The Westin Book Cadillac Detroit has been awarded AAA's prestigious Four-Diamond rating for hospitality industry excellence.  The 453-room luxury hotel opened in 2008 following a $200 million redevelopment of the historic hotel that originally opened in 1924. The Book joins 14 other AAA Four-Diamond hotels in Michigan including its sister properties in Southfield and at Detroit's Metro Airport.

"We are pleased and honored to be awarded the AAA Four-Diamond distinction," said Westin Book Cadillac General Manager Tim Freisen. "We are most proud of our associates who make a standard of excellence their priority every day."  The Book has been recognized by several organizations including awards this year for best hotel by Hour Detroit, Michigan Meeting & Events, and Meetings Mid-America publications.

The AAA Four Diamond rating is assigned to lodgings that feature upscale accommodations and offer an extensive array of amenities combined with a high degree of hospitality, service and attention to detail.  AAA inspectors evaluate and rate more than 58,000 lodgings and restaurants.  Individually, they conduct more than 1,100 property evaluations per year.  AAA's Diamond rating system is the only ratings system that covers all of North America and is one of only two that conducts physical, on-site evaluations.

In 2010, a total of 1,267 hotels and 749 restaurants throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean received the AAA Four Diamond Award.   AAA Four- Diamond hotels and restaurants represent just 3.5 percent of the 58,000 AAA Approved and Diamond rated properties. For more information on the AAA Diamond rating process, visit:

The Westin Book Cadillac Detroit is located at 1414 Washington Blvd., Detroit, MI 48226. For more information go to, or call 313-442-1600.
Chicago Tribune

The Detroit District Council of the Urban Land Institute is honoring Edsel B. Ford II and Compuware's Peter Karmanos for their contributions toward the development of Campus Martius Park in downtown Detroit.

The business leaders on Nov. 11 will be given the group's inaugural Placemaker Award and recognized for helping revitalize the city. New York City Planning Commissioner Amanda M. Burden will present the award.

The Placemaker Award aims honor those who have made a positive impact on quality of life through land use. The park opened in 2004.

Ford is the great-grandson of Ford Motor Co. founder Henry Ford. Karmanos is the chairman and CEO of software and services company Compuware Corp., which is headquartered across the street from the park.
Bill Vlasic
New York Times

After a dismal period of huge losses and deep cuts that culminated in the Obama administration’s bailout of General Motors and Chrysler, the gloom over the American auto industry is starting to lift.

Jobs are growing. Factory workers are anticipating their first healthy profit-sharing checks in years. Sales are rebounding, with the Commerce Department reporting Friday that automobiles were a bright spot in July’s mostly disappointing retail sales.

The nascent comeback is far from a finished product. Foreign competitors are leaner and stronger, accounting for more than half of all car sales in this country. The sputtering economic rebound is spooking investors and consumers alike, threatening to derail some of Detroit’s gains. And talks next year on a new contract with the United Automobile Workers could revive old hostilities.

Still, the improving mood here reflects real changes in how Detroit is doing business — and a growing sense that the changes are turning the Big Three around, according to industry executives and analysts tracking the recovery.

Ford made more money in the first six months of this year than in the previous five years combined. G.M. is profitable and preparing for one of the biggest public stock offerings in American history. Even Chrysler, the automaker thought least likely to survive the recession, is hiring new workers.

Many of the excesses of the past — overproduction, bloated vehicle lineups, expensive rebates — are gone. All three carmakers have shed workers, plants and brands. And a new breed of top management — the three chief executives are outsiders to Detroit, as is the newly named G.M. chief executive — says it is determined to keep the Big Three lean, agile and focused on building better cars that earn a profit.

“What we’ve come out of this with,” said Sergio Marchionne, who runs both Chrysler and its Italian owner Fiat, “are much more rational, more grounded players making moves for the long term.”

The proof is emerging in dealer showrooms, where customers are buying more of Detroit’s cars and paying higher prices. In July, G.M., Ford and Chrysler sold their vehicles at an average price of $30,400 — $1,350 more than a year ago and higher than an overall industry gain of $1,100, according to the auto research Web site

With fewer factories churning out products, inventories are smaller and sales incentives like rebates and low-interest financing are gradually declining. “They were nibbling at these issues before, a little bit here and a little bit there,” said Jeremy Anwyl, Edmund’s chief executive. “It’s just different now that they are in fighting shape.”

Detroit has vowed to change before, slimming down when sales slumped or pouring resources into vehicle quality to catch up to foreign competitors. Those efforts stalled or failed. But many auto analysts say the current makeover has a more permanent feel, largely because of the presence of the outsiders at the top and the lessons learned from the near-death experience of last year’s bankruptcies at G.M. and Chrysler.

Ford’s chief executive, Alan R. Mulally, broke the mold four years ago when he came from Boeing and set out to streamline Ford’s bureaucracy and integrate its worldwide operations. At G.M., Edward E. Whitacre Jr., a former AT&T chief, has replaced dozens of top officials with outsiders and younger executives, and driven the company to make decisions faster. Those efforts are likely to be accelerated under Daniel F. Akerson, who was named on Thursday to succeed Mr. Whitacre as chief executive in September.

And at Chrysler, Mr. Marchionne, an Italian raised in Canada who is both a lawyer and an accountant, is systematically upgrading the carmaker’s aged product lineup and revamping its plants in Fiat’s image.

“Fundamentally this thing has been reshaped, resized and rethought,” Mr. Marchionne said of Detroit. The biggest difference, he said, is that the Big Three have finally broken the habit of reflexively raising incentives to increase sales volumes.

“We’re not trying to kill each other for this month’s market share,” he said. “Those days are over. We’re not offering $7,000 checks to try to sell a car.”

Wave after wave of plant closings and worker buyouts in recent years has brought Detroit’s production more in line with the demand for its vehicles. Since 2000, the number of Big Three assembly plants in North America has dropped to 40, from 66, according to the consulting firm Oliver Wyman. In turn, overall capacity has shrunk to about eight million vehicles a year, from 13.7 million.

That still may be too much. After several years of sales topping 16 million vehicles, the industry nosedived to 10.4 million last year — the lowest since 1982. At current levels, sales are projected to edge up to about 12 million this year, with Detroit’s share running at 46 percent.

“They carved out a lot of capacity, but I’m not sure it was enough,” said Peter Morici, an economist at the University of Maryland. “There’s still an excess.”

Even under the most hopeful assumptions, a resuscitated United States auto industry in the end would account for less than 3.5 percent of the country’s economic output, economists estimate, compared to 4.6 percent in the late 1970s. But the Obama administration, which argues that the comeback is long-term and sustainable, contends that the Big Three have downsized enough to be profitable with fewer sales.

“They were just barely making money or breaking even in a market of 16 to 17 million a year,” said Brian Deese, a member of President Obama’s auto task force. “The companies are positioned now to move forward in an environment of 11 to 12 million in sales.”

Some Republicans and other critics of the administration are less bullish, and suggest it is too early to know if the restructuring will stick or how much credit the federal assistance is due. That debate will likely play out in the November midterm elections, but in the meantime some of the raw numbers are falling Detroit’s way.

The bankruptcies at G.M. and Chrysler slashed debt, jobs and labor costs, and revised union contracts have brought manufacturing expenses more in line with factories in this country operated by Toyota and other foreign automakers.

The average production worker at G.M. earns $57 an hour in wages and benefits, compared to $51 at Toyota, according to a study by the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Those costs should continue to fall as the companies hire new workers at lower pay grades agreed to by the U.A.W.

“What’s come out of this crisis is a realization that the interests of both sides are aligned,” Harley Shaiken, a labor professor at the University of California, Berkeley, said of workers and management.

That alignment could be tested next year when the Detroit companies negotiate a new contract with the U.A.W. The union’s president, Bob King, has vowed to get back some of the concessions made in the bankruptcies.

For now, though, the industry is adding jobs for the first time in a decade. More than 330,000 jobs were lost by the American automakers and their suppliers in 2008, White House officials said, while 55,000 jobs have been added since Chrysler and G.M. emerged from bankruptcy in the summer of 2009.

Chrysler, which cut more than half its work force since 2005, has added 3,100 jobs this year, including white-collar jobs at its headquarters in suburban Detroit. The company is recruiting again on college campuses and bringing in entry-level engineers and managers.

One of the first new hires was James Kim, an electrical engineer who recently graduated from the University of Michigan. Mr. Kim also had job offers from Verizon and other companies.

“I saw an opportunity to get into a company that was rebuilding itself from the ground up,” said Mr. Kim. “It’s almost like going to a start-up business.”

Another new white-collar worker, Davida Redmond, joined Chrysler after taking a buyout from Caterpillar. “I felt like the worst was over in Detroit,” she said. “The storm is behind us.”

But for the recovery to last, some economists say, several things need to happen, including continued improvements in quality, a relentless focus on cutting costs — and some luck on the economy’s overall strength.

“Their recovery is not sustainable yet,” said Mr. Morici, the economist. “They need to reduce their costs more if they’re going to be competitive in the long term with the Japanese, the Koreans and ultimately the Chinese.”

Top management says it is well aware of the rough patches ahead. “We still have important work to do,” said Mr. Akerson, the incoming G.M. boss.

Even so, optimism is building in the offices and plants and engineering labs of the Detroit companies, employees say. And promising new electrified vehicles like the Chevrolet Volt and small cars like the Ford Fiesta are slowly changing consumer perceptions that the Big Three are behind the times.

“It wasn’t long ago that people had just written them off,” said Mr. Shaiken, the labor professor. “But they live to fight another day.”

Detroit natives The Romantics will rock Detroit on the GM Riverfront stage on Friday, Aug. 13 for the final concert in the 2010 Rockin’ on the Riverfront classic rock concert series, sponsored by Andiamo Detroit Riverfront and in partnership with Detroit’s Classic Rock Station 94.7 WCSX-FM.

Formed on Valentine’s Day, in 1977, The Romantics are eastside Detroit boys who added a unique twist to Detroit’s rock scene. Fusing British invasion, punk and new wave sounds, they made it big with hits like “What I like about you”, “One in a million” and “Talking in your sleep.” Even 36 years later, they continue to liven up the stage with their volume, energy, and talent.

Local band Steve Kostan With The Eddie Leighton Project will open the concert at 8 p.m. and The Romantics will take the stage at approximately 9 p.m.

Admission to the concerts is free and no advance tickets are necessary. Viewing space will be on a first-come, first-served basis and people are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs and blankets. In addition, boaters on the Detroit River are invited to anchor near the riverfront and enjoy the view of the stage from the water.

Andiamo Detroit Riverfront will provide refreshment and food concessions at several locations on the plaza. Outside food, beverages or coolers will not be permitted. Andiamo Detroit Riverfront will accept dinner reservations before and after the concert and invite guests to take advantage of its outdoor patio overlooking the Detroit River.

Convenient parking is available for $5 per vehicle at the GM surface lot at the intersection of St. Antoine and Atwater, adjacent to the GM Renaissance Center.

For more information, call (313) 567-6700 or visit

American Express is inviting its cardmembers to a complimentary PGA Championship experience and viewing party at the north end of Memorial Park, 31100 Woodward Ave., in Royal Oak.

This weekend, August 13-15, from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. each day, cardmembers will have the opportunity to attend golf clinics, receive full swing and putting lessons from PGA professionals, or simply kick back and watch the PGA Championship on plasma TVs while enjoying complimentary refreshments and Wi-Fi.

The event is hosted by the Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express, but all American Express cardmembers are welcome to participate with one guest. As an added bonus, all cardmembers can take advantage of one-on-one hitting lessons with PGA Professional Jay Williamson. The clinic with Williamson will be held from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. each day of the event.

The Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express PGA Championship Viewing Party provides cardmembers with the chance to experience American Express hospitality in their own backyards. American Express wants Detroit area residents to know that when you become a Delta SkyMiles Cardmember, you get much more than the benefits and features that come with the Card – you also get access to valuable perks and privileges.

Stephen Clark

Diane Knapp is a second grade teacher at Webster elementary school in Hazel Park. Last Friday she went on a shopping spree for school supplies. "Usually I try to get crayons, pencils and markers, things the students can use daily in the classroom" She says, eying shelves stuffed with supplies.

But those shelves arent at a Wal-Mart or Target store. They're at the Operation Kid Equip teacher's annex in Troy. And despite the price stickers from various stores the supplies are all absolutely free.

Operation Kid Equip is the brainchild of Menachem Kniespeck. "I started it about five years ago in my living room with a hundred backpacks for local children and in that time we've grown to serve 38,000 children throughout southeastern Michigan."

Kniespeck adds that it sprang from the simple idea that every child should have school supplies. Webb elementary school principal Jaimie Knapp couldn't agree more. "To have their own pencils, their own coloring equipment and backpacks I think they have more pride in what they do."

The supplies, which include the standard pencils, paper and glue but also clothing and food for kids who show up in the classroom hungry, are all donated. The staff is 100 percent volunteer. So understandably Operation Kid Equip could use some donations of supplies or cash to continue growing.

This week they're kicking off a collection drive as part of 's " Blood, Sweat and Gear" campaign. The idea is that everybody has blood to donate to the Red Cross , sweat they can offer to help Motor City Blight Busters tear down abandoned homes in Detroit, or money to help Operation Kid Equip supply gear to school children.

"To see the kids' faces when they do receive school supplies," Kniespeck says with a smile, "it's a remarkable thing. You know our kids don't lack the desire or capability to succeed. Most of them just lack the supplies."

For information on how you can help, go to Operation Kid Equip 's website

It was just a few months ago that the Victorious Secrets had won the Fox Sports Detroit April in the D contest.  Now they are riding tall as they have just WON and become the new face!

Detroit came out in record numbers to vote them into the winners circle and now Detroit's music is once again being recognized as the best there is in the Country!

Thanks to all the fans and those who stood by them during this process, the band is proud to be a part of the city, and honored to have you as a fan!
Jessica Nunez

Vampires are taking over Detroit.

And by vampires, we mean fake vampires played by Alicia Silverstone and Krysten Ritter ... but that's even better, right?

The actresses are in the Motor City filming the movie "Vamps," about two young, single vampire gals living the lux life in New York City (played by the great city of Detroit).

The vampires are faced with a choice that could threaten their mortality when they fall in love with a couple of humans.

According to the film location insider's website Before the Trailer, filming is taking place today on the Wayne State University campus.

Sigourney Weaver will play the vampire queen and funny guy Todd Barry will play her assistant.

Wallace Shawn, Silverstone's co-star in "Clueless" (remember Mr. Hall?) will play the role of the infamous vampire hunter Dr. Van Helsing.

Comedian Richard Lewis will reportedly play an ACLU lawyer in the film.

It is directed by "Clueless" director Amy Heckerling.

Silverstone herself put out a call for "Vamps" extras on her blog "The Kind Life" a few days ago.

She said they're looking for a few "good looking, sexy, confident males in mid 20’s/mid 30’s," someone who looks like Edgar Allen Poe (??), "a bunch of 'hot' girls" for club scenes, people who can pull off the "goth" style and someone to double as a young Richard Lewis.

She says to email a photo and contact information to if you're interested in any roles.
Entrepreneur Magazine

Whatever your entrepreneurial aspirations, there's a city to match your needs, accelerate your company's growth and improve your quality of life. Which is the one for you? Entrepreneur identifies 50 cities and 10 lifestyles energizing businesses of all shapes and sizes.

Even in harsh economic times, America is still the land of opportunity, especially for entrepreneurs with the vision, ambition and flexibility to follow that opportunity wherever it may lead. In an increasingly connected world, no longer are businesses or their owners tethered to one spot on the map: Whether you're sizing up a regional opportunity, looking for a change of scenery or simply desiring a certain lifestyle, there's a location and culture that's perfect for you.

The challenge is identifying which spot is the best fit. Entrepreneur selected 10 contemporary American lifestyles and 50 related cities to complement all kinds of business types. Whether you're looking for tropical breezes, crisp mountain air, crowded city streets or wide, open spaces, they're all here.

Our methodology is as far-ranging as the list itself, incorporating statistical data, lifestyle studies and empirical research. Some choices may seem to be no-brainers, others may surprise you, and still others may have you reconsidering segments of the U.S. in a whole new light. That's the essence of American business: The only constant is change.


Off the Grid
One of five cities where entrepreneurs have the latitude to forge their own paths

Detroit sits poised on the brink of economic collapse--and on the cusp of a post-industrial renaissance. Artists and iconoclasts are moving to this city in droves, purchasing foreclosed properties and relying on solar energy and other alternative solutions to pursue lives and careers outside the margins of mainstream society. Officials are looking to reinvent blighted segments of the city as urban farms. Detroit is dead--long live Detroit.

Emerging technologies: Biotechnology, nanotechnology, information technology, cognotechnology and hydrogen fuel cell development

160: Number of startups in the nonprofit TechTown incubator in central Motown

Population: 912,062

Median resident age: 30.9 years

Mean housing price: $103,647

Related Destinations
Portland, Ore.
Although life in Portland conforms solely to nonconformity, it's also the site of more than 1,200 tech companies.

Burlington, Vt.
This counterculture enclave boasts a resilient economy based on manufacturing, education, health services, trade, transportation and utilities.

Boise, Idaho
A uniquely urbane locale with a robust creative community, the onetime supply center for Rocky Mountain mining camps is now the site of a burgeoning high-tech industry.

Berkeley, Calif.
Berkeley still thrives as a nexus of liberal activism and progressive beliefs--along with opportunities in educational, scientific and technical services.

25%: Portion of the 139-square-mile city proposed as agricultural green zones

Wringing Art Out of the Rubble in Detroit

Melena Ryzik
New York Times

The latest must-go event in this gritty, left-behind city — where D.J.’s flourish among ruins, trespassing in tumbledown buildings is part of a night out, and even garage rock is bare-bones — centers on soup.

Soup, as it’s known, is a monthly gathering, held above the MexicanTown Bakery in southwestern Detroit, where guests pay $5 for a homemade bowlful, salad (locally grown, to be sure) and dessert, and sit at tables made of doors laid over milk crates, listening as compatriots propose projects. Creating a pocket park, organizing an artists directory and devising a surveillance-camera video montage were all on this month’s agenda. The guests vote, and the idea deemed most deserving gets the Soup dollars — a neat little way to wiki-finance creativity. Soup, which started seven months ago, has been growing steadily. The last one, on Sunday, was the largest yet.

“It was so big that we were running around collecting doors” before the meal, Kate Daughdrill, a founder, said. Ms. Daughdrill, 25, an artist, graduate student and waitress, built the voting booth for Soup; she and her co-founder, Jessica Hernandez, whose family owns the bakery, hope to make the loft where it’s held into a permanent creative space. Building a community around Soup, Ms. Daughdrill said, is “part of my art.”

Detroit is plagued by all the urban problems that make it fodder for big-picture editorializing and cop shows. Its long-dwindling population and landscape of abandoned buildings have made it a singular — or perhaps prophetic — case study in Rust Belt decline. But its particular brand of civic and economic decay has also drawn something unexpected: a small but well-publicized movement of artists and other creative types trying to wring something out of the rubble.

Maker Faire, the California festival for tinkerers and conceptualists, made its Detroit debut — albeit in nearby Dearborn — last weekend; TEDx, a brainstorming conference will arrive in September; and Matthew Barney will perform after that. Banksy has already been. Two weeks ago Detroit hired a film, culture and special-events liaison to occupy a new position in the office of Mayor Dave Bing. The city that birthed the assembly-line age is now cultivating a slew of handmade salvagers, and it has not gone unnoticed.

“There’s an excitement here,” said Dale Dougherty, editor and publisher of Make magazine, which spawned Maker Faire. “There’s a sense that it’s a frontier again, that it’s open, that you can do things without a lot of people telling you, ‘No, you can’t do that.’ ” Maker Faire follows that ethos; it drew over 22,000 people for demonstrations of wind-powered cars and fire-spewing bicycles to the parking lot of the Henry Ford Museum.

Detroit hardly needs encouragement to do-it-yourself; it has a lineage of makers.

Scott Hocking, an artist who creates works out of materials salvaged from the many abandoned buildings here, said that the D.I.Y. culture is “in our DNA.”

His latest piece, “Garden of the Gods,” is illegally installed on the roof of the massive, and massively derelict, Packard auto plant, which also recently housed a Banksy image.

“I’m really interested in the idea of our relics,” Mr. Hocking said. He has collected supplies from a forsaken school warehouse, binders and toys twisted by a fire, and used televisions found in the Packard plant to create a vista that resembles modern Roman ruins. Symbolism is a large part of what the new Detroit runs on.

Symbolism and connection: Mr. Hocking, 35, a longtime Detroiter, has attended Soup, as has Jerry Paffendorf, a newly arrived resident who quickly built himself a niche. Mr. Paffendorf, 28, moved to Detroit from San Francisco by way of Brooklyn last spring, with an expertise in software design and a side of techno-savvy wit. He is behind a project called Loveland, a “micro real estate” enterprise that sells parcels of Detroit that he owns by the square inch for $1 a piece. Mr. Paffendorf bought 3,150 square feet of land for $500 when he arrived; “inchvestors” get a plot in a part of town that might not be well trod otherwise. Proceeds go to organizations that address Detroit’s many problems.

“The inches become like little shares in the city,” Mr. Paffendorf said. “Even such a lightweight form of ownership has a really cool psychological effect. Even if they bought the inches on a whim, it would bring people into the city a little bit more.”

That invitation to appreciate the city, instead of bemoan it, is also behind some of Detroit’s best-known renewals, like the Heidelberg Project, which turns houses into found-object sculptures, and the neighborhood collaboration of Mitch and Gina, as the artist Mitch Cope and the architect Gina Reichert are known around town. They were among the first to get attention for their creative development, buying up houses for art and gardens.

Even during a few days spent here, it is obvious how tight and welcoming the community is. A guy like Kevin Putalik can arrive alone from Montana with an interest in urban agriculture — a booming part of life in Detroit, where grocery stores are scarce — and within three weeks find himself making sausage at a party in someone’s home. “It’s the land of opportunity,” said Mr. Putalik, 28, who described himself as “funemployed,” as he rinsed casings at the sink.

The party’s host, Brian Merkel, 25, is an arriviste from Portland, Ore.; he’s been here since October. “I moved here blindly,” Mr. Merkel said. “I was an artist in Portland and I became more interested in food. I decided that when I moved here I would be a butcher. Within the first two weeks we had a charcuterie club.” People move to Detroit, he said, “because they have a sense of purpose.”

That is true on a stretch of Farnsworth Street that has been reclaimed by artists and activists, a leafy block in eastern Detroit surrounded by severe blight. The Yes Farm, a communal building with a stage and a studio, beckons on a corner, even if it doesn’t always have lights inside. Pickup soccer games happen on the empty lots at dusk. On a weekday evening Dutch artists in the middle of a two-month residency offered a talk on the sidewalk along with homemade fruit tarts.

But Detroit is far from idyllic. Jeff Sturges, who lives on Farnsworth Street and helps run the Fab Lab, a design shop in a trailer, pointed to a scar near his mouth, from an attempted holdup. “It’s an extreme city,” said Mr. Sturges, 33, an architect by training who moved here in September from the South Bronx. “There are some days where I get up and say, ‘What am I doing to myself?’ ” But, he quickly added, mostly he is pleased to be here. He recently started a hacker space, a collective for technology and art projects, one of a handful to open around Detroit within the last year.

Still, the number of people who have this creative do-gooder verve is small. The largest Soup only had 120 guests. “You can’t change a city of 800,000 with 200 people,” said Phil Cooley, an owner of the popular Slows Bar BQ in Detroit. “There’s so much work to do.”

That includes diversifying: a largely white creative class stands out in a largely black city; integration remains rare. Some worried about the image of the city. “People think it’s a blank canvas; it’s not,” said Corine Vermeulen, 33, a Dutch artist who has documented Detroit’s community farms.

Work, though, is what this D.I.Y. city has not shied away from. In June a group including Mr. Paffendorf of Loveland spent $1,000 for two abandoned houses across from the vacant Michigan Central Station, a symbol of Detroit’s decline, and, along with the Packard plant, a must-stop on any hardscrabble tour. They renamed the buildings — shells filled with debris and a few squatters — Imagination Station and hope to transform them into an artists’ enclave and green space. There wasn’t much to see yet, but Mr. Paffendorf offered a tour. “Welcome home,” he said, pushing open the battered door, with a hole where the lock should be.

The next day he and his girlfriend and partner, Mary Lorene Carter, were at Maker Faire, sitting behind a table covered in sod, publicizing Loveland. They sold 70 inches of Detroit.

Keith Schneider
New York Times

February 2009, President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which among other things provided $2.4 billion to encourage development of a domestic industry to make lighter, more energy-dense lithium-ion batteries to power electric vehicles.

Two weeks ago, on July 15, the president flew to this small city on the shore of Lake Michigan to attend the groundbreaking for a $303 million, 650,000 square-foot battery plant operated by Compact Power, a subsidiary of LG Chem, a Korean company, and to see other evidence of the stimulus bill’s influence in Michigan. He did not have to travel far.

There are 17 new plants in production, under construction or approaching groundbreaking in Michigan’s nascent vehicle battery sector, according to the state Department of Energy, Labor and Economic Growth. Two of them, representing an investment of $523 million, are in Holland, a city of 34,000.

The Compact Power plant will produce batteries for the Chevy Volt, a hybrid vehicle assisted by a gas engine that is expected to be priced at $41,000 when it reaches dealers later this year, and for the electric version of the Ford Focus, which has a range of 100 miles and will reach the market next year.

In 2009, Deutsche Bank estimated global sales of electric, hybrid and other alternative-fuel, advanced-technology vehicles could rise by 30 percent this year, to 1.3 million. J. D. Power recently estimated that hybrid and electric vehicles could account for about 1.3 percent of an estimated 67 million in light-vehicle sales worldwide this year. And the D.T.T. Global Manufacturing Industry Group estimates that by 2020, electric vehicles and other “green” cars will represent up to a third of total sales in developed markets and up to 20 percent in urban areas of emerging markets.

Less than two miles east from the 120-acre Compact Power site is a second battery plant. Johnson Controls teamed up with the French battery maker Saft to transform a closed 129,000-square-foot automotive electronics factory into a $220 million, 173,000-square-foot battery plant that employs 35 workers, and could grow to 300 workers within two years.

Just like the Compact Power project, which is expected to open in 2012 and employ 450 workers by 2013, half of cost of the Johnson Controls/Saft plant construction was paid by a grant from the federal stimulus.

In all, 13 battery and related plants have received federal stimulus grants in Michigan. “This is a symbol of where Michigan is going,” Mr. Obama said in Holland. “This is a symbol of where Holland is going. This is a symbol of where America is going.”

That assertion attracted protests from the Michigan Tea Party, which dispatched several of its members to the groundbreaking. And it prompted a political dust-up with Representative Peter Hoekstra, a Republican candidate for governor who voted against the stimulus.

Before attending the groundbreaking, Mr. Hoekstra, a nine-term lawmaker who represents Holland, held a conference call with reporters in which he criticized the federal investments in battery manufacturing as “the wrong strategy, the wrong plan.”

Mr. Obama, near the end of his remarks, let Mr. Hoekstra know he was not pleased. “There are some folks who want to go back — who think that we should return to the policies that helped to lead to this recession,” the president said, adding tartly, “Now, it doesn’t stop them from being at ribbon-cuttings. But that’s O.K.”

Economic development and real estate specialists in Holland said they welcomed the federal funds. Kris DePree, the president of the Zeeland, Mich., office of Colliers International, the commercial real estate brokerage firm, said the plants would help stabilize commercial vacancy rates in the region, now around 10 percent. “We haven’t seen industrial investments like this in quite some time,” Mr. DePree said.

Randy Thelen, the president of Lakeshore Advantage, the nonprofit economic development organization that helped attract both plants to Holland, said such investments were crucial to the region’s future. Holland has lost 3 percent of its population since 2000, and the city’s unemployment rate climbed to nearly 18 percent early this year, according to state figures.

The two new plants, Mr. Thelen said, could stimulate a regional auto battery manufacturing and supply industry capable of eventually employing 10,000 people. That would rival the office furniture industry, he said, which employed 12,000 people in the Holland area.

“We have 8,000 people ready to go to work right now,” Mr. Thelen said. “This city could be the center of the American battery industry.”

Other cities in Michigan are also competing for that title. Toda America, a Japanese maker of lithium-ion battery components, broke ground in Battle Creek in April for a $70 million plant that will initially employ 60 people.

A123 Systems, a battery-technology innovator that got its start at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has offices in Ann Arbor and in Livonia, Mich., where it has an auto engineering unit that employs over 250 people.

Last year the company received $249 million in stimulus grants to develop a 291,000-square-foot plant in Livonia that opened in March, and to build another plant of similar size in nearby Romulus set to open next year. The company’s investment in southeast Michigan will total over $600 million, and more than 800 workers are expected to be employed at the two newest plants.

Dow Kokam, a new lithium-ion battery maker formed by Dow Chemical and two other companies, broke ground in May in Midland, Mich., on a $322 million, 400,000-square-foot plant. It expects to complete the factory in January 2012 and employ 320 people. Kristina Schnepf, a spokeswoman, said there were plans to expand the plant to 800,000 square feet soon after production began in 2012.

The statewide building boom follows a grim decade in Michigan, which has lost 800,000 jobs since 2000, roughly half in manufacturing and most of those in the auto industry.

Under Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm, a Democrat now concluding her second term, Michigan studied various industrial sectors around which to build a new economic strategy. State economic specialists focused on clean energy, and especially battery production for the next generation of energy-efficient vehicles. She helped persuade the Legislature to approve $1 billion in tax credits for companies involved in developing advanced energy storage systems for electric vehicles.

The federal and state spending on advanced batteries has encouraged construction in other sectors of the recovering auto industry. State unemployment dropped to 13.1 percent in June from a peak of 14.9 percent in March, according to federal data.

Lenawee Stamping, a producer of metal stamping and welded fabrications, is expanding a plant in Tecumseh, Mich., to accommodate more production of G.M. electric vehicles, adding some 140 jobs. Magna Holdings of America, a designer and maker of auto components and systems, plans to invest $49.2 million to expand its operations in four Michigan cities to produce electric car systems, creating 500 more jobs, according to the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

“What’s absolutely critical is that we manufacture the components of a clean energy economy — the batteries, the wind turbines, the solar panels — right here in the United States,” Ms. Granholm told a conference of engineers and battery developers in Detroit on July 27. “Michigan intends to lead the way in clean energy manufacturing.”

Detroit Film Locations For This Week

On Location Vacations

A VERY HAROLD & KUMAR CHRISTMAS is filming on Griswald between Congress and Fort. They are suppose to be at this location through Tuesday, filming on Monday and Tuesday from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.

SCREAM 4 is filming on Saline Waterworks Rd, just east of Steinbach Rd, between Saline and Manchester, Michigan.

LOL, starring Miley Cyrus, is filming in Birmingham, MI this week. We’ve a few different things about LOL, they will be filming in Birmingham but one report said it won’t be until the middle of the week and that on Monday they will continue filming at the location on Jefferson & Joseph Campau in Detroit. It looks like they were filming on Woodbridge St, that’s where the trailers were.

THE DOUBLE is filming in a warehouse in Detroit and is done on Tues (8/3)

CNN iReport

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing and U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced August 2 that the federal government supports the Mayor’s vision of creating a light rail system in Detroit. Visiting the site of the proposed Woodward Avenue Corridor line, LaHood predicted the light-rail project "will become a model for the country."
Santana original lead singer, Gregg Rolie, will rock Detroit on the GM Riverfront stage on Friday, Aug. 6 for the continuation of the 2010 Rockin’ on the Riverfront classic rock concert series, sponsored by Andiamo Detroit Riverfront and in partnership with Detroit’s Classic Rock Station 94.7 WCSX-FM.

As Santana and Journey founding member, Rolie has captivated fans with classic Santana hits such as “Black Magic Woman”, “Oye Como Va” and “Evil Ways.” A blend of multiple music genres, Santana created a unique sound all their own. The talented keyboardist/ vocalist/ producer was inducted into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame in 1998 and continues to spark up the stage with his energy and passion for music.

Salem Witchcraft will open the concert at 8 p.m. and Rolie will play from 9 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.

Detroit natives The Romantics will close out the concert series on Aug. 13.

Admission to the concerts is free and no advance tickets are necessary. Viewing space will be on a first-come, first-served basis and people are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs and blankets. In addition, boaters on the Detroit River are invited to anchor near the riverfront and enjoy the view of the stage from the water.

Andiamo Detroit Riverfront will provide refreshment and food concessions at several locations on the plaza. Outside food, beverages or coolers will not be permitted. Andiamo Detroit Riverfront will accept dinner reservations before and after the concert and invite guests to take advantage of its outdoor patio overlooking the Detroit River.

Convenient parking is available for $5 per vehicle at the GM surface lot at the intersection of St. Antoine and Atwater, adjacent to the GM Renaissance Center.

For more information, call (313) 567-6700 or visit

Hollywood Comes To TechTown


When the 2011 Hollywood feature A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas debuts, look closely and you may see signs of TechTown.

Well, the cameo actually belongs to the building soon to be known as TechTwo.

Harold, Kumar and their crew filmed at TechTown’s TechTwo facility, formerly the Dalgleish Cadillac dealership, and worked around the clock to transform the empty facility into a “New York City tree lot.” A 30-foot inflatable Santa Claus stood on the corner, colored lights hung from the building and a large “Xmas Tree Brothaz” sign covered the iconic Dalgleish name. About 130 members of the production crew worked during the night for several days, and the action closed off neighboring streets as well during the filming (even the signs pointing to I-94 were changed to I-78!). Learn more about the Harold & Kumar series here and here.

The film’s production team also shot a few other scenes in locations across the Metro Detroit area.

Harold and Kumar’s Christmas romp is one of many Hollywood productions that have turned to Michigan in search of low-cost, high quality environments. Sparked by the Michigan Film Incentive, the country’s premier film incentive program, and Michigan-based film facilities, filmmakers across the country are seeing the unequaled benefits of being made in Michigan. Henry Argasinski, TechTown’s real estate and facilities director, says Detroit’s largest small business incubator reaped a pretty important benefit as well.

“After a diligent sweep of the broom and a can of paint following the filming, our parking lot was left in better shape than before,” Argasinski said. “Talk about a Christmas in July! While we can’t discuss details, the movie’s funniest moment takes place here at TechTown.”

Cornerstone Schools will host the 5th annual “Be a Tiger for Kids” event at Comerica Park on Tuesday, August 24th.  This fun-filled, family summer event supports the children of Cornerstone by providing scholarships to prepare students for life and leadership.  A special challenge grant issued by The Wheeler Family Foundation and an anonymous donor will provide a $100,000 grant to fund two classrooms of children at Cornerstone if the “Be A Tiger For Kids” event nets at least $400,000.

Festivities kick off at 4:30 p.m. at the Rock-N-Roar tailgate party at Ford Field.  Guests will enjoy great food, entertainment, face painting, and games for all ages at the exclusive pre-game party. At approximately 6:15 p.m., party goers will collectively make their way to Comerica Park to see the Cornerstone Honors Choir perform the Star Spangled Banner and cheer on the Detroit Tigers as they play the Kansas City Royals. Game time is 7:05 p.m.

“The ‘Be A Tiger For Kids’ event is an opportunity to impact the lives, education and the futures of Cornerstone students and our community-at-large,” said Ernestine Sanders, Cornerstone President/CEO.  “And thanks to the generous challenge grant by The Wheeler Family Foundation and an anonymous donor, there is even greater reason to help us reach our fundraising objectives.”  Now in its 5th year, this annual fundraiser truly makes a difference in these children’s lives and continues our mission of ‘Changing Detroit – One Child at a Time’.”

 Over 50% of the parents whose children now attend Cornerstone are at or below the poverty line and have been negatively impacted by the economic conditions in the city. A donation to the school’s scholarship fund fills the financial gap.

There are several tax deductible donation options available ranging from $50 - $250:

Ultimate Fan Package ($250) - sends a child to school for one week per year.
Receives one premier game ticket (best seats available on a first-come, first-served basis), entry for one to the private pre-game Rock-N-Roar tailgate and a commemorative event tee shirt. As an ultimate fan, you will be eligible to win a special opportunity to attend batting practice with the Tigers.

Fan Package ($100) - sends a child to school for two days per year.
Receives a premium game ticket, entry into the private, pre-game tailgate party and an event t-shirt.

Stadium Package ($50) - sends a child to school for one day per year
Receives a game ticket, entry into the private, pre-game tailgate party and an event t-shirt.

For tickets, sponsorships or more information, please visit or call Cornerstone Schools at 1-800-343-0951.

President Obama to sell good news of auto bailout during today's Detroit tour
Associated Press

President Barack Obama is going to the heart of the U.S. auto industry to push an important election-year claim: his administration's unpopular auto industry bailout has turned into an economic good-news story.
With Americans facing a still-limping economy and potentially pivotal congressional elections in three months, the White House sees progress in the auto industry as a concrete area of improvement — and one with direct ties to the president's own actions.

To highlight that progress, which presidential aides believe has received too little attention, Obama will stop at three auto plants over the next several days, visiting General Motors and Chrysler factories in Michigan on Friday and a Ford facility in Chicago next Wednesday. Hoping to ratchet up public notice further, the White House also had the administration's top auto officials brief reporters Thursday.

Following the government-led bankruptcies of GM and Chrysler, the companies have shown signs of improvement.

"You now have all those U.S. auto companies showing a profit. They've rehired 55,000 workers. We are going to get all the money back that we invested in those car companies," Obama said in an interview aired Thursday on the ABC daytime talk show "The View."

He said the government is on track to recover all the taxpayer money his administration poured into GM, Chrysler, auto lenders and suppliers to avert a near-certain industrywide meltdown.

However, the White House said that proclamation referred only to the $60 billion spent by the Obama administration, not the additional $25 billion funneled to the industry in 2008 under the Bush administration. The most recent government estimate found that taxpayers will lose $24.3 billion on the auto bailout.

In a report on the status of the auto industry, the White House said failing to intervene would have led to the loss of nearly 1.1 million jobs. The auto industry has added 55,000 jobs in the year since the automotive bankruptcies, making it the strongest year of job growth in the industry since 1999.

The administration pointed to several signs of progress: plans by GM and Chrysler to skip the typical summer shutdown of several auto plants to meet demand for hot-selling vehicles and the addition of shifts at GM, Chrysler and Ford Motor Co. plants. The report notes that the three companies are beginning to post profits.
White House officials estimate that Detroit automakers could add 11,000 new jobs before the end of 2010.
On Friday, Obama will visit GM's Hamtramck plant, which is planning to assemble the Chevrolet Volt rechargeable electric car. The plant is one of nine the automaker will keep open during the usual two-week summer shutdown.

In nearby Detroit, Obama will tour Chrysler's Jefferson North plant, which recently added a second shift of production, adding about 1,100 jobs. Next week, the president will visit the Chicago plant where Ford builds the Taurus sedan and plans to assemble a new Explorer sport utility vehicle.

GM has repaid $6.7 billion that the government considered loans, with the remaining $43.3 billion converted into a 61 percent stake in the company. GM is expected to conduct an initial public offering of shares in the company later this year, a move that could help the government recoup some of its investment.

United Auto Workers President Bob King said in a statement Thursday that GM would file paperwork in mid-August to start the process of selling stock to the public.

Chrysler received about $15 billion in government help and was placed under control of Italian automaker Fiat as part of its bankruptcy. The company has repaid about half of the $4 billion loan portion of its aid and is considering a public stock offering sometime in 2011.

Ron Bloom, the administration's senior counselor for manufacturing policy, said it was unclear how long the government would hold ownership stakes in the companies. "We don't like having this investment, but we're not going to sell it at a fire sale," he said.

Edsel &  Eleanor Ford House in Grosse Pointe Shores, Mich., continues the Ford family legacy of innovation and technology with the launch of its own iPhone and iPad application and interactive tour.  The app is now available free of charge on iTunes and as a web app for most smartphones. Pre-loaded iPod Touches are also provided on-site to guests.

The launch of the mobile app and tour reflects another crucial step in Ford House’s 2010-2015 strategic plan – increasing accessibility to the Ford Family story by sharing their personal stories of innovation and creativity, giving guests an epic visitor experience superior to anything at a museum or historic site in the United States.

In an effort to create greater accessibility, the Ford House has launched an abbreviated version of the mobile tour as a “web app” (in addition to the iPhone app), allowing most Internet-enabled smartphones to experience the tour, as well.

The app features 60 minutes of exclusive video content, an original soundtrack, and never-before-seen archival footage of the Ford family at play. The tour uses home movies, photos, an interactive map of the Ford House estate, site-specific interviews and much more, stirring up genuinely heartfelt emotion for this close-knit family. Guests literally enter the Ford story with just a few simple touches on their smartphone screen, becoming the  leader in their own journey through the estate.

Many videos were filmed by Edsel Ford himself, using his own personal camera. It’s an intimate look into the auto legend’s mind at a pinnacle time in the Ford family history. While a time machine doesn’t exist quite yet, the Ford House iPhone app is about as close as one can get to going back in time.

“It’s unlike any museum tour I’ve seen,” said Kathleen Mullins, president of Ford House.  “It literally allows visitors to enter the story by providing access to personal movies of the family when they weren’t in the public eye, relaxed and enjoying being a family.  It’s very personal and sometimes deeply emotional.  Visitors will be able to connect with this iconic family in a whole new way.”

For example, guests walking near the family swimming pool will touch the screen to begin a video of Eleanor and the children playing by the pool, standing in the space where it actually happened. Or they will be able to watch touching footage of Edsel and Eleanor ice skating before Edsel’s untimely death.

The app offers several options to users: take a guided tour; explore on your own; meet the Ford family; meet landscape architect Jens Jensen; and browse a comprehensive photo gallery.

Through exclusive video, photos and interviews, the iPhone tour explores both the interiors and exteriors of the home, including the lakeside lawn, lagoon, swimming pool, flower garden, the meadow, boat house, garage, Bird Island peninsula and more.

The Edsel & Eleanor Ford House App, produced by award-winning Audissey Media, has been in development since January 2010. (For a sneak preview of the iPhone tour, visit

Audissey Media is a pioneer in the high-tech tourism industry, allowing travelers to use their smartphone as a personal tour guide. In addition to Ford House, the company has created Audissey Guides for downtown Houston, Washington D.C., and Boston Public Garden.

“This mobile app puts the visitor in the driver’s seat,” said Rob Pyles, Creative Director at Audissey Media. “This technology is a sort of liberation from the traditional, passive museum experience. It’s really about you - what do you want to explore? I think Edsel would have thought it was the perfect way to share his home with visitors. This positions the Ford House as a real leader in the field.”

Approximately 75 percent of the project was funded by outside sources, including a grant from the MotorCities National Heritage Area, part of the National Parks Service, and donations received through last fall’s Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan Arts & Culture Challenge Grant program. The latter issued a challenge grant to area cultural institutions encouraging the use of web-based technology and social media for fundraising outreach.

“In the spirit of the challenge, we thought it was quite fitting to further the Ford family legacy and our use of new media by directing some of the donations received through Community Foundation’s initiative to develop this programming,” Mullins said.

Visitors may use an iPod Touch from the Ford House or download the free app from iTunes.  Most other smartphones can access the tour as a web app from their phones at

Admission and rental: Admission to Ford House, which includes a guided tour and use of an iPod Touch, is $12 per person, $11 for seniors and $8 for children six to 12 years old, with children 5 and under free. iPod Touch rental will be $5 for guests  who have purchased grounds-only admission. It is free to Ford House members. Guests may also use their own smartphone on the tour.

Edsel & Eleanor Ford House is located at 1100 Lake Shore Road in Grosse Pointe Shores.  Since 1978, Ford House has welcomed hundreds of thousands of visitors to share in Eleanor Ford’s vision of preserving the estate for future generations to enjoy through interpretive tours, family activities, lectures, exhibits and gardens and grounds events.  For more information, visit or call 313.884.4222.

On Saturday, August 28 -- 1:00-7:00 pm, Come Hear Belle Isle is an event for young adults (targeting ages 18-34) who live in Detroit and will be the next generation of people who live and settle in the city, but all ages are welcome to attend and get involved.

The goal is to get people to come out and discover what Belle Isle, and Detroit as a whole, has to offer, while raising money for the preservation of Belle Isle.  We will have nonprofits from all over the city come out and showcase ways to get involved in the community.  Each organization will have space at a table at the event.  The event will have a music component with several bands playing to provide a festival feel.  Bands donating entertainment to the event include The Sights, Champions of Breakfast, The High Strung, Chris Bathgate, Loune, The Maunder Minimum, Doop and the Inside Outlaws, Copper Thieves and more.  This is a FREE event, with a suggested donation.

Proceeds will go back to the preservation of Belle Isle through our partnership with The Friends of Belle Isle, a register non-profit.

For more information check out our page@ or
Blue Öyster Cult will rock Detroit on the GM Riverfront stage on Friday, July 30 for the second concert in the 2010 Rockin’ on the Riverfront classic rock concert series, sponsored by Andiamo Detroit Riverfront and in partnership with Detroit’s Classic Rock Station 94.7 WCSX-FM.

Since they formed in the late 1960s on Long Island, New York, Blue Öyster Cult has been one of rock’s most prolific bands. They have released 13 studio albums and scored hits such as “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper,” “Burnin’ for You” and “Godzilla.” With their unique sound and lyrics they influenced many talented artists such as Metallica and HIM. Their work remains timeless, with “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” being featured in various movie soundtracks, and even parodied on Saturday Night Live.

Blue Öyster Cult will play from 9 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.

Rockin’ on the Riverfront features classic rock headliners on select Fridays during the summer making Riverfront Plaza a great destination for food, fun and free concerts.

Additional Rockin’ on the Riverfront performers include:
Aug. 6 – Gregg Rolie
August 13 – The Romantics

Additionally, opening bands include:
July 30 – Solid State
August 6 – Salem Witchcraft
August 13 – Steve Kostan With The Eddie Leighton Project

Admission to the concerts is free and no advance tickets are necessary. Viewing space will be on a first-come, first-served basis and people are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs and blankets. In addition, boaters on the Detroit River are invited to anchor near the riverfront and enjoy the view of the stage from the water.

Andiamo Detroit Riverfront will provide refreshment and food concessions at several locations on the plaza. Outside food, beverages or coolers will not be permitted. Andiamo Detroit Riverfront will accept dinner reservations before and after the concert and invite guests to take advantage of its outdoor patio overlooking the Detroit River.

Convenient parking is available for $5 per vehicle at the GM surface lot at the intersection of St. Antoine and Atwater, adjacent to the GM Renaissance Center.

For more information, call (313) 567-6700 or visit

Jessica Nunez

The much-anticipated Raleigh Michigan Studios will break ground today, paving the way for a 200,000 square-foot sound stage building and a possible 3,000 new jobs in Metro Detroit.

The Los Angeles-based Raleigh Studios is building its new Michigan branch at the site of the old General Motors Centerpoint business campus in Pontiac.

The making of Raleigh Studios Michigan has been underway since early 2009, and since then has faced raising $60-80 million in financing, getting approved by the city and Oakland County and other obstacles.

A. Alfred Taubman, the Pontiac-born father of American shopping malls is heading up the project, along with John Rakolta and Linden Nelson, chairman and CEO of Michigan Motion Picture Studios.

Nelson was on air with WJR's Warren Pierce before the ground-breaking ceremony and talked about how important this project is to Taubman on a personal level.

"When Alfred originally walked through the site, he said ... where are all the cars, where are all the people? And what's happening with their families? And he had tears coming out of his eyes as to what had happened in southeast Michigan."

96 movies or TV productions have been filmed now in the state of Michigan so far, and the Michigan Film Office believes the new sound stages will draw even more television production.

The studio is also going to double as a teaching venue, training people in film industry trades.

"We're going to be a teaching studio with 5 to 7 colleges and universities having classrooms on our second floor," Nelson said. "So you're able to learn your trade, get trained in the business and go right down and work on a set or a movie, in an accounting office, production office, in animation or in editing."

Nelson said they hope to have the grand opening at the end of this year and have the first production on stages in February or March 2011.

The first factory-built, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant, wheelchair-accessible vehicle will arrive in the Motor City on the 20th Anniversary of the ADA as part of a 27-city road show to reach the 14 million Americans who use mobility devices and their caregivers. The MV-1 (“first mobility vehicle”) will be at both Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan (RIM) and Lakeside Mall. Interested consumers will be able to experience MV-1’s unparalleled accessibility and learn about its car-like ride and comfort with truck-like safety and durability, and at the same celebrate the signing of the historic ADA legislation. The vehicle is built by a new American car company, The Vehicle Production Group.

In Michigan alone, 13.2%* of all residents have a disability, with 7.2% of the state population reporting ambulatory disabilities. For the city that put the world on wheels, Detroit is the ideal place to showcase this new, ADA-accessible vehicle on the 20th anniversary of the signing of the ADA.

Public Demo Events:        

Monday, July 26, 2010, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan, 261 Mack Avenue, Detroit (Main RIM entrance on Brady Street)

Tuesday, July 27 – Wednesday, July 28, 12 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Lakeside Mall, 14000 Lakeside Circle, Sterling Heights (Lot between Lord & Taylor and J.C. Penny)          
For additional information, visit

* Source: Disability Statistics, Cornell University (

Tiger Magglio Ordonez donates $200000 to Renovate St. Hedwig Park
Bill Shea
Crain's Detroit

St. Hedwig Park in southwest Detroit saw its two ball diamonds renamed Magglio Ordoñez Field today thanks to $200,000 in renovations made to the fields courtesy of the Detroit Tigers outfielder.

The money includes funding for maintenance and upkeep.

About 250 kids, along with Ordonez and Tigers officials, attended a rain-soaked dedication ceremony, including a community clean-up and barbecue, at the field this afternoon, the team said.

A new baseball diamond was built next to an existing field, which was renovated. A third field will be renovated this fall in time for play next summer, the team said.

The park is at 5680 Konkel Street.

The effort was made through the Detroit Tigers Foundation in cooperation with Think Detroit PAL.

The foundation has improved nearly 50 fields in cities across Michigan as part of its effort to improve youth/community ball fields suffering from financial hardship or neglect.

A Detroit public high school will receive needed repairs while being featured on a network makeover reality show expected to air this fall.

Executive Producer Denise Cramsey said Thursday that work on the exterior of the 481-student Communication & Media Arts building will run Aug. 1-7 as part of NBC's "School Pride."

The district says Communication & Media Arts was removed from a list of schools to be closed partly because of the renovations coming for the show.

Crews in Detroit on Thursday doing advance filming for the show captured student excitement after they were told about "School Pride."

Cramsey says the school was selected because its poor physical condition and passionate students and parents fit the show's profile.
Sun and Sand in the Great Lake State
Katie Glaeser

The sound of the waves helps me daydream as I watch the wind carry grains of sand across my toes. Seagulls circle the water, carefully watching their prey. My niece and nephew giggle as they build sand castles on the beach. And as I look to the horizon, sailboats speckle the water with mighty freighters in the distance.

This is my summertime resort -- miles and miles from the ocean.

Sure, many people head to Florida or Cape Cod for a summer getaway, but I head north to Michigan to play in the sun, sand and waters of Lake Huron. And this is just one of the state's aquatic attractions; visitors to the Wolverine State are never more than six miles from one of its thousands of lakes and streams.
People I talk to outside of Michigan don't seem to understand all the state has to offer and would never consider it a must-visit destination. But Michigan can provide some unique experiences for your summer vacation.

Lake Huron, the second largest of the Great Lakes, stretches along Michigan's east coast through small shore cities such as Lexington and Oscoda. It goes all the way up to Mackinac Island, a place that hasn't seen an automobile since they were banned there more than a century ago.

When you arrive to the island by ferry, it's like you have stepped into another time in history. The streets in Mackinac are filled with horse-drawn carriages and bikes. Historical buildings line the streets, including the Benjamin Blacksmith Shop, which offers live demonstrations, and the Grand Hotel, which boasts the world's largest front porch stretching 660 feet.

The perfect ending to a Mackinac Island trip is stopping in to have a sweet treat at Ryba's Fudge Shop. The island's booming fudge industry is celebrated in August during the annual fudge festival.

"Soldiers" offer re-enactments at Fort Mackinac, Michigan's only Revolutionary War-era fort.

For a quick day trip, head north from the island and cross over the Mackinac Bridge into the Upper Peninsula to experience the outdoors at places such as Tahquamenon Falls. A short drive away is Sault Ste. Marie, the state's oldest city. There you can watch as water levels are controlled to allow safe passage of boats into Lake Superior at the Soo Locks.

Travel to Traverse City, on the west side of the state, and sail the afternoon away on a replica of a 19th-century tall ship. A drive along the Leelanau and Old Mission peninsulas offers breathtaking scenery as vineyards overlook the blue waters. Stop in for tastings at one of the many wineries in the area; Ciccone Vineyard and Winery is owned by the family of Michigan's own pop sensation, Madonna. And if you're a fan of cherries, you're in luck because the fruit is abundant in the region.

A short drive from Traverse City, be sure not to miss the Sleeping Bear Dunes. Steep hills of sand rise 400 feet high above Lake Michigan as children and adventurers spend the afternoon climbing up and tumbling down. If you're not quite so thrill-seeking, you can park yourself atop the mounds and look out at the water. It's an especially beautiful site at sunset.

As you drive along the shoreline, stop to see an old military fort or a lighthouse; more than 100 of these attractions line the coasts of both peninsulas. They are full of history and most are inexpensive "field trips" that will thrill kids and kids at heart alike.

There are plenty of things to do along the water, but venture onto it and the possibilities are endless: sailing, water skiing, fishing or just lounging on a float. Loungers can get in on the action by pulling out a pair of binoculars to watch boats glide by. The annual Chicago to Mackinac race expects 3,000 sailors from around the world to cut through the waters of Lake Michigan this weekend.

So while other destinations may come to mind first, remember Michigan can offer summer fun, too. It is, after all, the Great Lake State.

Production has begun in Detroit on “Detroit 1-8-7,” ABC’s highly anticipated new drama set to premiere TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 21 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET), after the “Dancing with the Stars” results show.
What does it take to be a detective in one of America’s toughest cities? Follow one homicide unit as Detroit’s finest unearth the crisis and revelation, heartbreak and heroism of these inner city cops in this series shot entirely in Detroit, Michigan.

There’s the damaged but driven Detective Louis Fitch, a wily homicide vet who is the most respected — and most misunderstood — man in the division; Detective Damon Washington, Fitch’s new partner, who finds the first day on the job is a trial by fire, complicated by the imminent birth of his first child; Detective Ariana Sanchez, sexy, edgy and beautiful, who has emerged from a rough background to become a rising star in the department; narcotics undercover cop John Stone, a streetwise smooth talker, clever and quick with a smile made for the movies, who is teamed with Sanchez — a combustible pairing rife with conflict and sexual tension; Sergeant Jesse Longford, a 30-year veteran and sage of the department struggling with his impending retirement from the force and the city he loves, who, together with his partner, Detective Vikram Mahajan — a fully Americanized son of Indian immigrants — form an amusing mismatch of experience and enthusiasm, intellect and instinct, old school and new world, but whose combined skills have never encountered a case that couldn’t be cleared; and all are headed by Lieutenant Maureen Mason, a strong-willed single mom struggling to balance home and work. The unit works with the primary medical examiner, Dr. Abbey Ward, who has an unusual hobby in her off-hours—roller derby.

The men and women of Detroit Homicide are as smart and tough as they come. They have to be, as they struggle with their own inner demons, using only their sharp sense of humor to keep them grounded while working the neighborhoods of the historic Motor City.

“Detroit 1-8-7” stars Michael Imperioli (“The Sopranos,” “Life on Mars”) as Detective Louis Fitch, James McDaniel (“NYPD Blue”) as Sergeant Jesse Longford, Aisha Hinds (“True Blood”) as Lieutenant Maureen Mason, D.J. Cotrona (“Windfall”) as Detective John Stone, Jon Michael Hill (Broadway’s “Superior Donuts”) as Detective Damon Washington, Shaun Majumder (“24,”“Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle”)  as Detective Vikram Mahajan, Natalie Martinez (“Death Race”) as Detective Ariana Sanchez, and Erin Cummings (“Mad Men”) as Dr. Abbey Ward.

David Zabel (“ER”), Jason Richman (“Swing Vote”), Kevin Hooks (“Prison Break”), David Hoberman (“The Proposal”), and Todd Lieberman (“The Proposal”) are executive producers. “Detroit 1-8-7” is a production of ABC Studios.
Tamara Warren
The New York Times

Berry Gordy Jr., founder of Motown Records, claimed that Detroit’s assembly lines inspired the sound of his label’s music. The originators of techno dance music, which also got its start in the city, were subject to these surrounding influences, as well, though the mood of the town had changed dramatically by the early 1980s.

Underground Resistance Michael Banks, producer and co-founder of Underground Resistance. rarely shows his face in public.
“Detroit is a cold place with a heart made of metal,” said Michael Banks, a producer and co-founder of Underground Resistance, a politically charged techno outfit in Detroit.

“For me, the car industry affected techno music by its efficiency aspects,” Mr. Banks, who also records under the name Mad Mike, explained.

Juan Atkins, a Detroit music producer, is widely credited with inventing the techno genre. He coined the term in 1984 from the novel “Future Shock” by Alvin Toffler. That same year, Mr. Atkins released the song “Techno City,” a recording that popularized the word in Europe.

Mr. Atkins drew heavily from the influence of local car culture, creating tracks like “Night Drive” and “Cosmic Cars” under the recording names Cybotron and Model 500.

What made Detroit techno distinct from other forms of early electronic music was the industrial, methodical and soulful nature of the compositions. There was minimal use of vocals, which were created entirely on synthesizers. The mechanical pulse of techno resonated with the car industry.

Mr. Atkins and his peers cited the German synth-driven music group Kraftwerk and funk legend George Clinton, who periodically recorded in Detroit, as the impetus for their work. Kraftwerk also made textured dance tracks like “Autobahn” in 1974, experimenting with the blend of synthesizers and live instrumentation.

The second wave of Detroit techno producers followed suit with car themes layered both overtly and subconsciously in the music. For example, “Landcruising,” a 1995 album by Carl Craig, included a sample in the introduction from his BMW 318i engine.

It was during this time that Mr. Banks started Underground Resistance Records.
“Just as the automakers were constantly trying to improve quality and cut costs by adding robotics to assembly lines,” he said, “back in the ’80s I was searching for ways to get rid of annoying band members who complained too much, were always late for shows and always wanted all the money. Drum machines and sequencers were the answer.”

Mr. Banks works out of a recording studio that originally housed a labor union on East Grand Boulevard, several blocks from Motown’s origins. He counts car designers from Ford, General Motors and Chrysler among the fans who come to the building to buy vinyl.

“There have been times at our small store here in the basement of the building that some rather odd customers will come through,” said Mr. Banks, an avid Chrysler muscle-car enthusiast. In 1991, his label released “G-Force” as an homage to Detroit drag racing. “These people aren’t your average dance floor D.J.’s that usually buy our products. They are young automotive designers. They listen to our music so as to inspire progressive thoughts of what automotive transportation will be in the future.”

He added, “I’m proud they come to us here in one of the most depressed neighborhoods in a massively depressed city for inspiration of what could be.”

Introducing the America’s Favorite Art Museum Tourney!
Modern Art Notes

Have you ever sat around the house on a Tuesday night thinking, “America is a land of many wonderful art museums. I wonder which one of them her smartest, most handsome residents like best?” Well, if so, then we have the event for you!

Introducing the latest MAN summer spectacular, a tournament so big, so sea-to-shining-sea-to-oil-drenched-Gulf, so shining-amber-waves-of-Agnes-Denes’-grain that only you, our loyal readers, can determine its outcome: That’s right, it’s MAN’s America’s Favorite Art Museum tournament.

Here’s how it will work: Last week we convened the tournament seeding committee: former Newsweek art critic and “Sunshine Muse” author Peter Plagens, vice president of editorial (here) at Louise Blouin Media Benjamin Genocchio and me. We each ranked our favorite art museums from 1 to 64. I turned our combined rankings into the seedings.

What criteria did we use to make our picks? We picked favorites. (Remember: We’re not asking you to vote to pick America’s best museum, just the one you enjoy most, the one in which you’d most want to spend a happy Thursday.) For me, I weighted the experience of being in the museum, in its galleries, most heavily. I also considered big-picture things that go into individual visits: its collection (or in the case of a kunsthalle its programming record) and how active an acquirer of art it is. You may choose to consider its website, the quality of its scholarship, its ethical comportment, its Twitter feed, or its bathrooms. Pick favorites.

Hurry!  Voting ends this Sunday, July 25th!  Vote for the DIA HERE!