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Stroh's to once again be brewed in Detroit

It's been over 30 years since Stroh's beer was brewed in Detroit, the city in which it was founded. But that's about to change, according to a Crain's Detroit Business article.

Brew Detroit, a brewery and tasting room located on Abbott Street in Corktown that makes a number of beers for Michigan brands, got label approval to brew Stroh's Bohemian-Style Pilsner on June 8. 

Though the exact date Detroit-brewed Stroh's will be available is unknown, Crain's Dustin Walsh writes that beers typically appear on the market "within weeks or months of receiving label approval from the federal regulatory body."

Stroh's Brewing Company was founded in Detroit in 1850 by German immigrant Bernhard Stroh. The company stayed in the family for generations, though it stopped brewing in Detroit in 1985 and "razed its 1 million-square-foot brewery, bottling and warehouse buildings on Gratiot Avenue at I-75," writes Walsh.

Stroh's was eventually acquired by Pabst Brewing Company in 1999. So while the Stroh's that will be brewed again in Detroit bears little resemble to the 31-million barrel a year company when it was last here, it's still exciting news for lovers of beer and Detroit history. 

Emerging leaders convene to talk #solutionsjournalism

As humans, we learn best through stories. So what better way to grapple with the complex history, policy and movements in our region than through great reporting and storytelling?

That's why Metromode, Model D and Metro Matters are thrilled to announce the first convening of our Emerging Leaders Advisory Board. Over the next year, this group of local leaders will meet quarterly and online to advise our solutions journalism coverage of metro Detroit's most pressing issues. The project is made possible with support from the Southeast Michigan Community Foundation.

We received over 50 applications from talented and bright leaders in a broad range of fields from across southeast Michigan. It was a difficult task to select only 19 to serve on the board.

These talented folks came together in early June at the Urban Consulate in Midtown to brainstorm and prioritize the regional issues and solutions that we'll be writing about in the coming months.

They are a group driven by love, passion and pride for metro Detroit.

"I love Detroit and want to contribute as much as I can to the revival of a great city," says board member Jonathan So of Huntington Woods. "Every time someone sees that I'm from Detroit they want to talk about the city and where it is going. We are all ambassadors."

They also want to get involved and make a difference.

"I applied to the board to help shape the future of my city and region," says board member Kate Cherry of Hamtramck. "I hope the project results in greater awareness of urban issues and knowledge of regional growth strategies among people in our area."

They're looking for an opportunity to connect with one another and expand their knowledge.

"I hope that serving on the board will be an opportunity to connect with professionals in the area from a variety of disciplines to hear new takes on regional issues," says board member Sonja Karnovsky of Ann Arbor. "By harnessing our collective abilities and experiences, we can find ways to leverage resources in southeast Michigan."

They even want to help foster leadership among younger residents.

"I want to inspire other millennials to enter politics," says board member, millennial and Madison Heights mayor Brian Hartwell. He's also interested in keeping the area attractive to residents. "Another goal is to retain homegrown talent by giving emerging leaders an opportunity to make a difference here in Michigan. This program will slow the export of new thinkers."

Our first conversation ran the gamut from race and immigration to land use and sprawl to infrastructure, digital justice, civic engagement and more.

Board member Sean Kammer of Pontiac sees political fragmentation as the region's greatest hurdle.

"Political fragmentation has reinforced segregation of the population by race and income more so than it would be if we had stronger regional authorities and more services that are regionally provided," he says. "This fragmentation has led to disparities in public service provision and real estate values that have made some cities more vulnerable to economic recessions than others."

Karnovsky echoes that sentiment.

"This disconnect leads to a lack of resources in parts of the region that need them most," she says. "Money, ideas, and resources don't get shared equitably between parts of the region and this leads to inequality. "

Arquette Palermo sees water as an important regional challenge. 
 
"The impacts of climate change, especially on our water resources,  is a looming issue. This can impact quality of life, disease, economics and so much more, and I think the average citizen does not realize this."

Hartwell sees infrastructure as the top issue facing the region.

"The tragedy unfolding before our eyes is the continued disinvestment of infrastructure in our urban core and inner-ring suburbs for the benefit of far-flung exurbs," he says. 

We'll be digging in to help you understand how these issues affect our daily lives in metro Detroit. We'll also take a careful look at how government, business and citizens are proposing (or already implementing) solutions to address them.

Below is a list of our Emerging Leaders Advisory Board members, as well as a form you can fill out to let us know about solutions to the issues. We want to hear from you!

2016 Solutions Journalism Advisory Board Members

Zubeyda Ahmed, Highland Park
Michele Arquette-Palermo, Orion Township
Mohamed Ayoub, Dearborn
Lauren
Bealore, Southfield
Kate Cherry, Hamtramck
Ghida Dagher, Dearborn Heights
Jon Dones, Detroit
Gillian Gainsley, Ypsilanti
Garlin Gilchrist II, Detroit
Lesley Hairston, Detroit
Melissa Halpin , Northville
Brian Hartwell, Madison Heights
Sean Kammer, Pontiac
Sonja, Karnovsky, Ann Arbor
Ash Nowak, Detroit
Michael Radtke Jr., Sterling Heights
Gabriela Santiago-Romero, Detroit
Jonathan So, Huntington Woods
Jeremiah Wheeler, Detroit

 
Photos by Nick Hagen.

Demand still far outstripping supply in Detroit's greater downtown rental market

In an analysis of greater downtown Detroit's rental market, the Detroit Free Press estimates that for 2016, 700 new units are set to open by the end of the summer. And the ones that have already opened are at or near 100 percent capacity. 

"It is also giving landlords reason to continue raising rents, although the size of the year-to-year jumps could subside as more new apartments hit the market," writes JC Reindl.

The article cites several recently-opened apartment buildings in the area that have already leased out their units. One case, profiled by Model D, is the Forest Arms Apartments. Rehabbed after a devastating fire in 2008, the Forest Arms rented out all 70 of its units the first month they became available, with rents for one-bedroom units going for around $1,000 per month.

The very high end units and those reserved for low-income tenants aren't going at quite the same rate. The Waters Edge at Harbortown, also profiled by Model D, whose two-bedrooms rent for about $1,700 per month, still has 42 of its 134 units unleased. 

The Strathmore in Midtown has leased out all of its market-rate apartments, but only a handful of its lower-income ones. In the article, the building's property manager, Derrell Jackson, explains that the reason for the difference is due to the difficulty in proving one's income. 

Who are these renters? "Those filling the new Detroit apartments are typically young professionals as well as some empty nesters, leasing agents say," writes Reindl.

These cases suggest that demand is far outstripping supply. The market is obviously still adjusting, so renters should expect fairly dramatic increases in rental rates (10 to 20 percent) in the near future. 

Summer program at downtown YMCA teaches teens about media arts

Y Arts, which does arts programming for the downtown Boll YMCA, is offering a summer program for teens interested in the media arts. The Y Media Works Summer Institute gives campers the opportunity to learn from local media talent and "produce their own film ideas, photography projects, stop motion animation, and digital music compositions," according to promotional materials.

The program, now in its 9th year, is run by Y Arts executive director Margaret Edwartowski, who's had a lengthy career in theater as a writer, director, actor, and improvisor. The team, which is rounded out by other artists with expertise in media, will provide daily instruction and take the campers on field trips to production houses, museums, and studios.

The camp runs from Monday, July 11 to Thursday, August 11, with camp days being Mondays through Thursdays from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Every campers' final film will be shown on Saturday, August 20 at the YMCA's Marlene Boll Theatre. 

"We hope that our campers gain experience in photography, digital film production, and visual storytelling working alongside local artists," said Edwartowski by email. "But most of all we seek to provide a fun and creative experience where youth explore and celebrate downtown Detroit."

The camp costs $500, but full and partial scholarships are offered. 

The Y Media Works Summer Institute begins July 11. To apply or learn more, contact Margaret Edwartowski at medwartowski@ymca.org.

City of Detroit to offer municipal IDs by end of 2017

Whether it's because they lack documentation, can't afford the fee, or fail a diver's test, many in Detroit don't have a driver's license. At minimum, it's an enormous inconvenience. People without a license can't access basic services like opening a bank account, getting a library card, or becoming a member of their local recreation center.

Fortunately, the city of Detroit will soon alleviate some of the challenges associated with not having a driver's license by offering municipal identification cards. These IDs, while not a replacement for a driver's license, are an important step to improving access to all of Detroit's residents. 

"This card will help the homeless, undocumented, returning citizens and senior citizens obtain access to services and is a step forward to enabling integration for all of these communities," said Office of Immigrant Affairs director Fayrouz Saad by email. Saad will also administer the program. "All too often do these communities face challenges in day to day activities simply because they don't have an ID."

The legislation was introduced by council member Castañeda-López and passed by the city council with a vote of 7 to 0. 

The city hopes to begin issuing IDs in late summer and have it fully operational by 2017, according to Saad. Residents will have many options for proving their identity, from veteran cards to lease agreements, and more. The IDs will be valid for two years and cost no more than $25. 

The city also hopes to obtain support from "community partners, foundations, banks, museums, City departments, law enforcement and other institutions to ensure the card is widely accepted and offers different benefits."

Unique program offers grants for "narrative shifting" Detroit video projects

These days, many filmmakers bootstrap their video projects. And while films can be produced cheaper than ever before, it's still a relatively expensive art form. 

For those interested in telling video-based stories about Detroit, a unique funding opportunity put out a call for applicants this month. It's called the Detroit Narrative Agency, or DNA, and it will be offering up to 12 grants from $5,000 to $10,000 for "moving image projects...in and of Detroit." 

The grants, sponsored by Allied Media Projects (AMP), are unique because they prioritize Detroiters with "narrative shifting" projects, or stories that "advance the narratives of justice and liberation." The grant advisors' mission is based on the idea that Detroiters can best tell their own story, and that it should not be shaped by people less familiar with the city. Examples of "tired narratives" about Detroit include: "Detroit schools are bad," "Fetishizing Detroit," and "Detroit is a blank slate."

At least one member of a potential project must live in Detroit, Hamtramck, or Highland Park. 

The advisors, comprised mostly of Detroit artists, are also sensitive to issues of access, so AMP is offering use of their computer lab to fill out the online application. They held an informational workshop at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History earlier in the month. Also, grantees will participate in a "capacity building program" from August 2016 to March 2017.

Application deadline for Detroit Narrative Agency grants is June 24 at midnight. For more information, go to https://www.alliedmedia.org/dna.

Detroit Ento to host five-course dinner featuring edible insects

Detroit Ento, a sustainable protein R&D firm that focuses on locally reared insects, is offering a truly unique dining experience on May 26. 

Hosted by Salt and Cedar in Eastern Market, Detroit Ento describes the meal as "Detroit's first edible insect culinary event." The five-course dinner will consist of locally-farmed insects such as crickets and mealworms, "as well as other notable and unique species," according to the event notice. "The meal will be paired with cocktails and wine, prepared by local chefs, and served in a great local space. This event will highlight the techniques and palates of the chefs and forefront the versatility of insects as an oft overlooked, yet rekindling, food source in the West."

Detroit Ento was founded last year by Theodore Kozerski and Anthony Hatinger, who both have extensive experience in Detroit's urban agriculture scene. Insects, which are high in protein and raised with minimal energy investment, can be an efficient way to feed animals and a potential food source for humans.

Before that can happen, however, people need to overcome their instinctive aversion to eating insects. And that's one of the dinner's goals. 

"We are having this dinner to showcase and demystify insects as a real food and protein source, while highlighting local chefs," writes Kozerski by email.

The dinner will also help kick-off the first edible insects conference in North America, hosted by Wayne State University and taking place from May 26-28. 

The meal will have two seatings at 6 and 9 p.m. To be notified when tickets go on sale, click here

Big Ideas+Small Projects wants you to present your small-scale project

Countless small projects take place in Detroit every day -- projects that don't get much fanfare outside the community, neighborhood, or even block in which they have an impact. If you've worked on something small but special in the last year, we'd like to hear from you.

Model D will be co-sponsoring -- along with Key Public Strategies and Incremental Development Alliance -- the Big Ideas+Small Projects happy hour event on Thursday, June 9 as part of the Congress for the New Urbanism's NextGen programming. Six projects will be selected to make 10-minute presentations during the event, which starts at 6 pm at the Detroit Beer Company.

The event is meant to highlight and celebrate small-scale projects from the past year. Examples could include transforming an abandoned property, reclaiming a vacant lot for public space, or any number of other undertakings.

A statement from the event notice reads, "We believe that small-scale, incremental development projects make our communities vibrant, and do so in a way that is financially sensible and environmentally responsible."

Want to present at the happy hour? Big Ideas+Small projects is accepting submissions until 5 pm on May 14. All we're asking for is your contact information and a short description of your project. To apply, click here

Congress for the New Urbanism, a nonprofit organization that advocates for walkable and prosperous places, holds their annual, flagship event in a different city every year. 2016's will be in Detroit from June 8-11. To register, click here

DDOT offers bus service to Belle Isle seven days a week

In an important step for improving access to Belle Isle, the Detroit Department of Transportation (DDOT) has partnered with the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to provide bus service to Belle Isle Park via the existing #12 Conant route, according to a press release from the city of Detroit. Service has been in effect since April 23. 

The standard fare ($1.50) will apply to riders in transit to and from the island. Moreover, visitors who take a bus won't need a recreation passport, which costs $11 for a registered vehicle in the state of Michigan and is required for all visitors accessing the island by car. 

Currently, there's only one Belle Isle bus stop -- on Loiter Way near the Belle Isle Conservatory -- which runs approximately every 50 minutes. The route goes from Monday – Friday between the hours of 5:50 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., and Sunday from 8:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

The issue of access inequality to the island was addressed in Model D last month in an article titled, "Belle Isle and Olmsted's forgotten legacy." The author, Brian Allnutt, writes, "Landscape designer Erin Kelly says that Belle Isle is one of the few places where a person can really get close to the water, which is strange considering how much Detroit’s identity -- indeed, it's very name -- relates to the river. For these reasons, we must find a more equitable way for residents to visit the island."

Fortunately DDOT and DNR recognized this problem and made a step towards fixing it. 

"The DNR and DDOT have been working together for months to introduce bus service to Belle Isle Park," says DNR chief of parks and recreation Ron Olson in a press release. "As attendance at the park increased to more than 3.5 million visitors last year, it became increasingly important to provide additional transportation options to the island. It has been a pleasure to work with DDOT on providing this bus service."

Final year of NEI's challenge to grant local businesses a total of $500K

On April 20, the New Economy Initiative (NEI) kicked-off the third and final year of the NEIdeas challenge, "a two-tiered challenge awarding $500,000 to existing small businesses in Detroit, Hamtramck, and Highland Park for their ideas to grow," as described in a press release.

The half-a-million dollar sum is divided into two grant tiers. For businesses that gross under $750,000 annually, NEI will award 30 grants worth $10,000. And for businesses that gross between $750,000 and $5 million annually, NEI will award two grants worth $100,000. Applying is as simple as explaining, in 500 words, an idea to expand your business that requires investment and is "impactful, courageous, interesting, achievable, and understandable." The application deadline ends June 1.

A key component of the NEIdeas challenge is that these grants are for existing small businesses -- those three years or older. So much reporting and grant-giving is devoted to new businesses that it's refreshing when a challenge like this rewards established businesses that haven't benefited as much from renewed interest in Detroit entrepreneurship. 

"This is a really special challenge that has had an incredible impact on local businesses and communities," says NEI communications officer Matthew Lewis by email. "In fact, we think NEIdeas is the only philanthropic challenge in the country that directly awards small businesses for their contributions to neighborhoods."

Past winners include Goodwells Natural Foods Market, which invested their reward in growing their inventory and marketing services for new bulk herbal apothecary offerings; The Hub of Detroit, which made improvements to the appearance of its storefront; and many, many more. They also released a fun hype video featuring some of those past winners

NEI will hold a series of informational events throughout May to help applicants. The next one takes place on May 4 at the Matrix Center in Osborne on Detroit's Northeast side. Click here for a complete list of those events.

NEI is a philanthropic effort that supports small businesses and entrepreneurs. It's funded by a host of foundations and institutions, and, since 2009, has awarded over $96 million in grants.

Disclosure: Matthew Lewis is a former managing editor of Model D. 

Week of events celebrating and supporting Detroit entrepreneurs starts May 2

Are you a Detroit small business owner? Then you have no reason not to attend at least one of the many free offerings during Detroit Entrepreneur Week (DEW), a six-day festival starting May 2 that takes place across three Detroit neighborhoods through events, workshops and seminars.

Each day of the festival, which is in its fifth year, is themed. Friday, May 6, for example, is dubbed "Show Me the Money" and focuses on financing a small business. The final day, May 7, "The Small Business Legal Academy," is hosted by the Wayne State Law School and will have a series of panels covering legal nuances in real estate, intellectual property, non-profits, and many more. 

Wednesday, May 4 will focus on social entrepreneurship. The morning session takes place at Tech Town and features a keynote address by New York Times best selling author Shaka Sengor, a leading voice in criminal justice reform. Following is a panel discussion composed of local social entrepreneurs, social impact investors, and resource providers.

The afternoon and evening festivities take place at Build Institute, a small business support organization. Build will host a curated dinner and pitch night in partnership with Detroit SOUP, an organization that awards microgrants based on the votes of attendees. The SOUP pitch winner will receive a cash price and suite of professional services valued at over $3,000. 

From DEW's website: "This grassroots approach to entrepreneurial development is truly transformative and will position Detroit as a beacon for entrepreneurs citywide. Detroit Entrepreneur Week’s network of resources provides and community leaders will ensure that entrepreneurs of today and the generations to follow will have access to the necessary tools, supportive communities and culture to succeed."

DEW is presented by Comcast Business.

To reserve a spot at any of the festival's events, go here

Emerging leaders: Help us tell the story of metro Detroit

What do you think are the biggest challenges and opportunities facing the metro Detroit region? What issues are undercovered—or poorly covered—by the media and deserve more attention? And how can the media better communicate both the complexity of these issues and possible solutions?

These questions are at the heart of a new partnership between Model D, our sister publication Metromode, and Metro Matters, an organization dedicated to recognizing and building on our regional commonalities rather than our divisions.

Our goal: Tackle metro Detroit's most persistent challenges through the power of story.

As humans, we learn best through stories. So what better way to grapple with the complex history, current policy, and ongoing movements around our region than through great storytelling?

To help guide this process, we are looking to convene a group of emerging leaders from various communities and professional backgrounds to form an editorial advisory board.

Every few months, these up-and-comers will come together to discuss what they see in the region: the problems, the promise, and the varied perspectives. These conversations will highlight not only the priority issues for metro Detroit, but also the people and projects working to make a difference.

We’ll turn that input into reporting. But not just any reporting. Metromode writers will embrace "solutions journalism," an approach that emphasizes in-depth investigations into the context surrounding an issue, and, critically, the possible (and often in-progress) solutions that could work for metro Detroit.

We believe metro Detroit has a moment of opportunity. The investment and energy pouring into the core city is creating momentum that can fuel not just improvements, but transformation. To make the most of this opportunity, residents should benefit from the smartest, best possible coverage of the issues that need addressing.

And that's where you come in. To guide our first year-long series, we're looking for emerging leaders to serve on our inaugural regional editorial advisory board. You could be a fit if:
 
  • You are passionate about exploring creative, collaborative solutions to metro Detroit’s contemporary challenges.
  • You're upwardly mobile. You might not be making all the decisions yet… but you’re on track to make some of them.
  • You're a student with a focus on policy, government, urban planning, business, or another relevant subject.
  • You can point to something and say "this demonstrates my passion for metro Detroit." It can be a resume, a project, a social media presence—anything, really. We just want to know you share our love for our region.
  • You're a skillful listener who likes to hear others' perspectives just as much as you like to share your own.
  • You're excited about being part of something new, and helping shape a nascent program into a useful platform for the region.
  • You can commit to quarterly meetings on the following dates:
    • June 1, Wednesday
    • August 4, Thursday
    • November 3, Thursday
    • January 18, Wednesday
?When we think of our emerging leaders, we usually think of people between the ages of 18 and 35—but that’s not a hard requirement. If you've recently changed careers or gotten involved in your community, you could be a great fit. We want the editorial board to be diverse in terms of race, gender, geography, and thought, so whatever your background or perspective—we value it and encourage you to apply.

To that end, we've made it easy for you. View and complete the application below, then go directly to social media and share it with everyone you know. If this opportunity isn't for you, consider sending it to your best and brightest employees, students, colleagues, children, grandchildren, etc. With your help, we'll recruit a strong board of connected thinkers who will, in turn, help us cover the most important issues in a way that will help us better understand this place we all call home.

APPLY HERE by May 15, 2016.

Model D seeks new managing editor

Last month, we quietly wished managing editor Matt Lewis a fond farewell as he moved on to a new role as communications officer at New Economy Initiative. We are grateful for the leadership, vision, and energy Matt brought to Model D over the past two years and we are so excited to see what he will accomplish at NEI.

And we're excited about what's next for Model D — and we want to invite you, our readers, to help us find the next Model D editor. We're asking for your help — we encourage you to send this call for candidates to your most talented friends and colleagues, especially those with a strong vision for "What's Next for Detroit?"

We're looking for a smart editor with a strong understanding of Detroit's neighborhoods, its history and culture, the places that make it special, and the people and projects that are moving the city forward.

Model D's managing editor will direct the publication's coverage of development, innovation, talent, and transformation in Detroit. The ideal candidate will have several years of experience writing and editing high-quality magazine-style features, demonstrated experience in online journalism and social media, and an interest in urban and social issues, economic development, innovation and technology. This candidate will also bring a willingness to learn and experiment, a collaborative spirit, a knack for spotting emerging urban trends, and a strong set of connections to thought leaders and creative talent. Candidates must be based in Detroit and should have a good grasp of its neighborhoods.

The full job listing is here: https://careers.jobscore.com/careers/issuemediagroup/jobs/managing-editor-model-d-dVZYqO8i8r5yzpeMg-44q7

In the meantime, longtime IMG contributor Aaron Mondry will be leading Model D as interim managing editor. Please address all of your pitches and editorial inquiries to him at aaron.mondry@gmail.com or contact me (Alissa) if you have any questions.

Biking institution celebrates coming of spring with annual open house

On April 23, Back Alley Bikes and the Hub of Detroit will be hosting their annual spring slate of events promoting the shop's programs and services, as well as cycling generally in Detroit. It's a great opportunity to support a biking institution in the city, and get access to the shop's singular collection of bikes and bike parts.

Festivities begin at 2 p.m. with a youth bike ride (parents welcome) led by Back Alley Bike staff and volunteers. 

An open house at the shop follows around 3 p.m. where attendees can take a tour of Back Alley's workshop. There will also be a garage sale on shop's bottom floor, which "is a great opportunity to purchase affordable bikes and bike parts and to help clear out old inventory to make room for the new," according to a Back Alley Bikes press release.

Snacks and games will also be available. The event is free and open to the public.

Those who want to ride must meet in the alley off MLK behind 3611 Cass Avenue at 1:30 p.m. "All riders are required to wear a helmet and have a signed permission slip and waiver. A small amount of bikes and helmets are available to borrow."

Back Alley Bikes is a nonprofit community bike shop, which has been operating in the Cass Corridor for 15 years. 

For more information, visit bikealleybikes.org or email meg@thehubofdetroit.org.

Detroit Tigers experience explosive financial growth

The Detroit Tigers had a rough season in 2015, missing the postseason for the first time in four years. Financially, however, the franchise did exceptionally well.

According to Crain's Detroit Business, the team is valued at $1.15 billion, though as recently as 2006 it was $292 million. In other words, they've grown nearly 300 percent in just a decade.

"Fueling the valuation growth for the Tigers and the rest of Major League Baseball is a blend of national and local broadcast rights deals and steadily increasing profits from digital operations," writes Bill Shea in his analysis of a Forbes report.

The Tigers are not the only baseball team that's benefited financially in recent years. In fact, their valuation is just below the average for all 30 franchises, despite higher than average attendance. Even with a losing record of 74 wins and 87 losses, "Detroit still finished ninth in all of baseball with 2.7 million in attendance," writes Shea. 

They also get among the best television ratings and have a $50 million contract with Fox Sports for local broadcasts. 

So while a 300 percent in valuation is large, perhaps we should be wondering why the Tigers didn't grow more. 
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