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Sorting out national coverage of Detroit bankruptcy

The Detroit bankruptcy narrative is on front pages all over the country. It has become fodder for news all over the world. Some of the coverage is balanced, fair and on target. Much of it is not, stained by ideology, demogoguery and partisanship.

The Freep puts much of this media noise into perspective in this piece.

An excerpt: 

Many of the sins come from oversimplifications of a complex problem in the making for decades. The national media and other commentators, either as slaves to pith or ideological belief, say simply that "Detroit has failed" or that years of one-party rule are to blame. Like the fall of Rome or the causes of the Civil War, it’s not just one thing but a long, multi-faceted process at play.

Well said. Read on here.

You want more info on Detroit candidates? We've got video

A group made up of UM-Dearborn students, the League of Women Voters and DPTV recently conducted 56 interviews with Detroit City Council, mayoral, city clerk and police commission candidates. Mighty good stuff, highly recommended for all voters.

It's fresh video. Go here to check it out.

"X Games" goes to Austin, so what?

Another story about the failure to win the "X Games" bid for Detroit? Nope. Here's HuffPost's terrific comeback, itself a testament to the quirky resiliency we live and breathe around here.

An excerpt:

We know you've seen the lists. Worst Neighborhoods In America. Most Miserable City. Worst Reputation. Yeah, that's Detroit: an extremely bad reputation. If Detroit were in high school, ESPN, we'd be that skateboarding, X-Games-loving rebel kid your mom told you to stay away from. See where we're going with this? Not only would some of that attitude and authenticity have rubbed off on your event, but with international eyes on Detroit, some might have started to see the city in another light.

Great stuff, yes? Read more here.

M-1 Rail outlines plans, provides update about streetcar project

M-1 Rail officials presented at the Downtown Detroit Partnership’s summer stakeholder meeting last week, telling the crowd their goal is to minimize the impact the construction of the 3.3-mile streetcar circulator has on businesses, residents, pedestrians and visitors of the Woodward Avenue corridor. 

With construction scheduled to begin by late summer/early fall of this year, M-1’s Chief Operating Officer, Paul Childs along with Director of Governmental and Community Affairs, Sommer Woods presented some of their planning details to the people who attended the meeting at the Compuware Building.

Construction for the streetcar line will occur in two segments with the first segment -- Larned to Adams -- scheduled to break ground this year.

Details discussed include:

• Woodward Avenue will be closed to traffic and pedestrians but clearly marked detours will be available. Construction is expected to be limited from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day.
• All cross-streets will be accessible during construction except for when active work needs to take place in the intersection.  Anticipated time for closure for each intersection is four calendar days.
• One lane of vehicular traffic will be maintained around Campus Martius Park during construction.
• DDOT, SMART and Transit Windsor will maintain service during construction and M-1 Rail is working with them to redirect bus routes and create temporary stops.
• Utility service interruptions will be avoided when possible; however when necessary stakeholders will be given 5-days advance notice.
• Access for emergency responders will be maintained at all times. A complete emergency access plan is being developed. 
• Crosswalks will still be provided at major intersections. 
• Sidewalks will be provided during construction; however, they will be no larger than six-feet in width.
• Limited number of short-term sidewalk closures may be required, but will occur on one side of street during off-peak hours. 

Construction of Segment 2 -- north of Adams to West Grand Boulevard -- will begin next year.   

Palmer Park expected to make splash come August

Detroit’s Palmer Park will soon be the new home for a state-of-the art Splash Park, thanks to the generosity of Lear Corporation and support from the City of Detroit. Construction is proceeding quickly and water should be flowing by mid-August, providing welcome relief from the heat for children of all ages.
 
 Palmer Park was chosen by the City of Detroit Recreation Department as the location for the second splash park in the city to be built by Lear. The new Palmer Park Splash Park will be motion-censored and will be programmed to turn on at 10:00 am, and automatically shut off at 10:00 pm, when Palmer Park closes. 
 
Construction at the site of the former pool began in Palmer Park earlier this month, and is expected to be complete by mid-August. The City of Detroit suggested Palmer Park primarily because the People for Palmer Park (PFPP), a nonprofit 501(C)(3) entity, has adopted the park and has collaborated with the city and community to revitalize the recreation and nature site. PFPP has launched extensive recreational programming this summer, offering baseball, organized weekly bike rides, tai chi and yoga classes, and tennis lessons for children and adults. 
 
The Splash Park will replace the non-functional pool in Palmer Park, which has been closed for many years, after vandals removed all mechanical infrastructure for the pool. The site of the Palmer Park pool is now a large excavated hole, which has been drained, and will be filled with a stable material, followed by the construction of the Splash Park. Go here for photos of the future Splash Park. 
 
In the near future, the City of Detroit also has plans to construct a new playscape in the area adjacent to the pool. The People for Palmer Park have been working with the General Services Department on design, siting, selection of the proposed structure and more. 
 
Palmer Park is located between McNichols and Seven Mile Road, and just west of Woodward Avenue. The Splash Park and playground will be located on Merrill Plaisance, which intersects with Woodward Avenue just north of McNichols and borders part of the southern periphery of the park.

Healthy startup scene portends well for city in face of bankruptcy

The folks at VentureBeat reported last week that Detroit is primed to make some moves on the entrepreneurship scene despite the city plunging into insolvency. We like what we read.

An excerpt:

I spent a week in Detroit last year, talked to dozens of local startups, interviewed billionaire businessman and sportsman Dan Gilbert, and was surprised and gratified to see energetic, passionate entrepreneurship and a growing ecosystem of talent, money, and tools right in the heart of Detroit’s supposedly devastated downtown.

It’s one reason why last year Detroit was rated one of the best U.S. cities to get a job in technology.

Read more here.

Imagine: a city without freeways

Yes, we know, this broadcast focused on Minnesota's twin cities, with detours to Milwaukee and St. Louis, but we thought there was plenty here to apply to Detroit's own 1-94 and our other freeway issues.

Take a look and let's discuss later.

An excerpt: (Former Milwaukee mayor John) Norquist said that ripping up freeways might seem like an outlandish notion -- at the moment. "It's counterintuitive to think that if you took them out, it would somehow help things," he said, "but eventually, I think, the world is coming to that conclusion. Maybe five years, 10 years from now, it won't seem like such a weird idea."

Read on here.

Inc. lists five reasons to start a business in Detroit

Inc. mag always seems to have a solid perspective on entrepreneurship in Detroit. In a recent issue, editors list five good reasons why it's the right time to start a business in the city. Now. 

An excerpt:

"The entrepreneurial spirit that exists in this region has been here forever," says David Egner, director of the New Economy Initiative for Southeast Michigan. What organizations like his have done is shine a light back on would-be entrepreneurs and provide them the resources to start strong."

Read more here.

Writer, traveler, adventurous eater Tony Bourdain spotted in Detroit

We'd been hearing for weeks, perhaps months, about CNN's "Anthony Bourdain's Parts Unknown" coming to Detroit to film an episode for season 2 of the series. The Freep teased us last week with a list of places that Bourdain was rumored to be visiting. Then After 5 Detroit revealed that the author of "Kitchen Confidential," and star of "No reservations" was invited to the Guns + Butter fine dining pop up.

An excerpt: 

So I had to ask (Chef Craig Liekfelt), were you nervous to cook for Bourdain?

"There’s certainly a level of nerves, just because it’s a pretty big moment, but I’m more excited to have cooked for someone who has had such an incredible impact and influence on the food culture. I truly respect and admire Anthony Bourdain and love that he doesn’t sugar coat anything, he never changes who he is – he’s always himself and that’s what makes him so great to watch on TV, to read his books and to have him sitting in front of you eating your food," said Craig.

Nice, very nice. Read more here.

Detroit artist Audra Kubat looking to fund new album

We've known Audra Kubat since she was a "Stunning Amazon" on the late 1990s Detroit garage rock scene. As a solo artist, she's made five albums and now is trying to kick up some funding for number six. 

Audra in her own words in this excerpt:

I'm a working musician now, making my living on gigs, shows big and small, giving lessons, and working with local organization InsideOut Literary Arts Project which places artists and writers in the Detroit class rooms to share their artistry. While I can get by, there's never much left to invest in the cost of recording. 

I've selected 13 original songs that are written, arranged, rehearsed and ready to record. With this album, I am stepping back into the ring. It is the best music that I've ever made and, with your help, I'll prove it.

This is a project we can get behind. Read more here.

David Egner: NEI catalyst for more than downtown and Midtown

Executive director for the New Economy Initiative of Southeast Michigan Dave Egner writes in HuffPost Detroit that the NEI is partnering with doers and difference makers in various city neighborhoods.

An excerpt:

ProsperUs
, another program of Southwest Housing Solutions, serves immigrants and persons of color through micro-enterprise and entrepreneurial training. Focus areas include Cody-Rouge on the northwest side of the city, Detroit's North End neighborhood, and Southwest Detroit.

Read on here.

Freep digital editor: State should be welcoming to LGBT community

Free Press managing editor of digital media Nancy Andrews' personal essay on living in a state that discrimminates against her, her wife and Michigan's LGBT community is a must read. Why indeed would Michigan not want to attract and retain talent like Andrews -- an award-winning photogrpaher, documentary videographer and journalist? 

Here are some key excerpts from her op/ed: 

I have choices. I choose to spend my money where my life is respected and where the business meets my needs. If you don’t recognize my family status, then you don’t get my money. Businesses are quicker to turn to do things that are in their best interests. It’s often only now in government that I face direct and specific discrimination. Of course, it hasn’t always been this way.

People seem to think this call for equality is a new thing. It’s really not. What’s different is that more people are out, and gay men and lesbians are increasingly vocal. More of us have become less tolerant of unequal treatment.
 
When I moved (here) 13 years ago, state or local law was not a litmus test for me. In part because there was no practical reason to do so. But, in 2013, it is. Why would any rational gay person choose to move to a state that discriminates against them when they could live in states that protect them equally under the law? I would not make that choice.

Read more here.

Detroit Sound group brings attention to former studio threatened by freeway expansion

Detroit Sound Conservancy founder Carleton Gholz wants all to be aware of the city's globally massive music heritage. Even buildings that currently stand empty, like the United Sound studio, need protection. 

An excerpt: 

It's where Berry Gordy Jr. cut the first record that would lead the way to the Motown dynasty. Aretha Franklin used the studio to record the vocals to her 1985 hit "Freeway of Love." (Editor's note: Ironic, yes, that the building is now potentially in the way of an expanding 1-94 project?)

Funkadelic, which included George Clinton, recorded most of its music there. Miles Davis, the Dramatics, John Lee Hooker, Luther Vandross and Eminem also are among those who recorded tracks at 5840 Second Ave.

But the recording studio where the Motown sound got its start could be leveled as part of a project to reconstruct I-94 by adding a lane on both sides and installing continuous service drives along the freeway. 

Read more here.

Open house at 71 Garfield previews new classes

Sugar Hill Clay first opened in 2011. Located in the lower level of the renovated 71 Garfield building in Midtown Detroit, the studio is about as "green" as a ceramic studio can get. The work tables, shelving, cabinetry and countertops were all constructed from reclaimed wood and operate on a combination of geo-thermal energy that is generated in our building and a 20-kilowatt solar array.  
 
Sugar Hill Clay is currently undergoing a lot of changes in operations.
 
New classes begin in August. Including: Intro to wheel throwing, which is covers the fundamentals of wheel thrown pottery; a handbuilding class focused on tableware; an Altered Pots class that combines wheel throwing and handbuilding techniques to create new and more complex forms; and "Playing with fire: Raku" which will cover a range of clay projects with a special focus on Raku firing. All adult classes include open studio hours so students may come in at their leisure to work on their projects outside of class. 
 
There is also "Adventures in Clay" for the kids. This class is for children ages 6-12, and will explore many techniques from handbuilding to surface decoration, and the chance to play on the potter's wheel for those interested. The kids will have the opportunity to make functional pots, as well as sculptural pieces. 
 
In addition to the classes, Sugar Hill Clay can be booked for private parties and events.
 
Things are kicking off with an open house this Friday, July 12 from 6 to 9 p.m. Tour the studio, meet the instructors, learn about new classes, and have the opportunity to play with some clay. Light refreshments will be served and a free class will be given away to one lucky attendee.
 
For more information, go here.


BBC: Detroit Soup gets trans-Atlantic recognition

We love us some tasty Detroit Soup, which is getting more love and validation, this time from the venerable British Broadcasting Corporation.

An excerpt:

The BBC's North America correspondent Jonny Dymond found out, soup, salad and community are the ingredients that one Detroit group put together to fix the city, one small step at a time.

The community events help raise money to support worthy projects in Detroit. Read on here.
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