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:, and

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 “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 (

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