Kozmos Coney Island, located at 525 N. Main St. in downtown Milford, will host a free breakfast on Wednesday, Jan. 20 to raise funds for needy families in the Milford area.

From 7 a.m. – 11 a.m., Kozmos will serve up complimentary pancakes and sausage, encouraging patrons to make a donation following their meal. All proceeds will benefit Community Sharing and local families struggling to feed their families and pay medical bills.

Community Sharing helps provide ongoing support to more than 300 families in the Huron Valley area each month, more than quadruple the number of people that received assistance when the organization was founded in 2004.

“The need doesn’t stop after the holidays, in fact many times it only gets worse,” said Sharon Murphy, owner of Kozmos. “I personally know many families in this area who have been hit hard by the economy, and we wanted to help. This breakfast is something positive our restaurant and patrons can do to help the community.”

Kozmos wait staff, as well as representatives from several area organizations including Community Sharing, the Milford Downtown Development Authority and Village offices, Milford Rotary Club, Milford Police Department, Milford and Highland Business Associations, Carl’s Family YMCA, Huron Valley State Bank, National City Bank and the Huron Valley Board of Education will donate their time as servers.

All tips will benefit the cause as well.

Starbucks of Milford, Sam’s Club, Bazzi Food Service, Detroit Sausage Company and Direct Paper Supply are donating items to help make the breakfast possible.

For more information on the fundraiser, call Kozmos Coney Island at (248) 210-0623.


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American Express, United Way for Southeastern Michigan and City Year Detroit are bringing together the community to celebrate diversity on Martin Luther King Day at Osborn High School on Detroit’s eastside.

From 12:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m., students from Osborn and City Year will put together welcome kits for Freedom House Detroit, a temporary home for survivors of persecution from around the world seeking legal shelter in the United States and, in turn, will learn about immigrants in the their area through an informative presentation.

Additionally, community members are invited to participate in a beautification effort at Osborn that began in the fall. Volunteers will work on a variety of revitalization projects including painting classrooms and travel-related murals and creating a study area for Osborn students.

Volunteers can register for this MLK Day service project and others at www.liveunitedsem.org.



Matt Roush
WWJ

The people behind the Progressive Insurance Automotive X Prize announced Tuesday that they're bringing their competition to the state of Michigan this year.

X Prize officials announced at the North American International Auto Show that 51 vehicles would be competing for the $10 million prize for bringing the fastest, most efficient manufacturable car to the planet.

They're in Michigan because of a partnership between the Michigan Economic Development Corp. and Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn.

Dr. Peter Diamandis, the high-tech advocate who founded the X Prize competitions, said the events begin April 26 with the "shakedown stage" at MIS.

The stage, continuing through May 7, will feature safety inspections and on-track testing.

There will also be a formal competition opener event April 29 at the state Capitol.

June 20-28 is a knockout qualifying stage at MIS, with head-to-head competitions for speed and the X Prize's 100 mpg floor.

There will be more testing at MIS July 19-30.

In August, the top teams will head either to the Environmental Protection Agency auto labs in Ann Arbor or to the Argonne National Laboratories near Chicago for dynamometer testing.

The top prizes will be awarded in Washington, D.C. in September.

Diamandis said he isn't worried about being leapfrogged by the traditional auto industry, which is working furiously on hybrid and electric vehicles, some of which top the equivalent of 100 mpg.

"Remember, this is a race, and 100 mpg or equivalent is our floor," Diamandis said. "It's not enough for us to have one or two cars in the marketplace (from traditional automakers). We're looking to bring 51 vehicles from 41 teams around the world competing all tot he marketplace. We're looking to create a new generation of cars, a new paradigm. You don't hve to choose any more between safe, good looking, fast and efficient, you can have it all."

Diamandis has undergraduate and graduate degrees in aerospace engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a medical degree from Harvard. He's a passionate advocate for private spaceflight, having established the original X Prize for the first private reusable suborbital spaceship.

Blueprint America: Beyond the Motor City Airs February 8


PBS

Blueprint America: Beyond the Motor City examines how Detroit, a symbol of America’s diminishing status in the world, may come to represent the future of transportation and progress in America. The film debuts nationally on PBS on February 8 at 10 pm (check local listings).

Detroit is the crucible in which the nation’s ability to move toward a modern 21st century transportation infrastructure is put to the test. The documentary shows how investments in the past — beginning with the construction of canals in the 18th century — profoundly shaped Detroit’s physical layout, population growth and economic development. Before being dubbed the Motor City, Detroit was once home to the nation’s most extensive streetcar system. In fact, it was that vast network of streetcars that carried workers to the area’s many car factories. And it was the cars made in those factories that would soon displace the streetcars in Detroit — and in every major American city.

Detroit’s engineers went on to design the nation’s first urban freeways and inspired much of America’s 20th century transportation infrastructure system — from traffic signals to gas stations — that became the envy of the word.

But over the last 30 years, much of the world has moved on, choosing faster, cleaner, more modern transportation and leaving America — and Detroit — behind. Viewers are taken on a journey beyond Detroit’s blighted urban landscape to Spain, home to one of the world’s most modern and extensive transit systems; to California, where voters recently said yes to America’s first high speed rail system; and to Washington, where Congress will soon decide whether to finally push America’s transportation into the 21st century.

Nick Buckley
The New York Times


Before opening to the public, the Detroit auto show always begins with a week of preview days, first for the media and then for dealers and others who work in the auto industry.

Perhaps organizers should have scheduled a government preview day, too, to accommodate the politicians and federal officials planning to tour the show floor at Cobo Center this week.

The House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, the House majority leader, Steny Hoyer, and the transportation secretary, Ray LaHood, are among those flying to Detroit on Monday. All are flying on commercial airlines to minimize expenses and to avoid controversy after the automakers’ chief executives were berated for taking private jets to Washington to ask for a bailout.

Show officials thought there was a chance that President Obama would attend to see how General Motors and Chrysler are faring after their bankruptcies, but a White House spokeswoman said the president would not attend.

This will be the third consecutive year that politicians have crashed the show’s media days. Last year, Senator Bob Corker, a Tennessee Republican who voted against aid to G.M. and Chrysler, spent an evening checking out both companies’ new models. In 2008, the three top Republican candidates for the presidential nomination crisscrossed the show floor simultaneously on the eve of Michigan’s primary.

“It’s become part of the program, I guess,” said the show’s chairman, Doug Fox, who owns a Nissan and Hyundai dealership in Ann Arbor, Mich. “It’s a great thing for the show. It also helps show that there are good things happening in Detroit, and that’s a word that needs to be spread around the country.”

But the visits also have the potential to distract. Automakers spend millions of dollars setting up displays and staging introductions of new models, and they want the show to focus on their vehicles.

This year’s media preview has been condensed to two days from three, and the lawmakers are visiting on the first day, when most of the big introductions take place.

At the same time, given the amount of taxpayer money poured into the auto industry in 2009, Congressional leaders would most likely face criticism if they ignored the show. The government now owns 60 percent of G.M. and about 10 percent of Chrysler, having lent a total of $62.5 billion to the two companies.

In fact, some in Detroit wonder why more members of Congress did not visit a year ago, when they were debating assistance for G.M. and Chrysler, with much of the opposition based on what supporters say are outdated perceptions of the industry.

“To fly to Detroit, in January no less, sends a message that the industry is important to the nation’s economy,” a G.M. spokesman, Greg Martin, said. “Any overture to better understand our industry and talk cars should be an opportunity to embrace. We’re proud of the cars and trucks that we’re building, so we’re happy to show them off.”

Many of the visitors from Congress, which include both Democrats and Republicans, are coming at the invitation of Representative John D. Dingell, a Michigan Democrat who was among those lobbying the hardest for the government to help rescue the automakers. A large part of Michigan’s 17-member Congressional delegation is attending.

A tour of the show floor is only a small part of the agenda. They also plan to meet with the chief executives of all three Detroit automakers, leaders of the United Automobile Workers union and Mayor Dave Bing of Detroit, among others.

“Our bipartisan delegation will visit Detroit to see first hand the innovative technologies the industry is investing in to create the jobs of the future and to ensure our national competitiveness,” Ms. Pelosi said through a spokesman. “We go to Detroit with our commitment to continue to preserve our manufacturing base, which is essential to our economic and national security.”

Though many here hope the show can counter the unflattering opinions many outsiders have of Detroit, Mr. Corker said his visit did not cause him to reconsider his stance toward the industry.

“If anything,” he told reporters who were following him around the show floor, “being here makes me even more committed to the things I said, and that is, we need to cause these companies to get their capital structure and competitiveness right so we can see these great products that they’ve been working on for years sold to Americans and sold to people around the world.”
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