Lester Sloan
Huffington Post

Last week, 750 Detroiters turned out at the city's signature museum, the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) to bear witness and raise cash for the 124-year-old institution, and honor philanthropist A. Alfred Taubman. It was a harmonious blending of blue bloods and blue collars coming together among the many treasures housed there. The DIA is the fifth largest museum in America, and has one of the largest and most significant art collections in the United States.

The Richard Avedon exhibition was an eye-popping collection of colorful, mostly black and white images produced over the 50-year career of the world's greatest fashion photographer. For fashion buffs and lovers of photography alike, it is a walk down memory lane, for both the models and the themes are familiar to many of those who came out for the event. The iconic image of the show is that of Donyale Luna, an African-American woman from Detroit. Avedon was both an innovative artist and social commentator, and with Luna, he helped to break the color line in fashion. One of his earliest books and social statements was in collaboration with a high school friend, James Baldwin, entitled "Nothing Personal."

For my money, however, one of the best events at the DIA takes place every Friday night in Prentis Court, one level down from the Diego Rivera's "Detroit Industry" frescos. There one can witness not images from the past, but an event that speaks to the future of Detroit: dozens of children, mostly African-American, hovering over chess boards, young minds being shaped for greatness. The DIA provides a place for those interested in honing their chess skills with a place to go, but then, after all, it's their museum too.

The idea of teaching chess to these young minds is the brainchild of Kevin Fite, a math teacher at the city's Washington Parks Academy. He started the Detroit City Chess Club in 2003. When one of his students moved on to high school and asked "where are we going to play chess now, Mr. Fite?" he went looking for a spot. He landed at Skillman Library, the downtown branch of the Detroit Public Library where he and his students felt right at home. "They even let my kids bring lunch into the library," he recalls with a smile. "They hosted trophy ceremonies, ordered books on chess and made them available to the youngsters."

When construction of the CompuWare headquarters in downtown Detroit resulted in the temporary closing of the Skillman library, the DIA made the Prentis Court facility available to Fite and his growing roster of emerging chess masters.

Since its inception, the Detroit City Chess Club has produced National, State and City champions, competing in matches in Sacramento, Denver, Nashville, Louisville, Chicago, Windsor and Montreal. Besides learning the strategies of the game, these youngsters are also learning life skills: "Chess is life," says 17-year-old Kayeen Ellis-Kemp, "you have to think before you act." He was taught to play the game by an uncle before coming under the tutelage of Fite.

A self-avowed gifted basketball player, Ellis-Kemp is also the 2006 and 2007 National chess champ. He aspires to be more like Maurice Ashley, the first black grand master, than Kobe Bryant, though he credits chess with improving his court gamesmanship. He also credits chess with bringing up his grades, raising his average from 2.0 to 3.6. "You can get a scholarship for chess," he offers. "Not many people know that."

At a recent gathering at the DIA, Ellis-Kemp received as many high 5's for his report card (5 A's and 1 C) as he did for his chess skills. He quickly explains that the lower grade was the result of a late enrollment in one of his classes, and would soon be replaced by an A. College is in his future, and he hopes to get a degree in sports management. "It's not what you say, but what you do," he says, spinning a Fite maxim.

Eleven-year-old Sidnei Austin has only been playing for three years and already she's 24th in the nation; she was rated 6th in the State in 2008. She says chess has helped her in math and in general. She has always been an A and B student, with a few slips now and then, but as she puts it, her grades "stay strong." Chess has improved her concentration and she agrees with Ellis-Kemp that it's a lot like life: "You have your difficulties that you have to go through; you overcome them and then you win or loose. That's life."

At this gathering, Fite's matches with the kids are often interrupted by his cell phone: concerned parents checking on the whereabouts of a child. "He's here," or "she can't come to the phone right now, she's playing." But on any given Friday, there are more parents in the courtyard than on the phone.

Tim Woods, a doting father watches his 5-year-old son Cameron play a game against himself. He tries to bring him down every other week.

"He's constantly asking me: 'when are we going to the DIA?'"

"Can you beat him?" I inquire, pointing to his budding chess master.

"Just for a minute" is his response, "but give him a year or two and he'll be teaching me."

His 11-year-old son, Austin, is involved in a game nearby.

Woods is conscious of the impact that the young chess players has had on others:

"Every non-African-American that walks by seems so shocked, smiling and taking pictures. Kevin Fite has done a wonderful job of bringing this club along. All I can do is clap my hands for him."

The proud dad can't say enough about Kevin Fite: "He's doing a wonderful job with these kids. Visitors to the museum walk through this court and can't believe their eyes."

Many of them, myself included, hover between the tables taking pictures.

In conjunction with a renovation plan that ended two years ago, Director Graham Beal has found ways to make the museum experience more meaningful to gallery visitors of all ages. Among the highlights are new interactive elements like video projections, and an installation that allows visitors to put themselves into paintings. "Please touch" labels encourage youngsters to tactically explore items in the museum. There are special audio tours for children, as well as galleries that group objects of art by theme instead of by date.

From my observations, the Detroit City Chess Club's presence at the DIA goes a long way toward increasing the frequency of visits by a segment of the community that may not have been there before. Perhaps one unintended consequence is that when the kids are not playing chess, they are sometimes off with their parents exploring the museum. This is a plus in a city that is dogged in the media for being at war with itself. How appropriate that within the walls of the DIA, the rebirth of our city is taking place.

Karen Nettles is a single parent with a chess and tennis phenom in tow. Her nine-year-old son Jibril already has his sights set on, first, a career in tennis, followed by a career in medicine. He plans to go to Yale University, following in the footsteps of a chess pro who won a scholarship because of his prowess in the game. Jabril is well aware of the difficulties that lie ahead, but the straight-A student, who loves to read biographies because they deal with real people who overcame real challenges, has his eyes on the prize and is willing to work hard to reach his goals.

One of the greatest wonders is to witness what develops when mind and spirit come together in the emerging personality of a young child. The great Greek historian and classicist Edith Hamilton says it best: "...both belong to the part of us which in Platonic phraseology, draws us up from that which is ever dragging down, or in the figure which Plato is fondest of, that which gives form to the formless."

While we pay tribute with our hearts and cameras to Fite and his students, we the citizens of Detroit should take a moment to applaud ourselves. And visiting journalists should take note that these moments of renewal occur every day at the Charles Wright, The Detroit Historical, and The Museum of Science amidst the rubble that can obstruct clear vision. These institutions are a source of our pride.

Ferndale Pedestrian Alley Opens Possibilities

Bonnie Caprara
Journal Register News Service

In the past 10 years, Ferndale has packed thousands of people and cars on its downtown streets and sidewalks for special events to its eclectic mix of shopping, dining and nightlife venues.

Now, it boasts a small and intimate public space with big possibilities with the completion of the Foley & Mansfield Pedestrian Alley.

"People talk about green space, but in a fully developed downtown area that was built in the 1920s, you need quality public space," Ferndale City Manager Robert Bruner Jr. said.

The once dark and difficult-to-navigate, block-long service alley is now paved with sparkly cement and brick pavers and includes retaining walls and hardscape seating. Plantings include ginkgo trees, elf hydrangeas, viburnums, arborvitae, reed grasses and lilies. Market lights will be added in the spring.

The alley will now allow for European cafée-style seating for Club Bart and Dino's Lounge and rear-entrance access to the Ringwald Theatre.

Even though Dean Bach, owner of Dino's Lounge, doesn't plan to serve customers in the alley until next spring, he already has big plans for the alley.

"We're planning an ice zoo with full-size ice animals during the Holiday Ice Festival on Dec. 12," Bach said. "And we plan on adding a mural to the back of our building."

Christina Sheppard-Decius, executive director of the Ferndale Downtown Development Authority, said the DDA is looking to partner with local businesses to add attractions in the alley for other events such as the Woodward Dream Cruise and the DIY Street Fair.

The city of Ferndale acquired the alley in a land swap with the Foley & Mansfield law firm, which purchased the former Ferndale Board of Education building on Nine Mile. Foley & Mansfield offered the alley as partial payment to acquire seven parking spots for an expansion project on the east side of the building, which became a win-win situation for Foley & Mansfield, the city of Ferndale and the Ferndale DDA.

"Years ago, the DDA started taking a look at pedestrian alleys and how we could better define pedestrian areas and vehicular traffic," Sheppard-Decius said. "The previous owners of the building weren't interested in doing something like that, but when we told Foley & Mansfield what we wanted to do, they jumped right in and offered suggestions. When a matching grant became available through the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, we already had the plan."

The MEDC grant covered half of the cost of the $60,000 project.

"We owned the alley and lots of cars and trucks would run over our landscaping because they had to navigate a sharp turn in the alley," said Mary Lou Youngling, Foley & Mansfield office administrator. "Plus, there were a lot of Dumpsters and the threat of a lot of rodent infestation. Now, our view out of the windows is prettier and we frequent the restaurants on that side of Woodward."

"People want to relax and enjoy the space they're in," Sheppard-Decius said. "It's a neat space. It's a hidden space."
Corey Doctorow

Using photos and satellite images, the Sweet Juniper blog documents the "pathways of desire" in Detroit -- the streets and sidewalks that Detroiters carved out of the snow indicating where they'd like to go, rather than where the city expects them to go.

I read somewhere (I think it was Peter Ackroyd's incredible London: A Biography) that after the Great Fire, Christopher Wren tried to lay out the city in a regular grid, but that Londoners continued to walk along where the old winding streets had been, using the old, unburned stone church-spires to navigate them, walking through the construction sites, forcing the streets back to their old places.

This past winter, the snow stayed so long we almost forgot what the ground looked like. In Detroit, there is little money for plowing; after a big storm, the streets and sidewalks disappear for days. Soon new pathways emerge, side streets get dug out one car-width wide. Bootprints through parks veer far from the buried sidewalks. Without the city to tell him where to walk, the pilgrim who first sets out in fresh snowfall creates his own path. Others will likely follow, or forge their own paths as needed.

In the heart of summer, too, it becomes clear that the grid laid down by the ancient planners is now irrelevant.

In vacant lots between neighborhoods and the attractions of thoroughfares, bus stops and liquor stores, well-worn paths stretch across hundreds of vacant lots. Gaston Bachelard called these les chemins du désir: pathways of desire. Paths that weren't designed but eroded casually away by individuals finding the shortest distance between where they are coming from and where they intend to go.

On Monday, November 24, the Detroit Medical Center (DMC) conducted a live surgery simultaneously on multiple social media platforms. The procedure, called Birmingham Hip Resurfacing (first of its kind on social media), was performed conducted at DMC Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital in Commerce Twp., MI.

Dr. Philip Schmitt, D.O., performed the 40-minute surgery, accompanied by a bevy of healthcare professionals from the DMC Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital staff.  Dr. Schmitt was the first to perform the Birmingham Hip Resurfacing procedure in Michigan and is considered one nation’s best practitioners, having completed nearly 600 operations to date. This particular procedure is ideal for patients between the ages of 40 and 60 years old who are active, but suffer from constant pains from arthritis or joint pain in the hips.

“Birmingham Hip Resurfacing is an exciting re-invention of technology,” said Philip Schmitt, D.O., of DMC Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital. “Americans love new technology and at Huron Valley we embrace it for treating our patients. Adding Twitter as another teaching aid benefits everyone.”

As Dr. Schmitt performed the surgery, DMC Social Media communicators stood by narrating each step from first incision to suture. Each “tweet” or update was broadcast in real-time via the World Wide Web and is now available for anyone around the world to revisit. Photographs from inside the surgery suite enhanced the online educational experience, providing a sense of tasteful realism. Imbedded metatags kept all status updates together via search results.

The DMC is an active social media citizen, conducting procedures or online discussion on a regular basis via social media platforms.  The award-winning Emery King educational videos give viewers insight and educational information into numerous procedures and answers for frequently asked questions.

Tanya Britt

The annual Turkey Trot in downtown Detroit  is where 10K and 5K fun runs take place before the cities Thanksgiving Day Parade.  The Turkey Trot also includes a 1 Mile Fun Run/Walk in the event for those not so athletically inclined to do the more strenuous marathons.

The participants are encouraged to dress in fun costume and by the animated attire that I saw it would seem the Turkey Trotters were really in the spirit of the day. Even the pets were dressed for the festivities.

There were many people of all ages in the streets joining in the activities today in the city of Detroit.  It was great to see the city so alive with activity.

I took 65 photos of this event. To see more photos please click on the link below

Kobi Erez

The community around the Urban Neighborhood Initiatives (UNI) in Southwest Detroit has been concerned about graffiti. This summer, more than 40 youth worked with professional artists from the Center for Creative Studies to paint murals on garage doors, fences and the walls of area businesses.

The results have reached far beyond a summer art project.

“Before I used to walk down the street and see graffiti everywhere,” said 14-year-old Cristian Rubio. “Now I see the art that I did. It makes me feel better about everything.”

Painting a Positive Picture 
Rubio was part of UNI’s Summer Urban Arts Mural Project, funded through federal stimulus dollars and coordinated by City Connect Detroit (CCD). More than 200 young adults are still being employed by the program that put more than 7,000 14- 24-year-olds to work this summer. As CCD completes its evaluation of its city wide youth employment program, it’s becoming clear that exposing young people to constructive jobs is a long-term workforce solution to chronic unemployment.

“We know that for every youth who has a positive summer work experience, we have set one more person on the path toward full employment,” said Larry Hightower, director of the Detroit Workforce Development Department. “That’s something that pays off for years to come.”

“Originally, the murals program was part of an alley clean-up project,” said Christine Bell, UNI’s youth development director. “We added the murals because of our graffiti problem. The murals beautify the neighborhood and allow the area businesses and residents to commission art work. We have talented, artistic youth and it gave them a sense of ownership, community pride and engagement. It also gave them leadership skills and a chance to work with professional artists. Other youth got to connect with a positive adult. It was good for everyone.”

Now, every time Rubio walks through his neighborhood, he sees his own artwork and is filled with a sense of ownership. Accordingly, he—and the other young people in the project—are less likely to participate in vandalism in the future. They now understand the pain, anger and frustration of having property defaced.

It was exactly the kind of frustration that Esteban Castro was feeling. He was raised in the neighborhood and moved back three years ago. He loves his house and can’t stop talking about the great people, the bustling library, and wonderful food that visitors can find in the area. But he has been discouraged by the graffiti.

“My white garage doors were always being tagged,” said Castro, who is a UNI board member. “It was like a big sheet of white paper. When I painted it different colors, the graffiti stopped. That’s the power of the murals. Vandals think twice about tagging the artwork. Plus, the images and colors make it hard to read the graffiti, so they don’t bother.”

Spreading Work Fever
The mural project also had a profound effect on its young participants. Rubio never considered art as a career, but after painting murals, he’s thinking about pursuing art professionally. Even if he doesn’t, the work experience alone has had a major impact.

“I was able to start taking responsibility for my own things and even help with family expenses,” he said. “Without a job, I would have just sat around at home the whole summer.”

Castro noted another powerful by-product of employing young workers. “Graffiti is like a negative fever that spreads throughout a community,” he said. “Work is like a positive fever that spreads. When one young person gets a job, others want to know how they can get one, too. Young people start learning what it feels like to earn money by doing something good.”

“This is why we focus on youth employment as a workforce development issue,” said City Connect Detroit CEO Dr. Geneva J. Williams. “An introduction to the joy and pride of an honest day’s work is just what some young people need to set them on the path to engaged citizenship.”

Grace Macaluso
The Windsor Star

Organizer expects 'significant, positive statements' from Detroit Three

Organizers of the 2010 North American International Auto Show are promising an upbeat event that will showcase electric vehicles and feature "incredible" announcements from the Detroit Three.

"What a difference a year makes," said Doug Fox, chairman of the North American International Auto Show. "This year, you can expect to see some really significant, positive statements coming from our hometown manufacturers because they really had to lay low last year."

The 2009 auto show was a no-frills, subdued version of its former self.

Automakers scaled back their displays and some, like Nissan, bowed out altogether. While budgets remain tight, there will be an abundance of meaningful launches of new product and technology, said Fox.

"Certainly nobody's throwing money around. I think those days are gone for a long, long time," he said. "But certainly you'll see the technology -- electric cars and hybrids, alternative fuel automobiles. All these areas seem to be very, very important and meaningful this year."

General Motors and Chrysler Group LLC, which received bailout loans from the U.S. and Canadian governments, will use the show to assert their comeback efforts, Fox said.

"I think you're starting to see some of that trickle out from GM with its announcement Monday that it expects to pay some of that money back month," he said. The auto show "is a great place to say, 'We're back and we're strong.'"

So far, the number of companies planning to set up shop at Cobo Hall total 50 -- the same as last year -- although Fox expects the final tally to rise. Nissan continues its no-show policy, but its Leaf electric car is expected to make an appearance, he said.

The event, which runs from Jan. 11 to Jan. 21, is also generating an unprecedented level of interest from politicians seeking a closeup view of how Chrysler and GM are spending the billions in taxpayer-funded loans, said Fox. U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood are among approximately 500 politicians expected to attend -- at least double the number in previous years.

"It's a huge change," Fox said. "I think a lot of interest lies in Detroit and the Big Three as they represent the epicentre of this financial meltdown that we experienced a year ago. And obviously a lot of money has been loaned to these manufacturers to re-establish themselves in the marketplace. I think there's an interest there to see the progress in that regard."

There's also a possibility that President Barack Obama will visit the auto show, he added. "I wouldn't rule out the fact that President Obama will attend the show. But we won't see any final decision until January."

At GM, spokesman Tom Wilkinson downplayed the significance of next year's show, suggesting it's no different than previous years.

"Political attention isn't new," said Wilkinson. "The reality is the global industry is in crisis; there's an industry crisis and an economic crisis which makes it a political crisis and that's just not GM or the U.S., it's everywhere.

As auto show season gears up around the world, GM will be showcasing such vehicles as the Chevrolet Volt as well as the GMC Terrain and Chevy Equinox -- two crossover vehicles built at its CAMI plant in Ingersoll, Ont., he said.

"For us, the big push on technology this year is the Volt as it moves into its actual launch as a Chevrolet," he said. "There'll be a lot of attention on it in terms of launching it and delivering those vehicles late next year."

Chrysler will stress its current product line, but also promises "some surprises," said Rick Deneau, company spokesman "We're going to look a little different," he said, refusing to elaborate.

"The focus is going to be on the Chrysler brands, said Deneau. "We have an all new 300 sedan coming out next year and we're excited about changes to other existing vehicles, like the minivan.

"As one of the pillars of our company, the minivan will be a very important part of the show."

When asked whether Fiat vehicle powertrain components will make an appearance at the show, Deneau said "there will be some things people won't have seen before."

Sandra Pupatello, Ontario minister of economic development and trade -- an auto show regular -- is keen on seeing how Chrysler and GM are recharging their product lineup.

"They have to show their product lineup has changed," said Pupatello. Other major international auto shows have emphasized hybrid and electric concept cars, she noted.

"A lot of focus will be on fuel efficiency."

The big theme for the Detroit show is "electric mobility," said Fox. "That seems to be the buzzword of shows we've visited around the world in last few months. These are the new cars that you can charge from a home outlet and will have a 100- to 200-mile range."

Fox touted a new display called Electric Avenue -- a 37,000 square-foot area that will feature electric cars and electric vehicle technology, such as batteries, powertrains and electronics.

"There's been about US$3 billion in grant money allocated to small entrepreneurial start-up companies building electric cars and making motors and batteries, so I think government officials are interested in coming in and seeing those products as well as what kind of progress you'll see there.

"It's about seeing our taxpayer dollars at work."

- - -


General Motors says it will announce the initial retail markets where the electric Chevrolet Volt will be sold at the L.A. auto show next month.

The Detroit automaker also plans to debut at the L.A. auto show the Chevrolet Cruze, a fuel-efficient compact sedan being assembled in Lordstown, Ohio.

Chrysler Group LLC is bringing Camp Jeep, a 30,000-square-foot exhibit - to consumers attending the 2009 Arizona International Auto Show, Nov. 26-29, at the Phoenix Civic Center.

Camp Jeep will give auto show attendees a chance to experience the extreme on- and off-road capabilities of Jeep vehicles without leaving the show floor, the company said.

The course will be comprised of several obstacles that simulate some of the rigorous testing that Jeep vehicles endure before customers get behind the wheel.
Swing rings in the season in a special program Sunday, Dec. 6, at the Grosse Pointe War Memorial. The 2009 Holiday Concert stars the 18-piece orchestra of Mel Stander and His Gentlemen of Swing, featuring Denise Stevens on vocals.

Held in Fries Auditorium, the 2009 Holiday Concert holds fun for every member of the family. Mel Stander and His Gentlemen of Swing delight audiences with the Big Band sounds of the 1940s and 1950s.

Additional entertainment will be provided by the Grosse Ponte Senior Men’s Club chorus. There also will be a sing-along of favorite Christmas melodies. Dan Beck will be Master of Ceremonies.

The 2009 Holiday Concert will be held Dec. 6, beginning at 3 p.m. and running to 4:30 p.m. The program is open to the public. Tickets are $5 per person. Reservations are recommended. Please call (313) 881-7511 for tickets and more information.

Through Jan. 1, Facebook members that are a fan of Milford, Michigan can enter to win gifts galore from downtown retailers and restaurants.

More than 30 giveaways will be held on the fan page five days a week, starting on Friday, Nov. 27. To enter to win, participants just need to become a fan of Milford on Facebook, then check the page daily and answer a question on select posts. Prizes include salon packages, gift certificates to Milford restaurants and retailers, fashion accessories and holiday items from various Milford boutiques.

Each comment by an individual will count for an entry. Each commenter's name will be entered into a daily drawing for the prize and winners will be notified in their Facebook Inbox. Only one comment per person will count as an entry.

Winners will need to claim their prizes in person at select store locations in downtown Milford.

 “This contest is just another way for us to highlight the many unique gifts available at Milford shops and restaurants,” said Ann Barnette, executive director of the Milford Downtown Development Authority. “Visitors can easily stroll Main Street to find great items and feel good about supporting the local economy at the same time.”

To become a fan of Milford, visit www.facebook.com/MilfordMichigan.

Fabulous Milford prizes up for grabs:

Cinco Lagos – $15 Gift Certificate
Jimmy John's – 2 $5 gift certificates
Kozmos Coney Island – $10 Gift Certificate
Milford Baking Company – Free 8" cake
Milford House Bar & Grill – $25 Gift Certificate
Main Street Grill – $25 gift certificate

Acorn Farm – Free class of your choice
After the Rain – Funky socks and a $20 gift certificate
Aubergine Gallery – Bracelet
Bling! Boutique – Cosmetic bag
For Feet's Sake – IB Foot Relief and Smart Wool socks
Home Again Décor – Vintage snowman mug and beautiful ornament
Huron Valley Furniture – Wood/leather tray
Huron Valley Quilts – $15 gift certificate
Legends of Time – Crystal Guardian
Main Street Art – $15 Gift Certificate
Nana's Niche and Corner – Aromatique potpourri and candle
The Clothing Cove – 2 $30 gift cards
The Knitting Circle – $15 gift certificate
Uptown Threads – Chic leather belt
Verizon Wireless – Phone charger and phone protector
Village Toy Shoppe – $20 gift certificate
Wind River Gallery – Candle
Your Nesting Place – Candles in a vintage bowl

America’s IRA Center – $20 massage from Essential Massage & Wellness
Huron Valley State Bank – Piggy bank filled with coins and $50 into a savings account and jar of candy
Milford Travel – $50 service fee
Mill Valley Vacuum – $20 gift certificate
Polished Outlook – Free facial, shampoo & style and make-up
Salon 3 – $20 gift certificate

Detroit Medical Center (DMC) will host a live surgery via the social media platform, Twitter on Monday, November 23, 2009, beginning at 11:00AM EST.

Tweeps can follow the innovative Birmingham Hip Resurfacing procedure and ask questions in real-time during the hour and a half surgical session.

Surgery assistants and DMC staff members will serve as commentators as Philip Schmitt, D.O., an orthopedic surgeon at DMC Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital, will perform the operation.

Monday’s Tweetcast will feature general narration on the procedure, related facts about arthritis, frequently asked questions and real-time visuals at crucial moments throughout the procedure.  This live Orthopedic procedure is believed to be one of the first to be done on Twitter.

The DMC is an active social media citizen with a presence on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and a number of other online platforms.  Monday’s live Twitter event is one of a series of live discussions and procedures regularly hosted by the hospital system.

The Birmingham Hip™  Resurfacing procedure was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2006 and has many advantages over total hip replacement. Philip Schmitt, D.O., an orthopedic surgeon at DMC Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital, was the first doctor in Michigan to perform Birmingham Hip Resurfacing. He trained in the bone-saving procedure in Birmingham, England, where it originated.

In order to follow the feed, you will have to search the #DMCdocChat meta tag on Twitter or follow Detroit Medical Center’s Twitter account @DMC_Heals.  For more information on Birmingham Hip Resurfacing, visit http://www.hvsh.org/bhr.

Panera Bread of Southeastern Michigan recently opened a new bakery-cafe in Orion, Mich., further showcasing the company’s commitment to growth in the region.

This Friday, Nov. 20, the location will give the first 250 customers a complimentary travel mug including a “free coffee for a month” refill card to celebrate the opening.

The new bakery-cafe is located in the Baldwin Commons Shopping Center at 4804 S. Baldwin Rd.

Hours of operation for the new Panera bakery-cafe are Monday through Saturday, 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. For more information, call Panera Bread’s Orion location at (248) 393-1124. Orders may be faxed to (248) 393-1126.

Jeff Duneske

Here is some great news about the Metro Detroit Housing Market. This report was just released yesterday by Realcomp Multiple Listing System.

All MLS October ‘09 sales at highest levels since 2004

Lowest on‐market inventory levels in any month since January 2006 (42,785 in October 2009, 48,059 in January 2006)

NonForeclosure Sales Top Foreclosure Sales in Metro Detroit. For the month of October, the total nonforeclosure sales were 3,483 compared to 2,938 foreclosure sales. What are your thoughts about this?

Months supply of inventory (MSI) has dropped by nearly 50% ‐ from 11.9 month supply last year to 6 month supply this year

All American Speakers

Geena Davis is one of the best loved actresses, but it seems its time to spend more time being a full-time mother to her three children.

The star has kept her acting work to a minimum. She has devoted herself to the children and Reza Jarrahy her husband of nine years.

Davis may have put her acting on the back burner; however she is continuing her political activism.

Geena will speak in Detroit next week on behalf of the White House Project, a non-profit organization aimed at promoting women in political positions.

The White House Project, a nonpartisan, nonprofit group that works to advance women, is behind the appearance, which is titled "Add Women, Change Michigan." It's part of the organization's rollout of its new survey that will document how women stake up in various arenas.

Jason Beck

For a 20-year-old thrust into the Major Leagues, Rick Porcello defied a lot of expectations this year to reach some lofty marks and earn mention in the same sentence with Dwight Gooden. Now it's time to see how he stacks up against the rest of the American League's rookie crop this season.

The bigger-name Major League awards start off Monday with the AL Rookie of the Year, and there's plenty of reason for Porcello to earn serious consideration for what would be Detroit's second winner in four years, joining Justin Verlander.

What began as a long-shot experiment in Spring Training to jump the former first-round Draft pick from Class A ball, turned into a big league effort well beyond Porcello's age as the youngest player in the league.

His early-season success was a bonus to the front-line pitching that helped Detroit move in front in the division in May and stay there through the break. Once he encountered his midsummer struggles, his second-half adjustment from a sinkerballer to a little more of a power pitcher made him Detroit's most effective starter not named Verlander.

Without Porcello's 14 wins and 170 2/3 innings, the Tigers probably would've lost out in the AL Central race before the tiebreaker. And without his 5 2/3 innings with a lone earned run in that showdown against the Twins, the Tigers wouldn't have had a chance to take the tiebreaker into extra innings.

He was a unanimous pick as the Tigers Rookie of the Year a week and a half ago. In many years, he'd be in a select group of contenders for the AL honor, if not a favorite. It may be his lone piece of bad timing this year that his arrival came in the same year as White Sox infielder Gordon Beckham, Rays starter Jeff Niemann and A's All-Star closer Andrew Bailey.

All Niemann did was lead the defending AL champs in wins and ERA while more than making up for the loss of Edwin Jackson. Beckham drove in 63 runs in just 103 games while banging out 14 homers and 28 doubles. Bailey not only racked up 26 saves, but he dominated opponents in the process, scattering 49 hits over 83 1/3 innings with a 1.83 ERA and 91 strikeouts.

Great as those numbers are, none of those other candidates played as big of a role in a pennant race as Porcello did in Detroit. The stretch run of that race brought out some of the best in Porcello. He went 5-2 with a 3.07 ERA over his final 13 starts, allowing just 66 hits over 73 1/3 innings. Just 18 of those hits went for extra bases.

How Porcello finished surprised even him.

"This being my first year, I didn't know how I was going to feel coming down the stretch," Porcello said in the season's final week. "I can remember last year down the stretch, the last couple starts I had, feeling really good. And this year, I didn't know what I was going to feel like. I'm a little surprised. At the same time, I'm thankful for the rest that they've given me and the work that we've done."

Ultimately, Porcello's chances might rest on how late in the season members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America waited to vote. By rule, ballots were due at the start of the postseason, but the Tigers-Twins tiebreaker was technically a regular-season game. Voters who waited, wanting to watch Porcello in the biggest game of his young career, could've turned in their ballots that night or the next morning.

If several voters waited, they saw a 20-year-old commanding a game for five innings -- against a team that had worn him down two other times in the previous few weeks -- before giving up a big home run in the sixth, and they likely would've been impressed.

"A 20-year-old kid grew up in front of everybody's eyes today," catcher Gerald Laird said at the time. "He had all the excuses in the world. He was young, inexperienced. And he went out there and manned up. He didn't look like a rookie out there."

Porcello didn't take much solace in his season after the last game. But now he might be able to look back and get something out of it.

Stuart Elliot
The New York Times

It may not be the advertising version of “Mission: Impossible,” but it is certainly a challenging, if not daunting, task: produce a campaign to encourage young and creative people to consider Detroit as a place to live and work.

Cue the Lalo Schifrin theme music.

The effort, called Selling Detroit.

The initiative to help change what may be the most dire urban image in America is being sponsored by the Time Inc. unit of Time Warner as part of a yearlong project, Assignment Detroit, that involves reporters and editors from Essence, Fortune, Money, Sports Illustrated, Time and related Web sites.

Several advertising agencies with offices in the Detroit area were asked to develop campaigns; five agreed to take part. Their work is to appear in the Dec. 7 issue of Fortune, due Nov. 23, as well as on three Web sites: cnnmoney.com, fortune.com and time.com.

Visitors to the Web sites will be able to vote, beginning today, for their favorite among the five campaigns. The winner is to be announced on Dec. 2, during an annual awards ceremony in Detroit known as the D Show.

“The whole idea of the contest is that we believe in the renewal of the city,” said Mark Ford, president for the news group at Time Inc. in New York. This is to be accomplished partly by people moving to Detroit with their businesses and creativity, and being there “for the long haul.”

To that end, the campaign will be “targeted more to the 18-to-34-year-old demographic,” he added.

“A lot of smart people are committed to bringing the city back,” he added, and “we’ll do our part.”

The campaigns from the agencies certainly try to appeal to the intended audience. They include elements like special Web sites, blogs, video clips and applications for cellphones.

“There is never a silver bullet to solve a problem, but every little thing you can do along the way can help,” said Matt Canzano, executive vice president and executive creative director at the Birmingham, Mich., office of McCann Erickson Worldwide, one of the five agencies.

“It’s a hard assignment,” Mr. Canzano said of the concept of making Detroit more appealing, “but not unlike the assignment” from the State of Michigan to promote tourism.

Despite remarks like “Who wants to take a vacation in Michigan?” he added, “people are sitting up and noticing” the campaign produced by his agency — part of the McCann Worldgroup unit of the Interpublic Group of Companies — that carries the theme “Pure Michigan” and uses the voice of the actor Tim Allen.

The centerpiece of the McCann Erickson contest entry is a proposed Web site that would be called CreativityLivesInDetroit.com. “This city is built on creativity,” a print ad asserts, listing examples like Pewabic pottery, founded in Detroit in 1903; the Detroit Derby Girls, an all-female, amateur, flat-track roller derby league; and the Von Bondies, a rock band.

Similarly, a print ad from another Interpublic agency, Campbell-Ewald in Warren, features Ro Spit, a D.J. and an owner of a sneaker store, Burn Rubber. He declares: “Detroit is a blank canvas. You’ll find inspiration around every corner. ... What you do with it depends on you.” He also speaks in a video on a Web site (MakeYourMarkDetroit.com).

The campaign “is a recruitment ad,” said Bill Ludwig, vice chairman and chief creative and strategic officer at Campbell-Ewald.

Although “I don’t think any other city has been hit harder by the economy,” he added, “kids who are coming here find it the land of opportunity” in fields like music and film.

The other agencies taking part in the contest are the Troy office of Leo Burnett, part of the Publicis Groupe, with a campaign starring a local celebrity, Kid Rock; Doner in Southfield, with a campaign likening those seeking opportunities in Detroit to the crew that joined the explorer Ernest Shackleton in his expedition to the Antarctic; and GlobalHue in Southfield, whose campaign includes fanciful postcards.

Among other agencies asked to participate was the Troy office of BBDO Worldwide, part of the Omnicom Group. But the office did not take part because of uncertainties over its fate, centered on the coming expiration of a contract with its client, the Chrysler Group. (The office is closing at the end of January, BBDO announced last week.)

Critics contend that a reason Detroit is in so much trouble is because its mainstay industry of automaking has stubbornly ignored ideas from outside sources. What, then, to make of the fact that the contest involves agencies only from the Detroit market?

“We haven’t really found the agencies to be insular,” Daniel Kile, a spokesman for Time, wrote in an e-mail message. “They’re the ones who get what the opportunity is there, and who have a stake in the area’s return to prominence.”

Jennifer Guerra

You’re going to hear the words asset and opportunity a lot in this story. And frankly, that’s a pretty welcome surprise. It’s not often you hear those words associated with Detroit these days.

But don’t tell that to Charles Cross, Chandra Moore, and Virginia Stanard. They all work at the Detroit Collaborative Design Center. The firm is associated with the University of Detroit Mercy. And most of their work focuses on Detroit’s abandoned spaces.

“Many communities come to us because they’re searching for some sort of revitalization or rethinking of their communities based on the strengths and assets that still exist in their communities,” explains Stanard.

The table at the front of the design center is covered in colorful mock ups and drawings of all the potential projects they want to work on.

They’re currently working on a project on Heidelberg Street in Detroit. A lot of children live around there, and it also happens to be one of the poorest neighborhoods in the country. Chandra Moore explains how they’re going to take one of the vacant houses on the street “and figure out we can make it an open, urban amphitheater for the area.”

The reason they’re able to do the project is because they got a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Without the grant, who knows if the project would’ve happened. A lot of time the fate of a project does come down to money.

Virginia Stanard says money is, of course, important, “but it’s also collaboration and partnerships. And I do think there are a lot of strong foundations, non profits, organizations in the city, of course as well as the city government. And we’ve actually been fortunate enough to be in conversation with some of these groups and start to talk about some of these ideas.”

An idea that Charles Cross has is to turn a vacant building into a fish farm:

“There’s a gentleman in Brooklyn, New York who’s raising tilapia in these tanks in basements of buildings,” says Cross. “He’s done some research and said there’s a market for this. Other people are doing these things and we have infrastructure with the abandoned factories that are here that can be retrofitted and reused.”

When asked if he thinks there’s a space in Detroit to farm tilapia, Cross says “there’s one right around the corner from my apartment. And they used to support the auto industry; they’re now out of business. The building is still in good condition and it’s huge; I don’t see why this couldn’t be done there.”

Virginia Stanard tosses out another idea, this one is taken from Germany. It’s a country that has lots of similar post-industrial issues.

“They’ve been able to transform some of their current factories that are no longer in use into recreation and tourist destinations,” says Stanard. “There are some climbing wall locations, there are some park and walking areas. It’s an interpretative space as well. So they’re learning about the history of this particular factory, and the history of this region as an industrial region.”

The photo they showed me of the German factory looks like an attraction at Cedar Point: It is super bright, with red, purple and green neon lights. And there are people actually rappelling off one the side of the factory.

Now of course, they know it’s gonna take time to transform some of these dreams into realities.

But Charles Cross figures if other cities can do it, so can Detroit.

“The guy in Brooklyn,” says Cross, “this guy is raising fish! Why couldn’t we grow potatoes and have Detroit made fries or tater tots or something? So I really think it’s going to take a lot of political will and a lot of partnerships with the nonprofits and with the communities. We can’t sit back and wait for things to happen. We have to make them happen.”

Detroit made Tator Tots? I could totally see it.

Detroit Evolution 

Great Lakes Bioneers Detroit, Detroit Evolution, and Eastern Market Corporation come together on the third Wednesday of every month to present Detroit Abides, A Free Sustainability Gathering in Eastern Market’s Shed 5.

The event features a movie on a sustainable topic, explores the topic at the local level through discussion and support from regional groups and businesses, and creates a space to meet like-minded people from all walks of life & grow an active, healthy community.

We are pleased to continue our monthly movie series with a very special screening of our friend Reverend Billy's inspirational documentary, from producer Morgan Spurlock (SUPER SIZE ME) What Would Jesus Buy? Rev Billy will be celebrating his run for Mayor of NYC so he'll be unable to join us for this screening, but he'll be with us in spirit as we exorcize the demons of credit debt and big box shopping! We will also discuss the importance of supporting local business and growing resilient local economies in the city of Detroit. Please bring a friend, a chair and a blanket as we gather together to enjoy this hilarious and enlightening film.

Detroit Abides! Community Movie Night in Eastern Market
This Months Free Movie: What Would Jesus Buy?
Wednesday, November 18th 7-9pm
Location: Eastern Market's Heated Shed 5
Shed 5 is located at the corner of Russell and Alfred St.

Please Note: Please remember to bring a sweater, blanket and friends to stay warm. Though Shed 5 is enclosed and heated, it is a large space that can be drafty.

 John Hahn  - Senior Director of Communications
Detroit Red Wings

Led by Red Wings vice president Steve Yzerman, the Red Wings are teaming up with Fifth Third Bank to encourage Southeast Michigan high school students to volunteer in the community. The new S.H.O.T.S. program (Students Helping Others Through Service) is an initiative designed to encourage high school students to volunteer their time and efforts while creating a competition among the student groups with monthly and overall winners taking home several great prizes.

“This is a great opportunity for high school kids to make a positive impact in the community and have fun in a spirited competition,” Yzerman said. “Whether you volunteer at a local soup kitchen or clean up a street or park, there are dozens of ways for everyone to get involved and make our neighborhoods better for everyone.”

Individual student groups of four to six students, or their teachers, can register their team by CLICKING HERE and keep the judges updated on their progress. The selection committee includes several local celebrities including Yzerman, Steve Grunwald from 99.5 WYCD Detroit’s Best Country, Pat Caputo from 97.1 and the Oakland Press, Dr. Darrius from 97.9 WJLB, Spike from the Mojo in the Morning Show on Channel 955 and Trevor Thompson from FOX Sports Detroit.

“The S.H.O.T.S. program encourages a culture of community service in our next generation, which has a far greater reach than if the bank had just performed the activity ourselves,” stated Jack Riley, senior vice president, marketing director at Fifth Third Bank. “We are really pleased to be working with our partner Steve Yzerman and the Red Wings' organization in such a worthwhile program.”

One winning team from the three-month contest will receive laptops for all team members and be honored on the ice at a Red Wings' home game in March. Monthly winners from December, January and February will win tickets to a Red Wings' home game, a pizza party for their team and goody bags filled with great Fifth Third Bank and Red Wings gear. And teachers and students both win by getting in the game early as the first 100 teachers to submit their student groups’ projects will receive a $50 Kroger gift card to purchase educational supplies for their classroom.

For more information and to register your team, CLICK HERE or call Sara Percoulis at 313-394-1997.

Get out your dictionaries and prepare for a H-I-L-A-R-I-O-U-S night at the UDM Theatre Company’s and the Marygrove College Music Department’s A-D-U-L-T musical comedy The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.

Opening November 13 and playing a limited two week engagement till November 22, 2009 at the Marygrove College Theatre, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is sure to warm your heart, challenge your spelling skills and have you humming all the H-O-M-E!

This Tony award-winning musical is fresh off the national tour and recently closed on Broadway after nearly 1,200 performances. The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee captures the corky competition of a county spelling bee with all the usual suspects that are in the throes of puberty. From the reigning spelling champion, to the overachiever with the lisp, the overweight kid with a host of health problems, and the second alternate that never expected to compete; they all unite through their love of spelling. Originally produced on Broadway by David Stone, James L. Nederlander, Barbara Whitman, Patrick Catullo, Barrington Stage Company, Second Stage Theatre, the “Spelling Bee” is recommended for theatregoers 13 and over for its adult content.

In each performance of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling four different audience volunteers will be chosen to participate in the actual spelling bee live on stage making each performance unique! Volunteer spellers are encouraged to arrive to the theatre 30 minutes prior to curtain on the day of the performance to sign up to be selected to spell.

Along with the four volunteer spellers are Darrius Washington (Detroit, MI) as Chip Tolentino, Anne C. Di Iorio (Farmington Hills, MI) as Logainne Schwartzandgrubenniere, Maxwell C. Bolton (Birmingham, MI) as Leaf Coneybear, Joel A. Frazee (Bluffton, OH) as William Barfee, Catherine Dacpano Menzies (Macomb, MI) as Marcy Park and Susan Boonenberg (Dearborn, MI) as Olive Ostrovsky. Erica Cole (Detroit, MI) as Rona Lisa Perretti and Steven Ploe (Detroit, MI) as Vice Principal Douglas Panch will monitor the Spelling Bee making sure all of the words are spelled correctly. The Spelling Bee will also feature Dez Walker (Royal Oak, MI) as Mitch Mahoney and Olive’s Dad, Angel Shakespeare (Farmington, MI) as Olive’s Mom, Rob Hammond (Troy, MI) as Carl Grubenierre, Emmanuel Carter (Inkster, MI) as Dan Schwarz and Chris Jakob (Detroit, MI) as Jesus Christ.

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee has music and lyrics by William Finn, book by Rachel Sheinkin, conceived by Rebecca Feldman and additional material by Jay Reiss. It will be directed by Greg Grobis and musical direction by Shawn McDonald. The creative team includes David Regal (Artistic Director), Melinda Pacha (Costume Design), Mark Choinski (Scenic Design), Kathleen Lanphear (Lighting Design), Matthew Lira (Stage Manager) and Hannah Reddy (Asst. Stage Manager).

Tickets for The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee are $20 for general admission, $16 for discount admission (senior citizens, UDM and Marygrove faculty, staff, and alumni), $13 for students and $9 for UDM and Marygrove students. Please note a $3.00 service fee per order for non-subscribers.

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee’s performances are November 13 through 22, 2009, Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. and Sundays at 2:00 p.m. at the Marygrove Theatre on the campus of Marygrove College, 8425 W. McNichols Rd Detroit MI 48221.

The Theatre Company’s box office is located in Reno Hall on the University of Detroit Mercy campus. Hours of operation are NOON through 5:00 p.m., Tuesday through Friday. The box office will move on the day of the performance to the Marygrove Theatre and will open 45 minutes prior to curtain. For tickets, call the theatre box office at 313-993-3270 or reserve your tickets online at http://theatre.udmercy.edu.

Linda Preka, President and CEO of Nobile Cleaning Services, is proud to announce the launch of Green Paradiso, a new line of ECO-Friendly cleaning products using raw materials approved by the EPA’s Design for the Environment (DfE) .

The launch will be celebrated at an event on Thursday, November 12, 2009, 6:30pm at Andiamo Warren, 7096 East 14 Mile Road, Warren, Michigan 48092.

The cleaning products are super concentrated formulas, packaged in recyclable materials, which are highly effective, safe and easy to use.  Most ingredients are derived from biorenewable resources originating from animal, plant, or marine material, reducing our carbon footprint.

 “As I have grown my commercial cleaning company, I realized there was a need for effective cleaning products that are green”, said Linda Preka.  “I wanted to use products that were both safe for my employees, clients and their employees, and for the environment. Working with Arrow Chemical Products, another Michigan based company, I developed products that I want to share them with other businesses.  I created the Green Paradiso line of cleaning products which I will now make available to any business that shares my concern for their employees and the environment.”

“Two women owned Michigan businesses have joined together to do their part to create a better environment within commercial business establishments,” said Cindy Schroeder, President, Arrow Chemical Products. “Our company brings over 70 years of experience formulating specialized chemical products and Linda Preka has many years of experience in the commercial cleaning business.  We have combined our knowledge and desire to help the environment and created Green Paradiso.

The product line includes Green Paradiso All-Purpose Cleaner, Heavy Duty Degreaser, Glass & Surface Cleaner, Disinfectant, and Laundry Detergent.

 Nobile Cleaning Services is located at 200 E. Big Beaver, Troy, Michigan and can be reached at 586-726-5319.  More information is available at www.nobilecompany.com.  

More information regarding Green Paradiso can be obtained by calling 1-800-910-0114 or going to the website at www.greenparadiso.com.

Livingston Daily

"In a sense, we are all Detroiters."

That was a comment made this week by George W. Jackson Jr., a Detroit business booster who addressed a breakfast meeting of the Howell Area Chamber of Commerce.

Jackson, a former Detroit Edison marketing executive, heads the Detroit Economic Growth Corp., a private, nonprofit organization at the center of a lot of the revitalization efforts in the state's largest city.

Jackson's organization is sort of a parallel government in a city plagued by bureaucracy, inefficiency, incompetence and a strong scent of corruption. Rather than continue to fight the roadblocks at city hall, the economic development group finds ways to circumvent them.

There has been some success. Streetscapes have been refreshed, storefronts have gone through extensive renovation, residential and business districts have developed and the historic and virtually abandoned Book Cadillac hotel reopened last year after a $200 million renovation as the Westin Book Cadillac Detroit.

Some of the progress has been the long-overdue demolition of eyesores to make way for new projects. The Book Cadillac itself was a possible demolition target before a Cleveland developer came in to invest in the restoration of a 453-room hotel, topped by 66 condos. Blight is still a problem, but Jackson says now that most of the city's blight is privately owned rather than city-controlled property.

Jackson hopes to see a continuation of young professionals and baby boomers with higher-than-average incomes moving into various downtown pockets. He says outsiders — such as the Cleveland developer — are seeing the value in investing in Detroit.

Jackson is part of a group that works with other regional leaders — including Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, often unfairly cast as the bad guy in these discussions — to produce regional solutions.

Jackson is also optimistic about the administration of new Mayor Dave Bing, the former professional basketball player who turned into a successful Detroit businessman before running for mayor. Jackson says Bing will bring integrity and solid business credentials to city hall.

That said, Jackson said we in Michigan are too negative when it comes to Detroit. Downtown has many attractive features, drawing 5.6 million entertainment visitors a year. Despite the city's reputation for crime, Jackson said FBI statistics show the city is safer than many other large cities in the United States.

In Livingston County, we need to pay attention to Jackson. The region is defined to outsiders by Detroit. As Jackson says, outside of our immediate area, the Detroit brand is far more recognizable than the Michigan brand.

That brand needs to be a positive one. If Detroit is vital, then the entire region benefits. It's encouraging to see a Detroit leadership that appears to want to work with the rest of the region, rather than demonizing it.

Jack Lessenberry: Freedom House One of a Kind

Jack Lessenberry

They arrive here from all over the world, usually after having been beaten, tortured, traumatized. Many have seen family members killed; some were left for dead themselves.

Some were persecuted because of their race or religion or ethnic group. Others because they spoke out about abuses or fought for democracy. They are the people for whom America was invented.

The United States still has a policy of granting asylum to all who can prove they are truly refugees from political persecution.

A small group of those manage, against all odds, to get to Detroit every year, to a place that they know will help them see it. It is called Freedom House and is located in a rambling, century-old red-brick structure in the shadow of the Ambassador Bridge.

It contains both offices and sparse, dorm-like living quarters. (It was once a nunnery.) But for those living there now, it is nothing short of a shining sanctuary. And, indeed, there is nothing like it anywhere else. "We're the only agency of its kind in the United States," said Deborah Drennan, Freedom House's program director, and, at least for now, top administrator.

"We try to provide all services needed by those fleeing persecution in their home country."

That means medical care -- mental as well as physical -- legal aid for the asylum process, housing and food, and also English languages classes, job training, placement and transitional housing.

"I've never had a job that was more important or worked with people I cared about so much," said Drennan, 53, a Detroit native who has spent her life working for the downtrodden.

"But for the first time, I am really worried that we aren't going to have enough money to keep this up," she said. Donations have fallen off, and they've lost a couple of grants.

Accordingly, she has just sent out an emergency appeal looking for the $150,000 she needs to "continue providing our clients with the necessary resources to rebuild their lives in freedom."

Those sheltered by Freedom House are not the scum of the earth, to put it mildly. The 38 men and women living there last week included accountants, lawyers, teachers and four Ph.Ds.

They have, however suffered horrendously. Most have been raped -- men as well as women -- and are dealing with both the physical and psychological after-effects. Potential residents are carefully screened, Drennan said, and those not meeting the qualifications are not allowed to stay. But most do.

And the staff works hard to win them asylum. Nationally, according to Drennan, only about 42 percent of those who apply for asylum are granted it. The success rate in Detroit's immigration court is far less than that. But the nonprofit group's mostly volunteer legal staff has a perfect success rate over the last two years.

Freedom House was founded in the early 1980s, to help a few refugees from Central America's death squads. Originally called the Detroit-Windsor Refugee Coalition, it changed its name after the Roman Catholic Church donated the building, a former convent associated with St. Anne's, the oldest church in the city.

For many years, it was far easier for those fleeing persecution to win asylum in Canada, until Ottawa toughened the rules. Now, the refugees have to seek refuge in the country where they first arrived.

Over the years, the ethnic composition of the house has changed dramatically, depending on where things have been worst in the world. Today, most are from sub-Saharan Africa, with a few from Colombia and Iran. Relations with the immigration authorities, sometimes rocky in the past, are pretty smooth these days.

Freedom House's biggest problem is now economic. While the economy undoubtedly accounts for much of the problem, it also has become fashionable to bash "illegal" immigrants.

Drennan, whose ancestors came from Ireland, finds that ironic, given that none of the first white settlers of this land asked the Native Americans for immigration papers. "When our refugees are legally allowed to work, employers absolutely love them."

But some of the refugees find getting work in their field very hard, like a 30-year-old Rwandan named Aimable Iragula. He has an extensive background in finance, but his English is still not up to acceptable levels. In the meantime, he works as a nurse's aide.

Still, residents of Freedom House are remarkably cheerful. When one wins asylum and leaves, they write a farewell in a guest book Deborah Drennan keeps for special events.

"I truly believe that God has sent me through this wonderful establishment to show me and prove something to me," wrote a woman who signed her letter only Victoria. "I have seen the America that I have always imagined before I came to this country.

"God bless you."

Together, Michelle Matiyow and Lians of LM Studios in Warren, Mich. have earned an honorable mention in the Advertising – Fashion category of the 2009 International Photography Awards Competition. Their winning entry "Fugitive Color” is a series of photographs created to explore the relationship between fashion and fine art.

“A synergy exists between the classic beauty of the black and white images with the chaos of the paint,” said Matiyow.

 LM Studios is a photography and post production studio focusing on fashion. Photographers Michelle Matiyow and Lians met while working at Clear Magazine in 2002 and have worked together since then.

“It is truly an honor to have our work recognized by the IPA, an organization we consider to be the equivalent of the Oscars for photography,” said Lians.

The 2009 International Photography Awards received nearly 18,000 submissions from 104 countries across the globe. It is a sister-effort of the Lucie Foundation, where the top three winners are announced at the annual Lucie Awards gala ceremony. The Foundation's mission is to honor master photographers, discover new and emerging talent and promote the appreciation of photography.

Since 2003, IPA has had the privilege and opportunity to acknowledge and recognize contemporary photographer's accomplishments in this specialized and highly visible competition. View the winners at www.photoawards.com.

For more information about Michelle Matiyow, Lians or LM Studio, send email to i@lmstudios.com or visit the Web site www.lmstudios.com.

To learn more about the International Photography Awards, contact Competition Director Sarah Cho at sarah@photoawards.com or call (310) 659-0122.
As part of the Community Telecommunications Network (CTN), Wayne State University is providing the technical, strategic and systems support to provide Internet access for residents in two low-income Detroit neighborhoods.

The initiative is supported by one of several Knight Foundation creative sector grants totaling more than $5 million; these grants are intended to transform the city's economy by creating jobs and extending digital access to community centers and underserved citizens.

CTN, funded by an $800,000 Knight Foundation grant, provides $100,000 in matching funds to support Internet access infrastructure development in Detroit's Midtown, Northend and Osborn-Northeast neighborhoods.

CTN members include Detroit Public Schools; Detroit Public Television; Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties intermediate school districts; and Wayne State. Community partners in this Detroit Connected Community Initiative with CTN are the 4C's/Family Place, Focus: Hope and Matrix Human Services.

"Wayne State University is excited about the Knight Foundation's investment in Detroit and proud of our role, along with our partners in CTN, in extending broadband access," said WSU President Jay Noren. "This is a critical component in our collective efforts to revitalize Midtown and Detroit, connecting stakeholders and supporting new applications for economic development, public safety, education and health care. This project will change lives, uplift neighborhoods and help move this great city forward."

According to Patrick Gossman, executive director of CTN and Wayne State's deputy chief information officer, Wayne State will provide rooftop space for the hub of the new network, as well as technical expertise in its design and installation. Wayne State will then work with community partners to build networks that extend into the surrounding areas. The community partners will provide training and support for local residents.

"Wayne State computer scientists are providing design expertise and are excited about opportunities to include undergraduate and graduate students in the development and testing of advanced wireless networks," Gossman said. "As a leader in research and innovation, Wayne State and its partners in the Community Telecommunications Network are uniquely positioned to combine their K-12 and higher education resources to meet the challenges of the region.

"We are grateful for the assistance of Merit, a nonprofit corporation formed by the University of Michigan, Wayne State and Michigan State University, which will be the official Internet service provider for this initiative."

Salvation Army Creates Giant Red Kettle in Detroit

Associated Press

The Salvation Army has created a kettle made of red lights that stands about 56 feet tall in a downtown Detroit park. The kettle in Campus Martius Park was assembled Tuesday morning and is about 24 feet wide. It is made of 25,000 red lights.

The Detroit News reports organizers may earn a Guinness Book of World Records entry for world's tallest kettle with the creation.

The Salvation Army's iconic red kettles are a common sight at grocery stores, malls and other locations during the nonprofit organization's annual fundraising drive.

The army's Detroit-area branch is seeking to raise $7.8 million during the drive starting Nov. 13 and running through Dec. 24. The giant kettle at Campus Martius Park will be lit on Nov. 20.


Join the Red Wings in honoring the Hockey Hall of Fame’s newest member Steve Yzerman Thursday, Nov. 12 at Joe Louis Arena as the Red Wings take on the Vancouver Canucks beginning at 7:30 p.m. EST (FOX Sports Detroit & 97.1 The Ticket).

Fans are encouraged to arrive early as ‘The Captain’ will take part in a ceremonial puck-drop. All fans in attendance at Thursday’s game will receive a Steve Yzerman commemorative plaque, courtesy of Fifth Third Bank.

Red Wings vice president Steve Yzerman will be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto Monday, Nov. 9, along with Red Wings alumni Luc Robitaille and Brett Hull and hockey greats Brian Leetch and Lou Lamoriello.

Single-game tickets for the entire 2009-10 season are available at the Joe Louis Arena box office, all TicketMaster locations including, Hockeytown Café, Hockeytown Authentics in Troy, Mich., or charge by phone at 800-745-3000. Fans also can purchase tickets by logging on to DetroitRedWings.com.

Mr. Pita restaurants will treat U.S. veterans to lunch or dinner again this year on Veteran's Day, Wednesday, November 11th.

In honor of the men and women who have served in the U.S. military, the restaurant chain will offer a choice of one of eight Mr. Pita sandwiches FREE – a regular-sized, classic pita (Italian, Ham and Cheese, Greek, Turkey, BLT, Tuna Salad, Veggie and Club).

"We felt it was important to provide a small gesture of gratitude to the many men and women who served in our  U.S.armed forces," said Casey Askar, chairman and  chief executive officer of Askar Brands. "We are proud to be giving back to Michigan’s veterans who made sacrifices in order to keep our nation safe.”

Veterans (with proper proof of service) who visit participating Mr. Pita locations may order their choice of sandwiches throughout the day.

 Based in Commerce Township, Mich., Mr. Pita was founded in 1993 and today operates 31 locations in Michigan, New York, Texas and Colorado.  Additionally, the chain operates Pita Wagons that visit work sites to provide Mr. Pita foods.  In 2008, Mr. Pita sandwiches were voted “Michigan’s Best” in an annual survey of readers of the Detroit News.

Visit Mr. Pita on the web at www.mrpita.com for the location closest to you.

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.