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Build Institute hosts speed coaching event for small business owners

If you're a beverage, food, or hospitality small business owner, you should consider attending a free coaching event at the Build Institute Wednesday, April 13.

Dubbed "Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream Speed Coaching," entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to get advice from experts in marketing, finance, legal advice, and much more. Attendees can sign up for stations most relevant to their business needs and receive quick consulting sessions. The organizers encourage entrepreneurs to bring samples of their product and come prepared with specific questions to facilitate the process. 

The proceeds begin at 6:00 p.m. with networking, and light fare and beverages, followed by speed coaching. 

The event takes place the Build Institute, a small business support organization that helps small businesses through classes, networking events, mentorship, and connecting owners to resources. 

Attendance to the American Dream Speed Coaching event is free. You must be over 21 to attend. To learn more, visit the facebook event page. To reserve your spot, visit the eventbrite page

Third annual Freep Film Festival kicks off

On Thursday, March 31, the Freep Film Festival (FFF) begins its third year of showcasing documentary film relevant to Detroit and Michigan. 

The festival is building on its success and expanding its scope. This year there will be nearly double the number of screenings, including 18 premiers, shown at six venues in Detroit plus Emagine Theater in Royal Oak. 

“The Freep Film Festival’s emphasis on films that have a strong tie to Michigan and/or Detroit set the Festival apart from others in Michigan and throughout the country," said Steve Byrne, executive director of the FFF, in a press release. "The films will showcase the best and most intriguing elements of our residents, our city or our state."

Opening night of the FFF starts Thursday, March 31 at the Filmore in downtown Detroit with a live recording of Kevin Smith's podcast "Fatman on Batman," who's best known for directing such films as Chasing Amy and Clerks. This will be followed by a live screening of T-Rex, a documentary about a 17-year girl from Flint, Michigan pursuing a gold medal at the 2012 Olympics in London. 

Other highlights of the festival include films on the controversial Hantz Woodlands project in Detroit and a double feature about Belle Isle. The festival comes to a close April 3.

For more information on tickets and screenings, visit freepfilmfestival.com.

Community space hosts small scale development "walk and talk" in downtown Hamtramck

Those interested in local, brick and mortar development should attend a walk and talk this Monday in Hamtramck. The event will take place around 4:30 pm at Bank Suey, a community space on Joseph Campau that's undergone a number of transformations since its construction nearly a century ago (it was once a former bank branch, then bar, then Chinese take-out). 

Minneapolis-based IncDev's executive director Jim Kumon will begin the proceedings with a talk about small scale development. Then attendees will continue the dialogue with a walk along Hamtramck's main commercial thoroughfare, Joseph Campau. The tour will end its journey at Bumbo's for drinks and pizza. 

This walk and talk is an example of the kinds of events Bank Suey plans to host in the future (the space is active, but still being renovated). Their website states: "We want to explore new ways to fill main street spaces...We want to create a space that supports community ideas and needs, focusing on the value of local economy and building community wealth."

The event is donation-based, and you can reserve tickets here

Disclaimer: The publisher of Model D, Alissa Shelton, is the owner of Bank Suey and an enthusiastic supporter of development in Hamtramck. 

New data suggest that metro Detroit's 'brain drain' is over

For over a decade, conventional wisdom has had it that metro Detroit is hemorrhaging its college grads to more prosperous metro areas. It's a phenomenon known as the "brain drain," and it's a problem that metro Detroit's policy makers and leaders have been trying to solve for years.
 
New data from the Brookings Institution's Metropolitan Policy Program, however, suggest that it is simply not the case that hordes of local college grads are fleeing the region post-graduation. In fact, metro Detroit (the Detroit-Warren-Livonia statistical area) leads the nation's largest metro regions in retention of graduates of local two- and four-year colleges, ahead of Houston, New York City, and Seattle, it's closest competitors. Over 77 percent of graduates of area colleges stay in metro Detroit after
 
Economist Richard Florida writes in CityLab, "This high retention level is likely due to the fact that the University of Michigan is located nearby, while smaller colleges and universities like Wayne State and the University of Detroit Mercy, as well as community colleges, serve a more locally based group of students."
 
Read more: CityLab

Detroit's SXSW? Corktown Strut festival has bold ambitions


Last week, Brian McCollum of the Detroit Free Press reported that a large-scale music festival is coming to Corktown in July. Organizers have dubbed it Corktown Strut, saying that it will feature an eclectic range of performers spanning a wide variety of genres.

Corktown Strut, which is scheduled for July 1-3, will join a number of other large-scale music festivals that take place during the summer in Detroit, including Movement, the Hoedown, and Jazz Fest. It will differ, however, in that its musical acts will represent a variety of genres and that it will place a greater emphasis local food and drink, specifically the restaurants and bars of Corktown.

Organizers hope that Corktown Strut will fill the void left by City Fest (formerly Taste Fest), an annual summer festival that featured a variety of musical acts and local food businesses before it was discontinued in 2009.

Forward Arts, an organization that creates programming to promote Detroit's arts community, is putting on the event in collaboration with a variety of local bookers and event producers, who are curating a musical lineup that will be announced in mid-March.

"We're taking the overall model of [City Fest] and some of the model of (Austin's) South By Southwest, and fitting it to the Corktown neighborhood and our arts community," Dominic Arellano told the Detroit Free Press.

For more information, visit http://www.corktownstrut.com/.

Source: Detroit Free Press

Electronic music legends Kraftwerk to headline 2016 Movement festival

 
It's the dead of winter (19 degrees Fahrenheit at the time of this writing), but we at Model D just got got really excited for Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial kickoff of summer. That's because local event production company Paxahau just announced that legendary German electronic music pioneers Kraftwerk will be headlining this year's Movement Electronic Music Festival.
 
Kraftwerk has never played Movement, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this summer, though they've performed in Detroit sporadically over the last 35 years. Listen to their first ever Detroit concert, which took place on July 25, 1981 at Nitro, a now-defunct club that was located in a shopping mall at Telegraph and Schoolcraft on the city's west side:


 
By all accounts, Kraftwerk's most recent Detroit show, which took place Oct. 6 at the Masonic Temple, was a real crowd pleaser. The Detroit News's Adam Graham described the performance, which involved audience members wearing 3D glasses, as "eye popping." According to a press release by Paxahau, Kraftwerk's upcoming performance at Movement will also incorporate 3D elements.
 
Detroiters who attended the October show's after party at MOCAD were treated to DJ sets by Detroit techno legends Kevin Saunderson, Juan Atkins, and Eddie Fowlkes, as well as a surprise appearance by Kraftwerk members.
 
Kraftwerk has often been cited by the pioneers of Detroit techno as a critical musical influence since the group's music was first introduced to Motor City audiences by the Electrifying Mojo, a legend of local radio. Members of Kraftwerk, meanwhile, were recently quoted in Rolling Stone as saying that they feel a "spiritual connection" to Detroit.
 
Movement is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. Other acts scheduled to perform at the 2016 festival, which will take place at Hart Plaza in downtown Detroit over Memorial Day weekend (May 28-30) include Caribou, For Tet, Carl Craig, Kevin Saunderson, Juan Atkins, and more. Visit movement.us for details.

Enjoy vintage video games and cocktails at Michigan Science Center After Dark

We got excited last month when the Michigan Science Center opened its doors one evening for After Dark, a happy hour that invited adults ages 21 and over to explore the science of mixology ("I wasn't just out drinking, I swear. I was learning chemistry!"). Over 170 people attended.

We're even more excited for the return of After Dark on Thursday, Jan. 21, when the Science Center will add vintage video games to its monthly happy hour. Attendees will be able to play some arcade favorites and classic console games like Duck Hunt and Super Smash Bros, all while enjoying a cash bar. It's all in conjunction with the Science Center's latest exhibit, Toytopia, which explores the science of play through multiple eras of games.

After Dark events take place on the third Thursday of every month. This month's event starts at 5 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 21. Admission is $10 and includes a complimentary drink. Attendees must be 21 or over to attend.

Tickets are available here.

Disclosure: Michigan Science Center provides funding for Model D's "STEM Hub" series documenting the importance of STEM education in southeast Michigan.

Motor City Muckraker shifts focus to education in 2016


If you don't already know who Steve Neavling is, it's time to start following Motor City Muckraker, the investigative news site he runs with co-founder Abigail Shaw. Last year, Neavling dedicated himself to tracking the Detroit Fire Department's struggles to deal with the city's 3,000-plus fires. His reporting revealed a mismanaged and under-resourced department, eventually leading to the ouster of Fire Commissioner Edsel Jenkins and his deputy Craig Dougherty.

This year Neavling, who was a reporter for the Detroit Free Press before striking out to launch his own site focused on "independent news dedicated to improving Detroit," is turning his attention to the issues of education and the mayor's administration.

If Neavling's reporting on the Detroit Fire Department in 2015 is any indication, you'll want to keep an eye on what the Muckraker turns up in 2016.

Follow Neavling's work at MotorCityMuckraker.com.

Fort Street drawbridge over Rouge River reopens


In May 2013, the Fort Street drawbridge that spans the Rouge River in southwest Detroit closed for repairs. Built in 1922 by the Bethlehem Steel Corporation, the bridge serves as an important connection point between Detroit's Oakwood and Delray neighborhoods, as well as between the Downriver region and southwest Detroit. Yet its closure might have proven only a minor inconvenience to area motorists and pedestrians had the West Jefferson Avenue bridge two-thirds of a mile to the south not closed in the same month. That bridge was damaged when its operator, who was suspected of being intoxicated, lowered the span on top a passing ship.

Since then, people in the area have had their options for crossing the Rouge cut in half: they could either take the Dix Avenue Bridge in Dearborn or the I-75 bridge in Detroit, making their journeys more circuitous.

That changed, however, on Thursday, Dec. 31, when the bridge finally reopened after 31 months of repairs that cost the Michigan Department of Transporation $46 million. The Detroit News reports that the repairs were completed nearly a year behind schedule because of the complexity of the job and interference by river traffic. Currently one lane of traffic is open in each direction, but MDOT told the News that it expects to open the bridge's three other lanes by the end of January.

The West Jefferson Avenue drawbridge is expected to reopen in August.

Check out this time-lapse GIF of the reconstructed Fort Street Bridge in action:



Read about locals' reactions to the reopening of the Fort Street Bridge: Inside Southwest Detroit.

Read more: Detroit News
 

Free Press talks to 50 Detroiters about the state of their city

In a sprawling, must-read series of 50 profiles, the Detroit Free Press did something news media often neglect to do when trying to make sense Detroit's many challenges: it talked to residents -- young and old; black, white, Arab and Latino; small business owners, executives, and blue collar workers; immigrants, natives, and transplants -- about the challenges they face on a day-to-day basis and the opportunities they see in spite of them.

"One year since the City of Detroit's bankruptcy ended. Two years after the state takeover. Nearly 60 years since the city began its painful decline. One year since it started the slow climb back up. What’s life like for the Detroiters who never left or those newly arrived?" asks Detroit's paper of record.

Read more: Detroit Free Press

MiSci After Dark, the thinking person's happy hour, comes to Michigan Science Center


There's no shortage of great places to grab a cocktail after work in Midtown these days, but if you're looking for a change of pace that's more intellectually stimulating than your average trip to the bar, the Michigan Science Center has something special for you. On the third Thursday of every month, MiSci is hosting After Dark, a happy hour that allows adults to experience the museum after hours while enjoying adult beverages.

According to a statement, "After Dark will feature demos with a mixologist, vintage video competitions, extreme dot-to-dot challenges and more." Admission is $10 and includes a drink.

The next After Dark happy hour is happening Thursday, Dec. 17, from 5-8 p.m. Click here for details.

The insidious setback to recovery in Detroit's neighborhoods

In a 4,500-word longform piece for Next City, Detroit author and journalist Anna Clark digs deep into a setback to Detroit's recovery more insidious than high crime rates or a sluggish economy--the mortgage industry.

Clark describes a serious disconnect between prices reached between would-be home buyers and sellers and the appraisals banks conduct before they issue mortgages. In many Detroit neighborhoods, auction sales of tax-foreclosed properties for $500 or $1,000 could be the only available comparables, making it difficult to arrive at appraisals, which are based on sales of nearby homes, that reflect the actual price buyers are willing to pay.

"The result is a system where loans are not available across most of the city," writes Clark. "In Detroit, only 12 percent of home sales are financed, compared to 65 percent in Ferndale and 90 percent in Grosse Pointe. And they are not all at those infamously low price points. An $87,000 house in the Woodbridge neighborhood was recently bought with cash. So was the $1.6 million Fisher Mansion in Palmer Woods."

Clark reports that only 462 single family homes sold in Detroit in 2014 were purchased with a mortgage, and that nearly 87 percent of sales were cash deals, more than double the national average.

To learn about why the conventional mortgage system is failing Detroit and how groups like the Detroit Land Bank Authority and Talmer Bank are working to fix it, read more in Next City.

Ron Scott, Detroit peace activist, dead at 68

 
In the midst of a national epidemic of deaths of black men and women at the hands of white police officers, Detroit has lost one of its most outspoken critics of police brutality and staunchest advocates of peace.
 
Ron Scott, a founding member of the Detroit chapter of the Black Panther Party and, later, the Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality, passed away on Sunday, Nov. 29, after a battle with cancer.
 
"The Detroit Police Commission knew Scott's face well, as he spoke often at meetings, challenging decisions and procedures within the department," wrote MLive's Gus Burns in his Nov. 30 remembrance.
 
"Scott… dedicated his life to civil rights issues and worked up to the minute he took his last breath, his family said," write Robin Erb and Katrease Stafford in the Detroit Free Press.
 
Read more about Mr. Scott's life and legacy in the Detroit Free Press and MLive.

Washington Post examines 'unconventional' fixes for Detroit's unconventional housing market

 
From low appraisals to a dearth of conventional mortgage lending to a glut of supply (often in desperate need of renovation), Detroit's housing market faces a slew of issues that make it one of the most challenged and unusual in the country.
 
So how do you "restore a functional housing market in a city in which neighborhoods are disappearing, banks aren’t lending and property values are among the lowest in the nation?" That's the question the Washington Post asks in a recent feature story.
 
What they found in Detroit is that unusual circumstances are being met with unusual measures to prop up housing values throughout the city.
 
"Civic and business leaders are targeting eight neighborhoods that they determined have the best chance of turning around," writes the Post's Kathy Orton. "To clear out the inventory of vacant houses, the city is moving aggressively to demolish structures that are beyond repair and auction ones that are salvageable."
 
Read more about efforts to restore the weak housing market in Detroit's neighborhoods in the Washington Post.

How to do Small Business Saturday the easy way


With the holiday season (and all of the shopping it entails) upon us, there's good reason to feel stressed. Thankfully, several Detroit nonprofits are teaming up to make shopping easy and enjoyable, all while promoting city-based small businesses.

This Saturday, Nov. 28, the Downtown Detroit Partnership is hosting its 12th annual Shop Detroit event in conjunction with American Express's Small Business Saturday. Participants will be able to hop on busses at any of nine pickup locations around the city and be shuttled to a handful of retail districts, including the Cass and Canfield district, the shops at the Park Shelton, the Fisher Building, the Livernois Avenue of Fashion, and downtown. Along the way, the good folks at the Detroit Experience Factory will provide background on the shopping options, as well as historical tidbits about the city. The best part? The tours and shuttles are free and open to the public.

In conjunction with Shop Detroit, the Build Institute will be hosting a Build Bazaar in the atrium of One Campus Martius. Build Bazaar is a rotating pop-up marketplace celebrating emerging entrepreneurs from Build Institute's small business development program. To learn more about Build Institute's Shop Detroit Build Bazaar, click here. Can't make it this Saturday? Check out one of the other Build Bazaars happening between now and Christmas.

To RSVP for Shop Detroit, click here.
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