Tomorrow from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m., everyone’s favorite fuzzy mascot, PAWS, will cheer on not just the Detroit Tigers, but The Salvation Army of Metro Detroit.

 PAWS, in all his orange and black glory, will serve as a special celebrity Red Kettle Bell Ringer at Macy’s at Twelve Oaks Mall, using his mascot status to serve up some needed team spirit and raise money for The Salvation

Army’s Red Kettle Campaign. The public is welcome to come out, meet and take photos with PAWS, donate to his Red Kettle and help The Salvation Army reach its $7.8 million goal to help those in need right here in metro Detroit.

Macy’s at Twelve Oaks is located at 27550 Novi Rd. PAWS will be at the main entrance of Macy’s (outside) facing Novi Rd.

For more information about The Salvation Army, call 877-SAL-MICH or visit www.salmich.org.

Goodwill Detroit

In the spirit of Goodwill Industries of Greater Detroit’s ongoing efforts to help Metro Detroiters overcome challenges and secure new jobs, Goodwill Industries is encouraging members of the Metro Detroit community to show how they're helping others this holiday season through "Random Acts of Goodwill."

Through December 31, 2009, area residents can send photos, videos, voice recordings or a brief written summary of how they're giving back to others (individuals, families or organizations) this month to Goodwill Industries of Greater Detroit.  Submitted stories and other materials may be shared with Goodwill friends and supporters via the organization’s social media and Web properties. All submitters will automatically be entered to win prizes.

Goodwill Industries of Greater Detroit may also share these “random acts of goodwill” with the new members of Generation Goodwill, a youth leadership and community service organization to launch in January 2010, to inspire and motivate these young volunteers. Visit www.generationgoodwill.org to find out how you can nominate a young leader to become a Generation Goodwill founding member.

The smallest efforts can make a huge difference, so please share your stories with us by e-mailing materials to director@generationgoodwill.org by December 31, 2009*. Please put “Random Acts of Goodwill” in the subject line.

A random drawing for prizes, including an 8GB iPod Nano, Caribou Coffee gift certificates and bowling packages to Drakeshire Lanes in Farmington Hills, Mich., will take place in January 2010. Winners will be notified via e-mail.


Bailey Blog

Detroit in the Spotlight - Again!

The North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) is primed and ready to once again put Detroit in the global spotlight this upcoming January.

Once again, the New Year will begin with global automotive manufactures (OEMs) bringing major product announcements to Detroit for the world to see.  Entering its 22nd year as an international event, the show is among the most prestigious auto shows in the world and is one of the largest media events in North America.  The NAIAS 2010 has over 55 brands and companies set to exhibit, which is more than last year at this time.

Doug Fox, NAIAS Chairman says; “This show is the global forum where the positive momentum begins.  The innovation touted by the exhibitors, coupled with the addition of new features at NAIAS, sets the stage for the world.  Thousands of global journalists, government officials, visitors from around the world and the public, will see that momentum in motion.”  The reports already indicate that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has confirmed that she will visit the show, and some even think that President Obama might make an appearance, we will just have to wait and see…

A dual approach of featuring alternative modes of motion will come together at NAIAS 2010 with the return of The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) EcoXperience and the all-new Electric Avenue presented by The Dow Chemical Company.

These features will illustrate the practical and future applications of alterative fuel technologies from major manufacturers and suppliers, marking the return of such brands as Nissan and Mitsubishi to the NAIAS.

One of the best parts is that at the EcoXperience the general public will get the chance to drive the latest alternative fuel vehicles (Jan. 16 - 24).

This show always excites me and I am always most proud that Detroit, our city, is in the global center stage and is the site of the most business news of the day to start the year.

Detroit Peddling Produce Like Ice Cream


Associated Press

In a U.S. neighborhood served by 26 liquor stores but only one grocery, a community group is peddling fresh fruits and vegetables like ice cream.

Five days a week, the Peaches & Greens truck winds its way through the streets as a loudspeaker plays R&B and puts out the call: "Nutritious, delicious. Brought right to you. We have green and red tomatoes, white and sweet potatoes. We have greens, corn on the cob and cabbage, too."

The truck set up like a small market brings affordable produce to families on public assistance, homebound seniors and others who can't reach the well-stocked grocery chains in the suburbs.

"The truck delivery system is one that makes sense in Detroit because of the spread-out situation and the lack of transportation that reaches food venues," said Dave D. Weatherspoon, an associate professor at Michigan State University. "We thought that was a pretty good place to get started."

Peaches & Greens has community gardens, where volunteers grow greens, tomatoes and other vegetables to help stock the truck. The food also is offered at a neighborhood produce market, and organizers hope to persuade liquor stores and corner markets to stock their vegetables.

"People will buy it," said Lisa Johanon, executive director of the nonprofit Central Detroit Christian Community Development Corp., which runs Peaches & Greens. "We've seen the stereotype that urban communities won't eat healthy, and we're seeing that isn't true."
Associated Press

Houses with dreary urban facades covered in polka dots. A traveling dollhouse made from the remnants of abandoned homes. A dilapidated residence covered in ice.

Artists across the Detroit area are using the city's blight as their canvas, transforming abandoned homes into high-concept projects to draw attention to the homelessness, poverty and urban decay plaguing Detroit. They hope the ongoing experiment will shed some creatively inspired light on what Detroit was, is and could be again.

The work harks back to two decades ago when Tyree Guyton transformed a deteriorating Detroit neighborhood into a colorful, outdoor polka-dot art gallery.

Guyton rescued stuffed animals, sneakers and shopping carts from alleys and street corners and gave them a permanent home on the trees, houses and vacant lots of Heidelberg Street. But unlike Guyton's project, this latest wave of social art isn't centered on a single section of the city, and it comes at a time when the problems are just as dire, if not more so: Detroit has tens of thousands of abandoned structures, a budget deficit of at least $300 million and an unemployment rate two to three times that of the national average.

"It's amazing to see now the work that (Guyton) started 23 years ago kind of taking on shape and form in many different ways with many different people in this city," said Jenenne Whitfield, executive director of the Heidelberg Project.

Famous examples of social art include Spencer Tunick's photos depicting thousands of nude subjects at locations around the world, and Nek Chand's "Rock Garden," a vast sculpture garden in India. But the trend is magnified in Detroit because so many artists are zeroing in on the same subject matter and displaying their creations in high-profile ways.

Clinton Snider is one of those who saw artistic possibilities in Detroit's misfortune. The suburban Bloomfield Township resident typically expresses himself through painting. But these days, he's becoming known as the guy who built a miniature house from the remnants of abandoned homes.

Snider's creation — called House 365 — is touring the area with each "deedholder" hosting the little (about 5 feet tall) wood-framed house for a month at a time. It's currently booked into the middle of next year.

The house, which some mistake for a dollhouse, has become "a symbol for Detroit culture and how much abandonment there is," said Snider, who initially envisioned moving the house every day of the year, hence the name.

Marisa Gaggino, owner of The Heritage Co. II Architectural Artifacts, says she's honored to host Snider's artwork, in part because it symbolizes what she says is the "shocking" economic divide between Detroit and neighboring Oakland County, which houses her business and some of the most affluent communities in the U.S.

Gaggino acknowledges, though, that not all who visit her Royal Oak store grasp the meaning behind the miniature house that sits outside just beyond the entrance.

"The first people that looked at it came in and wanted to know how much it was," she said. "They thought it would be great to put in their backyard and have it as a playhouse for their little girl."

Richard Gage, who owns a Detroit-area architectural sculpture studio and helped foster the House 365 project, says Snider's work elicits many different reactions.

"A lot of people think it's talking exclusively about the current economic situation in Detroit. That's a big percentage of it, but that's not the only thing," Gage said. "Other people have talked about an opportunity for renewal. I had one guy call who was really excited about it but mad that we didn't do it on a big house."

It's unlikely those who see the project planned by New York-based photographer Gregory Holm and architect Matthew Radune will mistake it for anything beyond what it is. They are going to freeze an abandoned home in Detroit this winter, encasing it in ice.

Their goal is to draw attention to the widespread foreclosure problem in the region. They call it Ice House Detroit.

In the spring, crews will salvage what building materials can be reused and demolish the home. The lot will be donated, probably for a community garden.

Other examples of Detroit's growing social art movement include a series of crumbling Detroit houses painted bright orange; the exterior of a building along one of the city's main drags covered in mirror shards and striking colors; and a couple who bought a rundown home for a song and are recruiting artists from around the world to buy foreclosed houses in the neighborhood and rebuild.

Even as social art becomes more common around Detroit, Guyton still is as passionate about his work on Heidelberg Street as he's ever been.

On a recent weekday, with nary a soul around, he was in his element, listening to the radio and working on his latest creations. Guyton spent some time painting an abstract piece, then wandered about, searching for pieces of junk he could transform into art. He settled on a rusted-out car hood and took his paint brush to it.

A minivan pulled up, and its occupants stopped to ask Guyton about Heidelberg and what it all means.

As the vehicle pulled away, Guyton smiled, pleased to know his life's work still is provoking curiosity.

"That's what it's all about," he said.

Under The Radar - Michigan



Under The Radar is a fast paced, modern, new television program that explores all of Michigan.

This show will bring weekly audiences high quality programming from award winning producers about all the cool people, places, and things to do in Michigan.

Find Under the Radar on YouTube and Facebook

American Express today announced the opening of "Members Lounge" at Somerset Collection South in Troy, Mich. Available to American Express Cardmembers through Dec. 27, Members Lounge will provide a relaxing and rejuvenating escape from the crowds for hurried and harried shoppers who have yet to finish their holiday shopping.

Cardmembers can refresh and recharge in the tranquil space, where they can enjoy a coat check, complimentary beverages, including Starbucks coffee and Godiva cookies. Cardmembers can also take advantage of iPod and phone charging stations and complimentary gift-wrapping services for up to three gifts per person.

As a special token of appreciation for the Detroit residents, who recently made the switch to the Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express, they will receive a special gift item when they visit the Members Lounge, while supplies last.

"At American Express, we are constantly striving to turn everyday activities into extraordinary experiences for our Cardmembers," says David Rabkin, vice president, Delta Co-Brand Portfolio, American Express.  "We want Detroit residents to know that when you become an American Express Cardmember, you get much more than the benefits and features that come with the Card, you get access to valuable perks and privileges.  We're pleased to partner with Somerset Collection South, one of the best shopping destinations in the country, to offer our Cardmembers a holiday shopping oasis."

"Each holiday season our guests look forward to the wonderful amenities offered by Somerset Collection and our retailers," said Linda McIntosh, director of marketing for Somerset Collection. "From our lavish holiday décor and extended opening hours, to special shopping events and our concierge services, those who've been shopping with us for decades or first time visitors expect a luxurious, comfortable atmosphere. Naturally, the American Express Members Lounge is the perfect complement to all that we're doing here at Somerset."

The Members Lounge will be open during the Somerset Collection's holiday hours through Sunday, Dec. 27, and is located on the second floor of the shopping center on the south side near Saks.


Female bloggers from the local Detroit area are coming together this Winter Season, with PositiveDetroit.Net, in collaboration with Operation: Kid Equip, to provide at least 25% of Oakland County Schools with dictionaries for third graders.


Erin Rose of Positive Detroit, Becks Davis of Detroit Moxie, Nikki Stephan of  Creativity, Love, Happiness & All That Falls Between , Jennifer Wright of Looking Glass Laneand Lauren Weber of Staircase to Earth's Loveliness all spend much of their time writing for their respective blogs and want to help give the same opportunities to local students as they were given in their writing classes as children.  They want to help our local students become better writers.

With the assistance of Operation: Kid Equip and its participation with The Dictionary Project, we will be distributing dictionaries specifically written for third graders who are at the dividing line between learning to read and reading to learn.


Now, through March 15, 2010, we are raising money to provide roughly 2,700 third graders in Oakland County with brand new dictionaries. To give you an idea of the impact you can make, for a $20 donation, you can supply at least 8 third graders with dictionaries.

An anonymous donor has graciously offered to match donations, dictionary-for-dictionary, up to the first 100 dictionaries. Can you just see the excitement on their faces and hear the kids when they receive these gifts?  Just think, your donation today, can double the amount of children that are being served tomorrow.




As the founder of Positive Detroit, I feel very strongly about our local area children and their education, especially when it comes to the written word.  The ability to write proficiently is a skill that enhances every aspect of one’s life, from writing a thank you note, putting the finishing touches on a resume, to having the ability to write an Oscar winning screen play.  As a child, I remember a beautifully leather bound set consisting of a series of specialized dictionaries and a thesaurus that sat on a table in the family room of my parent’s house.  These were my go-to books from the time I was in 4th grade until I graduated from high school.  With those tools, I enjoyed writing and saw it as powerful channel of self expression.




Here is how you can help:

1. Click Here to make a PayPal donation for $100, $50, $20 or $10

2. Mail a check payable to:

Operation: Kid Equip
PO Box 364
Royal Oak, MI  48068-0364

Be sure to write Dictionary Project in the memo line.

3. Contact menachem@operationkidequip.org to make a credit card or
other form of payment outside of PayPal.

4. If you would like to join the female bloggers collaboration
with your blog, contact Erin Rose at positivedetroit@gmail.com.

About Operation: Kid Equip
As an all-volunteer 501(c)(3) nonprofit community benefit organization, we realize that to break the cycle of poverty and hopelessness, we have to meet some very basic, yet overlooked needs. Operation: Kid Equip acts as a conduit for collecting and distributing tangible educational and school supplies to school-aged children. Operation: Kid Equip effects long term improvement in the community by providing at-risk kids with the core necessities they need to prosper in school and in life. Visit our website at www.operationkidequip.org

About The Dictionary Project
The Dictionary Project is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. The goal of this program is to assist all students in completing the school year as good writers, active readers and creative thinkers by providing students with their own personal dictionary. The dictionaries are a gift to each student to use at school and at home for years to come.





Metro Detroit's Campbell-Ewald Advertising Agency won 17 awards and was name the winner of Time Inc.'s "Selling Detroit" ad campaign contest at the third annual D Show advertising awards event on December 2.

The D Show Awards recognize the “best of the best” creative work of Detroit-based agencies and clients. Campbell-Ewald's work was honored with the following awards:

Ambassador Award — honoring the effective marriage of content creativity and context innovation — for U.S. Navy's NavyAthletes.com and NavyForMoms Paint the Town Blue campaigns.

Two Best of Category Awards for Kaiser Permanente’s When I Grow Up (Best of TV category) and NavyAthletes.com Integrated Campaign (Best of Integrated Branding category).

14 D Awards recognizing the agency's diverse capabilities and honoring the work on behalf of five clients in the following categories:




TV: Chevrolet, Kaiser Permanente, U.S. Postal Service
Out of Home: Kaiser Permanente
Radio: OnStar
Digital Media: Chevrolet, U.S. Navy
Innovative Use of Media: Kaiser Permanente
Integrated Campaigns: Kaiser Permanente, U.S. Navy

In addition to the award wins, Campbell-Ewald was named the winner among five competing agencies of Time Inc.'s "Selling Detroit" ad campaign contest.

The D Show brings the Detroit advertising and marketing community together to celebrate the breadth of ideas, the depth of talent, and the craft of the product. The awards event, a production of the D Council (the Adcraft Club of Detroit committee that oversees the judging and presentation of the awards) was held at the Max M. Fisher Music Center in Detroit and was attended by over 700 people.



On December 13th, Live to Give Foundation and Bottomless Toy Chest are bringing together a selected group of 6 families that have been touched by cancer for an afternoon of stress-free holiday fun. It will be a time for these families to forget the hardships that they are going through and enjoy an afternoon of surprises.

We had so many people ask how to get involved last Holiday Season, that we came more prepared this year and the results after just two days are awesome! We would like to extend an invitation to you to help us in our mission of personally touching the lives of these local families. Please read below and visit the front page of our website (http:/livetogivefoundation.org) for more information on how you can get involved.

OPTIONS:


1) Make a Video Shout Out
How: Create a 10-20 second video dedicated towards wishing a family a happy holiday
Contact: Kelly; kelly.doyle@livetogivefoundation.org
When: By Wednesday, Dec. 9
Link: http://livetogivefoundation.org/families/bottomless-toy-chest/make-a-video-shout-out/

2) Donate A Stocking Program
How: Either (i) donate a stocking by writing a $30 check to "Live to Give Foundation" and we will use the money to create a stocking on your behalf or (ii) personalize your own stocking by buying your own gifts, designing the look, writing a personal message, etc.
Contact: Shikha; shikha.mehta@livetogivefoundation.org.
When: By Wednesday, Dec. 9
Link: http://livetogivefoundation.org/families/bottomless-toy-chest/donate-a-stocking/

3) Sponsor a Family
How: Sponsor a family by donating a big family present, a single gift per family member and other family needs found on a wish list.
Contact: Kevin; kevin.smith@livetogivefoundation.org.
When: By Dec. 5
Link: http://livetogivefoundation.org/families/bottomless-toy-chest/sponsor-a-family/


A final note: Video Shout Outs will be given to families and posted on our website (unless you ask otherwise) and stocking donators/family sponsors will get personalized videos and pictures mailed back by Christmas so they are able to connect with the family they helped. This is going to be our largest family event to date and we plan on making it profoundly personal for YOU as well!


While the weather outside is frightful, the tea room inside Edsel & Eleanor Ford House is always a warm, cozy spot at Christmastime for friends and families to sip and savor an afternoon together.

Listen and learn how Edsel and Eleanor Ford and their four children spent Christmastime in their home with a Holiday Tea and Tour at Edsel & Eleanor Ford House. Holiday Tea and Tour dates are Dec. 5, 12 and 19, with seating at 3 p.m.

The afternoon begins with a tour of Ford House, followed by delectable sandwiches, delicate pastries and delightful teas at the estate’s Activities Center.

Holiday Teas and Tours are $35 per person and include a limited edition 80th anniversary keepsake ornament. Call (313) 884-4222 to make a reservation.

Downtown Milford Decks the Holidays in Style


Christmas Open House celebrates the season with Dickens-inspired event on Dec. 3

When the cold wind blows and the snow begins falling, the quaint village of Milford is magically transformed into a winter wonderland filled with unique shops and restaurants. On Thursday, Dec. 3, get in the spirit of the season when you are transported in time to Milford’s annual Christmas Open House, a Dickens-inspired celebration, to be held in downtown Milford from 5:45 to 9 p.m.

“Milford is a beautiful downtown destination – especially during the holidays,” said Ann Barnette, executive director of the Milford Downtown Development Authority. “We invite visitors to come to the village to experience an old-fashioned Christmas celebration, while choosing to shop local. Our retailers and restaurants have something for all budgets and tastes.”

Choir groups from the local schools and strolling musicians will walk the streets singing holiday songs throughout the evening and Santa Claus will arrive at 6 p.m. on a fire truck to spread holiday cheer in Center Street Park.

Open House visitors are welcome to bring a canned/dry food donation for local nonprofit, Huron Valley Community Sharing. Upon donation, they will receive a candle that will light the way during the festive holiday caroling.

To top off the night, visitors can check out the unique shops and restaurants located downtown. Many stores will be open until 9 p.m. and will be offering special discounts and refreshments to customers.

Getting To Milford

The Village of Milford is a 2.5 square mile area nestled in southwest Oakland County and is easily accessed from both I-96 and M-59.

For more information about visiting Milford, please visit www.meetmeinmilford.com


As temperatures cool and autumn leaves fall, the large-scale indoor healing garden at Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital remains lush and green with shoots of new growth.  Completed only 7 months ago by interior landscape firm Planterra, the adjoining Main and Quiet Atriums will provide a unique oasis for patients during its first winter.


“Plants bring nature inside the building, so even in the off season our community can still come here and be connected to nature, and really take advantage of its healing affects,” says Gerard Van Grinsven, CEO of Henry Ford Hospital West Bloomfield.

The gardens were designed to maximize its therapeutic benefits, providing natural views to inpatient rooms, year-round walking paths, natural privacy screening and utilization of specific plants that were selected to optimize air quality.  “These gardens are important to me professionally but also personally, as a flower child from the baby boom generation I know that when I require medical treatment, I need my chlorophyll fix.  I feel most healthy when I am surrounded by plants,” says Larry Pliska, President of Planterra and designer of the interior landscaping at Henry Ford West Bloomfield.

The planted atriums are part of Henry Ford West Bloomfield’s overall commitment to create a center of wellness, offering healthy lifestyle education and natural therapies within a mainstream medical setting.

In just two days in October, Fashion In Detroit left an indelible mark on Michigan, proving once and for all that cutting edge fashion is alive and well in the Midwest and our creative community, too, deserves national notice.

The high style event shows no signs of stopping. Organizers have announced the second Fashion In Detroit events are set for Friday-Saturday, March 19-20 at Shed 3 in Detroit’s Eastern Market.

Set to rival more established Fashion Week events in such stylish cities as New York and Los Angeles, Fashion In Detroit drew a crowd of more than 1,000 on Oct. 1-2, to the Detroit Zoo, in Royal Oak, Mich. Related events like the elegant AfterGlow welcomed more than 1,200 people. Fashion In Detroit provided more than $16,000 in cash and in-kind donations to local charities and non-profit organizations – all in the name of fashion.

“We did what we set out to do,” said Karen Buscemi, host of Fashion In Detroit and a member of the executive committee. “We put Detroit on the map as a place to go for fashion.”

Fashion In Detroit achieved its goal of spotlighting Michigan talent and breaking the boundaries of a primarily automotive manufacturing past. This came as little surprise to the event’s creators, a team comprised of Detroit’s heaviest hitters in fashion, beauty and event management.

Those executive committee members are Project Runway’s Joe Faris, a Troy resident; Leslie Ann Pilling, president of Presence II Productions and Leslie Ann Pilling Design; Rino Marra, owner of Birmingham’s FIGO salon; Karen Buscemi, editor of StyleLine magazine; Lians Jadan, international fashion photographer and co-owner of LM Studios; and K’Kio Hardin, international designer/art director.

“Fashion in Detroit has elevated the standards for all fashion shows here in Michigan,” said Rino Marra. “It has really made an impact on the entire fashion community here. We plan to keep that momentum going and to surpass the high standards we set in October during our second event in March.”

By moving Fashion In Detroit within Detroit’s city limits, the event stands to embrace the Motor City in an even more profound way.

Fashion in Detroit will again donate a portion of the proceeds from ticket sales to a local charity. This time around the recipient is Forgotten Harvest. And a local designer will receive a grant to participate in the show.

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
BoingBoing

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
Examiner.com

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
http://www.flickr.com/photos/eyesonuphoto/sets/72157622758230321/

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."

- - -

KICKOFF

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:

 RESTAURANTS
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

RETAIL SHOPS
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

SERVICES
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.
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