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Improving quality of place goes with economic success, Lou Glazer says

Sixty years later, Michigan Future's Lou Glazer calls for Michigan to adopt the same forward thinking of a CEO in 1950s southern Indiana. Good points.

Excerpt:

"So I was reading, not for work,  a New York Times article on the architecture of Columbus, Indiana when I came across this:  It was, in fact, J. Irwin Miller, scion of the Irwin-Miller family and arts patron, who transformed Columbus into an architectural mecca.  As head of the Cummins Engine Company for 30 years, Mr. Miller reasoned that extraordinary buildings would help Cummins lure top talent to the rural Midwest.  (Emphasis added.)

All of sudden, I was reading it for work. In the 1950s the CEO of the Cummins Engine Company in a small southern Indiana town understood, what we are still having trouble understanding today in Michigan, that place matters. What was important in the Fifties is almost certainly more important today."

More here.

To reach out, do a dance

NPR takes time for the Ruth Ellis Center, which is energetically reaching out to disenfranchised youths in the area.

Excerpt:

"If you're a homeless young adult, chances are good that you're gay, bisexual or transgender. And if you live in the Detroit area, the  Ruth Ellis Center  is trying to reach you. The center, based in Highland Park, Mich., has taken an unorthodox approach to helping homeless LGBT youth — and it starts on the dance floor, specifically with the dance form known as "vogue."

"It's all about your wrists and your imagination," says 21-year-old dancer Donnie Dawson. "You just have to make sure your hands are coordinated with your imagination."

"Attorneys, teachers, social workers ... saw LGBTQ youth falling through cracks in all these systems — in our families, in our schools and job opportunities — and realized that we really needed to pay special attention to this community," Fullenkamp says.

So the drop-in center always makes a space available for dancing."

More here.

Digital media projects targeted for state incentives

More state incentive money is propping up digital media projects. Animation work for "Don Cheto" and "Series One" will be handled by Southfield-based Pixo Entertainment.

Excerpt:

"Digital media, including animation, post-production and video game development, has tremendous potential for growth here in Michigan," said Margaret O'Riley, director of the Michigan Film Office.   "The fact that these projects chose Michigan companies to do this animation and post-production work is a testament to the talent we have here in the state."

Don Cheto  –  First Cycle  is an animated web series based on the popular Spanish-language variety radio program "El Show de Don Cheto," featuring Mexican entertainer and radio star Don Cheto.   The program will air on the NuevOn YouTube channel.   Southfield-based Pixo Entertainment has been tapped to provide the animation on for the series..."

More here.

Cinetopia International Film Festival to premiere at Detroit Film Theatre

Some new feature-length films will make their North American or Michigan debuts at Cinetopia, a festival showing of over 40 such films culled from the world's most prestigious festivals. The shindig runs from June 6-9. Check it out the Detroit Film Theatre or in Ann Arbor at the Michigan Theater, State Theater, and the University of Michigan's Angell Hall.

Tickets and more info here.

Michigan ranks 8th nationally in economic development success

Call Michigan the nation's comeback kid. Site Selection magazine just named it 8th best for job creation and economic development.

Excerpt:

"Michigan advanced eight spots in this year’s Competitiveness Awards, up from 16th in 2011.
The state's many business climate changes have resulted in other noteworthy improvements, including:
No. 1 for states that recovered most from the Great Recession.
No. 4 in the nation for most new corporate expansions or building projects in 2012.
Third most business-friendly tax ranking among the nation’s 12 largest states.
Third in the nation for high-tech growth."

More here.

Beaumont Hospital garners national environmental excellence award

A sick person is often decribed as having a green pallor, but green is healthy and well at Beaumont Hospital.

Excerpt:

"Beaumont has received the 2013 “Partner for Change” award from  Practice Greenhealth, the nation’s leading health care membership community that empowers its members to increase their efficiencies and environmental stewardship while improving patient safety and care....

Some of Beaumont’s sustainability efforts include:

Supply chain -  Beaumont has worked with suppliers to reduce excess packaging and materials to achieve less waste. The hospital also works with vendors who offer “green” office supply products; 30 percent of Beaumont’s purchases are made from eco-friendly materials.

Transportation/commuting -  Beaumont offers an employee carpool program and has more than 150 participants. The hospital also encourages bike riding. The campus has clearly marked bike lanes and provides employees bikes to use and covered racks to store bikes."

More here.

Metro Detroit high schools score in national rankings

Odds are, you can get a good education in Metro Detroit. About 30 of them are in Metro Detroit, and seven others in Washtenaw County, rank in the nation's top 2,000, according to the Daily Beast.

See the list here.

Detroit's Lafayette Coney Island is among America's hot dog gods

With Memorial Day upon us and baseball in full swing, USA Today scouted the country for America's best hot dogs and found a winner in Detroit!

Excerpt:

"Greek immigrants in Michigan concocted a cinnamon-rich beef chili that came to be known as Coney sauce, but it has nothing to do with Coney Island, while 'michigans' are big in Upstate New York but have nothing to do with the state."

Of Lafayette Coney Island, USA Today says: "The hot dog has a juicy, salty, smoky snap, the Coney sauce is spot-on, and the fries are crispy, but it's the experience that puts it over the top in our book..."

More here.

After 20 years, American cars are hot again

While Detroit has changed much for the better in terms of start-up activity and economic diversification, its renaissance is also circling back to the four-wheeled heritage the city was built on.

Excerpt:

"Detroit's boom-and-bust history was built on a dependence on big, fuel-thirsty vehicles. Now, with freshly stocked showrooms of new cars and more-efficient trucks, U.S. automakers are gaining ground on their Asian competitors with the best lineup in a generation.

"No matter what the economy does, no matter what fuel prices are, I've got a car for all seasons," said Chuck Eddy, a Chrysler dealer in Youngstown,  Ohio, who is seeing sales boom for Dodge Dart compact cars and Ram 1500 pickups. "I didn’t have that in ’09."

"Detroit is arguably much more competitive than they have been, from the broad spectrum of their lineup, in a decade or more," said  Jeff Schuster, an analyst with researcher LMC Automotive. "Right now, Detroit has the momentum."

More here.

Metro Detroit schools tops in country for music education

Strike up the music! The NAMM Foundation has called out the school districts of Berkeley, Bloomfield Hills, Dearborn, Ferndale, and Troy, as being among the best in the nation for music education.

Read the full list here.

Corp! magazine lauds Detroit region's tech and science innovations

From the Clarkston-based Mobile Technology Association of Michigan to Wayne State University's College of Engineering, high-tech breakthroughs are garnering attention.

Excerpt:

Michigan companies are leading the way in innovation focused on digital, scientific and technological pursuits. To recognize those companies and individuals pushing the boundaries of science, technology and the digital world –  Corp!  magazine inaugurated the Business of Science and Technology Awards in 2010 and added a separate Digital Award category the following year. For the fourth annual DiSciTech awards, 40 companies were honored April 18, 2013, during a breakfast and networking event at Oakland Community College in Auburn Hills.

More here.

Detroit area fares well in national comparison of drop in unemployment rates

Metro Detroit's 1.1 percentage-point decline in the unemployment rate from 2011 to 2012 puts it in the top half of the nation's largest metro areas in terms of improving job markets. 

See the national stats here.

Oakland County's job market is healthiest in years

This is the best it's been in years for job seekers in Oakland County, economists say. And the jobs pay well above the minimum wage.

Excerpt:

"On the heels of its strongest two-year job growth in almost 20 years, Oakland County's economy will add nearly 42,000 jobs through 2015, say University of Michigan economists...

In their annual forecast of the Oakland County economy, Fulton and colleague Don Grimes of the U-M Institute for Research on Labor, Employment, and the Economy say that high-wage industries—with average pay of more than $62,000—accounted for more than half of the new private-sector jobs created during the recovery, a trend that will continue throughout the forecast horizon...

Overall, Fulton and Grimes say that Oakland remains among the better local economies in the nation, ranking 10th among 36 comparable U.S. counties on a series of measures that indicate future economic prosperity."

More here.


Laundry entrepreneurs think outside the box

With not enough hours to get to the laundry, apartment dwellers and office workers in Detroit (and soon its metros) won't be left hung out to dry.

Excerpt:

"Michigan's own laundry barons Wayne Wudyka and Jeffrey Snyder want to place rows of high-tech lockers inside every downtown Detroit apartment building and office complex.

These computerized and smartphone-enabled lockers – call them Bizzie boxes – are the pick-up and drop-off sites for the longtime business partners' latest venture in dry cleaning and laundry services. The target user: tech-savvy urban dwellers and busy office professionals.

"Our plan is to locate the Bizzie box in every apartment complex in the downtown area and then work our way out into the suburbs," Wudyka said in a recent interview."

More here.


Downtowns say no to blank walls, yes to active facades

In Oakland County's downtowns these days, businesses that want to put a blank face to the street have to keep walking.

Excerpt:

"Last fall, a developer approached West Bloomfield trustees asking for a zoning change in order to place a storage unit business at Orchard Lake and 14 Mile. Then, a business owner approached asking for approval to open a fitness club in a former dealership on Orchard Lake Road.

"The new businesses didn’t conform to our (zoning)," said Supervisor Michele Economou Ureste.

The requests were for properties in the township’s "town center" — defined back in 2007 as Orchard Lake Road between 14 Mile and Maple roads. In the area, zoning rules require active first floors, not blank walls, which was intended to make that area more appealing to people walking...That desire is enthusiastically echoed in communities across Oakland County."

More here.

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