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The housing boomlet is back in Metro Detroit

If you're in the market for a home, better bring your checkbook with you to the showing. Even the pricier homes are going fast.


"Across four counties that comprise metro Detroit, the median home price jumped 48% in September over a year ago, and the number of sales rose 7%, according to sales figures compiled by Realcomp, a multiple-listing service in Farmington Hills, Mich.

"It's like someone turned off the water five years ago and just turned it back on," said John Hannett, a real-estate agent based in the tony northern suburb of Birmingham who has sold property for almost a half-century."

More here.

Detroit-based Chalkfly makes national list of "Best Young Companies to Work For"

Chalk it up to giving customers and employees what they want. Chalkfly, a start-up e-commerce office- and school-supply company in Detroit that returns 5% of sales back to teachers, is one of 15 companies nationwide that garnered a new award.


"What sets ‘Best Young Companies to Work for' apart from the countless other listings out there is that there were no self-nominations," said Peter Cappelli, Wharton professor of management and director of the Center for Human Resources.

The companies were nominated by industry leaders and peers, partners, customers or other professionals who witnessed their success in building a place where everyone wants to work."

More here.

Car shoppers can bypass dealer showroom with GM's Shop-Click-Drive app

Time-starved customers and those who find a visit to a car dealership showroom akin to getting a root canal will be able to close new car deals right from home.


"General Motors Co. plans to expand a new online shopping tool that allows customers to bypass showrooms when buying new cars...

By the end of this year, GM plans to extend a Web-based application, called Shop-Click-Drive, to its entire dealer network. The app would let new-car buyers use their computer screen to lock in the price of a new car, get an estimate of the trade-in value of their old car, apply for financing and even arrange a test drive or delivery of their new vehicle."

More here.

Amtrak, state on board with higher speeds, Wi-Fi on Michigan trains

High-speed, wifi, and bike storage to boot are coming to Michigan 's trains.


"Amtrak and the state of Michigan plan to invest millions of dollars over the coming years to improve service on the state's three passenger train lines, resulting in quicker trips and more amenities for  travelers.

Upgraded tracks between Kalamazoo and Dearborn will allow trains to travel up to 110 mph in that area...

Most passenger trains through Michigan travel at a top speed of 80 mph, so the track improvements between Kalamazoo and Dearborn will be  noticeable.

To draw passengers, Amtrak opened up space for bicycle storage on its Blue Water line. Packing a bike costs a passenger an extra $10. The  Michigan Department of Transportation  also will spend about $1 million to bring Wi-Fi to the three lines by  January."

More here

Wayne County opens new 30-mile greenway to the public

Get in that last long run or bike ride before winter sets in. Wayne County's got a new 30-mile path to celebrate.


"Events are planned this week to mark the completion of a 30-mile greenway for bicycle riders, walkers and runners in southeast Michigan...On Saturday, a community celebration takes places at Huroc Park in Flat Rock.

The mile-long trail is the final piece of a 30-mile east-west greenway connecting Oakwoods Metropark and Lake Erie Metropark."

More here.

Detroit-area women digging up second careers as farmers

A new crop of farming careers is rising in Southeast Michigan, and women are filling many of these new positions.


"No longer a safety engineer in the insurance industry after a 2009 layoff, Joannee DeBruhl asked herself, "Now what?"

She volunteered at a community garden, helped harvest 2,100 pounds of produce and had "the best summer of my life."

Now the 51-year-old is a full-time farmer at a certified organic farm in Brighton, which she co-owns with 24-year-old Shannon Rau and Rau's father, Tom Rau. The two women tend to 48 crops — from corn and cilantro to red mung beans and radishes — while providing fresh produce to 100 farm members and area markets."

More here.

Reality TV pilot filmed at Troy's Airtime Trampoline & Game Park

A TV filming crew had a soft landing at Airtime Trampoline & Game Park last weekend for the filming of a new pilot series, Massive Amounts of Good, about creative do-gooders in the Midwest.

Click here for more details.

Forbes browses Glocal's online community forums

It takes a lot of time to sift through info-blasts worldwide. But now a start-up is helping to tailor your interests to your own backyard. 


"Launched in 2011, Detroit's  Glocal  offers users a tailored local experience via online community forums. It aims to counter a loss of connection with local community that many see as a negative effect of the global hyper-connectedness driven by social media. Techonomy spoke with Glocal President Lincoln Cavalieri about the importance of zooming in on what's happening in your own neck of the woods.

How does Glocal work?

It's a hyper-local community forum for over 150 cities around the world. Members of a local community create categories and forums, write articles,   post videos, and link to local deals, restaurants, events, and such. We also have classifieds, so you can sell your bike and your boat. The community defines what's important to it, and moderators make sure all content is appropriate."

More here

Is that England? No, it's Detroit!

The nationally-televised new PBS program, Genealogy Roadshow, made a stop in Detroit, and let's just say the producer liked what he saw.


"...Here's producer  Stuart Krasnow's  take on Motown:

"Having never been to Detroit, I did not know what to expect when arriving to shoot an episode for the new PBS series, Genealogy Roadshow. In a word…Wow!

"My first impression was how beautiful the architecture is, both old and new. The sun was shining, and the towers downtown were gleaming, and somewhere amidst the bad press and the images the media likes to show, I had forgotten that Detroit was on the water and that Canada was visible on the other side...

"The next morning, we shot on location in Indian Village. The estate we filmed at was magnificent. The neighborhood was filled with kids on bikes, skateboarders, people jogging or walking their dogs. No one complained about our large production imprint and everyone I met pretty much wanted us to let the world know how great Detroit is. No one I met seemed like they ever wanted to live anywhere else. I sent a photo to a friend and said 'guess where I am.' 'England???' my friend texted back, thinking I had snuck out of town. 'Nope, Detroit'.

"My friend texted back a single word answer: 'Wow!'"

More here.

Folk music gets new play in Michigan

Michigan was supposed to be just another stop on folklorist Alan Lomax's folk-music documentation road trip, but Lomax parked his car here for quite a while.


"Detroit is famous for its music, from the Motown hits of the 1960s to the cutting-edge punk of Iggy Pop to the rap of Eminem. Little known, though, is that Michigan was also fertile ground for folk music, brought to the region by immigrants in the early 20th century and played in the logging camps, mines and factory towns where they worked.

Legendary folklorist Alan Lomax discovered the music in 1938 when he visited the Midwest on his famous 10-year cross-country trek to document American folk music for the Library of Congress...

Lomax, son of famous musicologist John A. Lomax, spent three months in Michigan on his research, which also took him through Appalachia and the deep South. He drove through rural communities and recorded the work songs and folk tunes he heard on a large suitcase-sized disc recorder powered by his car's battery.

The trip was supposed to cover much of the Upper Midwest, but he found so much in Michigan that he made only a few recordings elsewhere in the region."

Building a better apple-picker

It's peak apple harvesting and cider mill season in Southeast Michigan, a Grand Rapids man thinks he's got a faster, more efficient way for Michigan fruitgrowers to pick their 30 million bushels of apples.


"The owner of Phil Brown Welding Corp. of Conklin has developed a self-propelled machine that replaces ladders with hydraulically operated picking platforms that crawl through an orchard while a vacuum system gently collects the apples and sends them directly into a bin, according to The Grand Rapids Press.

Not only is it safer for the pickers and the apples, the five pickers who work on the machine can gather 20 percent more apples, says Brown, a 66-year-old inventor who has been creating fruit-related machines at his shop since he was 18 years old."

More here

Eleven Michigan residents make Forbes 400 list of richest Americans

Michigan's fortunes are turning for the better, with 11 of its residents among the very fortunate.


"The combined wealth of theForbes'  2013 ranking of the richest people in America is $2 trillion, up from $1.7 trillion in 2012 and the highest ever, due in part to the strength of both the U.S. stock and real estate markets.   The average net worth of a Forbes 400 member is a staggering $5 billion, the highest to date, up from $4.2 billion last year...

The top three industries are:
  • Investments – 96
  • Technology – 48
  • Food and Beverage – 29 "

See the full list here

It Follows to film around metro Detroit this fall

The leaves are starting to fall, but filming is still on the rise in Metro Detroit.


"...This project, set in Michigan, will film this fall in Detroit and surrounding communities including Sterling Heights, Royal Oak, and Clawson.

Writer/director David Robert Mitchell, a Michigan native, set the script in his home state to highlight locations throughout Southeast Michigan...

Mitchell's debut feature,  The Myth of the American Sleepover, filmed in metro Detroit. The film went on to screen at Cannes and SXSW and be distributed by IFC.   In addition to strong critical reviews, the project was listed as one of the top five films of the year on Ebert Presents at the Movies."

More here. MichiganFilmOffice.org.

Henry Ford Community College's biotechnology program receives $100,000 grant

The brains are getting behind technology at the atomic and molecular levels.


"HFCC established its Biotechnology Program in 2009. The program prepares students for jobs in the growing industries of the biotechnology field. This grant will allow HFCC's Biotechnology Program to implement nanotechnology and microsystems training, thereby providing students with additional career opportunities and additional pathways into high-skills careers.  

"Many HFCC students are also considered 'non-traditional' because they are attending college for re-training after having lost their jobs due to the current economic climate in Michigan. This grant provides these students with additional skills that would allow them to return to the workforce and support the growth of nanotechnology-based industries in the region," said Dr. Jolie Stepaniak, HFCC's Biotechnology Program director."

More here.

Dearborn's Arab American National Museum to sponsor culinary tours of Eastern Market

This fall, grab a taste of Middle Eastern cuisine (and its ingredients) at Detroit's Eastern Market. 


"The YallaEat! Culinary Walking Tours kick off Tuesday and will be held on selected Tuesdays and Saturdays in September and October. "Yalla" means "let's go" in Arabic.

Organizers say the goal of the free, guided tours is to share the story of Arab Americans in the Detroit area. Participants will visit Middle Eastern businesses that are family-run and founded by immigrants — while snagging some free samples and shopping."

More here
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