CELEBRITY SHOOT-OUT
SUNDAY, JANUARY 24
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 (station885.com) 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 »


















PRICING:
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 www.citiesofservice.org  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 www.citiesofservice.org.



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 www.mosaicdetroit.org 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

Looking to expand your knowledge on how the online world affects business?

FutureMidwest, the region’s largest technology and knowledge conference, is aimed at helping businesses successfully implement digital strategies that positively impact their bottom line. The two-day conference will debut in Royal Oak, Mich., April 16 – 17, 2010 at the Royal Oak Music Theatre.

FutureMidwest will highlight how technology and social media have dramatically changed the way we do business and the effect this transition has had on companies. The conference will feature presentations, group breakout sessions and relationship-building opportunities with influencers who are redefining business in the digital age.  Speakers and breakout session leaders will provide practical information on how attendees can effectively implement digital strategies into their marketing and communication programs. Lessons on monitoring, analyzing and measurement will go hand-in-hand with brand case studies and guidelines for successfully using online tools like blogs, Facebook, Twitter, forums and YouTube.

Local speakers include Scott Monty from Ford, Ken Burbary from Ernst & Young, Scott Hauman from Daggerfin, Tim Schaden from Fluency Media and Samuel Valenti IV from Ghostly International.
Founded by Adrian Pittman, director of development and partner at Module, Jordan Wolfe, founder of uwemp and Zach Lipson, founder of Leftos.com, FutureMidwest is the fusion of two successful events held in Michigan in 2009 – the Module Midwest Digital Conference and TechNow.

“Zach, Jordan and I see FutureMidwest as the cornerstone of conversation, idea and new relationships formed from uniting people who want to learn how social media impacts business growth,” said Adrian Pittman. “This conference will ignite dialogue between the younger and more seasoned generations, inspiring them to apply the knowledge they learned about new technologies to their respective industries.”

Who Should Attend?

FutureMidwest is an ideal conference for anyone involved in business development, including executive management and decision makers from small and mid-sized businesses, entrepreneurs, brand managers, marketing and communication professionals and professionals in the digital/technology spheres. Students working toward a degree in a related field and groups/organizations are also welcome.

Am I Too Old?

This conference isn’t exclusively for the 20-something digital natives who have profiles on every existing social networking site. Executives and business leaders who want to learn how social media can positively impact their company’s bottom line will find value in attending FutureMidwest.

How Do I Register?

Early-bird tickets with discounted rates are on sale now through February 15. Early bird tickets with discounted rates are on sale now through February 15 at http://www.futuremidwest.com/register.html. Pricing options include:

Full registration – Friday day program, Friday evening event and Saturday day program ($150)
Friday evening event only ($25)
Group package ($500)
Student package ($500)

Tickets can be purchased from February 16 through April 16 at regular pricing. A portion of the conference proceeds will benefit the National Multiple Sclerosis Society Michigan Chapter, Inc.

Schedule Highlights

·      Thursday, April 15 – Conference kick-off event
·      Friday, April 16 – Ten speaker sessions on topics ranging from making online integration work for any business and going global using social media. Evening networking/entertainment event featuring a street fair with vendors.
·      Saturday, April 17 – Interactive breakout sessions. Speakers will empower attendees to apply what they learned during the Friday program.

 For all conference details and a complete schedule, please visit www.futuremidwest.com and follow @FutureMidwest on Twitter.

Auto Show-$120 Billion Blend of Richness and Optimism

Reuters Blog

Optimism and delicious “bailout blend” coffee reigned at the Detroit auto show.

Automakers and officials at the North American International Auto Show struck an optimistic yet cautious tone as they sought to put a toxic year of slumping sales and massive government aid behind.

“This is a new day,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said at the annual show. “Today is a new beginning, really.”

Following a disastrous year that saw GM and Chrysler forced into government-led bankruptcy, many executives said 2010 sales should be much better after plunging to 10.4 million units last year, 39 percent below the market’s peak in 2005. The unanswered question, however, is what the U.S. economy will do following its longest, deepest downturn since the 1930s.

It is just over a year since America’s automakers went to Washington amid the worst sales slump in decades to seek emergency government funding totaling some $120 billion. In a flash of humor at the show, that dark moment in American car history was honored by local company Great Lakes Coffee, which served its own “Bailout Blend” coffee.

With the outlook for 2010 sales still uncertain, many automakers touted upcoming electric car technology, an area that the U.S. government has backed with subsidies and low-cost loans.

However, every silver lining has its caveat. Jim McDowell, American head of BMW’s Mini unit, said if unemployment rises or the housing market weakens further that could dampen demand.

“In 2009, we discovered we have a new competitor that we have have never dealt with before and it’s savings,” he told Reuters. “Anything that throws major elements of uncertainty in front of the consumer are the kinds of things that could depress sales.”

“But ultimately sales will increase because the car fleet is getting older and older,” McDowell added.

Julianne Mattera
Special to The Oakland Press

In a well-worn dictionary that Jen Wright has regularly thumbed through since elementary school, words are circled and playful notes point to newfound terms, chronicling Wright’s path through the English language.

“Your reality is absolutely the words that you hear,” said Wright, a Royal Oak-based blogger who writes for lookingglasslane.com. “We craft our world through words, so to give a child that is a very powerful thing.”

Wright’s hope for Detroit, a city that’s no stranger to bad publicity, helped her connect with Erin Rose — a blogger from Ferndale and one-woman show behind PositiveDetroit.net, which highlights good things happening in the city and the surrounding metro area.

Like Wright, Rose had a dictionary and other tools at her disposal when she was growing up that helped writing become a natural and enjoyable process. Without those tools, writing would have been arduous and very difficult, Rose said.

Driven to create change in the Metro Detroit area, Rose, Wright and other local female bloggers are teaming up with Operation: Kid Equip, a Berkley-based nonprofit, to help bring dictionaries to third-graders in Ferndale Public Schools.

On Wednesday, 58 third-graders at John F. Kennedy School in Oak Park got new dictionaries due to the bloggers’ and nonprofit’s efforts in reaching out to the community.

“Just to help children understand their language and learning new words to add to their vocabulary, I think will be very important,” said Dina Krause, principal at Roosevelt Primary School in Ferndale, which is scheduled to receive dictionaries for its third-graders on Friday.

“Having each child have his or her own dictionary will also help out and support their writing when they’re doing their writing projects, science or social studies projects. Being able to go in and look up words that they may or may not know, and having that right at the tip of their hands will be very, very helpful.”

Through March 15, the bloggers and Operation: Kid Equip will be tweeting, blogging and posting on their Facebook pages to raise funds to deliver dictionaries to roughly 2,700 third-graders in Oakland County.

But why old-school, paper-bound dictionaries?

“Technology is the easiest way to get the word out and to reach a lot of people,” said Becks Davis, a participating blogger who writes detroitmoxie.com. “But what we sometimes forget is, a lot of these kids, they don’t have computers at home. They can’t jump onto dictionary.com or have a spell check while they’re typing.”

And so far, the viral promotion is going well.

Two weeks after the bloggers simultaneously announced the project in December, sufficient funds were raised to give a dictionary to each third-grader at Roosevelt Primary School and John F. Kennedy School.

“I think people see that its not just throwing money away,” said Menachem-Michael Kniespeck, co-founder of Operation: Kid Equip. “They’re truly investing in a child’s future.”

Kniespeck’s organization focuses on getting school supplies to students from low-income backgrounds around southeastern Michigan.

Because of the economy, many kids are coming to school without school supplies that are essential to gaining an education, Kniespeck said, adding that his organization is investing in children instead of pouring money into a problem.

And soon, third-graders in the Hazel Park School District will be looking forward to crates of dictionaries coming their doorstep — they’re next up on the nonprofit and bloggers’ list.

Wright has no doubt that a few or more of the dictionaries could end up collecting dust in a closet or lost on the floor of a school bus, but it’s important to make these tools available to students since one of them could be the next Henry Ford, she said.

“I’m really excited to see who Detroit makes next,” Wright said. “If we’re trying to craft a new generation and words are so powerful, a dictionary is a perfect place to start.”
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