the construction guys are coming in. They shop at our stores. They eat at our restaurants. And when it actually opens, it'll be more," Karen says.

Noon: A slice at Supino Pizzeria in Eastern Market. If she can squeeze it in, she loves to grab lunch at this relatively new spot next to the region's premier farmers market. "It is hands down the best pizza I've ever had," she says.  The Wheelhouse crew often bikes there on the Dequindre Cut bike path, which opened this year. With graffiti encouraged, the $3 million, 1.2 mile greenway replaced a former depressed rail corridor. And now Karen and the bike shop crew call it their "pizza super highway."

5 p.m.:  Karen takes her turn minding the Wheelhouse. In its second year, sales are up. She and biz partner Kelli Kavanaugh offer guided rides that are often sold out, attracting both out-of-town tourists and metro Detroiters wanting to know their city better.

8 p.m.: Drinks at Park Bar. After work, Karen heads over to a favorite spot for Detroit urbanites: The Park Bar. Owner Jerry Belanger opened the bar two years ago, and it's where the "Who's Who" of Detroit downtown dwellers come to gossip and drink the local brews on tap. "You can go there by yourself, and you always run into someone you know. And even if you don't see someone ... no, you always do," Karen says.

9 p.m. Party at MOCAD ... or some other random act of fun. If something is going on, and there's almost always something, the MOCAD -- Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit -- has cool, funky and enlightening programs. Plus they throw the best parties, attracting the art-collecting elite and art school kids alike. The Museum has brought in the "Shrinking Cities" exhibit from Berlin and showcased plans for a "container house" development dreamed up by Detroit architects. A talk this summer was entitled, "Is Detroit Really The New Berlin?"  If nothing is going on at MOCAD, there's always something else odd or enticing, or both. One night, it was an Alley Cat Bike Race: Think chopped bikes put back together in some creative way and then raced like hell through the city streets. On another night, a friend put together performance art in a vacant lot that involved cooking with power tools. Another night friends rented a boat and threw a huge dance party on the river.

Midnight: Bedtime, or perhaps a visit to a local bar. A Friday favorite is Café D'Mongo's Speakeasy, a late-night jazz hangout whose decor prompted one writer to call it "Liberace's living room." "David Lynch's lounge" would also work. If it's a Thursday night, she enjoys the dive bar goodness of a place like L.J.'s in Corktown, where neighborhood residents and hipsters mingle, sing karaoke, and soak in the low-key atmosphere. If she opts for sleep, it'd be hard to blame her. The next day in Detroit could mean more bikes, buildings or trips on the pizza superhighway. She just never knows.
Jessica Archer

Nearly 2,700 Wayne State University incoming freshmen will participate in Warrior Service Day, a daylong community service initiative benefiting several Detroit civic organizations including, ARISE! Detroit, Coalition on Temporary Shelter Detroit, the Capuchin Soup Kitchen, Gleaners Community Food Bank and more.

 Students will convene at Wayne State’s Matthaei Athletic Complex at 8 a.m.Wednesday, September 2 before dispersing to project sites throughout the city of Detroit. A full Warrior Service Day schedule is available through the contact below.

This year's projects include youth mentoring, urban farming and several community clean-up initiatives. Warrior Service Day is a function of iStart: New Student Days, a program designed to jump-start the academic careers of first-year students.
Mike Householder
Associated Press

Sir John Herschel made important contributions to the nascent field of photography more than a century and a half ago, inventing a chemical process that allowed an image to be fixed onto photosensitive paper.

So it's fitting that the first work attendees will see at a new photo exhibition at the Detroit Institute of Arts is an 1867 portrait of the British scientist.

"People still feel that because a photograph's made with a machine, a camera, it's not like painting, it's not like sculpture," said museum associate curator Nancy Barr, who put together the exhibition. "It started out on an unsure footing. But people like (Julia Margaret) Cameron pushed for it to be an art, and other people did as well."

It was Cameron who took the famous Herschel portrait that kicks off the exhibit in Detroit that opens Wednesday.

She was a friend of the astronomer and chemist and requested he pose with his hair freshly washed but uncombed and him staring off-camera. She hoped to create a slightly unruly look that played up Herschel's intellectual genius. Cameron also used a long exposure time and left the lens out of focus to produce a soft, hazy effect.

"(Photography) was kind of an upper-class hobby for some," Barr said. "But (Cameron) took it very seriously. She got involved in exhibitions. She sold her work. She really felt photography was a new art form."
More than half a century after Cameron created her most notable works, Walker Evans emerged on the scene, and his work is given its own wall at the exhibit. Evans, a St. Louis native and self-proclaimed "maverick outsider," was the first photographer to have a solo exhibition at a major U.S. institution — the
Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Detroit museum said.

On display in Detroit are some of Evans' works that depict commonplace subjects such as crumbling buildings, advertisements and workers. One of his best-known images and more rare photos in the collection, "The Breakfast Room, Belle Grove Plantation, Louisiana" depicts the decayed interior of a plantation home.
The exhibition is organized chronologically and presents views of the many uses of early photography, including scientific and artistic study, documentation, portraits, landscape and still life. The images span the early 1840s to the 1940s.

Other highlights include classic works by photographic greats Ansel Adams, Margaret Bourke-White, Dorothea Lange, Alfred Stieglitz, Paul Strand and Edward Weston.

The exhibition is free with museum admission and also includes a few extras.

Visitors can stop by the museum's art studio for a cyanotype (blueprint) workshop, where they will be able to create their own blue, ultraviolet-light-developed images. They also will be given the opportunity to gaze through a stereoviewer (think of it as a 19th century View-Master) and see a rare daguerreotype stereoview.
And in a first for a photographic exhibition at the Detroit Institute of Arts, attendees will be invited to fill out a comment card and give a thumbs-up or thumbs-down on what they've seen.

"We've never done this. It's kind of an experiment," Barr said. "There's a certain component who really don't feel that photography's legitimate as an art form. ... Some people may struggle with it."

Robert Farago

Sometimes companies do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do. Sometimes expediency rules the day. Not infrequently, legal compulsion provides the motivation.

Whatevs. The Detroit News reports that New Chrysler has donated Old Chrysler’s Political Action Committee (PAC) lobbying fund to the United Way. The semi-nationalized automaker will write checks to local chapters totaling $525,000. This also means that New ChryCo will not use union/taxpayer money to support/reward the election/re-election campaigns of politicians friendly to the unions/federal bailouts.

Chrysler gets props for avoiding an obvious conflict of interest. Or it that confluence The ball’s now in their fully nationalized cross-town rival’s court.

“GM transferred its PAC from the bankrupt Motors Liquidation Co. — the GM entity that remains in bankruptcy — to the new GM. The fund had $418,000 in cash through May 31. GM has said political contributions will not resume until next year at the earliest.”

 I’ve got an idea: how about never?

A Tale of Two Cities

By Dennis Fields

I am a Detroiter through and through. I love this city. So it should come as no surprise that I get a little ticked off when I hear people "bad mouthing" the city.

It seems to me that Detroit gets a disproportionate share of criticism and "bad mouthing." Comparatively speaking, Detroit is no worse off than any other city.

Recently, I spent a few days in Memphis TN for a family reunion. During those days, I heard news reports of carjackings, bank robberies, shootings and muggings. While driving through some of the neighborhoods, I witnessed drug activity. All of this revelation begs the question, Why does Detroit receive so much more bad press than Memphis?

If the casual observer digs a little deeper, it seems that Detroiters are an all or nothing, extremists sect. We are either the Motor City or a failure. There are plenty of names that have stuck be we allowed them to: The Murder Capital, Devils Night, Crime City and even MoTown and the Motor City. I added the last two because even though thy were supposed to be positive connotations, they pigeon-held the city. There was no room for diversification.

It seems that if Detroiters want a better Detroit, they first have to take a good long look in the mirror and ask themselves what kind of Detroiter are they? Do they sit idly by and allow crime to happen? Do they over look trash blowing down the street? Do they accept substandard government because it is what they are used to having?

For anyone who reads this, I have an assignment for you. I need to you spark a discussion with at least 5 people you know who would not read a blog or research local government politicians. Engage these people to find out what kind of Detroit in which they want to live. Find out how much are they willing to do to make their Detroit a reality.

The thing that really gets me about the news paper articles, talk shows and blogs that talk about how to accomplish a better Detroit never once mentions those who don't read the paper, listen to or watch talk show or read blogs. It is that very demographic that needs to be engaged to change this city. As I often say, the suburbanites evacuated the city and left it to Bay Bay and Ray Ray 'nem and expects the city to function properly.

If we really want a better Detroit, we'll have to demand better Detroiters. Detroiters who care about their city as well as the image it portrays. Detroiters who a willing to work for utopia and not just hope for it.

Eric Brown

We meet the most interesting people as we scramble in and around Royal Oak, and when we do, we like to highlight them here at the Urbane Life Blog. One such couple came through our office this week that we would like to introduce you too.

Not only did we find their overall story interesting, but also the creative way in which they use a local church kitchen during off church times to bake their pies.

It was refreshing to see how one couple is battling back during these times!

With that, here is our introduction to Little Jack Horner Pie Company:

I never dreamed I would be a baker. I don’t know why I never considered this particular profession. I was an artist I suppose, and didn’t realize that baking had any art to it.

I started the pie company with my boyfriend Christopher because I had baked so many pies in my life: working as a cook in Switzerland and Holland; baking beside my friend Caitlin as she taught me to make the best apple pie in the world to sell at the farmers market down the street in Iowa; baking beside my mother as she curved the edges around dough on her famous pumpkin pie.

We needed to generate income and baking seemed like a simple enough venture to enter into.

Little did we know there was a specific niche waiting for us to fill. I had never really experienced delicious strawberry-rhubarb pie before I started experimenting with recipes. Our company tumbled easily into creation. We found a kitchen to rent to bake in, I perfected a recipe, we, miraculously, got a booth at the Royal Oak Farmers Market. The pie baker from the year before had mysteriously quit. We started a customer base and easily got accepted to Holiday Market to sell our pies, then Goldfish Tea, then Western Market in Ferndale.

The one thing Chris and I are committed to in any money generating venture is ethics. Neither of us realized until we started Little Jack Horner how much love and good decision making could go into a company or how a company truly is a reflection of the creator. Companies like McDonalds are a reflection of someone, somewhere.

Little Jack is a reflection of us and we care so much about so many things: the environment; the country; people we interact with; supporting those around us. That is why we make our pies with Michigan Rhubarb and no preservatives.

We are a local company, supporting local farmers, selling and supporting local groceries with ethics similar to ours, and giving customers a product that is truly worth eating.

Baking is my art now, my creation and my joy. I am thrilled to co-operate a company I care so much about and feel so proud of.

Happy eating!


Travel Michigan is pleased to announce it has earned the top-ranking amongst the 50 official US tourism office Websites in the use of social media. In a recent study, "How Social is Your State
DMO" conducted by Gammet Interactive, Michigan takes the top spot for the use of popular social media outlets including Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube and others.

"We've extended our efforts to stay connected with travelers. Social media allows us to get the Pure Michigan message out to potential visitors on other platforms," commented George Zimmermann, Vice President of Travel Michigan, a business unit of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. "It opens another line of communication with travelers."

In addition to the most popular state tourism Web site, michigan.org, visitors now have other means to stay up-to-date on Michigan tourism deals, discounts and events.

Connect and get the inside scoop on where the fish are biting, what greens are running fast and how you can make your visit Pure Michigan at the newly launched blog, Pure Michigan Connect. Read about bloggers' experiences along the nation's longest fresh water coastline or experience at a small town celebration. Take a minute to comment on the blog posts, or submit one of
your own.

Follow @PureMichigan on Twitter for the latest events and breaking news, along with some fun behind-the-scenes information on all the things going on with
Michigan tourism.

Join the Pure Michigan Fan Page on Facebook to stay up-to-date on all the latest events in Michigan and talk to others with the same love for Michigan. The fan page is another great resource for planning a trip.

By John Hahn

The Red Wings will welcome back their fans the weekend of September 6-7 with two fun-filled days that celebrate the Wings’ 2008 Stanley Cup championship and drop the puck on Detroit’s defense of the Cup in 2008-09.

The party begins with a private “Puck Drop Party” on Sept. 6 exclusively for Red Wings' season-ticket holders. The Stanley Cup will be on display along with a brand new Hockey Hall of Fame memorabilia exhibit. Season-ticket holders can meet Red Wings alumni, play interactive hockey games, become a Red Wings TV announcer by calling the final moments of Game 6 against the Pittsburgh Penguins, and listen to players and coaches recap the 2008 championship run.

On Sunday, Sept. 7, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., all fans are welcome to attend the Red Wings FanFest at Joe Louis Arena. Fans can ask questions of Red Wings Vice President Steve Yzerman, Wings players and alumni, take the mic as the Red Wings play-by-play announcer, play inflatable and interactive hockey games and take a behind-the-scenes tour of Joe Louis Arena. In addition to many more exciting activities for kids and adults, fans can win several great prizes including Red Wings autographed jerseys and merchandise.

Tickets for Sunday’s FanFest are only $5 and available at the Joe Louis Arena box office, all TicketMaster locations, including Hockeytown Café, Hockeytown Authentics in Troy, or charge by phone at 248-645-6666. Fans also can purchase tickets by clicking here. For more information, call the Red Wings at 313-396-7575.

FANFEST Event Schedule

Saturday, Sept. 6 (season ticket holders ONLY)

Main Stage
10-10:30 a.m. – Recap the Cup with Steve Yzerman, Jim Nill and coach Mike Babcock
11 a.m. - 12 p.m. – Fan Feud
12:15 - 12:45 p.m. – Fan Forum moderated by Ken Daniels
3-3:30 p.m. – Recap the Cup with Steve Yzerman and Jim Nill
4-5 p.m. – Wing It Trivia
5:15 - 5:45 p.m. – Fan Forum with Tomas Holmstrom

Alumni Autograph Session
10 a.m. - 12 p.m. –- Dino Ciccarelli and Ted Lindsay
11:30 - 3:30 p.m. –- Joe Kocur and Bob Probert
3-5 p.m. – Nick Libett and Johnny Wilson

Sunday, Sept. 7

Main Stage
10-10:45 a.m. – Recap the Cup with Steve Yzerman and Jim Nill
10:45 - 11:30 a.m. – Wing It Trivia
11:30 - 12:30 p.m. – Living Legends with Steve Yzerman and Alex Delvecchio
1-2 p.m. – Fan Feud
2:30 - 3:30 p.m. – Fan Forum with Kris Draper

Alumni Autograph Session
10 a.m. - 12 p.m. –- Dennis Hextall, Lee Norwood, Mike Krushelnyski and Budd Lynch
2-4 p.m. –- Brent Fedyk, John Ogrodnick and Johnny Wilson
Two recent University of Michigan graduates along with a University of Toronto graduate are going all Silicon Valley on Detroit. Their Web site, BongoTones.com, is redefining the way mobile phone users gain access to free mobile multimedia – ringtones, wallpapers, videos and games – through custom applications.

BongoTones.com began in September 2007 as the brainchild of these three diverse friends from Detroit and Toronto – Nareg Sagherian, 27, of West Bloomfield, David Pakhchanian, 28, of Commerce Township and Soheil Banifatemi, 26, of Toronto – with even more diverse tastes in music. However, they all shared a passion for technology that established the foundation for BongoTones.com.

They had two goals in mind – to be the best way to get content to users’ mobile phones and to provide an avenue for artists who want to build awareness and have their voice heard in the mobile arena.

In view of the fact that the Web 2.0 concept of creativity and enhancement had just launched, it created a perfect opportunity for them to launch a product that would change the way users utilized the World Wide Web. After months of research and hard work, BongoTones.com unveiled an easy-to-use platform that provided superior search and delivery of their user-generated content of 16,000 ringtones to over 150 countries.

Through their applications, BongoTones.com allows users a forum to upload, customize, and create mobile multimedia. These applications allow users to upload their own personal music and create their free ringtones in whatever fashion they desire. Furthermore, BongoTones.com has created a social network dynamic that establishes a community of users that have the same interests. In essence, the Web site saves the users both time and money when it comes to creating multimedia for their phones, as well as allowing them to enjoy their visit through interaction with others. Moreover, BongoTones.com has established a highly-anticipated artist sign up page, allowing musicians and bands the opportunity to convert their original music into ringtones in minutes, making them instantly available to fans.

Currently, the Web site allows access to ringtones, but they are in the process of launching applications that will allow users to customize and create their own free mobile wallpapers, games and videos. Apart from uploading, customizing and creating mobile content, a user can share, embed and favorite any content on BongoTones.com. Users can also message one another and subscribe to their favorite pages, in order to receive updates. Furthermore, if a user hears a ringtone on a certain song profile page and decides they want the complete version, they are quickly connected to Amazon.com in order to make their desired purchase.

With a lot of determination and a little capital they have redefined the way people search and obtain mobile multimedia online. Moreover, they are regularly striving to improve the user’s wireless technology experience. By working with their users, partners, advertisers and carriers, BongoTones.com is ushering in a new era of free mobile content access that takes them a step closer to providing their service globally and remaining up-to-date with the ever-changing nature of the industry. At BongoTones.com, they believe that a happy and safe user is a loyal user. Above all, they are proud to have established the company in their home state of Michigan, and to be giving back to a community that has provided continuous opportunities for them to succeed.
The Inaugural “Bike the Bridge” Bicycle Tour will be starting at Rivard Plaza in Detroit (near the Wheel House Bicycle Shop).

We will be departing early on Sunday, September 6, and riding over to the Ambassador Bridge as a group.
After riding across the Bridge (which has not had a bicycle on it in 30 years), Windsor Cycling Club will be will be taking us on a tour of historic Old Sandwich Town in Windsor, a remarkable stop on the Underground Railroad.

We will then proceed along Riverside Drive to Lansperry Park along the Detroit River for a breakfast provided by Tres Beans Coffee House of Windsor, and enjoy the waterfront and the morning.

After being able to lock your bike up in a controlled environment, it's a short walk to one of the Biggest Bicycle Races in Canada, in Windsor's own Little Italy. At 3 p.m., we will make the return trip to the USA.

The ride will be less than 20 miles. Any funds after all expenses are paid by the Tour will be donated to Detroit Trails. Hopefully, we will have great weather and a great time for all!

By Mike Householder
The Associated Press

The sign held up by someone in the back of the crowd said it all: "Hollywood 48101."

The yearslong dream of bringing a film and television production facility to the Detroit area took a big step forward with Thursday's groundbreaking ceremony at what will become Unity Studios.

Allen Park Mayor Gary Burtka and studio President Jimmy Lifton said the complex officially opens in October and begins filming its first project in November.

"I want to welcome everybody to 'Hollywood 48101' as it is to be known," Burtka said to applause from hundreds of city residents and others who came to the celebration.

Just a few months ago, the plan to refurbish the site – an auto supplier's former research and development complex – and transform it into a Hollywood-style movie studio was in danger of falling apart.

But Burtka, Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano, and other local and state government officials were able to obtain the necessary tax credits, incentives and other funding to make it a reality.

The studio is being counted on to provide a shot in the arm to an area hurt badly by the recession and a steep downturn in the auto industry.

When completed, the 104-acre studio will include sound stages and other facilities to create and edit movies, television programs and other productions.

Also in October, the Lifton Institute for Media Skills will open at the site for its first class of 250 students who will be trained for jobs in the film industry.

Michigan has been drawing more moviemakers since tax incentives – among the most generous in the nation – went into effect last year.

But the available pool of carpenters, former auto workers and others displaced by the area's slumping economy also helped in the decision to locate the studio in Allen Park, a couple of highway exits from Detroit Metropolitan Airport.

"This is a win," Ficano said. "Not only for Allen Park and the area, but for the region."

Unity Studios is majority-owned by a group of investors from both Michigan and Los Angeles, including Lifton, a veteran Hollywood film executive.

He was the center of attention at Thursday's event, posing for pictures with residents and slapping hands with passers-by who thanked him for his efforts to make the studio a reality.

Lifton, who originally is from the Detroit suburb of Southfield and is a veteran of both the film and music industries, predicts a long life for Unity Studios.

"We will be here tomorrow, a year from now, 25 years, 50 years, 100 years," he said.

After Lifton addressed the crowd, he and Burtka headed over for a photo opportunity in front of an oversized film clapboard. Each man grabbed an end of it, slammed it down and yelled "Jobs!" as their pictures were snapped.
WWJ Radio

An actor and comedian by the name of Bill Cosby will be coming to Michigan this week. You may have heard of him, he's pretty well known. Mr. Cosby will make a visit to Detroit on Tuesday to help Detroit Public Schools and DPS Emergency Financial Manager Robert Bobb during the enrollment campaign season.

DPS Spokesman Steve Wasko told WWJ in an interview that Cosby called the district and told them he wanted to volunteer his time.

"He reached out to us, we did not contact him. Mr. Bobb received a phone call directly from Dr. Cosby just about a week and a half to two weeks ago," said Wasko.

"Basically the offer was 'I'd like to join your army, where do I pick up my uniform?' We immediately accepted the offer and we're thrilled that he's coming to Detroit at no charge to DPS in any way," added Wasko.

With Cosby coming to Detroit on Tuesday, DPS hopes to bring more students into the district.

"This is one of a number of activities that we've been holding over the course of the last several weeks and will continue to hold through even the first weeks of school. Simply to raise awareness about the opportunities in Detroit Public Schools," said Wasko.

"Robert Bobb has asked parents to take another look at DPS and to make sure that they're aware of all the opportunities that are behind the doors of our DPS schools," said Wasko.

Cosby will be in Detroit all day Tuesday holding a variety of meetings and functions and presentations, as well as meeting with students and parents.

In particular, Cosby will be joining Bobb on one of his neighborhood walks. They will knock on resident doors on Tuesday evening between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. around Henry Ford High School.

A free public rally held by Bill Cosby at the Henry Ford High School auditorium will follow the walk at 7 p.m. Tuesday night.

By Laura Sternburg

In more ways than one, Ray Drecker, the lead character and aspiring prostitute in HBO’s Hung, certainly gets around. The show is set and largely filmed in and around the Detroit area. I have to admit, I started watching the show because it leads into the wildly popular Entourage. When I noticed that Detroit was featured prominently in the show's opening credits, however, spotting shooting locations immediately added a new dimension to my viewing experience. As it turns out, however, I’m hooked; Hung is a pretty original show.

So what Detroit area locations have been used in the show? In episodes four through eight, Ray and company eat out a lot and several Detroit area restaurants are featured. Episode five featured the Kodiak Creek Inn on Cooley Lake in Commerce Township, a lodge-type restaurant decorated with a large, stone fireplace; a lofty, wooden ceiling; and various animal heads. I’m guessing the other restaurants in the episode are in Frankenmuth, at least given the Bavarian-type waitress outfits. The Town Pump Tavern in downtown Detroit’s theatre district was featured in Episode six, as was an as yet unidentified Middle Eastern restaurant. The Portofino Italian Restaurant (home to the Portofino Friendship Cruise on the Detroit River) in Wyandotte was featured in episode seven and the Gusoline Alley Bar in Royal Oak in episode eight.

I couldn’t quite figure out where the Farmer’s Market was located in episode seven, and I got a little obsessed trying to figure out – with no luck -- where the office building with the address “21600” might be located from episodes six and eight. I’m pretty sure, however, that the beach scene in episode five was at Metro Beach.

So, what (or where) did you spot?

Meet Rick Porcello and get a chance to instantly win a Sharp Aquos LCD TV! Just visit ABC Warehouse between 7pm - 8pm and while you're there, register for Sharp's "Watch it Like the Pros" sweepstakes to win tickets to the World Series!
By Minehana Forman

During a visit here on Tuesday, Gov. Jennifer Granholm announced the launch of a pilot food service program that would provide fresh produce to city neighborhoods.

The program, which will be funded by a $75,000 low-interest loan from the state, will deliver fruits and vegetables to residents with a vendor-style truck, according to the Detroit Free Press. When the produce truck, which will bear a MI Neighborhood Food Movers logo, rolls through neighborhoods on a fixed route and schedule, residents in Michigan’s largest city will have the option of buying some fresh and reasonably priced fruit and veggies for the dinner table.

Detroit has been identified as a “food desert” or a place where groceries and produce are not readily available. Many Detroit residents are forced to shop for groceries at convenience stores and gas stations because there are few real grocery stores inside the city limits. Many of those have limited operating hours and inflated prices.
Jason Beck

Curtis Granderson has manned center field for the Tigers long enough to ignore taunts from fans when they're on the road. That doesn't mean he doesn't listen. He isn't hearing quite that much creativity this year. More and more, he's hearing a familiar refrain. They're not taunting him as much. They're making fun of his city.

"You hear the razzing: 'Hey, man, I wouldn't want to live in Detroit,'" Granderson said. "Or, 'Nice city. The motor industry's gone. Now what else do you guys have left?'"

He's heard it before, but it stings a little more now.

"Just the economic part adds to it," Granderson said.

Then someone like catcher Gerald Laird will have a moment behind the plate when he can look around at a Comerica Park on a Sunday afternoon, or hear the roar of the crowd when Clete Thomas hit a walk-off homer earlier this month to finish off the Tigers' comeback from a five-run deficit.

Or Granderson will have a moment like last Monday, an off-day for the Tigers and a day for Granderson to sign copies of his new children's book, "All You Can Be." He arrived at the Borders bookstore on Woodward Avenue in the suburb of Birmingham to find virtually every open aisle on the second floor of the store filled with spillover from the line of fans waiting for him to autograph their copies.

It's a dichotomy that might be more surprising than the Tigers' performance on the field. For all the upheaval going on around this bruised piece of the Midwest, the Tigers' little piece of it has almost become a separate reality. And they've received such a boost from their fan base that they can't help but wear the Detroit name with pride.

"I've never been in anything like this," said shortstop Adam Everett, whose wife is from the area. "I just know that this is a hard-working town and people are passionate. Going through what a lot of these families are going through, it's not easy."

More than 40 years after the 1968 world champion Tigers helped unite the city and the suburbs for one tremendous summer amidst a year of civil unrest and tension in Detroit and across the country, this year's Tigers are providing a different kind of reminder of the social impact a team can have.

Nothing now will compare to the stories of Willie Horton taking to the streets of Detroit during the riots of 1967, trying to calm down rioters, or of Mickey Lolich being summoned to his post by the Michigan Air National Guard that summer. It's a different situation the city and region face now. It isn't violence, but seeming hopelessness the area is battling.

Yet it's a time when a first-place team has again become a diversion, and a source of pride in a city that others want to put down. As a team defying expectations, somehow getting through so many of its own issues, the Tigers are proving to be a fitting sanctuary for a few hours.

"I think the pick-me-up is huge," Tracey Huff of Oak Park, Mich., wrote in an email. "Being an almost everyday sport, there is always a game to watch or discuss, so as a fan you can certainly spend a large amount of time on the Tigers.

"This city has been beaten up by many folks from the outside, and a fair number of people from the inside, but there is a spirit of not giving up around here. That pretty much sums up the Tigers."

It isn't a feeling that just recently came over Tigers fans. While Michigan has become one of the most-cited examples of the recession, the struggles had been building for some time. Hard times in the auto industry, the state's employment giant, had pushed the unemployment rate upward since 2006. While hope grows that better times are ahead, few in Michigan can seem to agree on when.

Now that the economy is a daily headline, Michigan's woes are hard to miss. The state's unemployment rate, which dropped last month to 15 percent, has been the nation's highest for 26 of the past 27 months through June, according to the Detroit Free Press.

Manager Jim Leyland knows it, because it has impacted people in his family. He grew up about an hour down Interstate 75 in Perrysburg, Ohio, just south of Toledo.

"My dad was a factory worker," Leyland said earlier this year. "He worked at a glass factory that made windshields for General Motors products. I worked at that factory myself. There's not much more we can do but give a good effort, bust our tails for them and show our appreciation. It's tough.

"My heart aches for these people up here. They're trying to feed their families, and we're getting a check every two weeks. We're certainly glad that we are, but we're certainly aware of the people that aren't right now."

The national horror stories were ready when the Tigers headed home in April. Little more than a month into the season, reports pegged home attendance average down 29.4 percent from the same point last year. Soon after, a national writer suggested that finances could force the Tigers to trade superstar Miguel Cabrera.

Both scenarios turned out to be overblown. Owner Mike Ilitch has maintained a payroll in the top five among Major League clubs for the past couple years. The attendance figures, meanwhile, were in relation to 2008, when the trade for Cabrera sent fans into a frenzy for ticket packages expecting October baseball.

Whatever the economy, the Tigers' last-place finish made this a season in which the team would have to prove it could contend. When it did, and when schools let out for the summer, attendance rebounded, even as bankruptcy filings for two of Detroit's Big Three automakers further shook the region's financial base.

Though a Crain's Detroit Business report showed attendance prior to the All-Star break down a little more than 20 percent from last year, average attendance continues to climb, now up to just under 32,000 per game. Only the Yankees, Angels and Red Sox had a higher average among American League teams through Sunday, and the Tigers are 12th in the Majors.

They're on pace to approach or match their totals from 2006, the year they went to the World Series.

"We knew going in the economic challenges, and we wanted to be sure that we offered fans every opportunity to come to the park," Tigers vice president of communications Ron Colangelo said. "What's really been noticeable is the higher energy level. The team seems to be feeding off that. The fans know we're in a pennant chase. They know every pitch matters, every defensive play matters, every attempt to catch a ball in foul territory."

The center-field fountain, meanwhile, has become a tribute to Detroit's auto industry. When General Motors ended its sponsorship, Ilitch kept the GM signage and added Ford and Chrysler logos along with the message, "The Detroit Tigers support our automakers."

The stories of fans' attachment to this club, this year, have been as varied as the people of the region themselves. Many seem to have identified with this particular club, its peaks and valleys, and its seemingly endless battle to take control of a division that has no statistical standout team.

"Maybe there's an allegory there, too," Michelle Moliszewski of Toledo wrote. "The Tigers are struggling to stay on top the same way we are struggling as a country right now. In the same way, the city of Detroit has been through its ups and downs, just like the team, but the potential and the hope to be back on top is always there."

Local resident and partial season-ticket holder Amy Hunt cited the everyday nature of the baseball schedule as a constant.

"What the Tigers offer during the summer months rivals what the Red Wings offer in the winter: A day-in, day-out connection to community and restored hope that lasts all season long, even if for only a few hours at a time," she wrote. "A day without a game is unusual. Whether your team is something to rejoice about is sometimes irrelevant. You sit amongst a group of people that hold the same interest you do, or the game plays to a living room of one. Either way, there is always the next inning, another game, a new series, a prospect from the Minors, and, sometimes unfortunately, a phenom from another team to see. ...

"As Tigers partial season-ticket holders, my husband and I have enjoyed quite a few collective gasps over the last few years, sometimes joyful, sometimes not. Whatever the tangible outcome, the time spent amidst innings have offered a chance to simultaneously heal our personal losses and connect with the recovering spirit of an ailing Detroit."

The Tigers seem to get those connections.

"It's amazing because of the tough times," Laird said, "but this place has always been more of a baseball town. You're surprised a little bit because of the times and people losing jobs, but when you think about it, you can't always be down.

"When you hear about how tough it is, you come here and expect to see the stadium empty," he said. "But then I tell people we're getting 40,000 people on weekends. Honestly, it's funny to see how important sports can be for a town. People can rally around us. It's amazing. I enjoy being here. It's great. People enjoy winning."

It has been a intriguing year for that in Detroit. Michigan State's run to the NCAA men's basketball title game made for a tremendous draw with the Final Four at Ford Field. Likewise, the NHL's Detroit Red Wings were a saga for many fans in the spring, all the way up to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals, which they lost to Pittsburgh.

The Tigers have filled that summer role.

"You hear a lot of buzz," said Bob Bronstein, owner of 24 Seconds sports bar in Berkley, Mich. "All summer, there's been a lot of talk about the Tigers. It is a good topic of conversation. Sometimes they play great. Sometimes they don't. Even if they play bad, they're a topic of conversation."

Nearly everyone asked agrees that a Tigers postseason rally could be bigger.

"I am really hoping and praying that they win the division," wrote Theresa Smithwick of Swartz Creek, Mich., "because this area needs to have encouragement and something to cheer about."

Granderson, who has thrown himself into the community and local schools through his Grand Kids Foundation, doesn't pretend it solves the issues. Even for Detroit, there were hard times soon after 1968.

"You get hyped and excited for the time being," he said, "but as soon as it's over, it hits again. The reality is, something's still got to change."

The Tigers can't make those changes. But they can make the city, the area, the state feel upbeat that change is possible.

"It would be extra special to have October baseball here," Laird said.