Last night, my good friend Stephen Roginson and Royal Oak resident bobbed his way to victory on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.

P.S.  Ladies, he's single
Please come and show your love for homeless teens February 13 during Valentines weekend. 

Covenant House Michigan will host an open house and encourages visitors to bring or mail-in a Valentine card with a donation of 14 dollars that will help keep homeless youth warm this winter. 

Meet our young people, learn more about our programs, sign up to volunteer, tours our campus, and take a ride-along-tour in our Outreach Van to see some of the areas where homeless young people frequent. Make a difference by showing your love for just one kid this Valentines season.

WHEN:             Saturday, February 13, 2010 from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

WHERE:           Covenant House Michigan
                       2959 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd Detroit, MI 48208

Covenant House Michigan helps thousands of homeless and at-risk young people every year. In addition to food and shelter, Covenant House provides preparation for the GED exam, job development services and crisis intervention to its residents and other young people. 

The agency operates an outreach van that drives through metro Detroit-area neighborhoods and offers on the spot assistance to homeless and other needy youth. Through a partnership with the Detroit Public School, Covenant House Michigan opened three second chance high schools to offer dropouts and at-risk youth the opportunity to obtain a high school diploma rather than a GED. 

For more information on Covenant House Michigan, call (313) 463-2000 or

On Saturday, February 27th, from 9-11PM, area bloggers and social-media enthusiasts will step out from behind the safety of their monitors and iPhones to face off at Birmingham Racquet Club.

For a group of Detroiters accustomed to scrapping out turf in the cyber world by skillfully lobbing poignant barbs, placing the perfect spin on headlines and relying on the fastest servers, the opportunity to see who rises to the top in a face-to-face battle of good ole' fashion trash talk was too much to resist.

All proceeds from the event will go to The Dictionary Project, an Operation: Kid Equip collaboration with and Local Female Bloggers, to help complete the mission of putting a dictionary in the hands of 25 % of Oakland County School District's 3rd graders.

"We firmly believe in the power of words—help us put power in every child's hands."

Sign up here to play, attend, support or sponsor Word-Up. You may as well, cuz if you don't, we'll just talk trash about you anyway.

*Warning: Trash talk will be flying at this event, and is more than likely to land out of bounds at times. All attendees, playing or not, should arrive with well-padded egos.


How it will work is...

Each court will play doubles for 20 minutes, then rotate up the river/down the rivers style and record the amount of games they won.

At the end of the 2 hours, we will add up all of the game totals and the players with the highest scores (winners can be on any court) will win a prize or some trash talk from the non-winners!

Theme is Stylish 70's Athletic Wear (not required, but strongly encouraged)

Note Photos on our Facebook Event for Inspiration

Prize will be awarded for Best Costume at event

Tennis and Spectator Spots are Limited and on a First Come, First Serve Basis.

Ticket Type:

Racquet-Wielding Word Warrior (aka tennis player) $20

Sideline Mudslinger (aka onlooker) $10

Benevolent Benefactor $30
(aka gets you in the door as a
sideline mudslinger + a shiny pin
that lets everyone know you're a high-roller)

Anonymous Benefactor (aka you're above
attending plebeian events, but would
like to contribute to the cause)

After party location will be announced during event

Click Here to Sign-Up!
Erin Rose
Positive Detroit

Contrary to what the popular song “delicately” implies, ONE is NOT the loneliest number that you could ever be.  In fact, it has quite a few perks. Really, I swear.  So, put that raised cynical brow back in its happy place (in order to delay those "business lunches" with your Dermatologist for those pesky and pricey Botox injections) and read on.

For just short of three years, I have been happily single. Yeah, that’s right, the single girl is writing an article about how you too should embrace your single-status.  Now, I promise I'm not pimping myself out with this admittance, although if I do gain a boyfriend from this article, it would make my mother very happy (that's for you ma!).  So when one of my close married friends mentioned the below article over dinner this past week, the idea for this blog post was born.

But first, I must make use of this soapbox for a few more sentences.  There’s the disclaimer.  Oh and one more thing, I don’t have any degrees in psychology.  Just life experience.

I hear stories constantly of women who beat themselves up because they aren’t in a relationship, or married, or have children.  You know what I say to that? "Boo Hoo. Get over it!"  Yes, I do take the tough love approach, but reaaaaallllllly, please explain the benefits of being depressed over not sharing an “us” label with someone else.  And this goes for EVERYONE, Men included. Just because the media/advertising industry's target audience neglects you lately, doesn't require that you fall for their trap and feel sorry for yourself. Remember, they want people to be in relationships on Feb. 14th because that's how they make $$$.  The more couples, the more $$$.  Think about it.  I know it's Valentine's Day, but retailers want to be in the black, not the red.

So, let’s have a Dr. Phil get real moment, shall we?  Do you honestly believe focusing day in and day out on what you don’t have and beating yourself up for it is how you visualize living your life?  HELL NO!  So, embrace your opportunities, enjoy your freedom, and BE HAPPY. Define yourself for being you, not because of your relationship status or lack there of.  So at this very moment, ixnay the self-loathing for being sans partner, especially on Valentine’s Day.  Remember this holiday is to celebrate LOVE, including love for one's self. And again this holiday lasts one day, O-N-E D-A-Y people.

Onward and Forward
Below is the article from my dear friend Alexandra.  No Kleenex required.

No tacky pressies
Being single means that you don't have to pretend to like the cheap chocolates, flowers or teddy bear that your other half coughs up. You know those gifts, the ones that leave you with a sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach as you realise that this person doesn't really know you at all.

Being single also means that you don't have to shell out your hard-earned cash on tat. Singletons relax while others are hunting for a late-night petrol station selling limp flowers.  Spend the money you save on a pressie for yourself. There's no gift quite as good as the one you pick yourself, whether it be a facial, a haircut, or a good DVD.

To Russia with love
Alternatively, save up for a plane ticket to Russia.  On March 8 every year, all women are given flowers, chocolate and a day off work, just for being female.  We like Russia.

It's cool to be single
Valentine's Day singles are the trendsetters.  Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that the number of people choosing to stay single has reached record levels.  The UK is now home to more than 1.65m single men and 1.27m women.  Good news for flirty girls!

Single people have busier social lives than couples, according to Edinburgh University researchers.  We may not get a tacky teddy on 14 February (shame), but we're having more parties.

Better to be single than an unhappy couple
Remind yourself that coupledom does not guarantee happiness.  Valentine's Day means stress for a lot of couples, with worries about what to buy and whether their other half will remember.  Being single is less lonely than being unhappily attached.

Your day is your own.  You can get up when you want (having spent the whole night asleep because you weren't lying next to a snorer), come home when you want, eat what you want, watch what you want on the telly and go to bed when you want.  Try to find a repeat of Wife Swap on V-Day.  Seeing those coupled-up nightmares yelling at each other should bring some comfort.

Enjoy being different
Have you ever tried going out for a romantic dinner on Valentine's Day?  It's not dinner for two, it's the feeding of the 5,000 - in every restaurant in town.

Romance is about spontaneity and imagination, and Valentine's Day can have nothing to do with those things. Psychologist Dr Laura Brown of Seattle's Argosy University says: 'Love is not about a particular day, or cards or flowers, or even being in a relationship.  Seeing the illusory nature of this holiday can be the first step in feeling better about it.'

Celebrate friendships
Valentine's Day is the perfect day to celebrate friendship.  The love you give to and receive from friends will last longer than most romantic love or lust.  Arrange a single's Valentine's party with a group of single friends, male and female. You can bet that there'll be at least one new couple by the end of the evening.

It is a surprisingly good time to flirt with fellow singles.  Valentine's Day and the impending joys of spring bring lots of singles out of the woodwork.

So use today as a kick-start to getting out there.  Just don't fall into the mindset that you have to be in a couple to be happy.

Start meeting other single people near you for fun, love or romance.
So, you may be curious as to what this gal is doing for her Valentine's Day 2010.  She's heading north to a ski lodge with 10 of her friends.  Some are married, some in relationships, some single.  Most important, lots of fun.

With that said, I wish everyone a happy, full-filled, and adventurous Valentine's Day 2010!

P.S. Do you have a great idea on how to spend this year's Valentine's Day in Detroit?  Don't be shy and click on the "comment" tab below!

P.P.S Are you a Swingin' Single ready to mingle and happen to live in the Mitten State?  Click Here


A new study has confirmed that Travel Michigan's first-ever national ad campaign with its "Pure Michigan" theme continues to deliver a significant return on investment.

The study, by Longwoods International, a research firm specializing in tourism advertising return on investment, found that the campaign last spring and summer motivated 680,000 new trips to Michigan from outside the Great Lakes region.

Those visitors spent $250 million at Michigan businesses last summer as a direct result of the Travel Michigan advertising program. In addition, these new out-of-state visitors paid $17.5 million in state taxes while in Michigan, yielding a $2.23 return on investment for the tourism advertising.

Pure Michigan television commercials aired nationally 7,900 times on 15 cable channels in 2009, and they were seen by an estimated 60 million Americans from coast to coast.

"The Pure Michigan campaign is motivating travelers from all over the United States to choose Michigan as a destination, helping diversify and grow our economy," said Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm. "Now millions more know about our sandy beaches along America's longest fresh-water coastline, our natural and recreational areas, and the vibrancy and culture of our great cities. The 2009 national Pure Michigan campaign is the first step toward Michigan being recognized as one of America's top vacation destinations."

In addition, the study also determined the effectiveness of the campaign on the regional level. Longwoods International assessed the impact of the 2009 Pure Michigan summer advertising on the residents of the Chicago, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Dayton, Columbus, St. Louis, Milwaukee, and Ontario, Canada markets. The focus of the study was to quantify the levels of travel generated by the advertising and the economic impact of that travel. The Pure Michigan campaign was able to improve its regional return on investment from $2.86 since 2004 to $5.34 in 2009.

"Combining our national and regional advertising last spring and summer, the Pure Michigan campaign motivated two million trips to Michigan from out of state last summer, and those new visitors spent more than $500 million at Michigan businesses," said George Zimmermann, vice president for Travel Michigan, a business unit of the Michigan Economic Development Corp. "But these very positive results will be fleeting if we do not adequately fund national and regional Pure Michigan advertising in 2010 and beyond."

The total tourism promotion budget for all seasons in 2009 was $30 million, which ranked Michigan as the sixth largest state tourism promotion budget in America. The current appropriation for tourism promotion in 2010 is $5.4 million, which would reduce Michigan's state tourism budget ranking to approximately 42nd in the nation.

For more information visit
Terry Parris Jr.
Model D

The French explorer Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac, with a small group of settlers and soldiers, looked out onto the Detroit River more than 300 years ago and saw opportunity. From the position of the river to the fertile land, they imagined that a settlement could grow from this location.

"The land is very beautiful and appropriate to build a city later on," wrote Cadillac in a letter to the French minister responsible for the Detroit colonies. "The various things one finds in this Land make it very pleasant."

Three centuries later, Detroit has another Frenchman looking out at that same river, with that same vision.

From the 17th floor of Spinnaker Tower, just off East Jefferson, Laurent Diemunsch is standing in the living room of his newly purchased two-bedroom high-rise apartment. The Detroit River and Belle Isle are beaming through a foggy sliding glass door to the balcony.

"I see that the future can be better here," he says, slowly, looking for the words.

The apartment isn't for him to live in, though. He bought it to rent out; he bought it as an investment. Diemunsch isn't an investor in the sense that you might think. He's not buying 100 foreclosures and selling them on Craigslist. He's a flight attendant, who happens to own an apartment in the Spinnaker and another in New Center, on Pallister. And he already has a tenant.

Diemunsch may be less tuned in with honest to goodness investors and more in step with his compatriot Mr. Cadillac. The two Frenchman both saw not only opportunity but also potential and a future in the wilderness off the banks of a river.

"I can see what this city can become," Diemunsch says, unknowingly paraphrasing from Cadillac's letters.

Yet the headlines about Detroit overseas (or anywhere for that matter) aren't exactly golden. In fact, according to Diemunsch, they are terrible. So, how did this French flight attendant with spiky, jet-black hair end up roaming the streets of Detroit? Well, the Internet, naturally, and a local French speaking real estate agent, Sabra Sanzotta, whose husband also hails from France.

"I saw Detroit on the Internet, I saw some really bad things," Diemunsch says. We can all imagine what those "things" were. "Then I made some research and it wasn't like that. I came to Detroit (to meet with Sanzotta). I saw downtown Detroit, some of the neighborhoods. I thought it was beautiful. It was impressive to me."

So impressive that Diemunsch brought some back up on his most recent visit. In tow was his father, Jean Claude, a fellow flight attendant, Nathalie Krief, and Krief's brother, Nimrod. And the French entourage kept busy. Jean Claude closed on one property at St. Anne's Gate and has another offer pending in New Center. And Nimrod has an accepted offer at Spinnaker, which should close sometime this month.  Sanzotta, who will act as the property manager for these spaces, says they should have tenants six weeks after closing.

Let's not kid ourselves. Though Diemunsch and his posse aren't big time rollers, flipping houses like a short order cook flips flapjacks, they're still trying to make a buck. But that's not necessarily a bad thing, Sanzotta says.

Now there are fewer foreclosed, empty condos in Detroit, more renovated upscale rental properties available for those who want to live downtown, and more homeowner dues coming in to the developments, she says, "which in turn keeps the maintenance up and the resale value spiraling upwards. Plus, as they keep drying up the inventory, (there will be) more demand for fewer properties." That would help prices recover.

However, right now, Detroit property is cheap. Not just cheap, it's really, really cheap, and abundant. The Euro is stronger than the dollar and that bodes well for foreign investors, including French flight attendants, and the fathers and brothers of said flight attendants. They can pick up property along the riverfront or right downtown for the price of a small car. Something that, in other cities – like Paris or London or New York – is impossible.

Flags might already be going off and some of you are probably saying to yourself, "But Detroit isn't Paris or London or New York. They are completely different markets."

"Foreigners have a different mindset (when it comes to real estate)," says real estate broker Joy Santiago. "People in the tri-county area see these property values every day and compare them to their own. But if you compare them to New York City's riverfront or Chicago's riverfront, there's a definite difference." And a definite draw, she says.

Santiago says the perception of Detroit's real estate is totally different from across the pond. In urban centers in foreign cities, properties are either outrageously expensive or, as they are passed from family to family, nonexistent.

Even though property can be had for a song in other parts of the United States, real estate investment is still coming to Detroit.

"Investors see the potential of growth (in Detroit), not decline," she says.

"I think it's a symbol of hope," Sanzotta says. "Coming half way around the world, investing on the potential of Detroit, when some won't even come down here for dinner, it's inspiring."

One thing you get from the flight attendants is that they talk about and see Detroit as a commodity, a place to go, to be. As flight attendants, they see hundreds of cities a year, so it would seem that they would know a cool place when they see it.

"This is my first time in Detroit," says Nathalie, Diemunsch's fellow flight attendant. "But what I see here is people willing to take risks on Detroit's potential. I feel new life here in Detroit. Nice people, new neighborhoods, and good rentability. There's a bourgeois bohemian lifestyle here."

Bourgeois bohemian?

"Yeah," she says. "It's a good thing."

Andrea Blum
The News Herald 

Cameras are done rolling on the first feature film completed by students at the Lifton Institute for Media Skills.

“Blindsided,” a 90-minute student film done in the vein of the Coen Brothers, follows two criminals trying to carry out a get-rich-quick scheme.

Through a turn of events, they take a magician hostage and find out much of what’s been going on has been a series of illusions.

“There are some dramatic moments and some lighthearted moments,” director Doug Raine said.

“It’s all local actors and they’ve just been phenomenal. And the students working as crew are fantastic.

“The thing I love most is their enthusiasm. It’s a completely different lifestyle for most of them but they took to it so well.”

The Allen Park school provides career training for all aspects of trades in the film and television industries. Classes began in October.

More than 100 students ranging from college-age to in their 50s and 60s collaborated on the full-length feature film. Many hail from Downriver, but some come as far away as Port Huron and Novi.

“A lot of them are in editorial, picture and sound editing,” Raine said.

The group is part of the school’s first class enrolled in the roughly 12-week program.

Each student chooses a specialized career track from among the production, art, sound, editorial or camera, light and grip departments.

After graduation, students receive a certificate, and more importantly, an actual feature film credit.

“The goal of the whole thing is to give them the experience,” Raine said.

And the first class seems to be learning the business’ ins-and-outs quickly, according to Raine.

“They’re coming up with their own ideas and asking things like, ‘what if we shoot it this way?’” he said.

“As the director, I’m very happy with how it’s coming about.”

As many as a dozen already have gone out to work on other independent film projects.

After completing the program, the school’s placement center will help students craft resumes and give them a heads-up on upcoming local projects.

Instructors also will use their industry contacts to help students find work.

Raine, a Wyandotte native, brings a range of film experience to his role as director and one of the school’s instructors.

After graduating from the film and TV program at Northern Arizona University, he got his first big break working on the 1984 John Carpenter movie “Starman,” and has worked in various producing and directing roles in movies since.

“I’ve probably done between 35 and 40 projects between TV and movies,” he said.

His projects range from independent films to big budget movies with A-list actors such as Christian Bale and Matthew McConaughey.

Having spent years living in Arizona and California, Raine came back to Michigan in October 2009 to work in the emerging movie industry here.

He recently completed his own horror film, acting as writer, producer and director.

“I’ve used some clips from the film to show the students how to do everything from inception to post-production,” he said.

Shooting on “Blindsided” began in mid-December and wrapped up Saturday after taking place at a variety of Downriver locations, including Heritage Park, the Park Theater in Lincoln Park and the Best Western Greenfield Inn in Allen Park.

“We’re doing all-day shoots — maybe not quite as long as a typical film — but we’re trying to put them through some rigorous experiences,” Raine said.

Shooting would begin between 7 and 8 a.m. each day with the actors coming in and production staff putting them through makeup, hair and wardrobe.

The crew would start working on lighting and camera moves, then each scene would be covered and close-ups would be done.

“It’s all really collaborative,” he said. “One of the things we’re teaching is how to do certain cuts and angles to make you think something’s happening that’s not really happening.”

Working outside, the production was regulated by sunlight hours but also did some shots at night using a generator and lighting equipment.

“That gave them the experience of creating light,” he said.

After editing is completed, Raine said there are several avenues to explore with the film.

“We’ll send it to some film festivals and might use it as a calling card for what we can do with the students,” he said. “The distributor of my horror movie also is interested in seeing it.”

Greg Pitoniak, 26, of Taylor, served as a location manager on the production.

The laid-off logistics worker said he decided to venture into the movie-making industry after being unable to land another job in his field.

“This is kind of a new thing for me,” he said. “I never really had aspirations to be in the movie industry but it sounded interesting and exciting.”

As location manager, Pitoniak was responsible for scouting filming sites and setting up the necessary permits with local officials.

“Once I got the script, I worked with the director to get an idea of what kind of locations he was looking for,” he said.

“For example, we were filming at a historic house so I scouted a bunch of houses, took pictures, showed them to the director, then did all the legwork setting them up.”

One of the challenges proved to be working with local officials who’d never had a film crew working in their city before.

“Some didn’t have filming permits or weren’t sure how to handle the movie industry filming in their city,” he said.

“It was a bit of a challenge to work through, but all the cities have been extremely helpful and cooperative. They were excited for us to be there.”

After he completes the program, Pitoniak said he hopes to start off working as a location scout, and then move on to be a location manager and eventually a producer.

“The whole program and the way it’s designed give you a good idea of all the different jobs that go into making a movie,” he said.

For Susan Blake, 38, of Taylor, enrolling in the school’s production management track was a big change from her last two years spent as a teaching assistant with the Taylor School District.

“I was laid off two years ago, got with the No Worker Left Behind program, saw this and thought it was my calling,” Blake said.

“I got experience in just about everything. I did some assistant directing and worked as production coordinator.”

She believes the work fully prepared her for a career in the state’s burgeoning movie industry.

“It really was life experience, not just a class,” Blake said. “We shot a movie and got out there to do the work. It entrenched us in all different aspects of the film industry.”

Both Blake and Pitoniak said they’re planning to stay in Michigan to work in film.

“I’m definitely hoping to stay in Michigan,” Pitoniak said. “That’s the advantage of being a location manager. I already know what the communities have to offer, the type of architecture and locations.

“When productions come from L.A., they’re looking for local people to guide them through.”

Achatz Handmade Pie Co. and the Detroit Lions are teaming up to raise money for Haiti earthquake relief.

From noon to 2 p.m. Friday, Feb. 5, Detroit Lions Players will meet and greet customers at various area Achatz Handmade Pie Shops.

From 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., customers will also receive a free slice of pie or a hot bowl of soup to-go with a donation of $10 or more. Donations will be collected at all six Achatz Pie locations, as well as Achatz Catering and Soups from Skratzch in Adair, Mich.

All proceeds will benefit The Salvation Army Disaster Relief Fund in Haiti. Go online at for details.

Detroit Lions player appearances at:

Troy Pie Shop, 1063 E. Long Lake Rd. – Nick Harris
Sterling Heights Pie Shop, 35736 Van Dyke – Jason Hanson
Shelby Pie Shop, 46575 Hayes Rd. – Jared DeVries
Oxford Pie Shop, 40 N. Washington – Luther Elliss
Grand, romantic gifts and sweet little sentiments should be as unique as the recipient, so skip the malls and big box stores this Valentine’s Day and try giving a gift that gives back.

 WWJ Newsradio 950 and The Heat and Warmth Fund (THAW) are launching an online auction to raise donations to help local families keep warm this winter. All auction proceeds will benefit the 7th Annual Winter Survival Radiothon for THAW and there are dozens of items available that would make the perfect Valentine’s surprise. Samplings of ideas are listed below. All items are available for bid from Feb. 2-11 at

For the Romantic:

Learn to cook as a couple with a cooking class for two from J. Baldwin’s Restaurant & Premier Catering.

Travel to Boyne Highlands Resort to enjoy a ski package including one night’s lodging, a pair of unlimited lift tickets and breakfast for two.

Take dance lessons with a four-session package from Arthur Murray Dance Studio.

Check out dozens of additional gift certificates from area restaurants to theaters available for grabs.

 For the Single and Ready to Mingle:

Laugh yourself silly with 10 admissions to Mark Ridley’s Comedy Castle in downtown Royal Oak.

Gather 10 friends for a walking bar tour of Detroit (tour provided by Inside Detroit).

Roller skate your worries away with 10 friends, courtesy of Skate World of Troy.

Enjoy a private wine tasting and tour with 12 friends at Brys Estate Vineyard & Winery in Traverse City.

For Families:

Have a musical experience with 4 admission tickets to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio.

Cuddle up to a new furry friend with a $300 certificate toward a puppy or $100 toward supplies from Petland in Twelve Oaks Mall.

Bid to win other great gifts for the whole family including tickets to the Detroit Zoo, Ann Arbor’s Hands On Museum or to see “Elmo’s Green Thumb” live at the Fox Theater.

 If you bid and win any of these items, not only will your friends or sweetie be impressed with your gift, but you will feel great knowing that the money was spent on a great cause!

THAW is an independent non-profit agency that provides low-income individuals and families throughout Michigan with emergency energy assistance and advocates for long-term solutions to energy issues. Since its inception in 1985, Detroit-based THAW has provided $83 million in assistance to more than 135,000 Michigan households, including elderly, unemployed, underemployed and disabled individuals who found themselves in temporary crisis. During the 2008-2009 heating season, THAW distributed $14,772,775 in energy assistance to more than 11,000 households. THAW has been awarded a Four Star Charity Rating (the highest) by Charity Navigator for the past six years.
Julie Jacobs with Jennifer M. Wood

The Hughes Brothers direct Denzel Washington on the Albuquerque set of The Book of Eli (2010).
Some say that money is the root of all evil, while others hold that evil follows money’s absence. Likewise for today’s independent moviemakers, while some contend that bigger budgets open up more creative options, others maintain that limited budgets have a better chance of generating true innovation.

The latter seems to be proving true in American cities big and small, as increasing numbers of would-be auteurs make the leap from moviegoer to moviemaker. They’re being aided by the low cost of digital technologies, which make the medium ever more democratic at the same time that costs creep lower. The barriers that existed for independent moviemakers just a few years ago have all but disappeared, not only in terms of accessibility to reasonably priced production and post-production equipment, but with distribution opportunities, too. Best of all, freshly minted moviemakers don’t even need to leave home to make cinema happen.

For the past decade, MovieMaker’s editors have paid careful attention to location trends. From recent financial incentives to new soundstages, we have tracked these developments while being vocal proponents of the “backyard/backlot” lifestyle—the idea that one should be able to shoot close to where he or she lives.

We also understand that moviemaking is not a solo enterprise; it’s an endeavor that benefits greatly from the support of like-minded artists. It would stand to reason, then, that moviemakers in traditional “cinema cities” such as New York and Los Angeles might have an edge over their peers in lesser-known production areas. But with previously under-utilized areas such as Shreveport, Louisiana and Albuquerque, New Mexico continuing to climb our “best places” list year after year, the truth is that moviemaking can happen anywhere—as long as there are creative artists willing to make a go of it and a community of supporters happy to nurture their talents.

Here, then, is MM’s 10th annual ranking of the country’s best cities in which to be an independent moviemaker.

1. Albuquerque, NM
2. Los Angeles, CA
3. Shreveport, LA
4. New York, NY
5. Austin, TX
6. Stamford, CT
7. Boston, MA
8. Detroit, MI 
9. Philadelphia, PA
10. Seattle, WA

Bruce Bilmes & Sue Boyle
Road Food Digest

We’ve been dwelling lately on the subject of food-by-mail, and Oprah’s O Magazine continues the theme this month with a story by Celia Barbour featuring some favorite e-food sources.  There’s Anson Mills for heritage grains (and a place often mentioned by top chefs when discussing grits and cornmeal), Murray’s Cheese (we’ve ordered from them with great success), Kalustyan’s for Middle Eastern and Indian specialties and spices (another one of our favorites), and La Tienda for Spanish groceries (we’ve enjoyed some wonderful true Spanish chorizo from La Tienda).  They also mention the source of our “house” thick-sliced bacon, Nueske’s.

You’ll find sources for cured meats, heirloom beans, lamb straight from the ranch, Thai ingredients, Italian ingredients, fresh fish, baked goods, and much more.  A few Roadfood favorites are also included: Zingerman’s  for all sorts of specialty foods, the Grand Traverse Pie Company for great pies and local cherry products, and Frog Hollow Farm for top-quality stone fruits.  You can read the whole story here, and check out the entire list of mail-order websites here.

Kick off your Super Bowl weekend right with the “Super Bowl of Chili,” a cook-off and family fun event beginning at 6 p.m. Friday, Feb. 5 at The Salvation Army Corps Community Center, 24140 Mound Road, in Warren.

The fifth annual event will incorporate a chili-tasting contest, bake sale and family fun center with bounce house, games and more.

Event admission is $3 and includes chili and activities. All proceeds benefit The Salvation Army of Warren.

Applications are currently being accepted for chili contestants. To sign up, call Capt. Caleb Senn at (586) 754-7400.

Nicole Ross
Permaculture Research Institute of Australia 

Whenever I mention I’m taking a trip back to Detroit, I always seem to get at least one “why would you go there?” To those unfamiliar with the City, the word “Detroit” often conjures up the negative image of a city gone wrong. Crime, poverty, blight, unemployment – all terms synonymous with Detroit’s reputation for so long. Fortunately, I’m here to inform you that Detroit’s image is undergoing a major makeover, thanks to people like Killian Obrien and Mark Covington. These are two amazing men who are working to bring positive change to one eastside neighborhood. Hope for Detroit also means hope for many other forgotten cities.

I was born into a Polish-Hungarian community on the South Side of Detroit, known as Delray. My great-grandparents made the area their home in the early 1900s. Most of my family continued to live and work in the close-knit community for many years. They were very self-sufficient. They planted food gardens, raised chickens and made their own beer to earn money. They had to be. They were poor.

Then, around 1960, like many others, my family slowly started migrating to bordering cities, such as Lincoln Park. I’m not exactly sure why they moved. But, what I most remember is that every few years more and more residents left. And, as more people left, the neighborhood slowly started to die.

The neighborhood I visited today, located on Georgia Street, off Gratiot, is not unlike Delray. To me, it seemed typical of many residential neighborhoods in Detroit proper; scattered vacant lots, abandoned houses with boarded up windows and many homes in need of repair. I could go on to further describe what many outsiders might even call a “ghetto”. But, to tell you the truth, I was so moved by the positive spirit of the people in the community I encountered, I didn’t see that. Instead, I saw hope. I guess it’s all about perspective.

What I saw was motivated people, with little resources, working together to bring about a positive change in their community. Instead of running, they were digging in, giving a damn and doing the dirty work that must be done – the work that most people refuse to face.

Much like my grandma Sophie from Delray, multi-generational resident Mark Covington has revived the idea of living self-sufficiently. Mark is not only growing his own food, but also raising chickens, right in Detroit. He also started a nonprofit called the Georgia Street Community Collective (GSCC). The GSCC started out as an effort to clean up forgotten vacant lots in his neighborhood. But, like a true Permaculturalist, Mark has turned a problem into a positive solution. With the help of volunteers and urban gardening organizations, he has transformed empty lots into an expanding array of community gardens. He continues to explore other creative options for revitalizing his neighborhood, including pairing up with up-and-coming Permaculture enthusiast, Killian Obrien.

Although he may not have the established reputation in the community that Mark Covington has, Killian Obrien is jumpin’ right in with both feet and eyes wide open. His goal is to start a sustainability education center right across the street from Mark’s family’s duplex. He has purchased a double lot, complete with a house that Mark’s grandma used to live in. He purchased the home just weeks ago, complete with numerous broken windows, holes in the walls, electrical and heating issues and a multitude of structural challenges. Yet, somehow, by diligently working around the clock, he has gotten it into decent enough shape to move his family in.

Killian hopes to completely revamp the house and lots into a model for urban sustainability that can be replicated by residents typical of the area. To help further this goal, he is working with the Permaculture Research Institute USA to set up an education program to offer Permaculture courses to teach people how to do this.

Both Mark and Killian are hoping to collaborate, and, together with other sustainable efforts in Detroit, plan to make a positive change to their city. One day soon, with dedicated community leaders like this, more and more local people will be inspired to move toward self-sufficiency and sustainability, changing the city’s rep from “a city gone wrong” to “a city leading the way into the future of urban sustainability”.

Emerging and established metropolitan Detroit literary and performing artists can now apply for one of 18 $25,000 Kresge Artist Fellowships at

Kresge Artist Fellowships are funded by The Kresge Foundation and administered by the College for Creative Studies, with professional development opportunities for the selected fellows provided by ArtServe Michigan.

The fellowships provide support for 18 artists living and working in metropolitan Detroit (Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties) whose commitment to innovation and artistic achievement are evident in the quality of their work. Artists in the following literary and performing arts disciplines are eligible to apply:

  • Literary Arts: Art criticism in all disciplines (including visual, literary and performing arts), creative non-fiction, fiction, poetry, playwriting and interdisciplinary work within the above disciplines.
  • Performing Arts: Choreography, music composition (in all genres – classical, country, electronic, experimental, folk, hip-hop, jazz, rap, rock, etc.), performance art, spoken word, sound art andinterdisciplinary work within the above arts disciplines. 

The College for Creative Studies will host information sessions on Monday, December 7, 2009, and Wednesday, January 13, 2010, at 7:00 p.m. for those artists interested in applying for a fellowship. To sign up to attend, visit

Applications are only available online and must be completed by Friday, February 26, 2010.

The 2010 Kresge Artist Fellows will be announced in June 2010. The fellowships recognize creative vision and commitment to excellence within a wide range of artistic disciplines, including artists who have been classically and academically trained, self taught artists and artists whose art forms have been passed down through cultural and traditional heritage. The fellows are selected through an open, competitive process as judged by an independent panel of local and national artists and arts professionals.

The Kresge Foundation is a $2.8 billion private, national foundation, based in Troy, Michigan, that seeks to influence the quality of life for future generations through its support of nonprofit organizations in six fields: health, the environment, arts and culture, education, human services, and community development. Kresge Arts in Detroit, an initiative comprising the Kresge Eminent Artist Award, Kresge

Artist Fellowships and Kresge Arts Support, represents one of five strategic objectives set forth in the foundation’s Detroit Program, a comprehensive community-development effort to strengthen the long-term economic, social and cultural fabric of the city and surrounding region by strengthening Detroit’s neighborhoods and downtown, promoting arts and culture, advancing regional economic development and enhancing the natural environment. For more information, visit

The Kresge Eminent Artist Award and Kresge Artist Fellowships are administered by the Kresge Arts in Detroit office at the College for Creative Studies. Located in Detroit, the college is a world leader in art and design education and prepares students to enter the new, global economy where creativity shapes better communities and societies. A private, fully accredited college, it enrolls 1,400 students pursuing Master of Fine Arts and Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees. For more information, visit

ArtServe Michigan is the statewide arts and cultural advocacy organization. Its mission is to cultivate the creative potential of the arts and cultural sector to enhance the health and well-being of Michigan, its people and communities. The organization is committed to developing and supporting the creative and professional potential of artists and other creative practitioners working in Michigan. Through a portfolio of statewide programs, services and resources designed to connect practitioners to resources, information and networks needed to help them thrive, ArtServe Michigan provides practical opportunities that stimulate ideas and growth. Programs focus on four main areas: professional development, networking and dialogue, research and analysis, and awards and benefits. For more information, visit

 For more information about Kresge Arts in Detroit, visit

The Other Detroit

Jeremy Levine
Wunderkammer Magazine

I take Interstate 96 eastbound from Ann Arbor. It’s the first warm day of 2008, and the combination of a bright sun and light breeze makes for a beautiful spring afternoon. After 35 miles of Midwestern nothing, I reach the city limits of Detroit. Small, decrepit housing lines the edges of the Southfield Freeway as I approach the exit for North Rosedale, a neighborhood located on the northwest side of the city. As I pull into the local Community House and park—the only privately owned park in the city—the smell of freshly cut grass is almost intrusive. A youth softball game is underway, and parents lounge in folding chairs. Along the edges of the park, residents—predominantly African-Americans—walk their dogs by large, single-family English Tudors. Almost without exception, each two-story house on each tree-lined street adorns a perfectly manicured lawn and a large wooden front door. It’s a middle-class oasis. A distinctly suburban feel, in fact. But it’s not the suburbs. It’s Detroit.

Every journalist and armchair pundit seems to have an opinion on Detroit’s decline, ranging from the well-reasoned to the downright asinine. TIME magazine recently announced Assignment: Detroit, a year-long investigation. Bruce Katz and Jennifer Bradley of the Brookings Institution wrote a thoughtful piece at the New Republic titled “The Detroit Project,” providing a blueprint for Detroit’s resurgence. Next month, PBS will air “Beyond the Motor City,” part of the network’s “Blueprint: America” series that explores the future of U.S. transportation policy. But each article—each slideshow of “ruin porn”—is incomplete. Each investigation of the “tragedy” of Detroit fails to account for neighborhoods like North Rosedale Park, centers of affluence struggling amidst the decay.

Don’t let the tree-lined streets fool you; North Rosedale has its problems. Indeed, nearly 200 low-income homes in disrepair, many of them vacant, bisect the neighborhood along two streets. According to the Grandmont/Rosedale Development Corporation (GRDC), a resident-led community development corporation serving the housing and commercial needs of five neighborhoods on Detroit’s northwest side, the concentrated decline is causing blight to spread throughout the neighborhood, inducing middle-class flight from the city. Still, the neighborhood boasts one of the highest median incomes in the city—nearly $90,000 according to the 2000 Census.

It’s the conundrum of affluence in Detroit: beautiful, historic homes exist, but poverty encroaches from all sides. And it is this conundrum—the irony of being affluent in Detroit—that threatens middle-class stability.

I spent three months commuting to North Rosedale Park during the summer of 2006, and another year and a half checking back periodically for research related to my undergraduate Honors thesis. As a GRDC intern, I administered surveys throughout North Rosedale’s sliver of blight, asking residents for input about their neighborhood. GRDC later used this research to apply for a Neighborhood Preservation grant in December 2006, funding that would have allowed the organization to renovate vacant homes on the two streets and provide homeowners with 0% interest loans for home repairs. But, as I later found out, only “low to moderate income” neighborhoods were eligible for the grant—and the “low income” portion of North Rosedale was too small for Census data to capture. Perhaps ironically, North Rosedale’s ability to contain blight thwarted the neighborhood’s capacity to receive state funding for revitalization.

Still, during the three months of survey collection, I immersed myself in the neighborhood, determined to provide GRDC with the necessary information for the grant application. I networked heavily in the area, asking interviewees to help me set up meetings with their neighbors. I called past donors to GRDC living in North Rosedale, using their networks to build my own within the community. I attended block club meetings, conversing with residents on a group level. Along the way, I became connected to the community, learning more about Rosedale’s anomalous past and troubling present with every interview conducted.

According to neighborhood folklore, CEOs and Presidents of the Big Three auto manufacturers used to call North Rosedale Park home in the 1940s and 1950s. There really isn’t much evidence of this, but what is certain is that Rosedale has always been a hub for the affluent. Originally a suburb of Detroit, North Rosedale was incorporated into the city in 1923—part of the last round of incorporations that ended in 1926. Residents debated the incorporation, but ultimately acquiesced in hopes of more adequate public works. Since they enjoyed about five miles of undeveloped farmland separating them from downtown Detroit, incorporation didn’t come with much responsibility; physical distance from the rest of the city afforded quite literal class isolation. A slice of land—the present-day blighted area—remained undeveloped until the post-WWII housing boom. This new era required new types of housing—in the case of these two streets, affordable housing for WWII veterans. While a single developer meticulously crafted the surrounding 1,500 homes, private, independent developers sporadically constructed 200 affordable homes in the center of the neighborhood.

Still, aggregate neighborhood affluence persisted well through the turbulent 1960s and 1970s. Whereas the rest of the city experienced rapid racial turnover following the 1967 riot and 1974 Milliken v. Bradley school desegregation Supreme Court case, “white flight” was really “white replacement” in North Rosedale. Many white residents were swapped for a new kind of white Detroiter—the anti-racist, food co-op, open school movement cosmopolitan. North Rosedale is still about 15% white, designating the neighborhood as one of the whitest in the city. And the blacks that moved into North Rosedale in the 1970s weren’t the poor ghetto-dwellers many whites had feared. No, these blacks were—and still are today—among the wealthiest Detroit professionals.

North Rosedale Park is the anti-slum. A middle-class majority remained after racial turnover, separating North Rosedale from countless other urban neighborhoods throughout the country. Homes are large, and social cohesion throughout the neighborhood is strong. Residents are tremendously proud of their neighborhood, and perhaps more importantly, committed to the city they call home.

This pride is perhaps most evident in the story of David and Lois Draft, two elderly African-Americans that had lived in North Rosedale for over 25 years when I spoke with them in 2007. We sat and talked for over three hours, with Lois recounting the couple’s courtship and marriage as David smiled and nodded. We talked about Lois’s job in the 1960s as a secretary for Michigan Bell, and David’s job with the City’s Department of Urban Development. At one point, Lois pulled out a handful of loose photos from block parties and June Day parades, glowing as she noted her role as neighborhood matriarch. “Some of the people on the block still call us Mr. and Mrs. Draft,” she explained. “When they get a girlfriend, they bring the girlfriend over to meet us, and we have to check her out.” This respect for “old heads”—sociologist Elijah Anderson’s term for neighborhood elders, mentors, and role models for young people—gives North Rosedale a distinctly communal feel, in every sense of the word.

But North Rosedale isn’t entirely insulated from the crime associated with the rest of Detroit. On one particularly hot day during my survey research in 2006, a middle-aged African-American resident invited me into his kitchen for a cold glass of Faygo cola, a Detroit-manufactured soft drink. He worked for Chrysler, somehow avoiding factory layoffs for nearly three decades. Our conversation was simple enough; I was just happy to be out of the hot sun’s glare, even if his kitchen was a bit stuffy. As we neared the end of the survey, my questions focused on issues of neighborhood violence. When I asked this resident how safe he felt in North Rosedale, he remarked—quickly and confidently—that he felt exceptionally safe in his neighborhood. He then unzipped his windbreaker, and as my eyes widened, revealed a Glock 9 mm handgun firmly attached to his chest. “Who wouldn’t feel safe with this?” he joked.

He quickly assured me that he had “all the necessary paperwork” to carry a concealed weapon, and even told me the story behind his purchase (his wife had her car stolen a few years back). Still, he carried a gun for a reason. While I never saw any robberies, or feared any harm against myself, I certainly noticed a few, shall we say, transgressions during my three-month tenure with the GRDC. More than a few times I caught the unmistakable aroma of marijuana wafting from the handful of front porches where young men congregated. A few teenagers—from outside the neighborhood, I learned—hung out on the porches of abandoned homes, much to the chagrin of older residents. But these were isolated incidents; by and large, North Rosedale felt like Anywhere, USA.

No story or investigative report has captured this side of Detroit, the North Rosedale side. It’s not the bombed out train station, nor is it the urban prairie. It’s not the empty factory, nor is it the large housing project. It’s not the homeless man pushing his cart down a desolate downtown, nor is it the young woman waiting in line for a welfare check.

No, it’s the daily struggle of the urban middle class, the plight of a forgotten population. It’s the neighborhood where Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm lived briefly before ultimately moving to the suburbs. It’s half a mile from where Detroit historian Thomas Sugrue grew up, a neighborhood his parents hoped to one day “be wealthy enough” to call home. It’s the tree-lined streets, the well-maintained community park. It’s the colorful gardens and golden retrievers. It’s the uneasy, yet unwavering middle class in an otherwise unsettling and unsure urban abyss.

It’s the other Detroit.

Jeremy Levine is a doctoral fellow in the Inequality and Social Policy Program at Harvard University. He blogs at Social Science Lite.

Seaholm High School
2436 West Lincoln Road
Birmingham, MI 48009
Phone: (248) 203-3700

2:00 p.m. - Doors Open
3:00 p.m. - Opening Tip-Off

Game Prices:
$30 - Adults
$25 - Youth/Student (w/ School ID)
$100 - Family 4-Pack (2 Adult/2 Youth)
Free - Children 2 and under
Click Here to Purchase Tickets

On Saturday January 23rd 2010, Paul Zajac and Station 885 Restaurant will attempt to break the record for the world’s largest snow cone currently held by Mammoth Mountain Ski Area in Mammoth Lakes, California. The current record is 4,640 lbs (2.104 tons). The current record was set in 2000. The record will be attempted at Station 885 Restaurant in Plymouth, Michigan.

The snow cone will weigh over 5,000 lbs and contain 90 gallons of syrup (900 lbs). The cone itself is nine feet tall and six feet wide at the top. Once completed, the finished snow cone will stand approximately 12 feet tall. This attempt will correspond with the Plymouth International Ice Festival. This is a fully sanctioned world record attempt.

The snow cone idea was was first thought of in June 2009 and and been a continuous project since. While the idea may seem simple at first thought, the complicated logistics of the size of the snow cone have posed many challenges. The cone itself had to be constructed since the availability of a cone of that size does not exist. Every detail of the record attempt has been accomplished at Station 885 Restaurant. Through the help of vendors, staff, and volunteers, all necessary material and labor has been arranged for this endeavor.

Paul Zajac is the General Manager of Station 885 Restaurant. Station 885 ( has been in business for 24 years and is a family owned and operated restaurant in Historic Old Village Plymouth. This will be the first World Record attempt by Paul Zajac and Station 885 Restaurant.

Jacqueline Wilson
Examiner Detroit

The 28th annual Plymouth Ice Festival takes place this weekend, January 22 to 24, in downtown Plymouth.
The event kicks off at 7 p.m. Friday night with an opening ceremony featuring Detroit Red Wing Tomas Holmstrom.

At the same time, there is a 7 p.m. showing of the children's animated movie Balto, about a sled dog in the Alaskan wilderness, in the Penn Theater, 760 Penniman Ave. The movie will be replayed at 3, 5 and 7 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday.

The festival has over 100 ice sculptures on display in the Kellogg Park ice sculpture garden. There are also dueling chainsaw speed carving shows, carving demonstrations and seminars.

The "Forest Avenue Family Fun" includes street-side wildlife sculptures, a petting zoo and pony rides.
On Sunday, the family fun area hosts Steve King & the Dittlies to get everyone dancing in the street.
Don't miss out on the Forest Avenue Scavenger Hunt for a chance to win a $200 family gift basket filled with items from various Forest Street businesses. You can print out the scavenger hunt form before you go, or pick up the forms at the DDA tent in Kellogg Park.

The weekend also includes other live music, interactive family shows, and a "Hot Spot" food tent with hot chocolate, caramel cider, elephant ears, roasted cinnamon almonds and much more.

Participating local merchants and retailers will hold individual in-store giveaways and discounts.
Festival hours are Friday, January 22, 3 to 8 p.m., Saturday, January 23, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday, January 24, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The ice sculpture garden is open 24 hours throughout the festival.

There is no charge for admission.

The festival is located in downtown Plymouth at  Kellogg Park, Penniman Avenue and Main Street.

For more info: Call (248) 960-0700, or view the entire schedule of events online. You can also check out a 3-D map of all the festival happenings.

NEW FOR 2010! Treat yourself to All-You-Can-Eat Seats and enjoy a club-like atmosphere on the upper suite level, complete with private restrooms, TVs, and a climate-controlled environment, and your choice of outdoor seats or indoor/Standing Room Only seating.

Your All-You-Can-Eat Seats include an endless supply of freshly popped popcorn, chicken tenders, grilled hamburgers, hot dogs, vegetable platter and pasta salad (menu subject to change). Also includes three beverages -- your choice of Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, Sierra Mist, or Mountain Dew.

Location of the All-You-Can-Eat Seats »

Outdoor seats for Regular games: $65
Outdoor Seats for Premium games: $75
Indoor/Standing Room Only seats for Regular games: $55
Indoor/Standing Room Only seats for Premium games: $65

Premium prices for individual game tickets will be in effect for the following dates in 2010:
Opening Day (April 9), May 10-16 and all Friday & Saturday games in June, July, and August.

NOTE: Indoor seating is first-come, first-served. Food is served from gates opening through the 7th inning OR two hours after scheduled game start time (whichever comes first). Alcoholic beverages will be available for purchase. Food and beverages may not be removed from the seating area.

For More Information, Click Here

USA Today

Not everyone gets to live in a green home, but an increasing number of the U.S. homeless do -- temporarily, at least, in shelters. Today in Detroit, the homeless can even start working out in a green gym.

Cass Community Social Services, a non-profit that helps the poor in Detroit, opened Wednesday what it says is the nation's first eco-gym specifically meant for homeless men, women and children.

"The Green Gym," aimed at reducing energy costs, will include 10 stationary bicycles that generate electricity to be redirected into Cass' power grid. How much? The non-profit estimates that if each bike is used in four daily classes for a year, they will produce enough power to light 36 homes for a month.

"Not only is this gym a good idea for the environment, but it will help build the general health of our clients who often struggle with diabetes or heart disease associated with obesity and weight gain," the Rev. Faith Fowler, Cass' executive director, said in a statement. Located in a warehouse, it will be open to 240 homeless people.

Most homeless shelters are drab, old buildings, but more are going green as local governments and community groups seek to save money by building new energy-efficient facilities or retrofitting old ones.

New eco-friendly shelters have been built in California, Illinois, Texas and Virginia, among other places.

In November 2007, Chicago's Pacific Garden Mission, moved from an 84-year-old building into a new state-of-the-art eco-gem with more than 950 beds. This shelter has a green roof, water-saving dual-flush toilets, 100 solar panels, an interior courtyard with birch trees and a greenhouse where residents can grow food.

In Oakland, a new homelesss shelter known as "Crossroads" opened in 2008 to accommodate 125 residents. Painted in distinctive crayon colors, it has a solar-paneled roof, hydronic heating, ceiling fans, non-toxic paint and furniture made from pressed wheat.

Wendy Jackson, executive director of the East Oakland Community Project, said people told her she was going too far when she began searching for money to finance the $11 million facility, paid for with public and private dollars.

"People didn't get it," she told the New York Times. "There's a larger issue than just sheltering people." She said most of her residents have asthma, allergies, H.I.V. or diabetes and need a healthy environment in which to heal.

In Dallas in 2008, a modern homeless shelter called "The Bridge" opened that is so striking it won a 2009 award from the American Institute of Architects. Its green-roofed dining room sits in the middle of an open courtyard and its sleeping areas have translucent walls that welcome natural light.

Leesburg, Va., opened its doors in November to a new emergency homeless shelter and remodeled transitional housing facility that will receive certification from the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) program.

Sharon Silke Carty/Drive On
USA Today

In a sea of tuxedos and fancy dresses, Detroit's most influential executives sometimes blend together. On Friday, at the North American International Auto Show, it was clear that one executive is on his way to becoming a local celebrity, even if people don't quite know what he looks like: Ford CEO Alan Mulally.

While standing in a group of people waiting to say hello to Ford Chairman Bill Ford Jr., Drive On overheard this conversation:

"Who is that guy? Is that Alan Mulally?"

"No, it's Bill Ford Jr."

"Aw, we've got to keep looking."

Mulally finally surfaced around 8 p.m., sharing a platform with a TV broadcaster and a red Ford Fusion. Crowds of people stood around the platform, shooting photos with their cellphones and lining up behind a cordoned off area hoping for a chance to say hello.

After the interview ended, Mulally spent about 15 minutes posing for pictures with people, including a group of nattily dressed folks who dubbed themselves "The distressed supplier group." Another woman grabbed Mulally by the arm as he was leaving and asked for a photo, gushing that her father would be thrilled. "He's a Ford retiree, and he loves you," she told him.

Ford was the only hometown automaker to survive 2009 without filing for bankruptcy protection and without receiving a government bailout. Many locals credit Mulally, who mortgaged all of Ford's assets including the blue oval logo, for helping save the automaker.

Mulally, who came to Ford from Boeing three years ago, seems to be getting used to the attention, although he clearly loves it.

"Isn't this neat?" he said.

Cities of Service 

New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, founding members of the Cities of Service coalition, joined Rockefeller Foundation President Dr. Judith Rodin to announce the winners of the first-ever Cities of Service Leadership Grants.

Ten cities were selected to receive $200,000 two-year grants, funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, to hire a Chief Service Officer - a senior city official dedicated to developing and implementing a citywide plan to increase volunteerism and target volunteers to address their city's greatest needs. Due to the extraordinary response from cities to the first request for proposals - 50 cities applied to receive one of the ten grants - the mayors and Dr. Rodin announced that there will be a second competition in the coming months to award similar grants to an additional ten cities.

The announcement was made on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, a national day of service, at the John Foster Dulles School of Excellence in Chicago, where more than 100 City Year Chicago high school students spent the day off painting hallways and murals, and re-organizing classrooms.

Cities of Service is a bipartisan coalition of Mayors from across the country, representing more than 38 million Americans in 80 cities, dedicated to engaging more Americans in service and channeling volunteers towards each city's most pressing challenges.

The cities selected to receive leadership grants are Chicago, IL; Detroit, MI; Los Angeles, CA; Nashville-Davidson, TN; Newark, NJ; Omaha, NE; Philadelphia, PA; Sacramento, CA; Savannah, GA; Seattle, WA. Each of these cities displayed a strong commitment to service and outlined thoughtful, thorough and creative approaches to expanding local opportunities for volunteers to make an impact.

"I can think of no better way to celebrate the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and this national day of service than to invest in the capacity of cities to mobilize their citizens in innovative ways to solve our common problems," said Mayor Bloomberg. "As we work to help our neighbors and communities through the greatest financial crisis we've seen in a long time, we believe citizen service is needed now more than ever. These grants, funded generously by the Rockefeller Foundation, will help us develop new strategies to tap volunteers as a serious strategy to solve local challenges."

"The Rockefeller Foundation is proud to continue its long tradition of supporting innovative solutions for urban communities by announcing the inaugural Cities of Service Leadership Grants," said Rockefeller Foundation President Dr. Rodin.  "In each of these ten unique and diverse cities, there will now be sustained opportunities to bring systematic change and greater impact to the way communities support each other.  In these difficult economic times - reflected by the overwhelming response to this new effort - there is an urgent need in local communities for volunteers, and a great need for public-private partnerships that foster and support these efforts during such a critical time."

"Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. showed Americans the power of volunteerism. He also showed us that one person can make a difference," said Mayor Daley. "It is with this spirit that we accept the Cities of Service Leadership Grant. I am proud of the high level of volunteerism we already have in Chicago and this grant is going to help take our service to the next level. By focusing our initiative on our City's youth and those that need our help the most, we will help to secure a stronger Chicago for future generations. Volunteerism sends a powerful message - people helping people to make our cities better places to live, work and raise a family and that's the message Cities of Service carries around the nation. It is why the City of Chicago is pleased to be part of this great effort to bring new energy and new ideas to the service movement."

"I am honored that Detroit was one of the first recipients of the inaugural Cities of Service Leadership Grant," said Detroit Mayor Dave Bing. "This grant will allow us to bring together citizens and harness the can-do spirit of Detroiters in the name of volunteerism."

"I first learned of this funding opportunity when I joined Mayor Bloomberg in New York in September for the formation of Cities of Service," said Nashville Mayor Karl Dean. "These are tight times for city budgets. This grant will allow us to have dedicated staff for developing service opportunities, something we wouldn't have been able to do otherwise. I look forward to engaging our citizens to in our cities greatest needs and priorities, especially education."

"The City of Newark is honored to be selected as one of the first recipients of the Cities of Service Leadership Grant," said Newark Mayor Cory Booker. "Critical to the achievement of our civic goals is the leadership, involvement and service of our citizens.  This grant will better help us to focus, coordinate, and inspire the service of our residents enabling our city to more boldly achieve our highest aspirations.  We are grateful."

"The Chief Service Officer will be a valuable asset to our community," said Omaha Mayor Jim Suttle. "Through the work of the Chief Service Officer, Omaha will experience a boost in new community volunteers, retention of current volunteers, an increase in service projects, and improved living conditions and quality of life among our citizens."

"As tens of thousands of Philadelphians are hard at work at project sites across the city to celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., this grant is one more thing to celebrate and is a great boost for service and volunteer efforts in Philadelphia," said Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter. "This funding allows us to implement a comprehensive civic engagement plan that will ensure volunteer efforts throughout Philadelphia are focused around our goals for a safer, greener, and better educated city. The grant is a tribute to what our city has already accomplished and we thank Cities of Service and the Rockefeller Foundation for this recognition and support."

"Today's announcement is a significant win," said Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson. "A Chief Service Officer will be a vehicle for Sacramento to further its volunteerism efforts, and continue to showcase our city as a national model for service in this country. Most importantly, this grant will allow Sacramento to take service to the next level to help solve some of the most pressing issues and challenges facing our city. We are thankful to the Cities of Service and Rockefeller Foundation for this generous grant."

The Cities of Service Leadership Grants will allow each city to hire a Chief Service Officer, a senior city official dedicated to developing and implementing a citywide plan to increase volunteerism and targeting volunteers to address their city's greatest needs. To develop their local plans, mayor's offices will convene strategic committees of service experts and stakeholders, conduct assessments of existing service levels, and identify collaborative partnerships to deepen the effects of local volunteerism. Each city will launch its comprehensive service plan by this fall.

As part of the application process, cities were asked to identify how they would conduct an assessment of existing service levels, produce a coordinated citywide plan to increase service, engage local universities, and appoint a Chief Service Officer who would report directly to the mayor or another high-ranking official in the administration. Applications were limited to members of theCities of Servicecoalition, to cities that have more than 100,000 residents, according to the 2000 census, and to cities that have at least one community college or four-year public or private university. In total, 50 cities applied for a leadership grant. A selection committee was established to review the applications and make the selections.

As part of each application, cities were asked to submit at least two high-priority issue areas they will target with increased service. Each winning city listed education as a high priority, and Cities of Service will develop best practices and resources to help cities target that area.

Due to the extraordinary response from cities to the first request for proposals, the Mayors and Dr. Rodin announced that there will be a second competition in the coming months to award similar grants to an additional ten cities.  The second round of leadership grants will be funded jointly by the Rockefeller Foundation and Bloomberg Philanthropies.  Information on how Cities of Service coalition members can apply for the second round of leadership grants will be made available at  by the end of January 2010.

About Cities of Service

Founded in New York City on September 10, 2009 with 17 founding member cities, Cities of Service is a bipartisan coalition of mayors who have answered the historic Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act's call to action. Cities - often at the front lines of our nation's most pressing challenges - are perfectly positioned to work together to engage millions more volunteers in service and develop strategies to increase the amount and impact of local service efforts. All coalition members have signed a "Declaration of Service," committing to work together to lead a multi-year effort to expand community service and volunteerism by:

Developing a comprehensive service plan and a coordinated strategy focused on matching volunteers and established community partners to the areas of greatest local need;

Working with other mayors and elected officials to advance strategies and best practices that accelerate the service movement and produce measurable results;

Encouraging other mayors to join this national effort to engage our citizens; and ensuring that the voice of cities is heard in federal legislative, policy and program discussions related to service, which will help the country achieve the ambitious goals of the Serve America Act.

The coalition has rapidly grown since its inception in September and now includes 80 Mayors representing more than 38 million Americans in 80 cities across the nation.  The coalition includes seven of the 10 largest cities in the country and 28 of the top 50 largest cities.

The Cities of Service coalition includes the following cities: Akron, OH; Allentown, PA; Annapolis, MD; Arlington, TX; Atlanta, GA; Austin, TX; Baltimore, MD; Baton Rouge, LA; Birmingham, AL; Boston, MA; Bowling Green, KY; Brownsville, TX; Buffalo, NY; Catoosa, OK; Chandler, AZ; Charleston, SC; Chattanooga, TN; Chicago, IL; Chula Vista, CA; Cincinnati, OH; Corpus Christi, TX; Davis, CA; Denver, CO; Detroit, MI; Dublin, OH; Eugene, OR; Flint, MI; Fort Wayne, IN; Grand Rapids, MI; Harrisburg, PA; Hattiesburg, MS; Jackson, MS; Jacksonville, FL; Lancaster, CA; Lexington, KY; Los Angeles, CA; Meridian, MS; Mesa, AZ; Milwaukee, WI; Muskegon, MI; Nashville-Davidson, TN; New Bedford, MA; New York, NY; Newark, NJ; Oakland, CA; Omaha, NE; Palm Bay, FL; Panama City, FL; Pawtucket, RI; Philadelphia, PA; Phoenix, AZ; Pittsburgh, PA; Placerville, CA; Portland, OR; Providence, RI; Reading, PA; Riverside, CA; Roseville, CA; Sacramento, CA; Saint Paul, MN; Salt Lake City, UT; San Antonio, TX; San Francisco, CA; San José, CA; Santa Cruz, CA; Santa Fe, NM; Santa Rosa, CA; Savannah, GA; Seattle, WA; St. Louis, MO; Stockton, CA; Trenton, NJ; Tucson, AZ; Utica, NY; Ventura, CA; Vicksburg, MS; Virginia Beach, VA; Washington, DC; West Palm Beach, FL.

More information about the coalition can be found at

Despite the persistent chill in the air, baseball fever will abound on Saturday, January 23 at Comerica Park for the 16th annual TigerFest, presented by StubHub!. More than 30 Tigers players and coaches are scheduled to participate in this year's event, which will be held from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m.

All of the TigerFest favorites will be part of the fan festival again in 2010, including autograph booths, photo areas, behind-the-scenes tours, fan conferences and historical exhibits. This year's event will also feature a giant Detroit Tigers ice sculpture, which is slated to be over six feet tall and 13 feet wide. Master bat carver David Chandler from RxSport will be on hand conducting live bat carving demonstrations all day.

The event will not only give Tigers fans a chance to see their favorite Tigers before Spring Training, but will also give the Tigers a chance to say thanks to the fans and provide an outlook on 2010. "Detroit is a great baseball town," said Tigers manager Jim Leyland. "Our fans are absolutely tremendous and we appreciate that they show up to support the team all year long."

Event Activities for All Fans

  • Multiple Autograph Booths featuring current Tigers Players and Coaches, including an exclusive "Kids-Only" autograph booth
  • Main Stage, featuring content related to the 2010 season, and a special 2-hour Tigers "Fan Conference"
  • Tigers Player Photo Area, located in the Visitor Clubhouse
  • Self-guided tour through the Tigers Home Clubhouse
  • Batting Practice in the Visitors Underground Batting Tunnel
  • Visitors Dugout will be open for fans to visit and take photos
  • Guided tour, which includes stops in the Ernie Harwell Media Center, Luxury Suite, The Champions Club, and select Detroit Tigers Executive Offices
  • Tigers Archive Display featuring historical baseball artifacts
  • Detroit Tigers Ice Sculptures, including a LIVE sculpting demonstration

Other Event Activities

  • Learn more about Detroit Tigers Season and Group ticket plans, Tigers Fantasy Camps, Spring Training Tickets and information about StubHub!
  • Detroit Tigers Authentics featuring one-of-a-kind authentic signed items and game-used memorabilia
  • Unique Tigers items at the Tigers Foundation Clearance Sale
  • Event Activities for All Fans (ALL ARE INCLUDED IN THE TICKET PRICE)
  • Multiple Autograph Booths featuring current Tigers Players and Coaches, including an exclusive "Kids-Only" autograph booth
  • Main Stage, featuring content related to the 2010 season, and a special 2-hour Tigers "Fan Conference"
  • Tigers Player Photo Area, located in the Visitor Clubhouse
  • Self-guided tour through the Tigers Home Clubhouse
  • Batting Practice in the Visitors Underground Batting Tunnel
  • Visitors Dugout will be open for fans to visit and take photos
  • Guided tour, which includes stops in the Ernie Harwell Media Center, Luxury Suite, The Champions Club, and select Detroit Tigers Executive Offices
  • Tigers Archive Display featuring historical baseball artifacts
  • Detroit Tigers Ice Sculptures, including a LIVE sculpting demonstration
  • Other Event Activities
  • Learn more about Detroit Tigers Season and Group ticket plans, Tigers Fantasy Camps, Spring Training Tickets and information about StubHub!
  • Detroit Tigers Authentics featuring one-of-a-kind authentic signed items and game-used memorabilia
  • Unique Tigers items at the Tigers Foundation Clearance Sale
Event Activities for Children
  • The Detroit Tigers Kids Club Fun Zone will feature:
  • "Kids Only" Autograph Booth
  • Miniature Comerica Park featuring book readings by Tigers players, a special magic show, "Pack Attack", photo opportunities with PAWS and special bleacher seating for parents and kids
  • Tigers Speed Pitch
  • "Junior Sluggers" T-Ball Cage
  • Video Game Bullpen
  • Face Painting
  • Official Detroit Tigers Kids Club enrollment
  • The Detroit Tigers Kids Club Fun Zone will feature:
  • "Kids Only" Autograph Booth
  • Miniature Comerica Park featuring book readings by Tigers players, a special magic show, "Pack Attack", photo opportunities with PAWS and special bleacher seating for parents and kids
  • Tigers Speed Pitch
  • "Junior Sluggers" T-Ball Cage
  • Video Game Bullpen
  • Face Painting
  • Official Detroit Tigers Kids Club enrollment
Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit is in the running for a $1 million prize in the nationwide Chase Community Giving “you decide what matters” facebook challenge.

The winner will be based on which of 100 competing nonprofit organizations receives the most Facebook votes from January 15th to the 22nd.

If Mosaic wins, the money will be used to transform an historic Detroit building into a permanent home for Mosaic and a center for youth excellence.

Mosaic transforms the lives of youth through professional training in the performing arts, including acting, singing and stagecraft. Mosaic’s all-teen performances have toured Africa, Asia, Europe and the U.S. including appearances at the White House, the Kennedy Center and on The Today Show. Mosaic’s youth development model has even achieved national recognition for the fact that 95% of Mosaic ensemble members graduate from high school and go on to college. Yet, we are being forced to leave our facility in July. With your help and your vote, Mosaic can establish a permanent home that will empower Detroit youth for generations to come.

Go to to find out how to vote. It only takes a minute, yet it could mean $1 million for the youth of Detroit. If you’re already on Facebook, click here to become a Fan and cast your vote for Mosaic!

Stay in touch with us on Twitter at @MosaicDetroit