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Auto and brew Detroit history bus tours on tap

Motor City Brew Tours and Show Me Detroit Tours will partner to present four Detroit Automotive & Brewery History Tours on Saturday, Jan. 19 and 26, during the 2013 North American International Auto Show. Tours start at 11 a.m. and at 3 p.m.

The 3.5 hour bus tours will look at Detroit then and now, including Downtown and Midtown today, early brewing history, the Eastern Market, the Packard Plant, the Ford Piquette Plant, architect Albert Kahn’s work, and the brewery and dairy operations at the Traffic Jam & Snug Restaurant in Midtown.

According to Kim Rusinow and Pat Haller, Show Me Detroit Tours co-founders, interest is higher than ever in seeing and understanding Detroit’s rich history, as well as its current challenges and triumphs. It’s a tale of two cities as greater Downtown continues to attract new residents, workers, visitors and investors while many neighborhoods seek a viable 21st century reuse.

Steve Johnson, Motor City Brew Tours founder, noted that the tours will make a brief stop to view a video presentation at the Ford Piquette Plant -- the city’s most authentic automotive site and the birthplace of Henry Ford’s iconic Model T. Ticket sales will support restoration efforts at the Piquette Plant -- with $5 donated for every tour ticket purchased.

The $39.95 tour ticket price includes expert historical commentary, guided bus transportation, admission at the Ford Piquette Plant, and a brewery tour with sampling and light appetizers at the Traffic Jam & Snug. Tickets must be purchased in advance online. Tour guests must be 21 and over. Both tour companies offer gift certificates for gift-giving.

The tours will start and end in front of the Detroit Fire Department Headquarters Building directly across from Cobo Center at the corner of Washington Boulevard and Larned streets (250 W. Larned, Detroit).

Hart Plaza forest tops riverfront design ideas

A "tiny forest" on the largely cemented shores of downtown Detroit, Hart plaza to be exact? We like it. It's the winning proposal in a design competition for ideas on how to maximize the Detroit riverfront.

An exerpt from co.design:
The idea is to create a space, separated visually from the city, that can facilitate interactions of all sizes. Small attractions can be interspersed throughout the woods, while an open space called the knoll is intended as a central meeting place for larger activities. "In our proposal," Yoon and Yoo explain, "the important idea we focus on is not the types of activities but the scales of them. Many small components of the forest, such as sculptures, trails, or small bridges will be able to hold small scale activities. On the other hand, the knoll, a big open space, will hold large scale activities, such as concerts, screenings, or theatrical performances with magnificent background of forest."

Read more here.

Detroit SOUP gets play on NBC Nightly News

We love Detroit SOUP and all it does to stimulate change in the city's cultural and entrepreneurial scene. We're thrilled the org was recently profiled on NBC Nightly News.

An excerpt from HuffPost Detroit:

"It's a chance to draw people together, share ideas over a simple meal like soup, salad and bread and hear how people really want to help continue to revitalize the city," Kaherl explained. "I love just being a connecting point for people."

Over the months, Detroit SOUP has supported an array of ideas, from Veronika Scott's Empowerment Plan, which produce coats-turned-sleeping-bags and supports the homeless, to a high school group's screen printing project.

Read on here.

Hey artists: Deadline is this Friday, Feb. 1 for Kresge grants

Don't procrastinate, get your application filled out for a chance at $25,000 for emerging and established metro Detroit artists.

2013 Kresge Artist Fellowships are available in:

Literary Arts: Arts criticism in all categories (including literary, performing and visual), creative non-fiction, fiction, poetry, spoken word, and interdisciplinary work (including experimental work, graphic novels, zines and other hybrid forms).

Visual Arts: Art and technology, book arts, ceramics, collage, drawing, fiber, glass, installation, metalwork, painting, photography, performance art, printmaking, sculpture, video art, and interdisciplinary work (including experimental work and other hybrid forms).

Deadline is 11:59 p.m. Feb. 1. That's a hard deadline. Get your stuff in early.

More details here.

Michigan Future's Lou Glazer: More four-year degrees leads to state prosperity

This past weekend, a Q&A between the Freep's Brian Dickerson and Lou Glazer of the think tank Michigan Future caught our eye. We've been following Glazer's insightful group for years. Michigan Future is an authoritative voice on what keeps the state's economy humming in the right direction.

In the interview he talks about how one of the core characteristics of high per capita income states is that they're overconcentrated in knowledge sectors of the economy. Such as?

Glazer: Health care, education finances and insurance, professional and business services, which is corporate headquarters, law firms, architecture firms, marketing firms and accounting firms. Also, the category called information, which is old and new media, software and telecommunications.

Lots more from Dickerson and Glazer here.

New book 'Driving Detroit' out now by WSU urban planner

Driving Detroit: The Quest for Respect in the Motor City, called a must read by Harvard Professor William Julius Wilson, is available now from the University of Pennsylvania Press and at Amazon.com. 
Author George C. Galster sent us a note about his book, saying "it is the kind of book that will make readers laugh, cry, and shake their heads in amazement. Hopefully, they will also have many 'aha!' moments of revelation." All right, sounds good to us and just in time for holiday reading.

Why Stik moved back from Silicon Valley to Detroit

Launched two years ago from the Bay Area, Stik attempts to create a recommended list of service professionals online through a user’s social graph.

But as the founders discovered, Silicon Valley is not an easy place to grow a long-term business. After two years of trudging through the Valley, the four person company packed its bags this summer and headed back to the founders’ hometown of Detroit.

Read on here.

Freep: Detroit students grow produce year-round for meal program

This story in the Detroit Free Press, featuring a picture of students in a greenhouse, caught our eye.

Excerpt: The green projects district-wide are designed to reduce energy costs, improve health and student achievement and include a range of activities from energy conservation to waste management, transportation, nutrition and indoor and outdoor environmental improvements.

Read more here.

HuffPost Detroit: Detroit Jewish life centers around downtown synagogue

HuffPost Detroit's David Sands reports that activity at the Issac Agree Downtown Synagogue is increasing. A good sign for the Griswald St. religious center -- and downtown.

Excerpt: (The downtown location) has served as the focal point of a resurgent Jewish community. It's a rather remarkable development, because not long ago Detroit's last free-standing synagogue was on the verge of shutting down.

The recent transformation has been dramatic. The congregation now has 250 member units -- a figure that includes both individuals and families -- and its Friday evening and Saturday morning services regularly draw around 40 people. In addition, Isaac Agree now hosts regular Thursday morning services, Torah studies, Hebrew lessons and a wide array of other programming.

Read on here.

Winners announced in Detroit waterfront vision contest

The Freep's John Gallagher reports that designers from as far away as "South Korea and England were among the winners in this week’s Detroit by Design 2012 competition, held by the Urban Priorities Committee of AIA Detroit." There were some pretty good ideas, including our favorite -- extending the river onto Detroit land via canals, ponds and lakes.

Read more here.

Downtown Synagogue joins neighborhood groups for food justice

Detroit's Jewish community is active this week during Hanukkah, which runs through Sunday, Dec. 16.

The Detroit Free Press reports that the Eden Gardens Block Club -- partnering with the Downtown Synagogue in Detroit -- hopes to grow produce for its East Side neighborhood.

At the Detroit Youth Food Brigade, a member of the synagogue helps young students learn how to sell and distribute healthy food. And at Replanting Roots, another member of the Detroit synagogue is working to help ex-prisoners develop an urban farm.

The Downtown Synagogue is the last free-standing active synagogue in Detroit, where it hopes to become an anchor for a new generation of Jewish people looking to live in the city.

All sounds good. Read on here.

Pewabic Pottery hosts annual holiday shopping night this Wednesday

Pewabic Pottery invites metro Detroiters to shop local this holiday season at its annual Holiday Shopping Night on Wednesday, Dec. 12 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Guests can join in celebration for a night of tasty holiday snacking, live entertainment courtesy of the Jazz Merchants and great discounts. To top it off, shoppers can find the perfect gift for loved ones from a selection of beautifully handcrafted ceramics by more than 100 artists. 
The night will be full of surprises with giveaways every 30 minutes, and "special purchases" available throughout the evening. Upon entry, visitors will receive a numbered ticket, entering them for a chance to win Pewabic items including ornaments, t-shirts, and even an iridescent vase valued at $100.
In addition to the great deals, Pewabic Society members will receive double their regular discount (up to 20 percent).
"The Holiday Shopping Night is a fun year-end celebration, filled with surprises, entertainment and holiday cheer" said Barbara Sido, executive director of Pewabic Pottery. "It’s a great opportunity for metro Detroiters to shop local and support community artists."
Visitors can also take this time to view Pewabic Pottery’s annual holiday exhibition, Earthy Treasures, on display through Dec. 30.

To learn more about Pewabic Pottery call 313-626-2000 or go here. Pewabic Pottery is at 10125 E. Jefferson Ave. in Detroit across from Waterworks Park.

MSHDA and placemaking add to 'prosperity agenda'

This month’s edition of the Prosperity Agenda radio show focuses on placemaking efforts in Michigan and the impact some of these projects have on working toward a more vibrant state. The show also includes a conversation with new MSHDA (Michigan State Housing Development Authority) Executive Director Scott Woosley. Woosley discusses Michigan’s efforts to promote affordable housing, revitalize some of the struggling communities and attract new investment to the state.

The November showed aired Nov. 26 and you can listen to it anytime here or by subscribing to the free iTunes podcast. Our own Claire Nelson, publisher of Model D, co-hosts this broadcast. In addition to Woosley, other guests are Luke Forrest, the Michigan Municipal League’s Project Coordinator for the Center for 21st Century Communities; and Ed Dalheim of the MarCom Awards. 

For more go here.

Watch fresh music video, as Eminem joins 50 Cent in Detroit

It might have been a bit noisy and bright at a video shoot last month at the Michigan Central Station (an elsewhere). But it was worth it, we reckon, when we saw the product featuring homeboy Eminem, and 50 Cent and Adam Levine of Maroon 5.

An excerpt from Curbed Detroit:

Remember how 50 Cent and Eminem woke everybody up with their helicopter last month? That was because they were shooting a music video for 50 Cent's "My Life," the third single off of his next album, Street King Immortal. Although the album won't drop until Feb. 26, "My Life" and its music video were just released this week. The footage features 50 Cent, Eminem, and Adam Levine (of Maroon 5) singing/running/sitting in various Detroit locales, most notably Michigan Central Station. Take a look at the video here.

And read the rest of the story here.

Former Freep publisher on boards at Digerati

Crain's Business reports that former Detroit Free Press Publisher David Hunke, who retired in September as chairman of USA Today, has joined Detroit-based software firm Digerati Inc. as its chief strategy officer.

An excerpt:

Hunke will offer the young company, founded in 2001, experience, CEO Brian Balasia said in a release.

"Strategically, I want to see if I can help them figure out how to line various business opportunities together," Hunke said. "I think Brian and I are going to do a lot of traveling and talking to partners on a national scale about what we can help with."

Hunke retired from USA Today in September after holding the position of chairman for six months. He had been president and publisher since April 2009.

Read the entire story here.
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