Belle Isle Fun Run

Fifth Third Bank’s 41st Annual New Year’s Eve Family Fun Run/Walk will be Friday, Dec. 31 at the Belle Isle Casino Building.

100% of all proceeds go to the Special Olympics, Michigan Chapter.

Entry blanks are available at or


Now through December 26, 2010
Mail-in Registration accepted

Now through December 30, 2010
Online Registration accepted

December 26, 2010

Belle Isle Casino
12:00 pm  Early Registration and Packet Pick-up open
3:00 pm    Early Registration and Packet Pick-up close
Mail-in Registration closes (no exceptions)

December 30, 2010
6:00 pm Online Registration closes
(no exceptions)

December 31, 2010
Belle Isle Casino
12pm Late Registration and Packet Pick-up open

3:20 pm One Mile Registration Closes (no exceptions)
3:30 pm Children's One Mile Fun Run/Walk
3:50 pm 5k Registration Closes (no exceptions)
4:00 pm 5k Mile Racewalk / Fitness Walk
5k Run

5:00 pm Awards Ceremony
Extras Casting Call for “The Ides of March” (Detroit, Michigan)
Michigan Acting

George Clooney will be in Michigan again filming his new movie “The Ides of March”. Clooney will both direct and star in the film. Other big names already cast for this film are Ryan Gosling and Evan Rachel Wood.

“The Ides of March” is scheduled to start filming in March. Extras casting in now open for actors and actresses in metro Detroit. These should be 1 day scenes, but they will be all day commitments if you would like to take part. This extras casting is open to Michigan residents 18 and older.

The film is based on the play by Beau Willimon and is about an idealistic staffer for a newbie presidential candidate gets a crash course on dirty politics during his stint on the campaign trail.

Available Roles:

There will be many extras roles in “The Ides of March”. But, there will be a few days that require several hundred volunteers to help fill a couple of auditoriums and arenas.


These are paid roles.
How to Apply:

If you are interested in applying as an extra for this film please send your headshots and resume to:

NOTE: If are interested in the volunteer positions and would be willing to contribute 1 weekday (or more if you like) of your time please include “March Volunteer” in the subject line of your email.

Seeding Small Business: 5 Ideas From Detroit

Stacy Mitchell
YES! Magazine       

A couple of weeks ago I was invited to spend a day in Detroit meeting with local entrepreneurs and sharing ideas for spurring small business development.

Detroit is an enormously challenged city. It is the poorest big city in the U. S. Nearly one in three workers is unemployed. The city’s population has shrunk to a mere 40 percent of what it once was. Vacant houses and empty lots comprise large portions of Detroit’s land area.

This devastation makes all the more remarkable the new tendrils of economic activity that are emerging around the city. While these homegrown enterprises are still modest relative to the scope of Detroit’s unemployment, they point the way to a promising new economy—one that is locally owned, oriented toward local needs, and capable of cultivating value from resources discarded by corporate America.

At the end of my visit, I came away feeling that Detroit has quite a bit to teach the rest of us about how to build a local economy from the ground up. Here are five ideas from Detroit that every city could benefit from.

Creative Conversion

Throughout Detroit, there are striking examples of residents converting something discarded into an economic asset. Last year, four friends pooled $6,000 dollars and opened the Burton Theatre in the auditorium of a historic elementary school that has been vacant since 2002. The movie house shows independent and foreign films just about every evening and has become enough of an anchor of activity in the neighborhood that the city recently decided to turn this section of Cass Avenue’s street lights back on.

Inspired by the Burton, some Detroiters have begun to think about other ways to nurture wealth from the city’s 80 empty school properties. Many are equipped with commercial kitchens, for example, that could be used to incubate and support Detroit’s burgeoning community of food producers.

By far the most conspicuous example of re-use in Detroit is the proliferation of agriculture on the city’s many vacant lots. Detroit is now home to an estimated 1,200 urban farm and community garden plots, along with a growing population of chickens and goats. Some growers produce food for themselves and their neighbors. Others sell through the cooperative Grown in Detroit. Still others are full-fledged commercial farms, like Brother Nature Produce, which is situated less than a mile from the towers of downtown, sells to a variety of restaurants, and, together with two other Detroit farms, launched the city’s first CSA last year.

Open City

Open City’s founders describe it as a “support group” for aspiring and established business owners. Monthly meetings, held at Cliff Bell’s, a local bar, usually draw about 100 people, roughly a quarter of whom already run a business, while the rest are toying with the idea of opening one.

Every city has its latent entrepreneurs, but this is especially the case in Detroit, where unemployment hovers near 30 percent, and lots of people daydream about inventing their own livelihoods. Most never act, though, because they don’t know where to begin or how to overcome the myriad of challenges along the way.

Hoping to nudge these latent entrepreneurs along, Claire Nelson and Liz Blondy launched Open City in 2007. They had both recently started businesses—Nelson owns the retail shop Bureau for Urban Living and Blondy runs a dog daycare business called Canine to Five—and were keenly aware of how much their success had depended on the advice and encouragement of other business owners.

Nelson and Blondy designed Open City as a forum for providing that mentoring on a broader scale. Each meeting features a panel of speakers on a particular theme (see a list of this year’s topics [here), plus lots of time for participants to talk about their business ideas and share information and advice.

Open City has contributed to the launch of numerous new businesses. Greg Lenhoff attended Open City meetings for several months before opening Leopold’s Books. Torya Blanchard says Open City has been an invaluable source of guidance as she’s expended her business, Good Girls Go to Paris Crepes, to two locations. Kelli Kavanaugh and Karen Gage got advice on financing from Open City before starting Wheelhouse Detroit, a bike rental business. Dave Mancini was struggling to find a good location for his start-up, Supino Pizzeria, and was even beginning to think about the suburbs, when a fellow Open City participant let him know about a vacant space in Eastern Market, where Mancini now employs seven people.

The spirit of mutual aid that underpins Open City seems to pervade Detroit’s small business culture. Everywhere I went, business owners talked up other businesses. At Avalon International Breads, co-owner Jackie Victor left off talking about her bakery to ask if I’d visited a new spa around the corner, Textures by Nefertiti. “You should really see what’s she’s doing,” said Victor. Many make a point of sourcing locally too. Midtown retailer City Bird, for example, features housewares and other goods produced by dozens of designers from Detroit and other Rust Belt cities, while local restaurants, like Russell Street Deli, purchase a growing share of the food they serve from Detroit farmers.

Collaborative Visibility

Aside from fast-food outlets and some chain drugstores, Detroit has very few national retailers. There isn’t a single chain supermarket and even Starbucks, so ubiquitous in other cities, has only a couple of outlets in Detroit. This dearth of big-name retail has led many outsiders, especially national journalists, to declare that there’s no place to shop in Detroit and certainly no place to buy groceries.

That’s not in fact true. While the city does need more grocery stores, Detroit is home to several high-quality independents, like Honey Bee Market, a large, full-service supermarket that carries all the usual stuff plus a robust selection of Mexican foods, and R. Hirt Jr., a 120-year-old, four-story general store that sells groceries, toys, and a variety of other items, as well as the city’s famed Eastern Market, through which some 70,000 tons of produce pass each year.

Yet it’s all too easy, even for residents, to overlook Detroit’s homegrown businesses, especially its many recent start-ups. Lacking the high-profile and advertising muscle of the chains, they don’t make it onto people’s mental maps of the city. Assuming there’s nothing much there, people head to the suburbs or shop online.

Although more extreme in Detroit, this lack of visibility is a challenge that small businesses in many cities face. Overcoming it requires collaboration, which is beginning to happen in Detroit with initiatives like Shop Midtown, a joint effort of about 30 businesses to make one another better known by distributing a guide to their neighborhood’s commercial offerings and organizing events like Third Thursdays. Over time, the hope is that similar initiatives will sprout in every neighborhood and be linked together through a citywide Independent Business Alliance.

Anchor Businesses

Another lesson from Detroit is that the right business can catalyze the commercial revival of an entire neighborhood. A good example is Avalon International Breads, a retail and wholesale bakery that opened in 1997 and is widely credited with attracting other entrepreneurs to Midtown and spurring the area’s revitalization.

Slows Bar-B-Q, which opened five years ago along a largely abandoned commercial stretch in the Corktown neighborhood, is another example. Today, thanks to Slows’ success, the entire block is coming life with new restaurants and bars, renovated second-floor housing, and the reclamation and replanting of nearby Roosevelt Park.

For many cities, bringing in an “anchor” retailer means trying to go after a national chain. But, as the experience in Detroit, Philadelphia, and other cities has shown, in struggling neighborhoods, chains are invariably followers, never pioneers. It’s the locals who are willing to invest and take risks, which is why, as civic leaders work to bring more grocery stores to Detroit, they might look to Pennsylvania’s Fresh Food Financing Initiative as a model for providing the financing that independent food retailers so often lack.


These days, it’s not just suburban malls, but increasingly cyberspace, that sucks dollars out of cities, especially during the holidays. Forecasters are predicting another record-breaking year for online holiday shopping. This has prompted a grassroots campaign in Detroit calling for an Inter-not holiday.

Why send dollars to support companies and economies that are far, far away, asks a brochure created by the advertising firm Team Detroit and distributed by the thousands around town. Featuring a map of local business alternatives, the tri-fold guide notes, “Every time you shop in Detroit, you support your region’s schools, your parks, your world.”

It’s a message that has resonated with Detroiters, say local business owners, who hope that hometown loyalty keeps driving the city’s economic revival forward.

Stacy Mitchell

Stacy Mitchell is a senior researcher with the New Rules Project, where she directs initiatives on community banking and independent retail. She is the author of Big-Box Swindle and produces a popular monthly bulletin called the Hometown Advantage.
PR Newswire

Unify. Inspire. Act.  That's the motto of Detroit 2020, a groundbreaking project that WXYZ-TV will launch on January 4, 2011.  Detroit 2020 is a decade-long, multi-platform, regional-impact initiative, designed to dramatically change the course of Metro Detroit.

For generations, Detroit-area viewers have relied on WXYZ to address issues, encourage debate and help find solutions to the challenges in our communities.  Building on that legacy, Detroit 2020 will tackle some of the biggest issues facing Metro Detroit--including education, race relations and transportation--through news stories, special programs, town hall meetings, commentaries and community service efforts.

"The goal of Detroit 2020 is to significantly improve the economic, emotional and mental well-being of Detroit and the region by the end of the decade," said WXYZ Vice-President and General Manager Ed Fernandez.  "Detroit 2020 will encourage dialogue, demand solutions, unify efforts, and provide a voice for all communities."

News stories during premiere week include: 

Jan. 4 - "A Tale of Two Cities," a feature that explores the possibilities of change to move the region forward as well as the consequences of neglect

Jan. 5 -  a profile of one Detroit neighborhood that has been revitalized

Jan. 6 - a look at what's working in one industrial city in the country and the lessons that Detroit can learn from this success

Jan. 7 - a segment focusing on the challenges many suburban communities are facing as they struggle with job loss and income reduction

Through a companion Web site,, as well as Facebook and Twitter, viewers will have the opportunity to voice their opinions on important community issues and share their stories, photos, and experiences. will also provide valuable resources that will encourage community groups and individuals to take action.

"It may seem like a daunting task," said Fernandez, "but we are beginning to realize we are all Detroiters, we are all invested in the prosperity of our region, and we are all united in a desire to bring about change. "
Carla Saulter

Statue of the Spirit of Detroit is still strong. My husband, Adam, and I have many traits in common: our biracial heritage; left-handedness; a penchant for public transportation; and, perhaps most significantly, a deep, irrational (OK, borderline scary) passion for our hometowns. As I've mentioned, my city of origin is Seattle. His is Detroit.

I know what's coming, believe me. As a Motown booster by marriage, I've heard every joke and disparaging remark there is to hear about Detroit, frequently from people who've never set foot in the city. The remarks don't accomplish much, since, like everyone else who hasn't been living under a rock, I am very aware of Detroit's challenges. (I assume most Grist readers live above ground, so I'll spare you the rundown.)

New(ish) Mayor Dave Bing has said that Detroit won't recover if it can't attract and retain middle-class families. Unfortunately, the city isn't especially well positioned to do that. By almost every official measure, from employment to crime to education to transportation, Detroit falls short in the livability department.

There are smart, committed people working on these issues, but it's safe to say that Detroit hasn't topped any recent "best places to raise a family" lists. (It has, however, bottomed at least one.) And yet, there are a surprising number of people who are choosing to raise their children there. Some are transplants attracted by low-cost housing. Some are visionaries who want to build a business or make a difference. Many, like Free Press columnist Stephen Henderson, are Detroit natives who love the city and want to be a part of its transition. This is what he wrote back in 2007:

 But I'm back anyway, in the 'D' as they now say, and my best alibi is that it's for matters of heart more than soundness of mind ... My memories here have an almost tactile intensity, and they define the contours of what I want for my young family.

I've been to Detroit a total of seven times. This hardly makes me an expert on the city. Other than downtown/Midtown, Adam's childhood neighborhood of Rosedale Park, and Belle Isle, I can't even claim to have seen much of it up close. But my admittedly limited experience with my "city-in-law" has given me a pretty good understanding of why there are still parents who think the words "Detroit" and "family" belong in the same sentence.

Don't get me wrong; I don't want to live in Detroit. (I might, however, end up there one day so, future possible fellow Detroiters: Please don't take offense.) This is partly because I don't want to live anywhere but my own original city (see above) and partly because Detroit's not really my kind of place. I'm not especially fond of sub-freezing temperatures or car worship, and I still don't understand all the fuss over those glorified chili dogs Michigan folk refer to as "Coneys." (I did manage to inhale several both times I was pregnant, though.)

Still, there's lots to like about Detroit from a parent's perspective. Here is some of what the families who are sold on Detroit (and I) see in the place.


Detroit offers almost limitless cultural opportunities. The museums alone will keep little ones enriched through grad school. On my first visit, I spent half a day gaping at the Rivera frescoes at the Detroit Institute of Art and another half day touring the Charles Wright Museum of African American History. (I've visited that museum on every subsequent visit, BTW.) Detroit's symphony is one of the best in the country, and the tradition of Motown as a mecca for R&B is alive and well. The city still turns out amazing artists, and live music is everywhere -- at restaurants, on the streets, and at the many festivals hosted there.

Public art abounds. From the Joe Louis Fist, to the Noguchi Fountain, to the Pewabic Tile People Mover stations, to the amazing architecture, to the graffiti masterpieces in the Dequidre Cut, there's a lot of visual inspiration in Detroit. 


Negative image or no, Detroiters are proud of their city. The natives I've met, almost to a person, speak of the place with a reverence and pride that is rare for any city, let alone one so maligned. When Detroit hosted the Super Bowl in 2006, residents volunteered to be part of an official/unofficial welcome wagon. They stood on street corners in the cold, passing out maps and brochures and asking folks if they needed help with anything. (Imagine that happening in a place that takes tourists for granted.)

Detroit may not have the foot traffic of denser cities, but what it lacks in face-to-face contact it makes up for in friendliness. It's small-town friendly -- the kind of place where you can strike up conversations with strangers. This sense of community makes the few areas in Detroit where you can find a bit of urban bustle -- Eastern Market, Greektown, the Riverwalk, Campus Martius -- all the more enjoyable.


Raising kids in a city isn't just about providing them with resources and advantages. It's also about helping them grow up. Yes, Detroit's economy is struggling, and it's missing a lot of the amenities that are taken for granted in more prosperous places. And yes, Detroit has a lot of poor people. Sheltering kids from poverty -- or any difference that makes us uncomfortable -- might provide the illusion of protection in the short run, but it doesn't teach them to cope with the world they will face as adults. Nor does it teach them to feel compassion for and kinship with the wide variety of people they will encounter in the future.

Choosing to stay in a city with problems also provides lessons in commitment and responsibility. As Stephen Henderson put it:

Do I want to show my son that it's OK to turn your back on home, just because it's a place having a tough time? Would I want to tell my daughter that the easy choice is always better than the difficult one?

Coming back, especially now, says to both of them that there's significance in what we feel for where we're from. It says being close to that feeling has a value that trumps comfort; it certainly outdoes complacency.

No, I'm not ready to raise my family in Detroit, but I tell you what: I sure do enjoy my visits. And I have hope for the city. Because, (real and hyped) problems aside, Detroit is a place with a rich history, a strong identity, and a sense of community and place. Despite all its problems, Detroit is a city that people love.

Carla Saulter is a carfree writer from Seattle. She writes the blog Bus Chick, Transit Authority.

FNC Study: Detroit Artists Boost Home Prices

Study: Artists Boost Home Prices in Desolate Downtowns
In Detroit, the Urban Legend Is Fact -- and We Have a Chart and Records to Prove It

Can low-income artists really revive dying downtown real estate? The answer in three Detroit zip codes is "YES."

FNC senior statistical analyst Sankar Bokka examined a neighborhood near downtown Detroit where artists have transformed crumbling buildings into homes and small businesses. Bokka studied price trends in the North Corktown neighborhood, where a community development organization sold discounted homes to artists, musicians and members of the creative community. He also tracked two zip codes along the Cass Corridor which has attracted artists, musicians and cool bars, despite high rates of drug and prostitution crimes.

Bokka's chart shows home prices inflated rapidly along with the real estate bubble, then plunged when the bubble burst. But prices bottomed out in August 2009 and are now trending higher. The small population makes the ups and downs more jagged since a single home sale has a bigger impact. But housing prices mostly stayed above their purchase value and are recovering steadily.

For his research, Bokka used FNC's Residential Price Index™, which contains 78 million more records than other residential price indexes and can calculate across the spectrum -- micro-trends in a few zip codes or trends sweeping across cities.

"Sometimes statistics can capture the effect something as ephemeral as hope or determination has on a neighborhood," said Bob Dorsey, FNC's Chief Data and Analytics Officer. "Our holiday wish for Detroit is that home prices across the city will move up as part of a prosperous new year."