The first Chevrolet Volt available for retail sale will be offered at public auction with the proceeds benefiting math and sciences education in the Detroit Public Schools.

“Every aspect of the Volt – from its aerodynamic shape to its battery chemistry – is a testament to the importance of math and sciences,” said General Motors North America President Mark Reuss. “By encouraging Detroit-area students to pursue these topics, we hope to cultivate the next generation of engineers who will build upon the Volt’s innovative technologies.”

Reuss announced the auction during an event at Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly, where the Volt is assembled. At the event, Reuss announced the first Volt built during regular production will be retained by Chevrolet in recognition of the team’s efforts to bring the revolutionary car from concept to reality. The first Volt   bearing the vehicle identification number ending in BU100002 – will be auctioned with all proceeds benefiting the Detroit Public Schools Foundation.

The Volt offered in the auction has a Viridian Joule exterior, Light Neutral interior with dark accents, Premium Trim Package, Rear Camera and Park Assist Package, and polished wheels. The auction also includes a 240-volt charging station and home installation. The opening bid is $50,000.

Bids for the first retail Volt  will be accepted at until 6 p.m. on Dec. 14. The winning bid will be announced by Chevrolet on Dec. 16. The winner’s Volt will be delivered in December.

Funds raised through the auction will be donated to the Detroit Public Schools Foundation to support initiatives such as robotics competitions – including students’ entry fees, travel costs, and competition-related equipment.

“One of our primary focus areas is science and math enrichment,” said Chacona W. Johnson, President & CEO of the foundation.  “Knowledge of science, technology, engineering, and math is critical for the success of our students in higher education, and in their future careers in the 21st century workforce.”

The tax-exempt Detroit Public Schools Foundation is dedicated to supporting Detroit students. In addition to science and math enrichment, the foundation supports fine and performing arts programs; early childhood investment; building academic and athletic leadership; and college preparatory investment.

“An estimated 80 percent of jobs in the next decade are going to require skills based in math and science. With the support of GM, Detroit students will be better equipped to make a difference in Detroit, in Michigan, and in the United States,” said Robert Bobb, Detroit Public Schools emergency financial manager. “We appreciate General Motors’ support in developing the next generation of engineers.”

The Chevrolet Volt is an electric vehicle that can operate under a range of weather climates and driving conditions with little concern of being stranded by a depleted battery. The Volt has a total driving range of up to 375 miles, based on EPA estimates. For the first 35 miles, the Volt can drive gas- and tailpipe-emissions-free using a full charge of electricity stored in its 16-kWh lithium-ion battery. When the Volt’s battery runs low, a gas powered engine/generator seamlessly operates to extend the driving range another 340 miles on a full tank.
Russ White

Kathryn Colasanti is an academic specialist in the C. S. Mott Group for Sustainable Food Systems at MSU.  She believes there’s great potential for growing food stuffs in Detroit, but she says it depends on how you define potential.

Colasanti’s Michigan State University study indicates that a combination of urban farms, community gardens, storage facilities and hoop houses – greenhouses used to extend the growing season – could supply local residents with more than 75 percent of their vegetables and more than 40 percent of their fruits.

“We looked at potential in terms of capacity or quantity of vacant publicly-owned land in the city to grow fruits and vegetables in a quantity that could have a significant impact on the amount of fruits and vegetables Detroiters eat,” says Colasanti.

Generally, she says, there is a lot of support for urban agriculture in the city, but that the details get complicated.

“People are supportive but want to see it integrated into the city rather than have it supplant the urban development,” she says.

Colasanti believes it’s time for the city to step up and make a cohesive plan of what it wants to support and how it will regulate the growing industry.

“We need an accurate inventory on a neighborhood-by-neighborhood basis of the land that is appropriate to grow on that people would support turning into farms,” she says.  “And we need a city-wide overlay of where agriculture would be allowed and at what scale.”

Click here to hear Colasanti’s December 10 Greening of the Great Lakes conversation with Kirk Heinze.  Greening of the Great Lakes airs Friday evenings at 7 on News/Talk 760 WJR.

Please “like” Greening of the Great Lakes on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
CNN News Blog

Mike Modano: The veteran Detroit Red Wings center suffered a career-threatening injury over the weekend when an opposing player's skate severed a tendon in his right wrist.

"Once the skate hit me, the pain was really sharp, and I knew something was wrong," Modano said in a telephone interview with the Detroit Free Press. "When I looked in the glove and saw the type of bleeding there was, I knew something was really wrong. I knew it wasn't going to be good news."

Modano, 40, underwent surgery to repair the tendon and nerve damage. His right arm is immobilized, but surgeons attached elastic bands to his fingertips to help him flex his fingers and prevent scar tissue from forming, he told the Free Press.

With 1,367 points, the Westland, Michigan, native is the highest-scoring American-born player in National Hockey League history, according to  He spent 20 years with the Stars franchise in Minnesota and Texas before the Red Wings signed him last summer.

"I'd be devastated if my career ends like this," he told the Free Press. "Hopefully I can come back and play. But this has been a real bummer."
Emily Morman
Robert Guttersohn
The South End

The Woodward Avenue Light Rail Transit Project, a public transit train that will travel from Hart Plaza to Grand Boulevard – and eventually extending to Eight Mile Road – will bring Detroit a chance to transform from a weary, old-fashioned city into a lively, innovative metropolis – or at least that’s the hope of several of its supporters.

A Transportation Riders United informational meeting, held on the evening of Nov. 19 at the Park Shelton apartment building (15 E. Kirby St.), brought a small but passionate group of citizens from surrounding Detroit neighborhoods to learn about the project and voice their concerns.

Ralph Rinaldi, one of the organizers of the meeting from St. Patrick Catholic Church in Detroit, said his parish and another church, St. Aloysius, were sponsoring the meeting because the light rail train would “greatly influence people coming from the community, as well as other interests within the immediate neighborhood.”

That includes places such as Wayne State’s main and medical campuses, Orchestra Hall and other attractions.

Guarded optimism was the tone of community members during the meeting. While TRU Executive Director Megan Owens was enthusiastic during her informational presentation, listeners asked plenty of questions to make sure this won’t be another disappointment like the People Mover.


One of the major benefits of having a transit system like this, said Owens, is that it’s much more economically efficient on a personal level. She estimated the costs of maintaining and driving a car for a year to be $8,000, while a transit pass for the Woodward Light Rail would cost around $800.

Robin Boyle, WSU professor of urban planning and chair of the department of urban studies and planning, said there are at least three macro benefits to having a light rail system: connecting places of employment, providing cultural change, and inducing development. Along Woodward avenue, there are major points of employment like Wayne State, Henry Ford Hospital and Detroit Medical Center.

“(They have) significant pulling power in terms of employers, visitors, patients, students,” Boyle said. “Whichever way you cut it, there are a lot of people here.

“(There is a) simple goal: Connect these different parts, so that students that are at Wayne State, but have an internship at DMC, can get down there without having to resort to finding a car, getting in it, exiting one parking structure and going to another one.”

He said that it will also encourage those working or visiting elsewhere in Detroit to visit downtown attractions.

Boyle envisioned a city where drivers exit one place, park their cars and ride the light rail downtown. He said the sight of rails and hubs would persuade citizens to wait for a train they know will come rather than waiting for a bus that might not.

Boyle said it is a cultural change for the people in Southeast Michigan that have been dependent on owning an automobile for generations.

“Here’s an opportunity for them to use the modal split,” He said.
Another benefit is a possible economic ripple effect toward properties in close proximity to light rail hubs.

“The examples that have been cited are places such as Washington, D.C. where within a short walking distance of each of the subway hubs, they have seen significant property development and increasing land values and, in turn, increasing property values as these areas build out,” Boyle said.

But, he added, the verdict is still out on whether the ripple effect was caused solely by the transit hubs.


During the meeting, both Owens and Tim Roseboom – manager of Detroit’s Department of Transportation – acknowledged that businesses and residence flocking to be near a hub could lead to abandonment of other parts of the city. But they said this wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing. 

Owens pointed to how abandoned land in Detroit is being turned into urban farmland and how the city is struggling to provide basic services, like garbage pickup to outer parts of the city where few live. She deemed it “economically smart” to be condensed. Roseboom said that concentrating on central city corridors like Woodward creates success and ultimately affects the way neighborhoods are planned. Such thinking complements city Mayor Dave Bing’s plan to “right-size” Detroit.

One concern voiced by Detroit native Valerie Glenn was how urban residents without cars would be able to access the train. Suburban people would drive their cars to a station to board a train, but those who live too far from the stations to walk wouldn’t be able to access them.

“I really want to see the first phase (of constructing the light rail system) benefit downtown,” Glenn said. “I’d like to make sure that the people in the city use it.”

In response, Owens said that, while this project won’t solve all of Detroit’s problems, a light rail train could free more buses to cover other city routes. The end result TRU hopes for is a network of reliable, faster buses to complement the train.

“Trains may be the backbone of the system,” she said, “but buses are the lifeblood connecting neighborhoods. We will fight to ensure that not a penny is taken away from the buses to make (the Woodward light rail train) happen.”

Boyle said: “Obviously, improving transportation along the Woodward spike is valuable in terms of beginning to network – in terms of putting all the parts together. The reason I say that is there’s a lot of buses that go east west and connect at Woodward or potentially connect at Woodward. So that gives them an opportunity to bring the bus along at possibly Warren or Mack.

“(People) exit there and get on the light rail system (to) take them downtown far more quickly than they can at present.”

Glenn, who regularly uses public transit, was positive about the light rail system.
“It has the possibility of expanding Detroit,” she said. “I want to see people and businesses come back, to see the hustle and bustle. This could be the beginning of something positive. I think it’s gonna work.”


The first 3.5 miles of the light rail system, from Hart Plaza to Grand Boulevard, was estimated by TRU to cost $120 million.  Funding is coming from donations from local business and institutions, such as The Kresge Foundation, Penske Corporation, Compuware Corporation, Illitch Holdings, Inc., Quicken Loans and Wayne State.

“We have pledged to give some money … but nothing has been transferred yet,” Robert Kohrman, associate vice president of the Office of Budget, Planning and Analysis, said.

 These institutions will not receive any direct profits from the light rail’s operations, but will indirectly benefit from the trains bringing more people into the downtown area.  In addition the U.S. Department of Transportation has committed $25 million in federal funding toward the project, according to the TRU website.


Roseboom said that the goal is to start construction on Woodward to prepare a rail bed for the trains as early as next fall. He estimated the 3.5 mile stretch between Hart Plaza and Grand Boulevard would take about two years to complete. 

For now, according to Boyle, the federal government is conducting an environmental impact analysis on what will be the environmental impact of the light rail. Because the current plan is to extend the light rail to Eight Mile Road, he said it will take researchers longer than originally planned to undertake.

“This is a bigger piece of environmental analysis then what was originally conceived, which was originally to (Grand) boulevard,” Boyle said.

Owens said that one of the main challenges facing the project is politics. Convincing city and suburban politicians to work together and invest in the project is crucial for the light rail’s success, she said.

“The public would be willing,” Owens said. “But the challenge is convincing the politicians.”

Responding to a fragile health care system in which many children lack access to primary care providers, Children's Health Fund (CHF) and Henry Ford Health System (HFHS) are launching a new health care program involving a mobile medical clinic that will provide comprehensive health care services to medically underserved children at schools and in community locations.

Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and singer/songwriter and CHF Co-founder Paul Simon will join CHF Co-founder and President Irwin Redlener, M.D., and HFHS President and CEO Nancy M. Schlichting Dec. 6 at 9:30 a.m. at the NFL/Youth Education Town Boys & Girls Club at the Dick & Sandy Dauch Campus, at 16500 Tireman St., to inaugurate the Children's Health Project of Detroit.

The new program, a partnership between CHF and HFHS, is being launched to further local efforts to address children's health care needs in Detroit. Despite some recent improvements, Detroit lags far behind Michigan and the United States in several key indicators for children's health, including poverty, low birth weight and infant mortality. Detroit's severe shortage of health professionals has only grown worse in recent years, leaving many low-income children without access to essential health care and putting them at serious risk of lifelong negative health implications.

Both nationally and in Detroit, community health centers and hospitals experienced significant increases in the number of uninsured patients between June 2008 and 2009, underscoring the importance of safety-net providers during difficult economic periods. The new program and mobile medical clinic will provide an additional safety net to address the critical level of need in Detroit.

Due to budget woes and a declining population, Detroit's school system has been forced to close dozens of schools in recent years, some of which previously housed HFHS' school-based health clinics.  Students continue to be transferred to other schools, creating a transient environment in which access to consistent health care remains elusive to many. The mobile medical clinic will allow HFHS to expand its School-Based and Community Health Program and follow the transplanted students to their new schools, in addition to community locations, ensuring continuity of care.

"Detroit's children face serious challenges in accessing quality health care, which is exacerbated by a shortage of health professionals," said CHF Co-founder and President Irwin Redlener, M.D. "CHF is pleased to partner with HFHS to bring comprehensive health care services to children where they learn and play. The new medical mobile clinic will expand our ability to reach medically underserved children who previously may have faced significant barriers in accessing care."

"There is nothing more important than the health of our children," said U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow. "I saw a mobile medical clinic firsthand last year when I joined with Paul Simon and the Children's Health Fund to kick off the 'Kids Can't Wait' national campaign here in Detroit. This is a great partnership between Children's Health Fund and Henry Ford Health System that will make a big difference in the lives of our children."

CHF and HFHS estimate that 1,000 to 1,500 children per year will receive comprehensive health care services through the mobile medical clinic. Among the services to be provided are primary care, physical and sports examinations, immunizations, and vision and dental services. Parents may accompany their children on the mobile medical clinic or they may provide signed consent for their children to be seen by a primary care provider when the parents are not present.

The mobile medical clinic will be part of the HFHS Department of Pediatrics' School-Based and Community Health Program, which operates 11 school-based health centers.

"We are very grateful to Children's Health Fund for providing Henry Ford Health System's School-Based and Community Health Program with the mobile medical clinic and creating this new partnership. It essentially puts on wheels an already successful pediatric care program, furthering our work to ensure healthier futures for Detroit's children and youth who might not otherwise have access to care," said Nancy Schlichting, president and CEO, Henry Ford Health System.

"The new mobile medical clinic is exciting and will be an important element of the Children's Health Project of Detroit's efforts to provide quality health care for the children of this community," said CHF Co-founder Paul Simon.

Services will begin Jan. 3 at NFL/Youth Education Town Boys & Girls Club at the Dick & Sandy Dauch Campus, with several other area schools expected to join the program in early 2011.

Henry Ford pediatrician Elliott Attisha, D.O., will be the medical director for the mobile medical unit, under the leadership of Charles Barone, M.D., the chair of pediatrics at HFHS, chief of the Division of Pediatric Hospitalist Medicine at the Children's Hospital of Michigan, and chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Michigan chapter.

The mobile medical clinic is funded by the Idol Gives Back Foundation, the philanthropic organization established by the producers of American Idol and Fox to raise money and awareness to serve children and their families in need throughout the U.S. and the rest of the world.