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Detroit-filmed movie, "Misled," to premiere at Florida film festival

A new Metro Detroit-made flick will be under the marquee lights at a Florida film fest this weekend.

Excerpt:

"Misled" is to screen Saturday at the Gasparilla International Film Festival in Tampa.

"Misled" is the debut feature of Detroit-based film company J Squared Productions.

The movie stars Detroit native Jonathan Stanley, who also is its co-writer and producer. It's a story about growing up on the streets of Detroit, based largely on Stanley's life, including him dropping out of high school and working as a stripper.

More here.

Metro Detroit ranks 14th nationally in percentage job growth

In a good comeback story, Metro Detroit is no. 14 in the country in terms of percentage job growth from 2011 to 2012, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

More here.


Post-industrial? Detroit needs a new word

Detroit's economy is facing forward. Now it just needs some new verbiage.

Excerpt:

"Former heavy manufacturing hubs around the Great Lakes like Pittsburgh, Detroit, Cleveland, and Milwaukee often get roped together under the heading of "post-industrial" (when, that is, we're not otherwise identifying them by their prevalence of rust). The term poses at least two problems, though: Industry still exists in many of these places, and the very notion of defining them by their relationship to the past can hamstring us from planning more thoughtfully for their future.

"You've got the 'post-war,' you've got 'post-modern,' you've got 'post-9/11,'" says Paul Kapp, an associate professor in the school of architecture at the University of Illinois and an editor of the book SynergiCity: Reinventing the Postindustrial City. He was speaking Sunday at the annual meeting of the American Planning Association (hosted in what's often considered the post-industrial city of Chicago). "You get to a point," Kapp says, "where you've got to say, 'When does post-something end and you do something new?' I think with 'post-industrial,' we're at that opportunity now. I think it's now time to come up with a new term."

More here.

Atlantic Cities maps Metro Detroit's creative class

A great, comprehensive article on how the 7.2-square-mile greater downtown Detroit is growing posher by the minute, it seems, and how and why its deindustrialized metros (and certain Detroit neighborhoods) are landing the creative class.

Excerpt:

"Two of the top 10 creative class tracts are in Birmingham; two are in Bloomfield Township, and another is in Bloomfield Hills, home to some of the priciest real estate in the U.S. and the Cranbrook educational community. Designed by Finnish architect  Eliel Saarinen, the architecture critic  Paul Goldberger  called Cranbrook "one of the greatest campuses ever created anywhere in the world." University of Michigan's  Little  points out in an email to me: "Cranbrook graduates have added to the cutting edge design and creative communities of Detroit and the nation for decades."

Another top creative class tract is in nearby Troy, a sprawling middle-class suburb with excellent public schools, and the site of a high-end mall, the Somerset Collection. Two are in Huntington Woods, a leafy neighborhood that boasts such notable amenities as the public golf course  Rackham and the Detroit Zoo. Two more are in the "Grosse Pointes" — Grosse Pointe Farms and Grosse Pointe Park — the communities of choice for many of Detroit's old industrial magnates, whose lakeshores are lined with sprawling Gilded Age mansions."

More here.

Thousands of skate boarders show support for Hamtramck skatepark

There is an old skater addage: If your city doesn't have a skatepark your city becomes a skatepark. For the thousands of boarders who showed up and off at Detroit's Hart Plaza and then partied in Royal Oak, the creation of The Rideit Skate Park in Hamtramck was mission one.

Excerpt:

"Many of the skateboarders flooded the downtown streets in unison after the event at Hart Plaza, and then went to the after party in Royal Oak where many skaters stood in line, partied in the parking lots and gave previews of cool moves before entering the 80,000 sq. ft. building filled with ramps, which are geared for both the most experienced and the ones just starting out."

Read the rest here.

Turning Metro Detroit into an artist's canvass

Here's a little fact you may not know... Philadelphia has over 3000 murals. And it's a point of pride for the city, an enthusiastic display of local and imported artistic expression. Could Detroit and the metro area be open to the same kind of initiative?

Excerpt:

Idiosyncratic murals painted by some of the world's most famous street and graffiti artists have been popping up on walls across Metro Detroit, from Eastern Market to Hamtramck to Royal Oak.

Behind the murals are Hamtramck-based arts group Contra Projects and the owners of Royal Oak-based 323East gallery, which together hatched the Detroit Beautification Project.

Asked why they formed the group, Contra Projects director Matthew Eaton gestured at illicit graffiti tags defacing a brick wall in Eastern Market. "Have you seen this place?" he asked, looking around. "What's the downside of letting artists make the city look more colorful and engaging?"

Read the rest here.

Bizarre Foods celebrates Metro Detroit eats

Andrew Zimmern landed in Detroit for a recent episode of the Travel Channel's Bizarre Foods. From soul kitchens to a Ramadan meal in Dearborn he sings our culinary praises.

Watch the "Top Five" video here. Want to see  the entire episode? Click here.

A locavore with a love of Polish cuisine discusses slow food

A foodie blogger recounts her locavore roots from Hamtramck to Warren, which are still viable today.

Excerpt:

Almost every Saturday, my dad would take us to the Kowalski on Van Dyke and 10 mile and we'd get lunch meat like Krakus Polish ham and Kowalski kielbasa loaf (if you can get your hands on some of the stuff, buy it. It is SO GOOD. They have it in Ann Arbor at Hillers) and we each would get a little hot snack sausage that has a Polish name I forgot, but it means "hunters sausage" to eat on the ride home. And we'd get a jar of horseradish and a loaf of Russian rye bread the likes of which you just can't get in Ann Arbor. Zingerman's Jewish Rye pales in comparison to it....but you can find it in Hamtramck (or any place where there's a lot of Polish people hanging out still). We'd also have dill pickles my dad made at home to go with our lunch.

Read the entire article here.

Wayne County and Detroit land banks look to merge

Sesame Street is now 40 years old. And, in honor of the great children's program, here is a shout-out to cooperation. A bill designed to allow the Detroit and Wayne County land banks to work together was announced with bipartisan support this week.

See, we do learn things from television.

Excerpt:

Bills that would allow land banks operated by Detroit and Wayne County to merge into a redevelopment entity with expanded powers were announced Monday, with bipartisan support.

The legislation would provide for a Detroit/Wayne County Redevelopment Authority that would "enable the city and county to have a cohesive strategy for stabilizing and redeveloping tax-reverted properties," said Sen. Tom George, R-Kalamazoo, in a news release.

Read the entire article here.

GM puts focus for Volt battery production on Michigan

The electric car isn't exactly within reach, but it's getting closer, slowly, but getting closer. GM, who seems to be taking baby steps with the project, has announced that it will keep the production of the lithium battery -- the main source of the cars power -- in SE Michigan. However they haven't decided exactly where. The Volt itself will be built in the small Detroit enclave of Hamtramck while the generators for the engine will be coming from Flint.

Maybe the battery production will be somewhere between the two.

Excerpt:

In a symbolic boost to the state's sagging economy, General Motors Corp.'s confirmed today it will launch battery production in southeast Michigan for its upcoming Chevrolet Volt extended range electric car.

As part of a multi-pronged, $1 billion advanced battery development strategy to bring the Volt to market by 2010, GM Chairman Rick Wagoner unveiled several initiatives today.

They include the selection of Korean company LG Chem as the supplier of lithium-ion battery cells. LG Chem's subsidiary, Compact Power, based in Troy, will be involved in the battery supply chain as will A123 Systems, Hitachi and Cobasys.

GM expects work on the Michigan battery plant will start later this year, with production starting in 2010. The automaker is expected to use an existing company facility and hopes to disclose the site by June, pending the approval of government incentives.

Read the entire article here.

Most brownfield grants go to Michigan

Of course, Michigan wishes it didn't have so many of these waste sites, but, at least the state is getting help with them.

The EPA awarded 19 brownfield grants, equalling $8 million, to the state of Michigan. The 19 grants were the most received by any state inside the Great Lakes region.

Overall, 87 grants for 56 communities, totalling $18.6 million, were passed out in the area.

Excerpt:

Brownfields are properties where expansion, redevelopment or reuse may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of pollution or hazardous substances. The grants were awarded competitively in three categories: hazardous substances assessment and cleanup, petroleum assessment and cleanup, and revolving loan funds.

Nationally, 314 grants totaling more than $74 million were awarded to 209 different applicants.

Read the entire article here.

Gm Volt design takes shape

GM's lithium-ion battery powered car, the Volt, is moving right along. They've nailed down a design that looks a lot like their concept they showed at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

GM will also start road testing a vehicle equipped with the lithium-ion battery slated for the Volt. GM wants the battery to run for at least 150,000 miles, last 10 years, and provide sufficient vehicle acceleration.

The Volt's production is expected to begin by November 2010 in Hamtramck's old Poletown plant.

Excerpt:

Larry Burns, GM's vice president for research and development, told reporters this week that the vehicle’s design has been finalized and that its styling will be close but not identical to the concept.

GM is racing to prepare the Volt for launch by November 2010 -- ahead of archirival Toyota Motor Corp.'s own plug-in vehicle, slated to debut the same vehicle.

The Volt will be powered by a lithium-ion battery that can be partially recharged by a small combustion engine.

Read the entire article here.

Metro Times releases annual 'Best of Detroit'

As they wont to do each year, the Metro Times has released its annual "Best of Detroit" awards.

Check them out here.

Metrotimes publishes area-wide food guide

The Metrotimes annual restaurant guide runs the gamut: from coneys to caviar, from haute to simply hot.

Categories include eggs, buffets, steaks and vegetarian-friendly. Check it out here.

Planet Ant showcases Boxfest for female artists August 9-12

Planet Ant Theatre is all-girl for four days of Boxfest. Music, theater, comedy improv, and short films that are all written, produced and performed by women will take the stage from August 9 through 12.

Visit the Boxfest's myspace for more info.

"Dump the pump!" on June 21

Thursday, June 21 is the second annual "Dump the Pump" day that calls for the parking of cars and the riding of public transit as a way of calling attention to the environmental and economic benefits of using public transit.

A transit fact:

From 1995 through 2006, public transportation ridership increased by 30 percent, a growth rate higher than the 12 percent increase in US population and higher than the 24 percent growth in use of the nation's highways over the same period.

Find out more here.



Planet Ant Film & Video Festival kicks off tonight, runs through Saturday

Hamtramck's plucky Planet Ant Theatre presents its annual film and video festival this weekend.

It kicks off with a music video screening at Northern Lights Lounge, features screenings Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and concludes with an awards ceremony Saturday at 10 p.m.

Find out more here.

Michigan Suburbs Alliance breakfast to focus on healthcare legacy costs

The Michigan Suburbs Alliance next Mayors & Managers breakfast will focus on healthcare legacy costs. It is set for June 29 and will be held at Macomb Community College.

Find out more and register here.

Detroit area to see AT&T U-Verse TV, voice and data service

AT&T has announced an IP-based TV, voice and data service to launch in the Detroit area, the first of its kind.

Excerpt:

"It's an IP network for the home, and on that IP network wlll be a variety of applications, one of which is television," said Jennifer Jones, AT&T vice president and general manager for Michigan.

Jones also assured GLITR that the service will provide local cable access channels to schools and communities -- although those schools and communities must take the initiative to send their content to AT&T for display on TV channels.

Read the entire article here.



Communication between races, ethnic groups, to be explored in Hamtramck

The Hamtramck Human Relations committee will host a discussion entitled "Communications in Hamtramck" that will focus on breaking down political and language barriers.

The event will be held on May 15 at 7 p.m. at People's Community Services.

Michigan tourism website busiest in nation

Michigan's tourism website, Michigan.org, was the busiest in the nation in April, according to web trackers at Hitwise.

Excerpt:

"We view this as a clear and important signal that people are looking to Michigan for their leisure travel," said George Zimmermann, vice president of Travel Michigan. "We know from independent research that 65 percent of consumers who use Michigan.org for tourism information, then travel to and within Michigan. So more web traffic means more business at Michigan destinations. We believe our efforts inside and outside of Michigan are making a substantial difference."

Read the entire article here.



Michigan Suburbs Alliance annual meeting to celebrate "One Million Strong"

Michigan Suburbs Alliance's annual meeting is set for May 11. Entitled "Five Years. One Million Strong," the keynote speaker is former chair of the National League of Cities’ First-Tier Suburbs Council and current mayor of Bedford, Ohio.

Excerpt:

Five years have passed since a small group of mayors and managers formed the Suburbs Alliance. Five years since these municipal leaders realized we must unite to achieve change. Today, we are nearly one million strong. The Suburbs Alliance currently represents 28 cities in southeast Michigan, and we’re still growing! This May we'll celebrate our accomplishments over the past half decade and talk about how we can harness our collective strength moving forward.

Read more and register here.

MDOT offers public chance to review its transportation plan

The Michigan Department of Transportation has released a draft version of its long-range transportation plan for the state and is requesting public input.


A link to the plan and to the questionnaire can be found here.

 


Environmentalists call for expansion of bottle deposit law

Environmentalists are calling for an expansion of Michigan's bottle deposit law to account for water and juice containers.

Excerpt:

By most measurements, Michigan's law has been an unqualified success. Folks return more than 97 percent of the 4.3 billion bottles and cans of carbonated beverages sold here each year, according to state records. That tops the return rate of all other states and ranks Michigan's as America's No. 1 bottle recycling program.

Read the entire article here.

State launches first-ever tourism industry plan

A team working on behalf of the 9,000 businesses, attractions and groups that comprise Michigan's tourism industry have devised a strategic plan.

Excerpt:

The plan's recommendations include:
  • Marketing the state nationally with a $30 million tourism promotion budget.

  • Boosting relationships with policymakers.

  • Promoting collaboration.

  • Expanding tourism-related research.

  • Improving hospitality training.
Read the entire article here.

Immigrants positive force for Metro Detroit's economy

Immigrants to the area are positively contributing to Metro Detroit's economy.

Excerpt:

A study [director of research for the United Way of Southeastern Michigan Kurt] Metzger conducted in 2000 showed that about three-quarters of Asian Indians had graduated from college. More than 60 percent of Chinese and Japanese had received four-year degrees, and almost 50 percent of those of Korean descent had.

“We are getting this educated, young immigrant group that can provide that base that businesses are looking for,” he said. “They’re educated and talented enough to start new businesses.”

And they are coming at a time when Detroit’s native-born are leaving.

Read the entire article here.

Regional Chamber to host economic climate forum

The Detroit Regional Chamber will host a forum on the region's problems -- and proposed solutions -- on March 27.

Excerpt:

Neal Peirce, chairman of The Citistates Group and a frequent guest on "Meet the Press," National Public Radio and "The Today Show," will offer a keynote address on the region’s challenges.

A panel, including Kramer, former Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer and New Detroit Inc. Chairman John Rakolta, will lead an interactive exchange.

Read the entire article here.


State's green energy future has potential to do more than just clean the air

With everyone talking about what direction Michigan's energy future should go, many are pointing out that the greener it goes, the better for the economy.

Excerpt:

"We could become the alternative energy state," says Mark Beyer, spokesman for the Detroit nonprofit NextEnergy.

When the facility opened, with its 80-seat auditorium and offices and research labs, the goal, said CEO James Croce, was to position both Detroit and Michigan at the "focal point of the emerging alternative energy industry."

Much of NextEnergy's efforts are focused on working with the Big 3 automakers to develop alternative fuels such as biodiesel, hydrogen and ethanol. But it offers alternative energy companies of all stripes research facilities, office space and access to government funding sources and private venture capital.

Read the entire article here.



Granholm heads to Germany to court business

Governor Jennifer Granholm heads to Germany and Austria to encourage international investment in the state.

Excerpt:

Granholm said Michigan is competing with other states and countries for business investment.

"We've got what no other state has — this incredible footprint of automotive suppliers, research and development, engineers," she said.

Read the entire article here.



Michigan sports and leisure monthly to debut in April

Michigan in Play, a monthly sports and leisure magazine, will debut this April.    

The magazine promises to cover everything from basketball, football and baseball to dogsledding, wrestling and boating.

Locations where Michigan in Play can be picked up are listed here.

Find out if your company is venture capital-worthy at upcoming Crain's event

Crain's will host "Following the Money: Where Angel Investors and Venture Capitalists See Opportunity" on Mar. 19 with panelists Ian Bund of Plymouth Venture Partners and
David Weaver of Great Lakes Angels.

Excerpt:

Is your Company venture-worthy? Find out what panelists Ian Bund, chairman of Plymouth Venture Partners and David Weaver, president of Great Lakes Angels, look for in a company- and which sectors they think show the greatest opportunity in metro Detroit.

Find out more and register here.

State's plan to raze abandoned homes is raising hopes in cities

Cecelia Smothers-Reese stood on her porch Thursday and looked at the burned-out shell of a home next door to her on Benson Street on Detroit's east side.

It's been like that for two years -- an all too common sight in Smothers-Reese's neighborhood and others throughout Detroit.

The previous owner, an elderly woman, moved, and a fire shortly afterward destroyed the house. Looters stripped the remains for scrap metal.

"Most of us that own the homes that we're in try our best to keep up the properties," said Smothers-Reese, 55, who has lived there since 1959. "It really adds to the deterioration of the neighborhood. They're dangerous, too."

Smothers-Reese would be among those helped by Gov. Jennifer Granholm's plan to tear down 5,000 blighted and abandoned homes in eight cities, including Detroit, over four years.

The $25-million plan, announced last month in her State of the State address, would be Michigan's most aggressive anti-blight initiative.

Read the entire article here.



Transit plans gain momentum

Mass transit initiatives gain speed, momentum as  the public and local officials get behind efforts. The Establishment of a commuter rail line between Ann Arbor and Detroit and north of Ann Arbor is moving forward.

Excerpt:

From proposed commuter trains to regional bus service, the long-failed effort to establish mass transit in car-crazy Metro Detroit is building steam, officials say.

Bringing the issue to the forefront are increasingly congested roads, soaring gas prices and the fact that Democrats -- who historically have championed public transportation -- now control the state House, governor's office and Congress.

Advocates say city after city has benefited from building a transit system, creating jobs and economic development along the routes. With the possible exception of Los Angeles, Detroit is the only major U.S. city without effective mass transit, critics say.

"I think it's really important that we develop an effective and efficient public transportation system if we're going to move ahead with economic recovery in this state," State Rep. Marie Donigan told a standing-room-only crowd at a public transit meeting last week in Royal Oak.

"We think there's an urgency in our work. We know the status quo's not working."

Read the entire article here.





Restaurant brings tase of India, style of London, to Rochester

Hamtramck resident Qureshi Akkas Hussain has opened Golden Gate Indian Cuisine in downtown Rochester. Hussain has worked in top restaurants in the Detroit area, New York City and London.

Excerpt:

"I was expecting everyone should try, and they did. And I'm finding a lot of English people living here," Hussain said. "There is no other Indian restaurant in downtown. ... I believe every town should have one of everything."

Read entire article here.

New Metro Times columnist calls for regionalism

Larry Gabriel, former editor at Metro Times, debuts his new bi-monthly column for the publication with a call for regionalism with regard to the proposed Cobo Hall expansion.

Excerpt:

"You might be able to make the case that the auto show in and of itself is a special reason why a convention center matters more for metro Detroit than other reasons. That's a sensible argument," says Lou Glazer, president of Michigan Future, Inc. "The region and the state really benefit for making the auto show work as a premier event. ... Oakland County needs to help, not be a roadblock. Brooks is being shortsighted that the auto show isn't a regional asset. It's an example of how the region works against itself. ... The auto show is really important both symbolically and also strategically. ... If we were to lose the auto show, it would be a big black eye for the area."

Read the entire column here.

Transit subcommittee formed by State House

The Michigan House of Representatives has convened a subcommittee devoted to public transit.

Excerpt:

The committee is designed to address transit issues including the improvement of bus systems, funding issues, accessibility and the development of public transit systems in communities around the state.

Read the entire article here.


E85 becoming more cost-effective as price of gas rises

As the price of gasoline continues to increase, ethanol blends are becoming increasingly cost-effective at the pump.

Excerpt:

In Michigan, ethanol is gaining momentum as a viable alternative to conventional gasoline. There are three stations already pumping out ethanol with one currently under construction.

Meanwhile, Gov. Jennifer Granholm recently announced plans to build 1,000 ethanol and biodiesel pumps across Michigan by the end of next year.

Read the entire article.

Automation Alley added 39 members in January

39 new members joined Automation Alley, the tech trade group based in Troy, in the month of January - a single month record for the organization.

The sectors with the biggest gains were IT, with 15 new members and manufacturing, with six.

Read the entire article here.

Local professionals passionate about careers with non-profits

The non-profit sector - including health care and education - accounted for 62% of new jobs created in Michigan in 2005 and local professionals are finding themselves rewarding careers.

Excerpt:

The non-profit sector - including health care and education - accounted for 62% of new jobs created in Michigan in 2005 and local professionals are finding themselves rewarding careers.

Read the entire article here.

$400,000 awarded to arts community to establish Cultural Alliance of SE Michigan

The Cultural Alliance of SE Michigan has received $400,000 in start-up funding from the Community Foundation of Southeastern Michigan along with the McGregor Fund and the Hudson-Webber Foundation. The Alliance will work to increase collaborations between and visibility of arts and cultural organizations in the seven-county SEMCOG region.

The Cultural Alliance will represent the arts and culture community in regional planning efforts and will market the programs and amenities of member organizations to a diverse group of audiences.

The chairman of the Cultural Alliance’s board will be Steven K. Hamp, former president of The Henry Ford and Chief of Staff of Ford Motor Co. “The Cultural Alliance represents a new era for the arts and culture in our region,” he said in a release. “It embraces all dimensions of the cultural community: performing arts, visual arts, history and historic preservation, community cultural activities, arts education, science and nature, libraries and literature. Our goal is to foster innovation and creativity and enable our many and diverse cultural resources to contribute more dynamically to the people and communities of southeastern Michigan.”

All participating parties stress the Alliance’s inclusiveness, as organizations both big and small, fledgling and established, will have access to the collective’s resources and expertise.

More than 60 organizations from across all seven counties participated in an 18-month planning process to develop the Cultural Alliance, and several hundred will be invited to participate.

Source: CFSEM
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh


D-Rod, to be built by local company, will promote Detroit as travel destination

DMCVB has tapped Holly-based Detroit-muscle to build a custom hot rod, the D-Rod, to showcase Detroit's appeal as the Motor City and as a travel and leisure destination.

Excerpt:

Rick Dyer, Detroit Muscle project manager for the D-Rod, said the company's extensive knowledge and technical ability allowed Detroit Muscle put to put together, with passion and style, a street legal vehicle that represents the best of Detroit's past and future to prospective visitors.

Read the entire article here.

United Way CEO urges regional solutions to area's problems

United Way for Southeastern Michigan CEO Michael Brennan discusses the agency's survey process that has led them to begin working on solving the region's major problems in three key areas: educational preparedness, economic stability and basic needs. He urges the region to work together in a collaborative manner to acieve success.

Excerpt:

During the course of our research at United Way for Southeastern Michigan, we collected more than 20,000 comments from 7,000 residents, and one theme reverberated consistently: This region aspires to be a place where all people have the educational and economic opportunities needed to succeed and to thrive.

Read entire editorial here.

Scholarships, stipends available for tech-savvy women

Women pursuing IT careers can apply for over $50,000 in scholarships and technology stipends from the Michigan Council of Women in Technology.

Read more at MCWT's website.

Local music gets spotlight on new weekly PBS show

Local PBS station WTVS has started a new weekly hour-long music series focusing on top independent talent in Metro Detroit.

Excerpt:
The whole idea began with footage that metro Detroiters James McGovern and Greg Sharrow originally produced for www.canyouhearmetv.com, an online platform the two created to showcase select indie artists from around the country. Ultimately, Detroit Public Television picked up the Detroit episodes and packaged them for the series.

"Detroit is known for its music scene -- it's Motown," says McGovern. "It's our hometown and there's so much respect we have for the city. We hope to create a better image for it by bringing music here and promoting the local scene."

Click here for the full story.
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