Barack Obama's presidential campaign demonstrated the power of social media as a vehicle for grassroots advocacy, particularly among college students who voted in record numbers. This raises a question central to the future of American democracy: Can social media networks help students to become better citizens?

Civic engagement by Gen-Xers will be the focus of a national conference hosted by Wayne State University Nov. 12 and 13 to determine effective methods for connecting with students. The private conference kicks off "eCitizenship: New Tools, New Strategies, New Spaces," a three-year project sponsored by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities and The New York Times in partnership with Wayne State's Center for the Study of Citizenship. The center is the official research arm of the project as well as the host location for eCitizenship campuses to collaborate on the study of relationships between social networking and civic engagement.

"The eCitizenship initiative, the largest in the distinguished history of the American Democracy Project (ADP), will explore how social networking and digital media are crucial tools in stimulating civic engagement among college and university students," said Professor Marc Kruman, director of the center and chair of the Department of History. "We're very excited to help lead this initiative and to conduct subsequent research on individual campus programs. We expect that this research will uncover how digital media can be used most effectively to foster undergraduate civic engagement."

Jose Antonio Vargas, technology and innovations editor for the Huffington Post, will be the keynote speaker at the conference. Vargas will give a separate, public address, titled Brave New World of Journalism, at 7 p.m., Nov. 12, in the Law School's Spencer Partrich Auditorium at WSU.

The eCitizenship conference will be held in the university's Bernath Auditorium in the David Adamany Undergraduate Library, 5155 Gullen Mall.

The conference is the seventh initiative of the ADP. Thirty-four colleges and universities have been invited to participate in this national project to study social networking and research new ways for institutions to harness the technology in preparing students to be active and engaged members of society.

The Center for the Study of Citizenship is the premier global institution for the study and promotion of citizenship.

Founded in 2003, the ADP is a multicampus initiative focused on higher education's role in preparing the next generation of informed, engaged citizens and producing graduates who are committed to being actively involved in their communities.

In the spirit of an early Thanksgiving, Askar Brands, a local group of restaurants, will provide a tasty dinner for those in need on Sunday November 8, during the third annual Holiday Mercy Dinner at the St. Vincent de Paul Matchen Nutrition Center, an area soup kitchen located at 46408 Woodward Avenue at Judson in Pontiac, Mich.

Papa Romano’s Pizza, Mr. Pita, CJ’s Brewing Company and Stucchi’s Ice Cream, all owned and operated by Askar Brands, will donate and prepare fresh, hot meals to feed about 350 people from 3:30 – 6:30pm.

“The need is greater than ever.  We anticipate about 20% more meals to be served this year,” says Roseann Royle, Director of Development for St. Vincent de Paul.

The menu includes all-time favorites such as Papa Romano’s pizza and salads, fresh pita sandwiches from Mr. Pita, piping hot soups and Pepsi beverages from CJ’s Brewing Company and premium ice cream from Stucchi’s. The event will be staffed by volunteers from the local restaurants and their families.

“This is an annual event for us that we look forward to participating in,” said Casey Askar, chairman and chief executive officer of Askar Brands. “It warms our hearts to be able to make a difference in the lives of those touched by these difficult times. Our franchisees also help out by collecting funds at the local level that are then donated at the telethon.”

Signage and canisters requesting community donations to benefit St. Vincent de Paul will be in participating Papa Romano’s Pizza and Mr. Pita stores throughout metro Detroit starting November 1st.   The funds will then be donated at the WXYZ-TV7 telethon event for St Vincent de Paul on December 3rd by Askar.  Further support will be given by Askar Brands donation of food and beverages to the volunteers for the duration of the telethon.

For more information about the Holiday Mercy Dinner, call (248) 334-7750.

On Bookshelves Now: '365 Days In Detroit'



Angela's Eye


Be sure to check out the latest from the Motown's beloved Wayne State University Press, 'A Motor City Year' showcasing dozens and dozens of metro Detroit landmarks and traditions - as well as oddities- shot by award-winning photographer John Sobczak.

The book, which is divided by the four seasons we've grown to love here as Michiganders, with a foreword by Jeff Daniels, begins with spring and offers up 365 images of the better-known events and landscapes from Comerica City Fest and Eastern Market shopping to some of the more underground notes of interest from tattoo artists and the Michigan Elvisfest. Yes, there is such thing!

Sobczak depicts a wide scope of the heart, soul, beauty and beasts in the hard-to-put-down 9 x 13 inch hardcover book, $39.95. Look for it at Bureau of Urban Living in Detroit (460 West Canfield Street) or online.

You can meet and greet the photographer on these days at these locations:

November 7 – John Sobczak at the Henry Ford Museum, 1pm

November 14 – John Sobczak at Barnes & Noble, Royal Oak, 3pm

November 18 – John Sobczak at Detroit Historical Museum, 6pm

November 21 – John Sobczak at Barnes & Noble, Shelby Township, 1pm

November 24 – John Sobczak at Barnes & Noble, Allen Park, 7pm

December 12 – John Sobczak at Barnes & Noble, Rochester Hills, 1pm

December 19 – John Sobczak at Barnes & Noble, Northville, 1pm

Visit here for more information.

Ford Reports a Nearly $1 Billion Profit


Chris Isidore
CNN Money


The only U.S. automaker to avoid bankruptcy posts an unexpected profit thanks to a big lift from Cash for Clunkers sales.

Ford Motor reported a surprise profit for the third quarter Monday, helped by a bump in sales from the Cash for Clunkers program, a reduced cost structure and problems at its U.S. rivals.

The only major U.S. automaker not to file for bankruptcy this year earned $997 million, or 29 cents a share, compared to a loss of $161 million, or 7 cents a share on that basis a year earlier.

Excluding special items, Ford reported a profit of $873 million, or 26 cents a share, in the period. Analysts had been forecasting a loss of 12 cents a share for the quarter on this basis. Ford said it was the first pre-tax operating profit since the start of 2008.

The company said cost cutting during the past year and an improved outlook for sales leads it to believe Ford will be "solidly profitable" in 2011, excluding special items.

That's the most bullish outlook Ford has offered investors since it started losing money in 2005. The company had previously said it was looking for break-even or better results that year.

Turning the corner. The guidance raised hopes that the company may have turned the corner on nearly five years of losses for its key North American auto operations.

"Our third quarter results clearly show that Ford is making tremendous progress despite the prolonged slump in the global economy," said Ford President and CEO Alan Mulally in a statement.

The company said it lowered its structural costs by $1 billion compared to a year earlier, with about half of that improvement coming in North America.

Mulally told investors that the company remains hopeful it could be profitable in 2010, not just by 2011, and that the longer time frame in the new guidance is a way of being cautious.

"The reason we couched it that way is we're just not sure about the strength of the recovery," he said. Mulally said Ford will detail further guidance on 2010 profits when it reports fourth-quarter results in January.

Digesting the details. Results in North America were helped by much stronger sales than a year earlier, particularly in the United States, where the company was one of the prime beneficiaries of the Cash for Clunkers program that gave buyers up to $4,500 if they traded in a gas guzzler for a more fuel efficient vehicle.

Even without the Cash for Clunkers program, which lifted the whole industry out of the doldrums, Ford made gains on many of its rivals during the quarter.

During the quarter, Ford's U.S. market share rose by 2.2 percentage points to 14.6%. Ford benefited from steep market share declines at GM and Chrysler in the wake of their bankruptcies, but it also posted bigger market share gains than Japanese rivals such as Toyota Motor (TM) and Honda Motor (HMC).

Shares of Ford (F, Fortune 500) rose about 8% in mid-morning trading Monday following the report.

The company reported overall revenue of $30.9 billion in the quarter, down $800 million from the same period a year ago due to a decrease in revenue at its Ford Credit unit.

Ford said that global auto sales rose $100 million from the third quarter of 2008, to $27.9 billion. It sold 1.23 million vehicles worldwide, up 5% from a year earlier, and its average net pricing also improved along with its sales volume. Auto revenue in North America soared by $2.9 billion, or 27%, to $13.7 billion.

Ford (F, Fortune 500) also said it made money on its auto operations, and that it reported positive cash flow of $1.3 billion from its auto businesses. The company had been burning through significant amounts of cash every quarter since the second quarter of 2007 as it suffered from years of ongoing losses.

"While we still face a challenging road ahead, our [company] transformation plan is working and our underlying business continues to grow stronger," Mulally added.

Ford's automotive unit earned $446 million in the quarter, compared to a loss of $2.9 billion in the year-earlier period, as the company's core auto operations in North America returned to profitability for the first time since the first half of 2005.
Grand Kids Foundation

In a season marked by extraordinary performances on and off the field, Major League baseball players today bestowed their highest honors on two players – St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols is Player of the Year and Detroit Tigers centerfielder Curtis Granderson is the Marvin Miller Man of the Year.  The Major League Baseball Players Trust will honor Pujols and Granderson, the top Players Choice Award winners, with donations of $50,000 each to the charities of their choice.

The Awards announcements were made this morning on ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike in the Morning show during the finale of an exclusive, five-day broadcast special presented by Upper Deck and benefiting the Major League Baseball Players Trust.

Pujols helped guide the Cardinals to their fourth NL Central Division crown in six years by leading the Majors in home runs for the first time, with 47.   The eight-time Players Choice Award winner finished first among all National Leaguers in runs scored (124), on-base percentage (.443) and slugging percentage (.658), second in doubles (45) and third in batting average (.327), RBI (135) and walks (115).  Pujols, 29, hit above .300 with 30-plus home runs and 100-plus RBI for the ninth consecutive season.  Pujols has now been honored by his peers with Players Choice Awards as Player of the Year and NL Outstanding Player in 2003, 2008 and 2009, Marvin Miller Man of the Year in 2006 and NL Outstanding Rookie in 2001.

Granderson earned the Marvin Miller Man of the Year award, named for the founding executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association and awarded to the player whose on-field and off -field performance most inspires others to higher levels of achievement, by displaying as much passion to give back to others as he shows between the lines on the baseball diamond .  In 2008, he established the Grand Kids Foundation to focus on improving opportunities for inner-city youth in the areas of education and youth baseball.  A graduate of the University of Illinois-Chicago, Granderson recently released a children’s book, All You Can Be, which encourages children to chase their dreams.  He is also an active member of the Action Team national youth volunteer program administered by the Players Trust and Volunteers of America, which is inspiring and training the next generation of volunteers in more than 150 high schools across the United States.  Granderson, 28, just completed his fourth full season in the Majors and set a career high in home runs (30), and finished with 157 hits, 91 runs scored, 23 doubles, 8 triples, 20 stolen bases and 71 RBI in 160 games with the Tigers.  

To listen to a podcast of the Players Choice Awards announcements and player interviews, please click here.

Players Choice Awards annually recognize the best player, pitcher, rookie and comeback player in each league.  The Player of the Year and Marvin Miller Man of the Year awards bestow top honors without regard to league. Balloting of all Major League players for the Players Choice Awards was conducted in September under the supervision of accounting firm KPMG.

Players Choice Awards winners will recommend the charities of their choice to receive grants from the Major League Baseball Players Trust totaling $260,000.  Since 1992, the Players Trust has contributed more than $3.5 million dollars to charities around the world in honor of Players Choice Award winners.

The 2009 Players Choice Awards finalists are [winners in bold & underlined]:

American League:

Outstanding Rookie: Elvis Andrus (Texas), Gordon Beckham (Chicago White Sox), Jeff Niemann (Tampa Bay)
Comeback Player: Russell Branyan (Seattle), Aaron Hill (Toronto), Scott Podsednik (Chicago White Sox)
Outstanding Pitcher: Roy Halladay (Toronto), Zack Greinke (Kansas City), C.C. Sabathia (NY Yankees)
Outstanding Player: Derek Jeter (NY Yankees), Joe Mauer (Minnesota), Kendry Morales (LA Angels of Anaheim)

National League:

Outstanding Rookie: Chris Coghlan (Florida), Tommy Hanson (Atlanta), J.A. Happ (Philadelphia)
Comeback Player: Aaron Boone (Houston), Chris Carpenter (St. Louis), Nick Johnson (Florida)
Outstanding Pitcher: Chris Carpenter (St. Louis), Tim Lincecum (San Francisco), Adam Wainwright (St. Louis)
Outstanding Player: Prince Fielder (Milwaukee), Albert Pujols (St. Louis), Hanley Ramirez (Florida)

Either League:

Man of the Year: Curtis Granderson (Detroit), Torii Hunter (LA Angeles of Anaheim), Albert Pujols (St. Louis)
Player of Year: Joe Mauer (Minnesota), Albert Pujols (St. Louis), Hanley Ramirez (Florida)

Erin Rose
Positive Detroit

Adam Richman lands in Detroit, MI, to take on the massive Triple Threat Pork sandwich at Slow's Barbecue, 2 dueling Coney Dog joints (Lafayette Coney Island and American Coney Island)  and the tackle the Guinness Book of World Record Burger (weighing in at 180 lbs!) at Mallie’s Sports Grill and Bar with the Motor City Metal Jackets.

Tune in for this Episode Wednesday, November 4th at 10 p.m. Est.  Only on the Travel Channel.




Want to reduce stress, wear-and-tear on your car, lessen your carbon footprint and even help save the planet and your wallet? If so, stop by Wayne State University’s Drop Your Drive event to learn more about alternative forms of transit.

The event will feature nonprofit service providers and organizations promoting the use of public transportation in southeast Michigan. Meet representatives from the Detroit Department of Transportation, the SMART, MichiVan, Transportation Riders United, Wheelhouse Detroit and others. This is the perfect place to learn more about alternative forms of transit and to sign up for possible carpooling opportunities.

The Drop your Drive event will be held in Wayne State’s Student Center Building between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Wednesday, November 4, 2009.

For more details, e-mail Elanette Yehuda, WSU transportation coordinator, at DW9795@wayne.edu



Coming from me, you’d assume that an item about bicycles would be Minneapolis-related, but it’s not! It’s about Detroit!

Believe it or not, people in the Car Capital of the World love their bikes. And there is a huge movement to create a culture here that is friendlier to two wheels than four.

One such project would develop about 400 miles of bicycle lanes throughout Detroit. All it would take is some paint, new signs and a little cash, said Scott Clein, who heads the Detroit office of Giffels-Webster Engineers.

The firm, along with other key partners, mapped out every one of those miles with the city’s cooperation and a Michigan Department of Transportation grant. Clein and a support staff spent 18 months on the project, studying Detroit and trying to connect its waterways, landmarks and neighborhoods.

I frankly can’t fathom biking around Detroit. Like, can you see one of Eight Mile’s four lanes (in each direction) or one of Telegraph Rd’s four lanes (in each direction) being a bike lane? Or turning the dividing section in the middle of those roads into a bike highway (except that would totally screw with the Michigan Left)?

This is Eight Mile Rd, just east of Telegraph, looking back west. Four lanes in both directions, a boulevard in the middle, and a “Michigan left” just ahead of you.

Crazy.

And!

Over the past weekend, an estimated 2,000 cyclists came to the city for the 8th annual Tour De Troit – nearly double the number that showed up last year. Its goal is in part is to raise funds for the Corktown-Mexicantown Greenlink, which could link these key communities to the Detroit riverfront.

One great example already exists. The Dequindre Cut Greenway, an urban recreational path, officially opened in May. The 1.2-mile greenway, developed through a public, nonprofit and private partnership, offers a pedestrian link between the Riverfront, Eastern Market and many of the adjacent residential neighborhoods. Formerly a Grand Truck Railroad line, the Dequindre Cut is a below-street level path that features a 20-foot-wide paved pathway, which includes separate lanes for pedestrian and bicycle or rollerblading traffic.

I must see this on my next trip home. Even though it’s waaaay on the east side, and my folks live waaaaay on the west side, and I’ll surely have to drive to it.

The comments are good, too. I appreciated the discussion about the appropriateness of spending money on these types of projects (and the sources of funding) given the financial difficulties the city faces.

Simply reading Detroit bikers comment on where they live and ride reminds me of the scale of the area we’re talking about. From my parents’ house in the northest/westest corner of the city to most points downtown or on the east side is 15+ miles. 15 miles from downtown Minneapolis gets you to the I-494/I-694 loop that generally separates the first-ring and second-ring suburbs. Detroit is just so much bigger.

This also reminds me that I haven’t spent any of my adult life in Detroit (except for that one year I was unemployed, which didn’t count). I have no desire to move back, but I really wonder what it would be like to live and work downtown or somewhere else that’s not the suburbs where the Catholic schools I attended are. What would it be like to live in a part of Detroit that actually mirrors many of the things that I like best about Minneapolis?

This article has kind of blown my mind grapes.



Grand Kids Foundation

All public elementary school libraries in Michigan soon will be receiving a copy of Detroit Tigers’ Curtis Granderson’s new book.  Granderson and publisher Triumph Books are proud to donate a copy of Granderson’s book All You Can Be to every public elementary school library in Michigan.  The illustrations in this book were contributed by fourth grade students from across Michigan.

Earlier this year, with the help from the Michigan Department of Education, the Grand Kids Foundation and Triumph Books held a contest inviting fourth graders across the state to submit their artwork through their school for consideration to be included in the book.  The theme for the artwork was:  How do you see yourself when you are in high school and how is education important in helping you become that person?   There were hundreds of submissions and Granderson chose 29 of them to be in his book.  Those students whose artwork was chosen received a free copy of the book, autographed by Granderson.

“Our many fine teachers throughout the state, along with other educators and administrators, are always looking for new and refreshing ways to motivate students and create enthusiasm for the joy of learning,” said state Superintendent of Public Instruction Mike Flanagan.  “All You Can Be takes a unique approach to student involvement in this adventure by giving them the opportunity to create their own artwork, illustrating the importance that education plays in achieving their goals for the future.

“I’d like to thank Curtis for his generosity not only to school libraries, but for his overall commitment to education,” Flanagan said.

With special input from the Michigan Department of Education, Granderson, his mother, Mary Granderson (herself, a retired school teacher), and Detroit News writer Terry Foster, All You Can Be is the latest effort from Triumph Books to help children get excited about learning - in this case helping them realize  that the things they are taught every day have very real applications later in life.

“There was one simple thing I wanted to achieve with All You Can Be – to make learning fun for school children,” said Granderson.  “My mother, Mary, co-author, Terry Foster, and I truly feel we have accomplished what we set out to do, which was to make learning fun through using creative and different ways to get Michigan’s elementary school students thinking about their future.”

Granderson grew up on the south side of Chicago. He loved sports and was determined to become a successful athlete. But perhaps because both of his parents were teachers, he had an even stronger desire to succeed in the classroom. He loved learning for its own sake, and from an early age the importance of education. Now an established Major League baseball All-Star, Granderson has not forgotten the lessons he learned growing up. These are lessons not only about the importance of education, but also about working hard to attain goals; and lessons about character, integrity, and personal responsibility.

All of the net proceeds from the public sale of the books will go to Granderson’s foundation: Grand Kids Foundation, whose funds go towards purchasing school supplies for needy families/kids; books and supplies for schools that do not get the funding they always need; establishing baseball programs as well as providing equipment and facilities in some of Michigan’s inner cities; and eventually a scholarship program for graduating high school seniors.


List of students whose artwork was selected:

Lindsey Lammlin, Minges Brook Elementary (Battle Creek)

Breanna Schwartz, Madison Academy (Flint)

Kate Nawrocki, All Saints Academy (Grand Rapids)

Sklyer Kochan, Harvey-Swanson Elementary (Ortonville)

Carson Render, Creekside Elementary (Hartland)

Kerryn Taylor, Central Elementary (Flushing)

Kody Beauchaine, Autrain-Onota Elementary (Deerton)

Lily Atkinson, Lake Hills Elementary (Spring Lake)

Naiya Taylor, Stark School of Technology (Detroit)

Gracie Butler, Trinity Lutheran School (Jackson)

Cruz Rodriguez, Oakridge Upper Elementary (Muskegon)

Megan Pietila, Southwest Elementary (Howell)

Chloe Smith, Byron Center Christian School (Byron Center)

Kelsey Hessbrook, North Elementary (Ithaca)

Ally Estes, New Haven Elementary (New Haven)

Gavin Walters, Brummer Elementary (South Lyon)

Raisa Zahir, Westlake Elementary (Battle Creek)

Jonathon Forbush, Kennedy Elementary (Warren)

Reyah Spikener, The Bates Academy (Detroit)

Rachel Yang, Wood Creek Magnet School (Lansing)

Sydney Knisley, Angell School (Berkley)

Ina Gjoka, New Haven Elementary (New Haven)

Danielle Anderson, North Elementary (Ithaca)

Ashley Hann, Hutchings Elementary (Howell)

Julia Boudreau, Seymour Elementary (Flushing)

Autumn Petrick, St. Joseph School (St. Johns)

Tereon Rutherford, Warren Charter Academy (Detroit)

Savanna Wirth, Minges Brook Elementary (Battle Creek)

Katie Crawford, St. Charles Elementary (St. Charles)
Rhonda Welsh
Examiner.com

Detroit’s WJBK Fox 2 news reporter Lee Thomas has the rare skin disease vitiligo. His face is a mottled combination of chocolate brown and nearly pearlescent, pale pink. Thomas typically wears make-up on air to limit distractions when reporting the news. But, his beauty is undeniable.

Even when reporting the most mundane story he exudes effervescence. When he first shared his struggle with Detroit area viewers on-air, it resulted in an outpouring of support. And during speaking engagements like his recent TEDx Detroit talk, he inspired and radiated positive vibes.

While Thomas may be the Detroit area’s most famous vitiligo sufferer, the world’s most famous sufferer (albeit with strong Detroit ties) is the late Michael Joseph Jackson. A rare skin disease is not the only trait Thomas and Jackson share. In the posthumously produced This Is It, Jackson inspired and radiated positive vibes.

The documentary begins with accounts of dancers and background singers sharing their lifelong dreams of performing with Michael Jackson. It progresses through approximately two hours of concert rehearsal footage. The high-energy “The Way You Make Me Feel”, the way cool “Smooth Criminal” number featuring Humphery Bogart and Rita Hayworth and his breath-taking duet with Judith Hill “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You.” These are highlights of the documentary produced and directed by Kenny Ortega.

But, it’s Michael Jackson. We expect to see good dancing, hear great singing and experience dazzling production. He is casually styled throughout most of the film and while not quite barefaced -- virtually. His face and hands exhibit that pearlescent, pale pink that appears to be a trademark of vitiligo. What is disarming about the film is Michael Jackson’s sheer, undeniable beauty. His absolute joie de vivre on the stage was evident even while he conserved his voice and energy during rehearsal.

It’s easy to forget about the allegations and scandals that plagued his life. It’s almost impossible to imagine the loneliness and depression that haunted him. And it’s tempting to believe that he may have experienced a much, less painful life if he’d let us in on one of his most painful secrets, vitiligo, from the outset.

Would we have given him the outpouring of support that Lee Thomas received when he went on camera without his makeup the first time? Would we have embraced him as his skin began to morph before our eyes? Would he have felt loved and supported unconditionally and not just as an outgrowth of his staggering talent? Are these questions far too simplistic?

Michael Joseph Jackson had a gorgeous gift. His music and movement lifted our spirits and warmed our hearts for over four decades. This film proves that he is gone too soon. But although he has departed, his beauty remains.

Matthew Neagle
Michigan Future Inc.

The revival of Detroit is happening, slowly but surely.  The best indicator is the pulse of the so-called “creative class” that are typically the first to re-enter and re-catalyze an urban area.

This weekend, I met up with a friend who is a prototype of the creative class – an artist and musician who organizes underground music events, plays shows on tours around the country , and works freelance as a computer programmer.  And, he has been living in downtown Detroit for almost ten years.  He is living the pulse.

His response to why Detroit is a great place to be an artist – space, food, and time.

For 1/4 the cost of a renting a single room in Chicago or New York, my friend has a stunning and raw 1000 square loft with 20 foot high ceilings that he shares with one other person.  For a quarter the cost, he gets 10 times the space in Detroit.   He has all the room he needs to live, to create music and art, and to put on events in his space.

Untrue to the common gripe about no grocery stores in Detroit, my friend is within walking distance to fresh, local, inexpensive food 365 days a year at Eastern Market, the largest open air market in the country.  In fact, this weekend, bell peppers were selling 5 for a dollar – can’t beat that.

Unless, of course, you are growing it yourself.   My friend also had a vegetable garden outside his building, one of an increasing number of urban gardens and farms in Detroit.   Detroit can now offer the cultural value of urbanity with the space and sustenance of rural living.

With less cost needed to sustain himself, he has more time for his creative pursuits.   The economics of creative work, for those that want a raw urban experience, make sense right now.

And, more and more people are taking up the offer.   My friend said the pulse is changing – Detroit is much better than it was 5 years ago and significantly better than when he arrived almost 10 years ago.

Finally Detroit, the first movie ever released in theaters that shows the positive side of life in Detroit opens November 6th. Prepare yourself for 90 minutes of fall-out-of-your-seat laughter as filmmaker and loyal Detroiter Robert Phelps introduces his new comedy “Stick It In Detroit.”

This award-winning, critically acclaimed, raw, in-your-face comedy epitomizes the roll-up-your-sleeves, never-say-die, do-it-yourself Detroit spirit and promises to be the most fun you will have at the movies all year.

Hoping to help reverse the negative stereotype that Detroit has garnered in movies over the past three decades and against all odds, director Robert Phelps set out on a seven-year journey, sacrificing everything to make the film that would show the world the Detroit he knows and loves, the one that is a great place to live and work, the one full of family, friends and most importantly, laughter.

“I am very proud of my city. It is a beautiful city full of amazing people. I’m sick of how it’s portrayed in movies, so I wanted to make a film that the people of Detroit can identify with, relate to and be proud of. Most importantly, I wanted to make a movie in which Detroiters can forget about their problems and just laugh for 90 minutes straight,” said Phelps.

“Stick It in Detroit” is 100% made in Detroit, by Detroit and for Detroit. “This is Detroit’s movie. It is not going to change the perception of our city overnight, but every positive project counts, and eventually, if we support these projects, we can do it and have a lot of fun in the process.”

“Stick It In Detroit” opens in theaters beginning Friday, November 6th, only at MJR Theaters: Waterford Cinema 16, Marketplace Sterling Heights Cinema 20 and Southgate Cinema 20.




Forbes has released its annual "America's Safest Cities" list and Detroit ranks 12 in the nation!  Mind you, just a year and a half ago, Forbes listed Detroit as the most dangerous city in the U.S.  Oh, how times have changed!  The cities were ranked based on the lowest rate of violent crimes, workplace deaths, fatal crashes, and natural disasters.


Below is how Detroit measures up:

Workplace Fatality Rate: 4th
Traffic Death: 10th
Natural Disaster: 8th
Violent Crime:  40 out of 40




Lee Mergner
Jazz Times

The Kresge Foundation, in conjunction with Kresge Arts in Detroit, announced that jazz trumpeter Marcus Belgrave is the 2009 Kresge Eminent Artist. That award also comes with a $50,000 prize. The Detroit-based Belgrave has gotten a lot of awards and grants over the years, but he told JT that this one was special. “It’s one I didn’t expect, that’s for sure.” It turns out that he knew he had been nominated, but after attending a gathering of various artists in the running for the award, he ruled himself out. “I saw so many gifted artists of all genres, not just music, so I didn’t think I had a chance.”

The Kresge Eminent Artist Award recognizes an exceptional artist in the visual, performing, or literary arts for his or her professional achievements and contributions to the cultural community, and encourages that individual’s pursuit of a chosen art form as well as an ongoing commitment to Metropolitan Detroit. The award is unrestricted and is given annually to one artist who has lived and worked in Wayne, Oakland, or Macomb Counties for a significant number of years. The first-ever Kresge Eminent Artist Award was presented last year to Detroit visual artist Charles McGee. The Eminent Artist Award is administered by the College for Creative Studies. The award recipient is selected by an independent review panel composed of prominent artists and arts professionals from the Detroit area.

Michelle Perron, director of Kresge Arts in Detroit, acknowledged that Belgrave was a natural choice for the award in its second year. “The award recognizes someone who has exemplified outstanding achievement in the arts field, as well as contributed to the Detroit area community. His impact in this community has been so outstanding for many years, not only as a musician but also as an educator.” She confirmed that there are no strings to the award. “This award recognizes his lifelong work and commitment.”

Belgrave himself attributes the award to his lifelong devotion to education in the community. “They knew that if they gave the money to me that I’m going to keep on doing what I been doing.” Indeed, Belgrave has been dedicated to teaching jazz to young people, both informally and formally, since around 1970.

Born and raised in Chester, Pa., Belgrave has been a fixture of the Detroit music community since he settled there in 1963. He told JT that he had his eye on the city for many years. “I was very close with Clifford Brown, who lived in Wilmington, Delaware, not far from me. He became my first mentor. I was trying to play jazz but, you know, I didn’t know what I was doing. He wrote out my first solo for me, for ‘How High the Moon.’ Yes, he opened up my ears.” Belgrave simply couldn’t imagine someone playing the trumpet better than Brown (a sentiment matched by many a trumpet player, past and present). “But these other guys would tell me, ‘Oh yea? There’s a guy in Detroit who plays circles around Clifford.’ I thought to myself, ‘Who was this guy?’ It turned out to be Thad Jones. So I knew that Detroit had a real strong music scene. I got to know him later when I was with Ray Charles and he was with Count Basie.”

Performing with Ray Charles for almost four years was a watershed experience for Belgrave, who had met Charles in Wichita, Kansas and sat in with the band. But it wasn’t until Charles had a three-week engagement in the Chester area that Belgrave was asked to join the band. “The last night he was there, he called me in to be a part of the band, because the trumpet player had had enough,” said Belgrave, laughing. Several years later, Belgrave would have a similar feeling. But he doesn’t harbor any ill feelings about his tenure with the great singer. “Those were beautiful days.” When he left Charles’ band he wanted to find a place where he could make a living without being on the road for months at a time. It was around 1962 and the Motown label was in full swing. Belgave did sessions with the label and when that work dried up, he started looking for other outlets for his talents. “I had worked so hard and lived so hard, I was ready to settle down.”

His conversion to the field of jazz education came in 1970, during a difficult time physically. He had been ill in the hospital and when he was released, he had some time on his hands without an instrument. “The doctor told me, ‘I know you’re not going to give up playing, but you have to give it up for at least three months.’ I lasted two! But it was during that time that I started teaching. And I took to it. It seemed like a natural thing to hook up with talented kids.” Talented they were. Among his students are some of the most accomplished players on the contemporary jazz scene, including Geri Allen, Regina Carter, James Carter, Bob Hurst, Rodney Whitaker and Kenny Garrett, all of whom are quick to publicly acknowledge their debt to their mentor. In an Overdue Ovation profile of Belgrave in JT in 1994, Regina Carter told Jim Dulzo that Belgrave had and continues to have a unique relationship with his former students. “He is like baby’s milk,” Carter explained. “He’s like a nutrient, like a parent. It was just so important to us as young people to really get a firm grasp on the music and come to it in a way that is fun and enjoyable.”

It’s clear in talking with Belgrave about his former students that he gets much pride and pleasure from the relationships. Belgrave said about Garrett that, “He asked more questions than any other student. He’s always trying to learn more. Did you know that he learned Japanese and now he’s learning Chinese? Oh lord. At one point he was working with Miles and he would call me up and ask me for advice. I told him, “You’re playing with Miles Davis—ask him!”

During the ‘70s, Belgrave worked as a musician and teacher with the late Harold McKinney and his organization Metropolitan Arts, but eventually formed his own organization, the Jazz Development Workshop, where many of the aforementioned artists got their early jazz training. Belgrave felt that his program made a difference in the city. “It was a positive thing for Detroit. There are a lot of dedicated teachers in the city—like Ernie Rogers and Dan Pruitt. But it seems like the schools are in such a state of decline, they just don’t get a chance.” Belgrave himself never taught formally in the Detroit school system, preferring to work on his own with students who wanted to learn from a master. Looking back on his teaching experiences, Belgrave attributed whatever impact he had on the students to the simple message that he delivered. “I let them know that they can really play. I think they knew it anyway. But I found that I was able to impart my own knowledge, direction and guidance to them.”

I asked him if he ever regretted settling in Detroit, where he became known more as an educator than as a musician. “No, no. I spent a year and a half in New York City. I worked and played with so many greats. I played on records with Mingus and Donald Byrd. I was in contact with all the musicians. I put in my dues. But it’s a hectic place. You can get in trouble there!”

In addition to his work as an educator in the Detroit music community, Belgrave also teaches jazz at Oberlin College, along with Wendell Logan, Gary Bartz, Robin Eubanks and Dan Wall. He enjoys teaching to these college kids who likely are very different from the inner city kids Belgrave has mentored over the years. “They seem to like my approach there.” He laments that he doesn’t get to spend more time with his fellow professors, who tend to come to the campus for different 2-3 days stretches. And Belgrave continues to be active as a performing musician. He recently toured with his wife, singer Joan Belgrave, in a show dedicated to Louis Armstrong. He performs and records regularly in the Detroit area and is a founding member of the Detroit Jazz Musicians Co-Op. Recently, Belgrave represented Detroit as part of the Lincoln Center Motor City Jazz Masters tribute which Included Yusef Lateef, Curtis Fuller, Charles McPherson, and Ron Carter.

Belgrave has no concrete plans for using the money from the award. He does want to explore the music of his family’s roots in Barbados. And he’s looking forward to doing the 2010 Jazz Party at Sea, which will make stops in the Caribbean, not far from his family’s origins. “I want to see if that music is still in my blood.”

David Runk
The Huffington Post

A photographer and an architect plan to freeze one of Detroit's thousands of abandoned homes this winter, encasing it in ice to draw attention to foreclosures that have battered the region.

The project from Gregory Holm and Matthew Radune, dubbed Ice House Detroit, is the latest example of the remnants of Detroit's population loss and industrial decline serving as both artistic inspiration and canvas.
"I've been really fascinated by the whole mythology of Detroit and the structures and what they represent," said Holm, who grew up on the city's east side and lived in the suburb of Hamtramck from 1997 until moving to New York City four years ago.

Holm, 38, plans to photograph the transformation of the house, which will be sprayed with water and gradually covered in ice. In the spring, crews will salvage what building materials can be reused and demolish the home. The lot will be donated, probably for a community garden.

The Detroit area has a foreclosure rate that's among the nation's highest, and Radune said the city offers a unique backdrop for the artists' work.

"It's a project that couldn't be done in the same way in New York City and it wouldn't necessarily make the same sense," said Radune, a 32-year-old freelance architect in Brooklyn who also is a DJ. "Detroit was a place where we could make it into more than architectural installation."

Holm and Radune are working to raise $11,000 online to fund the project, mostly for costs related to demolition, and hope to soon figure out where in the city they'll freeze a home.

Detroit, which has shrunk from a population of 1.8 million in the 1950s to half that now, has tens of thousands of vacant homes and buildings.


Read more at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/10/27/ice-house-detroit-artists_n_335031.html

It's Detroit's distinctive history that makes it so resonant for this kind of work," said John Beardsley, an adjunct professor with Harvard's Graduate School of Design. "It was a go-go city that in recent years has been identified as gone.

"This is not to say that Detroit can't come back, but there is a particular poignance to this history."

One deteriorating Detroit neighborhood became the outdoor art gallery for Tyree Guyton, whose more than two-decade-old Heidelberg Project has drawn international attention. Guyton transformed the houses, streets and lots with his colorful polka-dot art and collections of stuffed animals, shoes and old appliances.

More recently, a group calling itself Object Orange painted the shells of crumbling Detroit buildings bright orange to call attention to the city's blight and decay.

Radune developed the idea for Ice House while studying architecture at Rice University in Houston. After talking it over with Holm earlier this year, they decided to collaborate. A book and film about the project also are planned.

Toby Barlow
The New York Times


I was recently sitting at the bar of Le Petit Zinc talking to the owner, Charles Sorel, when he said something I found shocking: “I can’t imagine opening a business anywhere but Detroit.”

From a local, I would have just written it off as city pride, but Charles is, as he himself puts it, a citizen of the world. Born in the French Caribbean and reared in Paris, he ran a French joint in Brooklyn’s Fort Greene and lived in Brazil before winding up here. When I pointed out the risks of starting up in a city as troubled as Detroit, he shrugged it off. “When I moved to New York in the late ’80s there was not a day when someone in the city wasn’t robbed or beaten or killed,” he said. “This is so much better than that.”

A year ago, Charles opened Le Petit Zinc with the simple belief that there was a market here for a crêperie and cafe that served fresh organic food at a decent price. But that was certainly no guarantee of success. Not only was the economy cratering, but the building itself, an abandoned day care center tucked between a working-class Irish neighborhood called Corktown and a few abandoned warehouses, was on a street with no foot traffic. The only thing the place had going for it was a rundown playground out back that was good for outdoor seating. For the first five weeks after opening, when he was the cook, waiter, busboy and janitor, he had no idea what to expect.

Now, we are all raised to think of business as a sort of vicious spy-versus-spy, cutthroat activity where every competing establishment is out to stick a shiv into the other. You’d think that this kind of blood thirst would be even worse in Detroit, which — with Jimmy Hoffa’s disappearance, Eminem’s lyrics and our old, quaint Devil’s Night tradition of burning down houses — has acquired a certain reputation for toughness. But Charles discovered that the neighboring Detroit restaurants actually had quite a different reaction to a new competitor.

The owner of Slows, a barbecue place nearby, not only helped him get his permits, but also built tabletops for him at no cost. Jordi, the owner of the Cafe con Leche coffee shop, hooked him up with his coffee supplier. Dave, who had recently opened Supino Pizza, even dropped everything one day to get the paper Charles needed for his credit card machine.

Most surprisingly, just as Charles was starting up, Torya Blanchard was opening another downtown crêpe place called Good Girls Go to Paris. Instead of treating Charles like a rival, Torya happily exchanged recipes with him, even coming in one day to help make his batter, an act of crêperie solidarity that would surely have made Detroit’s founder, Antoine de Lamothe Cadillac, extremely proud.

“They want their neighbor to make it,” he says. “It’s different from anywhere I’ve been. Here, your success is their success.” Even his suppliers have shown a generosity he finds surprising: the Avalon bakery charges him wholesale prices even if he orders just one loaf.

In other ways, too, Charles seems to have timed things well, opening just when Detroit residents with an agricultural bent were beginning to take advantage of the 40 square miles of unoccupied open land here, an area almost the size of San Francisco. Greg Willerer, for instance, sells Charles spinach, flowers and zucchini at an affordable price, all grown within the city limits. Charles also planted his own garden out by the patio, putting in tomatoes, basil, peppers, thyme, parsley and beets.

Maybe it’s that adage that nothing brings a community closer than having a common enemy. For the restaurateurs, the residents, the urban farmers and the community activists now working to reshape the city, the enemy is Detroit’s own reputation. They know they will succeed only if they are a part of a larger, collective success, one that makes downtown a thriving destination again, and so they’re working together to make it happen.

Which leads to another entrepreneurial advantage Detroit possesses: instantaneous and automatic publicity. “Open a business anywhere else, and no one will notice,” Charles said. “Open it in Detroit and everyone talks about it.”

Sure enough, people are now driving in regularly from affluent suburbs like Bloomfield Hills and Grosse Pointe to try his smoked-salmon crêpes and ratatouille, a considerable achievement considering many suburbanites come downtown only for Tigers games or a night at the symphony. While I was there, the place was bustling with a diverse crowd that seemed more than satisfied.

“This is the best restaurant ever. I would eat here all the time if I had more money,” beamed a woman dining alone at the bar.

“Somebody send that lady a dessert!” shouted Charles with a smile.

Toby Barlow is the author of “Sharp Teeth.”




According to the Louis Aguilar Detroit News, Slows Bar BQ will be opening its second location, Slows to Go, a takeout and catering business in the Midtown area (NW corner of Cass Avenue and Alexandrine Street) by the middle of 2010.

The 6,000-square-foot building expands the reach and capacity of the Michigan Avenue restaurant, which was an instant success when it opened four years ago, west of the old Tiger Stadium.


The new building will allow for the preparation of larger quantities of food compared to the original restaurant, which has a tiny kitchen and limited smoker capacity. It also will fill carryout and catering orders. "We're just trying to keep up with demand," said chef Brian Perrone, who also is an owner.

With its slow-food, Southern-inspired menu, Slows has been named one the best barbecue restaurants in the nation by Bon Appetit magazine, the Wall Street Journal and others.

Slows to Go is a $1.5 million investment, including the purchase of the building. The original restaurant's success tapped into a number of movements, including the counter-trend of young people moving back into the core city and the interest in restoring old Detroit buildings.

"We view differently than Time (magazine) and other reports," said co-owner Phil Cooley, referring to a spate of national coverage of hard times in Detroit.

Phil Cooley, a 31-year-old former Louis Vuitton model, convinced his brother Ryan, a former Chicago banker, and their parents Ron and Patty to move to Detroit. And all of them are owners. Other owners include general manager Terry Perrone and sous chef Mike Metevia.

"I've lived in Milan, Barcelona, Tokyo, Paris and Chicago and this is best community that I know,"said Phil Cooley. "The people who are here are often very committed to the area."




TEDx Detroit 2009 Highlights


Chris Spiek
The AWS Blog

If you’re not a fan of the videos at TED.com: Ideas Worth Spreading, I’d be willing to bet that it’s just because no one has introduced you to the site yet.

If you’ve never heard of TED.com, drop whatever you’re doing for the next half hour and watch the videos in this post.

Yesterday, Ted’s ideas spread to Detroit as some of the area’s top thinkers gathered at Lawrence Tech University for a day of compelling discussions about technology, energy, entrepreneurship, and other current challenges.

The first conversation that I had when I arrived at the conference I believe to be very representative of what everyone there was feeling. The man in front of me in line at the registration desk turned around, introduced himself, and asked, “So … what are your expectations?”

Anyone that’s been a long-time fan of TED.com knows that the expectations are high. When I watch a TED video online, it tends to introduce a number of new ways of thinking about the topic. On a very positive note, I can honestly say that many of the presenters at TEDx Detroit had the same impact on me.




Technology
I’ve seen Richard Sheridan from Menlo Innovations speak on a number of occasions, but this was hands-down his best presentation. Richard spoke about design issues, and specifically how they relate to software design. He opened with a wonderful example: “Have you ever walked up to a door and pushed on it, only to discover that it’s a ‘Pull’ door?” That is BAD DESIGN. His presentation went on to explain a number of examples where studying natural human behavior in the workplace can lead to better software interface design. I agree wholeheartedly with Rich in his argument that we don’t spend enough time incorporating user observation into the design process.

Entrepreneurship
Dan Izzo form Bizdom U gave a though-provoking talk on Turning Dreamers into Doers. Although I think that’s a pretty tough challenge to face (motivating people to act), especially in a 20 minute presentation, he made a number of good points about innovation. His most pointed comment being: “If your business idea is the answer, then what is the f$#@ing question?” The next time you have the next great idea, spend time talking to people about the challenge that they face, and be sure that your solution is actually mated to their problem.

Inspiration & Creativity
In her TED presentation, Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love discusses the creative process, and explores the demands that we put on creative thinkers (the possibility of never creating anything great, and the even greater challenges that come with actually creating something incredible).



Art
I believe one of the only standing ovations of the day went to D Blair after he performed his poem Detroit (While I Was Away), and it was definitely much-deserved.

TEDxDetroit video: Poet D Blair performs 'Detroit (while I was away)'




Advertising
Rory Sutherland presents one of the funniest TED videos that I’ve seen so far as he explores the differences between actual “real” value, and perceived value. If you’ve read Predictably Irrational, you’ll definitely want to watch this.




Would I Attend another TEDx
On the drive home I thought back to the first conversation of the day; had it met my expectations? The short answer is that I would definitely go to another TEDx. The long answer is a bit more involved.

For me, TED is always about taking in a new, thought-provoking perspective on a topic, and the online videos fill that need perfectly. When I think about how I pull them into my life, they are effective because 1) I can watch them whenever I want, and 2) I can skip to the next one if a video turns out to be boring.

I’ve spoken to a few people about the idea of collaboration at the TEDx conferences. I didn’t experience a whole lot of it (the physical layout of the auditorium didn’t lend itself terribly well to round-table discussions), and I didn’t really expect to. Most of the useful conference-type collaboration that I’ve been involved with have been with a number of people who are all experts on the same subject, throwing ideas around (e.g. a CIO conference).

I think there are both obvious benefits and challenges that would come along with a group of people with very different backgrounds digging deep into a wide array of topics. It might be worth exploring these types of round-table discussions at future TEDx events (I’m sure some light discussions happened at the after-party, but that’s not the same as a deep exploration of a topic).

All-in-all the event was a great experience. Kudos to Charlie Wollborg, Derek Mehraban, Catherine Juon, Jennifer Wright, and Terry Bean for putting it all together.

The conference had a definite undertone that could probably be described as something like: Do whatever it takes to get Detroit back on its feet. One quote that I absolutely love stuck in my head that I think sums it all up:

Hell, there are no rules here - we’re trying to accomplish something! 
- Thomas Edison

Sven Gustafson 

Do not adjust your TV sets: More than a dozen major national companies including AutoZone, Wal-Mart, Aldi, Buffalo Wild Wings, Chase Bank, and Tim Hortons are expanding in Michigan.

Companies are trying to capitalize on the growing demand here for lower-priced food, goods and services, The Detroit News reports. That means millions of dollars in new investment and badly needed new jobs as companies build anew or take over vacant storefronts.

Discount grocery chain Aldi expects to add seven stores in the next two years in Michigan, which is one of its top 10 markets nationwide, and has already been hiring in the Detroit area. Wal-Mart plans to open 13 stores here, expand others and move into urban markets such as Detroit. And Meijer will open stores next year in Grand Rapids, Rochester Hills and Petoskey.

"It is important to look at this and realize Michigan is still filled with a large population that needs to eat, shop and be entertained," Scott Watkins, senior consultant with the Anderson Economic Group, told the News. "With the right business model, you can make a lot of money."



Click Here for More Information and to Purchase Tickets

http://daysofourlives.com

Save the Date for Detroit!

Days of our Lives has partnered with NBC affiliate WDIV Local 4 and the MGM Grand Detroit to hold its first ever talent and fan search in Detroit, Michigan, on Friday, November 13 and Saturday, November 14, 2009.

Fans and aspiring actors alike are encouraged to come take part in this historic occasion. The biggest Days fan will win a trip to Hollywood, California, with a visit to the Days of our Lives set. Promising actors will have the chance to win a role on the award-winning show. All of those participating in the search will have the opportunity to meet some of Salem's favorite cast members including Bryan Dattilo, James Reynolds, Nadia Bjorlin and Shawn Christian.

Days is collaborating with Gleaners Community Food Bank for events through the week leading up to the main function on Friday. Gleaners is the third-oldest food bank in the United States and their mission is to turn surplus food, which otherwise would go to waste, into millions of meals for hungry people. Those involved from the show will not only get to discover new talent, but will also have a hands-on experience helping the Detroit community. All participants are encouraged to bring a can of food or non-perishable donation to the event on Friday, November 13.

TEDxDetroit video: Poet D Blair performs 'Detroit (while I was away)'






Dear Fans of Positive Detroit,

I have a simple request of you: join with me and help make a world of difference for Detroit. We are all tired of the media's bad habit of picking on our area. I ask of you to help change the world's perception of the Detroit Area and one by one, we can do it!

My goal is simple with Positive Cities Detroit: To create a fun, interactive online media platform that gives the voice back to the people to decide how we want the rest of the world to perceive what's really going on in our own backyard. We cannot expect the world to speak kindly of us if we don't do it ourselves.

Here is our chance.

I was invited a few weeks ago by the website Kickstarter.com to raise money for Positive Cities Detroit, a Michigan Non-Profit.

There are 1,262 Facebook Fans of Positive Detroit and 2,308 Followers on Twitter.

If every fan pledges just $15 (that's just 5 days of Starbucks!) to my Kickstarter drive, I will achieve the monetary goal and the Positive Cities Detroit website will launch in early January of 2010.  Oh, and did I mention you get some great prizes along with your pledges!!!

If you think PositiveDetroit.net is great, just wait and see what I have in store for Positive Cities Detroit. It is like nothing you have ever seen before and I promise you will love it! Please help me make Positive Cities Detroit a reality, not just for me, but for all of you.


Thank You!
Erin Rose


Reuters

Detroit woke up on Monday to find itself under siege by a foreign army.

The army arrived with camera booms, military trucks, massive pennants and green camouflage extras for a remake of the 1984 action film "Red Dawn," turning a normally lightly populated Motown intersection into a hub of activity.

Several blocks of downtown Detroit will be closed off for up to two weeks during the filming, which appeared to have little impact on traffic flow, but drew curiosity seekers on foot.

Michigan has wooed filmmakers to the state with incentives in a bid to diversify an economy that remains very dependent on the health of the still-struggling U.S. auto industry. Clint Eastwood filmed "Gran Torino" in the Detroit-area.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer has been filming "Red Dawn" around the state for weeks. The filmmakers blew a car into the air near the downtown Detroit intersection on Monday and set off an explosion in a small Detroit building a week ago.

The original movie saw teenagers take to the hills to mount a guerrilla war after their small U.S. town was invaded by Cuban and Soviet soldiers in a Cold War theme.

In the new movie, the soldiers are from Russia and China, and Detroit serves as a kind of anytown USA stand-in for Spokane, Washington, and other places.

On Monday, passersby snapped cellphone pictures of military trucks and actors wearing green fatigues or officers uniforms reminiscent of past decades.

Paul Thomas, a student cycling to medical school, stopped to take a photo from the seat of his mountain bike. The street closings made his ride easier, he said. "They should shut it down more often."

The movie is planned for release in November 2010.

David N. Goodman
Associated Press

Detroit's $22 million ferry and Great Lakes cruise-ship terminal will help revitalize the area economy and is another fruit of the federal economic stimulus program, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said Monday.

LaHood, U.S. Sens. Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow, Reps. John Dingell and Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick and Michigan Transportation Director Kirk Steudel toured the facility. It will be fully operating next summer.
The passenger terminal and public dock on the Detroit River is getting $7.1 million in federal stimulus funds.
The project wouldn't be moving ahead as is without congressional approval of President Barack Obama's economic recovery plan, said LaHood, who thanked the Democratic lawmakers flanking him at a riverfront news conference.

"It's not an easy thing to vote for spending $700 billion, but it's working," he said.

The project consists of a two-story headquarters on the Detroit River near the Renaissance Center and a 200-foot-by-25-foot offshore wharf serving cruise ships, ferries and water taxis connecting to nearby Windsor, Ontario, and other sites along the river.

Plans have been on the drawing board for a decade, but officials didn't agree on a site until 2004.

It's part of a series of Detroit riverfront developments that gained momentum in 2007 with the opening of the Tri-Centennial State Park and the opening of 2 1/2 miles of what is to be a 3 1/2-mile Detroit RiverWalk from downtown east to the Belle Isle park bridge.

Michigan Transportation Director Kirk Steudel said the wharf and terminal will reinforce proposed light-rail and high-speed train service in spurring redevelopment of the region.

Levin, a former Detroit City Council president, said the project marks the culmination of more than half a century of efforts to open Detroit's shoreline to the public.

"What we're witnessing is the renewal of this riverfront," he said.

Earlier Monday, LaHood met with Ford Motor Co. officials. He's taking part in a series of briefings Monday and Tuesday on U.S. safety technology programs at Ford, General Motors Co. and Chrysler Group LLC.
"We got to ride the new Taurus," LaHood told Dingell. "Great car. They're back in the business, I'd say."
On Tuesday, LaHood is scheduled to address the Detroit Economic Club to defend the stimulus plan.

The Detroit Pistons and presenting sponsor National City teamed-up with Samaritan’s Feet to tip-off their 2009-10 season by donating 1,000 pairs of new shoes and socks to pre-identified children from the metro Detroit area on Tuesday, October 20, 2009 from 4-7 p.m. at Boll Family YMCA (1401 Broadway, Detroit, MI 48226). The entire Pistons team will be on-hand to help distribute the shoes during the event.

“During hard times such as these, it is even more important we find ways to help children with basic needs such as shoes,” said Pistons forward Tayshaun Prince. “We are excited to participate in this event and give back to the Detroit community.”

Employees from National City, Fathead, Palace Sports & Entertainment and Pistons mascot Hooper will be volunteering during the event. This event is part of the NBA Cares “Week of Service” where every NBA team is giving a day of service to their local community. Fathead is also supporting National City and the Pistons to help provide the 1,000 pairs of shoes and socks. Parking accommodations were made possible by the Detroit Opera House.

Samaritan’s Feet, founded in 2003, is a humanitarian relief organization based in Charlotte, NC that puts shoes on the feet of children all around the world. With over 300 million children going without shoes everyday, their goal is to provide 10 million pairs of shoes to 10 million impoverished people in 10 years. To date, nearly one million pairs of shoes have been collected for children around the world.

President and Founder, Manny Ohonme, received his first pair of shoes at the age of 9 from a missionary. He started playing basketball and other sports with these new pair of shoes and earned a spot on a traveling basketball team and eventually his high school team. Upon graduating high school, he was offered a scholarship to play basketball at the University of North Dakota (Lake Region), where he received his Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees.

To learn more about their organization, www.samaritansfeet.org or contact Todd Melloh at 317-417-3525.

http://m-bike.org
I recently purchased a Souvenir of Detroit booklet which contains “a sketch of Detroit’s History, Resources and Points of Interest to Visitors.”

It was written in 1891 during the golden age of bicycling. Sure enough, the booklet contained this text on the city’s cycling scene:

The Detroit Wheelmen are the outgrowth of the two Bicycle Clubs, the Detroit and the Star. These, after several meetings, united in the spring of 1890, everything seeming favorable for re-organization. Wheeling up to this time, owning to many reasons, had been indulged in by but the few, and was looked upon as a pastime. Since that time the club has grown in membership, and among its members may be found many of the brightest and most energetic young men in the city.

The Club House, 64 Washington Ave., is cosy and comfortable, where any visiting wheelman finds a welcome. The twelfth annual meet of the League of American Wheelmen fell in good hands, and was the largest and most successful in the League’s history, and stamps Detroit as an important cycling center, around which the rider will find many delightful tours.

The booklet also highlighted Detroit’s early parks, including Belle Isle and Clark, and concludes that “the city is wonderously well provided with lungs.”

And while describing Belle Isle, it notes its “perfect roadbeds furnish facilities for wheelsmen and their ‘bikes’ not excelled anywhere.” It’s not clear why “bikes” is in quotes unless that was a newer term in 1891.


A Detroit-based shelter for homeless, runaway and at-risk youth will get a boost this fall from
Calling All Angels, a committee of local women passionate about ending the cycle of child abuse in Metro
Detroit.

Calling All Angels (CAA) will host its fourth annual fundraising event Nov. 6 at San Marino Club in Troy, with
100 percent of proceeds benefiting Covenant House Michigan.

“Although our foster care system was originally designed to provide temporary emergency guardianship, more
and more children enter it as infants or youngsters and remain until they reach adulthood,” said Laura Bostick, CAA co-creator.

“Thousands of children age out of the foster care system each year at age 18. We are honored to assist Covenant House Michigan this year in supporting youth who are homeless and in need of shelter and guidance.”

Covenant House Michigan, a faith-based non-profit organization, provides support, educational and programs, as well as other support services, to overcome hurdles such as homelessness, unemployment, education, violence, drugs and gangs. Since 2007, CHM has helped more than 35,000 Michigan teens.

Every night, thousands of young people roam the streets because they are homeless, were abandoned escaped an intolerable situation.

"The problem of homeless kids in Detroit is an invisible one," said Cynthia Adams, Director for Covenant House Michigan. "They go from house to house, 'couch surfing' or living in abandoned buildings or cars. Some sell drugs or their bodies to survive and try to maintain a 'normal' appearance. But they desperately
need unconditional love, support and an alternative to life on the street."

CAA is consistently successful in its efforts to help area organizations year after year and is eager to support
Covenant House Michigan this fall. Since its inception five years ago, CAA has raised $140,000 plus in-kind
donations valued more than $100,000.

Last November, Calling All Angels’ fundraiser raised $40,000 for the purchase and renovation of the Angels of Grace and Hope house in Pontiac, providing a transitional home for children aging out of the foster care system.

The 2007 fundraiser raised $50,000 to help build “House of Hart & Hope,” named for the late Christian radio broadcaster Rhonda Hart, who died in her sleep.

In 2006, the women reached out to Grace Centers of Hope, raising $50,000 to help pay off the mortgage for
Gracie House in Pontiac.

How you can help

Please take this opportunity to bring hope and joy into children’s’ lives by contributing to our cause. We thank you for your consideration with our whole hearts and know that many small hearts will be thanking you too!
Call 248-393-2086 to pre-order tickets or make donations for this year’s event.

Volunteers are needed to help with auction items, donations, sponsorships, program ads and ticket sales.

Visit www.callingallangels4gch.com or www.convenanthousemi.org for more information.


Yelp Teams Up With Great Local Spas to Offer 50% Off Top Services

Yelp.com, the site that connects people with great local businesses, presents Hawt on Yelp, a week-long promotion dedicated to giving consumers the chance to try great local spas at deeply discounted prices. The promotion will run from Monday, November 2nd to Sunday, November 8th.

Six Yelp-worthy local spas, salons & studios participating in the promotion include:

Balance Massage Therapy (Ann Arbor)
Curl Up & Dye (Midtown Detroit)
Main Street Massage Therapy (Ann Arbor)
Om Spa (Dearborn)
Salon Vertigo (Ann Arbor)
SprayChic Airbrush Tanning (Farmington)

These special offers are open to the public. Appointments must be made in advance by calling the business and mentioning Hawt on Yelp. No walk-ins! For more information about the special offers please see our list of specials (below/attached) or visit: http://www.yelp.com/events/detroit-hawt-on-yelp

Hawt on Yelp will be running nationwide in 14 markets with 143 spas participating in the program. Other markets offering the promotion: Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, DC, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, Orange County, Philadelphia and Phoenix, San Diego.


Come take a sneak peek at the newest Urbane feature...CO-WORK SPACE @ Urbane on Adams!  If you've seen the Urbane Offices, you know how snazzy we like it! If you live at Urbane, you get to use this space for FREE.  We're also small-medium companies to lease out part of the space for everyday use!

Urbane Residents attending the event will be entered to win 6 month FREE rent!

Not an Urbane Resident yet??...Rent a TRENDY one bed @ Urbane on Adams during the event and you too will be entered in to win 6 months FREE rent!

 If you are an artist and want to get in on the friendly competition, shoot us an email or give us a call!

Location:
1050 Adams Road, Birmingham
6:00-9:00 P.M., Thursday October 22

Nicole Brown
Woodward Avenue Action Association

On Friday, October 16 historic Woodward Avenue was designated a All-American Road (AAR), the highest honor for a road in the United States, by the U.S Department of Transportation. This important designation is administered by the Federal Highway Administration's National Scenic Byway program. The AAR status will now include Woodward Avenue in the international tourism marketing campaigns done by the FHWA of the prestigious AAR program.

The elite collection of 37 roads were selected because of their scenic, natural, historical, cultural, archaeological or recreational qualities that contributed to the America's story which could not be duplicated anywhere else in the country. The Woodward Avenue Action Association, a economic and community development non-profit submitted the application for the designation in January of this year with the full support of state and local goverment officials, community and business leaders.

For more information on the designation please visit: http://byways.org/press/news/releases/2009/1942 .
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